News: I am the New SistrunKollective Member in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I am really excited to announce that I am now the newest member of the SistrunKollective.

The SistrunKollective is a Co-op style retail boutique featuring merchandise by local artisans and entrepreneurs. The boutique is located inside the Sistrunk Marketplace (10 top-quality restaurants food court), 115 NW 6th Street in Fort Lauderdale’s  Art District.

This basically means that each member pays part of the rent and in exchange has their own display. The “Kollective” allows each artist to display their items. With a wide range ranges of goodies from jewelry to handmade candles, hats, clothes, and of course (in my case) stationery it is a prime spot to stop by whenever you enjoy some time at the Sistrunk Marketplace Food Hall and Brewery! You can find the entire list of the vendors here.

Take a Look at my Display

Postcards

Featuring five illustrations from my latest collection, All That Pop. The postcards are 5×7 and come in a white blank envelope. You can also frame it and make it a “mini-poster”.

Notebooks

Journal your toughs and feelings, take notes, write lists, sketch, brainstorm ideas, doodle, document your feelings thoughts, and ideas or write songs, it is up to you to fill this diary!

  • Cover Finish: Matte or Glossy
  • Lined or Dotted
  • Perfectly bound glued spine
  • White Paper

Coloring Book

Also available on Amazon

Coloring is a great way to relax and restore. Take a “Zen-Break” and instantly break free from the stresses of everyday life, away from the million tasks and responsibilities of your to-do list. This coloring book is original for all coloring fans.

This book contains 50 original and unique symmetric zen doodles with blank back pages, so you are sure to be able to color with the confidence of not ruining your masterpiece due to bleed-through on the page.

  • 50 unique coloring pages, no-repeat
  • Single-sided print to prevent bleed-through
  • Great with pencils and Crayolas
  • White Paper, 90 GSM
  • Size: 8.5 x 8.5in pages
  • High-resolution printing

Perfect gift for experienced colorists/colorers looking for a little challenge!

Poetry book

Thoughts and feels of a woman in her mid-30s emerging and merging into the woman she was always meant to be.
#OnLustLoveAndEverythingInBetween
 Fifty curated poems I wrote between 2015 and 2019 plus a series of 4 short thought essay pieces.

Specialty Prompted Notebook/Logs

From gratitude journals, Kanji practice notebooks, and ukulele tabs, through primary composition notebooks for early writing learners, I got you! You even have an updated planner, in case you would like to get better organized!

Framed Mini Posters

Mainly prints from my newly created NFT Collection “Les Meufs” with some additional prints from other collections, framed and ready to be hung in your living room, office space, or bedroom. Their square shape (8x8in. frame for a 5x5in. illustration) are perfect if you are into tiles arrangements.

Posters

Mainly illustrations from my newest collection “All That Pop”, but also some oldies! Sizes are 12×16 or 11×17. Come wrapped in plastic with a kraft paper board backing.

Original Paintings

I created these pieces during the first lockdown, this one exactly 2 years ago, in May 2020. Painting truly helped me cope with the loneliness, fear, and everything that was going on in the world, at this time. If you come close enough you’ll become mesmerized by the detailed work, where each acrylic dot was painted, so to cover the surface of the canvas.

I hope you will get the chance to come by and see all of these “IRL”

Thank you!

So, I Launched My First NFT Collection: Les Meufs

Back when I was a kid, I used to collect and be obsessed with Panini stickers. I can remember when once, one of my uncles (or was it my grandpa?) came home with at least 50 packets of cards (each containing 6 stickers). The thrill of opening the packets and then looking for the corresponding page and place in my booklet is unequaled to this day. The highlight of my youth, is probably an understatement! Subsequently, I collected stamps and other trinkets, but nothing as exciting as the panini stickers.

Well, the process of creating these NFTs, reminded me of my childhood.

But What is an NFT?

Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Here is the Wikipedia definition: “A non-fungible token (NFT) is a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger, that can be sold and traded. Types of NFT data units may be associated with digital files such as photos, videos, and audio.”

Still confused? Here I gathered a couple of videos that IMO will do a better job than I will ever do:

Today, the majority of NFT creators are males, but I can see how, in the future – more and more women and artists from all horizons will be interested in creating these!

Les Meufs (the girls in Parisian slang) is an NFT collection of women who love bold colors and fantastic fashion.

Here are my first ones, that you can digitally purchase on Opensea

Not ready for NFTs? No problems – if you’d like to purchase these actual beauties as posters for your office or living room, head to my website (and be patient while I am uploading them) if there is one you are specifically interested in, please let me know and I will prioritize!

Pourquoi Je N’utilise Plus le Terme Métis(se)”

Avant tout, je pense qu’il est important de préciser que je crois en une seule race: la race humaine, mais que dans le contexte ci-dessous, je définis les race en tant que construction sociale qui affecte celles et ceux qui sont catégorisés de “racisées”. Les valeurs de chacun sont à prendre en considération car si elles sont sincères et ne s’inscrive pas dans une politique de respectabilité/sont performatives donne une meilleure idée du caractère des gens que leur origines. Finalement, meme si j’ai pris quelques classes sur le sujet, je ne suis pas une sociologue ou une universitaire.

Je fais partie de ceux qui pensent que la sémantique est importante et que le poids des mots façonne notre façon de penser et donc de nous comporter les uns envers les autres.

Récemment, lors de l’une de mes expédition Youtube – ou – I went down the rabbit hole – je suis tombée par hazard sur une video ou des jeunes filles parlaient de leur expérience de femmes “métisses”. Cela m’a bien sûr interpelé étant moi-même considérée comme telle. Cependant, plus je les entendais prononcer ce mot, plus mon malaise grandissait, sans pourtant pouvoir en articuler les raisons profondes. J’avais sans doute lu ou entendu lors de mon éducation des choses qui m’avaient marquées, et qui avait au fil du temps malgré s’être estompées dans ma memoire, laissaient place au sentiment de mal-être. Etant quelqu’un de curieux, je décidais donc d’explorer les raisons pour lesquelles ce terme me dérangeait autant. Mon malaise était-il justifié, ou mon ressentiment avait-il lieu d’être?

Tout d’abord, je comprends que dans le vocabulaire courant le mot “métis(se)” est utilisé afin de définir toute sorte de mélange, qu’il soit culturel, racial ou ethnique. Je ne l’entends pas comme cela: je l’utilise exclusivement pour les hommes ou les femmes issues d’une union noire/blanc et c’est de cela dont je traiterai ici. Chacun est bien entendu libre de l’utiliser comme bon lui semble. De plus, j’ai passé mes années formative en France mais habite aux Etats Unis depuis l’age de 23 ans, cela fait maintenant plus de 17 ans. Je pense que c’est un détail que je me dois de divulguer, car très important pour expliquer la logique de mon raisonnement personnel. C’est ici que j’ai pu en grande parti m’affranchir de certaines attentes sociétales qui m’avaient été inculquées, pour la plupart à mon insu, grandissant en France. Une prise de conscience quant aux limitations que j’avais internalisé au fil des années non seulement en tant que femme, mais aussi en tant que personne racisée. Principalement, dans le cadre de l’éducation supérieure que j’ai pu recevoir ici – et l’étude de textes historiques et de société notamment à travers des classes comme African-American Studies, People+Power & Politics, et Advanced French Literature (ou nous étudions en grande partie les auteurs issue de la diaspora noire).

A partir du moment où mon prisme s’est élargie, j’ai commencé à voir les choses sous une autre perspective. Par exemple, j’ai une véritable passion pour les arts et en particulier pour la musique; il coule donc de source que l’agrandissement de mes connaissance m’ai encouragé et permis de postérieurement redécouvrir des musiques Pop, Hip Hop et RnB américains qui avaient bercés mon enfance et adolescence dans les années 80 et 90 – mais qui avec la barrière de la langue et sans réel contextes historique et sociétal n’avait eu qu’un impact partiel. Comment aurai-je pu savoir que la chanson “Happy Birthday” de Stevie Wonder était une manière de popularisé l’anniversaire du Dr Martin Luther King Jr, l’une des figures emblématique du Civil Right Movement, en afin que la date de son anniversaire soit reconnue comme fête nationale aux Etats Unis? Ou que dans “Redemption Song” de Bob Marley cite l’extrait d’un discours de l’activiste panafricain originaire de Jamaique Marcus Garvey, donné en 1937 (We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind …)? Je me rendais compte à ce moment là que les artistes n’avaient pas que pour but de divertir leur public, mais également de faire réfléchir ceux qui les écoutaient, dénoncer les injustices et faire un état des lieux: de planter des semences qui sous des circonstances favorable pourraient fleurir. Plus tard, j’ai également revisiter de textes de Rap et RnB français (je pense notamment aux albums de iAm, NTM, la B.O de la Haine, ou les Nubians, pour n’en citer que quelques uns) qui avec le recul me parlent désormais encore plus.

J’ai continué mon processus d’apprentissage à travers le cinéma, la littérature afro-féministe, psychologique, sociologique et sociétales, romans et autobiographiques, podcasts, émissions télévisées (merci Youtube), et plus récemment l’art visue, tant d’outils qui m’ont permis de peaufiner ma vision afin de recalibrer et recontextualiser mes experiences et developer une sensibilité sur certaines thématiques pertinentes aux inégalités en général. Finalement, il va sans dire que mon expérience personnelle fut elle aussi un atout qui me permis d’analyser mes progrès, in real time.

Pour en revenir a mon sujet initial, c’est dans cette optique que je considère le terme “métisse”.

Aux Etats Unis le terme “métisse” n’a pas lieu d’être. Pendant 400 ans d’esclavages, les violences sexuelles envers les femmes asservies étaient parties courantes, conduisant a de nombreuses naissances d’enfants issus de ces viols. De ce fait, la quasi majorité des noirs américains ont quelque part dans leur généalogie une ascendance Européenne. La loi du “One Drop Rule” dictant que toute personnes ayant ne serait-ce qu’un ancêtre d’origine Africaine soit légalement catégorisé de “noir(e)” – fut instauré afin de bloquer l’accès aux droits fondamentaux exclusivement octroyés aux blancs, comme le droit succession, l’accès a la propriété, le droit de vote, la citoyenneté etc… pour que quand bien même un exclavagiste aurait voulu reconnaitre s ou ses progénitures, il n’en aurait pas eu la possibilité. C’est pour cette raison que des personnalités comme Mariah Carey, Tracy Ellis Ross, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys ou encore Jennifer Beals sont considérées comme noires.

En français, Le terme “métis(se)” vient du mot espagnol “mestizo” qui avait pour but de qualifié les enfants issus d’unions entre autochtones et espagnols dans les Amériques, (*different de mulâtre, terme pour définir les enfants des noirs et espagnols) terme plus tard adopté dans les Antilles françaises. C’est donc un qualificatif qui s’inscrit dans l’idéologie racialiste, un mode de classification fondé sur la notion de race apparu en Europe au milieu du xixe siècle, crée par les colons afin de caster socialement les individus selon leur proximité à la blanchité ou la negritude, et je ne veux pas utiliser un mot inventé par des colons pour hiérarchiser et minimiser mon humanité, et établir une domination.

Deuxièmement, je considère ce mot ayant une connotation exotifié et les individus perçus dans cette catégorie fétichisés; Tout en restant noir(e), la femme ou l’homme le/la métis(se) peut se rapprocher d’un standard de beauté plus eurocentrique de par la couleur de sa peau, ses traits, la texture de ses cheveux, et recevoir un traitement privilégié par rapport aux personnes plus foncées. J’ai mainte fois entendu comme réflection “les enfants métisses étaient trop beaux”, ce qui malgré l’intention des gens – de donner un compliment – s’inscrit pour moi dans une logique négrophobe. A cela s’ajoute le phénomène des personnes non-noires adoptant les codes de la communauté noire et mimiquant des traits physiques afin d’être perçu(e)s comme noires ou métisse (voir Kardashian et blackfishing).

Finalement, je parlerais des conséquence de l’adulations des noir(e)s-américains en France. Que ce soit de la part des blancs comme des celle des noirs (ou autres), les noirs américains, de Joséphine Baker à Beyoncé – en passant par Denzel Washington ou encore Will Smith, crée un veritable engouement. En effet, pour les raisons érigés plus haut, ces individus ont en general des caractéristiques physiques moins prononcés, accuplé a l’hégémonie américaine – accentués par des series comme le Cosby Show dans les années 80 et le Prince de Bel Air dans les années 90 – qui dépeint les vies à succès de ces individus – rendent leur négritude plus acceptables dans l’inconscient collectif, et ceux perçus comme “métis(se)” plus souvent comparés à ces “idéaux”.

En definitive, après avoir analysée les raisons pour lesquelles ce mot me déplais, je le banni sans crier gare de mon vocabulaire, car je considère que c’est un terme colonial qui contribue de la négrophobie.

February 2022 and the 28 Days Of Black Hair Challenge

This past February month, in honor of Black History Month 2022, visual artist Vashti Harrison initiated a Black Hairstyle Illustration Challenge on Instagram #28DaysOfBlackHair – to celebrate Black Hair’s beauty and versatility. I decided to participate (although haven’t completed all entries)

The Idea

Initially, I created this girl character for a children’s book I would like to develop. I came across the online challenge and thought this would be a great incentive for me to be consistent in my process and a way to come up with different ideas.

In the Black community, hair has always been a way of expressing oneself. In the past years, the natural hair movement has reached mainstream media and more people have become more familiar with it and aware of some of the challenges we have been facing in terms of fascination and discrimination

I believe that representation matters and because of my personal history, I have always enjoyed and felt compelled to work on art that showcases Black hair.

The Process

I worked in both Procreate and Illustrator. Because I had already created a multitude of facial expressions for this character, I would focus on the hair, poses, and outfits on the day to day basis.

Once I was done researching and drawing in Procreate, I would export the black and white outline as a PNG in order to digitize it as a “Black and White Logo” vector in Illustrator. Once this was completed, it would be time to “assemble” the hair of the day with the body/outfit, make some adjustments (resize, redraw some things), then expand its appearance and add colors and patterns for a final look.

Finally, I would add the hairstyle using the same font each day (Epicursive Script) and export it to post it on Instagram. 

I was also able to repurpose some of my previous work for this project. For instance, I used  my Afropop patterns on some of the outfits (I used on the cover of the notebooks I created for Amazon as well as my interior design collection from my website)

Last Words

This was a fun project, and I plan on completing all the remaining entries at some point as it will not only give me a lot of practice but also a multitude of character poses to chose from!

Stay tuned for upcoming projects!

New This Month: February 2022

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Here are this month’s highlights. Feel free to reach out should you have any questions!

Click on pic to be redirected to item online boutique

1. Stationery

In French, épuré(e) could translate as “Sleek and stylish”. This is exactly what this line of notebooks stands for. Clean and minimalist, the 7×10 notebooks are perfect to track your life’s progress, practice, and help you live a healthier lifestyle.

2. Coloring Book and Children Composition Notebook

Here’s my first “Coloring Book for Grown-Ups“. I also updated the cover of my Afro Fairies Primary Composition Notebook!

3. Online Boutique

Noting new this month, but it is worth checking out my sweaters!

See you next month!

Sleek & Stylish: Introducing the Épurée Stationery Collection, by Daphné Essiet

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2 minutes read.

I don’t know what came first: my love for writing or my excitement with paper goods: all I know is that the possibility of pouring my soul on paper is something that fills me with joy. I love to travel and each time I have the opportunity to find cute notebooks or other goodies, I spend away all my pocket money!

Making my own notebooks was something I wanted to do since I started my artistic journey and as soon as I found out how to, I decided to go for it. I have created many covers inspired by my African and Afropean roots, such as Afro-Pop Collection with original “Nü African Patterns”, or Afro Fairies Collection (click here to view)

and I thought that I could also create something more minimalist in themes and color.

The Meaning

In French, épuré(e) could translate as “Sleek and stylish”. This is exactly what this line of notebooks stands for. Clean and minimalist, the 7×10 notebooks are perfect to track your life’s progress, practice, and help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s a list of the available journal in this collection so far:

They are available for purchase on Amazon

Here are some previews:

What kind of logs/journals are you interested in? Let me know in the comment section and stay tuned for more!

Daphné

Happy Valentine’s Day! Free Download 🤍

It’s Valentine’s Day and I am here for it!

I haven’t always celebrated Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day but as I become wiser in experiences, I feel like any opportunity is worth celebrating.

This year, I wanted to gift you something unique so here’s an exclusive illustration you can download, print and color for your friends!

If you decide to share the final coloring on Instagram, please remember to tag me @daphneessiet

You DO NOT have my permission to resell, modify, distribute or share the uncolored product with anyone in any form.

Please download the pdf or jpg.

For more coloring, please check out my Coloring Book for Grown-Ups – Original Zendoodles by Daphné Essiet available on Amazon.com (free shipping with Prime)

Your New Favorite Coloring Book for Adult

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Scientists, along with artists (who are scientists too – iMO) have demonstrated that people have a universal aesthetic inclination for symmetrical designs and patterns.

From Conceptualizing to Creating a Tool For Better Health

When I started my artistic practice back in 2018, this was one of the first principles I experimented with and honed my illustrator skills by creating my Chromatic Ecstasy collection:

Friends suggested that these designs would be perfect for coloring books. I thought it was a great idea, but I never got to put it together… I did some research and found out that coloring was a great way to relax and instantly break free from the stresses of everyday life! This was definitely something I wanted to get into. Of course, it does not replace seeing a professional therapist, but this is a fun tool to help people better their mental health by alleviating some of the temporary daily challenges, not unlike my gratitude journals!

Putting in the Work

Since I only had a limited amount of illustrations, I had to work hard and spent this past month creating the additional “zendoodles” to be featured in this coloring book: in total, this book contains 50 original drawings! I am so excited and proud to introduce you to my first “Coloring Book for Grown-Ups“. Here’s the cover below!

Perfect gift for experienced colorists/colorers looking for a little challenge!

Timelapse of my work:

Click here to purchase

Stay tuned for more by subscribing to my newsletter: I am already working on the second volume.

New This Month: January 2022

Subscribe to my Newsletter. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Here are this month’s highlights. Feel free to reach out should you have any questions!

Stationery

Log Books

Stay Organized With This Ultimate Automotive Maintenance Record Book!

Car Maintenance Logbook to help you to keep track of all essential repairs and maintenance tasks. It is the perfect size for your glove compartment, and its flashy color cover will help you locate it in seconds!

Grateful kids are happier!

Practicing gratitude increases happiness, improves self-esteem, and lowers levels of stress—this is a perfect journal for little humans to experience the power of gratitude. Each page gives the children to write and draw their thanks on a daily basis, as they develop a healthy habit in their lives.

Kanji Practice Notebook

This is a 8.5in. by 11 in. 100 pages Kanji Softcover Practice Notebook

This elegant traditional notebook-style notepad contains 100 pages of kanji paper, also known as Genkouyoushi paper.

Each large square holds one character and each square is divided into four quadrants to guide the correct positioning of the elements of each character.

Online Boutique

Blankets in Love is Love Collection: Do you feel that your home is missing an eye-catching, yet practical design element? Solve this problem with a soft silk touch throw blanket that’s ideal for lounging on the couch during chilly evenings!

See you next month!

Galentine’s Day: on Friendship and Sisterhood

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Every single year, a few weeks after Christmas – millions of people religiously celebrate the highly anticipated and anxiety-inducing (for some) commercial holiday Valentine’s Day, when all extravagances are permitted (if not encouraged), grossing an average of 20 billion dollars annually out of your pockets (statista.com)

For the past decade, a new trend has been raging: on February 13th – one day shy of Valentine’s Day – thousands of women have been celebrating Galentine’s Day, the holiday dedicated to L.O.V.E.S like no others in many women’s life: friendship and sisterhood.

Where does it come from?

The term “Galentine” was made popular by the comedic sitcom Parks and Recreation where Leslie Knope, one of the main protagonists, organizes a Dance to celebrate the women in her life. After the episode aired, back in February 2010, the term started to gain in popularity and started a life of its own becoming the phenomenon it is today.

Why Celebrate?

I usually try to celebrate and cheer up the women in my life as much as I can, yet feel for those who do not, it can become the opportunity to start something new. Society still tends to overlook our contribution as friends and sisters – and a gentle reminder of our importance is always welcomed.

How to Celebrate?

So many ways to do so! It does not have to break the bank and depending on your Galentine’s “Love Language” it can range from a handcrafted postcard to a phone call to remind them how much you appreciate and love them. , or a little gift to a coffee/lunch date!

Gift Ideas from my Stores

If you plan on spending some money, maybe that book they were talking about the other day, or a box of candy/chocolate is always a great idea. Here are gift ideas directly from my store:

Heart Blankets from my online store (enjoy $5 OFF with code THANKYOU22 – valid until 1/31/22)

Heart Notebooks from Amazon (free shipping with prime)

Gratitude Journals from Amazon (free shipping with prime)

Conclusion

Regardless of what you decide to get your Galentine, I am sure she/they will appreciate it!

Celebrating Love? Valentine’s Day is in Less than a Month!

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Love.

I wrote an entire section of a poetry book about it… Regardless of where you are from physically or socially, it is one of the topics most talked-about in the world.

I often think about it, especially romantic love. There seem to be many viewpoints and I am always open to hearing what others think about it, even if I have ideas of my own…

Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I thought I’d share with you a short essay I wrote back in 2015 (found in that same poetry book) where I attempt – in my limited human experience – to understand what it could mean to me.

#OnLoveAndLustAndEverythingInBetween (part3)

In logic and probability theory, two propositions (or events) are mutually exclusive or disjoint if they cannot both be true (occur). Shall we treat Lust and Love as two distinct functions evolving in two separate systems? How do both those states relate to Happiness? It sounds concurrently simple and complicated, hence the trickiness. In a nutshell, there is the Lust and there is the Love… and for the majority of my adult life, I somehow misconceived their respective meanings as well as mishandled their applications.

As these two ever-overlapping “concepts” wildly encompass a range of compelling feelings, and because they (may) relate and (may) interact with one another so closely, it would be difficult for me to comprehend them fully, or even partially – for that matter; however, I feel that today, I took one step away from my initial cluelessness. It seems as if Lust and Love feed into each others’ narrative. It seems as if they share a common purpose.

Lust is straightforward, Lust is simple, and there is basically little that can be done about it: Lust assesses how chemically compatible we are to someone, and how healthy would an eventual offspring be. Plain and simple and pragmatic. *Lust* solely relies on efficiency.

Love is intricate, Love is sophisticated, and may or may not stem from Lust, but regardless of where it originates, is built from the ground up. Love is potent, and there is basically little that can be done about it: Love allows discrepancies to be efficiently taken care of – in case something goes down – aka imbalanced chemical compatibility. Love relies on the problem-solving skills our elaborated brain cultivated, a defense mechanism we developed over time, for survival. Lust and Love appear to be chemically induced for our species’ lastingness. They started mutually exclusive, and merged, inclusively, “byproducing” happiness. 

So what if everything we have been lead to believe all along was flawed? What if happiness, as a purpose, was an illusion we created to rationalize our urges when in fact this is nothing but a bundle of chemical reactions. Not to say that a delusional state does not perfectly fit my inner desires, as this so-called state is “inherent” to my human condition, and hence there is basically little that can be done about it.

Today, this right here makes total sense to me and ergo allows my soul to be soothed, and my heart to cope with whatever concerns is clouding my deepest thoughts. For what it’s worth, in a (my) perfect world, I will from now on use my brain to ponder if the situation is conducive to what matters most; I will, for now on, use that intellect so to estimate how a context can generate its highest yield of Long Term Happiness – for the latter turns out to be a convolution integrating a customizable blend of #OnLoveAndLustAndEverythingInBetween.

What are Your Thoughts on Romantic Love?

Anything you’d like to share on Love or lust? Go in the comments and tell us about it!

Shameless Advertising of my Products!

Notebooks are always good ideas, especially when they are as cute as those. Maybe as a gift to yourself, a good friend, your Valentine or Galentine? I got one for everyone! check them out below!

A Though: Is There Room to Celebrate Those Who Hurt Us, and Where Should We Start?

Just the other day I had a conversation with someone who was wondering how we could celebrate a man’s accomplishments’ when we knew he was a sexist, misogynist, and even beat his wife/girlfriend. I think that is a valid question. I sensed pain and frustration in that person’s voice. In this case, I believe it came from the fact women’s voices being silenced, their experiences minimized, abuse normalized, and how we have been historically gaslighted – combined with the lack of accountability and denial from those who perpetrated the harm.

So, “Is there room to celebrate those who hurt us and their contributions to the world?” Well, let me start by saying: this is the world we have been living in y’all. We have been celebrating talented thieves, bright colonialists, eloquent racists, intelligent narcissists, charming psychopaths, charismatic megalomaniacs, and the like for as long as we humans have been roaming them “civilized streets”. We have also been celebrating more righteous individuals, some of whom turned out to have very problematic ways as well. So, where should we start?

The “Hurt Legacies” Conundrum

I hear those afraid of “hurting legacies”. I admit, this can be a dicey topic, especially when systems of oppression in place that already vilify certain populations, could take hold of the process and sensationalize the truth to further already hurtful stereotypes. Think of revered African American leaders or celebrities being slandered for their infidelity, drug abuse, meanness, etc… I can understand how, especially when the person is no longer here with us, this can feel – what’s the word – blasphemous? I think, however, that it is necessary to recalibrate the stories we tell ourselves and the world and set the record straight so we can bring justice and peace to those who have been hurt in the process and still suffer from these consequences. Moreover, we may be attempting to comprehend the whys and hows so we can maybe prevent repeating the same patterns ourselves.

Of course, I believe that these attempts to reestablish the truth and “make it right” (if there is such a thing) should be centered on the healing of the victims, even when sometimes the pain abusers inflicted on them may be insurmountable and the damage irreversible. It is worth a try IMO.

Cosmic Homeostasis

First, we must challenge our own beliefs. I often struggle with how the way I feel conflicts with my thoughts. I constantly have to remind myself that even tho life appears to be unfair – in reality, the Universe always has a way to balance things out: it is science, cosmic homeostasis. Trust: it is easy to mistake celebrity, the abundance of material things, and appearances for happiness, especially when living in scarcity. I do find it hard… I constantly have to remind myself – that what I have been conditioned to believe about happiness in our highly capitalized society is flawed, as it fails to recognize that true happiness and satisfaction comes not from money, notoriety, and looks, but from how authentic our relationships with others are.

Consequently, there is no way that those who hurt others by their actions, lie (to themselves and others) about it, and refuse to take responsibility, experience true happiness: it’s science, cosmic homeostasis – and isn’t it what we all strive for?

Is There a Path to Redemption?

I believe that the keys to redemption can be accessible to those courageous enough to take the path towards truth and accountability.

To those who may not feel satisfied with these ideas and instead would prefer seeing people suffering the way they did – I can understand – it is not easy. It may not be enough for those who have greatly still carry the visible and invisible wounds, and I am not here to police how anyone feels: you are entitled to your pain, but you also deserve to be happy.

Perhaps, in time, we will find ways to establish a balance and acknowledge individuals’ contribution – especially as we take a good look at ourselves and dismantle the systems that allowed abusers to normalize the harm.

New This Month of December 2021

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The year is coming to an end, and what a year! I believe that all that time alone away from usual distractions forced my creativity to show up in (un)expected ways. It has been a work in progress and definitely a time to reflect on life and try to find ways to cope with what was, and what could be. Here are December’s goodies, per category.

Stationery

Etsy: Etsy.com/Shop/daphneessiet (currently closed to the holidays)

Signed Prints of Bodacious Mane, Afro Dancers, and Afro Yogi Collections. Click here to visit the online boutique.

Online Boutique: DaphneEssiet.Shop

Afropop collection

Last Words

Wishing everyone a peaceful and safe new year. See you in 2022!

Artist of the Day: New Article in “Not Real Art” Online Publication

Months ago I applied for a grant through the online magazine NOT REAL ART that “celebrates artists and empowers their work with unique stories, podcasts, grants, experiences, and more.

Although I made it through the elimination stages for a few rounds, I didn’t become one of the recipients this year.

You can discover through this article a bit more about me! Click here for the full article.

Thank you all for this year’s support, and may you have a peaceful and safe end of the year!

New: Brightly Colored African Design Inspired Patterns to Warm up Your Winter!

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As we enter the cold months of winter, I thought I would share with you some new designs in form of colorful items right to brighten up your heart as well as your home sweet home!

I mentioned in a prior blog, I truly love patterns, and lately, I have been really active in creating some awesome ones inspired by African patterns. It took some time and work, but here are a new collection featuring some geometric and Colorful beauties, on a multitude of items that you can now find in my store! Check some of them out below:

1. Pillows

A strategically placed accent can bring the whole room to life, and this pillow is just what you need to do that. What’s more, the soft, machine-washable case with the shape-retaining insert is a joy to have long afternoon naps on. Comes in 3 Sizes.

2. Tote Bags

A spacious and trendy tote bag to help you carry around everything that matters.

3. Computer Sleeves

Protect your laptop in style—get this snug, lightweight laptop sleeve! To prevent any scratch marks, it contains an internal padded zipper and its interior is fully lined with faux fur. What’s more, it’s made from a material that’s resistant to water, oil, and heat, making sure your laptop sleeve looks as sharp as you any day of the week! Comes in 2 sizes

4. The Last Word

Interested? Discover and shop for the collection here and remember to sign up for my newsletter to be the first to find out deals and news! If you prefer notebooks, you can find similarly styled paper goods available on amazon. Some samples are below!

For Fine Art Lovers: the Dotted Circles Colorful Paintings are Back for the Holidays

Are you ready for pure bliss and happiness? If so, marvel in this multitude of colors of this dotted circle.

In her TED Talk “Where Joy Hides and How to Find it”, Ingrid Fetell Lee, aka @aestheticsofjoy on Instagram, eloquently articulated how I feel every time I add a colored dot to the paper. Each layer elevates how Joyful I am and that is primarily how I fought the feeling of isolation during the lockdown and still to this day. Thank you, now it makes sense

The circle represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement, God (‘God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere – Hermes Trismegistus).

6x6in Framed and Signed Dotted Circles, available on Saatchi

Acrylic on Paper, 6 W x 6 H x 0.1 Din – One-of-a-kind Artwork:

Holiday Markets in Coral Springs and Key Biscayne, Florida

If you are located in SoFlo, I will be participating in two upcoming Markets! You will be able to discover and purchase my fine art paintings, notebooks, and prints in person.

Event Details

Details: There will be artmaking stations (contemporary wreath making, ornament decorating, gift wrapping + more!), COMPLIMENTARY bites, FIRST ACCESS to sale items by our amazing artists and makers, and FREE giveaways and prizes.

Saturday’s Public Market on December 11 from 10:30 – 2:30pm will include artmaking stations and light bites at an additional cost, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

ALL ticket proceeds go to support Museum programming. Vendors retain 100% of their sales.

SHOP FRIDAY TICKETS HERE

Friday, Dec 10 | 5:30 – 8pm
$10 in advance | $15 at door
Saturday, Dec 11 | 10:30am – 2:30pm
FREE

Eventbrite link HERE

Organized by the French-American Association of Craft and Trades

Sun, December 12, 2021 – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST

Village Green Park, 450 Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

Eventbrite link HERE

Shopping Spree

Here’s a highlight of what I will bring with me at these events!

AfroPop Notebooks
Signed Prints, also available on Etsy
Framed and Ready to be Displayed Original Mini Dotted Circles

Looking forward to seeing you then!

Holidays’ Edition: Gifts for Your Artsy Friends

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It is an art to make good gifts. You have to not only listen and be really attentive to what people have to say.  To me, it does not have to be expensive (although sometimes it can be): it has to be thoughtful and be about the person you gift it to (not what you think they should get). Every Thursday until the holidays I will be sharing gift ideas for the people you love. Today I will feature gifts for the Artsy People in your life. They either love Art, or they are artists, and oftentimes: they are both! Here are some ideas to consider.

The Gift that Keep on Giving

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

Museum membership. Gift someone you love a yearly membership to the local museum! If you are in Big cities large cities such as New York, London, or Paris, you may have to choose between a few, but rest assured, most major cities (and even smaller cities) have beautiful art to see over and over again and new artist to be discovered!

Artist Book

There are hundreds of amazing artist books. I will share some that have caught my eyes and interest lately:

Art Piece

Investing in an art piece can be intimidating: however, it does not have to be. Nowadays it is easier than ever to find beautiful art online. Platforms such as Saatchi or Etsy have made this process smooth and effortless. Of course, you could purchase original, but also consider original and signed copies. Some artists I like

Last Words

It is an art to make good gifts, no doubt, all we have to do is to listen carefully and act accordingly.

You can find my original art for sale here

Pondering on “The Power of Writing it Down”

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Last week I posted about great gifts you could get to book lovers, and today I thought I would talk about one of the latest books I have read: The Power of Writing it Down: A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life by Allison Fallon. It is an easy and quick read that encompasses lots of truths and pulls from many pieces of research and book I was familiar with., clearly and succinctly packaged. Reading this book has given me clarity on the benefit of such practice and why it feels so good to do “write it down”. I have had an interesting relationship with writing. I have never consistently kept diaries and instead wrote notes on various notebooks. I have to admit that since I applied myself to writing a journal more regularly I feel better.

Things to Remember

For the first time ever, I used a reading journal, and thought I would share some of the quotes I connected with personally and wrote down:

Our brain has been designed with survival in mind. They have mastered the skills of automating behavior to make it as easy as possible” page 7

This is not to say that writing is a cure-all or that we should all ditch our pharmaceutical drugs in favor of regular writing practice. It is to see that writing – if we are open to it – can have a measurable impact on every area of our lives including our mental and emotional health. Words are that powerful.” page 19

There’s something about capitalizing on charged emotion that makes the writing seem easier.” page 111

Your buried thoughts and beliefs are driving your behavior.” page 139

Writing is not a golden ticket or a magic pill. But facing a blank page, exactly because it is difficult is a tool proven by science to bring us back into alignment with ourselves.” page 162

Lying and keeping secrets has a long term impact on our physical, emotional and mental health … several studies I read presented evidence that secrets take a physical work and make us tired” page 164

Finally, I will share Fallon’s exhaustive list of “What Writing Can Help Us Do”:

  1. Name our experience so we can more fully understand it
  2. Give language to the future we want to create so it stops feeling vague and begins to seem achievable
  3. Build a bridge (neural pathways) between the now we’re experiencing and the future we’d like to create
  4. Heal and engineer our own resilience from past experience
  5. Find perspective for life’s challenges, large and small
  6. Invent brand new solutions for old age problems
  7. Build our confidence
  8. Increase our working memory and overall cognitive power
  9. Cultivate more gratitude and contentment
  10. Provide clarity for our decisions
  11. Increase satisfaction in our romantic partnership
  12. Level up our immune system, helps us sleep better
  13. Combat and curb anxiety, stress and depression
  14. Tune out the well meaning and critical voices around us so we can finally understand what we think”

Using my New Knowledge

I wrote this list down on a board and displayed it at my even at the last event. Many people liked and inquired about it (you’re welcome Allison – and also thanks for putting it down). This book definitely encouraged me to be even more assiduous in my daily gratitude and writing practice, and maybe if you are like me, it will too!

Last Words

Isn’t it amazing how such a simple task like writing can totally change your life? I don’t think enough people consider the benefit of writing things down. Looking back, I realize how it has been central to my betterment: in Highschool then later in college, I used it as a tool to study, in my poetry and my songwriting an attempt to express myself on topics that were close to my heart. Reading about the science behind it gives me an even stronger purpose to keep at it and makes me want to write even more and spread the word. This may as well be one of the most efficient tools to change the world as we currently see it, and I truly hope that I can be an advocate for that.

Here are some of my current gratitude notebooks. For more notebooks, please click here.