Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wishing You All a Magical and Adventure Filled New Year in 2015

As this current year ends; every New Year brings us the opportunity for innovative  intentions, special  adventures  and a chance to reflect on the times and events of the past year.

Many of us will ring in the season with a beautiful bottle of champagne and a magical evening with friends! Some will spend a quiet evening at home surrounded by the loving warmth of family.

One thing I intend in 2015 is to look for beauty and joy all around me. I will  spread love, peace, and light everywhere I go and to everyone I meet.

LIfe is never perfect and there will always be challenges and rainy days. Yet, there is so much in life that I have to be grateful!

Surrounding myself with light from above will keep me ever thankful.

Embracing New Adventures!!

So celebrate this wondrous life we have here on Earth and remember that all good things come to us in the most unexpected ways!

Happy New Years to my beloved Family, loyal friends and faithful Followers!

The Arts by Karena

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Wintry Holidays are Upon Us!

May the love, joy and energy filled world infuse you life with happiness!

An image that is showing us the way to peace! How can we not follow it!

A majestic animal, the horse has always held power and elegance for me!

The reflection and glimmer of light transforms these snow laden branches.

Look at how even though these dogs are working hard for their owner, they are also loving the journey, enjoying what nature brings them along the way!



Sometimes simplicity says it all. Even though I love color, the peace and calm of this wreath's beauty is perfection!

Nature has a way of moving us, of bringing out the best we can offer to others!

Cherish a day like this, if you can stay inside,  read  and reflect all the better!

Imagine only the best and all good things will come to you....in the most unexpected ways!


Dream big dreams for this New Year!
Joyeux Noel!

The Arts by Karena

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Introducing Brady Legler: Fine Art and Jewelry Designer

Discovering Brady Legler is like a breath of fresh air that turns into a windstorm of creative energy at a moments notice. One gets the impression that at any time he will burst forth with an  idea and will transform it into a fine piece of gorgeous jewelry, put paintbrush to canvas for a stunning new painting, or even design a rug that sets the tone for a room that is above and beyond fabulous!

Does this transformation come from years of experience? Actually Legler is twenty five, recently finished design school at Parsons; however his collections are in some of the finest jewelers and galleries  in the nation.

I will let you hear more about this young genius from the man himself.

Brady, when did you first become aware that art and design was your calling? Would you tell our readers a bit about your background and youth. ( I know you are a Kansas City native as am I)

I grew up in Kansas City and had a pretty normal childhood. I played on soccer teams from my preschool years and all through high school, I was definitely a better soccer player than I was a student!  By the age of 19, I was selling my jewelry in Kansas City department stores Halls and Soho 119. That’s where I met Carmella Spinelli (Carmella Spinelli was a co-owner of Soho 119 when it was here in Leawood and she was the Associate Chair of the Fashion Department at Parsons she is now at SCAD) and  some New York designers. Carmella encouraged me to apply to Parsons, The New School for Design. I was a student in Parsons product design department for four years while I juggled my time to keep up with my jewelry design, art, and rug businesses. 

Like many other kids, I was introduced to painting through art classes at school (my art teacher Mallory Hilvitz at the Barstow School was the one teacher that always believed in me and urged me to be creative…..she believes in all her students).  I was a constant doodler which turned into a daily activity in high school.  My dad painted and always encouraged me to paint. He framed the first painting I did when I was six and it hangs in his office. He told me then that I was an artist, and I guess I believed him. When I pick up a paintbrush my goal is to always add depth, movement, and emotion but I cannot attain any of that without the right colors.  I go to color to recharge me.

Tide Pool

Where do you find inspiration? I understand that your grandmother was a huge influence on your personal philosophy. 

Color is my biggest source of inspiration. Traveling is also a huge inspiration to me it helps me get out of my personal comfort zone and opens my mind to new things.

Yes my grandmother was and still is a huge influence on my work and creative process. She was the definition of style and taste. A pivotal point came for me when my grandmother passed away in 2008. She left me several pieces of costume jewelry which I reconfigured into a necklace for my mother to wear. That’s when the idea came to me to start a jewelry line that was based on the sense of style my grandmother developed as a model. 

Now my mother is a huge inspiration for me. Like my grandmother, her sense of style is impeccable and always ahead of trend. My mother was a fashion model in the 80's and 90's and most recently was one of the faces of 5F for Bergdorf Goodman in NY at the age of 50 (she is 53 now and jump starting her modeling career again).

Diamond Rail Cuff

Are there other artists or designers who you admire and do you have a mentor?

Yes, there are many other artists/designers I admire such as Matt Baldwin who is another Kansas City native, Adam Lippes, and Peter Som in New York. They have all played major mentoring rolls in my growth and development and I owe a lot to each. Franz Kline is my favorite abstract expressionist artist. Wassily Kandinsky inspires me too. 

I love a lot of the work of street artists like, Blu, RESO and TILT. I was attracted to the size and color I saw in street art as a kid and I respect it as an art form.


Brady your stunning  designs stand apart in their uniqueness and are worn and collected by some of the most elite of the world. What does this mean to you?

It’s very humbling and a great feeling knowing that just one person has somehow been changed or affected by my work, it is really an indescribable feeling, I am just very grateful. It is also a validation that I am doing what I need to be doing.  I love the design process.  

Subway Ring

What is next for Brady Legler in your world of design? 

A dress collection that I am working on now and am really loving the process. I am also doing t-shirt line for men and women, a men's jewelry collection, continuing to paint almost every day, working on my second jewelry collection and adding about 10 new rug designs next year as well and working on my own textiles.


Finally what words of wisdom do you have for the young artist or designer starting out in this very competitive world?

My words of wisdom would have to be don't get caught up in the trends and what everyone else is doing but instead follow your own creativity, find your own niche. 

Diamond Post Earrings

Finally what words of wisdom do you have for the young artist or designer starting out in this very competitive world?

My words of wisdom would have to be don't get caught up in the trends and what everyone else is doing but instead follow your own creativity, find your own niche. 

Abstract Design Rug 

On a personal note: 

What are your favorite restaurants/ places to eat?

So many: Lidia's in KC, the Smyth in NY, S'MAC in NY, Yasuda is a great sushi place here in NY, but Criff Dogs and Shake Shack are everyday places that I love to pop into. Outside KC and NY I love Sunshine Grill in Grand Cayman, Caffe Mingo in Portland, and breakfast at Hotel Arts in Barcelona, and Chipolte anywhere.

Where would you go for some R&R?  What do you enjoy doing on a day that is open to anything? Do you have a dream travel destination?

I love to travel. I like the beach, the mountains, and big cities. Getting lost in a new city. I like spur of moment things, things that are unplanned and unexpected so anything that involves something I have not done or somewhere I have not been are always on my adventure list.

Tell us five things you absolutely cannot live without.

My family, my friends, my sketch pad/pen, a blank canvas and paint.

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is always changing but I would have to say it is pretty simplistic with an edge. I like well made clothes. I won’t lie, sometimes it gets a little crazy sometimes!

The perfect host or hostess gift ? (other than a pair of your earrings!)

At 25 I haven't gone to a lot of parties where a gift is required but the few I have been to in NY I like to get personal gifts for people so if I get them a bottle of wine or something I will paint over it just to make it a little more special. If it is a time crunch I stop at Dean & Deluca in Soho and get a small box of Kansas City's own Christopher Elbow Chocolates which is edible art.  

What is a special holiday tradition you love?

Staying home and watching movies all day on Christmas with my family. My family is fun so holidays are a blast as long as we are together. When I was younger we started having nerf gun wars on Christmas morning and even now as a 25-year-old man I  still love to do that.

Where can your jewelry, art and rugs be found by our readers. ( I can provide any links you would like.) Do you have any exhibits planned in the near future?

I am currently in Tivol's in Kansas City and my sales rep. and I have been doing jewelry trunk shows all over the country. My art is represented by Evan Lobel at Lobel Modern in New York and I work with interior designers all over the world. The Rug Studio in Overland Park sells my rug line.

www.tivol.com (jewelry)
rugstudioinc@yahoo.com (Rugs)
info@lobelmodern.com (Art)

Brady thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this feature!
It is a pleasure to get to know more about you! I wish you all the best in the year ahead!

Thank you to my friends, Family, and Followers who support the Arts!

Please do leave a comment as they make my day!

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The Arts by Karena

Monday, December 1, 2014

Meet Author, Entrepreneur and Artist Leslie Sinclair with her latest book, Segreto Style!

I am so excited to present my friend Leslie Sinclair's latest book, Segreto Style. This is a woman who has truly made her dreams come true! She started out as an artistic  young mother doing decorative painting to becoming a female business owner employing 36 artisans and craftsmen who work on gorgeous homes all over the United States.

Fine Art by Leslie Sinclair

Creating homes with fine plaster walls, ceilings, cabinetry, and decorative painting is the specialty at Segreto. Add to that styled flooring and stenciled walls combined with artistic touches and you have true Segreto Style!

In this custom kitchen even the range hood has a plaster luxe finish and wood beams that seem to have been embedded in the ceiling for years.

Take in the gorgeous floor design of these custom closets and dressing rooms. See how the ceiling shape has been beautifully emphasized by Leslie's fine decorative finish.

Stunning decorative motif ceiling and frieze treatments by Segreto.

In her new book, Segreto Style you will view thirty nine breathtaking homes that Leslie has transformed by using her passion for Art, Architecture, Interior design, and Creativity. Also, look forward to the release of another exquisite book, Segreto Vignettes to be released in 2015

Leslie and her team can work magic with finishes, moldings and decorative motifs to  make a room seem to be right out of the 17th Century!

Entrepreneur, Artist and Author: Leslie Sinclair

Links to Leslie's sites:

Purchase any or all of the very talented  Leslie Sinclair's stunning Books at http://segretofinishes.com/the-book.html, or at AmazonThis is the perfect holiday gift for anyone you know who loves beautiful homes and seeing how they can be transformed!

Thank you to my many friends, family, and followers who support The Arts!

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The Arts by Karena

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featuring Artist Julia Tema Contacessi

Introducing artist Julia Tema Contacessi and her fine works of abstract expressionism. Please enjoy our interview and the art she has presented in this article. I think that you will find it as inspiring and mesmerizing as I do!


Julia, tell us about your early years and your beginnings in the world of art and creativity.

When I was about 3 years old my mother joined a playgroup with other mothers that had toddler age children.  The structure for the playgroup was a craft or art project, snack and playtime. When craft time was over the norm was that all the children ran over for snack, except me. It was known by all that I wanted to keep working on my project, and so I did. I think this is the best way to describe my approach to art and creativity. I love it, am focused on it, and can be perfectly content to do it all the time.

Are you a self-taught artist or where did you take art courses?

I got my BFA in 2000 after 4 years of study at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. At the time my focus was on graphic design, illustration and photography. After graduating, I went on to work as a designer and eventually a Creative Director, all the while painting for myself. It wasn't until just about 15 months ago that I left my full-time job in marketing to pursue painting full-time. I have never looked back!

Changing Winds

Were you encouraged to pursue your dreams and did you have a mentor or artists who inspired you?

I am very lucky. I have two very supportive parents that encouraged me to pursue my dreams — whatever they may be.

So many artists inspire me. My very first inspiration was my mother. She is an artist, designer and teacher and encouraged my creativity in all forms & mediums. Helen Frankenthaler is another. Her belief that there is “no formula” and the artist should “let the picture lead you where it must go,” are principles that I embrace.

I was lucky enough to study under Charles Goslin for 2 years at Pratt. He was a wealth of wisdom and I translated much of his advice into action, not only in art but life. I think this quote from Goslin helps to sum up much of his philosophy, “You can help heal a world full of hurt and violence, with the beauty and grace it so desperately needs.”

 The fabulous work of art by Julia makes this area of a room sing!

How does painting make you feel? How would you describe your artistic style?

Some days creating can be a battle, but then there is that moment when I layer on the paint just right — so that it dances in time and space. The canvas yields to my will, and I know I’ve just begun to capture something meaningful. That‘s when I have to catch my breath. It’s fascinating and wonderful, while at the same time, a struggle. That’s why I paint. My style is single-minded and focused on the simplicity of beauty in the moment. My goal is to drown out the noise and clutter to find a sense of calm. The end result is clean, fresh and modern.

Waking Dreams

What else inspires your works of art? Do you work plein aire, from photographs, or from the images in your own mind?

Color, usually from organic elements in nature, is a huge inspiration of mine.  I often obsess over color palettes, which I plan well in advance of any paint hitting the canvas. Also finding beauty in the contrasting nature of things, for example rough gritty texture layered with glossy metallic.

And although I carefully plan out my color palette, I let my paintings’ composition; lines and structure develop and evolve as I work. Not working from photos or images in my head, but instead building upon the canvas before me. Sometimes the hardest part is laying down the first brush stroke. 

Where can our readers find your works of art and do you have any upcoming exhibits?

My work is sold in the following design shops and galleries:
In addition to the above locations, you can see all of my work on my site www.juliacontacessi.com. There you can sign-up for the mailing list to get a sneak peak at the latest work, plus updates on events and promotions.

Julia Tema Contacessi

Finally what words of wisdom would you impart to the aspiring artist of any age?

Do what you love, and tell everyone about it. If you want to do your art as a living, don’t be shy about it and don’t keep it a secret. Surround yourself with like-minded creatives and help one another to succeed in your goals. Peers are  just as important as mentors.

Julia thank you so much for this enlightening interview. Your passion for your art shows so beautifully! 

Dear readers, a work of original fine art is the perfect gift for couples to give one another, or to acquire for oneself at the Holidays. Please do consider art at the top of your Gift List!

Thank you to my Friends, Family and Followers who continue to support The Arts

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Lastly leave a comment as they truly make my day!

The Arts by Karena

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thomas Fuchs Creative Collections and P & G's The Children's Safe Drinking Water Initiative

When I read this description on Thomas' Biography and saw his neo-classical works I knew that this is a designer that  I had to feature at The Arts by Karena! 

"Art—in all of its infinite forms—is the catalyst for what Thomas Fuchs does. He’s a furniture designer, creator of stunning Venetian glass, an avid painter…and so much more. Art—is his passion. And that passion passes on through his work." 

Please enjoy our conversation and getting to know more about Thomas .

1)     Thomas, did you know from an early age that you were interested in being creative and the arts?  

        It was never a conscious thought.  I wish it was because then I could have stopped it and became a lawyer or banker.   Only kidding, I knew there was something in me pulling me but never put a name or function to it, I just always needed to create.

The fabulous Bollicine Chandelier

2) Would you tell our readers a bit about your background leading up to Thomas Fuchs Creative and Otium, your Lighting and Accessories Company? 

I was very fortunate to attend the Corcoran School of Art in WashingtonD.C. as well as the Art Student League and the National Academy of Design in New York City.

During my studies, I interned at C. G. Sloan, an auction house in Washington D.C., (this opportunity is an incredible education for a designer) after my graduation they hired me full time in the furniture department.  From there I went onto join Butterfield and Butterfield in San Francisco as an appraiser. After a few years, one of my client asked if I would move to LA to create a line of furniture, which I did.  I spent a few years in in Los Angeles but I got homesick for NYC. 

Lucky for me this happen to coincide with John Hutton, the Creative Director of Donghia requesting me to move back to New York and work with him.  Once back, John suggested we start working in glass, so they sent me to Italy where I worked closely with the factories to create our first collection.  When Donghia was eventually sold, I thought it would be a good time to leave and start my own lighting company, Otium.  That was a little over 10 years ago.   

The Disco Volante Candle Holder, Murano glass and 24 carat Gold Leaf 

3) Is travel one of your passions; I understand you spend a lot of time in MuranoItaly to oversee the art glass production. Where else do your travels take you?  

Travel is a big part of my life, both personally and professionally.  I always seem to fit factory visits in anywhere I go in the world especially if there is a glass factory within a 100 miles to where I am.  Being in a factory and working with the artisans is one of the best ways to learn about a culture, its beliefs, work mentality, etc.  My partner and I just returned from Africa which I love, I have been there a few times, in fact we visited 3 glass factories there, as well as the game parks and we “adopted” a couple of elephants in the sense that we made a donation to the game park.

The Lion Chandelier

4)   What inspired the new Butterfly Barware Collection which is making its debut at Saks Fifth Avenue this fall?  

I love the artistry of the precious and semi precious stone inlay done in India.  I thought a butterfly wing would lend itself to this craftsmanship.  I also tried to make the collection a little dark in spirit in that a butterfly spends so much time in the process of becoming a butterfly and then is only one for a short while.  But it is hard for people to see a butterfly as a dark subject matter.

The Butterfly Collection debuting at Saks Fifth Avenue this Fall

5) Who are some other artists and designers that you admire?  

Albert Hadley was not only a visionary I admired, I was also able to develop a friendship with him from a very early age.  I also love the kinetic energy a Calder sculpture creates and the realness of the texture Giacometti used in his work.   There are many, many more inspirations as well.

6) I was very excited to hear about your Foxware Glass Collection in the water wave pattern in collaboration with Proctor and Gamble.  Would you describe how this is going to benefit children in need?  When will this glassware be available to purchase and where? 

This collaboration is to benefit Proctor and Gamble's CSDW (Children's Safe Drinking Water) sustainability program. Clean water is the biggest commodity in the world. Enabling and supporting P&G's program by donation of funds through selling of these glasses will mean people will be able to get the kits to clean the water. This means women and children will not have to walk to wells daily freeing them time wise to be able to go to school.
Wave Glassware by Fuchs to benefit Children in need is in partnership with Proctor & Gamble. Every set of four glasses sold will bring $5 for the CSDW Program. Foxware is an artisanal home goods company  owned by Fuchs and creative collaborator Michou Mahtani. 

This special designed glassware will be available in Spring of 2015. http://foxware-nyc.com  Please visit at that time and make a purchase to assist in this great endeavor.
The Glassware Thomas created for P&G

Thomas at the Hotshop (Glassmakers Studio)

Fuchs first approached Proctor & Gamble about their Children's Safe Drinking Water Initiative after  seeing how a small packet of powder developed by P & G scientists  could transform even the dirtiest drinking water into pure water within minutes. It removes parasites and arsenic, while destroying common waterborne bacteria  and viruses.

Please do take some time to peruse Thomas's websites, Otium and Thomas Fuchs Creative. Enlarge the images so that you can see the incredible details of his works.

Much appreciation to Gwen Toline of GHT Communications for sharing this information about Thomas Fuchs and his artistry.

Thank you to my many friends and Followers who support The Arts!

The Arts by Karena

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