In this Interview, LA based Critically Acclaimed Artist Jessica Soltis gets Candid on the Importance of Representation in the Field of Art
Based in Los Angeles, Jessica Soltis is a masterful artist critically acclaimed for her modern and abstract artworks.
According to Jessica, representation of black women in the field of art isn’t adequate and it wasn’t until college when she met her art professor, Denyse Thomasos who was a beautiful and talented black female artist. She firmly believes that young women can feel the same sense of belonging and empowerment that she did when she finally saw somebody that looked like her in the field of art. She also believes that there need to be more black women that find power in femininity.
Every trade in this world is associated with a stereotype. Do you believe that the art world is also driven by stereotypes?
Yes, of course. I think that our minds tend to gravitate towards quirky, eccentric, derelict outcasts. I don’t fit in that stereotype, and I aspire to change that perception. I’m a sequin and glitter badass!
As much as we talk about gender equality, the fact remains that even today, women face difficulties in their professional and personal lives. What challenges do you see women facing when it comes to the art world, especially when it comes to black women?
Representation is definitely still a problem. The impact that Naomi Campbell had on the impressionable minds of young black women’s vision of a supermodel is the exact wave of impact I aim to hit the art community with. The art community is a male-dominated industry, and I want to pave the way for young artists like myself to gain exposure.
You had a transformative experience when you met your art teacher Denyse Thomasos. Tell us more about that experience.
Denyse Thomasos, a beautiful black woman, was my first exposure into the art world. We all have heard the “starving artist” stigma. I never thought it was possible to sustain oneself solely on your art career. Denyse not only taught, but she created beautiful works of art and did gallery shows. She was the first person I looked up to in this industry and inspired me to courageously follow my passions. I want to instill that same sense of hope in the next generation of young black women.
Your artworks have been featured in Tivoli, Italy and in the Marcas Gallery, Southern California drawing in thousands of spectators. Tell us more about this experience.
It is an amazing and humbling feeling when you encounter others that love and appreciate your work. I receive every kind word and every art sale and can only emanate gratitude. Every compliment is received as if I am hearing it for the first time. It truly is a magical experience.
Your recent artwork ‘The Lady In The Shift Dress: Rebirth Of Femininity’ is critically acclaimed. What does this art represent?
The beauty of art is that it is open to interpretation. Your mood, your environment, or your state of mind all can affect your interpretation of someone’s art. What do you think it represents?
What more can be done to empower women, especially black women in the States?
There needs to be positive imagery of beautiful black women in the arts. We are made to be more than just the muse.
What suggestions you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I am far from perfect but all entrepreneurs need to have bulletproof faith in themselves. Others will project their fears and failures on you to try to throw you off or discourage you. Look within yourself to find your “why”; why are you doing what you are doing? Lastly, the most important thing is patience.
6 Successful Women Entrepreneurs in India Who Will Inspire You
India’s business landscape is bright, which makes it an excellent place for women entrepreneurs. The country has a wealth of talented women with untapped ideas, who are ready to take their businesses to the next level. Several financial firms are coming forward to support these businesses by offering loans to women.
Indian female entrepreneurs have shown the world that anything can be achieved at any time in life, if you work hard enough for it. So here are some successful woman entrepreneurs in India who will inspire you, one by one!
1. Rajni Bector – Cremica
Rajni was married into a wealthy business family in Ludhiana, but her passion for baking never left her. She enjoyed making desserts, so she made them often, enabling her to support her family when their 107-year-old grain business ended. In 1978, at the age of 20, Rajni started a small catering business from her house. She worked hard to make Cremica grow and eventually became associated with some of the world’s biggest brands like McDonald’s, Cadbury and many more. Like Rajni, you must follow your passion so you can get success through it!
2. Meena Bindra – Biba
Meena Bindra is a real-life example of how age doesn’t matter. She started her business when she was 39 years old, which tells us that it is never too late to follow your dream. Meena started small by getting in touch with a tailor, buying some fabrics, selling some pieces to make some profit and doing it all over again. Her story shows that when you have confidence in yourself, your ideas can bring major changes in your life.
3. Nina Lekhi – Baggit
Nina Lekhi can teach us a lot about business and life. She faced plenty of skepticism when she started out in 1985, with only Rs.7000 to her name. But she kept believing in herself, and now she has become one of India’s most successful women entrepreneurs. Today, Baggit is a true symbol of women’s empowerment, class and elegance.
4. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – Biocon India
It is a known fact that women entrepreneurs face more challenges while starting up a business when compared with their male counterparts. Back in 1978, when Kiran started Biocon – an enzyme manufacturing company, she faced similar challenges however, that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream. She took a small loan from a bank and started developing bio enzymes.
Later her company started growing in the year 1998, and thanks to that growth, the Biocon IPO that came out in 2004 was oversubscribed, taking its market valuation to a whopping 1.11 billion dollars. Today, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has an Othmer Gold Medal, and she ranked 68th on the most powerful woman in the world list by Forbes in 2019.
5. Suchi Mukherjee – Limeroad
The story of Suchi Mukherjee stands out because she was expecting her second child in London when she came across the idea of starting an online fashion retail platform. She moved back to India in 2011 so she could turn her idea into fruition. Later in 2012, Suchi launched Limeroad with her partners Ankush Mehra and Prashant Malik.
The company now has a valuation of 51.9 million dollars, and more than 50,000+ women are working on their team to create their own mix-and-match designs.
6. Vineeta Singh – Sugar Cosmetics
Vineeta Singh is the founder and CEO of Sugar Cosmetics, which she founded in 2015. In addition to being a judge on the reality show Shark Tank India, she also serves as an entrepreneur at large. Her company Sugar Cosmetics earned ₹104 crores in 2020, even after a massive drop in sales in 2019. The brand generated 15% of its revenue from international markets, which shows its strong global presence.
We hope that you will take inspiration from these stories and apply some of the business methods discussed above to your own projects. Of course, the journey won’t always be easy, and there will be times when you want to give up – but if you work hard towards your goal and don’t give up in your pursuit of success, we’re sure that you’ll see tangible results sooner rather than later. All you have to do is – believe in yourself and leverage all and any help you can get.
If that means taking help from family and friends for support, then be it. If it means having your spouse or partner share the housework load, then be it. If it means that you need to borrow funds, then be it.
The ideas are yours. The hard work also needs to be yours. But, when it comes to business funding, there are some great financial firms that offer loans for women. Do your research, and find the best lender for your situation – and strike big!
In this Interview, the Founders of All Ages of Geek talk about Geek Culture and their new VTuber project ‘Galaxy Boy Delivery’
Katya Stec and Tatiana Stec are the founders of All Ages of Geek, LLC. All Ages of Geek is a production entertainment and streaming service that focuses on geek culture content. We recently interviewed them snd below is the full interview.
Katya and Tatiana, thank you so much for talking with us. Geek Culture has been there for a while but more people are associated with this culture now. How and when did you guys come up with the idea of All Ages of Geek?
Katya: Geek culture has always been a part of my life before it got into mainstream media. It’s amazing but also frustrating to see geek culture now extremely marketable. By frustrating I mean the word “geek” is thrown around lightly now without paying homage to the greats that coined the words geek and nerd. Before All Ages of Geek was an actual company it was a YouTube gaming channel. From there it took off as a small hub for content creators to write and tell their stories. Then in 2020 All Ages of Geek officially became an LLC and by then was a fully functional multimedia company. Inspirations behind the company were the greats like Rooster Teeth and the old Buzzfeed platform.
Tatiana: I grew up with geek culture. Watching Pokémon everyday, collecting cards, and playing video games. Back then it was not the norm, now geek culture is becoming more and more popular amongst the younger generations. Making it easier for people to express what they enjoy. I won’t lie, it’s a little frustrating that back in the day we were not able to express our love for geek culture, however, it is great to see it thrive. I started with All Ages of Geek when Katya made me film a video with her. At first, I was fearful on camera, but as time passed it became second nature. When we created the website I led our writers and interns in the right direction creating ‘This Just in’ our news, review, and geek culture article section. We are in the process of expanding the website into something bigger and better for creative writers, video hosts, podcast hosts, and much more.
For someone who is new to this, what does VTubers mean?
Katya: VTubers are Virtual YouTubers or Virtual Streamers/Content Creators. They are just like influencers but instead of being someone behind a camera like Markiplier or JonTron, they are a virtual avatar usually in the form of an anime or cartoon character. The technology that goes into VTubers is actually pretty amazing if you research it enough. It becomes more of a collaborative project with many artists and creators working together to even build one VTuber model.
Tatiana: Expanding on that VTubers are perfect for anyone who may want to keep their identity safe online but want to entertain others via streams and content. Having an avatar that you get to design is a great way for individuals to showcase who they are through art. VTubers create work for entertainers, artists, animators, and much more! It also allows creators to act like their original characters if they want to go in that route, and perhaps expand streams into other online media like cartoon episodes and comics.
Tell us more about your new VTuber project Galaxy Boy Delivery. What’s the story behind its creation?
Katya: Fun fact is both Stilo and Korl (our VTubers) were inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. We used to voice the characters and created our own original characters as kids and they’ve stuck with us. Galaxy-Boy Delivery is actually based on a bigger overall world we are creating for a future project heavily inspired by Super Sentai works and Dragon Ball Z. All of this will be produced under our upcoming studio Stec Studio too which is pretty exciting!
Tatiana: Galaxy-Boy Delivery is definitely a passion project for us. Growing up with these two characters makes the project even more meaningful. I was probably eight or nine when we created them so we know every detail possible about Stilo and Korl. Their favorite color, their personalities, their fears, wants, all of it! When a character means a lot to you the project definitely means more. The story is not yet revealed since it is part of a bigger project but think space, oceans, and villains trying to take over planets!
Galaxy Boy Delivery will come out as episodes. What about live-streaming the content? Are you guys planning it in the future?
Katya: Totally planning live streaming content in the future. We are planning to support more indie game developers with our partner VoxPop Games through the use of VTuber technology. We’re aiming to partner with literary agencies and publishers to also have both Stilo and Korl review books, comics, and audiobooks. All Ages of Geek has worked with agencies such as the amazing Liza Royce Agency (LRA) to interview authors. We hope to bring this form of content to live-streamed events with Galaxy-Boy Delivery and continue providing content to bring goodwill to other creators.
Tatiana: Adding to this all of our content will be kid-friendly. A lot of media online focuses on the 18+ content, specifically VTubers since it recently exploded. However, talking with a few VTubers who do kid-friendly content we learned it is possible to utilize this technology for kid-friendly content. There is a market for it and having characters with cute and fun designs will make learning easier since it is fun and educational. After each episode, we plan on having a word of the day to teach new vocabulary to younger audiences, have printables such as word searches and crossword puzzles, and even life lessons in each episode. Life lessons are important and through media such as Super Sentai we learned how to incorporate that into our space adventures!
‘Geek Culture is not age-specific but people from all age groups are a part of this culture’. Your comments.
Katya: Safety online is key. We have run into many difficult situations before where people are not to be trusted online. What we always warn our audience about is to never share personal information and to contact our Moderators or Admins on our Discord server if they ever run into an issue. While geek culture is for all ages, people need to respect different age levels and understand that filtering out content for kids is very important.
Tatiana: There is no age range when it comes to loving geek culture. If you are an adult there should be no embarrassment in loving anime, comics, and video games. However, it is important to remember as an adult you should watch out for the younger audiences. If you are in a Discord Server or online group and see anyone being treated poorly or being exposed to media they should not be exposed to PLEASE report it to the head of the servers or groups. It is important to keep online and in-person spaces safe so everyone can continue loving this media together.
Tell us more about some other projects that your studio has produced.
Katya: We just launched our Creator Network/Agency “All Ages of Geek: Unite”. We champion creators all around the world and have launched a separate YouTube channel to help distribute their videos. Our first generation of hosts include:
– Ernie Kim: A Twitch streamer who focuses on Valorant gameplays.
– Alex Graystar: Hosts “The Mod Squad” which is a variety reaction show with All Ages of Geek’s Moderators.
– Gunner Clark: Creates reactions, gameplays, and news about League of Legends.
– Sean Velasquez: Focuses on Warhammer content like reactions, podcasts, and gameplays.
– Lars Van Breems: Dungeon Master of Dice Sesh and many DnD campaigns.
– Diovanny Santiago: A variety streamer focused around recreational gameplays and discussions.
We also have a WebToons comic inspired by Boys Love media like Given and many other shows produced under Blue Lynx.
Tatiana: Alongside All Ages of Geek: Unite and our plan for WebToons we also plan on launching a fiction section for our website. This will help newer writers get their work exposed. We will then guide each writer in the right direction, self-publishing, traditional publishing, and crowdfunding. We believe in sharing our knowledge with other creators to help them get their work out there. The Fiction section will be open to original stories, comics, and even poems! There will also be original works from the All Ages of Geek crew.
How excited are you guys about your upcoming studio ‘Stec Studio’?
Katya: We are thrilled and honored to be able to launch Stec Studio. The logo is inspired by our grandpa’s logo he used for his art. We wanted a way to honor him and carry out his memory with the many projects we have planned. Someone once wrote in his yearbook “Stick with Stec and you’ll have success”. We plan on carrying out those words by helping other creators reach their true potential all while publishing our own passion projects for the world to enjoy.
Tatiana: Stec Studio is something very personal to both of us. Being able to carry out the memory of our grandparents is something very important to us. Both of them were always looking out for others and Stec Studio is on the mission to champion creators around the world. We believe our grandparents would do the same.
An Interview with Jennifer Miree Cope
Described as thorough and organized by her closest associates, Jennifer Miree Cope graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1985 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
Jennifer has a deep-seated passion for several non-profit organizations. Especially with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which has treated several of her close friends and family members.
Jennifer Miree Cope’s respect for the generosity of nonprofits inspired her to become a volunteer. Currently, she is involved with several charities started by Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama: STAIR tutoring, the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, and Holiday House.
Jennifer’s husband, Pat Cope, is the founder of Cope Private Wealth — a prestigious financial planning firm. When not relaxing with her husband and two sons in Mountain Brook, Jennifer can often be found exercising, walking her dog, or hiking in the mountains of North Carolina.
Jennifer, thank you for doing this. Tell me about your best and worst days at work.
My worst days are the days when we’re busy. You know those days when customers are calling, texting, emailing from early in the morning to late at night. (I can’t help it that it rained that day.) But one of my best days was when we had three very happy clients, two of whom brought me wine!
What are the projects that you most enjoy working on?
Landscaping an empty or nearly empty lot. It’s just like an artist starting with a blank canvas.
What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?
My biggest eureka moment was when I realized that technical drawings such as landscape plans can often be just as pretty as art.
What has been the most important part of your professional journey?
That’s a simple answer. It would have to be time management. There’s simply no way to succeed without it. And I start managing my time well from the beginning – it really starts the minute I wake up in the morning.
What risks is your company facing?
With the economy doing poorly and inflation on the rise, people can always stop landscaping. That’s really the biggest issue here. It is unfortunately a luxury and not a necessity.
What would you do with unlimited resources?
That’s a tough one! I mean, to be honest, there are a lot of things that I would do with unlimited money, and I imagine that’s the same for everyone else too.
But there is one thing that I would prioritize if I had unlimited money: First, I would try to use it to find a cure for cancer. Both of my sisters, my mom, my aunt, and my husband all had cancer. My two sisters died from it. It’s a nasty disease and we need to dedicate more of our resources to fighting against it.
When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?
I would have to say it was the last time I made a needlepoint belt for one of my sons. It can be very easy to find yourself in the zone when you’re engaged in that.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
Yeah, well for exercise, you can usually find me playing golf, doing pilates, or yoga. I often enjoy going out to eat or attending sporting events and musical theater. And I can’t forget that one of my favorite things to do is travel — mostly to our place in the North Carolina mountains.
How do you feel you make a difference in the world?
For me, the number one way to make a difference is tutoring the underprivileged. I have done a lot with STAIR, and I am very proud of that work.
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