Sunday, March 17, 2013

Habemus Papum!

This past week the Catholic World, including many non-catholics, had their eyes fixed on the most famous chimney in the world. The anticipation and excitement of electing a new Pope was near, but nothing would be made clear until smoke came out of the chimney. After the 5th ballot was complete, white smoke finally rose to the heavens and the thousands of people waiting anxiously in St. Peter's Square cheered and cried, for their new religious leader had been chosen through an intense voting process, or like a lot of people celebrating said "God has chosen his new leader." There are 1.2 billion Catholics world wide on 6 continents, and last week the Conclave, made up of 115 Cardinals, elected Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Hailing from Argentina, he is the first non-European Pope elected which was a huge step in taking the Church into a new direction.

Since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down due to health issues, millions of people have been begging and praying for a "rebirth" of the Church. Change was inevitable, and with a hand full of current  and past molestation cases, and concerns over money on various issues, there is an uproar in the Catholic community. Some women activists have been leading the charge to incorporate more female leaders within the body of Government. With the voting Cardinals only being men, women of the Church wanted a strong representation for their fellow sisters. 

This past Wednesday my eyes were glued to the television watching the news live from Rome. As a Catholic this event has obvious importance to me, but I also took a step back and enjoyed the moment. Choosing a Pope doesn't happen every 4 years like a President, so from a historical context I was in awe. Seeing thousands of people waiting anxiously in St. Peter's Plaza to see white smoke is an incredible. There were people from all over the World in the Plaza and to me that speaks volume to the importance of one of the biggest global decisions that is ever made. I am a man of faith. I am not here to impose my Religion on you. But expressing my faith can help you understand where I come from. I am not here to impress anybody or doing this to win brownie points with God. For me it all begins with having Faith. I remember my high school football coach was interviewed on how he was able to keep together a diverse group of kids and create a tight knit group. We weren't the poorest of schools, or in the worse of neighborhoods, but a lot of the kids at my school didn't really have a faith or belief in something. Whether it was a dream, goal, purpose, higher power etc. We all may not be religious, but I truly do believe we have a faith in something. Whether it be your family, friends or a role model, we all posses this important quality.

The white smoke above symbolizes a rejuvenated faith that Catholicism is headed in a better direction. I am not proud of the Church's corrupt and horrible image that it has presented to the World, but it doesn't mean I am turning my back. We all get tested daily in our lives, and for me and many people our faith is no exception. When times are rough people either give up or strengthen their spirituality. That being said I hope Pope Francis is at the forefront of changing the image and making it better then it was before. There are already high hopes due to the history that was made on the cold chilly night in Rome. He was the first Pope elected on the 5th ballot in modern era, like I've mentioned before, he is the first non-europen Pope, and he is the first Cardinal to choose the name Francis. The reason this is so significant is because the Pope-elect chooses a name reflecting his actions and philosophy. Some people saw Francis as extreme because he is the Saint of all Saints, but it truly reflects his persona. Saint Francis was known as a humane, humble man; a man of and for the poor. He was simple but strong. And with money being one of the big issues today, it is satisfying that we have a Pope who personally has rejected the luxuries and has shown that we only need the necessities to live a healthy and happy life. (As the Archbishop of Argentina he cancelled his car service and lavishes meals, and decided to walk and take the bus to work every day). Being Hispanic is important because more than half of all Catholics in the World are Hispanic, and this is important to reaching out to the younger generations to work hard to modernize the Church, and make it more appealing for the younger people

So why share this with you? To be honest I don't know. I guess during the moment I was really moved by what I saw. Whether you support the cause or not, it was a moment in history that will always be remembered. Not everybody is an Obama fan, but his Inauguration Day for his first Presidency will be one of the most monumental moments in U.S. and World History. We see so much violence, hate and horrific things on t.v. and  internet, and for those couple hours I didn't think of any of those things. My faith in the human race is very low due to what I hear and say, but from MY religious point of view we are all God's children so not having Faith is not the best thing. Just seeing all the different kinds of faces from all over the World in Rome shows me there is hope and faith, and it is a powerful image to see thousands wait and then cheer when a single individual we don't know walks out on the balcony wearing the white robes signifying his position in the Catholic church: The Pope!

For me it definitely was a moment of "Can I Live?" I live everyday with the love of my family and my faith with God. To me, those are the most important factors in life. What is/are your factors that allow you to "Live?"

Check out the links below talking about the interesting and important voting process in electing a Pope. Even if you're not religious, it is cool knowledge to know! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The "TAKEOVER" Project

The word "TAKEOVER" has been an understatement in this whole process. To think I started this whole journey in my small room in New York 7 months ago, but 9,300 views later and officially back in Los Angeles, "Can I Live?" is ready to take the next step. With an audience that includes over 100 countries worldwide, I am excited to see how the rest of the world embodies the movement I've rejuvenated and pushed over half a year. Inspired by Arteria, a t-shirt company in Costa Rica, I have decided to take their concept and combine it with mine.

The "TAKEOVER" Project:
Everybody has their own perception of what "Can I Live?" means. To me I see it as the sophisticated version of what Y.O.L.O. became. Y.O.L.O. grew into an excuse/explanation for people to do anything and everything. As for me it was overplayed because I think lost its true meaning and became dull, such as when radio stations play the same 3 songs over and over. "I rather die enormous, than live dormant" sums up what "Can I Live?" and is the core of what I want people to get from this blog. If you have passion and a crazy work ethic than you most likely will accomplish your goals. As far as comparing it to Drake's motto, Jay coined the phrase describing his time on the streets, doing what was necessary in order to survive. Of course 99% of us live that lifestyle, but it shouldn't take away the importance of the central message. "Can I Live?" is a response to the negative people in our lives. The best way to shut up people is by doing you and going after what you want, than showing the results rather than talking. Remember, talk is cheap! I know I am not the only one experiencing this out in the world, and with the awesome support I have received I know people have their own "Can I Live?" moments. Just because I am at the front of this movement, it doesn't mean I can't be inspired by others, I am sure I am not the only one Jay had an impact on. So like Arteria, I am creating a photo submission project where people can capture their "Can I Live?" moments and share it with the world! 

There is only one rule: Within the photo, the phrase "Can I Live?" has to be captured. It can be small or big, it doesn't matter it just has to be somewhere. 

Submit all photos to my email with the subject reading "TAKEOVER" and I'll post up your photo on my blog. In the email list your "name", "where" you are from and "where" the photo is taken. I will be posting the info with the photo, but if you are uncomfortable with that, you can indicate that you rather be anonymous. Being such a free for all and creative project, I will be giving away 1st Edition "Can I Live?" memorabilia to my favorite submissions. There is no consequences in submitting anonymous since I will have your original email to contact you if you are a winner. Every week or so I will choose my favorite photo and send you a gift package that includes a "Can I Live?" wristband, stickers and a "Thank You" note for your submission. You can submit as many photos at one time and submit more than once. And for you over achievers out there in the world, you can submit videos too, creating a whole different animal with the possibilities people can submit. Remember, there is just one rule! 

To launch this project I will be giving away a gift package to the first 50 people who submit a photo!! 

[The giveaways include free shipping so don't worry about getting your prizes if you win! Also, I will be launching a website where you guys can purchase stickers and wristbands to rock out. The money will go in restocking on items and investing in bigger and better items. Stay tuned for the release of bigger and better items, and the giveaway of 1 of kind items I am working on as we speak!] 

If you are still confused or are not sure, check out the few examples people have submitted sent me already through just text messages and Facebook. I already have given away a few things to close friends, and you can see what they have done using the stickers. Again, there is only one rule so everything goes. Like YOLO, #CanILive? can describe the partying and going out with friends, but the difference between both phrases is that it goes much deeper  than that. There is the essence of survival and doing what is necessary to reach success! As you see below, some people have been creative in creating imagery and metaphors in their photo submissions! For my International followers I would love to get some photos with iconic landmarks and views!! [As a disclaimer, I am not responsible for or encourage the defacing or damaging of property. Every person knows the risk of taking such actions] That being said, go wild and show me what you guys got. I am not going to stop you! 

Submission: Lauren P. (New Orleans, LA; Beyonce posing during her Super Bowl rehearsal)
Submission: Anonymous (Los Angeles)
Submission: Christal V. (dope metaphor with the mermaid. Framed using a shadow box)
Submission: Rafael L. (A day at the Getty Museum escaping life by enjoying art and nature)
Submission: Anonymous (Santa Monica; paddle boarders off in the distance. Love the imagery in this one!)
Submission: Rafael L./Neyson C. (creating "Can I Live?'s" first clothing piece)
Submission: Anna C. ("Can I Live?'s" first official art piece by Ubiq Designs)
Submission: Neyson C. (screen shot of an instagram account)

Submission: anonymous (got to love the dialogue in this photo!)
Submission: anonymous (Waco, TX; the tower lights green at Baylor University when their  sport teams win)

On a side note, big shout out to a dude I met on the bus when I was going to work yesterday. I was just minding my own business listening to my music when the guy sitting next to me pointed to my #CanILive? wristbands. He told me that they were dope and that he liked them a lot. He asked where to get them, and I kinda was shocked because it was the first time a stranger appreciated and wanted to know where to get one. I told him they are mine, and I made them for my blog. I asked if he wanted one and he said definitely. I didn't get his name, but I told him to check out my blog today and I hope he is reading this. Send me a photo of the wristband, love to put it up on the blog! 

I am excited because I think this is a sign of good things coming!! In the words if Jay "Show me what you got....!" and start submitting.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Arch+Details: Arches

It has been a while that I have posted anything on my blog, especially an entry for my most popular series: Arch:Details. I started this series a few months ago because I was frustrated that I couldn't find a site where I can find specific examples of various architectural details; hence the name of my series. So I have stripped down Architecture to its most basic aspects and shared it with my viewers.  I have done features on doors, windows, floors etc where through imagery I present a variety of examples; some extreme samples and traditional ones. The purpose of this series other than the one I mentioned above is to allow my viewers imagination run a hundred miles an hour, and for you guys to see how detailed and unique designers/architects go with a basic structure element. Architecture is the greatest form of art because of its versatility and freedom. It is not restricted by a piece of paper or canvas. The fact it is also inhabitable is incredible because you can't walk into a painting, but the physical aspect of architecture creates a mystique feeling because you can touch and walk through the "art." 

This week I am spotlighting arches! At Columbia I took Indian and Roman Art and Architecture and it was awesome to see how two different nations took the same simple detail and made it their own. For you who don't know, Columbia's campus looks straight out of antiquity with buildings like our two libraries. We essentially have our own Parthenon and Pantheon facing each other in the middle of campus. I already had a great interest in the style, and it helped that I went to a school that used it to form its main campus. The Romans took architecture to a whole different level with how complex, creative and large their projects were. One of the elements that really defined their Empire was the arch. They were the first civilization that mastered its maximum potential as a structure element and due to this, we associate arches with Rome. A lot more ornamental in their designs, Indian's not only used arches as a structural element but as an aesthetic detail by creating different styles. Arches were a vital element to both civilizations, and it is amazing how two different worlds took the same thing and made it their own. 

They come in different shapes, sizes and styles, and throughout time many civilizations have been inspired by the Romans and Indians in their designs. America is the biggest evidence of this, and if you don't believe me just visit Washington D.C. and tell me we weren't influenced by the Romans. By changing its dimensions you can support any weight and structure if done properly, but nowadays designers have begun to use the arch shape as a design element. In some of the photos below you can see that some of the arches have no structural purpose at all, but rather an aesthetic and texture detail to create a mystique feel to the house/building. Check out the examples I have found this past week!!! Enjoy!! (CLICK on the photos to get a better look at them!!)