It has been said that professions such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants are necessities for us to live, but the artist and their work give us a reason to live. I’m sure that my paraphrase came from some prominent intellectual, but nonetheless, art has a significant influence on our lives. Although most of us are consumers of art, it is the producer of it who bears the burden of creating something novel and that evokes emotion in their audience.
Becoming an established artist is no easy task. The competition in any given niche is saturated with people trying to stand out amongst the rest and coming out with new material can be a challenge for those who have high standards for themselves. That is why I am in awe of artists like Sara Shakeel who frequently posts beautiful crystal-themed creations on her Instagram; And to think that she was going to be a dentist instead. Nick Fouquet almost had to use his environmental science degree, but life took him on a different path making headway in the world of hat fashion with his creations being worn by celebrities and adventurers alike. You can read more about these artists as well as hotly-debated subjects in this week’s internet culture roundup.
When you stare at certain projects of hers, it’s easy to get hypnotized by the contrast of dazzling diamonds and ordinary objects. Sara Shakeel is the “Original Crystal Artist” but it was not always that way. Shakeel was originally trained to be a dentist and have a professional career like the rest of her family. Yet, she had always had a passion for art and states that she sees the world through the perspective of diamonds and crystals. Theses two traits together would power Shakeel’s artistic creations which would gain traction most notably on Instagram. Today with nearly 700k followers, Shakeel’s work is only growing in popularity and a constant influx of new posts of her art show no sign of slowing down.
With clients such as Madonna, Bob Dylan, Pharrell, Justin Bieber, and LeBron James under his belt, it’s no wonder why Nick Fouquet is one of the most sought after hat designers in the game. The half-American/half-French designer has ventured the globe far and wide, finding inspiration in his travels, in punk rock, and in his father’s style for his creations. Fouquet did not originally intend to be a hat designer and expected to be using his environmental science degree as a field worker deep in the mountains of Colorado. But life had other plans and after a series of designer apprenticeships in LA, Fouquet set up his own shop in a garage for his own fashion brand. He would soon discover how underserved the luxury hat market was and jumped on the opportunity. With a style of effortless affluence and bohemian aesthetics, Fouquet has since made himself a force to remember in the world of hat fashion.
Meghan Murphy is the founder of one of Canada’s most popular feminist websites but is not afraid to share her critiques of the movement. In her nearly decade-long career, she has called for a return to second-wave feminism and has criticized third-wave feminism in its current incarnation. Some of her thoughts went as far as resulting in her deplatforming on Twitter after she tweeted “men aren’t women” and “How are transwomen not men?” Murphy has since filed suit in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Francisco, accusing Twitter of deceptive trade practices and breach of contract. Her lawsuit comes as several people across the political spectrum such as conservative Jesse Kelly and raises concern over how much power a platform like Twitter has if they can just ban people at will. Is Twitter a cyber town square where free speech is protected? Or a publisher who can control what’s on it?
You think after H&M’s disastrous “coolest monkey in the jungle” campaign that brands would be more conscious of racial stereotypes but nope! Last week, Gucci released an $890 balaclava that eerily resembled blackface with red fabric highlighted around the lips. Gucci would pull back the line from their shelves after receiving outrage online. Part of me wonders how a product like this got far enough to reach consumers and what the designer of this balaclava was thinking. Was Gucci ignorant of the meaning of blackface or did they just not care. I would think that a brand would not want to mass market an offensive product, so I will go with the former and assume that it was a mistake. Nevertheless, it was sure an expensive lesson on American racial sensitivities for Gucci.
Gerald Cotten, founder of the Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX was on his way to open an orphanage in India when he suddenly died of complications from Crohn’s Disease. Unfortunately for exchange users, he was the sole holder to the private keys of the exchange’s cold wallet which in layman’s terms means he was the only person who had the password to the exchange’s funds. The amount of crypto in the wallet totaled a staggering $190 million. This effectively means that the funds are impossible to access, and leaves thousands of customers without access to their funds. Although there is speculation about whether he is actually dead or faked his death, the fact of the matter is that an exchange of that size could have avoided this failure by having a multi-sig system for cold storage instead. As crypto evolves, I would not be surprised if regulators look at what happened in the QuadrigaCX debacle as they craft rules for the industry.