Artist Spotlight: Genevieve DeMarco March 30, 2015 17:55

Artist Genevieve DeMarco woos art-lovers with raw talent, appreciation of the craft and a Louisiana swag that’s all her own. As a collector of her work, I can honestly say that I fell in love with DeMarco’s emotive pieces upon first sight. Vivid color, graffiti script and demonstrative expression lend her paintings a sense of ornate abstraction.

Building momentum since 2012, DeMarco has appeared in multiple solo and group exhibitions including: “The Gorgeous Earthquake,” “Sensory Overload Art Exhibit” at City Arts Factory, featured artist at the “Master Class Event,” “City Arts Gallery Collage Show” plus a group showing as the member of the art collective “The Solution.” I recently caught up with the Orlando-based painter as she prepares for upcoming events and aims for a breakout year.

Q: I’ve been following your work for nearly a year now. Love your aesthetic. How long have you been painting and what inspires you to create?Q: I’ve been following your work for nearly a year now. Love your aesthetic. How long have you been painting and what inspires you to create?

A: I've been painting since January 2012. I've always loved drawing and creating so I finally purchased a paint set and I've been painting ever since.

My inspiration to paint is life, I guess. I really don't need inspiration to paint. Like, ask a six year old what inspires him to play with his toys… he’ll tell you he doesn't know it’s just fun. That’s how I see my creative process. I paint if I’m happy, mad or sad. I feel like if I had to wait for inspiration to paint then what would I do when nothing inspires me? So, it’s never a certain emotion, situation, or person that inspires me. Creation comes automatic for me.

Q: I don’t like to classify artists to fit them into a box but more to relate their work to a broader perspective. With that said, do you consider yourself an abstract expressionist? If so, what do you feel this genre offers that realism art does not?

A: I classify my art as neo-expressionism. I love the time period of Neue Wilde and Neo- expressionism offers more freedom than realism, I think. I love realism though. I appreciate the skill and the discipline it takes. I'm actually at a time in life where I'm really into realism and neoclassical art. I mean, I only see myself creating expressionism but I guess it’s like music artists. Even if I’m a rapper, I can still love Cab Calloway or Faith Hill.

Q: I can’t help but notice a few influences of Basquiat in your work. Is he one of your favorites? Who are a few of your favorite contemporary artists that are killing the game right now and why?

A: Yes, he is one of my favorites. So is Ouattara Watts, Kooning, and Jorg Immendorff. Hebru Brantley is one of my current faves. I love his work. His whole vision and career inspire me a lot. He’s the only artist I’m really following right now besides members of my group “The Solution.” Also, Brian Donnelly aka KAWS.

Q: You went to Art Basel Miami 2013, right? Did you go to sell your work, take in a few shows or both? Was this your first show? Tell me, what was that experience like?

A: I chilled in Wynwood most of the time, set up with my paintings and met people. My goal is to be the most famous neo-expressionist of my generation so I try to never miss an opportunity like this to introduce everyone to my work. You can take the republican route… you know, talk to ten rich people or take the Obama/Marley way and reach thousands who aren’t rich but are rich in spirit and appreciative of your work. I try to do both. My goal is to do both. I want to have a show in Wynwood and Miami Beach soon during Basel.

Q: If I were to walk into your studio while you were painting, what would I see? Do you have any rituals that help get you in the zone?

A: No rituals really. Some days I might have a drink before I paint. Some days I get directly out of the bed and paint. If you were to walk into my studio right now you would see like four or five works in progress, lots of house paint, my laptop playing music, bottle of Pinot and water. My studio while I’m working looks like my paintings.

Q: Describe your art in three words.

A: “Abstract” because abstract art expresses the artist’s ideas or feelings rather than show the exact appearance of people or things. “Radiant” is the second and “unconventional.”

Q: What impact do you hope to have as an artist and what’s on the horizon for Genevieve DeMarco in 2014?

A: I hope to present a style and demonstrate work ethic that will motivate generations to come. The same as how previous generations have inspired me. Sometimes you’re influenced by prior artists but don’t even notice. I want to have such an affect that you have no choice but to notice. Influence is everything because nothing really ever can be copied. They’re just the same ideas going through new minds. That’s all everything really is anyway.

For 2014, I plan on having group and solo shows and I hope to be featured in exhibitions abroad. I want to travel more, get out of the city/state and then the country. Expanding and establishing Genevieve DeMarco as a brand is the plan.

Upcoming Events:

*RAW featured artist for “The Awakening Show” on February 27th, 2014 at Ice Bar Orlando.

*Orange Gallery Group Exhibition with art collective "The Solution" on April 4th, 2014 in Orlando, FL.


Genevieve DeMarco's art is available for purchase at Big Cartel and Gallery on the Edge in Orlando, FL.


Twitter @genevievedemarc and Instagram genevievedemarc.



Foodie Find: Garifuna Flava July 6, 2014 19:30



Stewed Chicken, King Fish, Plantains, and Rice & Beans (Photo Cred: Ayana Tomeka) 

Portioned plates of heaven cooked with heaping amounts of soul, that's what you'll find at Garifuna Flava! A non-descript Caribbean restaurant hidden on the southwest side of Chicago, the medium-sized establishment charms with a mom & pop feel and mouth-watering flavor.

I've visited here several times with my bff and I have to say the sauteed shrimp, sauteed king fish and stewed chicken are my favorites. The chef cooks the marinated meats down with hearty spiced sauces and veggies until it's fork tender. The OMG-factor is off-the-meter when it comes to taste. David, my bestie, sticks to the king fish or red snapper entrees. Being the little piglet that I am, I've coerced him into letting me sample off of his plate and both meals are equally as scrumptious.



Jerk Chicken, Plantains and Rice & Beans ( Photo Cred: Matt P, 2012)

I recommend you order an entree for two reasons: rice & beans and their plantains! Trust me, you've NEVER eaten rice & beans like this before. The slightly sweet & savory aroma, texture and taste transport you to grandma's kitchen in Central America. The rice & beans are not saucy. This maintains their texture. Don't fret tho, the chef serves them with a side cup of au jus if you prefer yours a bit more moist. The plantains are crispy on the outside and tender inside. Simply sinful. 'Nuff said. lool All entrees also come with a side salad! While their potato salad is delish, they only give you a small amount. Opt for the lettuce salad instead (bigger portion and healthier for you :).

When you're seated you'll want to try an appetizer and a drink or two. Most dishes are cooked-to-order and since it's a smaller place you may wait up to 30 minutes before your food arrives. The guacamole and plantain chips are fresh and by far my fave appetizer. I can make a meal of this alone, it's so yummy. For drinks, ladies... the "Bahama Mama" will get you there. lool

Garifuna Flava Photo Cred: Chicago Serious Eats

Overall, if you're feeling adventurous and want to try a restaurant off-the-beaten Chicago tourist path, head to Garifuna Flava. The prices are reasonable, averaging $3-$4 for appetizer, $6-$7 for a lunch special and $12-$13 for dinner entrees. The waitstaff is small, polite but a tad inattentive. And although the decor and ambiance are basic (older chairs and tables dressed with vinyl tablecloths), when the plates come you will forget the less-than aesthetic and savor a good time over good eats. Try it and thank me later! xo

Garifuna Flava
2518 W 63rd St.
Chicago, IL, 60629
Phone: (773)776-7440

11:30am-8pm Tues-Thurs
11:30am-2am Fri-Sat (Kitchen Closes at 10pm)
11:30am-8pm Sunday
Closed Monday


Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Open Mic: Saul Williams x Mivos Quartet March 19, 2014 15:00

Saul Williams is a true treasure and gift to the arts. His contributions in poetry, music, performance/film are vast and varied yet they all share the common thread of encouraging us to explore our deeper humanity. Although he defies classification, I'd say Mr. Williams is an old soul with a young heart. Plus, he's a Pisces which explains a lot.

Recently, Mr. Williams and the Mivos Quartet performed poetry and chamber music as part of the
Ecstatic Music Festival in New York City. The one hour set included inspiring orchestral arrangements by German composer Thomas Kessler and the Mivos Quartet plus a riveting body of poetry from Saul Williams. Poetry lovers will be happy to hear his booming performance of "Said the Shotgun to the Head" as well as the U.S. premiere of "NGH WHT " featuring poetry from his acclaimed book "The Dead Emcee Scrolls."

The collaboration was a huge success and I wanted to share the moment in a special edition of Open Mic. Please listen here and visit, and for more about the artists.

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

NYC vs London Fall/Winter '14 Fashion Week February 16, 2014 20:00

London’s Fall/Winter '14 Fashion Week wraps on theheels of last week’s event in NYC and serves major‘tude from across the pond. The stand out designer from the UK extravaganza is none other than Holly Fulton. Her collection echoed art-life wonder woman meets working-girl chic. Metallic knits and satin, mosaic-prints and over-sized graphics stole the show with a surprising palette of sky blue and tan tones which are quite unorthodox for the season.

As for New York, Designer Yigal Azrouel wowed fashion week crowds with a collection inspired by urban landscapes and divergent matter. His presentation transcended expectation with an edgy mix of knit, leather, sheer and zipper embellishments that were equal parts sophisticated and sexy. Color and print choices included traditional black, neutral greys and tans and gained momentum with asymmetrical stripe and color-blocking patterns.

Fashionista eyes now follow Milan and Paris as they round out the major four fashion weeks across the globe. Check back soon for my designer picks for both!

Watch Holly Fulton's F/W '14 Presentation
Watch Yigal Azrouel's F/W '14 Presentation

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Spend Valentine's Day With Maxwell At The Borgata February 12, 2014 18:00

Hearts are aflutter in anticipation of Maxwell’s “Three of Swords” Valentine’s Day concert at the Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ. Men are preparing to wine & dine and women are ripe for the slaying. That is, after all, what happens as a result of Maxwell’s music.  And if you’ve never seen him live, then lucky ticket holders are in for a treat. I’ve had the pleasure of attending four of Maxwell’s concerts and I right-hand testify that he thrills with legendary showmanship and a desire to seduce every soul in the audience. The countless catcalls and sweaty bodies rockin’ to the music are prime examples of the heat he brings.

As if that wasn’t enough to set the mood, the Grammy Award-Winning Singer has announced his intention to unveil new music at the event. The promise of a preview is worth the price of admission alone for many of us counting down to his release of “BlackSUMMERS’Night.” However, I’m sure the crooner will woo lovers with an array of his timeless hits which include: “Lifetime,” “Ascension,” “Til The Cops Come Knockin’,” “Reunion,” “Stop The World,” and “Pretty Wings.”

Last year, Maxwell blessed Upfront members with exclusive access to concert pics and behind-the-scene videos. If you’re not already a member, join Upfront and stay-tuned for additional footage from the V-day Borgata concert as well as the Saturday show in Richmond, VA. Valentine’s Day Weekend has never looked hotter than with Love’s Maestro ready to take the stage.

For tickets visit Ticketmaster.
Maxwell's music can be purchased at iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

6 Pros/Cons To Living Without A T.V. For One Year February 7, 2014 15:00

* Pro: Cost-savings. Sixty dollars may not sound like a lot but in 12 months I’ve saved over $700! I live very simply and have applied half of the money saved to groceries and the electric/heating bill which has been pretty brutal during this “Polar Vortex” winter.

*Pro: I’m reading more. Books, blogs and online journals, there is a variety of information available here that’s not on television.  The positive effects of reading has improved my vocabulary and cured my two-year writing slump.

*Pro:  I’m more active and productive. I spend half of my former boob-tube time exercising in the gym. My energy levels have improved and my jeans are lookin’ right. Lool. My creative art and fashion projects have flourished.  I’ve also purged & packed an apartment that I’ve lived in for nearly 11 years.  That was a big undertaking but I feel lighter/freer and ready to move forward when the time comes.

*Con:  Ignorance is not so bliss. I never realized before how much I relied on television for local, national and international news.  Before I could turn the t.v. to the news channel for a few hours and digest the daily stories while I cooked dinner. I admit, when I’m online I seek feel-good stories about culture, DIY beauty/health tips, or specific information to write a blog.

*Con: Weatherman, weatherman, wherefore art thou? Cue “The Absent-Minded Professor” theme music here. I can easily search the web for this information but it’s last on my daily to-do list and I just never remember. I rely on my window and co-workers for the weather report which is actually kind of fun unless a foot of snow is headed my way.

*Con:  Sports & Award Shows… I miss thee. I’m a big football and basketball fan. I rep Chicago hard and this is the first time in over a decade that I’ve missed both seasons. Thankfully, I was able to catch the Super Bowl via livestream. But I wasn’t so fortunate with the Grammy’s or Golden Globes. 

Overall, I’ll take the pros over the cons. I’m healthier. I’m reading and writing more than ever. I’ve padded my art portfolio and realized a dream in becoming a fashion designer all while putting some money back in my pocket.  Win, win, win!

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Pass The Popcorn: Film Editor & Critic Richard Brody February 5, 2014 11:00

Richard Brody is just the type you'd hope would helm the movies editor position at The New Yorker. He's quirky, fun and totally obsessed with film. Recently, the magazine interviewed Brody on his love affair with cinema. I found this video quite charming and only wished it were a bit longer. For more on Brody and his passion, read his blog The Front Row at The New Yorker.

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Favorite SS14 Fashion Sketches February 1, 2014 17:00

As F/W 14 Fashion Week prepares to kick off in NYC, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at a few of my fave sketches from SS14! Designers Erin Fetherston, Rebecca Minkoff and Alon Livne presented a seamless symmetry between art and fashion. The colors, prints and silhouettes above are vibrant, ethnic, youthful yet sophisticated. Remember, a great design starts in the mind. Til next time... A.T. xoxoxo

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Tech That: The Smart Watch Got Next January 22, 2014 19:00


As Apple's ingenious yet simple marketing campaign for the iwatch states, it's "Time For A Change." And while gadget gurus like my dad and uncle decipher the new Samsung Galaxy SmartWatch and salivate over Apple's forthcoming iWatch, I can't help but peer into the sky for George Jetson to fly past my window. The future is definitely now.

But how effective are the smartwatches compared to the smartphones and will consumers buy into this latest technology flooding the market? It depends on who you ask. Style-wise, the design seems a bit clunky to wear on one's wrist. Of course, I'm speaking from a woman's point of view. Men will gravitate more toward these early designs and hopefully a sleeker model for women is on the horizon. Useability is also in question as Samsung and many competitors tweak software errors and compatibility issues with smartphones.

Still, the prospect of sending a text and answering a phone call from my wrist are enticing in a gray-hair inducing way. In the great words of Bob Dylan, "for the times they are a-changin'."

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Chef & Sous Chef: Mama's Mac & Cheese Recipe January 17, 2014 20:30

I don't mean to brag but when it comes to cooking I throw down. I get it from my mama, literally. Some of my best childhood memories are of us cooking in the kitchen together. We had our own theme song and everything. lool Right before we'd start peelin' potatoes and snappin' pole beans we'd sing "Chef and The Sous Chef" and add a fun little hip twist to the celebration.

In honor of those memories, I thought I'd share a few of our beloved recipes. This one is for mama's mac & cheese. Follow the instructions precisely and you will impress everyone at the dinner table.


3 cups elbow macaroni
2- 8 oz. bars of cheese
(mild cheddar and colby)
1- 8oz jar of cheese whiz spread
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup water
1 can cream of mushroom soup


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta 8-10 minutes or until al dente (the pasta should have a bit of bite back.) Drain the pasta in a strainer, toss with a little olive oil and butter (for flavor) and add salt & pepper or your favorite seasoned salt (mine happens to be whatever is on sale). Place the cooked pasta in a greased oblong baking dish and set aside. Next, saute chopped onion in butter until it's translucent. In a large bowl, mix soup, water, cheese whiz and sauteed onion. Don't forget to season the sauce for taste!

Now, pour the mixture over the macaroni and stir thoroughly. Leave no pasta unturned. After the macaroni is coated with sauce, dice the cheese into small chunks and place evenly inside of the dish. At this point, I tend to coat the top of the dish with cooking spray before placing it in the oven but this step is optional. Cook the dish for 20-25 minutes until it's done and be sure to share. :)
Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Yogi Yani: The Secret January 9, 2014 13:00

Repetitive positive thinking is a spiritual practice of mine. During the rigors of day-to-day life, this can be a challenge. So, I arm myself with spiritual tools like "The Secret." I believe wholeheartedly in the law of attraction. We become what we think about. We manifest the people, opportunities and events that can change our lives. Choose your thoughts wisely. Move in faith. Feel good in the process. Find the full length video of The Secret and you will be amazed! I hope this video helps. xo

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

The Power of The Written Word October 29, 2013 17:00

"Turn off the t.v. and read. Read lots of books, all sorts of books- poetry and fiction, books about Africa, the Middle East, American history, individuals who have done great things and terrible things, the environment, women around the world. Then find people with whom to discuss the new and startling ideas that begin to percolate in your brain. Who knows what will happen next? You might find yourself at a demonstration or running for the school board. You might start to like someone who always seemed weird before. You might save a street or a salt marsh or a person. All because of a book."
Katha Pollitt (poet, essayist and critic).

Boston Bombings & World Art Day April 15, 2013 19:00

Today is in fact World Art Day. If you are surprised that it exists... you are not alone. I just learned of it myself via Twitter. lol. Oh Twitter... real time information transmitted globally. You just can't beat that... (or maybe you can in 3 yrs as technology advances.)
Anywho, on a more serious note, bombings injured and killed several people in Boston today. Shocked and saddened over the news. I woke up today, like any other day, feeling good about life's possibilities as I'm sure the victims did too. I extend my sincerest prayers to all affected and I will blog more about this later.
While we pause and reflect on the unthinkable tragedy that occurred in Boston today, I encourage people to live life and be thankful for where you are in this present moment. It may be flawed, but it es yours to love and nurture. For all of my fellow art lovers I'm leaving you with this link to the Google Art Project. It contains one of the largest digital collections of art that I've seen. Pray for Boston.

Dream. Believe. Love.
Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

DNC 2012 September 4, 2012 12:00

The comicon of politics es upon us. It's convention season baby! As a democrat, I'm stoked for the blue festivities in Charlotte, NC this week. I voted for the Obama/Biden ticket in 2008 and they will receive my vote again this year.

Critics chastise the Obama administration for slow job growth as well as our continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. We are still at war, a war that was never the answer and the only question it served was "why?" Touted as "Vietghanistan" for the thousands of lives lost as well as the trillion dollars spent funding it, my only questions are: why can't we begin the exit strategy prior to 2013 and why will it take an additional year to officially end the war in 2014? It didn't take two years to begin this war.

Likewise, I agree that focus on jobs should've been a main priority (prior to an election year). If anyone knows me, they know I've been advocating jobs creation for years because it directly impacts the people. If the everyday American cannot find employment then s/he loses hope in the system. They lose hope in the dream. Capitalism es not a viable entity when faced with low consumer morale. When was the last time you bought anything outside of your needs when you were unemployed?

These two issues are the legs of the republican platform. While valid, the Obama/Biden adminstration has worked feverishly and earned major legislative wins for the American people such as: healthcare, education and financial regulatory reforms, DADT repeal and the DREAM Act. With a record like this, I'd love to see what President Obama can do with another four years.

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.

Yogi Yani: Positivity Is Power July 12, 2012 00:00

Life's trials and tribulations can easily spiral us into negative thoughts and actions if we don't protect our power. Positivity is power. A daily practice of mine is to honor this power every morning by reading the two texts above: The I-Ching and Daily Word.

By doing both, I remind myself that all dark times are temporary. They are a part of the ebb & flow of life. If I can rock with the good times... I can definitely roll with the bad. I encourage every one to take time everyday to focus on positivity. We are what we think and we attract like-minded souls.

Be Peace. Be Love. xoxoxo

Blog written by Ayana Tomeka.



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