Art Basel has always been the highlight of my year, and as every yearly event, it serves as a point of reference to acknowledge my personal transformation. When I first went to Basel, as a journalist covering for Glamour, I wanted to see everything, and be everywhere, paying special attention to everything fashion-related. I would go everywhere alone, so I could people-watch as much as possible. As much as I’ve always loved art, it was more about living the city I had recently moved to.

The following year, it was all about art. I wanted to understand it better. Some artists seem to know secret things, and I wanted to know why. I went to every single fair, and spent a considerable amount of time studying what I saw. The following year, it was a mix of both experiences.

Miami Art Week 2018 for me was all about conversations: first of all, the conversations I had during my first installation at RAW Pop Up as I braided dozens of people sharing mirror conversations, (which I will share with you on a different post), and the ones I had as I strolled through the different fairs and events.

I spoke to Mario Botta, the Swiss Architect behind some of the most iconic buildings of our time, about his view on the architecture of life. There was such serenity in his words, and his experience. He created a space for La Prairie, that was an interactive wooden architectural sanctuary at the Convention Centre, were art is often so untouchable, and distant.

I also loved my conversation with Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione during a lunch that was part of the celebration of ‘What Comes Around Goes Around’, the second-hand luxury store founded in New York in 1993. They took over the iconic Versace Mansion (The Villa Casa Casaurina), and gave a very special group, the most fantastic tour of the property. Their art is in the way they collect, value and sell objects with a past.

Later, and surrounded by the an international roaster of Four Seasons Artisans, including Daniel Boulud, Mauro Colagreco, Chris Ford, Nicolas Lambert and Master Mexican Mixologist Fatima de Leon among many others, I spent one evening aboard the Kismet at the Four Seasons Pop-Down.

To be honest, there weren’t that many conversations on-site. But the understanding of all the different possibilities when it comes to finding your art, while watching all the top food-artisans in the world in one space doing their craft dancing to the rhythm of great music, was amazing. Often, silence can connect you in ways words can’t.

Which brings me to the one image that I can’t take off my head. You know how usually when we see a piece, or a performance, there is a dialogue inside our head? For the first time mine was was silent, and my heart stopped as I walked by, in contemplation of Emilio Rojas, during his performance of “Open Wounds (To Gloria)” at Spinello Projects FREE! art fair. Emilio was there, lying fully naked with a 22-inch scar created by tattoo artist Angel Garcia. The line mimics the shape of the US-Mexican border, without using ink, made from Emilio Rojas first vertebra to his last. The tattoo is reopened each year as long as the borders continue to bleed.

Open Wounds (To Gloria) by Emilio Rojas at Spinello Projects FREE! art fair/ Brickell City Centre

Nothing can equal that experience of depth, feeling and using your body as the instrument to create art. For me it was the realization that what I love the most about art is that behind every piece there is so much silence, in a time where noise is a constant. Artists have the opportunity to listen to their minds. Opportunities to create. Space. Solitude.

Yes. When we buy art, we might just be buying the materialization of the greatest commodity of our time.

Silence.

Photo Credits: Carl Timpone/BFA.com


The door closes behind me, and it all becomes a memory. All it takes is one second for the present to become the past. How unfair.

And then, a foggy interpretation of that moment, replaces whatever actually happened.

How unfair.

We can’t see clearly what is no longer in front of us, even if it just happened. Even when the smell of the other person remains. And yet, people are constantly fading away.

Darkness. There is a moment in everyones life, when you finally realize that all the light you can give to others, comes from the darkest corners of your heart; the most neglected.

And darkness is underrated. We often try to push it away, as if it was the worst of our enemies, but it’s not. It’s worth experiencing.

It’s lonely.

No one lives through it the same way. But isn’t it the same with happiness?

I’ve tried so hard through the most special relationships in my life, to merge into the soul of those I love.

But it’s simply not possible.

We all have our very particular inner-lives that often find points of connection with others, and eventually dissolve. And all you can do is stare blankly as that emotion transforms into something else.

It’s a constant reminder of how little control we have.

I’ve loved wholeheartedly.

I’ve loved passionately.

I’ve loved foolishly.

And all I’m left with is the realization that there’s no such thing as closure. We just learn to live with unanswered questions and watch those we’ve loved dissolve into memories rising above emotions and observing the transformation it brings inside.

Art by: George Sanchez Calderon

Top: Lisu Vega

You.

This is you.

But is it really you?

The outside is far away.

What do you wish to see?

Who do you wish to see? To be?

That’s actually who you are.

But will you be brave enough?

There’s freedom not to react. But there is a world of opportunities if you do.

Perhaps you need more darkness before you realize all the light you have inside.

Perhaps the time has come.

You can only understand your journey from the perspective of your future self. When you’re living in the present there’s way too much noise.

I don’t remember where this journey began; all I know is I found myself one day trapped inside this body, trying to make sense of the world around me.

My biggest conflict? The labels that defined me.

Black Canvas is the alchemy of transforming darkness into light, with a very specific set of questions, and the opportunity to rise above self-expectations.

Canvas was my way out of myself. My opportunity to exist through all the different facets of my personality. It became a shield and it gave me purpose by establishing an intention through the final knot. 

And this is where the journey begins…

 

Dear you,

If you are reading this, our journeys have finally collided. I am grateful for this.

This is a magic canvas: it has given me courage through the last four years of my journey. Now, I want to share its magic with you.

So, what is the headpiece about? This canvas has allowed me to ‘paint’ the reality I always dreamt of. It has many uses. For me it’s the back-bone of my braid, inspired by the Tehuana braid from my native Mexico, with a touch of modernity and thickness.

Canvas-Danie-Celia-D-Luna-0026

My braid is my journey.

You see, every strand of my hair carries a story. It carries my culture: the culture of all the countries I’ve lived in.

The traditions of my Mexico; the ambition of New York; the values of the people of Toronto; the fun and innocence of my time in Madrid; the aesthetics of Stockholm.

My Miami…

The stereotypes I believed; the ones I broke; the ones that broke me; the ones I will break.

And then, there are the labels. There are so many labels and roles. Every role comes with a struggle: daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother.

And then, there’s the knot.

The knot is an intention. Every day, as I make it, I look myself straight in the eye and commit to helping another woman rise.

It has become addictive, and the more I help others rise, the more I’m helped by others.

Canvas-Danie-Celia-D-Luna-0053

This is not a headpiece. This is my canvas, my journey, and my source of strength. Use it wisely.

There are many ways to use it. I’m sure you can come up with unique ways of using it. I will be adding different tutorials on the next couple of days.

I would love to see the way you make it yours. Please share with me whatever you come up with by using #journeyofabraid on Instagram. Below, how to do the braid, and the journeys weaved within.

And this is where your journey begins…

Love,

Danié

Canvas-Danie-Celia-D-Luna-0025

A friend who had wanted a baby for a very long time, found out she was pregnant. I was extremely excited for the journey ahead of her, and I wrote a letter to explain what I’ve learned in the past 7 years as a mother.

Today, as I celebrated my first born’s birthday, my words resonated with me, and I wanted to share a couple of paragraphs from this letter here, as a window into that part of my journey, which I don’t share as often because the right words are often still hard to find.

To whom it might concern, this is what I have to say:

Motherhood is the most courageous act, and yet the most rewarding. It’s not innate, it’s learned. No one is born a mother, you become one. It’s an act of alchemy.

There will be a lot of confusion, that eventually transform into growth.

There will be days where you will need a mirror to remember you are still there, those days will transform into confidence.

There will be unfulfilled expectations on how you believe others should behave, those will turn into empathy and kindness.

You will make lots of mistakes, that will transform into forgiveness towards your own past, and those friends and family involved in it.

There will be movie-like moments, when your throat will hurt as you contain tears of joy, that will become the force that keeps you going through the routine and the mundane.

A child becomes your legacy, and will be your greatest mirror. The good and the bad; the past and the future.

And when the night is over, and the constant heartbreak that relationships bring aches, you realize that that is the only pure love, the one that transcends everything…

And the journey continues.

Right out of university, Clara Pablo thought that the best way of finding a job, was creating one. She knew what she wanted, and went for it. Pitusa is one of the most beloved brands in Miami, because of its flow textiles, and comfortable designs  that fit all women, regardless of shape or size, and is made mostly in Peru by women from regional parts of the country.

Her journey hasn’t been easy, but she has always been able to overcome her struggles and persevere for her dream.  Today, Pitusa is sold in over 65 countries, and is present in all major retailers.

This interview was part of a project I did with GoDaddy, where we interviewed local entrepreneurs who are thriving in Miami, to showcase their journey.

 

 

One of my earliest childhood memories is my five year old self coming back from school, and entering into my mothers dark room, at the end of a very long corridor.

I would always open the door as quietly as I could. The heavy backed-out curtains were closed, and yet, some rays of light, painted the floor. I always thought they were trying to let her know that there was light outside.

But she wouldn’t listen.

dont be afraid of the dark journey of a braid at the bass danie gomez ortigoza ugo rondinone

Her face stuck deep in her pillow, wet with tears. I often just stared at her. Sometimes she would pretend she was sleeping. Others, she would kiss me and tell me I should go out and play. My nanny said she was just tired. For me it was just the way it was.

I would just climb up the drawers of my closet, and hide at the top. I created a little universe up there filled with my stuffed animals and a night lamp.

A couple of years later, I was no longer living with her. It took her a long time to recover, and she knew she couldn’t take care of herself and take care of us at the same time, because as much as she tried, she just couldn’t let the light in.

We’ve all been touched by depression in some way. We are all recovering from something. Life was kind enough to send me my first child, and with it a very heavy postpartum depression that helped me understand (at least a little), how she felt. Having been on the other side, as the little girl that just happened to exist in a complicated moment, and often believed that if she had never happened, things would have been better, I was able to go through it and fight for my mental stability, and be there for my son the best I could. I also had great support from my family, including my mother, which was also key to overcoming that stage.

dont be afraid of the dark on being danie gomez ortigoza darkness child how to survive at the bass

 

But I know I was lucky.

Someone I loved, gave up his life to depression not long ago. It’s not the first time this happens to me. Way too many people in my life have lost that battle.

One of the persons I love the most, called me a couple of weeks ago, to let me know that she was going to intern into a clinic for a bit. She has been fighting every possible psychological challenge for the past 15 years. I just said, “It will all be all right, and I love you,” even though what I actually wanted to say was, “what could I have done differently to help you feel better?”

It’s easy to speak of light when you are on the other side, but so hard to see it when you are in the midst of darkness.  I still have dreams in which I see myself entering my mothers room and pulling the curtain down, light goes in and we live happily ever after. But the reality is that it was until I was an adult that we were able to reconnect, and I missed her every day while growing up.

Regardless of how your life looks like right now,  just remember that chance and choice make us who we are, and we are all fighting a battle. Every day you have the choice to act differently, and you have to keep the motion, and don’t be afraid of the dark.

It’s a matter of alchemy: turn it into a resource to bring light to others, and eventually, you’ll find a ray of light in your own journey as well.

dont be afraid of the dark danie gomez ortigoza at the bass

 

 

Pictures by Celia D. Luna // Wearable art by Lisu Vega // turban: Luizas.co // bag: Mini Super Brands

 

danie gomez ortigoza journey of a braid miami fashion miami influencer miami blogger artisanal brands

Chair. Think of a chair. Tell me, what do you see? …I see something different.

Love. Think about love. Tell me, what do you see? …I see something different.

Nostalgia. Think about nostalgia. Who do you see?

anatomy of an emotion. I'm ok
<< I’m ok >>

And yet we speak freely and even carelessly, using words as if the people we speak to could understand what we are trying to say. Sometimes I get so tired of talking.

We can’t understand things as they are, we can only understand them as we are. And I’m complicated. I’m guessing you are as well, if you’ve made it this far.

So much gets lost in translation.

Anatomy of an emotion: Journey of a braid
<< But I’m not ok >>

When we are babies, it’s easy: smile means happy; frown means angry; tears mean sad. But somewhere along the way our cables cross, and we cry of happiness, and smile with contempt and all we have left is the process of learning to read between the lines and understand that in all the variety of feelings that we experience, there’s always a story, with a very clear beginning, but rarely an end, because the reality is…

…that we are living in a poem.

Anatomy of an emotion: Journey of a braid
<< But that’s ok >>

 

Pictures by: Celia D. Luna at Super flight Zone Miami // Top by: Lisu Vega

 

journey of a braid, miami, miami fashion, miami influencer, super flight zone, danie gomez ortigoza, Lisu Vega Celia D Luna fashion photography  blogger