Unlocking & Unmasking With the Powers of Art & Creativity

Letter From Our Editor in Chief Tommaso Cartia

Marco Gallotta
NYC-based Artist Marco Gallotta Masks Series – A tribute to all our first responders.

New York, May 20th, 2020,
how long have you been locked down? A couple of months? Is it really just a couple of months, or have we been living in stages of lockdown, on and off, since our life’s journeys began? Have we escaped? Have we tried to escape? With our bodies, with our minds, with our souls? Have we experienced freedom or are we still excruciatingly mingling with self-imposed or super-imposed imprisonments? Do we know that is our Self who is Super and has Super-powers? Are we aware of the superpower of our creative minds? Do we know that the Creation is never completed until we co-create it and expand its marvels with the pyrotechnical visions of the worlds we wish to live? 

How Long Have I Been Locked Down?

Tommaso Cartia
Tommaso Cartia – Editor in Chief of Creative Pois-On’s Storytelier.

That was one of my first thoughts when the surreal and yet super-real atmosphere of this global pandemic started clouding our vision and super-impose itself on our daily lives. Why was this atmosphere so familiar to me, where and when did I experience it? If I detected the origin of this feeling, could I have recollected how I dealt with it before, and what helped me to escape? The brutal desolation and isolation, the sorrow and the despair, with which this sneaky and virulent virus is paralyzing and polluting both our bodies and consciences, brought back virulent paralyzing and polluting memories.

Masking – An Old Habit
This is certainly not the first mask I’m wearing, and masking is a fashion that really never went out of style. How many times was I forced to wear a mask; a mask on my eyes for the worlds I wasn’t allowed to see or reach, a mask on my mouth for the words I wasn’t allowed to say, a mask on my heart for the feelings I was not allowed to express. How many days and nights, locked-down in a room wishing on lives, wishing on far-away lands and emotional landscapes I so wanted to walk in, fear-free, mask-free.


Art & Creativity – Compass of Our Lives
What helped me survive that isolation? What helped me expand my vision, my senses, and bring reality closer, shaped exactly how I envisioned it? It was Art, always, there were the artists, the mentors, the writers, the muses, injecting my mind with their purposeful creations. Art and Creativity are the compass of our lives, the sails unfurled navigating towards the ends of any horizon, transporting us through dimensions, unlocking all locks, unmasking all masks. 

With the same instinct that brought me to cling on to the artists to survive my many lockdowns and experiencing the life I’m leading today, we at Creative Pois-On felt that we needed to cling on to the artists to understand this very challenging time that we are facing, find in them guidance and find with them the time to rediscover how our own creativity can lead us to phase 2, 3, 4… of our future. As we are finding new measures to contain the spreading of this virus, and we are looking for effective treatments, the testimony of the artists of our times living through this pandemic, can give us creative measures to contain the spreading of our fears and treat our minds and souls to re-design the more sustainable world of tomorrow, humanly, ethically, economically. 

That’s why in the midst of all of this we launched a special project –#CreativityWillSaveUs

#CreativityWillSaveUs – Enjoy our Web Series on Creative Pois-On Official Youtube Channel.

A video/podcast series and social media campaign – nominated for the prestigious United Nations SDG Impact Awards – where prominent figures from the international world of art, culture, and entertainment come together to reflect on the central value that art brings to all humanity during these challenging quarantine times of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is also designed to support the global community of artists who are seeing all of their venues temporarily shut down to safely prevent the spreading of the Corona Virus.

Listen to the Podcast Series Here below:

Creative Pois-On thinks that this is the time to go back to basics, to the essential DNA of its mission: “More than 7 billion people are living on Planet Earth. Every single one of us is like an isolated island, a polka-dot (Pois, in French), seemingly disconnected from one another. Laptops, smartphones, and social media provide technological bridges, but the storylines we channel are the real threads for all of the living polka-dots around the world to truly connect in this infinite maze.” 

These words sound so incredibly current and important in this climate of fear and transformation. So Creative Pois-On thought to channel the extraordinary, talented voices of some of the artists whose stories and creations have been enriching the pages of the platform, both on the Creative Pois-On Podcast show, the editorial project – Storytelier – and the Creative Pois-On Official Youtube Channel. The reach extends beyond these outlets, enlarging CP’s tentacular maze to embrace a constellation of a different variety of artistic expressions and artists. All together they raise a voice that can break through these walls of isolation sending everybody a positive message that #CreativityWillSaveUs and that we can spend this time making the most out of our creative powers.

Follow us on this journey with the goal to find ourselves renewed and ready to soon unlock not only the doors of our houses but also the ones of our intuition, when this virus will dissipate and we will be asked to co-create the world of tomorrow, mask-free, fear-free.


Ready, Set, Imagine!

Tommaso Cartia

Creative Interview with Gina Lynn Pearson. A Plus-Size Role Model with a Plus-Size Heart

Gina Lynn Pearson
Gina Lynn Pearson lensed by @abanyiefilmstudio. Courtesy of Gina Lynn Pearson Instagram Profile @ginalynnpearson

The month of October for Creative Pois-On falls under the umbrella of the Transformation theme. And as the foliage on the trees shades their colors in a beautiful mixture of red, gold and brown, we had the honor to feature another beautiful mixture of people promoting diversity and self-love in and through fashion, the members of the Melange Project 2019. Among them, we have been graced by our host for the month Digital Strategist, Beauty & Fitness Model and Executive Producer of Melange 2019, Mara De Los Santos; here in conversation with Plus-Size Model and Executive Producer herself, Gina Lynn Pearson. A must-read interview, a must-listen story, a powerful voice of a generation that should be hungry for Plus-size role models with Plus-Size hearts.

By Mara De Los Santos, Tommaso Cartia & Daniela Pavan

As Nick Navarro, Executive Producer and Co-Founder of Melange said, “We started this fashion network in 2011. A unique catalyst for community building for people of diverse backgrounds.” The founders chose the French word “mélange,” which means “mix,” to celebrate diversity and the different art forms incorporated into Melange’s shows. Melange is currently transitioning into a nonprofit, and Navarro said that Friday’s show raised money for KEHF, an organization that provides schooling and health services to orphans in Uganda. Melange has held events in San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, and New York City, but Navarro said there was something particularly meaningful about Friday’s show.“Melange having its first show during New York Fashion Week is a significant milestone, as it shows our unstoppable growth and impact in terms of promoting more love in the art world.” Melange’s advisory board includes several people who have broken barriers in the fashion world, including Katiti Kironde, the first African woman to appear on the cover of a fashion magazine, in the August 1968 issue of Glamour, and Madeline Stuart, the first model with Down syndrome to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week, in 2015.

New York Fashion Week
Madeline Stuart and Gina Lynn Pearson walking the runway of Melange 2019. Photo Credit: Coche Productions

A powerful and strikingly beautiful representation of this Melange’s spirit lives in Plus-size Model Gina Lynn Pearson, who actually had the honor to escort Madeline Stuart on the runway this year. As she likes to call herself, the social worker by day and social twerker by night spritzing girl, opens up her heart in this intimate conversation with Mara De Los Santos.

Mara – What inspired you to participate in the Melange Project?

Mara De Los Santos

Gina – Initially I found Melange on an App called Backstage; and I decided to do it because I was housing my biological brother and during that time he was very abusive and manipulative, and one of the things that he last said to me was: “you are a fat…” and then the B. word. I wanted to take that and turn that into something positive, I wanted to get out and model and then I found Melange which embodies diversity, love and inclusion, I just knew I had to jump on it. 

Gina Lynn Pearson
Gina Lynn Pearson lensed by @abanyiefilmstudio. Courtesy of Gina Lynn Pearson Instagram Profile @ginalynnpearson

M – Tell us about your audition.

G – I was very afraid, because it was my very first-time modeling. When I went in the room, everyone was so filled with love, the room had so much positive energy. And during it they asked if you had a talent, I didn’t know what I would do for the talent and then out of wham I decided that I would say a spoken-word piece about the time where I was in the foster care system and the children’s mental health system. After that I walked, and they absolutely loved the piece, and because of that I was able to get a costumed design piece for me. 

M – Oh, I remember your spoken-word piece, it was chilling, I had goosebumps. So, you were saying about the foster care system, how long it lasted and how did that shape your life?

G – I was there for about 18 years I think that my time there definitely shaped me because I didn’t have the average experience that a lot of people in foster care have. First of a lot of them don’t stay in foster care for such a long time as I did. I moved in over 35 foster residential homes. So, it taught me to be strong, independent and resilient. 

M – You do have some magic about you that I’m sure was formed by over the strength and perseverance you garnered as you were living through these experiences. What would you say that you personally bring Melange?

G – I think that my experiences taught me to become a much kinder person and that is just who the Melange team is, and so I was able to jump right on board. Everyone calls me Gina the ‘Hype Woman’, the ‘Beauty Guru’. Everything you need I’m just there, to have your back.

Gina Lynn Pearson
Gina Lynn Pearson lensed by @abanyiefilmstudio

M – During our last show, which it was featured on the NBC news, you put everyone else before yourself. You were the absolute last person to get ready and I remember you changing backstage as quick as possible and literally spritzing upstairs to go and ended up walking with Madeline and you got an amazing shot. This attitude of yours really shows that Melange is not a typical environment. Is actually the antithesis of Fashion Week, we are not there to be snobby, but to make sure that everyone feels comfortable. But Melange is not everything that you are…

G – I’m a fulltime social worker and I help the ones who are in the foster care system. I was also in the children’s mental health system. I really felt like I want to give back and help the people who helped me. 

M – And when you are not doing your 9 to 5?

G – I joke around and I say that I’m a social worker by day and a social twerker by night! Because I really love to have and fun and to be the life of the party, and that’s why I got into modeling as well. I’m a freelance Plus-Size model emboding positive, inclusive and diversity messages, that’s why I love Melange.

M – For Nick Navarro, our Melange founder, one of our goals is to provide a platform for people to thrive and find themselves and figure out what they should be doing, and I believe that for you this was the case. So, on the top of the theme of Tranformation, which is our topic of the month, how do you think that it applies to both your professional and personal life?

– I think that throughout my life I needed to go through so many transitions. I had to find myself and who I am and stay firm in who I am. Going through all of those different changes it also taught me not just to get my own world’s perspective, but other people’s as well, understanding their transitions, their timing and how to be patient with them. 

Gina Lynn Pearson
Gina Lynn Pearson lensed by @abanyiefilmstudio. Courtesy of Gina Lynn Pearson Instagram Profile @ginalynnpearson

M – Can you share any criticism that you faced that kind of made you think of transforming yourself? 

G – You know somebody told me once, that it was not other people stopping me from succeeding in life, but that it was really my mouth… and that was really transformative for a young person who wishes so quick to snap back at adults because of where I was coming from. And then I would say that the second big transformation of my life was two years ago. I was sexually assaulted by a police officer and during that time he called me fat, like my biological brother did, that didn’t transform myself in the way that I see my body, but it actually allowed me to love myself more. Because I said, you know what? That is not who I am, I’m more than that, that was the action of another person and not reflective of me, even though at times of course I had a difficult time compartmentalizing those different things.

M – Wow, what a powerful experience Gina, thank you so much for sharing. Going back to your work at Melange, how do you bring your own life’s struggle and beautiful lessons you have learned into the project?

G – I was working with all the models this year, I worked on them one on one, and each one of them came from their own background and they all have their fight to fight and show their resilience. Being in it as an Executive Producer, I had the chance to help the models when they didn’t feel they were at their best during make-up time and stuff like that, showing them that it is really not about make-up because it swipes away, it is not about hair because you take that down; is about everything that is found on the inside, it is about your personality and that’s why people choose you. 

Gina Lynn Pearson
Gina Lynn Pearson at the Hair Fashion Week Show. Photo by @melaniefutorian. Courtesy of Gina Lynn Pearson Instagram profile @ginalynnpearson

M – This is so important especially if we think of all the negative comments we read on social media and headlines, that refer to this imperialize view of fashion and beauty, that’s why I think that Melange is important for the times we are living in. 

G – Absolutely, showcasing those people who are just comfortable wearing dresses that society would mark as not appropriate for them to wear, is a great message and service that Melange provides for the world of fashion. We are all beings, here to serve a purpose. Let us all just allow that, to just to be and to be ourselves and that is what Melange does against all of the nitpicking and monkeys scraping at the end of the barrel of the fashion scene. I saw our models even helping each other, sharing each other castings, and that is beautiful, they really wanted to see the best for each other. 

Melange 2019
Members of Melange 2019. Photo Credit Alessandro “Fresco” Cerdas

M – Yeah, that was so beautiful. A few years ago we took Melange to Brazil for a very successful show and we are thinking of doing so again. We have done it in San Francisco and hope to do it in other states as well as maybe London or Paris, or Amsterdam in the future. This year for the first time Melange is partnering with a non-profit, Kironde Education and Health Fund to raise money to educate a nursing student in Uganda, East Africa. As we grow and expand our reach, we hope to do more of that kind of things. So, based on this, how would you say that it is next for Melange?

– I would say that our work isn’t done. We are definitely looking to expand, bringing people on board to work as a team who share the same values that we do. We really see no limits. 

MClosing up, thank you so very much for having been the exquisite cherry on top of this October month of the Creative Pois-On Podcast! Before we leave, is there anything else you want to add or share?

G – I just want to thank Creative Pois-On for the opportunity, and thank Melange for being so creative and for the work that they do.