Start with Frida

When I am stuck in a rut it is usually because I have artistic juices pent up somewhere that need to flow. Artistic in the sense that Seth Godin uses the term – creative, entrepreneurial, color outside of the lines and create value outside of the box you’ve been given.


via @pinterest

When this happens it’s helpful to start with Frida. A few reasons why:

  • She is fierceeeee. The OG kween and #girlboss. This is inspiring.
  • Not only did she overcome personal accidents and defeats, she did it with fervor, passion and did not let it hinder her from opening up and embracing life all over again.
    Messy, unforgiving Life.
  • Colors. Her paintings. Photos of her and Casa Azul. These are cock-full of vibrant, blazing colors.

    For me personally, color is the most creative force – it can inspire me and move me, the way I suspect music or poetry does for other people. Just colors, in any shape or medium, no form necessary. Working with bright, bold colors is helpful of course when I am looking for traditional artistic forces, but is even a catalyst when I work on writing, marketing ideas, connecting with people.


These past few weeks have been interesting for me. My natural vata tendencies are to move with the wind, but my world has been telling me to stay put. To embrace the stillness and uncertainty, instead of running for the sake of running.


When the world around you spins slower, it is time to turn inwards and look for ways to stroke your passions and kindle new fires.



abc Berlin Art Week

In a last minute decision to get my mind off of heavier things, I flocked with the rest of trendy Berlin to the closing day of Berlin Art Week at abc – Art Contemporary Berlin last weekend.

phyllthis abc art berlin contemporary

50+ artists and galleries showcased their works in the open event space, Station. I’ve barely scratched the surface of Berlin’s copious art galleries, so I’m not super familiar with these guys yet. The artists represented were mostly German, some from the Netherlands or Eastern Europe.

Some of my favorites…

abc Berlin Contemporary Art - Michael Wutz - phyllthisThis wall of anatomical-trippy colored sketches by Michael Wutz, a Bavarian artist.

phyllthis abc art berlin contemporaryBright, iridescent, Lisa Frank plastic sculptures

phyllthis abc art berlin contemporary 2016Chemical clouds and frosted forest fires

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On deciding to become a genius at 27

This is not in reference to me… I am neither 27 nor have genius-level ambitions.

I visited (finally!) the Van Gogh Museum while in Amsterdam last week. I dislike most things touristy, and pretty much all things expensive, but this is well worth the 17‎€ entrance (but reserve a ticket online to skip the long lines).


It’s quite an interesting concept – that one can become an expert through dedicated study and 10,000 hours of practice, that so many greats were late bloomers. On the one hand it is a bit of a cop-out to oneself…. “greatest comes at all ages, my time must not be now yet so let’s wait and see.”

vangogh museum in amsterdam

This painting is a result of Van Gogh’s careful brushwork and color studies. On a very basic level… red and green are on opposite ends of the color wheel. This painting effectively leverages their contrast to emphasize the apples in the foreground and blues in the background. Each element also includes detailed brushstrokes of the opposite color, bringing the entire still life together cohesively.

But it is also encouraging, especially for someone with a busy-bee personality like me – that most of these things are indeed attainable through consistent and sufficient work. Van Gogh’s work and learning style echoes the martial arts philosophies of slowly, carefully mastering small movements and positions before being dazzled by the impressive totality of the art. The devil is in the subtle details and the mentality behind them.


Cartagena’s Doors

phyllthis in Cartagena Colombia

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I was here… living life’s been getting in the way of writing about life… but, c’est la vie.

phyllthis fruitstands in Cartagena Colombia

phyllthis walls of Cartagena, Colombia

Anyways, Cartagena – located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, is better told through photos anyways. It’s mainly an old colonial city, the Walled City, that is probably the most touristy city of Colombia. Next to the Walled City lays Getsemani – a grungier sort of more hipster area of town.

phyllthis murals of Getsemani in Cartagena Colombia

Getsemani street art

phyllthis street art in Getsemani, Cartagena Colombia

Don’t expect to lounge around any beaches in Cartagena… they’re all pretty crummy, but luckily there are many tiny boats that will take you out to the islands (main one being Isla de Rosario). Of course, you should head over to Santa Marta & trek out into Tayrona National Park to beach it up properly (longer post on that later.. plenty of logistics there).

phyllthis in Walled City of Cartagena, Colombia

But mostly Cartagena is full of beautiful chalk-colored buildings, local ladies selling fruit, so much humidity & THE best door knockers ever! Seriously guys, I should’ve taken more photos of them & just made a coffee table book out of them or something haha.

doorknockers in Cartagena, Colombia phyllthis

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Bogotá Streets Tell a Story

Step into La Candelaria of Bogota & your visual senses are immediately oversaturated.

phyllthis bogota graffiti street art

Bold colors dart across the streets. Street sculptures, stamps & more each mark an individual artist’s style & message. Masterful murals commissioned by the people, for the people, fill entire walls.

phyllthis bogota street art graffiti tour

You could wander around the city & easily feast your eyes on the many street art pieces (graffiti is legal here), but sign up for the Bogota Graffiti tour for an amazing, super informative tour. Tours are in English & the guides are fantastic – they are all street artists themselves & know many of the other grafeteros personally, so they can speak to each artist’s style, technique, message & more. The tour is free (donation based) and happens every morning; more info here.

phyllthis bogota street art graffiti by guache

This mural was by far my favorite – it was done by Guache, the only freestyle spray painter in Bogota. He’s from the rural parts of Colombia & this fantastic piece capture the patterns, the maize – elements of his indigenous home.

phyllthis bogota street art graffiti by crisp, roche and kilo

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