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Latina artist Tatiana Cardona celebrates the feminine spirit through ceramics and jewelry collab with Konstantinos I. Leoussis

Lips are a powerful symbol. The image of red lips conjures many things—confidence, sensuality, freedom of speech, playfulness, love or a kiss. The mouth is where words, thoughts and ideas are expressed, and its subtle movements can unlock an array of emotion.  Miami-based Colombian ceramicist and artist, Tatiana Cardona, and NYC-based Jewelry Designer and Antiques Dealer, Konstantinos I. Leoussis, have collaborated on the new dynamic Female Alchemy capsule collection, celebrating the art of lips through wearable jewels.

Tatiana Cardona, Founder of Female Alchemy, says, “My work started off as an ode to the female artists that paved the way for the rest of us. With time it has since evolved into the embodiment of the fun, creative, lively feminine spirit. Lips carry our words out into the world, and help us articulate the messages we wish to send. My vessels carry their own message of the power in female energy. I wanted that energy to be able to be worn and taken with you everywhere, which is why I decided to collaborate with KIL NYC to bring my ideas to jewelry and make them more accessible for everyone.” 

Female Alchemy

Tatiana Cardona, Founder of Female Alchemy. (Photo courtesy Female Alchemy)

Tatiana would describe her work as lively, colorful, pop-inspired works of art that also provide a function. She creates functional art pieces because he wants people that may never have had an opportunity to purchase artwork to finally be able to have art in their home that also has purpose. “Your everyday mug can be just as fun, artful, and joyful as a beautiful painting hanging on the wall,” she says.

Her journey as a business owner came about after many began showing interest in her work during college. 

This pottery business was sort of thrusted upon me and it just kept growing so I had to grow with it, learning everything along the way,” says Tatiana. 

She began exploring the feminine themes of her art as part of a series of vases for her college thesis back in 2018 featuring the lips of different female artists that were important to art history. She was frustrated by the lack of female artists represented in art history books and set out to honor these women through her own art. After presenting her thesis project, Tatiana soon began receiving requests for mugs and vases in the same style and soon Female Alchemy was born. 

“The coolest thing that has happened to me and my business is having people like Haley Williams, Emma Roberts and Heidi Klum reach out to me and purchase my work. I literally could’ve never imagined that my work would be in their homes but it is absolutely amazing!” Tatiana shares.

She began exploring the feminine themes of her art as part of a series of vases for her college thesis. (Photo courtesy Female Alchemy)

“I have always dreamt of being an artist as a little girl but that dream was never encouraged by anyone except my father who was also an artist but never made a career out of it. Unfortunately he passed away when I was only nine years old and that support was no longer there in my life.”

Still, despite the lack of support, Tatiana was determined to never give up and follow her dreams. Growing up in an immigrant family also helped her develop a hard-working, passionate, and dedicated mindset. 

“Watching your family struggle financially and fight to succeed in this country speaking a language they don’t understand and still managing to keep your family afloat has made me confident in the fact that there is absolutely nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it. Having faced those struggles at a young age really has made me fearless and resilient, and as a business owner you cannot be scared, you have to take the risk. You have to have faith in yourself.”

Female Alchemy

“Don’t ever let any of the struggles you have faced hinder you from moving forward,” says Tatiana. (Photo courtesy Female Alchemy)

Tatiana made a lot of mistakes along the way and learned many lessons too. When she started her business, she did not have a plan or a roadmap to follow. 

“I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going with this business,” she says. All she knew was that she wanted to make art pieces and that people wanted to buy them.

“I didn’t have an accountant or an LLC set up until a year after my business had already begun. So, my first bit of advice is to see an accountant before even opening your LLC or just getting some business and financial advice from a professional before doing anything will really allow you to start off on the right foot and not have to backtrack in the future.” 

Her second piece of advice to all aspiring Latina entrepreneurs and women business owners is to “not spend it before you make it.” 

(Photo courtesy Female Alchemy)

Tatiana experienced first hand the consequences of jumping headfirst into something without having the funds to back it. “When I started out, I dove right into getting a large studio space that was out of my budget but it was my dream space. I later had to give that up because I was only making art to pay bills and not from a place of love and creation. That really sucked the fun from what I loved doing and it made it really hard for me to enjoy it.” 

Lastly, she tells all the minority women out there looking to succeed in their passion to never give up and never listen to those who tell you you can’t succeed. 

“Don’t ever let any of the struggles you have faced hinder you from moving forward, use those struggles and turn them into skills to help you stand out and achieve your dreams and not as crutches that hold you back from working for what you truly want.”

Today, Tatiana has found success with her business, and her collaboration with Konstantinos Leoussis is expanding her reach and bringing more functional art pieces into homes around the world. 

Start your entrepreneurial journey with inspirational titles on Audible today!

Female Alchemy

 Your Favorite Necklace has an open-mouthed lip, recalling the moment before a kiss. (Photo courtesy Female Alchemy)

“When Konstantinos approached me via email about collaborating on a jewelry collection we began brainstorming right away. I loved his work and his ideas and also already had a few designs in mind, and he had just the right artistic touch to make them come together,” say Tatiana on working with Konstantinos Leoussis.

The collection features seven distinct designs which embrace feminine energy. Wearable for everyday glam, each piece is available for order in either sterling silver or 18K gold plate.

“It was an honor working alongside Tatiana to bring this collection to life. I am an admirer of her work and the passion she puts into it is palpable. While I am not a ceramics artist, I did sculpt each of the pieces from our collection in wax, pretending as though I was working with clay. I tried to invoke Tatiana’s creative drive and I think the collection really came out amazing. It is all handmade in New York City, and a lot of love goes into it,” says Konstantinos Leoussis.

You might be interested: Franca NYC co-founder, Jazmin de la Guardia on how art connects us through common language

Female Alchemy

 The Lip Ring is available in sizes 4 through 10, featuring an open mouth with two front teeth for an unapologetically fun statement ring. (Photo courtesy Female Alchemy)

To shop the Female Alchemy Jewelry collection, visit femalealchemy.com/collections/jewelry 

About KIL N.Y.C.

Inspired by a life of travel and antiquities, jeweler Konstantinos Leoussis created KIL N.Y.C. in 2018, to showcase his love of old-world techniques and motifs. KIL N.Y.C. puts an edgy and modern spin on sentimental jewelry, creating styles that are both easily wearable and instant heirlooms. 

About Female Alchemy

Each piece in the female alchemy collection is handmade by Miami-based ceramicist, Tatiana Cardona. As an artist, she strives to create lively, empowering functional art, to brighten up one’s home. The lip motif is inspired by the feminist movement of the 1960’s and 70’s, when red lipstick stood as a symbol of protest. Cardona’s work has since evolved into a positive and fun way to promote femininity in the sacred and ancient medium of ceramics.


*This article contains affiliated links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Colombian musician Alex Le Angel shares how she overcame obstacles as a young Latina in the music industry

Alex Le Angel is a Colombian multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn who blends multiple genres including Latin alternative R&B, Latin neo-soul, Latin alternative hip-hop with deep lyrics.

Her latest single “Frecuencia” helps listeners disconnect from bad news and the pressured lifestyle of current society, transporting them to a calm environment with a silky vocal tone, flowing naturally, about being in tune with the right person, with what you want, and with yourself.

Alex says, “Many times, when referring to Latin or urban music, people assume explicit and sexually insinuating content, loaded with sexual flirtation. However, even though I’m Latina and my voice sounds sensual, I don’t like to create that kind of direct content. I always think about the generations that are growing up and how I would like them to enjoy my music no matter how old they are.” 

In the process of creating an EP that was going to release in July 2019, Alex got sick, her ear burst and had to postpone the release. Alex went into quarantine and began to rethink her project and how to identify with it. Additional adverse situations forced her to shave her hair completely, feeling like a blank canvas, and she launched a new musical project from scratch.

Alex Le Angel was born with her new look, making music from her room with resources at hand—a very old laptop, one mic, zero contacts—and looking to be as fluid and true as possible. The name came from the idea that El Angel de Dios was the one who helped keep Alex on her feet and not give her up during that tough period of her life. 

Alex Le Angel

Alex Le Angel blends multiple genres including Latin alternative R&B, Latin neo-soul, Latin alternative hip-hop with deep lyrics. (Photo courtesy Alex Le Angel)

Growing up as a cheerleader, dancer, and athlete as a child, Alex was always surrounded by an audience to entertain. However, she grew up in a traditional home where being a singer wasn’t accepted as a career. 

“Like many, I grew up in a home where much was unknown about creative talents. Even so, I managed to exploit my creativity, composing songs all the time, practicing performances,” says Alex. 

As a child, she remembers calling a popular TV channel in Colombia and managing to sign up for a children’s program casting call. She didn’t get selected at the time and she stopped looking for opportunities to get into the entertainment industry. 

Then, when she was 16 years old, a man passing by offered her a modeling opportunity. 

“My pixie hair caught his attention and he offered me to be a model for a couple of catwalks. He gave me his cell phone number so that my mom could contact him.”

This opportunity as a teenager allowed her to participate alongside older models, however music was still there, beating in her heart. Alex spent most of her teenage years at underground concerts with the dream of having a band, but nobody she knew had the same passion and interest in the idea as she did. Still, Alex persisted in her dream of making music. 

After high school, her parents told her they would support her music career if she went to college to study something that would give her economic stability. Alex decided to study Industrial Design, with an emphasis in Universal Design for children with autism. On the side, she continued to work on her music career even though it was challenging at times. 

“During my university studies, I worked to pay for hours in recording studios and recorded and produced songs. At that time in Colombia it was a bit expensive and I didn’t have a lot of time since I had to keep my grades up and my job.” 

Once Alex finished university, she was ready to finally focus on her dream career as a musician. 

Alex Le Angel

“I didn’t want anyone to stop me from taking that leap of faith. I no longer wanted to postpone my personal plans because of anyone’s opinion.” (Photo courtesy Alex Le Angel)

Taking a leap of faith on her dream

After getting fired from her job at a design office, Alex went to work at a call center. During her time there, she realized her creative energy had dried up. She shared this feeling with other artist friends like Dilson, the vocalist of La Pestilencia (Colombian Rock Band), they recommended she move to another place like Los Angeles or New York to grow as an artist. 

Alex took their advice to heart, spontaneously deciding to hop on a plane straight to New York. 

“I kept my ticket to NY a secret for a few months, and I told my parents the surprise that I was leaving the country with 15 days left before the flight, since I didn’t want anyone to stop me from taking that leap of faith. I no longer wanted to postpone my personal plans because of anyone’s opinion.”

Alex left her comfortable lifestyle in Colombia to start living on the floor, with no money, no friends and no family to keep her music career growing. It wasn’t easy and success did not come as fast as Alex thought, but it has been worth it. 

In 2019, Alex faced many struggles, and then in 2020 the pandemic created more obstacles. 

“Just a couple of days before the lockdown, the boy I was with left me because he did not believe that I was going to grow more as an artist,” she shares. “He left me alone in the pandemic, and just after that I starting to create one of my songs with the highest number of replays and it was that song that opened the door for me to be interviewed by several large TV networks and led me to be published in major magazines and newspapers in Colombia and the Latino community in the US.” 

Despite all the challenges thrown at her along the way, Alex has always persevered and found the positives in every situation, not letting negativity bring her down. 

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Alex Le Angel

“I truly believe in myself, and I know that at the right time my music will bloom in the way that I have always hoped.” (Photo courtesy Alex Le Angel)

“Never stop moving forward”

To all women aspiring to start a career in the music industry, Alex says, “Never stop moving forward, regardless of the fact that the surrounding landscape does not seem to change. Walk without looking to the sides, much less back. Always look ahead to where you have to move, and up if you need direction. Surround yourself with people with similar dreams and high expectations like yours, and even better if they are people who can somehow complement your project, since the only way for you to shine is by letting others shine through you. And the most important, be true to yourself, nothing is better than doing the right things with integrity even if it is gonna take a long time, just enjoy the process.” 

For Alex, she found that having the right mindset changed everything. 

I think most of the obstacles were in my mind,” she says, reflecting back on the challenges she faced. “It is necessary to learn to develop patience during this race and learn how to keep going on, to persevere and act in faith regardless of the results obtained, and not letting thoughts of defeat nest in my mind.” 

She has also stopped comparing her success to that of other artists. In our fast-paced, tech-driven society it’s become the norm for artists to release new songs very quickly and focus on likes, comments, and number of listeners. However, Alex’s artistic process is not so fast-paced. 

Living in this world where social networks and technology pressure people to live in the immediacy, to depend on how many likes, or views, or followers, they run the risk of comparing themselves and letting those numbers define them as people,” Alex says. “

I know my process. And my journey as an artist has been building me up enough not to fall into that mental game of the system but to take advantage of it. I truly believe in myself, and I know that at the right time my music will bloom in the way that I have always hoped.” 

Currently Alex is a graphic designer for a local printing shop in Williamsburg while she continues to build her music career. 

“I’m thankful for being where I am now and looking forward to seeing how far I’ll go,” she says. 

Follow Alex on social media: 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexleangel

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuzCdwhzkGh35rjzPI7ywbw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alexleangelmusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexleangel

Franca NYC co-founder, Jazmin de la Guardia on how art connects us through common language

Jazmin de la Guardia is the co-founder of Franca NYC, a small Brooklyn based design studio that focuses on handmade ceramics. 

 Franca NYC was born from an idea: There are common threads that bind us. No matter where you come from or where you are going, there is a commonality to be discovered. This common language, or lingua franca, is what we strive to achieve.  Craftsmanship, design, and artistry make up the foundation of our work, and we continue to seek out ways to bring the soul of lingua franca to each piece.

Born in Paraguay, with a mother from Uruguay and a father from Cuba, Jazmin grew up with a passion for travel and art. That passion eventually led her to Pratt Institute in NYC where she received her Bachelor’s in Printmaking. Following her education at Pratt, Jazmin took her skills and passion for art to co-found Franca NYC with her business partner, Sierra Yip-Bannicq. 

The idea for their ceramics design studio came about in 2016, after both women expressed an interest in owning a business. 

“We were both working in small design studios at that time and as much as we loved our jobs, we were both really excited about the idea of starting our own business,” said Jazmin. “We decided to launch our brand at NY NOW, where we got a lot of exposure all at once and thankfully started getting orders to get us through those first months.” 

The women chose the medium of ceramics to be the focus of their business because it was something they both loved and had been drawn to back during their college days. Focusing on ceramics also had the benefit of being low-cost. Starting out, Jazmin and Sierra had a very limited budget, like many new entrepreneurs, so making their products in-house from start to finish without having to make a huge investment in machinery and production equipment was a big advantage. 

Jazmin working in studio. (Photo courtesy Jazmin de la Guardia)

Jazmin recalls one of her fondest memories of these early days, while she and Sierra worked in their first studio making their products. 

“Sierra and I are working long hours in our first studio, just the two of us, making what felt like a million cups and mugs. We felt like we were melting, we had no AC and the studio was so hot the tar from the rooftop—we were on the top floor, walk-up—was literally melting into our space. The kiln was firing and it just seemed like we were inside a giant oven. Even though the situation seemed less than desirable to most people, we were thrilled to be there and would not have wanted it any other way. For us it was all worth it because we were working towards building something of our own and being independent.”

The threads that bind: Leveraging social media and community 

As they developed their business, they learned to navigate challenges and obstacles and leverage their strengths. 

One of the biggest challenges they faced as their business grew was learning to be flexible with their production volume. Jazmin shared that there were many times when they had more orders than they could accept, while other times when the flow of orders was much slower. 

“It was important for us to try and keep our staff throughout the year so we decided to try and ride the slower times as best we could,” said Jazmin. “During the slower moments, we relied on social media to keep up with brand awareness. Thankfully things seem to be more stable now and we feel we can plan our production accordingly, but I would say trying to be as flexible as possible was key to us growing as a business.”

Franca NYC leveraged social media to stay connected with customers and build their network. (Photo Source)

Through the use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram, Jazmin and Sierra were able to stay connected with customers and gauge what products they were interested in. It’s this connection, both online and in their local community in NYC that has been their strength and helped Jazmin and Sierra drive their business forward. 

“Thanks to our community we were able to ask for advice when we needed it and learn from our peers. We’ve been very lucky in this sense,” said Jazmin. 

You might be interested: Argentinian artist Lucia Maman explores feminine themes

Jazmin admits that at the beginning, she never would have even thought to reach out to other people, or even strangers, to ask for advice or just chat about their experiences as a business owner. 

“Now I can say it’s one of the things I recommend most people do, especially women. A quick Instagram or Messenger DM can go a long way,” Jazmin said. “Always reach out to other women. Creating that network and community will be not only great for your business but will also help you get through some of the overwhelming times you’ll inevitably go through as a business owner.” 

As Franca NYC’s message states: There are common threads that bind us. No matter where you come from or where you are going, there is a commonality to be discovered.

Art Basel 2021: Argentinian artist Lucia Maman explores feminine themes

Lucía Maman, an internationally successful plastic artist lives in Miami and stands out on the local scene. Each person who passes by her studio, located in the Allapattah district, is struck by her large extraordinary paintings.

Lucía inherited her passion for art from her father, gallery owner Daniel Maman. Today, based in Miami, she paints and explores the art business, and hopes to have a success in sales at the upcoming Art Week – known as Art Basel

Miami Beach Art Basel begins this Thursday, December 2nd, where Lucía’s 3 to 5 meter high paintings will be on display, welcoming both collectors and the general public curious to meet the young woman who has attracted public attention with her unique artwork. 

Her work is characterized by its expressive power. Her paintings often revolve around bioethical discussions that deepen the human question. Who are we and where are we going? What will become of our humanity in a world with increasingly tangible tendencies towards the amalgamation of the biological and the engineering of synthetic modification?

These are some of the questions that appear in her work and that she tries to answer with her figurative compositions. Critics and experts in the field of art have considered and described her excellent body of work as one that challenges the viewer in a visceral way. Her work impacts and excites. Lucía agrees and shares that one of the most recurrent comments when it comes to receiving visits in her workshop usually lies in the strength and intensity of her artistic proposal.

Lucía Maman

Her paintings often revolve around bioethical discussions that deepen the human question. Who are we and where are we going? (Photo courtesy Lucía Manan)

“I am interested in genetics, biotechnology, the place of the anomalous or the different in our society, the question of otherness. I inquire about current events such as radical discoveries that affect the genetic engineering industry, for example CRISPR, or advances in fertility and assisted reproduction technologies, or the manifestation of transhumanist ideals,” says Lucia. 

Since the inception of her work, distinguished critics and prestigious artists have predicted a path of success and they have not been wrong. Her paintings show a mastery and exceptional talent in the handling of color and matter.

In the four years since arriving in Miami, Lucía has become vital in the local art scene and a must see when visiting the Allapattah district. There, just a few blocks from her studio, are also key cultural spaces of the city of the sun such as the Rubell Museum and Espacio 23, a cultural center that exhibits the private collection of the collector and businessman Jorge Pérez, among others.

Lucía began painting in the studio of Juan Doffo, a prominent Argentine plastic artist. There, her love for artistic practice became evident. After passing through a course and at the end of her secondary studies, Lucía decided to start painting full time, assuming a commitment to art that has been going on for more than a decade. Today her work is in important private collections in Latin America, Europe and the United States and has been exhibited in prominent spaces in the artistic sphere. 

Lucía Maman

See Lucía’s 3 to 5 meter high paintings on display at the upcoming Miami Art Week. Her stunning pieces have captured the attention of critics and collectors alike. (Photo courtesy Lucía Maman)

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Currently her work can be seen in her studio or in the exhibition spaces of the Maman Fine Art Gallery. For the Miami Art Week, the gallery will organize private events where you can see some of her works.

“I am ready to receive in Miami people who, due to the pandemic, have not been able to visit me before, and above all I hope to be able to share with them that wonderful experience of reconnecting artists with collectors and enthusiasts in general,” concludes Lucía.

The 2021 Miami Beach Art Basel will run from Thursday December 2nd to Saturday December 4th. For more information visit artbasel.com