Monthly Archives: August 2015

Movement While Being Still: Drawings by Dagmara

Hey everyone sorry I’m so late, but as I told you we got a chance to speak with our friend Dagmara. We had a chance to speak of how one person can inspire through art. More so, how if you work hard enough you can learn anything. Dagmara is very popular for being able to catch the essence of celebrities through her illustration. However, I find her meaningful pieces really touch the heart and make you think. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as me, now let’s get into it!

Q: Can you please give use your name, background, business name, and business background?
A: My name is Dagmara. I’m originally from Poland but I have lived in the UK since I was 9. I’m a freelance artist I’m planning to continue doing freelance work for a while until I set up my own business. My dream is to be able to design and produce my own shoes and hand paint them myself.

Q: You are so artistically gifted, are you a trained artist? Or self taught?

A: I’ve never been a trained artist. I have always taught myself since I was a child. I don’t believe you can teach someone to be a professional. You learn best by doing it yourself.

Q: Why did you choose portraits as an artistic focal point?

A: I have no idea why I have chosen to draw portraits mainly. I guess it just happened naturally. At school I used to always get asked to draw my friends so I guess I started to enjoy it since then. I draw everything but I enjoy portraits the most. 

Q:  I see many of your illustrations are dedicated to children with cancer? What made you choose this focus?

A: There was a day when a girl named Emily, who suffers from Chronic Illness, posted something on Instagram about feeling down. I wanted to make her feel better so I decided to gift her a portrait. It was amazing to see her reaction. Her mother messaged me on Facebook thanking me that I’ve made her daughter smile. Since then I knew that this is my focus in Art. To make people happy. I believe that everyone has a talent and every talent has a purpose. With me, I use my talent to make others happy. It feels amazing. Seeing children with cancer suffer daily breaks my heart. They love receiving gifts and it makes them so happy. I love making them and their families feel better. It makes me happy! Through my drawings of them I try to portray their beauty and strength. There is not enough awareness for childhood cancer so I try to raise awareness through my Art.

Q: In your piece the Suffering in Gaza you captured emotion in such an effective way; what compelled you to touch on this topic? What is your viewpoint on the suffering the people in Gaza encountered? 

A:  I wanted to draw something that shows emotion. To let people know and make them realise how bad the suffering was. Both Gaza and Israel suffered a lot, and despite me drawing a muslim lady, I focused on the eyes only. I have never had a biased pinion on either of the countries. All around the world we experience suffering. We can’t blame one group of people and say others are the victims. I wanted people to look at the drawing and without blinking and breathing, find a reason why people were so cruel. Not just in Gaza, but in Israel and everywhere else in the world. So this piece wasn’t only directed at Palestine but for all suffering around the world.

Q: Tell us how difficult it is to draw on your thigh with eyeliner? Why was Rihanna lucky enough to have that spot?

A: The only difficult thing about drawing on my thigh is the fact you have to get the angle right. The skin isn’t a straight surface so it’s difficult to get the proportions right. Rihanna was just a random choice and since I drew her before, I wanted to try a different way of drawing her. 

Q: What beauty do you find in illustrating a mother and child’s love?

A: I absolutely love drawing photos that show strong emotion such as a mother’s love. It’s so beautiful to see. My most recent drawing that shows this, is a mother with her baby boy who passed away just 4 days after birth. It was such a beautiful picture that I wanted to portray that love through drawing. A mother’s love is so priceless. You sort of feel connected when you draw something that has a strong, inspirational story. Through my art, I try to tell a story and I think by showing a mother’s love for her child and the bond between the two, is beautiful. 

Q: Is it difficult to bring such a sense of reality to a still photo?

A: It takes a lot of dedication and so much patience to redraw a photo and make it look realistic and at least similar to the original. Every detail counts. The more details you include in a drawing, the more realistic it will look. You have to have a great eye for details and really a lot of patience because things always go wrong during the process. There was a lot of times I wanted to give up half way through completing a piece but I found that not giving up is the answer. Even if you think you messed up, don’t stop. Just improve it. The satisfaction of completing a work of art is amazing, especially of the one you struggled with. Through this, you learn so much new things without even realising. Just keep pushing. Some of my best work I had difficulties with completing, especially the recent Drake shoes I’m painting.

Q: What do you want people to take from your artistry?

A: I want people to be inspired by my art, look at my drawings and see the depth of every single piece I create. I don’t want them to look at the way I draw or how good or bad they are, but see the story behind them and feel inspired. Connecting with people through my art is very important. I also want to raise awareness for all the illnesses people suffer from. 

Q: What products do you offer in addition to portraits? 

A: Apart from portraits, I do custom hand painted shoes. I fell in love with painting shoes after I done my first pair of Tupac and Biggie Smalls. It’s a fun painting process and they look very cool customized. I can also do other customized work, anything you can think of. Painting on walls or on home objects. If you want your T-shirt painted, I can do that also. I literally draw on anything I can find, even broken mirror pieces. I’m currently learning to be a tattooist but for now, I only design tattoos on paper.

Q: How do you see your art evolving?

A: I’ll carry on doing what I’m doing. I definitely want to use my Art to spread awareness and be a freelance artist for now. Like I mentioned already, I would love to have my own shoe business in the future, designing and painting my own shoes.

Q: Where can people find your artwork? Do you have any upcoming sales or promotions?

A: At the moment my work is only online. You can view my work on my although it needs updating. Instagram (dagmara_cielecka_art) is my main source as well as Facebook. No planned exhibitions yet but I am planning to organise something soon and will be posting about it as soon as I know. 

I’m currently working on an Awareness Book that will feature stories of children with different ilnesses, along with their portraits drawn by me, to raise awareness. I was fortunate enough to be able to raise over £1000 on KickStarter to help me with the costs of printing once the book is complete. The plan is to finish the book by Christmas.

Q: What other social media outlets do you use?

A: I mostly use Instagram. It’s where the lovely community is. I post my art there and inspirational stuff. I also use Facebook to post my art but I’d say Instagram is where I’m mostly active. I have a YouTube channel set up but not yet in use. Once I get a good camera, I shall be making videos for YouTube and I cannot wait!

So there it is everyone if you enjoyed what you read please follow @dagmara_cielecka_art on Instagram. Also keep a lookout for her YouTube channel coming soon. If you took nothing else from this I hope it taught you to follow your dreams! I’m going to end this on an artistic note with some of Dagmara’s pieces. Thank you for tuning in!



Documenting Life Through Illustration a 1 on 1 with Diane Roka

Hey everyone sorry I am late, the Save the Charms team had a outing tonight! Nevertheless, I got a chance to talk to someone that calls them self a drawtographer. I know you are probably thinking that is not a work, but we need to add it to the dictionary because it is someone who creates a documentary through illustration. With this interview we hope that it tells a story, so here it goes. 

Q: Can you please give use your name, background, business name, and business background?


  •  Name: Diane Roka. 
  •  Background: Artist/Writer/Illustrator. Documentary-style Drawtographer.  
  • Business Name: Diane Roka 
  • Business Background: Visual Artist — exhibit at B Square Gallery. Journalist — long-form music interviews with artists such as John Doe, The Long Ryders, Jon Spencer, The Dream Syndicate, Jon Langford, Marah. Illustrator for clients such as Boyds, Nicole Miller, GoRed, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Project Sloopy, PAWS, and the band Kopecky.

Q: What is the difference between an artist and an illustrator to you?

A: I think you can be both, it really just depends where the finished product will end up. Maira Kalman and Jean-Philippe Delhomme are good examples — their illustrations are found in The New Yorker or a campaign for Barneys, but they also exhibit their work in galleries. I think that artists like Yoshitomo Nara and Thomas Campbell helped to blur the artist/illustrator lines by creating darkly funny, unpretentious art. I’ve always loved the art of illustrators, though — Peter Max, Ezra Jack Keats, Saul Steinberg, Ludwig Bemelmans, Laurent de Brunhoff, Annie Morris, Serge Bloch — you get the idea.
Q: Documentaries tell a story, what story do you want people to take from your illustrations? 
A: With my doc-style drawtography work, I try to be a fly on the wall, unnoticed, capturing the scene. I try to work really quickly, and only draw the most essential lines. I try to capture the mood of the room, the vibe of the people. I want the viewer to feel like they were there.
Q: What is your definition of a draw-tographer?
A: That’s a name that one of my friends made up to describe what I do, but I liked it, so it stuck! For me, it’s trying to work like a doc-style photographer: fast, live and in the moment. And fading into the background, so people are being themselves. Sometimes I feel like a cultural anthropologist, documenting a tribe. Mary Ellen Mark was a big inspiration for me, and Annie Liebowitz back when she used to travel with bands on tour for Rolling Stone in the 70’s.
Q: Does traveling give you inspiration to create? What place sparks your greatest creativity?

A: I love to travel. For example, I spent a month in Greece last year, and documented artists in their studios, the offices of an indie online magazine, a band in a recording studio — I was even on-set drawing at the filming of a cooking show! The key was my Greek friend George, an artist and musician with a great creative network of friends, who acted like my agent, connecting me with people.  
But, I don’t think you have to get on a plane, necessarily. I’ve been working on a book project for the last two years with photographer Janell Wysock called “Sesh”, where I draw and she shoots inspiring people in their homes or workspaces. We’ve taken road trips to places like Montauk or upstate NY, but we’ve also done plenty of sessions right here in Philly. I think what sparks my creativity the most is feeling inspired by my subject, and being trusted enough to really enter their world. I joke that my sketchbook is like my passport, but it really is.
Q: You mentioned you are a writer, what genre or style do you most commonly write in?
A: I was a contributor to an online music magazine called Perfect Sound Forever for years, and I would do long-form interviews with musicians or people who work behind the scenes in the music industry. Then I started drawing musicians live in concert to illustrate my interviews. And In the last few years I stopped doing the interviews altogether and only did the drawings. But I’m starting to get back into interviewing again, and writing about my experiences documenting people, memoir-style. The “Sesh” book will have a lot of that.
Q: When did you discover you were artistically gifted?
A: My mom is an artist, so I think that I inherited a certain amount of hand-to-eye coordination. The kids in grade school would ask me to draw them pictures, so that became a part of my identity pretty early on. Then I was introduced to the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by my art teacher in high school, and I’ve been using those tools for a long time, over 30 years. And I draw A LOT. So, I think it’s less about being artistically gifted, and more about the Malcolm Gladwell “Outliers” theory. I’ve definitely put in my 10,000 hours!

Q: What message do you want your art to reflect?

A: Truth. I had great art professors at Rutgers like artists Lloyd McNeil and Emma Amos, and they showed me that there was great beauty in a strong, bold, unapologetic line. They taught me that it was okay to make mistakes, and that sometimes leaving them in would make the work more interesting. And that it’s not just about drawing what you see — it’s about drawing what you feel. It’s nice to get a good likeness, and I like to challenge myself by getting the likeness in as few lines as possible, but if the viewer can really feel how I felt about my subject through the quality of my line — then I’ve been successful.
Q: Where can you purchase your artwork? Do you have sales or promotions?

A: It’s best to either reach me through the email link on my website, or to DM me on Instagram. Sometimes people will see one of my drawings on IG, and they will contact me to purchase it, but I typically get contacted to do a specific commission for an individual, an editorial piece for a publication, or a project for an organization’s marketing campaign. I’ve been working on putting together an online store, and it hope to have something up by the end of the year. I also let people know on IG when I have an upcoming exhibit.
I hope you enjoyed our interview with Diane. I also hoped you realize through illustration you can tell a story, and through stories people can save lives. Keep up with Diane on Instagram @dianeroka because it’s the perfect place for a visual person. Please tune in tomorrow for our movie review on Straight Out of Compton! I’m going to end with words and illustrations from the artist.

                        A Day in the Life

Here are some good ones that photographer Janell Wysock took for our upcoming book “Sesh”. The red- haired glass artist is Kevin Smolark of TriSymbolize in his studio in Philly. The woman with the bun is Emma Rochester, an Australian artist at her residency at the Crane Studios in Phila. (These first two sessions were on the same day in the summer if 2014.) 

The photo of me in the zebra print chair is at the Phila. department store Boyds, as part of a collaboration called “Proper & Correct”(Feb. 2014). Artist Mark Wilson posed for me in the boutique called Lazy Point that he co-owns with his wife Clauja Bicalho in Amagansett, NY, that features clothing and textiles from their travels around the world (Summer 2013). The last photos are of artist Don Nice’s studio in Garrison, NY. (Fall, 2013)





Words of Healing with Kaotik the Poet

Hey everybody I’m back again, and this time I got to speak with another inspirational artist that goes by, Kaotik the Poet. Our talk was very spiritually nourishing. We got a chance to speak about passions, desires, and inspirations. As well as, the power of expressing your thoughts through words. I believe people’s artistry can heal; therefore, I hope you are healed by our conversation with Kaotik the Poet. 

Q: Can you please give use your name, background, business name, and business background?

A: My name is Louis Caldwell. I own Caldwell Services, and Sweet Lou’s Bar B Que. Caldwell Services is an automotive core purchasing service. I buy warranty parts from dealerships and sell them to rebuilders. I started these businesses because I wanted to leave something to my kids.

Q: Who is the Kaotik poet? How does he differ from you I everyday life?
A: Lol, who is Kaotik Poet? He is the manifestation of my passions and desires. He is the compromise between flesh and spirit. My expression of self in its purest form. He is the moment that I leave this plane and mentally let it all hang out. I don’t have to dumb it down for others. I am him and he is me in many aspects, yet I am bridled somewhat in real life. I find myself having to hold back, lol, I don’t think the World is ready. Kaotik Poet does this on some levels as well. Some things they just can’t handle.

Q: Why do you leave your poetry without a title?
A: Most of my poems are left without titles because, titles make them so impersonal. It’s like they have no beginning and no end. I don’t want to tell the reader what they’re about, I want their hearts to do that for me. Now mind you, In a lot of my earlier writing they have titles.

Q: Where does your inspiration to write come from? What is your creation process?

A: My inspiration to write comes from my past, present and hope for the future. It derives from an overwhelming need to teach, guide and love. Hmmmm, creation process, I don’t think I have one. It’s like my words just fall atop me all at once. I can be sleep and they come to me. I have dreamt of entire ideas for stories…lol. I know that sounds crazy but true. Someone may say something. I don’t know. The world feeds me its needs, and I am its speaker.

Q:When you state, “I just returned from war I did. With its smokey mouths and hidden lies. It’s hurried red lights and busy bodies with no business of their own. I just emerged from the battlefield where there were no soldiers, just drama Kings and Dairy Queens. From 9-5 I fought this war. From the country sides to the concrete jungles. I did indulge in civil gore,” what struggle did you overcome at that point?

A: This poem came to me while sitting at a red light. I am a people watcher. I sat and watched all of the soccer moms, the restless teens, the exhausted fathers. I saw how they all watched this red light. For that moment they all had one thing in common, that light. That light offered them a moment peace, which they rejected. I watched how they glared at one another. No love, no compassion. Like the light belonged to them. I then pushed on through my day and lent my attention to more observations. We fight our way through our days. Leaving behind casualties, whether it be emotionally, mentally or spiritually. We are on a course to slaughter one another. We are at war.

Q: What new projects are you working on? How can we expect your poetry to evolve?

A: Currently I am gathering up my writings. I have found someone to help me with editing and organization. The problem is there are over five hundred manuscripts that I know of. I have my work cut out for me. I believe my poetry will evolve into a more pure truth. I want to take some writing classes, but we will see. Whatever is in God’s will.

Q:What do you want people to take from your poetry?

I want people to take from my poetry, that they are not alone in any journey, any struggle. We have all gone through it. Don’t be afraid to speak your truths. I want them to know that I have lived every word I wrote. Know That I am my brother’s keeper, and he will be kept.

Hopefully you were touched and took something from the Kaotik Poet. Moving forward I hope you let your spirit free and can inspire through your words. If you were moved by this interview please follow Louis @kaotikpoet on Instagram. Tune in on Friday to hear from a visual artist Diane Roka. I will leave you with a poem by Kaotik the Poet!

                        Killing Me Slowly

Someone help me I’m bleeding words, my pen has become a scythe and it’s killing thoughts by the second. It’s a lyrical psychopath going straight for the jugular, it’s become a verbal juggernaut. I’m running but I’m in slow motion, my pen is in flow motion, with each poem it’s picking up momentum…. Someone help me, I’m bleeding words.

I am hemorrhaging words, my passion is falling away from me, help me, I struggle to catch my misery, I lay in a pool of ink, pumped from my flesh. From the center of my bones did this ink spill. Help me. With surgical precision this pen will expel my deepest pains. I’m dying indeed, my soul has been taken, I’m
lying in need, I can’t feel my heart where my words did feed. Someone help me I’m bleeding words.

I have found my peace, do not mourn me, weep for my words for they are lost to my mind, they have known me for a time, but are now dead to me, I wade within the dark corridors, for I am sightless,, my words gave vision, but now I don’t feel clearly, I’m sightless, my purpose has departed. I’m fight less. I am beyond help I’m bleeding words.
When I have past the last wisp of my living breath, tell them of these words that did die. Lay me within a shallow keep where I may write from the grave, that I may
speak from behind the vail of the permanent sleep, from the unending dream my words did form. Upon my stoned head, may my truths be perched, I will lay not where you searched, I’m lurking about the bones of the slumbering poets where sorrows are heard……I have bled my words……..LTC3

Fine Art By Dome: The Healing Art

Have you ever needed the perfect piece for your accent wall? Or a piece that gives your bedroom a certain feng shui? How about a piece that can make the entire atmosphere feel serene? Well if you are reading this article today, you are in luck; because Fine Art by Dome Betz is the place to shop. She has some of the best handcrafted acrylic paintings I have seen. I had the chance to interview this Chicago native, and her love for her craft will create love in whatever atmosphere you put her art in. So here is the interview , and remember shop Once I move and put my piece in my new place I will do a follow up on how art can heal. 

Q: Can you please give us your name, background, business name, and business background.

A: My name is Domè Betz and I am a Lithuanian born artist. I spent many years getting rowdy in Chicago and I finally found peace in Colorado Mountains. Now I spend my days creating in my rural home studio.

Q: When did you realize you were artistically gifted?

A: We are all artistically gifted; I just never let anyone convince me otherwise. My mom was an artist so she always encouraged my creative endeavors. I’ve experimented with many different creative outlets and I never felt that I couldn’t do something. I can always improvise or figure it out. There is no right or wrong in art.  
Q: What is your artistic focal point?

A: After all these years, I’ve come to realize that oil paint is my one true love. I love how vibrant and moldable it is. I use this medium to capture the flow of natural energy. I love the organic, subtle movements in all that exists and I try to translate into my own visual language. It’s also really important for me to charge my art with a strong positive energy of abundance and love. I want my pieces to radiate peace into every space they inhabit.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration to create?

A: Nature. I love her so much. The smells, the colors, the textures, the sounds, the moods, the movements. We are gifted with so many senses and we have so much to experience. I love nature in its raw, unaltered state. It’s so wild and beautiful and infinite. I am so proud to be a part of it so then I have no choice but to produce something beautiful.  

Q: What message or feeling do you want people to take from your art?

A: I want people to feel a sense of calmness when they view my art. I want it to radiate peace and love. We all subconsciously identify with this infinite energy of love and abundance, and hopefully people can find it in my paintings.  

Q: How can people purchase your art? What is the price range?

A: You can purchase my art through my etsy shop:, or through my instagram profile (check out with paypal)

I have some items starting at a few bucks such as stickers, postcards and hand painted magnets.

My original oil paintings are priced $75-600.  

Q: Do you have any current or upcoming sales?

A: I will be releasing a new postcard design and they will be $1 each for a limited time. I also have weekly auctions on Instagram for some smaller, original works with bidding starting at $0! It gives people an opportunity to name their own price.

That was Dome Betz everyone if you are interested in what you heard, or would like to purchase any of the pieces you saw here visit, Also to see what Dome will create next follow her on Twitter and Tumblr @domaniapower. Also follow her on Facebook at If you enjoyed what you read come back on Tuesday for our talk with the Bitter Feminist!



Spinach for a Saturday by Bri Alexander

Hello ladies and gentleman! Are we enjoying the fruitful possibilities of summer?! I know I took a brief hiatus from writing, but I had an exam to prepare for and well- I am back in action now and happy to introduce you all to more ideas and recipes! Now, I know we are all still summering-ing (I totally made that up), but today I would like to share with you all some recipes on brain foods and how to assure yourself maximum energy for, say, an exam! Let’s take a look into the night before and the big day, shall we?
The Night Before: Baked Salmon and Spinach with Brown Rice

Ingredients: * makes 1 serving 

Salmon​​​​ Spinach​​​​​ Rice

  • 1 cut, clean piece of salmon​​1 handful fresh spinach leaves ½ cup of brown rice
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil​​¼ cup of vegetable oil​​ 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp parsley​​​​1 tsp garlic​​​​ ½ tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp garlic​​​​¼ cup of water​​​ ½ tsp pepper 
  • ½ tsp salt​​​​½ tsp salt 1 chicken bouillon
  • ½ tsp pepper​​​​½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ diced onions

For the salmon: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, place your salmon, (should be thawed). Drizzle the vegetable oil over it and next add the spices and diced onions. Toss lightly with hand, making sure each side of the fish is seasoned. Next, take a small baking pan (adding cooking spray is optional) and place the seasoned fish and contents in. Bake for about 20 minutes, making sure to flip fish after 10-12 minutes until golden.

Why salmon: Salmon, like many other fish, is a great brain food because it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These belong to a special group of amino acids that are essential for our bodies especially because we cannot produce them on our own. These oils have been shown to improve brain function and plasticity as well as heart health.

For the spinach: Turn on a frying pan to medium heat and add vegetable oil. Let warm and add fresh, cleaned spinach to pan along with spices. Sautee, making sure that there is no burning. After about 5-7 minutes, reduce heat and add water to soften spinach and balance flavors.

Why spinach: Besides the fact that spinach is a vegetable, it is also a source of antioxidants which serve to preserve brain cells and improve memory.

For the rice: Boil 1 cup of water in a pot, add parsley to boiling water and bouillon cube. Add rice once water boils and then reduce to medium heat and place lid over pot. After 10-12 minutes, season rice with salt and pepper.

Why brown rice: Brown rice, like several other whole grains/wheats, is an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates. Carbs are essential because they metabolize into glucose that is used to fuel our bodies later.

The day of: Toasted whole grain bagel (peanut butter is a nice add) or muffin, dried fruit trail mix and scrambled eggs. *Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

On the day of we want a source of grains, glucose and protein, all of which can be achieved here with these simple makings. Now, I know on test day we’re filled with anxiety and can barely figure out how to get the stove on, let alone make a big meal. But that’s okay, we don’t need these heavy things on test day. It’s best to keep it light and simple.

The toasted bagel is an excellent source of carbs and protein (if you add the peanut butter), the scrambled eggs also provide protein and the dried fruit trail mix contains nuts and fruit which supply both glucose and protein.

If you avid readers are eager to find out more about brain foods, visit these websites:

Stay tuned because next I’ll be coming at ya with quick and easy meals for college students!