Yo! Keep It Real / Season lll

Yo! Keep it real — Season lll — Around the Globe — Imagine. A lightning fireball out of nothing. Bam. And I was hit by a thought. Yo! Keep it real can’t possibly be something that only happened once and I’m done. Finnito. No. It had to be more than that. It’s very simple. Doing it once just didn’t feel right, that’s why I’ve decided to do it two more times. A total of three times. You know. Like a triptych —

A lot has changed from the first draft idea. World has changed. We have changed. We’re all fighting our own battles, casually drinking coffee with demons of doubts, somehow flirting with the future with all the usual ups and downs in between, forever in the search for answers, always thinking how to move forward. We all are. But. Hear me out. This is important. Your voice counts, so make it a positive one. For you, for your neighbour, for everyone. We can do it. For fuckin’ fact we can —

So. This is it. The third and final part. Where everything just comes together. Like a powerful wish. To connect. Us. Wherever we are. And we are all around the Globe. Nothing less — Nothing more — All Love.

P.S. Like I said, this is the last Keep It Real collection and I couldn’t be more proud and overly emotional about it! Thanks to each and everyone of you who participated, helped, advise or being there for support! I can’t thank you enough. So, this is it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Peace out.

This year we did a collab with creative people who move to follow their dreams. Some who went from Slovenia to live abroad and some who came to live here.
Everyone with different background and life stories, but all with the same mission in their mind and dreams in their backpack. Here’s what we have to say about it.

It’s all about the dreams, but will they answer the life long question if the grass is really greener somewhere else?! Find out bellow.

1 Fem insta

Ines Sercelj — Editor-in-Chief at Fem Magazine
Ljubljana — Solna, Sweden

I’ve always known that I wanted to move somewhere. The feeling of not belonging was with me since I was a child, though the first time that feeling grew into something bigger was in high school when I became really aware of what was out there. The possibilities seemed endless, but I was too afraid to do anything, so I suppressed the urge and did what most people that age do- moved to a bigger city to study.

It wasn’t long before my new place of living became uninteresting, and I could no longer deny what my guts were telling me. So I moved to London. Well, I attempted to. Unsuccessfully. Coming back to Slovenia felt like the hardest and the easiest thing to do at the same time. Life in our small Balkan country is pretty leisurely and carefree for most.

You don’t have to do much to live a comfortable and prosper life. The quality of food is incredible, the country is beautiful, and the climate conditions are perfect.

However, it can be quite monotonous. And its this mix of comfort and boredom that keeps people standing in one place, not moving, not changing, only complaining like a small, spoiled brat. The truth might piss someone off, but it is what it is. I’m keeping it real. Moving to another country isn’t a solution for everyone, but if you exploited all other options, tried every possibility there is and still feel like it’s not enough for you, then fucking move and stop complaining. It’s not easy, no change is. I now live in Stockholm with my partner and I couldn’t be happier that we decided to move. The work that I do with Fem is all online, and my new project that is in development will be online as well, as I want to have the freedom to keep on moving and exploring what is out there.

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Dajana Jurman – Osip — visual artist and set designer
Zagreb, Hrvaška — Ljubljana

Co-owner of Landescape Studio

Ok, let’s keep it real, in the #newnormal way.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure that I even like the word new normal. Personally, normal in my world is to have the suitcase ready all the time, and to be ready not to see all my beloved ones for a certain amount of time. To put all the paintbrushes and plants to dry out, to completely live the wabi-sabi philosophy.

But, I’m not complaining about my lifestyle, not at all. That is the path that I’ve chosen to live, and the mixture of creativity, adrenaline, and personal growth is overwhelming. Living on almost three different addresses, in two countries – life is never boring.

As an artist, I’ve fallen in love with the scanography during my college years. Since then, I’ve been searching for the connection between mankind and plants in a bit different way. We are all connected, and there’s a lot of, not only structural but even emotional connection points.

That was the reason why Landescape Studio was created. Luckily, I do have a beautiful person beside me, who trusts in my work, and it’s crazy enough to go on this Land.Esc journey with me. There’s something poetic, ethereal and some kind of an everlasting beauty working with plants.

There’s actually a feeling that happens, not particular words. And to be completely cheesy, yes, nature really is the greatest inspiration. All the shapes, all the colours and oh my, all the beautiful scents. There’s no wonder that I’ve got enchanted.

Also, I work as a set designer, mostly for TVC commercials. Well, this kind of job does get you launched into the space and back, in two seconds. It is really fast and there are a lot of things happening at once, but I think that is the best part of it. Your brain has to work 220 per hour,  24/7. But at the end of the day, I do feel stronger and I’m grateful that this kind of a job gets me to the places and paths that I’ve never imagined I’ll ever go.

So, in the end, to sum it all up, I do like it. For real. All the mess, all the unknown. And, no matter what is happening around the globe, and there is A LOT, humans are very creative beings – we will go through all of this.

3 Alex Insta

Alexander Nino Ruiz Owner at ČRNO ZRNO
Columbia Ljubljana

I am a Colombian living in Ljubljana, I am an architect, philosopher, and hold a master’s degree in urban planning, and on an average day, I brew about one hundred cups of coffee. Why I don´t see a dissonance between what I am and what I do?

Sixteen years ago I arrived home in Bogotá at eight in the morning after a two days long farewell party, slept for a couple of hours, and then started to pack two improvised suitcases with my most basic possessions. Four hours later I was at the airport, on my way to Los Angeles, to pursue a master’s degree in urban planning at UCLA. What I didn’t know back then was that firstly, I was leaving for a very long time, and secondly, that the content of my suitcases was so much more than just physical things.

One of the memories I carry with me is the events of one bright December morning in 1989, in which all of the windows in our apartment Bogotá blasted. A truck bomb filled with 500 kilograms of dynamite exploded two blocks from my house in one of the actions of violence, caused by Pablo Escobar. I was 12 years old. From the distance of the years that have passed, it became ever more clear to me, that those events confronted me with the realities of our society and turned me, like so many other Colombians, into a product of Bogotá’s chaos, an inescapably consuming and intensely enriching space. Colombia’s unforgiving urban experience of poverty, increasing crime, and deteriorating infrastructure shaped my adolescence and childhood.

Drug czars, drug wars, strengthened guerrillas, surges in violent paramilitary actions, and Washington’s “Plan Colombia” were and are all part of my early reality, which for many people today is not more than a content of a Netflix series.

This is why today when I walk the streets of Ljubljana to open my coffee shop, I feel that in a way I never left Colombia, it has stayed in my emotional suitcase forever. However, this tiny place in Gornji trg is not a nostalgic escape of an immigrant to bring him back the memories of his childhood and hometown. Despite the feeling of offering a part of my country to whoever dares to order a cup of my coffee, it is for me in the same way an extension of my skills as an architect and urbanist. Every cup of coffee I brew is the idiosyncratic product of a unique group of people and their landscape, thus also their shared experience, both pleasant and traumatic.

In the world of specialty coffee, the central term, describing its origin and profile is the ‘terroir’. It’s a French term, which is used to describe the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment (soil, climate) in which it is produced. And these are the very same things that an architect or any other professional, interested in the built environment have to take into account when thinking about or constructing a healthy, sustainable landscape. This is why the coffee business is for me so much more than a frivolous activity: drinking a good or bad cup of coffee goes so much beyond the question of pure taste, it is rather an expression of a complex system of relations that came together in the production of the precious black bean. Tracing the food chain of a quality coffee can thus be the first step to knowing the links between the taste and landscape, the quality of a product, and its cultural heritage, which should also be the pursuit of any sustainable architectural, artistic and overall sensorial research.

4 Matjaz insta

Matjaž Tančič — photographer
Ljubljana Shanghai, China

It was 2011, peak of the financial crisis in Europe, when I received an email from China asking if I wanted to do the biggest 3D photography exhibition there. My first thought was this must be a friend of the Nigerian prince that kept writing to me and offering his 10.000.000 usd that he inherited from his late father. But many emails and months later I was standing in Forbidden City with my crew from Slovenia wondering how the hell did we actually end up in this country that despite its size and importance we haven’t known basically anything about. After a week of photo shoots all around Beijing we returned home full of impressions. I returned 2 months later for the opening of the exhibition. Red carpet, champagne, celebrities, music performances, 100+ media guests… I was.. Wow I could get used to this.

But what impressed me even more was exploring the art districts with artist studios, stumbling upon a nice photo festival in a gallery designed by Ai Wei Wei (Three Shadows) and all the random encounters with interesting people from all around China and the world in the old alleyways called hutongs.

One drunk spring night walking back to my hotel I decided. Time to leave London and move to Beijing. I have spent 6 years based out of Beijing, traveling to every corner of China, Asia and with visits to Slovenia as often as possible. What kept me in China for so long is the fact that this country keeps evolving with the lighting speed. The country keeps reinventing, changing, experimenting sometimes to better and the other times to worse. Corona was just one of the factors that made a change here. In a couple of months from complete lock down and uncertainty to eradicating the virus completely.

China is like a stepmother, love hate relationship but until there is more love than hate and until I hear back from that prince about my money I will keep exploring and observing.

5 Piška Insta_2

Tjaša Piška — Pirate Piška
Mengeš — Around the Globe

Around the Globe Where? Why? How?

Staying in a place you don’t like is a fuc*ing battle.
Definitely one of mine, sadly, for last couple of years.
Pro’s for staying are obvious, I have my super studio here..
Con’s for staying, again, so obvious I just, whatever. Really.
I share and relate on this one with my whole generation.

But, if I dare to dream,
Where do I want to go?
Where do I want to move?
Do I wanna move at all?
If an opportunity comes, I’ll move in a heartbeat.

So, what’s holding me back now? I don’t know.
My roots are definitely not where I live,
I want to plant my seeds somewhere else.

Also, you know what they say,
Home is where the heart is.
And my heart is lost somewhere in the clouds.

Digging deep with this one in hope to find an answer
to years long lasting question, yet again,
in all my honesty, I don’t know.

Crazy enough, now is not the time to think about that.
New normal. For how long? This is beyond.

So for now, the best plan, to shift and make
a nice worm, safe, supportive place to stay in,

my mind.

6 Anja insta

Anja Slibar — illustrator
Ljubljana New York, USA

Keep it Real”, I said to myself, the first time I got to make editorial illustrations for The New Yorker Magazine. “It’s just one email and you’re one little girl from Slovenia, no one even knows where that is —, is it even in Europe?!”. But then those emails kept on coming in and from other clients too, like The Washington Post, Refinery29, The New York Times, singers like Bishop Briggs and John Legend and I thought to myself “Yo! You still gotta Keep it Real” and I did.

I always knew I wasn’t gonna live in Slovenia, even though I was born and raised there. There were other places that were calling my name but I never knew exactly where I’ll end up. You get a few chances in life that will define and change your path and you’re the one to make that decision. I got that chance and I decided to take it and work hard for it and now I get to finally say that New York is my (new) home.

7 Luna insta

Luna Woelle — visual artist and
Japanese culinary arts student
Ljubljana – Tokyo, Japan

Saying hi after finally moving to Tokyo and being able to continue with classes of my 3 year culinary arts study program I’ve been enrolled in since April.

Growing up close with Japanese family friends in Ljubljana provided me with a rich surrounding of their culture, food, and especially their language, which encouraged me to pick it up and study it.

Having graduated from graphic design secondary school in Ljubljana I’m trying to make a bridge between the Slovenian and Japanese progressive scene – creating graphic and 3D abstract visuals on the side for a fresh Tokyo-based collective, a platform for mix releases and events with various international DJs and artists.

8 Anže insta

Anže Ermenc lecturer at
Fashion Art Direction at MMU

Ljubljana Manchester, UK

New Edge

Yo! Keep it real! Keep your eyes open and think with your head. Be truthful to yourself and others, work hard and keep fighting for what you believe in. Educate yourself and listen to strangers and their stories. Most importantly, treat everyone (including yourself) and everything with respect. Be nice to people, everyone is fighting their own battle.

9 Lucy insta_

Lucy Rose Albert — plant-based chef
New York, USA — Ljubljana

Mrs. Cutecumbers Kitchen
Liturgy Public Service

I am so much
A mixture of everything grotesque
The consequence of rubbing flesh.
I am made of breaths
Layers of perspective.
I am free, yet imprisoned.
I am living on the brink of a decision.
I am an infinite equation.
Finding my vision.
Picking a direction.

I met my slovene lover/husband/bff while I was traveling around europe and couchsurfed at his house. Soon after meeting we went on a trip down the Balkans and to the bottom of Turkey together in a rented Westfalia camper van. On that trip we totally fell in love… with each other and also with vanlife! We made a plan that we’d save some money, buy a van and live and travel around for awhile! So after our first van-trip, I went home to NYC and worked over the summer and he stayed in LJ. We kept in touch, searched for vans on the internet and ended up buying one off ebay that happened to be in Oregon. We met up 3 months later at the Oregon Airport to finally pick up our van and start our van-life!

We lived in our van for 10 months traveling around Cali and the southern American states. During this time my hubby was making a concept plan for a vegan restaurant he wanted to eventually open… and he asked if i wanted to help him with it. I had no cooking experience, like I actually could barely cook at all when we were traveling. But I’ve been vegetarian/vegan most of my life, i worked as a waitress at vegan restaurants, so i was down to help in any way I could!

So I moved to Ljubljana to be part of this vegan restaurant project KUCHA and to be with my love and have an adventure! And babbby it surely has been! I started working in the kitchen because I couldn’t work at the counter for a few reasons…  but I didn’t mind at all and turns out I really love cooking! Now I am making the desserts for our restaurant and just started making recipes for our blog! I also just started my own recipe insta-page. I just love sharing with people how insanely delicious food can be while also being amazing for our bodies and souls.

Soo… that’s how i got here. For me “keeping it real” is being honest… to oneself and in general. No bullshit… but honestly it’s not so easy when the “real” is constantly evolving. We are all so much at once. So best just follow your gut. Spend your days doing things that help you grow! Try not to be afraid of love. Drink water. And have some fun.

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