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Culturalite Interviews Mark Spicoluk


Mark Spicoluk: I spent most of my life working in the music industry. i started my own label when i was 17 and with the help of some incredible people i still own and run it today. its called Underground Operations. I recently started a new company called Cloud Empire with a great friend of mine to work other aspects of the entertainment business as well as music production and creative services. In-between the beginnings of both those companies i have had some wild adventures in the music biz… i ran the A&R department for Universal Music Canada, played in my own band for 9 years called Closet Monster, was hired out to play bass to launch Avril Lavigne’s career, worked for Gene Simmons record label scouting talent, managed a handful of artists and bands, write and produce in the studio, worked on a couple tv shows, and still work as a judge on a kids show for YTV called The Next Star (which is amazing fun). 

Culturalite: You describe yourself as a passionate vegan. Can you tell us about what led you to this choice?

Mark Spicoluk: I have always felt passionate towards treating all animals with the simple respect which i believe all sentient beings deserve. After over a decade and a half of ethical vegetarianism i was inspired by a small passionate group of new vegan friends and by still continuing to arm/inspire myself with the information necessary to show me not only how easy it is in 2013 to make new personal choices like veganism, but how beneficial these simple dietary decisions can be towards myself and health, animals, the earth, and even other people around me. Simply put, I want to live the way i would like the world to change  …its also my own personal non-participatory protest of the monstrous dairy, meat, and factory farm industries who blatantly ignore, like most evil empires, their choice to attempt to create a balance between ethics and profit. 
Culturalite: Who are you currently listening to?

Mark Spicoluk: Sigur ros- non stop and for about two years. it pretty much soundtracks my existence. Also been revisiting my old Rage Against the Machine records and La Dispute a lot lately.
Culturalite: What are you reading?
Mark Spicoluk: Leo Tolstoy’s calendar of wisdom.
Culturalite: Who or what inspires you?
Mark Spicoluk: That’s such a good question these days. Mostly people creating. The strength it takes with so many distractions in this day and age to unplug and stop reacting to others so that you can create something for others to react to… whatever comes of that strength i find incredibly inspiring- a web site. a book. a movie. a song. Anything really. As long as its positive and its intentions are pure, that is inspiration for me.
Culturalite: What was your first concert?
Mark Spicoluk: Well, in the early summer of 93 i saw Spin Doctors and Bare Naked Ladies at Wonderland which doesn’t really count (and not just because they are both lame but because thats not a real venue), but later that summer i actually did go see the Headstones and the Tea Party. But as for what id like to consider my first intense concert going experience, shortly thereafter i saw Nofx play at the RPM in toronto. 
Culturalite: What do you look for in new talent?
Mark Spicoluk: Identity. But so many these days are pale photocopies of others its harder to come across. i also try not to “look” anymore, i’m really on a living and let what comes my way come my way kinda wave. 
Culturalite: Who musically are you excited about these days?
Mark Spicoluk: I am really excited about a record my label put out recently for Rob Moir. His life and journey captivates me in spectacular ways…
Culturalite: What is next for you?
Mark Spicoluk: I’m not really sure how to answer this one. Ive been working really hard on me lately for the first time in many many years. Id like to find a way to disappear to Santa Teresa costa rica for a bit to write some music and rent out surf boards for a while, but until i figure that out just keep on keepin on and workin hard and having fun.
View Mark’s Culturalite curations here:
Interview by Anna Ross

Contributing Photographer Joe Boggen

Photographer: Joe Boggon WWW.JOEBOGGON.COM

Photo Assistant:Cesar

Hair stylist: Louise Garnier

Make-up artist and manicure: Sarah Atallah

Talent: Timi c/o upmodels

Studio: Le Petit Oiseau Va Sortir

Joe Boggon You wouldn’t describe Joe Boggon as your archetypal Englishman, although he obviously is English as his gardening, home improvements and love of nature attest. He speaks 5 languages and has spent 13 of the last 14 years in France and Italy, loves cooking foreign food and has a weird syntax when he speaks his mother tongue. This can make him sound a little odd sometimes. However there’s nothing odd about how he shoots beauty or fashion. There’s a constant commentary of encouragement, compliments, directions and “oh yeahs” which allow him to get the right connection and look from the models. Unusually for a photographer of this type, he also has the precision lighting and technique to go with this energy. Joe Boggon grew up in the comfortable countryside of Somerset, southwest England. After graduating as a psychologist, and working as an English teacher in Italy and France, he became interested in photography – initially taking photos of modern architecture. This interest in architecture led him to buy his own flat in Paris, do it up himself, and sell it for the twice the price in just over a year. Thanks to this he was able to quit his job and started an unpaid internship in a photo studio to learn his technique working for magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. Within a few years he was himself shooting for clients such as Marie Claire France, L’Oreal and Madame Figaro and exhibiting in the biggest fine art museum in Moscow, the Moscow State Museum of AS Pushkin.

He is currently based in London.

Culturalite Interview | Abigail Phillips


1. Take us through the daily happenings as Group Editorial Director of WDM Group.

First thing every morning we have an editorial meeting. We discuss the articles we will be covering that day and any ideas for future content. After the editorial meeting, I set aside at least an hour or two to work on my own creative projects. I enjoy being out on the floor with my team rather than shut away in my office, I feel the creative juices flow much better when there is a bit of background noise.

My days as Group Editorial Director are varied; they can consist of branding strategy, social media direction, design and layout, recruitment, training, or writing and research. I love developing the voice of each publication and work very closely with my team to make sure the tone and direction is spot on. I also work with our CEO and our development team on technology projects such as app development, website re-design and new product launches. My days are full but fun, and often challenging, which is great.

2. Growing up, did you have a career path in mind, or did it grow organically?

I knew from around the age of 15 that I wanted to be a writer. I have been fortunate, having that direction and a goal to work towards has certainly set me in good stead. I know a lot of friends that struggled with making that decision – are still struggling – and it can be hard. I didn’t know that I wanted to be an Editor though, that was something I realised while working on the student newspaper at university. One day, in the newspaper office the then Editor asked me if I would be interested in running for his position once he graduated. Initially I told him I wouldn’t be able to do it, but grabbed the bull by the horns and won the majority vote. I ran the student newspaper with a small team for two years and learned so much from the experience – not least that I was actually quite good at it. I would recommend it to anybody who is thinking about pursuing a career in journalism or publishing.


Upon graduation and after an extended trip through South America, I took my first job as a staff writer and quickly progressed to editing my own magazine. That progression was quite organic, I worked hard and those around me recognised my talent for curating content, working with contributors and freelancers and developing the voice of a publication.


Just three short years down the line I took the position of Group Editorial Director at WDM Group and haven’t looked back. I love developing the tone and feel of publications. I love working with a variety of different people from writers, through to photographers and web developers and I love being hands on in my role. Writing will always be my passion, but I am also inquisitive and I enjoy seeing and understanding how the finished product comes together.

3. What is the biggest challenge as Group Editorial Director and how do you work through it?

There are a lot of challenges in my role, from leading a large international team to suffering with writers block on a Monday morning. I deal with all challenges in the same way and that is calmly and logically – I am pretty cool under pressure and have the ability to give situations perspective; I can take a step back and find a solution.

When I am faced with a challenge or a tough situation I also speak to my peers and colleagues – I find that discussing a problem with someone else can help resolve it quickly, even if it just helps to get your own ideas in order. And advice, I take advice from people around me and I’m always willing to learn and listen.

4. You are also active with your blog and on social media. Talk about the importance of generating content through multiple channels.

I do have my own blog, and really enjoy creating content for it. I love writing features about things that relate to my friends and I. Creating content across multiple channels is important and gives your personal brand more exposure. By using multiple channels, you can make your brand more ‘real’ – when you don’t have time (or inspiration) to write a whole article, you can post a Twitter message or upload a photo to Instagram instead.

On a professional level you can also reach a much greater audience by engaging with multiple channels. People expect brands to have a broad online presence – its important not to let them down.

5. What is your media/marketing pet peeve?

Boring, overly promotional tweets and Facebook posts. If you don’t have anything interesting to say… don’t say it. I also hate posts that sound as though they have been chewed up and spat out by a marketing robot. Be real!

6. Where do you go to get your daily cultural information?

I really like at the moment - I am a huge fan of user generated content. I also love Traveler magazine and Vogue for the latest fashion and trends. Comment Is Free – part of the Guardian online - is also great, as is the Independent.

7. What are your views on online curations technology?

I like the fact that content can come from a number of different places and be presented in different formats. Online content is far less restrictive in terms of word counts and arrangement – sometimes a quote can portray your message better than an entire article, a picture can say a thousand words and a video can connect with an audience on an entirely different level. For all these reasons I love online curation technology.

As I mentioned earlier, I am also a fan of user generated content, its real and unbiased on a corporate level at least, and it gives readers a lot more variety. It is also very good at unearthing topics, places and opinions that would otherwise never reach the mainstream. There is also something about curation that really appeals to large audiences – like the ‘Editor’s Picks’ of your favourite magazine, curated content says a lot about the curator and people are interested in what other people like and dislike.

8. What’s next for you?

I am a huge advocate of online publishing and love working with online content. I want to continue learning about the industry while developing the publications I work with.


Interview by Josephine Le

Culturalite Interviews Photographer Manjari Sharma

Manjari Sharma (b. 1979) is a photographer born and raised in Mumbai, India, now based in Brooklyn, New York. Her images have appeared in such publications as Forbes India Magazine, Vogue India, Geo Magazine, online at NPR, New York Times, Huffington Post, PDN and Life Magazine.

Her series Darshan aims to photographically recreate various classical images of Gods and Goddesses pivotal to mythological stories in Hinduism. Printed on a massive scale, photographs will be presented in an elaborate installation closely resembling the experience of a Hindu temple, complete with incense, lamps, and invocations.

Darshan will be on view September 12th through October 12th 2013 at ClampArt Gallery in New York City.

Culturalite: Tell us a bit about yourself 

Manjari Sharma: Well, you can take a girl out of Mumbai, but you can’t take Mumbai out of a girl. I was born and raised in the East and have spent a significant part of the last decade in the West. That has resulted in some incredible cultural and reverse-cultural experiences. Project Darshan, in particular, had me return to India four times within the past year and a half. In other news I have a gorgeous one-year-old who inspires me to love life more everyday.

Culturalite: Tell us about your inspiration for your current project Darshan.

Manjari Sharma: Darshan began with a drive to experiment. I definitely found myself realizing that the medium that I spend so much time around has not really been utilized so much for the purpose of cultural preservation. I had always seen sculptures and paintings, but rarely, if ever, had encountered a photograph of a God or a Goddess done with intricate detailing. In addition, as I studied the project further, it was amazing to me how great the similarity was between a museum and a temple. Growing up in India, visiting temples with my family was a common practice, but while studying fine art, going to museums became second nature. Forming lines, waiting in anticipation for a Darshan of the artist’s work. The commonality in the process was very intriguing.

Culturalite: What is your creative process? Describe what goes into the creation of your work.

Manjari Sharma: My process starts with research, followed by sketches and finding the appropriate team members that can help me sculpt my images into reality. The crew for ‘Darshan’ ranged from 25-35 people, comprised of painters, carpenters, jewelry experts, prop and set-construction artists and assistants. It was really a team effort.

Culturalite: What’s the best creative advice you’ve ever received?

Manjari Sharma: A photographer once told me, when you are lying in your grave, and people are standing around you, talking about you, maybe you’ll hear some of them say, ‘Wow, she was a great girl, but an awful photographer.’ Or maybe you will hear them say ‘She was an incredible photographer, but a horrible human being.’ But, you may just hear them say ‘She was a good artist and a good person.’ Whatever you want to hear them say then, start making them say it now. I think the creative process is nourished by the quality of life you chose to live, which is decided by the type of person you want to be and the way you treat those around you.

Culturalite:  If you had to live inside a work of art or a song, which would it be and why?

Manjari Sharma: It would be any of Edward Hoppers paintings. The subjects in his paintings are so perfectly trapped between their mood and the shadows. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like them often.

Culturalite:  What are you reading and listening to right now?

Manjari Sharma: I am reading American Veda by Phil Goldberg, and I’m listening to Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma.

Culturalite: What is next for you?

Manjari Sharma: I’m really fascinated by Glass Plates right now and I’d love to learn more about the collodion process. Additionally I’ve been slowly working on a project on parenthood and reflection, so you might see some of that on the websites soon.

Interview by Anna Ross




Living Air Garden Pops Up at the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain
curated by The Culturalite Conciergeon Inhabitat

Living Air Garden Pops Up at the Reina Sofia Museum in Spain

Today’s curations on

Today’s curations on

Welcome to our newest Curator Mark Spicoluk! 

Welcome to our newest Curator Mark Spicoluk! 

view article here

view article here

Culturalite Interviews: Neelesh Mistry

Surrounded by fashion and tailoring since his childhood, Neelesh made the logical transition to pursue fashion design and personal styling. When he’s not helping others to improve their personal style, he’s designing timeless men’s accessories for the up and coming brand Mahayatra.

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Neelesh Mistry, I’m a personal stylist and head designer and owner for MAHAYATRA. Located in Toronto, Ontario but working where ever the work is required.

Could you define your personal style?

My personal style is probably understated. I really dress based on my mood and the destination. I don’t follow trends but I am big on innovation and quality.

How did you get into becoming a personal stylist?

It really started when I lived in the UK and the exposure that I was getting by the way that I styled myself on a daily basis. As time went on I had family, friends and other individuals approaching me help them with their wardrobe choices. I have always been interested in clothing and wanted to extend my knowledge in helping others make choices based on their needs and budget.

What inspired you to pursue a career in personal styling?

Fashion and the manufacturing of clothing has been in the family for over 75 years as my grandparents and other family members were tailors and involved in manufacturing clothing. So it’s in the blood. I just took another route and decided to help people in their personal choices.

Where do you find your inspirations for personal styling?

Most of my inspiration comes from my travels as I travel a lot. People inspire people. I do occasionally look at the internet, but lot of what’s on the web is noise and not filtered.

What are some of your “Style Rules”

I don’t have rules, as rules are meant to be broken in fashion.

Could you describe the creative process behind personal styling?

Honestly, you need to be a great people person. Every customer/job is different so identifying challenges that are places is where you need to develop your game plan. I find that understanding what the customer really needs and the budget they want to work with.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a personal stylist? 

Making people feel good and confident about their new style choices.

How would you describe how people how people dress in Toronto?

That’s a loaded question…Toronto has a great vibe and its quite diverse in its style choices. We have so many great choices

Who are your typical clients?

It can be anyone, men who are looking for new styles and wardrobe . Women that want to buy for their husbands, partners and kids.

Do you have any advice for aspiring personal stylists?

Best advice is to help educate, but never enforce a style on anyone. Understand how to style certain body types and colors that work for skin tones. Also, understand the retail market and where you can get your goods.

For more information on Neelesh and his products and services, please visit or http://

Interview by Matthew Wong