A Q&A with Clayton Nelson

A Q&A with Clayton Nelson

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; it’s the doorway to the past, but a portal into the future. Acclaimed fashion photographer, Clayton Nelson has held near and dear to these mantras using his lens to depict a story through vivid imagery that frames one within a still in time. He conveys an emotion, invokes imagination and transcends the viewer into an alternate reality of the visual arts.
Nelson is known as “one of the VERT best, PERIOD;” serving as both a fashion photographer and model scout where he serves in both mediums seamlessly. Commissioning Nelson you are guaranteed three important points: professionalism, perfection, and persistence.

RAINE: What are some tips that you have learned along the way that has contributed to you being a photographer?
NELSON: In 1953, Pablo Picasso remarked to Lee Miller, “Art is but imitation.” In the artistic medium, everyone was influenced, by someone, or something. The “tips” that I have learned along the way came mostly from meticulous study of the “masters” of fashion photography. Most especially, Irving Penn, and Bruce Weber. I see them as being numbers one and two, in that order.
RAINE: How has technology influenced the field of photography and where do you see things going?
NELSON: The advent of digital photography has been both a blessing, and a curse. Those top level fashion photographers who either refused or were unable to embrace the new technological medium virtually crashed, and burned. The arts is about CHANGE. change is a 600 mph, 600 foot tall tidal wave. If you stand in front of it to oppose it, you will be swept away. Digital photography is now the accepted norm, and it is here, to stay. The upside is simply too great, to ignore. Film photography will always be around, as an art medium. I have kept my film cameras, and still occasionally shoot with film. The advertising field is still “feeling it’s way”, as regards digital photography. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, changed.
RAINE: What branding rule do you live by?
NELSON: The branding rule, that I live by: “Dare, do be DIFFERENT. Those who blindly follow, invariably FAIL.” Frances Grill once remarked. “Photographers crave new imagery.’ She was dead on correct.
RAINE: What has been your greatest challenge to date as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
NELSON: In the fashion advertising community, nearly everyone “wants it, for nothing.” I learned that when you reach the point where you say, “No. Enough, is enough. Pay me.”, clients generally become disenchanted. They also tend to become more respectful.
RAINE: What money advice has helped you on your journey as a creative artist?
NELSON: Stay the course, stick to your guns. Negotiation is all a part of the process; at the same time, know your worth. Never, give it away for nothing.
RAINE: Would you say your work as a “creator” has allowed great spiritual expression in your personal life?
NELSON: Personally, I am a hard core atheist. The satisfaction I derive from “creation” is a heightened sense of self gratification.
RAINE: What’s your favorite book and has it had an impact on how you view your work or the world around you?
NELSON: My favorite book was/is “Horst”, which was the illustrated works of the fashion photographer Horst P. Borhman (1906-1999). This book opened my eyes, and I mean wide open. It was, after reading and studying this book, that I embarked upon the study of every great photographer, that I could find. Reading this book was a real awakening.
RAINE: Who has been your biggest mentor? How have they influenced your work?
NELSON: My biggest mentor has been, and still is Frances Grill, the founder and current President of Click Models of New York. Frances taught me how to see the big picture, how to see everything, in an equation. She was/is a pure advertising genius, who taught me how to break down the walls of self limitation. Frances, rather than seeing things like an agent, saw them as a photographer, as well. No other agent I have ever met has ever been able to do that; it enabled her huge success, as a model agent. Frances was simply three steps ahead of everyone else, in the model industry. Frances Grill taught me to think out of the box.
RAINE: Who has been the one person you have enjoyed working with most and why?
NELSON: I have most enjoyed working with the Grill family, at Click models of New York. They are FAR different, than are the stereotypical industry types. Life is far more fun, with the folks at Click. Casey Pobran of The Rocky Mountain Entertainment agency of Montana has been a real delight. A former Ford model, Casey knows both sides of the fence, and is far more involved with her models, on a one on one basis. Danielle Bongiorno at MSA Management of New York has been wonderful to work with over the years, in that she is far sharper and possessed of an innate intelligence, that is the typical model agent. A real no nonsense type, possessed of real brains. These are the type of agents, with whom I personally thrive.
RAINE: What words of wisdom can you share with other aspiring creatives?’
NELSON: Words of wisdom? “ The key to success and ongoing progression in the model/fashion industry is ti know how good you are NOT, rather than how good you are. When you can achieve that, the doors open wide, and the learning process is enhanced. It is a philosophy that I teach all of my assistants.

Get fit with Maik

Get fit with Maik


Having been involved with weights for a quarter century (for those of you that are historically inclined, I started lifting when Yugoslavia was still a country) I do have to audacity of having an opinion as to what were the 10 biggest mistakes I made during my lifting career. I listed them below in the hope that you will not repeat them but instead learn from my mistakes, thereby accelerating your progress.

Training a muscle once a week is not enough. I used to follow the classic “train each muscle once a week” split. So I blitzed bombed, destroyed, and annihilated. Did they grow? Not so much to be honest. The reason is that muscle protein synthesis settles back to base line within 36 hours, therefore the gains stop after that. If you have a stubborn muscle group you can train it three times a week with moderate volume. Do this for 4-6 weeks, and then switch the focus toward another body part. Ugly reps are stupid. Yes partial reps grunted out with the help of two or three lifting partners look really cool and manly but they do more harm than good. For once, they wreck havoc on your central nervous system in terms of recovery and secondly, they are the cause of a lot of injuries. If you have the joints of Ronnie Coleman, by all means beat yourself up. For most of us, stick with one rep below failure. Your gains and joints will thank you.

Volume matters. Overall volume that is. As we get better at anything the law of diminishing returns kicks in. If you ever learned a new language you will remember that the first weeks feel magical. Every day you learn a new word, ways to conjugate and soon you form little sentences. In other words, the path from being a mite to being able to order bread in French is rather easy. To read Voltaire is rather difficult and requires disproportionate effort. Ditto in training, once we reached a decent level of performance we need to do more and/or add more intensity techniques to push the physique to new limits. Once I understood that and increased the volume from the traditional 3 sets of 10 for 3 to 4 exercises, my progress increased dramatically. What is the upper limit in terms of volume? We are not quite sure but anything over 30 sets per muscle per week does not seem to yield better results.

You must avoid program hopping. It is so easy to get distracted these days. So many websites, magazines, and people selling programs…you name it. This leads to analysis paralysis. I was often chasing the next shiny thing, changing my workout goals every few days. Looking back I made the most gains when I stuck to a routine for at least 4-6 weeks. By that I mean define a goal such as add 20 lbs. to your squats or train chest three times a week for a month. Doing so would allow me to ramp up the intensity, do proper reload and assess my progress. Most supplements are useless. Yes. There, I said it.

Taking it from the top, training, diet, and recovery will be responsible for 95% of your physique. Supplements are somewhere in the 3-5% range. Protein powders fall somewhat into the diet part and can be very helpful, especially for larger athletes or when traveling. What about the rest? Glad you asked.

1. Zinc and magnesium deficiencies are very common among athletes, so a ZMA supplement at night will be helpful to restore balance and also help with sleeping.

2. Vitamin D3 levels are chronically low, especially during the winter months. Think 2,000 to 6,000 IUs a day.

3. Creatine is one of best-researched supplements and has proven time and time again to work very well in terms of enhancing recovery and building up strength.

4. Adding Omega 3’s by consuming fatty fish, such as salmon, or a fish oil supplement, has been shown to enhance muscle growth and increase testosterone levels. Up to 3 grams per day of fish oil supplementation is beneficial in order to balance our ratio between dietary Omega 3 and Omega 6.

5. And to answer what everyone really wants to know:
Fat burners = overpriced caffeine pills.
Steroid replacements= why would NFL players risk their career using the ” real thing” if they could just take the latest “as seen on CNN” herb?
And just to hammer in what really matters: nothing, not even steroids will work without proper training and diet.

6. Don’t take everything literally
In the world of instagram and Facebook it is very easy to develop body image issues or get caught up in negativity.
Here is a fun fact: A lot of trainees are in shape despite their workouts and diets. Let me elaborate: bodybuilding and fitness is one the most non-scientifically run sports you’ll ever come across. I can not wrap my head around why that is but if lets say swimming and track and field coaching is at the level of an iPhone, bodybuilding would be a Vietnam war mobile phone where one guy carries the phone and the other one drags the battery. Of course, here I am referring to “broscience”
Example: So the next time some IG or FB “celebrity” talks about his 50 + Sets workout, remember the following things; It’s a story, not a study. It may be his workout.
You do not know his background. Has he been an athlete before and can tolerate such high volume? You do not live with him and have no idea what he eats, does for recovery, drugs used etc.
In the end, always refer back to science such as the progressive overload principle and figuring your caloric needs / macro breakdowns.

7. You do not need to eat every 3 hours.
I stressed myself out so much (and my environment) by trying to eat every three hours as to avoid going into the dreaded catabolic state. I would bring containers to church, weddings, flights …you name it. The truth is: your body does not have a stopwatch and even if you do not eat every three hours you will not fall apart immediately. Here is what really matters.
Hit your overall macros on a daily and weekly basis. Consistency is key, meal timing a very distant second or third. Do not take longer eating breaks than 6 hours (yes, I do not recommend intermittent fasting).

What about the thermic effect of food? Here is the thing: a few smaller meals will give smaller rises of the basic metabolic rate due to the digestive action, whereas a few big meals will give. You guessed it: bigger bumps. The net sum is the same. If you are a smaller individual and you are only consuming 1500 calories, a 5-6- meal approach is not all that satisfying. Someone bigger taking in 5000 calories plus will obviously needs multiple meals to achieve that goal which will then cause a higher frequency. In fitness and in life, always question dogmas and absolutes!

8. Not to be afraid to overstrain.
If you open any fitness magazine or website these days, you would thing that all of America is greatly overtrained. However, Overtraining happens much less than one would think. Basically, overtraining occurs whenever the volume and intensity of someone training exceeds their ability to recover. This means progress is coming to a screeching halt, due to delayed recovery and elevated cortisol levels. You are likely to lose mass and strength while being in an over-trained state. Other symptoms can include irritability, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, loss of enthusiasm and motivation. Even depression is in the cards for you. You are more likely to get sick and/or injured, and your little injuries will take longer to heal.

So, do you see yourself as having these symptoms? Yes, I am over-trained! Not so fast, I am afraid. I believe that true overtraining is extremely rare in today’s gym world. Muscles recover within 48 hours, which is when protein synthesis rates levels off. So in reality, actual muscular overtraining is rare if everything else is in place. By everything else I mean recovery and nutrition. In reality, I would venture out and say that most people are undertrained, under nourished and over stimulated. In most cases, combination of bad sleeping and eating habits is the cause of their lack of progress not the volume of their sessions.


Author and world renowned fitness expert, Maik Wiedenbach is changing bodies with over 10 years of award winning experience. He is breaking barriers and showing people the secret to getting in shape the correct way.

His recent book 101 Fitness Myths tackles some of the common fitness myths that hold people back from getting the body they want and deserve. In the book, Maik gives you everything you need to know to turbocharge your workouts to get leaner and stronger-faster!

Architecting art with light

Architecting art with light


The hybrid nature of her work, which has emerged in time, places it at the point at which light sculpture, architecture and gold- and silversmithing meet. It is an autonomous creation, in which technique, materials and relationships of scale strive to present an internal vision in concrete form, according to a mathematical schematization of space by geometric construction.
At all times, emphasis is placed on matter itself, on the molecular purity of metal combined with the geometric purity of the straight line and the symmetrical and orthogonal form, as well as its symbiotic relationship with light.

Since 2012, Bardula has collaborated with an architect and scenographer whom she met in Paris shortly after her return from New York in 2002. With a degree in architecture from the Ecole des Beaux- Arts in Paris, it was his attraction to scenographic 3D modelling and light that would lead, following a stint at Ora-ito, to the gradual coincidence of his world with that of Bardula, giving birth to a conceptual and technological symbiosis.

Bardula’s recent work is the result of the union and collaboration of two artists, a gold- and silversmith and an architect. Bardula’s work is designed and produced at her studio in the south of Paris.

Since the end of 2015, Bardula has been represented by the Swiss gallery La Ligne, located in ZQrich and specialising in geometric Art Concret and Constructive Art. The gallery showed Bardula’s work for the first time at the 2016 Art Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais.

Her latest projects are a series of light installations for the Baccarat Hotel, New York, designed by the architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in collaboration with the interior designers Gilles & Boissier 20 West 53rd Street, NYC and a monumental kinetic light installation in the entrance of Moncler flagship store in collaboration with the interior designers Gilles & Boissier and the lighting consultancy Light iQ at 650 Madison Avenue, NYC.

RAINE: Having lived around the world, what city has influenced your work the most and why?
BARDULA: The city that has influenced my work the most is New York City, a place where anyone can re-invent oneself, where any dream can happen: the legend is real. New York felt like home to me, more than my place of origin (Brussels). This is where my work shifted toward what it has become now, where I understood the direction to take to find my artistic identity.
RAINE: Who inspired your artistic skills growing up?
BARDULA: My artistic skills were inspired by my great grand-father who was an art collector. I would meet him in his exquisite home in Brussels or a posh hotel in Paris and he would take me to the Louvre museum or a ballet at the Opera. Visiting the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, a masterpiece of the Wiener Werkstatte art movement, built by the architect Joseph Hoffmann in 1907, has also been a great influence on the way I related to art. In this house, a jewel of Art Total, every piece of furniture, silverware, sculpture or painting is custom made to form one unique work of art together with the architecture. This is what pushed me to become a silversmith, my first skill.
RAINE: What was the most difficult or challenging time period in your journey as an artist? How did you get through it?
BARDULA: The most challenging times for me have been these past few years because, as many doors opened to me, I had to step through them and deliver. I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s help (an architect). Two people can accomplish more, and the amount of work that we accomplished lately would have been impossible just by myself.
RAINE: What would you describe as your big break?
BARDULA: My big break was a series of kinetic light installations – commissioned in 2014 by the Baccarat Hotel New York on 53rd street.
RAINE: Is their one person that has helped your art career the most? If so, who are they and what was the most important thing they did?
BARDULA: The person who helped my career the most has been Dorothee Boissier, from the Parisian interior design firm Gilles & Boissier, which she leads with her husband Patrick Gilles (they are also a creative couple !). She believed in my work and hired me to be part of the Baccarat project. I admire the way Dorothee and Patrick have built a business with amazing projects around the world. They are really wonderful people, in every way, and I feel honored to have worked with them.
RAINE: What aspirations do you have for the future?
BARDULA: I have two aspirations for the future : the first is to work with more galleries around the world ; it would be great if I could find one in New York to be as a good fit as my gallery in ZQrich, La Ligne. The second aspiration would be to keep working on art installations such as the ones I did with interior designers Gilles & Boissier : the Baccarat Hotel and, in 2016, the monumental installation for the new Moncler’s flagship store on Madison at 59th street. These projects are truly interesting because they are commissioned installations, a kind of artwork that can occur only within a specific context.
RAINE: Please describe your favorite piece of art, when you created and what makes it special to you?
BARDULA: My favorite artwork is Solaris, the monumental kinetic light installation created in the fall of 2016 for the Moncler flagship store in Manhattan. The main reason I love Solaris is that it belongs to a public space, everybody that walks by can see it. In a way it is art for the people. It changes the way one views retail stores, with art as a part of its identity.
RAINE: How should a young art best prepare themselves to be represented by a gallery?
BARDULA: I think that young artists should best prepare themselves by going to art school, where they will start building the bases of their network which is an essential part, like in any other trade, of an artist’s
development. The rules of the art world are complex because the subject itself -art- is so subjective, but also very defined. It is sort of a language with a strict grammar that can be learned with experience but it helps a lot starting early, in school
RAINE: What do you miss most about New York?
BARDULA: I miss the kindness and the open-mindedness of the New Yorkers, and the most beautiful architecture in the world and the positive energy of the city!
RAINE: How can someone find the right partner to collaborate with when it comes to creating original pieces of work?
BARDULA: For me, to find the right partner to work with was a very long process. My husband and I have been together for 15 years ; he was always drawn to my work which made us bond from the very beginning. He knows my work inside out, followed my creative process through the years and when the time came that I needed a work partner, he was just obviously designated, as he is my other half – my alter ego -in every way. We complete each other perfectly with different skills (his tools are 3D and infography, mine are metal shaping and LED technology) and have been able to be much more productive together.
RAINE: What’s the worst thing about the “artist” lifestyle and how does someone overcome that?
BARDULA: The worst thing about being an artist these days is the business side of it.One has to work on public relations, commercial, production, leaving often not enough space for creativity and conception, which is the essence. The other difficult thing, but that is specific to my work, is that the manufacturing of most of my artworks is very physically demanding, lifting heavy materials, working with dangerous tools which demand extreme concentration with repetitive processes like sanding, filing, sawing and drilling metal.
RAINE: What words of wisdom can you share with other creative entrepreneurs?
BARDULA: My words of wisdom to creative entrepreneurs is to believe in yourself more than anything, to give your work everything you have and to keep trying harder at one thousand percent of yourself, like your life depends on it, which is true, because being an artist is a calling, and without it a part of you would die.

Stepping out with Ruthie Davis

Stepping out with Ruthie Davis

By taking risks and covering new ground, Ruthie Davis has rewritten the rules governing footwear. Always cognizant of the design and marketing nexus, Davis crafts her signature cutting edge vision for minimalistic, chic and functional design to meet the desires of her customer. Known as the people’s shoe designer, Davis fuses luxury with youthful sensuality to create shoes that are avant-garde yet wearable, feminine but unfussy, modern but never cold. Residing in New York City and President of her eponymous brand, Davis has the advantage of being a woman who designs for women.

After graduating from Loomis Chaffee, Davis earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Visual Arts from Bowdoin College. She went on to earn her MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson’s Olin Graduate School of Business, with the intention of someday forging an independent fashion label of her own. Davis honed her design and marketing skills by holding executive positions at Reebok, UGG Australia and Tommy Hilfger before launching RUTHIE DAVIS in 2006. The RUTHIE DAVIS brand is sold in top tier retail establishments worldwide.

Since its inception, RUTHIE DAVIS has been the ever growing top choice of a panoply of celebrities, ranging from A-listers like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Zendaya and Ariana Grande; supermodels Joan Smalls, Naomi Campbell and Kendall Jenner; and young Hollywood stars like Selena Gomez, Skai Jackson, Emma Roberts and Demi Lovato. Her designs have been featured in New York & London Fashion Week runway presentations by Alice + Olivia, Dennis Basso, Duckie Brown, Doo Ri and David Meister among others.

Davis is involved with a number of brand collaborations including Ruthie Davis X Minions with Universal Illumination, Ruthie Davis X Designow (her frst apparel collection), and Ruthie Davis for Beauty & The Beast for HSN/Disney. She launched a vegan shoe collaboration with menswear designer and animal activist John Bartlett, which was nominated for the WGSN Global Fashion Collaboration Award of 2015. Davis also designs custom shoes for Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Zendaya.

In 2016, Davis received the FashInvest “Fashpreneur” Award and was also named “Fashion Footwear Designer of the Year” by Acquisitions International. She received Babson’s “Entrepreneur Hall of Fame” award in 2015 and in 2014, Ruthie was the only footwear designer to be accepted into the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America). Additionally, Davis was named the 2014 “Footwear Designer of the Year” by AAFA (American Apparel & Footwear Association) at their annual American Image Awards. In 2013, Ruthie was distinguished as one of Goldman Sachs’ “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs,” one of Footwear News’ “20 Directional Design Stars” in 2013 and 2014, and in 2012 one of Vogue Italia’s “Vogue Talents.”

In addition to overseeing the operation of her company, Ruthie serves as a television fashion expert with regular spots on Bravo, EL, Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox News, CBS News, Yahoo Finance and NBC among others. She consistently dedicates time to mentoring emerging designers and entrepreneurs. Whether it be teaching a course at FIT, or lecturing at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, her message is always clear, “Find your passion, work hard, live your dreams.”


America’s most expensive home

America’s most expensive home

Now that the average mega-mansion is beginning to become a bit ho-hum, it’s time to turn to the new kid on the block, the giga-mansion that takes decadence soaring to a new level.

“Billionaire” is the twenty-first century’s answer to a new housing niche from developer Bruce Makowsky. Deeply entrenched in the luxury market for the last 25 years, whether it be in fashion, fine art or multi-level design projects in real estate, he has hit the pinnacle of his career in designing and producing this deeply luxurious and decadent residence that leaves mega mansions in the dust. Makowsky realized that those of average billionaire status were comfortable finding and buying homes in the plentiful $50 million range, but what about those who had amassed multiple billions? They expected something more – a giga-mansion.

To begin his project, Makowsky studied land from the ground and air until he found the perfect spot in the hills of Bel Air with a 270’ view reaching from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Pacific Ocean beaches of Malibu. Watching the five-year construction of the 38,000-square-foot project come together has been the subject of much conversation and speculation, keeping neighbors, real estate professionals and the average lookie-loo well entertained for the duration.

Gushing with unimaginable amenities, the basics of the home include 17,000 square feet of outdoor deck living space and 21,000 square feet of indoor living. There are two master suites, ten large VIP guest suites, 21 luxury baths, three gourmet kitchens, five bars, a massage studio and wellness spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center. But why stop there? In addition to that grandeur, there is also an 85-foot glass-tile infinity swimming pool, a 40-seat James Bond-themed theater and a four-lane bowling alley and lounge. And the piece de resistance? The “auto gallery” contains a $30 million collection of exotic cars and motorcycles! And yes, there’s more – it comes with over a hundred notable art installations and all furnishings, an outdoor pop-up theater, two fully-stocked champagne and wine cellars, the most advanced home tech system in the world, two alligator-upholstered elevators and to sweeten the pie just a little more, . . a massive candy wall in the game room with help-yourself glass cylinders of every favorite. . . and let’s not forget the helicopter! But who maintains all this, you ask? The personal chef, a masseuse and five other full-time employees who live on site in a separate staff wing and whose salaries have been paid for the first two years of ownership.

Giga-mansion “Billionaire” is not only the crown jewel of Bruce Makowsky’s fabulous career, but will also be the crown jewel possession of its upcoming buyer and is currently America’s most expensive listing. With virtually every bell, whistle and drop-dead view imaginable, it might be a bargain at $250 million.

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