Feature Friday: Poet Nash Consing

Happy Feature Friday!

IMG_20150224_190638Today we’re featuring our first poet ever, (!!!) Nash Consing! We love to share different talents with you guys and think you’ll love what Nash writes. His poems, although short, have so much emotion packed into them! You can see more of his writing on Instagram where you’ll get lost reading all of his amazing stuff. On top of that, we love how he handwrites his poetry to give it that authentic vibe. Keep reading to hear about Nash’s creative background and get a peek at his very own poems. He also has a book out that’s a compilation of his work which you can find here!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got your start in poetry.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 8.09.53 PM: My name is Nash Consing. I am sixteen years old and a junior in high school. I live in North Carolina, but my parents are from the Philippines. Things I do include being a drum major and marching band playing the saxophone on a regular basis, along with listening to various types of music, mostly rap and alternative rock.

I think the reason I started writing poetry is how you would expect a fifteen year old boy beginning to write poetry. There was a girl I liked, and unfortunately she was going to move away from my city at the end of the year. At this point I had never really openly expressed my emotions from the romantic side of my heart to anyone, But I followed this account on Instagram, @emolabs, and he wrote these super short and sweet romance poems and photographed them with beautiful sceneries in the background, and it seemed that even the vague ones seemed to had impacted my heart in an unexplainable way. And so then, with two weeks left in the school year, I decided that I would write a notebook full of poems like @emolabs did on his Instagram account. I didn’t do it in time, so then I just made an Instagram account and eventually she saw them.

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Continue reading “Feature Friday: Poet Nash Consing”

Feature Friday: Baker Vickie Liu

SugarhouseHappy Feature Friday!

We absolutely love today’s feature with the amazing baker, Vickie Liu. We can’t get enough of her creative, adorable, and often funny cookies amongst other treats! She gives cookies such personality and her Instagram filled with cookie characters and shapes is sure to keep you looking and “wowing” for hours! We talked to her to find out more about how she found her baking talent as well as how she creates epic baked goods and a picture perfect Instagram feed.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in baking.
vickie: Baking has been an interest of mine since high school, but back then I just made (un-appetizing looking) cupcakes for friends or family when I had the chance! After graduating university from courses I wasn’t passionate about and no full time job –  I decided not to do my Masters in Architecture, and instead rekindled my love for baking and have been addicted ever since.
I’m currently working a part time job unrelated to my field of study, and baking part time. This includes taking custom orders, working with small businesses and brands, collaborating with other creatives, guest blogging and a little bit of styling.


Continue reading “Feature Friday: Baker Vickie Liu”

Feature Friday: Illustrator Valeria Susloparova

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

x_ad31278cThis week we talked to Valeria Susloparova of @vsusik, who has a large Instagram following for her amazing dog illustrations. We love this feature, because these aren’t your typical illustrations. She finds ways to make them unique and integrate 3D components, all while making her subjects have personality. From the drawing skills it takes to create the dog, to the element she adds to make the portrait humorous or cute, we can’t get enough of her work! She has always wondered what dogs are actually thinking, and her art really shows this thought process. Keep reading to hear more about Valeria and see some of the funniest dogs you’ll probably look at all day.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

rcLH9TbRhPM: My name is Valeria Susloparova. I was born in Russia and I have still lived here. My specialization is graphic design. I have been drawing all my life. I tried different painting techniques and materials, but I especially like watercolor painting. I have a gold labrador. He is my big love and inspiration. I enjoy reading, watching films and series, riding bicycle and nature.


Castle Logo: How did you find your style of mixing illustration with physical objects?

rcLH9TbRhPM: It all has happened in a creative process. I continue developing my skills in this direction.


Castle Logo: You paint a lot of dogs. What about them inspires you to create your pieces?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  Yes, basically I draw dogs but I can create illustrations using different techniques. Dogs…Their funny and cute faces inspire me. I wonder what they are thinking about and I try to reflect it in my illustrations.


Castle Logo: What art supplies do you use most for your work?

:rcLH9TbRhPM  I work with watercolor and use watercolor pencils to breathe life into my paintings because I like the way they depict the texture of animal fur.


Castle Logo: Do you sell your work or take commissions?


:  It has always been my hobby. There are a lot of requests and offers to make more illustrations now. I put not only time but also love into my paintings. If I need to give someone my illustration, I am really upset. But I am glad, if painting has a new home, a new ‘owner’. Unfortunately, I live in Russia and I can’t guarantee safe delivery of my works. I can send them with pleasure but only electronically. And there are some advantages in this way of delivery: One, you have to wait a few seconds to get it, and two, you can print it in any size using any paper.


Castle Logo: Do you have an illustration that is your personal favorite?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  It’s difficult to choose a special one. I love all of them!


Castle Logo: You graphic design and illustrate. What do you like about each?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  I am trying to keep up to different innovations in this sphere of art. There are a lot of talented people in this area. They motivate me to develop and create in order my works to be more interesting and high quality.



Castle Logo: When did you start using Instagram to share your pieces?

rcLH9TbRhPM: Firstly, it was my personal Instagram profile but when I posted some illustrations, it become something more. Now, it’s dedicated to my works.


Castle Logo: What are some of your goals for 2015?rcLH9TbRhPM

:  To draw! To paint! And once again – to paint! It’s necessary to develop yourself constructively and creatively. Then, I really would like to travel. Also, a long list of books to read is waiting for me.


Castle Logo: Any advice?rcLH9TbRhPM:  If you are a beginner in painting and face some difficulties and failures, the most important thing is not to lose heart but to continue working. Paint every day, develop your world outlook! Learn and study more, examine the works of more experienced artists. Dream up and improvise, be bold and take risks. Love what you do. It is sure to “yield fruit”.


Feature Friday: Miss New Foodie


Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 16.58.05!

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This week our feature is all about… food! Clearly we aren’t the only ones who like food, as @MissNewFoodie, has tens of thousands of followers on her food-centered Instagram account. Since we now live 15 minutes outside of Manhattan, I always look at her Instagram to see which local restaurant or cafe I should hit up next. Miss New Foodie, otherwise known as Emily, definitely has a way of photographing the food she eats to look the most drool-worthy it can get. Keep reading to hear what made her want to start Miss New Foodie and how she manages to find all of these great NYC eats!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

mnf: Hi, I’m Emily and I’m 19! I’m a sophomore at NYU and I’m obsessed with food and social media (obviously). When I’m not eating or taking pictures of food, I love walking around Manhattan, discovering new coffee shops and art galleries. There is something to be said about never getting bored in New York City—everywhere I turn there are new places to explore. Oh, and I also love to window shop. Shoes are definitely my weakness.

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Castle Logo: When and why did you start Miss New Foodie?

mnf: I started Miss New Foodie in October 2013 of my freshman year. I didn’t have any particular reason for starting the account; I just loved looking at other food accounts, and figured it would be fun to start my own. Never did I imagine it would become as popular as it has.

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Castle Logo: How did your interest in food start?

mnf: I’ve been interested in food ever since I can remember. I played competitive soccer up until college, so I was always conscious of what I was putting into my body. After I stopped playing, I was still really interested in different types of foods and flavors. This fascination has just grown and evolved into Miss New Foodie. Now, every chance I get, I go around NYC eating different foods and taking pictures of all of my eats.

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Castle Logo: You are based in NYC. How has this inspired or helped Miss New Foodie take off?

mnf: I don’t think Miss New Foodie would be as successful if I was in any other location. NYC has so many different restaurants, cafés, and cuisines, that I can always find a new place to try. Even if I’m just walking down the block, I usually stroll in and out of random food shops and order the first thing I see off the menu. Whether it’s a coffee café or pizza parlor, it feels like there are an infinite number of places scattered around Manhattan. I don’t think any other city has so many different eateries in such a close proximity.

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Castle Logo: After tasting so many delicious NYC eats, we’re all curious. What is your favorite food?

mnf: Avocado toast, definitely. I don’t eat it often, but whenever I go to brunch, I always like to eat the restaurant’s signature avocado toast. Every place makes theirs differently, so it’s fun to try each one. It’s so simple, yet satisfying and flavorful at the same time.

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Castle Logo: Name a few of your favorite places to eat in the city?

mnf: For brunch I like to go to Jack’s Wife Freda, Two Hands, and Café Gitane. Sometimes their lines are long, but it is well worth the wait. Some of my other go-to places are Joe’s Pizza, Tompkin’s Square Bagels, and Grey Dog. When I have a craving for something sweet, The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop is also very fulfilling.

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Castle Logo: Are there any challenges to running Miss New Foodie?

mnf: In order to keep the account fun and interesting, I have to buy a lot of food! This is both time-consuming and expensive. I have to plan my day around where and when I’ll go get food, and I have to properly budget how much I spend each week. It doesn’t seem like much, but sometimes it’s difficult to balance time between Miss New Foodie and schoolwork, especially when working on Miss New Foodie is 10 times more fun than writing papers.

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Castle Logo: What camera/techniques do you use to capture the most delicious sides of all your food?

mnf: Lighting is the most important part of getting a good picture. Natural light is always best, especially during the time right before sunset. I also like to play around with the different angles of the food—going up close to capture the texture of the food, or from high above to get an overall view of the table. It really depends on what type of food I’m photographing. My camera has actually been broken for about two months now, so sometimes I have to hit the lens against my knuckles until it goes in focus.

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Castle Logo: What are your future goals/dreams?

mnf: I’m switching into a media major at NYU, so I’m hoping to work in the food media business in the future. I look up to food personalities like Guy Fieri or Giada De Laurentiis because they’ve made successful careers out of doing what they love. As I am only a sophomore in college, I still have time to figure out what I’ll be doing after I graduate… which is good because right now I have no idea what to do with my life.

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Castle Logo: Any advice for aspiring foodies?

mnf: I think an important tip is to never be afraid to try new foods! I always thought smoked salmon/lox was disgusting whenever I saw it in the deli shop window, but I never actually tasted it for myself. Then I tried it one day, and now I love it. As for the best way to grow a social media following, I think it’s really important to post frequently and to post original content. Create your own style and spend a lot of time connecting with your followers. Also, tell your friends and family about it, whether it’s a blog, an Instagram, or a YouTube channel! They are the first people that will spread the word about your account.

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To see more amazing food follow Miss New Foodie on Instagram: @MissNewFoodie and check out her website: MissNewFoodie.com

Feature Friday: Strung Out Nails

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 16.58.05!
IMG_3478dThis Friday, we’re featuring Ashton of Strung Out Nails! We had never heard of string art before seeing Ashton’s work and now we’re so glad we have. Just look and see how cool it is! A few decades ago this unique style of art was really popular, but now Ashton believes it’s making a comeback. We’re excited that you all will be the first to know about this re-emerging style of art! Keep reading to hear all about Strung Out Nails and how it came to be.

 Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself.
son-logo: I’m Ashton E. Bemis. I’m a 26-year-old creative living in Nashville, TN with my husband, Kyle, and our four dogs, Hershey, Gracie, Misfit, and Dobby. I have always been interested in art, but I ended up going to school for social work, because of my love for people and diversity. However, here I am, five years post-degree, and I have circled back to my first love. I am now a photographer, graphic designer, artist, and “wannabe” writer, and I’m loving it.


Castle Logo: How did you get started doing string art? How did you learn how to do it? 
son-logo: It happened quite by accident, really. I wanted to make a unique gift for my husband for Valentine’s Day (he says it was his birthday, but we have agreed to disagree…that’s marriage), and I had remembered seeing string art on Pinterest a few years back. Kyle is from California, so I thought it would be neat to do a California piece for him. I have always been a visual learner, so after looking up images of a few pieces, I just kind of figured it out, as anticlimactic as that sounds. I had so much fun making his piece that I decided to make a piece for a friend’s wedding gift. Once other friends saw that, the orders started coming in, and Strung Out Nails was born. 

Castle Logo: Tell us about the process to complete a piece. 
son-logo: Every piece is unique and takes a lot of time and effort. Most of my pieces are custom orders, so my clients usually have some sort of idea of what they are wanting. Whatever the concept is, I’ll take it and design a template in Photoshop, then print it to the size of the piece. Then, I will start on the base. The bases are a vast array of sizes, so how I create each one is dependent on the size; some are one piece of wood, while others are panels screwed together. Each base gets stained or painted and has to dry for a day before a nail ever touches it. Once the base is complete, I lay the template and begin outlining with a nail. I outline the entire piece like connect-the-dots before removing the template to begin placing the nails. Finally, I begin filling in the space with string. If a piece has multiple colors, I have to decide how I want to layer the colors before I can begin. It takes a lot of patience to complete a piece, of which I could always use more practice.

Castle Logo: Where do you see Strung Out Nails going in the future? And what are some of your biggest/current goals in general? 
son-logo: I honestly like where it is at the moment. It has actually taken precedence over my photography! I truly just hope it continues to stay this way. I think it would be extremely fun, however, to do a really large piece for a local business.

Castle Logo: What is your favorite part about making these pieces? 
son-logo: As with most things, I really love the end result. Watching the image come to life is always rewarding.


Castle Logo: What’s the most challenging part about creating your work?

son-logo: It is a very tedious art. From trying not to whack my fingers while hammering the nails, to making sure the string doesn’t pop off of a nail while I’m filling in, it’s tedious from beginning to end. In the end, though, it’s definitely worth it.

Castle Logo: How would you describe the perfect setting and ambiance to complete a piece?
son-logo: I really enjoy working in my living room while listening to an audiobook or music. On nice days, I have also enjoyed working on a piece outside on a blanket.
Castle Logo: Does your work have any type of common theme? Or since you mainly do custom orders is every piece very different? 
son-logo: My most common themes are Nashville and Tennessee. However, as I said earlier, most of my pieces are custom orders, and I always enjoy the challenge of creating something new.


Castle Logo: Do you do any other type of artwork? Do you think that helps you in string art as well? 
son-logo: My background in photography, graphic design, and drawing/painting definitely helps. Being able to find a visual balance makes all the difference in the final look of a string art piece because of how linear it is by nature.


Castle Logo: How popular is string art? Do you know of a lot of other people doing this type of work?
son-logo: I feel string art is beginning to grow in popularity again. It actually began in the 1800s by a female mathematician, Mary Everest Boole, who wanted to make geometry more tangible for children, and she created what is called “curve stitching.” It became popularized as an art in the 1960s and 70s, then it died off again. Recently, string art has evolved in both look and variety. I don’t know many other people who actually create string art, but I have found a few other very talented string artists through Instagram.
Castle Logo: Any advice for other creatives/artists out there? 
son-logo: You make time for the things that are important to you. I never dreamed I would make a career of creating string art, or photography, or graphic design, but I made time for those things. I stuck with them, and I continue to learn all I can about them. I plan to do the same with my writing. Persevere and endure. I truly believe that makes all the difference. 

 Make sure to check out more from Strung Out Nails on Instagram!: @strungoutnails