[Video] Why the Arts (should) matter – A Christmas wish

[Photo by Joseph Phillips from Pexels]

Hello wanderers!

Christmas is fast approaching and I’ve created a new video for you! As you might have heard, London is back into lockdown and this time it’s a very strict one (Tier 4), but I’m happy I had the chance to wander around the city when things where still not as bad as now, and managed to shoot some footage of the lovely Xmas lights that this city offers. But in my new video you will not only see Xmas lights. You will also see beautiful West End theatres with their doors painfully shut. Let me explain why.

In my previous video, “8 lessons I’ve learned in 2020”, I’ve narrowed down to 8 the hundreds things this tough year taught me, trying to mention those who where pretty much relatable for everyone. But there’s another important lesson, that as an artist myself I could not let slip unmentioned. The treatment that my category received from the UK Government since the pandemic started, and various other statements from politicians, institutions and media made me realise that, as artists and creatives, we still have a big stigma to fight: the stigma of being NON-ESSENTIAL. Of not being considered real workers. Just people that play around, having a lot of fun. Some kind of eternal Peter Pans that never wanted to grow up and find “a real job”. And as someone who spent his adolescence/young years nurturing his passion for the Arts, studying and educating myself, working hard to pay my studies and invest in my projects, this is unacceptable.

How does this stigma translated into political actions? Well, from the start of the Covid emergency here in the UK we saw a huge disparity between the help and the criteria set up for salaried workers and for self-employed workers. Many self-employed, artists and theatre workers have fallen into the cracks of a system that didn’t take into consideration a lot of aspects of an artist’s “work contract”, and they got no support. When things where finally reopening, it was perfectly acceptable to have a shopping mall packed of people, or an airplane full with no distancing, but theatres were imposed such strict requirements that many of them couldn’t find convenient reopening at all. The treatre industry was helped with a lump sum of money only after petitions and campaigns from thousands of workers who had lost their jobs. But it was a help to theatres, not a help to the single workers. Because the Government never lose the occasion to remark how they think that “the artists are not viable”, that we “should retrain and find another job”. We have also been called “low-skilled”. What does it even mean? Who decides that a person who works in retail or enters data on a computer is more “skilled” than someone who can sight-read a musical score, play an instrument, write a script?

All this made me reflect about the value and the importance of the Arts, and probably never as much as now I feel passionate about it. As a starting point for the creation of my video I’ve asked my Instagram followers “How did the Arts help you in life?”, and the replies I got were incredible. “They gave me confidence and purpose”, “they helped me express what I couldn’t handle otherwise”, “they made me find myself and helped me show the best part of me”, just to mention a few.

My education in the Arts allowed me to come out of the shell of a shy and introvert young man, it gave me a tool to express myself with confidence, it comforted me and nourished my soul. My theatrical training taught me to trust people and work in a team, it taught me discipline and curiosity, it fuelled me with a hunger for culture and self-improvement, it instigated me to think outside the box and not be scared of being different.

How can the Arts be considered something “superfluous” in a society? Try for a second to think of how life would be without Arts and creativity. No music, no movies, no theatre, no books, poetry. No photography, visuals, graphic designs.

This video is a letter to Santa Claus, but it’s mainly a heartfelt declaration of love to the Arts and Culture and a sincere wish for a world that recognises the value that they bring to the society.

I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please like/comment/share/subscribe 🙂 See you soon and have a very Happy Christmas!!!

[Video] “8 Lessons I’ve learned in 2020” + blog news!

“Lockdown. Quarantine. Self-isolation. Social distancing. Life in times of Covid-19. …What did you learn from 2020?”

Hello Wanderers! It’s been a while, I know.

This year had a completely unexpected turn since the very start, didn’t it? I guess a pandemic wasn’t in the cards of any TV horoscope man, nor in any of our New Year’s resolutions lists… And yet it happened, and we had to deal with it, change our plans and our perspectives, let go of something, adjust, survive. Learn.

Life has many ways of teaching us a lesson, and this was quite a brutal way but it definitely taught us something. When I asked my followers on my Instagram stories what lesson they have learned from the past year I got all kinds of answers. Some hilarious ones, revolving around having a good stock of wine at home mainly (which is sooo relatable!), other ones very personal but surprisingly appliable to all of us. From those answers emerged a common urge for self-improvement (being more productive, stop procrastinating, invest on our own project…), but also a desire for a better world, populated of better human beings. Someone in the middle of the first lockdown said “we will come out of all this as better people than we were before”. I want to hope so. It sure will be so if we are smart enough to learn the lessons that this year taught us.

I made a video about it! In this eight minutes of comedy, stumbling on French words, saucy confessions, mental health talks, tripod smashing and much more, I share with you a bit of my 2020 experience, open-heartedly. The challenges I went through, but most of all the lessons I’ve learned. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, feel free to like/share/comment/subscribe! 🙂

Also I have an important announcement about this blog, that comes from a necessary adjustment to this year’s events. “The Artful Wanderer” was born mainly as a travel related blog: I wanted to share my experiences, tips and suggestions about cities and countries in the world, gathered during my time performing abroad and my personal holiday trips. But then Covid-19 happened. What to do of a travel blog in times where travelling freely is not possible? This was the question… Well, I decided to make a change, a small but significant shift. My activity as a blogger will not be limited to travel stories anymore, but it will embrace a broader range of topics. Which is a risk, because it will mean to get more personal sometimes too. But I think I’m ready for this step, in a way I’ve already started creating videos in which you can hear more of my “voice”. We need connection. We need to share thoughts, feelings, impressions, not only information and visuals. We need empathy, kindness, human interaction.  “The Artful Wanderer” will not only physically wander around the world when possible, but he will talk about the endless wander (funny how similar to “wonder” it sounds) that life itself is. And I will reveal more of the person behind the pseudonym, which is me, Carlo. I will use this blog for the written word, but most of all, my YouTube Channel. So please, if you want to follow and support me during this new chapter don’t forget to subscribe the channel! I’ll make sure to always create good and interesting content!

Thank you all! And enjoy “8 Lessons I’ve learned in 2020” 🙂

[Video] Watch my short movie “MOVING (to, through,on)”

This video is called “MOVING (TO, THROUGH, ON)”.

Some time ago I started collecting footage of me during some of my trips abroad, in which I was using all kinds of transportation (buses, taxis, tuk-tuks, boats…) because originally I wanted to create a video about the concept of ‘moving’.

When Covid-19 emergency started no one could predict that travelling would be no more a viable opportunity for months and months. All of a sudden the freedom to explore the world stopped.

Now that things are slowly reopening but we are still far from having a total freedom of movement, I decided to take that original idea and give it a new meaning, transforming it into a video that wants to reflect the times we have lived and we are still living. And I wanted to dedicate this video to all the travellers, the wanderers at heart, the free spirits, the seafarers, the itchy feet. While we wait to be able to travel freely once again, and write new exciting travel stories.

Hope you like it, and if you do, feel free to share it and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

See you all soon!

Yoga, wellness and healthy food at LEVELSIX Peckham!

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London has a brand new place for those who love body and mind wellness, yoga practice and healthy living. It’s for those who want to join a friendly and caring environment with an artistic edge, made by people who absolutely love what they do and offer a full experience that goes beyond the simple ‘hour of yoga class in a crowded gym’. A place to leave the stress of the city life behind, nourish our spirit and reconnect with ourselves in the best way possible. This place is called LEVELSIX Peckham.

The brand new yoga studio was founded by the combined forces of yoga teacher Will Wheeler (read his lovely interview for Wandertalks here), with lawyer Ben Rose, project manager Tania Eber and chef Woody Pike. The four decided to make their vision come to life by joining the vibrant and interesting hub of Peckham Levels, a beautiful project to transform an unused multi-storey car park into a creative space for artists, new businesses and for the community to come together, in a new and organic exchange of energy, art, good vibes and… good food! “It took a year and a half to go from concept to the official opening” says Will Wheeler, while we sit at the big table in the warm and cosy café area at LEVELSIX, “and it was so exciting to see the project come alive bit by bit, month after month: it required – and still requires – a deep commitment and a lot of energy, listening and engaging with what people want and look for, to be sure we are shaping our project in the right direction… But when we finally launched LEVELSIX back in December we were amazed and happy with the great response we got”.

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What makes LEVELSIX different from the other yoga studios in London?

The answer is pretty simple: LEVELSIX offers a wholesome experience of yoga, wellness and healthy food for EVERYBODY. It’s an inclusive environment, familiar and accessible, with a timetable that collects the finest yoga teachers in London. “Everyone is nice!”, Will says with a smile, and I can confirm it after attending a lovely class of Vinyasa Flow with the extraordinary Mischa Varmuza, who shared with us her passion and knowledge of mantras and yoga culture. There’s a clean and incredibly bright atmosphere at LEVELSIX, and you breathe it as soon as you walk in. The two studios, spacious and open, offer the perfect dimension for practice, whereas many other yoga places in London tend to fill up their timetables with tons of classes, crammed in minuscule rooms, missing the point of yoga entirely. There’s also a room for wellness treatments, such as acupuncture, sport massage, therapeutic massage and energy healing, that will be launched this week.

The experience at LEVELSIX is enriched even more by the partnership with some of the best brands in the sector: you practice on yoga mats by Lululemon, shower with a fresh and voluptuous bergamot shower gel by Malin+Goetz and sip on the hot premium teas of Rare Tea Company.

Another important factor that contributes to the success of LEVELSIX is the beautiful café and the healthy food offering. And we are not talking about pre-packed protein bars and bottled juices here: at LEVELSIX, chef Woody Pyke combines the best seasonal, fresh and organic ingredients (as local and km zero possible) creating a varied and brilliant vegetarian and vegan menu that nourishes your body and spirit. Breakfasts, soups, lunch bowls, smoothies… all prepared with art and care in front of your eyes. The café area has an industrial vibe, made homely and eclectic by colourful printed cushions, candles and yellow daffodils, and it really invites you to take your time before and after attending the class: you can sit down anytime and indulge in one of the heartwarming bowls of gorgeous food (I highly recommend the chickpea tagine with quinoa, labneh and rich creamy yoghurt, and the turmeric latte, which is the tastiest I’ve ever tried) and relax your mind (or nose around the big jars of sauerkraut, kombucha and yoghurt that chef Woody prepares and ferments in-house).

Attention to the yoga practice is the strong backbone around which LEVELSIX is structured. The studio offers Vinyasa Flow (gentle & dynamic) classes, Pilates, Restorative, Kundalini, Hatha and Yoga Nidra. Every Friday evening yoga teacher David Kam teaches an unmissable Candle Lit Vinyasa Flow class, and more events, Yoga Brunches, workshop and day-retreats are on the schedule for the near future. We talked about ‘inclusivity’ as a key element of LEVELSIX, and this translates practically into the aim of shaping up their classes around the needs of all levels (beginners, intermediate, experienced), offering a community programme with deals and promotions, and classes especially designed (yoga for kids, classes for sight impaired, and more).

On the 16th of March, LEVELSIX will host a delightful event, a Mythical Flow Workshop and Dinner with Tanja Mickwitz. Incorporating storytelling into the asana practice, mentor and teacher Tanja will take you for a journey through Indian mythology, mantra and mudra, providing you with a deeper understanding of yoga, as well as yourself. After the workshop, you will be served a freshly prepared organic seasonal supper in the LEVELSIX café. For more information you can visit the event section on the LEVELSIX website or call 020 39411950.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit to this gem of a place. I recommend you to take advantage of the great introductory offer for newcomers at LEVELSIX: 2 weeks of unlimited yoga (14 calendar days) for only 20 £, a price that is lower than a dinner out in London, to enjoy the City’s latest and hippest yoga place to the fullest.

See you all at LEVELSIX Peckham!

[LEVELSIX Floor 6, Multistorey Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, Peckham, London SE15 4TG]

 

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[Video] Canary Wharf Winter Lights 2018! Celebrating Light Technology and Art

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Hi Everyone!

Every year Canary Wharf celebrates light technology and art with an extraordinary ten days event, showcasing dazzling artwork and cutting edge installations scattered all over the dockland. Some of them are in the main squares and lobbies in the area, and some others have to be discovered walking (detailed maps are available on the website and on site): and a big part of the pleasure in this kind of event is right in the walking and be surprised when the pieces of art unveil in front of our eyes along the path.

Canary Wharf Winter Lights reaches this year its fourth edition and the artwork it displays goes from stunning big interactive attractions (like the Sonic Light Bubble in Jubilee Plaza, pulsating with light and sound when you approach it) to small intimate “treasures” (some of them accessible one person at a time in little black rooms) to fun pieces perfect for your Instagram stories (playing with the pixel cubes in Adams Plaza took me back to the 80’s!).

 

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At the time I’m posting this, the festival have come to his final day (so whoever wants to go, you still have one night!), and I have to say it was another beautiful city event. I want to give a special mention to the people who spent these supervising the installations, directing visitors and regulating the access to the attractions, operating mostly outside in the cold weather for hours (I had to turn to my best friend Paracetamol after that evening, it gets very cold and humid along the river): these are the people who make these kind of events flow smoothly and deserve to be acknowledged.

I’ve prepared another one of my three-minute videos for you, collecting some of my favourite installations. Ready for it? Enjoy!

[Video] Lumiere London 2018: second edition for this exciting light-art festival!

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Hello Wanderers!

A new year has started and I’ve been searching for ways to try and beat the winter blues (I’m a summer child and I haven’t decided to live in the sunniest city in the world, let’s say it), until I discovered that Lumiere London, the festival of art installations where the creative use of light is the key element, was due to return for a thrilling second edition!

For four nights (18-21 January), artists from all over the world have reimagined London’s architecture and streets, creating an open-air modern art gallery. I’ve defied the glacial temperatures (believe me, my forehead was frozen and I couldn’t raise my eyebrows anymore at some point, like after a botox procedure done in a butcher’s stockroom in Pattaya), and I’ve put together a little three-minute video that collects some of the highlights of this year’s edition!

I did my best to give you an overview of all the six areas where the event took place, but unfortunately I couldn’t explore the King’s Cross locations properly, due to shortage of time and hallucinations of polar bears dancing on pink strawberry jelly, product of the hypothermia I was going through. I hope you forgive me.

So, here’s the video, sit back and enjoy!

 

[Video] London Xmas 2017: a view on this year’s lights and decorations!

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Hi everyone!

Here I am, with too-much-mulled-wine hiccups to show you a little 5 minute video I made just for you Wanderers: I’ve been walking and walking and walking around London, putting together some images of the most lovely Christmas decorations that this city prepared for the year 2017! Street lights, window settings, hanging props, glitter and sparkles… a feast for the eyes and a warm hug for the heart! Because yes, we can be grown ups, cynical and disenchanted as much as we like, but there will always be a part of us that gets excited for the approaching of this time of the year. That’s why I decided to give you a little glimpse of London’s Xmas and I really hope you will like it for what it is, me walking around with my nose up and starry eyes like Macaulay Kulkin in New York in “Home Alone 2”, enjoying the spirit of the festive season along the city streets. Enjoy!

Oxford Street has been covered with 1778 golden and silver baubles, and the lights have been switched on by popstar Rita Ora. The street teamed up once again with NSPCC and Sky Cinema for the campaign “Light up Christmas for Children”, raising money to give a brighter future to children in need. Covent Garden went for the traditional display of giant golden baubles and mistletoe, and Regent Street organised a beautiful promenade of angels and canopies of lights, symbolising the “Spirit of Christmas” (even though my favourite Regent Street Xmas lights remain the ones from 2015, with suspended metal cogs and wheels changing colour, thanks to a continuous animated projection system).

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After all the walking and the videoing it’s time for me to give my personal Awards!

The winner in the category Street Decoration goes undoubtedly to Carnaby Street! Clearly inspired by the Carnival of Rio, these decorations are the most colourful, less serious and most dynamic ones of all.

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The Best Shop Window Setting goes to Debenhams on Oxford Street! Their fairy tale theme is enchanting, luxurious and sparkly pink!

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Best Selfie Spot With Friends goes to the silver and blue bauble on Tottenham Ct. Road! You can pose underneath the gallery inside the bauble and Instagram yourself as much as you like (tip of the day: print the photo on card and send it to your family as Xmas card!).

That’s all from London, for now. Yes, because I’m sure there’ll be more posts about this city’s festive events, and I’ll do my best to keep you updated with detailed reportages!

See you later, Wanderers!

 

 

 

Bonfire Night 2017 in Blackheath

Hi everyone!

Every 5th of November London celebrates Bonfire Night a British tradition that jumps back in time to 1605, when the Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament (with his infamous Gunpowder Plot). The plot failed and King James I was safe on his throne. The event is celebrated every year with bonfires and fireworks displays in various parts of London (Battersea, Victoria Park, Southwark…).

Last night I attended the celebrations in Blackheath, where the Lewisham council organizes one of the biggest firework display in London. The event takes place in the large outdoor space around All Saints Church: a fun fair is open from midday and food stalls and bars keep you fed and happy until late in the evening (the beautiful firework display starts at 8 p.m. and lasts about 25 minutes). It’s one of the best free-entry Bonfire events in London, but make sure you donate, even a small fee to the guys that walk around with buckets, to keep this tradition open and free for the years to come.

Here’s some of the pictures I’ve managed to take from last night. It was nice, fun and freezing cold! I’ve basically skipped last winter entirely because I was working on SilverCloud in Africa, so i guess I just need to re-adjust to the British winter weather 😀 I’ve spent the night looking for a food stall that served mulled wine, but my pursuit failed miserably… I’ve ended the lovely night eating an overpriced but, to be fair, over-delicious pot of hot fried churros with sugar, cinnamon and chocolate cream on top.

Now that the Christmas season is approaching I will attend London’s most unmissable events and I’ll make sure I document them fully for you Wanderers 😉

Stay tuned!

 

Wandertalks #1 – Meet Will Wheeler

Hi everyone, and welcome to a brand new appointment of my blog, that I’ve called Wandertalks! Inside Wandertalks I will interview and introduce you to some of the most interesting and cool people I know. Today we chat with Will Wheeler, yoga teacher and brand ambassador in London.

The idea of this interview took shape after a hard class of TRX that Will and I attended in Chelsea a few days ago. We were having a snack, I was incredibly tired after that workout, whereas Will had his usual smiley and relaxed face. Chatting with Will is always a boost of motivation. I tend to be a bit lazy and my head is often all over the place, lost in hundreds projects I try to juggle, but that day after class we talked about the importance of mapping our goals, making a step-by-step plan and keeping focused and productive. I thought it would be great to interview Will for The Artful Wanderer and so… here we go!

Hello Will! There’s quite a lot I’d like to ask you, so why don’t we start with you telling us where you’re from, and when and why you decided to move to London?

“I’m Will, I am 28 years old and I decided to move to London 10 years ago from the West Country. I come from a small town in Wiltshire and couldn’t wait to get to London for the bright lights of the West End, the culture & the buzzing atmosphere.”

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You started your professional career as a performer. When did you first get to know yoga and fitness, and what made you realise you wanted to enter that world and study to become a teacher?

“I joined a friend for a class and a coffee to catch up, it was then I got hooked on hot yoga and undertook my first yoga teacher training with yogahaven London. I cleaned mats, I worked for them as a receptionist, I undertook their teacher training programme and then became one of their full-time instructors. I loved the feeling I got after hot-yoga classes. My body felt open and free, I wanted that feeling as much as possible and thought ‘why not share it with others?’. So, I became a teacher.”

What, in your opinion, can yoga add to our everyday life, and how does it impact us as persons?

“When I’ve done yoga I feel much calmer, grounded and I can think clearly (and have less busy thoughts than usual). I recommend anyone that feeling, whether you live in a busy city or are juggling a full on work pattern or family life. It will give you a sense of calmness. Especially if you slow down completely with a class like Restorative Yoga, these sessions can really rest and restore you.”

What are you current work commitments, do you teach somewhere regularly? Can you briefly tell us about your activity as ambassador for
lululemon as well?

“I used to run around town, teaching classes all over for fitness studios, gyms, yoga centres, away days, you name it! I’ve slowed down recently (and taken some of my own yoga advice) to concentrate more on events. I teach 3 weekly classes in London, I run several events around town and run yoga retreats in the UK / Europe. Recently I’ve been running a yoga+facials+prosecco event for skincare brand, Malin and Goetz .

As you mentioned I am an ambassador the Canadian yoga apparel brand lululemon. It’s brought so much fun to my life, I’ve tried so many fitness styles and concepts way out of my comfort zone, networked with great industry folks and got to wear their fab technical products for sweat and yoga too.”

Your yoga retreats are very successful! And your Instagram feed always gives us a glimpse of the lovely atmosphere that seems to create spontaneously at every event. What’s your concept of a yoga retreat, and what are the key elements you have in mind when you organize one?

“The yoga retreat is all about giving back to you. People spend so much time being busy and being pulled by the stresses of modern life, work, family. These retreats are all about restoring back to the best you through daily yoga classes, delicious wholesome food (prepared by fantastic retreat chefs), downtime for things like treatments, massages, pool time or simply sleeping! I highly recommend them (and I love going on them too!).”

Do you have any yoga retreat planned in the near future? Please tell us about it!

“Yes! My next one is in France set in the beautiful Cognac Country, this one came about really last-minute. The summer retreat in Italy was a massive success I decided to squeeze in a little bit of Autumn sunshine, adding another before the years out. Our guests at Maison de la Vaure can expect plenty of classes in the refurbished yoga barn, delicious meals by Ceri Jones’ Natural Kitchen Adventures, long country walks & some healing time in the outdoors pool or in the sauna!”

Your career gives you the chance to travel a lot. Is there a place you’ve seen lately that impressed you positively, or a trip somewhere that was special? And would you give us any suggestions for unmissable cities and locations to visit?

“Following the Italy retreat about five of us travelled further south in Puglia, a beautiful region. We settled in the town of Lecce. It’s magnificent. Some days we enjoyed a historical walk around town, delicious food, others we headed off and beached hopped day-to-day on some of the amazing beaches which sit on the Ionic and Adriatic coastlines. I highly recommend a visit to this stunning place.”

This is a blog about travel and lifestyle. Would you give us one personal advice, a tip or a recommendation to improve our everyday life, or to help us through these modern times?

“I think we just need to pace ourselves. I’ve always been one to run around, I’m starting to go much steadier, taking as little as 5-10 minutes a day (whenever I can) to slow down and meditate, breathe deep and just enjoy a little bit of ‘being in the moment’.”

[Will Wheeler is a London yoga teacher who runs classes, events and retreats. Find out more.]

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