Silvia Celiberti: creating visuals for the brain and stomach

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I don’t get emails that pique my interests enough, but when Silvia Celiberti sent me one that talked about her illustrations for a new book called The In vitro Meat Cookbook – an intriguing publication about the future of laboratory meat and it impact on our society, culture and habits – I knew I had to see for myself what it was all about.

From Silvia’s description of the project:

In 2013 the world’s first lab grown burger was cooked. Nevertheless, many people still find it an unattractive idea to eat meat from a lab. And rightly so, because before we can decide whether we will ever be willing to consume in vitro meat, we must explore the new food cultures it may bring us.

The In Vitro Meat Cookbook is a project by Next Nature. I collaborated with the creative team in developing and visualising the wild recipes in typical meaty fashion (red ballpoint), with more than 40 “meta- illustrations”. The stylistic choice meant  to communicate further than what’s merely the pictorial aspect of the image; as somebody would when encountering something utterly new, foreign and mysterious, we tried tried to document the In Vitro Meat Cookbook future until its most idle details.

The In Vitro Meat Cookbook aims to move beyond in vitro meat as an inferior fake-meat replacement or horseless carriage, to explore its creative prospects and visualise what in vitro meat products might be on our plate one day.

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Her illustrations, using a red ball point Bic pen is detailed as it is beautiful in its outlandish suggestions (but is it?) of what the future might hold for such scientific discoveries. Her previous portfolio shows a mix of projects that shadows her passion in food, the environment, sustainability, and community that has led her to projects that somehow merge these topics together. As she so succinctly describes the intention for The In vitro Meat Cookbook:

The aim of the project was not to promote lab-grown meat, nor to predict the future, but rather to visualise a wide range of possible new dishes and food cultures to help us decide what future we actually want.

Go ahead and see her portfolio – and be wowed with not just her illustrations, but by her humour and yes, her brains.

2015: The year of taking charge

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I had taken two weeks off from everything: teaching, family, this blog, everything.

And what did I do? What did I spend my 14 days doing prior to ringing in the new year? Was it something productive like sorting out my receipts and re-arranging the mess of a corner that I call my workstation (I work just fine, thankyouverymuch, and things are where they’re meant to be.)

Nope.

Here’s what I did instead: I was binge-watching The Mindy Project because I had just discovered the show, oh only after it ran for 3 seasons. I was laughing and giggling over the chemistry between Dr Mindy Lahiri and her colleague Dr Danny Castellano while nodding my head whenever she was talking about how other things can wait when it comes to food. Or that you’re crazy not to have seconds of anything. Oh yes. That’s what I watched. For some her voice might be grating enough to turn them off, but for me, I had to control myself from snorting out food through my nose whenever the punchline kicked in (did I also mention I didn’t stop watching even when it was lunchtime?)

So yes I binged watched for the entire 2 weeks while I was off. And I’m not embarrassed to say that I enjoyed it. That and oh, chocolates.

I deserved it.

That, for me, was the act of taking charge of my time.

And I want to do more of that in 2015. Not the binge-watching TV show bit, but the taking control bit.

But wait, doesn’t taking charge mean doing something proactive? Something useful? Yes, it can be that too. But that’s not the point. The whole point of taking control is to be able to exercise your choice – irregardless of what other people might think. You need to know what you’re doing and what you’re doing has to be purposeful. And that is totally different from merely slacking off.

I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt while I was reclining on my sofa, cradling my laptop to the tune of crazy nurse Morgan as he deadpans about his dogs. I emptied my mind and let myself do nothing for a change. And while I do watch my favourite TV shows from time to time – having 2 weeks of pure uninterrupted bliss time to call my own is just what I needed to recharge my exhausted batteries. Your methods may vary, and so will your mileage.

Because society and life in general puts too much pressure on people to do things all the time. Sure, there are times when you can’t afford to take a break. Or maybe you’re not into The Mindy Project like I am. The point isn’t about reclining on sofas and watching comedies while popping Picnic bars. It’s about taking charge of what you want, and ultimately what you need to do to move forward.

I knew that I had been through a bit of an emotional roller coaster in 2014. One of my first dogs ever died. I ran another fun, successful second session of Work/Art/Play. There was also the 2014 Artists and Illustrator survey. I did a redesign of my blog. I participated in a local zine fair where I peddled my zines and gave a talk among other great designers. I took on a part-time stint as an art director at a regional PR firm. I was at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content as a moderator for several keynotes and a one-day workshop. And a few other wins and losses that I can’t seem to remember right now, but that’s okay.

2014 was a relatively slow year, truth be told. And I didn’t mind it one bit. There are times when we surge and forge ahead, and there are times where we back down a little – not out of defeat, but to prepare for whatever life throws at us next. We lick our wounds and treat our pain – physical or emotional – and get ourself ready for what’s to come.

And 2015 is going to be one exciting year, I can guarantee you that.

Just make sure you get off the sofa like I did.

So here’s my question for you:

What will you take charge of this year?

Maybe it’s taking charge of your time so that you can finally spend that time on learning that new technique you’ve been meaning to try out; or it means taking charge of your art and business so you can do what you love and be rewarded for it.

I’d love it if you would share with me (and I read every comment):

  1. What does taking charge mean to you?
  2. What’s your focus for 2015? What do you want to change?
[Illustration by Tyler Feder of Mindy Kaling on The Mindy Project. Available as a print in her Etsy shop.]

Reflection

Marika Maijala

 

Throughout the year, I usually end my evenings (and nights) with a to-do list for the next morning. When December rolls around though, it becomes a little different. I’ve stopped writing down to-do lists for the rest of the month. Instead, I write down more goals, more ideas, and allow myself more time to dream. It’s a to-do list still, but one that’s rooted in possibility. It’s a time where I focus on regrouping my thoughts and to reflect on things that have transpired over the past 12 months and turn what I’ve learnt into something tangible. All the emotions, energies and ideas that have come my way; reinterpreted, and renewed.

2015 is a year in which more adventures will be had, and more learning to be done.

52 weeks to make things that count, and to be of service to others.

365 days filled with new possibilities every single day.

Happy holiday friends, and thank you for being a part of Pikaland this year.

Here’s to more peace, love and creativity; from our family to yours.

What about you? What’s on your to-do list for 2015?

[ Illustration by Marika Maijala ]
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