As artists and photographers, we are constantly evolving creatively and enhancing our photography style, searching for and expanding our studio prop collection and finding new combinations to reflect our vision for the most beautiful boudoir photography. The most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and it inspired us to design a new dreamy set-up in our photo studio. It has everything we associate Valentine’s Day with – romance, softness, sensuality and beauty. We’ve filled our unique clawfoot tub with tulle to create a feeling of a bath foam, rose petals to complete the look and a single white towel to prove that less is more – that a single accessory can be versatile enough to photograph an entire story. Our enchanting muse, Miss A, felt harmonious with the new set-up and looked absolutely stunning. It doesn’t matter whether you are single or met a great partner, Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love, be it love for someone or love for yourself, and we are happy that our new set-up reflects that as well. Enjoy the results!
Photography: Daria Perev
Make-up & Hair Styling: Jennifer Yang
Muse: Miss A
Assistant: Veronika Osmikhovskaya
As part of our recurring series of interviews, The Power of Her, featuring remarkable women, we are proud to present to you an interview with Maria Fondler-Grossbaum, an artist and owner of Abyssimo Studio.
Coming from an artistic background, Maria has been painting for as long as she remembers herself. A successful painter and graphic artist, she found Abyssimo Studio last year, when she turned 42 and realized that she wanted to teach and pass on the knowledge of a special artistic technique she developed. Her project was met with instant success, but shortly after, Maria has discovered a lump and was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The nightmare that followed, months of intense chemo have depleted her of energy and health, but creativity flowed and during short breaks between chemo sessions she kept on creating, teaching and keeping Abyssimо studio going. Maria is one of the most upbeat, positive and optimistic human beings we’ve ever met. An artistic and rebellious soul, she inspired us with her courage and power to continue her craft despite all odds. Maria’s current motto? “Fuck Cancer!”.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR ART AND A UNIQUE STYLE OF PAINTING
I have an academic background and I love classical ways in art, although I never saw myself following this direction. I always wanted to go beyond rules and borders and create something between painting and sculpting, something like a sculpted wall art or sculpted painting with a rich texture. Also, in my creations I like incorporating various elements and materials that attract light and intensify colours and texture. For example, I like using pieces of glass, rhinestones, natural amethysts and quartz and other decorative elements.
I truly hope that my style is unique. What can I say about my art? It is simple. Art and creativity is just another approach to becoming happier. Since childhood I’ve noticed that colours, forms and shapes hypnotized me and when I create, the quality of my life gets richer and more interesting and, as a result, I’m happier. I don’t know exactly how it happens and I am not the only one who experiences it – many other people testify that creativity in any form makes them happier. I think it happens because at the moment of creating something it is necessary to focus on yourself in order to understand what exactly you want to express. This element of self-knowledge is essential and very important in art process because when you understand yourself you become self-sufficient and don’t depend on circumstances anymore. You are a source of joy and that is this sacred self-fulfilment. Here is my divine formula of happiness:
self-understanding + self-expression = self-sufficiency = happiness! And no rules or limits, of course!
WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION?
Nature, Nature and Nature. My studio is filled with interesting natural objects. Porcupine quills, fossils, stones, feathers, wood and shells are incorporated into art pieces, enriching the visual and intellectual experience.
Another great source of inspiration is my students. Some time ago I opened an online school because many people who wanted to learn from me live far away and, luckily, with internet I now have access to anyone in the world! Teaching has given me a sense of purpose and an experience of joy and fulfillment.
I believe we all have innate gifts and talents that, when unlocked, can truly impact the quality of life for others… and there’s nothing more rewarding or fulfilling than that.
BATTLING CANCER IS A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE. HOW DID IT AFFECT YOU AND YOUR ART?
True. When I discovered that I’m diagnosed with breast cancer I was shocked. The only thing that really helped me to stay positive and emotionally balanced is creating. I also have a great support from my family, friends and my students, I’m very lucky this way! Thank you guys!
I didn’t find that my art style significantly changed since I’m having my cancer treatments, but I think it became more dramatic in colours. I also really enjoy experimenting with new materials now. What really changed though after discovering that I have cancer, is a desire to be more connected to my students. I want to create more online courses for them and share everything that I know.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE GOING THROUGH A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE?
Stick to what you like to do the most and stay productive. Work is the best therapy. Also surround yourself with people you love.
HOW DID YOU LIKE WORKING WITH Daria @ Kissed by Light studio?
Ohhh I did enjoy it a lot. Daria is an amazing friend with a talent. She is my inspiration and support. I gave her a total creative freedom knowing that she knows what she is doing. Et Voila, look how beautiful she made me!
I believe that a true photographer needs to be a little bit of a psychologist and must understand people’s nature. Daria is very gifted that way! She is a true photographer!
Our darling Maria, thank you for being our muse. Your inner power and creativity have inspired us. We wish you all the strength in the world to go through the next steps and have a fast recovery.
Maria believes that anyone can learn art and become an artists. Many of her classes are available here: Abyssimo School.
Follow her art and join her army of devoted students here: Abyssimo Open Studio.
Maria’s art is also available for purchase: Abyssimo Store.
Photography by Daria Perev, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Model Maria Fondler-Grossbaum
Styling & Make-Up Collaboration of model and photographer
Cold days are here and Winter is upon us, but it is always warm in our photo studio, thanks to all the gorgeous muses, whose beauty we get to capture with our cameras. Over the years of photographing in our studio, we’ve discovered that a photoshoot is a great way to welcome Winter – a glamour photo session will boost your confidence, set you in a great mood, will up your endorphins levels and even help you fight that dreaded winter blues! We are glad to share with you the results of our fun Winter inspired photo session with actress & model Mila Bog. The glamorous make-up was done by our talented make-up artist, Jennifer. The wardrobe was simple – a pair of knee high socks, accessories and a bulky sweater from our Studio Wardrobe, a fur hat and a piece of gorgeous faux fur by our stylist, Ameri. Glam up your Winter and enjoy our selection!
Photographer Daria Perev @ Kissed by Light Studio
Model Mila Bog @newversionmodels, @mpmegamiami, actress @ACTRA Toronto
Stylist Ameri Ozigis @ Kissed by Light Studio
Make up & Hair by Jennifer Yang @ Kissed by Light Studio
As part of our sponsorship of last year’s Spadina Museum annual dress up event, The Great Gatsby Garden Party, we’ve provided a photoshoot for a winner of the best costume contest. This year, the winner was a sensational muse, Miss E. This remarkable lady owns a costume store, is a gothic/glam/industrial fashion designer and a prominent figure in the gothic community in Toronto and GTA. She brought a few handmade pieces from her latest collection and we’ve experimented with lighting and poses to create these electrifying images. Thank you for being our muse Miss E!
Check out Miss E’s instagram for gothic inspiration: @madame_absinthe
Enjoy our selection!
As part of our recurring series of interviews, The Power of Her, featuring remarkable women, we are proud to present to you an interview with Irene Khristoforova, a founder of her own line of natural skincare, Gaia Secrets.
One day, dissatisfied with commercial skincare products available on the market, Irene decided to start her own line of natural and ethical skincare with the help of her mother, Elena, a professional skincare formulator. The journey of starting your own business with your own philosophy, especially in such a competitive market as skincare, wasn’t easy, but Irene’s lifelong passion for everything natural and her mother’s technical knowledge made them a perfect team.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
Ever since I remember myself I used to be a nature freak – reading labels and choosing products for consumption with greatest attention – making sure they are organic, not tested on animals and sustainably sourced. As it comes to skincare – I could literally live on coconut oil, I was 100% devoted fan. I used it as a moisturizer, and was completely happy with it, until one day I noticed that things started changing.
WHAT HAS CHANGED AND HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
When I turned thirty and started noticing the first signs of aging I realized why my mom, who is a skincare formulator, always made her own products with more advanced ingredients then just oils and butters. She simply wanted skincare to really work – that is why she formulated her products with vitamins, concentrated extracts and complexes. And that’s when this brilliant idea came up!
I said “There are all these companies that sell advanced skincare and don’t really care about how natural and truly safe their stuff is! Let’s combine natural ingredients and advanced actives to make it happen!”. She loved the idea.
After tons of experimentations and collaboration with formulations, we found formulas that both of us were truly in tune with. Now I am able to bring out to the world a line that truly shines and it is an achievement that has become my true passion.
WHAT DOES “GAIA” MEAN?
Gaia is the personification of the Earth in Greek Mythology (Gaea), an ancestral mother of all life and the primal Mother Earth goddess, so Gaia Secrets literally translates as “Secrets of Earth” or “Secrets of Nature”.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY?
My philosophy is very simple – it is not about the beautification, it’s about nourishing and treating yourself with the greatest love and care. That’s why I created a line that carries skincare products one can be sure are non-toxic, natural and professionally formulated for the true action.
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE PHOTOSHOOT IN KISSED BY LIGHT PHOTO STUDIO WITH LORA VERTUE AND HOW WAS IT SPECIAL FOR YOU?
Least to say it was fantastic. Lora Vertue and her team never stop impressing me with their ability to see and highlight their subject’s personality through photography. I am very happy how they captured my strong connection and love for the power of Gaia.
PLEASE TELL US WHAT’S NEXT IN STORE FOR YOU AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I am constantly searching for new ideas and discovering what women really need in order to feel beautiful and confident. My mission is to stay committed to this craft with honesty to nature and true effectiveness of every product I create. Whatever else I come up with next, I want this to be an amazing tool for every woman’s beauty and wellness ritual.
Styling by Ameri Ozigis, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Photography by Lora Vertue, Kissed by Light Photo Studio
Model Irene Khristoforova, founder of Gaia Secrets
Note: No make-up was used during this photoshoot