Disconnect to Reconnect

It’s not exactly breaking news that texting is harmful for relationships, both romantic and otherwise. In today’s technological era, it’s easier and socially safer to formulate a text message than to verbally express oneself. Frighteningly enough, I recently saw a TV news segment on high school students (and younger!) swiping through dating apps rather than approaching a crush in school. My jaw dropped.

Have our phones become such an addiction that we prefer to incessantly message each other than hear someone’s voice? Or, even scarier, talk in person?

I’m guilty of texting ideas or conversations when it would be quicker and more efficient to place a call. More so, I’m too impatient to wait until the next time I see someone to catch up. Why? Cell phones have provided instant gratification. Why wait to see your best friend or significant other to catch them up on what’s happened in your life when you could send a message? Yet, upon realizing how it’s affecting the next generation, I opted to do a social experiment with the top five people I communicate with most. Skip the texts, go straight to phone calls and in-person meets. I hoped our connection would not only strengthen but would cause us to actually miss one another.

The first few days felt like a detox. After years of adapting to express my every thought whenever I wanted, it was a conscious effort not to reach for communication countless times throughout the day. By the week’s end, I realized that what I deemed topical in the moment wasn’t worth discussing at all. In fact, after a day or so of mulling details over, certain moments were even boring. Sure, with my killer storytelling skills, I could’ve made any mundane moment sound like headline material, but in retrospect, most of it seemed trivial.

However, the bigger moments stood out and therefore lengthened the back and forth over the phone and in person. Suddenly, conversations weren’t one sided catch-ups but rather a two-way street of ideas and talking points. Because we weren’t rehashing all the minute details of our lives, we dove deeper into the things that were impactful. In turn, we got to know each other better.

Even greater, there was less room for miscommunication. We’ve taken for granted the difference tone of voice and facial expression has on a conversation, whether it be serious or lighthearted. By eliminating texting, there was no room for hidden messages or reading between the lines. When we cut out the instant gratification that texting provides, we were quicker to pick up the phone and plan to see each other in person. We saw true value in the simplicity of hearing one another’s voice, of laughing over a meal.

After three weeks of my texting experiment, I saw a difference in these five relationships. Our communication deepened. I also saw a difference in myself. It allowed me to focus on hobbies, my work, and those immediately around me in moments I might have otherwise reached for the phone. I wasn’t preoccupied worrying about responding to or awaiting a text; I was too focused on what was in front of me.

I’m proud to say I never took these things for granted, but it was nice to be reminded that I could cut off technology in this small way. I disconnected to connect and after feeling the difference, I’ll never go back (with these few at least).



This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

Joel Moens: A Single Image Worth Thousands More

(This article first appeared in the May 24 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


In our highly technological society, supersaturated with images off the internet, Belgian artist Joel Moens de Hase began using computers for digital works in 2011. The observer is sure to be intrigued, perhaps even aroused, by a single perspicuous image that when closely analyzed includes the use of thousands of provocative shrunken down images – squares of butts, lingerie, waistlines, and so forth.

In an effort to express his view of the digital era, Moens keeps a database of 70,000 images from the internet on file. He then transforms between 5000 and 15,000 of these images into a single mosaic, after adjusting the color to fit the larger picture. His artistic expression allows for dual interpretation, the whole or the fragment. Beauty, lust, and innocence remain very much in the eye of the beholder.

Moens procures his inspiration from the mystery of women, his work being a tribute to all the aspects that make up the beautiful complexities of the gentler sex. At the heart of it all, the symbiosis between man and woman is what fuel Moens’s creative process; the passionate desire and innate human condition of that sense of longing between the two beings. Human nature aside, it’s also the Woman, with a capital ‘W,’ a divine creator that is both independent and full of the love he adores.

“All her personality and mystery,” Moens exulted. “Their beauty. Their strength. Their battles. Their unicity. Their complexity, so different from man.”

As a painter for several years prior to the switch in artistic style, Moens decided to use the tools of today to create his increasingly unique pieces.

“My computer screen became my canvas, my mouse replaced my brushes, and the internet and software became the medium.”

Moens translated the differences. “My art is of course a mirror of my personal emotions, my life experience with good and bad moments.”

The composition of his work is far more important than the models that compose each individual image. He finds models through an official agency for the large pictures, with a particular liking for Poland native Olga Kaminska. Yet, it is the emotional uniqueness of a model that attracts his attention most.

Scenes of the female form and rendition tributes of classical artworks are primarily what comprise Moens’s collection. Right now he is working on a collaboration with a major group of European galleries, to be announced at a later time, that he hopes will bring his career to a higher level.

With an international following, he maintains a liberated spirit that is futuristic in nature.

Moens met local gallery owner Monika Olko four years ago through a mutual friend. Ever since their introduction he has been visiting The Hamptons seasonally, with plans to explore the North Fork and Montauk this summer.

His creative motto, “Develop your creativity, it brings happiness and it is the future of humanity,” bring his concept of a self-portrayal design saying, “I would be the musical instrument the model is holding.”