An interview with Isaac Schlesinger
For Curiosity Breadcrumbs’ fifth issue I interviewed Isaac Schlesinger about navigating the muddy waters of personal branding and presenting a coherent narrative about the sum total of all that you are. Isaac is a brilliant writer / brand strategist / chef and staunch idealist (slashes my own) who frequently makes me splutter my coffee with his incredibly candid, sharp-witted comments. He spoke to me from his new home in Hamilton, Ontario.
How an anarchist with a dream birthed a space for creativity
She appeared suddenly one evening in April. Celle di San Vito, the smallest village in the whole of Puglia was covered in snow, with the notorious Cellesi wind that gets right to the cores of your bones, blowing willfully. Like it’s trying to blow out the fire.
Don Michele, owner of the Castello housing the project, an Italian priest in his 80s with a passion for the local Franco Provenziale language and an uncanny ability to churn out back-to-back historical facts about seemingly everything, received a call at 9:30pm.
“Io arrivo”, she said in her trademark mix of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. “Dove?”, asked Don Michele? “Celle”. “Dormo alla tienda”, continuing to explain that she had found a corner next to the Castello’s main door to pitch her tent in, right at the end of Celle’s one “primary” road. There was no need for him to come over from the next village with the key. She could wait until the next morning, she reassured him. Snow, freezing winds and camping right in the middle of a tiny village in Southern Italy do not even faze Carolina Bernardes.
My thoughts and picks from the book I have just finished: “The Age of the Image: Redefining literacy in a world of screens” by Stephen Apkon. Part of my research for my “Words” project.
Stephen Apkon’s ode to the moving picture is motivated by a love for stories and an appreciation for the skills needed to both tell and digest them in an effective manner. The Age of the Image: Redefining literacy in a world of screens is an important read for anyone interested in appreciating the power of imagery on the human mind, together with the mechanics behind this strong but often invisible influence.
Expanding beyond the world of pictures alone, Apkon shows a sense of connection and a strong relationship between the word and the image, illustrating how they inform and enhance each other; which was the very thing that drew me into this book. In Martin Scorsese’s words, Apkon “lays out the tools we need to cultivate awareness of and attention to every message and every gesture, artistic or opportunistic, expressed in print or in pixels.” This is an invitation “to look closely and find the story within”.
From Brazil I’ve landed in tiny Celle Di San Vito, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village in Puglia, South Italy. I’m here participating in an artistic residence working on two writing projects and dealing with my Brazil withdrawal symptoms.
I had all kinds of plans to work on my project this morning. To start reading, perhaps writing questions, creating a backbone for what I am so far calling ‘By Doing’. I’m collecting stories through interviews, videos, writings, about people who have really managed to integrate whatever they feel compelled to do (compelled is another possible title) into their life. And specifically the role of struggle in that journey. I want to create an online space where people can recognise themselves and hopefully understand themselves better through it. Where struggle can be looked at, appreciated for the information and development it brings.
This morning though, as I sit and type in the little sunny terrace of the Castello at Celle di San Vito, I feel that I first need to understand myself. I’ve been struggling with melancholy over the past three days I’ve been here and I have not quite been able to put my finger on exactly what this is due to.