KINDNESS | There's a new go-to guide for culture seekers on the Sunshine Coast | We chat with Mica from The Shelter SC
May 10, 2021
I love meeting people with the same passion for connecting and promoting others as I do. So when I stumbled across a cute little magazine called 'The Shelter" at my local coffee shop one day, I was in awe. Not only was this little magazine artistic and beautifully presented, it had lots of interesting articles on creative locals, galleries, businesses and offered a guide to the Sunshine Coast I was hoping to find.
I also wanted to find out who was behind it... which is when I met Mica.
Hi Boom community, I’m really happy to be here sharing my story with you. Thank you for the invitation.
My name is Mica. I’m a mother of one (who's a teen already, how does time go so fast!?) and my partner and I left Argentina (where we are from) eight years ago.
The three of us travelled around Brasil and United States before coming to Australia to visit family and see if this was our place in the world to be. And well, Noosa was.
We’ve been here now for almost 4 years, knowing that this is the place that brings the best out of us, and therefore we push our limits to be what this place deserves back.
I’m a freelance photographer. I started calling myself a photographer back in Buenos Aires when I was 23 years old, but I had a digital camera with me since I was 12, always taking photos of my friends, dressing them up and documenting them. Today I’m 31 and this is still my passion, to play with people in a photoshoot, it definitely takes me back to feel like a kid.
I started working with 14 years old in hospitality and that’s been part of who I am as well, the rush, the sociability, the hyperactivity of that industry seems to work with my energy quite well, but I always did some kind of art on the side, always, Drama, Music, Dance, Circus, Paint, I did them all! My mom was an actress, my dad photographer and my sister is a violinist and pianist, I was always surrounded by art.
Before I left Argentina, I was also working in Advertising as Art Director’s Assistant, same kind of feel, hyperactivity. You need to solve problems in record times and constant teamwork. It was fun.
You recently launched a magazine called The Shelter SC, a creative platform for artists on the coast, and soon you'll be releasing issue 2... What can you tell us about the magazine?
I always had in my mind “my dream” you know? I want to have all these different disciplines I learned and experience through life in one same space. My dream is still in development, this big space with all the arts, but it felt logic to start with something I could handle and learn how to be a director of a project little by little. A pocket magazine came as the door opener idea, really naturally. It was kind of the perfect project for me at the time and place, it made sense.
When I moved to Sunny Coast (2017), I noticed how publications didn’t represent the Sunny Coast I was seeing. I was seeing an emerging era of younger and creative minded people. Not meaning younger in age, but young in mind, people that explores the coast with enthusiastic eyes, looking for new things to do! Culture Seekers, the people that celebrates diversity and encourages this to happen, the people that understands Arts and Culture as basic tool of communication, improving mental and emotional health to a personal but also social level. The people that understand that we are standing on Gubbi Gubbi lands and looks for Aboriginal representatives to learn more about local culture.
I was seeing culture in everything! In artists of course, but also in the habit of going for a coffee to catch up, in the kids passing by skating, in all the amazing surfers the coast has! A truly amazing part of Australia.
The Shelter s.c. in the shape of a creative platform with it’s pocket magazine seemed right, to put all this together. A shelter for Arts & Culture, a shelter for Culture Seekers.
What inspired you to start The Shelter SC mag?
As I said, everything! Probably the talking with locals was the part that encouraged me to do it the most. I understood people wanted this to happen.
Is there a collective behind it or are you a one woman show?
I’m the director of the project and the legal structure is a company but my mind is more in the “US” mode than in the “I” mode. So far I did most of the work, but I did everything with strong guidance and support from an amazing bunch of people. My amazing artist partner Alex Lange is working for The Shelter a lot! Also, Erin Thiele guides me with the numbers and legal side of the business. The Refinery helped me give more shape to a bunch of ideas, and now I have a great friend of mine called Maria Grana helping me a lot with production management and marketing. So in regards to the question, no it's definitely not a one woman show. I have the vision but we all work really hard together towards the growth of this project.
Where can people find the magazine?
We have quite a few stockists now, most being around the coast but also a few in Brisbane. to name a few Eckersleys Kawana, SCU Art Gallery, Deadly Espresso in Eumandi, Chiggys Skateboarding in Coolum, Homegrown in Palmwoods, Alley Cat Espresso in Coolum, Peace Run Records in Nambour, Captain Sip Sops at Thomas Surfboards in Noosaville, Flying West in Doonan, Noosa Regional Gallery, Pomona Railway Station Gallery, Poets Café in Montville, and at the Borrow, Artisan, Forge Forge Forward in Brisbane, and many others that are on our Highlights of Instagram, for everyone to check it out. (@thesheltersc)
I have only just returned to the coast and it feels like our little towns are shining bright with community art… Do you feel the coast is changing (in a positive way) and more creative spaces are opening up?
I’m new to the coast, I’ve been here for the last 4 years only, so I can’t compare to what was here before, but I do compare it to all the other places I’ve been around the world, and I always say, I feel like Australia is in general, like the younger brother of the world, he was born in a world that was well experienced already and learned from mistakes of older brothers and sisters countries. So, I see a great advantage for this country to be so young. Sunshine Coast is even younger! Hah So it’s really easy for me to see that this will only grow to be a city with coastal paradise and magical hinterland as many other places, but this one has a uniqueness in the community, here people care a lot! Communicate a lot, it’s a super conscious community the one that Sunny Coast gives home to. This is probably why we chose to live here, not only the paradise side.
I can see how most of the people are excited for new things to happen and there is a thirst for more and more creative and mindful projects to emerge, its really exciting. I think to talk about local growth is a delicate subject since there’s also a lot of people that would like things to stay the way they are and its fair as well, but for me in terms of cultural development I see the bustle and I’m really looking forward for Sunny Coast’s future. I can clearly see more creative spaces opening, it’s happening already.
Why do you believe art, or being creative, is important for us?
Oh, for me was always a matter of mental sanity. If I’m sad I paint or write, if I’m feeling existential, I listen to music, if I’m more outgoing and feeling energetic I go and explore local galleries it’s like, there’s no ‘being’ for me without art. And now with all this COVID way of leaving, I think it’s even clearer for everyone. What do you do if you are stuck, you spend your time filling your mind and ‘soul’ with creative practices, it’s what is keeping us sane and connected. Art is a channel in my understanding, between the non-tangible world, the unknown and the everyday material world we live in. So, to have a balance with the non-tangible (feelings, thoughts, perceptions, premonitions, etc.) and the “I have to cope with being a human in a material world” thing… haha Arts are key! Art & Culture is our perfect medicine!
Is there any galleries, art spaces, or community projects you’d like to tell us about on the coast, that you think everyone should check out?
Oh, there is a few… Now I’m quite obsessed with Peter Phillips and his gallery, I mean, it’s a living legend, who lives here in the coast and he opens his studio/Gallery for everyone to visit, crazy! Also, I’m quite passionate about what The Refinery people are doing, I like to call them the undercover hippies haha because they work for the council but, these are people that dream with a world where Artists can sustain themselves and they give creatives, tons of high value tools, for free! I think that talks well about Sunshine Coast council too, and makes me respect them more. I feel lucky to have known this brunch of the council that cares about Art & Culture and its people. I also love the local band ‘Dear Doonan’ they are extremely talented and cool. And well, the Butter Factory, I recently knew that space and I think is epic! Now I want to check out Tarella Brewing, I heard good thigs about them. Also I think The Met are into something very interesting, looking ways to provide cultural experiences to a wider audience, with the big space they have in central Maroochydore with the events they are curating.
Have you any ideas for future projects, or is that top secret?
Hahah nothing is top secret with me, I’m so bad at keeping secrets even mine, awful. So please don’t ever tell me a secret! I’m not interested haha Anyway, yes, there’s great projects coming The Shelter’s way, we want to have our own space! So hopefully this is the year.
What are 3 things that you like to do every day (or week) that bring you joy and make life better?
Writing, journaling definitely, hugging my family, I do that as many times per day as I can, and spend time chatting with my friends.
Our winter collection is called ‘Kindness’… How would you define kindness, or what’s your interpretation of kindness?
Oh interesting, I like this… for me kindness is not judging, respect overall, even if you don’t share the same thoughts, respect. Empathy is kind. Solving problems is kind, check on your mates is kind. And I’m now starting to learn to be kind with myself. Give me the time to be with myself it was always hard, I’m HYPER AF so I’m understanding that for me, slow down is kindness.
Is there a particular moment of kindness in your life - given, received or even observed - that stands out to you?
Yes definitely, first one would be my mother example on stopping in every corner of the streets if it was needed, to check on homeless kids (Argentina is sadly quite full of them) and give them some sense of protection and money, even though she didn’t have much. Then my personal one was when I was 22. I was going through a really tough time, really sad so I thought that because I was in the deepest hole it would be a good idea to go even deeper and just deal with what was painful for me the most. So, I went to meet my biological father, and this was the greatest act of kindness to myself, to be brave and go to make my space as a daughter visible. I think, because I went with a really respectful and empathetic mindset, for me and for my dad, everything turned out great and it’s up to today that I have a wonderful relationship with him
And lastly, what does it mean to live a big, beautiful life?
Maybe you already noticed but I tend to be a sad, existential person ahah and I understand that holds ungratefulness, unsatisfaction, and the desperation to control everything, so for me a beautiful life is the opposite to all that haha, GRATEFULNESS, find SATISFACTION in small things as walking my dog or hearing my daughter’s stories and TRUST, believe in magic, life is vast and magical and luckily we can’t control it.
Thanks for your time and interest in me 😀
"People inspire me, how they speak, what they think, how they move, their truths, what they hide. I owe my creativity to every person I know, ideas come with them.
I am a small part of something big and I understand that ideas are collective, but most of the time that thought limits me, it creates a feeling that takes me deep inside to find what my imagination is showing me.
I enjoy meeting and connecting with all kind of people,
if I can take a picture and represent them with an image, I feel that I can touch the sky, for me that is a prize,
I feel honored.
My existentialism seems to grow with me, so I decided to carry it with pride and put a smile on my face, keep my mind and body occupied with more superficial concerns and take as many good photos as I can while I'm alive.
It's hard for me to stay still and sometimes, to concentrate it seems impossible, but I like working hard with myself, time is making me a better human being and photographer.
Once I heard that "fear is a powerful thing and because
it has many firepowers, we should make fear a tailwind and not a headwind", I liked that thought, so I turned it into my mantra.
I am never completely satisfied and I hope I'll never be."