Ala CHAMP; is an international arts and design website and print magazine, based in London and Tokyo, with a key focus on curiosity and investigations into creativity and cultural insight. In the newest installation of our ongoing global Horizons series we follow Monique Kawecki, founder and editor of Champ Magazine, to the beautiful beaches in Noosa, Australia.
We talked with her about what it is like to lead a Creative community and magazine remotely and ended up getting a first hand insight into how she recharges herself, stays inspired and what it’s like having lived in a cultural melting pot like London.
1. Careful curation in a world of information overload is a real key ingredient of the work you and Joanna put out across the various publications you usually work with – how do you yourself don’t get swept up in everything that is popping up in the worlds of design and art today?
Completely - there are so many amazing stories of innovation out there and this is exactly what we are interesting in sharing with the Champ audience. Genuine stories of people or projects making the world a better place through good design is what we are most interested in. This is the best bit about art, design and architecture! Art allows us to imagine the impossible, whilst design and architecture problem solves it to make it a reality.
Purposeful and longevity, considered, ethical and purposeful design and architecture is what we aim to share on Champ.
In regard to our curation, the practicality of it is that there simply isn’t enough time to write about every story we would like to! Time is by default a major factor but pleasantly so. We prefer quality over quantity in this oversaturated world of things, including media, trying to get everyone’s attention all day every day. Quality over quantity is a great guideline for life!
2. With Ala CHAMP being a magazine born between countries since the beginning, did you feel the world got a little bigger or smaller in the past years?
That’s a great question! It would be expected that after travelling as much as we have, consciously and curiously, always respectfully exploring different cultures and their beliefs, that the world would feel smaller. It’s quite the opposite! There’s a never-ending amount of knowledge to learn… Our world is constantly evolving, now at the most rapid rate ever in history. It must be what makes humans the most advanced mammals in the world; our innate curiosity resulting in our desire to innovative and progress. Sifting through the noise to get to the truth is half of the work, the other is applying an open perspective to a topic to form a just opinion.
Not only do we seek knowledge on our world here, but we also explore what lies beyond planet Earth. Other planets, parallel universes, they constantly expand our perspective.
3. We have to ask – London or Noosa, which is your pick in terms of your current favourite place to be and why?
London is a brilliant melting pot of all different types of people. The condensed environment creates drive and ambition, and an ease to find like-minded people for any interest (music, banking, you name it!). What I most love about London is the people it draws to it, and although literal space is an issue, the city gives space to all different types of personalities and ideas. Hence why so many creatives are drawn to the city, and embark on remarkable projects and collaborations there!
When the pandemic hit I was in Australia with family, flights were cancelled, and although I’m used to travelling and working on-the-go, in this case there was a big unknown which I had to let go, and just remain flexible and flow with the unfamiliar. That’s when we all evolve and grow! In Australia now, I’ve found what I needed for this point in my life to be here. There indeed is a positive in everything if you check your mindset, and we have a digital business where we can work from anywhere in the world. Right now we’re running Champ Magazine and Champ Creative as per normal, working on such brilliant projects as this! Along with our consulting and producing, we’ve set up and lead Japanese brand Ambush’s editorial site UNIVERSE, working with the Champ team and the best creatives around the world (writers, photographers, translators, and graphic, digital, CGI and typography designers).
4. You’re a pretty active person yourself, when you are out and about what would you say recharges your batteries best and any tips on what to pack for those looking to fuel their creative spirit in a similar way?
This energy for sure comes from my mindset! I do work on it every day through meditation, positive affirmations, and spending as much time as I can in nature. Our mind is so powerful, it is our tool to achieve so much.
I also take care of my vehicle, our body, through healthy eating and exercise. We only get one body this lifetime so we need to look after it! When I eat my home-grown salad, vegetables and herbs from my garden, not only boost my immune system for the long-term, but short-term I feel energetic and light. I also support organic farmers by ordering a weekly veggie box!
I encourage everyone to create a small herb or veggie garden at home if possible though, even a small windowsill is enough, anything pesticide-free is really key. At night I also do breath work to sleep better, through a good night’s sleep this is also when the mind can download all the information we’ve received in the daytime and store it efficiently. It’s so important to have a solid nights sleep. Lastly, a freshly poured black coffee in the morning is one of my favourite things ever!