Spade On The Street – Ola Mazzuca, Multimedia Journalist & Project Manager

When I am asked what my goal is by taking on my Spade on the Street project, my answer is broad, as there are many reasons as to why I am as passionate about this endeavor as I am.

I live and love in a city booming with young professionals and artists that are taking their ‘chip bag of resources’, tilting their heads back, and tapping every crumb down inside them. And being a young professional Torontonian myself, to shine a spot light on this type of attitude is compulsory. In many ways, it is part and parcel to your spirit as an artist to support your creative comrades and counterparts, as there are still these dated, though well-intended, expectations from different generations and demographics that encourage people to not take risks and just find ‘safe employment’. Forget your dreams, forget your desires. And nevermind, who can blame in this volatile world that we’re living in.

That is the thing about this world; there is both failure and success. When you turn on the news, or pick up the paper, or scroll down on what’s going on this week in the world, you’re met with an abundance of ‘bad news’. That is simply because no one would tune in if it the news was good all day, everyday. Call it the obvious human nature of being fascinated and attracted to negativity, the macabre, struggle, trials and tribulations. Bad news sells. Negativity strategically places a veil on what is going on in the world, menacingly warping your perception of the bigger picture. It instills fear and stifles your drive to do something ‘different’. However, the state of the world is not as bent out of shape as we see it, and a balance in having hope, happiness, success, motivation…. It is so key.

Hope, happiness, success, and motivation are abundant. And it is very easy to get lost in the mix of things and forget they’re there.

I created Spade on the Street to INSPIRE others in a world that tells them that following your passions is too risky. I wanted to share with EVERYONE that there are so many remarkable individuals, whether struggling or not, who are perusing their passion, and they are LOVING IT and cannot imagine themselves doing anything else but what they love.

Ola Mazzuca, this Spade on The Street session’s featured young professional, is a shining example of just the type of individual I am talking about. She embodies the exact spirit which elucidates what I call the ‘main ingredient’ in the recipe for success. I have watched her evolve over the years, whetting her appetite for every angle and every plane of Toronto culture, and accumulating the building blocks of professionalism and creative venture through her love of media, music, food, and travel.

Growing up just north of the city in The Village Of Kleinburg, she holds a Bachelor degree with Ryerson university for Journalism, and is an extraordinary communicator through her passion and skill for writing, having been showcased in Noisey by VICEHellboundExclaim!Post City Toronto and Large Up, with surly more to come. I encourage you all to follow and be inspired by her pursuits and discoveries. You can read more on her Website, as well as follow her on Twitter.

While sharing a samosa after her shoot on Gerrard Indian Bazar, we got to chatting about what it means to live creatively and to be integral about your creative passions. We also got to talking about some of the principals relating to having a quality life that recently-passed Motivational Speaker and Author, Wayne Dyer, shared with his fans and for those he has helped. Dyer, I have found, has and continues to be a favorite amongst many youth and individuals in our generation, having a knowledge and wisdom that resonates with young people. Ola reminded me of the title of a book he had co-wrote with his daughter Serena. The title is “Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You”. This simple statement echos that fire that burns inside those who are bent on sharing the passions that are inside them.

I thank her for an enlightening, inspiring, and energizing morning together. It is obvious that Ola is the type of person who is connected to her inner music, and lives intrinsically through this philosophy, even if it means choosing a more challenging path. But according to her, it is so worth it. And I absolutely agree.

Q – What is most rewarding about your craft?
OM – I have many, multifaceted crafts, that consistently grow and progress through each experience. As I utilize them, often simultaneously, in my work, I guess you can say that the rewards are endless. My crafts are a gift, and they are shared with others with purpose.

As a culture journalist, I have been able to tell people’s stories through various platforms and mediums. When I was a Features Editor of a women’s lifestyle magazine, I curated the music column, which was dedicated to highlighting strong Canadian female artists. Every time I secured one for an editorial, following the interview and editing process, I realized that they all had one thing in common: they had experienced adversity and overcame in triumph. Their stories were then shared through their craft. That’s what I continuously seek in my work – to share the purpose of another. Whether it be an up-and-coming artist or a legendary band, to faces of the Caribbean Diaspora (a kind-of not-so-recent found passion), my intention is to craft a meaningful story, in hopes that someone will cry tears of joy, smile or laugh at something nostalgic, and share with the world. I’ve also been able to share my voice, too, as the manager, co-host and producer of BanTOR Radio – a podcast I started this year, in partnership with an important person in my life. We work collaboratively by applying our talents and parallel zeal for music and journalism.

As a brand and project manager, it’s the same deal. I’ve worked with such a diverse group of clients, organizations and communities. In each and every experience, however big or small, I have learned invaluable lessons and acquired great skills.  I have a fervent passion for social issues and am an advocate of accessibility, mental health and promoting diversity in all its forms. One of my most rewarding experiences was spearheading a major accessibility initiative at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, where I helped develop, deliver and implement art programs for people living with special needs. I documented the entire project over the course of two years, which was transformed into The Art of Inclusion – a best practices guide for other arts and cultural organizations to establish similar programming and practices in their work. Nothing compares to witnessing positive impact unfold in communities that need progress the most.

With my clients, I strive to deliver fluid results in representing their craft, so that they can reach their audiences with purpose. Most are in the arts and culture industries, so I am always brainstorming and collaborating with them in the process. This is highly rewarding, as it gives me the opportunity to learn about a different field or facet of their life. They are all incredibly hard-working, innovative professionals with an immense amount of drive for what they do. This inspires me.

When people ask me, “What do you do?” it’s tough to answer, especially when you’re a self-employed entrepreneur. I conclude a long explanation of my unconventional routine and vast interests by simply responding, “Pursuing my passions.”

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