I didn’t know much about Crafted till recently when I ran into Chef Phil at Young Hickory coffee shop and sitting across from him was Erwin. We’ve said hello and chopped it up for a little bit so they can get on with their meeting and before I left I asked Erwin if he was interested in modeling for me for Food Porn Volume 3. I didn’t know Erwin till that day, and a few weeks later I got a DM from Crafted inviting me to a dinner, and it said “The experience is 100% Free..” First thought was “whats the catch?”
I accepted the invitation still unsure what Crafted was all about it. I didn’t look too much into it at the time, I wanted to get more information on the night of the dinner. It could’ve been one of those “pyramid” schemes (yall remember that?) or some group meet about throwing money into an account, I don’t know. I’ve been to one of those and I can’t even explain it cuz I just got up and left. Crafted caught my attention when they mentioned they exist to foster empathy through conversations. Each month they bring l2-15 people to dinner, to share transcendent stories and experiences (took those words right out of their invitation lol).
Upon arrival I was still unsure what I was doing there, why was I invited? What made me the lucky one? I didn’t know a single person there except Erwin and Jam, who invited me to this dinner. And then a familiar face approached me, Mariah, instagram handle fruitsofherlablorco. We’ve been following each other for a minute now, met once through her boyfriend Nico (a great photographer that I look up to). I started to feel more comfortable being surrounded by strangers from that point.
When it was time to take our seats, Jam recommended we sit next to people we didn’t know. It was basically everyone but I sat next to Mariah for a little bit of comfort. Jam gave the intro to why we’re there and who Crafted are, and had us introduce ourselves with a short story of ourselves and what impact have we experienced recently. Or was it what impact have me made recently? Well as the introduction went on, as I was trying to listen to their stories I kept thinking what impact have I made to be here. And I’m not comfortable with public speaking (I got used to it as the evening went on). When it was my turn, it became clear to me and shared my story that I don’t get to share often because people rarely ask. It also became clear to me why I’m here, why we’re all here together. The impact I can remember was getting a message from a friend from LA telling me my Food Porn photos are empowering. I thought she was fucking with me because I was in the middle of dealing with accusation of objectifying women and that my Food Porn is offensive. She explained to me that she has a lot of friends who has eating disorder and my photos empowers them. It was never my intention but that message touched my heart deeply and made me comfortable to be who I am, and do what I do.
Crafted gave us a sense of purpose and gathered all of us to celebrate the impact we all have, in culture and society. Personally, Crafted gave me the opportunity to share my story, to get shit off my chest because being an artist you face a lot of obstacles that either forces me to retreat and give up, or continue to be strong and fight back and carry on. At the end of the event I didn’t feel alone anymore, and its funny, they even said that in the beginning of the dinner, that we’re not alone. So thank you Erwin, Jam, Crafted for such an amazing experience.