Culture Critique- Cafe Renzo


For VOGUE Italia, culture review: Café Renzo
Mikayla Mazur

Like the moth to the lantern, café Renzo magnetizes passersby with neon hued window lighting and an airy, welcoming layout. From the sidewalk, extravagant pastries and sandwiches tickle several senses at once. Even behind the humid layer of cool glass, chocolate curls and red velvet layers pop, vivid and decadent. Should you be bold enough to make an attempt on one of the gigantic slices, prepare to put in a significant effort? The cakes at Café Renzo are carved by the hand of a man living out a ‘The more, the merrier!’ approach at things.
But all in balance… The sandwiches are massive as well.
Above and beyond the front counter, the creative direction of Café Renzo is surprisingly minimalist. The clean, white wall space, that which is left between incredible bay windows, is mounted with a local artist’s pen and ink drawings, framed and mounted entirely in white. The art in Renzo is celebrated via technologies finest in LCD screen TV’s as well- one of which hosts a revolving presentation of photography by resident photographer/barista.
Lucked out on location, Café Renzo sits alongside attractive Commercial drive, neighbors with a sprawling greenspace. On hot august afternoons, a walk through the park with Renzo’s complimentary signature lime-strawberry-mint water and a croissant. Our cooler days beckon for the steamed Chai Spice latte or possibly, a mint London Fog. With such beautiful design, location and cuisine, Café Renzo keeps promise after promise of something very unordain.


Preparation for the show!
Lights, check!
Camera, double check!
A lot of it…
As per usual, the majority of my preparations for RAW Grandeur have taken place over a period of ‘last minutes’. Images have been printed, and mounted. Frames have been found, bought, returned, resized, refurbished and polished.
Dates with my man have, lately included a Mr. Chipits and S hook assembly line, couples bike n’ bus across town to the printers and even an ever sexy evening singing a duet chorus of ‘Hey Babe Is This Crooked?’
The amount of work that has goes into the preparation of showing photography is astounding- especially when on a budget. Prints themselves aren’t horribly expensive. Costs climb up as you collect the materials necessary to frame and mount the prints. To have someone do that work for you more than doubles that cost. An extremely generous mother and boyfriend have allowed for me to experience this process first hand.
Though the time and work involved is great, beyond rewarding has been what I have learned-both about the art of photography and of myself. Dedication, perseverance, patience and creativity- all traits I highly value- have been practiced and pronounced. Gratefully, I am reminded of the physical involvement with my art, a factor that often goes amiss within a period of digital editing/ finalizing. Moving my body. Walking across town, buying out every Dollarama of the 8X10’s that don’t exists anywhere else… feels amazing. To push and lift and press the prints, aligning each carefully measured and cut millimetre to the adhesive mount.
Great movements and big decisions, followed by the most intricate and exact position of measurement and time. I have not experienced such a vastly fulfilling process before as this.
And now I’m ready for the night, ready to show and see and feel the art.
RAW Grandeur 2015

Pinned- Blur with the Nude

Fashion, Personal, Photos, Photoshoot

Adding to explorations in use of blurring, Photoshop I’ve recently incorporated elements of historical beauty, specifically the late 1920’s- mid 1930’s. Subtle references to the more modern pin up girl can be seen, however, this wasn’t intended. I hope to explore that style someday soon.

Mikayla Yale Photo

Mikayla Yale Photo


Move Me-Experimenting with artistic blurring

Personal, Photos, Portrait

Photoshop is an art all of it’s own. The hours spent selecting the best of the images, that one with something special to it- be it a chance bird in the background, the absolutely perfect geometric composition, or the genuine expression… Taking that image further by processing and refining it, either accentuating its apparent beauty or manipulating it into something else entirely… Photoshop is a gift, a skill and a pain in the ass.
Here, I used myself as the ready model and took my self portrait along several varying pathways, creating very unique, rather beautiful finished pieces.
‘Move Me’- Artistic blurring by Mikayla Mazur

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‘Scription’- Donnie Brasco

Fashion, Photos, Photoshoot, Portrait

I had the pleasure of working with a new friend, Donnie Brasco, this past Friday afternoon. We met downtown and headed to a location that I’ve had my eyes on for quite a while now- Very industrial and rugged, with barbed wire, graffiti, the works. Donnie has some beautiful tattoo work done, that created an interesting continuity of lettering and illustration through the background of the images and onto his person.

‘Scription’ with Donnie Brasco and Mikayla Yale Photo.

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Sunday Shoot- Katherine

Fashion, Photos

A selection of shots with lovely miss Katherine.
I approached this shoot with a far different image in mind, aiming for something rather dark, incorporating our decaying yet beautiful autumn foliage. The outfits were chosen by Katherine, along the guidelines of being bold, bright and playful, adding contrast to said scenery.
After spending more time sourcing for locations, I came across some very interesting features-both natural and non- that called to be photographed!
Katherine and I worked well together, coming up with many images, edited and styled in varying ways, yet all issuing a youthful, innocent serendipity with a sidelong glance towards the sexy side.
Check out Katherine’s personal blog at

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Street Photography- Peter

Photos, Portrait, Street Photography

Thursday afternoon, four o’clock.

School ends, photos start.

After my day of classes my trigger finger was twitching and I was feeling relaxed and excited- that wonderful combination that is rather hard to come by in the fast tempo of daily beats that these shoes walk.

A break in the weather and light breeze had me drifting towards the Vancouver Art Gallery. The concrete features of the outdoor courtyard give way to a grande, sloping climb of concrete steps; an ideal perch for the urban traveller to soak in some of that rare, misted sunlight.

My camera and I watched a man doing an incredible, tribal dance inside the bare ice arena parallel to the steps.

We peeked to the right, at a man and his cigarette(s) doing some serious mulling.

Down the steps and to the left offered a handsome stranger, waiting. Just waiting.

As I shoot, I smile.

And then I met Peter.

I smile.

His confidence and excitement to be in life, learning and exploring the world, was catching. We talked about technology and social media. He showed me some projects from school, studying technology and design. They were beautiful.

I showed him some photos and we shared our perspectives, enjoying new views and surprises found within the images.

Through our conversation, Peter agreed to do some modelling! I think these images turned out well. His wide mind and thirst for knowledge reminded me of a chalice, being poured into and filled via life. I posed Peter at the top of the stairs , sunlight highlighting his profile.

Thankyou, Peter.

Street Photography – Peter

Street Photography- Chris

Photos, Street Photography

Many, many of the images I take are from the streets of The CIty. Vancouver is a beautiful, interesting place to live. There has long been something, a whisper in my awareness, that I would find my way to the ocean one day. Since early this past summer, I have called Vancouver home. No longer is it a six hour car ride away- snuggled up in blankets on the floor of our mini van to discourage getting car sick while also getting to play. A win win. Thanks for safe driving mom!
Besides the proximity to the ocean, the city life- more specifically,the people of the city- are captivating. A vista entirely in their own right. I have been lucky to find a place attending a college downtown, putting myself in the hub of what goes-Vancouver Style.
I love it.
There are so many faces, so many stories. The energy is so vast and magnificent. A more difficult task is to find yourself bored, than to search out something to do, somewhere to go, something to see.
People are everywhere.
People are amazing.
I love to talk, to listen, to learn. Only recently have I had the courage to ask some of the folks I meet if I could take their photo. The photographer in me would take it anyways, but I want to try this asking business too…

I am anticipating the start of a category of street photography for this blog. Hoping to as well include a brief description of the story behind the person in the image, if there is one.
Please enjoy!

Street Photography-Chris

I met Chris downtown this week. He was outside of a Starbucks, appearing to be playing solitare… guess again! After chatting and sharing cigarettes, he confided in me what he was really up to…’shooting spitballs at assholes!’ I watched as he pulled out a generous number of Starbucks straws from somewhere deep within his army print folds.
Steady-He selected his weapon/straw.
Aim-Locked and loaded with the paper bullet, resourcefully made from the straws packaging.
Fire-That guy-on the cellphone with The Face… Watch out!
He wasn’t a bad shot. We chatted some more and shared jokes. He had left school, left home and was now planning to travel-possibly America. An acquaintance of Chris’ joined us and showed off some magic tricks. Being on break from a class of which I had long since run late, I said my ‘goodbyes’, grabbed my coffee and picked up the pace back to school.