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art on a yoga mat – The Australian Jewish News

When Candice Lester became tired of the same, plain blue yoga mat, she decided she wanted to spruce up her workout. And other people’s workouts too.

“I’ve always been into colour and fun – I am the person with the neon pink nails or rocking the fluoro workout gear,” Lester told The AJN.

Lester, who has always felt a connection to the Melbourne Jewish community, largely thanks to her Mount Scopus Memorial College schooling and being part of Hineni youth movement, had been working on the idea of combining art and fitness for a little while.

After the idea sparked during lockdown in early 2020, Lester was inspired to ramp up her research following her mother’s unexpected passing.

“I needed a distraction,” she said. “So, I ramped up the research into sample production and got going.”

And when it came to the beautiful artwork on the mats themselves, she knew she needed to look no further than her lifelong friend, Ashleigh Ben Danan.

The ‘Joy’ Wild Mingo mat.

“I was brought up in a creative family and always told that I should pursue a career in whatever made me the most happy. For me this was photography, makeup, and art,” Ben Danan explained. “In 2020 when all events were cancelled, I followed my passion for painting as it brings me the most joy and it was something I could do from home.”

For Lester, using local artists for her designs was a no-brainer.

“Artists’ work in general is often so hard to make visible, it’s very much about word of mouth – there’s also a lot of research lately about how consumers still unconsciously favour big name (and usually male) artists so any opportunity to profile great talent is one we should take and I am lucky enough to be able to do that with Wild Mingo,” she said.

When asked why she wanted to focus on the colour and fun of Ben Danan’s art, Lester said it was an easy decision – the artwork sparks joy.

“I have a number of pieces of Ash’s art throughout my house and they bring me such joy… there’s lots of good research to suggest that focusing on things that bring you joy is good for so many aspects of your life and Ash’s art does exactly that!”

As for the name of her business, Lester said she loves flamingos – they spread their wings, after all.

Wild Mingo is all about building a community, being eco conscious, and brightening up your workout, one paint splatter at a time.

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