Entertainment

J.Balvin’s Spongebob Collaboration With Louis De Guzman And Nickelodeon Was The Most Iconic Collab Of The Decade

What exactly does a SpongeBob gallery pop-up installation look like? Especially when it includes the reggaeton megastar J. Balvin, an iconic children’s brand most millennials grew up on, and a hometown artist. Pictures on Instagram gave curious parties a hint through a series of snapshots featuring sculptures, paintings, and merchandise. But on Tuesday, Nov. 13, a number of people braved the low temperatures to find out for themselves. Let’s take a look back at the most impactful collab in 2019.Credit: Amy Tran

While visitors like Melanie Lopez were expecting to satiate their curiosity around the project, most were not prepared to have the “Mi Gente” cantante greet them in the space. The global superstar surprised guests and helped kick-off a five-day experience exclusive to Chicago. But how did this all come to be and why the Midwest of all places?

It all started at Complexcon last year where visual artist Louis De Guzman, a Chicago native who is the first from his Filipino family to be born in the United States, had a chance encounter with a Nickelodeon executive who took an interest in his work. The two discussed partnering on a project and parted ways. A short while later at the same event, the Filipino pop artist connected with J.Balvin. De Guzman says there was a mutual admiration for each other’s work and upon Balvin’s request, he slid into the singer’s DMs. The two built a friendship. Then the opportunity for them to fuse their creativity together to celebrate SpongeBob’s 20th anniversary presented itself. A partnership between Nickelodeon, J. Balvin and De Guzman happened organically.Credit: louisdeguzman / Instagram

“I was a big fan of [De Guzman] before I met him,” says Balvin. “We started talking and were like ‘why don’t we do a collab and do something with SpongeBob. [The cartoon character is] something people already know but [due to our diverse cultural background] we can add something to it. [De Guzman] is Filipino, I’m from Colombia. Exchanging cultures is beautiful.”

And so the work began with the support of arguably one of the biggest brands in children’s entertainment. 

“We’ve done many SpongeBob collaborations in many different ways with high-end designers but this was really the first time it was reimagined in this way, in this art style,” says Marielle Donahue, Director, Retail Marketing and Social Media Strategy for Nickelodeon. “SpongeBob fans love to share their fandom and I think from Louis and J. Balvin’s perspective, they wanted to share the feeling of being inspired to do whatever you can.”

Donahue says the partnership felt natural because both artists had already shown a public love and admiration for the Bikini Beach character. She also pointed out Balvin and De Guzman’s popularity among different audiences—both of which incorporate distinct cultural upbringings into their work—but they both shared a message for hope, love and positivity that aligned perfectly with the kooky sea creature. 

Credit: Amy Tran

“All three embrace positivity and good vibes,” echoes Jose Castro, Senior Vice President, Softlines and Global Fashion Collaborations at Nickelodeon 

And it’s perhaps this sentiment that will have people rooting for the project and the people behind it. 

De Guzman teared up when looking around the room and talking about the significance of the project and his motivation—his family. He hints at their struggle navigating an unfamiliar country and the difficulties that arose from their immigrant experience. Overcoming the false starts and failures are ultimately why he chooses to focus on the positive. He says time has shown him that by focusing on the work, good things will come.

Balvin shared a similar story when given the opportunity to talk about whatever he wanted. He says he wishes people would ask him why he decided to pursue a career in  music.

“It started because of my family. We went bankrupt and I was like ‘I love music’ but I didn’t know it was going to be the way to find a solution to help my family,” says Balvin. “If it wasn’t for my family and dad going bankrupt, I wouldn’t be able to be like ‘oh I have this talent and music to help them.’”

And while it might be easy to write off this corporate art partnership as nothing more than a money grab, the players behind it tell a different story.Credit: Amy Tran

“This is for the culture and God bless the Latino Gang,” said Balvin in a press release. 

And as for why Chicago got the plug it’s because “Chicago is known by so many artists, there’s so many talented people here. This is [De Guzman’s] place, it’s where he was born. He’s from the US. I was here in the U.S. you know let’s do this together. I’ll come to your place and let’s exchange vibes.”

Additional reporting contributed by Ermina Veljacic.

READ: To Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary, Spongebob Is Working With J Balvin On A Clothing Line

Take A Look Inside J Balvin’s Gorgeous Homes And Prepare For Some Serious House Envy

Entertainment

Take A Look Inside J Balvin’s Gorgeous Homes And Prepare For Some Serious House Envy

Victor Chavez / Getty Images

Fact: J Balvin is a fashion icon. Apart from inspiring millions of fans with hit after hit, the reggaetonero is well known for his iconic looks that also inspire his stans. Whether its leopard print-dye hair or a fashion-forward collection in partnership with Guess, Balvin is an artist with an eye for pretty much everything.

With such an outrageous and fashion-forward aesthetic, many fans may be surprised to see where the Colombian superstars calls home.

The ‘X’ and ‘Mi Gente’ singer owns two properties in Colombia — a loft in the city, and a massive, Japanese-inspired country house.

In a recent interview with Architectural Digest (AD), Balvin introduces the world to his two beautiful homes in Colombia. The Grammy Award-winning artist has a loft apartment in Medellín and a country home about thirty minutes outside the city.

He says that he designed the homes with hosting friends and family in mind, but that the space has also been a peaceful place to quarantine during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“I really enjoy that it is a place where, basically, I’m living now,” he says in the video. “Now that quarantine has started for like three months now, I’m really happy that I created the place that I wanted. It’s not a place to show off, it’s a place for my soul to rest.”

In an interview with Architectural Digest, Balvin opens up about his personal style and how he gets inspired.

Credit: JBalvin / Instagram

Balvin tells AD that “architecture, music, fashion – they’re all forms of expression,” and he holds that belief close to his heart. He adds that “a house should be a place where you can rest your spirit. I’ve tried to create places that feed my soul, not my ego.”

Given the clean and luxurious aesthetics of both of his homes, it’s obvious that Balvin enjoys neutral spaces that allow him to connect with his artistic side.

His Medellín loft-style apartment is the home that many dreams are made of.

Credit: Anita Calero / Architectural Digest

In his Medellín apartment — which Balvin describes as one giant “man cave” — high ceilings, concrete floors and a muted color palette give the space an industrial feel, allowing his art collection to shine.

Paintings and sculptures by artists like KAWS, WhIsBe, Josh Sperling, and Takashi Murakami splash color in an otherwise spare space, and give structure to the open floor plan. (There is only one door in the loft — to the bathroom). 

A garage-style door leads out to the apartment’s private pool, where Balvin likes to kick back. He describes the urban sanctuary as “a place where I can vibe with art and architecture, the things I love.”

His country home – no less luxurious – draws inspiration from his love for the energy and culture of Japan.

Credit: Anita Calero / Architectural Digest

Tucked 30 minutes outside the city amidst a jungle landscape in Llanogrande, Balvin’s country home is similarly artful, but is more family-focused. Balvin says that the home’s design was influenced by Japan because he loves the energy of the country. 

The majority of the expansive, one-level property — which is surrounded by lush jungle — is designed with black and oak wood features. Bonsai trees can be found both inside and outside the home. 

In a video tour, Balvin shares that he never actually sleeps in his bedroom. Instead, the main suite is equipped with a massive walk-in closet that houses his 850 pairs of sneakers. “I like to sleep around the different rooms… I don’t like to get bored of my own places,” he says.

The bedroom, like many of the rooms in the house, has a glass door that leads outside, allowing Balvin to take in his natural surroundings, with ample greenery providing plenty of privacy. He says he likes to sit outside and meditate, drink tea and think — often by the swimming pool, which runs down into a reflecting pool surrounded by areas to dine and lounge al fresco. 

J Balvin Wants To Help Soothe Your Mental Health With Free, Bilingual Meditations

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J Balvin Wants To Help Soothe Your Mental Health With Free, Bilingual Meditations

Chopra Center / YouTube

This may just be the biggest understatement ever, but 2020 has been one hell of a year – and it’s just now barely half way over. Apart from some of the incredible music artists have dropped this year, it’s been one crisis after another.

With everything going on and the increased isolation and loneliness, you’re likely feeling a combination of apprehensive, frazzled, angry, and confused.

Thankfully, there are plenty of very simple ways out there to find some balance and calm those nerves. The beloved J Balvin, along with famed alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra, has launched a new program that’s aimed at just that: helping us find balance and wisdom in these uncertain times.

J Balvin joins forces with Deepak Chopra to launch a free, bilingual 21-day meditation program.

Meditating can be an intimidating practice to start on your own, especially if its acceptance in your community isn’t widespread. Which let’s face it – it’s not exactly common in the Latino community.

Enter J Balvin and Deepak Chopra who have launched a 21-day meditation series.

J Balvin says that meditation saved his life and the hope is that the daily practice will change the lives of all who participate, too. 

“The world is offering us a reset and J Balvin is the perfect partner to help us reach a critical mass of expanded global awareness,” said Deepak Chopra of the partnership in a company press release. “Together we will set the stage for a more peaceful, inclusive, just, sustainable, healthy and joyful world for all. I am indebted to Jose and our Spanish speaking community for this collaboration.”

In an essay for People, J Balvin opened up about his struggled with mental health and how meditation has helped him.

Credit: JBalvin/ Instagram

J Balvin penned an essay for People, in which he opens up about his own struggles with mental health. He shares how he’s experienced both anxiety and depression, and that meditation has been one of the tools he’s used to help manage his mental health. If you’re looking for ways to help improve your mental health and build out a self-care routine, we recommend meditating.

On mental health, Balvin adds: “What makes mental health universal is that it does not discriminate. Mental health doesn’t care about your age, your race, your background; none of those things. It doesn’t care what you look like, or who you’re dating, or how much money you have in the bank. Of course it’s different for each of us. But it affects all of us.”

And speaking more about mental health awareness in the Latino community, Balvin says: “…because I am Latino — I know there can be a certain stigma in my community when it comes to mental well-being. Many Latino men will not want to talk about depression, because they fear it is not a manly thing, or that they will then be known as loco. But I don’t hesitate to say that I have been depressed.”

These are strong words and are so important for many of us to hear, to know that we’re not alone.

Deepak Chopra is a famed author and alternative medicine advocate.

Chopra is a popular author and alternative medicine guru in the English-world. He’s written several books about consciousness and meditation and he had a partnership with Oprah for her 21-Day Meditation series.

Deepak Chopra says that he’s excited to reach a new audience and to be able to work alongside J Balvin, a man who has been very open with his own struggles.

The 21-Day program is free and available in both English and Spanish.

Credit: deepakchopra/ Instagram

The program, Renew Yourself: Body, Mind & Spirit is a 360 look at rejuvenation and will be available through Chopra’s website. With a strong track record of success, the 21-Day Meditation program encourages participants to move beyond old, limiting beliefs and patterns for 20 minutes each day, opening with guided wisdom and storytelling from Balvin, followed by a meditation session with Chopra. Renew Yourself: Body, Mind & Spirit is free for longer than 21 days, typically 5-6 weeks, and at the end, listeners can purchase the meditation to have on-going access to both Chopra and J Balvin.

In addition to the daily meditations, you’ll also recieve a daily message and journaling prompts to complete each day. “Together we will set the stage for a more peaceful, inclusive, just, sustainable, healthy, and joyful world for all,” Chopra said in the press release.