127: Live from the Vulnerability Hangover! Launching @LifeOfALebaneseArtist with Michael Karsouny


As soon as Michael woke up and gave me the “what have I done?!” look after launching his latest project @LifeOfALebaneseArtist on Instagram just 24 hours prior, I knew we had a juicy creative gem on our hands. I also knew that he was experiencing what so many of us do when we release a put-yourself-out-there post or project—a major vulnerability hangover! All the more reason to talk about it, of course, especially in keeping with my new intention of truth while it’s fresh :)

I love seeing someone so enraptured by an idea that they stay up all night to work on it, and that’s exactly what Michael had done. He zipped through conception to launch of his hilarious (and deep!) meme project in a mere few hours, all with joy and ease—clear signals that he was onto a new soul goal endeavor. He’s now one month in, and continues to wake up excited every day bursting with ideas and ways to develop it further.

We’re excited to take you behind-the-scenes of our household (and conversation tangents - LOL) in this episode, and into the earliest moments of launching a creative project that has humor and truth-telling at its core (with a side of Lebanese culture to boot).


More About Michael Karsouny

Michael Karsouny is an artist who values expressing himself creatively. He has a background in fine arts, graphic design, illustration, acting, and music.  He is proud to be born in Beirut, Lebanon, where he attended French Catholic Jesuit school Notre Dame de Jamhour, studied Graphic Design and Fine Arts at both the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese University for the Arts. He founded two design and illustration companies and is a prominent voice over actor for the MENA region working with companies like Nike, L’Oreal and McDonalds. 

In 2010, Michael had work auctioned at Sotheby’s in Qatar and in 2013 was voted one of Communicate Levant Magazine’s “30 Creatives Under 30.” After graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a Masters in Fine Arts in June 2018, Michael spent the summer in residency with renowned Lebanese-Armenian painter, Emmanuel Guiragossian. He has had solo shows in New York City and Washington DC, gave a TEDx talk at CUNY in 2015 and 2016. Michael lives and works between New York City and Beirut.

Topics Covered:

  • [03:51] Michael's new meme project on Instagram, Life of a Lebanese Artist: Making it in New York

  • [09:45] More about where Michael is from: Beirut, Lebanon—a small coastal country with Israel to the South, the Mediterranean sea to the West, and bordered by Syria on the North and East

  • [16:34] Michael’s lifelong interests in becoming an artist, even though, his father (and society at large) didn't think it was a valid profession.

  • [19:29] Art is all about communication and being authentic and vulnerable. It's possible to shed light on so many issues just by being who you are.

  • [23:32] Gifs are steeped in pop culture, and by adding dialogue, Michael can create a meme that reflects his thoughts. He gets to combine pop culture, memes, and his perspective.

  • [34:44] The facial hair controversy—and why he refuses to shave his beard

  • [39:54] Michael has to follow his soul. He takes deep dives and reads books and goes to shows to stay informed, so that he can truly explore, express, and reflect his inner world

  • [43:06] Michael shares the difference in energy and momentum with Life of a Lebanese Artist and some of his other projects, where increased pressure and perfectionism sometimes get in the way

  • [48:54] Michael’s 300 monologue — and you’ll see why he had a thriving side hustle as a voiceover artist!

Have a question related to this episode? Ask us here, by leaving a quick voice note. We look forward to rolling all of your questions together and creating a listener Q&A show soon :)

Live from the Vulnerability Hangover: Launching @LifeOfALebaneseArtist

Press play below or listen on iTunesSoundCloudOvercast, or Google Play Music

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesAndroid or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! And sign-up for my weekly(ish) behind-the-business newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I’m reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I’m geeking out on.