26 September 2022

Mindset Matters: Brainwerx with Shay Dempsey and Michael Polsinelli

The Wella Studio in Los Angeles served as the prime location for an intimate evening with Sebastian Global Artistic Directors Shay Dempsey and Michael Polsinelli for the launch of their personal creative brand S&M and their project Brainwerx.

This is the second event of its kind, having launched these creative conversations in NYC only a month ago. The introspective evening took hairdressers through each of these icons’ personal artistic journey as artists and the inspiration that constantly pushes them to drive creative ideas forward. In other words, they’re teaching how to build the creative mindset where inspiration becomes easy to recognize.

It’s about being plugged in so you are open to be inspired by anything,” said the duo. “If the mindset is right you can get anything on board. The brain is like a muscle, you need to exercise it in order to make it grow.

The two hour event is a manifestation of the duo as S&M, Shay and Michael respectively, and their brains to share this brilliant, artistic facet of the industry. Brainwerx is the first project of S&M as an interactive presentation with a hairdressing audience to explain the importance in the function of a healthy creative process in the moment of inspiration.

The crowd was able to experience this iconic duo’s latest works of hair art. A lot of the questions that they received in the countless seminars that they have lead is about inspiration, and were they get it from, so they wanted to build something special around that concept. “Brainwerx is a conversation about who we are and a journey about creativity,” said the duo. “The most important thing you can have to grow as an artist is to be inspired by others – collaboration is key.

Their first creation as S&M is “Black Armor” – five hairpieces crafted solely from hair derived from different sources of external inspiration, which you can see in the images below. Black Armor is a culmination of 6 months of work on their own time, aside from what they do for Sebastian Professional, inspired by amazing artists like Iris Van Herpen, architect Santiago Calatrava, fashion designer Gareth Pugh and the aesthetic of Kendo martial arts fighters with their intricate armor and masks.

If you sit down trying to be creative, it is not going to happen,” says the duo. “Being creative is an action – we try to make people understand that you need the courage to make mistakes, develop your own methodology and build your own journey to get to the next level.

S&M also touched upon the unique parallel mindset as a prime example of the success that teamwork can ultimately achieve. Their motto? “Surround yourself by people you can learn from.

In order to go further beyond your limits, don’t be afraid to expose your weaknesses,” said S&M. “We’ve done a lot of mistakes in our career but we understand this as part of the process. The journey is the important part of the creative process. The key of creativity is not to replicate what others do, but to understand what you see, deconstruct it and reveal it in your own way.”

What followed was an open forum Q & A, which makes Brainwerx a fascinating combination of the power of intuition through self-expression and the effects of such on the creative process. Are you ready to go the next level as an artist? “Mindset matters,” say Shay Dempsey & Michael Polsinelli.


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