We recently journeyed down to Memphis, TN to take in the culture and soul of the historic city (and to sample some barbecue, of course). Music and art flood the streets and there is so much to hear and see. Some of our favorite places were Stax Records, Sun Studio and The Rock n Soul Museum. Graceland was also a must-see. Click through the photos below to see some highlights of the trip.
Some people are born with natural artistic abilities, and Brooklyn-based painter Yu Chun “Pony” Ma is no exception. Born and raised in Taipei City, Taiwan, Pony began drawing at age 5 and had created his own comic books by the second grade. After graduating college, Pony moved to New York City and, through a series of events, rediscovered his love of art. He found himself studying Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Since FIT he’s developed incredible skills in acrylics and found his own influence and style in pop surrealism. He has been mentored by artists Greg “CRAOLA” Simkins and Bob Dob. See Pony’s work below and find out more about his inspiration and process.
Tell us about your background and when you started creating art.
I was born in Taipei City, Taiwan. I started doing art since I had memories. I remember art class and gym class were the only two classes I was interested in at the school. I was always the person when teachers needed help with decorating the classrooms; I loved doing that because I could have a right reason to skip the noon nap time after lunch. At home, I’d draw my own manga after I finished the homework until my mom yelled at me and dragged me to bed….pretty much every night.
When I was in my junior high school year, I spent a lot of time drawing, playing basketball (thanks to MJ) and playing video games instead of studying. Therefore, I failed the exam to get in any “good” high schools (the exam determined what school you were eligible to go to. Good schools required higher score to get in). I could only go to a vocational school. So I told my parents that I wanted to study art because that was the only major I was interested in. However, this thought got shut down by my parents because they thought I needed to learn a skill that could help me get a job in the future. Art for them wasn’t a job, it was more like a hobby (it’s a really common thought in traditional Chinese culture). So…I ended up studying Electronic Engineering for 8 years until I received my bachelor degree even though I had no interest and had no idea what I was studying for. During those 8 years, I’d started gaining interest in playing music. So I’d spent a lot of time practicing my guitar skills, playing with bands and dreaming about touring the word. The only thing I didn’t think about and didn’t do was art. It was something that wasn’t familiar to me anymore.
In 2007, I moved to New York and had been studying English at a language school for 2 years. I then decided to go back to college in order to get a longer period for my I-20 (a document for international students). While I was wondering what major I should study (again, I didn’t think about art at all ), one of my friends/ band mates, Jack, saw my poorly/childish doodles I did in my language class. He then suggested me I should pursue an art degree. I thought, “Oh yeah I used to draw when I was a kid, so why not? At least this is something that doesn’t sound new to me.” So I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology to study Illustration and my door for art has been re-opened ever since.
Did you have any major sources of inspiration when you were young and green behind the ears?
Japanese manga! We didn’t have any American comic books in Taiwan back when I was a kid (as far as I know). I was a huge fan of Dragon Ball; I would create my own characters and stories based on the manga. My dad would take me to the manga supply store and bought me the pen, G-nib, ink and the specific papers those Japanese manga artists used. The other artist who influenced me a lot is Ah Tui (you can watch his video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmEcLrfBuwU Remember to turn on the English subtitles). He is a Taiwanese sci-fi comic book artist. His has this dark, funny, weird, kind of like Moebius style in his comics, but crazier and busier in each panel. Reading his comic books is like solving a puzzle and I could always find something new every time I read it.
What inspires your work now?
After I moved to New York, I started learning all the big names in the art world. I started to try different styles and mediums in order to find my own direction/style. At the end of day, I was so into surrealism/pop surrealism. I love how those artists think outside the box. So I’ve spent some time studying it and trying to find my own inspiration in order to be on the right path. For me, everything could be an inspiration, the weather, the smell, the conversation with friends etc. Sometimes my inspiration comes from my dreams (I even have a notebook filled with the dreams I had). As for now, I’m interested in mixing traditional Chinese culture (or mythology) with western pop culture.
Does living in NYC influence your work? In what ways?
Yes! whenever there is an exhibit tour, New York is always one of the stops. I also get to see a lot of my heroes’ work in person at many galleries in New York. Also, the diversity in New York is huge; different cultures, races, religions etc.. It seems I can never stop learning new things in New York. There is so much to explore and new things also keep coming in…so get busy!
Can you tell us about your process?
Well, I normally have a basic concept/ blueprint in my mind first, then I sketch it out on my sketchbook. I spent quite amount of time looking for reference photos at this stage as well. After I finish the sketch, I scan the drawing and bring it into Photoshop. I’d then retrace the drawing in Photoshop to clean out the messy pencil lines. At this stage, sometime I add/ delete elements, work on the composition (enlarge, rotate, move around objects etc.). Once I’m satisfied on the final, I project the drawing on a primed surface (linen or wood panel) and trace it. Then I’ll start putting colors on the top of the drawing. Once I finish the painting, I varnish it in order to give it a perfect protection.
Are you creating/working on anything now?
Yes! I’m currently working on my Bazhen series. It’s a series paintings based on the meals served at Manchu Han Imperial Feast during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) in Chinese history. I’ve finished one and still have three more to go!! Each painting represents different delicacies. I’ve also created my own little story in this series which I’m not going to reveal yet (for example, why is there a Santa Claus hat?). I’m also working on a commission painting for a friend of mine.
Where can we find your work?
Well, most of my work can be seen on my website: www.ponymaart.com
You can also find me on Instagram: @ponyhorsema
If you would like to have a studio visit, you can either contact me or my studio www.chashama.org My studio is located at Brooklyn Army Terminal. I normally participate in the open studio every year (usually in Oct.).
Seurat’s Circus Sideshow, running through May 29, 2017 at The Met, displays the excitement around circus sideshows in the nineteenth century. Georges Seurat’s painting “Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque)” serves as the central theme, and a number of his conte crayon drawings are featured as well. The exhibit is supported by work from other artists such as paintings, posters, drawings, journals, and film, all showing their individual take on one of the oldest entertainments. Scroll through our photos below and be sure to check out this show. More information can be found here:
“Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968” recently opened at The Museum at FIT. The exhibition features a mix of over 100 creations from designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Pierre Cardin, and Cristobal Balenciaga. It begins with impeccably tailored couture pieces from the late 1950s and moves through the fashion-forward and innovative ready-to-wear pieces of the 1960s. The show highlights the significant impact ready-to-wear had on the Parisian couture industry at that time.
Below is a collage of photos we took at the show. More information can be found here: https://www.fitnyc.edu/museum/exhibitions/paris-refashioned.php
We’ve scoped out the movies for the upcoming year to predict how we think they will influence placement graphics and print trends. 2017 looks to be a huge year for kid’s films, and based on the number of super hero action movies set to be released, we’re expecting “Super Hero” to be a major theme. We’ve already seen an upswing in the category this year and it seems it will only continue to gain steam. Here is our list of the upcoming films and their influences.
The Lego Batman Movie – (Influences: Super Hero / Action & Adventure)
Spider-Man: Homecoming – (Influences: Super Hero / Action & Adventure)
Wonder Woman – (Influences: Super Hero / Girl Power / Fantasy / Action & Adventure)
Justice League – (Influences: Super Hero / Action & Adventure)
Thor: Ragnarok – (Influences: Super Hero / Action & Adventure)
Power Rangers – (Influences: Super Hero / Action & Adventure)
Smurfs: The Lost Village – (Influences: Magic / Action & Adventure / Friendship)
Barbie – (Influences: Fashion / Friendship)
Beauty and the Beast – (Influences: Fairytale / Fantasy / Monsters / Romance)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – (Influences: Pirates! / Sea Themes / Action & Adventure)
A Monster Calls – (Influences: Monsters / Fairytales / Fantasy)
Emojimovie: Express Yourself – (Influences: Emojis / Social Media / Technology)
The Lego Ninjago Movie – (Influences: Ninja Warriors / Marital Arts / Monsters / Action & Adventure)
My Little Pony – (Influences: Horses / Unicorns / Rainbows / Magic / Adventure / Friendship)
Coco – (Influences: Dia de los Muertos / Sugar Skulls / Mexican Culture / Adventure / Family)
Monster Trucks – (Influences: Cars / Trucks / Transportation / Action & Adventure)
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions – (Influences: Anime / Magic / Dragons / Action & Adventure)
Rock Dog – (Influences: Animals / Music / Rock Star / Travel / Adventure)
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature – (Influences: Animals / Animal Humor / Adventure)
Cars 3 – (Influences: Cars & Transportation / Racing / Action & Adventure)
Transformers: The Last Knight – (Influences: Modern Robots / Technology / Action & Adventure)
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – (Influences: Space & Galaxy Themes / Sci-Fi / Fantasy)
See you at the movies!
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New York City based Fashion Designer and Stylist, Julie Mollo, shows us her new pop-up shop at Chelsea Market and shares the inspiration behind her fun & flirty, retro-inspired lifestyle brand.
Tell us about your background and when you started designing and styling.
I grew up an only child in Grafton, MA – a super small rural town. My mom is super crafty and is always knitting and quilting. Her mother and grandmother made all of her clothing growing up, so the creative gene is in my bloodstream. In middle school I started dressing a little differently and experimenting with my closet but it wasn’t until high school that I started to become serious and understand that I could design something and create that design. The art department was super tiny in my high school so I took classes wherever else I could- RISD, MassArt and local art museums, filling all of my free time/school vacations with more classes to learn as much as I could. I knew I wanted to live in NYC, so I only applied to FIT and Pratt for college. Eventually I chose Pratt and moved to Brooklyn immediately after graduating high school when I was 18! 10 years later, here I am!
Did you have any major sources of inspiration when you were young and green behind the ears?
I was raised on monster movies and Hitchcock films, which makes a lot of sense to me now, I love the fashion in the Hitchcock movies and the kitsch of monster movies. I always loved ballerinas, shapes, a good theme, love and the 1950s. Music has always inspired me and since 3rd grade Gwen Stefani has been my #1 style icon. Her inspirations have always inspired me as well, even if we translate them differently. I’ve loved putting two juxtaposing ideas next to each other, like my mid-length feminine full circle skirts with a big metal zipper running the entire length of it.
What inspires your work now?
My inspirations have really never changed. I’m constantly inspired by the same things, and if you really look at my work over the past 10 years you can see that they all have the same ideas behind them, each season the pieces are just a little more grown up. It’s fun to see my babies (designs) grow with me. I have a rack of my history of designs in my studio and its wild to see the evolution of my thoughts hanging next to each other!
Describe the Julie Mollo aesthetic for us. What is the spirit of the brand?
Fun, flirty, retro, rock & roll!
You have an impressive list of celebrity clients. Can you share who you’ve worked with and how it came about?
Katy Perry was my first client ever. She was the first person, besides my teachers or myself, that I had made clothes for. I reached out to her manager via MySpace as soon as I saw her photo I knew she would love my designs. “I Kissed A Girl” had just hit the radio and she was about to blow up. I was 20 and entering my junior year in college, designing for the VMAs, Tonight Show & Today Show between my homework assignments. Tagging onto my inspirations when I was “green behind the ears”, my inspirations for Katy Perry’s costumes were very obvious- I was inspired by a strawberry/banana/ watermelon, so here’s a strawberry/watermelon/banana dress. I was so naive in those days, and I learned a lot. Since the KP days, I’ve worked with many musicians- YouTuber/Singer/Songwriter Megan Nicole is my #1, we’ve done over 50 pieces over the past two and a half years for stage, award shows, events and everything in between. We were connected through a friend in the music industry and basically fell in love aesthetically. We are perfect for each other. She’s become a great friend over the years, too. We work very closely. I’ve also worked a lot with the incredible Andra Day, making custom pieces for her to perform in at Live! With Kelly & Michael, Late Show with Steven Colbert, and of course…The Grammys. That was a huge career goal of mine that I got to cross off this past February. I used every connection I had ever made to get in touch with Andra and finally was put in touch with her publicist via a friend at Buzzfeed last summer. There’s no clear cut way to get a new high-profile client, always remember to be nice to everyone- you don’t know who you’re going to work together with in the future.
Do you have a favorite project?
Hmmm…My favorite project ever? I love my entire idea of Retroversible (“retro inspired reversible clothing!”). I vividly remember having the idea hit me. It just felt right. Retroversible really changed the game for my company. It was the first time I was able to put out an actual line of product to girls everywhere, rather than only custom work.
Tell us about your pop-up shop!
So exciting! I’m really trying to expose my brand to a new audience and thought that Chelsea Market would be an ideal way of putting myself in front of thousands of new eyeballs every single day. Artists and Fleas have been a company I have been shopping with since I moved to New York. I love the brands that they work with and was so excited to I have 50 square feet that i am making as cute as humanly possible and I am very excited about it. I will be up and running August 29 – September 11.
Along with your pop-up shop, you’re launching a kid’s collection. What inspired you to take the leap into childrenswear?
I’m trying to expand my womenswear line into more of a lifestyle brand. I’ve always loved childrenswear and it makes a lot of sense for me- most of my silhouettes are very young and transition easily into smaller sizes. Little kids always really like me because I usually just look like a bigger version of them!
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
The end result. Seeing people wear my pieces online and in person, shipping orders off to clients and seeing my custom pieces being performed in on stage. Being in the audience while my designs are performing on stage is the best feeling in the world. That’s what makes everything else leading up to it worth it.
How does living in NYC influence your work, life, and/or style?
My style has become much more practical, and that is definitely due in part to the physical aspect of living here. New Yorkers are always on the go and need to be able to dress for any temperature and environment. My style has definitely influenced my designs because I design things that I would want to wear, I am my customer. Living in NYC has definitely made my style and designs more comfortable and as a result i have added a lot of comfortable knit pieces to my collections and have designed multiple tee shirts, sweaters and cardigans for layering…all with the same fun flair and retro feel.
Where can we find your work?
Right now at Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market through September 11, online at http://www.juliemollo.com and at Slapback in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!
And of course, you can see what I’m up to at all times on social media @juliemollo (except on twitter where i’m @fashionosaurus because another Julie Mollo won’t give me my name).
We ALL scream for ice cream here at FPG. When we heard about the pop-up museum dedicated to the dessert, we knew we were in for a treat (or two, maybe three). And we were right. Besides complimentary ice creams, chocolates and sugary candies, the Museum of Ice Cream boasts over 35 ice cream-inspired art pieces. Scroll through some of our photos from the museum, and jump on that waitlist!
Up until the 1980s, hand-painted lettering was widely used on window signage, billboards, storefronts and vehicles. It was a much more prevalent art form before digital processes took over, but with a cultural shift towards an appreciation for all things handmade, the highly skilled trade is making a comeback. The unique styles of hand-painted lettering lend more personality and character to a business, service or product. And it just looks so cool! We recently attended Viva Las Vegas 19 and the Heavy Rebel Weekender in Winston Salem, NC. Both events hold vintage car shows abound with hand-painted detailing. Click through the images below for a look at the inspiration we brought back with us.
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Our latest mood boards are here and ready to view! Contact us for a link to view all 8: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Come see the paintings of Five Points’ own Johnny Lowe at Superfine this week! The opening event is this Thursday, June 2 from 6-8pm. The show runs June 2 – July 4 2016. Don’t miss it!