RELAPSE Ian Frisch
Founder, Editor in Chief
Tyler Mitchell Creative Director
Max Louis Miller Art Director
Kelsey Paine Abby Kron Amina Srna Staff Writers
Alexander Tirpack Shaun Ross Gabrielle Lipton Laura Austin
Jessica Lehrman Michael Tessier Cole Barash Adam Hribar Staff Photographers
Meghan Hilliard Managing Editor
Lindsay Adler Laura Austin Steve Boxall Amber Gray Benjamin Kaufman Sarah Kjelleren Griffin Lotz Daymion Mardel David Needleman Reka Nyari Alexandrena Parker Patrick Postle Lauren Silberman Wynwood Weather Contributing Photographers
David Cooper Contributing Artist
On the Cover
PHOTOGRAPH DAYMION MARDEL STYLING ISE WHITE HAIR LUIS GUILLERMO MAKE UP BOBBY BUJISIC
On the Back
ART DAVID COOPER
MODEL SHARON at WILHELMINA
Hat MONICA FINE MILLINERY Laser-cut Leather Vest ANVELGOSA
PUBLISHED by RELAPSE MEDIA INC in BROOKLYN, NY PRINTED by BILL DUERR at HATTERAS in NEW YORK, NY
8 10 12 18 20 22 24 28 30 34 48 58 68 78 88 98 112
The King of the City A Doodlerâ€™s Life: Hattie Stewart The Five The Brightest Fly on the Wall Party Host Quietly Spilling Secrets Cosmos, Galaxies, and Dinosaurs Choosing a Public Canvas The Set That Came Alive The Anti Art Basel Void Welcome to the Fun House All or Nothing Last Call Crystal Cult Dark Visions The Fourth Erinyes
Changing New York Forever
’ve been building five-year plans for myself ever since my father died 11 years ago, two weeks before my 14th birthday. I spent a lot of my time on the couch the summer after it happened, watching documentaries on how and why the world operated the way it did. I became infatuated, after digging deeper into the catalysts of some of these changes in society and culture, with how a single person, who usually came from nothing, could make such a large impact on the world (which, to me at the time, was the epitome of my father) and how I was going to try and be one of those people—how I was going to take advantage of a life that proved so vulnerable. And then, one Friday evening, as the twilight of early summer hugged my mother’s home in the woods of Massachusetts, a strangely complacent man’s face appeared on the screen, his eyes covered in black Wayfarers, a coif of blonde hair falling onto his forehead, his expression stiff and emotionless. His name was Andy Warhol and, according to the narrator, his art changed New York City forever. I scribbled down a mental note under the heading “Five Year Plan”: Move to New York City. Change it forever, too. Since the birth of Relapse, I had always wanted to do an issue based on art. I wanted to touch upon one of the foundations of New York City as a spotlight of cultural and creative revolution, a place in the world where anything goes, a place, as it has been labeled for over 100 years, that is in a constant state of renaissance, breeding and encouraging the next level of tastemakers— people who will change the world forever. A large undertaking, I wanted to focus on artists of all mediums who are making an impact on New York City, who are embracing the creative and symbiotic relationship between themselves and this place, who are taking from New York City and also giving back. From Abby Kron’s profile on six-year-old Australian painting prodigy Aelita Andre, my look into iconic fashion set designer and art director Mary Howard, and Shaun Ross’s interviews with five up-and-coming artists; to fashion editorials that encompass art-based themes such as Tyler Mitchell’s “The Last Erinyes,” featuring illustrations by David Cooper; Amber Gray’s dark, mysterious, make-up-driven beauty story; and Daymion Mardel’s cover editorial featuring an LSD-fueled, neon-spiked-crystal-cave set design by Curt Everitt, this issue set out to encompass all aspects of art—all points of the star that is creativity and expression here in New York City, a persistently glowing chunk of land that, for reasons that people can’t explain, keeps pulsating, keeps inspiring, keeps throwing chunks of fire, keeps changing and growing over time. But, it’s true, Warhol said it best on my television that evening 11 years ago: “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Ian Frisch, Editor in Chief
The Machine. David Needleman Born and raised in New York, portrait photographer David Needleman, who put Mary Howard in front of his camera for this issue, received his degree from The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Soon after, he spent the first eight years of his career working for, and being mentored by photographer Steven Meisel. During that time, Needleman became a regular contributor of celebrity portraiture to Abercrombie’s A&F Quarterly. More recently, his work has appeared in the New York Times, L’uomo Vogue, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, More, and Out, among others.
Shaun Ross Dubbed “the first African American albino male model in fashion history” by Tyra Banks and Guy Trebay of the New York Times, Shaun Ross makes his Relapse debut in an untraditional place: behind the camera, taking hold of profiling five up-and-coming artists in “The Five.” Ross’s history as a model has garnered him editorials in GQ, Vogue, Complex, Elle, and Paper, and opportunities to work alongside Beyonce, Katy Perry, Wynter Gordon and Gold Fields.
Alexandrena Parker Capturing Aelita Andre in her studio, Alexandrena Parker makes her debut in Relapse, showcasing her penchant for child photography, her main forte in her home-base of Melbourne, Australia. At 23 years-old, Parker is a lecturer at The Australian Academy of Design in Port Melbourne. Born with Cystic Fibrosis, she hopes to create awareness of the disease through the exposure of her photography. A big fan of Tim Walker, she also loves a good burrito.
David Cooper David Cooper is a freelance illustrator and full-time Photo Editor for Siempre Mujer Magazine. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Cooper showcases his art alongside Tyler Mitchell in “The Fourth Erinyes,” as well as the back cover, a unique opportunity for Cooper to incorporate his art within fashion. “My favorite stories to work on at Siempre Mujer are our fashion features,” he explained. “But this was the first assignment that actually brought both of my worlds together—literally. I had an amazing time exploring my ideas of fashion and beauty.”
“Most young kings get their heads cut off.” Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988
distressed denim jacket houses his hunched shoulders, shielding his lighter’s sputtering flame that struggles in February’s sharp evening wind. Taking a moment to adjust the fraying wool cap over his breeze-burned ears, his paint-speckled thumb frantically tries the Bic again. “Excuse me?” asks a woman whose full-length mink coat skims W. 24th Street’s sidewalk. Her left hand points in front of him, showcasing a ring whose karats rival that of the many tennis bracelets she’s wearing. “What is this line for?” His hot breath in the frigid night whirls around the hand rolled cigarette in his mouth that he’s been so desperately trying to light. “Basquiat.” “Thank you,” she says. “Then I’m in the right place.” As I watch the exchange in front of me, I can’t dig my hands any further into my jacket pockets. 7:15 on a Thursday night, and I have been in line outside Gagosian Gallery for over an hour. The line, which stretches over an entire New York City avenue, is a confluence of societies all congregating to hail the city’s eternal young king, Jean-Michel Basquiat. 25 years since his tragic and untimely death, the Brooklyn-born artist’s name holds more caché than ever. Just last year, his 1981 acrylic on canvas piece, Untitled, sold for over $16.3M at Phillips de Pury auction house in New York City, setting a world record for the former street artist’s sold works. Famed for his unrestricted style of painting—aggressive brush strokes, heavy line work, extensive paint splatter and emotionally-possessed subject matters—Basquiat is arguably the most important Neo-Expressionist artist of all time, often using salvaged materials from his surrounding Lower East Side neighborhood. As my turn nears entering the gallery’s pale entryway, I can faintly see the vivacious colors that were once extensions of Basquiat’s hands. The grave contrast of Gagosian’s stark white walls and Jean-Michel’s demonstrative compositions gives me a rampant case of déjà vu from when I was first introduced to him almost ten years ago while studying art history in college. Today, I am 27-years-old—the same age as Jean-Michel when he died—and today, I’m going to meet an old friend in person for the very first time. The sea of spectators pulls new visitors into their whirlpool, and the energy and momentum of the room moves patrons between pieces. Digging in my heels to slow down my pace, I find myself standing in the center of the room, not sure where to start. I am overwhelmed. Immediately I’m enamored with another untitled work from 1981. The geometric figure’s head and body are both rectangular, resembling a robot, whose human feet stomp on chromatic ground. One human and one mechanical arm both raise above the figure’s head as a puff of steam seems to be exiting its body into the clear air above. Making my way to the far back room, I stand behind two gentlemen speaking softly to one another in front of a loud rendering of two male faces. Basquiat’s Two Heads on Gold displays a pair of men, mouths agape in teeth rearing smiles, conversing with one another. The painting reminds me of photographs I’ve seen of Jean-Michel surrounded by his equally young and famous downtown cohorts. One of the painted figures has thick dreadlocks, much like Basquiat’s trademark hairstyle, while the
other man’s coif is shorter, more ambiguous, allowing me to enter various faces—like close artist friends of his, Keith Haring or Julian Schnabel—whom he was often seen with. The photographs we have left of Basquiat show a vibrant 20-something with an exclusive group of burgeoning colleagues. I think about how my group of friends could be interchangeable with his. My face could be swapped for his, looking back at the large crowd. The doorway entries between each of the gallery’s expansive rooms are dwarfed by the size of Basquiat’s displayed works. When I reach what I think to be the final room, my eyes frantically dart between the four walls. “I could have sworn it would be here,” I think aloud, my chin slightly raised to see above the crowd of bobbing heads. Backtracking between rooms, I catch it briefly behind a foray of onlookers. I physically feel myself getting smaller with each step I take toward the considerable piece. It is one of his very last works before his drug overdose in August of 1988, a dark time in the already sad artist’s life. Riding with Death is an 8ft x 9ft canvas depicting a nude black man riding on the back of a crawling human skeleton. The body of bones, whose eyes are x’d out, seems to be gnawing at the leg of its rider, as the faceless man reaches ahead to nothing. In 1987, the year before the execution of this particular piece, Basquiat’s close friend and mentor, Andy Warhol, suddenly died. The news of Warhol’s death was the punctuation mark at the end of Basquiat’s life. The sadness and sense of incredible grief followed him to his early grave. The overwhelming feeling of utter fragility isn’t lost on me. I may have been younger than Basquiat when I first accepted that I suffered from depression, but I was introduced to his melancholic works at the peak of my own personal strife. While learning how he medicated with heroin and acrylic paint, I was prescribed Paxil for two years and kept journals. I vividly remember placing my palm on his face in a text book—his left hand holding up his head while his gaze was on the floor beneath the chair that held his slouched body—and told him I understood. The adoration I have for Jean-Michel Basquiat stems beyond the tangible works that adorn Gagosian’s walls. I made it through my sad struggle. I owe it to someone who didn’t to continue. Being there wasn’t to celebrate Basquiat, the illustrious artist; but rather meet Jean-Michel, the young man. The gallery guide in my hand is no longer shaking, my breathing is much slower and, for the first time, I can hear the crowd around me. I’m at peace when I acknowledge my time spent with Jean-Michel’s material-self is closing. I’m not sad anymore. And I’m grateful I was able to show him that. My flushed face is slapped by the cold wisps of wind that aggressively sneak in behind a new observer’s entry. With the lingering physical and emotional heat of the space weighing heavy, I don’t notice I’m not wearing my coat as I step outside. “Hey, what’s going on in there?” asks a passerby, stomping his fuchsia Doc Marten boots on the gritty pavement in attempts to awaken his freezing feet. “Basquiat,” I answer. “Oh, good. I found where I’m supposed to be.”
A Doodler’s Life: Hattie Stewart The U.K.-based Illustrator Likes Fucking Up Pretty Things
WORDS ALEXANDER TIRPACK ART HATTIE STEWART
attie Stewart was like a lot of 13-year-old girls. She went to grade school. She had her own group of friends, and together with her older sister, they all shared a doe-eyed interest in fashion. She would walk around carrying school folders with pictures torn from Vogue magazine pasted on the covers. She dreamed about one day being in the world of fashion. And when she was bored in class in her hometown of Colchester, England, she would doodle in the margins of her notebook. Over the next six years, Hattie would maintain her interest in fashion, but begin to more seriously consider doodling and life as an artist. Seriously enough, in fact, that she would enroll in the Illustration and Animation program at Kingston University. Presently, at the age of 24, Stewart has been commissioned for graphic design and illustration work for fashion megahouses such as Adidas, Marc Jacobs, Barney’s, and Urban Outfit-
ters; and magazines such as Interview, iD and LOVE, to list a few. Her name is popping up on trendy art and illustration blogs, and her work has gained admirers in art circles from the U.K. to L.A. But she’s not your typical fashionista, and she’s not your typical artist. Hattie Stewart is a professional doodler. “[Hattie] encompasses the energy and attitude of this generation,” said Marissa Maximo, Director of Brand Relations for Urban Outfitters. “She is also a hard working, prolific artist following her passion.” Taking the phrase “professional doodler” seriously can be difficult at first, but a roster of top-notch clients and a style that ranges from the psychedelic—zig zagging lines of contrasting color, patterns that could throw one into a seizure, and graphic work that recalls the loud, outrageous clothing of the early ‘90s—to the sinisterly comical (like her “doodle bombs” of creatures and cartoons drawn over call-girl cards, old maga-
zine covers, and photos of pop icons) are hallmarks of an artist driven to success. “It takes a lot of work to develop a style, but it’s nice to have one that people recognize,” Stewart said of her growing notoriety. But she admitted it’s not all roses. “In some respect, it’s scary because the bigger it gets, and when it happens quickly, you don’t want people to get bored. There’s nothing worse than that. You want to try to maintain a level of security. That’s never a given as an illustrator or artist, but I hope it continues to grow.” Stewart got her first commissioned project when she was 19—not even a year into her first year at Kingston. Her older sister Nicola was working at the now-defunct fashion company Luella, and they needed someone to do some illustration work. Nicola asked Stewart if she wanted the job, and of course she jumped at the opportunity. “I was extremely unprofessional,” Stewart said of her first paid gig. “I didn’t have a scanner, so I took pictures on my phone and sent them. Thankfully they were fine about it. I was fortunate because they liked my work, and even after my sister left, I was able to maintain a relationship with them over the course of the next few years.” As is wont to happen with the tenacious and talentGRRRL POWER SHIRT DESIGN, SPRING ‘13 ed, more jobs grew out of the initial Luella commission, snowballing into the next. She’s usually working on a few major projects at once. Recently, she was hired by Marc Jacobs to doodle over some animal prints for their Spring/Summer ‘13 collection; Adidas invited her to run a small workshop in London where she led a select few in an artistic re-imagining of three of the company’s most famous designs, and her drawings will be featured on the Spring ‘13 Grrrl Power T-shirt line for Urban Outfitters. “Her work resonates with our customers,” Maximo said of Stewart’s graphic design for Urban Outfitters. “The characters are feminine, yet uninhibited. They are sickly sweet, pretty, yet incredibly strong imagery.” But it’s not just fashion graphic design that has brought Stewart to this point in her career. The aforementioned “doodle bombs” are another aspect of Stewart’s work that has grown organically from a childhood habit of doodling and a fondness for defacing glossy photography. By loose definition, a doodle bomb is another way of saying artful ruination. Stewart’s foray into doodle bombing began with her love of magazines. By her own admission, her collection numbers in the hundreds, and while bored at home one day, she picked up a copy of the U.K.-based magazine Dazed and Confused and started to doodle over the cover. Pleased with the results, she kept going, not only with magazines, but also using the call-girl cards frequently found throughout London. A
month after putting the bombs online, they were picked up by the art & fashion blog Trendland, and to Stewart’s delight, they went viral from there. “I realized I’d hit on something,” said Stewart. “I’ve got something that is really fun to do, and actually quite easy, because it is just doodling. It’s what everybody does, and I guess that’s why people like it. It is interesting to see how one thing can be transformed into something completely different just from a few drawings. I like pretty pictures, and I like fucking them up.” The most well-known Stewart doodle bombs are of the magazine covers she’s turned into bright, yet edgy, palimpsests, the most notable being the vintage Playboy covers found on the magazine’s official Facebook page. While the Playboy bombs were not commissioned, she has been hired by magazines such as Interview to create Stewart-specific covers, complete with the drips, lightening bolts, and cartoon-ish creatures all seemingly culled from the schizophrenic mind of a talented six-year-old. “When you create a ‘normal’ cover you are always under restrictions; Hattie gives a twinkle to this business,” Tim Giesen, designer for the German-based art agency Meiré und Meiré, said of Stewart’s bombs. “It PHOTO URBAN OUTFITTERS frees your mind and gives an energy blast. She creates something unique and personal with her doodle bombs. We added an exhibition of Hattie’s covers to an Interview party here, and everybody loved it.” Stewart’s career is admirable by any standards, but it’s her continued devotion to the craft that has put her on the path to success. She’s never strayed from the habit of sketching on a daily basis, and she routinely pulls inspiration from her hobbies rather than other artists. A film buff with a penchant for documentaries and a DVD hoard that rivals her stacks of magazines, Stewart will often work on a huge project while having the extras from the Lord of the Rings DVDs playing so as to give her hours of background noise, and something to focus on while she takes a rare break from drawing. “I think with anything creative, the passion is always the same, and the motivation behind it is always the same, even if the work is different,” Stewart said. “The mentality of everything I think is what pushes the motivation the most. Because if you don’t know what you love to do how can you expect anyone else to appreciate it?” Like any other 24-year-old girl, when she’s not working or sketching, she’ll go out with some friends or unwind with a few whiskeys, perhaps doodling on a cocktail napkin, plotting her next big project. And thus, the life of a professional doodler—transforming a nearly universal pastime into a revered career of glitz and glory—drips and all.
A Look Into a Handful of New York City’s Up-and-Coming Artists WORDS SHAUN ROSS PHOTOGRAPHS SARAH KJELLEREN
Technodrome1 How did you get the name “Technodrome1”?
I wanted to name my blog Technodrome and some other weird person used it before me, so I had to add the “1” and before I knew it people were refering to me as “Technodrome1” so I just used what was already working for me. You lived in New Jersey for some time. How was it like growing up there? New Jersey is nice to grow up in, but it’s super boring, and being so close to the city, eventually you have to venture out and see bums, and smog, and filth. Jersey is a great place to go when you want to retire and have kids or something, but it wasn’t for me. How would you describe your work? I’ve been describing my work as “Experimental Pop.” The more I do it, the more people tell me they have never really seen anything like it, so I’m eager to find a phrase or word that fully describes my style because it’s not just “Pop Art.” When I look at your style, it’s almost like a modern version of Andy Warhol. Can you say he has given you inspiration and why? Of course I have been influenced by Warhol and people like that. The only thing is, I’m influenced by these people from the first time I saw their work. I don’t currently look at Warhol or Basquiat; the first time I saw them when I was a kid, they had a permanent effect on my brain, kind of like the first time I watched Ninja Turtles or Batman. If you could showcase your work in any gallery or museum, what would it be and why ?
I was told you recently gave Rick Ross the piece you made of him. How was that expierence? Unreal. I still don’t believe that I got to meet him. For me to be a fan of his, and to have him tell me he’s a fan of mine was extra dope. All I can say is I hope things like that keep happening. Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration in just about everything these days. If I had to incapsulate it all into one thing, I’d say the Internet is the most inspiring thing in the world.
I would like to take over the world, and you have to start in New York to know you’re worth anything. To do that I would need my work to be in the top galleries and museums. If I had a choice: The Guggenheim, the MoMa, Whitney, Brooklyn Museum—any names that you know off the top as major places to see master artists’ work.
What is on your iPod?
You have made amazing artwork of some of the most famous people known today, from Rihanna to Rick Ross. Which artist was your most favorite to make art of ?
Pizza and Tacos. No question.
That’s a hard question. I love all the subjects I draw. If I had to pick one, I’d have to say Micheal Jordan. I think the piece was so important to me to capture when I was making it. I put everything I had into it and the result was this new crazy style that captured peoples attention.
I don’t use an iPod, but if I did I’d have some Lil B on there or some Grimes. What is in your lunchbox?
If you could be a superhero, what would be your power?
Jean-Michel was a big influence on me, especially in some of my earlier works. Those are actually hanging in a gallery in Holland. Out there they compare me to the Dutch artist Karel Appel. I find inspiration from many different artists and designers. So, it’s an honor to be compared to greats like that, but I still have a way to go. You just recently did a show with your team called “Street Savvy.” How did this creative collective start?
Marcus Jahmal How can you describe your style of work? My work has to have feeling and emotion. So whether it’s a painting or a three-dimensional sculpture, I keep that consistent. Through color and medium. I like to call my work “Pop Abstraction” because I use a mix of realism and fantasy. I put up gun targets in the streets as a reminder of our human capabilities and to show where we are as a society. Each of them has been shot so they contain real energy. What inspires you the most? Finding truth. I’m a big conspiracy theorist so that influences my work a lot. Creating things the world hasn’t seen yet and witnessing their reaction is inspiring. At what age did you realize that you wanted to start making art? I grew up two blocks away from the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Heights, so as a kid I would visit it frequently. Then three years ago, I was working at a start-up game company and new menswear brand at the same time. Making art was only a hobby for me. I would make small 16” by 20” paintings and give them out to close friends and family. Soon after, an old colleague offered me $400 for two of them. That’s when I started to focus more on my craft. Making art became my passion. Your work has been compared to the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat. How do you feel about this?
To be honest, it happened organically. I went to the Keith Haring opening at the Brooklyn Museum and that’s where I ran into LegheadLoves and The Love Child. It was the most organic start to a creative relationship. We started collaborating on canvas. Our work really speaks to each other. Then we started doing street art together and it just grew and people started to take notice. A lot of gallery opportunities started coming about so we’ve been grouping up to show our work. Lately, we’ve been crossing paths in fashion, getting casted to walk shows for fashion week, and developing our menswear line C L R THRPY. You told me that you were a boxer. When and why did you box, and why did you stop ? (Laughing) My dad put me in a boxing gym in the Finacial District with a friend of his who was a trainer there and I actually started to love the sport and craft. I was about 15 when I first joined. I don’t practice as much but I always think about it and I will do it again one day. If you could show in any show, gallery, or museum, what would it be and why? I would love to show at the White Cube Gallery in Hong Kong. I’m really interested in Asia, especially Hong Kong at the moment. I like the political and cultural boom going on over there. The White Cube has so much esteem and history; once I show there I will be in a comfortable place. What’s on your iPod ? I listen to everything from classic rock like Jimi Hendrix to Bob Marley to newer hip hop and alternative. The Black Keys and SBTRKT are dope. Joey Bada$$. Portishead. Wynter Gordon. If you could be a superhero, what would be your power? To spread enlightenment and stop ignorance.
Where are you from? I was born here in New York, moved to a tiny village in the highlands of Scotland when I was two, then later lived in Glasgow. Being an oil-based painter growing up in Scotland, how did you find inspiration? How did this become your passion? I was always encouraged by everyone around me to draw and paint and be creative. My parents were constantly exposing me to art and their artist friends. I found inspiration in my surroundings and through this constant encouragment and exposure. I realized pretty quickly that I wanted to be an artist myself.
Yes and no. I like to go out and be sociable but I prefer to spend the majority of my time in my studio. When I met you I thought you were fit to be a model. How do you feel about the fashion industry? From what I can gather the modeling industry is tough. Models work really hard and I have a lot of respect for them. Fashion design is an art form. Fashion photography is often beautiful and obviously it is not only the photographer and the clothes but the model, too, that results in a beautiful photograph.
Who or what inspires you the most? History inspires me. I’m particulary interested in theology, ancient magic and religion, demonolgy, and early Christianity. You seem to showcase (and sometimes exagerate) the female form in your work. What does this signify for you as an artist? In myth and religion, we see the female sex ascribed over and over again with parallel characteristics: hideous/sublime, beautiful/evil. This idea often runs alongside the suggestion of women’s propensity towards magic. These ideas fascinate me and it translates into my work.
Who are some of your favorite painters in general? Bosch, El Greco, Caravaggio, Cranach, Jan van Eyck, Madeline Von Foerster, Jorge Santos, Martin Wittfooth, Nicola Verlato. Do you ever use everyday life issues and incorporate them into your artwork? Are there any hidden messages in your work? I try and steer away from anything that could place the figures in my paintings in a particular time period. I want the viewer to take what they will from each painting and if that means that they relate the imagery to a current issue then all the better. As far as hidden messages, there may be some, but if I told you they wouldn’t be hidden anymore!
What’s currently on your iPod? Right now, The Violent Femmes, Mary and the Boy, and Shoplifting. What is some advice you would give to other artist like yourself ? Work hard, become as involved as you can with the art world. I’m super lucky in that I work for a wonderful artist, James Nares. Those jobs are out there; you just have to look for them. Try to get in with a collective. I’m part of The Berlin Collective which is a fantastic network that supports young artists. Take part in as many group shows as you can!
Would you say that you are a very social person?
so that my drawing would come to life. What type of artist would you say you are? How would you describe your work? I consider myself a conceptual artist. I’m not really into any specific medium, although as of now my work is heavily influenced by photography, but my work is simple and minimal. How was it attending Ecole Parsons á Paris? Like the passing wind; it came and it went. When I look at your work, I have noticed your infatuation with the person as a literal blank canvas.
Maps Glover How did you receive the name “Maps Glover”? The same way everyone recieved their name: through a process of thought and contemplation, resulting in the thing that you call a name. Where are you from? Maryland. I remember you telling me your family is from Bordeaux. Do you see them often? No one lives there. How was in living in Paris and what was your purpose for living there? School. It was very brief, but [living there] made me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to. What made you fall in love with art? When did your passion for it start? I don’t remember when I fell in love with it, but as far as when it started I remember when I was young. There was this show that came on after school called “Pappyland” and when Pappy would do these drawings they would come to life. I would sit there with my pen and paper doing those drawings but they never came to life, but I thought it was because I needed to get better, so everyday I would come back to the same spot trying to get better
I wouldn’t say infatuation, but the idea of the human as this aloof being put into this different state of mind. Emotionless and emotional intrigue me, and when creating theses images I find it relieving and it helps me sleep at night to know I no longer have to carry it. What artists are you influenced by? Duane Michaels because his work reminds me of my thoughts. Do you relate your art to life lessons? If so can you give one? I think it’s impossible not to, in that it came from you. What is on your iPod? Everything under the sun: pop, rock, Bjork (laughing), and R&B. I know that you are in love with Bjork. Do you feel as if you connect with her, from one artist to another? Bjork is like the stepping stone for young black progressives. Well, guys...they go through this Bjork phase and then fine other “different” types of music. With that being said, Bjork is complex and mystical and, above all else, she is herself, and that’s where I feel we connect. If you were a superhero, what would be your power? I don’t know. Enlightenment? (laughing)
How did living in Kansas City for the past 15 years inspire you? I am pretty positive that the work I am doing is totally the result of Kansas City. It’s a supportive and amazing community, but not much around to do, so everyone spent all of their time creative their own entertainment. Super DIY, everyone always exchanging favors and helping each other with their projects. I mean, every town has its different cliqués and groups, but I think I had the most amazing community and supportive friends. I could make any project, put any idea out there and I would have people ready to help, and I would do the same for them. I still feel that way about Kansas City, although so many of my friends have moved to New York, which is why I am there so much now. I feel like I have two amazing communities. How did you get into self-portraits of you as other people? I think the transition to the newest work at the Hole in New York was the result of my past bodies of work. I have basically been taking self-portraits for about ten or 12 years, mostly as a way of entertaining myself. Often I would be dressing up crazy or funny with friends—often dressing in ways that would clash with whatever situation we were going to enter. Then over the years I would push that a little further. I received grant opportunities to go and do projects in Tokyo and throughout India. With these, I started taking these shitty DIY, super low-budget costumes and started inserting myself into these cultures and sub-cultures. The point was sort of to see what the reactions would be. In India, the situation was so much more tense [than Tokyo], and it was something I was afraid to do, but the tenseness also made me want to do it more. Like, could I make these people smile? Could I confuse them or make them see what I am doing as being humorous? Or is that totally impossible? Can I make these kids in a slum be entertained? I love your pictures of you as recording artist Lil’ Kim. How did it feel to channel her? Lil’ Kim is a favorite because I so do not look like Lil’ Kim. It is super funny to do all these amazing ladies when my attempts are so off. But it’s sort of like that for all of them. All of the images are recreations of either Photoshops found on the Internet or pairings from TotallyLooksLike.com, and that one is “Female Gremlin Totally Looks Like Lil’ Kim,” so it’s super funny to put all of this time into re-making a stranger’s weird decisions they made on the computer. There is something sort of gross and amazing about it. Would you say that you are a very social person because most artist are not? I am super social—that’s a big part of why Whoop Dee Doo started [in Kansas City], and it’s also how the photos became what they are today. Especially people like Matt Roche, Lee Heinemann, Erin Zona, and Natalie Myers. Matt is my Co-Di-
Jaimie Warren rector. Whoop Dee Doo is our non-profit traveling variety show for kids and adults. It is structured like a fake television show, and it feels like a high school talent show. We have traveled this project nationally and internationally, and we basically travel to a city, usually a gallery or museum hosts us, and we work with an at-risk youth group to create sets, props and costumes. We totally transform the space into a floor-to-ceiling set that sort of makes everyone feel like they are in another world. We spend months researching the community before we arrive, and we have performers from that community collaborate with us to make variations on their performances for our show. It’s super crazy and wild and surreal—you find yourself dancing in this crazy room with confetti and balloons surrounded by clogging troupes and drag queens and moms and eight-year-olds and Hawaiian dancers and they are all going wild. I walked through your gallery at the Hole on Bowery and noticed your “Jesus Piece” in a very hilarious, modern way. What inspired you to do that specific piece? That piece, like almost all of the other works in the show, is a re-creation of a found Photoshop piece. That is “Self-portrait as Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation in Pietá by Giovanni Bellini/Trek Pietá by Deborahb.” All of these are sort of threepart pieces. There is the original Bellini painting, then someone online named “Deborahb” entered an online contest where you have to make these paintings all Star-Trek-y. So I am Data, as Jesus, in this Bellini. With Lee’s Mom, Jennifer, and my friend Paul. Super weird, as they all are. There are several ways one can catch my eye to re-make it. Sometimes it is in a brilliant title (an upcoming “Celebrities as Food” I want to do is titled “Chicken Tikka Malsalvador Dali”). For this one, I think playing Jesus who is playing Data from Star Trek was the winning part that made me have to do it.
The Brightest Fly on the Wall
Skateboard Legend Ed Templeton’s Voyeristic Photography Induces the Spotlight WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS LAURA AUSTIN
hat is it about certain people that drives them to always want to progress and do more with their lives? The people bitten by this bug may consider it a curse, because, in a sense, they are never satisfied. But on the flipside, the work and life that these individuals create for themselves is often times extraordinary. Ed Templeton is one of these people. Not content with only being a professional skateboarder, Templeton has made a name for himself as a company owner, a photographer, a painter, and a graphic designer. And for him, that probably still isn’t enough. Skateboarding, at least in the early days, tended to attract creative types. “I think in 1985, when I started skateboarding, a majority of the people were drawn to it because of an alienation of some type. You know you would get your ass kicked for being a skater; it wasn’t cool like it is now. It’s sort of an individual thing, and I think those people tend to be creative,” Templeton professed. However, he seemed to be in a unique position inside
the skate world. “I was fascinated by the idea of the fame, the money, the youth, and the lifestyle that these guys lived in skateboarding, but never fully felt like I was taking part in it. I never really drank or took drugs. I was always running (Toy Machine) so I felt like the responsible one,” said Templeton. Through traveling the world and being a part of this rebellious subculture, Templeton resulted to being more of a fly on the wall by picking up a camera and documenting everything about this lifestyle that not everyone had access to. “I realized the fortune I had through skateboarding and travel which not only gave me access to the subculture I was interested in, but then to travel and [experience] the world-wideness of it,” explained Templeton. After becoming interested in the work of famous street photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Garry Winogrand, Templeton started taking full advantage of his travels, exploring the cities when he wasn’t skating, and developed his voyeuristic street-style photography he is best known for to-
day. On January 12, 2013, Templeton showcased his latest collection of work titled “Memory Foam” at the Roberts & Tilton gallery in Los Angeles. Brought to fruition simply after realizing the bulk of images he had, this exhibit played off his unabashed, persistent photographic voyeurism, featuring a cross section of photos he had captured over the years while walking around the streets in his hometown of Huntington Beach, California. Templeton’s ability to capture candid images of the human condition is evident in a number of his books including “Teenage Smokers,” “The Golden Age of Neglect,” “Teenage Kissers,” and in his latest exhibition “Memory Foam”. Templeton explained, “‘Memory Foam’ doesn’t really have any skate culture aspect to it at all; it’s more a representation of the fact that I live here in Huntington Beach and most of my job is either doing skate graphics on the computer or sitting in the studio painting and I feel like I don’t get enough exercise.” So once a day Templeton and his wife Deanna took a stroll down to the pier in his hometown of Huntington Beach and naturally, Ed, always carrying a camera with him, was inclined to shoot everything going on around him. “It’s kind of funny because a lot of the time photography is about picking a project and going somewhere and doing something exotic, like going to document sex trafficking in the Middle East or something exciting. But a lot of the time there’s something interesting right under your nose that you forget,” Templeton pointed out. “I started to realize that where I live is a paradise; there’s a whole host of freaky people that are here.” And so “Memory Foam” embodies just that, images of the freaky and interesting people around Huntington that Templeton has collected by slyly passing by and shooting a picture, most of the time without his subjects even noticing. “The idea of asking people to take their picture, most of the time, I think ruins the moment that I originally saw. When people know they are being photographed, usually they’ll adopt a pose or something that changes the whole thing.” For Templeton, “Memory Foam” was unique in the sense that it focused on a certain theme. Most of his exhibitions are a mix of his photography, painting, and even sculpture work, a “cornucopia of stuff,” as he referred to it. His upcoming solo show on March 21st at the Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium will be just that, in which he plans to paint the walls and showcase a blend of his photo-based projects he has been working on. Though his work spans between different mediums, photography is the only one he is completely confident about because of its mechanical process. “With painting I feel like an amateur. I get embarrassed. I show paintings still because I like them, and I think they are good enough, but there is something in me that is always assuming someone’s going to laugh. Like real painters are going to look at this and think I’m stupid,” admitted
Templeton. The same goes for the graphic design work he does for his skateboard company, Toy Machine. “When I see other graphic designer kids on computers and I see how they work and how fast they are, it’s like they know so much, and I realize that I’m doing super rudimentary Illustrator work. But it’s good enough; it’s Toy Machine and it’s got it’s own style for sure, and that’s what it is, so that’s fine. But there’s a lot more to learn.” This is part of what makes Templeton so intriguing: his lack of ego. It stems from the original point that he is the type of person, despite his artistic style of looking into the crowd rather than the other way around, who always wants to do more. Regardless of how successful he has become as both a skateboarder and artist, he still isn’t satisfied and wants to learn and
keep progressing his work—digging internally into what intrigues him culturally, like merely walking down the Huntington Beach Pier—which in a way, grounds a person. “I think as much as I’d like to say that all my success in art just came from people liking my work, the fact of the matter is that they only looked at it in the first place because I was a successful pro skateboarder,” Templeton said, alluding to a source of inspiration—the nagging thought that being the brightest fly on the wall is all hype—and that, if he keeps pushing, underneath his mainstream persona is a true eye for art, a lens specific only to him, and an opportunity to make the best of it. “Being a well known skater within such a small world gave me a lot of opportunities. I’ve been able to notice that and not take it for granted. So when I get an opportunity in the art world I try to knock it out of the park, and I feel like that’s what helped me grow as I went. That’s the same attitude I’ve had with skateboarding, or with everything, just trying to make sure you don’t take anything from granted and try your hardest to really do what you are capable of. Rule number one: Always go buck.”
Caroline O’Donnell’s Outdoor PS1 Installation Gives the Queens Museum a Fresh Façade for Summer WORDS GABRIELLE LIPTON PHOTOGRAPHS GRIFFIN LOTZ
n Manhattan, advertisements roll by on the tops of taxis, the sides of buses, and plaster temporary construction façades. It’s not until entering Queens that ads reclaim their architecture as rectangular walls atop pole soapboxes preaching down goods and services to borough-dwellers below. They rise high and loud above the landscape littered with industrial buildings rather than skyscrapers; even the unclaimed billboards articulate white noise into the air. A handful stare straight down into the outdoor courtyard of MoMA PS1, which, come the end of June, will have a resident billboard of its own. But in lines with the exceedingly
avant garde art within the public-school-turned-sister-museumto-MoMA, it will be more abstruse than straight commercialism. Sans pole, it may at first just look like a wall, but its odd shape looks somewhat like a gibberish word, as if it’s struggling to say what it means. Hint: It is. Its name is less elusive: Party Wall, designed by CODA, an Ithaca, New York-based design firm run by Caroline O’Donnell, the 2013 winner of MoMA’s Young Architects Program (YAP). The competition nominates rising architects to propose a temporary structure for PS1’s Warm Up series, an outdoor showcase of bands and DJs that runs from late June until September. Winning
is hugely prestigious, but the dream-like appeal for an emerging designer is that aside from the three main required provision— shade, seating, and water—it grants entire artistic freedom. “I’m interested in architecture that is legible, architecture that communicates,” said O’Donnell. “[YAP] is just such a great opportunity to build something real with a little more space for experimentation.” Irish-born O’Donnell first heard about the competition after she came to the U.S. in 2004 to complete her masters in architecture at Princeton University, when one of her classmates took her to PS1. O’Donnell was impressed to the point of celebrity. “It’s something I never even thought about winning. I can’t even say it was a dream of mine to win this because I always thought that would be too much to expect out of life.” She stayed in New York after graduation and was offered jobs by famed architect Peter Eisenman and Dean of Cooper Union’s School of Architecture, Anthony Vidler, before moving to Itaca in 2008 to teach at Cornell, where she currently teaches and operates CODA. Her dream began materializing last November, when her teaching department’s dean nominated her for YAP, and she made the cut from approximately 25 contestants to five. She had six weeks over the holidays to come up with a structure to propose. O’Donnell worked alongside past and present students as well as a few teaching associates to create Party Wall, while the other four teams were composed of multiple established architects. “I canceled my plans to go home to Ireland [for the holiday], of course,” she dryly laughed, as if this is one of the deluges of times she’s sacrificed her personal life. “But there is no substitute for just working on it. You don’t generate ideas out of the air; you generate them through going over things, modeling things, researching things.” Party Wall may sound as if it’s covered in graffiti and oozing booze, or, as if in some surrealist movie, the wall itself is partying. But it’s more of a cool party host. This year, in addition to Warm Up, there will also be Expo 1: New York—a large-scale group exhibition with outdoor events such as classes and films from included artists. Accordingly, O’Donnell created stages around the bottom portion of the wall, which can be taken in and out and used for seating, much like a trundle bed. “Pool boys,” the brainchildren of a group brainstorm, will be on duty
to do the heavy lifting while also monitoring the pools, misting stations, and fountain filled with water bladders that cleverly double as the structure’s foundation. The boys will be outfitted in 50s-inspired uniforms; Party Wall will be outfitted in 3,000 pieces of sustainably-harvested, wooden skateboard scraps. The choice of skateboard scraps returns back to O’Donnell’s fundamental approach to architecture: responsiveness to environment. Unlike music that can be played anywhere or art that can be hung anywhere, architecture is almost exclusively non-transferable. It sits, and it stays. In that mindset, O’Donnell studies her sites like a crime detective, examining every detail, including locally available building materials. This led her to Comet Skateboards, which are locally made out of super durable, sustainably forested plywood, and happen to be comfortable to sit on. The individual pieces will be woven into 120 sheets to be tacked into the singular wall. “I know it’s going to be a lot of work to make this happen, but it’s a question of how you want to live your life. Do you want to do something difficult and amazing, or do you want to do something okay and easy?” said O’Donnell. “I’m not interested in blending in. Obviously our project doesn’t look like PS1, and it doesn’t look like the neighborhood, but looking at Party Wall, you start to see something about the environment that you didn’t see before, and looking at the environment, you start to understand something else about Party Wall.” This primary “something” is the wall’s shadow, which had never before been explored as a shading method, as all previous winners have designed versions of canopies or buildings. “I think it’s interesting to reconsider an architectural element,” said Pedro Gadanho, Curator of MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. “She showed that it is still possible to invent other possibilities here.” If you go to PS1 during a hot summer afternoon with the sun shining down through the thousands of pieces of skateboards woven together into this massive baffling structure, it projects onto the ground the word “WALL.” It may get overlooked amongst its stages, benches, pool boys, skateboards, sustainability, and water. To call it a mere wall would be a vast understatement. Perhaps, not unlike O’Donnell, it found itself accomplishing so much more than it thought it could.
Quietly Spilling Secrets Bouncing Off Art Roots, Brooklyn Multitasker Kilo Kish Releases Mixtape WORDS KELSEY PAINE PHOTOGRAPHS JESSICA LEHRMAN
n a dreary, misty day on an unremarkable street in Clinton Hill, a beautiful slip of a girl opened the door to her apartment with a bright smile and a flurry of curls. She goes by the name Kilo Kish, and the singer/artist/model looked and spoke like any precocious 22-year-old art student. But within Kish is a massive burst of creativity, filled with so many secrets to undercover—it seems they are on the verge of spilling from her tiny, feminine frame. Lakisha Kimberly Robinson grew up in Orlando, Florida, but the mint green leather Theory jacket she wore was gifted for attending the Theyskens show during New York Fashion Week a few hours prior. Paired with a black dress, makeup-free face and unmistakable air of cool, she was quintessentially New
York. That’s the thing about Kish: While she clearly possesses the drive, intellect, and talent to do anything she wants, a lot of the success she’s attained fairly quickly was merely by accident. “It happened randomly, making music,” she confessed while posted up on her apartment’s black and white floral-printed bed, sipping tea. “I was always in school for design and visual arts. It was my home life that segwayed it in.” Kish took a year off from school and moved in with rapper Smash Simmons and J.Scott, the latter eventually becoming her manager. The sometimes model-actress took time off from making art and got into the music world her roommates inhabited—just for fun. “It was a joke at that time,” she admitted.
The joke turned into the acclaimed Homeschool EP and new mixtape K+, which features A$AP Ferg, the Internet, Flatbush Zombies, Donald Glover and SBTRKT, just to name a few—a wealth of established musicians she hooked up with just by being herself. “Everybody on the mixtape is a friend first,” she explained. “That’s how I like to work...I met Ferg at an art show one day by myself. He was explaining to me a random idea for a music video. And I’m one of those people too; I like working with super creative people who have a lot of ideas...I want it to be natural.” For a young woman who fell into music organically, she clearly possesses a certain charm and authenticity that draws likeminded creatives to her. “She has a very interesting way,” said production collaborator Erick Arc Elliott of Brooklyn rap group Flatbush Zombies. “Her tone of voice...I can’t even tell: Is she European, American? Is she 23, is she 30? I had no indication of what she looked like. That’s the most beautiful part. A lot of music is caught up in image; she’s one of those people who is who she is. She’s a talented person, and she has a different way of expressing herself.” The music, however, is difficult to describe, as Kish freely admitted. It hovers somewhere between spoken word, experimental, electronic, rap, and R&B. But with the addition of Kish’s irreverent vocals and hip-hop sensibility, the finished product sounds so much more cohesive than the sum of its parts. “I guess it’s like talkrap-singing. I think it’s very conversational,” she said, unfurling her long limbs. “I never call myself a rapper; other people do that. At home I listen to a lot of 90s R&B; Boyz II Men; The Smiths; 60s, 70s soul music. I’m influenced by a lot of things, but it’s subconsciously.” Collaborator Matt Martians of the Internet offers his take: “Kish’s sound is basically what goes through a 22-year-old’s head. Trying to find out where you want to be in life...I feel like it looks like music that matches her and would be going through her brain and her life. When it matches up, it feels authentic.” The conversational aspect of Kish’s creative spark is what shines through, both in her music and in her visual artwork. The FIT and Pratt attendee highlights the collaborative part of making art and sound, whether it be through featuring original interactions spliced between and within songs on her mixtape, or documenting the entire artistic process. “That’s what I get
inspired by the most, conversations among people. Interactions, human interactions are so interesting to me,” she confided. “I love people-watching. I’m not that much of a talkative person in real life. I have a lot of time to really deeply think about the dynamic of different relationships and wonder what this person does, where they live, what their house is like. I explore those different ideas through my music.” While Kish may feature an argument with a boyfriend layered within a song, or audio of a back-and-forth with her producer, she also opens up the conversation to her listeners, creating a visual art show to accompany K+ that posted up at a school in the Lower East Side. Featuring all the e-mails, photographs and video that Kish took on her iPhone during the making of K+, a multimedia slideshow video was projected right over the emails, notes and drawings, which were taped onto the school walls. To top it off, K+ played in the school room, juxtaposed with the notes and videos that showcased how the music was made—an art installation available for her friends to peruse one day only. Kish described the inspiration behind the visual/ audio installation: “I didn’t really know much about the process of making music until I actually became a part of it....There are a lot of people that help and the artist is the only one who gets the real credit. I wanted to highlight everyone. I wanted to show that it doesn’t always work out the first time around. Things go through stages. I wanted to think about that a little bit deeper and put myself on display. To allow people to feel more close to me.” Kish—who said she’d be getting her hands dirty in a print studio if she wasn’t making music—is hitting the road in March with Odd Future offshoot the Internet, her very first time overseas. And while she’s clearly hitting her stride, nabbing the cover of the Village Voice and features on Pitchfork and SPIN, Kish is still the same down-to-earth art student. And it’s that “I am who I am” nonchalance that will keep Kish’s star on the rise. As Matt Martians sums it up: “Kish isn’t thirsty. She’s not forcing you to like her stuff; she’s just putting it out there for you to enjoy. I think people like that, when the artist doesn’t need the thirst of the fame. People will want to support her more when there’s the humbleness in it.”
Cosmos, Galaxies, and Dinosaurs Aelita Andre, the Six-Year-Old Australian Painting Prodigy, Captivates New York City WORDS ABBY KRON PHOTOGRAPHS ALEXANDRENA PARKER
ne morning, six years ago, the then-three-month old Aelita Andre sat wailing in her stroller within the Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Agitated looks emanated from all corners of the room, chastising the parents as if to say, this is no place for a child. In an attempt to soothe his disquieted daughter, Michael Andre lifted Aelita from her stroller until she was eye level with the paintings. Within just a few seconds, the crying ceased as Aelita fixed her gaze on the artwork in front of her. “She probably was telling us, by yelling, ‘Pick me up, I want to see, too!’ ” Nikka, Aelita’s mother, recalled. “She doesn’t want to sit in the stroller and observe our feet; she wishes to see artworks, too.” Michael and Nikka sought to ignite a sense of creativity and wonder in their daughter from a young age. Now, at just six-years-old, Aelita is the “youngest professional painter in the world” and still somewhat of an anomaly in a typically exclusive industry. Her work as an artist has already earned her three solo exhibitions at Agora Gallery, one of New York City’s leading contemporary fine art galleries, as well as numerous other galleries across the globe. Coveted by abstract art collectors, a few of Aelita’s paintings sell for upwards of $20,000, though most cost between $6,000 and $18,000. Raised in Melbourne, Australia by parents who are visual artists, Aelita has always been witness to the creative process behind making art. As soon as she could crawl across the sprawling canvases her father painted on, Aelita began experimenting with different materials and color combinations. Aelita completed some of her earliest works just after turning one, but according to the artist, she “first started painting inside mummy’s tummy.” Gesturing towards a piece she completed more recently, Aelita indicates that she had painted similar works while in the womb. “I had my whole painting area in mummy’s tummy. And I also made magic in mummy’s tummy.” Although she was not yet able to speak fluently, Aelita’s parents insist that she communicated through her paintings. “She was making conversation happen through the colors,” Nikka said. “Painting for her is like, for us, talking and listening. For Aelita, it is how she expresses herself.” Sometimes Aelita treats painting as a sort of performance art—singing and dancing around her canvases—as a way to further exude her emotions. “I feel like a magical space unicorn when I paint,” said Aelita enthusiastically. “I am very inspired about my artwork.” Just after her first birthday, Aelita already had the consistent ability to stay focused on one painting for almost 40 minutes at a time. Her parents liken Aelita’s process to a meditative practice, noting her extreme thoughtfulness and patience in creating her pieces. According to Nikka, “After Aelita finishes painting, she sits, puts her hands together, and thinks. And she will sit
there like that for a few minutes.” When Aelita was about two-years-old, Nikka said she actively began to notice there was something special about her daughter’s work, particularly her use of color, understanding of composition, and attention span. “We thought, it’s probably because we love our baby that we think it’s so incredible how she uses color and composition,” Nikka admitted. “We thought maybe we were reading too much into what Aelita was producing, but I thought, I have to show somebody professional to see what people will say to me.” Nikka showed the paintings to a curator at the Brunswick Street Gallery, who agreed to feature the paintings in a group exhibition before ever learning Aelita’s age. Though he was surprised to discover that a 22-month-old artist created the paintings, he was still willing to showcase Aelita’s work. “I think an artwork speaks for itself; who created it is irrelevant,” said Nikka, who intentionally withheld Aelita’s age from the curator. “Whether it appeals to you or does not appeal to you, art should be totally democratic—at least for the creator.” Since this initial show, Aelita’s paintings have attracted an international following with exhibitions held in several cities including Melbourne, Hong Kong, Tuscany, London, and New York, with selected works chosen for private collections housed in Tokyo, Moscow, Vienna, Rome, and more. New York holds a special place in Aelita’s heart after she first traveled to the city for her solo exhibition, “The Prodigy of Color,” which ran in June 2011 at Agora Gallery. With two follow up shows, “Cosmos” and “Secret Universe,” it seems the city’s art scene has also embraced the young artist’s work. “Aelita approaches painting with a stealth-like determination of a more mature painter coupled with innocence. [With her, there’s the] abandonment of preconceived notions that often dictate outcome, and yet the outcome is always perfect,” said Angela Di Bello, Gallery Director at Agora. “I think New York is very important because it has embraced modern art from the beginning,” Nikka said. “But for Aelita, she fell in love with New York. She absolutely adores Central Park.” Not surprisingly, Aelita’s interests are hardly those one might expect of a six-year-old. She has watched countless documentaries on cosmology, astronomy, and paleontology, and counts David Attenborough and Carl Sagan among her heroes. Currently being homeschooled, Aelita remarked, “They are the best teachers in the world.” Her deep fascination with these sciences is reflected in the nature of her paintings, which depict narratives relating to cosmos, galaxies, and dinosaurs. Aelita usually explains the narrative behind her paintings as she is creating them. In the case of her 2012 work Paleontologists Footprint Dinosaurs Nesting Grounds, which she primed with a coat of paint partially applied by her feet, Aelita insists she was a
“I feel like a magical space unicorn when I paint.”
paleontologist leaving her footprint on the canvas. Aelita’s interesting use of tools and found objects adds a surrealist element to the otherwise abstract expressionist style of her work. Small details and indiscriminate marks can easily be overlooked, but often they play an important role in the story Aelita is trying to convey. “She explains as she paints, ‘they are not just spheres, but they are force fields hiding herbivores from carnivores,’” said Nikka of Aelita’s process. “When she’s painting, she’ll point, ‘the mother lays her eggs here.’” In her free time, Aelita practices ballet and gymnastics and is learning how to play the piano and violin. A great penchant for attention and enthusiasm for communicating with people have instilled in Aelita a love of performance. “She really loves being on stage dancing and singing,” Nikka explained. “At one point, we went to a concert and I had to really keep her from running on the stage. She probably would have if I hadn’t kept her really hard, because she really was trying to run on stage and perform.” Despite her remarkable success and sophisticated interests, her parents insist, “she is just a normal kid.” “I love swimming, running, and playing,” Aelita said. “And I love playing with my beautiful pets,” she added, referencing her guinea pigs. While she has experienced considerable success in her young career, skeptics question whether Aelita truly deserves her place in the art world, believing her work to be either a derivative of, or influenced by her parents. “Aelita is certainly capable of putting a picture together (although it has been alleged that her parents have an oversize hand, quite literally perhaps, in creating these works, and presumably also in naming them)...Whatever
their aesthetic charm, her canvases are hardly novel from a formal vantage, nor do they provide added meaning below the surface,” wrote Noah Horowitz, director of the VIP Art Fair, in a 2011 article for the New York Times. Others—who have compared Aelita to the likes of Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollack—claim there is an uplifting innocence and honesty about her paintings that is not often found in adult works. Part of what makes Aelita’s work original is her lack of formal training. Because she has not been educated in the traditional principles and theories of art, Aelita is utterly innocent in her practice. The colors and found objects she chooses to use on her canvases are organic, influenced only by her imagination and fascinations. “I choose colors because of their beauty,” Aelita said. “The rainbow galaxies in space inspire me to paint—even the spiral galaxies [because] of their color and abstraction. The first time I saw a star, I wanted to paint because I learned that stars are beautiful...and planets and galaxies.” Nikka embraces this organic, self-influenced progression of Aelita’s. “My biggest fear is that someone will interfere and teach my child the conventional way to paint,” she confided. “This is a very wrong approach, because I think she needs to express herself.” Aelita’s artwork is reflective of her fearless spirit, selfbelief, and energy—childlike qualities many abandon in adulthood. While it was Aelita’s initial curiosity in her father’s materials that got her started in painting, it is certainly her liveliness and persistence in the practice of art that are promising of a long-term passion—a life of multi-colored footprints on canvas, waves of glitter and broken dinosaur eggshells, and the quiet, patient narrative of what’s going on in her mind as she circles her canvas again, and again, and again.
Choosing a Public Canvas
Brooklyn-based Gabriel Specter Influences Passerby to Take a Closer Look WORDS ABBY KRON PHOTOGRAPHS LAUREN SILBERMAN
itting in his Bed Stuy studio, Gabriel Specter had just returned from Mexico City. He spent the last few weeks working with curator Gonzalo Alvarez to help create a mural on a façade of a wheat factory. Though boxes containing the stencils and other materials lay unpacked, Specter was already at work on his latest piece, a floor-to-ceiling painting depicting what he jokingly called the “plaid gang,” a collage of five torsos dressed in various checked shirts. “A lot of the time when we look at others, we can size each other up by what we are wearing. When you travel abroad, you expect everyone is going to be wearing indigenous clothing; but in all reality, the only people wearing that sort of clothing are those preserving their culture or are specific to a certain region,” Specter explained. “This one is about Bushwick—I think I’ll call it ‘Bushwick Plaid.’” Internationally known for his original hand-painted style of street art, Specter has traveled to Europe, Russia, and Latin America to create the striking outdoor paintings and murals he has become recognized for. Unique for his realistic qualities and vivid use of color, Specter’s work usually depicts people and other objects involved in mundane daily activities that might be overlooked by an undiscerning eye—a painted façade of a bodega, recycled bottles stacked by a dumpster, a delivery man with a cart of boxes, and boy on his bike. “Most people don’t notice they are paintings; they look like another bodega window or some discarded glass bottles,” Specter said. “They don’t even
think about it, so they just pass by. But some realize, there’s a wrinkle to it, or that it’s distorted. I’d see them go up and touch it, just super puzzled. Then they might start to think, ‘Why did someone put this here? What does it have to do with me?’” Other pieces, like a portrait of a holy-like Muhammad Ali framed in a wreath of flowers, or a standing three-sided mural illustrating memories from senior citizens in Flatbush, are harder to ignore. As a 16-year-old living in Montreal, he became enthralled in the underground graffiti scene. Heavily influenced by a classmate who was a “tagger,” Specter grew to like the thrill of leaving his mark on the city. He actively tagged city walls and buildings for about a year before discovering an emerging subgenre of graffiti that would soon capture his full attention. “I started to realize that people were doing a lot more than tagging,” Specter said. “They were drawing and creating murals—there was so much more than putting your name up and working with letters. You could really do what you wanted.” Although he later enrolled as an art student, Specter found he was drawn more to the wall than he was to the canvas. Street art offered a viable way for Specter to reconcile the appreciation he had for fine art and the thrill he got from doing graffiti. Considering himself somewhat of a “public artist,” Specter enjoys creating works of art that can be enjoyed outside the confines of a gallery. “I love getting to ordinary people,” Specter said. “When you do something indoors, there’s always something writ-
ten about, there’s always an explanation, and there’s always an expectation that it really does mean something. Whereas I think in public, people are less sort of grasping for the meaning of something and more just interpreting it into their own subconscious or consciously talking about it.” Counting New York City graffiti duo Cost and Revs among his earliest influences, Specter shares their same preference for anonymity. He believes that, at its heart, street art should give passersby the opportunity to decipher the work for themselves without imposing any sort of superfluous context—even something so basic as an artist’s credit. “I like that I get to drop out of the picture, which might have something to do with my appearance—I’m very tall, have red hair, and have a loud, boisterous voice sometimes, so I’m a pretty noticeable individual,” Specter admitted. “I like to sort of not be seen.” This penchant for subtlety has become central to Specter’s working philosophy for a couple reasons: First, the piece has a better chance for longevity when it’s less noticeable and, second, it draws viewers in for a closer, more critical look. “The loudest stuff I don’t want to know about because it’s just berating my mind,” Specter said. “When the piece is more incorporated into its surroundings, fewer people will get it, but those who do are going to be more likely to form a thought about it and wonder why it’s there, what the hell it is.” One of his most extensive projects, “Gentrification Billboards” involved four separate street works that visually rendered the changing social landscapes and tensions consuming Brooklyn, particularly Bushwick and Bed Stuy. The Museum of Contemporary African and Diaspora Art commissioned the series to advertise its latest exhibit “The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks.” Adopting traditional styles of advertisement like movie posters and grocery catalogues, Specter’s works dealt with such issues as eminent domain, rising food and living costs, and the construction of high-rise condominiums in a way that was both unexpected and subversive. “There was one piece called Caucasian Invasion, that was done in the style of the 1970s Black Dynamite movie posters, which always had these funny black characters who kick serious ass,” Specter said. “It was the opposite of that, these white people coming in and kicking peoples’ asses. Some people got really mad about that, which was the point. I wanted to get the idea out there and get people discussing gentrification.” With the popularization of street art over the last five years, Specter has seen a significant departure from this way of thinking. Many young artists take to the streets with hopes of becoming recognized as the next sensation. He has noticed that most work on the street has since become more graphically driven, lacking a solid conceptual foundation or purpose. “It’s become more about doing the freshest, coolest thing, but it’s almost like an ad at that point, so, it loses a bit of its soul,” Specter said. “The initial illegality of street art showed a lot of character for those who were willing to put themselves at risk to go do stuff that they weren’t really ever going to be able to take credit for.” When Specter was growing up in the 1980s and 90s, he was never lured by the prospects of fame and financial gain because there was none to be had. Pre-Internet, street artists had very few viable ways to legitimize and exhibit their work within the contexts of the art industry. And this is the beauty of the foundation of street art: a portion of the industry that people
like Specter still find exhilarating. “It is definitely good for the culture because it has given street artists this opportunity they never would have had before,” Specter said. “Pre-Internet, there wasn’t a market for it. You couldn’t take your portfolio to a gallery and interest them in seeing it. Through its popularization, it really allowed street art to become more accepted within the art industry.” Specter recognizes that, in part, this growing appreciation for street art in the mainstream has allowed artists to make careers out of a practice that they would have been arrested for a few years ago, let alone paid to do. “I’m lucky,” Specter admitted. “I’ve been able to succeed in calling myself a street artist—it’s become how I make my cash, that’s how I’ve been living.” He does, however, identify that one of the biggest issues of the growing number of so-called street artists is the tendency for the industry to force them all into one category when qualities like craftsmanship, concept, and effort can vary greatly from artist to artist. “I still hand paint everything, whereas a lot of street art images are photocopies,” Specter said. “But because I am so invested in the actual space and the people who perceive it, I really want it to be one of a kind for them; I want them to experience something that a lot of work and thought went into. It’s something that you would find in a gallery or be professionally paid for, but it just happens to be free in a space where nothing was before.” This idea of using space in a way that is constructive and relative to the community is of foremost priority for the artist. Particularly aware and receptive to his surroundings, Specter scouts spaces while walking or riding his bike through various neighborhoods, often revisiting them several times before finalizing his vision. Generally he prefers to be influenced by the environment, allowing the location to inform the layout and subject matter of the piece, rather than searching for an ideal spot. “What most artists do is if they see that one street art guy did something, they put it right next to it thinking, ‘that lasted long, so mine will, too,’ ” Specter said. “I don’t want my work to just be next to someone else’s, just so it will last; I still want it to have this point, this real story.” Specter soon started to notice several abandoned storefronts and decided to develop ideas for projects that would transform these locations. The “Sign Project” became a long-term initiative in which Specter handcrafted signs and installed them on the dilapidated storefronts. “Say you have an abandoned store that’s gone through five different hands in the last ten years. It’s got layers of culture and history in it. I just began to notice all those different subtleties to it, the different textures. From there, I was sort of stuck on it and had to put it in my work.” He rebranded an out-of-business hardwood flooring shop in Toronto, changing its name to read “Gentrification Since 1997.” Another storefront earned the new name “Mom” because of the timeliness of Mother’s Day and dusty fake flowers in the window. “A couple years after I did the ‘Mom’ storefront, I got an e-mail from this girl who said, ‘My friends and I talked about it forever, like what’s the Mom store? What’s in the Mom store?’” Specter said. “Finally, she looked at my website and realized that it was a piece of art. She was just blown away; all this thought that went into it was validated because she figured it out. I love that kind of thing when people really question why something is there.”
The Set That Came Alive
Mary Howard Reflects on Creating Worlds for Fashion Photography WORDS IAN FRISCH PHOTOGRAPHS DAVID NEEDLEMAN
n a quiet, dark morning in late January, where the rain seemed to hang in the air like tiny, wet balloons, a crew of four men hauled debris into the back of a pickup truck along the East River in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Four doors down, within a brick-slapped duplex, a five-pound Maltipoo named Frodo yelped and scurried around the living room, her claws clacking against the wood floor. “She gets very excited,” explained Mary Howard, opening her front door, sweeping a ribbon of burnt-amber hair off her cheek and against her ear. “And please don’t mind our home,” she continued, bending over to pick up Frodo. “Our entire basement was destroyed in Sandy, so the living room now acts as both.” Her voice seemed to be a product of the weather: slow, calm, and soaked in a faded-butnot-forgotten southern drawl—that slouchy wetness only seen in southern Louisiana, her native state. An open laptop and coffee cup sat on the dining room
table, paintings hung on the living room walls, her 19-year-old daughter’s bedroom stood vacant from the start of a new college semester, and the white couch was softened from movie nights and naps with the dog. Howard, too, seemed as unassuming as her home: her hair in a low, loose ponytail; a black scarf draped around her neck; black jeans tucked neatly into knee-high leather boots. A women who, for what anyone could have guessed, was a schoolteacher down on the bayou, having an afternoon coffee and correcting papers on her laptop, waiting for the rain to break and the sun to fall into her kitchen. “Yes, they are my husband’s paintings,” she said, moving from the living room and into the kitchen, “but this,” she continued, pointing to a photograph of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie holding hands in prayer with five children around a dinner table, “this was a gift from Steven Klein—from an editorial we worked on together for W back in 2005.” She paused, still staring at the framed picture. “We were
on set and all of a sudden they grabbed each others’ hands and started to pray. And that was it. That was the photo. It was wonderful.” The most prolific art director and set designer in modern fashion photography, Mary Howard has conceptualized and built sets alongside the most recognized, celebrated, and provocative photographers in the world such as Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino, and Steven Klein; and has been a vessel for visionary editors like Grace Coddington, Edward Enniful, Karl Templer, Tonne Goodman and Camilla Nickerson. She has worked on over 50 editorials for Vogue Italia alone, and dozens more over the past two decades for American Vogue, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Interview, and Vanity Fair. She even designed the “T” for an issue of the New York Times Magazine in 2012, Frodo tucked neatly in the bottom corner of the photograph. Her hands also grip the advertising front, too, with campaigns for Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Prada, Bulgari, Calvin Klein, Dolce and Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, and Vera Wang under her belt, among numerous others. “She is one of the key players, really,” confided Jimmy Moffat, President of Art + Commerce, which represents Demarchelier and Meisel, Howard working with the latter most often. “Executing their vision happens on set and Mary often times helps to conceive their vision.” Born and raised in New Orleans, Howard obtained her MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and subsequently moved back to New Orleans to design and build floats for Mardi Gras, one of her main inspirations for getting into art in the first place. Float design, ironically, landed her back in the tri-state area in the 1980s, working for Macy’s Special Productions, putting together the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 4th of July, and other events. With this more applied, three-dimensional art experience, Howard eventually was able to make some props for production designer Marla Weinhoff, who, in recent past, has built live-performance sets for Lady Gaga. This led to working with photographer Richard Avedon, sparking her career in fashion photography. The transition from performance design for floats to set design seen in a two-dimensional photographs (and through the eyes of a different person, the photographer) was a clunky, uphill learning curve. “It took a long time to understand how to design for photography,” Howard explained. “I was always surprised early-on how certain colors, textures, and shapes translate on film. The camera lens and light are so integral to what I do. It really has been a huge learning process, and I am still learning.” The logistics behind designing, building, and executing a set, too, prove to be a constant challenge, especially as fashion editorials strive to be at the forefront of photographic expression. “I want to see the next photograph, not one that was done last year or ten years ago,” explained Howard. “Art is a pyramid; the new image is at the top and everything that has been done before is at the bottom.” Because of this, Howard executes a more unique approach to set materials, sometimes bypassing the
handful of prop houses in New York to avoid having the same decorations as other photoshoots. “I’m a big flea market fan,” she confided to Style.com in a 2010 interview. “You’d be amazed at how well a dirty old chair shows up in a photo. I’m actually wary of using things that are too new and too pristine.” A properly decorated set creates believability, a must for Howard, regardless of how imaginative the set design is. “I like to have something wrong with the picture. The eye has to travel, but I think it’s OK if it has to stop once in a while to all the surprising elements or the wrong thing. It should feel like a real place. I think if the world we create feels legit, this brings the viewer in and that can be a more exciting experience.” But, with tight schedules, this extensive process is usually crammed into just a week, and leads right up until the photography crew comes in and starts to set up their lighting equipment. “Sometimes we won’t get props until ten minutes before the photoshoot starts,” explained Maggie O’Toole, who has freelanced under Howard for Vogue editorials and various advertising jobs. “But Mary deals with the stresses very well and is very determined and highly creative.” And, more often than not, changes have to be applied during the photoshoot itself. “It feels like you are in the trenches sometimes—things are happening so fast,” Howard confided, referencing a recent job with Steven Klein for Vogue, where they needed a prop to fill the top of the frame during the photoshoot. “I saw a tree outside and told one of [my assistants to] run and cut the branch and bring it back to me,” she explained. “Grace [Coddington] peeked around and yelled to me, ‘You aren’t cutting that tree, are you?’ I said, ‘We are in a war zone here!’ He brought it in, we raised it up, and it was perfect. Beautiful. It made the picture.” It is that spontaneity and under-the-gun mentality that fuels Howard’s passion and allows her to work with the likes of Klein, Meisel, and Leibovitz, her heart thumping as the first look is dressed and the model walks on set. “That’s when all the surprises start,” Howard explained, “which is probably why I do this. I don’t want it decided beforehand. I really don’t think until the second shot do you know what your direction is going to be. It’s really the second picture—the second shot of the first day that you know.” She expanded on this thought for Style.com: “I dream about that moment—the moment the set comes alive.” In the end, though, Howard’s presence is a collaborative effort, working consistently with the photographers and stylists she most connects with. “[Howard and Meisel] connect creatively; they understand each other in a creative language,” explained Moffat of Art + Commerce. “He completely trusts her, and entrusts her to deliver something. They have an unspoken connection. We don’t need to go to a location, or some unbelievable place because we know Mary can do it,” Moffat continued. “It’s not an easy job. Mary is a wonderful person and she is incredibly creative.” Howard confided that her constituents on set admire and respect her creative direction, understanding it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle. “What is great about Steven Meisel is that
“I want to see the next photograph, not one that was done last year or ten years ago.”
[he celebrates] what all the different disciplines [of a photoshoot] do. [He allows] me to present to [him] what I think it should be. [He] respects that. In fact, [he] celebrates it.” Howard’s creative process differs for each photographer, adhering to their specific photographic style, outlook, and execution. “Context is everything,” Howard admitted. “If I am designing a set for Annie Leibovitz, I do keep in mind what she has done before, how she has approached this kind of setting, set, and subject matter before. Of course, she has a lot to say on what she wants to see in the set,” she continued. Case in point: Howard designed the set for Leibovitz’s “Wizard of Oz” editorial with Keira Knightley in 2005 for Vogue and, as Howard explained to Style.com, “Annie decided she wanted [the yellow brick road] to look like the Appian Way, a golden brick road with lots of moss. And then my job was to execute that. Annie sees it all in her head. I’m there to coax out the vision.” But things aren’t always so preemptive and deliberate for every photographer Howard works with. “For [Steven] Klein, he likes for the photo to have some tension and sometimes that can be created with the set elements,” Howard explained. “He can respond quickly to things that I literally throw in the set as we are shooting and incorporate them.” Clothing is obviously a large component of Howard’s creative process. After all, these publications are geared specifically to fashion and the application of clothing. And, aside from the photographer, Howard works closest with the fashion stylist during a photoshoot. “I insist on seeing the clothes [before conceptualizing a set],” Howard said. “It’s crucial for me—to just see
what the color pallette is, or how the clothes fall, or if the girls will be sitting or standing.” Tonne Goodman, Fashion Director at Vogue, who has worked with Howard on numerous editorials, agreed that clothes and art direction share a tight, symbiotic relationship. “If you ask Mary to produce a set, she needs to know why, and the clothes work with the environment in that way,” Goodman explained. “A shoot is a team effort. The set and atmosphere are very central for the person styling the shoot and vice versa,” she continued. “They go hand in hand. It is clothes, yes, but it’s clothes within an environment.” A third dimension, especially for more high-profile photoshoots, is incorporating a celebrity or well-known model, most of whom have already substantiated a specific persona in the public eye. Howard, along with the photographer and stylist, have to take this into consideration on top of all the other elements of a traditional production. “If it is a celebrity or a supermodel even, I think the sets are made with it in mind: ‘What is the celebrity or this girl going to do in this picture?’” Howard started. “With the Madonna shoots I’ve done, I can imagine the way she would react to certain things on the set—just knowing who she is and knowing how she does things.” Versatility on set, too, for more experienced models, allows Howard to take more risks and gives more opportunity for her set to breath. “Working with Naomi Campbell or Linda Evangelista, those girls, they use the set. They work it,” Howard explained. “If it is a young model, you know, they won’t, so you have to help the situation and think of scenarios for them: different ways for them to sit using different pieces of furniture—just give them something to do, in a
way.” Especially after Vogue’s Anna Wintour idealized celebritism within fashion in the 1980s and 90s, most of these supermodels were showcasing a more exuberant and well-thought-out presence in photoshoots and advertising campaigns. “By the nineties, fashion people definitely didn’t want to just look a clotheshorse anymore,” Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington wrote in her 2012 memoir, “Grace”. “It was all about charisma. And these girls showed more attitude and paraded their outsize personalities, whether it was on the catwalk, in a magazine, or in personal appearances.” Boiling it all down, though, Howard’s presence is fairly straightforward: “I create the world around the girl,” she explained to Style.com. “I shape the physical environment that surrounds her and help the photographer and the stylist and everyone else involved with the shoot tell the right story and make the girl pop.” And pop they do. Although her presence has a straightforward purpose, the effect it can produce is monumental. Howard has been involved in some of the most provocative and controversial fashion editorials in the history of modern photography. In a January 2013 article “A Recent History of Vogue’s Tone-deaf Editorials,” a smearing of 13 controversial editorials in Vogue’s preceding decade by New York Magazine’s blog, The Cut, Howard is credited with designing sets for half of them. The most recent, “Storm Troopers,” shot by Leibovitz and styled by Tonne Goodman, which depicts models Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, Chanel Iman, Arizona Muse, Liu Wen, and Kasia Struss amongst the wreckage and recuperation of Hurricane Sandy (Howard being a victim of the storm herself), was credited by The Cut as Vogue “momentarily acting without class.” Tonne Goodman, who styled the editorial alongside Leibovitz and Howard, wanted the story to be quintessentially New York, taking a risk with cultural commentary. “Working within that storyline—the first responder—we integrated New York City collections within a deeply-rooted New York City story.” And although there was no real set to be built, Howard’s presence on location was as integral to the outcome as an editorial constructed from scratch, helping to choose final locations out of the myriad of options. “All of
our input was integral to that story,” Goodman explained. “Mary is not just building a set; [she is] working with the entire team to make the picture.” But the fashion industry as a whole has been receiving these criticisms for years, even on the runway, such as Jean Paul Gaultier’s line from the early 90s, inspired by the traditional garb of Hasidic Jews. “The collection was extremely polarizing; people either loved it or loathed it,” Coddington wrote in “Grace”. “Some were even deeply offended by it, feeling that it caricatured and made fun of a serious religion. But once you deconstructed the ‘look,’ it was undeniably beautiful.” And, for a lot of Howard’s sets, she is making a similar cultural observation—a remark on the world in which we live in; on fine art, the foundation of her education; or even the nuances of everyday life, the things people sometimes take for granted. “I try not to look at too many things in the fashion industry,” Howard confided. “I think it’s better to find inspiration everywhere else. I should be able to look at things out in the real world and be influenced by them. Even driving around Red Hook just kind of clears my head and feeds me colors and forms and textures.” As morning became afternoon in Red Hook on that day in late January, the sun still masked by a murky bundle of grey clouds hanging over Brooklyn, Howard knocked the excess water off her boots as she entered her house from the backyard, a square plot outlined in tall stalks of bamboo, its centerpiece, a self-sustaining pond outlined in chunky boulders, covered in ice and sleet. Frodo frantically paced at her feet, yelping for attention. Howard hung up her coat, adjusted her scarf, and knelt down to ease the dog’s energy. “This is my last day before I leave again,” she said, picking up Frodo and putting her on the white couch in the living room. “We are heading to the capital tomorrow for a job— Washington D.C.,” she continued, swiping wisps of red hair off her cheeks. “I can’t say much more about it, but keep an eye out for it. There are always new things coming out.” She brought her eyes to Frodo, a smile slowly creeping towards the edge of her jaw. “Always.” Additional Reporting, Amina Srna 33
Patterned Mini Dress JULIAN CHANG Stone Necklace CHARLES ALBERT Custom Chrome Stretch Cruiser FIRMSTRONG Art LIQUEN
PHOTOGRAPHS WYNWOOD WEATHER
Custom Leather Jacket, Skirt ISE WHITE Cuff with Semi-Precious Stones CHARLES ALBERT Art RETNA
Corset and Skirt CRAIG SIGNER Necklace CHARLES ALBERT Art LA PANDILLA
SANTIAGO RUBINO, AND RIGHT
PHOTOGRAPHS WYNWOOD WEATHER
PHOTO STEVE BOXALL
Gown JULIAN CHANG Epaulets TRENDY STUDIOS CUSTOM COSTUME DESIGN Art CHANOIR & EL XUPET NEGRE
Silver Gown NICOLAS FELIZOLA Cuffs and Rings CHARLES ALBERT Art PIXEL PONCHO
Gown NICOLAS FELIZOLA Necklace and Cuff with Stones CHARLES ALBERT 44 Art RON ENGLISH
PHOTOGRAPHS WYNWOOD WEATHER
SANTIAGO RUBINO, AND LEFT
PHOTOGRAPHS STEVE BOXALL
Patterned Jumpsuit JULIAN CHANG Unfinished Jacket CRAIG SIGNER Choker CHARLES ALBERT
Top, Shorts MARIA DORA Choker CIRCA SIXTY THREE Bracelet JOOMI LIM
Jacket BERNARD WILLHEIM Top, Skirt RICHARD CHAI LOVE Necklace MONIKE CHIANG Bracelet LARUICCI Bracelet NICOLE ROMANO Ring VITE FEDE Ring EVA MARCUS
Jacket, Pants NOON BY NOOR Corset LAURELUXE Necklace WANDERLUSTER Bracelet KAREN LONDON Ring BJORG Shoes MONIKA CHIANG
Jacket MUUBAA Dress SALLY LAPOINTE Necklace NICOLE ROMANO Eyepiece REBEKKAH LEE
Top, Skirt MISGUIDED Shirt NOVIS Choker, Cuff JOOMI LIM Ring BJORG Shoes ALEJANDRO INGELMO
Top, Skirt LAKO BUKIA Necklace CHRIS HABANA Eyeglasses MERCURA Belt THE BLONDS Ring JOOMI LIM Bracelet MARIA BLACK
Dress THE BLONDS Necklace CIRCA SIXTY THREE Cuff NICOLE ROMANO Cuff BEN AMUN Ring LARIUCCI Shoes LAMB
Jacket MUUBAA Dress SALLY LAPOINTE Necklace NICOLE ROMANO
Dress ROOMEUR Neckalces JOOMI LIM Ring, Cuff VIITA FEDE Shoes MONIKA CHIANG
Hat SUZANNE COUTURE MILLINERY Blouse, Skirt, Belt YUTA POWELL Neckalce MARIE-LISE LACHAPELLE Earrings BERNIE OF NEW YORK Shoes SAM EDELMAN Doll PIDGIN Hat SUSAN VAN DER LINDE Riding Coat MAGGIE NORRIS COUTURE Bijoux Foulard Necklace ROARKE NEW YORK Earrings BERNIE OF NEW YORK Shoes SAM EDELMAN Doll PIDGIN
Bijoux Foulard (as headpiece) ROARKE NEW YORK Vintage Neckalce VERSACE, EXCLUSIVELY at DEPUIS1924.COM Marabou Bolero and Rings BERNIE OF NEW YORK Gown SELIA YANG
Hat SUZANNE COUTURE MILLINERY Gown SCREAMING QUEENS Tulle Wrap GARO SPARO Rings SHIANG NEW YORK
Bijoux Foulard (as headpiece) ROARKE NEW YORK Neckalce VERSACE Marabou Bolero and Rings BERNIE OF NEW YORK Gown SELIA YANG
Hat SUZANNE COUTURE MILLINERY Vintage Earrings CHANEL, EXCLUSIVELY at DEPUIS1924.COM Beaded Bolero CARMEN MARC VALVO COUTURE Bijoux Foulard Necklace ROARKE NEW YORK
Hat SUZANNE COUTURE MILLINERY Marabou Bolero, Earrings, Brooch BERNIE OF NEW YORK Gown CARMEN MARC VALVO COUTURE Doll PIDGIN
Hat VICTOR OSBORNE Brief GARO SPARO Necklace BERNIE OF NEW YORK Bronze Bangles SKINS AND STONES Shoes GREYMER
Jacket, Trousers GIORGIO ARMANI
Jacket, Jewerly, Shoes CHANEL Dress ELLIOT JOSEPHY RENTZ
Jacket , Shoes VIVIANNE WESTWOOD Scarf CORNELIA JAMES Dress MULBERRY Socks WOLFORD
Dress MARNI Scarf, as Belt ISSEY MIYAKE Leather Socks and Shoes PRADA
Jacket PACO RABBANE Trousers ISSAY MIYAKE Shoes ALEXANDER MCQUEEN
Dress, Leather Socks PRADA Shoes MARNI
Sleeveless Dress GUCCI Dress Work as Top GARETH PUGH
Jacket CHRISTIAN DIOR Trouser Skirt MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA Belt BASSO BROOKE VINTAGE
Coat GUCCI Necklace ELEONOR AMAROSO
T-Shirt COMUNE Blazer TOP MAN Blue Pants SOULLAND Knuckle Duster and Bracelet BLACK SCALE Chain Bracelet MARGEILA Shoes on Both OLIVER CLARK
Suit, Shoes HENRIK VIBSCOV Necklace BLACK SCALE Ring HEIDI GARDENER
Snakeskin Shirt and Tie TOP MAN Jacket BLACK SCALE Shorts COMUNE Shoes VANS Tie Bar JCREW
Printed Trousers MANDARIN & GENERAL Shoes JEFFERY CAMPBELL
T-Shirt HENRIK VIBSCOV Belt and Pants VINTAGE Socks AMERICAN APPAREL Shoes OLIVER CLARK Jacket COMUNE Ring BLACK SCALE Bracelet MARGEILA Sunglasses AIAIN MIKLI PARIS
Jeans WON HUNDRED Denim Jacket LEVIS Shoes OLIVER CLARK Belt VINTAGE Shirt TOP MAN
Shirt TOP MAN Jacket HIGHLAND Jeans WON HUNDRED
Shirt, Shorts SOULLAND Sweater WON HUNDRED Shoes NEW BALANCE Socks URBAN
Shirt SOULLAND Female Top CATHERINE MALANDRINO Jewelry HEIDI GARDNER
Gown TADASHI SHOJI Earrings and Turquoise Necklace GINA SIMONE
Dress KATE WILKOFF Collar DELPHINE CHARLOTTE PARMENTIER Earrings GINA SIMONE
Pink Dress, Pencil Skirt KATE WILKOFF Double Wide Chain Necklace, White Cuff GINA SIMONE Blue 92Heels MARCHEZ VOUS
Black Lace Gown TADASHI SHOJI Necklaces with Rhinestones Laser-Cut Leather Vest ANVELGOSA
Courdouroy Dress KATE WILKOFF Collar GINA SIMONE Bracelets, Earrings BRITT BY BRITT Shoes MARCHEZ VOUS
Layered Sweaters BEATRICE BEATRICE Pants ANVEGLOSA Purple Chandelier Earrings, Organe Cuff GINA SIMONE Blue Laser-Cut Flower Heels MARCHEZ VOUS Red Leather Belt, as Necklace ANVEGLOSA Ring and Coin Necklace BRITT BY BRITT
Coat and Skirt ALEX KOUTNY Collar DELPHINE CHARLOTTE PARMENTIER Ring, Bracelet, Necklace BRITT BY BRITT Shoes MARCHEZ VOUS
8MM Round Petite Albion Ring (Silver Diamond) DAVID YURMAN 7MM Cushion Pave Petite Albion Ring (Silver Diamond) DAVID YURMAN 7MM Cushion Pave Petite Albion Earrings (Silver Diamond) DAVID YURMAN Tassel Confetti Ice Necklace DAVID YURMAN
SKIN: Black Black Paint Stick MAC EYES: Crystals in Crystal AB SWAROVSKI LIPS: Lipstick in Ruby Woo MAC Pigment in Red MAC Crystals in Ruby SWAROVSKI
SKIN: Paint Stick and Pigment in Pure White MAC EYES: Crystals in Light Rose SWAROVSKI Pigmen in Gold Rose and Copper MAC Shocking Effect Mascara in 07 YSL LIPS: Lipstick in Violetta MAC Rouge Volupte Lipstick in #22
7MM Cushion Pave Petite Albion Ring (Silver Diamond) DAVID YURMAN SKIN: Black Black Paint Stick MAC EYES: Crystals in Crystal AB SWAROVSKI LIPS: Lipstick in Ruby Woo MAC Pigment in Red MAC Crystals in Ruby SWAROVSKI
SKIN: Chromacake and Pigment in PURE WHITE LIPS: Rouge Volupte in #14 YSL EYE MASK: Crystals in Light Rose and Turquoise Feathers DERSHOWTIZ FEATHRES NYC Flower Ring LARUICCI
SKIN: Pigment in Blue and Frozen White MAC EYES: Lipmix in Magenta Diamond Power in #7 MAC Glitter in Turquoise MAC LIPS: Lipmix in Cyan MAC Flower Hat MONIKA MILLINERY Rhinestone Collar PHILLIPE AUDIBERT Tassle Earrings LARUICCI
SKIN: Paint Stick in Hi-Def Cyan MAC LIPS: Lipstick in Neon Orange MAC Long Silver Chained Necklace wtih Pink Bead SWAROVSKI Silver Diamond Necklace SWAROVSKI Gunmetal Ring wtih Rose Gold Pearl ERICKSON BEAMON Gold and Gray Gemmed Ring ERICKSON BEAMON
SKIN: Paint Stick in Pure White and Magenta MAC Pigment in Cool Pink MAC EYES: Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates NARS Quadra Eyeshadow in #29 CHANEL Kohl Pencil in Smolder MAC Luminizing Eyeshadow in Tar SHISEIDO LIPS: Lipstick in Diva MAC DETAIL: Flatblack Pearls in Light Siam SWAROVSKI Silver Flowered Necklace ELIZABETH BOWER Pearl Colored Flowered Necklace, as Headpiece ELIZABETH BOWER
SKIN: Pigment in Blue and Frozen White MAC EYES: Lipmix in Magenta Diamond Power in #7 MAC Glitter in Turquoise MAC LIPS: Rouge Volupte Lipstick in #10 YSL Lipglass MAC Flower Hat MONIKA MILLINERY Rhinestone Collar PHILLIPE AUDIBERT Tassle Earrings LARUICCI
SKIN: Paint Stick and Pigment in Pure White MAC EYES: Crystals in Light Rose SWAROVSKI Pigmen in Gold Rose and Copper MAC Shocking Effect Mascara in 07 YSL CHEEKS: Custom design in sequins BEADWORLD NYC LIPS: Lipstick in Violetta MAC Rouge Volupte Lipstick in #22
Bird Headpiece LEAH C COUTURE MILLINERY Necklace, Rings, and Bracelets JOHN HARDY