Page 1


note to SELF <<

jennah bell

a NYC photographer finds himself on the other side of his lens

music passion & her guitar




7 editor’s letter

table of contents 24 Check out these dapper gents in some pretty cool gear.

8 contributors 11 WHO, WHAT, WEAR

We’ve found some of our favorite streetwear shops and decided to share them with you.


A New York photographer sets out to discover himself through his camera.


Living in Chicago alley’s are stylish paper dolls ready to come to life.


Songstress Jennah Bell is catching the spotlight awaiting her arrival.

On the web... That’s all folks. DID YOU KNOW: LINKS ARE LIVE IN THIS ISSUE? For every email, Twitter and Instagram handle and website, click on it to be taken to the page.

For updates on events going on in different cities, updates on artists we’ve featured and other arts-related news, visit us on Tumblr.

WE’RE ON INDIEGOGO! We’ve started a campaign to help expand our brand and evolution and we need YOUR help. From now until October 31, head to to make a contribution to our online campaign. There are plenty of perks for your contributions (as if loving us isn’t already enough).

s c u l p t september 2013 editor-in-chief RIKKI BYRD

advertising director intern BRIENNA LACOSTE marketing director intern BRIDGET BOTCHWAY BRADLEY executive editor intern JADE EARLE



We’re Social! @SculptMag

s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


e d i t o r’s l e t t e r In considering the theme of our fifth issue, I had a continuous question that met me at the most random of moments: How does an artist choose to define oneself? For example, are you a photographer first or an artist? A singer, a songwriter or just someone who likes music? So, we set out to get an overview of artists’ growth over the span of their ever-evolving career to discover exactly what their craft says about them. We spent much of our time in New York City this issue picking the brains of artists we’ve kept our eyes on for awhile. Budding photographer, Andre’ Wagner, takes us with him on the other side of his camera as he sets out to discover himself through a self-portrait series booming with popularity on the world wide web. He leaves us with very inspiring words and even lends photographs from his series to make you want to hit the link straight to the website and peruse the rest of his 365-day project. Friend of Wagner, Jennah Bell, visits our pages as the cover story for our issue. With an overwhelmingly humble demeanor and a sweet, bird-like voice to match, Jennah tells about her journey of the light she’s standing in while at the same time continuously chasing in making her way through the music industry. New York City doesn’t get all the shine in this issue, however. We also had a fun photo shoot that blew in from the Windy City, Chicago, where Paper Dolls are standing tall, and quite fashionable, in random Chi-Town alleys. We also have picked our favorite streetwear shops from around the nation and decided to share them with you. With the continued support of our readers and followers, s c u l p t has also launched a campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds toward design programs, a website domain and promotional materials in order to keep us coming with more issues like this one. Be sure to visit us on our social networking sites to figure out how you can help. Continue to inspire,

Rikki Byrd

What They S@id Our followers on Twitter had much to say about our last issue and launch party.

Follow Rikki on Twitter @RikkiByrd

c o n t r i b u t o r s

chris reed Chris Reed is proud to serve his country. As an American soldier (no really, he’s in the military) Chris has somehow found a way to pursue other dreams as well, (1) being a father and husband, and (2) being an awesome photographer. Based in NYC, he’s a family man with a keen eye for photographs sure to make you smile, and some that make you want to cover your eyes. He takes a dare and a challenge. So, after a few tweets and emails last year, he decided to bless us with his lens and graced us with shining photos of Jennah Bell in “Catching the Light.” Twitter: @ChrisPhotoz Instagram: @ChrisPhotoz

shana brown Meet Shana Brown, or Queen Bea as she likes to call herself, a 23-year-old beauty hailing from Carson, Ca., but can be found strutting her way down the streets of what she calls an “elegantly dirty” borough known as Brooklyn. Everything comes quite naturally to her. Whether it be her coiled strands of hair, her ode-to-vintage style or her favorite topic of all time—love, which she spells “elleohvee,” Shana is making quite a name for herself in the wonderful world of blogging. Catch her dynamic art direction as she brings smiles and pouts out of our cover girl, Jennah Bell. Twitter: @Queen_Lovee Instagram: love_beaa

laparis hawkins LaParis Hawkins is a freelance writer in Brooklyn who has worked for publications such as ESSENCE Magazine, EBONY Magazine, Stuff Fly People Like and many more. Her work has been featured on,, BET. com and more. She is also the creator and editor-in-chief of Writing is her passion as well as inspiring others to “hunt” their dreams rather than chase them. Check out her story this issue, “Catching the Light,” on songstress Jennah Bell. Twitter: @LaparisShirelle Instagram: @TailoredPieces

We want to hear from you!

Next issue we want to feature letters, thoughts, tweets and comments from our readers. Visit us on our social networking sites or email us at and tell us what you think of this issue. s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


Who, What, WEAR

Streetwear has taken on a new form going from streetcorners to Fashion Week, and we can’t help but to love it. Somehow, T-shirts worn on the streets have found their way onto chic racks and shelves across the country. We’ve found our favorites and decided to share our little secrets with you!

Images taken from shops’ websites.

Ilthy Ilthy can be described in one word: bold. With animated graphics and illustrations, Ilthy provides the perfect pieces that will get you noticed. With collections that are released each season, their summer collection includes wide strap tanks and female gym shorts that provide a fine line between casual and fly. See if you can add these pieces to your closet. 6602 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44102 Twitter: @ilthy

Vinnie’s Styles Vinnie’s Styles is the closet of the East coast, with every piece emulating the swagger of eclectic New York neighborhoods. Each piece is an artwork made to pay homage to the hip-hop culture. Products range from graphic tees to footwear. 160 Flatbush Ave (between Atlantic Ave & Pacific St) Brooklyn, NY 11217 Twitter: @Vinniesstyles

SwedLife SwedLife endorses the hippie way of life. With grafitti font, and primitive patterns, SwedLife is as free as the west coast it was inspired by. Their items include hats, tees and socks, button-downs and tanks. This line is perfect for any hippie trying to get their gear up. 6378 Delmar Blvd St Louis, MO 63130 Twitter: @SwedLifeSeth

DNAstl DNAstl knows how to do the â&#x20AC;&#x153;urban lookâ&#x20AC;? correctly. From jackets to tanks, they provide the street swagger that will get you noticed, but the simplicity that will get you respect. Be sure to check out their collection of graphic tees with show-stopping patterns and phrases. 1308 Washington Ave. St Louis, MO Twitter: @DNAstl

Kickk Spott Kickk Spott experiments with the quirky side of graphic design. Complex designs with an array of colors, their line is definitely something to explore. Although they have only produced t-shirts, they will be producing more collections in the future. Be sure to check them out. 1436 Wisconsin Ave. NW Washington, DC, 20007 Twitter: @kickkspottblog

s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


What We’ve Seen

andre wagner This New York photographer has taken amazing photos and has even published his first book of photography titled, Black Boy Gold. He’s invested himself, his time and money in a craft that he uses to inspire the masses. Now, he’s looking back into himself to find where all of this comes from. Who’s on the other side of the lens when no one is looking. He’s set up his tripod and stripped down bare to the bones to reveal the man standing on the other side of the camera--himself.

s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013 14


he first time André Wagner turned the camera inward was a startling experience.“I saw something in myself that I had never seen before,” he remembers. It was October of 2012, and he was living in Brooklyn, working as the resident photographer for, the fastest growing online shopping website in the world, and indulging in personal work on the side, when he decided to begin a month-long self-portrait series.

“I think part of the reason I started the whole self-portrait project was to understand how it feels to be in front of the camera. I feel like I should go through the process that my subjects go through. I wanted to know how I connect with it all.”

Mans’ first full-length mixtape, Black Boy Gold, documenting shows for The Strivers Row spoken word group, directing a music video for Chris Turner and producing his first, limited edition photography book, Black Boys – it sold out within hours. “When I first moved to New York (in 2011), I was living in Midtown in graduate housing. I was broke, I didn’t know anybody, and it was a really low point for me. Being broke is tough. Being broke in New York is really tough. But it was also a good thing because it made me think, I need to do something real with this photography thing,” he says of his early bootstrapping.

“I don’t know if I can

That something real began with his nine-to-five job

consider myself a good at From there, he began to cultivate his still life, street and portrait photography, which eventually photographer. I just know developed into his self-portrait series. that it’s something that’s While his street photography and portrait work decorate a number of blogs, including Street Etiquette and special to me. The Creative Future Project, and he replies to what

The first photo, set against a charcoal backdrop, is a candid shot of him stepping out of a pair of cuffed grey jeans next to a neat pile of vintage suitcases, two cameras and a pair of Nike Air Jordans. But, it hints at a sort of intrinsic brightness that few artists can capture of anyone, let alone themselves. “I don’t know if I can consider myself a good photographer. I just know that it’s something that’s special to me,” he says. “I think dedication is something that helps. I want to be great so I put the work in.” By work, he means carrying cameras full of film around the city, snapping shots of everyone from mothers and their children on Brooklyn sidewalks to couples in the West Village and studying Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Andre’s work also includes headlining the “Kind of Major” art event in Chicago, providing the visuals for poet Jasmine

seems like thousands of fans with witty and inspirational messages (when asked how he gets his photography crystal-clear, he writes, “You just have to believe in crystals.”), André is relatively new to the craft. His project is a debut of sorts; each photo is a breathtakingly honest narrative about his frantic passion, his power as a Black man, his resemblance to his father or his need to refocus. Some days, he appears spirited—jumping into the air holding a basketball and smiling with his camera in hand. Other days, he just doesn’t feel like shooting. “You get tired of looking at yourself sometimes,” he admits with a laugh. The photos forced him to explore a deeper part of himself, which was as scary

Andre poses with his book, Black Boy Gold, that was released this year. The book sold out the first day of its release.

as it was exhilarating. In one photo, he is curled up, nude, in the dark. In others, his back is turned completely to the camera, or his elaborately tattooed bicep shields his face. André says the portraits are really up close and personal. “I have learned a lot of things about myself that I’ve tried not to think about it too much and just let [the pictures] happen.” Viewing himself in proverbial – and sometimes literal – black and white, and exposing himself to an audience he wasn’t aware of was certainly a mountainous task that was ridden with vulnerability. “To truly look at yourself and truly think about who you are and how you feel and how you participate … it’s not easy to put myself out there.” Although it’s difficult, the self-portrait series has become increasingly rewarding to André. When his first 30-day shoot wrapped, he chose to embark on another, even more revealing year-long project that he is only months into. The new round of shots includes a tearful reflection on the first collection, a few gripping close-range shots, experiments with mirrors and shadows and colors, and one that speaks to the future. In this, André is perched on a wooden ladder that he found in New York City. Only his bent legs are pictured, along with a retro-looking film camera that hangs near his thighs as he climbs. The picture symbolizes his thirst for more from his art.

He doesn’t really know for sure what’s next, because he insists that doing the work he does requires him to exist exclusively in the moment. But he insists that he couldn’t imagine doing anything else but photography. The series has allowed him to connect with his camera and with every subject he captures on a level that is almost spiritual. He writes to followers on his blog alongside his 31st photograph: “These self-portraits are bringing out the boy and the man in me, the flaws, the darkness, the shallowness, but most importantly, the bravery. I’m dying to be a great photographer, and I know that won’t happen by my God-given talent alone. I have to continue to critique, challenge, never settle, and work harder than everyone. This is me today.” For more photographs from Andre’s self portrait series, visit his Flickr account, Andre D. Wagner. To keep up with his everyday photographs, check him out on Twitter and Instagram @PhotoDre and Tumblr at

“To truly look at yourself and truly think about who you are and how you feel and how you participate … it’s not easy to put myself out there.”

Andre photographs himself climbing a ladder with his camera hanging behind. The image represents his thirst for more from his art.

s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


Museauâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book, Tales of A Troubled Romantic, is priced at $55 and is available for purchase at Big Cartel or his website

Makeup by Kim Wyms


paper DOLLS

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve brought your childhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ws pasttime of playing with paper dolls to life. Living in alleys and gangways in the city of Chicago are stylish dolls donning designs by vintage clothing line, Dirty Blossom. photographed by Brendon Lewis art direction by Ratissia Johnson

s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


CATCHING THE LIGHT Last year, Jennah Bell made her big debut to the world at the BET Awards “Music Matters,” now she’s international, performing at concerts worldwide and sharing her tender voice and exquisite guitar skills with any ear willing to listen. She’s shining, while still finding a way to catch the light no matter how far she has to reach.

by LaParis Hawkins photographed by Chris Reed art direction by Shana Brown


hile some parents may encourage their singing daughter to audition for American Idol or try out for the local talent show, Jennah Bell’s parents knew of a special venue that would allow her light to shine. “I was really shy when I was younger so I didn’t do too much public singing. Honestly, I feel like I started when I recorded off my answering machine … I used to sing ‘Pretty Woman’ on my answering machine and my mom would let me sing it as our message.” That little voice on a voicemail message matured into a soulful range heard by fans and in various venues. And, she’s just getting started. Featured on the “Music Matters” portion of the 2012 BET Awards, Jennah has awakened the music industry

with her heartfelt, indulging tunes. Standing on morals, self-love and integrity, Jennah is sure that standing out from the rest through her passion for music will be easy. “I just really like what I do. Actually I really love what I do, whatever that is … If you love yourself there’s not a whole lot [that] people can do to change your makeup or the things that your parents instilled in you that you love, cherish and sort of appreciate.” As Jennah evolves as an artist, one thing that proves to be one of the leading factors to her growing fan base is her passion. She captures audiences with an angelic tone that paints the tune she sings. Her guitar assists her in most of her performances, but she sounds just as beautiful without it. To find artists who can sing acappella in an industry dependent on technology is rare, especially with the depth of soul in her voice. From a creative standpoint, the songbird draws inspi-

“I just really like what I do. Actually I really love what I do.”

s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


“I think that a lot of my songs come in a sort of

interpretive form. I don’t always know what they are until much later.”

ration and soul from just about anyone. “Everyone I pretty much meet inspires me in some type of way, and actually people I don’t even meet [inspire] me. Everybody has something to offer if you’re listening. Of course, my mother inspires me. She’s an incredible woman, and so is my father.” The influence from the first two records she ever purchased -- Stevie Wonder and The Beatles -- along with her father’s jazz lessons explain her eclectic sound. But, as a voracious reader, Jennah is also inspired by the lyricism of both Baldwin and Steinbeck, but the latter seems to have more of an influence on her than others may perceive. Jennah says the process of writing is like “catching the light,” a phrase she feels Bradbury described best. “It’s like picking, reaching into the early morning and you imagine there are lights floating above you. You’re reaching in trying to catch these lights and you don’t always know exactly what you’re looking for, but you know when you catch it.” The process is similar for any artist. You may not always know what the result of your creation is going to be, or even know why you’re creating it. But like Jennah, you fall victim to the process, pray you can translate your inspiration to lyrics and hope everyone else will inevitably get it. “I think that a lot of my songs come in a sort of interpretive form. I don’t always know what they are until much later.” Maybe part of the reason Jennah doesn’t classify her interpretive music is because it’s just that -- lyrical wordplay that the audience can decode for themselves. While her music may remain relaxed and fluid, her own thoughts on the general direction of popular music are crystal clear. “Music has been headed in a very, like, dancing sort of direction,” she says. “Everyone has been dancing, but we all can party in our youth; you’re going to want to stop dancing at one point and you’re going to want to start listening and catch your breath.” I feel like because the push of music has been in the sort of non-songwriter direction, we [songwriters] haven’t been as important for the last couple of years,” she says. “I think that people, and you, can see it in the audience that people want to stand still. There’s a door opening for something a little different. Everyone likes to groove and stuff, but I think

that people do care about music and, like always, it will turn around.” The music industry can’t be discussed, of course, without mentioning the legends who influenced it. Bell describes musical geniuses, including Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill and even Lil Wayne, as “extremely hard working people with a lot of talent.” Knowing what makes a legend earn their title is already a step in the right direction for the up-andcoming artist. In a sea of up-and-coming singers and aspiring performers, what really makes Jennah unique is her keen sense of awareness. If she can interpret that to the world and give them the music they have been waiting to hear, then she is definitely on her way to the top. With a humble soul and a talented approach to her career, we can’t wait to see more of what those voicemail performances really taught her.

Keep up with Jennah Bell on Instagram @JennahBellMusic and on Tumblr at!

s c u l p t magazine | SEPTEMBER 2013


s c u l p t issue 5  

The Defined Issue

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