Show Pony Magazine – Issue 3

Page 1


Through the Eyes of

Michael Wolf

SHOW PONY MAGAZINE // December 2012 // Issue Three //

Inspiration for the Creative Entrepreneur

In this issue of Show Pony Magazine: Travel Have you ever found yourself dreaming of exploring the markets of Istanbul, owning a vintage boutique in Amsterdam, or designing an independent clothing line in London? Our December 2012 issue travels the world to interview small business owners at home and abroad.


From the Editor


have a philosophy that when traveling, there is no such thing as being lost. When wandering a new locale, a wrong turn is simply a diversion, or an opportunity to explore something unexpected. Then I had the experience of being hopelessly disoriented in Amsterdam. It’s a small city, but one filled with winding streets, a system of canals, and street names that are completely unpronounceable to anyone who does not speak Dutch. In an attempt to find Foam, the contemporary photography museum, I walked in circles for hours to no avail. Annoyed and exhausted, I was ready to surrender when I happened upon a pop up gallery filled with student projects. Determined to see any kind of art at this point, I walked in hoping the work would make up for my disappointing day. Then I met William. He was working as a gallery assistant, and introduced himself by asking if I had any questions. “Yes, where the hell is Foam,” I elegantly replied. Laughing, he grabbed my hand, walked me to the door, and pointed outside. “See that orange sign right across the street”, he gestured as he laughed, “the museum is right there.” I had literally been walking by the building all afternoon, and somehow managed to overlook a bright orange sign clearly indicating that this was the place I was looking for. “Do you like photography? “ he asked. It was at that moment that a friendship was born. We sat in the gallery and talked about photography for hours. Knowing that I was leaving Amsterdam soon, William invited me to meet him and a friend for lunch the following day.


Joining with his lovely friend Nadine, we compared the differences between our cultures. We discussed words you can and can’t say on television, the prevalence of Zwarte Piet (a Santa’s helper-type character who is represented by Caucasian men wearing black face) would be horrifying to Americans, and that yes, Lil Wayne really does drink cough syrup for recreational purposes. Needless to say, it was an interesting and fun conversation. The day continued with William showing me some of his favorite places in the city he calls home. As evening fell he insisted we make one last stop. “Do you like Mayer Hawthorne?” he asked. I replied that I had never heard of him or his music. “Well then, its time you were introduced.” Filled with vinyl and lined with Technics 1200 listening stations, Rush Hour Records is one of those places that allows you to step back in time. That evening, I listened to Mayer Hawthorne for the first time on vinyl and it was absolute perfection. Anais Nin (The French-born novelist), remarked that “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” This is why I travel – not for the hotels, museums, or even the food – but for the magical days when the stars align and new friends are made. Sometimes getting lost results in finding so much more than you ever expected.

Rebecca Hill Editor-in-Chief/Director of Photography

Photo by Ala Cortez




The Next Chapter With the soul of a dreamer and the intuition of an adventurer, fashion photographer Dagmara Mituniewicz expands her vision to include designing a distinctive line of limited edition dresses.


SHOW PONY MAGAZINE – Issue Three – December 2012

Features 7

No Bad Days Handsome Coffee offers its employees and customers much more than a simple cup of coffee.


Hey, Handsome Downtown LA welcomes three entrepreneurs and their unique brand of coffee.


Second Nature A studio visit with artist Caitlin Wylde.


In Bloom Painter Lily Stockman is mapping her own extraordinary journey.


A Voice of the People Filmmaker and educator Anna Spohr teaches media skills to teens in Zaandam, Netherlands.


Your Business Questions Answered Do I work for you? Intern vs. Employee.


An Interview with Clare Vivier Handbag designer Clare Vivier blends Parisian chic with California cool.


Keep Feeling Fascination Joanna Williams sources the globe for her online boutique, kneeland Mercado.


Through the Eyes of Michael Wolf The photographer discusses his riveting series “Tokyo Compression”


It’s a Write-Off, Jerry! Travel as a tax deduction.


Two of a Kind Shop with one of Amsterdam’s chicest vintage boutiques.


Rise of the Creative Class Creative agency St. Germain takes emerging artists to the next level.










Rebecca Hill

Kylie Sig

Editor-in-Chief/ Director of Photography


David Cenko Director of Art

A special thanks to all those who made this issue possible

Scott Beach Legal and Public Policy Editor

Lily Stockman Photographer

Jeff Edsell Web Developer

Michael Wolf Photographer

Dagmara Mituniewicz Photographer/ Clothing Designer

Nicole Franzen Photographer

Kristin Marie Coates Photographer

Brooke O’Neill Writer

Julie Schumacher Copy Editor

Susanna Kirschnick

Kendra Inman

Second Nature A Studio Visit with Caitlin Wylde


William Presley Woodcole

NO BAD DAYS Employment, opportunity, and a cornerstone of the Downtown LA community, Handsome Coffee offers its employees and customers much more than a simple cup of coffee.

Photography & Interview by Rebecca Hill




Christopher “Nicely” Abel Alameda is no ordinary barista. His disposition is as radiant as the sun-filled interior of Handsome Coffee’s flagship store in the Third Street Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. An integral part of the Handsome crew, “Nicely” shares his philosophy, enthusiasm and genuine passion for the product he serves with pride. As told to Rebecca Hill: It all started with my employment at Espresso Vivace in Seattle. During a training session, the owner told me that if I wasn’t careful I would get bitten with the coffee bug, and that I would end up with a shop of my own someday. That insight has continued to resonate with me, and owning my own shop (one day) ended up being a goal of mine. I was lucky to get my start there, and I like to describe the experience as my “university of espresso.” After working there for four years, I was recruited by Intelligentsia, which I refer to as my “graduate school.” I met the owners of Handsome Coffee through my employment there. I am lucky that the reputation I worked to build at Intelligentsia carried over, and the owners of Handsome asked me to be a part of their business. I look up to Tyler, Michael, and Chris – I recognize that I can learn a lot from them – so I consider my employment here as my business school.




I have worked in the coffee industry for 11 years and it satisfies all of the aspects of my personality that make me tick. I have always described this career as the perfect balance between skill, art, and science. At my core, I am an artist and a perfectionist. The latte art aspect of the job definitely appeals to the creative side of my personality. The perfectionist part of me influences my desire to continue to learn and master my skill set. The scientific aspect – everything it takes to make a really great shot of espresso, and paring it with milk steamed really well – continues to provide me with challenges on a daily basis. I would like to talk about my mentor, given that he is who originally showed me that being a part of a community is a really beautiful thing, and it’s something that you can’t take lightly. His name was Brian Fairbrother and he worked at Espresso Vivace for almost 22 years. Watching him and how beloved and respected he was by his regulars was truly something that I appreciated. He taught me that making coffee is the small thing that I can do that is a big thing to everybody I serve. Coffee helps them get their day started and I love being a part of that. It’s a heck of an honor that someone chooses to put their faith in what you do, trust you, and allow you to serve them consistently. It’s one thing to make somebody a great coffee one time, but to make them consistently good coffee over 3, 5, even 10 years takes the concept of community to the next level. I’m extremely humbled to be a part of that.






That was an important lesson I learned from Brian. Almost 10 years later I still encounter people from Espresso Vivace who say, “Didn’t you work in Seattle?” Those meetings are always so humbling, and it makes me appreciate what I’ve chosen to do everyday. Honestly, it’s fun to me, and again, my job satisfies many aspects of my personality. Being a part of a community in Seattle, Venice, and now in the downtown Arts District, has given me almost everything I could ask for. When you are willing to be open with somebody and serve truthfully, I feel as though I have been received as genuinely by my customers. The ripple effect of that little service and what it can mean to somebody, it’s beautiful. For people like Brian – who at one point was considered the mayor of Capitol Hill, Seattle – I can see why he meant so much to people. That is why I treat what I do with so much respect. He passed away last year from a bike accident which is crazy because one of the things I chose to be a part of my daily life in Los Angeles was to be a bicyclist. Here in LA, we have more great days than not, so I bicycle from Venice to Downtown everyday. My commute is 15.2 miles each way, and most likely, if you are driving the same route I will beat you here. I average 200 miles a week if I ride everyday, but it’s fun for me. It gives me that chance to reflect on my mentors, and I think of Brian everyday before I go to work. My mom taught me this early, but Brian championed it: the belief that you have the capability to choose your attitude everyday before you start your shift. Regardless if he was having a rough day or things were not going quite right at the shop, he was capable of maintaining a positive state of mind. He would say that maybe his espresso shots were not perfect, or his presentation just fell short of his standards on that day: he was still going to be happy that he saw his customers and appreciate that they chose to give him their business. He always chose to be better. Brian was human too, so maybe he couldn’t do this every single day, but the fact that he tried is something that I will always remember. I am lucky to have met him and being determined to have a positive attitude works more days than not. As a result, I am proud and happy to report that I do not have many bad days.





HANDSOME Downtown LA welcomes three young entrepreneurs and their unique brand of speciality coffee.





Specialty coffee experts and Intelligentsia alums Tyler Wells and Chris Owens, have joined World Barista Champion Michael Phillips in launching the coffee company of their dreams. Sophisticated in its simplicity, the Handsome Coffee Roasters flagship interior – created by Los Angeles design firm WoodSmithe – reflects the philosophy of the Handsome brand. “Our menu is clear, concise and limited to excellence.” Committed to sharing their passion, Tyler, Chris, and Michael discuss their collaboration, values, and what it takes to make a truly fantastic cup of coffee.

MICHAEL PHILLIPS: Please describe your contribution to the Handsome Roasters team. In a start up like Handsome being a founder means that you wear many different hats: from delivering coffee and fixing machines to washing the dishes. For the most part, however, I work as the member of the team leading the charge for setting our standards of preparation and training at Handsome.

Handsome is working to change the stereotype that being a barista is simply part time job. In what ways can the experience and training given to the employees at Handsome evolve into a career? It is a tricky question. At Handsome we look to get our staff to a point where they are comfortable executing coffee preparation at the highest levels and pace. This goes from knowing how to pull a good shot all the way to understanding how processing at origin can effect the flavor profiles of the beans that we carry. However, we consider our emphasis on hospitality and service to be just as valuable of an experience for our team to draw upon. What they want to do with all of these skills ultimately falls onto them. Handsome will continue to grow and offer folks new opportunities within. Perhaps they will take the skills to launch their own bar or bring their expertise into a program somewhere else. Maybe their time here just provides them with a perspective to allow a more rich enjoyment of what the world of coffee has to offer.

Chris Owens, Tyler Wells and Michael Phillips Portrait by Kristina Marie Coates

You had the honor of being named World Barista Champion in 2010. Can you share how that experience influenced and inspired your technique to develop? It was indeed a very humbling honor to achieve that level of success. For me, the greatest value of the experience was developing the skill set that allowed me to succeed at that level. Learning from all of my steps both forward and backward in the years of competition prior to 2010, and understanding how hard I would have to work to even have a chance at competing on the international level was defining. It all came down to a willingness to put forth relentless effort until I reached my goal.

How many jobs has Handsome Roasters brought to downtown Los Angeles? We currently employ around 18 people on our staff for the roasting facility and the coffee bar. We do training and support for countless other cafes nationwide that serve our product, along with paying fair prices to all of the coffee producers who we are lucky enough to buy coffee from around the world.



CHRIS OWENS: Please describe your contribution to the Handsome Roasters team. Ha. Well, being an original founder there really isn’t much that I don’t contribute to in some way. However, the bulk of my responsibilities lie in the area of coffee sourcing, roasting and quality control.

You travel extensively for Handsome Roasters. Can you share your philosophy on the importance of building relationships with the people who grow the coffee that you sell? We want to have real and honest relationships all the way through the distribution chain. That begins with the fantastic farmers and co-ops we work with. They do all the real work and we want to be sure to acknowledge them. We want to be able to tell their stories to our customers here. It has always been important for Handsome to make this world of coffee accessible to everyone. Connecting the customers with the producers is a big part of that.

Can you share how the process of purchasing coffee differs in the numerous locales from which you source your product? A majority of our offerings are from Central and South America. While there isn’t a huge difference in how those coffees are purchased, what’s important is that we try to buy as direct and sustainable as possible. It’s important to know that everyone is being taken care of, and that we have real relationships. We also buy from East Africa where a lot of coffees have to go through a government run auction system. Sometimes there is a “second window” option that allows more direct purchasing.

Considering the many locations you have visited, which destination has most influenced your creativity in regard to how you roast and sell your product? It would be impossible to pick just one. There are always coffees that will surprise you, no matter how much you think you know or how familiar you think you are. That is more my motivation: to open up this really diverse and fun world of coffee and the myriad flavors. I want to let people know that it’s available at Handsome and they are welcome to enjoy the experience.


TYLER WELLS: Please describe your contribution to the Handsome Roasters team. I like to think that I drive the vision. I’m always looking at what’s next, and thinking about how we can do things better. I also really love meeting people and talking to folks. Those conversations lead to a lot of business relationships.

In what ways does limiting your menu options enhance the quality and craftsmanship of the coffee you serve? We’re keeping it simple and traditional so that we can really focus on the quality. The idea is that our bar is a showroom for what we do. Everyone who works for Handsome is delighted to make every drink on the menu. The enthusiasm of our employees translates into stellar service, and hopefully enhances the customers’ experience.

Handsome Roasters 582 Mateo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Can you share your thoughts on the importance of choosing business partners who not only compliment your skill set, but also share your dedication to creating a business that reflects your personal integrity? It is the most important thing we’ve done. We decided from the first day who would do what, and made a commitment not to sacrifice our values. Some days it’s tough, but ultimately there’s a lot of satisfaction in being proud of everything you do.

How do your core values of hospitality, accessibility, and uncompromising quality influence your decision to host a weekly produce market pop up event? There was really no question about it. We’ve always wanted to be a neighborhood gathering spot and this was a perfect opportunity to extend that to a broader audience. There’s a huge demand for fresh, quality food in the Arts District. At the same time we had the opportunity to help out a couple of young ladies with a passion for something wonderful. It was really a no brainer.




Kickstarter contributors


What is your greatest business challenge? We have the team for that. Our client teams are focused on providing insight for your greatest business and legal challenges along with foresight for the issues on the horizon.

Steven M. Harris

Richard N. Kessler

McDonald Hopkins LLC 300 North LaSalle, Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60654 • 312.280.0111 Carl J. Grassi, President Chicago • Cleveland • Columbus • Detroit • Miami • West Palm Beach


Kickstarter contributors






Kickstarter contributors Sara Anaszewicz & Jason Raidbard Jeff Bailey

Oh, A Girl Dragon Another female perspective on all things geek

Tony Bamber Designer/Art Director

Stephen & Sheila Schmidt

Glenn Birkemeier

The Martino Family

Leo Castro

The Sky Scratcher - A Revolutionary Cat Scratching Post

Gina DeConti Imaginative Studios

Melanie Thomas

Anna Mae & Jason Pullappally

A SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE WHO SUPPORTED US Kim & Owen Quinn Jose A Ramirez OuterPixel Marni Rader Michelle Tenuta Jennifer Whitley Amanda Wright Joni Van Gorder

Rissa Dodson Freddie Feldman VOCOMOTION

Advertise With Us

Carolyn Flynn Art Director

Show Pony Magazine reaches a young, engaged, and inspired audience. We are interested in partnerships with businesses that share our values and encourage the aspirations of our readers. We look forward to hearing from you!

Jennifer Ganser & Andrew Haracourt

If you would like to advertise, please contact us at

Kirsten Gentry Lisa Haas Alicia and Keith Hansell Erin Lerner Registered Dietitian Candice Littlepage Shannon McKenzie Joyful Journey Doula Sandy Marshall Erin & Scott Mason Denise & Jason Mitomi Christine Nichols


Kickstarter contributors


Eight Bit Studios Steve Polacek Principal + Creative Director

Schaf Photo

Elysia Root Cakes

Bethany Moritz Bethany Lorelle

Alex Michael Faulkner

Jeremy Lawson Photography Jarrod Gaither & Jeremy Lawson

Dawn E. Roscoe Photography

J. Scott Photography Jamie Owens

Rock‘n Motion Greg Barnett

Vrai Photo Kristina Carter

Sonia Roselli


All Issues of Show Pony Magazine are Now Available in Print

To purchase, go to




Bicoastal artist Caitlin Wylde has always lived her life surrounded by nature. A vital element in her work and daily life, Caitlin opens her home and studio to share how she stays connected to the beauty and mystery our world has to offer. Story and Photography by Rebecca Hill




You are originally from Dartmouth Massachusetts. Can you elaborate on the elements of your upbringing that inspired you to peruse a career as an artist? I was very lucky to be raised by creative people. My parents were both artists, my grandfather was an architect and my grandmother was a landscape designer. Creative energy was all around me growing up and Dartmouth itself is so beautiful: woods, fields, ocean, salt marshes. I felt is was second nature to follow in their footsteps and to be inspired by my natural environment.

Your work continues to encompass elements from the East Coast, yet most of your pieces are fabricated in your Los Angeles studio. Can you describe how combining the influence of both locales informs the aesthetic of your work? It’s a great balance for me to spend time in both places. A lot of inspiration comes from my home on the East Coast, but it takes a level of detachment for me to be able to take that vision and create something. It is almost too beautiful and intense for me to make things in Dartmouth: Los Angeles allows me the space to do that.

You have spoken about the belief that your environment functions as an extension of your work. Can you share the ways that your home and studio space encourage your creative spirit? I think it is all interconnected. It’s just the way I live. I am inspired by so many different things; friends’ artwork, an old drop cloth, a rock, a table my grandfather built, bones... Finding objects and incorporating them into my world, be it my home or my studio, is instinctual. Sometimes I wish I could turn it off because it can get a bit overcrowded!

Much of your work includes objects sourced from the land and the sea. How has spending time experiencing our environment on a tactile and emotional level contributed your overall quality of life? It is necessary for me to be in nature. It is rejuvenating and vital. I couldn’t live without it!

“ I am inspired by so many different things; friends’ artwork, an old drop cloth, a rock, a table my grandfather built, bones...” - Caitlin Wylde

“ There will always be doubts and things don’t always turn out as planned. Uncertainty is part of the process and adventure, but beginning is the only way to know.” - Caitlin Wylde


Shelter Half, Dream Collective, and Mohawk General Store are a few of the independently owned establishments that have showcased your work. Can you elaborate on how your many collaborations have enriched your career and encouraged your artistic vision to develop? All of these people are good friends of mine or have become friends from working on projects together. We share a certain aesthetic appreciation and outlook on life, a similar understanding. I feel like I learn and discover a lot from these people and it’s pretty cool to feel supported by them!

Can you share your philosophy on the importance of belonging to a community, and what role that connection plays in the work you create? Making things is often a solitary endeavor so it’s really important for me to connect with other artists, designers, and friends: to bounce ideas off them, hash things out and listen to their experiences. It gets me out of my bubble. I’m really grateful for my community of friends in LA and in Dartmouth.

As an established artist, in what ways do you continue to evolve and challenge yourself to create innovative new pieces? I have no idea! For me the process of making art is random. I could be looking at an old art book and see an incredibly beautiful material that I’ve never used before. I can find a color palette that knocks my socks off or my inspiration could come from discovering a box of old boat flags and dreaming of sewing them together. It could be something as simple as finding the perfect rock on the beach. I never know what will inspire a batch of new work, but once a strong idea develops, I’ve got to go with it!

How you work through the doubt and fear that every artist experiences when challenging themselves to work outside their comfort zone? I think going through the confusion and the unknown can be the best part. It’s all about jumping in, asking questions, asking for help and just starting. There will always be doubts and things don’t always turn out as planned. Uncertainty is part of the process and adventure, but beginning is the only way to know!

Caitlin Wylde




From Mongolia to Joshua Tree, New York City to Jaipur; painter Lily Stockman is mapping her own extraordinary journey. Photography by Lily Stockman & Interview by Rebecca Hill

Portrait by Nicole Franzen



I came across Lily Stockman’s blog – bigBANG studio – just as she and her husband were embarking on their year-long residency in India. Before I had any idea of the context of this blog, or even the person behind it, I was immediately enamored with Lily simply by seeing the photos of her adventures. Lily’s images are filled with lush color, captivating light and portray the joyful spirit of the communities she has explored. Her experiences have not only shaped her life, but have strongly influenced her work as a painter.




You grew up on a farm near Hopewell, New Jersey. Can you elaborate on the elements of your upbringing that inspired you to peruse a career as an artist, and specifically a painter? My parents moved to a defunct dairy farm when I was eight, just on the border of New Jersey’s beautiful and little-known farmland around the Amwell Valley. As soon as I could read and use an index I had my nose buried in field guides – birds, wildflowers, edible plants, trees, stars, mammals, butterflies – and set I about learning to identify the natural world around me on the farm with the purpose and single-mindedness of a zealot. A logical way to understand biology is to illustrate it: so drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking all came out of my fascination with the natural world. I probably know more about woodcock courtship displays than your average painter, and if I had a better aptitude for math I probably would have ended up an ornithologist or botanist. Sometimes I wonder if artists became artists simply because we are unemployable in any practical field.

As an undergraduate, you had the opportunity to study traditional Buddhist thangka painting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. You returned two years later with a National Geographic Expeditions Council youth grant to document nomadic steppe culture. How did these early career experiences influence your curiosity and sense of adventure? Like a lot of kids of the ‘80s who grew up without much television, my imagination was fed heavily on a diet of National Geographic magazines. I have been obsessed with Mongolia since I first saw images of the Kazakh eagle hunters of western Mongolia in those pages. In 2004 I finally got myself to Ulaanbaatar under the guise of a study abroad program. I apprenticed with a master thankga painter who also happened to be a communist ex-nun feminist freedom-fighter during the Soviet régime. Patti Smith has nothing on this woman.

Then, shortly after my graduation from college – in a gleeful full-circle turn of events – I somehow convinced the National Geographic Expeditions Council to sponsor my proposed expedition across Mongolia on horseback. The idea was to shoot film and video, record traditional folk songs, etc. It was a massive undertaking and it turned out to be a complete disaster. Dysentery assailed the innards of my partner and me from the start, and we pushed our horses too hard and too fast. It was an abomination of misguided ambition, bad judgment, and youthful ignorance. We should have died. It was pretty bad; it took me a year before I was healthy again, but it was the adventure of a lifetime. In his book Blue Highways, William Least Heat Moon writes “Instead of insight, maybe all a man gets is strength to wander for a while. Maybe the only gift is a chance to inquire, to know nothing for certain. An inheritance of wonder and nothing more.” I can’t put it any better than that. I had the great fortune to experience that wonder, however humbling, in Mongolia in 2006.

Before moving to Joshua Tree, California, you worked on the assignment desk at ABC News in New York. How does your training as a journalist enhance your ability to craft honest and engaging content for your blog, bigBANG Studio? I worked on the assignment desk at ABC News headquarters during the height of the Iraq War, the irony being that my now-husband was, at the time, an infantry officer with the Marine Corps trying not to get blown up in Al Anbar province. So it was an especially insane, exhilarating, emotionally-taxing time to be a journalist. If anything, ABC taught me to how find the “hook” in a story, and how to identify the relatable aspects of an otherwise unrelatable event. But I’ve learned the most about blogging from other bloggers and feedback from readers. You have to keep it real. The veneer of obsessive perfectionism so pervasive online right now is a blight best mitigated through honesty and humor.



I imagine that painting can be a solitary and timeintensive pursuit. In what ways has your blog allowed you to connect with a diverse community, and thus, enhanced your career? Painting is solitary, which is excellent (I prefer the company of my dogs over people when I’m working), but it can also be isolating, which is why blogging has been such a remarkable way to connect with people. I still can’t believe that people not only read bigBANG but stay so involved and active in the comments; that is the greatest joy of blogging – connecting with other people. For example, the first three months my husband and I lived in India was – with occasional punctuations of utter euphoria – pure misery. We were marooned in a tiny village because landslides had wiped out the roads connecting us to the outside world. We had bedbugs, mold blooms on every surface of our cottage, no heat, an aggressive monkeys situation best not revisited here, and eighty straight days of unrelenting rain. Trekking down to the dial-up internet café in town, sharing some of these stories on the blog, and reading the amusing comments left by readers was honestly one of the joys that got me through that period. One blogger even sent me a care package of books, which I’ll never get over. It was one of the kindest gestures from a stranger I’ve ever experienced. We’ve since become friends in New York. Behold! The magic of bloggerhood. As far as the blog being a powerful networking tool, yes, it’s changed everything. It was through blogging that I met Jen Causey, the visionary photographer behind the Maker’s Project, which is the face that launched a thousand ships. Or, more accurately, the website that launched a hundred careers. It was through her photo essay on my studio that I connected with some of my current collaborators. Same thing with Kinfolk Magazine; I met editor Nate Williams through blogging, and the long-form essays I’ve written for Kinfolk have led to other unexpected opportunities, like a cover story I just wrote for the Iceland Review. My pal Amy Merrick – floral design genius – I also met through blogging, and I’m dying to dream up some Dutch master still-life flower/ painting project with her. In this way blogging has been an avenue into writing projects and design collaborations outside of my main career as painter, and that has been tremendously exciting and energizing.


“ The work will never improve if you make it with sales chiefly in mind.” - LILY STOCKMAN


What initiated your dedication to the craft of oil painting and all that it entails; preparation of the medium, the mixing of colors, and the final presentation? I heard this story about a man so overcome upon seeing the luminosity of Naples yellow in a Vermeer painting for the first time that he licked it (whereupon he was promptly arrested). No one goes around licking acrylic paintings; acrylic is a plastic impostor compared to the richness and subtlety of oils. The technology hasn’t improved upon the original since the 16th century, and it’s thrilling to take part in that loaded history. Old Holland paints in particular are nonpareil. I also find the slowness of the medium – oil paint takes a longass time to dry – to be intensely pleasurable and challenging. One cannot rush an oil painting. The working time of painting is dependent on temperature, humidity, light and many outside influences. I think that’s why many painters are also devoted gardeners and, sometimes, talented cooks. One can rush an oil painting as much as one can rush August dahlias. Perhaps it’s my latent Luddite flaring up, but so much of my life is rushed, slapdash, instantaneous and scheduled. The slow working time of oils is almost a relief.

What has been the most challenging aspect of creating and subsequently selling your work? Separating the two. The work will never improve if you make it with sales chiefly in mind. I’m in the second year of my MFA now and it’s been a big challenge to close the studio door, so to speak, and allow myself to really plow through some bad paintings and not show them to anyone. I pushed myself to evolve beyond the type of work that was comfortable and easily marketable. I had a big breakthrough this summer when I shut everything out. Only then did I finally start making the kinds of paintings I’d always wanted to make, but just didn’t know how to make. The writer Rick Moody gave me great advice in a studio visit last year: money comes and goes, sales go up and down, collaborations evolve and wither, but it’s all irrelevant because at the end of the day you are either fulfilled by the work you are making or you are not.


In 2010 you moved to Jaipur, Rajasthan, to pursue a year-long painting project documenting India’s industrial grain storage facilities. Can you elaborate on how your experience living in India enriched your career and encouraged your artistic vision to develop? Jaipur changed everything. I’d been living in Joshua Tree, California for two years, and imagined I’d never enjoy the luxury of painting in that singular Mojave Desert light again. But Rajasthan changed all that. Not only was the light golden and sublime there, but the riotous colors of Rajasthani life – dazzling saris, tasseled camels in the street, painted elephants outside Hindu temples, roadside shrines festooned with roses and marigolds, ochre fortresses, indigo khadi drying in the hot desert air – permanently altered my sense of color. I studied Mughal miniature painting with a master painter named Ajay Sharma, and through him made a number of cherished artist friends. My husband and I moved to India knowing no one, and left with an entire ragtag family we’ll know for the rest of our lives. It can be terrifying leaving the comfort of home, friends, family, jobs, etc. for a year, but if there is no risk there is no opportunity for growth. India presented me with a new visual vocabulary.

Your work encompasses inspirational elements from your travels around the world. Can you describe how combining the influence of many diverse locales informs the aesthetic of your paintings? My inner maximalist and minimalist are always at war with each other, but spending time in foreign places with people coming from a different cultural context jolts the brain into an altogether new way of seeing. I collect textiles, botanical specimens and art books wherever I travel, which makes for some powerful source material when I get back into the studio. I was told recently that my paintings have a very South Asian palette; clearly these colors are coming from the pigment, dye, and paint I was working with and surrounded by in India. Likewise, the value shifts, mimicry of the warp and weft in the Belgian linen I use in my paintings, and physical mark making are coming from inspiration as disparate as embroidered saddle blankets from Ethiopia or feather patterns in the wild turkey feathers I’ve collected from my parents’ farm in good old suburban “New Joisey.” This is all to say my course material is varied, and the challenge is to let the noise of ideas dumb down so I can have a quiet mind. Only then the painting can make the idea, instead of the idea making the painting.


Where does your reverence for diverse cultures originate from?

Can you elaborate of the experience of collaborating with traditional hand block printers in India?

My godmother traveled the world throughout her long and colorful life and career. She was so charming and irreverent, she really played by her own rules and doted on everyone in her life and travels. She enjoyed horses, children, sports cars, and dogs. She also wore the most exotic clothes and jewelry; she was just divine in an Auntie Mame kind of throw-back way. My love of travel is in no small way a result of a childhood spent topping off her wine glass and listening to her incredible stories about Panama in the ‘50s, Egypt in the ‘60s, and Antarctica in the ‘70s. She was an iconic figure in my life. My husband Peter is constant inspiration, too; he’s a foreign policy wonk, gifted language-acquirer, and real citizen of the world. There is no greater joy in my life than traveling off the beaten path with him.

I met my friend and master printer Vijey Chhipa through a mutual textile designer pal in Jaipur in the winter of 2011. I visited him in his village to learn about the process of printing with wooden blocks using vegetable dyes, and as soon as our first batch of indigo silk came out of the vat I was hooked. I spent the next few months trekking to Vijey’s village to develop new designs that married my blocky mid-century inspired desert aesthetic with Vijey’s traditional Rajasthani motifs. Vijey is a fifth generation hand block printer, and his family business is famous for eschewing chemical dyes in favor of handdeveloped, vegetable-based dyes. His techniques really appealed to me not just on an aesthetic and conceptual level, but also on an ecological level: no silkscreens, no chemicals, no toxic wastewater. His family’s textile work is unequalled.




Please tell us about the textile business you and your sister are working to develop in partnership with these artists. I’ve been working with Vijey for two years developing and perfecting colorways and designs. My sister Hopie Stockman and I are finally about to launch Block Shop Textiles, our hand block printed textile company. We’ll be selling our sumptuous cotton-silk blend scarves online at in early November and we are so excited we can barely contain ourselves. Our scarves are – all because of Vijey’s incredible artistry and skill – unparalleled in their level of craftsmanship. The colors are radiant and the irregularities from the hand block printing process really makes each scarf an art piece. I’ve been living in mine for two years and people still stop me on the street and ask where I got it. Vijey is a visionary in his community, training women to print and giving them the economic opportunity that men traditionally hold in rural Rajasthan. What’s so unique about the process of hand block printing this way is that the entire community is involved in the making of Block Shop Textiles. From the wood block carvers to dye-mixers to master printers to dhobi-wallahs to seamstresses to the school kids on their way home that

shoo neighborhood cows off our textiles drying on the ground in the afternoon sun. Needless to say, I’m very excited about this project and Hopie and I can’t wait to get back to Jaipur this winter to work with Vijey and his family on our spring/summer line.

Do you have any advice for emerging artists who aspire to make a living from their passion? Be ruthless in your devotion to your work, surround yourself with people who support you but challenge you, and keep a bottle of Bailey’s on hand for your morning coffee when it looks like it’s going to be a long day. Either that, or take the advice Kiki Smith jokingly gave my class last year: marry a rich Italian.

Please feel free to share any upcoming show or events. I have an upcoming show this winter in New York, and a big collaboration on the docket that I’m really excited about but can’t divulge for another few weeks. More details on bigBANG studio. Lily Stockman @showponymag CHECK OUT WWW.SHOWPONYMAG.COM FOR EXCLUSIVE FEATURES & VIDEO UPDATES



A Voice of the People Much of the story production for Show Pony starts with me asking friends, “hey, do you know anyone that…” as was the case when I was searching for people to interview in Amsterdam. Anna Spohr was a recommendation from my dear friend Susie, who casually knew her through another friend. Basically, my pitch to Anna was, “Hi, I know an acquaintance of yours, can I come over tomorrow to photograph and interview you for a magazine you have never heard of?” Anna is filmmaker and educator who founded “All About Us Film Factory,” which teaches film and media skills to at risk youths in Zaandam, Netherlands. She is a very busy woman, but she is also one of the kindest, gracious, and open-hearted people I have ever met. I met Anna at her office in Zaandam just outside of Amsterdam. Her career began as a television director, and she used her salary to fund youth film projects that she felt passionately about. She explains, “I wanted to tell stories about the people who you do not read about in the mainstream. I wanted the work I created to be a voice of the people, not the media.” One of the first projects she initiated gave cameras to five teenage boys who were considered “at risk youth.” After training them on how to use the equipment, they were asked to show the places in Amsterdam where they found comfort, or an escape from the pervasive challenges in their lives. Being left alone to work independently yielded an intimacy and authenticity rarely found when a teenager is being interviewed by an adult. Through this experience Anna learned that “…the camera could be used as a stage to share something real.” Inspired by the results of this project, and the emergence of Hip Hop culture in Amsterdam, in 2001, Anna self-funded her next youth film project collaboration which took her to the Bronx. “I felt that hip hip was the religion of urban youth,” she recalls. The project was a revelation for her, and the catalyst for her to start a nonprofit media education center in her home country. In an ideal world, the transition would have been seamless, but three days before the Bronx project was to debut, the world was left stunned and traumatized by the events of September 11, 2001. Anna recalls, that the


terrorism of 9/11 “devastated” her, and that fear and sorrow was felt throughout her community in The Netherlands. Although the film project was shown in New York, Anna had to leave the United States, and due to the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack, she was not invited to return to continue the project. Returning to Europe, Anna began the foundation that would become “All About Us Film Factory.” Eventually gaining grant funding, it was several years before her organization had any financial support outside of her own money. Today, “All About Us Film Factory” – still reliant on grant funding – is a thriving media education and documentary film center. A lifeline to the often overlooked youth of Zaandam, the teenagers finally have a place to connect, learn valuable job skills and have their voices be heard by an engaged audience. When asked about the constant challenges of grant writing and nonprofit funding, Anna explained that she accepts it as a challenge and a necessity in keeping her foundation alive. When asked whether she ever became discouraged at having to sacrifice her personal income for the project she remarked that no matter her personal circumstances “I have always felt rich because I have the freedom to do whatever I want.”

“ I wanted to tell stories about the people who you do not read about in the mainstream. I wanted the work I created to be a voice of the people, not the media.” – Anna Spohr



Your Business Questions Answered



I own a small video editing and production company. I use interns during the year to help with different projects. I’ve been hearing about unpaid interns suing companies they worked at to get back pay. What are the rules I need to follow to avoid legal problems when offering unpaid internships? - Steve M.

Scott Beach is a writer and consultant who specializes in public policy issues that effect small business owners.

ANSWER: Hi Steve. What you’ve been hearing is true. There have been a number of lawsuits lately against high profile companies. Fox Searchlight, The Charlie Rose Show, and Hearst Corporation have all been subject to lawsuits for back pay by former “interns” arguing they were actually employees. Many colleges now require students to complete an internship to receive their degree and most prospective employers want to see an internship history from their job applicants. These factors combined with the weakened economy have helped cause a proliferation of unpaid and underpaid internship programs – many of which run afoul of federal and state labor laws. Chief among these laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including numerous amendments and regulations added over the years, provides a minimum wage and guarantees overtime pay. (It also abolished child labor, but I’m going to assume you don’t have a slew of 10 year-olds editing for

you). Generally, under the FLSA for-profit private sector employers such as you must pay any employees at least the minimum wage and overtime pay for work exceeding forty hours per week. Whether the people working for you meet the FLSA definition of employee or not determines your legal obligations.

“In fact, interns most often do qualify as employees. And, legally, these employees cannot even knowingly waive their right to pay.” You should be aware that the FLSA and subsequent court interpretations define the term employ very, very broadly. If a person performing services for your company is “suffered or permitted” to work then they must be paid. In other words, unless

they are specifically exempted from the law it’s most likely the FLSA covers them. In fact, interns most often do qualify as employees. And, legally, these employees cannot even knowingly waive their right to pay. There are, however, some circumstances under which individuals participating in private sector internships may do so without pay. Interns receiving training solely for their own educational benefit where the training meets the following criteria are not employees and do not require minimum wage or overtime pay. The determination of whether your internship meets this exclusion from the FLSA requirements rests upon the totality of the facts and circumstances of the program. Courts analyze six criteria when making this determination and you will need to structure your unpaid internship program to meet these criteria if you want to comply with the law and avoid any legal risk

If you would like Scott to answer your questions, please send an email to


The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship. As you can probably see, an overarching theme of this test is that the internship really must be for the educational benefit of the intern rather than for the benefit of the company. Using interns to augment your existing workforce for specific projects or during busy periods will cause them to be

considered employees under the FLSA, and entitles them to be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime.

“Also, the more an internship provides an intern with skills that can be used in multiple employment settings the more likely the intern will not be classified as an employee.” The U.S. Department of Labor provides some guidelines for businesses seeking to create an internship program without classifying interns as employees for FLSA compensation purposes. And, of course, if you’re paying the minimum wage and overtime to your interns then the intern/ employee distinction is not a concern. In general, the more a program is structured around an academic experience rather than a company’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the intern’s educational experience. For instance, when a college exercises oversight over the internship program and provides academic credit you’re more likely to maintain the “intern” classification. Job-

shadowing opportunities where interns learn certain job functions under the close supervision of regular employees and perform no or minimal work are also likely to be classified as internships. Under these circumstances interns shouldn’t perform a company’s routine work on a regular and recurring basis, and a company shouldn’t be dependent upon an intern’s work. Also, the more an internship provides an intern with skills that can be used in multiple employment settings the more likely the intern will not be classified as an employee. Lastly, the internship should be of a fixed duration, established prior to the start of the internship, and a business should not use unpaid internships as a trial period for people seeking employment at the conclusion of the internship period. While there have been a number of high profile FLSA-based lawsuits lately, the truth is most interns do not sue even when they have a claim. They may be unaware of their legal rights or they may be leery of gaining a bad reputation in the industry of their dreams. So, you’re actual risk of a lawsuit may be low. But it’s still a risk. And from an ethical standpoint, I’m a believer that an honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay. As they say at the Bolinas Book Exchange – practice good karma.

Show Pony provides general information only. Show Pony does not guarantee the accuracy of this information. This is not legal advice. Show Pony is not responsible for any legal advice, information, or assistance that you may obtain by using the Show Pony website. You can only obtain legal advice from a lawyer. To contact a lawyer, use a referral system in your state.





Handbag designer blends Parisian chic with Cali cool Story by Brooke E. O’Neill & Photography by Rebecca Hill



As anyone who’s spent time in Paris knows, the typical French woman wears sophistication as effortlessly as most Americans wear jeans and sneakers. No matter her age, she’s impeccably dressed and put together with that certain je ne sais quoi. It’s something the rest of us have been trying to emulate since, well, forever. Contrast that with the laid-back cool of Southern California, where glamorous starlets make even flip-flops and baseball caps look sexy. From Malibu’s enclaves to Hollywood’s studio lots, Angelenos have perfected the art of carefree. Bridging these two worlds is Clare Vivier. A journalistturned-designer, she’s quickly become the go-to name for stylish, functional handbags that marry Parisian elegance with Cali cool. Crafted with lush leathers and playful splashes of color, her clutches, laptop carriers, and totes have graced the pages of Vogue, InStyle, and Elle.




This past summer marked the opening of her eponymous brand’s 750-square-foot flagship space in Los Angeles’ eclectic Silver Lake neighborhood. Designed by architect Barbara Bestor, the exterior evokes a charming Paris storefront, while California sun brightens the clean, white interior. When Women’s Wear Daily reported on the opening, they promptly declared Vivier the city’s new “‘It’ girl designer.” You wouldn’t know it from talking to her. Like the stylish cut of her bags, there’s nothing fussy or frilly about Vivier. Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, she cultivated her French style (and met her husband) while living in Paris after college. Until recently, she handled all her own press and still shares her life with customers through her blog, which is as likely to feature the brand’s new iPad case as it is shots of her eight-year-old son, Oscar, visiting the Eiffel Tower on their family vacation. “I always say that I’m designing for my friends,” says Vivier, who created her first bag in 2006 while working as a journalist for a French television station. Traveling constantly, she’d been searching for a stylish laptop carrier, but wasn’t having any luck. “So,” she recalls, “I decided to make my own.” As tends to happen when something’s meant to be, things fell into place. Vivier discovered that a West Hollywood designer was closing up shop and liquidating all her fabrics, including several brown Italian vegetabletanned leather skins. “I just bought one skin because I didn’t know what I was going to do with it,” Vivier recalls. “The leather was so beautiful. It merited a really simple bag.” She pulled out her sewing machine and fashioned a roomy satchel. “I’ve got your summer tote,” she wrote on her blog, posting a photo of her creation. “If you want one, e-mail me.”








Within hours, Vivier’s inbox was flooded. Her readers had reblogged the post, setting off a frenzy. Vivier returned to the designer’s warehouse and bought out the rest of her leather, enough to make 50 bags. They sold out immediately. Today, that original bag, dubbed La Tropézienne, remains one of the line’s top sellers. “It was a really fun experiment in the way social media has changed businesses,” says Vivier, who still relies on her blog as a key brand-building tool. “People are interested in products and lines that have some kind of history to them,” she says. By sharing her personality through the blog, she cultivated a community of supporters who continue to spread the word about her unique, locally made designs. Even as she branches out, doing collaborations with high-profile brands such as Theory and Steven Alan, she stays connected. “I get so many e-mails from people saying, ‘We’re so excited for you. We’ve been watching you from the beginning.’ It’s really nice.” Asked if she ever imagined running her own business, Vivier pauses. When she got married a decade ago, she recalls, the marriage certificate required her to list a profession. In between jobs at the time, she jotted down “bag designer.” “I definitely did not have a company 10 years ago, but I had the interest,” she says with a laugh. “Ultimately, I felt like I had to live up to that officiallooking document.” Bravo, Ms. Vivier. We’re pretty sure you’ve officially exceeded all expectations.



Les Conseils de Clare Clare Vivier grew her brand from a self-funded passion to a thriving retail business with bags in more than 200 stores nationwide. We picked her brain on how to turn entrepreneurial dreams into reality. Be the Brand “I realized I couldn’t compete with the bigger bag lines. I had to create some kind of identity behind the brand. Make it more appealing to people. I did that through the blog.” Collaborate “Collaborate with other brands. You cast your net a lot wider. You double your customer base. Even if you don’t sell a ton of that collaboration, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about a new story line, a new way to get your name out there.” Simplify “Focus on the thing that you really love and that you’re actually selling. A common problem is having broad visions and starting out too big. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed as a small business owner. Too much is happening: your sales, your website, your production. Simplify.”

Clare Vivier 3339 W. Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, California 90026 213-483-2247








Joanna Williams was born to travel. Her nomadic family upbringing fostered a love of adventure, exploration and built the foundation for Joanna’s lifelong fascination with treasures and textiles found in far-flung locales. Resourceful and energetic, Joanna has successfully launched two businesses: kneeland co., an inspiration archive with pieces sold to clients such as Anthropologie, and kneeland Mercado, an online marketplace that brings her extensive collection of jewelry, textiles, and home goods to your doorstep. In addition to goods made by traditional artisans, kneeland Mercado offers original pieces that reflect Joanna’s eclectic style and discerning eye for emerging trends. Sought after artists such as Peruvian jewelry designer Meché Correa and Los Angeles based design studio Pacific Wonderland are just two of the many independent brands represented in Williams’ exceptionally edited collection. She recalls, “Traveling helped me to hone my creativity and ultimately lead me to choose this career. I love the sense of discovery in every single aspect of life, and that is exactly what my job entails.”



kneeland co. is named in honor of your mothers’ family. Can you share how their lifestyle and your family travel adventures influenced your career path? It all started with my great grandfather, an Irishman living in Boston. When he was around 17 years old, he ran away from home and ended up in New York. He was working as an elevator boy when a couple of businessmen told him that if he wanted adventure and fortune he should go to Mexico. And so he went, during the Revolution, and he started working for a phone company. His job required him to ride into the fields to pay the workers, and one day a group of rebels captured him. They gave him the option of handing over the money and being shot, or handing over the money and joining them. So he took the latter option and joined the Revolution. After two years he moved to Tampico where he started his family. He got a job working for an American contractor in the oil fields, and eventually started a business selling car parts in Mexico City. The family business was passed down to my late grandfather, Russell Kneeland, who was also entrepreneurial in spirit and was a total adventurer. Born in New York, he made his way to Mexico City where he met and married my Mexican grandmother. They had six children together (including my mother) and raised them in a very strict Catholic household. They later divorced and my grandfather married a second time, having four more children. He was a lover of traveling and sailing, and after owning two boats, he decided to build his own in 1984. Her name was Ka’iulani and she was an 86-foot schooner. He sailed her in the Marquesas Islands, the Polynesian Islands, the Cook Islands, and all around Hawaii. She was a beauty, and I am lucky to have sailed aboard her. Coming from an Irish-Mexican-Catholic family of ten, my mother and her siblings didn’t have a lot of freedom. When the siblings reached adulthood, they moved to different parts of the world: Guatemala, Bali, Germany, Los Angeles, etc. – total gypsies traipsing around the globe and going wherever life called them. Everyone says that growing up in a strict household with limitations can sometimes cause you to rebel later in life. My mother and her siblings are living proof that this is true, in more ways than one. My mother ended up in Texas where my brother and I were born. She always took us traveling with her when we were young and really instilled a sense of culture in us. It opened my eyes to the world, and I like to think the experience gave me a sense of identity.

“ I was completely devastated when i lost my job. However, the experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Being fired led me to some awesome opportunities, gave me a lot of insight, AND HELPED SHAPE MY CAREER” - Joanna Williams

MacramĂŠ Palapa Lounge Chair by Pacific Wonderland


Along with unique products with a past, new and one-of-a-kind embellishments are also a part of the kneeland co. collection. What inspired you to initially begin to building your collections? I have always gravitated towards things with a past, whether it was an old Chinese vase that my grandmother had in her living room or vintage clothes from thrift stores. My idea to launch a textile studio came from traveling and finding so many amazing textiles that I wanted to buy and buy and buy. When the idea was born, I was working part-time for a shoe company doing trend forecasting and decided to parlay my research and discovery into my own business; starting with textiles I had collected from my travels. I also took a big trip to Turkey for my brother-in-law’s wedding and found the most exceptional textiles in various cities and villages. I launched my company when I returned to the United States.

In what ways have your travel adventures and experiences influenced your personal style? One of my favorite things about traveling is people watching. I love to see what people are wearing and how they put things together in different parts of the world. I love going to small villages and admiring the women in their traditional attire. Their norm of dress has been the same for hundreds of years and the style hasn’t changed. They look so damn cool and don’t even know it, much less care. I like to pick up things that locals wear and interpret them my own way, wearing with both modern and vintage pieces. When you travel to different countries and see how people dress, you realize that there really are no rules. I subscribe to that philosophy.

Considering the numerous locations you have visited, which destination stands out as your favorite and most inspiring place? That’s tough, but I have to go with Turkey. Istanbul is modern yet ancient, with some of the most spectacular architecture in the world. It has that old world vibe mixed with modernism that is completely unique and unlike any other place I have ever visited. It is also becoming a total powerhouse in art, cinema, fashion and culture. The people are incredibly welcoming, the food is mind-blowing, and you can hop a plane and arrive in some of the most beautiful and remote places on the Mediterranean within a couple of hours. I should also add that the textiles alone are worth a visit. You’ll find pieces from all along The Silk Road that are so rare and so gorgeous, and you might consider spending your entire life’s earnings on just one small embroidery.

How did you come to acquire the most meaningful piece in your personal collection? Honestly, each piece I have is meaningful to me. Of course some are more valuable then others, but I really only choose textiles that are unique, special, and somehow resonate with me. I don’t shop by trends or anything; I mostly pick up pieces that I feel are interesting. There are times when I find things that I think would be great for a specific client and I’ll make a purchase right away. However, I usually shop and hunt based on my intuition. Sometimes I stumble upon something so breathtaking and special that I can’t bare to part with it, and I’ll sit on it for a while. If a month goes by and I’m still madly in love, I’ll hold on to it. If not, it goes on appointments with me.



“ One of the most exciting things about living in this day and age is that you truly can create your own career path... There is so much opportunity and the possibilities are endless.� - Joanna Williams


Layered Hoop Necklace by MechĂŠ Correa


Before starting kneeland co. you worked in trend forecasting: London, Paris, and Buenos Aires were a few of the destinations you had the opportunity to visit. Can you please describe this profession and share what experiences led you to gain employment in this field? That particular profession was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. When I moved to Los Angeles from Houston (where I grew up and went to college), I was working as an Account Executive for a fashion trade publication and I was miserable. Every day I daydreamed about having a job that I loved in fashion that would allow me to be creative and travel. I didn’t know much about the trend forecasting industry but I knew that I was good at finding out about cool, interesting things. I literally did an online search of “trend forecasting companies,” and I sent my resume to about five of them. I got a call the next day from a start-up company that was a trend forecasting website based in New York City, and the owner happened to be in LA and asked for an interview. I was hired on the spot and immediately became the West Coast Correspondent for street style, store windows, merchandising, and youth culture. I was also the West Coast Sales Rep for the website. I learned so much from the opportunity to travel the world. My responsibilities included taking photos of street style and store windows, reporting on runway trends, youth culture, and fabric and materials. I also met with apparel and accessories manufacturers to sell them the service. I worked there for three years and when the company grew at a rapid pace, I was subsequently fired. I was completely devastated when I lost my job. However, the experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Being fired led me to some awesome opportunities, gave me a lot of insight, and helped to shape my career. The founder and CEO was my mentor and taught me so much about work and life. He truly was one of the most influential people to come into my life, and I quickly learned that having a mentor is priceless. I like to call that experience my “gateway job”. It opened the door to so much opportunity.

What was the catalyst for your transition from trend forecasting to launching kneeland co.? After my trend forecasting position I started working freelance, compiling trend reports for both American and European fashion brands. I also started doing a lot of writing for publications like In addition, I started my blog, “Keep Feeling Fascination”; and I eventually became Fashion Editor for an interactive fashion site that centered around building a virtual wardrobe. I was then given the opportunity to do part-time trend research for Steve Madden in their West Coast office. I did that for about a year working alongside two of my close friends. That’s where I had my idea to launch kneeland co.

How did you build your clientele for kneeland co.? I had built up contacts from my previous jobs and freelance work so I was fortunate to have a head start. After that it was through word of mouth and some great press. Of course, I also had to do a lot of sleuthing around for contacts which can be very difficult. There are still those dream clients that I have yet to reach!




The evolution of your career has grown to include a recently launched web store, kneeland Mercado. Tell us about the inspiration for starting your most recent business venture. I was traveling a lot for the textile studio and also sourcing jewelry for Anthropologie. I would find great things for myself such as home goods and decorative objects, and I noticed that people were responding well to certain pieces. By investing a great deal of time discovering wonderful resources, I have been led to some epic locales that are filled with incredible treasures. I wanted to be able to share all of those beautiful things with a larger audience, because my textile studio isn’t really open to the public. By launching kneeland Mercado, I now have part of my business that is open to the public online.

What has been the most challenging aspect of launching the web store? The most challenging aspect thus far was realizing that I have a second business to operate! That can be overwhelming at times, and also just hoping that I can always keep things fresh and inspiring!

Can you share any advice for people who aspire to include travel into their career path?

kneeland co. 3191 W. Casitas Ave. Suite 156 Los Angeles, CA 90039 323-6328710

I would say that before you start looking for a career that involves traveling, make sure that you love what you are doing. Traveling for a job that you aren’t interested in is not fun. Also, think about how travel could benefit your career and how it could enhance it. Research companies or industries that require traveling, talk to people, put the word out, and do your research. It also helps to visualize yourself having the ultimate job that allows you to hop around the world. One of the most exciting things about living in this day and age is that you truly can create your own career path. We really are living in a global economy. There is so much opportunity and the possibilities are endless.

Advertise With Us Show Pony Magazine reaches a young, engaged, and inspired audience. We are interested in partnerships with businesses that share our values and encourage the aspirations of our readers. We look forward to hearing from you! If you would like to advertise, please contact us at









Tokyo Compression by German-born photographer Michael Wolf is a riveting series of photographs reflecting ambiguous faces obscured by mist-drenched subwaY car doors. Enigmatic individuals are portrayed raising their hands to protest the camera’s gaze, eyes closed in a resolute attempt to escape the man-made purgatory known as the daily commute in Japan’S capital city. Currently residing in Hong Kong, Wolf first experienced the Tokyo Metro system as a journalist covering the aftermath of the sarin nerve gas attack in 1995. He remembers, “I spent a week just riding around aimlessly looking for visual ideas. At one specific station, I was able to get very close to the windows of the train and saw a man pressed up against the glass looking extremely alienated. I took a few photographs and later filed them away under topics to explore in greater depth.” He continued, “In 2008, I revisited that same station, Odakyu, and started work on what became the ‘Tokyo Compression’ series. Initially I spent 30 weekdays at one station, from 7:30 until 9:00 in the morning. This was peak rush hour: every 80 seconds another train would pull into the station, and I had 20 seconds to shoot before the train pulled out again.” When I asked Wolf if it was challenging for him to continue the project once he realized many of the commuters attempted to turn away or shield their faces from his camera, his reply gave important insights on his dedication to creating a meaningful dialogue through his work. He revealed, “No, quite the contrary, this became an integral part of the project for me. The process raised some important issues: is it legitimate to photograph people without their consent? When is it legitimate? Do the ends justify the means? Is the statement I am making with this project more important than the discomfort of the individual?” At once a commentary on the density of urban life, the struggle between tradition and innovation, and a way of life that is disappearing before his camera’s gaze, Michaels Wolf’s impressive body of work continues to captivate an ever-growing audience. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the evolution of his career and artistic vision.




“ I AM A PERSON WHO THRIVES ON VISUAL CHANGE AND CHAOS, AND IN ASIA I FOUND CHANGE TO BE RAPID AND DRAMATIC.” Q. Much of your work shows the constraints and discomfort that are characteristic qualities of an urban lifestyle. Can you please elaborate on your decision to live in Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated cities in the world? A. I left Germany for Hong Kong in 1994 because, after living there for twenty years, I felt that I had reached a dead end: Europe failed to inspire my work. Take Paris, for instance, very little has changed inside the boundaries of the Boulevard Peripherique since Atget’s time. I am a person who thrives on visual change and chaos, and in Asia I found change to be rapid and dramatic. I arrived at a time when cities were expanding and transforming at a very fast pace. My excitement and inspiration were reinvigorated.

Q. Your early career included working as a photojournalist. What was the catalyst for your transition into fine art photography? A. The catalyst was that the working conditions for photojournalists were deteriorating. In the 1990s I was spending three months and more to research and photograph a feature story. After 2001, budgets were shrinking and the time allotted to work on stories became less and less: instead of three months it became five days. This was very frustrating as it meant much of my work became superficial. My needs were exactly the opposite, instead of less time, I wanted to spend even more time working on topics. This was the point when I knew it was time for me to get out of photojournalism.

Q. As an expatriate living in Hong Kong, do you feel accepted by the community, or do have the impression that your are observing from an outsider’s perspective? A. After living in Hong Kong for almost twenty years, I feel that I am part of the local community. I consider Hong Kong my home, however, I am not sure how much longer I will stay. I feel that the city is changing dramatically, and not for the better. Under the guise of “urban renewal” many traditional neighborhoods are being torn down and replaced with huge residential housing blocks or shopping malls. The city is losing its unique character. Regarding the outsider’s perspective: this point of view is extremely important because the unique vernacular culture which I photograph existed long before I came to Hong Kong. People who were born here often take these elements of daily life for granted and simply do not notice or value them. As an outsider, I was immediately struck by the unique character of the city, and have found a great deal of inspiration here.

Q. Can you share your philosophy on the importance of belonging to a community, and what role that connection or lack thereof plays in the work you create? A. Although I sell my art globally, I feel that it should also have a conscience and reflect the responsibility I feel towards my community. I think that for future generations of Hong Kong residents, my photographs of their rapidly changing city will be a document of a way of life that will soon no longer exist.


Q. Can you discuss the unique challenges of creating a business rooted in the sale and publishing of your fine art photography? A. There are a multitude of challenges, the primary one being creating the art itself. One needs to execute ideas which preferably have a global appeal and are not derivative works. In my case, architecture of density has a tremendous global appeal, however my photographs of Hong Kong corner houses do not. Another challenge is finding representation. Gallerists are inundated with artists asking to show their portfolios and looking for exhibition opportunities. The reality is that a gallery can only represent a limited number of people in order to dedicate enough time to each artist. The key is to maintain enough stamina to continue seeking opportunities, and developing a strategy to capture the interest of a gallerist.

Q. As an established artist, in what ways do you continue to evolve and challenge yourself to create innovative new pieces? A. My greatest fear is that I have no new ideas so I try to keep my eyes and mind open for inspiration. Urban life is one of my main topics and I spend a lot of time walking and observing cities. The way it works with me is that my brain follows my gut. I often see something which I find fascinating, but I could not tell you why. It’s only after I have developed the topic for quite some time that I can explain its meaning. The “bastard chair” project, for instance, was such a topic. I fell in love with these curious broken and repaired “sitting opportunities,” and from every trip to mainland China, I brought one or two back to Hong Kong . At first, my wife thought I was a bit mad--after I had collected fifty or so bastard chairs--I realized that they were a metaphor for China in the 1990s: thrifty, and never throwing anything away. The main requirement for any repair job was that the object remained functional and aesthetics were simply not important. But getting from simply the objects to the metaphor took me some time to develop.

Q. Do you have any advice for emerging artists who aspire to make a living from their passion? A. They may sound like platitudes, but they worked for me: work hard, believe in what you are doing, and don’t give up. And some practical advice: always look people in the eye when you speak with them, have good handwriting, and always be on time.

Represented by: Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York City Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen, Amsterdam La Galerie Particulière, Paris Elipsis Gallery , Istanbul Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerp Flowers Gallery, London Gallery M97, Shanghai

Michael Wolf




It’s a Write-Off, Jerry! STORY BY SCOTT BEACH Kramer: It’s a write-off for them. Jerry: How is it a write-off? Kramer: They just write it off. Jerry: Write it off what? Kramer: Jerry all these big companies they write off everything. Jerry: You don’t even know what a write-off is. Kramer: Do you? Jerry: No, I don’t. Kramer: But they do - and they are the ones writing it off. Seinfeld provides a laconic guide to life. Yes, I believe that. If you watch closely enough you’ll observe all life’s mysteries and frustrations distilled to their simplest, virtually Platonic, forms. And if “tax deduction” has a form, an abstract and unchanging representation, then this Seinfeldian dialogue crystallizes it as complicated, circular, and utterly confounding. There are few aspects of life more capable of instantly conjuring the feeling you’re living in a dystopian nightmare than trying to figure out your business’s eligible tax deductions. But, fear not! This article spells out the basics you’ll need to understand one type of deduction – travel related business expenses.

be taxed as corporations. Business expenses are the common costs of operating a trade or business, such as, business travel, renting a storefront, and employee pay. These expenses differ from capital expenses, which are the costs of purchasing or upgrading fixed assets with a life of more than a year, such as computer or manufacturing equipment. Capital expenses are treated very differently for tax and accounting purposes. To be deductible, business expenses must also be both ordinary and necessary. Ordinary expenses are those that are common and accepted in your field of business. Necessary expenses are those that are helpful and appropriate for your business.

Generally, small businesses owners may deduct business expenses that are ordinary and necessary. For these purposes, a small business means any for-profit venture not taxed as a corporation, including sole proprietorships and limited liability companies not specifically electing to

A travel expense is a specific type of business expense, and therefore, must meet the above general requirements. Additionally, it must also be incurred as part of a trip away from home for it to be deductible. You are deemed to be traveling away from home if 1) your duties require you to be away from your

tax home (which is the entire general area or vicinity of your principal place of business) substantially longer than an ordinary day’s work, and 2) you need to get sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away. If you’re traveling for both personal and business reasons, you can deduct your travel expenses to and from the destination only if the trip is primarily related to business. The primary purpose of a trip is determined by looking at the facts and circumstances of each case, such as the amount of time spent on business activities during the trip compared to the time spent on personal activities. If the trip is primarily personal, none of your traveling expenses are deductible. However, you may be able to deduct particular expenses incurred while at the destination if they otherwise would qualify as business deductions. If the above criteria are met, you can deduct the following travel expenses incurred by yourself or employees you’ve reimbursed.

If you would like Scott to answer your questions, please send an email to


Transportation Travel by airplane, train, bus, or car between your home and your business destination. Additional rules and limits apply for cruise ship travel. Taxi, Commuter Bus, or Airport Limousine Fares for these and other types of transportation that take you between the airport or station and your hotel, and between the hotel and the work location of your customers or clients, your business meeting place, or your temporary work location. Baggage/Shipping Costs for sending baggage and sample or display material. Car Operating and maintaining your car when traveling away from home on business. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking. If you rent a car while away from home on business, you can deduct only the business-use portion of the expenses. Lodging Lodging if your business trip is overnight or long enough that you need to stop for sleep or rest to properly perform your duties. Cleaning Costs for dry cleaning and laundry. Telephone Business calls while traveling, including fax machines or other communication devices. Tips Tips you pay for any travel related business expenses.

Other Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel. Meals (50% limitation) You can deduct 50% of the expense of your meals, either personal or while entertaining clients, but the meals cannot be lavish or extravagant. There’s no set rule, but if you make a habit of lavish meals it will likely generate questions. Meals include amounts spent for food, beverages, taxes, and related tips. Alternatively, you can use the standard meal allowance method of deduction.

“If you’re traveling for both personal and business reasons, you can deduct your travel expenses to and from the destination only if the trip is primarily related to business.” Entertainment (50% limitation) You can deduct 50% of your expenses while entertaining a client, customer, or employee away from home. To be deductible, entertainment expenses must meet the directly-related test or the associated test:

You did engage in business during the entertainment period, and You had more than a general expectation of getting income or some other specific business benefit. Associated test: • Entertainment is associated with your trade or business. • Entertainment directly precedes or follows a substantial business discussion. You cannot deduct expenses for club dues, such as health, airport, or social clubs, or entertainment facilities, such as executive boxes at sports stadiums. Travel for political, investment, or social conventions also cannot be deducted. Lastly, small business owners are audited at a much higher rate than salaried employees. It’s crucial you keep copies of all receipts and maintain detailed records or logs of your expenses, including any car trips. On the back of each receipt you should write the reason for the expense and the name of the person you met. The location and date will be in the receipt. Records should be made when the expense is incurred. Additional Resources For greater detail, including examples and exceptions, please see the following IRS publications:

Directly-related test:

Tax Guide For Small Businesses (IRS Publication 334)

• Entertainment took place in a clear business setting, OR

Travel, Entertainment, Gifts and Car Expenses (IRS Publication 463)

• Main purpose of entertainment was the active conduct of business, and

Show Pony provides general information only. Show Pony does not guarantee the accuracy of this information. This is not legal advice. Show Pony is not responsible for any legal advice, information, or assistance that you may obtain by using the Show Pony website. You can only obtain legal advice from a lawyer. To contact a lawyer, use a referral system in your state.




two of a

kind Mother and daughter Ina and Stefanie Hoebert have transformed a once abandoned storefront into one of Amsterdam’s chicest vintage boutiques. Photography and Story by Rebecca Hill



Wandering Amsterdam on a rainy summer afternoon, I came across something that I believed only to existed in dreams – perfect condition size 9 vintage boots, and lots of them! Tut and Hola, located in Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood, is a vintage lovers’ dream come true. The shop is filled with mint-condition clothing and accessories with styles spanning several decades. As lovely as their collection of vintage party dresses, owners Stefanie and Ina welcomed me into their shop to chat about how they realized their dream of owning a boutique. Where does your love of vintage clothing originate from? My love for vintage started when I was about 10 or 11 years old. My parents have always loved the forties and fifties era so I actually grew up with vintage clothing, cars, furniture and pinball machines. My dad has been collecting American games from the 1930s through the 1950s for decades and he has gathered quite a collection. Even American collectors are a bit jealous I think. You can take a look at: When I was about 7 years old I saw an old Elvis performance on TV and I immediately became his number one fan. So I guess that’s where it all really started. I started to wear vintage clothing by the age of 11, and unlike my parents, I was more interested in the ‘60s and ‘70s era. When I was in high school I wore platforms, bell bottom jeans and flower power shirts. It wasn’t appreciated by everyone but I loved it! Such a shame that I was not born in the ‘50s, I would have loved to have gone to Woodstock!

Can you elaborate on your experience of working together as mother and daughter? Working with my mother has turned out to be even better than I expected. We have the same love and passion for vintage clothing, and we form a great team since we each have unique qualities. My mother has a great eye for real authentic clothing and is skilled in restoring the pieces. She spends a lot of time making our collection look like new. On the other hand, I bring in some more business sense. Before we opened the shop I went to school at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and Artemis where I graduated as a fashion stylist. This mix of expertise turns out to be valuable for us. Of course we do not always agree on everything, but that´s life, isn´t it?





Did the two of you always have a close relationship, or did your friendship develop when you became adults? I think our relationship really developed when I got a bit older. Because of our mutual passion we have traveled to London, Berlin and Antwerp together several times to attend fairs or other vintage related events. Now that we are running a business, we don´t have much time to explore new cities, but when the opportunity arises, we still love to travel together. At this moment we are running the business without any staff which means that you will always find either one of us in our shop. Luckily I live next door, so when my mother is working I frequently drop by to help.

What was the catalyst for opening Tut & Hola together? We have been dreaming about this shop for over a decade, but never expected it to actually happen. However, when the opportunity of renting this location came by we felt it was too good to let it pass. The space wasn’t perfect at the time – it was a squatted building – but we saw the potential. After inquiring with the real estate agency we decided to go for it. Within two months we turned this worn out space into a beautiful vintage boutique.

Your shop is stocked with an incredible variety of clothing and accessories. How long have you been collecting and curating the items in your shop? Together, we have been collecting vintage clothing for at least 15 years, my mother even longer. It all began when my mother bought the entire stock of a vintage shop that was closing down. She went to fairs to sell and we often hosted fashion shows and other events. Around this time we started dreaming about having our own little shop. We drove my dad crazy with collecting more than 300 pairs of shoes and tons of dresses, hats and purses. At this moment we work very hard to keep up our great collection. We literally search everyday to find unique pieces. Some items come from America, but we also find beautiful things at local markets.


“ I think when a woman looks confident in what she is wearing, she is so much more attractive.” -STEFANIE HOEBART





What have been some of the most challenging aspects of being independent shop owners? The business aspects can be difficult to manage at times. There are a lot of elements that you need to deal with that are not pleasant or interesting. I am usually the one who handles these kind of things, as my mother is too nice to be tough on people when necessary. But other than that owning a shop is absolutely great! We take so much pleasure in searching for new items and making people happy with their purchases.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of owning your business? I would have to say that the happy reactions of our clients, especially when they are buying a gorgeous ‘40s dress, are the most rewarding moments. It is so nice to find people who share our passion and to make their day with our pieces. Also finding new pieces makes us very happy. The first thing we do when we get new dresses is try them on ourselves! It is not uncommon that things that we just bought for the shop end up in our own closets. Then again, the nice thing about having your own vintage shop is that we can always put it back in the collection! I think the most unique thing about our boutique is that almost every item is handpicked and we know where it came from.



Stefanie, how did your mother’s style influence your love of fashion? When you always have had a great example it is hard not to be influenced. My mother always looks fantastic, even when she is cleaning the house. I feel so much better when I am wearing a nice ‘50s dress or a cool ‘70s outfit and I often get a lot of compliments. I think that when a woman looks confident in what she is wearing, she is so much more attractive. It doesn´t have to be vintage of course, but when you put a little more effort in your look people will notice.

Ina, in what ways does your daughter’s style influence the way you dress? I have been interested in fashion all my life and like to dress up in a feminine style. When I was young, girls only wore pants when it was cold and I still have a preference for skirts and dresses. I always thought the fashion of the ‘40s and ‘50s was the most interesting, but Stefanie made me see that the ‘60s and the ‘70s are very rewarding as well. Style from that period of time gives me a nostalgic feeling because those were the days that I was young.

Tut & Hola Korsjespoortsteeg 2 (corner of Singel 82) 1015 AR Amsterdam The Netherlands








Amsterdam based creative agency, St. Germain is paving the way for the new guard of Dutch artists. Rory Teng is the rare combination of a business focused mind and a visionary heart. Her intuition is spot-on when it comes to emerging trends in fashion, art, and design. She honed her business skills in corporate public relations, before opening her own agency, St. Germain. Hidden away in the winding streets of Amsterdam, it is truly worth the journey to discover the fresh talent that is flawlessly displayed in the St. Germain gallery and showroom. “It really gives you energy and inspiration on a daily basis,” Rory observed, when I inquired about the work environment she has created for herself and her staff. Brightly lit, filed with art, and staffed with a young and friendly team of associates; I had the pleasure of speaking with Rory about her vision and support of Amsterdam’s design community.


Agency Owner, Rory Teng

Where did your dedication to emerging creatives, artists, and academics originate from? I know many people who are very talented and artistically gifted, but struggle to get a foot in the door of the Dutch creative industry. Gaining recognition can be challenging regardless if their talents are in fashion, art, music, or any other business for that matter. When you do gain access you realize that a small group of people monopolize the industry. I think it’s important to keep our talent fresh and evolving. You can only do so by getting out of your comfort zone and seeking out emerging talent.




Growing, learning, creating, sharing and getting recognition for my clients are most valuable.Â


You have a background in law and experience in corporate public relations. How do these unique qualifications enhance the services you are able to provide for your creative clients? When you work with creatives you obviously need to understand their artistic point of view. At the same time, because of my experience in the corporate world, I can provide a business savvy approach which is necessary to generate revenue for my clients..Â




Graphic Designer, Hajo vd Kuilen


St. Germain operates a store, gallery, and creative agency. Can you elaborate on how the three disciplines of your company work together to support the companies you represent? In the store, we feature new labels from emerging designers, and the gallery functions in a similar fashion in regard to developing visual artists. The agency is where we provide public relations, branding, and advertising with the goal of widening our clients’ customer base.

Can you please introduce us to the members of your team and share how they contribute to the success of St. Germain? Timothy Kok is my partner, managing director, and also works as a film director. Hajo vd Kuilen is our graphic designer. Sterre Giltay does most of the internal and external communications. My role is creative public relations strategist and account manager.

How did you develop a profitable business model when many of your clients are working within a limited budget? Marketing and Public Relations are an ongoing process. By delivering qualitative results and support, we hope our clients will continue to return as regular customers.

Can you share the ways that St. Germain works to create and support your local community of artists? One of our concepts is ‘Saint Germain Spaces’ where we provide local pop up concepts such as shops, cafes, and galleries. We are always on the look out for creatives to do fun collaborations with.

You have had many notable collaborations in the past year, including working with artists Violette Hoogakker and Sabrina Van Den Heuvel. Can you share some of your upcoming projects? We recently collaborated with fashion designer and Bas Kosters on a film documentary of his “Love, Fuck Yeah” collection during Amsterdam Fashion Week. Coming up we are launching an amazing new label and online store called Wrong Obsession.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of owning your business? In addition to being independent: growing, learning, creating, sharing and getting recognition for my clients are most valuable.




Communications, Sterre Giltay

Saint Germain Oudezijds Armsteeg 28 1012, Amsterdam +31 20Â 7751509




CHAPTER With the soul of a dreamer and the intuition of an adventurer, fashion photographer Dagmara Mituniewicz expands her vision to include designing a distinctive line of limited edition dresses. Photography by Dagmara Mituniewicz Interview and Portrait by Rebecca Hill


THAILAND Made with distinctive fabrics and exquisitely constructed, fashion label “by D� is as extraordinary as the woman behind the designs. Inspired by a lifetime of travel, fashion photographer Dagmara Mituniewicz has embarked on the next chapter of her distinguished career. Each of the numerous locales she has photographed have left an indelible mark on the way she sees the world, and thus how she crafts her limited edition line of clothing. From Havana to Berlin, Krakow to Tibet, Dagmara shows us her latest designs and the locations that have influenced her vision.







You are originally from Krakow: Can you elaborate on the elements of your upbringing that inspired you to peruse a career as an photographer? I’ve always liked snapping photos of what was around me, starting when I received my first camera for my First Communion. But it was really my Uncle Jacek, who lived with us for a bit while attending university, who really got me into photography. He taught me a lot: we would transform my parents’ bathroom into a darkroom for whole weekends to print the images we shot during the week. It was such an enticing world! I got drawn into it right away. After graduating college you packed your portfolio and moved to NYC to become a fashion photographer. What were some of the key opportunities you created for yourself to get your career started? The moment I got there, I would start my mornings by calling and trying to make contacts. Even though I was young and inexperienced, I tried to reach out to people everyday – mostly agencies and magazines – in order to get work. After about six months of being in New York City, I finally landed my first representation. This was the point when things really started happening for me in New York. I don’t believe you can move to a place like New York City without being persistent and on top of your game every single minute of the day. Talent is one thing, and of course you have to believe in yourself, but persistence is what eventually allows you to get paid for what you love doing.




Your family has a business in the textile industry. Can you share what role their business played in developing your career as a fashion photographer and designer? I grew up surrounded by fabrics and have been fascinated with personal style since I can remember. It all really started when I was growing up in Poland, which was under the communist régime at the time. It was hard enough to buy food or gas back then, not to mention good quality or interesting clothes. My mom was always very resourceful about having access to fabrics to make us things to wear, garments that were beautiful, creative and stood out from the crowd. By the time I got older, I was accustomed to having unique clothing to wear. I naturally followed in my mom’s footsteps by trying to make garments for myself. Every time my parent’s store would get a new shipment, my mom would bring home piles of fabrics and we would spend all of our evenings figuring out what to make out of them. Photography came later, but for a long time I couldn’t really decide what area of study to pursue. Even during the first year of college I enrolled in both photography and fashion courses, and it wasn’t until my second year when I decided to give 100% to photography. I think now, after achieving so much of what I dreamed of in the photography world, it’s just a natural progression that I expand into design and treat it as a new challenge professionally. Can you elaborate on how your extensive travel for photography assignments have enriched your career and encouraged your artistic vision to develop? I’ve always been inspired by people and places, so naturally this kind of work was represented in my portfolio. Therefore, location photography assignments became what I would get booked for. Traveling really expanded my horizons as far as creativity goes. At every new travel location I would learn from the locals about their culture, customs, beliefs and fairy tales. I was especially interested in fairy tales and legends, because they would inspire me to come up with different concepts for my editorial fashion stories. The unique colors, fabrics and textures of each place I visited developed my vision creatively and helped me to step out of my box and create more original work.










International travel is a large part of your career. What have been some of your dream assignments? My dream assignments have never had to do with how big the client was, but where they could take me to see and experience new things. The first dream assignment was a two week assignment: I had the opportunity to shoot in Thailand as the guest of the queen. I remember location scouting and in one day being on two airplanes, a jeep, a raft, an elephant and a tuk tuk, all by early afternoon. The whole trip was very intense, but I experienced so much. The other memorable assignment was at the Ice Palace in Canada – it was so dreamlike – the location seemed to be taken right out of a Christian Andersen story. Another dream assignment was an island in Tobago, where we experienced miles and miles of virgin beaches with no one else around. What was the catalyst for you to expand your career to include designing a fashion line? Ever since I can remember, my fashion clients, as well as people on the streets, would ask me where I got my clothes. People consistently remarked that they were especially inspired by my dresses, and these compliments got me thinking about starting my own line. I didn’t really have the time to make the line happen since I was busy with photo assignments, so I kept postponing the decision. But then, on one of my catalogue assignments, my client asked me if I could design a dress line for their company. This opportunity gave me a total push and was the catalyst for finally starting my design business. Since then I decided to go on my own by selling my line at two London based boutiques and I also set up an internet store. It’s been really good so far! Of the many places you have been, where do you find the most inspiration for your personal style and clothing line? I think it’s a mixture between Tibet, Morocco and Cuba. I love color, pattern and layering, and these countries represent so many of these qualities.








Distinctive fabrics, quality construction, and limited availability are characteristic elements of your clothing line, “by D.” Can you elaborate on why these attributes are such a priority for your design business? I’ve never been much into chain stores, with their low quality, mass-produced products. You buy a dress, put it in a wash, and after a few times it becomes unwearable. I believe in quality in both fabric and construction. I am also not a big fan of running into people wearing the same trends on the street. I think that everybody should be able to wear unique pieces without breaking the bank, stand out from the crowd, and have the ability to creatively express oneself every day. I don’t believe in trends and the concept of what’s “in” and “out” in every season. This is one of the reasons why I love living in East London: people here express themselves by wearing what suits them best and uniquely expresses their personalities. That is what the local boutiques are selling and I am privileged to be a part of it.








Your work encompasses inspirational elements from your travels around the world, yet most of your pieces are fabricated in your hometown of Krakow, Poland. Tell us about this decision. I found the most reliable and creative seamstresses in Krakow. We have been working together for years and have great communication, no words are needed really, and I can fully rely on them. They are a bit on the expensive side, but I am committed to producing quality garments. As an established artist, in what ways do you continue to evolve and challenge yourself to create innovative new images and dress designs? I mostly try not to get affected by my industry: the trends, what’s in, what’s out, what’s appropriate, what’s not. I want to stay true to myself and follow my heart as much as possible. I try to challenge myself to stay more like a child – innocent and free – a child who doesn’t know what she cannot or should not do. I want to see and experience the world as it actually is, not the way we adults have been taught to believe that it is. To me, this is the secret to creativity and innovation. Baudelaire said “Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recovered at will.” He was saying that if you can revisit the wonder of childhood you can taste genius. And he was right, it’s the child in you who is creative, not the adult. The adult in you wears a belt and suspenders and looks both ways before crossing the road, the child in you goes barefoot and plays in the street. I always want to approach my design and photography with the eyes and energy of a child. Do you have any advice for emerging artists who aspire to make a living from their passion? Only create the work you love, and always be true to it. When working commercially you’ll have to give up parts of yourself, but that’s OK because this is how you make your living. But when you are working naturally and honestly for yourself, only do what you love. For example, when you take on an editorial commission, do it because you absolutely believe in it and love the idea behind it. This way you will never get lost. Neglecting passion blocks creative flow; when you’re passionate, you’re energized. Likewise, when you lack passion, your energy is low and unproductive. Energy is everything when it comes to being successful. Also, always remember your roots and where you came from; clients appreciate it very much. Be one of a kind in your work, personality, and specialize in the work that you love. Your true passion and persistence will bring you success. Never get full of yourself when big things actually happen to you, simply because it can all go away within a minute. Instead, appreciate your success, see how you can grow more, and enter another chapter.

by D