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Art

I actually really enjoy a good fashion sketch, but when it’s taken to the next level it can be so very satisfying to the eye.  Browsing some of my fav art and fashion outlets, I recently found a few illustrators who’s work I instantly fell in love with.  So fun and creative…  Makes me want to break out my watercolors and markers.

Kevin Wadaa

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kevin-wadaa-fashion-illustration-1-600x400Sophie Griotto

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sophie-griotto-fashion-illustrations-5 Amy Martino

yellow-bird-machine-600x574Nicolas Tavitian

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W2P

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These gorgeous images, taken by fashion photographer Jim Naughten, left me in awe at the beauty of this tribe and their countryside.  The portraits exude strength and regality which is only intensified by their unique costume and stark background.  They look surreal, almost like paintings instead of photographs.  These marvelous characters can be found in the book entitled Conflict and Costume: The Herero Tribe of Namibia.

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Here is the description:

“The magnificent traditional costume of the Herero of Namibia, southern Africa, is a stark reminder of the country’s tumultuous past. In the late 19th century, the influence of missionaries and traders in German Southwest Africa led to the adoption by the Herero of the European dress of the day. Over time, the voluminous gowns, completed by a cattle-horn-shaped headdress, came to represent the cultural identity of the Herero women. The men’s ceremonial dress also harks back to colonial times: following the brutal war of 1904, the Herero adapted the uniforms of German soldiers for their own Otruppe (‘troops’) movement. In Conflict and Costume, acclaimed photographer Jim Naughten captures the colorful Herero attire in a series of spectacular portraits. Set against the Namibian landscape, these dramatic images show the striking costumes and their proud owners to full effect: men in elaborate, home-made paramilitary uniforms, and women in spectacular floor-length frocks with matching horns. Dr Lutz Marten contributes an insightful text that places the dress in its historical context.”

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Takes me back to my undergrad Art in Africa course.  I especially love the womens’ costumes.  The colonial influence is clear, but the use of African textiles and headdress makes the style their own.

More info here http://www.jimnaughten.com/project/hereros_intro/

Being a woman of color, I have learned to withstand the lack of, or misrepresentation of women like myself in the media. Since I was a little girl, I would constantly search for images to substantiate the idea that black was indeed beautiful. I remember how my heart would race and how proud I would feel when I would come across an editorial featuring Naomi Campbell or Tyra Banks. Head held high with a renowned sense of self, I knew that if they were seen as beautiful, than maybe one day I would be too.

Today “Jason Eric Hardwick “ has reignited that feeling.

Afro Look " Jason Eric Hardwick Jason Eric Hardwick

“I wonder why photographic images of Afro’s are yet to be updated? I often think about about why there are limited stereotypical molds when photographing black women? There is either the exotic video vixen, the African soul sistah, a 70′s afro queen or what I have heard people call a white girl dipped in chocolate. Have people stopped to look and consider that things have changed? Hairstyles have changed and identities have evolved.” – Yomi Abiola,  contributing editor for Vogue.it

Photo series

Afro Look

Afro Look
Jason Eric Hardwick

Jason Eric Hardwick

Read more on this photo series, visit vogue.it

Photographer: Jason Eric Hardwick

Stylist: Darlene & Lizzy Okpo

Hair: Taichi Saito

Makeup: Kanako Takase

Manicure: Amber Edwards

Jason Eric Hardwick

The life’s work of famed Malian photographer Malick Sidibe from the 50s through early 70s take us on a journey through a sweet era in Malian history, their new found independence from colonialism.  His thousands of images have become iconic and have won him the love of his country as well as international praise.  Malick is most known for his images of Malian street and nightlife, taken in the glory days of his youth.  These photos captured the carefree spirit of the Malian youth at the threshold of their liberation.

He began his career being commissioned by the rich who wanted to document their wealth.  His work took a new direction once he began to get invited out to the hip night clubs by local urban youth, who came to know him for his distinct eye.  I’m still grinning over the clubs’ quirky names, Las Vegas, Moscow, The Beatles, Tahiti, Tropicana.  Everyone was dancing, kickin’ it and enjoying themselves, and he followed them where ever they would take him.

Things took an unfortunate downward turn after the country was taken by a military dictatorship for several decades.  This did not deter Malick, who continued taking his photos ,which captured the strength and resilience of the Malian people.

It’s quite heartwarming to see him still sitting in front of his studio in Bamako welcoming clients, and taking photos of his small tribe of children at their compound.  So much art, culture and history captured through one man’s’ camera lens.  There is nothing like a creative who has endless passion.

“…I can’t imagine giving up photography.  I don’t look forward to the day I’ll have to give it up.  It means I’ll be dead.”

Check out the documentary on this amazing visionary:

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/dolce_vita_africana

Mickalene Thomas’ art explores the intricate beauty of the woman.  The women in her portraits are dazzling, confident, and fabulous.  You stare at them and can see the reflection of an individual spirit in the shine, sparkle and color of the canvas.  Her large scale, mural size works made with rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel were awing the first time I laid eyes on them in Chelsea a few years ago.  I love the detail in the work and the way that several mediums correspond to give us one gorgeous image.

Some of these women appear stern and solemn others sultry and seductive, yet they all have an inner strength that Mickalene captures only the way she can.

 

 She uses photography, landscape, and still life to bring together the final image.  Sometimes the mediums are showcased in multiple forms, which would include these lovely studies for mixed media pieces.  

“Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires”

If you’ve ever walked by the MoMa you’ve probably seen her piece, “Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires” in the window of The Modern Restaurant on 53rd street, which is also another  way for you to get a free glimpse of Mickalene’s work, since the photos don’t really do them justice.  Keep up with her upcoming shows and learn more here.

Lots of exciting stuff has been happening lately that I wanted to share.  We are excited to be working with German photographer Amos Fricke during his stay in NYC.  Amazing POV this guy has!  Here are some mood boards he put together for our upcoming shoot in Central Park.


Can’t wait!

 

We did our latest editorial shoot this past weekend at the incredible Gershwin Hotel.  We had the opportunity to work with the talented Landa Penders and makeup artist Kristy Strate.  This shoot was full of color and energy and we are dying to see the outcome!  Check out this cool backstage video Landa put together for us.

Black Box Vintage – Behind the Scenes from Landa Penders on Vimeo.

 

Last month we collaborated with the contemporary women’s label Evie and Victor for their Real Girl photo series.  We shot in Bushwick, Brooklyn with fashion photographer Ryan Christopher VanWilliams and model Jasmina.  We’re very pleased with the outcome.  We love collaborations!

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