Art

Interview With Renowned Chinese New York Photographer

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Q: Gloria, I am glad you are here today for the interview. In the past few months, you have created series of very unique fashion photographs, can you tell me what distinguishes you from other New York fashion photographers conceptually or aesthetically?

A: When we talk about the concept and aesthetic, these are really big questions. Basically, I think the biggest difference between mine and others is that I pay more attention to the beauty of the models themselves rather than the clothing. I think clothing displayed by different people can show different tonality and produce completely different effects. So how to use the beauty of ordinary people who are far away from mainstream beauty in order to show the clothing is what I pay more attention to. Eventually, it’s the people wearing the clothes, not the other way around.

Q: We found that in your artworks, most of your models do not meet the general standard of beauty. There are maybe some elderly people and children. They may have various body shapes. Can you explain why you prefer to work with them?

A: As I mentioned before, I prefer to focus on “people” themselves. There really isn’t anybody who is more beautiful or uglier than anyone else. It’s just the way we were trained to see ordinary people in a different way from the mainstream “beauty”. So I would love to see how unique those models are when I abandon those “beauty rules”. I don’t think beauty has a simple standard. It should be diverse. For example, in my photos, the smiling faces of these slightly fat children are extremely beautiful. When they put on clothes designed for adults, you may feel that they show a unique feeling in their outfit. The displacement of the clothing and people is intriguing. I believe shooting with ordinary people helps me to explore the complicated relationship between fashion and people, which has always been my mind since I started shopping at 14.

Q: In your artworks, you usually ignore the models’ body shapes. Or let’s say that you blend the fashion style with their natural body very well so the audience don’t realize they are “not beautiful”, how did you achieve that?

A: I’m not that kind of person who only focuses on the traditional standard of beauty. There are too many beauties being chosen for photography. Personally, I prefer recording bodies that naturally change over time, such as elders. They may have wrinkles and their body shapes are not slim anymore, but they have natural changes over the years. I feel like there is a charm of time surrounding them. I think the word “beauty” is constantly changing, especially in the fashion field. In my own definition, my kind of beauty is so much about being genuine. I like people who are genuine about their looks, who accept their age and body shape genuinely. And I think maybe the reason why the fashion and models blend together well is the fact that I was also being very genuine with people participated in my projects , so they return me with their genuineness. 

Q: Can you explain a little more about the process of choosing a model?

A: It takes a relatively long time for me to find the best fit models for my projects, but I think it deserves that. I am always in a “casting director” mode, whenever I am walking on the street, taking subway… I would walk up to strangers on the street and ask for their numbers and just save a bunch of contacts, waiting for the right project to come up. Since the pandemic, it became extremely difficult to cast people on the street because everyone is wearing masks and nobody wants to talk with a random strange woman like me. So I went online to look for amatuer actors/actresses who are available for shootings. When I meet them, I like to talk with them so that I could learn about their experience, their understanding of the concept and their feelings about the clothing. Most of them have very different understandings towards fashion from mine. For example, in order to finish the shoot for King Kong magazine, I had conversation with 60 older models, including those who are not professional models. And then I  finalized several models that I was very satisfied with. Fortunately, the preparation process finally gave us a wonderful result. Even though they don’t post like professional models, their own body language and personality bring out something very genuine and unique. 

Q: There are many models from minorities in your artworks. Can you tell us the reason? And how is your work related to the discussion of racial representation in the fashion industry right now?

A: Yes it is. As a Chinese woman, I realize how hard it was growing up in China as a chubby girl. In order to escape the “thin and white” beauty standard which is very popular among Chinese women, I like to dig deeper on other culture to see what the alternatives are. Ever since then, I can’t take my eyes off minorities. They just have very interesting and unique concept for beauty, while the western media is constantly filled up with the same thing: tall, slim, glamorous. I think it’s my duty to bring diversity to the beauty industry through my lens, because I know it would encourage other young girls with different cultural backgrounds to look at themselves in a more understanding way instead of pursuing the one “true” beauty. I mean, girls would do anything to look more like the “standard beauty”, they would go on unhealthy diet, expensive surgery…

The western beauty standard is taking over many local culture, and is changing the way people from different culture look at themselves. There has been a loss of diversity in the fashion industry, and I try my best to present something culturally irreplaceable.

Q: What’s your opinion about the differences between the aesthetic of beauty in the U.S. and the standard in China?

A: At the first glance, there is a huge difference (laughs). Like I said, the aesthetic of beauty from China, or even Asia, are those white and thinner girls; while here in the U.S., people prefer those wheatish skin and plump girls. But if we look closer, they are essentially not much different from one another, because both of them are promoting a very limited understanding of beauty, and people are encouraged to spend endless amount of money on it. Ironically, Chinese woman would collect a full drawer of skin whitening products while the Americans like to visit tanning salons. Although I started my photography career first fighting against the Chinese standard of beauty, now I am actually fighting against any form of beauty representation that refuse to open up for more interpretation.

Read more fashion and photography articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay & Creative Commons

Q&A with Photographer Thomas Holton: The Artist Behind “The Lams of Ludlow Street”

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Thomas Holton is a New York-based photographer who is most renown for “The Lams of Ludlow Street,” a series documenting the life of a Chinese family in NYC for the past 18 years. A moving story about family, culture, and change, the narrative offers an intimate look inside their Chinatown apartment, following the challenges and unscripted reality the family has endured.

Holton has received global accolades for this project, exhibiting at venues including The Museum of the City of New York, The New York Public Library, The China-Lishui International Photography Festival, Sasha Wolf Gallery, and most recently, the Home Gallery. A pioneer of Asian American representation in the arts, Holton has been featured three times in The New York Times (2008, 2012, and 2016) in the past two decades, as well as a variety of other publications, including National Geographic and Buzzfeed. In 2016, Holton published his first book, The Lams of Ludlow Street. He also works as a teacher at Trinity School NYC, where he teaches both film and digital photography.  

It was an incredible honor to interview Mr. Holton, who taught me photography in high school and greatly influences my work to this day. I am especially excited to share more about the inspiration behind his moving series, which remains all the more relevant amidst the recent rise in anti-AAPI hate. As the need for empathy toward and space for Asian American stories is more crucial than ever, “The Lams of Ludlow Street” succeeds in deconstructing racial stereotypes and complicates the question of what it means to be Chinese. Though there is no singular Asian American experience, “The Lams of Ludlow Street” depicts one family’s story with unbridled authenticity, vulnerability, and sophistication.

 

Holton, Thomas. “Family Portrait.” The Lams of Ludlow Street I.

When was the first time you used a camera? When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?

My father was a photographer, so I grew up surrounded by his images. After he died, I began to play with his cameras at around 16 years old. I started taking it a bit more seriously in college and signed up for classes during summer breaks. After college, I knew I wanted to pursue photography, so I assisted local NYC photographers for about 10 years before enrolling in graduate school at SVA (The School of Visual Arts) and earning my MFA in 2005.

 

Who are your primary sources of inspiration as a photographer?

I absolutely fell in love with Cartier-Bresson’s work when I first started to truly study photo history (like many aspiring photographers do). When I began to focus on the Lams and photographing their life, I then devoured the work of Sally Mann, Larry Sultan, and the FSA work of Walker Evans.

 

How has your interest in your Chinese culture shaped your perspective as a photographer?

Holton, Thomas. “Bath Time.” The Lams of Ludlow Street I.

Even though I am half-Chinese and had relatives living in NYC’s Chinatown neighborhood, I never felt like I belonged and was always regarded as a visitor. So a major reason that I began photographing around Chinatown was to address this disconnect in my own identity and to try to understand what life was like in this neighborhood. I studied the Chinatown work of Corky Lee and Chien-Chi Chang to better understand how they approached photographing the area. The humanity of their work made me move beyond the surface of my early Chinatown images and pushed me as a photographer to better understand the lives behind closed doors. It’s made me really value the emotional content of photography.

 

When and how did you begin working on “The Lams of Ludlow Street?”

I first met the Lams in 2003 when I was accompanying a local housing advocate from The University Settlement, who took me along on her weekly visits to her clients to check in on them. I met maybe around 10 families through her and one luckily was the Lams.

Holton, Thomas. “Quarantine Lunch.” The Lams of Ludlow Street IV.

 

How has the series evolved over the course of the past two decades?

The earlier work was really focused on their small space and the constant activity of their home. As I got to know them better, the work shifted to trying to capture the emotional tone of the moment. I evolved as a photographer as our relationship grew over time.

 

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the project, and why?

I am a big believer in the long form narrative. None of our lives are easily scripted, so I have to believe that whenever I visit the Lams, there is a photograph to be made reflecting the present moment. This does not always translate into a new image that I love, but that does not stop me from visiting them or trying to make new work. Because of this, I do not think this project has a definitive end, and as long as they open the door for me, I will continue to visit since we’re basically family now.

 

What is your favorite photo you’ve taken, and why?

Holton, Thomas. “Supergirl.” The Lams of Ludlow Street III.

I adore the image “Supergirl” because Cindy had a challenging adolescence and was constantly living between a few apartments in the neighborhood, as her mom switched jobs and the parents divorced.  So this image of her with a “Supergirl” shirt just seems very appropriate because she was able to overcome some unusual circumstances and is now a thriving college student.

What’s been the best and worst part of your journey as a photographer? 

The best part has been by far the experiences I have had because I choose to explore a new place with my camera. If I was never curious about my Chinese half, I never would’ve wandered the streets of Chinatown and felt the need to meet people behind all those windows. The worst part is the fear of never making a new photograph that works while pushing myself creatively…I don’t want to constantly repeat myself over and over.

What is your next biggest project? 

Holton, Thomas. “Chinatown Surface #5.”

Right now, I am mostly working on seeing the Lams as much as I can until I find some new ideas to explore. I will always photograph the Lams, but I do feel the need to cleanse the palette every once in a while. So I have been making abstractions in Chinatown during the winters as a way to use my eyes in a new way and practice different ways of seeing.

 

How has your work as a photography teacher impacted your experience as a photographer?

Thomas Holton in front of “The Fence” (2018), which displayed photos from The Lams of Ludlow Street II.

I would have to say watching students fall in love with image making helps remind me why I began photographing years and years ago. The sheer joy a student experiences when they make a photograph they absolutely adore is at the core of what we do as artists. For me, photography is an emotional act and a way to capture and memorialize the shared experience between me and the present moment. I love it when a student discovers that photography is more than iPhone images for Instagram and immediate satisfaction. 

 

What is the one biggest piece of advice you would give to a young photographer?

I would advise to make your work as personal as possible and to foster an emotional connection to your “subject matter” because if you do not care about what you are photographing, your work will reflect this. The emotional need to make work is what will drive you to continue, even when your work isn’t strong or fully developed yet because you know “something” is there and you need to figure it out.

How do you think our culture can work to preserve the art of photography when social media and iPhones make the taking and sharing of photos so easy and pervasive? 

Wow…major question. Photography is as easy as it has ever been because of phones and automatic cameras, but I think the work that will last 5 days, 5 weeks and 5 years from now are the projects that come from an honest, personal, and authentic place. Images with heartfelt intent will always outlast selfies and glamorous vacation photos on Instagram.

Holton, Thomas. “Mother’s Lap.” The Lams of Ludlow Street II.

How has the pandemic influenced your practice and what it means to be a photographer?

As for teaching, the photo lab was entirely shut down, but so much of the class is about being in the dark room, using the machines, and seeing what other students are making. The good thing that came out of it is that I found new ways to teach —looking at more books, blogs, and Ted talks, constantly finding photographers I’d never looked at before.

The pandemic taught us to cherish our loved ones and that the time we have, ultimately, can be pretty short. The need to memorialize experiences with loved ones became more important to me than ever. Life is a series of experiences, and photography translates them into art. As a teacher and a photographer, I tried to emphasize the importance of making meaningful work that will resonate 5 or 10 years from now. If you find a photo you took 10 years ago, a rush of emotion will come back, and that’s the point of photography — it’s a memorial, a way to relive an experience.

Read more lifestyle articles at Clichemag.com
Photo credits: Thomas Holton Photography, Thomas Holton Photography Instagram

MTRSS Announce Collaboration with Ariel Fitz-Patrick in New Single “Your Love”

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(New York, NY) Artistic audio-visual project, MTRSS, release their new single “Your Love”, featuring Ariel Fitz-Patrick. MTRSS is a global collaborative music endeavor, while Ariel is part of the critically acclaimed Montreal-based group The Fitz-Patrick Sisters. According to Ariel, the song’s origins began in late 2020, after hearing of an exciting opportunity to work with MTRSS. “‘Your Love’ expresses how I was able to find a unique and unfailing love despite the disappointments and heartbreaks that life brings our way. Through it all, I’ve been able to find peace and stability in the love of Christ. And I’m so glad I was able to share that in this song,” she states. The single shines in its vulnerability, soulful vocals, and smooth instrumentals.

MTRSS consists of versatile artists and musicians from Pacific Russia, New Zealand, England, Germany and the United States. It’s a multimedia project that incorporates different storytelling formats: From a live ballet performed by the Bolshoi Theater in collaboration with European choreographers, to an interactive series involving AR / MR / XR. The inspiration for MTRSS happened one evening in a suburban Tokyo vinyl bar, when a small group of visiting musicians sat down for a long chat with the bar’s owner.

Rummaging through a spectacular collection of mainstream and incredibly obscure music from all over the world, the conversation turned to the idea of writing and recording analog music, relying on the nuance of humanity and expression, pulling in artists from mixed media to extend this exploration across motion and sound. The bar’s owner, Mr. Totori-san, inspired the project’s name. “Your Love” is part of Ariel Fitz-Patrick’s efforts to branch out as a solo act. On the new release with MTRSS, she says, “This opportunity has really pushed me outside of my comfort zone, propelling me to try new things with my voice and writing style.”

Ariel has opened for Grammy-award winner Tasha Cobbs, performed at the Canada Day Celebrations and Jamaica Day / Carifiesta at Parc Jean Drapeau, and was featured in Toronto’s Glass Awards. MTRSS has been called a “beautiful multi-genre piece” by Peter Coulston of Shoreditch Radio. MTRSS’s innovative pursuits eventually led the project to Los Angeles, where they delivered their vintage analog soundtrack just before the pandemic broke out. Stay tuned as MTRSS continues to pioneer their own original methods of creativity throughout 2021.

Follow MTRSS Online:

Website: https://mtrss.art/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mtrss.art/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mtrss.art
Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/artist/6k4nRFSKe2EQuzMHAtY1gp?si=05TzF1roQUqSdPnhDWxWBA
Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2toF6m7-h9RoIHyn0R1aiA 
SoundCloud:  https://soundcloud.com/mtrss

Read more music articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay & Creative Commons

Artist Jade Laurice on Alternative Fashion, Sex Positivity, and Body Empowerment

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Artist and blogger Jade Laurice discovered herself along with a vibrant community through her exploration of fashion and art. Her clothing line, Pocalondon, featuring hand-painted pieces, serves as another avenue for her creative self-expression. Jade is also a fierce sex positive advocate and is one of the queer women featured on The Lesbian Guide to Straight Sex, in which Jade and her colleagues stage a relationship intervention for sex-stymied couples. Looking ahead, Jade is excited to release a men’s collection for Pocalondon! Follow Jade on Instagram, YouTube, and twitter.

Cliché: How did your passion for art and fashion develop?
Jade Laurice: As a child, art and fashion was my escapism and self expression. The only thing that’s changed really is that now I share my art with others and that’s really empowering. I also believe that art is fashion and I use my body as a canvas every day! Fashion has made me grow as a person because wearing what I want gives me the confidence to be fearless in everyday life.
 
What is it about styling and alternative fashion that speaks to you?
It’s a way I can feel like an individual in a world where everyone is trying to be everyone else. I’ve always found power in standing out.
 
Tell us about your clothing line, Pocalondon.
Pocalondon is all hand painted denim, leather and anything I can get my hands on really! I created Pocalondon initially to escape and paint my stories on clothes. I was in a dark place when I created my brand, but I turned all that pain into passion, which is what a lot of artists do
I guess. Pocalondon is fun, expressive and loud just like me. It’s also my inner child and a reflection of my love for women. I just want people to wear art and that’s basically what Pocalondon is.
 
Do you have any guidance for folks who are new to alternative fashion?
My biggest advise would be to stop comparing your craft  if you want to create anything unique. Stop scrolling and trust your own creativity. No one is you and that’s your superpower.
 
How did you become involved with your show, The Lesbian Guide To Straight Sex?
I guess they found me online after I began speaking my truth, talking about my queerness and opening up conversations about female pleasure. I am so unapologetically me on social media and that’s what the shows about. Normalizing conversations about sex, knocking down stigmas and opening people’s minds!
 
What do you wish more men and people in general understood about female pleasure?
I wish more people would listen to women or anyone with a vagina about their sexual desires and pleasures. But I also wish women and people with vaginas would ask for what they want.
 
How can we more clearly communicate our sexual needs and desires to our partner(s) without fear of awkwardness or rejection?
Find out what you like first, that’s the most important thing. Then open up a conversation with your partner naturally in a safe space about what you both want. Awkwardness is fine, it doesn’t have to be that serious. It’s just sex at the end of the day.
 
You’re enthusiastic about promoting body confidence on your platform. How would you describe your own journey towards body confidence?
I am a big advocate on body confidence. I believe we all have our insecurities and it’s not about getting rid of them necessarily. It’s just about loving your body just enough that your insecurities don’t even matter anymore. Things that I used to worry about don’t bother me now because I realized that I’m way more than my body. Plus, your body has gotten you where you are today, so you should love every part of it for that!
 
You’ve expressed frustration with white influencers being prioritized and celebrated over Black influencers. How can the fashion and beauty industries better acknowledge and respect Black designers and influencers?
 
Yes, as a social media girl I guess I’ve seen a lot in the industry that’s made me feel uncomfortable and often oppressed. Brands need to expand their target audience and advertising needs decolonizing, especially on social media. Black lives matter and equality needs to run through every level of the fashion and beauty industry. POC influencers, models, camera men, artists, designers, etc. need to not only be hired but treated and paid equally to their colleagues. Changing the status quo isn’t going to happen overnight, but I do believe we’re on our way to change.
 
What advice would you have for those struggling with body image or low self esteem?
My advise would be to take it back to basics and focus on the parts of yourself that you love even if it’s something small. Everyone has something someone else wants and we all want what we haven’t got. I try not to compare myself to others especially on social media. It’s not healthy to give yourself unrealistic exceptions because perfect doesn’t exist. Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself with respect and practice self love at every opportunity.
 
Any exciting projects coming up?        
I’m currently working with some great brands this year on social media but I’m also working on my @pocalondon men’s collection for next year. Lock down has been a chance for me to focus on myself and perfect my craft so I’m excited for a new chapter. Roll on 2021!!

Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com
Artist Jade Laurice on Alternative Fashion, Sex Positivity, and Body Empowerment. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jade Laurice.

Top 6 Photography Tips for Taking Beautiful Photos

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Today we want to share 6 photography tips for taking beautiful photos.  Photographs can tell more stories than words do. Thanks to photography, people can now take pictures of their memorable events and keep forever. Upon seeing an old photograph, it can take you back to the exact setting, sounds, smells, and feelings of that exact moment. Whether you’re taking pictures from your DSLR camera or smartphone, the moment is what matters. However, a beautifully shot picture makes a huge difference from a bad one.

6 photography tips for taking beautiful photos

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

Photography is an interesting hobby that anyone can learn. If you’re fascinated with the art of taking photos, learning photography can help you take better pictures. As a beginner, you can start with a smartphone with a good camera, then work your way up to more expensive equipment if you wish to pursue professional photography.

To serve as your head start, here are the top six photography tips for taking beautiful photos:

  1. Always Start With The Rule of Thirds

It doesn’t take a professional photographer to know this first tip: use your camera’s gridlines as a guide to enhance your photo’s composition. Once you’ve set the gridlines, you’ll see that the image is broken down into thirds to generate nine equal parts. Using the rule of thirds, you should only put your subject along the intersections of these lines, and never within the squares.

Using the rule of thirds, you can establish balance on your photo and allow the viewer to interact with it organically. This is because a person’s eye will more likely see the intersection points first than the center of the shot.

  1. Give What The Scene Needs

6 photography tips for taking beautiful photos

Photo by Marcelo Chagas on Pexels

In photography, you’ll never have it figured out right from your first shot, especially if you’re working with different scenes and settings. Indoor and outdoor environments require different photographic techniques and camera settings, that’s why you’ll have to calibrate your camera. Are you shooting in low light? Do you need to take pictures of food? How can you shoot moving vehicles?

Therefore, you can utilize photography cheat sheets found here to find the right camera settings and shooting techniques that each type of scene needs. Using these guides don’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad photographer because this is how you’ll learn better. Even professional photographers carry them around whenever they need help in working with varying settings.

  1. Emphasize a Focal Point

You’re taking a picture to show something on the photo, whether it’s a person, pet, tree, or food, but always make sure to focus only on one subject at a time. The focal point of your photo, when seen by the viewers, must be the main point of interest. If you’re struggling with creating focus on your photo, ask yourself―where should my viewers focus their attention to?

If you’re working with one subject and want to explore its nature, filling the frame is a great technique. Other elements found in the negative space of the photo might distract the focus on your subject, ruining the composition. In shooting a portrait, for instance, you can fill the frame with the subject’s face instead of the entire body, making a more professional-looking photograph.

  1. Lead Your Viewer’s Eyes

Aside from the rule of thirds, there’s another essential composition technique that photographers swear by: the leading lines. In taking these types of photos, you can take advantage of leading lines to improve your composition. Leading lines are any line shapes and forms that lead the viewer’s eye into the focal point. For example, the leading lines on the road will lead the eyes to the setting of the sun found on the horizon.

Furthermore, the direction of your leading lines can change the mood of your overall composition. Horizontal leading lines reflect calmness and tranquility, while vertical leading lines are more impactful.

  1. Lighting Is The Key

Smiling ethnic woman having photo session with plants

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels

Proper lighting is an essential element of a composition, but many photographers still overlook this aspect. Lighting separates brightness from darkness, and instills the mood and tone of your composition. For every type of photo, you must ensure proper lighting for your camera to capture the details of your composition properly.

Along with arranging a good lighting setup, you should also learn about the principles of light shaping and manipulation, which can be achieved through the use of reflectors and diffusers. Shaping and manipulating the light from a source can help you highlight a subject, control the direction of light, play with colors, cast shadows for a more dramatic look, and more.

  1. Invest More On Learning vs. Equipment

Last but not the least, particularly if you’re an amateur photographer, invest your money more on learning than the photography gear and equipment. The biggest mistake that most photographers commit is splurging on expensive camera and photography equipment without having formal learning and practice. While an expensive, premium camera can take better photo quality, you can’t make use of its capabilities if you don’t have a solid understanding of the photography basics.

Takeaways

The secret to taking beautiful photos lies beyond capturing that moment. With the help of these basic photography tips, you can start your journey towards photography, if you wish to pursue one, whether it’s for leisure or career. Once you’ve built your knowledge and experience in taking photos, that’s the time to upgrade your gear to enhance the beauty of your shots.

Read more fashion and photography articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Creative Commons, Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels & Pixabay

Doria Adoukè and the Importance of Diverse Gifts

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Today we want to talk about Doria Adoukè and the importance of diverse gifts.  Our world is changing before our eyes and though we are stepping in the right direction there are still many things that need to change. Diverse gifts are something that you may never have thought about depending on who you are, but they are something that is becoming more significant for minorities in particular.

Why Are People Frustrated By Not Being Represented In Gift Stores?

the Importance of Diverse GiftsA lot of people have grown more and more frustrated at the non-representation of minorities within gift stores. This is beyond frustrating for many because different races are still being viewed as more sought after, therefore creating a sense of rejection for others. This is even worse for a child as children’s brains are growing and these are key learning stages, by seeing no dolls and toys of their skin color they will start to see one skin tone as better than the others. It is not fair that mostly white gifts are making it onto the shelf and diverse gifts are possibly more important than you think.

Why are diverse gifts important?

Diverse gifts are a huge part of your upbringing and how you later view the world and yourself. During the 1900s, and only in recent years has it really changed overall, toys, in particular, would lean towards a certain look. This was the white skin and blue eyes that were featured on millions of dolls such as Barbies. Luckily now barbies and other children’s toys have become more diverse, such as barbies with hijabs. This is vital for children growing up because it is someone for them to look up to and to see themselves in. It is shown in multiple studies that the models shown to children during their upbringing have a huge effect on them. By adding diverse gifts, we can look towards a diverse and compassionate future, and eventually equality.

How Are People Changing The Gift Industry?the Importance of Diverse Gifts

Many people of all ethnicities and backgrounds are coming together to create gifts that empower one another and show that you are not worth any less because of your skin tone. This is a great step forward and it is one that will change the upbringing and futures of many, many people. Doria Adoukè is a French illustrator that has made artwork that is based on empowering people’s bodies and skin tones. Being the only black person in her class in France, she was brought up in a mono-cultural environment. She now works towards creating this environment for others through her art that shows the diversity that we all need to see. She creates artwork in multiple forms including illustrated prints. These prints showcase women in their multi-cultural background and each print is empowering in a strong way. She also wanted to help join others together to celebrate black women and showcased it in her 2021 African American Calendar that is filled with beautiful illustrations that will catch your eye.

Diverse gift shops are improving but we still have a long road ahead of us.

Read more gift idea articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Doria Adoukè Creative Commons, Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels & Pixabay

Art Industry News: Celebrities Collecting Marko Stout Art Works

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The name Marko Stout resonates round a couple of art disciplines, some of which include painting, sculpture, new media, and video, photography, print. When it comes to contemporary multimedia, Stout is the proverbial Jack of all trades, but better, because he is master of all. 

Marko StoutEvery fan of art knows who Marko Stout is, and for new lovers of art, cognizance of his personality and works are vital in enjoying the full experience of the world of art. His craft focuses majorly on New York City and modern urban life, and that has made him gather something much like a fandom in the region. 

His art speaks for itself by having very distinct properties from other designs. His fans can instantly identify his art, and even new lovers of art realize that there’s something unique about his work. It’d be really hard to forget about what Stout’s designs look like because they often leave an imprint on the souls of people. His uniqueness has earned him deserved comparison with legendary pop artist, Andy Warhol.

Stout’s art has a way of appealing to the darkest souls, and ignite a fire that lights up like flares on New Year’s Eve. His erotic artworks magically come to life in the eyes of everyone that sets their gaze on them, largely because of his awe-inspiring color patterns with a dash of his essence and ingenuity, riddled with spots of perfection. His female fans are the most star-struck, with his paintings and sculptures finding a way to ignite sensuality in their hearts. 

Down the years, Marco Stout’s works have been called a couple of terms such as “dark, gritty, and raw” by Chicago Tribune, “The Art of Cool” by Paper Magazine, and “hottest art in NYC” by Slam Magazine.

Fashion-wise, Stout never misses. Although eccentric at times, Stout’s dressing style which almost every time include a fedora hat, fancy sunglasses, plain colored-outfits, and neck scarves, has helped him rise to become arguably the most famous pop artist of the 21st Century. 

Marko Stout is the celebrity of celebrities. His artworks and Marko Stoutpersonality has inspired a couple of famous names in different niches, including The Kardashians, Billie Elish, Ru Paul, Debra Messing, and dozens of others. These celebrities have showed their love for him on social media, live TV, and radio presentations. Caitlyn Jenner of Keeping Up With The Kardashians couldn’t hold her excitement about Stout’s upcoming exhibition, and she literally said “I’m very excited for Marko Stout’s Solo Exhibition.” Charlie Sheen, talented actor in the United States, in his words said “Marko Stout is a freaking genius! His art is fabulous,” and TV star David Hasselhoff said “Marko Stout’s Exhibition is going to be super super cool.” These comments further prove how Stout’s art appeals to individuals in other niches. 

Stout’s greatness in the world of art is in no way superficial. His artworks are on display in various art galleries in Berlin, Miami, and of course, New York City. He has featured on many solo and international exhibitions such as Berlin Art Week (Berlin), ArtBasel (Miami), ArtExpo (NYC), etc. Asides all these, his artworks can be found in Paris, Hong Kong, Madrid, Tokyo, Chicago, etc. 

Marko Stout is an embodiment of perfection, creativity and cool. His works and personality capture and combine culture, urban lifestyle, and precious moments that sync in perfect symphony. His works are the future of art and not even time can wipe off his art from the hearts of his lovers. 

Read more celebrity art articles at ClichéMag.com
Images provided by Marko Stout

Fashion with a Purpose: LOEWE Features Iconic American Artist David Wojnarowicz to Support Visual AIDS

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As if you thought going through the Spring of 2018 without a LOEWE Puzzle Handbag was hard enough, LOEWE is now throwing one more craze at us just before Spring is over. However, this new collection holds more incentive than just trying to look your best and keep up with the trends; this is fashion with a purpose. In the latest line of stylish t-shirts, LOEWE features Iconic American Artist David Wojnarowicz to Support Visual AIDS.

 

 

“One day this kid will come to know something that causes a sensation equivalent to the separation of the earth from its axis. One day this kid will reach a point where he senses a division that isn’t mathematical.” These are the powerful words of David Wojnarowicz who lived an iconic legacy of political activism through art and writing. Today, over twenty years after his own death due to AIDS, he is still one of the most widely known figures of both the avant-garde art world in NYC and the movement to properly research and cure AIDS.

Much of David Wojnarowicz’s artwork was drenched in his war cries for the fight to research and cure AIDS. After losing his longtime lover Peter Hujar to AIDS (and then eventually finding that he was HIV positive), Wojnarowicz became a leader in political activism through art and writing to expose the prejudice behind the political and social response to the AIDS epidemic.

In today’s practice of medicine, there is unfortunately still no cure for AIDS; however, research has found treatments that can at least keep the virus at a controllable level. Since there is still no cure, the dialogue about AIDS and the support for those affected must prevail. Visual AIDS is an organization located in New York City that works to keep the conversation going by displaying captivating artwork and by supporting artists affected by AIDS.

In today’s American political disarray, these controversies surrounding social injustice are still as relevant as ever. LOEWE stands by Visual AIDS and their fight to preserve the legacy of the fight against the AIDS crisis by featuring David Wojnarowicz on their new line of classic t-shirts and donating the proceeds directly to them.

LOEWE features four t-shirts, each printed with a different inspiring piece by David Wojnarowicz, that are sure to raise awareness and keep the fire of conversation about AIDS kindled. These highlighted pieces chosen by the designers behind LOEWE’s genius collections are both odious and striking. Owning one of these limited edition t-shirts is guaranteed to add a unique artistic flare to your wardrobe. Now you can add some gentility to your closet and have it not only represent a great social revolution, but also support a modern take on the continued efforts of a forty year war.

You definitely can’t go wrong with getting one of these t-shirts. They’re versatile, comfortable, artistic, exclusive, and meaningful; it’s fashion with a purpose. David Wojnarowicz came up with the artwork, LOEWE came up with the design, now all you need to do in order to support Visual AIDS is to check them out online! But do it fast because these are limited editions!

 

Read more Fashion News at ClicheMag.com
Fashion with a Purpose: LOEWE Features Iconic American Artist David Wojnarowicz to Support Visual AIDS: Image Credits: www.ppowgallery.com, www.loewe.com, www.theguardian.com

THNK1994 Museum: Surviving Nicole Richie’s 2007 Memorial Day Barbecue

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It might be easy to drive past Brooklyn’s THNK1994 Museum if you’re not looking for it, but that’s what makes it one of the city’s truly hidden gems. Sitting on a corner on Atlantic Avenue, the museum isn’t as assuming as some of the city’s other attractions. However, what it lacks in outward appearance, it makes up for in style and content. Devoted to the appreciation of popular culture, THNK1994 is truly one of a kind. Most recently, the museum teamed up with internet celebrity PopCultureDiedIn2009 to create an exhibit dedicated to Nicole Richie’s 2007 Memorial Day Barbecue and everything that followed.
 

If you haven’t come across PopCultureDiedIn2009 on any format before, then you must not be using social media very often. Starting out as a Tumblr blog, the account was solely focused on reliving the glory days of celebrity and tabloid culture. Known for its biting humor and accuracy, the blog has quickly gained traction as an outlet for nostalgia and eventually spread to Instagram and Twitter as well.

The creator, whose real name is Matt, is often asked how it is possible that he remembers all of the events he writes about—especially since he was only a child at the time of most of what he writes about was occurring. But that’s what makes the early 2000s so remarkable; it was the tabloid age, so all proof was tangible. Old magazines are like a time capsule, offering an intimate look into an era mostly everyone hoped they could forget. THNK1994 and PopCultureDiedIn2009 both tap into these physical resources, and that’s what makes their partnership in this most recent exhibit so effective.

The experience of walking into THNK1994 is akin to having all of the trashy magazines you thought you got rid of suddenly throw up on your walls. Everywhere you turn, there is a painting of a starlet (that you could never admit you were envious of) at her worst. Whether it’s Lindsay Lohan in a bikini and an ankle bracelet, or Nicole Richie shoving a corn dog into her mouth, each image capitalizes on moments in time that can never be repeated or replaced.

It is easy to see the ridiculousness of these images in retrospect, but at the time, they were very real. Paparazzi made a living by selling these moments of weakness and we all reveled in the downfalls of the rich and famous, but people like Matt saw a different kind of beauty in these pictures. Ultimately, all of the people in the photos were just that: people. Their weakness was their humanity, and their humanity is what made them interesting.

So, that’s the train of thought that eventually led us here: standing next to knitted sequin ankle bracelets. The exhibit is also equipped with several thick black binders, all of which contain archives of the lives of famous It-Girls from the naughties (think: Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Nicole Richie, and Lindsay Lohan). The front room of the museum features rotating exhibits, all dealing with fame in some capacity. Previous exhibits include portraits of the Olsen twins hiding and Kim Cattrall. The permanent exhibit on the second floor of the museum is where it all started, though. The dimly lit room on the second floor features an extensive look at “the whack that changed television,” also known Tonya Harding’s attack on Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. This is actually where the museum gets its namesake: T.H.N.K.1994.

On your way out of the museum, you have to pass by a framed copy of the email that inspired this entire exhibit: the leaked invitation to Nicole Richie’s 2007 Memorial Day Barbecue, notable for its blunt statement that any girl over 100 pounds will not be let in (there will be a scale at the front door!). This tongue-in-cheek ode to tabloids will be showing at THNK1994 until September 10th, and it surely is not an exhibit to miss.

Read more Celebrity News and Art News on ClicheMag.com

THNK1994 Museum: Surviving Nicole Richie’s 2007 Memorial Day Barbecue: Photographs courtesy of Lilly Milman

Bodies As Work Of Art

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More than 700 people gathered to experience “Bodies As Works Of Art” created by thirty-two artists, from more than a dozen countries, displaying unimaginable works of art on living canvases. Arriving early in the morning, the artists and models setup individual studios including work lights, paints, brushes, sponges, stencils, airbrush sprayers and compressors, drawings of their intended masterpieces, headdresses, and accessories of all kinds. Employing nude models wearing minimal yet discreet covering, the artists went to work focusing on this year’s theme, “The Human Condition.” After six to seven hours of painting extremely patient models, the “artwork” emerges from the studios for judging based on creativity, technique and interpretation of the artist’s statement into the visual artwork… simply amazing. After the judging was completed, the artistic models were photographed and then retreated for a bite to eat and “touchup paint” before the evening festivities: a dynamic performance by body-painted, Angela Reign of Southern Rock and Hip Hop, followed by a narrated catwalk show of the artistic models accompanied by the artists on stage.
Body Painting by Terry Check IMG_5525 Body Painting by Terry Check IMG_5471
Awards for this North American Bodypainting Championship were presented to Cheryl Ann Lipstreu of the USA in first place and Alex Hanson of Canada in second place in the professional division. Additional awards were presented to other artists. Closing out the evening was a “meet and greet” with the models, and entertainment by the rock group, Motor Earth. At the end of the day the artists, models and volunteers were exhausted after being on their feet from 8 am until midnight.
Body Painting by Terry Check IMG_5737 Body Painting by Terry Check IMG_5607
The body painting festival, sanctioned by the World Bodypainting Association, was produced by Living Art America as a benefit for The Chelko Foundation Scholarship. Follow upcoming events at livingartamerica.com and bodypainting-festival.com/en/
Read more Art posts on ClicheMag.com
Written and photographed by Terry Check

Tatiana in Wonderland: Whitney Museum of American Art

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I spent another lovely Friday, with the addition of the not so lovely New York City heat, at a museum. Being re-opened this year, I went to the Whitney to bathe in art after a long week. To my surprise, it wasn’t mobbed with tourists as I thought it would on a summer afternoon. I was relieved to give my shoulders a rest and check in my purse and bags in the free coat check downstairs. With my small crossbody purse and art-loving friends, I was ready to explore the lovely museum.
We started on the top floor and worked our way downstairs, using the outdoor staircase while admiring the view of the city. We took a little break and sat in one of the colorful chairs in Mary Heilemann’s installation, “Sunset.” I took a few art courses in college and was happy to recognize pieces of art that I’ve learned and studied about. From the evident style of Pollock’s drip painting to Hopper’s eerie “Early Sunday Morning,” I was taking in all the art that I could get my eyes on. Timeless and distinct works of art by Grosz, Warhol, Cornell, and Johns also caught my attention. It’s nice to find time to spent a day at a museum and feel content and full.
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Walking out of the Whitney with only The Meatball Shop on our minds, we noticed a long line waiting to get into the museum. We were so glad we beat the rush and could carry on with our day. When in New York City, be sure to check out the museum and try to go when the weather is nice to take advantage of the “Sunset” installation which ends on September 27th. Their two other current exhibits, America is Hard to See and the photograph installation by Michele Abeles, Baby Carriage on Bike or Riot Shield As Carriage, also end on September 27th. Nonetheless, check out The Meatball Shop where you can find true meatball happiness.
The Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY 10014
Ticket Pricing:
Adult $22
Senior $18
Student $18
Under 18 Free
Read more art news at clichemag.com
 
Tatiana in Wonderland: Whitney Museum of American Art: Photos courtesy of Tatiana Stec

Tatiana in Wonderland: David Zwirner Gallery

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I’m glad I was able to make my way to the David Zwirner Gallery before Yayoi Kusama’s “Give Me Love” exhibit closed. The 86-year-old Japanese artist debuted the installation on May 9th and has had a great response. As I walked down West 19th Street and still a few blocks away from the gallery, I noticed several people walking with polka dot stickers on their clothing, the same stickers used by Kusama. By the time I got to the gallery, a line of about 40 people were ahead of me. I waited in line for almost 30 minutes and didn’t mind since I was excited to view the exhibit since I heard about it. I’ve seen photos on social media and had to make my way to the gallery to see it for myself.
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The exhibit was held inside the form of a house completed with windows, mailbox, and the American flag hanging. Before viewers entered the house, an employee handed each person a sheet of polka dot stickers to apply anywhere inside–a great and unique way to viewers be part of the art. Collages of polka dot stickers covered almost every inch and crevice of white surface. Viewing the exhibit made my eyes smile; such beautiful colors displayed excessively, but through the simpleness of stickers on plain white surfaces. “Give Me Love” is how I’ve experienced true love, at times it can be helplessly demanding, but beautiful. It strips you down and all that you have left is excessive and overwhelming passion.
After exiting the house, the gallery had Kusama’s exhibit of large metal pumpkin sculptures spaced throughout a room. Some of the pumpkins had cut-out holes while others matched the stickers and were covered in polka dots. I don’t think I’ll ever look at polka dot stickers the same anymore. As Kusama said, “With just one polka dot, nothing can be achieved.”
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To learn more about Yayoi Kusama, click here.
David Zwirner Gallery
529 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
Read more Art news on ClicheMag.com
Tatiana in Wonderland: David Zwirner Gallery, photos courtesy of Tatiana Stec