Just for fun I made a couple tote bags with some a beetle friend. I've been experimenting with some simpler, rougher line art illustrations and wanted to try one as a screenprint. We only have a few at the moment as these were really just for a good time, but there are a few available in the shop if you're so inclined! Just for the funny fun-funs.
The Tiger Scarf is finally here! This piece has been in the works for nearly a year, after long talks and prototyping with new production partners, sample-making, and then finally the long wait for the final hand-sewn pieces. For whatever reason, my imagination often manifests itself in technicolor through my illustration, which over the past 5 or 6 years has been in stark contrast to my own personal style, which consists of an entirely black closet. For this scarf I wanted to make something that I could feel excited about wearing myself—how very selfish I know! But something wasn't feeling quite right about carrying products I wouldn't use myself. The result of this experiment were the the bold black and white patterns of mister tiger's stripes. The chiffon is light and semi-transparent, just in time for this brutal New York winter to end—the first signs of a glorious spring are already peaking around our gotham corners.
I had the honor of an unexpected meeting with Xavier Portela during my visit to Amsterdam last month. He emailed me just before my arrival asking if we might shoot some portraits together. It's a little intimidating meeting a total stranger for something like this, but having checked out Xavier's work online beforehand I had a really good feeling about it and decided to take a chance. By the time I got to Amsterdam though I was already 3 levels of jetlagged after being in Tokyo 4 days before then back to New York for long enough to say hi to my cat, and the back in a plane again. I was a little out of sorts and just ready to curl up into a cocoon for a few weeks, but I knew I might be kicking myself later if I didn't see what Xavier was all about. At the last minute we pulled the pieces together and sure enough Xavier was absolutely lovely in person and put me at ease immediately. He created a portrait story of our morning chatting over coffee in the gorgeous Hotel Estherea about about making time for your work and personal passions. See the rest and read Xavier's writeup here. Also, see Xavier Portela on Facebook.
I ended my crazy February in Amsterdam after a quick stop over back in NYC to join my friends from FITC once again for their annual Amsterdam event. (At this point I as in a state of inception jetlag with no idea what timezone I was supposed to be in.) This trip was a very special honor for me as I also was asked to contribute the key art for the event which appeared on everyone's badges and the event banners. I have to say, I think Amsterdam really stole a piece of my heart. I barely had time to explore, but with the stole moments where I could walk around, I felt the city's spirit and mine had a few things in common. Thank you FITC for being an amazing, gracious host, and thank you Amsterdam for your energy. I'll see you again soon beautiful Venice of the North.
A skip over to a Kuala Lumpur layover, and suddenly I had gone from the barefooted bliss of the Indonesian rainy season to an unseasonably chilly Tokyo winter, complete with a rare snowstorm. I was honored to be visiting to speak at the FITC Tokyo event at the very cool Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation. When I wasn't at the event though, I made sure to do both some solo exploring and adventuring with my fearless comrades. Memories in no particular order: karaoke peer pressure, language barrier hilarity with friendly Japanese business men at six seater bars, traditional tea in Hama Ryuku Park, Robot Restaurant mind explosions, Shibuya crossing, Akihabara gadget weirdness, Kiddie Land in Harajuku, ramen perfection in hidden side streets, maid cafe awkwardness and culture shock, endless Ginza window shopping, hiding from the cold with pachinko, the search for more Danboards, Tokyo Sky Tree in the snow, Gonpachi sushi food coma, constantly being lost in the Shiodome underground mall, being the only asshole foreigners who still drink their coffee while walking, and general sensory overload. Thank you so much FITC for making this adventure possible.
It's little wonder that people visit Bali once and then move there. My crazy month abroad took me to Indonesia for an amazing solo recharge and I truly don't think I've ever felt more at peace. Don't even get me started on the local art... Suffice it to say, I had to check an extra bag on the way home.
I've been traveling a month and I'm just now starting to process my amazing February—mentally, emotionally—maybe even a little spiritually, in the broadest of terms—and in the form of iPhone photos. I started my trip in The Philippines to be part of Graphika Manila where I spoke about my work alongside Dvein, Ash Thorp, Jessica Hische, Isabel Gatuslao, and Eugene Gauran. The crowd was absolutely amazing—thanks everyone for stopping by to say hello. The Graphika folks also made me feel warm and fuzzy by organizing a show of original drawings and prints at SecretFresh Gallery. Special thanks to Aram and Ella.
Aside from Graphika related fun, the crew had a nice adventure in Binondo, Manila's foodie historic quarter. We took the Big Binondo Foodwok Map tour through Old Manila Walks. If you find yourself in Manila, I highly recommend this tour. It's flexible, incredibly fun, and get to sample all sorts of amazing Chinese Filipino food. Naturally, the tour guide directs you to the specialties.
I told myself I'd stay off my computer while on vacation, but I have to break that rule to say a quick word about two people who I love dearly and are doing something I'm incredibly excited about. Tina and Ryan Essmaker of The Great Discontent have decided to take a very exciting leap this year and start a print version of TGD as well as leave their day jobs to devote 100% of their time to the content that has been inspiring so many of us for the past two and a half years. I know from personal experience how terrifying the leap is. I left my full time only 3.5 short years ago and I still battle with the fears related to being freelance even now. With that said, it has also been one of the most rewarding shifts of my life, and I'm happy the world is going to get more Tina & Ryan time. I have no doubt in my mind that they will succeed, but to help things along, they're rallying everyone's support with a Kickstarter. They were also so kind as to put my dopey mug on the cover, shot by Ryan himself in my studio. If you've ever read even just one article on TGD, I'm sure their content and interviewees have inspired you in some way, so let's help them keep doing what they do best. <3