Magazine Posts Table of Contents

Conversation with Paul Anthony Smith

Posted 2013-08-20 05:59:30 | Views: 10,481

Hey Paul, what are you working on these days? 

At the moment I'm all over the map trying to figure out what I'm doing. Figuring out where I'm moving to next and understanding the work I'm making in my studio as well as the foods I hope to enjoy in the days to come. 

You live and work in Kansas City. You seem very passionate about it. Tell us what it's like being there as an artist?

It's the most supportive community I've ever lived in. The people here are friendly and you just have to get to know them without making preconceived judgements. I moved here back in 2007 and that's over six years and counting. I want to leave but I wont have access to the amazing facilities this city have to offer. Kansas City is a place where an artist such as myself can function and achieve the goals I desire. 

Is there any good Jamaican food in Kansas City? 

There are a few Jamaican restaurants G's Jamaican cuisine and Island Spice,  but they are nothing like what I want. They cook a bit unique. I tend to head back east to New York, 
We catch up with Paul Smith, a young artist from Miami but developed his craft in Kansas City and is now in search of new places to roam. We discuss art, food and other daily rituals. 
where I get some killer food in Mt. Vernon, NY off of White Plains road or in Flatbush or Bushwick, Brooklyn. and also in Miami at Junies, off NW 184 St in Miami Gardens, these places are where I usually go to get a plate of Curry Goat, Oxtail or Brown Stew Fish. What I'm saying is that it taste best on the coast. 

How does your upbringing seep into your practice? 

Food is the most important thing to life. No food, no life. So I'm always trying to find a new place to eat. I use my taste buds to enjoy another culture's feast and travel.  Much of my work revolves around nostalgia and questioning the culture, religions and aesthetic of Jamaica that I never experienced. I find myself at an in-between place at times. it's research that shows up in the work I produce. 

What's the biggest misconception people have about your art? 

For a while I've been working on the picotaged work and many times they are misconstrued to be glitter or sand. a granular product of some sort, but its actually torn paper. regardless, someone who is unfamiliar with my process will think its a product that they may be familiar to them, so its making that relation. its kind of how the general world knows Picasso's and Warhol's

So many of the faces in your work go missing. When did that start happening? 
Is there a definitive reason behind it? 

The faces began missing once I began painting black people who had features that were a bit unrecognizable. It really started back in High School. Many of my friends would take photos of me and many times I was unrecognizable, due to the lack of a flash. a few years later I revisited the idea of how some peoples identity are removed or misidentified. I began working around this idea, looking at masks and how various cultures use masks in ritualistic ceremonies as a coming of age and right of passage. I used masks in my picotaged works which best fit the process and content of masking the people in those works. My painted figures have now become anonymous, which are the tarmac workers who I have no direct relations with. 

Do you have any rituals or activities you do to stay focused?

It's always best to take breaks and time out for myself, these breaks may be considered as short field trip or travel. At times I need to be by the ocean (the SEA), and a change of scene to continue doing the things I do.  It's life and in order to maintain myself and stay focused I have to be selfish and put myself first. More so self respect. I try to do this atleast once a year. 

You are really happy when? 

I'm really happy when I'm around family and friends and sharing meals. The act of eating food is a communal ritual that brings people together. It's a gratifying feeling to know that we can all be together no matter our backgrounds. Being outside in nature is also a plus. The mountains of Colorado and the Ocean. Star gazing. 
"I began working around this idea, looking at masks and how various cultures use masks in ritualistic ceremonies as a coming of age and right of passage."
- P.A.S.
continues below 
Learn more about Paul Anthony Smith by clicking here. 

Jonathan Stein, Artist Interview

Posted 2013-08-19 13:07:18 | Views: 10,899
Tell us about your practice, how do you work and what do you make?

My work celebrates and calls into question Society's fixation with over consumption. I am obsessed with our pop culture fast food nation, so I take ordinary iconic foods like a Starbucks cup of coffee or a package of Twinkies and Super Size the dimensions of each item so they are larger than life in scale. I sculpt in clay or wax and cast in bronze or resin. Each of my mixed media sculptures are then hand painted in enamels and the logos of such parody works are redesigned and hand stenciled. From there I set to task hand setting (using a toothpick) a veneer of tens of thousands of individual colored Swarovski crystals over the entire sculpture. 

Your sculptures are very glitzy and funny. They seem over the top and ridiculous in a great way of course. 
Do you have a big sense of humor? 

 I love embedding humor in my work. The works are deeply rooted in parody and I embrace kitsch. While behind a shiny veneer, the works address critical issues of over consumption, obesity, malnutrition, the dangers of advertising and so forth; overall, I want my audiences to laugh, smile, or be taken in by the joy inherently placed in these familial consumables. 

Photo Credit: Evan Orensten 

Working with children and the less fortunate is an important thing for you. Tell us how you got involved with the community. 

I have been working with developmentally disabled adults and children since childhood. Charity and Art are at the core of who I am; that gives me purpose not only as an artist but as an individual. I began teaching art to autistic and severely disabled youth while in middle school. I continued working with these at-risk youth throughout high school while also aiding the Deaf Community here in South Florida by interpreting and performing songs in ASL for community based events.  I currently serve as the Creative Director for Drops of Hope, a Pediatric Cancer non-profit that builds fantasy room makeovers for underprivileged children battling cancer or cancer related illnesses. I use my art to raise awareness for marginalized communities and often as a means of raising needed funds for non-profits whom otherwise would fail to aid the populations that critically depend upon them. 

What are you working on now? 

A large hand jewel encrusted box of Matzoh which hopefully will be included in a show at the Miami Jewish Museum this September.

What was your upbringing like...does it reflect on your work at all?

 I had a decent childhood. I sought refuge in art as a child to try to find my voice being that I am middle child. Growing up as a very short in stature child, (I'm only 5'5) Art was a way to express myself and being able to draw I believe helped me combat a lot of the bullying I'm sure I would have endured by bigger kids that wanted me to sketch for them instead pummeling me. Lol

Tell us about your cakes! 

My cakes focus on the issue of over consumption primarily with reference to celebrity fanatacism. A year before Britney Spears came out with the song "You Want a Piece of Me", I created a mixed media cake portrait of her called Everyone Wants A Piece of Britney, inspired by her non-underpants limo ordeal. The world was ravenous and felt entitled to view and consume that image of Britney. My Post Modern Feminist artist response was to sculpt and paint a cake sans her crotch. It's punishment for society's sense of entitlement. From there I painted other celebs everyone wants to devour with slices removed as well. I'm at the point however that now I only do custom portraits of celebs which I get them to sign to raise money for Drops of Hope, my charity and I'll do a second portrait for their charity. If my art can aid those in need; I'm using down to help. 
Lowest point in your art career was when?

 Lowest point is watching pieces I've done years ago that didn't get their rightful place in the sun get remade popularized and capitalized on by other artists who've blossomed instead. Very often I have found, one can be brilliantly talented and filled with tremendous passion but still feel and be considered utterly invisible in the Art World. I feel that way at times myself, it can be rough. 

Hightest point in your art career was when?

I was asked to be in, For Which It Stands, an internationally published book of contemporary artists who celebrate Americana. I was hand selected along side artists like Ai Weiwei, Kevin Berlin, Shepard Fairey, Steve McQueen, Barbara Kruger, and Vik Muniz. 
To learn more about Jonathan Stein click here. 
- August 2013

Talk with Fashion Photographer - Oriana Layendecker

Posted 2013-08-15 13:52:12 | Views: 9,482

How did you get into photography? Was it always focused on fashion? 

I got into photography by accident. I started out wanting to be an actress actually. To break into the film business I did makeup on the side. I worked as a freelancer for a local production company out in Washington state. To build up my book I started networking with local photographers. Which then led to me doing some modeling…and then finally, I picked up a camera.  Nobody wanted to try the concepts I wanted to do, so I did them myself.  And yes, I guess fashion was always the goal--although it wasn't necessarily executed too well haha.

You are in Washington right now? What brought you to DC? 

I live near DC yes…I made the "young and in love" move and came out here for the wrong person.  Although, I don't see it as a mistake. I think as an artist I have been making the most out of the resources here. It took me a while to find them, but there are hidden gems in this city; like anywhere else.

          Oriana Layendecker
Fashion photographer Oriana Layendecker takes a few questions on a fine August afternoon. 
Most memorable experience while shooting? 

Ooo…that's a tough one haha. I was on a location shoot during the wintertime. We had been shooting non-stop for hours and one of the models was on her period. We were out in public and she was wearing a very expensive gown. To ensure nothing got on the dress I took her to the most private corner possible and held up her dress for her while she took care of business….that might be a little too graphic for your blog. So that, and having equipment fall and smack me in the face while shooting, leaving me with a black eye.

Your photos seem very atmospheric, is there a lot of prep work while setting up the backdrop for the shoots? 

I definitely tie in location with every shoot. It can make or break it! Some looks just don't work in certain places. Planning out the light, shadows, color, textures etc makes a huge difference.  Although, when it comes to planning, I do leave some open ends, it keeps things fresh.

Do you have a blog? 

I have a tumblr, a twitter, an instagram, but no blog.  I'm not much of a writer and I hate explaining things because half the time I am experimenting.

What other areas would you like to explore? 

Video. I would love to get back into it…it's something I explored very briefly years ago when I went to school for acting.  I love it, but I have to learn all the new editing programs and I just haven't had the time.

What's next?

I have a handful of editorials that I am very patiently waiting to share with the world. Magazines take forever as you know, and some things I shot almost a year ago are still on hold. As for what's in the future, I can't wait to find out.

Interview with Miami artist David 'LEBO' Le Batard

Posted 2013-08-12 17:22:27 | Views: 11,382
We catch up with Miami bred artist David Le Batard aka LEBO. Starting out as a muralist to then expanding his hand over to paintings and commerical work. He isn't afraid to try something new and sharing it with all walks of life. 

I first noticed your work in the form of murals around the city of Miami years ago. How do you feel about all the murals in the city? 

I'm definitely proud of the fact that a large part of my career started out doing murals in public spaces. It's a forum as old as civilization itself and a truly democratic way to exhibit art. I'm also glad I get to cross to the other side of the spectrum and sell my work at a fine art level as well as occupy to spaces in between the two. In regards to Miami now and the explosion of murals, I think it's a good thing. Public expression in all it's forms is a mark of free society and we're blessed to live in one. I do think it's interesting how the term used now is "Street artist" and "Street art". To me it's still being a "muralist" and when we do it we create a "mural".  

What are some things you are working on now? 

Right now I'm working on my partnership with Norwegian Cruise lines. i just designed their newest ship, The Getaway, that will be sailing from Miami in early 2014. There's a lot of components to the deal and it's been great partnering up with them. Aside from the other elements with Norwegian, I've signed up with Park West, a very
 established company that does a lot of work on ships around the world. We just signed a deal together a few months ago and they're selling my work as fast as i can produce it and have double the value of my work. I'm currently producing about 100 paintings for our partnership to be auctioned off in the next couple months. Beyond that i'm taking care of my own private commission work as well as an apparel line for Harley Davidson. Mural work for Redbull along with some charity work.

If you could describe your work as a food by its smell, texture and taste...what would that food be? 

Well i've been eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables for a while along with a lot of Indian food so that's where my head is at these days. I guess I'd hope that my work would have all the raw, juicy, natural goodness of raw fruits and vegetables and all the flavor and soulfulness of great Indian vegetarian dishes. I'd also hope that my work was kind to all animals, human and non-human alike. 

Where are your favorite places to go in the world? 

I just came from Amsterdam, Stockholm and Copenhagen. That part of the world is civilized in the best way imaginable. I could definitely live in Amsterdam. Last summer i was in Spain and did El Camino de Santiago and spent some time in Barcelona. Could live there too. British Columbia has really gotten my attention and I'd love to get a second residents there and i love the states. Oregon, New Orleans, New York. Miami are all amazing places.

You work a lot with brands. How did that happen? Was it planned that way? 

It was my goal since i started running my own studio that i would work with brands. Growing up I was influenced by a lot of commercial work as well as branding. It never occurred to me that good commercial art and good fine art were any different. Further more great commercial art inspires me way more than crappy fine art. To me it's all in the approach and how well executed the work is. Working with brands was just a way


"I'm very grateful and plan on applying the same energy and staying very grounded. The opportunities available to me at this point are beyond anything i ever hoped for."

(Continues below quote) 
"Le Batard has been commissioned to paint the signature hull artwork of Norwegian Getaway, coming in January 2014."
                                                               - USA Today 
 to bi-pass galleries. My thought was, why should i have a gallery speak for me when i can speak for myself and why should i sell my work through galleries when I can build my own client list by approaching brands. Thankfully it worked. i gotta say i much prefer sitting down to dinner with the CEO of a big company to going to an art opening. It's funny that this far into my career i'm represented by an art house but that deal worked out the same way. I met with the owner of the company and we worked out a deal. pure and simple. The best way.

Lowest point in your art career was when? 

The first 8-10 years were tough. It was hard to make enough money to support myself and I had to learn how to be a professional artist and run a business at the same time. Thankfully my family supported me in a lot of ways. Without that support I wouldn't have been able to make it. The last 8 years have really paid off and in particular the last 2 years have gone through the roof. I'm very grateful and plan on applying the same energy and staying very grounded. The opportunities available to me at this point are beyond anything i ever hoped for.

Hightest point in your art career was when? 

Designing The Getaway for Norwegian Cruise lines has been the latest career highlight. It's literally a billion dollar ship and my brand is painted right along the Norwegian one on the side of the ship which will have 1000 running feet of art that I designed running along side of it. I feel like I should come out with a hip hop album so I can take my picture with the ship behind me. How much cooler is that than a gold Bentley? Honestly though this chapter, although it's just getting started, has been a huge blessing and I'm looking forward to see what the future brings.

Learn more about LEBO here: