Erin Hammond: Featured Artist

What’s your story?

My story. Well, I am the oldest of seven children. I grew up in the cornfields of Wisconsin. Kenosha County to be exact. I was born in Milwaukee. We didn’t have a lot, just your basic needs and a mother and father who had a great sense of humor who made the best of every situation. My Father is a musician and a hairstylist and my Mother, a graduate of Horticulture but decided to have seven children instead of pursuing a career. Art and Theater have always been a major part of my life. From being the art teacher’s student aid to being in every production whether painting sets or being the lead of the show, I enjoy it all.

You are a very creative artistic individual, what is your favorite thing to do?

Hmmm…My favorite thing to do in general or besides painting….well.. I love painting, I love reading a new script or a book of interest and having some hot tea. I love blankets and sitting by the ocean. I indulge myself into Art History and reading about the lives of other artists. I try to live moment to moment. I love music and film. Visually, I’m always being inspired throughout my day. By the simplest of things: a handshake, a kiss, a beautiful woman passing by with a tan beret and red lips, a small smile from a 7 year old. I try to embrace the small things. Too much of my time in the past has been spent on sadness and what could have been. Living in the moment is key.

What is the most challenging part of being an artist?

The most challenging part of being an artist is by far the disciplinary side of it. I am an entrepreneur. I create many things and have lots of ideas, following through with them is key. This isn’t an instant fame game, this is real life and you must have patience and treat yourself well and never give up.

 

Your dream is worth your time.

What do you wish you knew about mix media before you started?

Hmm… well I started using a variety of mixed media by the time I was 10. I have never been one who is a afraid of failure. I am always trying new techniques. When I find one that works; I put it in the back of my brain and then try others. I love charcoal with watery acrylic paint. Just one of my combos that I am a fan of.

What is your creative process like?

My studio is full of Art History books and Vogue magazines. I am a fan of fashion and where it started and how it continues to capture the masses. My process usually starts with my current frame of mind as well as writing, reading, listening to music (preparing myself as an actor does), and then I am able to approach the canvas.  Sometimes it’s a mess (a disaster to put it lightly); a battle from within that sometimes comes out crazy and unattractive (those canvases sometimes are put aside for another approach later). It is a constant learning and growing experience. I fight to be honest throughout my work. I want the viewer to feel emotion, to bring my pieces to their own completion. My creative process is real. It’s lovely at times, it’s frustrating at times; tears, laughter and love have all washed over many of my pieces. I am constantly growing as a woman and a painter.

 

What do you believe is a key element in creating a good mix media piece?

Let’s just say I’ve learned a lot about patience and gratitude over the past few years. Things don’t always happen when or how you think they should. I’ve had to stay connected to my God and be patient with myself. I believe as an artist, you need to be open and honest with yourself. you will make mistakes(many in fact)…. You also need to be persistent…

 

 

 

Go with your heart first, your gut second, and your brain last…

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Guns x Butter: Featured Brand

Simeon Talley, founder, Guns x Butter.

What is Guns x Butter/where does the name come from?

 

Guns x Butter is a political t-shirt line inspired by art and contemporary culture. I collaborate with others to make cool shirts that have a political message. The brand also partners with social justice organizations to make the creation and release of each shirt a campaign for a specific cause.

For example, right now I’m partnering with an organization that works to combat sex trafficking in Iowa. With every purchase of a shirt a donation is made to that organization and a scholarship fund for girls who have escaped trafficking.

The name comes from the 1960’s. It was a way of thinking about the choices and trade-offs that existed between spending money on the Vietnam War and funding President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program.

Tell us about the brand and how you got started in design and became a designer?

 

Truth be told I’m not an actual designer. I find artists to work with to execute a concepts and designs. On the front end of the creative process I’ll pick a political issue that I think connects well to the Guns x Butter brand and find an artist who’s style and approach I like.

I created the Guns x Butter brand because I wanted to do something creative and cool with my political background. I worked on the Obama campaign in 2008, which is what brought me to Iowa. At some point I made the decision that working on political campaigns wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life but wanted to connect my political beliefs with my desire to do something creative and being an entrepreneur.

Why specifically fashion or a t-shirt line? I looked around and I thought I could fill a void that existed — a line or a brand that was authentically political and a fashion line.

What inspired the Guns x Butter brand?

 

Guns x Butter at its core is about getting people to think more critically about the world they live in and using fashion as a vehicle to do that. When people hear the name itself, it makes them think “Well, what does that mean”. The shirts themselves and the way I visually present the brand to the public are all about pushing boundaries making someone stop and think.

The political issues that inspire the designs are a little dark and very serious. Those issues that represent the underbelly of contemporary culture but yet affect so many people.

With being such a political brand, have you had any issues getting shirts printed or with people wearing them?

 

Not really. But then again I recognize that this and the approach I’m taking isn’t for everybody. That’s fine. I don’t intend to offend anyone for the sake of being offensive but if I’m staying true to what the brand is some people will be uncomfortable.

The goal isn’t to generate controversy but discussion, absolutely!

What is the reaction to the brand?

 

The reaction has been very positive and supportive. I used Kickstarter to print my first round of shirts and had a pop-up in downtown Iowa City which went really, really well!

To most people fashion has this reputation of being fickle and superficially ephemeral. I think that a lot of people view Guns x Butter as sort of refreshing. As fashion that stands for something and wants to do real good in the world. Which is actually a trend you see. Most clothing and/or accessory lines created in that past couple of years all have a philanthropic aspect to them. Consumers just don’t want to buy a product. They want something that adds meaningful value to their lives, or their communities or to the world.

What is your next step, what do you see the brand accomplishing?

 

My ultimate goal for Guns x Butter is to be the #1 political t-shirt line/brand in the world. I want people to judge me and the line from that benchmark.

Right now I’ve just released a new “Anti Sex Slave” shirt which is part of an anti sex-trafficking campaign. With each purchase of a shirt a donation will be made to the Network Against Human Trafficking and a scholarship fund for girls who have escaped a life of forced sex prostitution and trafficking.

I’m always looking to collaborate so if anyone reading this is interested in working with Guns x Butter, email me at: simeontalley@gmail.com.

Visit the website to see the latest t-shirt design and keep up with the blog.

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Bruna Sibilio: Featured Artist

Q&A with fashion designer Bruna Sibilio

When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer? 

 

I discovered I wanted to work as a stylist right after graduating a technical course in fashion design, despite all affinities I had since childhood, I needed more training and more knowledge to be sure what I really wanted, and follow this great path.

How did you get your start?

 

I started working the area after graduating in fashion, I worked as a seamstress, then I became a style assistant, and then I was hired to be designer of a clothing wholesale in São Paulo, the fashion hub in Brazil

What is the fashion design industry like?

 

The fashion industry for me is the creative process working side by side with PLANNING collection / production AND COST. Today, we designers, have to be able to see garment production’s big picture, know what is and is not feasible for the manufacturer, in moments crisis here in Brazil, we can not afford to create luxurious concepts and not exactly know the final cost.

How would you describe your brand to someone?

 

Today I work in two brands, BRUNA SIBILIO DESIGN where I provide service for clothing wholesalers and I’m also developing collections (women’s clothing) with exclusive prints, and OCTAVIA brand, where me and my partner and good friend Martha Baldan, have developed timeless models with modeling that values the good fit and totally unique prints.

Who is your customer?

The BRUNA SIBILIO DESIGN’s customer now is wholesaler, women’s segment, timeless models and also plus size. Now the Octavia’s customer is the person who enjoys exclusivity in every way, my partner is modeler, is great in finishing trim fabrics and I provide the creation models and prints.

 

Who would you love to dress in your designs?

Well, I’d love to see the Brazilian Fluvia Lacerda wearing my collection for the plus size segment.

See all of Bruna’s artwork and designs on her website here.

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Suns out guns out

 

Summer means one thing, swimming. And that means swim suits, sarongs and sunnies. Mix and match your bottoms and tops for endless possibilities.

Photography: Ansel and Opie
Styling: Ansel and Opie
Model: Jamie Henderkott, SK Models

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