Artist & Architect

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Every artist has a studio where they work from, whether it be a piece of their home or a studio somewhere else. Most recently two of my favorite artists seem to have taken their studio space a step beyond by hiring well known architects to design their studio. You could consider these collaborations of Artist x Architect.

KAWS Studio x Wonderwall
Wonderwall is a Japanese architectural firm that is known for designing the Bape stores. They happened to have also collaborated with KAWS when he had his OriginalFake store in Japan. Below are two pictures of KAWS studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where he creates his masterpieces.

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Jose Parla Studio x Snøhetta
I once visited Jose Parla at this studio for a photoshoot back when he worked out of his home/studio. Today, his studio is in a renovated space in Brooklyn near the Gowanus Canal. And judging by the photos he’s created the same atmosphere that he had in his original studio, with a Working area and lounging area.

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Know any other great artist spaces designed by famous architects? Leave a comment and let us know.

Happy Chinese New Year from Chinatown

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I didn’t even plan on attending Saturday’s Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown until our daughter’s elementary school coordinator asked my wife Wendy and me if we were going. It was the next day, and he said that Eloise could hold the school’s banner. How could we say no, and it would be convenient to take some colorful parade pictures to share while I was at it–empty cherub heads, antique cars, religious protestors, and who knows what else.

After circling the parade start on Saturday morning, we located the Castelar students tagging along with a lion dance troupe. Fourth and fifth graders (along with some instructors and our new principal) would zigzag up the street carrying the poles of the serpentine dragon while little kids like Eloise proudly displayed the school’s name.

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When my wife pointed out that Mayor Eric Garcetti was situated nearby, I ducked under a rope and inquired if he’d take a photo with the schoolkids from Castelar. I wasn’t afraid to ask because I live in the district that he used to represent and have been introduced to him on a few occasions. I’m a big fan of his accomplishments in our neighborhood and his pride on our city’s diverse and creative culture, and I also knew he couldn’t say no to a photo-op with children. A liaison came over to ask me where to direct him. Sweet!

But wait, there was more. Shortly after photos were taken, the liaison returned and asked me if some of the students and a chaperone would like to ride with the mayor. Eloise was the first one to hop in the 1953 Imperial, which has been occupied by previous mayors on similar occasions, followed by two friends and a teacher.

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Because I followed the mayor’s car up Hill Street and down Broadway taking photos of Eloise all the way, I don’t have any images of marching bands, beauty queens, or martial artists to post. I’m sorry. But it was a pretty awesome moment for Eloise, who waved and smiled like a champ along with her friends who said happy new year in English, Mandarin, and Spanish into a microphone for the entire ride. The mayor was very cool to the kids, and chitchatted and waved with them throughout.

I knew going to school in Chinatown would be a great experience for Eloise. The teachers are excellent, her classmates are amazing, and she’s learning Mandarin. But I never considered the poetry of Wendy and me spending more time in the neighborhood where my immigrant grandparents and in-laws have hung out. To enter the fabric of that community and give back to it–whether it’s getting the school represented on the mayor’s car, creating a scene and raising money for Castelar’s music program through the benefit concerts we started throwing, or simply helping out with kids being dropped off in the morning–has been very rewarding and cool, indeed.

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Our first week in the Year of the Sheep has already been loaded with family, opportunity, and surprises. And a lot of  food. I hope yours is, too. Gung hay fat choy!

Start off the new year right by following Imprint on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

“Up” Dog House Made For A Super-Fan And His Dog

In association with Super-Fan Builds, some of Hollywood’s top prop makers build unique items for passionate fans of comic books, video games, movies and pop culture. In this particular episode, prop maker Tim Baker and his team built an “Up” doghouse for Steve Minty and his rescue dog “Dug”. The video shows the team building the house from scratch and meticulously working on every detail from the shingles to the garden hose. It also has a levitating effect, which I thought was pretty cool too.
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8 Questions With: Olivers Apparel

There are athletic shorts you buy at the nearest sporting goods store, probably something along the lines of Nike, UnderArmour, or Adidas (or maybe you’re a Costco man!)… and then there are athletic shorts that you buy from Olivers Apparel. Made for the every day man for the every day activity. Whether you’re going for a quick jog, dip in the ocean, or simply running errands around the city, these are some of the best universal shorts that I’ve seen around. Most of the time I just resort to wearing an average pair of Adidas shorts, but it sure would be nice to wear something a bit more comfortable and also visually appealing. Not everyone wants to look like they just came from the gym when running those few errands after a workout, so I can certainly see the opportunity for this type of apparel.

Overcome with the lack of options for high quality, nicely designed athletic shorts, Founder and CEO, David Wolfe, set out to solve this problem on his own. He launched a Kickstarter campaign with a modest goal of $10,000 and flew right by it generating over $270,000 and 3,300 supporters. Now over a year since the campaign ended back in September 2013, David and the rest of the team are laser focused on strategic growth and expanding their product line to follow up “the last pair of athletic shorts you’ll ever need.”

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1. What is Olivers Apparel, how did you get involved, and what is your current role?
Olivers is a men’s athletic apparel company, designing and manufacturing high quality staples. The company was born out of both a personal interest (in health, fitness, design) and personal pain point (lack of quality athletic apparel on the market). I’m the founder/CEO, and as is the nature of a startup, I get involved in nearly everything.

2. Your Kickstarter was a massive success, blowing right by your original goal. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
It was a wild ride. Seeing the support from family & friends, and then from complete strangers, was extremely gratifying and humbling. It was both exciting and stressful, and a rewarding experience.

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3. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Shortstop for the Dodgers, and not giving up on that dream just yet.

4. What do you find most challenging about your role?
I find it very difficult to continuously determine what is the most important thing to be working on, as opposed to the most urgent.

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5. What’s next for Olivers?
We’re focused on deliberate growth. Planning as if we’ll be around for 50 years. Got a few new products in development that we are very excited about.

6. If you could give some advice to your teenage self, what would it be?
Be careful of falling into the trappings of prestige (prestigious institution, job, friends, graduate degrees, etc). And don’t assume you have an infinite amount of time – make your decisions knowing that you’ll be dead one day, it’s a good thing to keep in mind in my opinion.

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7. What’s your favorite post-work destination?
If it’s light out, I love getting a bike ride in (either the Marin Headlands or Twin Peaks in San Francisco). If not, dinner with friends.

8. Where do you find inspiration?
From friends and family members who have the courage to pursue lofty challenges.

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POW! WOW! Hawaii Recap

Several of the Imprint team were lucky enough to spend some time in tropical paradise last week, for POW! WOW! Hawaii 2015. Highlights included catching up with Jasper Wong & the POW! WOW! team, watching dozens of world-class artists at work, some awesome dinners, and two fascinating Imprint presents Jeffstaple 1-2-1 talks, with artists Kevin Lyons and James Jean (stay tuned for video content from those).