January 30, 2011

People You Should Know: Toyin Odutola

The gift of artistic skill is priceless. I so greatly admire those who are able to take their ideas and inspirations and turn them into tangible pieces of art. Toyin Odutola is most certainly one of those people. 

Toyin Odutola
Our families are actually long time friends and many many many years ago, my family visited Toyin’s family in Alabama. I can still remember following her around all over her house and spending so much time just flipping through her sketchbooks and staring in awe at all the amazing drawings she did. I had never seen anything quite like the images that she created. Now, several years later, I find myself still staring in awe at her drawings, only this time I am gazing through her online portfolio instead of her sketchbook. She is hands down one of the greatest artists I have ever met in my life and I am so  glad that I have the opportunity to share her work with all of you. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How would you describe your artistic style?
Possibly the most difficult question...I've been meaning to attempt to answer this question for the last four months. For now, I'd say it an exploration into identity art through portraiture utilizing pen ink as a vehicle to explore how rendering skin cannot simply alter perceptions of race, but how certain employments of mark-making can alter a presence in its entirety--to get at the true isolation and displacement (a la feelings) of the subject being portrayed.
What medium(s) do you work with?
Right now, I work exclusively with pen ink. However, in the past I have worked extensively with charcoal, chalk, graphite, oil, acrylic, wood stain, and oil pastel.

Are you self taught or do you have formal training?
I'd like to say both, for I feel all creative people are self taught. I mean, that's how it all got started. But am in grad school now, so I cannot deny that influence and instruction.
 
Where do you get your ideas for your pieces?
Inspiration for pieces comes from a variety of sources. I cannot specifically pin-point one, but I'd have to say I'm consistently attracted to photographic reference images which portray individuals with arresting stares. I am drawn to deadpan stares and glaring portrayals.

What is the message you want to convey through your art? Are there any beliefs you have that show through your art?
This is really difficult to answer right now, since that is the exact question I aim to answer through my studies in grad school now. I apologize for sounding so cryptic, but as of yet I don't truly know. I do know what I wish my drawings to make the viewer fell, which is along the lines of discomfort and a tinge of melancholy. When it comes to certain beliefs, it's mainly political ones that come through, I think. I'm an avid post-colonial, Black Panther sympathizer, extremely liberal, pro-feminist, anti-social-label/categorization-construct, pro-sexuality-is-fluid, keep-religion-out-of-politics individual. However, I do not feel such sentiments are overtly obvious in my work nor do I aim to inject such a stance in my work forcefully. My art exists in an extremely personal realm and my public identity simply occupies a fraction of that. The rest is a lot less noticeable.

 Do you work on your art certain hours each day or only when you are inspired to work?
I'm a nocturnal animal. I am most alive in the wee hours of the night. However, I have noticed that from the few all-nighters I've done throughout this semester, I am also most active around dawn, which is interesting. I notice that I work late simply because it is when everything is still and most quiet. I'm easily distracted and restless during the daytime. My work demands a lot of concentration and investment of time, so I have to have a moment where I can separate myself and focus.

What do you put in your art that represents you?
I like to tag my portraits with hints of myself, i.e. septum rings, cartilage rings, &etc. Hair is a signature as well, and I enjoy portraying hair from the standpoint of my experience and overlaying that experience on my subjects. Such minor touches add a sense of subjectivity to me my work that is more visible than some of the concepts and/or "ideals" addressed in the question above. One could describe these accents as acknowledgement of my existence, my stamp, on an object which can be interpreted as making the portraits more human-like, even though they are heavily abstracted.

Do you have any influences or any other artists you look to for inspiration when it comes to your art?
Kara Walker, Laylah Ali, Lorna Simpson, Kehinde Wiley, Kerry James Marshall, Egon Schiele, Adrian Piper, Yinka Shonibare, Glenn Ligon, Hank Willis Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, Julie Mehretu, Whitfield Lovell, James Jean, John Singer Sargent, ...and there are more, I'm sure, but my mind is blank of them at the moment.

 Simply amazing, these images definitely snatch my attention. Toyin’s attention to detail is incredible, there is so much emotion in every single line. Her work is a true example of fine art. Thank you so much Toyin, you’ve got that good good!

To check out Toyin’s portfolio, click here! And follow her on tumblr here!

January 29, 2011

Vintage Boutique Lovin'

I've been receiving e-mails from several vintage shops and boutiques within the past few months but I was excited to find out that 2 of them were owned and co-owned by Nigerian women (it made me think of Teju Bolaji who I interviewed last year!) I'm Nigerian so it makes me so happy and inspires me to see my fellow Nigerians doing amazing things. So I am happy to present to you all, Raw Edge Boutique & Coal N Terry Vintage.
Click on the pictures to go to the websites
Raw Edge Boutique
“Raw Edge Boutique was birthed out of my own desire to access different clothing from the rest of the general public. REB is essentially an online boutique which caters to the fashion conscious individual who wants to stand out from the crowd, by providing an exclusive shopping experience.

The fashion industry is in a great place now, being fashionable is now inexpensive therefore accessible to all, which is fantastic everyone can buy 'on trend' pieces at reasonable prices. However I became increasingly aware of the style clones of the capital, thus found myself questioning 'has fashion become too accessible?' I soon realized this was not the issue. The issue was the availability of varying clothing outlets, especially with the high street being dominated by certain brands; we were all shopping in the same shops. I decided to explore further. Whilst studying and living in the east end of London I found myself hobbling down its cobbled back alleys & falling in love with its vintage outlets, exclusive one off pieces from eras which the world's catwalks cling on to. Additionally my mother's vintage treasure chest (that is her wardrobe) furthered this vintage love affair. Clothing & accessories, totally exclusive to me was thrilling, I wanted to share this experience with others.

Unfortunately there is not a vintage store on every corner so Raw Edge Boutique's Vintage Collection was created to
provide others with an accessible collection of handpicked vintage clothing from the comfort of their own homes!" 

-Tolu, owner of Raw Edge Boutique
Coal N Terry Vintage
“Coal N Terry Vintage is an online vintage boutique store that carries one of a kind vintage Items. Some of our items are red carpet worthy. We specialize in 20th century mid-century modern items. From atomic 50's and Scandinavian modern to couture party dresses and 80's glam, we hand-select every piece we sell for design, quality and condition. We also provide Wardrobe Styling Services for all occasions. We primarily focus on Vintage Glamorous looks but if you present us with your theme we can definitely create a style for you.

The owners of Coal N Terry are Damilare Jimoh and Azeezat Owokoniran-Jimoh.
We love everything vintage from vintage furniture to vintage clothing. I started collecting vintage pieces because I would go to my local vintage Boutique/antique stores and see pieces that weren't my size but I never could leave without a purchase because I knew someone out there would cherish it the way I do."

-Azeezat, co-owner of Coal N Terry Vintage


January 27, 2011

He's Got That Good Good: Jerome C.

Today’s style feature is actually one of my loyal readers from all the way in Italy! He is such a sweetheart, always leaving the nicest comments from time to time! I am so excited to be featuring him today so without further ado, here is..


Jerome C. from Florence, Italy

What do you do?
I just finished my Secondary school last summer. Now doing nothing all day, enjoying freedom. Anyways I’m jobless, still searching for a good job somewhere. But so far I work for myself, blogging. I sometimes give some guitar lessons.

 What 3 words would you use to describe your style?
Inspired, Preppy/casual and British

Where are your favorite places to shop?
H&M, Zara, Topman online, thrift shops, charity shops and vintage stores.

What is the one article of clothing that you couldn't live without?
My bags, I love to bring many useful stuff in them. If you see what’s inside my bags, you would probably say that I’m worse than girls, you can’t imagine how much stuff I have inside them.  


January 23, 2011

Street Stylin'

I am in love with street style blogs. There is just something so amazing about being able to see what different people are wearing all over the world. Even though I can’t afford the majority of the clothing that the people on those blogs are wearing (just give me a couple years to get my money up though!), I still look to these blogs for fashion inspiration. Interestingly enough, top designers have even started turning to street style as inspiration for designs. I recently read that the inspiration for the Lanvin pre-fall 2011 collection was from photos that Alber Ebaz saw of stylish women on the internet. Since I love sharing links with all my fabulous readers, here is a listing of my favorite street style blogs. Now I’m sure there are a bunch of you who know of these blogs already but there are also a bunch of you who may not so this post is for the latter. 
Just click on the names to go to the blogs!

Swagger: New YorkSwagger: Paris Readers are exposed to all types of fashion forward individuals from both New York & Paris. I am particularly fond of Swagger: New York but both versions are amazing. One can also find great music on these blogs too.



Jak & Jil Even if you aren't a huge fan of fashion, you are bound to be blown away by the stunning photography on this blog. Some of the most luxurious clothing I have ever seen in my life is on Jak & Jil. I can’t afford any of it, but I love looking at it! 


The Sartorialist Perhaps the most popular of street style blogs. Scott Schuman, the man behind the lens, has such an inspiring story concerning how he started up this blog. He did not intend to become a fashion photographer but he figured that eventually his passion for photography and his passion for fashion would converge. The convergence of these passions birthed The Sartorialist. Make sure you watch the video!


All The Pretty Birds Yet another fabulous blog! Some very beautiful & well-dressed women are on this blog. It’s definitely worth a look, or five.


ALTAMIRA: MODELSOFFDUTY.COM This blog is neat because the vast majority of the individuals photoed on this blog are some of the world’s most noted models. It’s quite interesting getting to see the way models dress when they aren’t on the runway or on the pages of magazines.


Street Peeper Readers really get a taste of international fashion on this blog. Street Peeper “peeps” 26 different cities including New York, Paris, London, Chicago, Seoul, Sydney, San Francisco, Toronto, Jakarta, Zurich, and Berlin (just to name a few).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


JUST A QUICK EDIT! (I wanted to add a blog for all the dashing young men who read my blog! I didn't forget about ya'll!)

Dapper Lou Not only are the men featured on this blog utterly amazing but the blogger himself is also on point! This blog is definitely a great resource for the fashion forward male. And a big shout out goes to Ludget for filling the void of a predominantly male street style blog. Personally, I haven’t seen another one!


I left some out because there are just too many to name! Hopefully you all enjoy these blogs as much as I do. Let me know what your favorite street style blog is if I didn’t include it in this post, I wouldn’t mind adding more to my reading list :)

January 18, 2011

That GOOD GOOD Around the Web

Hello lovely people! I hope all is well with all of you. Today’s post is a lil’ bit different from my usual posts and I will most likely be doing more posts like this in the future. Since I haven't been posting as much as I usually do lately, what I have done for you all today is compiled a post made up of 4 mini posts which discuss & highlight wonderful things I have found on the internet recently or just general things I have been into lately. Enjoy!



One of my awesome readers, Ebinéhita from Scotland, brought this super talented fellow to my attention this past week. Christian Scott is a jazz trumpeter from New Orleans and he is absolutely incredible. He has this certain swagger about him that translates seamlessly into his music. It is simply amazing. And this man knows how to dress! He has been recognized for his style in L'Uomo Vogue, Vogue Italia, The Source, and King Magazine. Christian Scott is definitely someone you should know about. Check out his website here & the interview he did on IAM: THENUBLACK by clicking here.


Everyone’s favorite Afro-inspired clothing line recently released photos from their Spring/Summer 2011 lookbook. I must say, these pieces are quite adorable! And the photos are absolutely beautiful! (But one wouldn’t expect anything less since Kwesi Abbensetts was the photographer.) Check out the rest of the photos by clicking here.


MeLo-X is such a cool musician, I really like his sound. He has a way of taking hip-hop and really making it his own which I love and appreciate. I absolutely love this song & video! The video was actually directed by one of my favorite singers, Jesse Boykins III. Enjoy!




I will be rounding off this post with some good ol’ fashion link love. These 3 blogs that I am sharing are a few of my top favorite blogs of all time. I hope you all love them as much as I do! Click on each picture to go to each blog.


 I am the nu black. What a powerful statement in itself! This blog is brimming over with posts and features on incredible individuals of color. From artists to musicians to designers, basically every creative facet is covered in such a unique and inspiring way. 



 With a concept as unique, creative, a beautiful as color, one can and will never get bored. Amanda does a great job finding art, fashion, and music that is covered in brilliant color. This blog is always a treat for the eyes!


If you are a fashion forward individual who is greatly inspired by photography, you are going to love this blog. The photos that Recho finds are absolutely exquisite! And I adore the way Recho described her blog: “Here you will find a glorification of all that I find most beautiful. From the mundane to the refined. As is milk and wine.”


Copyright © 2010-2013 That GOOD GOOD Blog. All Rights Reserved.