Artist Spotlight: Masu McLemore

Love for your craft is one thing, but the level of dedication adds an entirely new meaning to the word…arrist-titleMasu, you are a self-taught artist with beautiful visions, and you have a lot to show for it.  Was there inspiration for you to start painting such as family or another artist…or was it just a hobby that grew into a passion?
My father is an artist, my grandma is an artist, my grandfather is a movie director and the list continues. I was born into a family of artists in many different forms, and I just happened to choose the fine art path.
I originally wanted to be a singer/songwriter, and I’d draw to relieve stress. I ended up getting really good at drawing and enjoyed it more so I stopped writing, but I’m also a great writer. It’s a hidden talent that I only really share with loved ones.

What was the most difficult thing for you starting out as an artist?
Finding my style was the most difficult thing for me. It’s hard trying to put all your thoughts onto paper and/or a canvas.

I have noticed that a lot of your pieces have a musical aspect to them. Why these specific artists, and which piece is your favorite thus far?
I pick artists based off of what I like and not what everyone else likes. I don’t really listen to many of today’s new artists because their music lacks substance to me. So I pick artists that have moved me in some way and have gotten me out of a funk at some point in my life. My favorite piece is my To Pimp a Butterfly painting (Shown bottom right) Blavity  officially has it in their art gallery, but I hold it near and dear to my heart.
It’s also the first painting where I introduced my signature monarch butterfly.

You attended Otis College of Art and Design and the School of Visual Arts. What made you choose a different route, and do you think that this change was for the better?
I left Otis specifically because I was no longer happy there, and I was no longer happy in LA. Going to SVA gave me a lot of clarity, and it actually pushed me to work harder. It was a difficult time, but it did in fact change me into the artist I am today.
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How do you feel about everything that is going on in the world today? You have a Black Lives Matter inspired painting that I love. Tell me about it.
Black Lives Matter Painting ArtbySu
All the violence going on isn’t something I really like to speak on. Gun violence has taken away a lot of my family members and friends so I decided to let my art speak for itself. It really just symbolizes pain and hurt. The butterfly is something precious and delicate and a gun is exactly what it is a weapon of mass destruction. In this piece the butterfly is me that’s why the piece is called When You Murdered Them, a Part of Me DIED Too.  Every black and brown person killed I feel the pain, I feel the hurt, like them I feel.

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You have a full sleeve that includes part of an Audrey Kawasaki painting, Forever Still. It’s beautiful! What inspired this?
I have multiple tattoos, which is a bit crazy to me at times. My sleeve is inspired by my life, it represents me specifically. All of my ink has to do with something that happened in my life. I love flowers, sunflowers and roses specifically; elephants are my favorite animal and I respect Buddhism and their worship towards Ganesha, and Audrey Kawasaki is one of my favorite artists. All that tied with henna like designs is how my sleeve came about. I also have a hummingbird on my neck, writing on my right wrist, a rose on my right hand, a Michelangelo quote and piece on my right forearm, roses on my right wrist, and angel wings on the back of my neck which all symbolize something, but I’d be talking forever if I explained each one.

creative mind.jpgDescribe your dream art studio…
My dream art studio consists of floor to ceiling windows, all white, wooden floors, and high ceilings. I want nothing but greenery on the outside, something like my own forest that I can stare at as I paint and the breeze hits my face. I want to be able to watch the bees, the butterflies, and the birds sing. I want a white crocheted hammock where I can rest and read on my down time and an upstairs loft where my bed and other essentials will be. Lots of crystals, dream catchers, and candles will surround my space keeping all the negative energy away from me and my art. Also, no shoes will be worn in my space. No outsiders will be allowed in my space unless something special is taking place. It’ll be like my secret sanctuary.

What is your next move? Any current/upcoming projects that you can speak on?
I have a lot of moves that I can’t speak of currently, but I can say look out for a solo art show coming this December.

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Masu, you are an amazing artist with such a beautiful spirit. Thank you for taking the time to share pieces of your journey. Congratulations on all your accomplishments, and best wishes on all your future projects!

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Resort 2017

What is a

This year, from May 30th to June 10th, designers are presenting beautiful pieces that fall into the category of “Resort Collections”. These collections have also been called “Pre-Collections” or “Cruise Collections”, and the shows are held in New York every year.

 The addition of these collections started when designers started making pieces for their clients who would jet-set or cruise in the warmer months. The presentation of these collections benefits designers by helping them see what grabs the attention of buyers. When designers create pieces for the upcoming season, you may see aspects of their previous Resort Collection in the new designs.


CompareandContrast

We are going to compare Rachel Zoe’s Resort 2015 Collection (top) with her Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection (bottom).

Rachel Zoe Resort 2015 DressRachel Zoe Resort 2015 JS Rachel_Zoe_007_1366 Spring 2015 DressRachel Zoe Spring JS

These styles are very similar, and all four outfits include tricolor tweed with fringe detailing. With just a few changes and additions in the tailoring, she created different looks that are both chic and wearable!


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This tunic dress is by designer Josie Natori. The colorful brush stroke pattern is definitely one of my favorite aspects. With the fabric being semi-sheer, it’s breathable, and can take you from day to night with ease! The accessories paired add an edgy contrast. This year, Josie Natori is celebrating her 40th year in business, and with that many years in the industry, she definitely knows a thing or two about style!

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I am in love with this floral dress designed by Rachel Zoe! The fabric loops together in the front to create a soft empire waist, and this creates a flattering shape that is ultra feminine. This is a design trend that Rachel Zoe is known for. The mint in the floral detailing and the chiffon fabric soften up the darkness in the dress to create the perfect look.

Bonus: This dress is perfect for all shapes and sizes. The bust area is spacious enough for a larger chest, and is not super low cut. If you have a smaller chest, the rope detail will play up that area! If are trying to conceal your midsection, the waist starts a bit high (flowly material is your friend). If you are a bit more narrow, the empire waist creates shape for that extra curve you are looking for!

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This tan, cable knit sweater dress is also by Rachel Zoe! You can definitely put this piece in the Boho catergory. It is slightly see through, and with the fringe detailing at the bottom, this makes for a sexy, yet comfy piece that would make a great addition to anyone’s closet. Pieces like this are the golden ticket for those of you who at least once a week scream…

“I don’t know what to wear!” or “I’m going to be late!”

You can just grab this one and go.

Bonus: The nude coloring, vertical cable knit design and fringe paired together will elongate the body for a very slimming, yet lengthening effect. Who would pass up a dress that makes your legs look amazing? Fringe with benefits!

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While the designer, Sally LaPointe, may not be so colorful (She normally wears all black)…This sleeveless, knit turtleneck definitely makes a bright and bold statement. This citron green was the pop of color in her Resort 2017 collection. In addition to this burst of color, the high neckline really caught my attention. Also, let’s not forget to mention the deep side cut outs that give a little sultry exposure.

Bonus: A piece like this can easily be pushed into the many different categories. Switch it up! Dress it up with heels and a statement clutch or down with distressed skinny jeans and oversized glasses. Are you up for the challenge? If styled correctly, this piece could definitely get you featured in the Street Style section of Vogue.com.

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This technical day trench by Protagonist is a versatile must have! The sunburst orange color can take you from season to season. The interesting thing about this coat is that is has no buttons, and that can benefit many body types. Women with a larger bust do not have to worry about buttons struggling to stay together, and women with a slimmer frame gain curve due to the belted waist (Sneak Peak). For those who are trying to shy away from their curves, this coat draws attention toward the face with the oversized notch lapels and tailored cuts.

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Jonathan Simkhai has really outdone himself with his jumpsuit, and while this is one of many lace pieces in his collection, it is most definitely my favorite. The detailing in the top portion was inspired by the glass ceilings of the Grand Palais in Paris, France and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milano, Italy. This jumpsuit definitely falls into the evening wear category, and would make an amazing wedding reception outfit.The flared pant hugs the hips to add shape, and with a train this long, it elongates the leg. You will not need a lot of jewelry (if any at all) with this outfit due to the intricate designs.

Bonus: Simkhai was one of the three recipients of the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. He was awarded $300,000 to invest in his label! This award comes with an additional yearlong mentorship with an industry veteran to help the recipients with their businesses. Talk about #Winning!

Something else you would like to see? Not sure how to style something? Let me know!

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Liya Kebede: Beauty Beyond the Runway

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Name: Liya Kebede

Born: March 1, 1978

Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Height: 5’10.5″

Measurements: 32″/ 23″/ 34″

Agencies: IMG New York, Viva Model Management Paris, d’management group Milan, IMG London, Viva Model Management Barcelona, Iconic Management Hamburg and IMG Australia.


 

 

Liya Kebede moved from her home in Ethiopia to Paris,France at the age of 18. She debuted a year later at the spring Ralph Lauren and BCBG Max Azria shows in New York. Kebede was personally selected by Tom Ford for an exclusive contract for the Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. She gained mass amounts of attention when she landed the cover of the May 2002 edition of Vogue Paris. In 2003, she made history becoming the FIRST black model to represent world renowned cosmetic company Estée Lauder.

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Recently, Kebede was asked to star in diamond jeweler De Beers’ “Moments in Light” campaign. Moment in LightThe women that have been selected for this project are talented in many ways. One of the many things that makes Kebede so special is her work with the World Health Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador from 2005-2011. The portraits for this campaign are auctioned off, and the proceeds benefit Women for Women International. This organization provides aid to women in post-war countries. Portraits are taken by renowned photographer and project curator Mary McCartney. Kebede says that her “Moment in Light” is being a mother to her two children. That is a moment that she is most proud of.


This beautiful model has also connected her home country of Ethiopia with the fashion industry that she knows so well. Kebede started a clothing line called Lemlem, which she founded in 2007. After taking a trip back to her native country, she realized how many traditional weavers were out of work. If they were out of work, there was no money coming in, and the beauty of their work was not being appreciated. Lemlem is made of natural cotton, and in Amharic it means, “to bloom” or “to flourish”.

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Kebede launched the The Liya Kebede Foundation in 2005. The mission of this foundation is to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality and to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and children in Africa. This is accomplished through advocacy, education, grant development and partnerships.


Liya Kebede was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2010.


“If nothing else, I want women to understand that they are powerful. If you look back at history, in almost every big moment, in every leap forward, you find ordinary women at the core. We have more ability to make changes in the world than we can imagine if we have the courage to try.”- Liya Kebede



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