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Faces of Imperial Eloquence [Part II]: The Collage Garage February 09, 2015 17:28

Exposed plumbing is to the artist what brushed steel is to the young professional; it conveys the same kind of disorder and acceptance of said that enables the former to differentiate him or herself from the latter with some minimal degree of comfort. Katy Hirschfeld's studio is replete with painted over pipes, plywood, brick and the like -- which I won't pretend to be anything other than fond of. The artist's studio is, after all, the equivalent of the YoPro's office. So when I saw and felt that hers is in a building which boasts no elevator, A/C or central heating, you can bet I was comfortable reveling in these minimal degrees of discomfort.

Pump Project Art Complex, where this studio is located, has all the quintessential elements of an environment where an artist is both invited and welcomed to thrive, but not without paying their dues. It is a minimalist work space, the lessness of which I could do with seeing more of. My first time visiting it was last November during the East Austin Studio Tour, where Ms. Hirschfeld's art was featured. Her medium is that of mixed media, one that -- like so many others in the realm of visual art -- I can appreciate greatly in spite of knowing very little about. Imperial Eloquence's most recent collaborative endeavor is a series of high quality beanies screen printed with select pieces of Katy's work.

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I am here in a journalistic capacity, so as to document a sort of behind the scenes preview for what is to come from Ms. Hirschfeld and IE; and will freely admit that my ego is just a tad swollen for having been granted the opportunity to do so. See, I have loved art and fashion equally for some time now. They finish very close behind writing and motorcycles in the running for things to which I lend authentic passion and personal ardor. It doesn't hurt, either, that Katy is a friend of mine whose work I wish one day to see garner international acclaim, nor that the shoot currently taking place is featuring two very attractive models of color, who are sporting a) beanies, b) Ruanas (a kind of South American take on the Poncho), and c) precious little else.

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Photo shoots can be a damn good time -- noted emphasis on can -- in my experience. This evening's succeeds in being so, primarily because we're all of us just hanging out in this cold ass studio with not much to keep us warm but laughter and each other's company. After stripping down and assuming the first pose, the male talent begins by asking his female counterpart "Wait, what is your name again?". Both are being asked to convey intimacy and sexuality having never met before, which most of us know is a prodigiously difficult feat to accomplish (especially on camera). The photographer, one J. Mos, is young and likable and visibly hardworking. He seems to be aware of what many up and comers in his field are not: that the photographer's job is to capture beauty, not define it.

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Interviewing Ms. Hirschfeld is casual and organic; it takes less to walk her through than I think either of us would've expected. She's just shy of timid in her answers such that I know my questions are being met with the unpreparedness of an artist who has yet to recognize that she is truly great. Katy's demeanor makes the difference between self-deprecation and self-pity ostensible in a way that's poetic. She is from New Jersey -- a fact which I only recalled after hearing her classic Northeastern butchering of the word "orange" -- normally this would invite a slew of judgment, but I refrain from that as an attempt at professionalism, and out of genuine respect for her talent.

The lovely artist is in the middle of telling me about her grappling with a recent piece, and how she feels she ruined it by trying to improve it (a feeling I am all too well acquainted with), when I ask if she is a perfectionist...to which she replies "anything but". Apparently, her work -- characterized by retro-chic images sublimated and superimposed by digital means -- has been defined since the beginning by deliberate imprecision and stylistic experimentation, an example I think many artists would benefit from following in these early stages of self-improvement and actualization.

My favorite of the beanies depicts a woman smoking, which happens to be counted among my favorite visions in this world, as well as one that comes up frequently in Katy's work. When asked why this concept reoccurs with such regularity, Hirschfeld answers simply by saying "I just think it's sexy." That response, not unlike her studio, says a lot about the woman and her work. And really, who the fuck am I to deny the beauty in brevity? There is an eloquence to it which I find, well, you know.

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To see more of Katy Hirschfeld's work, visit her website:

http://collage-garage.com

For upcoming news on and collaborations by Imperial Eloquence, visit ours:

http://www.imperialeloquence.com/collections/hats/collagegarage


Faces of Imperial Eloquence [Part 1]: A$AP Cocky October 15, 2014 18:38

Prior to this assignment, I'll admit that I knew little to nothing about Harlem born rapper and fashionista, A$AP Rocky (born Rakim Mayers). In fact, what I knew only amounted to a vague awareness of his Billboard hit "Fuckin' Problems" (featuring Drake, 2Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar); and so long as we're being honest, my knowledge of contemporary rap is admittedly (and deliberately) limited, on the whole.

But I do know a thing or two about fashion, or at least about what looks good, and what that entails. I also know that -- whether they're willing to admit it or not -- rappers care a great deal about how they look, because rap culture is deeply and historically influenced by image and perception. Every successful artist from Run DMC to Lil' Wayne right up to Rocky himself has had an associated aesthetic (e.g. Hammer's golden pants, Tupac's bandana, Nelly's stupid fucking Band-Aid...et al.)

Don't think that's just a cheap shot I'm taking at materialism in rap, because image and perception are just as important in other genres of music; and besides, this goes deeper than simple references to clothing and cars in lyrics. I'm merely pointing out that the link between fashion and music has been present in American culture for decades now, and that (at least as it manifests in rap culture) this connection is very important, and further, very telling.

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Now, after having researched and learned a bit about Rocky, I have rather a lot to say on the subject. Rap culture has undergone phases of evolution in terms of style, but it's always been centered around a fundamental image of appearing and/or being gangster -- "Thug Life", if you will. This translates into various aspects of the music (e.g. lyrics, videos, publicized feuds), and is just about everywhere you look in the culture, as well.

For a long time, it seemed as though one's credibility as a rapper was directly correlated to the level of debauched and/or illegal activity he or she was party to. Bullet wounds became medals of honor, criminal records CV's, and the act of cuckolding a rival something worthy of positive notoriety -- which is really fucking weird, honestly...but we all sort of went along with it, because rap had become such a powerful cultural force in modern American society.

And, as rap progressed, the intended message turned to one of wealth and success. The concept of having "made it" became hugely popular within this cultural microcosm -- you know, rags-to-Rolls and all that. Young rappers began to covet an image of themselves as having transcended the ghetto, rather than the previous one of succumbing to it (despite frequent reminders in most every song that parts of the ghetto remained present and readily accessible, if needed).

The overarching theme here should present itself all too plainly as modern day rappers' insatiable need for affirmation from the society they live and act in spite of. These men and women seem to be torn hopelessly between a desperate want to establish their image as social pariahs contrasting middle class America, and a financial need to sell that image (along with records in the millions) to those very same suburban households that comprise it.

Here's where Rocky comes in. If you watch "SVDDXNLY", the online mini-series documenting his meteoric rise over the last four years, a few things become gradually yet distinctly apparent about the undisputed leader of the A$AP mob (stands for Always Strive and Prosper, by the way). What's most striking and likable about Rocky that you can see from his interviews is the way the guy walks the line between confidence and arrogance.

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There's a level of brashness that's not only expected, but required from rappers of any era -- and Rocky's got his fair share -- yet there's a self-awareness, a genuine humility that's easy to discern when hearing him speak. Rocky's not shy in the matter of discussing his success, but nor is he tasteless or overly smug in doing so. That grotesque, often repulsive boastfulness which many rappers assume after achieving fame is nowhere to be found in his persona (or at least, not the public one, but that's another issue altogether).

You get the sense, watching these interviews, that the guy's got nothing to prove -- which is pretty much unheard of among rappers of the 21st century. At the age of 26, Rakim Mayers has succeeded in doing what only a few of his peers in the industry (e.g. Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell...and that's it) really have, which is making it...without having to make sure we know it. And that modesty, that ability to just live well rather than demanding to be seen as living well, it's seldom seen in the young and famous.

Keep in mind, also, that what you wear can say a lot about you (and is in fact meant to, most of the time). Clothing is a statement -- like it or not -- so when you see Rocky walk on stage in attire that succeeds in being at once urban and magisterial (and you hear him verbally acknowledge it in one of the videos), it's safe to say he's going for something explicit, something quite apart from the more basic grandiosity/insecurity of his contemporaries.

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Swagger has become a grievously misused word in modern America; it's become more of a marketing tool than anything else. What it really denotes is an overconfidence that is somehow attractive -- and I mean that in the literal sense, that it attracts -- and you can see that, hear it, when people talk about Rocky. He's not just a pop star; he's a leader. Qualities like this, along with a seamless sense of style, are what grant him and the chosen few other artists genuine transcendence, true independence -- Imperial Eloquence.

"Not gonna let all these millions get to our heads; I’m still the same ghetto, crazy....pretty mothafucka"

- Rakim Mayers

Here's a link to the first of five parts in the "SVDDXNLY" mini-series:

http://www.imperialeloquence.com/blogs/news/15556345-always-strive-and-prosper-the-imperial-asap

Watch the other four, if ya dig.

 to be continued

 

by V Andre Mikhail

follow Andre @drescribbles

Check his Blog at

https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/40877164/

 

 

 


F as in Frank... our new Favorite Vintage Blog April 05, 2014 12:23

F as In Frank has been emerging with one of the dopest blogs we've seen recently, produced by the Vintage inspired store out of Canada. The blog highlights everything from Colabs like the recent Mookee X Crooks Collection and a sexy new take on Versace print.  Catch some vintage inspiration and enjoy some great fashion reading- Definitely a THING TO PEEP!