art studio: pippa mcmanus.

Pippa McManus illustrates the pursuit of glamour as art. The fashion insider seems approachable via Pippa's storytelling approach to the industry. We become engaged in visual banter and the individual becomes a real life canvas where fashion is seeking acceptance. Conformity and perfection become an investigative inquiry rather than an obsession.


NAME: Pippa McManus | HOME GROWN: Perth, Western Australia | DAY JOB: Fashion Illustrator | DREAM JOB: Fashion Illustrator


COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee | VINTAGE OR COUTURE: Couture | SUCCESS OR FAME: This is the only one I can't choose, I want it all! | SILVER OR GOLD: Gold | APPETIZER OR DESSERT: Appetizer | SUMMER OR WINTER: Winter | MILD OR SPICY: Spicy | NO REGRETS OR NO FEARS: No Fears | TRUTH OR DARE: Truth

Q & A.

JRL:  As a fashion illustrator, one would assume that your sole focus would be on the fashion. But, you have a different approach. You actually capture the industry, more specifically the women who make up the industry. Are you suggesting that it is the individual's approach [her walk, her attitude, etc.] to fashion that's the inspiration? As opposed to fashion being solely responsible for individuality?

PM:  That is an amazing compliment, I hope for nothing more than to capture the fashion industry as a whole. I started out solely trying to capture the line of a dress and the precise stitching and construction of an individual garment, but how boring! I find the clothes just as interesting as the face. A few years ago, my work started to shift focus onto the person wearing the clothes as much as the clothes themselves. I think maybe my work is a bit more fine-arty than it was previously. Like you say, more focus on the individual. I hope the viewer comes up with a story for each girl and I hope that every story is different.

JRL:  There seems to be a current obsession with full figures and extreme curves, yet the women that you depict are the polar opposite. Do you feel that the svelte frame is a voice that has been silenced or are you simply showcasing what you see?

PM:  An ongoing controversial topic in the fashion world. I occasionally cop a bit of flack for the way I depict my women. But what can I say, I'm a traditionalist. Fashion illustration has been based on a stretched and lengthened figure since forever. It's how I was taught to illustrate in college and what I'm comfortable with. It reflects the industry, which is my job in a nutshell. I regularly attend life drawing classes and love drawing real bodies from life, I have even taught such classes to fashion students. I believe in order to draw a stylized or distorted figure you must first learn how to draw an anatomically correct figure. The great thing about being a fashion illustrator is that I get to pick and choose from what the industry is currently obsessed with. I don't have to follow it all, case in point: minimalism, nothing bores me more! But I don't have to draw it.

JRL:  The eyes of your subjects dominate your work. They are piercing, mysterious, daring; I appreciate that I can't say sexy, demure, or innocent. Was this a conscious decision, to avoid simple stereotypes and offer a hint of each woman's individual complexity?

PM:  Thank you, I'm glad you think so! I do try to have a range of different girls though, sexy, demure, and innocent all included. And I do try to give them piercing, mysterious, and daring eyes. I think my girls can be all of these things wrapped into one; it's what the viewer sees. But the eyes are definitely my favorite thing to paint; perhaps what I'm feeling at the time is what comes through in the painting.

JRL:  What elements outside of fashion inspire your work?

PM:  I'm finding I'm a bit obsessed with video clips at the moment. I'm not sure why because I don't really listen to commercial radio at all. Actually that might be why. And that might link back to my obsession with youth culture; I think I definitely have a Peter Pan complex. But most of all I would say it's my friends who inspire me the most. The way they dress, the things we chat about involving both fashion and anything but fashion. They are all so individual and just hanging out with one of them for an hour will influence the next album I will download. Or I'll chase after some snippet of cultural info they have told me about.

JRL:  If your self portrait could be translated into a runway show, what designers and/or models are featured? What songs or artists provide the music? Why?

PM:  Good question! And a hard one! I suppose it would have to be a traditional design house that references past eras, maybe Miu Miu? The models would have to be a mix of my favorite pouty lipped kitten brigade: Frida Aasen, Daphne, Lindsey, Siri, Frida G. Girls I would love to look like and the more quirky girls that I love to draw. But I don't do it that often because the interesting looking girls don't sell as well as the VS type girls. Music would have to be 90's club anthems because that's my ultimate genre.


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Images shown: Trippy Gypsy | Dahlias & Dior | Ginta Rose | Bianca Bae | L is for Lindsey

Image credits: All artwork created by and provided courtesy of Pippa McManus.


happy holi-daze gift guide: one for you, one for me...

i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it actually is the gift that counts. let's be honest, no one is interested in the thought behind a flavored ham of the month club. and if you think that i could use anything at all that is sold exclusively on television at three o'clock in the morning, please think again. the wrong gift can turn a perfectly functional family gathering into the following: twelve accounts payable, eleven assigned seats, ten crocodile tears, nine family feuds, eight sucker punches, seven binge eaters, six sibling rivalries, five intoxicated confessions, four kissing cousins, three surprise engagements, two new chefs [who made the potato salad?], and a raw turkey to eat. i've compiled a lovely list of gift ideas guaranteed to bring only peace, love, and joy. i am wishing you all so much bliss and many blessings this holiday season.

smith & cult:

row one: bitter buddhist | gay ponies dancing in the snow | kings & thieves | vegas post apocalyptic | stockholm syndrome | row two: shattered souls | honey hush | bridge and tunnel | row three: fauntleroy | tenderoni | ghost edit | feathers & flesh


shrug open wave | large knit cowl | arm warmers peek-a-boo elbow | infinity rays | woven shawl

the pairabirds:

flower crown silhouette art print (001) | flower crown silhouette art print (002) | flower natural hair silhouette art print (003)floral hair bun silhouette art print (004)


saco de papel in cork  | saco de papel in glacier | saco de papel in ice | saco de papel in froze |
saco de papel in off white

emm kuo:

baller cardholder | girlboss cardholder | hustler cardholder | swagger cardholder

jennet liaw:

stay humble/hustle hard print

malvi marshmallow confections:

raspberry hibiscus | vanilla salted caramel | spiked espresso | chocolate | peppermint chocolate

sucre shop:

holiday wishes scoops | holiday wishes spoons | woodsy forks | spread joy knives | christmas fair isle forks | christmas fair isle scoops


pentahedron coasters | geometric coasters | cube coasters

old tom foolery:

happy holidays h-62 | christmas cc-36 | christmas cc-35

karolin schnoor:

cactus | wall calendar 2015


be well | wake up | calm down | get happy | get it on

vice & velvet:

christmas tree soap – berry pudding | christmas tree soap – candy cane | christmas tree soap – punch

puma x solange – wild wonders:

puma x solange disc collection swirls | puma x solange disc collection triangles | puma x solange suede classic

erin robinson:

erin robinson's holiday greeting cards are sold in an assortment of twelve in her etsy shop.

photography + image credits: all photography and artwork provided courtesy of the respective brand, company, or artist. thank you – smith & cult | DeNada | the pairabirds x tabitha bianca brown | adaism | emm kuo | jennet liaw | malvi marshmallow confections | sucre shop | koromiko | old tom foolery | karolin schnoor | PLANT | vice & velvet | puma | erin robinson


art studio: nicholle kobi.

The roads that lead to self discovery and self love are often tainted by an individual's environment and society's preconceived notions. But this journey through the eyes [and pen] of Nicholle Kobi is a grand reflection of Parisian brown beauty. She illustrates real women – loud with purpose, massive in effect, and deliberate in appeal.


NAME: Nicholle Kobi | HOME GROWN: Evreux [Normandie, France] | DAY JOB: illustrator | DREAM JOB: fashion designer, animator [in my own studio, of course]…


COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee | VINTAGE OR COUTURE: Couture | SUCCESS OR FAME: I don't like either word, but if I had to choose one – success. | SILVER OR GOLD: Silver | APPETIZER OR DESSERT: Dessert | SUMMER OR WINTER: Winter| MILD OR SPICY: Spicy | NO REGRETS OR NO FEARS: No fears | TRUTH OR DARE: Truth

Q & A.

JRL:  The depiction of friendship and motherhood as gifts are consistent themes in your work. How important was it for you to offer a positive and powerful perspective on female relationships?

NK:  Those depictions are for me. For no other reason than these images make me happy, but I do hope that they bring some joy to others.

JRL:  Your illustrations seem to serve a dual role – celebration and self acceptance. You gracefully outline the beauty of black women highlighting natural hair, full lips, and curvy figures. Which role defines your work in terms of how you want your audience to perceive it? 

NK:  I just want to show beautiful and graceful Black women. We are classy, poised, and smart. I need for my audience to see that we are more than the vulgar images of sexuality that are given to us. We can have big asses, big noses, big lips, big hair and be chic; because it's not about what you wear, it's who you are.

JRL:  You often alternate between soft pastels and bold primaries, what's the significance of your contrasting color palettes?

NK:  I actually prefer soft, neutral colors. They represent what I love and how I feel. Primary colors are sometimes too aggressive, but they offer strength to an insipid image.

JRL:  As a viewer, I feel like your illustrations serve as character studies. Each woman becomes a visual snapshot drawn into a documentary. What music serves as the soundtrack for these independent yet emotionally connected subjects?

NK:  I really love beautiful melodies. The lyrics would come second. The music that serves me: SZA, Jhené Aiko, Yuna and Mr Probz.


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Images shown: Sexy Choco | Sisters are Forever | Low Battery | July July July | Young Girl Big Fro | All Black Everything | Afro X Red and Black | Brown Girl X Grill | 2 Afro Cousins | Afro Sunday

Image credits: All artwork created by and provided courtesy of Nicholle Kobi.


dime defined: chérmelle danicea edwards.


NAME: Chérmelle Danicea Edwards | HOME GROWN: Los Angeles, California | DAY JOB: Life | DREAM JOB: Life


SEASON: Summer | FILM: Meet Joe Black + Annie + What About Bob? | SOUND: Humanity | POEM: Still I Rise by Maya Angelou | SCENT: Lemongrass | WORD: Imagination

Q & A.

Q:  Who would portray you in the movie version of your life?
A:  Drew Barrymore.

Q:  What artists or songs would contribute to the film's soundtrack?
A:  Jai Paul, Bon Iver, Thomas Newman, Miles Davis, Maxwell, Little Dragon, Bach.

Q:  What's the best advice you didn't take?
A:  Leave, now.

Q:  What film title sums up your experiences with love thus far?
A:  It Happened One Night.

Q:  What do you know now that you wish you had known ten years ago?
A:  It's all a journey and therefore I've been on the path all along.

Q:  What three people could you spend eternity with?
A:  God, if my immediate family counts as one, then them and HIM – my partner in life.  

Q:  Would you rather have no regrets or no fears?
A:  No fears. Fears are an illusion, but we often don't realize that until the veil is removed.

Q:  What's your definition of dime?
A:  Two. The first, a circular and silver piece of money, preferably vintage – that's my humor speaking. Second, a woman who exists from knowing, who believes that believing in anything isn't enough. She must and does know.

Q:  What words do you live by?
A:  "All that I imagine is real." – Picasso

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Photography provided courtesy of Chérmelle Danicea Edwards.


art studio: erin robinson.

Erin Robinson is striking up visual conversations with women that we all know. She literally draws you in, reminding us that visibility comes with a voice and that the conversation starts with community. There is this confidence that envelops the women that take center stage on her canvas. Erin's observations on individuality find beauty in the idea of choice and boldly ignore the often flawed condition of circumstance.


NAME: Erin Robinson | HOME GROWN: Washington, DC | DAY JOB: In transition… But I've been a children's wear designer for many years, for brands such as Baby Gap, Osh Gosh, Carters, and Sears. | DREAM JOB: I would love to create a place where you could find a bevy of creative sources under one roof. I am surrounded by some of the most talented people that I get to call friends. The thought of being able to have this incredible dwelling (which is all laid out in the most beautiful way in my architectural head) with a photo studio, design studio, pr, interior, jewelry studio, fine arts…I could go on and on. It would be sort of like a creative co-op run by a core group of talented seasoned creatives. There would also be a concept lifestyle store in this fantasy space where in house and visiting artists could showcase current work. It's a huge dream… But my mind is always ticking with magic ambitions! 


COFFEE OR TEA: Tea | VINTAGE OR COUTURE: I like to mix them up. | SUCCESS OR FAME: Success | SILVER OR GOLD: I got the Midas touch – gold. I'm especially fond of gold leaf. | APPETIZER OR DESSERT: Appetizer | SUMMER OR WINTER: Oh that's easy, SUMMER! I'm like flip flops for life! I like for my feet to be free. | MILD OR SPICY: Spicy | TRUTH OR DARE: Truth is a dare.

Q & A.

JRL:  The women depicted in your illustrations are raw with emotion, yet their intensity suggests one should be cautious to approach. How difficult is it to portray fear, doubt, and beauty while still maintaining a connection with your audience? 

ER:  I just like to draw. I'm not sure what is going to strike me, but when it does I just start doodling. I am drawn to eyes and probably labor over them a bit too much at times. So, the drawings can come off as haunting or piercing in some images. I have a tendency to be in my head…often! And when I do go there I've been told that I look intense or haunting…but I don't feel that way at all. I'm just daydreaming and imagining and coming up with ideas. I guess you could say I'm mostly in a present trance. That's probably the feeling I give these drawings and did not realize it until you asked me this question. They are actually approachable but you'd never know by the way they look.

JRL:  Nudity is a theme in some of your work and you have perfected this idea of creating intimate snapshots by way of voyeuristic innocence. Are these specific pieces about owning sexuality or escaping obscenity?

ER:  Definitely owning sexuality. I did a vision board for the first time ever for New Year's Eve 2013 and it was hella elaborate! It had ten sections; one of them being sensuality. It was about feeling strong and beautiful in your skin, and owning it with all its perfections and flaws. I like using the word sensual because it feels more naive or free, and natural. It's just all about feeling free.

JRL:  What I enjoy most about your work is that your subjects look like women that I know. Who or what serves as your inspiration?

ER:  Brooklyn has been a huge inspiration. The women are from many different places, it's this melting pot of stunning, interesting beauty. I take bits from different women and combine images in my head. I love building my own Brooklyndolly.

JRL:  What's the title of your autobiography – based on one color and one emotion?

ER:  Sigh… Only one color… Okay… Jade Dreamer

Images shown:
Birky Red Summer | Birky Orange Summer | Birky Yellow Summer | Birky Green Summer | Birky Blue Summer | Emoji Heart Eyes | Swami | Cardinal Rules | Lotus Wings | Watercolor Gypsy | Medusa

Image credits:
All artwork created by and provided courtesy of Erin Robinson.
Black and white portrait – Erin Robinson x Kwesi Abbensetts.
Color portrait – Erin Robinson x Gary Dourdan.

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