art, events, Fashion, tech industry

The Hundreds

I’ve been interested in selling NFTs, and Shopify advertised an event just when I was doing my research. I just had questions. By the time the event rolled around I already had my Open Seas account set up, but I still had questions. A dry little presentation with q & a was exactly what I needed.

Nope.

I guess my questions were answered in a way. People are doing their own thing through NFTs, resenting their art and visions and creating whole communities without asking for permission. As a photographer I was always operating with the weight the established order of things on my back. You had to do things a certain way or kiss massive amounts of buttock to get anywhere. I have so much work that I slaved and stressed over and its hearten to think that I can present it directly to an audience and hopefully build a following and sell my work.

Even if its just creating them and building collections and dabbling with things like 3D animations or print on demand books. I don’t want everything I did to go to waste.

art, Fashion, fashion designer, museums, vintage

The Smithsonian

The staircase of the Carnegie mansion

I had a few more photos from the Cooper Hewitt. Not enough to really give anything away, but just enough to be annoying. The photo above is of the staircase of the mansion, and I think I take a picture of it every time I go there because I’m in love with it. It’s substantial and gracious, and stairs in my regular life just don’t look like that. I also love how the floors creak as you walk. It’s a living building melded into a modern day museum, and there are moments that are quietly shocking, like when you come out of an exhibit and fetch up in a window walled room perfect for sitting and reading. Or taking a hidden concrete staircase that is drenched in sunlight and modernity that runs up the building like a spine.

I thought that I had taken more photos. But I didn’t, which is kind of good because it means I was super engaged. There was exhibit of Lilly Pulitzer florals by Suzie Zuzek, and posters by E. McKnight Kauffman. Im nit sure about the furniture, it may have been in the Kauffman floor. Went to the bathroom and found a chance to show off my Versailles tote bag. And I bought a book about fashion that I already bored with.

They literally try to educate you as you go potty

art, black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, museums

The Coop(er Hewitt)

Coming out of lockdowns and variant scares, New York is chock full of eye grabbing museum visits, trying to get those visitors piling in. I found out that there was a Willia Smith exhibit, so I headed uptown looking for fashion.

It was good, I liked it.

It’s a small show, but it perfectly captures the 80s. The layered, bulky but streamlined outfits, the crumbling concrete and chainlink fence decor. You can feel the overdone smokey eyes and red lips in the atmosphere. It’s like a little New York apartment where you sleep all day and then jump up at sunset to get dressed and go out to sulk at a club, then slink into the night with a stranger. Not a lot of space, but they did a lot with it. It’s that kind of show. It has layers.

I loved how artistic the designer is. There was a whole installation of concrete forms and a notepad with sketches you could take home. There was a little corner showing how Christo had Williwear design the uniforms for the staff at his exhibits. I was seeing this just as everyone was gasping over Christo wrapping the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, so it was a bittersweet feeling. He also did costumes for dance performances and plays. Willie Smith was a prolific and thoughtful designer who skillfully took the mundane and made it glorious.

art, Fashion, fashion designer, painting

The Rest of the Met

The lovely temple of Dendur

I didn’t just go to the Met for fashion. It’s always a visual treat. And no visit is complete without a few minutes admiring the sheer cheek of snatching an entire temple and dragging it back to New York. It’s breathtaking, with the moat around it and the massive window looking out into Central Park and the surrounding megabucks real estate.

The Egyptian artifacts on display at the Met are impressive as a whole. Heiroglyphic covered walls, jewelry, pottery, statuary… you can easily slip into a reverie and daydream yourself into ancient Egypt while visiting.

But there’s more!

Tastefully appointed rooms perfectly preserved. Silk carpets and marquetry tables, and ornate candelabra. Perfect setting for romances and horror movies. There never any in between.

I have never seen this area before. It’s spectacular, and completely new to me.

This is one of my favorite paintings. This girl is feeling herself and here we are, hundreds of years later, feeling her, too. The color of the gown is what’s known as ‘everything’.

Leaving you with a little more fashion, including the pretty pink frock worn by Shalom Harlow in Unzipped, the film about Isaac Mizrahi trying to put on a fashion show.

adventures, architecture, art, museums, Travel

The Louvre

the actual Louvre, in real life

OK, we’re back in Paris. My first stop, after dropping my stuff off at the hotel, was the Louvre Museum. I’ve wanted to go there for years, and a museum seemed like the perfect place to start my vacation. Not too stressful, lots of art, maybe a little meal. Nothing too crazy. Meanwhile the place is 8 miles long, I had no map and I was late to pick up my audioguide. They were nice and gave me one anyway? But for the life of me I could not figure it out. So I just walked around, headphones around my neck, completely lost. I don’t think was the only one, a lot of people were wandering around with the headphones off.

After getting lost in the Egyptian section, then finding myself in the basement viewing the medieval stones that are the museum’s foundation, I finally found my way to the painting galleries. The walls are filled with landscapes and religious iconography. There are small canvasses tiled on walls and paintings so large that they fully occupy walls that are longer than my studio apartment. It is an onslaught of artistic endeavor. I tried to find the Mona Lisa, but I got turned around and found a hall of Objets d’Art and from there I somehow found Napoleon Bonaparte’s apartments.

the sumptuously appointed Napoleon appartement

Red velvet and gold everywhere. Crystal chandeliers, and paintings of cherubs on the ceiling. It’s garish and unbelievably tacky, but also sumptuous, luxurious and outlandishly royal. What’s wild is now understanding what was in my mom’s head when she decorated. A lot of people are copying this oplulent style unconsciously. I remember going to the homes of relatives and seeing elements of this and now here it was in front of me. The whole thing made me sad about my lack of pillars and corniches and gilded flourishes. Don’t get me started about the dining room.

I got there at about 4pm and they close at six, so it was a sprint. Next time I’m downloading a map and prepping before I get there, but for a first time I feel good with how much I saw. It definitely lived up to the hype. It was also the first time that I used my Nikon dslr since I bought it two years ago, and I got some lovely images. It was my first time going to the little Maxim’s shop in the lower level and my first cannelle. My first day in Paris and I ended up sitting on a bench with the sun beaming down on me just being grateful for being there.

just hanging out and bathing in the French sunshine

Next week we go to the flea market.

art, Fashion, Travel

La Vacance (part 2)

I let somebody take my photo at Giverny and it could have been better. Like let me put my bag down and get my angles! But whatever.

Three days back and still a mess. I am still not properly unpacked, my bed is half made. I didn’t get it together to make a proper dinner until yesterday, and now I will be eating jollof inspired saucy rice with chicken deep into next year because guess who used three cups of rice for no reason?

Me. I made a massive pot of rice.

Anyway, I didn’t want to leave my blog empty until next Saturday, so here are some photos from my day tour to Giverny to see the home and gardens of Claude Monet.

But first, this is the first floral dress that I’ve ever liked enough to wear. Long dresses are commonplace on the stylish streets of Paris, and the floral was to honor the theme of this viator booked tour of the countryside. I loved wearing this dress. It felt very fresh and feminine.


I’m going to work on an outline for next week’s post and actually post it on Saturday. I learned a lot, every day was a revelation.

A tout a l’heure!

adventures, art, new york

The Lemons


It’s funny how people get information. I live in New York, and I follow a few people from my city and yet no one was posting about the lemon themed oasis called Citrovia. There’s basically a whole lemon art installation on 9th Avenue and 33rd. I only found out because I randomly picked up a free newspaper.

Since I have open time in the afternoons, I decided to head over after work. It was one of those hellishly hot days where you start to question whether or not New York is a hell mouth (it is, but we hide it better in the winter), and a shady, citrusy park seemed like heaven. It’s sort of interactive, but you can’t walk on the grass or step on the huge lemon discs spread all over the front lawn, so no selfies lying on them.

It’s kind of wild. Why lemons?

I love lemons, but I’m also partial to limes and oranges, and all three colors of fruit together would have been pretty interesting. Why not strawberries? I love red. Or kiwis because they’re so weird. Ooooh! A watermelon park because it’s THE summer fruit!

I’m just saying.

art, lifestyle

The Daytrip

Day trippers in front of a MarkRothko paining at MoMA

I almost forgot to blog today! Which is sad because I have a nice little post to share. I went to the Museum of Modern Art here in New York for a vacation day. I haven’t gone anywhere for pleasure in a full year. I go to work, the grocery store and then home. Every so often I vary it up, but it’s a slight variation, like getting off the train to shop at CB2 one day… but then I got right back on the train, so it wasn’t really anything. Just a blip.

Balloon installation at MoMA

I woke upon Wednesday morning and as I was getting ready for work I decided to go to MoMA. I just felt like it. I bought a $25 ticket online and that was it. I went off to a victorious workday where I got everything I wanted and got everything done and then I hustled to the museum. In addition to being the first outside plan that I’ve executed, it’s also the first time in a few years that I’ve desperately wanted to see some art. Especially art that wasn’t on a screen being shared for likes with comments under it.

Mecca for modern art

I spent three hours working my way through galleries full of the self expression of world changing artists and thought about how precious it is to just walk around freely. There were other people, properly masked and there was social distancing and it was extraordinary. It wasn’t a trip to Florida to twerk in the street, but it was something.

art, diy, entrepeneur, entrepeneurship, Fashion, recycling

The Paper

Way back in the mists of time I studied photography and at the time I already felt like I wasn’t going to make a lot of money taking pictures, so I took graphic design, public speaking and book and paper making to give myself a fall back plan just in case. As we all know, just in case is happening right now.

Book and Papermaking actually made me really happy, and I loved making books. For a little while I was actually selling my handmade blank books at Quimby’s in Chicago (apparently they moved to Brooklyn, too), which let me know that if I were willing to put in the work, making books and paper could be a real hustle. Unfortunately I let it fall by the wayside as I chased a photography career and it’s been years since I even thought of making paper or books.

Enter the pandemic!

My papermaking warehouse on the windowsill

When it became obvious that this quarantine was going to be a long haul thing, I racked my brains for ways to stay busy and creative and make money. My job is retail adjacent so I wasn’t optimistic about going back full time. With unemployment kicking in an extra $600 I bought supplies for all of my creative endeavors so when the money ran out I would have everything I needed to sustain my efforts. One thing I bought was a papermaking kit. One sunny day I ripped up about two cups of printer paper and some Starbucks napkins and got started making my first sheets of paper in a decade. And it calmed me down.

Once you get started, it’s like riding a bike; you just get in and start creating. And since I can never just leave stuff alone, I started experimenting. Using water color paint to color pulp or paint on finished sheets, layering in found objects, and finding new ways to recycle paper scraps. I spent some time tie dying and saved the paper towels that I had laid down to soak up excess dye during the process. When I ended up with excess pulp, I put it in baggies an popped it in the freezer. It’s a zero waste kind of hobby.

I used one of my little cards as packaging for my first custom soap order. I think I’m going to make cards with envelopes to start with, because I’m really liking the process. Of corse I posted everything on instagram, as one does these days, and I was approached to create a papermaking tutorial video for Creative Sunday, which is going to be a new app and marketplace for creative makers. Much respect to bloggers, because I found making a video to be a monumental pain. I shot in little steps and over the course of a week figured out iMovie and realized that you need a compression app to make the movie small enough to email.

But check out my reward… and since I was curious, I did a little interview with Creative Sunday founder, Lauren Michaels.

Click to check out my igTV video on Creative Sunday’s instagram page!

Creative Sunday interview:

SEBMARKETBK: What is Creative Sunday?

Lauren Michaels: We are a new app to get crafty! Creative Sunday was made to help anyone create and shop their craft, whatever that may be. With thousands of supplies, that next project (big or small) is just a checkout away. You’ll be able to peek at projects from other makers and share what you’re doing too. 🙂

SEBMARKETBK: What inspired you to do this?

Lauren Michaels: I always loved making (drawing actually, but I’m not very good!). It is pure joy and gives me comfort. But, starting a new project is sometimes really overwhelming for me. Plus, I found myself shopping materials from multiple places and always wanting to see how others do their craft along the way, so that’s when I realized there might be a way to bring this all together. And, here we are! With a great team, we are creating a new app to bring ease and fun to your next project.

SEBMARKETBK: When do you launch?

Lauren Michaels: We are hustling and building away! The team is making strides each day and hope to have this coming your way soon. 

SEBMARKETBK: How can makers participate?


Lauren Michaels: I absolutely love meeting new makers (like you, Faith!). It’s the highlight of my day. 🙂 Our Instagram celebrates the process of creating—messy, colorful and all. We love highlighting amazing creations from all types of makers, so just use the hashtag #creativesunday, to show us your project for a potential feature. And, please feel free to DM us anytime—we would love to hear from you and do something fun together!

You can follow Creative Sunday on ig until they get their app built and watch my papermaking tutorial here. Keep checking my etsy for paper products to drop in the next few months. handmade holiday cards! (Or thank you cards, I’m leaving them blank). here’s a list of Papermaking Resources on Amazon if you’re interested in trying to make paper yourself.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMARKETBK

art, black fashion designer, Fashion, fashion designer, fashion photo, influencer, photo, Photography, recycled fashion, upcycled, vintage

The Beautiful Flowers

I don’t usually feature other photographers, but I have a soft spot for perfection and I had to do a post about an amazing woman who makes art out of old clothes, bedsheets and her gorgeous daughters Jayla, Jada and Ella. I’m usually super jealous… but her work is so good that I had to get over myself.

photo courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleurs

I started following Alissa Bertrand’s page during quarantine and it kept me engaged with the old. I started waiting for Alissa’s posts. They’re like a portal to a fairy tale world where all the princesses are black with beautiful natural hair. Her work reminds me of old Ralph Lauren ads, or Sally Mann’s revealing body of work that starred her pre-pubescent children. Every image is stunning. The lighting is soft, the girls are self aware and graceful, and the clothing is everything a girl or woman wants in her wardrobe.

Phot courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @labellafleur

I studied photography at Parsons and Columbia College Chicago, and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such a cohesive body of work or such consistent excellence. Enter the fact that she is doing all of the styling with clothing that she designed, and all of the hairstyling and grooming for the girls and you have a one woman fashion army. If she decided to sell prints, I’d buy them. And I wouldn’t mind a grownup version of this stunning white cotton dress with eyelet lace, either.

photo courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleur

I got Alissa to answer a few questions about her images and her plans for the future.

Alissa Bertrand with her daughters Jada, Ella and Jayla

The Jabella Fleur interview:

SEBMARKETBK: What inspired the photographs that you take of your daughters? Was there an artist or designer or magazine that informed your distinctive photography style? 

Alissa Bertrand: What inspires the photographs I take of my girls is just simply trying to capture them and the clothing I make for them! It’s also a way for them to have some really amazing pictures of themselves as children, to look back upon and remeber all the times we spent together along with all the fun adventurous stories too. I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style. 

SEBMARKETBK: Did you study photography or take any lessons? 

Alissa Bertrand: I’ve never studied photography! I wish I had some more knowledge in photography. I simply know the basics of what I like and what I want to capture along with the feeling.

phot courtesy of Alissa Bertrand of @jabellafleur

SEBMARKETBK: When did you start designing clothing? Do you remember your first garment? 

Alissa Bertrand: I started sewing from the 8th grade, and designing and repurposing about 10 years ago! The first garment was a maxi dress for the girls. 

I don’t look to others to inspire what I do. I’m a vintage fanatic and I love vintage aesthetics, so a big part of my look is evoking that style. 

Alissa Bertrand, creative designer and stylist

SEBMARKETBK: Do your daughters take pictures or create clothing like you? 

Alissa Bertrand: My daughters don’t take pictures. They’re just my mini-muses. They do enjoy sewing and creating little things. 

SEBMARKETBK: Where do you see your artwork taking you? Are you interested in being in galleries or museums? 

Alissa Bertrand: I see my fashion and photography taking me to the next level in fashion. I’m currently working on a fashion collection for girls, hopefully coming out SS21! I hope my work will end up in magazines and introduce myself and designs to the world! 

So as a way to thank Alissa for helping me hold onto sanity during the horrible weeks of quarantine and then the first weeks of the protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, I’m doing this blog post. She reminded me that art has the power to heal, and that consistency is key in creating a successful art process. Her work reminds me to look towards my family for inspiration and savor the small pleasures and victories available to me.

Please follow Alissa and her girls on @jabellafleur (and tell others!) so that she’ll be a mega-success and I’ll get the coffee table book I keep begging her for. Any requests for collabs or publication should be directed to her on instagram.

Until next time,

Faith/SEBMarketBK