Thursday, February 26, 2009

JED M. Williams!

About three or four years ago I was really inspired by an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art ....300 years of Art in Latin America.

Mexican Pentecost Icon

I designed a whole collection of jewelry filled to the gills with religious iconography.

I knew that the jewelry wasn't for a blushing flower...during my open house it was receiving mixed reviews, ..... translation: It wasn't an easy sell.
At some point I gave up telling people about my inspiration and began to just sell it on price and a cheery "these are my show specials".

This guy walks in, wearing a jacket that had a French Foreign Legion kind of feel to it and a really cool camera bag, so.... while I'm checking his gear out, he picked up one of the really religious pieces.... I went into my spiel, "These are Sterling silver, all of the proceeds from the Jasper collection will be donated to Manna ......."

And he cut me off and said something to the affect of ... 'this reminds me of Latin art, there was a recent exhibit at the Art Museum...........'.

God smacked! It was like overhearing someone say how much they like you. He hit my inspiration source square on the head. We had a short conversation about religion and art and exchanged cards. So.... the next week, I was sending thank you emails, calling vendors, trying to find new shows, stuff, and I came across Jed's card. I don't remember exactly what I wrote in the email but something like -

Most of the conversations I had at the open house were about size, color and material, and talking to you made me remember my inspiration... thanks for coming out and supporting the artist at the mills...

yadda yadda yadda.... three years later or is it four?....., we are the kind of friends that bounce ideas off of each other, promote each other's gigs, share info about health insurance and money souces, artistic opportunities, spiritual ideaologies.. movies, music... and when I decided to change the blog from only fashion and my own personal experiences to include cameos of my favorite artist, Jed was first on the list.

The Jed Williams experience begins at a small art studio tucked into one of our classic South Philly neighborhoods, with row houses and a bodega on the corner. The 29 bus roars by, and through a metal security door and under a very unassuming awning ... is a studio filled, ..... bursting at the seams.... with paintings. A painting of a woman leaning into her hip caught my eye and then I got distracted by this huge container of brushes and when I looked back at the painting it looked completely different.....

"Wait is that a bird?".
Jed just gives me a sly smile and says,"Is it?".

I spent two hours going through stacks of paintings and getting a little history on each one, He's a very serious artist, and so willing to try new things, there are paintings on vinyl records and a huge car bumper with little designs painted on it right there on the floor of his studio.... it's amazing. It all made me want to run home to my own pile of pearls, quartz, and metals.

The Style Shepherd: Being a big fan of your work, I know that Pop Culture and Eastern Spirituality inspire you ...... And designers and artist get this question all the time, and sometimes its and easy answer and sometimes you want to pull your hair out and just say 'I don't know' but..... here goes..... What is your inspiration? Your raison d'etre? Or ...explain your creative process.

Jed Williams: My inspiration.. well that is a tough one indeed. But let’s see..I think in the end you could narrow it down to a kind of mixture of two main thrusts, or themes:
One main thrust is comprised by the images I see and the things that interest me in my life outside of an artist—like Pop Culture, especially with regards to philosophy and the postmodern, ‘80s aesthetic (I love artists like Martin Kippenberger and Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Donald Baechler etc.) and Eastern Religion as you said, which is a very interesting and potentially helpful, holistic philosophy/feeling--and don’t forget the often-challenging yet intriguing mixture of danger, excitement, grit, trashiness and soul that goes along with living in Philadelphia--
The other part of the mixture as it were is more elemental: the simple, yet simultaneously infinitely complicated joy of finding ways to work on my paintings visually, making marks, experimenting with placement of color and line. This interacts with what goes on beneath the surface of my works, pointing a kind of a celebratory strand of thought and feeling as well.
However, I would not call my work experimental. There is a purpose to the images, but often the very purpose is only found in its revealing of itself through the process.
Then again, which came first, the picture or the painter?

TSS: I know that both or your parents are creative people, when did you know that you would also spend your life as an artist?

JW: Yes, my parents are both artists. My father is a poet/writer and my mother is a jeweler.
Obviously they and the artistic and intellectual people who hung out with them, have been very encouraging indeed, which I am grateful for.
There wasn’t really a specific moment in time that I decided I would spend my life as an artist however, although I do remember the day
I decided to go to art school, University of the Arts to be more precise.
The whole art thing was really more of a very gradual process, which intensified in my mid twenties.. It manifested itself most fully in the year after I graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, that is the second and so far last art school I went to. It has a lot to do also with reacting to, and sometimes against, what some (especially art students and teachers) call “the real world”. Problems get set up and different energies come into play—these energies and challenges end up being compensated in a sense, or balanced out, by one’s studio practice—which is the central thing, or should be anyway.

TSS:I get one or two emails a week (which I love, inspires me to stay on the grind) about your new shows and where we can see your work. How difficult is it to get your work seen... or is it becoming easier and easier as you get more exposure?

JW: In a sense it is always somewhat difficult to get my work seen, but then again really it depends on the type of venue you’re talking about. It’s a little easier obviously to get into group shows than solo shows, and you know a lot of the places I show in right now are what you would call “alternative venues”.. Not always though. I have a two person show, in a gallery, coming up this summer, so stay tuned..
Anyway, little by little as a striving professional artist you get into a kind of circuit where you start to meet people who can introduce you to opportunities, but exposure.. that takes years and years of looking for opportunities, meeting people, and so on. But in a sense it does become easier to navigate that art world game of trying (I said “trying”!) to get into galleries, making connections,etc. because you get practice at it the more you do it.

(Fashion Question) - What would you say your style is?

JW:Well, it’s hard to generalize, because the way I dress is a bit “hybrid”-ish--but I would probably say casual, maybe slightly Euro-influenced elegance (I did grow up in Paris) mixed with a laid-back groove. Again, it depends on the day.

TSS: (Design Question) and who is your favorite designer (doesn't have to be Men's clothing, can be accessories, jewelry design, architecture, ..... whatever

JW: I don’t really know if I have any favorite designer per se, but two definite names that come to mind are those of Shepard Fairey, and Banksy. Perhaps you could call them “street-designers”.. I love their sense of humor, and anti-authoritarian streak--and Fairey’s cross-over influence especially I find very impressive (the Obey campaign, the Obama image and other things—I like how they sort of subvert the concepts of marketing and “image branding” as it were.)

* Shepard Fairey -
* Banksy -

TSS: Last book you read or favorite author

JW: “Factory Made-Warhol and the Sixties’

TSS: Music you're feeling right now –

JW: The Clash, Stereophonics, Bowie, the Weakerthans, Beck, some other stuff too

TSS: One thing you can't live without –


TSS: What do you have going on right now?

I have work up in several different places right now: first I have some abstract paintings up at a really cool place called Square Peg Artery and Salvage (located at 108 S. 20th St.-- between Sansom St. and Chestnut St. in Philadelphia), and also you can purchase prints of my work at Mew Gallery at 906 Christian St. near the Italian Market.

Also I have a line of more traditional still lifes up in two places: at a great gallery called Absolute Abstract, (located at 141 S. 13th St-- near the corner of 13th and Walnut St. in Philadelphia) until April 1st.
And at Home Source Daily Expo, a home improvement showroom located at 660 Allendale Road in King of Prussia, right outside of Philadelphia.

I'm also going to have artwork up for display and sale until April 17 at Blick Art Materials, a great art supply store located at 1330 Chestnut St. in Center City Philadelphia.

As I was leaving Jed's studio and trying to find words to express how I felt about his work, I said
"This is ..... This is ....."

And Jed finished my sentence "Where it's at! I got two turn tables and a microphone!"

Jed Williams, talent and swaggah.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Academy Awards 2009

Imagine getting ready for an event, where millions of pictures will be taken of you, from every angle, instantly broadcast around the world (maybe there's a 7 second delay) and you'll have no say in which ones get published ......... Lot of pressure.

So.... how would I get ready? First thing I'd do is make an appointment with my stylist! Make sure I'm their only priority on Oscar Night. Hold on,.... I can be my own stylist!

'He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.'

Make an appointment with my stylist.

***.....Now there's a whole 'nother Kimono .... how do you pick a stylist in the first place? ....And then there's hair and make-up ........and jewelry....... and contracts written in blood.... *****.

I would look at a million gowns, and I'd take pictures inside and outside and look at it on film, in bright lights, under an umbrella..... from the front, the back, profiles... left and right.... and then I'd pray.

Miley Cyrus.... this is a young woman trying to break free of the cash cow Hannah Montana, hence the nearly nude pictures and the big girl gowns. She wants Hollywood Casting to see her in a different light. The dress is perfectly lovely.....remember the character Lena Lamont (Singin' in the Rain),..??.... poised and sophisticated, ......and then she speaks.... Yeah, that's how Miley affects me. I digress, the dress was insane with detail, and fit her perfectly.

Zuhaire Murad

And then there was a slightly older Princess, the Sex and the City Fashionista herself, SJP, wearing a very similar silhouette. Gorgeous!

These ladies showed off all kinds fabulosity. Taraji P. Henson (Roberto Cavalli/Fred Leighton) and...

Viola Davis in Reem Acra.... Fantastic! This is the way you do Hollywood Glamour! But.....I've seen this dress before..No?... I don't mean the obvious 'Marilyn' comparison, someone wore this at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala...????

Aha!! This is what I was thinking of, Naomi Watts at the Met in Thierry Mugler, different dress but still serving up old Hollywood Glamour.

OK, back to the Oscar's !

The straight off the runway girls were Heidi Klum (Roland Mouret), who surprised me, she looked very high fashion,

Tilda Swinton who always takes a risk and ends up looking like ....only moments ago she'd been ripped away from some edgy fashion shoot,

Amy Adams (Carolina Herrera) showed us real statement jewelry (Fred Leighton),

Diane Lane,..... to bad, the cameras didn't pick up all the detail in that beautiful dress ..... the color was wrong, speaking of cameras picking up detail, Marisa Tomei did a neutral gown by Versace,which showed every perfect origami fold

..... Kate Winslet (YSL) gets a nod for her fantastic hair, ... should have shared her hair team with the incomparable Meryl Streep, because other than the matronly do, she looked very fresh and modern... and Heath Ledgers Mother!... don't know who she was wearing but I loved it.

The Prom/Wedding Ladies

definition - Ladies who looked pretty but we've seen these dresses at proms
and weddings.

Queen Latifah and Natalie Portman... very pretty.... Yawn.

Looooooove Beyonce, Loooooove Sophia Loren, both of them are beautiful women but on this occasion, I only have two words for them.... Spaghetti Western.

When Brad and Angelina emerged from their Limo... I screamed! OMJ!!!! I've seen this act before...............

81st Academy Awards

77th Academy Awards

My Favorite moment of the Red Carpet - Tilda Swinton!!!
Mickey Rourke - "Jean Paul Gaultier did me a real solid"

Friday, February 13, 2009


My good friend and sculptor Loraine has gathered some of her creative friends via email for a craft swap. We made hats! This is how it works: she pairs us up, decides on a time frame, we exchange addresses, likes and dislikes, favorite colors, etc. After we exchange hats, a photo of each artist in their hat is posted on your social network of choice... we are using Flicker for this one. This is a picture of me in the hat I made!

Try this at home! Most of us have to be commercially creative to make a living, but just being creative for no other reason than ... life, changes your brain chemistry for the better (disclaimer: that's just my opinion).

... so Carbon Foot Prints!!! While I contemplate my carbon footprint and write this blog, a documentary on Israeli furrier Stephan Braun plays in the background. See, that's how my life is. I'm in limbo, part of me is so earth friendly and part of me loves leather handbags and fake fur. I know my hard core veggie fashionista's are rolling their eyes, ... and want to smack me with a hemp tote filled with non animal tested cosmetics (you know who you are), ......but have patience, I'll get there. By the way, the earth friendly fashion designers are putting out some pretty amazing things, ... Stella McCartney has become one of my favorites.

But wait a minute this is about carbon foot prints. Reading about our American life style (thanks for all the articles) has been eye opening and made me very self conscious about the things I do and how it affects the earth.... I know, I know, it's so 'trendy' to be green, and watching fashion trends like I do, I think seasons of excess are in our future and much of our 'be green' will be lost, but ..... right now all of that responsibility has had a snowball affect on other areas of my life.
Spiritually - meditating every morning, yoga... financially - separate accounts for bills, making regular donations... amazing, really life changing. Speaking of being responsible financially and environmentally, a funny thing happened to me at the grocery:

Alright, so you know that I keep a separate accounts ... after paying all the bills on line, and feeling great because there's still money left over. Which means we're really saving energy.... fantastic....... I decide to take that extra money ($200) to the Fresh Grocer (Spend! Stimulate the economy! ). We need raisin, date and walnut oatmeal, the cappuccino flavored hot chocolate, popcorn,.... I'm just grabbing stuff, price is no object, my responsible lifestyle has given me this freedom. Finally, I get up to the counter and I stop the girl who was bagging my groceries, because I brought my own earth friendly shopping bags, no need to waste the plastic,... she and the cashier roll their eyes at each other and the bagger walks away,........................ Where is she going? WTF? I didn't mean I wanted to bag it, I just don't want to waste the plastic! Ohhhhh kaaayyyy, whatever, I can bag my own stuff,... cashier asks if I have a fresh grocer card, yes I do, she swipes it, I finish bagging and walk away.
"Scuse me? Miss.... You didn't pay".
Oops!!! I switch back to the counter, slow too, 'cause I'm still irritated by the bagger, I swipe my card.
"Debit or credit?"
"Your card is declined do you wanna try credit?"
Now the bagger is back, she wants to watch this recycling Biatch go down.
I poke my lips out and roll my eyes, like I do 'cause I know they did something to the cash register.
"No... let's try again."
I got all day.... you wanna play games? Bring it.
Cashier swings the screen towards me, - DECLINED.- right there in green neon.
Deep breath. Whooo Sahhhh. I put my green 'Save the Earth' bag on the belt and rock my neck, "Where is your ATM?"
Both of them stand there looking pleased and point to the left, like synchronized swimmers. Whatevah..... I got money, and I don't give two shits about holding your line up.

Long story short, I have $32 in that account. OMJ!!!! I know I didn't carry the 1 or divide by 2 or something 'cause .... I swore I had $200 in there. Whatevahhhhh......, I'll use my ..... other .... card....Ugh! That is still at home in my everyday clutch. Damn! I took $20 out and dug through my pockets and purse for the other $24.12..... thank God for those 6 laundry quarters.

The elderly lady behind me was so sweet.... '"you OK? Do you have enough, Baby?", taking out her little zippered shell shaped purse. Ahhhhhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.!!!!!!!!

Kept my head up, checked my make-up in the security monitor, Ryan has left the building. Then I laughed like a hyena for two blocks.

There are at least a thousand websites for checking your carbon footprint, do it! .... and many more on the damage the fashion industry has done to our earth as well. Google away, and raise your consciousness.


Thursday, February 12, 2009


I've been thinking about image a lot these days. And how we are perceived? ..... by our colleagues, family, .... old friends, new friends... on facebook, .... Youtube.... in shape, out of shape? How close is all of that to who I really am? If you could see me shopping on-line, in a semi lotus position, in pajamas and my boyfriend's socks..... would you think - 'That's a successful business woman!'

* His socks are soooo comfy. (Get the kind that soccer players wear for games) Shhhhh, never tell, but this is the reason he can never find them.*

We've all been watching the Obamas and .... OK before I finish that thought, all politics aside, Barack Hussein Obama is the 44Th President of the United States. Amazing. Uh - Maze - Zing..... So.... where was I? .... Right, so we've been watching the Obamas and they have a certain personal style that befit a President and First Lady, but they also exude a kind of young, coolness too. I'm wondering, how far could they stray from that? I mean, lets say I meet all the other qualifications, could I be president with my 'Boon Docks' hair -

Need to go to Michelle's shop - - and get some twists or something. I'm so lazy with my hair, when I leave the house, it usually doesn't look much different from when I get out of bed.

So..... with my big natural hair (that I have grown to love) and big Hollywood Sunglasses?...... What would the American People think about their President sitting front row at Fashion Week ...'Cause if I'm the President of the free world, ya think I'll still be watching Fashion Week on, Hellz no. Actually, we could spin that .... 'supporting business and the fashion industry... I could tack on a little cause du jour and voila, still doing my duty. How would we feel about President Ryan ordering $4,000 gowns and having the presidential motorcade stop at Prada Soho? I mean does that have any bearing on what kind of President I am. Oh Jesus! Would I have to get married? Or... could I take my beloved live-in along. I can imagine him getting the Secret Service together for a pick up game on the White House Lawn. Anyway my point is.... what is my point? No... there aren't any conclusions or revelations, just.... I've been thinking about image, and how we use it, .... sell it..... exploit it ... and its consequences.

I wonder what people see, ... Am I selling an image? I know one thing, I haven't been looking like a designer lately (Still unpacking! When will it end?).

So.... how did all this pondering come about? James Waddington III posted this picture of me on facebook. It was the first time I had ever seen it. When I look at this girl...... I don't have the words, I'll try, ... this image is a reflection of me that I haven't seen in a long time. Thanks James.

Happy New Year! 2009!

It's January 19Th and not quite to late for a "Happy New Year!' Post, but this last month has been hectic. I moved.... need I say more?

The building I was living in became a challenge to share. When you live in the city, you are blessed to coexist with a very diverse group of people, cultures, and personalities. Unfortunately, there are times, when no matter how much tolerance and patience you possess, those differences can make life very difficult.

A certain 'Lady of the Evening' moved into an apartment on the floor below mine and as everyone became aware of her... business. A posse dubbed 'Operation Git Ridda Ho" was formed. A President and Treasurer were appointed, and they went to work.

"Should we organize a march? Write letters? I know... lets start a petition, canvas the neighborhood. Call our State Representative! "

I did not sign up. It's not my right to tell an adult woman what she can or can not do with her body. She did not have a home office, so... live and let live. Honestly, it was not an easy stand to take. The other neighborly women were offended by her very existence, and were equally nauseated by my choice not to pick up a pitchfork and join the angry mob.

Side Bar - She returned from a .... 'gig' in Vegas wearing the most gorgeous, softest looking leather knee high stiletto boots and Louis Vuitton carry - on that I have ever seen. I wanted to know so badly what brand those boots were, but ... after not joining 'Operation Git Ridda Ho', girl talk about designer boots would have turned the pitch forks on me too. I want to live to see many more Fall, Resort, and Spring seasons, so I could only admire from a safe distance, which according to the O.G.R.H. Handbook is 4 to 5 feet at all times.

Long story short... the economy being what it is, Hot Mama had to cut her overhead and move to a more modest location. You guessed it! She started bringing her work home! That's when our little main street became a four lane expressway, and not a state trooper in sight. The posse was livid. So was I! I had defended her right to be a Ho, and now her Ho Boots were stompin' all over my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. To late to join the posse? I jumped ship. The charm of being the last to join 'Operation Git Ridda Ho' and being the first to evacuate is not lost on my neighbors. I know because I only moved a block away and they have been so sweet in letting me know their feelings. Maybe they were right. Nip it in the bud.

So... speaking of the economy, the other reason I moved is space. Not unlike my working girl neighbor, the economy has made my overhead... taxing. That's right! This Hot Mama is working from a home office as well. I'm going to focus on jewelry and accessories, as opposed to dresses. I needed to make this decision well before the lure of prom season has my hand 10 feet out for the money. It's bittersweet, but we have closed the doors on the studio in Manayunk. I love that space and it became a fashion sanctuary for me, but... working from home on smaller projects gives me the flexibility to work at 5 AM or 11:30 PM and on more projects at a time. I could go on and on, but let's just wrap it up by saying that my business plans are moving in a new direction.

'The only constant is change. Change is the only constant.' - Heraclitus

This year is about 'gettin' my hustle on', and being flexible.


2009 Golden Globes

This is the year of statement jewelry. Thank God, because I love a big bauble... or two. Loooooooved the jewelry on the Golden Globe carpet. The dresses? Not so much.
There was a flood of ecru, oatmeal, nude, almost gray, almost white, neutral frocks. To be fair, two of them were fantastic, but... if this blog had sound effects ... insert snore here.

With all the bold jewelry, the stylist played it safe with the dresses. I know it's the most pupil dilating, anxiety attacking experience to style a star for the red carpet, but if that's what you do... why play it so safe? OK, let's not make this about the stylist, .... let's face it, we've all strutted out the door in some monstrosity, and had we had a stylist, that terrible moment of catching your reflection in Macy's window and thinking "Who? What the hell am I wearing?", could have been avoided.

So my favorites of the oatmeal brigade are (drum roll) ...

America Ferrera in Oscar de la Renta

And Eva Mendes in Christian Dior.

The women who really showed their high fashion IQ were -

Maggie Gyllenhaal
 Ya know it's not for the masses, but does she follow fashion and understand what looks good on her? Yes. Absolutely. She's an intelligent fashion girl and a serious actress. AND.. after sitting front row in Paris and at NY fashion week, there is no way she's getting gussied up like a Disney Princess for the red carpet. I get it. The fashion people who said she was under dressed, are a bunch of ... let's be polite, .. they're misinformed. It's Lanvin BTW and I didn't catch who's fantastic earrings those are. Email me.

I loved Marisa Tomei as well. I do think the sleeves were two ruffles too much, but .... it was a very smart 'woman' silhouette. At the end of the day, isn't that what we all want? Smart and womanly?

How about Drew Barrymore, channeling Marilyn Monroe? It worked! Who would have guessed?

Beyonce and
JLo, we've seen these dresses before, no?

red carpets to come, can't wait!!!

Oh and the Obama and Biden dresses!!!! Ah...... fashion.

At the DMV

So... yesterday I went to the DMV to get my ID changed, yes.... I've moved! Anyway more about that when I finally write my New Years Blog. So... went in gave my $12 money order (why can't they just take my card? Huh?) got a number, filled out the form and waited my turn. All around the the 'institution green' walls were little signs to help you follow the rules, - Make sure you are aware of what number you have - Listen for your number or name - Please have your forms filled out before you get to the window - We politely ask that you do not use your cell phone - Put your Cell phones on silent. Very simple. Then why are people running around doing everything wrong. Listen for your number and name! Why are you filling out your form and walking up to the window. Why do you snap out when you get to the window and are reseated because your form is not filled out. Oh My Jesus! At this point I have my lips poked out, arms folded, completely above the peons below me, and so irritated. And then from somewhere deep in the recessives of my studded leather tote, come the distinct styling of Jay-Z. "No one on the corner got swaggah like us, swaggah like us" Damn. How 'bout I didn't turn my cell phone off and of course its at the bottom of my bag. Now security is giving me the crooked eye. So I start laughing like a hyena and can't stop. It was a mad house!

Oscars 2007

Sorry, I didn't get back to you right away. Kate Capshaw was the most chic and daring, hands down, in Armani Prive'. Every designer will be inspired by that sheer over sequin number, including me. Djimon, looked good in that chocolate. Jennifer Hudson looked liked Judy Jetson in that jacket, but she looked fab onstage. Gwyneth looked very womanly and shapely in Zac Posen. I'm so happy that she's not doing the 'princess' thing. She needs some cutlets in the bra though, just to fill her out a little. Rachel Weiss in Vera Wang. Fab. A lot of people didn't like the big necklace with it, I did. Yes, it was OTT (over the top), but this is the Oscars. Speaking of over the top. Nicole Kidman. Gorgeous dress, didn't need the bow that looked like her Siamese twin looking over her shoulder. Beyonce looked a hot mess. It was Armani, but I could have sworn it was the House of Dereon. Merryl.... well she looked....crazy. Penelope Cruz. It must have looked better in person 'cause all the fashion pundits were swooning but I just,..... it was OK. How 'bout the former Mrs. Edmonds with the mirrors on her chest, she needed Jesus. Kate Winslet was just to plain, it was pretty, but she could have just as easily been going to Aunt Sadie's wedding reception. George Clooney is trying so hard to do Clark Gable. Hmmmm.... the comb over hair thing with the severe side part was part of Leo's 'do' too. Naomi Watts. Pretty. But... didn't we see that dress last year on someone? Helen Mirren! I should be so lucky to look that vibrant at that age. I like the way she's keepin' it kinda young instead of going handsomely chic, like many icons do after a 'certain' age. Why didn't the girls from the Devil Wears Prada, wear Prada? Emily Blunt in Calvin Klein looked good, but not Fab. Calvin Klein looks so 'Department Store' these days. Hope you had as much fun watching as I did. I'd like to thank the Academy, for another year of red carpet glory.