Hot Art + Design Festivals happenings in May


May is starting out with a big  bang this month is jumping with loads of of art and design fairs and festivals all over NYC. The second week in May 8-19th starts off with a bang—it’s  NYCX DESIGN loads of events taking place in Industrial City in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Next up is WantedDesignNY and ICFF both take place from May 15th-19th, and luckily you can walk between the two venues. Since WantedDesign is happening in two locations they visitors can take the shuttle bus running between both locations.


Did I mention Art Fairs happening this weekend too, for the time ART FLUX in Harlem opens at the newly renovated Corn exchange Building on 125th Street. And if you love eating make sure to check out HARLEM EATUP both are surely to attracts loads of hungry people all eager to experience art and chow down at the best restaurants in the neighborhood.

Inside Out. Polish Graphic Design in the Making: From a pencil sketch to the final click – graphic design and illustrations in the making organized will present a extraordinary exhibition of works by Polish designers and illustrators during WantedDesign festival from 15th to 18th May, 2015 in New York. The curators of this stand out exhibition focus not just on the final product: a poster, a book, a dress, a plate or a package, but also on the process of the product’s development.

art food 2013 prace 3_7043398 full_magda_pilaczynska_pegasus_tear_look_at_me_plates_fot_malgorzata_turczynska_770 iam_verygraphic_2


05 2015

BRIDGET PARRIS: Dresses up your table

Bridget Parris, tabletop designer holding one of her paintings.

Bridget Parris holding one of her whimsical paintings.

Imagine sitting at your best friends dinner table more befitting of what you would expect from the  late Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen. The guest in a wildly festival partying mood and laid out before you is an outrageously hyperstylized table that’s arrangement is whimsical and subliminal flowing with oversized candle holders, odd shaped water goblets, and unusual textured linens. These same forces are what drives Bridget Parris imagination to create beautiful and outlandish tabletop and textile designs.

Bridget Parris has parlayed a fine arts degree in painting into an award-winning career in tabletop and textile design. As if that’s not enough, Parris has broaden her repertoire with another degree in fashion design at Parsons the New School of Design in Manhattan. Parris spends much of her artistic energy merging home décor with fashion, seeking out the best of each medium to implore in her work.

Bridget Parris’s studio located in loft-like building in the trendy Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The space is small, but welcoming bright white walls are graced with a series of colorful paintings depicting lively whimsical figures catch and delight the eyes. These paintings represent her love of everything French.

Strong themes weave through Parris’ paintings and home creations; blend, interlock, curl, and stretch your imagination. Her designs are cross sampling of painting and product design; add much needed color to drab place settings or dresses-up austere living rooms.

Bridget Parris was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today, her beloved former city is considered one of the hottest design places in the country touting company’s like Kohl’s, four major design schools and a slew top design firms. Growing up, Bridget admits this was not the case. Creative problem solving in Parris’ blood; her father a German immigrant worked as a Research & Development Engineer for Johnson Controls producing heating and cooling systems, and holds six patents and. Software copyrights. Her mother a high school mathematics teacher steered her two children towards local cultural activities and to follow their bliss.

Parris says, she was drawn to art at an early age and later supported by her high school teacher. Enrolling in Southern Illinois University, urged by her father to study art education convinced she would always have a study job. Bored in her first year Parris switched to Fine Arts studying painting, graduated in 1991. Eager to learn new things and explore she earned a MFA in painting and drawing in 1994 from Louisiana State University. That same year with only a drawing and painting portfolio, she moved to New York City. But realized that was not enough took textile design classes at School of Visual Art built-up her portfolio and supplemented her income with a temping job in Macy’s hard good department.

But, as fate would have it, her then boss Jill Anderson, Brand Manager eyed Bridget doodling in a notebook. A quick conversation ensued and Parris was introduced to Alex Bates, Design Director of the textile Department. Parris was hired to freelance in the hard goods department, where she later honed her 3-D technical drawing skills.

Within a few months Bates recommended Parris for an entry-level design position. Parris was stunned that she was hired and that she beat out more highly skilled industrial design students from Pratt Institute. She credits having studied painting and drawing over Industrial design, and that Bates liked her.

At Macy’s Parris blossomed; creating seasonal product lines and interfaced with the marketing department, plus traveled twice a year overseeing production with vendors and suppliers in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Asia, India and parts of Mexico. These vendors taught her the importance of craftsmanship.

Parris left in August 1998, consulting as trend forecaster and advised clients on the latest trends in color and fashion themes translate into new product lines. Later that same year she setup studio in Dumbo’s artsy neighborhood nestled between Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. (Only to be priced out five years later).

Branching out in 2004, Bridget Parris landed a plum position as Senior Designer for Anthropologie home stores and catalog division. Parris described, her experience as being more experimental, but it was getting to draw everyday made that job a heavenly experience. She created some of her more distinctive designs such as glassware, lamps, clocks, ceramics, frames and vases. Parris explains that, Johanna UUrasjarui, Design Director, put her through a rigorous test creating a series of moods boards for seasonal line of new products. Creating series of elaborate mood boards composed from piles of magazine and catalog swipes, fabric swatches, and household objects, she composed vignettes that were photographed and sent off. It was with these extraordinary mood boards that she landed the job. With her career soaring, and her designs were featured in home décor and lifestyle magazines from Oprah Home, Real Simple, InStyle and Domino and on the lifestyle blog designSponge.


Pitcher and Creamer designed for Anthropologie

Clicking through Parris’ online portfolio, showcases the brevity of her designs every thing from organic shaped ceramic vases, dishes in a dazzling array of colors; brass doorknobs, garden bubble glass and retro inspired jewelry draw pulls. Parris’s influences are broad; from her fine arts and fashion design education she cites influences from French Decorative Art, Alexander McQueen and 70s textiles patterns. Pattern and forms play a big influence in her work, and is combined with research on French Dansk wallpaper, Maria Antoinette’s fashions, old engravings, and objects found in nature.

One Perfect, example the ornate Marie Antoinette Clock, cast in resin inspired from by Marie Antoinette fashion.

With Twos’ Company, Parris designed two major collections: 2008 Fall/Holiday Collection, and the 2009 Summer Collection.  Each collection rooted in cross cultural sampling inspired by the unique embroidery and applique details of fashion garments from the Himalayas, Tibet, Lhasa, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.



White porcelain dishes for Anthropologie

Her inspiration for the Summer Collection was a mixture of Moroccan and Palm Springs Style inspired by the colorful palette of lush oranges and pinks, and Palm Springs Green with brilliant White. Parris designs included a beach bags, hostess aprons, picture frames, a shell shaped porcelain teapot with sugar and creamer, lotus flower shaped soaps on a leaf shaped dish, there was even a tennis racket cover/bag and cases for sunglasses.  For indoor tabletop, she designed a fabulous collection of mouth blown borosilicate glass vases, bell jars, candleholders and server ware inspired by Medieval Venetian Glassware she collaborated closely with design director, Mark Ross of Two’s Company, for this collection.

Parris left Anthropologie in 2009, moved back to New York City once again consulting as trend forecaster and teaching senior thesis in the Product Design Department at Parsons Design School. That same year for three months starting in May, Parris was artist-in-residence at the Museum of Art and Design Open Studio. In an airy top floor studio filled with natural light flowing from tall windows looking out over Columbus Circle, she produced a tall Grecian column style Porcelain Lamp and displayed molds, technical drawings, her portfolio, plus several ceramic products designed for Anthropologie Stores and a few ceramic sculptures. MAD’s open studios differ visitors were welcomed much like in a gallery setting to watch and engage Parris working.


Bridget working on a lamp at the Museum of Art and Design during her residency.

For the last few years Parris worked with Spring Global as Design Director overseeing the Home Textiles in bedding, bath and gift product categories building clients brands. Parris resigned in early 2012.

Sitting in her Williamsburg studio we chatted about many things from; her paintings, Alexander McQueen’s outrageous headpieces featured in the “Savage Beauty,” Exhibit held in 2010 at the Metropolitan Museum. Parris describes McQueen’s style as follows, “He has a unique way of working with shapes, and he meshes materials together; that challenges the notion of consumer’s imagination beyond typical tabletop design. She simply states, “I love the Gold Gilded Cage; it’s a beautiful example of craft at its highest level.

Today, home goods design seriously diminished we’re a culture over populated with low budget products made by retailers such as Ikea, West Elm and Pottery Barn makes it hard to compete or for designers to create quality work.

Parris explains, as a mechanical engineer my dad was more concerned with the functionality of products, while I was more concerned with the beauty of objects. Yet, it wasn’t until I had worked for several years designing tabletop and hard goods that realized how much our worlds crisscrossed.

Now, I enjoy long conversations with my dad about how products are made. And it feels good that we connect over design.

Bridget Parris works can be viewed at




08 2013

Transforming Our Public and Privately Owned Public Spaces

The visual and information design three class were assigned a Poster Design project each charged with the task of reimaging seating in a public space (park), which includes Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). They then visited their selected sites, observed visitors experiencing the space; came up with a theme to recreate seating that would be interpreted as a poster. All wrote an essay defining the visitors experience and the space redesign. Some themes from assigned readings, online resources, website links plus a short film featuring Chris Holmes, user-experience researcher discussing his teams work with the Municipal Arts Society new POPS website. Such resources will enable them to further hash out themes for their design of the poster and seating, and essay, along with photos documenting site visits. From this a series of poster and seating sketches were developed, and some material examples. The final designs show a mix of themes and critical thinking. For example, students like Kelly McCrossin and Russell Howe chose the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center; (formerly Reebok Climbing Wall), is a POPS site. The duos choose reclaimed wood for seating which perfectly compliments the swath of greenery that covers living plant wall designed by the award-winning firm Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects. In contrast Daniella Shin’s waterfront environment the Chelsea Cove of Hudson River Park she created “My Adobe,” a multifunctional bike stand with a table crafted from bamboo. Riders can easily access Wi-Fi to check email, or relax to drink water and eat or read while taking in the scenic views of the Hudson River. Jennifer Coppola selected the Highline; one block away from the waterfront in trendy Chelsea neighborhood this elevated pedestrian concrete style boardwalk stretches from 14th Street to 23rd street offers visitor’s majestic views of Jersey City and NYC landscape. Concerned by the lack of adequate sitting inspired Jennifer to consider adding more seating to make for a better visitor experience. 
The two students Katia Bourbon and Nicole Abesamis worked on Paley Park a respite from the city. This small three-sided privately owned-public space located on 3 West 53rd Street. Upcycling seating made from automobile tires inspired Kytzia; the chairs cushions are bright green grass, retrofitted with legs made from reclaimed wood. Nicole crafts anthropomorphic shaped rock seating meant to invigorate Paley Park with organic spatial design, as if designed by nature. Both students disliked the Bertoia wire mesh side chairs which reminded them too much of lunch hour scene from Mad Men television show. Yet, they kept the theme of the streaming waterfall muffling the hustle and bustle of midtown traffic. 
Socrates Sculpture Park, is located in Long Island City in Queens, two students Jane Choi and Kelsey Bryden introduced seating resembling iconic symbols of the parks existing sculpture—transforming the parks urban decay to more family friendly.  
Each student wrote a 500-word essay that describes the location, observation of seating, the functionality and social interactivity, and the spaces architectural design team. My goal was to get the student’s to look at the seating as an object; allow the object to define the space with the visitor in mind. There were concerns with concept development to not use the history as a way of interpreting the reimaging. The student’s research and what they wrote was not part of the poster text; but it did become a part of the process of solving the problem. And the writing helps them to see the larger context of the problem and to shape their design thinking. They framed the writing process in terms of experience (the user and visitor). Some of the essays focused on the outdated mode of furnishings, drab ambience or eco-friendly materials; others on the lack of public art and poorly designed signage. My hope that the students understand the necessity for maintaining public spaces and how this has a profound effect on their daily lives of living and working in an urban environment.


Berlin-based MADE recently premiered their latest project, “REƧƎƎИ: A TRANSFORMATION OF VISUALISATIONS.” Eight creative individuals from different artistic fields were brought together for an exchange of ideas. Starting with the images of hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion, seven Berlin-based artists were given the opportunity to make their mark on an image of their choosing. In addition to Jonathan Mannion, the other seven creatives were Amine BendriouichChristian AweConny DreherEbon HeathGood Wives and WarriorsLukas Feireiss and Noelle. Watch as the eight creatives first meet up in Mannion’s NYC studio and then make their way over to MADE in Berlin with stops at each artist’s studio along the way. If you happen to be in Berlin make sure to check out the “REƧƎƎИ” exhibition going on now at MADE from September 4 through the 22nd, located at Alexanderstrasse 7 in Berlin, Germany.


09 2012

Daniel Minter: Two Worlds & The Colorful Story Of Okra

Daniel Minter began working in 1980 as a painter, illustrator, and computer graphics artist. Minter has illustrated nine children’s books, including Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story, winner of a Best Book Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, and The Riches of Oseola McCarty, named an Honor Book by the Carter G. Woodson Awards. Minter’s paintings and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums including the Seattle Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College, Hammonds House Museum and the Meridian International Center. Minter is the founding director and vice-president of Maine Freedom Trails, Inc. He created the markers for the Portland Freedom Trail, which identifies significant sites related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Portland, Maine. He created the 2004 Kwanzaa stamp and the 2011 Kwanzaa stamp for the U.S. Postal Service. Minter lives in Portland, Maine with his wife, Marcia, and son, Azari Ayindé.


07 2012

Montserrat Daubon and Pedro Villalta Pod Sculpture Livens Up Lenox Avenue

Driving or walking north of 50th street on Park Avenue, you can’t help but notice the Park Avenue Malls Public Art installation. Now Harlemnites can rave about their own public arts project mounted by two local artists Montserrat Daubon and Pedro Villalta. The duo erected the first public art on Lenox Avenue and 124th Street median, sought help through the local community organization by submitting a proposal to the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, who aided them in securing permits from DOT, that also awarded them $1000.00. Requiring more funding from completion of the project, the artists launched major Kickstarter campaign raising $8,520.00, surpassing their goal of $7,500.00 needed to complete this project.

“The Pod” organic shape—made of hollow steel, viewers get to feel the rough surface texture layered with dripped bronze over the surface skin. Looming above trees and pedestrians the foreboding sculpture stands 10 feet tall, and 3 feet at its widest point and it’s mounted on a tiered series of steel plates. Sadly, the pod sculpture slotted for only 11-month, but its still exciting seeing public art on Lenox Avenue liven up Harlem’s booming cultural scene. I’m enjoying seeing “The Pod” on Lenox Avenue, and hoping the duo or other artist creates more exploratory artistic projects. Better yet, let’s create a Harlem Public Art Fund.



06 2012

Treasures of Pratt Institute

Watch Treasures of New York: Pratt Institute on PBS. See more from THIRTEEN Specials.

From its inception through the 21st century, Pratt has counted among its faculty those whose works became the lexicon of industrial design. Eva Zeisel’s Museum Dinnerware, Morison S. Cousins’ Promax Compact Hairdryer, and Karim Rashid’s reusable Bobble Water Bottle are all part of the archive of the Museum of Modern Art. Pratt also helped develop such versatile artistic sensibilities that included Pamela Colman Smith’s The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck and Jeremy Scott’s avant-garde fashion


06 2012

And Counting…And Counting More Ways

SPARE BEATS: Happenings Near You

[cincopa AEIAk6KvyFIM]

art> MARGARET ROSE VENDRYES’ new African Diva series 33 1/3: Pushing the Needle, a series of the hottest and sexiest divas from 70s and 80s (pictured above); offers up a radical commentary on and comparison of the gender in African Culture and contemporary society. The show opens this week May 29th  through June 16th, 2012, at the Gelabert Studios Gallery, 255 West 86th St NYC (212) 874-7188. Stop by for the opening reception on Saturday, June 2, 4‐7pm. For more information contact: Tucker Contemporary Art website at

11,541 red chairs set up in Sarajevo as a memorial to the victims of the Bosnian War.

urbanism>Did you know that pirates were once hanged from the gallows on the island where the Statue of Liberty now stands? Want to unearth more  unusual or wacky facts about NYC then you’ll love learning about Angela Riechers countless stories on her new website Sites of Memory, a map-based website accompanied by smartphone tours that reattach the stories of New York City’s forgotten dead to the urban landscape. Best of all are the audio narration by Kurt Andersen, Lewis H. Lapham, and Luc Sante. Did I mention that Angela Riechers a designer and writer, and D-Crittert buddy from School of Visual Arts.  

food> More D-Critters on the up and up, Hala Abdulmalak launches Kettle Falafel, at the Hester Street Fair on the lower eastside in Manhattan this coming Saturday June 2, stop by to try out the best Falafel sandwiches in the city. I love my falafel topped off with hot sauce. Kettle Falafel is stuffed in thinly rolled whole-wheat pita dripping with tangy mint sauce, homemade made from scratch with the freshest of organic ingredients.


05 2012

Xenobia Bailey: The Aesthetic of Funk

Fiber artist Xenobia Bailey makes crocheted hats that are anything but typical. Her hats are objects with odd shapes and forms, embellished with feathers and beads and luscious color combinations intricately woven into patterns that are outrageously beautiful one-of-kind hats. Her hats are eye grabbing. Each hat is a showstopper, and each wearer a performer turning passerbyers heads. On the streets people stop in awe of Xenobia’s hats curiously questioning. Where did you get that cool hat?

She’s embodies a modernist flair decked in stylish Mies Van der Rohe black round eyeglasses, her clothes crocheted in brilliant colors and patterns, and textures emotes what this prolific fiber artists calls, “funk.” As a fiber artist her hats are a blending of tactile textures, rich patterns and anthropomorphic shapes, seeing her hats I can’t help but think of the ebullient spices in New Orleans flavorful gumbo stew. She likens her aesthetic to the syncopated beats of funk music informed by African patterns found in textiles and architecture, and the rhythms of global music practices of call and response. She has BA in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. Xenobia’s work links the symbiotic relationship between her design background and being a fiber-artist.

If you missed her exquisitely crocheted hats at the Global Africa Project held at Museum of Art and Design in 2010, then visit for more information on her work. She’s represented by STUX gallery in NYC and listing on upcoming shows and more of her work can be found on Thinking of wearing an original Neo-Funky crocheted hat make sure to visit Xenobia Bailey’s Etsy shop. 


04 2012