Philadelphia +

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I spent a few days in Philadelphia and I got to enjoy the city a little bit. I head straight from the airport to The Philadelphia Museum of Art so I could soak in some of the beautiful art before it closed. I couldn't believe how many gorgeous pieces they had there-- my favorite impressionists all in one place. It was beautiful and wonderful.

I spent the rest of the time eating at delicious restaurants like Parc (see above sketches) The tree picture is right in front of the restaurant. I felt like I was in Paris, and that Francophile in me was very pleased, as I indulged in escargot (the last time I ate it was a while ago when I first lived in Paris)
 and it was trés authentique. I also had a nice trout, bread, and citron pressé. 

I visited Anthropologie headquarters and got a tour. What beautiful offices they have. They are right in this Naval Yard, so you see all of these aircraft carriers anchored in the harbor. Their offices are beautiful and just flooded with light, some so much so, that they need Thai beach umbrellas propped up over their spaces so they can see their computer monitors.
 It added a very cool look to the place. 

Go Jane Give

Thursday, April 14, 2016

While in London, I had the privilege of meeting Lindsey Phillips, co-founder of the non-profit ogranization Go Jane Give. As a working artist, she wanted to feature some photos on their site of me and my workspace. I was flattered, so photographer Kjrsten Madsen came to our little flat in Chiswick and we did a photo session there. As I heard more about the concept for this non-profit, I immediately wanted to be more involved.

 Go Jane Give is a non-profit organization, where women worldwide can use their talents and interests to create large (or small!) campaigns to raise money for different causes featured on their site. You can host a bake-sale, write personalized poetry, teach a yoga class, host a workshop, plan a talent show, anything you can think of to raise money for your specific cause. Your money will then go towards the cause you choose: help support refugees, stop child-trafficking, fight hunger, educate women worldwide, or build a life-saving business.

I know so many women every day, who work tirelessly towards doing good in their every day lives. It is not always a big deal to them, but I see them contribute as mothers, carers, nuturers, teachers, workers. These are women who want and do make a difference. Go Jane Give is a platform to help those type of women to use their daily endeavors to make an even larger contribution to the world.

All you have to do is sign up, choose your cause, and decide what it is you want to do to raise money, large or small. It's really up to you.

I'll be starting my campaign soon. What will yours be? Click here for more.

Photography by the wonderful Kjrsten Madsen

Miné Okubo + Utah Internment Camps

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's interesting the little bits of history you can find in little towns in Utah. 

My grandfather loves going on road-trips around here, he's always finding fun little things to see. One of his favorite places to visit (and take people) is Delta, Utah. It's a tiny little town about an 1.5 hours south of Provo. Have you ever been? (Tell me if you have!) I mentioned to him that I had been to LA to source fabric, so he took me to this fabric store there that he had been years ago (which is amazing if you love quilting and want to see some neat old sewing machines!) and they had a couple museums nearby too. One of them, which caught me by surprise, was the Topaz Japanese American Internment Camp Museum. 

In 1942, the government collected Japanese from across the USA (mostly in the West Coast) and put them in camps, to monitor them (which seriously makes my mind explode) There was a great deal of racism against the Japanese during the war, and Roosevelt wanted to make sure that the USA wasn't housing any spies. Over 127,000 people were put into these camps, and held for about 3 years.

First of all. How dare we. Many of these people were educated, born in the USA, and were working, functional members of society. They were doctors, nurses, teachers, industry workers. They contributed to society, and then all of a sudden, they were herded together and sent to camps in the middle of the desert to be watched. 

I'd known about these camps for a while now, but seeing this museum today really made it personal. I think a lot about refugees, and about Muslims in our own country who are being discriminated against because of ignorance and some of our current presidential candidates ( like monitoring Muslims? Seriously?) --- it's like we're going back in time. 

This museum had an incredible exhibit (which I encourage all of you Utahn's and non-Utahns to go to if you have a free day). It was absolutely worth it. 

The camps weren't like concentration camps in the way they were treated, but they were made up of very basic barracks, which could house up to 12 bunks to a room. There was a rec room, and they could do a lot of gardening, hold classes, and some, after a few months (when they realized they weren't actually spies), could go around town and work (thankfully!). 

A lot of them began having art classes, which is what the main exhibit at the museum was all about today. It was incredible how good some of these artists were. European-trained, many very, very prolific artists were detained here. One of my absolute favorites of the day was Japanese illustrator and artist Miné Okubo. Oh my goodness, her work was incredible. She had many different styles (which I relate to 100%) from illustrative, to painting, to block prints, to picasso-esque chalk drawings. 

Miné studied in Europe, and lived there for a while, until the war began making it too dangerous for her to stay. She went back to California to live, and then, as fate would have it, was sent to Topaz Internment Camp, in Delta, Utah. 

Ironic isn't it. 

Her work was so beautiful. My favorite were her simple ink brush work, she just captured the subjects so simply. 

She has a compilation of her drawings from the time in the camp called Citizen 13660.
 (You can get it here if you are interested).

She is my new hero and inspiration. 

The exhibit is up till September, but visit soon if you can!


What's New?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Oh Em Gee... I have been so busy. I wanted to post these photos to show you what you've missed in case you also have been super busy too and haven't been able to stop by. 
Here's what's up:

  • Went to LA to source fabric/manufacturers for a new endeavor with my dear Kiley from Wren&James... more details to come soon. It was a successful trip and we came back with a lot of funny stories and fabric (from places like MOOD) Also went to Malibu, where I've never been, nor had a desire to go, but it was pretty nice and I love the beach as long as there is sand and sun and waves. 
  • I've got new items going up on Nylon Shop-- so those will be posted this coming FRIDAY (see here!)
  • I've been doing commissions and portraits as per usual (you can get one too here)
  • I've been making mock-drawer knobs (see above Chinese faces)
Do you want to keep track of these happenings? Follow me on Instagram @mylittlebelleville

Life is very unexpected isn't it? That's been playing over and over in my head for weeks. 

Ta ta for now.

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