New Neighborhood Alert! Sunset Park
and the Burgeoning Industry City Food Hall

As summer finally heats up, get your cool on by heading out to the newest up-and-coming nabe  in Brooklyn – Sunset Park’s waterfront art area anchored by the Industry City Food Hall and Factory Floor.

Industry City Food Hall, Sunset Park Brooklyn

Industry City Food Hall, Sunset Park Brooklyn

A quick ride on the N express takes you to the 36th Street stop, where you walk west to the water. Trust me, this will be the next new “Chelsea Market” of hipsterville (Chelsea market developers own 50% of this venture). Already anchoring the retail fashion, food and art scene  are the Nets, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Steve & Andy’s Organics Modern Primitive Café, Ninja Bubble Tea, Colson Patisserie. Slated are The Fashion Chef, Ruby Beets’ vintage furniture and Liddabit Sweets.

Time it right and hit an outdoor movie, or dance to Mister Sunday’s curated affairs, all while dining al fresco in the City’s open courtyard under the sun and stars.

Under the El walking west from N train 36th Street Stop

Under 278, walking west from N train 36th Street Stop

Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall

Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall Industry City Food Hall

The Maine Attraction

Maine Smith

A couple of weekends ago, under the expert Brooklyn tutelage of my dear friend *m, I felt the pull of a distant New York, the pangs of artistic urgings and the mysteries of neighborhoods unexplored. Getting off the Brooklyn bus at the corner of Nostrand and Atlantic, I sensed a New York similar to the one I relocated to in 1985, parts dilapidated, underdeveloped, gentrification happening practically before my eyes. We had stepped into, for me,  uncharted areas of Bed-Stuy and the sense of adventure was palpable.

I love *m’s indefatigable sense of exploration of the city, style, art and fashion and her desire to share with me that day her friend Maine Smith’s Eniam’s Closet (an anagram of the artist’s name) and his Future Now collection.  What a fantastic whirl of energy exuding from this former North Carolinian and his friends working the showroom with him. As Maine says in his Etsy bio: “I’m an artist, art director and photographer who finds creative inspiration through the concepts of story narration, human experience and life. I believe … Life is recycled energy from which creation occurs.”

Artist Maine Smith

Artist Maine Smith

Recycled energy pervaded the studio sale/art gallery event Maine held on a recent Saturday afternoon, manifested in a compilation of mixed media art pieces, mostly recycled from found objects, others painted, tag-like, with Maine’s curious sense of philosophy, as well as vintage clothing and Eniam’s hand-painted tees, bags, woven shirts.

Eniam's Closet

*m with her new Eniam hand tagged bag

*m with her new Eniam hand tagged bag

Also there, the sickest hand knit scarf sets created by Maine’s aunt, the best being the indigo version I snagged and the camo set with pocket scarf, cap and fingerless glovelets. Check out his Kate Moss canvas tagged with “Apres Moi le Deluge.” Of course, my favorite (I’m stuck in an indigo vortex right now) was the slightly rumpled French military coat, last photo, that Maine brought back from Paris. But don’t look for it there, though. It made it’s way to Manhattan and it’s future now is in my wardrobe. Check out Maine and Eniam’s Closet on Etsy…and off in the Brooklyn reaches of Dekalb Avenue.Eniam's Closet

Maine Smith Maine Smith

Maine Smith

Artist and Designer Jason Miller – FW’s Friday:5ive

I fell in love with Jason Miller‘s studio work when I supposed to profile him in the launch issue of a debuting gift-centric magazine. The article never happened, but I — on a whim — asked if he’d partake in one of FashionWhirled’s upcoming Friday:5ive features. He acquiesced and are we ever the grateful blogger on this end!

Jason Miller, the artist

His artwork is whimsical and enduring. Plates, like these below, caught my eye immediately. Called “Seconds,” they are a pun (my favorite form of humor) on multiple levels, visually as well as verbally.

Jason Miller Dinner Plate Set, “Seconds”

This Brooklyn-ite founded the Jason Miller Studio in 2001, and has enjoyed solo shows worldwide, from Istanbul to Milan to Miami. In 2010, the Brooklyn Museum named him “Designer of the Year,” and his work remains a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Design, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Brooklyn Museum. As a compliment to his studio, Jason recently formed Roll & Hill, a contemporary lighting company producing work by a select group of designers, with Jason as the Creative Director and CEO.

FashionWhirled:  As an artist, what role does fashion or style play in your everyday life, personally and as a product designer? How does your personal style inspire your designs for Jason Miller Studio overall? For individual collections, such as “Daydreams?” (i.e., it seems you have a tenacious personal style of design!)

Jason Miller “Daydreams” mirror

Jason Miller: I have to say I have fantasies of refining my wardrobe to such a degree, that there are no choices left to make. I’d love to whittle it down to the perfect pair of jeans (APC), the perfect blue button-down shirt (still undecided) and the perfect pair of shoes (Vans, different styles according to season). In practice it’s not quite as dogmatic, however, I think the process of refinement is very similar to how I like to approach my work.

FW:  Your artwork and product pieces range from furniture to gift objects to tableware; I think my favorite pieces are your porcelain “Little Gift” and your “Seconds” dinner plates! What inspires you during your creative process? How would you describe your creative process? (It seems humor plays a big part in your designs…).

Jason Miller “Little Gift” porcelain cupcake

JM:  The two products you mention, Little Gift and Seconds, both came from a show I did in 2005 called “Ok As Is.” I was working with a specific idea about personal spaces that are outside of public view, such as the basement or garage. I am working with different ideas now, however, this is typical of how I like to work. That is, I like to think of a larger idea about living and then design pieces that fit within that framework.

FW:  Who would you say acts as your muse? Why and how do they inspire you?

JM:  I think I have finally gotten to a point in my career where I am confident enough in what I am doing that I can be self-directed. There are of course, millions of things out there that I find inspiring, however, I think my days of looking towards a muse are over. For now at least…

FW:  If you could have any notable individual — dead or alive — purchase Jason Miller pieces and use them within their home, who would it be and why? How would you change their home or decorating or home accessorizing style and why?

JM:  Someone once told me that an installation I made looked “very Tom Ford.” I can’t think of someone who I would rather have interested in my products.

Designer Tom Ford from the documentary by Alex Folzi

FW:  What words of wisdom or inspiration, or daily affirmation do you live by, or at least strive to live by? And what legacy do you hope to leave to the future and why?

JM:  I hope people will simply think “Jason Miller was a good designer” when I’m gone. That is why I constantly ask myself, “Can this be done better?”

Jason Miller wooly chair of bison hide