The age-old story about a starry-eyed newcomer’s rise to fame has been told many times before, yet seldom has it been expressed in such a thrilling way as in “42nd Street”. After months of tireless dedication, LaGuardia High School’s production of the show opened on December 7, 2017 for a two-week run. “42nd Street” was an exhilarating journey from the moment the curtains opened until the cast took their final bow.
Based on the book by Bradford Ropes and the 1933 movie, “42nd Street” tells the story of young Peggy Sawyer, a girl from Allentown, who dreams of making it on the big stage. On the bumpy road to stardom, she encounters setbacks and challenges, all the while, fighting for a spot in “Pretty Lady”, the most promising musical of the 30s. On the brink of giving up her dreams and heading back to Allentown, opportunity comes knocking. After an unexpected accident forces the show’s leading lady out of her role, Peggy helps to bring the production of “Pretty Lady” back on its feet. Passionate, driven, and genuine, Peggy’s performance is a tremendous success and catapults her to stardom. Full of drama, romance, and ultimate triumph, “42nd Street” is an uplifting show about the power of perseverance and achieving one’s dreams.
“42nd Street” showcased the talent of LaGuardia’s impressive dancers through the countless tap numbers that dominated the show. The ensemble pieces, choreographed by Ben Hartley were stunning and dynamic, giving the show a palpable energy. The orchestra, directed by Kevin Blancq, provided the exceptional music that supported the vibrant routines and vocal performances. Particularly impressive was Evan Dominguez's performance of Julian Marsh, a famed director searching for success in “Pretty Lady”. Dominguez was convincing in his dramatic portrayal of Marsh and his physical presence, emotional resonance, and booming voice brought the character fully to life.
Especially notable were the costumes designed by David Quinn with help from LaGuardia students Catherine Bibby and Destynie Julian. From the glamorous fur robe worn during Dorothy Brock’s (played by Isabela Ferrer/Ashley Muench) entrance to the gold glittery get-ups used for the finale, the costumes dazzled the audience every second of the way. The inclusion of simple, yet impressive setpieces helped to transport the audience to the streets of New York and Pennsylvania. Additionally, the intricate carvings framing the stage and the neon signs that resembled the shining lights on Broadway, elevated the production, making the extraordinary story just a little more believable.
“42nd Street” was a major hit amongst the audience of students, parents, and New Yorkers coming to witness the immense talent of LaGuardia’s students and faculty. A well-deserved success, the mesmerizing music, eye-popping choreography, and the beloved story makes LaGuardia’s “42nd Street” a true marvel.
In any high school, there are millions of words spoken by teachers, staff, and students every day. However, in an arts school such as this one, there are even greater numbers of words understood, yet not all of them are spoken. Most have heard the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but it is better understood after seeing such a spirited display of artwork such as this one. LaGuardia’s first student art show of the 2017-2018 school year was recently held in the second-floor art gallery room, and this art show proved this proverb true a thousand times over.
The gallery was open from November 3rd through November 17th. Opening night was an evening to celebrate the accomplishments of the students that contributed and helped out. I walked in to find a brightly lit room with several walls filled with a variety of eye-catching pieces either mounted or on canvas. There were also glass-enclosed sculptures, models, and photography and print series. In the middle, there was a table with stacked sketchbooks submitted by multiple art students- each one unique with its own distinct style. Around the sketchbook setup, there were a few "art walls" where spectators could channel their own creativity and draw over pinned up newsprint. The lively jazz music flowed out of the doors of the art gallery and into the second-floor hallways, inviting students and their families into the happy space for imagination.
By flipping through the sketchbooks and art journals, one could really see the different approach the artists took with every page. Each book had a distinct style- something so very special about it that made it different from the rest. There were smaller sketchbooks consisting only of black ink; larger, brighter ones with vibrant colors in marker and pencil; and some that were so real and lived in with scraps of everyday life crammed into the pages. The sketchbooks made it possible for the spectators to have some insight into the artist and their experiences and allowed the artists to create an individual style for themselves.
One can tell with just a glance how much effort goes into every composition and sketchbook that is presented. With pieces ranging from collages to watercolor paintings to graphite sketches to fashion designs in marker, the gallery is so diverse and so are the featured artists. No sketch or painting was the same and each one was exceptional. Below are a few pieces featured in the art show.
For this piece, Godfrey used charcoal. His favorite aspect of the student art show is seeing the amount of talent that is shown.
Abigail’s beautiful painting was done in oil paints. She enjoys painting with oils, as they have a fluid consistency that she finds easy to work with.
This dreamy landscape by Ophelia Tucker was done in acrylic paints.
For this fashion design, Nicole used Copic markers. This is a drawing of fashion blogger, Amy Roiland. After Nicole posted a picture of her piece on social media, Roiland reposted it, spreading Nicole’s artwork to thousands of her fans and supporters!
One of the coolest things about the LaGuardia art shows is the inspiration others could get from going. At this past show, there were countless collages and paintings that evoked different emotions and made people feel. These sentiments and connotations are inspiring to students thinking about submitting their work for the next art show or for students who just feel the need to create from their hearts. Contributors are benefiting themselves by putting their art on display and making themselves known, and they are also benefiting the students who have not yet found their voice through visual arts. With their zestful art walls, the students are encouraging others to create just as they did. Every person who walked through the gallery was able to leave their mark and draw on the newspaper sheets with colorful pastels. By the time the art show came to a close the walls were filled up with amusing doodles of all kinds. Some left their mark by simply writing their name and others drew little characters and scenes. With just something so simple and fun like the art walls, the gallery curators were able to make the show a place for students of every major to come and express themselves and take part in the art department’s celebration of creativity.
Each student has created with a purpose and has spoken through their artwork. These artists should be admired and looked up to. Not only do they create work that speaks to people on an advanced and personal level, they create work that means something special to them and put it out there for the entire student body to see. It takes a lot for someone to create something so personal and share it with the world. The LaGuardia art students give so much of themselves during the galleries and art presentations, and everyone should be supporting them in their artistic journey.
by Charlotte Force
“Aesthete” is a photography and makeup project by LaGuardia High School senior visual art majors Ursula Bowling and Sam Barron. After several months of navigating makeup palettes, Photoshop, early morning shoots, and sheets, they finished the first major project of their careers. The project is now available as a book, “Aesthete,” and has been exhibited in LaGuardia’s gallery in the third Senior Art Show, “Home”. I met with Ursula and Sam to learn more about their process...
The beginning, inspiration, and inception of the project. What’s the story there?
Sam: That was all Ursula.
Ursula: So, I was watching a lot of America’s Next Top Model, in my house, as one does. Most of my photography projects have been just going out and taking pictures with friends, or when I was travelling, doing photojournalistic photography. I’ve always really liked watching America’s Next Top Model because of the photography - the editorial style of things. I knew that I wanted to do something like that, but I also knew that I definitely didn’t have the resources to do full body shoots, so I figured it would be cool to do beauty shots, which would still look professional and editorial.
Around that time, Sam and my mutual friend Audrey Nieuwenhuizen introduced us, and Sam had talked about how she wanted to work as a makeup artist. We thought it would be cool to do a collaboration, because I know nothing about makeup at all - I don’t own it, wear it, or anything.
In terms of the theme, I was with our friend Molly Doomchin watching America’s Next Top Model. Molly is an art enthusiast, and as we were talking about art while watching the show, I thought: “Oh, there’s an idea! Paintings on girls’ faces.” I wasn’t sure if that concept would actually work, so I sketched it out, and decided it actually would look cool. Then I talked to Sam, who approved it, and said she would do it. That was the inception of the project.
Sam: And then we started sketching.
So Ursula, you told me you chose all the paintings.
Ursula: Yeah, after I talked to Sam.
So afterwards, did you guys sketch out all the portraits before
So what was your process for the interpretation of the paintings on the models’ faces?
Sam: It depended on what sort of painting it was. If it was something more abstract, I usually planned on doing something more full-face, like the Rothko and Mondrian. It just made more sense to do full-face.
Ursula: We also wanted to have some more obvious pieces so that the collection is clearly paintings on people’s faces, and the abstract is more obvious to recreate.
Sam: It was easier to do a full-face abstract painting and represent the painting fairly. Them there were certain ones like Hokusai’s “The Great Wave” and the Matisse Cutouts that seemed better with a partially bare face that was more glamorous, with something interesting in addition.
My process consisted of just going home and sketching a bunch of things and seeing how the objects within a given painting would fit on a face. I was really just trying to work around facial features. All of my interpretations were very loose. I would go in with Ursula, who would have some sort of vision too. We would combine our ideas, and I would execute them.
How much time passed between your agreement to do the project and the start of the photoshoots?
Ursula: A while, but I think that’s partially because of the way school works. I think the idea began around March 2015, in Spring. When I talked to Sam about it, we agreed it would be really cool but she’d have to get supplies first.
Sam: Ursula spoke to me a little bit before August 2015, and I had to order some things. I remember the first shoot was around August 28th.
Ursula: Yeah, we were on summer break, and we were both away, so we started at the end of the summer. I think the first shoot, which was the Monet “Water Lilies” shoot with Joanna Wagner, was after August 15th (right after my sister’s birthday).
What was your selection process for the works?
Ursula: There were a couple things I kept in mind when selecting the works of art. The first was the colour palette. I wanted the photographs to vary in colour so I tried to make sure there was a balance of cooled toned pieces and warm toned pieces in the project. The second was the time period. I tried to select works from several different periods in art history. I wanted there to be modern, cubist, impressionist, post impressionist, etc. The last couple things I thought about were the gender and location of the artists. Although it was difficult, I didn’t want to there to only be male artists in the series. That’s why I chose to do a Kusama and O’Keeffe. I also wanted to make sure the artists weren’t only European or American which is why I chose to use Hokusai and Kusama.
I decided which artists I wanted to use before deciding which pieces of theirs I would have Sam do makeup for. The series is a little bit about the influence of artists on people today (which is why all the models we used are practicing artists). Because of this, I needed to make sure all of the artists had some personal connection to myself or someone I knew. Basquiat for example is extremely influential today with several communities of artists especially for artists of colour…
After deciding which artists I wanted, it was a mixture of picking a piece that would look good on someone’s face while being recognizable to people even if they aren’t part of the art world. (ex. Monet is known for his waterlilies not as much for his train stations you know)
Did you figure out the paintings right when you started the project, or did you decide on them as you went along?
Ursula: We had a plan. We had a nice Starbucks date where we sat down and figure it out. Sam and I didn’t really know each other that well.
Sam: It was only the second time we had hung out.
Sam: After the shoot we did with Audrey, on a mountain in Woodstock.
Ursula: So we met at a neutral location - the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble - and I had a folder of paintings I liked, and prints of the style of photo I liked, and examples of makeup photography I was interested in. I had examples of cropping and lighting, so I could explain what I had in mind. Sam came with a few of her makeup template sketches, and explained “Oh, I could put this there, and…”. I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about [laughs], she could explain that better.
At that time, we had 12 or 15 paintings. Around there. Both of us assumed we wouldn’t finish the project at the time. We were thinking, “We’ll just see how the first one goes, we’ll be lucky if we have two of them.” I don’t think either of us imagined we’d have a finished project.
How many portraits are there now?
Ursula: We did a total of 17 shoots. For the final book and presentation, we have 13. Well, thirteen right now, and there’s one more we may add. Those are the ones in the show, currently.
We wanted to have a mix of full face, mixed face, cool colors, warm colors, and pieces that are strong without the painting next to them. The three portraits that we took out had really bad lighting conditions that we couldn’t fix.
Sam: Some of the shoots took longer and we lost natural light.
Can you talk about the shooting process?
Sam: Oh my god.
Ursula: Low budget. That should be the title of your article. “Photography on a Low Budget”.
And by low budget, I mean no budget.
Sam: I have a video of Ursula from the very first shoot duct-taping a sheet to a wall, and sitting on a stool trying to iron the sheet on the wall [laughs]. We didn’t know what was happening at all! We knew we wanted a white background and a clean look, but we didn’t know what to do to make that happen. We didn’t have a studio to work with, or lighting equipment. We had Ursula’s camera and what was around us.
Ursula: The project was shot digitally and on film, digital for Sam and film for me. This was something we didn’t want a flash for - we wanted to avoid harsh light - which meant, for doing film, we needed natural daylight, and we were shooting indoors. My house is pretty dark, and the only room with a window next to a wall is my sister’s room. That was the original idea: to pin a sheet to my sister’s wall and shoot the photos there. That’s where the first four were. Then we moved to the stairwell outside my apartment, because there’s a window there and the walls are white.
Sam and the model(s) would arrive early in the morning (between 9:45 and 10:45). Again, we had lighting issues, so Sam would have to be done with the makeup by midday so that I could shoot when the light was just right. I would mostly roll around on my bed while Sam did her thing, until it was my turn to bring the model to my hallway to shoot. Every 20/30 minutes or so Sam would show me the progress she made and I would give her my comments if I had any. I trusted her work and talent, so most of the time I just chilled out while she did the makeup. When she finished her work, I would bring the model to shoot. I would usually shoot digital first to let the model get comfortable with me taking their photo by taking a lot of photos. The nice thing about shooting digitally is that you can take as many pictures as you want - with film photography, all you have is a roll of film, which has a specific number of exposures. Once I transitioned to film, I only had 18 tries to get the shot. All the shoots went the same way. Each girl would first get a basic forward facing shot and then I would work with them on different angles and positions. At the end we would have subtle changes in position and expression from photo to photo even though they all had the same cropping and concept.
What was the editing process like?
Ursula: Time consuming. The shooting conditions we were working under were definitely not ideal [laughs] and I had to make up for all of that in editing. Each digital photo probably took 2 to 3 hours to edit and each film photo took 4 to 5 (no exaggeration). Photography requires a lot of patience. Digital photos have the tendency to look really flat when you first take them so when I was editing those files I mostly worked to give them more of a 3D quality and greater contrast. Film was a completely different story. Film photos don’t have the problem of looking flat and tend to have way more texture and depth than digital. The challenge with the film negatives was the colour and the additional steps of converting them to digital files. I had to scan each film negative onto the computer which takes about 30 to 45 minutes per roll if you want to get a high resolution scan. After I got the files onto the computer I had to get rid of dust that fell on the negatives in the scanner and then fix the color. I could go into boring photo editing talk for hours but the gist of it is that it took forever. The process was basically me grabbing a box of popsicles, putting on a movie (or 12) and staring at a screen until my eyes fell out or I fell asleep.
Did you originally plan for it to be a book?
Ursula: I did originally plan in the back of my head for the series to be a book. I’ve been super obsessed with zines and self published artist books recently and I knew that I really wanted to make one of my own. The series wasn’t necessarily about making a book but I knew that if I ever finished, I would want to turn it into a book.
What were the things you were prepared for when you started this project? What did you discover/learn along the way?
Ursula: Good question. Honestly, there wasn’t much I was prepared for. I was prepared to have fun!!! [laughs]
I think we figured out most things along the way. Before we started, I knew I could take photos and Sam knew she could do makeup, but that was it. We didn’t even know much about each other’s talents, since we weren’t particularly close friends and neither of us had ever taken on a project of this scale before. What made us good partners is that we were both prepared to figure everything out despite not knowing what we were doing at first. Our motto actually became “the show will go wrong,” a phrase we stole from the show Parks and Recreation. We would just show up on the day expecting something to go awry, and then we would roll with it and have fun!
To be more specific, though, these are a few things I learned along the way:
A sheet can be ironed and scotch taped onto a wall to act as a background for an editorial fashion shoot.
A lightbox can act as a spotlight if you diffuse it with a piece of loose leaf.
Creme makeup does not stain clothing if you wash it out right away.
Creme makeup can stain your face. Especially if it is blue or red.
I am not qualified to style hair.
Stray hairs are the most annoying thing in the entire world to edit.
I’m not the only person obsessed with touching fan brushes.
Most people are actually down to sit still for three hours and have their face painted if you ask them nicely and tempt them with pizza!
What materials (cameras, makeup, etc.) did you use?
Ursula: Here’s my list:
Digital Camera - Nikon D3200.
Film Camera - Minolta x700.
Film - AGFA 200 speed.
Editing Software - Photoshop.
Sam: And my list:
Makeup Forever Flash Palette
Kat Von D liquid lipsticks
Makeup Geek eyeshadows (wide variety)
Morphe Brushes 35B palette
What advice would you give to people who want to undertake a big project like this?
Ursula: Go for it and be patient. If it doesn’t work out, then who cares. You had a fun afternoon of chilling with friends and trying something new. If it does work out, then you’ll be so happy you actually did it. I promise, it will feel amazing!!! And of course, you have to have patience. You need to understand that things won’t go the way you planned in your head, “the show will go wrong”, and that is okay [laughs]. You can’t let that discourage you. Set the bar low. Expect that someone will move their neck and smudge makeup, and people will be late, and the sheet you spent thirty minutes ironing will fall because scotch tape sucks… Just relax and work with things as they come at you and it will all be amazing and you will be super proud.
You can see the photos from Aesthete on Ursula’s website here.
Ursula Bowling and Sam Barron are now graduating with diplomas from LaGuardia’s art department, and going on to pursue degrees in the arts. Ursula will be attending the USC School of Cinematic Arts, in the Film and Television Production Department. She wants to work as a cinematographer. “Aesthete” was her first fashion photography project, but she has completed several short films including “The Pursuit of Happiness” and “Published”, and is currently working on a Super8 short film called “Five Senses”. Sam Barron is attending SUNY Purchase for Interdisciplinary Visual Arts, and wants to work as a makeup artist. She is currently working on a project called “Delectation”.
Ursula’s Email: email@example.com
Sam’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Charlotte Force
Meet Shannon Hanna –
She’s a spunky-smart Junior Vocal Major, her star sign is Pisces, she’s got crazy-cool hair, and she really hates ketchup.
Let’s start at the beginning: why did you want to go to LaGuardia?
“I never really thought about going to LaGuardia,” she responds “…it wasn’t really my plan. I ended up wanting to go to LaGuardia last minute.” One she got into the high schools she wanted, it all of a sudden became the only option. “I couldn’t picture anything but to sing all the time.” These days, she’s got a larger selection of delicious activities on her plate. She’s experimental art club and Girls Learn International at LaGuardia, does an internship at MoMA, and is part of a band called Gruesome Twosome. LaGuardia kids tend to do a pretty cool array of things, and Shannon is a prime example.
The common goal throughout her projects is pursuing the arts. Singing’s been her game from the beginning, but she also does visual art, performance art, social experiments, are mixes mediums together.
Legs Wide Open Zine
Legs Wide Open Zine is a project run collectively that Shannon helped found. Most commonly, ‘zines’ are a small circulation of self-published work usually published via photocopier. They can be about any topic, but Legs Wide Open’s concentrates on too-often censored topics such as body image, transsexuality, sexuality, etc. For instance, December’s theme was catcalling.
Shannon derived inspiration from Kathleen Hanna of the 90s punk-rock band Bikini Kill. Hanna was the one of the first people to compile an archive of zines, laying the groundwork for today’s community. Shannon had the idea for Legs Wide Open earlier this year, and set it into motion in December 2014. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and all she hopes for its future is that it reaches more people.
Gruesome Twosome and other musical madness
LaGuardia hasn’t changed Shannon’s musical goals: singing is still one of her main passions. She says, however, that her LaGuardia education has broadened her perspective. Recollecting her childhood, she recounts, “My parents aren’t really musicians.” Growing up, she says, her taste in music was limited. “We just listened to classic rock and soul music. I had no idea about European music and western music.” She hasn’t always been completely in sync with the LaGuardia curriculum, saying “I think there’s been some times when” she’s thought, “’Why am I doing opera?’, but it’s really developed my technique, and has changed my point of view”. What she takes away from her education at school is an awareness of all forms of music, be it operatic, grunge, or pop – however, she’s found her niche in punk.
Punk is Shannon’s home turf: she’s got a Mohawk, an electric guitar, and a rockin’ band to boot. “Gruesome Twosome” is an avant-garde duo which for now focuses on basic punk sounds, but moves to the rhythm of feeling. The band doesn’t “really follow a tempo or a basic tune, or have one influence. It’s all based on expression”. Soon they’ll start experimenting with “very random, not technical, house objects”, but for now they’re “just getting acquainted”. An absence of beat is not for lack of understanding of music theory; the artists deliberately make this choice. As Shannon puts it, “It’s almost a theatre thing,” as in improvisation, “or like a poem. It could just be based on a word… or if I’m really angry, it’ll be very fast and pounding. We don’t follow a time signature (as a band).” The band is a two-woman group, comprised of Shannon, electric guitarist and singer, and fellow Junior Oonagh Caroll-Warhola, the drummer. Their motto is “It’s all based on the passion.”
I asked Shannon what kind of music she listens to, and she gave me a round-the-world answer: she began, of course, with punk, but added western, jazz punk, latin, folk, some rap, and jazz. Her Spotify is a beautiful, diverse place… I asked her to put it on shuffle and share the first song that came on. Frankie Cosmos’ “Art School” came up, which you can find here on bandcamp: http://ingridsuperstar.bandcamp.com/track/art-school
Role models, style icons, and musical influences
The first personal influence Shannon cited amongst her friends was Oonagh Carroll-Wahorla – “We do a lot of side projects. Also, I’m in experimental art club,” she continues, citing Allison Sherpa, Ingyin Aein, and Max Narr as friends who influence her. “We all have been, as a group… making experiments in the club. It sort of tests and breaks our boundaries.” She also does improvisation with her friends Maya Carney and Maya Charles. “We’re basically not talking to each other, but we all of a sudden just start making a song out of our voices and bodies. We have no plan or theme, we just to whatever is on our mind.” She works with lots of different people to create art and express herself. Shannon’s role models outside of her friends include Patti Smith, Frida Kahlo, Malala Yousafzai, the women of Pussy Riot, and Björk – only a few of the expressive, empowering women that have made a difference in the world.
This girl has got great style… her influences in fashion come from all over the world. Her main influence, of course, is her mood: the most important thing to follow when choosing what to wear. She also noted that ‘momma Hanna is an influence, as well as the artist Yayoi Kusama and designer Betsy Johnson. Her love of punk also has something to do with the way she dresses.
Her Mohawk is actually a recent cut; turns out, it was an impulse. Shannon hangs out on the punk scene, so she thought it would be funny to give in to the cliché. Inspired by the movie “We Are the Best”, in which a couple of punk girls get haircuts, she went on ahead and just ‘did it’. “I just thought it would be cliché of me to do, because I am into punk music. I’m not trying to follow the image. I just thought it would be something funny for me to do.”
I asked her what advice she would give to kids who want to make a drastic change to their hair. She responded, “I would just say, ‘Be confident about it’. Even if you weren’t planning on doing it, that you should just know that it’s only hair. You should experience a bunch of different hairstyles before you have just one. You never know where you truly belong until you try it out.”
School Clubs and Internships
Shannon is in Experimental Art Club, where she can explore the physical dimension of her art. Experimental art club essentially consists of creating pieces with new combinations of mediums. They take inspiration from everywhere and anywhere, “It could be a spark of conversation, or just a dream or vision. We just make art out of it, and there are no boundaries. We’re just ‘sketching’.” She’s also in Girls Learn International, the LaGuardia branch of a greater organization that spreads awareness about feminism, women’s rights, and the human rights violations occurring across the world.
Shannon is in a program at the MoMA called Click @ MoMA: spatial/augmented/reality”. She says about the program, “It’s based on the Björk exhibit, called “Vulnicura”. The program is based on spatial augmentation. We’re making videos and sculptures and music and putting them all together. We’re all doing a different part. They all sort of correlate. For instance, there will be a sculpture, then we’ll put a video on it, and there’s music – an audio portion, which is a lot like what Björk does. I’m really inspired by Björk.” The participants’ art will be exhibited in the education building of the MoMA starting April 10th.
On her horizon is an interview with the magazine “Style Like U”, an online fashion and arts publication where the likes of Tavi Gevinson have passed through. She’s hoping to participate in a project entitled “What’s Underneath”, which aims to deconstruct people’s ideas of outer body image, and dig into what makes people truly themselves. “It’s taking off your clothes and explaining what’s really inside your soul. It shows that your clothes don’t always connect to your personality and that you’re not everything that your clothes represent.” The project is part of the body image movement that Legs Wide Open has written about, which Shannon outspokenly supports.
The main thread of interest through these projects is expression and inspiration. To make music and art is to express. To be open about one’s feelings and help others is to inspire. She says, “I haven’t been doing art since ‘forever’, and I feel like I really want to stick to it. I feel like music and art correlate as ways of expressing myself. I always plan on doing both.” Therein lies the inspiration for her projects, past, present, and hopefully, the many more to come. Her goal is to one day become an art therapist, and use the lessons in expression she’s learned to inspire others.
by Caroline Xia
Meet Alison and Clare -
These girls of LaGuardia/s Class of 2016 run a fashion blog together. Alison is an art major, and Clare is in the drama department. See their blog here: http://urbangypsiesnyc.blogspot.com/
Q: What made you guys decide to start a blog together?
C: Well, when we first started the blog, we weren’t that good of friends. So I guess we started it ‘cause we both really liked clothes and were in a couple of classes together.
A: I remember when we were in gym and we were like “Ooooh, we should start a blog together!”
C: So, then it kind of gained momentum as we realized it was a serious thing and people enjoyed it and we liked doing it.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your blog posts?
C: We occasionally do people who we don’t know, even if we’re not a huge fan of the style. We’ll take pictures of people who are just really different and take huge leaps in what they wear. You see them and you just appreciate them greatly for what they’re doing.
Most inspiration is from when we really want to go to a place, like our city hall post and we just wanted to see the abandoned city hall station.
Q: Where do you find the clothes you use in the blog?
A & C: Thrift stores.
A: Goodwill, Salvation Army
C: Goodwill outlet in Queens Plaza is the best, go there.
Q: Is it difficult to find time for the blog with a busy academic schedule?
C: We have been doing less and less because there’s been more going on. And it doesn’t help that we don’t have any classes together this year. Last year we had free period, gym, and lunch and it was so easy to take pictures but now we have to make more time in our schedules for the blog.
Q: Who are some of your favorite fashion designers or icons?
C: Tavi Gevinson, she’s a princess. She’s a style rookie and she’s a blogger who started a blog when she was about 13.
A: Do you ever watch that show “My So-Called Life”? That girl, Rayanne Graff? She’s so coooool! Oh my god, she’s my style icon. And there’s also a bunch of people from school.
C: Yeah like we’ll see them and want to photograph them but then we don’t because we’re too afraid that they’ll think we’ll crazy if we’re like “We’re kind of madly in love with you, can we photograph you any time soon?”
Oh and Petra Collins, of course. Petra is so beautiful and so stylish and she looks like she stepped out of a time machine, all the time.
Also, I really like Patty Harrison, George Harrison’s first wife. Both of them together, if I could be two people in a marriage, I’d be them.
Q: What is your favorite part about running a blog together?
A: The reaction from people when we tell them that we have a website and they’re like “Woah, really?!”
C: I like that people like us, like it sounds really conceited like the fact that we’re doing this interview because people like our blog is a really good feeling. When we heard you guys wanted to interview us, we were so excited. Like that’s crazy that people want to interview us because we’re just taking pictures of ourselves, it’s a really ridiculous concept!
A & C: The photo shoots are always really fun too.
Q: What advice would you give other people hoping to start a fashion blog?
A: I know it sounds kind of weird at first but just do it!
C: Don’t think that since you’re just a high school kid that you can’t do it. We just get to hang out and have fun and put stuff up on the internet. Don’t change your style just because of what other people do. The whole point of style is just to express yourself. We did that for a while when I kept my hair long because I thought people don’t like short hair, but I wanted short hair so I did it and Alison did the same thing. Don’t think because other people won’t like it, you can’t do it, because if you look good and you feel confident in what you’re wearing, then other people will see it and appreciate it.