We Don’t Care, We Have HYDR8

Poland Spring bottled water is a product of Nestle. Is it water from an untouched source? Is it 100 percent “Spring Water”? There have been a few lawsuits against the product alleging that it’s not and they’ve been misleading the public for quite some time now. Here at You Me NYC Magazine, our thoughts on this are simple. WE DON’T CARE, WE HAVE HYDR8!!!

No more having to separate plastic bottles that go into the recycling bin or having to wait for the water delivery and the attitude that comes with it. More importantly, no more lugging the 5-gallon 40-pound plastic bottles to the cooler and spilling part of it all over you. HYDR8 is all about space and maximizing its capacity, by offering a streamlined approach, to an endless supply of purified water through your current system. In other words, HYDR8 filters the “Hell” out of your tap water by removing all impurities as well as bacteria found in your tap and then sterilizes, using the latest in advanced filtration technology. To quote Peter from You Me NYC Magazine, “HYDR8 Makes New York’s Water Taste Great Again”.

Ralph Marucci & Business Partner | Eric

We were fortunate to sit down with President, CEO and founder of HYDR8 Ralph Marucci(pictured in image right with business partner Eric) for a few “New York Minutes” to get to know a little more about him and his company’s mission. Saving billions of plastic water bottles from being dumped into our oceans and landfills, combined with little to no plastic usage in their equipment is only part of their vision. Building a strong customer relationship, whether it’s an individual household or fortune 500-company as well as implementing their state of the art purification systems all over the world, to developed and underdeveloped countries is the other.

According to Marucci, over the next 5 to 10 years, HYDR8 will be the household name for water purification as well as the authority in educating the public on the importance of their product to one’s health, vitality and the environment.  Marucci along with his team, has reached out through various “Social Media” outlets, schools throughout the city’s five boroughs, and word of mouth to spread HYDR8’s ideology of keeping up with the latest water quality technology, along with what makes HYDR8’s process so unique.  HYDR8 will be available all over the world, especially to those who don’t have direct access to clean drinking water.

Marucci held a few different sales positions before he decided to go into business for himself, making water his chosen industry. When asked what kind of advice he can offer to the entrepreneurs just starting out, his response was, “Understanding and achieving emotional neutrality during wins and losses is the key to longevity and minimizing stress. It’s easier said than done, but focusing on it can be the key to future success..” HYDR8 is the future of in-house water purification and we at You Me NYC Magazine are enjoying it one glass at a time. It just tastes better.

 

 

 

Barbie’s 60th Anniversary a Universal Figure

Have you ever stepped into Barbie’s Dreamhouse? As we all know, New York City has the best pop up events, with themes that are astonishing to people.  Leaving everyone wondering what events will be next.  Barbie’s 60th anniversary takes no backseat to the other popups appearing throughout the city.  Barbie has been honoring female achievement since 1959. There were many iconic females that were represented by their own Barbie dolls.

Barbie’s 60th anniversary paid tribute to real-life women and the positive roles they portrayed in their existence. Women like Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Bindi Irwin, Katherine Johnson, Yara Shahidi, Dipa Karmakar and many more. 60 years of female empowerment through a doll, making Barbie a universal figure.

This event wasn’t specifically for kids, many adults attended and participated in the event dressed as Barbie. Each wearing the loud color pink from shoes, dresses, shirts, and accessories. The event showed an overview of Barbie’s career, her fashion and the use of other miniatures to represent the diversity of the female personification today.

Barbie has evolved, coming in all shapes and sizes. It was a day of celebrating the nostalgia of one’s childhood. From entering through her closet, then her bedroom, and eventually her kitchen, made you think you were one of the Barbie Dolls as well. The dream house you’ve always admired on television, at a friend’s house or the one in your bedroom,  has come to life, right before your eyes.

This pop up was to render the last generation of firsts for young women to follow their dreams and creativity. Becoming the first of the first or the last of your generation is most inspiring. Barbie isn’t just a doll; Barbie is the person you’ve always wanted and needed to become when you were younger. She is you. The Barbie doll is a representation of you.  Like Barbie says “You can be Anything” and by the way, I participated too.

Barbie's 60th Anniversary | You Me NYC

A Pretty Face with Nothing to Back it up is Null and Void

Purposefully Pretty You Me NYC“A pretty face with nothing to back it up is null and void”, according to PurposefullyPretty Inc. a nonprofit organization seeking to reach, teach and inspire young women to identify and pursue their purpose in life. Their goal is to teach them about beauty and the importance of having a purpose, by helping them become the inspirational and determined individuals they are destined to be.

Like any other teenager, many deal with insecurities and obstacles in their life.  PurposefullyPretty founder, Diamond Craig and the PP team are women who have struggled with some to many of the same issues that young women face today.  It is their desire to mentor, guide and inspire them to reach their personal and professional goals as well as overcome the various struggles that confront them.

Purposefully Pretty You Me NYC

PurposefullyPretty implements its mission through mentorships, community service, empowerment events, and the #IAmPurposefullyPretty workshop series. Through this workshop series, the PurposefullyPretty team travels to schools, libraries and other organizations that cater to young women; providing all the tools that they need to become the next generation of leaders and dedicated women.  This workshop series gears itself towards young women between the ages of 11-18; to help them achieve their confidence and character necessary to pursue their goals and to acquire the tools needed.  Therefore, by the end of the series, they have a better understanding of what their purpose is.

Conclusion

Some of the workshops apart from this series include ‘Identifying My Purpose’, ‘Radical Self Love’ ‘Social Media’, ‘Conflict Resolution’ and a host of others.  They can also join the PurposefullyPretty organization, by becoming a registered member.  Members benefit by establishing relationships and networking with all of its members.  Purposefully Pretty has such great opportunities from prom makeover contest to summer leadership programs.  They also collaborate with other organizations to focus on what young women are interested in!

A Leader for the People of The People

Image Courtesy of Vulture.com

When the news of Nipsey Hussle’s murder broke, I couldn’t believe it. I was honestly a little confused and it took a while to understand. Looking at all the social media, comparing his death to Tupac’s. I didn’t really get it but now I do. It does feel the same in a lot of ways emotionally. Even people who have never heard of him were affected by his death.

I was in the nail shop the other day as the conversation came up between a few customers. Everyone had nothing but amazing things to say. I remember hearing about the rapper who sold the first 1000 copies of his mixtape for 100.00 and made over 100,000.  Hussle was one of those rappers who were on the scene but not in it. He came up around the blue-collar rap.  He was part of the XXL freshman class with the likes of Freddie Gibbs, Jay Rock and Wiz Khalifah. 

You could tell he wasn’t in it for the perks of rap.  He was using his voice to teach a new message, by showing a different side of rap, the entrepreneur side and the mental state. Nipsey was the first rapper I heard talk about investing and buying land. He recognized the value in the message and what it would mean for his neighborhood and others. Shortly after he took a trip to Africa, he made it his mission to provide, uplift and invest in the community.

He was one of those guys that could go into any neighborhood and be good anywhere. Nipsey had that kind of respect and gave that same kind of respect in return. He knew and recognized the fact, that there are Crenshaws everywhere all over the world.  I don’t know why but when you lose someone in the Hip Hop community especially in the Black community, it feels too close to home.  The fear for black men in this country is as real as fuck.  It’s too easy to become a stain on the sidewalk always in arm’s length of that terrible phone call. It’s one of my biggest fears and I don’t feel alone on that.

With this tragedy, he brought people together and sheds light on a topic that fell upon deaf ears unless you were vegan or a conspiracy theorist.  At the time of his death, he was promoting and working on a documentary about the New York Trial in which Dr. Sebi won against The Attorney General of New York.  Dr. Sebi was being sued for not having a license to practice after advertising his cures of multiple diseases including Cancer and AIDS in 1988. He proved that you didn’t need medicine; holistic, natural remedies and a change in diet is the cure and of course, this didn’t sit well with the medical field. He brought attention to the sad truth, there’s more money in the disease than the cure.

Conclusion

I would like to thank Ermias Joseph Asghedom A.K.A Nipsey Hussle for his contributions to Hip Hop, his community and community’s worldwide. A man who truly understood his purpose and voice. A man for the people, of the people. May his soul Rest In Peace 

Shortstack: Breaking the Rules and Setting New Standards

They go by the slogan “Breaking The Rules and Setting New Standards.”  Starting out as a small fashion show straight to a mission, Shortstack is a nonprofit modeling agency for young teenage girls.  Their objective is to create opportunities for the teens, by encouraging them to embrace their inner and outer selves and helping to achieve their aspirations of becoming a model.  According to program directors, Patricia Budhan and Frannelys Frias “Shortstack is not just a modeling program, it’s also a self-esteem program. We want to help girls overcome their struggles.” This nonprofit program is a space for young girls to blossom into young women. It is also a sisterhood where anyone can reach out for advice or have a shoulder to lean on.

Throughout the program, the agency renders life lessons such as time management, networking, and how to communicate with others. Many have come out of this program finding their lifetime friend. Together the girls go through auditions, workshops, and segments, while simultaneously creating a bond with each other. Hal Eisenberg is the CEO of Windows of Opportunity Inc., which is also the parent umbrella that Shortstack 501©(3) is under.  Eisenberg, the Executive Director of Shortstack, Tracy Mangan Mignone, along with program directors Patricia Maria and Frannelys Frias steady the course of the curriculum.  Considering it takes about nine months to prepare the girls for the runway show, the Shortstack team works very hard to provide the models with their outfits, photo-shoots, sponsors, the production overall and the audience. 
As people hear the word about Shortstack, this leads to a conversation.  According to Tracy Mangan Mignone “We walked through Roosevelt Field mall and sent out packets giving people a chance to see their clothing on our runway.” As the years went by, it was easy for people to reach out and get their clothing line into the fashion show.

Conclusion

Shortstack is the vessel that advises a young girl on how to use the power of confidence to their advantage.  They want the best for these teens by showing them, they can be whatever they want to be in life.  They still continue their mission for many that were in the program.  Once a Shortstack always a Shortstack. We wish much-continued success with their mission in helping young girls build their confidence and self-esteem.

Jamaica Avenue

I decided to shoot somewhere, I went all the time as a kid-The Ave.  Where I use to get the latest mix cd’s, clothes, sneakers or just walk around with my friends and people watch, capturing history. On a chilly Sunday, the streets were nowhere near as crowded as I remember and the Coliseum was closed.  It’s really only been a few years since I’ve been on that side but new buildings and businesses are going up quicker and quicker every day. I can’t even keep up with it, in my own neighborhood. But for the most part, it was actually just how I left it. As a New Yorker, to be able to go somewhere and it’s still the same, I can’t ask for anything else.

Fashion Face Palms…

Am I the only one that finds it amazing how an article of clothing can take you from feeling like a four to feeling like that fashion ten you want to be?  It’s something that’s not just vain, but something that you can take to boost your self- confidence and help you become the best version of you.

2019 so far has been pretty questionable in the fashion field.  I mean, do people want to feel like a four?  Here are a couple of fashion fails thus far.

Number 1, Kim Kardashian West, February 25th

In late February, the style mogul was seen in Montreal entering the “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine arts on a Monday night.  Now, Kim is known for pushing the lines in fashion and I too am willing to sacrifice comfortability for the sake of an outfit, but sis… It was 10 degrees that night in Montreal.  Not only does she look like she belongs in Xena: Warrior Princess, but she was freezing while at it.  I think- take the armor away and maybe add something else, like a nice bustier, the outfit would have been fine.  And on top of that, she’s wearing the same see-through Yeezy pumps she’s been wearing for the last 2 years.  Your man is questionable, Kim.

Number 2, Kristen Stewart, January 22nd

Kristen Stewart attended the Chanel Haute Couture Spring Summer 2019 in Paris.  First of all, you’re in Paris, the fashion capital of the world.  You know how many people go to Paris just to look cute and do it for the ‘glam?  It’s not the clothes that are ugly, per se.  Chanel can do no wrong in my eyes (for obvious reasons), but it’s the way she put it together.  First of all, Kristen looks like Edward from Twilight.  The blazer, with gold/ copper accents, could have been better suited with black pants, a skirt, hell, wear the blazer as a dress, but she decided to be a four and wear it with some ugly ass copper pants.  On top of that, the garnish on the dish were some Doc Martens.  Why!  Mr. Karl Lagerfeld did not so gracefully hold down the House of Chanel for 35 years for you to wear this to his last finale.

 

Number 3, Robert Pattinson, January 18th

It’s a pure coincidence that the same week we mention Kristen as worst dressed, her ex-now-twin shows up trying to take the title.  Again, it’s not the clothes, he’s just mad extra.  Pattinson was seen stepping out for Dior Homme’s Winter 2019 Men’s Show.  It looks like he’s wearing a regular khaki suit with the same colored leather jacket.  That already is a no… so tacky!  On top of that, he added an earthy toned, brownish peacoat and scarf to hide the tackiness.  The problem is, well, he just looks homeless… and you’re trying too much sir, and it shows.

Number 4, Kat Graham, January 23rd

She has pillows for arms people!  I love a blunt shoulder and shoulder pads, but she looks like someone who’s been working their biceps their entire life.  Kat Graham attended the Jean-Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring Show looking like a disco ball with stick figure legs.  She paired this shit with a bob and a vampy lip.  The bob reminds me of Edna Mode from The Incredibles, who I think is totally cool by the way.  The lips made her already small lips look like a simple dash like line from afar.  COME ON!

Number 5, Emma Stone, January 5th

This one kind of hurts, because I like Emma, I really do.  I also love Fendi, but that dress is fucking ugly.  Yeah, I said it!  And those shoes!  I want to puke.  Emma was seen at the BAFTA Los Angeles Tea Party in a Fendi… dress thing.  She paired the look with a Louis Vuitton clutch and I already mentioned the shoes.  This is basically a dress that has orange birds printed all over it.  It looks like she was going for a Thanksgiving kind of theme.  The dress also has ridges on it, which looked horrible, but I think that was used to distract the eye from the ugly print.  To complete this “look” she paired it with orange makeup.  In my opinion, this just clashed with the look.  I don’t like anything about it, the design, how she paired it, the length is awkward, and it’s just a big no from me.

Number 6, Jenna Coleman, January 10th

At least she looks cozy… And what’s up with the bottom half of this ensemble?  It looks like some kind of plastic table cloth which also splits.  Jenna Coleman attended the screening of The Cry when she wore this.  I guess because it was a screening, she figured it’d be dark and nobody would notice that she doubled a table cloth as a skirt.  This is especially heartbreaking because she is a well- dressed woman.  She usually looks amazing and she’s graced many magazine covers, including Harper’s Bazaar.

Number 7, Andrea Echeverri, February 10th

Andrea Echeverri attended this year’s Grammy Awards dressed up as the award herself.  The Grammy’s, aside from being probably the biggest accolade a musician can receive, is also an opportunity to showcase your inner fashionista.  She probably knew she wasn’t going to receive the award and wanted to go home with it anyway.

 

I can only hope that 2019 brings us more looks.  I get it, you want to be creative and I guess for any celebrity, all press is good press.  All I have to say is, “where is Rihanna?”

Piasha Barua College Student Petite Model and Activist

Piasha Barua You Me NYCWake-up, go to school, then to work on certain days, go to the gym, hang out with friends or come home to a cat and watch television, sounds like an ordinary day for a full-time working college student.  Now couple that day with modeling and an “Anti Skin Bleaching” campaign, you have full-time working college student,  petite model, and activist, Piasha Barua.

Piasha is a Queens-born native of Bangladeshi descent and before modeling, she was heavily involved with the “Queens Library Teen Radio Podcast” two days a week.  Working at the podcast taught her valuable skills on how to interview people.  As her skills progressed, she landed a gig to interview the author of “Black Girls Rock”, Beverly Bond.  It was her first interview and although she was extremely nervous Piahsa did an excellent job.  Ever since her first interview, Piasha’s team gave her more people to interview for the popular podcast.  Jaquae from “Love and Hip Hop”, Puma from “Black Ink Crew”, Julito McCullum from “Brotherly Love” and Angela Yee from “The Breakfast Club” are just a few of the celebrities Piasha interviewed.

When asked why she chose to concentrate on modeling and if she received any adversity from her family and friends about her decision, her family was surprised yet embracing regarding her decision.  Piasha’s family is very conservative and no one in her family has ever been able to do this. Piasha chose to pursue modeling because it’s one of the ways she can promote the “Anti Skin Bleaching” campaign.

Piasha Barua You Me NYC

Skin bleaching creams are sold all throughout South Asian countries including Bangladesh where her family is from.  According to Piasha, being fair skin is a common beauty trend which displays a “higher class”.  “I want to be a part of that change, where having a dark complexion, is acceptable and beautiful and be a role model for others,” says Piasha.   It’s not just about walking and showing off, it’s about walking with power and purpose.   She wants to set an example to young South Asian girls and all girls of color, that they don’t need to bleach their skin to feel beautiful and to embrace the beauty that comes from within themselves.

When asked what she likes and dislikes about the modeling industry, Piasha loves the diversity amongst the models in the industry.  However, there are certain high-end shows that still portray a certain physical type.  She believes that models should be seen in a different way.  Every model seen has a pretty face, with one unique feature.  According to Piasha, models should be allowed to showcase, their own individual traits so people can start to recognize their own unique features, along with how their traits were made for them.

In addition to modeling, Piasha also works with the non-profit organization “Purposely Pretty” which teaches young girls how to identify their purpose in life.  The objective is not about a pretty face, it’s more than that.  It’s all about self-love, overcoming doubt, conflict resolution, money management, recognizing relationships and the impact of social media.  “Purposely Pretty” provides mentors to young girls to look up to and learn how their mentors have become strong successful women.  Piasha is the social media manager of “Purposely Pretty”, which is one of the most important roles in the organization considering how influential social media is today.  Diamond Craig, the program director of “Purposely Pretty” gave the position to her and she is proud and honored to be working with such an amazing organization.

Conclusion

Piasha Barua You Me NYCWith all that being said, we asked how Piasha balances school, work and her social life.  Her schedule is a balanced one, with work twice a week and school four days a week.  When she actually has a moment, she likes to hang out with her friends, usually over a plate of Chicken Alfredo, that’s her favorite dish.  However, when she has a moment alone, Piasha likes to watch a lot of “Disney-Pixar” movies along with a plethora of cartoons that she can watch all day.  However, right now she is binge-watching “The Real Day Time” show on “YouTube”.  They put a lot of emphasis on “Girl Chats” and the show’s theme is purple which happens to be Piasha’s favorite color.

When asked if there are any other career paths she might be entertaining down the road, Piasha has a genuine interest in companies, brands or organizations that have a purpose and be part of a great movement.  Considering that she is a young adult, she is discovering new things about herself and what she is capable of doing.  She has a passion for television, film, and pop culture as well as an eagerness to learn about marketing and advertising on multi-media platforms.  Either way, whichever direction she chooses, we at You Me NYC are absolutely positive it’s going to be the right choice.

 

 

 

Hip Hop Started out in the Heart

Hearing the theme music to Wayne’s Brother’s play for the first time changed my life forever. Electric Relaxation by the Hometown Heroes, A Tribe Called Quest. I guess you can say that’s when I decided to make it official with Hip Hop. No doubt about it, I was in love and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. I’ve had crushes before but nothing like this, nothing I could put into words. Just a feeling I couldn’t and didn’t want to describe. Kind of like the first time you have great sex. A Tribe Called Quest You Me NYCA Tribe Called Quest in the early days. From left to right,
Jarobi White, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife Dawg.
Ernie Paniccioli/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

That’s what Hip Hop is to me, a feeling with such a vast everlasting stamp on this world. Too much to box in but just enough to recognize. However with any and everything, we need reasons to classify and define. If it doesn’t fall into the guidelines regulated by individuals not even responsible for its creation; it’s seen as blasphemy and should be punishable by law. Funny, I haven’t been on this earth as long as most people, however, I have never heard anyone debate so passionately about who’s the best country singer. Especially when it comes to content. There’s a certain kind of freedom allowed in other genres that I don’t see in Hip Hop. It’s always who did it first, who’s the king or queen? Who’s the strongest lyrically? No real room for growth, variety or inclusivity. Unless it’s being used for advertising purposes, then the lanes and streams are endless.  

Hip hop tends to get treated like the troublesome teenager with talent and promise that needs to be disciplined and watched constantly. That one kid all the students love and the teachers can’t stand. The kid with straight A’s who lived in detention really out of boredom unless you needed to show diversity on campus. Hip Hop is almost 40 years old and should be treated as such including the artists who continue to strive and create in this genre. 

I love hip hop but I hate having discussions about it sometimes. If you say more quote on quote conscious artists like Kendrick and J Cole then you get some form of respect but if you say Migos or Kodak then your musical choices are in question when there’s room for everyone to have a seat at the table. Like for BET to trash Nicki Minaj while congratulating Cardi B on her Grammy was disappointing. I’m actually not a fan of either personally but both women worked hard, created their lane and succeeded in it. That’s what Hip Hop is all about. Take out the competition, find the beauty in that. Get back to the heart.  

Metro Manga

People draw inspiration from pretty much anything these days.  Whether you are walking around Central Park, strolling down Eastern Parkway, or staring out a window.  Manga artist Sophocles Plokamakis, founder of “Sophocles Art” and coiner of the term and genre “Metro Manga” finds his visions in the Subways of New York City.  Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Peter Frz:    What genre do you consider your art to be?
Sophocles:  I create comics in the subway which I call Metro Manga because they are inspired by Japanese comics and read from right to left. When I paint Metro Manga on canvas, I’d say that my work is a mixture of Manga and Pop Art. I used to paint in a photo-realistic style, but I much prefer impressionism painting and pop art.

Peter Frz:    Where are you originally from and where are you currently residing and how long?  
Sophocles:  I’m from Astoria, NY a very Greek city in Queens and I live here now for about 8 years but I’ve been in and out of Astoria my whole life. I love how it’s a great mixture of the city and the suburbs. 

Peter Frz:    What is your creative process like and what tools do you use to harness your creativity then transpose to the canvas?
Sophocles: 
 I use a portable clipboard as a drawing pad that holds all my paper and Japanese Kuretake Fude pens (calligraphy brush-pens), sharpies and Japanese animation red and blue color pencils. Sometimes I draw on black paper, usually black card stock. I make the majority of my art in the subway drawing real people on the spot. When I step into the subway, as I’m waiting for my train, I make a composition of Manga Panels starting from right to left. I record my journey from what stop and train I started with so that my readers can see where I was that day. Each panel in manga records a moment in time and I want my Metro Manga to be my daily visual ongoing comic strip, that people can look back on many years from now, like old newspapers as a moment in the history of art. 
Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Sometimes I color my paper manga with Copic sketch markers and more recently I’ve taken them to the next level by making large acrylic paintings of the comic pages that I made in the comic. For my paintings, I use Copic brush pens on top of acrylic paint on the canvas.

Peter Frz:   How has your style changed over the years? 
Sophocles: I started making art when I was 3. It started out very abstract, drawing comic, video game and cartoon characters with accurate colors and costumes but in an extremely simple style. The Heroes all had giant smiles and the villain’s big frowns. I’ve been told by art teachers my whole life that I had good observational skills so as time went on my fan art became more precise, subtle and detailed, but I’ve always been a fan of the more abstract simple design of characters in Japanese cartoons and comics. It was Shonen Jump, a Manga magazine translated into English from Japan that changed my life. At SVA I learned fundamental drawing, painting and sculpting skills and was exposed to different kinds of art I had never looked at before and was encouraged to experiment with different genres of art. I love that school and the effect it had on my journey through the art world.

Today my characters have detail that sets them all apart from one another but they are still simple. I use as few lines as possible to suggest the people of the Subways of the world like an Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodcut print) artist or a Sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) artist. I’m always open to my style constantly evolving and exploring new territory as an artist, which I think is vital if you are to keep growing and coming up with new pieces that have an impact.

Peter Frz:   What do you believe is a key element in creating a good work? 
Sophocles: The key element in making great work is to do what you love. I learned this from my favorite teacher Keith Mayerson in our Principles of Cartooning class in my sophomore year at SVA. Once you find a subject that inspires you the rest is easy because I get overwhelmed by the urge to create something new every time I travel on the Subway. The subway is my main studio so you need to find what moves you and gets you painting, drawing, sculpting, making collages, prints, or even in the other arts, which subject(s) inspire you to create a new song, dance, etc. 

Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Peter Frz:   What lead you to make art a career and was there any adversity from family or friends regarding your decision?
Sophocles: It was my love for cartoons, Manga, comics, video games, museums, and galleries. There was a lot of adversity from family and friends regarding my decision to be a pro artist and art teacher especially those closest to me. You have to push through that, if you are serious about being a pro artist, you got to show your art to people in galleries, the subway, parks, shows and network with artists, curators, and collectors so you can attract more opportunities through other people. 

Peter Frz:   Who or what are your biggest influences?
Sophocles: My biggest influences are Akira Toriyama (Creator of Dragonball and Doctor Slump) and Osamu Tezuka (The God of Manga and creator of Astro Boy) Toriyama’s amazing draftsmanship in Doctor Slump and his action-packed storytelling in DBZ and Tezuka’s Genius level storytelling made me want to make comics, art, cartoons and animated tv series for my whole life. Another huge influence on my life was traveling to Japan twice and visiting all the best manga museums, galleries and shows like the world of Dragonball in Nagoya, and the Osamu Tezuka museum in Takarazuka. That trip changed my life and I began to focus all my energy toward making comics on the subway as opposed to just drawing sketches of the passengers before that. Also, the character Goku always inspired me to want to keep making art and to see just how skilled I could become.

Peter Frz:   What are some of the challenges you face while you are creating?
Sophocles: It’s easier for me to draw in public and make comics on the go than at home. At home sometimes I get distracted. When I’m on the subway there’s always someone who inspires me to make art every time I commute on the trains. A challenge I face when drawing in the subway is when someone gets up and leaves the train before I’m finished drawing them.  However, I solve the problem by playing a drawing game I call MR. Potato Head. I’ll piece together a character in my Metro Manga by drawing other people’s features or clothing onto the original person that I drew so that I am still drawing from life and not inventing things. I find that when I draw from life or quality photo references my drawings look more accurate and polished than when I draw from my head.

Peter Frz:   Is Sophocles Art your first venture and were there any other ventures before Sophocles Art?
Sophocles: 
My business name used to be Sopho Toons (short for Sophocles’ Cartoons) but I changed it to Sophocles Art so people would know the name behind the work. 

Sophocles Art You Me NYC

Peter Frz:   What’s been your greatest artistic success?
Sophocles: I’ve had lots of success in my journey as an artist but I have to say Decemberfest and the other shows I curated at ONE ART SPACE in Tribeca, NYC is my greatest accomplishment. Decemberfest was a 70-artist group show that I curated with my business partner and fellow curator Oriel Ceballos on December 1st 2018. We had 1000+ people come to see the show in only a 3-hour span. There were lines around the corner of the block to get into the show. I have never seen anything like that in all the shows I’ve been a featured artist in, as well as shows in the Chelsea galleries even for big-name artists from the past. I put my all into that show and the results were a testament to the power of GREAT ART and how it inspires a community and the world. 

Peter Frz:   What is next on the horizon for Sophocles Art?
Sophocles: I make a ritual of writing my top 10-20 goals for the year before the new year starts. For 2019 I have 5 more shows to curate at One Art Space. The next one is on April 5-6. Send me a DM if you’d like to learn more on Instagram @sophocles.art. I also want to self-publish 5 books this year featuring my subway art, a children’s book and a look book for my animated TV series that I’m working on.

Sophocles Art Nas You Me NYC

Peter Frz:   Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Sophocles: In the next five years I see myself earning the money selling my books, art and to travel to all the major cities in the world that have subways and making METRO MANGA a Global project sort of like how Brandon Stanton (HONY) has taken his camera to other parts of the world, however my stories are fictional to give me the freedom of what to write. I see myself exhibiting in NY Comic Con and San Diego Con as well as cons and galleries around the world. I plan to make volumes of books of my travels through the subway systems of the world and drawing on location in other countries as well as places in the U.S.  

Conclusion

Sophocles Art, an innovator in such a crowded, demanding, and high-pressure field, delivers exceptional results and shows that in a craft like this, there is always room for exciting new ideas.  As long as New York City has its subways and urban settings we look forward to seeing what else this dynamic artist brings to the imaginative table of art.

Sophocles Art You Me NYC