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Painter Sophia Domeville makes a profession out of her passion

I first met abstract painter Sophia Domeville last year, at the offices of Medina=Citi in the Richardson Lofts here in Newark. I went home and checked out her website, fell in love with one of her paintings, and bought it. It now hangs in my apartment.

When I met Sophia that first time, she was still figuring out how to make a living as an artist. Not long after that, it seemed like new opportunities were happening for her left and right. Quite often, social media would light up with news of a new opportunity being afforded Sophia because of her art.

In the conversation below, we discuss her inspiration, how her creativity called her into a career as a painter, how Newark helps her to create, and more. (Check out Sophia’s recent street style spread here.)

Andaiye Taylor: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Sophia Domeville: I would describe myself as an abstract painter. I use colors, shapes, various designs, and mixed media to express my emotions, and to talk about what’s going on in society.

How long have you been painting?

I started painting when I was five, so 25 years.

And why did you start painting?

I used to draw on the walls as a child. And I remember even in kindergarten, I would mix colors just to get the right shade of green 0r the right shade of yellow I saw when I went to the park the other day. So art has always my voice, refuge, and therapy.

I always had an issue speaking in general – like letting out my emotions and trying to find the right words. Art in itself was my voice, and I rediscovered my love of painting in middle school and high school, then again in college.

Now you’re a professional artist. How did you go from painting on the walls as a child to being a professional artist. Did you decide to make that happen, or did it just happen to you?

After I finished college – I got my BFA – I basically had a breakdown, and I gave away 90 percent of my work. I gave it to people I knew: friends, campus ministry. One friend of mine in South Jersey was holding my work, but her basement was flooded, so a lot of my work was destroyed.

Giving away the work was me trying not to care anymore. At that time, I  didn’t know where I was going with my creativity. I wanted to get MFA at Art Institute of Chicago, but that fell through, and I felt really stressed out between graduating from college, not knowing where I was going, and thinking about how to pay for school.

So what did you professionally after college?

I dove into the corporate world for the first time. I was working at a law firm for a family friend and was training to be a legal secretary, but I was not happy. Then I got a job working at a huge cosmetic company in New York as a receptionist and HR assistant. That was my first real corporate job. During that time, I would love to go out and party, and I started hanging with promoters and bouncers. So I started doing party promotions, and I realized I loved to plan. In 2007, I dove into being an event planner. I created “Ms. Phia Presents…”, and did event planning for years.

What kind of events did you do?

I did everything: charity events, spoken word, poetry was my thing, concerts, and was working with Urban Pro Group, which introduced me to the urban market scene. I was doing events in New York, Jersey, Long Island, and Miami. Those events really boosted my popularity at that time.

Were you making a living at this, or still working at the cosmetics company?

I was still working at the cosmetics company, and doing this on the side, as hobby.

In ‘o8, I left [the cosmetics company] and started working with LinkShare as their purchasing coordinator. I was still working there in 2011, but by that time I was becoming more depressed, because I wasn’t happy with work anymore, and didn’t understand what was going on with me. It was my friend Simone who said to me, “You need to create art.” She’d known me since I was 19. So she gave me her sister’s old paint and brushes, and said, “Here, paint.” But I had no canvas.

So I painted the walls within my entire apartment. My creativity started haunting me in my sleep, and I couldn’t sleep anymore. I wasn’t happy. I knew something was missing, and I knew what it was, but I just wasn’t ready for it. And it wasn’t until I basically had a small heart attack (a reaction related to hypertension) that I took two weeks off of work. During that two weeks, I made the decision to leave my job, and pursue my passion for the arts.

I wasn’t working for almost a year after I decided to leave. My savings were depleted. I was living in Brooklyn the whole time. and it wasn’t easy, because it was expensive. I lost my apartment, and I was living couch to couch.

During that time, I received an opportunity to showcase at Jade Lounge in Queens. It was my first exhibition in 8 years. I had no money at that point, so my friend Kimberly asked if I wanted to do Kickstarter campaign. Initially I didn’t like to ask for money, but she said I needed to do it. My ex was a videographer, and he helped me make three short documentaries in one day: in my home, walking around Brooklyn in front of murals, saying why I was doing this exhibition. I wound up raising $1,300.

The exhibition I did was called “Soliloquy of Chaos”, and it discussed what I went through those past two years: not having a job, pursuing my passion, falling in love, realizing I was falling in love, pursuing that dream. That exhibition was for the people, by the people. Everything – the paint, brushes, canvases – was paid for by others. Some of them didn’t even know me, but they said, “I heard about you, I want to support you.”

How did you get the opportunity to show there in the first place?

My friend Kimberly went the lounge and noticed a gallery space. I still remember when she texted me and said, “There’s a gallery space. You need to check it out.” At first I was like, “I don’t want to do this – I’m scared.” But when I saw the space, I knew my work was going to be there. I could see it. I didn’t even know what I was going to create, but I knew, “That’s mine.” And that’s how it’s always been. As an artist, I know when it’s right.

I sent an email to the event coordinator with the only three images I had. He responded the same night, and said he had an open spot in January. Because of that exhibit, I was on WPIX11 news, I interviewed and got featured in Amour Creole magazine, I had my work in Philadelphia – all in one year. I realized at that point that I could no longer do a nine-to-five.

That was 2011. When I first met you [in 2012], you were on your way, but still figuring things out. Then I looked up, and it seemed like you had tons of opportunities all over the place. How did that happen?

[The year] 2012 was a whirlwind. I’m like, “How did I get here!”  I was asked to be featured in Amour Creole by Valerie Brutus, who is also my publicist. She believed in me, and she said, “Ok, let’s see if we can get you out there. I need to see you everywhere.” And honestly, all the exposure was between her and people hearing about my story. A lot of the gigs, the articles, the blogs, the magazines, newspapers, going to Dartmouth, going to Haiti — it was just referrals.

I remember a couple weeks ago, I did a fundraiser for the Haitian American Caucus. I had one of my large paintings called “Emotional Combustion” there — it’s always grabbed people’s attention. There was one lady who was like, “That’s mine. I need that in my house right now.” She had one of the attendants spy and make sure no one else entered bids. To see that – it’s fulfilling as an artist. Especially because I want to change the world through art.

How specifically do you want to do that?

I’ve done creative art workshops for nonprofits and schools. The workshop is called “Discover Your Voice”, and at that workshop, students rediscover who they are as a person. I discuss media and how it affects who you are as a person. We discuss the fundamentals of art, the meaning of art. We also discuss its history. We dive into how art is revolutionary. That’s how I feel I’m going to change the world: using art as a tool, as a medium to open the eyes of others, and inspire others to think, “my voice is important”.

Can you talk about the importance of getting started? Do you think your artistic career took on a momentum of its own once you put yourself out there?

Like, immediately. I was so used to being in the background, doing the events and not being in the public eye. So once I decided it’s time for me to say my story, and understand the purpose of my point of view, and not be scared of being a leader or success, things started happening.

Success is a whole different responsibility. I really have to be a leader and say, “This is my art. This is my vision.” Honestly, it’s not about the money. To me, success is knowing that I’m inspiring others. Money and recognition is cool, but just to know you’re inspiring others – it’s wonderful.

What primary emotions and themes inspire your artwork?

Everything. Love, life, and understanding the world. Understanding why things happen, and understanding ways that my vision can have an effect on someone. And my voice – I have to let it out.

What is it about the abstract style in particular that’s so conducive to talking about the themes you care about?

There are no rules. I tell my students: there are no mistakes.

Right now I’m into breaking things apart, like wood. I used to deconstruct canvas when I was 19. I’m literally going back to that old style of mine, what I learned 11 years ago. It’s just about finding ways to communicate that are not so obvious. Abstract art makes you think. It makes you feel. It makes you understand. It makes people question things: “Why did she do that?” It makes people ask themselves, “Why do I feel so strongly about that one piece?”

As an artist in today’s climate, what would you say about opportunities to exhibit your work? I’ve noticed a lot of artwork in spaces that aren’t necessarily galleries. Have opportunities to show your work become more diverse?

Opportunities to show my work have definitely become more diverse. Showcasing at restaurants and lounges is a good opportunity, but the issue is, you don’t want to get stuck. That’s the thing: it’s great, but I need to get out to a broader audience. I need to be in Chelsea. I need to be in Jersey City. I need to be in LA. I want people knowing who I am – like, “Oh, that’s a Domeville.” It’s starting to get like that in Brooklyn, I notice. I want to continue that, but at a larger scale. I’m going to try to get my kit together and see if I can show my work at the Brooklyn Museum, or even the Newark Museum. I really want to do a show at the MOMA San Francisco. New York is cool, but San Franscisco…I actually want to live there eventually. I want to show my work not only domestically, but internationally. That’s the goal. I want to be out there.

How do you break into those opportunities?

It was [Citi] Medina that said this: you have to go places where you don’t feel comfortable. One place like that for me was Dartmouth College (Sophia taught at the Rassias center recently).  It was different not to see people who look like me, and to understand it didn’t matter. I had to break out of my own shell and comfort zone, and say, “You know what? I’m just gonna be Sophia.” I know that to get myself out there, I’m going to have to put myself in situations like that.

How did you come to be in Newark from Brooklyn, and what has your experience been here?

A friend of mine let me sublet his apartment because he was getting married last year. I’m still, a year later, getting to know Newark, because I got so comfortable being in Brooklyn. Now, I’m trying to make Newark my new home. I’m still trying to figure out what are the ins and happenings of the artists here. But Newark helped me focus — being in Newark, it is a different world for me. I’ve created much more work being here. Newark is my refuge — I go home, and I create art.

What is your impression of the town? What do you observe about Newark as someone who moved here fairly recently?

People are very different than in Brooklyn – the energy is different. In Brooklyn, there’s a creative energy that can be very distracting and suck you in. It’s about being an individual and standing out. Crocheting your own sweater, creating your own earrings. In Newark, I notice people are more similar to each other. There’s a little bit of individuality here – hopefully there’ll be more. When I first moved here, people would look at me like, “You’re not from around here. Are you from Brooklyn?” And I would say, “How did you know?!”

In Brooklyn, everybody’s always ready – Jay-Z might do another pop-up concert somewhere, or somebody’s taking photos down the street for a magazine. There’s always something happening. And I can see that happening in Newark in time.

If you had the opportunity, would you move back to Brooklyn, or could you see yourself staying here?

Part of me says yes, and part of me says no. I want to see how much of an impact I can make in Newark. I feel like with Newark, I’m starting over, and I have a platform to really sustain an actual impact here, and be known for it. Brooklyn is a little saturated. Here, it’s like you can make your own pond. So I would stay in Newark. I want to build first before leaving.

Tim Dingman: The upside of being an artist

Love in the arts community is as precipitous, precarious, pernicious, preposterous and….given to pretension as it is anywhere else in the human community.  Only more so.

It is not my intent to guess, discuss or disclose whom is sleeping with whom in the Chelsea or Newark arts community.  I’m remarkably inept at making such assumptions.

I’m more interested in wondering why people outside of the community are attracted to artists. Why does a 30-plus-year-old woman at a pop-up show in the basement of the Chelsea Hotel decided that she wants to buy a 60-year-old-plus artist like me drinks?

Why does a brilliant 38 year old call to pick me up in a Mercedes to take me (as her “date”) to a party?  People in the arts community have simply been given permission, or, rather, given themselves permission to give way to their passion, often at the cost of financial, emotional and philosophical security.  Artists are people who have stopped reminding themselves that the society at large expects them to be “normal.”  By the way; “passion” is equal to, but not the equivalent of, sex.  Just to remind you.

My favorite self descriptor is “Bohemian”.  It’s a somewhat archaic term, but it explains what goes on in an artist’s life and in the arts community more generally. (Read about it as defined in Wikipedia.)

Any good mixer of convivial habits considers he has a right to be called a Bohemian. But that is not a valid claim. There are two elements; at least, that are essential to Bohemianism. The first is devotion or addiction to one or more of the Seven Arts. The other is poverty.

And other factors suggest themselves. For instance, I like to think of my Bohemians as young, as radical in their outlook on art and life, as unconventional, and, though this is debatable, as dwellers in a city large enough to have the somewhat cruel atmosphere of all great cities.

Literary “Bohemians” were associated in the French imagination with roving Romani people (called “bohemians” because they were believed to have arrived from Bohemia), outsiders apart from conventional society and untroubled by its disapproval. The term carries a connotation of arcane enlightenment (the opposite of Philistines), and also carries a less frequently intended, pejorative connotation of carelessness about personal hygiene and marital fidelity.

That’s it.  “…a connotation of arcane enlightenment.”  The artists are the “smartest people in the room.”  Artists know something that the rest of the populous doesn’t – and can’t – ever know. Sound arrogant?  Sure is. Don’t you have to be to put your favorite creation on a wall in public for everyone to see, comment on, deride, and judge?  After coming to terms with that, what could possibly frighten you?

Beautiful Zow Marketplace Popup Shop

As of today, there are now two artisan marketplaces running in town. This afternoon marks the launch of the Beautiful Zow Marketplace Popup Shop at The Coffee Cave. The shop is a collaboration between HelloBeautiful and ZingaZow, and will feature vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories, music, handmade arts and crafts, and massages. The shop’s producers will be hosting a Black Friday day party from 2pm to 8pm today to kick off the shop.

The shop will be open daily from noon to 7pm, and will run through January 1, 2014. It will also feature events on specific days:

  • 11/29 PopShop Newark Black friday shopping day party 2-8pm
  • 11/30 Small business Saturday Support your local small business’s
  • 12/2 Game Night 6-9pm
  • 12/4 Craft Night 6-9pm
  • 12/9 Game Night 6-9pm
  • 12/11 Craft Night 9-9pm
  • 12/15 Black Magic Music Concert Hosted by Sheikia S. Norris
  • 12/18 Craft Night 6-9pm
  • 12/23 Game Night 6-9pm
  • 12/25 Craft Night 6-9pm
  • 12/29 Beautiful Zow Kwanzaa Celebration and closing of Popshop Newark. 5-9pm

For more information on the shop, see the Beautiful Zow Marketplace’s event page on Facebook.

Look familiar? Bamberger’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Newark [Photo]

Updated 10:59 AM –

Bamberger’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Newark, NJ.

From the editor: Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers. We’re thankful for your support! To show just a little more support, be sure to vote for Brick City Live – and one other company – in the NewU startup competition for seed funding that will enable us to do even more for you! http://brickc.it/unitypitches

Watch our pitch below:

Beyond Brick City: The directors of Isis Dynasty, starring Newark native Faizon Love, on their new film and indie filmmaking

If you gave yourself only thirty days to make your dream come true before throwing in the towel, just how would you order your steps?

That’s the premise of a new independent film from directors Fatima Washington and Corey “Sunspot Jonz” Johnson, and starring Paula Jai Parker, Golden Brooks, and Newark native Faizon Love.

Isis Dynasty draws heavily from the career of Washington, who also stars as the film’s title character, to distill years of experiences universal to people trying to make it in Hollywood down to a monthlong gauntlet of struggles and tests. The film’s protagonist must overcome them to prove to herself that her career goal is still worth pursuing. Her alternative: give up on Hollywood and decamp to a more conventional lifestyle.

They’re challenges well known to the film’s directors, who bypassed the studio system altogether to make the film because, as Johnson put it in a recent telephone conversation, “We actually wanted to see this film happen.”

“A lot of times studios control the final product. Not the story, but what they think can sell,” Johnson continued. “We wanted to have control, and we wanted this story to actually get made.”

Johnson, who is also a rapper, and Washington, a graduate of USC film school, have worked together previously, including when Washington directed music videos for Johnson. Washington, who is also a veteran producer and current film professor, said Johnson asked her recently why she hadn’t yet stretched her skills to create a feature film, given all of her experience and credentials.

The pair started talking about “what we were experiencing – both of us – as artists and as filmmakers,” said Washington, which is how she came up with the concept of an aspiring, down-on-her-luck actress giving herself a limited time to make or break it in Hollywood.

The story boils years of Washington’s career experiences down to that thirty days. Johnson wrote the script. Washington, a veteran of “In Living Color” and reality television production, and a professed admirer of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, called the film’s style “a hybrid form of improvisation, reality, and narrative”.

In order to get the film done, the pair used their rolodex of contacts, their resourcefulness, and a carefully honed pitch to secure what Washington called their “dream cast”. They made Paula Jai Parker, who Washington called “the most underrated actress in Hollywood” with “incredible chops”, an associate producer. Ja’net Dubois, who portrayed Winona on the sitcom “Good Times”, plays Isis’ mother and is a “groundbreaking” actress, Washington said.

While they’ve finished shooting the film, they’re seeking to crowd fund the post production, marketing, and film festival entry requirements through an Indiegogo campaign. One of the top perks of contributing to the campaign is one-on-one time with Love.

Asked what else, in addition to contributing funds, audiences can do to get more independent films made, Johnson recommended they simply be curious about them. “A lot of people don’t show enough interest in independent film,” Johnson said. “A lot of them don’t even know what independent film is,” he continued, citing YouTube as a medium that confuses people into thinking independent filmmaking means, as he put it, “I just made it by myself”.

“That’s not it,” Johnson said. “It’s filmmaking that’s further way from the mainstream formulas, and without anyone’s interest in wanting to do or see something different, we’re going to be stuck in the same phase of monotony.”

To contribute to Isis Dynasty, see the film’s page on Indiegogo.

Five things we’re thinking about: Week of November 25

This week, we’re 1) celebrating Thanksgiving, 2) thinking about the leadership capabilities of Newark high school students, 3) checking out local artisans at Seed Gallery, 4) inviting you to nominate yourselves and your friends for a street style shoot by Citi Medina, and 5) asking you one more time you to vote for Brick City Live to earn more funds so we can do more work! The voting portion of the pitch competition ends Friday, November 29.

What else should we be thinking about? Tweet #fivethings @brickcitylive, or leave a comment below. Wondering why the stories on Brick City Live look the way they do? Read this essay.

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Happy Thanksgiving all!

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Celebrate this week by giving back time, money, and/or resources to community members who need them.

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Newark high school students prove adept at running mayoral forum

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Brick City Live was present at the mayoral forum on education this past Thursday at the Newark Public Library. Read our report about how the students who ran the debate kept the crowd and the candidates in line. Money quote.

The questions and the candidates’ responses were in line with those of the previous mayoral education forum, held at Science Park High School last month. But the students, commanding and irreverent in the face of the candidates and the crowd, proved adept at quashing the types of crowd outbursts that characterized the previous forum, and at keeping the candidates themselves in line.

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Vinyl Swap featuring the Brick City Design Market

The event, which features live music and handcrafted designs for sale, is every Saturday from noon to 6pm at Seed Gallery, 210 Market Street, between Broad and Mulberry Streets.

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Be featured in a Brick City Live “Street Style & Profile Post”

Including a chance to be photographed by our featured Style contributor, Citi Medina! Check out this weekend’s post for details.

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Vote for Brick City Live!

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Brick City Live is the finalist in a competition to win seed funding, and a simple vote from our readers can go a long way towards helping us produce more content, hire freelancers and interns, and even host events! To check out our pitch video, go here. To vote for Brick City Live, go here. Remember: there are two prizes, so you most vote for Brick City Live and one other company in order for your vote to count. Pass it along! (And while you’re at it, be sure to share our stories if you like those, too.)

Pitch videos: http://brickc.it/unitypitches

Voting: http://brickc.it/votebcl

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Newark students prove adept at running mayoral forum

On the second floor of the Newark Public Library last night, three of the four mayoral candidates – Ras Baraka, Shavar Jeffries, and Darrin Sharif – shared their visions for public education in Newark during a candidate forum hosted by the Newark Student Union and NJ Communities United.

The questions and the candidates’ responses were in line with those of the previous mayoral education forum, held at Science Park High School last month. But the students, commanding and irreverent in the face of the candidates and the crowd, proved adept at quashing the types of crowd outbursts that characterized the previous forum, and at keeping the candidates themselves in line.

After opening the forum with a call-and-response chant and a series of sketches about aspects of their experiences as Newark Public School students, they exercised strong governance of the debate early and often.

Shavar Jeffries’ supporters, who showed up en force wearing orange “Team Jeffries” t-shirts over their jackets and sweatshirts, applauded resoundingly when Jeffries wrapped up his response to the first question, where he touted his work suing the state to bring millions of dollars back into the Newark school district. The student moderator immediately reminded the crowd to hold their applause.

Later in the forum, a few crowd members near the back of the room loudly protested as Jeffries aggressively interrogated Baraka’s record as Central High School principal. The student moderator dinged Jeffries for veering off-topic, then directly chastised the crowd for getting out of hand. In contrast to the previous mayoral education forum, they quieted almost immediately.

At one point not long afterwards, the decorum in the crowd threatened to break down again as some of the same voices loudly groaned in response to Jeffries’ comments about violence in the South Ward. A representative from NJ Communities United stopped the debate and firmly chastised the crowd. “The energy that the students brought to this space will not be disrupted,” she said. “The next person to make an outburst will be asked to leave.”

When the forum resumed afterwards, the only sounds that could be heard in the room were Baraka’s voice and a potato chip bag rustling somewhere in the crowd.

For his part, Sharif occasionally played a moderator-like role himself. He twice lightly censured Jeffries for overstuffing his responses with campaign talking points, and took pains to restate the moderator’s questions and attempt to answer them with precision.

On the substance, the candidates again distinguished themselves mostly on the margins.

When asked to respond to school superintendent Cami Anderson “describing Newark Public School students as criminals”, as the questioner put it, in a letter to the parents of Newark Public School students, Jeffries criticized the comment, but also said he hoped Anderson had been taken out of context. Baraka, by contrast, was unequivocal that Anderson meant the comment as it had been received, and questioned why she felt at liberty to make it in the first place.

(In a letter explaining why she decided not to close schools so teachers could attend an education conference this year, Anderson said, “Families lost valuable classroom time and with too many young people idle, crime went up.”)

On a question about local control for Newark Public Schools, Sharif once again argued that creating a cogent agenda for the school system is as important as winning control back. In response, Baraka pushed back on the assumption that Newarkers wouldn’t effectively self-govern the school system.

There was also a reprisal of the debate over Shavar Jeffries’ “genocide” comment, which has been frequently miscast during the election to date. As Jeffries again clarified, he used “genocide” as a metaphor for the effect of low graduation rates for minority students.

But most of these points of differentiation were rehashed from the previous forum. Last night, the helmsmanship of the student moderators made it a little easier to hear those distinctions with a more statesmanlike tone and in a more civil atmosphere.

Q&A with Brick City Design Market co-founder Meca McKinney

Meca McKinney is the co-founder of the Brick City Design Market along with Gizem Bacaz, owner of Seed Gallery downtown Newark. Our Q&A with Meca about what the project is, how it came to be, and her hopes for the venture:

What is the Brick City Design Market?

The Brick City Design Market is a weekly pop-up shop every Saturday at Seed Gallery showcasing the finest fashion, accessory, product and furniture designers in the tri-state area. There is an itinerary of fashion and beauty workshops, cooking demos, pampering services, and more all while the DJ spins and an art exhibit is shown.

What inspired the idea?

I actually had a recurring dream of bringing a market like the ones I experienced in Soho and the Meatpacking district to Newark, but couldn’t figure out in my dream how or where. I don’t like the cold weather, so replicating the outdoor markets I’d experienced in NYC wasn’t completely ideal. Gizem, the owner of Seed, was thinking of the same thing, but inside of her gallery. After a few messages back and forth on Facebook, The Brick City Design Market was born.

Why did you decide to bring this project to Newark?

Newark is the land of my birth. Although I left the area for over a decade, I always have found my way back even if it’s just professionally. It’s a shame that it’s a stone’s throw from one of the best cities in the world, and yet lacks so much opportunity for independent thinkers and creators. I hope to help change that.

Why did you choose Seed Gallery as the venue?

Seed Gallery chose me. Plus I just love Gizem!

What are your hopes for the marketplace?

I hope it becomes a mainstay for people to come and network with the creative class, collaborate, grow brands, and inspire one another for a long time to come.

How does the Vinyl Exchange factor in?

The Vinyl Exchange happens simultaneously as guest DJs spin and vinyl lovers exchange records. It’s a listening party that provides the backdrop for the Design Market.

How have you attracted so many artisans from outside of the immediate area?

As an designer myself, many of my friends and associates are designers. Plus, I lived in North Jersey – in Bergen and Essex Counties – and South Jersey, plus taught design in Philly and worked in NYC’s corporate fashion industry. I currently live in Hudson County where I’m earning my Masters in design and craft, so I have built many relationships within the 100 mile radius.

Meca is also the owner of Jypsea Leathergoods. Her handcrafted collection features handbags, accessories, home decor, and furnishings. Check out details for this Saturday’s Design Market here, and like Brick City Design Market on Facebook.

Brick City Design Market: Local designers, artisans, & vintage vinyl Saturdays downtown Newark

This and every Saturday from noon to 6pm (except for December 14th), native Newark designer and artisan Meca McKinney will be personally curating independent fashion, accessory, and product designers from the wider region at Seed Gallery, the Market Street gallery owned by visual artist Gizem Bacaz, who will also be producing the event.

The Brick City Design Marketplace, which is free to attend, will offer attendees the opportunity to connect with each other and shop local, one-of-a-kind items while listening to vintage records and taking in art exhibits, style and beauty workshops, cooking demos, and other interactive activities with independent designers and vendors.

See details for this week’s marketplace below.

Highlighted food vendor: “Many, Mini Things”
Chef Zakiyyah discovered her love for culinary in 2006. She has provided personal/private chef services for private affairs, as well as for busy families who had no time for healthy meal preparation. She will be performing a cooking demo covering both cooking essentials and how to make the most of leftovers. (4-5pm)

Undefined Fashions: Brooklyn-based designer of one-of-a-kind ear art

Jypsea Leathergoods: Handcrafted leather furniture, home goods and accessories

Gizem Bacaz: Gizem Bacaz is a multi-dimensional and multi-medium designer. Seed Gallery is Gizem’s brainchild, founded in 2007 in downtown Newark, NJ.

RetroChic Beauty: Since launching her career as a commercial freelance make-up artist and hairstylist, Pietra has acquired a wide variety of experience including working freelance for M.A.C, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Cover Girl, Physician’s Formula, and Smashbox. Her work has been featured in several magazines including Essence, Ebony, Modern Salon, Sophisticate’s Black Hair, and New Beauty magazine.

Stay by Stacey Angela: Stacey Angela’s exclusive Stay by Stacey Angela collection has been heralded from Japan to Los Angeles. Her crochet pieces have been featured in the Miami Herald, Grand Life Daily, Lifestyles of the Authentic and Creative, ougarvintage.comthestylist.com, Lincoln Road magazine, Nylon, Americas Next Top Model,VH-1, Complex mag, VH1.com, Honey, Smooth, Jewel, Suede, LA Talk-Radio, and Wall of Style Radio, among other outlets.

UFC returns to Newark with two title fights Super Bowl weekend

Another major sports event is coming to the region the same weekend as the Super Bowl.

Two world title fights will headline the UFC’s return to the Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday, February 1, 2014. In the night’s main event, the UFC will crown its bantamweight champion when reigning champion Dominick Cruz returns after two years away from competition due to injury to meet interim champion Renan Barao.

Then, in the night’s co-main event, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will face Ricardo Lamas.

“We put together a fight worthy of Super Bowl weekend,” UFC president Dana White said. “It’s the fight that everyone has been waiting for – champion vs. champion,” he continued, referring to the bout between Cruz and Barao for the 135-pound title.

Tickets for the event go on sale Friday, November 22 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmater and at the Prudential Center box office. Tickets will be priced between $50 and $400.