Oakland

ART OF DIY: MELISSA SLAUGHTER

By Alicia Rivera on July 6, 2018

Mastering Her Craft

“I converted my home into a ‘Wear Now Doer’s’ workshop fitted out with all the bells and whistles I thought I needed to support an initial launch of the brand.  That led me to enthusiastically buy and assemble a four-color screen printing press that came in a million pieces,” says Melissa Slaughter, creator and founder of Wear Now Do. From here, Slaughter experimented with screen printing so she could master the craft and offer professionally prepared products. “It’s so much fun to work with creative designers to develop the concept for our branded apparel. One of Wear Now Do’s signature pieces was the product of that process. It’s an incredibly soft and cozy, tri-blend t-shirt, I affectionately called Rosie Resilience. Rosie is modernized take on the iconic graphic of Rosie the Riveter. Soon thereafter, my logo and overall brand identity was born!”

Wear Now Do makes and sells apparel, bags and home goods, then donates a portion of its profits to non profits in the community.  “We seek to advance our mission by volunteering directly and supporting nonprofit organizations financially so they can reach more people and provide more services to their clients.” Wear Now Do sprung up, because Slaughter wanted to be more engaged in her community. “I felt that there was no better time than now to take direct action and become more civically engaged. So I decided to focus on amplifying the good work of nonprofit organizations that provide professional development services, those that create and improve urban green spaces, and those that provide mental health services to youth in the community. Those are my key focal areas for 2018.”

 

Engaging The Community

“Since launching my business, Wear Now Do, I’ve loved participating in Oakland First Friday events, because the atmosphere and people are so vibrant. Each event has become a rich source of inspiration for me as I develop new designs that are fittingly California casual. The opportunity to connect with customers directly, as at events like First Friday, has been invaluable in getting insights into what my customers enjoy.”

“Vending at First Friday gives me a chance to build awareness about my business with existing and potential future customers. I regularly share about Wear Now Do’s socially inspired mission and how I was personally inspired to become more civically engaged. Some of my most memorable experiences as vendor [are from] hearing from others about what they are doing to have a positive impact on their communities. It opens my mind to the possibilities for my business and its ability to inspire and support others in their direct actions.”

 

 
Photo @blupencilgraphics

Photo @blupencilgraphics

Growing Toward The Future

Only a year into her business, Slaughter is looking to grow her business, including her number of volunteers, her social media reach and connecting more with socially conscious stores in the Bay Area.  Look for Wear Now Do in the Fall to try out their limited edition line of pure, scented soy wax candles. All of Wear Now Do’s products are designed and hand-printed in San Francisco. You can buy from them online at www.wearnowdo.com, via social media @wearnowdo or directly at Oakland First Fridays on July 6th, 5 to 9PM. See their location on the map here!


 

Connect With Melissa!

Instagram

Melissa and Wear Now Do are also appearing at the following events:

 

ART OF DIY: Austin Graziano

By Alicia Rivera on July 3, 2018

SKATE ESCAPE

“If we had it our way, everyone would have a board,” says skateboarder and owner of Bonzing Skateboards, Austin Graziano. With a true joy and excitement for skateboarding, Graziano found a creative path that led to a successful business. “The more I got into skateboarding and rode all sorts of different shapes, I wasn’t finding the right board to always get me there. That is when I started shaping skateboards myself,” he says.

“Skateboarding is unlike anything else and it is my escape. The feeling you get from skating is hard to describe, the fun, euphoria and excitement of bombing Twin Peaks, landing a new trick or grinding a coping is unlike anything else. After running out of metaphors to describe this feeling, I realized I needed a new word to describe this feeling - it is Bonzing!”

In 2006, Graziano registered Bonzing as a company and released its first skateboard in 2009, releasing a new board every year. In 2012, Bonzing experienced a major spike in sales, doubling the number of skateboards they had sold in previous years. Since then, Austin and the team have never looked back.

“Our boards are sold in stores and online and we don’t always get to see our customers interact with our boards. Being at Oakland First Fridays we see people first-hand checking out our boards and their reactions to what they love or questions they have. Some people know exactly what they are looking for; but there are others who are not really sure what they want and it is nice to be able set them up for what they are looking for.” Austin and his team will be setting up shop at Oakland First Fridays on Friday, July 6th. Event-goers will get a taste of the art, ride and style of Bonzing when they visit the fellas at their booth, located on this map.

 

FROM WOOD TO RIDE

Event-goers will get to see the finished product of what is a careful, dedicated process of art. As a new Bonzing skateboard is shaped, a rider’s artistic and physical style help define the concave of the board. “After seeing and feeling the concave we can start to put some lines down and the exploration process begins. We cut, sand, skate and repeat until we have a shape that rings the tuning fork inside, performs supremely and is fun as heck!”

All graphics are created by Bonzing’s team of skateboarders. “It is not until we have a board that we love and want to share with the world that we then start the manufacturing process. The manufacturing process ensures you get exactly what we have created and you get a board that will last you a lifetime. Quality is not an ingredient you add in the middle or at the end. It is built into our process.”

 

SUMMER OF BONZING

With a growth mindset, Austin has exciting plans for Bonzing this summer, releasing new skateboards and putting on their first skate school. “If you, your child or anyone you know wants to learn how to skateboard we are putting on a two-day skate class for beginners. Everyone is welcome and you can visit BonzingSkateboards.com to sign up!” Further plans include a Bonzing Factory, where the organization can foster more opportunities for skateboarders’ lifestyle, skills and talents. “We have a great place to grow from in Oakland and a kick-a** team of rippers shaping street, transition and downhill skateboards. We could not be more excited about where we are and what we are doing!”’

Be sure to come say “Hi” and check out some Bonzing boards at the Oakland First Fridays “Art Of D.I.Y.” event on Friday, July 6th, 5 to 9PM at West Grand and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

 

 

ART IS WOMEN: Tori Hunter

By Alicia Rivera on April 24, 2018

Meet artist Tori Hunter, who is a digital painter born and raised in Oakland, California. When asked about her creative style, her response is usually “I’un even know,” bearing the Instagram handle, @iuneveno. Though Hunter cannot put a specific name to her style, it is likened to “black manga.” When describing her portfolio of works, Hunter says her recreations take “nostalgic or iconic characters from comics or twelve vision and make them Black.” Going beyond the normative perception of Black, Hunter says, “I try to bring all shades into my artwork, as well as skin conditions...such as #albinism and #vitiligo. That way every Black person can see themselves in my artwork and not feel shut out. Every person can be a superhero.”

Hunter sells her work online and at the Oakland First Fridays festival. “When  people talk about creating their own business no one ever talks about the financial side. First Friday has helped me get my brand out there. More people will be able to see my artwork and request commissions. Regulars will come and be able to find me and tell friends.” Hunter and the BMJ Art Shop will be joining us for the "Art Is Women | Redux" on May 4th, 5-9 p.m. Come out to support BMJ Art Shop even if you “uneveno” what to expect.

Tori is always available for commission! You can contact her via Instagram @iuneveno, email bmjartshopinc@gmail.com and through her store www.bmjartshopinc.bigcartel.com.

Tori is always available for commission! You can contact her via Instagram @iuneveno, email bmjartshopinc@gmail.com and through her store www.bmjartshopinc.bigcartel.com.