Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo Recap: FACTOTUM

 

Designer Koji Udo continues with the tougher moto style trend while mixing in some military aesthetics and tailored fits for the FACTOTUM spring and summer 2015 presentation. The collection is named “Various Life”, which is fitting since the collections draws its inspiration from visited landscapes and people met along the way. All these layered elements that make up the world surrounding us is what Udo hopes to present in his clothing. Strong notes of denim and faded camouflage complement the light, khaki tones of bomber jackets and moto vests for his menswear collection. His line seems befitting to the current streetwear trends for fall and winter, but he plays it up with some colorful, punchy patterns for spring to avoid feeling completely washed out in neutrals.

While most designers end the runway shows with a finale of all their designs, FACTOTUM gave a graphic visual of antonyms. His always clean tailored pants were dressed with tee shirts bearing sayings like “Hope And Despair” and “Badness And Goodness.” These are all words that humans attach themselves to emotionally and are all a part of various lives.

Below are a few images of Udo’s spring and summer 2015 presentation for Tokyo Fashion Week.

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–STORY BY MIN A. LEE
All photos courtesy of MBFW Tokyo.

 

 

 


Unforgettable 2014: Introducing the Royal Salute Mark of Respect Award

 

For the very first time, Royal Salute, one of the most coveted and admired luxury spirit brands in the world, will honor one deserving individual from the Asian American community with their Mark of Respect Award. This award will be presented at Audrey Magazine & KoreAm Journal’s Unforgettable 2014, a celebrity-studded event dedicated to honoring Asian American achievements within the past year. This awards and entertainment gala will take place Friday, December 5th at the Legendary Park Plaza Hotel.

“As Royal Salute aspires to always begin where others end, our extension of the international Mark of Respect Award to the U.S. is our way of continuing Royal Salute’s tradition of paying tribute and honoring leaders in the Asian community here in the U.S.,” said Wayne Hartunian, Vice President, Scotch & Cognac, Pernod Ricard USA. “The brand will continue to celebrate inspirational leaders that exemplify the highest level of excellence in to their respected fields and community.”

 

Stewart Kwoh, Lisa Ling & James Ryu. Photo courtesy of destinationluxury.com

Stewart Kwoh, Lisa Ling & James Ryu. Photo courtesy of destinationluxury.com

The Mark of Respect Award winner will be chosen by an esteemed selection committee comprised of three individuals who are also leaders and notable names in the Asian/ Asian American community.

·Stewart Kwoh, founding President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice
·Lisa Ling, television journalist, best known as host of “This is Life with Lisa Ling”
·James Ryu, Publisher of KoreAm Journal and Audrey Magazine

Earlier this month, Royal Salute held an exclusive dinner at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills to launch the Mark of Respect Award. The dinner allowed attendees to meet and greet with the selection committee and discover why Royal Salute carries such a legacy.

 

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Photo courtesy of destinationluxury.com

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Photo courtesy of destinationluxury.com

 

The recipient of Royal Salute’s Mark of Respect Award will be announced soon. Be sure to keep an eye out for updates on the performers, award recipients and honored guests who will make an appearance at this year’s Unforgettable!

 

Please drink responsibly. 
Feature photo courtesy of destinationluxury.com

 

 

 

Seoul S/S Fashion Week: Designer SONGZIO

 

Seoul Fashion Week began last week in Seoul, with top designers, including VanHard di Albazar, BYUNGMUN SEO, MOOHONG, Line OR Circle, SONGZIO and more. The first day of Seoul Fashion Week, which primarily showcased menswear, was undoubtedly a hit, but it appears that designer SONGZIO’s collection grabbed exceptional attention.

According to the official website, the SONGZIO philosophy is as follows:

“SONGZIO exemplifies Zio Song’s design identity: Aspiration. Aspiration is what represents SONGZIO’s ambition. Every single piece of clothing is a visualization of his inspiration. His work symbolizes the odyssey of a young master, referred to in Korean as 도령 (Doryung), who achieves his progressive ideals through his elegant yet fearless journey. The protagonist of the brand is the young master who is an elegant poet, a painter, an artist, whose oriental elegance SONGZIO interprets through it modern eyes.”

For the first day of Seoul Fashion Week, SONGZIO’s collection hit the runway with designs that emphasized unique stripe patterns and silhouettes using monochromatic hues, mainly black and white.

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His show also attracted attention when South Korean actor Cha Seung-won who was originally an in-demand fashion model before turning into a successful actor. It looks like his attention is back on the runway. Cha Seung-won took charge of the collection’s opening wearing a chic, all-black suit that was followed by other monochromatic designs with coral red and toned-down blue hues. The entire collection maintained unity under restricted colours.

 

Let’s take a look at some of his top designs.

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And the designer himself.

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–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM
(Photo Credit 1, 2, 3)

 

 

Save The Date: Audrey Magazine & KoreAm Journal Present UNFORGETTABLE 2014

 

It is our pleasure to present Audrey Magazine & KoreAm Journal’s 13th annual gala, Unforgettable. This high-profile, celebrity-studded event is dedicated to honoring Asian American achievements within the past year, and is an opportunity for talent to perform for distinguished and influential members of the community.

Unforgettable promises to be one of the premiere entertainment events of the year for the Asian American community. In addition to the awards ceremony, the gala will also include highly-anticipated performances, a gourmet three-course dinner and a hosted after-party for its audience of over 500 Asian American professionals, celebrities and high-profile community leaders

 

When: Friday, December 5, 2014 @ 5pm
Where: The Legendary Park Plaza Hotel
607 South Park View Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057

 

Check out some highlights from Unforgettable 2013:

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More information coming soon… 

 

Audrey Column: Do’s & Don’ts of Wooing a Girl in This Day and Age

 

Gen X’s guide to wooing a girl may not apply in today’s dating world, where boys don’t bother to get out of their cars to pick you up on a date, let alone stand outside your window with his heart on his sleeve. So what should Millennial women expect in this day and age? Columnist Paul Nakayama tells it like it is.


 

I’m a product of the ’80s and ’90s, and John Cusack was the actor that captured the spirit of my ideas on romantic love. I mean, when Lloyd Dobbler raised that boom box up over his head in the 1989 film Say Anything, forget about it — I, too, wanted to win the heart of a girl with some grand gesture. And thusly inspired, I might’ve captured a few hearts, but I sure as hell screwed up the long game with them all on my own. Now I see my nephew, a young man influenced by the love stories of today, like (500) Days of Summer and Her, where love seems elusive, and then I see him trying to meet girls on Tinder and Instagram, where love is literally elusive. In the digital age, the world seems smaller than ever, but if these movies and dating apps are any indication, it’s still just as hard to make a connection with someone and just as easy to screw it up once you do. So I asked the younger female staffers and interns at Audrey Magazine to give me their list of Do’s and Don’ts of dating. For some, I’ll pass on to my nephew. For others, the women are going to have to modify their expectations. Let’s start with the Don’ts:

 

 

“DON’T play with your phone during a date. If your phone is more interesting than your date, you shouldn’t be on a date.”
Totally agree, but we should broadcast this to men and women alike. Nothing makes a meal lonelier than starting to eat by yourself while your dinner companion struggles to think of a clever hashtag for her food porn photo. Then again, I have a policy where I get to eat your food if you’ve taken a photo of it, and a minute passes and you still haven’t tasted it, despite having already half-written a Yelp review. Also, they say your cell phone has more germs than a toilet seat — why you bringing a toilet seat to a date, bro?

DON’T try to get to know me through text messages as opposed to in person. Or worse, try to have a serious conversation or an argument — you’re asking for miscommunication.”
Actually, I’m not sure if I agree. By getting to know someone via texts, it’s like the modern-day equivalent of knights and ladies sending each other poetically drafted love letters full of better intentions, but instead of squires making the delivery, you’ve got rapid-fire thumbs. And even back then, I’m sure the greatest of romances wouldn’t have survived if the heroic knight kept mistaking “your” for “you’re.” Also, nothing defuses a fight like a well-timed, innuendo-laced autocorrect.

“DON’T send me a text about a beautiful sunset or cute puppy and how it made you think of me, and then send the same text to your mom and a bunch of other people. I want to know you’re just into me.”
I completely agree. Two things about this one: One, never text anything to your mom that you’d text to your girlfriend. That’s just your therapy trying to undermine itself. And two, do you guys know how to eavesdrop on text messages? ‘Cause I could have fun with that.

“DON’T play more than two hours a day if you’re a gamer, and that’s the max! I’d prefer only an hour if I had it my way.”
No. We’ve seen our friends who are married, and we know that’s the fate lying ahead, so we’re going to play our thumbs off while we can.

 

And now for the Do’s:

 

“DO use technology to your benefit. If a guy knows how to pay attention, he can find out a girl’s interests and plan a date around that. Read her blog entries, then talk to her about something you find interesting in her writing. Her status says she’s been craving ice cream? Go and surprise her with some.”
What I like about this staffer’s suggestion is that it’s condoning stalking as long as it’s used for the greater good, e.g., ice cream. It also indirectly suggests that girls stalk, too, so I say use that to your advantage. You can blog or update your online status with stuff that might pique a girl’s interests, maybe something about how you want to study for your MCATs, but you can’t think over the sound of your abs rocking hard.

“DO come to the front door when you pick us up for a date. Don’t just sit in your car and text us that you’re here.”
Absolutely do this. But likewise, let’s all be ready on time. I remember waiting for my date too many times to count, trying to kill time on the couch or at the front door or even outside. At least in my car I’d have the AC and music to keep me company — rather than pretending to have a conversation with her toy poodle, which honestly would prefer sh-tting in my shoes.

“DO pick up the phone and ask her out on real dates. While technology is great for an initial contact with the person you’re interested in, relationships can’t live via text/emails/online messaging!”
I’m assuming this is directed towards the guys you actually like, instead of the suitors you’re not that into. Because, believe me, those of us who aren’t lucky in dating try every angle to get a date — phone calls, texts, emails, tweets, pokes, status comments, Likes (even when we don’t like what you’re posting), “random” run-ins (you said it was OK to stalk), even courier pigeons (but just one because we don’t want to seem overbearing.)

“DO call me before 10 p.m. to ‘hang out.’ I’m not waiting around for your call — I’ve got plans, too!”
Waitasecond. These guys that the Audrey staffers are talking about — it sounds like whatever they’re doing is working. They’re calling at 10 p.m. and the girls still agree to hang out? I would plan a date a week in advance and get cancelled on at the last minute. I think it’s time to stop watching sappy movies. In fact, staffers, can you check the status updates of these guys and tell me what movies they’re watching?

 

 

–STORY BY PAUL NAKAYAMA
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

 

Video of Ebola-Infected Nurse Nina Pham in Hospital Bed

 

Earlier this week, Nina Pham, the U.S. nurse who contracted the deadly Ebola virus from her patient, released the following statement:

“I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers,” she said, according to the hospital. “I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world.”

 

Many believe Pham is in stable condition thanks to a blood transfusion from Ebola-survivor Dr. Kent Brantly. However, others have had some doubt about the true state of her condition.

For those who are curious and worried about the brave nurse, we finally have video footage of Pham sitting up in her hospital bed. The video was captured by her treating physician, Gary Weinstein, on Thursday before she was transferred to a National Institutes of Health isolation unit in Maryland.

Pham can be seen wiping away tears before joking and telling everyone to come party in Maryland. She also tearfully tells her doctors “I love you guys.”

 

 

According to NBC News, Pham is very tired from her long trip. After all, one of the main symptoms of Ebola is fatigue. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has reassured everyone that she is comfortable, interacting with staff and eating.

Apparently, Pham will have two nurses with her at all times as well as two others at the door. The hospital believes this buddy system will ensure that no breach in protocol will occur.

“We fully intend to have this patient walk out of this hospital.”Dr. Anthony Fauci adds.

 

 

THE NORTH FACE Store in Korea Pranks Customers, Ad Goes Viral

 

The American outdoor product company The North Face, Inc. was initially designed for outdoor sporting goods. Their products deliver both functionality and style. However, for South Koreans, it means something else.

The North Face has gained wide-spread popularity among South Korean students, and is even seen as a fashionable “uniform.” Specific types of jackets, mainly the “puff jacket” and the “rain jacket,” are known to be the most popular designs that South Korean students purchase.

Unfortunately, all this popularity has also attracted negative attention as well. Students have found that many of them are being judged and stereotyped by their clothing choices. When it comes to The North Face, some student claim that wearing puff jackets makes others believe they are part of a gang.

For the sake of staying away from negative stereotypes, some students have stopped purchasing The North Face jackets. To counter this, the company has had to make some creative moves.

A Korean advertising agency working with The North Face created a prank for customers visiting the company’s pop-up store in South Korea through a promotion called, “Never Stop Exploring.”

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A video of the prank shows customers casually shopping until the employees run out of the store, locking the customer inside. Suddenly, the floor shifts and begins disappearing beneath the customer, leaving them no choice but to use the rock-climbing wall to avoid the fall. The shopper are then told they have 30 seconds to jump and grab a jacket which suddenly dangles from the ceiling.

Not only did The North Face raise the spirits of their customers by making them jump and retrieve a free jacket, the promotion also represents the proper image of the company.

The viral video was published on September 30, 2014 and has over 4,530,000 views.

 

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM

 

 

ASIANS IN COMICS: Long Beach Comic Con 2014

 

 

To my right, Harley Quinn was posing for a picture with Deadpool and Groot. To my left, Chewbaca and a female Loki were casually sipping coffee together. Up ahead, a giant wall was filled with Funko pop vinyls of every Marvel, DC, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones character imaginable.

Yup, I was definitely at a Comic Con.

Long Beach Comic Con was held on September 27th and 28th at the Long Beach Convention Center. The official website describes the event as “a celebration of comic books and pop culture that showcases the exceptional works of talented writers, artists, illustrators and creators of all types of pop culture.”

Although Long Beach Comic Con (LBCC) is much smaller than the famed San Diego Comic Con, it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, many of the LBCC guests said they preferred the more intimate experience provided by a smaller convention. I admit, I enjoyed that this convention didn’t include pushing, shoving, occasional biting and the general crazy that came along with some of the other conventions I’ve been to. Don’t get me wrong though– there was no shortage of passionate geeking out, squealing fangirls and men who made the poor decision to skip their morning shower in order to be the first in line. No, it wouldn’t be a Comic Con without all that.

And while everything seemed to grab at my attention, there was one thing in particular that caught my eye. Sure, the cosplayers took up all of my camera’s memory and the venders took all of my wallet’s money, but what really captivated me was Artist Alley. Everyone from amateurs to famed illustrators gathered at Artist Alley to share their passion for art.

My mission was simple: I was on a hunt to find Asian American artists who went against the career stereotypes of our community (Doctor, lawyer, doctor, pharmacist, engineer and did I say doctor?) to follow their dreams of being an illustrator. When we announced the creation of Marvel’s Asian American superheroes, Ms. Marvel and Silk, our audience reacted with absolute delight. It was clear that people want to see diversity in their superheroes, but what about the people behind these superheroes? Would it be difficult to find Asian American artists? Do Asians truly turn away from this profession because of family expectations, or was that simply a stereotype of the past?

I went to find out. Check out some of the incredible artists that I found at this year’s Long Beach Comic Con.

 

 

 

 


 

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Albert Nguyen
Age: 32
City: St. Paul, Minnesota, currently in San Francisco 
Favorite Superhero: Wolverine
(I have a theory that kids like superheroes based on how they grew up– I grew up as one of the only Asians in Minnesota, so I always felt very different from everyone. All of the X-Men appealed to me, but Wolverine seemed extra different, so I liked him most.)

What do you do?
I’m an illustrator. I do a lot of Star Wars and some Ninja Turtles stuff. My shtick is putting pop culture icons into famous paintings or famous photographs.

What’s the most favorite thing you’ve worked on?
That’s always changing. I usually like what I’m working on next the best. I see all the ways I could have done things better in my older work. I did once do an oil painting of a friend’s dog wearing a Star Trek uniform and that is definitely up there for favorites though.

Asians in comics?
There’s actually a lot of Asians working as creative professionals! I wonder if it’s taking the discipline of growing up Asian and all the energy you should have put into studying for the MCAT and putting it into drawing that pushes Asians to be really good. I like that art is very close to a pure meritocracy too– if you’re good, people will see that. I think it’s easier in art for that to come through clearly. Race is a sticky thing in modern America. We want to believe we’re beyond racism and bigotry and often uncomfortable talking about it, but it’s there. And it’s definitely there in a lot of non-nerd workplaces. The nerd community has definitely been a very progressive place though. [The Nerd community] is just everyone that’s ever felt different all come together in one place. I think that a lot of nerds have felt ostracized and I have seen that the community is good at accepting others.

Asian characters, that’s still lacking. There really aren’t that many Asian pop culture characters. Most Asian males who are in movies seem to be martial arts masters or really good at drifting. Most Asian female characters tend to get played up as exotic. We need more Asian role models who are fairly normal people. Glenn (Steven Yeun) from Walking Dead is awesome though.  John Cho is doing a lot of good work too.

How did your family react to your career choice?
(laughs) Well I didn’t go into this blind. Being Asian, my parents just wanted to know that I knew what I was doing. I’ve been doing these shows off and on, on top of my day job, for years and I’ve been collecting more and more money. My girlfriend’s actually a financial analyst so she built a financial model for me to project what a year would look like for me. So I presented that to my dad who’s an actuary and he got it.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m planning to branch out into more properties. Next I think I’m going to do Harley and Joker as Bonnie and Clyde.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE OF ALBERT’S WORK.

 

 


 

 

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Dustin Nguyen
Age: 38
City: LA/Long Beach and now currently in Fountain Valley
Favorite Superhero: Batman :)

What do you do?
I’ve been with DC for around 14 years. I’ve drawn all kinds of Batman stuff, but now I’m moving on to my own book with Image. I’m still doing stuff with DC—a lot of toys and designs for their stuff, but my main focus right now is in creating my own property.

What’s the most favorite thing you’ve worked on?
My favorite thing I’m working on.. is always the project I’m working on now, you know what I mean? The one I’m most proud of right now is Li’l Gotham because we pitched that half a decade ago, like 6-7 years ago and it finally got off the ground. It was the closest to something that I own because DC owns Batman. It was something that was as fun to work on as it was for us to read it. Right now, I’m working on Descender over at Image. I always love the next thing and hate the last thing.

Asians in comics?
I don’t think being Asian has ever created an obstacle for me in anyway in my past 15 years in comics, or has even come up ( aside from the usual jokes at meetings and dinner). If it means anything, some of the best artists working in the industry today are Asian. Jim Lee, who’s not only the most sought after and best-selling artist in comics ever (also happens to be the head co-publisher of DC Comics), is Asian. Comics is one of those industries in entertainment and pop culture where there is truly free range to be creative, regardless of who you are. Unlike music, or Hollywood, the consumer and fans see very little of the talent themselves, but more our creations. So in a way, we don’t really matter, and I think that can be a great thing. Mostly because some artists and writers are weird as hell.

As far as Asian characters themselves in comic books, I think there are a few. Definitely not a lot, but I dont have a problem with that at all. It’s safe to say I like Batman because he’s got a great back story, amazing aesthetic development as a character over the years, and just freaking cool. I’ve never once stopped and thought ‘it would be so cool if he was Asian.. like me.’

Also, I’ll be honest and say the reason there are not many Asian characters in comics, might be because they haven’t made one worthwhile yet, whether through purpose or story. The worst thing you can do when creating a character is creating one for the sole purpose of pandering to a certain demographic– whether Asian, Black, Gay, whatever. Unfortunately, that’s what I’ve seen being done a lot by the higher ups in corporations. It’s insulting to the demographic, and cheapens the character and therefore doesn’t last. Story should come first.

How did your family react to your career choice?
My mom was real cool with it. I grew up in LA and she was always like ‘as long as you’re not in jail, awesome. As long as you have a plan, awesome. ’She was really supportive. She knew I loved to draw and you know, she really saw that there was no money in it. She said ‘you know you’re never gonna make a living, but hey, you’re out of trouble.’ So she was real supportive. My brothers and sisters were all UCLA grads so she was like ‘oh if I lose one, it’s fine’ (laughs) and then it got better so she was fine. She actually has all of my books and she brings it back to Vietnam.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Descender definitely. It’s our book that comes out in March. Then next month Li’l Gotham has a toy line coming out—they’re tiny little figure, you can get them with a stand and everything. One statue that I just worked on was Catwoman and we made that into a toyline, but it took 3 years to get going. I have an exclusive cover coming out with Scott Snyder.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE OF DUSTIN

 

 


 

 

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Kristen “Hapa” Lau
Age: 28
City: Alhambra, California
Favorite Superhero: Wonderwoman!
(Beauty Brains and Brawn! Plus, who can resist Linda Carter and that jazzy action fighting theme song?! I sure can’t! She’s AMAZING!)

What do you do?
I’m currently a Freelance Character Designer/Illustrator working for various clients. I have been getting mentored for Character Design and Development alongside Mark Mcdonnell who is a current Disney Master Instructor, whom has helped expand my knowledge and grow as a designer.

What’s the most favorite thing you’ve worked on?
Wow! That’s a hard question! Each piece has its own unique quality to it. I’m jumping into stylization, dynamics, character and overall…. just having fun in what I do! I’m always testing my versatility and challenging myself in shapes and design. I’ve been very lucky and honored to be featured at a few recent gallery shows in LA this year so that helped me tap into the different worlds and genres in my pieces and put my own little twist into it. The most rewarding feeling I get is when I see people smiling at my work. A smile can say so much without saying anything at all– and that keeps me going!

Asians in comics?
I think Asians and Asian Americans are definitely on the radar in this industry. There is so much wonderful talent out there, it’s beyond exciting! I not only have one perspective, I’m lucky to have 3. I’m Asian, Hispanic and American. In all three, it comes down to the same denomination– The work, the passion and your personality.

I’m new in this industry– taking courses, observing, learning, executing everyday. As an artist, all of us are learning and our work is always changing, nothing really stays the same in what we do and THAT’s the exciting part of it—- you can definitely see it in one’s work.  No matter who you are and what your background is, it’s the life in what you do, in what you draw, and your personality combined that shows the true talent and makes one shine bright.

How did your family react to your career choice?
(laughs) Quite well actually. My mother was and still is my ROCK. She was very supportive in what I wanted to do. She’d seen it first hand, so it was no surprise to her that I would be come an artist.

My mother would actually look up courses in community college courses that didn’t have an age requirement and sign me up when I was in middle school  So I was the youngest rugrat there. I didn’t care at all because, heck (yes I said said heck), I got to draw! She supported everything I did. Recently I spoke with her and she reminded me about how I would draw in elementary school and charge .25-.50 per drawing of my classmates’ favorite cartoon characters. I would even sell drawings at my mom’s yard sales! My mom and grandparents were very supportive and I’m glad they saw something in me before I even did.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m currently working on my first ashcan book full of my daily doodles and drawings I’ve done in the past couple of years. It’s been such a fun ride where I documented my quirks, experiences, notes, drawings and rough sketches — including some of the recent work and new pieces! It’s set to release February 2015 at Long Beach Comic Con Expo so be on the look out for it!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE OF KRISTEN’S WORK

 

 


 

 

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Ryan Odagawa
Age: 38
City: Los Angeles
Favorite Superhero: Wolverine

What do you do?
I’m a comic book artist and a storyboard revisionist. I do comics and I do my own comic called Shadowzone and I also do freelance work.

What’s the most favorite thing you’ve worked on?
My first job at WildStorm working with Jim Lee. I’ve worked on The Heroes, an online graphic novel for NBC. More recently, I worked on the Cheetos bag – I drew Chester Cheetah. Also, one of the recent jobs I had was on the Ultimate Spiderman cartoon and that was a lot of fun.

Asians in comics?
I think there seems to be a lot of Asians in the art field. I know a lot of Asian parents traditionally want their kids to be doctors, lawyers, etc., but it’s not really what the kid wants to do.  Seems like things have changed over the years where Asians can make a great living doing art. Especially in the Movie or Game industry.

How did your family react to your career choice?
My family was fine with my decision. My dad and several of our relatives on his side are artists, so it was not a big deal. I wanted to start working when I was in high school, but I remember my mom said, “You have to graduate high school first!”

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Right now I’m working on my own graphic novel called Shadowzone, so I’m currently developing the characters and story.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE OF RYAN’S WORK

 

 


 

 

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Whilce Portacio
Age: 52
City: Born in Cavite City, Philippines. Currently in California
Favorite Superhero: The Silver Surfer

What do you do?
I am now what we call a Creator, I do everything– I pencil, ink, color and create the characters and the story

What’s the most favorite thing you’ve worked on?
So far, it was the creation of the X-Men character Bishop…I was able to create a character I thought was interesting and when the comicbook was published, it was gratifying to see that the audience thought he was interesting too. So it is now a great pleasure to see him in a movie this year.

Asians in comics?
Even before me, there have always been Asian artists. It seems to me that we not only have a great desire to imagine the fantastic, but we somehow have skills needed to realize thee goals.

In the bigger perspective, the world has already gone through the let’s say, “European” myths, legends, heroes…now the world audience in hungry for something new, and since there is an abundance of Asian characters, myths, legends, and heroes that have yet to be presented to the world, I believe it is time to expose all of that, and that the world audience will embrace this new outlook.

How did your family react to your career choice?
I have been winning art awards since the sixth grade, so when I decided to try art as a career, they gave me the chance to try. Like most Asians they didn’t feel it was a good career move, especially me being an honor student. When I made it they quietly accepted it because I could make a living with it. Now that comics are celebrated by society at large they are proud.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
My partner-creator Glen Brunswick and I just recently launched our book (sci-fi) called Non-Humans for Image Comics, and we are now producing the Second Arc.

Then I am building a studio in Manila to do just this. I have also partnered with young filmmakers to produce them into film. I will then form a school to discover and train aspiring young artists.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE OF WHILCE’S WORK

 

 


 

 

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Ann Shen
Age: 29
City: Orange, California
Favorite Superhero: Wonder Woman

What do you do?
I’m an illustrator.

What’s the most favorite thing you’ve worked on?
A HarperCollins book cover for “Say What You Will”

Asians in comics?
I think that everyone should pursue their dreams and follow their heart, regardless of their ethnic background. The comic book and art world is a place where someone can really take on and address the issues of representation they feel is lacking in mainstream media; it all starts here in your own hands.

How did your family react to your career choice?
When I said I wanted to be an artist as a kid, my mom was freaked out. However, as I got older, I never shook the creative bug and first became a writer and photographer, which eventually led to art school to become an illustrator and designer. My family is fully supportive of my career choice now, especially since my work can be found in stores like Target and Anthropologie!

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
A variety of projects I can’t talk about yet, hopefully coming to your bookstores soon, and booths at more shows! I’ll be at DesignerCon and CTNx here in the L.A. area this November.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MORE OF ANN’S WORK

 

 

Feature photo by Dustin Nguyen, courtesy of www.dccomics.com

 

 

 


Mendocino Farms Takes Sandwiches to Greater Heights

 

The sandwich — one of the simplest kinds of food in the world, right? Just slap one ingredient or more in between two pieces of bread and there you have it. It doesn’t take a chef or a culinary superstar to make one. It’s something we all can make. But would a sandwich that you made have people lined up around the block?

Well, at the Southern California-based Mendocino Farms chain, which currently boasts eight locations, the sandwiches that co-founder and “Chief Sandwich Creator” Mario del Pero and Executive Chef Judy Han dream up do. And they do it with a sense of humor, judging from a few of the menu items: Drunk’n Goat on Highway 128 (chicken sandwich with goat cheese, brie and cranberry chutney), under the “Can We Be More Cheesy?” section, and a Sandwich Study of Heat (turkey avocado sandwich with smoked gouda, chili aioli and jalapeno relish) under “Classics.”

We spoke with Han and co-founder Ellen Chen to find out what magic ingredients make the family-run Mendocino Farms — del Pero and Chen are married — so popular. And we discovered that it is more than your appetite that they are skilled at satisfying. Actually, their “Eat Happy” approach starts even before your sandwich is served.

 

HUNGRY FOR SOMETHING BETTER
In a popular foodie destination like Los Angeles, everyone is always looking for that next brilliant idea. So why did Chen and her husband decide in 2003 that sandwiches would be where they would make their culinary mark? “We already had a fast-casual Asian concept, Skew’s Teriyaki,” says Chen. “When we sold it, we thought, what do we want to do next?”

They looked to northern Italy, where del Pero is from, for inspiration. There, leftover proteins from Sunday meals would find new life in a sandwich. “Sandwiches are kind of a vehicle for how they eat their food,” says Chen.

While the idea started with Italy, it developed more while they took part in something very American: Thanksgiving. “We were sitting around eating what is now our November to Remember [sandwich]: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, chutney … and I thought, if we could take all these proteins and make them higher-end, chef-driven sandwiches, that would be so great,” says Chen. “It was really the idea of the better category. There was Subway and Quiznos, but there was no next level up. We’re going to make the better sandwich.”

Now they needed a name.

“So there’s Napa, but that sounds so serious,” Chen recalls them thinking. “We still wanted a quirky quality to what we do. Mario used to vacation in Mendocino [north of San Francisco] when he was a kid. It’s beautiful coastal farm country and wine country, too.” So Mendocino Farms was born, giving a nod both to the fresh ingredients that come out of that area and her husband’s fond memories of family vacations spent there.

 

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FOOD THAT TELLS A STORY
Chef Judy Han joined Mendocino Farms about eight years ago, after the hectic schedule of working at fine dining restaurants (Sona, Literati II) meant too many holidays away from her first child when he was so young. “When I met Mario, his vision was really interesting, so I said, ‘Let’s give it a shot,’” remembers Han. “I had to get up at 4 a.m. in the morning, but I had weekends and holidays off.”

She operates out of their commissary in downtown Los Angeles, where they have a rigorous testing schedule: about two to three sandwiches a week, with possibly two to three variations on each of those recipes. And then a taste-testing panel of select people that includes Chen, del Pero and other upper management with discerning palates. Han notes that even “old favorites we bring back, we take a lot of time retesting. We have to make sure that we’re progressing.”

Inspiration for a sandwich can come from anywhere, and food memories often pop up and shape a recipe. Their recent Chef’s Special Korean BBQ Chicken sandwich was developed while Han was driving, thinking of chicken entrées she liked: “Korean fried chicken is not really well-known here and I was thinking of all the flavors.” And she says that their classic Farm Club sandwich “was based on the memory Mario had of when he first courted Ellen.”

 

 

 

LOVE BEFORE FIRST BITE
From its inception, there’s been something very personal about Mendocino Farms. A lot of love and care is invested into everything from developing the sandwiches to the reception the moment you walk in. Hosts greet you as you enter — or, in the case of rush-hour lunch in the Valley with a line out the door, on the sidewalk — to introduce you to the menu, offer suggestions and take your order.

Once you reach the counter, there’s a deli case featuring a variety of tasty sides, such as their popular curry couscous and seasonal spicy Dijon potato salad, which you can sample for free before you order. “Everything is available for sampling,” says Chen. Ask for a sample of that roasted turkey or pulled pork tempting you behind the glass as you continue down the counter line, witnessing the “theatrics” of the sandwiches coming together. Once you hit the drinks area, try Han’s seasonal lemonade or that Eagle Rock IPA.

There’s much to appreciate about how Mendocino Farms operates, even before you get your sandwich. But when you do, you’ll likely sing their praises as hundreds before have: “absolutely per-ect,” “the best sandwich of my whole life,” and, in the case of this writer after trying the Kurobuta Pork Belly Bahn Mi on a panini-grilled ciabatta, “tastes like home … comforting, warm, delicious.”

 

 

Co-founder Ellen Chen, top, and Executive Chef Judy Han.

Co-founder Ellen Chen, top, and Executive Chef Judy Han.

–STORY BY TEENA APELES

This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here.

2NE1’s CL Will Debut As A Solo Artist In The U.S.

 

Great news for all K-Pop lovers, especially those who are fans of 2NE1! 2NE1’s fierce leader Chae-rin, more commonly known by her stage name CL, is debuting as a solo artist in the US in spring 2015.

Yes, you read that right! It looks like CL will follow the footsteps of PSY who was the first Korean artist to break a huge record in America through his viral video “Gangnam Style” which initially showed up in South Korea.

 

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Photo courtesy of http://news.naver.com

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Photo courtesy of http://www.billboard.com

 

 

For her new and upcoming album, CL will be working with talent manager Scooter Braun, who represents pop starts Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, and is the person who also signed K-pop artist PSY to the School Boy records. Luckily for us, it seems like Braun has a taste for K-pop.

According to the YG United, an entertainment website specializing in news related to the YG Family, CL had a chance to meet Braun in Seoul with the help of PSY. It’s no surprise that Braun was impressed by CL’s rapping skills, unique taste in fashion, charismatic attitude and her fluent English skills– essentially making her the “baddest female” in Korea.

 

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Photo courtesy of http://news.naver.com

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Photo courtesy of http://www.kfashionista.com/

 

CL is a South Korean singer, rapper, dancer and songwriter. She first became part of YTN entertainment in 2006 as a trainee, and officially debuted in late 2007 with her fellow 2NE1 members, Park Bom, Sandara Park and Minzy.

 

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Photo courtesy of http://blog.naver.com

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Photo courtesy of http://blog.naver.com

 

 

–STORY BY MICHELLE KIM