Student at the University of Michigan studying Art & Design and Communication & Media, hoping to create meaningful design for social impact. Every week I highlight an intriguing artist (or group of artists)!
Voz (real name Vy) is a talented young illustrator and designer from Seattle. Her artwork is inspired by Japanese animation, fashion, tattoos, and pop culture.
Voz’s cute, clean, and stylish illustrations are so thoughtfully composed, such as her Shoebox Village series, which takes popular shoebox designs and turns them into eclectic storefronts–for example, Nike SB transforms into a tiny 7-Eleven surrounded by cherry blossoms. Another notable project is a set of Black Lives Matter stickers, which Voz designed to raise funds for Color of Change and the Black Trans Travel Fund. Her other illustrations depict unique, vibrant characters, and include experiments with streetwear, tattoo commissions, and more.
There’s something so dynamic and perfectly timely about Voz’s work. Her colorful prints wonderfully capture a sense of individuality and youth that can’t easily be described in words. If you take a look at her personal Instagram account, you’ll be wowed with her laid-back, effortlessly cool fashion aesthetic that informs her work.
Take a look for yourself. Grab a sticker pack or some delightful prints at her shop. As Voz says, it’s always a good time to “add some drip to your home.”
*This is also my last post for arts, ink. as I am graduating this May. It’s been a great three years writing about arts and culture. That’s all, folks!
As you may know, I’ve been working on a book about Ann Arbor skateboarding culture for the past year. I posted a few images from it on arts, ink. before, and I’m so excited to announce that it is finally out and available to purchase! All proceeds from publication sales will be donated to All Girls Skate, an Ann Arbor Skatepark initiative that gives instruction to young female skaters of all experience levels in a welcoming environment. I hope you enjoy it!
Skating Tree Town is a publication that chronicles Ann Arbor’s rich skateboarding history and culture. For this project, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people, to delve further into Ann Arbor’s history, and to develop my own love for skateboarding. Having been enticed by skate culture for years and only recently dedicating actual time and effort to learning, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Ann Arbor’s ties to skateboarding. Over the course of several months, I sent out countless texts and emails, and met strangers at their favorite skate locations to interview and photograph them. Almost everyone I contacted was gracious and friendly, genuinely stoked to share their love of skating with me. As the culmination of my undergraduate studies, I applied my design training to produce a book for others to read–showing the diverse and vibrant skate culture present in Ann Arbor.
Using visual design, photography, interviews, and historical archives, this book attempts to synthesize Ann Arbor skate culture and its community in a tangible way for skaters and readers to enjoy. Although this is not a definitive archive of Ann Arbor skateboarding’s history, it is a small glimpse of its culture through my eyes. All proceeds from publication sales will be donated to All Girls Skate, an Ann Arbor Skatepark initiative that gives instruction to young female skaters of all experience levels in a welcoming environment.
PURCHASE OR DONATE BELOW!
Purchase or donate online (free shipping in US): Valerie Le – Skating Tree Town
Purchase a book for local Ann Arbor pickup: DM me or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
I don’t believe I’ve ever written about a YouTuber/TikTok star/Social media personality before, but there is truly no other than Cooking with Lynja. Her bios explain that she’s “just a regular mom with killer cooking skills,” but watching her cooking videos will have you mesmerized for hours.
I first discovered Lynn Davis through TikTok earlier this year, and her short, quirky, meme-filled videos filled me with delight. As a passionate beginner cook myself, her humorous but helpful videos were a hit to me. I dove into more research to find out about the intriguing Lynja and was even more pleasantly surprised: she’s a retired engineer, an MIT and Columbia alum, and a former long-time employee of AT&T Labs. Now, she films videos with her son Tim.
Lynja and her son began filming videos at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, and have amassed an impressive 3.3 million TikTok followers, 1.25 million YouTube subscribers, and 360k Instagram followers. I think it’s safe to say she deserves the title of “TikTok’s ultimate grandma.” With delicious video tutorials such as homemade whipped cream, lemon pepper wings, and carbonara ramen, Cooking with Lynja is sure to delight any college student or budding chef.
What stands out about Lynja’s brief videos is how much personality and humor can be packed into as little as 25 seconds–her raspy voice, infectious positivity, and top tier pop culture references make the video shine. Kudos to Lynja and her son, they have some seriously amazing editing skills! Give her accounts a look if you haven’t already!
Earlier this week, I sat down (virtually) with recent Stamps graduate Zack Williams. Having been in a few classes with him, I was intrigued with his impressive 3D skills and passion for shoe design.
Zack (aka “Husha”) has many artistic talents–creative direction, graphic design, UX design, animation, and more. His main path right now is 3D and physical product design–which can be seen on his Behance and Dribbble. Zack told me he gravitates toward athletic products, because he likes making things with a purpose or strong functionality.
As a budding sneaker enthusiast, I was super interested in Zack’s knack for footwear. When asked about how he got into shoe design, he said, “I got into shoes when I was a kid. I think I was around eight. I have an older brother who was really into basketball and at the time I wasn’t as good as him on the court. So my way of getting around it was one year, he entered in a shoe contest and he was drawing shoes for about a week. So I just did the same thing as a little kid, copying him. I guess I just never stopped.”
Zack’s inspiration for his shoe designs comes from nature and the human body. He thinks of shoes as as natural extension of the body, with the “foot in the shoe, the shoe, and the world around it,” where it’s a conduit between the human form and the natural world. Furthermore, he takes inspiration from artist such as James Turrell, who works with light and architecture, and Gisela Colon, a minimalist sculptor.
One of his favorite projects is the Coda One, which is an intricate 3D printed shoe design based on microscopic cell structures. He said, “It makes me miss the 3D printers that we had at Stamps. Having your product realized as a physical form is super cool as an artist. For sophomore year I had an idea [t0 make this shoe], and I never finished it, so it was a continuation of Sophomore Studio.”
Furthermore, Zack told me he is working on a plethora of design projects. For one, he’s working on starting an animation studio with a fellow Stamps student, Seth St. Pierre. Zack is also working with a UofM staff member on UI/UX and 3D modeling, as well as interviewing for design careers. In the future, he hopes to be running his animation company and build connections with the sports and pop culture industries, in addition to breaking into installation art.
With a name like Tinker Hatfield, the famous shoe designer and architect seems destined for fame. Tinker Hatfield is an American designer and currently the Vice President for Design and Special Projects at Nike, best known for his work on the Air Jordan brand, including the Air Jordan III (credited for saving Jordan’s relationship with Nike), the Air Max 1, and other iconic shoe models. In 2019, he was even presented with his own sneaker, the Nike React Tinker Hatfield at SXSW.
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the University of Oregon, where he was a pole vaulter, Hatfield joined Nike in 1981 and began working on sneaker design in 1985. He soon after designed the Air Max 1, the Air Trainer 1, the Nike Air MAG as shown in Back to the Future II, and the Air Max 90–all within his first five years at the company. These shoe designs remain ever-popular among sneaker-savvy fans, for their classic, timeless aesthetic.
In 2011, Hatfield designed the graphics for the Matthew Knight Arena at his alma mater, the University of Oregon, which features fir tree silhouettes that outline the basketball court.
“The Architect’s” trendsetting designs have earned him the title of one of the most influential designers of the sneaker and fashion world. To this day, he continues to elevate the Nike brand and footwear as we know it. When you wear a pair of sweet Nikes, it’s probably due to Tinker.
I recently started a minicourse on the rhetoric of Instagram–yup, you read that right. Our first assignments were to read Annie Dillard’s Seeing and take three photos of things we’ve never seen before. Dillard describes a special type of observation as “a letting go. When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied.” She speaks of dark and light, blindness, nature, and expectations. I wanted to take her perspective as I sought out compositions around me. Although I have walked up and down Liberty Street downtown hundreds of times, I tried to “let go” and open up my mind to details I had never noticed nor appreciated–like the fairy door at the bottom of the Michigan Theater, or the intricacies of Graffiti Alley. Below are a couple of black and white images I snapped.