I grew up in a mostly liberal household, where as a teenager, doing a DIY Pillarbox Red dye job on your hair was not forbidden—Dad might even lend a hand if you needed one—and where it was entirely OK to be creative. When my little sister was reprimanded in grade school for drawing a purple cat in art class instead of the black cat everyone was asked to draw, my father got on the horn with the teacher and yelled at her: “Art is supposed to be about creative expression, not about following directions!” And when I wanted to forego 'regular' college in favor of studying the visual arts, my parents were happy to help with applications and preparing for portfolio reviews—there was never a second thought or batted eyelash about sending me to art school, and they were proud when I was accepted into the school I ended up going to with a partial scholarship. Being creative, in whatever way possible, is all I’ve ever wanted to do; and I've never been limited in that respect.
That’s in large part why I started this blog. It’s a place for me to freely be creative: to share thoughts, ideas, recipes, photographs, and graphic design with the world. And who knows, maybe get others interested in pure vegetarianism/eating vegan in the process.
Being inspired to make a new post on KLB is not always limited to food-world influences and all things vegan. Sometimes, inspiration comes from other sources. Here are a few people, places and objects that inspire me to create:
“Little green worlds”… Need I say more? Lately I’ve been obsessed with the art of creating terrariums—the kind with moss, and little people and animals inside glass jars—and Brooklyn’s Twig does it perfectly.
This great landscape design company and garden retail store on Williamsburg, BK’s waterfront is a wonderful place to explore. Jungle offers vintage and contemporary outdoor furniture, plants, pots, terrariums, and one-of-a-kind pieces by local and international designers. Plus? The site doubles as an event space at night.
Jewelry and treasures in a carefully collected environment of old a new. Since being named “Best Jewelry in New York” in 2009 by New York Magazine, this Greenpoint, BK shop has expanded into a full lifestyle, clothing and home goods destination with two locations in NYC.
Kill Devil Hill
In need of some hand-sewn-in-Greenpoint underwear, or odd taxidermy? Kill Devil Hill has you covered. This Industrial Revolution-inspired cabinet of clothes and curiosities in Greenpoint, BK, specializes in pre-war found items like house-wares, décor, clothing and jewelry, as well as modern-day handcrafted items. It's not a spot where you'd go to find something specific, but rather stumble upon something you didn't know you wanted.
I first discovered Unearthen crystal bullet necklaces via New York Adorned in 2009 and pretty much fell in love. Since then, designer Gia Bahm has expanded her line to include rings, bracelets and watches and moved to Los Angeles. Here is what she has to say about her one-of-a-kind crystal bullet necklaces for which she is best known:
Unearthen intuitively selects crystals that help focus on the goals you struggle to achieve, center your thoughts on what you need, provide comfort in times of strain, or simply remind you of why you are here. The bullet casing balances and harmonizes to the crystal it holds, because destruction is a necessary phase in the cycle of creation. Each crystal carries its own distinct properties. A crystal’s energy engages its carrier to maintain consciousness of the stone’s specific properties. The stone with the right properties will inherently attract you, and your connection with the crystal is intrinsic.
Searching for a new artist to do my next tattoo lead me to Myles Karr, currently tattooing out of Three Kings in Greenpoint, BK. His work is illustrative, weird and wonderful, and I can’t think of anyone better to ink me the next time around.
Krug is a Los Angeles-based photographer who’s trippy and washed-out, grainy photos that honor the tradition of old movie posters and magazines—light leaks, lens flares and grain textures are common characteristics on his pieces—trigger my desire to head out on the streets with my camera and take as many photos as possible.
To me, The Roots can do no wrong—they are music at its finest and most creative. I can’t say enough about the hip hop group from my hometown of Philly that has become a household name (and Jimmy Fallon’s house band). From one album to the next, I can’t find one thing not to like or be inspired by.
The Mars Volta
Everyone hates The Mars Volta. Except, for some reason, no matter how hard I try I’m just not able to hate them. Something about their Latin-tinged, punk-influenced Prog Rock and psychedelia sparks creativity in me every time I hear it. No matter what anybody says, I love The Mars Volta. Plus? Cedric’s hair!
Belligerent, opinionated and legendary—George Lois is the graphic designer/guerilla thinker behind Big Idea advertising and the iconic Esquire covers of the 1960s. He once stood outside a matzo company (his client)’s window, on the ledge, threatening to jump until his poster concept was approved. “You make the matzo, I’ll make the ads!” he said. Lois’ newest book, Damn Good Advice, is a small book full of big advices and anecdotes based on real time events, ending with the ultimate advice by William Ernest Henly: “You are the master of your fate, you are the captain of your soul.” There's so much passion in Lois' words. My advice would be to give Damn Good Advice a read.
Master of gritty, real food photography—think slabs of meat, messy plates— Marcus Nilsson is a great inspiration when it comes to the recipe shoots I do for KLB. He’s the pioneer of modern food photography style and the first that comes to mind when I think of showing food in a natural, touched, un-studio environment. (And thank God editorial food photography has largely moved from shellacked, shiny servings of perfectly studio-lit meals to beautiful soft, darker, natural-lit images of food that looks like something you might actually want to eat—or even be in the process of eating.)
PS: For those wondering where the recipes are... I'm shooting this weekend, so there'll be another one coming next weekend. I'll be cooking a dish with Nate's Meatless Meatballs (which I haven't yet tried, so if they're terrible I'll let you know)!
Aside from the Instagram photo of myself with Omar, and the Instagram photo of the inscription inside my copy of George Lois' book, all photography was found online and is ©the respective business and/or photographer.