Artist of the Month

November’s Artist of the Month is Designer, Erin Robinson. I have to say that I’m in love with her work. Not only does she share the same love for children’s wear as I do but she’s a fellow FIT Alumni! Oh and we share the same first name, ERIN! This lady is awesome and these babies modeling her designs are too cute! Read a little more about her and her clothing line, 3rd Culture below…

3rd Culture, or 3rd Cult for short, is a reflection of the principle that culture should be celebrated, not abandoned. We are the answer to cultural rejection and we are the by-product of centuries of cultural dispersions.  3rd Culture pays homage to both our ancient images and our contemporary style. This brand is about celebration, unification, love, and pride.  We specialize in womenswear, kidswear, as well as menswear. Our clothes are for the unabashed and unafraid.

Born in Baltimore, bred in New York, and now currently residing in the Bay Area. But the online shop is worldwide!

Why are you Artist of the month?
Short answer: Because I’m simply awesome. Seriously though, I’d like to say I’m part of a global movement of “world citizens”, people who can identify with, respect, and understand all cultures. I aim to reflect that same respect in all my designs and art.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by so much.  People just generally interest me, and are the focal point behind my designs and art. Also, I love nature. I tend to use a lot of trees/leaf prints/floral motifs in my work. I never grow tired of nature. It is a wealthy source of inspiration for me.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already?
I’d like to do a textile residency in either Mali or Kenya. Although I’m pretty open to anywhere, I’m thinking of those specific countries because of their respective well-known traditions in mud cloth and weaving. I’d like to learn as many ancient techniques from as many cultures as I can, as I believe it will continuously infuse strength and longevity in my work. I want my designs to last. I’m not interested in making disposable fashion. Also, I’d like to continue traveling the world, particularly working with kids in art. I’m extremely blessed to have seen the countries that I’ve seen (specifically Nicaragua, Guatemala, and India). I would love to see the African continent in its entirety, and I have some friends scattered throughout Europe and Asia that I’d love to visit in this lifetime.

Do have any advice?
Don’t ever underestimate the people you interact with. It’s not about using people for what they have to offer, but it’s more so about taking knowledge and information from even the most ironic of sources. I learned about wholesale pricing from working in a bakery. And, although this is such a cliché: stay humble! We’re all here to grow, and become. Take the time to thank everyone for getting you to where you are. You’re nothing without your supporters!
Contact info:



Introducing October’s Artist of the Month, Jewelry Designer

Makeda Culley

Makeda Culley of Designs by Makeda Culley
New York Native residing in Queens New York.

Why are you Artist of the month?
I am an enthusiastic jewelry designer who is always excited to learn new techniques to be creative. I am always trying to challenge myself to bring my clientele’s vision to reality for them. I design jewelry that is not always available in the market making my items distinctive. I hope to bring happiness to people with my jewelry.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by everything in life and in nature. I love looking at other forms of artwork to inspire me besides jewelry design. I can look at textiles and come up with color combinations for a necklace or a pair of earrings. Colors that I would never put together some how come together to make something so unique.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already?
The world is my oyster. I would like to explore so many different forms of creativity in the near future. I am interesting in incorporating sewing and hand beading into my designs. I would also like to take formal training to work with diamonds, and welding. Who knows where this collection will be in the next couple of years? I hope to continuously evolve with my work and within myself.

Do have any advice?

My advice for jewelry aficionados is to be creative and make whatever you have your own. You’ll be surprised as to how much talent you may have been born with. Surprise yourself!

Contact info:

Etsy Shop:
Facebook Fanpage:

Hey Fellas! Make sure you take a look at

The Makeda Culley Men’s Collection

June’s 2011 Artist of the Month- Amina G.

June’s Artist of the month is a talented young designer named Amina G! Amina is the creator of the jewelry line Mady By AG. I absolutely love her jewelry designs and I’m sure you will too! I’m a fan! Check out her interview below…


Amina G. designer and founder of jewelry line Made By AG.

Amber Rose is a fan too!


Born in Jersey City and raised in BROOOKLYYYNNN!! Creates everywhere else I go.

Why are you artist of the month?

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a very creative person. It’s pretty much how I express myself. When I started my Made By AG line, I wasn’t sure how far I would go with it but each day I fell more in love with it because I’m starting to see myself living out my dream. I get to create and share my creations with others which brings happiness. For me I don’t see how much better it can get than that. I am a strong believer of living your life doing what you love and have a passion for.

What inspires you?

EVERYTHING and ANYTHING!! There’s no better way to say it. From paintings to movies, to museum exhibits to other works by various designers. If I like it, it’ll be stored in my mind and sure to come back to me when I need it.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/ accomplish that you haven’t already?

In the long run I would like to be able to look back on my life and say that I have made some sort of positive difference.

Do you have any advice?

Always stick with what you believe in. If it feels like you’re the only one believing, just wait a while and soon there will be others who will believe with you.



Twitter: @MadeByAG


April’s 2011 Artist of the Month

April’s Artist of the Month is a fellow Fashion Institute of Technology alumna, Taohou Rasaphone. I’m absolutely in love with her drawings. They are perfect in every way!

Meet Taohou…(you know how I feel about mustaches! hehe)

Taohou Rasaphone, born in Laos, family came to US when I was 3. My dad named me after a popular soybean drink called Num Taohou.

Family immigrated to upstate NY, Binghamton. Made my way to New York to attend FIT in 2005.

Why are you Artist of the month?
I started drawing when I was three or four but I didn’t know English. The only way I could get recognized was through my drawings. Teachers told me when I was five, “oh, you’re an artist,” but I never knew what that meant to be called an “artist.” I was shy and drawing was another form of language for me and easier than to speak.

I still feel I’m struggling to achieve and to express that certain thought or emotion… I am so bad with these words. I have this image in my head and I have these ideas I want to draw and I want to find that perfect balance to share these extreme or not extreme thoughts. I am trying to make my art grow and evolve. It’s a process.
What inspires you?
The other artists around me, contemporaries like Ray Sison and Sandra Ling push me to improve. I’m captivated by the macabre, the dream-like, the erotic, the strange– in any media. Unconventional viewpoints really serve as a launchpad for me. One of my early influences was David Mack, but the visual work of Takato Yamamoto has the simplicity yet complexity that I would love to achieve.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already?
[laughs] Oh a host of things. I want to improve my typography illustrations. I couldn’t say words right, so now I want to draw these words, letter by letter, and convey new meaning through an artistic illustration. I need to challenge myself with larger formats, get out of the notebook, it can be anything, but it has to be big. I’ve been working on an alphabet book.

Do you have any advice?
Practice every single day. Good design has its mystique, but consistently strong designers have a process that involves discipline. Even if it’s crap, I’d redo my crap doodles and they’d get better. Don’t stop, don’t let your talent falter. Don’t be lazy and rely on sheer ability because originality takes effort.

Contact info:
Make sure you stop by to see her daily doodles….

Artist of the Month:March 2011

This month’s Artist of the Month is writer Saleem. This talented young man just released his 1st book “Odyssey of a Phenix“…

For Saleem poetry is the canvas upon which he can create portraits: grotesque, impressionistic, and avant-garde – but always vivid. Phenix represents all that he was, is, and can be displaying the thoughts of a young black boy who grew up confused, inspired, loved, curious, open minded, fearless, competitive, at times reckless, and eternally creative.

You can purchase his book here. Explore his website here.

Read his interview below:


from NY, raised in long island currently in queens

Why are you artist of the month?
Because I had a dream when I was 13 years old and I’m excited and proud to say that I have actualized that dream. I hope Langston Hughes would be proud that it was not deferred. Publishing my first book was a long time goal that has come to fruition. I’m a writer of poetry, prose, fiction, and r&b. But I am here to promote other young writers as well, and help give them a creative space to share their art with the world. I am a lover of the arts and my new publishing company Dream Write Now is geared toward art, writing, and music.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the world, by people, human interactions, and of course purple. I like to analyze things and watch how people converse and deal w/ different situations and find a great deal of inspiration in doing so. I also look to nature and the elements to tap into a realm of creativity that is not always visible to the common eye.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already?
I’m working on publishing a second book by the end of this year that focuses solely on the culture of hip hop expressed through poetry. I plan to have my company expand and to soon publish other writer’s collections of work and one day become a leader and publishing manufacturer. But most of all I want to keep elevating the artistic form of expression.

Do have any advice?
Tap into your talent and be true to its very essence. Don’t fear success or scrutiny it all comes w/ the territory. Dream Write Now (not later, no time to waste). Let’s fly!

Contact Info:

A poem by Saleem…

I massaged your future With my dreams last night By the fireside Whereby I chose to let my Spirit reside…
For centuries at a time I shall be yours You shall be mine This longing
This crime
Has become difficult to hide As my feet decide Where my heart will reside As our hips collide
We’ve put into motion What we once denied That warmth of our desire Soothes me to the core As I can taste, feel, and see Our past, present, and future flash before

A haiku by Saleem…

V (D)-day
massacre my heart

cupid violently shot me

How can I love thee?

Copyright © 2011 Saleem


Artist of the Month: January 2011

January’s 2011 Artist of the Month is jewelry designer Ndi Lauper. She’s the designer/owner of Vanity Creations. Please see her interview below.


Ndi Lauper designer of jewelry line Pieces of Vintage by Vanity Creation and owner


Houston, Texas

Why are you artist of the month?

I’ve always wanted to change peoples’ lives, I am the girl who has overcome many things, I am skillful in my craft, humble with a genius mind. My work speaks for itself.

What inspires you?

Making people feel beautiful, hearing them say their confidence is so much more because of something I did or contributed to.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already?

Of course, what I do is a small component to what lies ahead. I want to start a cosmetics line, magazine, start an organization in remembrance of my Mom who birth me at 20 and passed when I was 20 from an aneurysm caused by stress it’s called the Veinte Project which means 20 in Spanish, those moments shaped who I am today as a person and my goal is to help women know who they are and what they posses why they should love who they are because beauty is about the inside and out as well as assist with self help abuse addiction etc..

Do you have any advice?

Obtain a clear vision of what makes you happy on any level of life do everything possible to make your vision a reality even the impossible is possible it just hasn’t been done. Learn Grow and Push this goes for mistakes things that apply to what you want and when you doubt or feel weak push yourself to greater heights.

Contact info


Styling + Services

Event Hosting Logo + Web Design

Twitter @VanityCreation


Artist of the Month: December 2010

December’s Artist of the Month is Designer Joi French. Joi is the founder/designer of the Pirate Romance accessory line. See a pics of her work and interview below:

I ♥ these spike earrings!

Who? My name is Joi French and I am the designer of Pirate Romance, an accessory line and Cut+Seau, a women’s RTW line.

Where? I am based in NYC and Vegas.

Why are you Artist of the month? I am artist of the month simply because of my creativity. I am committed to giving the consumer exclusive and affordable pieces!

What inspires you? Inspiration comes from anything and everywhere. I am an extremely visual person, I’ll see a color, a shape and I want to translate that into a design. I want to mimic the emotion from visual stimuli into my designs.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already? Somethings I want to accomplish, I definitely want to open my own physical boutique and I am going to create more men’s accessories because of the demand.

Do have any advice? Advice? Be honest, humble, and open. I never feel I am too successful to receive advice. Also remember how you would like to be treated as a customer and extend that in your own business!

Contact info:
for customization orders

Artist of Month: November 2010

November’s Artist of the Month is Lingerie/Loungewear Designer Layla L’Obatti. Layla is the founder/designer of the Between the Sheets lingerie/loungwear line. Layla and I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology together. I’ve witnessed her determination and hardwork since 1st semester’s draping class! I’m very proud of her accomplishments and I’m looking forward to seeing her evolve as a designer! 🙂 Congrats Layla!

Who? Where?
My Name is Layla L’obatti and I design and make two collections of lingerie/loungewear in NYC.

Why are you Artist of the month?
I took a big leap of faith to launch my lines after leaving my corporate design job, and for almost 2 years I’ve been working on building my business. In that time I’ve found a way to make my passion my life’s work and to “make it work” and that is something I think anyone with a creative dream can relate to.

What inspires you?
I try to stay out of what is trendy, and instead take inspiration from the things around me in life, sometimes great design is not about coming up with something totally new but improving on what’s right in front of you. For me it was looking at the loungewear that I had in my wardrobe and the options I had and deciding I wanted to make something in the most beautiful fabrics that were not only luxurious and rich but durable and eco-friendly. Then I looked at the pieces that I had and tried to make them fit better, flatter the figure more, and even if that was something small like leaving elastic out of waistband, or making the leg on a legging a little longer so a girl of many heights could have an ankle length legging I made that happen. These are the basics and the foundation, but I enjoy reading books on fashion and visiting museums. I am a member of MOMA and love all the exhibits from painting and sculpture to home products the things you see everyday can inspire you with color, print, form, and function. I never know where I’m going to get inspired next but I try to visit and see as many inspiring things as possible. I also love vintage shows, I like to see how things were made when “labor” didn’t factor into designing fashion. Vintage clothes were like works of art, especially the lingerie, with little embroideries, hand stitched laces, intricate patterns- I like to collect books on vintage lingerie and the unique pieces I find when I can.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already?
Well I get to do so much in marketing my brand like making videos, creating graphics for our brand and our site, but I think if I had the freedom and the time I’d like to make a movie or write a book. I have so many stories in my head, and I would love to translate those into something as timeless and thought provoking as a novel or screenplay.

Do have any advice?
My advice for artists who want to follow their dream, do not limit yourself by following the paths of others as they pursue their dreams, follow your own and see how far it takes you.

Contact info:

Artist of Month: October 2010

This Month’s Artist of the Month, Deon Hiralal is a dear friend of mine and a talented designer! He’s the hardest working man I know!

Who? Deon Hiralal

Where? Jersey City, NJ

Why are you Artist of the month? I am artist of the Month because the wonderful team of Spikes and Sequins recognizes my unique talent and passion for design. I am very ecstatic and obliged to be featured on this blog.

What inspires you? My mom was a seamstress and local designer in my neighborhood back in Guyana, she has always been my inspiration because she have such passion and dedication in everything she does. I let my design reflect femininity, strength and grace that is my mom.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already? I love to dabble in everything artistic; I have recently started to do my own photography for my collection. I think I can better capture the essence of my design if I was behind the camera. In terms of fashion design, I would love to create a dramatic collection that parallels Alexander McQueen collections. I have always admire his style and bold designs

Do have any advice? A man is not a failure until he gives up, so just live life to the fullest and always strive for success.

Contact info:


Artist of Month: September 2010

Meet talented Fashion Designer, Aurea Sanabria

Aurea and I go way back til’ FIT days (draping and pattern making class). I’m so proud that her hard work and determination has paid off… She just launch her own fabulous clothing line, Charitaville!

Read more about Aurea in her interview below:

Who? Aurea Sanabria

Where? Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Why? I’m AOTM because I debuted my clothing line, Charitaville in August. Having graduated from FIT with Spikes who caught wind of the beginning stages of the line, we were able to keep in touch and cheer each others accomplishments on.

What inspires you? Being Puerto Rican from NYC is a huge inspiration along with being a pop culture super brat. I use comedy, irony, and silhouettes I find foolproof, throw them in a pot, stir it up, add a little sass, and voila! I create clothing which will catch attention without being “unwearable”. For this season I’m debuting,
I was inspired by Spanish hoodrats, Mexican Catholics ala Robert Rodriguez movies and using bad words. I love color and femininity and that’s ultimately what helped create what I like to call “wearable sass.”

Anything else? I’d like to expand the line for the following season, adding a few more pieces. I’d also like to have my first official fashion week fashion show for fall 2011.

Advice? Honestly, the best advice I can give to any upcoming/aspiring designers/artists/20 somethings… don’t rush. it will come to you. I spent 4 years stressing out and experiencing the worst creative block ever. I never thought it was good enough. But it all came to me one day and I designed my line in less than a day. Everything will fall in to place. Also, you can’t be concerned about what everyone else around you is doing, what they think of you and your art, or making a profit. Worrying about others or an easy buck will not make it happen for you. Do it for yourself and everything else will come along with it. You’ve only failed if you gave up.

Want to see more from Charitaville!?! What you waitin for!?! Click here!

Congrats Aurea!

Artist of the Month: August 2010

This month’s artist is Jasmine Thompson aka J. Bella! Jasmine is a talented cosmetologist that’s ready to take on the world by storm. She is a creative makeup artist with an eye for detail. Here are before & after pictures of her clients:







Jasmine answered some questions for Spikes & Sequins….

Who: Jasmine Thompson aka: J.Bella

Where: Long Island , New York

Why: I’m the new artist of the month because I come to the table with many new great edgy make-up ideas. I’m very versatile at what I do, and what I do separates me from a lot of other make-up artist. Realistically I’m just very open minded to everything in the fashion industry and I eat sleep and breathe new faces and new styles.

Inspiration: What inspires me mostly about make-up is the fact that im able to make people not only feel good inside but also on the out. Ive always been inspired when I see the dramatic make-up in movies or music videos. The way they make people look almost unreal because their face is flawless or the way they use special effects. I’ve always liked the colors and the different ways of making new creative art ideas. Ive seen cat eyes,zebra prints,long extended lashes, and everything dramatic that you could possibly think of on a persons face. And that I believe is what truly inspires me, the fact that you can be different from the everyday simple look. You can choose to either play up your look or play it down, but at the end of the day your separated do to your style. Make-up has no boundaries and that’s always exciting to know that your never looked at crazy because people never know if that’s the unique look you were going for or if its a mistake. I truly believe that make-up will always be in my life, its not just something I do but its something that I can actually say I live for. It brings me this unimaginable feeling of joy in my heart. I feel the most alive and happiest when I’m doing make-up. my first love was make-up since I was like 10 and I’ve been in an unconditional love affair with it since.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already? I would one day love to work with the great make-up artist like Stephen Moleski one day or Sam Fine. I think they have always came to the table with creative ideas on and off the camera, and they both have their own styles. So in the future I would love to work with them. Also I always said in the near future I would love to get into the fashion world and learn about all the different ways of creating clothes, because honestly I’m memorized by all the different styles that i see. I would love to create my own make-up line that I’m actually working on now and do some outrageous/really edgy colors. I love the colors and if I could do that I would be really happy.I would love love love to work with people like Madonna, Lady Gaga,Christina Aguilera or Pink because they are really different always have something on that makes you turn your head and say “that’s fierce”. The main thing in life that I really want to accomplish is to one day be like Estee Lauder and take over all the make-up companies like a franchise or something. To know that all of those companies would be owned by me would be absolutely mind blowing. I just want to make a huge mark in the make-up world and when people say make-up my name comes to mind. That would be the greatest accomplishment because make-up is forever, and I want to be just like it centuries from now still a name that comes to surface when you think of it.

Do you have any advice? Honestly my only advice for anyone that wants to do make-up or anything in life for that matter is “dare to be different”, and never let any idea go to waste. Love what you do and be 100% in it when you do it. I heard a wise man once say ” if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”. And i honestly believe that to be true. If you see something don’t think about if the world is going to like it just do it, wear it, be it, or live it. You only live once so you minus well be happy while your here. Be everything the world says you cant be and smile when you accomplish it.

Contact info:
(516) 233-5981

Artist of the Month: JULY 2010

Recently, I received the cutest little package from the wonderful world of “Cloverduke“! Cloverduke is a giraffe who travels the streets of New York and discovers new fun things. Meet Cloverduke….

When I opened the package look who popped out…A SHO WAH WAH!!!!!

One of Cloverduke’s discoveries are these darling little creatures named “Sho Wah Wahs“. Who came up with this clever concept!?! A talented lady named Katherine Lee. She makes these one of a kind Sho Wah Wahs. These creatures are made out of recycled materials…GO GREEN! Aren’t they the cutest!?! They’re reasonably priced at only $8.00!!!

Cloverduke answered some questions for Spikes & Sequins….

Who: cloverduke
Where: queens!!
Why: i am no artist, but i would like to make sure that these little shi wah wahs find a great home to live in
Inspiration: i go out for walks all around the 5 boroughs and little sho wah wahs pop up and follow me home. they are very sweet and love to bring smiles to people’s faces.
Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish: i would like to post pictures and videos of my walking adventures. there are many beautiful places to visit and many different sho wah wahs out there!
Do you have any advice: bring home a sho wah wah and give him/her a good home. also, long walks are really nice in all different sorts of weather conditions and at all different places.


Artist of the Month: JUNE 2010

This month we are featuring Clifton Jones, an abstract photographer and also my Dad! 🙂 Read his interview below:

Who? Clifton Jones

Where? I live in Queens, NY.

Why are you Artist of the month? I am the artist of the month because I like sharing the views of the world through the lens of my camera. My photographs are very unique and colorful. I like to call my photographs, “Abstract Reality“.

What inspires you?When I take photographs, I focus on abstracts, reflections and architectural designs.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already? I would like to eventually like to apply my abstract aesthetic and focus on shooting people.

Do you have any advice? If you’re interested in photography, take as many photos as you can, view other photographs, paintings, study compositions and take classes. Practice, practice, and practice so you can learn as much as you can.

He was featured on the cover of Photoshop Elements Magazine

Contact info:
Check out the latest photos from Clifton
Website: Photography by Clifton


Artist of the Month: MAY 2010

Each month of the year Spikes & Sequins will feature an Artist or creative person that inspires us and leaves us wanting more…

This month we are featuring Ma Petite Plume, a jewelry company created by Karina Manukov. Read her interview below:

Who? Ma Petite Plume – Karina Manukov – jewelry designer/children’s wear designer

Where? I live in Brooklyn now. I am originally from Russia.

Why are you Artist of the month? I am the artist of the month because I feel that my work is original and creative. All of my pieces are done by hand and i put great effort and planning into my necklaces.

What inspires you? Daily things inspire me. I can get inspiration from fashion magazines, nature, and even the things I see on the streets of Manhattan.

Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already? I love cooking. It is a great passion of mine. Whenever I stumble upon a new recipe I have to try it out. My dream is to open a bakery, where I will be the head pastry chef.

Do have any advice? Be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to express yourself and always have a creative idea, something original that is not seen anywhere else.

Contact info:

Please visit her shop on Etsy to purchase a one of a kind “beautious” handmade piece here and join her fan club on Facebook here.

Pics of Spikes wearing her Ma Petite Plume “Victorian Grunge” necklace. It’s perfect with jeans and pumps for a casual night on the town 😉


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