Summer festivals are shitshows. The food is expensive, people are under the influence of possibly multiple substances, and it’s hotter than the seventh circle of hell.

Or maybe I’m getting too old to appreciate them.

Regardless, I’ll never pass on seeing the Warped Tour. Warped 2008 popped my cherry and it was a religious experience. I saw Mayday Parade just before they got big (which I believe happened because of Warped Tour), I saw local favorites Family Force 5 (who rock the hardest live), and I allowed Tom DeLonge to break my heart as I stood and watched him play in Angels and Airwaves instead of blink.

Her work embodies glitter and sequins, charming femininity, and vibrant pigments. This unique marriage of artistic aesthetics best describes the work of the talented mixed-media artist, Quest Skinner. She combines a refreshing femininity with animated brush strokes that resemble the work of Vincent van Gogh. Her work has a way of lifting the viewer’s spirit. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with negative images, on the news, in music or while just experiencing everyday life, it is a breath of fresh air looking at Skinner’s work and realizing that the world does have beauty, positivity and hope. No matter what medium Skinner uses, her positive outlook on life beams through. Take a look at her official website and you will see plenty examples of this.


Not only does she paint on canvases, but she also paints objects as well. Her painting on a guitar with deep and bright blue strokes that depict a woman with her eyes closed as she becomes one with her music shows how passion is a fundamental aspect of life. It’s as if her microphone is an extension of her arm. On the bridge of the guitar are beautiful roses, a notable Skinner detail of simplistic joy that can be found in daily life. Her painting on the bottom of the skateboard also shows Skinner’s uplifting view on life. The painting has green grass as the border for the piece, floating musical notes, her last name in big bold letters and curving roads. You can’t help but feel upbeat with her combination of bright colors, curving lines, and musical themes.

Skinner finds inspiration in the pleasures of everyday life. She says on her official website that she looks at life in a different every day and therefore she never runs out of inspiration. I “Today I woke up with such elation, joy and peace,” Skinner posted on her Facebook page. She went on to thank her family and friends for their continual support. “…My art family gratitude for replenishing my spirit for you see the paintings but give me more joy and LOVE by constantly challenging my creative side to Express my LOVE!”
This optimistic artist does have quite the art family. She lives in the Brookland ArtSpace Lofts in Washington D.C. This unique living arrangement is a project done by the nonprofit group ArtSpace, whose mission is to have artists live together at very affordable prices.

This art residency initiative not only provides artists with affordable housing, but also provides them with a constant source of creativity. As her Facebook photos show, the hallways of the loft are decorated with art from residents. This creative environment even offers an art gallery for residents. “I never understood what an artist was without an artist community,” Skinner told the Washington Post. “I looked at this as a massive explosion of family possibilities.” On her website, she stated how she believes that artists should help other artists. “It’s wonderful when we play together, work together, and figure out a way to make money together,” she said on her official site.
Her living space, is a hub of artistic creativity. The floor has beautifully colored stains from dripping paint, which makes her studio floor a piece of art itself. A giant window gleams a brilliant natural light that bounces off her magnificent paintings that sit on easels. It is obvious that art drives Skinner’s life, for it is the focal point in her loft.


Her home, which offers a thriving community of artists working together and inspiring each other, was not Skinner’s first introduction of an artist community. Her family also had creative roots. According to ArtSpace, her brother and father are artists in both photography and design. “It’s just kinda in the blood,” she said on her website. On her Facebook post where she thanked her art community for their support, she also recognized the accomplishments her family, “My siblings I’m so proud to see all of your accomplishments! The family is growing and the next generation is promising!”

Every aspect of Skinner’s life emits creativity. If you browse through her Facebook pictures, you will see photos of her hair adorned with colorful feathers, her active involvement in body painting, and even her van is spray painted with bright colors. Amazingly, this creative genus didn’t have to attend art school to achieve her level of talent. According to East City Art, a publication which focuses on visual art, Skinner believes that being self-taught has helped her creative path as an artist. She found the experience of not getting a formal education in art gave her the freedom to “express what she finds valuable in life,” reported East City Art. Just as joyous of an artist as Skinner is, she is just as giving as a person. She received the Steve Kramer Community Service Award, according to a post on her Facebook page. Also on her birthday she posted that she did not want any gifts. “Yep it’s My birthday.. Give thanks and please donate a toy for tots I need nothing but the next generation needs you. Thanks for all the love,” she posted on Facebook.


Through both her attitude and her artwork, Skinner provides us with valuable lessons that we may take for granted in our daily routine. Her artwork teaches us to enjoy the little moments in our life and her giving personality reminds us that we should appreciate what we have and give to others every chance we get. She is more than an artist, this amazingly optimistic woman is a role model and truly a remarkable person.

-Samantha Miller

If you’re going to travel the the world, it takes preparation. So you’ve gone down your check list of all of the things you may need. After spending hours of stuffing your belongings in your luggage, you’re finally done. Suddenly, your suitcase pops open and everything falls out. Then you think to yourself, a nicer luggage set has got to be added to the list. Co-founders of WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie Byron and Dexter Peart, embarked on a journey of making fine luggage and high-end accessories accessible for the modern day traveler, to fill this void.

Ween is defined as “to think, or suppose” according to Mark Paul Deren, most notably known as MADSTEEZ, is a California-based visual artist and designer who decided to use the word “ween” as a way he ought to paint the world as he sees it while doodling in a meeting at work where, despite the fact that he could only see it through one of his eyes. The word became a name for the characters in his work, starting in that mundane meeting, and now he incorporates the word “ween” in most of his works to distinguish them beyond their unique color schemes and unconventional concepts. MADSTEEZ is that kid in kindergarten who colored outside of the lines: “I got a D in art class 101,” he actually admits in an interview with video-sharing site Vimeo,” because I didn’t do the right lighting methods.” MADSTEEZ failing art is the equivalent to Albert Einstein failing Algebra, or Michael Jordan being cut from the high school basketball team, but the funny thing about it is, all these things are true. Realizing your genius has no timetable, and MADSTEEZ has proven that genius also knows no bounds.