Photos are a great way to retain most of our past memories, but to use them as a reference for painting is quite unique. Sure, painters use people and other objects to create their work, but using pictures is something that is unheard of. By using photographs and frozen film, an artist can take a portion of someone else’s work and then produce an entirely different piece with an entirely different purpose. Paintings that bring about an emotional response through the various techniques used are works that were created by an extremely talented individual. Kai Samuels-Davis, an American-based oil painter, is the extremely talented individual who makes these authentic and distorted paintings, with amazing details, that represents a universal language that we can all relate to.

kai3Samuels-Davis is originally from New York, but he has since moved to Los Angeles to indulge in his film studies. At the Art Center College of Design, he earned a graduate degree in fine art and video. This may explain why he usually incorporates some sort of film element into the majority of his oil paintings. Studying film and its properties has given the painter several tools that has helped him create an emotional bond between the paintings and his audience. The inspirations that the artist gains from the cinematic world are put into his paintings and give the audience a sense of desire and motivation. Whether the painting is showing the viewers a life-like individual or wilted flowers, the artist somehow makes the beautiful paintings look so effortless.

Samuels-Davis pushes the boundaries of the art by creating realistic-looking images. His effortless paintings are the reason that so many people are drawn to his work. When glancing at the canvas, it looks as if someone just used a paintbrush to gently stroke the surface. The brushstrokes are shown with extreme detail, which gives the painting a natural look. The brushstrokes, while crucial to his work, are not the only apparent factor for him when creating his art. Shading is something that is of extreme importance to painters, but Samuels-Davis takes it a step further. While the majority of painters use lines and borders to create objects and shapes, Samuels-Davis uses darker and lighter shading. The shades and brushstrokes of his work create more emotion that erupts from the painting and give us something to ponder.


Samuels-Davis’ oil paintings are an art that appeals to viewers by showing us a stop motion film depiction. Through images of fashion photography and episodes of silent films, the artist is able to show his viewers a combination of film and painting. He refers photographs of lifeless objects, as well as people, so that he has an idea of what he wants his finished product to resemble. With this, he can create an unfamiliar, yet exciting experience for his viewers. We, in turn, are drawn to the emotions that pour from these pictures and we are itching to know about the events surrounding the painting. By bringing together several arts and techniques, the painter is giving us something that is new to our taste buds, and I for one, really enjoy it.

Over the past year, the artist has been making his subjects with contorted faces. The Forgotten II, a oil painting he created last year, shows us a bearded man with blue eyes and he seems to be staring intently at something. The painting has a lot of layers of different shades and colors, which has brought me to think that this painting may be more than just a picture of a thinking man. In its previous installment, The Forgotten I, the same elements that were placed in the sequel were also placed in its original. In the first one, we are painted the picture of a woman, similar to the man, who is troubled by something, hence the way her eyes are drawn. These two images express rather a dark mood.


The Forgotten I and The Forgotten II are the artist’s latest paintings. It’s a mystery to why he would contort the images in any way, but I feel that they are pieces that are meant to give to us something different than his hyper realistic paintings. While these paintings are amazingly detailed, my personal preference has to be his authentic-looking paintings. In The Other Field I, we are shown a person laying down in an area that has nothing present, at least from the audience’s perspective. It’s a simple painting, but the viewer is curious as to what is in this world, and why is this single person laying down. It intrigues us to the point where we want to know more about everything that’s going on here.

-Te’Ron Adams

Typically, when people think of models they envision the gold standard of beauty—they have an unblemished, picturesque look. In the fashion world, imperfections are stigmatized while flawlessness is coveted. Models are constantly in the public eye and endure grueling regimens to maintain a polished image. With such a narrow interpretation of beauty, it can be very difficult for aspiring models to break into the fashion industry, especially for someone who doesn’t fit the norm. If you don’t conform to the standard, your chances for success are virtually nonexistent. However, there are always exceptions. By shattering the mold, Winnie Harlow has defied industry standards and become one of the most popular fashion models in the world.

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mosi1Behind every big brand is a brilliant mind making the magic happen. Someone with an eye for trends will be picking the colors and the fabrics that everyone will be wearing the following Add Mediaseason. This job takes forward thinking, bravery, and a natural ability to discover tomorrow’s look today, but even these creative geniuses are not perfect. The mind behind Mossimo is no different.

Mossimo Giannulli was born and raised in southern California where he was surrounded by a serene, casual, and laid back environment. Mossimo desired to capitalize on this beach vibe and, with a small loan from his father, he founded his label Mossimo in 1986 while he was still in his early 20s. This young designer created a line of beachwear that he sold out of a garage on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. In its first year the company did really well for itself. It raked in over 1 million dollars in profit.

During the early years of the company’s life, Mossimo expanded the line to include more than just beachwear. It started carrying sweatshirts, knits and sweaters and by 1995, the collection included women’s clothing and men’s tailored suits. After only eight years in business, Mossimo, Inc. had grown into a multi-million dollar lifestyle sportswear and accessories company. But that wasn’t enough for the youngest reported CEO of a New York Stock Exchange company. Mossimo wanted more. When asked about his early success by the Fashion Model Directory website, an online source containing information about models and designers, Mossimo said, “From 1987 to 1996, we were on an absolute roll. Tons of profit, tons of growth…but we needed a stronger infrastructure to keep up.”


Mossimo found the extra push his company needed with the multi-product licensing agreement he made with Target retailers. The Target agreement allowed Mossimo so much design freedom and opportunity. He was able to create a very wide range of product categories and he was able to take advantage of both their merchandising expertise and their product distribution capabilities.

Now Mossimo is a well-known brand that specializes in youth and teenage clothing such as shirts, jeans, jackets, socks, underwear and accessories. It draws its inspiration from street, urban, and sport styles. The company started off in a garage, but now it is sold in 1,700 stores in the US, with international licenses in Australia, Philippines, South America, Mexico, Japan and India totaling 600 stores.

However successful the brand has become, Mossimo has recently been criticized for many of his business decisions. In the LA Times article The Rise and Fall of Mossimo Giannulli, Sandy Potter, co-owner of Directives West in Los Angeles, which advises major department stores on California fashion trends, talks about Mossimo’s quick expansion. She said, “He enjoyed so much success so early that I honestly don’t think he knew how long and how hard of a transition that is to make… I always believed he had the talent to make it happen, but that’s the kind of thing that takes 10 years to accomplish, not two or three.”


The Mossimo Company has recently experienced some drop off in sales, but there are still people who love the Mossimo products. I personally have closet full of Mossimo stuff from Target, but the business struggles have affected Mossimo. He has refused buy-out offers and he had been determined to turn his line around.

In 2013, Mossimo launched a line of brightly colored golf gloves. Mossimo commented on how the color options used to be just black and white but he wanted to give men a chance to be bold with their sportswear. In an interview with Minor House, an online publication focusing on the golf lifestyle and fashion marketplace, Mossimo said, “Non-fashion guys tend to get out of their comfort zone on the golf course, meaning that a guy that would never wear a white belt in real life will wear it on the golf course. A guy that would never wear a plaid pant will wear one on the golf course. A guy that would never wear a bright orange shirt will wear one on the golf course. So what a great opportunity for a guy to push the limits and have an interesting accessory? That was the motivating factor early [on].”

Mossimo has made some bold decisions that haven’t always been received well, but his brand is still alive and very successful today. I think as long as he keeps making the magic happen with his eye for trends and opportunities to provide young people with options he will continue to thrive. People think he is stretching himself too thin, but I think his versatility keeps him relevant. We will see how the brand continues to thrive in the future.

~Shannan Rivera