Last fall, Paul Frank's "Dream Catchin" racial theme party drew criticism from around the world. At the forefront of this discourse was Native American activists Adrienne Keene and Jessica Metcalfe. Rather than write off Paul Frank as mortal enemy, the duo worked with Paul Frank representatives to parlay the controversy into a win-win opportunity: Paul Frank got a second chance at exploring respectful ways to align with Native themes and imagery; and a select handful of Native artists got an unprecedented chance to collaborate with a national brand.
Following an artist search guided by Jessica and Adrienne, I was fortunate enough to be one of the four artists chosen by Paul Frank. Sweet!
Artistically, I was inspired by the challenge of incorporating Paul Frank's famous "Julius" monkey icon and the brand's whimsical themes into my art; while maintaining reverence for my traditional art form. The resulting illustration, which I call "Same Boat", will be featured in on a high-end tote bag. The product will remain secret until its unveiling on August 16th at the American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) during SWAIA's Indian Art Market. It will also be available via my website as of August 16th.
You can read more about the origin of this collaboration and the other three designers on Adrienne Keene's Native Approprations site or Jessica Metcalf's Beyond Buckskin site. Paul Frank's official press release is included below.
LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Paul Frank announced today its first-ever "Paul Frank Presents" fashion collaboration with four Native American designers from different tribes and regions across the country. Set to debut in August 2013, the collaboration fuses the iconic Paul Frank brand with four different
artists' aesthetics, each rooted in their heritage. The collection, which will include a tote bag, hand-beaded sunglasses, graphic tees and Hama bead jewelry is an expression of the Native American culture and a way for the artists to integrate their perspective and tribal identity into fashion.
Drawing inspiration from their communities, each artist is bringing to life a visual identity with roots from their culture. Louie Gong, a designer from the Nooksack tribe who creates custom drawings and paintings on materials, is creating a silk-screened canvas tote bag for the collection. Candace Halcro, from the Plains Cree/Metis tribes, is skilled with the classic Native American beading technique and will showcase her talents on authentic Paul Frank sunglasses. Dustin Martin, a graphic T-shirt fashion designer from the Navajo tribe, is using a phrase taught to him by his grandfather to inspire the prints of the famous Paul Frank character, Julius. And Autumn Dawn Gomez, a jewelry designer from the Comanche/Taos tribes, is creating accessories inspired by various landscapes, which have impacted her life.
"We're honored to be working with such talented and enthusiastic designers for this fashion and accessories collection," said Elie Dekel, President of Saban Brands. "Each artist has really captured the whimsical and fun energy of the Paul Frank brand and incorporated it into their designs for the line. We are so excited to share these items with Paul Frank fans very soon!"
To unveil the collection, Paul Frank is partnering with the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) to host an event in Santa Fe, New Mexico on August 16, during SWAIA's annual Indian Market Week. The event will showcase each of these designers and preview their limited edition pieces for the Paul Frank line for the very first time. These items will then be sold in the MoCNA Store.
For more information on Paul Frank, please visit www.paulfrank.com.
About Paul Frank:
Acquired in 2010 by Saban Brands, Paul Frank began in 1997 as an independent accessories company in a Southern California beach town. The brand has steadily grown to become a globally recognized, iconic brand that features artistic and entertaining designs inspired by a love of avant-garde, modern influences and everyday objects. By creating relationships through exciting collaborations and strategic licensing partnerships, Paul Frank merchandise includes apparel and accessories for all ages, books, stationery, eyewear, home decor, bicycles and more. To see what's new and exciting at Paul Frank, visit www.paulfrank.com.
About Saban Brands:
Formed in 2010 as an affiliate of Saban Capital Group, Saban Brands (SB) was established to acquire and develop a world-class portfolio of properties and capitalize on the company's experience, track record and capabilities in growing and monetizing consumer brands through content, media and marketing. SB applies a global omni-channel management approach to enhancing and extending its brands in markets worldwide and to consumers of all ages. The company provides full-service management, marketing, promotion and strategic business development for its intellectual properties including comprehensive strategies unique to each brand, trademark and copyright management and enforcement, creative design, retail development, direct-to-consumer initiatives and specialized property extensions. SB is led by a superior management team with decades of experience in media, content creation, branding, licensing, marketing and finance. SB's portfolio of properties currently includes Power Rangers, Paul Frank, Vortexx, Zui.com, The Playforge, Julius Jr., Digimon Fusion and Popples. For more information, visit www.sabanbrands.com.