Californian Design Talent to Celebrate Now

We shine a light on the BIPOC talents of art and design in The Golden State

Compiled by THE EDITORS


At C, we have always seen it as instrumental to our raison d’etre to celebrate talent throughout The Golden State. In that mission, we realize we have not been as inclusive of the BIPOC community as we can be: We will do better. Today, we will highlight some of our favorite new faces and others familiar (and always innovative) to the magazine in the realm of art and design.


Tablescape with vibrant florals by WHIT HAZEN, specialty flatware by LUX EROS and a dessert board by FIG ET LE FROMAGE. Planning + Styling by One Darling Day Events. Cocktails by LA Speakeasy. Design by Erin Elyse Long. Rental: La Pinata Party. Speciality Rentals: Collective Rentals. Photo by Brittany Kalaj Margulieux.



Self-professed garden maven, environmentalist and social justice advocate Whit McClure of boutique floral design studio Whit Hazen got her start working on farms and in the nonprofit world in D.C., teaching people to grow their own food, before making the jump to Los Angeles and seasonally inspired arrangements. This thoughtfulness shines through in her whimsical arrangements, which conjure, in her own words, “Dutch Master meets California Spring” vibes. @whit_hazen



BLOOM & PLUME Uncle BB’s diner mugs in the shades Oil Orange and Teal A Story.



Maverick artist Maurice Harris is a boundless creative force: His bespoke Echo Park floral studio Bloom & Plume has a client roster spanning brands like Gucci and Nike to celebrities like Ava DuVernay and Florence and the Machine. There’s also his fine art practice (see: a floral sculpture at MOCA, photography at the San Diego Art Institute and a performance piece at the Broad) and, blessedly, a coffee shop with top-shelf beans and must-collect merch, decked out in what has become his signature shade of purple. @bloomandplume @bloomandplumecoffee 



EKUA capsule mug.



Laying claim to a multiethnic upbringing in Belgium, Long Beach-based Sara Ekua Todd crafts stoneware ceramics — think handmade drinkware stained in rich lavender and celadon hues and meticulously finished with details like scalloped handles. Working under her Ghanaian middle name, Ekua, she credits living and studying in Antwerp with her minimalistic instincts, and has also been featured in exhibitions at Casa Perfect and the A+D Museum. @ekuaceramics 



Duet Hook pillow and Phoenix wallpaper in Naturale, both by JUSTINA BLAKENEY.



Raised in Berkeley and based in Los Angeles, dynamo designer and artist Justina Blakeney is the woman behind bohemian-modern home decor brand Jungalow, a category-spanning, pattern-happy range encompassing lush botanical wallpapers, poppy hook pillows, hamsa-embroidered quilts and more. If that weren’t enough, she’s also a New York Times bestselling author (if you’re new to her enchanting aesthetic, The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes is the perfect primer). @thejungalow @justinablakeney


Kenesha Sneed’s collectible prints celebrate stylish, full-figured women in reflective moments





Creating art and ceramics under the name Tactile Matter, Altadena-based Kenesha Sneed puts her signature color-swathed stamp on everything from pottery and statues to throws and accessories, and has collaborated with the likes of Instagram and Saint Heron. Her collectible prints, based on original paintings, celebrate stylish, full-figured women in reflective moments. @tactilematter



K’ERA MORGAN’s paintings on paper Citrine Dreams #3 and Citrine Dreams #2.



Ladera Heights artist K’era Morgan dwells in a space of mesmerizingly layered abstraction: from her finely marked, swirling collage paintings (recently included in a virtual show on Artsy) to her more gestural and graphic tapestries, prints, throw pillows and blankets. Her latest work on canvas takes our breath away from a visual standpoint and a titular one — it’s named for a James Baldwin interview regarding racial progress: You’ve Always Said it Takes Time… (how much time do you need for your progress?). @k_apostrophe



Black girl white mouth, Grasslands 2020, by YAYA SITUATION.



Leena Similu came to her artistic vocation by way of a successful career in fashion: She studied under Stella McCartney and Jil Sander, and had her own line Les Chiffoniers, in London before finding her way to the wheel. “I discovered ceramics when I was pregnant with my son three years ago and thinking about origins and the heritage I could pass on to him,” the L.A.-based British transplant says. Working under the name Yaya Situation (a nod to her grandmother, a midwife in Cameroon), Similu’s work — which will be featured in a group show with LA Loma Projects later this month, and available in the coming days at Santa Monica’s Mohawk General Store — explores matriarchy, power femininity and fertility through pieces that brilliantly straddle high and low art while referencing traditional African masks. @yayasituation



BWA masks and African mask planters by ASHE CERAMICS.



San Francisco-based black queer nonbinary artist Jas of Ashe Ceramics grew up in South Florida with a paintbrush and playdough in hand. The artistic instinct kicked in and took hold: Most days the artist is found working at SMA Art Gallery, exploring their Jamaican ethnicity and West African heritage through vibrant offering bowls, cups and mugs. Though Jas is currently at capacity for commissions, their Bwa masks and planters are certainly worth the wait. @asheceramics


Feature image: K’ERA MORGAN’s paintings on paper Citrine Dreams #3Citrine Dreams #2; and Citrine Dreams #9.


June 12, 2020 

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