Rapiditas Studio by Layla & David

Bootlegging is a lot like marmite; you either love it or hate it, you either get it or you don’t! Layla and David of Rapiditas studio GET IT and do it oh so well. Imperfection, irony and ‘bad taste’ being at the heart, in my opinion, of what they do. As they say below, they appropriate and distort what we all know- the ‘perfect’, capitalist giants- and make them ‘imperfect’ and their own.

This approach to bootleg, in my opinion, is how it should be done- Dapper Dan, for example, being the father of Bootleg. His designs were beautifully made, with fine workmanship BUT he made the logos of large fashion houses his own, he didn’t attempt to perfectly emulate their designs but made his own BETTER ones. This can be seen today with studios such as Rapiditas, they see these logos and want to create something of their own with them, in the best way they know how and it’s not about perfection for them.

The best bootlegging is the unexpected, the designs that wouldn’t be created by the companies that are being featured. It’s not about emulation but instead something new alongside the familiar and imposing imagery.

I find their work so so satisfying and cannot wait to be able to add some of it to my home. See what they had to say below-

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Rapiditas  are two people. Layla and David.

Layla is a freelance graphic designer and web master. David is a DJ and promoter, co-founder of Caballito Netlabel.

We both like image, design, music and the arts.

Of course we love food and being at home.

Rapiditas is a brand that David invented many years ago to create t-shirts, tote bags and some designs. It never came to anything, until now.

Now it is practically focused on ceramics. 

What we do is simple. We create ceramic objects in a rough and imperfect way because we don’t know how to do it better. And then we stamp in ceramic decals or hand painted, everything we can think of, we appropriate all the logos that invade the lives of almost everyone and we deform them.

On our website you can find a very pompous definition, of course it is copied and distorted.

2. What are your Inspirations? 

We listen to random people’s music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

3. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

 Both require a lot of time and know how they work and are also a quick window for them to get to know you. If it weren’t for IG we wouldn’t be here and we would never have sold a mug. 🙂

4.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

We would like to keep creating new things, mix materials, keep having fun.

If you do what you enjoy doing, you are doing the right thing. easy.

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

These are a few people who do fun and interesting things and they sure love what they do.      The list could be longer:

instagram.com/prettychocoboworld/

instagram.com/irenecienfu/

instagram.com/acabceramics/

instagram.com/rebequitalabonita/

instagram.com/alicia.hena/

instagram.com/bizumfabiosteopatiktok/

instagram.com/xavierdekepper/

instagram.com/33_degres_sous_les_cocotiers/

instagram.com/93nido/

Julia Elsas

There are those times when you see something on the internet and instantly fall head over heels in love, well…that happened with me and Julia’s awesome ceramic work. With bold colours and imperfect but perfectly formed designs Julia’s ceramic collections are aesthetic forces to be reckoned with.

As Julia mentions below she reacted to a hole in the market for functional artful products and she was so so right. You know what is hard to find? GOOD WALL HOOKS!!! These wonderful handmade hooks fill that void that is usually just filled with horrible minimalist metal or weird pine wall hooks perfectly.

Merging her artistic crafts perfectly, whether it’s her installation art or ceramic lines; each are a clear extension of herself, her passions and inspirations. As Julia discusses below, she wants these crafts (and the crafting/ small business world) to create a sustainable and community driven world, imagining a more localised economy where independent creators and businesses are supported (which is something, fingers crossed, I have seen coming into fruition over the past few months.)

Please read on, Julia has given one of my favourite and most insightful bunch of answers to the five questions!

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Hello! My name is Julia Elsas. I am a visual artist and currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I work with ceramics, printmaking, installation and performance. My first NY solo show is open now until November 28th at Cooler Gallery in Brooklyn. I also have a line of ceramic goods which include wall hooks, menorahs, necklaces and vases. The ceramic products I make either started as small sculptural elements in larger installations, or they were created as functional artful objects that I couldn’t find elsewhere. The first pieces I officially released into the world as ceramic ‘products’ outside of my visual art were ceramic necklaces. Over time I began making and selling ceramic wall hooksmenorahs, and tube vases. I initially marketed my ceramic product line under a different name, but last year I switched back to releasing everything under my name. I hope my art can lead people to the smaller objects for sale and visa versa. 

  1. What are your Inspirations?

My list of inspirations is endless. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and spent summers driving around the southeastern part of the United States visiting “folk artists” like Howard FinsterMose Toliver and places like Ave Maria Grotto.  My mom gave me a copy of Amiri Baraka’s “Hunting is not the Heads on the Wall” (published in 1964 when he went by Le Roi Jones) when I was in high school, and it profoundly affected my ideas about art and life and how, for many/most non-western cultures, the two are completely intertwined and inseparable. Other inspirations: Nina Simone; Hilma af Klint; Gees Bend quilts; Shaker Gift Drawings; Mexican textiles by Josefa Ibarra; Sophie Calle; The Discipline of Do Easy, by William S. Burroughs and Gus van Sant; and it continues…

3.Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Social media is a terrible and dangerous platform if you are looking for sincere human interaction and connection. It has contributed to a vast amount of misinformation and divisiveness in our country and around the world. On the other hand (!), Instagram has been 100% helpful for marketing my work, getting new stocklists, discovering new artists, etc.

 4.Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

I am working on some large orders (very large for me!) this holiday season for new stocklists. I feel fortunate to have the work, especially at a time when so many people are out of jobs, but long term bigger isn’t necessarily better for me. I’m happy to keep my business small and make my products mostly in-house. It’s important for me to keep the quality of craftsmanship high and stay true to myself as an artist. In the next few years I would love to work on limited edition projects with other artists, designers and artful brands. As my business grows, it’s important for me to figure out how to create sustainable long-term ways to give back to my community. I love what artists are doing in the Level Up Project

Some of the best advice I have gotten is to take the leap and get your work out there! Your website and line sheet don’t have to be perfect. You can always tweak designs, prices, and products as you go. You have to spend money to make money – especially if you are investing in making ceramic products to sell! Take a risk and invest in yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice along the way.

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

There are so many, but first and foremost,

Love and Victory  is run by my friend Meg Morehouse. Meg designs barware and a range of cocktail-related goods, but she is also a fierce activist and a constant inspiration. 

Sheena Sood was a student of mine at the Lower East Side Print Shop, and I love watching her clothing brand, Abacaxi grow! I don’t have any of her pieces yet, but I’m eyeing a few items from her latest collection.

I am so impressed by Sarah Hussaini / Not Work Related  and how she grabbed the pandemic by the horns and moved a wheel into the bathroom of her Brooklyn apartment to continue throwing pots when everything was shut down. I was lucky enough to snag one of her ceramic mugs made during that time. They sell out in a few minutes!

I subscribed to Michelle Ishikawa’s Okimoto  flower share this summer, and it brought me beauty and wonderment during a strange and stressful time. Michelle says it better than I can on her website: “She strives to give back to the earth as much as we collectively borrow from it, and is dedicated to furthering discourse on how to mindfully steward our environment and radically dream of a more equitable and just economic future.” 

I’m obsessed with Anders Hamilton’s Crater Cups recently released through BKLYN Clay. I want them all.

Mantel by Sadie Perry

A zip file of insanely satisfying and beautifully considered images were sent by Sadie, owner and creator of Mantel, alongside her answers to the usual questions. These images epitomise the visual language of Mantel and it really is SO SO delicious. colour combinations alongside ‘good’ design, strong shapes and harsher metals coincide with softer florals and pastels. Honestly, the mantels and vintage products that Sadie styles are on another level.

Having known Sadie since secondary school (Hi there fellow grunger!) and watched as she has formed her impeccable taste, it really has been a pleasure to see Mantel come into fruition. As Sadie mentions below, she gravitates towards well designed items and unusual forms, as is evident throughout her stock choices; from Art Nouveau to handmade, craft vessels- it is clear there is a running theme of objects that will be noticed and draw the eye….in a “don’t look at me” way, ya’know?

Sadie offers interior styling alongside her vintage finds and to be honest, if you have a mantel you should probably get her on board. Here is what she has to say about Mantel, her inspirations and future plans…

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Hello, I’m Sadie and I am the founder of Mantel, an online (at the moment!) shop selling vintage homeware objects. Before this I had a jewellery brand but I have always been a big collector (aka hoarder) of decorative objects and ornaments so it felt like a natural step for me to share some of the things I find and make it into a business. I would say the common thread with the things I buy for myself and the shop would be well designed pieces and unusual forms that have a strong presence in a room, with a slight element of humour or character like unexpected proportions or really clearly visibly handmade ceramics.

2. What are your Inspirations? 

• I studied History of Art, Design and Film at university, specialising in film for my dissertation and became obsessed with set design, particularly those centred around the home interiors of the characters. I look to film as a huge inspiration when styling my own room or choosing objects for the shop – some of my favourite directors for aesthetic inspiration are Eric Rohmer, Roman Polanski, Claude Chabrol, Luis Bunuel and more recently Luca Guadagnino.

• Home visits – in my spare time, aside from car boots, I love going to house tours. My two absolute favourites are Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex and Casa Barragan in Mexico City. I’d love to go to Carlo Mollino’s home in Turin once we can safely travel again!

• Mexico is my favourite place in the world – I’ve been there several times and I never get bored of it. I studied silver jewellery making there a few years back, and fell in love with the colours and all the amazing craft they make there, and have got some of my most treasured objects from there. And the people are so lovely!

• Art Deco – I love Jean Michel Frank interior design, Jean Royere and Josef Hoffmann designed objects, as well as all the carpets from that era.

• Paintings – I get really obsessed with colour combinations – some of my current favourite painters are Mamma Andersson and Norbert Schwontonski. 

• My family and friends are a constant source of inspiration for me. I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who are all so talented in what they do and also supportive, down to earth and funny – my mum has an amazing eye for interiors, my dad is really musically creative, my sister works in mental health and my best friends have all got really varied jobs from science to PR to hairdressing to artist studio assistant. I wouldn’t be able to get through life without them!

3. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

I think from a business point of view it’s a big help, it’s been the best place for me to find other amazing brands and like minded people and also be found by them! In terms of personal I’m not so sure – it can be so easy to go down a rabbit hole of comparing yourself when you are having a bad day or worrying. But I think when you set yourself boundaries and keep it positive it’s a good thing and allows you to share inspiration and collaborate with others.

4.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

I would love to be sourcing and selling objects full time. It would be my absolute dream to spend my days travelling around the world to markets, car boots and house clearances and sharing some of the things I find there. It would be amazing to have a physical space too where I could style the objects and meet the people who support me by buying from the shop. Hopefully one day! In terms of advice, I think just going for what you are passionate about and trying it, however unconfident you feel, is the best way to go. I spent so many years worrying that I wasn’t good enough or needed to be perfect before I did anything. But I think we have a tendency to be our own worst critics so you have to just ignore those nagging worries and do it! And always be nice to people, you never know what anyone’s going through.

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

I think @anoushapayne ceramics are amazing, @karlfritschrings jewellery, @ikoikospace textiles and home objects, my friend @mimikerpel’s woven vases and @quindry_antiques selection of antiques. I’d also love to go and stay at independently run @villamagnan in Biarritz – the decor is incredible and I love that area of France.