New York-based painter @moderndayconfucius (Leon Xu) creates works that revolve around ideas of memory, familiarity and déjà vu.
“You know that feeling of walking down the same street every day, a scene you’re so familiar with, and one day you find something you’ve never noticed before? That’s the moment I’m trying to capture, and that’s why I enjoy focusing on little things that are easily forgotten,” says Leon.
“I’m not seeking to define that moment, but simply to be with it. These reflections are offered at different scales, and my goal is to make the small paintings feel big, and the big paintings feel immersive. I like the idea of a painting absorbing you in the way a film may absorb you and transport you to another world.
I enjoy exploring the contrast in emotions that you can feel from one memory. By capturing moments or placing memories onto canvas, sometimes I feel like I’m altering the ‘reality.’”
Photo of @moderndayconfucius by @thedomsolo
Art by @moderndayconfucius
“I want people to feel like they’ve stepped into a whole new world of my making.”
Multimedia artist @christianmingle93 (Chris Lloyd) makes work that is both expansive and interactive. “The things I create all focus on one thing, and that is symbology. I try to build narratives using symbols that are common to everyone to explore themes like religion, ideology, nature, self-exploration and time,” says Chris, who picked up his first watercolor set during the pandemic.
“I primarily use watercolor but experiment with a lot of digital process and machines, using things like laser cutters, vinyl cutters, transfers and cyanotype. I try to have as many little micro interactions in my painting as possible to give the viewer something new to discover at every glance. I often make my work 3D or hang it more intricately than just as a flat piece on the wall so users can engage with the piece a little more interactively.
Because I make work that is so personal to me it means that it is ever changing and ever growing, which I think is the most beautiful part of my practice.”
Photos by @christianmingle93
“Dance is my destiny. I am the one and only Bada Lee.” —Dancer and choreographer @badalee__
“While dancing, I focus intently on the nuances of facial expressions and gestures. Many people refer to me as a ‘girl crush,’ and I believe that defines a main part of who I am,” says Bada, who has choreographed for K-pop artists KAI, NCT, aespa, THE BOYZ and TREASURE. Bada is also the leader of the dance team BEBE (@teambebe_official ), who recently won the TV dance survival competition “Street Woman Fighter 2.”
“With every dance step, my aspiration is to share positivity and energy with those who watch. If someone — even if they believe they can’t dance — watches my choreography and feels inspired to dance or follow along, that makes me feel good. I believe dance can uplift and inspire courage in people.”
Bada’s viral choreography routines have further extended her influence. “My dancing style is both high-energy and very powerful. I aim to leave a lasting dance legacy, both as a member of Team BEBE and as Bada.”
Photos by @badalee__
“Embrace where you are from. Embrace your legacy. Embrace your ancestral desires. Embrace everything that your family conquered.” —@iza (Iza) 💛💚💙
Picture this: It’s 1984, and Djalma Lima, a sailor from Brazil, wins a free trip around the world, stopping in various locations to take photos to document his journey — unaware of how they (or his future) would turn out. 📷🎞️
Fast-forward nearly 40 years, and Djalma’s daughter, Iza, finds herself in one of the same cities he visited — Seville, Spain — only she’s here as a @latingrammys nominee for her song “Fé,” which translates to “faith” in Portuguese. As a gift to the man who introduced her to music, Iza is re-creating the iconic Seville snapshots of his past with a modern twist. ✨
“I am so grateful for being here and for the opportunity to be in the same city that my dad was — and being here through my work, through my art, is beyond. Just knowing that I’m visiting the same places he was, it makes me feel so emotional and so grateful because it feels in a way like I am him.”
“I am super happy to be here and I’m very fortunate to be witnessing this beauty — being able to be here working on what I love.” —Argentine artist @mariabecerra (Maria Becerra) ♥️🎶
Maria knows that practice makes perfect. Before performing at Thursday’s @latingrammys , the four-time nominee took to the streets of Seville with a smile, a saxophone and her pre-show staple. 😊 🎷🍵
“It’s NOT tea. If you are from Argentina, you know — it’s maté,” says Maria. “Maté is like a warm hug. It’s delicious.”
Hanging with Maria also feels like a warm hug. Get to know the singer as she soaks in the embrace of loyal fans, the Seville sunshine and some surprisingly sweet “dulces” ahead of the show. ☀️🍭💚
Music by @mariabecerra
“Don’t be afraid to be yourself in the process of finding your true identity.” —Creator @kaiabojorquez (Kaia Bojorquez)
“Everyone’s transition is different. My transition started with me wearing makeup at 13 years old, to then wearing girls’ clothes, which is what I felt the most confident and comfortable wearing,” says Kaia, 21, who’s been on hormone replacement therapy for almost a year and is planning on surgically transitioning. “My fashion and personal aesthetic are something that come naturally to me. I spend hours in my room listening to music and trying on different outfits and styles. I’ve been really inspired by the K-pop industry when it comes to cute, sexy outfits, and by different creators on Instagram. I’m proud that I get to inspire others and help others become a better version of themselves.
It’s important to celebrate Transgender Awareness Week to acknowledge the past trans women who have fought for the rights and freedom we have today.“
Photos by @kaiabojorquez
“If you’ve ever wondered how detailed they are on movie sets … it doesn’t get more real than this.” —Actress @hunterschafer (Hunter Schafer)
Welcome to Panem, where everything from the postage to the potatoes comes to life. We’re on the set of @thehungergames : “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” with Hunter, who plays Tigris Snow in the new film. 🕊️🐍
To celebrate the film’s global release, Hunter took us behind the scenes in Berlin, Germany, for a peek at the Snow apartment, the iconic costumes and prop design and the alluring world of the Hunger Games.