[James Cruickshank, Alexander Young, and Emmett Shine, founders of LOLA New York]
I knew I would become friends with Emmett Shine and James Cruickshank long before they even knew I existed. LOLA New York was a name that subliminally imprinted itself in my head months ago. I don't know when or how this happened, but I do know that for over a year I have been curious to figure out just what it stood for and who was behind it. All signs in my universe pointed to LOLA...from my walks around Soho to the people that I met that continually spoke about it like a secret club that I had yet to discover. Well the searching is over, and the guys behind LOLA are every bit as "cool" as I suspected. Hailing straight from Southampton, they are becoming our newest resource for all things East. You are equally likely to spot them outside the Village Cheese Shop in Southampton (the spot of Emmett's first job as a teen), on bikes as you are to in an art showroom filled with socialites in Chelsea. They're one part Manhattan movers, one part laid back locals out east...though don't that last part fool you, these two will run CIRCLES around you work wise, and their part of the reason New York will never "die".
How long have you known each other? J: we were conceived around the same time so... post womb.
What exactly is LOLA? E: LOLA is a collective of art-based entrepreneurial individuals working together on exciting and diverse projects that put forth creativity, aspiration, and enjoyment.
J: LOLA is a way of life.
How did LOLA get its start? Where did idea come from? E: LOLA the name is derived from Lola Prentince Memorial Park in Southampton of which we created a makeshift skate park when one did not exist, in our early teens. The "if it doesn't exist make it" mentality still exists with us today, as seen in our Art Show next month. We didn't see an event for charity showcasing emerging artists and photographers in an organic manner, so we created one.
You recently started your own blog, tell us about your contributors and what you cover... E: We relaunched the blog last month to include more voices, content, photos, and coming in June music. We have a lot of amazing individuals in the collective, this is the first introduction to some of them.
You guys also have great T-shirts that I see popping up all the time. Who does the designs? How do you separate all your different job duties? E: James, Max Barbaria, and myself all come up with different concepts and ideas then I put them through the proper process for our producers. We recently brought on board some talented junior designers who are helping our for Spring 2009.
Tell us more about the Fingerpaint project this Wednesday... E: Along with selfportrait.net we founded Fingerpaint as a platform for emerging creative individuals to present themselves and their artwork in a legitimate way that deserves attention. All proceeds go to charity at the same time so it all for a good cause.
Our first event this Wednesday is at the historic former headquarters of the Dia Art Foundation - 10,000sq ft on West 22nd in the heart of Chelsea, is hosted by Blackbook, and features 25 emerging photographers from across the country under 25yrs. It's going to be amazing.
You guys have some of best grassroots marketing in Manhattan that I have seen, with stickers all over LES and Soho, how do you continue to keep things new, where do you find inspiration? E: The stickers started as an inexpensive way to raise awareness, we have backgrounds in street art and appreciate the visuals around us as you walk in the city. New York is amazing because it is built for the pedestrian, everyone walks around.
The stickers took on a life of their own, and we couldn't make enough. Sometimes people ask for the design and make their own to put up. They are on every inhabited continent, in dozens of countries, almost every major city in America, and have been featured in books, magazines, backgrounds of tv shows and movies. Its fun to see.
We keep things new anyway, so it goes hand in hand with whatever we do.
Our inspiration comes from everything we do from friends family travel books, just daily life
What are some projects you are working on now? E: I'm working a few book projects that may take a year or so but will be exciting. We have Gin Lane Media, our sister marketing branch which is starting to take off, we have a very exciting platform in the Hamptons premiering in July.
We are also finishing up our Spring '09 collection as well. Lot of fun projects coming out soon.
On a Wednesday night, we may stumble upon you... E: Antik, home, another country
J: Antik on the Bowery then NOT going to Lit, then going to this basement place we always end up at that's on little west 12th street where people go to to smoke lots of cigarettes.
On a weekend night, we could find you... E: In the Hamptons having a bonfire, at Dune, working on a summer art project, at movies...
J: Nellos to hear sets by DJ Nick Cohen then tear through Dune to hear sets by the world famous DJ VIBE some of my best buds.
What is typical day like for you? E: Wake up stare at the ceiling...I'm alive what a beautiful feeling.
J: Bobby Vans for brunch, yard saling with my mom, run on the beach, jump in the ocean, Cohen compound, sip ice tea from cheese shop, BBQ at my house then a bon fire at the Gen Hudson prices at camp Amagansett.
What do you hope to accomplish with LOLA in the years to come? E: I hope that I continue to have fun with with it, to open new doors, build more relationships, keep building exciting new bridges.
J: I'm looking into turning it into a cult.
You guys, hailing from straight from Southampton have always been prominent fixtures out east, what are some of your plans this summer? E: We are free agents this year. The last few summers have been crazy. This year we have a few big projects, and plan on soaking up all the east end has to offer during the summer.
J: Being a prominent fixture is a good thing right? My plans are to drink lots of bloody marys and tan naked as much as possible.
The best part about growing up in Southampton was? J: It was like a any normal summer, except ours was 18 years long.
What is your favorite part about the summer? E: I love the energy and electricity of having many creative and unique personalities together. You have to look for and be in the right places or you can caught in the wrong whirlwind. I am will be swimming in the ocean, running on beaches, and going on bike rides a lot more this summer. I love the beach, the food in the summer, and the long evenings.
J: Brunch, and brunch.
Favorite place to eat? E: Gossmans, The Village Cheese Shop, and James Kitchen
J: BOBBY VANS, my mothers kitchen, Fowler's beach, Vibe's pond when his mom hosts "pond time", and camp amaganset
When's the last time you've been skinny dipping? J: Paul(sir drake), Australian Jamo (nellos) and I drove straight out to the Hamptons after a night of debauchery in Manhattan last Thursday night/Friday morning and went for a dip in the ocean around 6 a.m.
My style described as: E: Geek Chic
J: casual male XL
Best part of your job? E: I work very hard, more hours than people who work 9 to 6, but I love dreaming something up and then actualizing it.
J: Waking up at 2pm to angry text messages from Emmett. He's my knight in shining armor!
Favorite places in NYC? E: Rooftops
J: RUSSIAN BATH HOUSE on 10th street EVERYDAY!
Many claim that "New York is dead" in part because of the gentrification of spots like the LES, Bowery, etc (aka your "hood") would you say to those people?? E: They are idiots.
J: New York will never die it just changes, thats what makes it New York. When the NYU kids invaded Ludlow street, the LES just packed up and moved a little south, which was fine by me, I like it just south of Delancy anyway...Tisch can keep Max Fish!