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We Find Love / Blessed

I've been humming the melodies of these modern hymns for the past two months. We went all the way to Bulgaria to shoot cover art for Daniel Caesar's We Find Love, Blessed, and forthcoming album. We Find Love might be my favorite song Danny's recorded, and I say that with bias being brought up in church, plus the song's likeness to Donnie McClurkin's 'We Fall Down'. While on location in Bulgaria, our concept for the artwork was deliberate. I had a full roll of 120 film left—which is only 12 frames, while the sun started to set, and I didn't realize flowers would burn that fast but we got it.

The cyrillic script on the artwork translates to Danny's name and the titles of the tracks. Shout out to Iva for breaking down the entire cyrillic alphabet for us while in Bulgaria, and to Victoria for the translations. Keavan and Danny learned the entire cyrillic alphabet in one night and could read and spell it by the next day. Tbh, I love the image (above) Keavan shot for Blessed so much that I considered it an album cover option, but we've got heat in the staaash. Click the covers above or stream here.

Change of Plans Mixtape

This is a mixtape and soundtrack to the new NEEDS&WANTS collection delivering this month. 'Change of Plans' because your initial idea can always be revised or evolve, hopefully for the better. You won't find it on Apple Music or Spotify, but you can download it here.

Man About Town: Take Your Sweet Time

In this segment, I begin to fully understand the idea of creative longevity through revision and consistency. I wish for no success too quickly, and decide to take long strides in baby steps. It turns out that you can't expect clarity from expired film, and the beauty you're in search of can be found in plain sight.

Beijing, Kyoto, Tokyo

I've been told that you can cheat jet lag by not sleeping the night before a flight to configure your internal clock. I haven't tried this theory out, but it makes sense. Jet lag is real, it took me a couple of weeks to get back to my original sleeping pattern once I got home. Where do I even start with this trip? Shiiit... I had only been in Beijing for two days and got pick-pocketed on the subway. I had just got that phone! Whatever, it could've been worse, and for some reason, I thought to pack my old iPhone 5 in my bag just in case things got thick. So, aside the film I brought with me, all of the photos (below) from this trip were taken on my phone.

Above: I slept in this pod at ninehours for four nights before we headed to Tokyo. The capsule included a light-based alarm clock, specialized pillow and high-grade linens. If I had to hibernate for the next hundred years while travelling to a distant star, I could do it here.



Anyone who's told me of their experiences in Japan has never had anything bad to say, but it was really Kyoto where I found new inspiration and my zen. Like, if when I go back, I could see myself staying in Kyoto the entire time. Yo, you get out in the world and realize everything is so much bigger than you—what I experienced is something my cameras couldn't capture.



Above: The Prada building (designed by Herzog & de Meuron) in Minamiaoyama, Shibuya. One thing I took away from retail in Japan, whether we were at The Gap or COMME des GARÇONS, they pride themselves on customer service. The Prada building was ambitious in scale, spacious and reverent, so much so that you forget you're at a high end retailer and not a museum.

Below: One of the most unique stores I've seen is Laila Tokio. The space was designed by Koichiro Kimura, an artist and industrial designer I had the pleasure of meeting at his studio before visiting Laila. The LED flooring alone makes you feel like you're at an exhibition, but the store's owners are more than inviting. Laila's archive of rare vintage Raf, Margiela, and Helmut Lang is a refreshing take on the idea of a consignment store.

Above, below: Sign me up for anything surreal. Hitachi Seaside Park was almost two hours outside of Tokyo, but well worth the trip considering we were going during peak season of cherry blossoms. At first, its hard to believe the blue nemophila flowers that blanket Miharashi Hill are even real. By mid October, the blue flower hill transforms into green kokia bushes that eventually turn red as it becomes cooler.

Above, below: Green T. House living is a visually overwhelming balance of Chinese tradition and innovation in Beijing. The vision of musician and tea connoisseur JinR was an experience I find hard to explain. There needs to be new word for aesthetic to even articulate the magic of this place. This might be the only glass tea house in the world where you can get Black Oolong tea, then drink it under a willow tree while they play Sade. I couldn't make this stuff up.



On my way home from Amsterdam, I was reading an article in the Holland Herald about Van Gogh's deep love for Japan. He had never been, but felt the Japanese live simple among nature as if they themselves are flowers. I'm glad my idea of Japan finally goes beyond fantasy. I understand Van Gogh's obsession.