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Blog Posts (63)

  • Getting To Know Hotpot Variety

    Amongst all of the creative businesses that launched during Covid, one of our favourites has to be Hotpot Variety founded by Toronto crocheter Jess Papp. What started as a fun hobby has since turned into a full time brand that has caught the attention of fashion enthusiasts, influencers, designers and retailer buyers around the country. As she takes the headwear game by storm with her unique crocheted hats, we caught up with Jess to chat about her recent growth, taking Hotpot Variety full time, getting into a major retailer, where she hopes to take the brand over the years and much more. Take a listen to some of Jess' quotes and read through below to learn more about Jess and Hotpot Variety. On taking Hotpot full time… "As of this fall, I’m officially doing this full time. When I started Hotpot Variety, I realized that was my passion. I was like, maybe I should focus my energy and efforts into something I love doing instead of working in a 9 to 5 job and coming out of it like “what did I just do all day?” Put Your Work Out There You never know what might come of it! So Holts DM’d you? That’s how the deal came around? Ya, I got a message from the buyer like “hey, who do I reach out to about partnership options?”. I only had 500 followers on Instagram and not a lot of my work was on my feed so I thought maybe they’re just contacting me about a pop-up or something. We had the call and they’re like, “do you have a line sheet? We want to stock your hats in our store.” and I’m like “Ya, I have a line sheet” while I’m googling what a line sheet is [laughs] and then they sent over my contract and my hats were going to be stocked in Holt Renfrew. It was crazy. On collaborations… I’m doing this by myself so I’m trying to make sure I’m not saying yes too much or biting off more than I can chew. Every project is different. It’s important to make sure that you understand what the scope of the partnership looks like and make sure you’re both aligned into something that’s going to be great for both sides. On dealing with burnout… Make sure that you’re listening to your body. If I’m tired, I need to sleep. If I’m hungry, I eat. If you can’t focus, you can’t be productive. Don’t stress about the things you can’t control and focus on one thing at a time. What do you want 60 year old Jessica to look back on and be proud of? I'm a first generation Canadian. My mom immigrated here from Vietnam. My family fled from their country to build something for us and give us more opportunity. I want to look back when I’m 60 and know that I built something out of an opportunity that my family has given me and be something inspiring to people going through the same thing and hopefully building some sort of an empire where I can support other people’s interests and talents. Checkout Hotpot Variety's Instagram for news on their upcoming releases and keep it locked to Pier Five for more conversations with the coolest entrepreneurs, designers, artists, activists and more out there.

  • Dancing Through The Yarn With Trish Andersen

    Follow your gut and take chances. It will take you everywhere. Such is the case for Georgia based fiber artist, Trish Andersen, whose tufting work has caught the attention of the masses. After over a decade-long career working in a corporate design job in New York, Trish dropped everything to focus on a solo freelance career and follow her entrepreneurial spirit. Years later, after taking a hard look at her jobs and deciding she wanted even more independence, Trish would drop her client work, move back home to Georgia and pursue a daring career as a solo fine artist in rug tufting, a very niche art form that she had little knowledge of at the time; but something about it just felt right. Fast forward to today, Trish is one of the best known tufting fine artists in the game, appealing to the fine art and interior experts all the way to streetwear heads and hypebeasts. All of this success is attributed to Trish’s ability to keep a level head, follow her gut and never stop exploring and we got the chance to go through all of this in a very special conversation. Hey Trish! The first question we have for you is, what was it like moving from New York back to Georgia. It was definitely a little scary because there’s so much opportunity in New York but it just felt right for me. Turns out, Dalton, which is only a few hours away from Savannah where I live now, is the rug capital of the world so the fit isn’t so bad [laughs]. They produce something like 80% of the world’s rugs there which is insane. Wow that’s wild! What do you think it was about tufting that got you hooked (no pun intended)? Tufting is super free flowing with the gun because you can go in any direction you want. You can really jump around your canvas and it was like painting for me which I love. It’s like a dance working with the gun. It also lets me focus on the fine art more and then I can bring in the functional aspect, like with the line of products I have inspired by my fine art, such as the wool rugs and runner rugs, as I want. One of our first discoveries of your work was actually the Runner Rug through Hidden NY, a curation mood board catering to art and streetwear fashion enthusiasts. How does it feel to see your work catch the attention of subcultures like that? Honestly, it blows my mind! I made the runner rug with no intention of selling it. I thought it was cool but not that cool [laughs]. I had no idea that it would catch the attention of consumers in these other groups and I never cared about what people were going to think of it when I made it but it’s really cool to see everyone so into this art form and the pieces that I make. It’s very hard to always fight that evil voice in your head asking “will people like it?” or “is it good enough to share?” but I think because I got into this just for me, I’ve been able to get away from that voice. I’m constantly trying to remind myself to just make what I want to see in the world and tell myself that there are people out there who will be into what I make and eventually I’ll find them. Very true and clearly there are a lot of people who are liking what you are putting out. How did it feel, as someone who’s been making rugs for so long, to see so many people get into rug making during covid? I think it’s super cool. I’m a big “community over competition” kind of person. The process for me has been so beneficial and it’s really great to see other people embracing it. Everyone has their own voice and I think there’s room for us all. It’s been super cool to see how people like Tim who runs has grown such a big community and business in the last two years and how social media has really helped it take off. At the end of the day, if we can all add some more softness and joy to the world during quarantine then that’s amazing! What’s your design process like? Do you typically draw things out first and have materials/colours in mind? It’s a little bit of planning and a little bit of free flow. I usually sketch out designs on Procreate which I love. I always had some trouble sketching on paper so working on Procreate on my iPad is amazing and it lets me scale designs which is super helpful. For the colors, I’ll usually have a palette in mind but I'll pull all the colours I think I'm going to use and then visualize them and move them around. Once I’m working on the canvas, I really try to move feely and respond to the piece in the moment. If I plan colours but then don’t think I want to use them, I’ll change them. It’s definitely like a dance. I also like, however, that you have to be decisive as much as it is free flowing. It’s always a challenge because you can only pull out things you don't like so many times before the backing is compromised so it's a mix of free and calculated. How many rolls of yarn do you think you have gone through in the last 4 years? Ha! I have no idea. It must be thousands. I’ll use all different types of wool and I’ll source yarns everywhere. It’s all a precious exercise of locating yarns. I’m using so many different colours and materials which I think creates great texture. Back in September you launched your first reproduced collection which gave general consumers the chance to buy your work. How was that experience for you and were there any learnings that you’ll take with you for future releases? So far the feedback has been really good and the experience has been great. I set things up for the e-comm site so that the orders go out to a factory that makes and ships the items so luckily I don’t have to deal with that. I am still getting familiar with how to handle the customer support side of things the best way possible but so far so good. I think one of the biggest learnings was really around, once everything launched, seeing how much work it can all be for one person and understanding the importance of having a good setup throughout. If I was packing and shipping everything myself it wouldn’t be scalable and would slow down the creative side. I’d say to anyone, make sure you think about the process all the way through before going live. Otherwise, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Luckily now that I’ve done this though and things are running smoothly, I can start thinking about launching new lines! Oh! What other lines are we talking about? I have a ton of ideas. I’m going to be collaborating with my husband who’s a painter on something and some other projects as well. I’m not a big planner though [laughs]. I kind of just follow what feels good. Living with your husband who is a painter must be super cool on the collaboration side! Ya, it’s super fun. I don’t think I could be with anyone who’s not an artist. We both live and breathe art and we learn a lot from each other too. Any tips for young artists trying different mediums to express themselves? I’d definitely go back to the idea that you have to try to get away from comparing yourself to others and caring what they think. It’s hard with social media but it’s very important. I always say that social media should be for connecting, not comparing. Everyone has their own voice. Follow your gut and what makes you happy and explore that. Find a creative community that you can be a part of. Try to work with other artists. Observe others. Get out there. Be patient and keep putting in the work. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you can really dictate what you want to do. Lastly, take risks and don’t be afraid of making bad work. It’s required in the art world but that’s also what makes it fun. That’s great advice! Lastly, for those looking to start tufting, where should they look? Honestly, the first thing to do is just Google tufting and watch a ton of videos. I’m actually going to film a workshop next month with Domestika which will be super fun, so watch that too [laughs]. Another great site to check out is Tim’s site that I mentioned earlier, There’s an awesome forum for people posting about their experiences, where they get materials, etc. Everyone is super supportive and willing to share information. It’s a great community! Also, if you are looking to buy gear you can use my code "Trishtufts" for 15% off :) Make sure to check out Trish's Instagram for more news on upcoming projects and releases and keep it locked to Pier Five for more interviews and stories with the coolest entrepreneurs, designers, artists, activists and more.

  • From The Streets To The Big Stage With Kizmet

    Change is inevitable but you can’t always wait around for it if you want to find success. For Toronto based graffiti and lighting artist Kizmet, taking matters into his own hands was key. While the general population was taking its time to decide whether or not graffiti art was for them, Kizmet was carving his path through the underground arts and music scene and making a name for himself. From the streets to the big stage, Kismet is a prime example of taking initiative and not being afraid to put in the hours and it shows, big time. Read through the interview with Kizmet below where we dive into his early beginning, what gave him the courage to pursue his passions, what he’s excited for in this ever changing world of art and much more. Hey Kizmet! For those not familiar, can you tell us a little about yourself? Hey I’m Kizmet, and who am I? That’s something I like to let people figure out themselves. Maybe this conversation will help [laughs]. And figure out we shall! What’d you get up to today? I was in my studio most of the day. There are a bunch of pieces I’m working on so that’s keeping me busy. You’ve talked a lot in the past about how your studio space in Toronto is really your comfort zone. What are the keys to a great studio/work space? When I used to do a lot of music, I always wanted a space where I could have all of my stuff and get everything done there. Now, with art, it’s the same way. Kind of like in the Shedders Lair in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie where all the kids are just chilling spray painting, blasting music being creative doing karate and there’s like some dude just offering kids cigarettes. Everyone is just doing their thing. That’s what I want minus the encouraging kids to smoke[laughs]. The key for me is that I could be there at any point, day or night, doing whatever I want and nobody gets mad. Like if I play a drum set at 4am in the morning nobody is going to call the cops. It’s like having a clubhouse. I can get work done or if I wanted I could watch a film on a projector screen or I could play drums or me and my studio mate can Jam or play video games on the big screen. Who inspired the faces that we see prominently across your artwork? I haven’t really shared this formally on many platforms so this will be a first actually. I often don’t talk about the context of my paintings personally. With street or graffiti art, the artist is often anonymous and so the viewer needs to create their own interpretations of the works. That’s what I want for my work. That being said I have always had meaning behind the works so here it is. I’m huge into Sci-Fi. So with the faces, I wanted to create a new reality that would change over time. First they wore glasses, then those came off and you saw there weren’t any eyes, and then the faces multiplied and the narrative kept on changing. And in the end it turns out these faces are a robot tricking you into falling in love with it. It’s all about coercion and one the original presented concept turning out to be one big lie and everything is a connected story. Damn! That’s wild. Did you know when you started the faces that it would turn into that huge story over multiple years? At the time I started doing these I was in this transitional phase with my art and so I started creating these faces and actually built this entire story and knew where I wanted to take it from the beginning. I knew I’d be able to get better over time as an artist which would allow me to develop the characters further and keep making them better so that when it came time to talk about it, it would all be ready. Did you also plan on using them for live events or was that part decided afterwards? Ya so the idea was to be able to bring them to shows/events and tour them around. I’ve always been really big into music and events so I wanted to be able to bring my work there. Also the impact of bringing work to music festivals and seeing people interact with it in person there is amazing. Its something you don't really get in a gallery or just with a mural on a wall. There’s also a ton of elements that you can play with too like with smoke and lights which is epic. How big is that for you? I’ve been doing light murals for a little while. It’s really crazy about how light interacts with colours. It’s not like normal colour mixing. You get these wild combinations of mixing light with paint and what colours will turn into what when certain light hits it and you can play with different elements and make these pieces really come to life. You can make it so stuff is hidden or morphing and people trip out watching it. Sometimes I make the transitions slow so you don’t even realize what’s happening in the moment until the image has completely changed colours. Going back to your roots now. What was the evolution of going from graffiti to this experiential art like? I kinda always knew that this was going to be what I make my living on. The whole tags and street bombing thing is really just advertizing to get your name out there, but I knew to make a living I would need to put more thought into conceptualizing. For me it wasn’t so much of changing the art style but it was me being more serious and that led to the transition which has been a good one. Was there a moment or turning point where you knew you’d be able to make this work out as your career? I got kicked out of high school for some graffiti shit and went to a new alternative school where there were tons of artists. The head of my new school, John Morton, told me “this is a democratic school. If you want to paint the school, cool. Make a proposal and maybe you'll even get paid for it. Just let us know how and when you want to do it and if everyone is ok with it, you can do it.” I was so shocked. I presented it to the school and everyone was hyped about it. Now I don’t even think there’s space left because the entire place is painted up. The school got covered. Once people found out it was cool to do, everyone went nuts. It started in the hallways, the stairwell, the lunchroom and then it just got everything. They even painted the outside of the school. It looked sweet. That introduction of a safe space where I could have an idea and it would be approached with an open mind was what showed me there might be a long term opportunity with this. That’s an insane story. Maybe hard to top but do you have a “greatest story of all time” from your tagging days? Honestly all the days of tagging were just insanity. If you were somewhat tapped into that culture back then you’ve probably had some crazy f**** up experiences. Like everyone is nuts. The lifestyle of being out super late, running from cops, tons of partying, is kinda crazy in itself. I would tell these stories to people that were not part of that culture and they’d all just think I was lying. The stuff is truly unbelievable. Are there any stark differences or changes that you’ve observed with graffiti art and culture over the years? The biggest thing now is street art is very accepted and also highly funded. Back in the day it was so criticized like once I was painting a garage for someone and the neighbour came out with a baseball bat and was threatening to beat me up because he thought I was tagging. Recently though I was doing a garage for someone else and the neighbour there came out and was like “what about my fence? I want a mural too.” I was shocked. I thought he was going to be pissed off but he was jealous. He literally said “I’m a taxpayer and I should have my fence painted too”. [laughs]. Why do you think things have changed so much like that? I think it was that the city really got behind it. They finally accepted that you can’t fight graffiti because you don’t know who it is and it will NEVER go away. It used to be that if someone tagged on your business, you had twenty four hours to get rid of it or you’d get fined, so as a result business owners just started commissioning murals to get around the rule. Then programs funding murals came around to deter people from just aimlessly tagging. It’s been a slow transition but a good one. I also just think some people need some sort of authority or what they consider a validated entity to say it’s ok and then they’re quick to accept things. Any tips/tricks that you’d give to young artists of stuff of the trade you wished you knew when you started out in graffiti? There’s this whole starving artist mentality that leads to artists getting taken advantage of by these big companies and corporations who don’t pay well and treat the artists poorly. I think it’s important for artists to know that it’s completely ok to walk away in the middle of the job if you’re not getting the respect or being treated properly. Protect yourself and your representation. Don’t let money control everything you do. I know some artists take jobs and feel like shit after because it was a terrible experience but they wanted to be able to say they worked for that company to feel validated. That’s just so not how art should be. No matter who you are - and I know it’s easier said than done - but stand up to these big corporations or anyone not treating you fairly. Until people do this, nothing will ever change. Once you do this and you start prioritizing yourself, you’ll actually open so many new doors. These great clients and jobs do exist. Be patient and protect your values and you’ll find them. Lastly, what keeps you inspired to continue creating and what are you looking forward to next? The DOCD (Department of Civilian Dance) parties we’ve been throwing, like the raves, have been challenging me to keep being creative and force me to always one up myself and that’s awesome. It’s a pressure that I put on myself but I know if I do so, I’ll keep creating and getting better to the point where I’m surprising myself. That’s the best feeling like “holy s**t, I made this?” [laughs]. I’m also really inspired by all these new faces that are doing great work and that I know are going to be huge. We’re close to a point where everyone can really thrive together as things change. It’s a really exciting time in Toronto right now. It feels like the renaissance of DIY culture and I’m super stoked for it. Check out Kizmet's Instagram to find out about upcoming events and see more amazing work coming from Kizmet and keep it locked to Pier Five for more interviews and stories with the coolest entrepreneurs, designers, artists, activists and more.

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  • Home | Pier Five

    Getting To Know Hotpot Variety Latest Guests Catch up with our latest conversations. Dec 17, 2021 Dancing Through The Yarn With Trish Andersen Dec 10, 2021 From The Streets To The Big Stage With Kizmet Dec 6, 2021 Behind The Curtain With Nicko Bruno Nov 24, 2021 A Conversation With Ostrya Equipment Nov 14, 2021 A Conversation With Estudio Niksen Nov 4, 2021 A Conversation With Photographer Wade Hudson Oct 28, 2021 A Studio Visit With Simon Petepiece Oct 22, 2021 Finding That Secret Sauce With Tam Vu Oct 19, 2021 A Conversation With Daniel and Caleb of Circle Author Oct 14, 2021 A Day In Montreal With LeBicar Oct 8, 2021 A Conversation With Kyron Warrick aka Gotsweige Sep 25, 2021 Behind The Brand With Gerard Cleal of norda Explore All Guests

  • About | Pier Five

    About We are always learning, together. With every conversation, we are learning and becoming more curious. Do you know about something we might like? Tell us. We believe that the only way to be our best selves is to stay opened minded and communicate. As we learn more, we share more and everyone is better off. ​ Join us as we explore our favourite things in art, fashion, business, activism, wellness, food, music and more and feel free to drop us a line anytime at or on IG @pier.five . ​ ​ - Jeff & Julian Pier Five is a platform meant to inspire. Started through a need to connect, Pier Five was launched after speaking with some great minds in fashion, art, food, and business as a way to find and share creative insights and motivations during the lulls of COVID-19. Through interviews, thought provoking stories and expert recommendations, Pier Five leverages conversations and relationships with industry thought leaders and the next generation of stars to empower those looking to learn and do more in culture. It's not about who you are, but what you do. Pier Five aims to give a voice to hustlers, both big and small, that are doing great things in their field. We don't discriminate by age, gender, company status, IG following or experience. If someone is doing something we think is worth sharing, we are going to share it.

  • People | Pier Five

    People Explore conversations with our amazing guests from around the world. Streetwear Art & Design Business Sneakers Photography Activism Wellness Food Music Sports Dec 17, 2021 Dancing Through The Yarn With Trish Andersen Dec 10, 2021 From The Streets To The Big Stage With Kizmet Dec 6, 2021 Behind The Curtain With Nicko Bruno Nov 24, 2021 A Conversation With Ostrya Equipment Nov 14, 2021 A Conversation With Estudio Niksen Nov 4, 2021 A Conversation With Photographer Wade Hudson Oct 28, 2021 A Studio Visit With Simon Petepiece Oct 22, 2021 Finding That Secret Sauce With Tam Vu Oct 19, 2021 A Conversation With Daniel and Caleb of Circle Author Oct 14, 2021 A Day In Montreal With LeBicar Oct 8, 2021 A Conversation With Kyron Warrick aka Gotsweige Sep 25, 2021 Behind The Brand With Gerard Cleal of norda Sep 21, 2021 A Conversation With Cal Green of Raised By Wolves Sep 16, 2021 Street Stylin’ With Editorial Boutique Sep 8, 2021 A Conversation With Albert Nguyen of Hudson's Bay Sep 3, 2021 norda x ciele "Cooper's Hawk" Launch Recap Aug 11, 2021 Never Too Comfortable With Louis-Martin Tremblay Aug 4, 2021 A Conversation With Garret "GMAN" Louie of TAIKAN Jul 26, 2021 A Conversation With Olivia Ho of The Give and Grow Jul 16, 2021 An Introduction to norda™ Jul 6, 2021 A Conversation With Carlos Ortiz of 8Point5 Agency Jun 19, 2021 Good Fashion Starts With Function w/ Jay Yoo Jun 11, 2021 A Conversation With Addam Rodriguez of The Arrivals Jun 4, 2021 The Tale Of A Sneakerhead Who Found Running May 22, 2021 A Conversation with Sylvia Hoang of Studio S May 14, 2021 Making It Personal w/ Watch Parts Motorcycles May 8, 2021 Developing Your Style Formula w/ Matthew Spade Mar 27, 2021 A Conversation with Jarah Stoop of Peterson Stoop Mar 21, 2021 A Conversation With Air Vegan Mar 14, 2021 A Conversation With Jazz Alba Mar 6, 2021 A Conversation With Vinyl Art Not A Toy Feb 28, 2021 A Conversation With Titi Finlay Feb 20, 2021 A Conversation With Liz Beecroft Feb 14, 2021 A Conversation With Post Design Collective Feb 6, 2021 A Conversation With Tara Miller of Health Hut Jan 30, 2021 A Conversation With Aran Raviandran of Get Fresh Company Jan 23, 2021 A Conversation With Obra.Jay Jan 16, 2021 A Conversation With Blume Jan 12, 2021 A Conversation With Tristan Banning Jan 9, 2021 A Conversation With Sean Go Jan 6, 2021 A Conversation With Cereal Artist Jan 3, 2021 A Conversation With Jon Elias of Lost & Found Dec 29, 2020 A Conversation With Kishan Mistry Dec 26, 2020 A Conversation With Julie Clark of Province Apothecary Dec 22, 2020 A Conversation With Chris Casuga of CNTRBND Dec 19, 2020 A Conversation With Florence Tang of Lot Stock & Barrel Dec 15, 2020 A Conversation With Keith Pears

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