By STEPHANIE SUN
If you see someone walking around campus wearing a shirt with a familiar phrase and a classic work of art on it, it won’t be the last time.
Fly Art, a play on “high art,” is a clothing brand that has successfully combined art and hip hop in a new way that couldn’t have been successful without promotion from social media and online stores. The brand places popular hip hop lyrics by well-known artists onto classic art. From Beyoncé to Kanye West to Daft Punk, the lyrics give the works of art new meanings, as well as a new audience. Gisella Velasco and Toni Potenciano, creators of the popular brand, began their well-liked idea when they created something many University High School (UHS) students may also be familiar with: a Tumblr blog. The two women, both in their early 20’s, slowly gathered more attention for Fly Art, leading to it being featured on the Tumblr homepage. Today, the Philippines based brand has over 43,000 followers on the site. Fly Art, according to Velasco in a recent interview by ThinkProgress.org, is a new way to appreciate art that otherwise might be considered inaccessible to many people.
The brand is part of http://www.rad.co, an online clothing store that sells other pop culture items. UHS students have taken advantage of a recent sale brought on by Fly Art’s World Premiere to buy from the store. Many of these students are, unsurprisingly, taking AP Art History. While wearing clothes with hip hop lyrics that have been paired with classical works of art, these students not only show off their musical tastes but also display their appreciation for their favorite works of art. Ms. Michelle Raitt (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), the Art History teacher, said, “I am very happy that my students are appreciating art in this way because art should be all over the place. Ideas like these shirts beautify the world and make people more aware of art.”
Some students who are not in the AP Art History class at UHS have also liked the style. “I like how the brand pairs new art with old works [of art],” said Antor Paul (Jr.). “I love the Rad online store, and I was looking at this brand’s shirts for a long time until I finally decided to buy one.”
Although many students usually like that their favorite lyrics are printed on these shirts, Lisa Chen (Jr.) said, “The painting on my shirt is really similar to The Great Wave off Kanagawa which is a painting I really like, so I got it. The lyrics on mine aren’t as popular as those on other shirts, so I mainly got my shirt for the painting!”