June 2018

The Featured Presentation

Antonique Smith


Antonique Smith joined the cast of “Luke Cage” in Season 2 as Nandi Tyler, a detective who has a complicated past with fellow officer Misty Knight, played by Simone Missick. As the layers of their relationship are peeled away, more and more of Nandi’s true intentions are revealed, creating a fascinating dynamic in an already fascinating series.

A Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and accomplished actress who kicked off her career on Broadway as Mimi Marquez in “Rent,” the New Jersey native is ecstatic to have joined the Marvel Universe, and although Nandi isn’t part of the original comic book world, there is an interesting future for the character should viewers get to see more of her in Season 3 and beyond.

We recently sat down with Smith to discuss prophetic journal entries, the joys of playing a real badass, and why her career took various left turns instead of a single predetermined right.

TrunkSpace: All of the “Luke Cage” Season 2 episodes are now out there and being absorbed by fans all over the world. What has the experience been like for you thus far?
Smith: It’s been amazing. Back to back, within like 10 days, the show is up and everybody is going crazy over that, and then the next thing, the “Strong Black Lead” campaign dropped Sunday and it’s just been a beautiful week. Lots of love. It’s been really wonderful.

TrunkSpace: What’s the overall Marvel ride been like for you, from finding out you’re becoming a part of the universe to where you are today?
Smith: I’m a big Marvel fan. I think Marvel does it the best. I didn’t grow up really knowing most of their superheroes. I knew Spider-Man, but a lot of the other ones I didn’t know growing up, so for them to be able to come in the last 10 years, and not only introduce new superheroes, but billion dollar franchises… the quality of how they consistently make everything, from the movies to also the TV shows, is incredible. And so, I have just had goosebumps this whole time since I found out. It’s incredible. And then for us to come right on the heels of “Black Panther” is… it’s just had such meaning and is just beautiful.

I honestly wrote in my journal early last year, like in January. You know how you do kind of your New Year’s resolutions and you go through the year, and two of the things that I wrote down were, “I want to join the Marvel family” and “I want to join the Netflix family.” And I wrote it on two separate lines. So months later, I guess about six months later, I had joined the Marvel and the Netflix family at the same time, which is crazy.

TrunkSpace: They merged into one line!
Smith: Yeah. So people. write it down! Write it down, ’cause stuff comes true.

TrunkSpace: What’s is so interesting about Marvel as a company and why they have such success across the board is because they treat each project as its own thing. Each one has a unique feel and tone, and certainly “Luke Cage” falls into that game plan because it doesn’t feel like any of the other shows.
Smith: It does not. It has its own unique feel and I love it. I was a fan of the first season. I honestly think as amazing as the first season was, I think this season is even better. I think the characters and the storyline… everybody just brought their A-games and it was just so amazing.

TrunkSpace: And your character Nandi didn’t exist in the comic books. Did that give you freedom to make her your own?
Smith: It did actually. It did. It gave me freedom to play around and decide more how I wanted her to be and less necessarily having to stick to what the fans were gonna already expect based on her having been in the comic books already. So, it was fun. I got to kind of be creative with it.

TrunkSpace: There’s always that intense pressure when someone is cast as a well-known character, where immediately people are second-guessing the decision. “Is she right? Can she pull it off?”
Smith: Right. Well, I had to deal with that when I played Faith Evans in “Notorious.” The whole world knew who she was. So, there was definitely that pressure of nailing it and trying to be as authentic as possible so that the fans would be happy, because as you can see, when people don’t like what you did or they don’t feel you nailed it, they will go at you so hard and it’s like, “Oh my God!” (Laughter) So, I actually have already experienced that and, thankfully, that went well too. Everybody loved it. But, yeah, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that this time, although I look forward to that challenge in the future. If playing somebody or something comes up… I don’t mind that challenge. But it was cool not to have to do it.

TrunkSpace: And on the opposite side of that coin, what must be interesting is because fans don’t know who Nandi is or where her future ends up, they’re probably more curious of where her storyline is going to take her.
Smith: Right. That is very true. Everybody who has seen this season and seen what happens with my character, they’re still like, “If there’s a Season 3, I wonder what’s gonna happen with you in Season 3.” They’re already speculating about my future.

TrunkSpace: Well, if you do come back, things have been set up in a way that you’re going to return making a serious statement!
Smith: (Laughter) Yes! Yes! I look forward to that, coming back strong.

Smith with Justin Swain in “Luke Cage”

TrunkSpace: We know that you also come from the world of music, and with “Luke Cage” dropping all at once, is it a bit like putting an album out?
Smith: Yeah. It’s all there. Everybody can consume it at their leisure and enjoy it in whatever way. Some people want to stick to that watch-an-episode-a-week type thing, and then other people watch the whole thing in one day. So, it’s kind of like you put it out there, you give it your all, and then people just discover it and love it. And that’s been what’s happening the last few days. It’s crazy how many people have seen the whole thing already.

TrunkSpace: It’s always a surprise when you’re sitting down to get started watching something brand new, and tons of people have already finished the entire thing.
Smith: Right! It came out, like, Friday night… well, Friday morning in the middle of the night, and by Friday evening, a lot of people had already seen it.

TrunkSpace: Which is a testament to the show and the cast. “Luke Cage” is engaging people and capturing their attention.
Smith: Very true. Very true.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, what was it about inhabiting Nandi that you enjoyed most?
Smith: Well, let me just say, she’s badass, but there’s a lot about Nandi that is not like me. Honestly, based on everything I’ve done, you get to see a whole different side of me. The interactions and some of the stuff that I get into is stuff that none of my fans have ever seen me do before. And my family. Everybody was like, “Oh my God!” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: And Nandi comes in strong, too. Who she is and what she is all about is sort of established almost immediately.
Smith: Very, very strong. That’s one of the things that was really fun about playing her. She’s such a badass. She’s very confident and she clearly holds a grudge. Misty has been riding high on Season 1, with her “Misty Vision,” and then she’s weak and vulnerable and so Nandi takes that moment to come on in and move her right out of the way.

Netflix/Strong Black Lead Campaign

TrunkSpace: You’ve had so many great moments over the course of your career. Are they moments that you can rank and compare, or, because you’ve come from so many different aspects of the industry, is it more like apples and oranges?
Smith: Yeah, it is a little bit like apples and oranges… kinda, sorta. The thread that kind of combines all of the stuff that I do is my passion and using my emotions. With this I, obviously acting is all about using your emotions, but so is singing. Maybe not for all singers, ’cause not all singers are singing about stuff that requires… it depends on the genre, depends on the kind of singing. But I come from that kind of big voice, diva, rooted in church place. And that’s all about passion and emotion and when I sing, I’m looking in people’s eyes and I’m trying to really touch them.

And that’s what we’re doing with TV and film. We’re really trying to touch you in some way, whether it’s making you laugh or making you cry or making you think. My music is the same. That’s the goal of both is to make you feel things.

I really just am spending my life trying to make people feel and hoping that maybe it heals them, or it gives them an escape from the, “Oh my God!” craziness we’re all living in. It’s so crazy. I think what we’re doing, with things like “Luke Cage” and the arts in general, is so necessary, because people need a way out of their current reality for at least a few minutes.

TrunkSpace: Finally, Antonique, if you could sit down with your younger self, the girl who was dreaming of the industry from afar, would she be surprised by how your career has played out?
Smith: Yeah, she would be surprised, because she would have had her own plan of how it was supposed to go – how little Antonique thought it was supposed to go. I was supposed to be a big singer first, and then acting would come second, so the fact that the pathway kind of made its own deviations from little Antonique’s plans, that would have been the surprise. I wouldn’t have been surprised at just being successful, in general, because I always believed that this was what I was supposed to do and that I was supposed to really touch the world with the different gifts that I felt I had been blessed with. So, that part wouldn’t have been a surprise to little Antonique, but definitely how it’s all happening.

TrunkSpace: So, it’s not the fact that you’ve gotten here, it’s that you took a left instead of a right?
Smith: Exactly. A lot of lefts. A lot of lefts instead of rights, for sure.

Season 2 of “Luke Cage” is available now on Netflix.


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The Featured Presentation

Bella Shepard


Not all content is created equal. And it’s not all distributed the same way either. Us old-timers – the pop culture obsessed who were raised on Saturday morning cartoons and sit-down sitcoms – we’re not yet hip, at least not entirely so, to the various streaming platforms churning out quality programming not named Netflix, Prime, or Hulu… but our kids are.

And that’s where Brat comes in. The digital studio and network with nearly two million subscribers is the HBO of tweens, and with their new highly-anticipated YouTube series “A Girl Named Jo,” they’re poised to steal the eyeballs of young adults all over the country throughout the July 4th holiday.

We recently sat down with “A Girl Named Jo” star Bella Shepard to discuss balancing her education and career, what she feels is the biggest draw of the series, and why she wants to make it clear that she is nothing like her character Alice.

TrunkSpace: You’re currently juggling a career in the entertainment industry while also attending high school. What approach are you taking to finding that balance between both areas of your life?
Shepard: I actually was able to graduate early from high school. It was difficult to manage working with school, but I did an online program that allowed me to work extra on my days off, and the weekends. Education is very important to me, so as soon as I graduated, I decided to take at least one college course per semester, (I just finished math!) that way, I’ll have several classes under my belt when most of my friends are just graduating from high school.

TrunkSpace: That is great. Congrats on graduating! Your new series “A Girl Named Jo” premieres in just a few short days. What emotions are racing through your mind as you gear up to have the show released to the world?
Shepard: I’m very excited for the fans to get invested into the storyline. It’s new, and there is nothing out there like it! I’m nervous because I hope they like it, and I hope they realize I’m not Alice! I’m also proud because we put so much work into the show.

TrunkSpace: The series is a period drama that takes place in 1963. When you’re working on something that, story wise, takes place decades before you were born… how do you go about relating to the time period? Did you do research on that era to try and find Alice’s place in the world?
Shepard: Wardrobe helped set the mood and helped inspire me. My grandma was actually in high school in 1963 and she sent me yearbook pictures and told me stories – it was cool.

TrunkSpace: For those who aren’t familiar with the series yet, can you tell us a bit about the premise and where Alice falls into the overall story? We know she is a “mean girl” but just how mean is she?
: She’s so mean! Alice is a friend to Cathy but becomes jealous when Cathy starts a new friendship. She is manipulative and always seems to have selfish motives. She is caught doing something she REALLY shouldn’t be, and it sets the tone for the way she tries to get back at people. I think she’s actually feeling so guilty about what she did, that she is acting out.

TrunkSpace: You’ve spent eight episodes with Alice so far. From what you know of her, what aspects of her personality do you enjoy tapping into the most? What excites you about getting to play Alice?
Shepard: Well, because she’s so opposite of me, it’s fun to play that part of her. I hope that somewhere in the series, she finds redemption and we can see deeper into what makes Alice tick. But, we don’t get to see that just yet! I also love her sense of style, her clothes are super fun. I also got to change physically by dying my hair blonde – I’m naturally a brunette!

TrunkSpace: “A Girl Named Jo” will air on the digital network Brat. While the network certainly has its fans (nearly two million subscribers) do you think the biggest challenge to the series right now is just letting people know that the show exists and where/when it will air, especially given how much other great content is out there in the world today?
Shepard: Brat has such a huge following, and the fact that the way people, especially my age, are viewing content has changed so much, that I really don’t think it will have trouble being seen. I actually think it will spread like wildfire, especially if the fans like it! Annie (LeBlanc) and Addison (Riecke), the stars of the show, have such a great, loyal, wonderful fan base. They are excited! I’m so excited too!

TrunkSpace: What do you think the biggest strength of “A Girl Named Jo” is in terms of it capturing an audience? What is going to suck people in and keep them watching?
Shepard: The fact that it’s set in the ‘60s is different and fun. Also the fact that it is a mystery, gives the viewers the ability to invest in the story. I think a lot of shows don’t give fans enough credit sometimes, they don’t think the viewers want to see something with a little more depth, especially the early and mid teens. Brat really gives them a story to sink their teeth into with this show and I think they will have fun trying to solve the mystery, even if Alice gets in their way!

TrunkSpace: If fame came knocking on your door tomorrow and suddenly everyone knew your name and wanted to know exactly what you were up to in your private life, is that something that you would be comfortable with? Does the spotlight have its share of pros and cons?
Shepard: Of course there are pros and cons. I know what I am signing up for in this business. I think there needs to be a good amount of access for the fans, and that’s okay with me. My grandparents live in Michigan, and I grew up there, and if it ever gets too much, I can go there and retreat into my room at their house.

TrunkSpace: What kind of career do you want to have? Is your focus solely on acting or do you see yourself branching out and taking on other roles within the entertainment industry?
Shepard: I’m 100 percent sure that I want to be an actress for life. I have no doubt about that. I love developing characters and being able to do this for a living. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’d like to have a career like Meryl Streep, Debbie Reynolds, Betty White, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Jodie Foster – iconic through every generation, and they produced amazing work whether it was comedy, or theatrical.

TrunkSpace: Hollywood and the business can be a weird and wild world. How do you stay grounded, especially being so young, and focused on your life and career goals? How do you block out all of the industry hype and noise that can cloud people’s vision?
Shepard: I constantly remind myself who I am, what I’m here for, what I want for my future. I also try to surround myself with genuine positive energy, like my family. Grounding myself can be as simple as being quiet and petting my dogs, or my guinea pigs. I also go to my acting class. My teacher, Saxon, has small, meaningful classes. She really inspires me.

A Girl Named Jo” premieres July 3 on the Brat network.

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Trunk Stubs

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom


Movie: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Rated: PG-13

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure

Release Date: June 22, 2018

Run Time: 2 hours 8 minutes

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Jeff Goldblum

Director: J.A. Bayona

Reason We’re Watching It: Dinosaurs! We LOVE dinosaurs, and this installment of the franchise does not disappoint in that aspect. You get to see all of the classic dinos you know and love, and the movie plays out like a greatest hits album with all of your favorite moments from the Jurassic Park series all rolled into one Cretaceous clip show.

What It’s About: Three years after the events that took place in the Jurassic World theme park, all life on the island is threatened by a massive volcanic eruption that will wipe out every living thing. Owen Grady (Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Howard) return to the island with a team in the hopes of extracting as many dinosaurs as possible. What could go wrong? Well, pretty much everything!

Whoah! Rewind That!: Much like Jack-Jack stole the show in “Incredibles 2,” another young star had a “breakthrough role” in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” A young Pachycephalosaurus was a much-needed comedy relief and played an important part in helping out Owen and Claire.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: It’s been 21 years since Jeff Goldblum was in a “Jurassic Park” movie and 25 years since he first took on Dr. Ian Malcolm in the original “Jurassic Park.” Be warned, though, his role is more of a cameo, but it’s still great to see him back in the franchise.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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The Featured Presentation

Justin Swain

Photo By: Jason Setiawan

As the title character from the Netflix series “Luke Cage,” Mike Colter brings a charismatic swagger to every scene he inhabits, but it is the supporting cast of characters who surround the hero with the unbreakable skin that helps to create such a unique and engaging world. With Season 2 recently dropping, fans of the Marvel Universe are getting an extended look at many of those characters, including Detective Bailey, played to likable perfection by Justin Swain.

We recently sat down with Swain to discuss finding his place in the Marvel Universe, understanding the complexity of its continuity, and why as an actor he’s always trying to be the best blue possible.

TrunkSpace: When a full season of a series that you’re starring in drops all on one day, is that a different experience than being a part of a show that releases a new episode week after week?
Swain: Yeah, it’s like having a gigantic movie explode over a weekend… all at once. It’s pretty crazy. It’s quite an event.

TrunkSpace: Because it’s within the Marvel Universe and part of a world where fans are so involved in every aspect of the storytelling, they must also always be looking for small details that even you might not expect them to be looking for?
Swain: Yeah. The response so far has been just incredible. People have been reaching out, on Instagram and everything, just picking up, like you said, on the little details along the way, showing how much they like it, and also at the same time, asking questions about the plot. I’m like, “You’ve got to keep watching. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen at the end. I’m not going to tell you what’s going on with Nandi, or what’s going to happen over the year with Misty. You’ve got to keep watching.” (Laughter) But it’s cool, the interaction on social media as people get into it over the weekend, has been really neat to watch.

TrunkSpace: When you step back and let it sink in, is it still sort of a pinch me moment to be able to say that you’re a part of the Marvel Universe?
Swain: Yeah. The whole thing, the whole ride of this, it has been extraordinary. Becoming a part of it, not knowing in the beginning what I was auditioning for, not knowing what I was getting into, seeing it grow, and then being able to work with such incredible people, it’s a real special experience. The way the people receive “Luke Cage” particularly, is flattering, and you also feel like you’re part of something really unique. That’s kind of what this whole weekend was about. We did the big launch premiere party on Thursday night. We got to watch an episode, and all the artists who performed at Harlem’s Paradise were performing at the premiere party, and there was the red carpet and everything… it was just overwhelming, and a pretty unique and fascinating experience.

TrunkSpace: What’s really cool, especially on the TV side of what Marvel’s doing, is that each project has its own feel and tone. Although they all go together, they all feel separate. Not to take anything away from the other shows, but “Luke Cage” really has a unique vibe to it, something that is entirely its own.
Swain: Yeah, not taking anything away from the other shows, but you’re right, I think they each have their own personality, and “Luke Cage” has a swagger, man. I think they use that word a few times when you’re watching it, and I think you can feel that swagger watching the show in the way that it’s put together, and the way you watch it. It almost has this kind of really cool retro feel to it – a little bit of a ‘70s vibe. If you watch closely, through the whole season, there’s a few different homages to a lot of those great ‘70s films and other filmmakers. If you really pay attention you can see specific shots. There’s something that happens at the end of the season that’s a direct homage to a great, great film, and a very specific moment. I think they use it so well. Props to the director, and to Cheo (Hodari Coker), and everybody putting that together.

TrunkSpace: You’re a writer as well. Can you appreciate just how much continuity the Marvel creators have to juggle, not only with the “Luke Cage” world, but for the overall Marvel Universe?
Swain: Yeah, as a writer, like you said, you look at everything you have to balance out, and so many different elements that you have to look at, make sure are represented, and maintain. You’re also balancing against a larger Marvel Universe. The amount of work and effort and planning that goes into that, and then to have it all coordinated from the top down by Jeph Loeb – he is the top of the pyramid – in the television world, to be able to do what they do, at the level they do it, it’s not easy. They make it look easy, and that’s what’s really cool about what they’re able to do.

TrunkSpace: And so when you first signed on, you didn’t know that Detective Bailey would be involved in the larger, longer overall story?
Swain: That’s right, it was like “The Princess Bride.” You’d go and you’d shoot an episode and, “Good night, Westley, sleep well. I may have to kill you in the morning.” (Laughter) That’s what it was like going to work, and luckily they kept bringing Bailey back. They were digging what I was putting on screen I guess, and also just the interaction with the rest of the cast. Every time they brought me back, I was like, “This is a privilege to be here.” And then to be able to take it into the second season, and to have Bailey change as much as he did, that was just the coolest gift, as well. I loved how they changed him, I loved what they did with him.

Photo By: Jason Setiawan

TrunkSpace: So knowing then what you know now, would you still have approached your performance of Bailey in the early going the same way?
Swain: I think that with more and more information, it’s good to be able to put that together, but Bailey himself as a character is learning about the world of this superhero almost in real time. It’s the same thing. That was an origin story, so Bailey was learning about it as it went. Again, it’s a testament to the writers, the natural evolution is for him to do what he does in the second season. You always want those little details that change up your performance. You can always look back, “Oh, if I only knew then what I know now,” but I think that’s in life, also. I like where they took it. What’s cool is, I think it’s a back and forth. I think it’s a dialog, whether you know you’re having it or not, with the writers’ room in some way, where I’m doing something one day on set, and maybe they see something they can build on or maybe they don’t, but hopefully they do and then they build on it and it comes out of the kernel of the character that you brought anyway. I think it’s a testament to them that they picked up on that, and they built it, and I followed their lead.

TrunkSpace: Does acting on a successful show like “Luke Cage” equate to more opportunities in your career as a writer and producer? Do the two help each other out?
Swain: I think that those worlds are quite separate in the entertainment industry. I think the biggest success that comes out of that is, each art form informs each art form. It’s like you’re looking at things as an actor and you say, “Okay, I know I’m playing my role here, and I know this is the approach to the character.” Well that informs how you’re writing multiple characters if you do get the opportunity to write something for a different program or a different show. The way you interact as an actor, you can transfer that when you’re writing characters. You’re playing those characters as you write them, and then vice versa, where it’s like you know when you’re writing something how everything fits, and it plays its own part in that gigantic puzzle piece. That helps me think as an actor, look at it and say, “Okay, what’s my puzzle piece in this particular project?”

It’s like painting, right? You mix together all these colors, you make something beautiful. When you’re an actor it’s like you’re going to be the best color blue you possibly can be, because that’s the part you play in the gigantic portrait. In that case you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to be the best color blue in this particular painting.” So I think the art forms inform and help each other, and helps you learn and grow as an overall artist.

Season 2 of “Luke Cage” is available now on Netflix.

Follow and interact with Swain on Instagram here.

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Deep Focus

Allison Giroday

Photo By: Liz Rosa

In our ongoing column Deep Focus, TrunkSpace is going behind the camera to talk with the directors, writers and producers who infuse our world with that perennial pop culture goodness that we can’t get enough of.

This time out we’re chatting with makeup artist Allison Giroday about her career origin story, the role makeup plays in personal branding, and why she never spends as much time with her own face as she does with those of her clients.

TrunkSpace: What first drew you to pursue a career as a makeup artist and did you always anticipate having an entertainment industry spin to your approach?
Giroday: It’s funny, I always dreamed of becoming a makeup artist. When I was a young kid, I was always doing makeup on anyone willing and I’d imagine my older self as a makeup artist. I remember sitting in my room listening to Kylie Minogue and picturing myself traveling and being backstage with artists. It’s kind of crazy to look back on that but I remember it so clearly. Reasons like that are what make me a firm believer in manifestation. I’d also look for signals at the time from the universe. For example, one time when I was about 10 years old, a flyer came in the mail and it was from Blanche Macdonald Makeup School in Vancouver, BC, and I thought “Oh my God, how do they know?! It’s a sign!” I didn’t realize at the time they were mailing them to every single house on the entire block in every neighborhood. (Laughter) But I like to think that it isn’t just a sheer coincidence that my career in many ways, mirrors those early childhood dreams. I never let go of that vision.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular project or style of makeup that inspired you and put you on this path?
Giroday: I grew up in the ‘90s, which I’m so grateful for because it’s legendary in many ways, especially in terms of style. It was the supermodel era, and I was mesmerized by those beauties. I’m almost sure they used skincare supplements to look that good, makes me want to collect some dermal repair complex coupons to keep my skin in tip-top shape as they do. They were on every magazine cover and featured on the show “Fashion File,” which I would watch religiously. The show featured the top designers and stars of the beauty world including one of the world’s most influential makeup artists to this day, the late Kevyn Aucoin. That’s what inspired me initially. Glamour was a focal point and makeup was on the heavier side; matte foundation, quite a bit of contouring, lots of lip liner and eyeshadow, but it was often done with earthy tones. I think that’s where the term “natural glam” comes from, a common term in the makeup world today. It’s a concept I still love and it’s popular with a lot of my clients. I always say that if you want to achieve a more natural look, you have to take care of your skin. Keeping it nice and moisturized, as well as using products like this Multi-Action Sculpting Cream to sculpt any loose skin that you have, you can create any makeup look you wish, whilst looking beautiful at the same time. However, I now like to create a modern version with a dewier, fresher skin texture and with a lighter hand in general. I feel like this is a better way to take care of the skin too. If you’re the type of person to use Beverly Hills MD coupons then you may want to make the switch to sculpting cream too.

TrunkSpace: Actors and writers can often point to a “big break” that altered the trajectory of their careers. Have you had a defining moment like that in your career thus far and how did it change things for you moving forward?
Giroday: I wouldn’t say that there was one single thing that changed my career. It really was a steady progression. Success is like an iceberg. The tip of it is visible but you don’t see the mass of what’s under the surface. All the work that’s been put in over the years, many people don’t get to see. In the beginning, you have to “pay your dues.” By that I mean, you may have to work for free just to make yourself seen and to get your name out there. You have to first build a great reputation for yourself, and then over time, connect with the right people.

Aside from talent, it’s just as important to be personable, genuine and professional. There isn’t much room for ego. Of course, there have been some moments in my career that I’m very proud of and it’s because I’ve put a lot of time, as well as passion and heart into what I do. Every big job I’ve done has felt like a stepping stone and has helped put me on the map. But I know how important it is to not ever get too comfortable so that I always continue to grow. I’m always fueled by those exciting moments and they have me thinking about what my next move might be.

TrunkSpace: For those casual pop culture fans who may not notice how makeup impacts the various visual stimuli they’re absorbing, what would you say to them? How do the tools of your trade directly affect how people see things in the finished product?
Giroday: Most people in the public eye have a signature look or a particular image they like to project. The importance of stylistic image and branding has a major impact on their careers. I’d love to point out some great examples such as Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, David Bowie, and Kim Kardashian. The commonality between these people is they’ve all used makeup to create a very particular look, and although each artist’s style is so different, the average fan could easily describe it. It’s a major player in what makes them iconic and whichever the case, their success has so much to do with how they’re visually perceived by their fans and it goes far beyond talent alone.

TrunkSpace: What type of work most excites you and why? Is it editorial? Commercial? What jobs do you look forward to the most?
Giroday: There’s such a wide variety in the work I do and in the types of jobs I’m on because makeup is required for many reasons. I love meeting new people and going to different locations all the time because it keeps things interesting but I also love my repeat clients. One of my favorite things to do is house calls. I have some regular clients that often need glam before an event. I love making a woman look and feel the best she’s ever looked. You get to know their face very well and that way, you get to experiment with many different looks. I just love when someone puts their full trust in me and they themselves are makeup enthusiasts. It’s so fun. We’ll usually get ready at their house or their hotel. It’s a relaxed environment and it almost feels like you’re helping a girlfriend get ready for a night out. Building great relationships is definitely one of my favorite parts of the job. I’ve gotten to know some fantastic people.

TrunkSpace: As you look back over your career thus far, what are you most proud to have been a part of and why?
Giroday: I’m especially proud to be working with such highly creative people who inspire me every day. I really look up to a lot of the people I get to work with and knowing that I am a chosen piece of the puzzle is so rewarding. Especially when it comes to working with performing artists. I think we all admire and value each other’s work equally and the synergy in those situations feels electric. Being the makeup artist for someone who is putting their face in front of thousands, even millions, is an honor and makes me not only proud of my work but proud of that person as well. Watching them perform, I feel almost as a parent would watching their child. (Laughs) It’s just so exciting. I really care about my work but I also really care about people and how they feel. I want people to look and feel their best. I’m proud but also humbled that my work is being recognized by big players but I’ll never stop striving to out-do myself each time. Taking risks and going outside of your comfort zone is a must in this business. You can never let yourself get too comfortable in one place. A few years back I made a move across the country to Toronto to expand my network and it was so beneficial, not only to my career but for my own personal evolution as an artist. It was scary at first because I didn’t know anybody but it led me to great new contacts and fueled my confidence. There were challenges I had to overcome which resulted in major benefits.

Photo By: Liz Rosa

TrunkSpace: As you look ahead, where do you hope your career takes you? If you could write your own future, what would it look like?
Giroday: I’d really love to travel to places I haven’t been before. I’d also love to be an ambassador for great makeup brands, and teach more master classes. Knowledge should be shared, and I’m not afraid to give away some of my best tips and tricks because no two people will ever do makeup exactly the same way. everyone’s skill and technique is unique to them and no two hands are the same. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and I like to pay it forward. As for future clients, there are so many faces that I would absolutely love to get my hands on! The inspiration is endless.

TrunkSpace: As a makeup artist, does that put you in a position where you feel like you always have to be on your game with your own makeup? In a way, does your makeup act as a business card or billboard for your work?
Giroday: You would think so, although that’s hardly ever the case. I tend to work such crazy hours that I don’t usually do all that much with my own makeup before work unless I know I’ll have to be on camera or if I have an event. In those cases, I do consider myself as a walking business card. But my clients are my top priority and I think my work speaks for itself.

TrunkSpace: Is it easier or more difficult to work on yourself than it is to be face to face with someone else and working on them directly?
Giroday: I’m so familiar with my own face I could do it with my eyes closed. I tend to put more focus and passion into other people’s faces because I’m inspired by all of the different types of beauty out there. I wouldn’t say that one is more difficult than the other, it’s just a very different experience and a different process. For example, on someone else, you can stand back and look at them from all different angles and on my own face I don’t need to be as gentle. It’s very different.

TrunkSpace: Has technology changed the landscape at all for makeup artists? With everything becoming even more and more high resolution, does that force a different approach to how makeup is applied and blended on camera?
Giroday: I would say yes, although I have always done makeup in a way that is 100 percent flawless under a microscope, no matter what the lighting is like, whether it’s a closeup or a full body shot, in person, for photos, and on any type of camera. That’s always been my approach. Everything must be perfect at all times!

Here are a few samples of Giroday’s work.

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Trunk Gaming

God of War


Game: God of War

Initial Release Date: April 20, 2019

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Capcom, Sony Pictures

Genre: Action-Adventure, RPG, and Hack and Slash

Platforms: Playstation 4

Why We’re Playing It: Unless you’ve been stuck under a gaming rock for the last decade, you’ve no doubt heard of the “God of War” franchise. We figured with Father’s Day just being celebrated, now is the perfect time to review the story and adventures of Kratos and Atreus, son of Kratos. There is plenty of bloodshed and battles, but at the heart of this game is the relationship between father and son.

What It’s All About: Kratos’ wife/Atreus’ mother has passed. After cremating her, they seek out to fulfill her final wish that her ashes be brought to the highest peak in the realm. A simple enough task, right? Wrong! Of course, witches, gods, monsters and demons get in the way during the journey to the top of the mountain. While on your path, you navigate not only a perilous journey but a difficult bond between father and son.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: This is very much a hack and slash game, and you’re going to be immersed in heavy battle, but there’s also an RPG at the center of this gaming lollipop. You gain XP, pick what weapons, skills and abilities you use. The RPG elements feels a little bit like playing one of those New eso templar builds in “Elder Scrolls”, but only a little bit. “God of War” lives up to its predecessors and the combat and gameplay feel just like that the iconic series always had, rarely taking whole pages from “Skyrim”‘s books as other new games have. Your weapon now has slots that you can equip. with enchantments, which you can also level up, increasing your weapon strength as a whole. The strategy of this game is a rabbit hole, and you can delve as deep as you want into the RPG aspects associated with “God of War.”

Bonus Level: This game is gorgeous! Bob Ross himself couldn’t have painted a more vibrant environment to cover with the blood of your enemies. Just take a moment to take it all in between battles, because the graphics are just mind blowing. If the beautiful scenery were an advertisement for a time share, we would be sold! But, you know, maybe less monsters in real life would be nice for resale value. We also have to tip our hat to the seamless transitions between full motion video to actual gameplay. No more queuing the full motion video, then waiting on a blank screen for it load, then reload when you go back to gameplay. From the time you hit start until the end, you’re immersed in Kratos’ world, stopping only for food, bathroom and work…hopefully! Maybe you should just plan ahead and use those vacation days and spend some quality father/son time within “God of War.”

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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The Featured Presentation

Rudy Martinez

Photo By: Ryan West

Beneath his love for acting and a talent for puppeteering, Rudy Martinez is a storyteller at his core. Whether he is giving life to characters on screen or creating them from scratch with the written word, the California native is most at home when he’s entertaining. The “Jane the Virgin” alumni can currently be seen in Season 2 of “Dear White People,” available now on Netflix.

We recently sat down with Martinez to discuss the ways his “Dear White People” experience differed from previous jobs, how he was able to play up his character’s social awkwardness, and why he’d have no problem expressing love for a kitchen glass.

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on a lot of television in the past. Has “Dear White People” been a different experience for you when you compare it to past roles and projects?
Martinez: Yeah, definitely. This was, I want to say, the biggest project I’ve done because my character had a whole story arc and I was featured in several episodes. I really feel like I played a big part on the show. It did change some things for me. I’ve been getting a lot of messages from fans who’ve reached out, especially since the show, because it deals with a lot of various issues – I would say first and foremost race and race tensions in America and also LGBT issues. I’ve been getting a lot of people who’ve been just letting me know what the character and what the show has meant to them and that’s meant a lot to me.

TrunkSpace: The show feels very timely in that messaging as well.
Martinez: Right. I totally agree and I think that Season 2 particularly, a large chunk of the show deals with the sort of… that because of the prevalence of social media these days, there’s these sort of anonymous racist Twitter trolls and Facebook trolls who are being given a bigger platform. Season 2 takes a critical look at that.

TrunkSpace: And what’s nice about Season 2 is that it steps out from the shadow of the film that it is based on and becomes its own entity.
Martinez: That’s right, and I really love seeing the backstory of a lot of the characters and getting more in depth with that. I really love that aspect of the show.

TrunkSpace: Now, your character, Wesley, he’s a bit socially awkward. Were you able to tap into that side of him and use it to make him as likable as he ultimately became?
Martinez: You know, I definitely think that I can be socially awkward sometimes, so I was definitely able to play myself in some instances. I really feel there was a lot of the part that was just so well written and the comedy was well written also, so it was an exercise for me and a little bit of a challenge to really nail that. I put a lot of work into it and ultimately, I was unsure how it would come off on screen. Then, when I watched it I was like, “Oh, thank God that played!” (Laughter) Yeah, the sort of awkwardness helped pump up the comedy a lot.

TrunkSpace: A personality trait like that must help you find the laughs within the performance and not just the dialogue, correct?
Martinez: Yeah, exactly, which is something that I love doing. I’m a theater guy, so I do a lot of physical theater and stuff. I studied clowning in college and things like that and so I was able to make the physical stuff work, too.

TrunkSpace: Your character is also dealing with a new love and discovering another human being, which everyone can relate to. When you’re in a story arc like that, where it’s so reliant on chemistry, how do you personally go about trying to establish that on screen? Is it all about homework beforehand with your co-star?
Martinez: There’s not a lot of interaction, actually, with my co-star before we start rehearsing and shooting. The rehearsals happen on this minutes before the actual shoot, so you don’t really get a lot of time. We did do a chemistry read together and I think that the director, Justin Simien, and the producers wanted to see who had natural chemistry together and I think that’s important, too.

In terms of portraying that sort of attraction, I was joking with friends and I was telling them that I love playing smitten and in love. It’s just my favorite emotion to play. I could pretend to be in love with anything. I could grab a glass from the kitchen and just pretend I’m doing a monologue and improvise a monologue and be in love with anything. It’s just, there’s something about it. I love using that emotion in my arsenal, so I was really just glad to be able to do that.

TrunkSpace: You’ve appeared on a number of great shows over the years, some of which ended their runs prematurely. Is there something nice about being able to be on a show where the entire season is both produced and seen without having to worry about it finding its audience so you can close out your arc?
Martinez: Yeah. That was actually really nice, and not only that, I think that the show has a lot of fans that have come from the original movie and from Season 1. It’s definitely something, doing a show that, first of all, you don’t know if it’s going to get picked up. There’s that whole thing. The nerves are in high during pilot season. And then it gets picked up, and then, ultimately if you’re on a show and it gets canceled, there’s that big letdown. For this, coming off of my experience with other shows, I kind of compartmentalized what my experience would be like on “Dear White People” and thought, this could be it, it could be just this chunk of episodes. Then, it comes out and the fans come with it and there’s a lot of support. It’s definitely a great feeling.

Photo By: Ryan West

TrunkSpace: Is that part of a defense mechanism as an actor, having to not look too far into the future with a particular character or project?
Martinez: Definitely. Definitely. I think actors face that every day, whether it’s in an audition where you feel like you really nailed it and then you don’t hear back… it’s always the ones where you think you didn’t really get it or you weren’t that enthusiastic about it and then you hear that you have a call back or you book it and it’s like, “Oh wow!” You, as an actor, you do have to do that a lot. Just going from past experiences, you have to let some things go.

TrunkSpace: How do you personally handle the heartbreak of a show not being picked up or learning that a series has been canceled?
Martinez: Friends, you know? There’s always something to celebrate or commiserate and I think that you give in to it. You let yourself do what you need to do and then you pick up and move on. Then, over time, that process becomes a lot quicker. I think that your first letdown in Hollywood, it can last months, but as it goes along, you grow a thick skin and you learn to move on.

TrunkSpace: You’re also a puppeteer. Which love came first, acting or puppeteering?
Martinez: They’re a little one and the same. Maybe my first performances were when I was a child acting out puppet shows for my family. I was obsessed with “The Muppets” so I would take socks and stuff and make fake Muppets and do little performances for my family, so I think that maybe that was my first love. Underneath that is my love for telling stories and improvising and pretending and just giving voices to characters that aren’t me. In that respect, they are one and the same.

Dear White People” is available now on Netflix.

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Listen Up

Collective Soul


With hit songs like “Shine,” “Gel,” and “The World I Know,” Collective Soul helped to solidify the identity of the alternative rock scene of the mid to late 1990s, and while the lineup has experienced its share of changes throughout the years, the band’s signature sound has remained intact. With the Rock & Roll Express Tour set to kick off in early July alongside 3 Doors Down and Soul Asylum, the multi-platinum hit makers are excited to once again look out at amphitheaters filled with people singing along with them, this time until the final dog days of summer.

We recently sat down with drummer Johnny Rabb to discuss the preparation he goes through in order to get ready for life on the road, how the band is friends both on and off the stage, and why rumors of a possible double album on the horizon may hold some truth.

TrunkSpace: After all these years of gigging and touring the world, do you still get excited about hitting the road?
Rabb: Yeah, absolutely. We all have families, but some of us have kids, so that part is a juggle, but I have a very understanding family and kids myself, so I still absolutely love it. It’s what I wanted to do since I was probably in the third grade, so for me it’s pretty exciting.

TrunkSpace: This tour will last about three months and includes nearly 40 dates. How do you prepare mentally and physically, because that’s a long time to be away from home and regular routines?
Rabb: It is a drain on the body, but something happens before the show and I’ve felt it happen. You can be extremely exhausted mid-tour, beginning of tour, end of tour – anytime during the tour – and something magic happens where, I don’t know what it is – adrenaline from the crowd’s energy, the amphitheater vibe – where you get this adrenaline rush for real. You’re like, “Okay, show is starting…” Then you tell yourself, “Whoa, we’re in this thing, and this is amazing, and it’s working.” That’s real.

As far as preparation, I’m not going to lie, I need to exercise. I know Ed (Roland) runs and does a good job taking care of himself. I’m not saying the other guys don’t, I just know that myself, I do the age old thing of getting a trainer for a little bit, then all of the sudden the tour happens, and I’m lounging around. (Laughter) But a little bit more to the story, I just try to bring a jump rope out, I’ll try to jog when I can. I’ll try to do some of the stuff I can do on the road to keep in shape. Then the drums, I’m not going to say they help my belly, but they definitely help cardio and stuff like that.

TrunkSpace: One hand must scratch the other one’s back in that regard. Drums help you stay in shape, but you have to be in shape to play drums. The physical stress alone of all of that playing must take its toll?
Rabb: It can get a little difficult. The funny part that people sort of forget is that the beginning of the tour, your body goes, “Okay man, you haven’t done this for a little bit…” Or even if we played a lot of shows this year, no matter what, I’ll get a couple of blisters again, with my skin and stuff going, “Hey man, you’re really not giving us a chance to recover here.” Then that’ll turn into a callus, and I think you know what I mean from there. It’s sort of right back in it again.

TrunkSpace: There must be those days where, perhaps a shoulder isn’t feeling right or you’re sore all over, and you just have to muddle through it and finish the set.
Rabb: A hundred percent. Each of us have had some sort of thing where it almost feels like a… it’s probably not a pinched nerve, but a thing in your back where you’re just like, “Oh, I can’t get up,” or whatever. We’ve had that several occasions where it’s just that something that is stressing the body and overuse will happen. I give the guys total credit, because we’re always super cordial to each other if somebody is not feeling well. In the time I’ve been here, everyone just rises to the occasion. We try our best in that time that we’re on stage to make the best performance for the crowd, and for each other. We try to do the best we can.

TrunkSpace: And you can go out on the road for three months together, and then come home and go your separate ways for a bit and refuel the tank.
Rabb: I think a lot of people make that joke about, “Oh, I can’t wait to get off tour and get away from these guys.” That could be true for body rest. One thing that’s awesome about this band is we get along great. All of us are buddies. Even when the show is over, we don’t just go off into some room and ignore each other. We go out, hang out and have dinner. On days off we do stuff. So I agree with you, yes, rest wise, we all are excited. We’re excited for the tour, and then basically it’s a reward at the end of the tour of, “Hey, good job you guys, let’s do a few shows for the rest of the year,” or whatever we have planned, then just regroup, like going into the studio or something that helps us get a little bit more energy and get back to it. But I’ve never been on a tour with these guys where at the end of it there’s any sort of negative, “Oh, get this thing over with,” vibe. Quite the opposite.

TrunkSpace: Which is great because you hear stories all of the time about people who can do the professional thing and make it work, but secretly can’t stand to be in the same room with each other.
Rabb: I don’t really want to name names, but we’ve seen that out on things we’ve done where when they hit the stage it’s cool, and when they’re not, it’s not. Even sometimes I’ve seen situations out in Nashville where it’s not cool even on stage. It’s like, “Whoa!” So I’m happy to report that all we do is pretty much make a lot of jokes. (Laughter)

Photo By: Joseph Guay

TrunkSpace: You joined Collective Soul in 2012. How has your life changed the most since coming on board with the band?
Rabb: It’s changed the most in these sense of, even though I’ve always done music and had the same passion as these guys have had, and even followed them when I was doing my career in Nashville and loved the band, it’s changed in the sense of… I don’t want to say comfort, because I never want to get too comfortable and pretend that I don’t respect my position, but at the same time, almost settled, which I love, because I have a wonderful wife and two daughters. We live in Indianapolis, and it’s been an amazing experience because we can live in Indianapolis or anywhere. It’s also just the schedule – getting used to the schedules. It’s nothing different, because I used to tour before, but it’s one focus. I feel part of a group, as opposed to just hired on as, “You’re the drummer for bing bing…” and put the name in there, country artist or artist. This feels like a long-term plan, and I feel part of a team. So in that sense, and the growth, and getting to know the guys better every year, that’s where it’s changed stuff. I can’t predict the future, but if you said, “What would you want to do?”, that’s what I would want to do, is raise a family where I’m doing it, and work with Collective Soul.

TrunkSpace: There must be something nice too about coming into a band that already has an established audience and knowing that when you go out on tour, there’s going to be fans out there, not only in the audience, but singing along with everything that you guys are doing? There’s got to be a sense of, “I don’t have to go to the club and play to two people and build our way up, because here it is.”
Rabb: Oh, there is! I’ll tell you what, that’s a great analogy. Two things. One, I’m super proud that I have done that whole due paying. Not necessarily, “I paid my dues to be in Collective Soul.” I don’t mean that. I mean, I’m proud to be able to tell you that I’ve done the 12-passenger, 15-passenger van tours. I’ve done the things that I think all drummers and musicians do – the kinds of rites of passage – should do, whether it’s trying to get signed with my band in Nashville, or playing with a country artist and realizing that you are the hired gun.

When I play the songs every night, I’m like, “Man, this is awesome. Look at Ed up there, Will (Turpin), Dean (Roland), Jesse (Triplett). This is great. We’re doing it. This is killer.” I’m excited. It could be in the spur of the moment of a show where I’m concentrating and I go, “Wow, this is that hit song. I love this song. This is great.”

But then there’s a little bit of, and I can’t change time, but a little bit of envy of the past. You can’t change the past, and you don’t want to mess with time and the how-everything-is-meant to be vibe, but sometime I do wish like, “Man, what if I would’ve been in this from the beginning?” But at the same time, I have such respect for Shane (Evans) and all the other drummers – Ryan (Hoyle) and Cheney (Brannon) – so I’m doing this like, “This is where it is now, and this is what was supposed to happen.”

TrunkSpace: There was some stuff floating around online that the band is working on a new album, and that it might be a double album. Is there any truth to that?
Rabb: I always want to not speak out of school or whatever, but there has definitely been rumors that there’s enough to do a double album, and that’s exciting. I’m not keeping any secrets. I’m more just being careful with who knows when it will really be released. But I’m sure there’s plans – talks in 2019 for new music. I will tell you, I know for a fact that it’s definitely true that we’ve got tons of songs that Ed has written. We’ve all gotten together as a band and recorded them over the last year and a half, even in New Jersey. We just went to The Barber Shop Studios for about 10 to 12 days. We had an easy flow in the recording process and we did knockout nine tunes. It’s all sounding really new, fresh, and still has that Collective Soul, undeniable sound.

You can view the Collective Soul tour dates here.

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The Featured Presentation

Kim Slate


It’s usually every artist’s wish to be able to stay true to their own artistic vision while still being able to carve out a living. It’s a rare but much sought-after existence in the creative community. Kim Slate is doing just that, not only turning her work into a paycheck but also creating some of the most unique and expressive sculptures you’ll ever see.

We recently sat down to chat with Slate about her work with acclaimed animation studio Laika, her obsession with “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and unicorns with shifty eyes.

TrunkSpace: What drove you to pursue a career in art and animation?
Slate: As a kid I was a huge Disney nerd and loved all things art related. In high school I attended a summer animation program where I learned some basics and got to make my own short film. After that I was totally hooked and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your work?
Slate: I like to create scenarios with characters who look like they’re up to no good. Every sculpture or painting is trying to tell a story in one pose. I want the viewer to be able to imagine what’s going to happen next. I like to make art that is just fun and isn’t trying to be too serious.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Slate: I was totally obsessed with “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” That film is the reason I wanted to work at Laika in the first place. I also remember being really drawn to the artwork in the book “Where the Wild Things Are.” In high school I started looking at artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.

TrunkSpace: Where do you find your inspiration for your work now?
Slate: I’m inspired by so many local artists here in Portland. There are a couple amazing galleries here that have incredible shows every month. I love getting to meet the artists and ask them about their process. I also have always been drawn to Mexican folk sculptures. I have a few of them on my desk to inspire me while I’m working.

TrunkSpace: You’ve been working with Laika Studios on movies like “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Coraline,” “Box Trolls” and “ParaNorman.” All of the movies have been not only critically acclaimed, but they all seem to have found a very passionate fan base. What has your experience been like working with Laika?
Slate: Working at Laika was an incredible experience. I specialized in facial animation for more than 10 years starting with “Coraline” and finishing at the end of last year. It was my first job after art school. It was inspiring to work in the same building with so many amazingly talented people, and I feel lucky and proud to have worked on those films.

TrunkSpace: We love your sculptures immensely and how you imbue the animals with so much personality. Can you tell us a bit about your sculpture work and why you enjoy creating animals?
Slate: My process has evolved over the last eight years or so. I always start with a sketch, sometimes just a scratchy doodle and sometimes a detailed illustration. Then I create a wire armature and use Sculpey to build up the form, and finish it with gouache and acrylic paint. I think the theme of mischievous animals came from an old drawing I did years ago of a unicorn with shifty eyes and lots of little teeth. Since then I’ve really loved creating characters that make people smile. Animals are so appealing to me. They are incredibly expressive and they can be sinister and friendly at the same time.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Slate: To create work that’s authentically yours whether it’s trendy or not. There is pressure to shift toward what’s getting attention on Instagram but I love it when artists just do their own thing.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Slate: In my career at Laika, my job was always done digitally, though most of what you see on screen is done by hand. In my own work I almost always use a classical approach… drawing and painting on paper. I do rely heavily on Photoshop for editing and tweaking what I’ve created by hand, but I’ve never made the leap to full digital illustration. I like the fact that there is an “original” painting or drawing when it’s done by hand.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the art realm?
Slate: I would encourage an aspiring artist to try a lot of different things to see what he or she likes. It’s easy to get locked into a job and miss out on seeing what else is out there. Right out of school it’s hard to know what you’re going to want 10 years down the road, so I think it’s good to be open to different experiences and not limit the opportunities too early on.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to in the future?
Slate: I’m excited about continuing to create more sculptures and participating in more art shows coming up later in the year. Currently I’m working on designing a short film that will be completed sometime in the next few months. I’m also really hoping to collaborate with friends to animate my characters in the near future.

Follow Slate on Instagram here and at

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Bar Hopping

The Royal American


Establishment Name: The Royal American


Physical Address: 970 Morrison Drive Charleston, SC 29403

Hours of Operation: Mon – Sun: 11 am to 2 am
Lunch service just started June 2nd. The kitchen stays open until 1 am every night.

Doors First Opened In: December 2011

Signature Drink: Rum, Bourbon, & Vodka Punches made in-house and served in a 32-ounce stadium souvenir cup. Homemade Cinnamon Whiskey.

TrunkSpace: How would you categorize the establishment? Is it a pub? A local hangout? A honky-tonk? Etc.?
A neighborhood bar, restaurant, and concert venue.

TrunkSpace: Can you describe the décor in three words or less?
Rustic, comfortable, eclectic.

TrunkSpace: What makes the place unique? Why should we drink there?
The history of the building provided an industrial, old school feeling that was softened by current owners with music memorabilia, unique lighting, and cozy booths and tables. Top local, regional and national bands play five to six nights a week, a full menu with more than 30 dishes just launched, and there are great front and back patios to enjoy the Charleston weather and marsh views.

TrunkSpace: Do you serve food, and if so, what should we order our next time in?
The Magic Wings, Philly Cheese Steak, or Pharmacy Burger.

TrunkSpace: Have there been any notable patrons who have come through your doors over the years that we everyday patrons can brag that we’ve inadvertently drank in the presence of?
Bill Murray, Danny McBride, Dave Chappelle, Norman Reedus, Mike Watt.

TrunkSpace: Craziest thing that has ever happened there that people still talk about to this day?
SUSTO playing a parking lot show and bringing 1500 people. The singer used to flip burgers here.

TrunkSpace: And finally, what is a fun fact about the establishment that could further enhance the experience of customers the next time they come through those doors and pull up a stool?
We collect old National Geographic magazines. If you find your birth month and year, you can take the magazine home with you!

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CBD Products