To celebrate the launch of Monster Ultra Gold and the new class of creatives embracing it, we’re profiling up-and-coming artists excelling in their craft. They’ve also reinterpreted the can’s bold colors and turned it into an exclusive capsule collection of their work, which we're sharing here.
If you haven't checked out @manilamixtape yet, you'll want to give it a follow. The account is run by Manila, a young, New York-based artist whose home goods creations have caught the eyes of Drake, DaniLeigh, and Fabolous, just to name a few. He specializes in custom mirrors that have taken the shape of everything from the Nike swoosh to Bart Simpson's head.
We caught up with Manila who talked to us about how he started making home goods, his project with Monster, and his advice for young creatives.
Tell us a little bit about your professional background.
I'm the logistics and facilities manager at a studio and fabrication shop. Our clients include Dior, Vogue, Louis Vuitton, Vanity Fair, Nike, Tiffany and Co., Loewe, and many more. But I was furloughed in March 2020 and have been 100% dedicated to my art since. Before comin’ back to NY, I lived in LA. I was a celebrity stylist to Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, Kevin Durant, Kendrick Lamar, and more. I also did visuals for Wild Style, Joyrich, 424 Fairfax, and even the store GR8 in Japan.
What inspired you to start making home goods? And what inspired your unique style?
I love being home. I wanted people to love their shit too. And I was exposed to a lot of different materials throughout my career, and I realized there was somewhat of an untapped market when it came to mirrors and home goods. So the opportunity is what inspired my unique style.
Tell us about the very first home goods product you ever made.
The very first product I actually was planning to drop were oversized resin-and-wooden ashtray side tables and centerpieces. But I decided to go with custom mirrors instead. It just made a better first impression to me and I thought it would attract people’s attention more easily.
You've made things for various celebs – who’s been your most memorable client and what did you design for them?
I made Drake and Niko custom OVO Owl mirrors and Certified Lover Boy Nike mirrors. That co-sign meant a lot and I will always remember that. But this only the beginning tho, stay tuned for hopefully more projects in the near future. I also made a Swoosh table and various other items for DaniLeigh, a Bart mirror for Cole Bennett, and NY mirrors for Fabolous and Maria Isabel.
Talk to us about your Monster project and the inspiration behind it.
With the Monster project, my team and I designed 20 custom gold mirrors cut by a CNC machine that were inspired by their upcoming new can and flavor. We wanted to make a unique home product that represented both parties proudly.
Your Accept & Adapt message is inspiring and you've been open about struggles you face (via IG) – what advice do you have for young creatives who are trying to make it?
Thank you, I appreciate that. For all the young creatives, I say to do whatever it is at your own pace. It's important to be aware but never compare. Play to yo role and stick to yo strengths, but most importantly accept & adapt to any environment or situation you are faced with.
How has your approach to making products evolved since you started?
Yeah, it's our responsibility to evolve as artists and humans. Packaging got better, routines got sharper, and my understanding of the market improved. With all that new information, I am able to come up with what mirrors to do next, slowly expand, and start making custom tables, coat racks, shelves, etc. The approach I take will always have the people in mind first.