While New York may not be the same glittering environment of Patti Smith's or Andy Warhol's times, there's no doubting that it is still a massive mecca for creativity and experimentation. Instead of toting around leather-bound notebooks, guitars, and paintbrushes, the city's young creative scene is exploring new interpretations and forms of art in the moment, and documenting it all on social media. And while Instagram stars are essentially a dime a dozen these days, it's always easy to tell when there's something other than another pretty face and filter.
For her latest photo series, budding photographer Maya McHenry documented and interviewed the new generation of young creatives, who are all social media celebs in their own right. While the group of socialites, entrepreneurs, models, and artists all share some strong tie to a big name (many are children of celebrities), they're all forging their own identities through new art forms.
"I wanted to capture everyone's art and personalities through the photos so I incorporated their own styling and props that are personal to them," McHenry, who is currently studying at Parsons School of Design and will appear on the new upcoming reality show EJ and the City on E!, says. "I shot them all in black-and-white, and they're shot like yearbook photos to be more relatable to the young generation."
Check out the series in the gallery below, and follow McHenry's work on her website and Instagram.
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How do you describe your style? Personally, I feel like my style is too diverse to categorize into one way of dressing. The way I dress is as spontaneous as the way I think or paint. Depending on mood and occasion, my looks vary from tomboy to thrift chic to goth glam. I have too many clothes and ideas to always dress the same.
How do you describe your art? My art style is very expressive. As bright and vibrant as my paintings may be, the content and overall essence of the paintings usually have a dark edge to them. I can literally feel my presence in all of my paintings. Naturally I am drawn to the dark, but also draw an irreplaceable inspiration from the light. I mean that both physically & metaphorically. I'm inspired most by the wide range of emotions found in the spectrum between the lost and the conscious. My art is my documentation on how both lost and found I see the world, especially myself, to be. The inspiration is the conflict of the ugly and the beautiful to coexist; the study of how can things naturally both be so contradictory and complementary."
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? In a couple year's time, I see myself having dabbled into many other creative outlets like producing beats and video work. You know, like applying my vision into many new mediums. From now until then, I probably will have changed my hair color more times than thought humanly possibly. And maybe I'll have a nice loft in L.A.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "If you can't do what you imagine, what is imagination to you?" —Kid Cudi
How do you describe your art? I make reality television. I try to find the truth in every project I work on and every person I talk to in an interview chair. That connection, that moment when you finally break through and get to the heart of who someone really is and they trust you to tell their story, that's where the magic happens. Those are the moments that remind me why I love what I do.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? Hopefully happy on a very fancy boat in the middle of the Côte d'Azur. In my mind, my success is a forgone conclusion. The happiness is the variable that needs to be managed, and always the goal that I'm chasing.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "I love myself." It's the quietest, simplest, most powerful, revolution ever.
How do you describe your art? For me, my art is my sense of style and putting together outfits. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing that I think is what I am going to wear—it sets the tone for my day. Putting together outfits is something that's therapeutic to me. When I feel cute, my life feels more together, and I am more prepared for whatever life throws at me.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? In the next couple of years, I hope to get myself out there within the fashion and entertainment realm. A dream of mine would be to design my own sunglasses line because they’re my most essential item in my everyday wardrobe, and sort of my signature.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." —Maya Angelou
How do you describe your style? I'm androgynous, yet girly, hippie, and a true Pisces.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? In a couple of years, I would love for my career and presence to be elevated. I also hope that I am happy and in love.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "Don't give up. Remember it's always the last key on the key ring that opens the door."
Kyle "K$ace" Nelson, 19 Influencer, model, and clothing designer @ksace_
How do you describe your art? I decided to create my own clothing line called Plusnone. I guess you could say it’s skateboard attire.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? People would tell me I was too short to model or didn’t have the right look but I decided to go for it and next thing I knew, I was modeling for Yeezy season during New York Fashion Week.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "I do whatever I want."
Ezra J. William, 25 Stylite, man about town, soon-to-be entrepreneur @ezrajwilliam
How do you describe your art? Regal, with a little bohemian twist and preppiness.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? Taking over the world all around the world! Who knows?
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "It is an old-fashioned notion that fashion needs to be exclusive to be fashionable." —Marc Jacobs
How do you describe your art? I call myself Finesser because I feel like I can finesse any situation. I think people like me because I am super relatable. I feel like people can live vicariously through me. I have a certain charisma that people just can't say no to me.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? In four years I see myself hanging out with my friends, working in fashion. Maybe living in London. Who knows?
How do you describe your art? Our art is inspiration by life. We also use many different mediums, such as designing eyewear, painting, DJing music, and directing music videos. We like to keep an organic and unique signature touch to all of our creative aspects.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? My twin sister Breezy and I are building our eyewear company [Coco and Breezy] by creating a lifestyle. We want to continue to building a brand while teaching the youth and adults about fashion entrepreneurship. Speaking at schools and colleges is one of our favorites things to do.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "My eyewear is the outfit and clothing is the accessory."
How do you describe your art? My art is from the future. I was sent to create something people aren't used to.
How would you describe your personal style? I would describe my personal style as a cosplay of Trassh. I like to physically be what I imagine in my mind. One day, I may want to be a reptilian-owned android and another day, a kawaii ghost/hologram from a different dimension. My personal style is basically me creating things onto myself like an online dress up game where you can add anything to the character without limits.
How would you describe the style of your music? I would describe my music as the music most artists and people would be scared to make, based on judgement of societal conditions created throughout history. I like to push boundaries and create new worlds within my songs. I call it kawaii punk because it is cute but vulgar or offensive at the same time.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? In a couple of years, I see myself living life and changing lives for the better.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "Kawaii punxx sh*t"
How do you describe your art? My work is easy to be judged, but I get a kick out of doing things that raise eyebrows and make people wonder. Always keep them guessing!
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years? I don't know where I'll be a couple years from now, but I just know it's going to be a very comfortable space.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "'Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved" —William Jennings Bryan
Olivia Perez, 22 Editor in Chief and Founder of Friend of a Friend @livvperez
How do you describe your art? I started Friend of a Friend as a catalyst for new dialogue, as a way to introduce people to things that they wouldn't discover. We want to inspire people to go out and explore uncharted territory, and create their own trends and make new friends.
Where do see yourself in a couple of years? I try to not constrict myself by setting a roadmap for my life. The digital world is constantly evolving and we’re excited to evolve with it. But hopefully somewhere with good friends, pasta, and a cocktail.
What quote best describes you as a person and your art? "Be a flower, find a friend, grow a little." —Cleo Wade