Felicia Gordon Seeks Collaboration At Her Art Collective, Sugar Hill Culture Club
People who live in New York City are lucky enough to be exposed to some of the world’s best culture, art, and foremost intellectuals. As some of these folks take their dreams a step further, working to become the next Alexa Chung or Nicki Minaj, Felicia Megan Gordon, founder of the Sugar Hill Culture Club, reps for this new, emerging group of New York based artists. The artist and entrepreneur takes us back to a time when people came together to create without hoping to become famous or to compete, a main reason why Gordon and the Sugar Hill Culture Club are fast becoming leaders within New York’s art scene.
From her birthplace in the Big Apple to an education at Harvard Yard, Gordon moved back to Harlem and sprouted into the next phase of her artistic journey with the Sugar Hill Culture Club in 2011. At this point, Gordon was very familiar with the artistic process. Her mother, once the president of Planned Parenthood, took her to flea markets and on trips to observe visual art in its many forms as a child. She grew up in the presence of other creative souls, such as Wendell Headley, the avant-garde fashion designer and street artist who is additionally the subject of a forthcoming public photo exhibit and book.
Besides brainstorming and conceiving ideas through SHICNYC, Gordon also serves as counsel at the law firm, Pohl LLP, consulting with other artists. This thriving career in law is, in many ways, the opposite of art and design. When asked how she came to establishing SHICNYC, she says, “I started the company because I needed a creative outlet to balance my intense legal work. I was a few years into practicing commercial litigation at a large corporate law firm and I just missed expressing myself creatively.”
During our interview, I could not help but think about Harlem, specifically the rich history behind the Harlem Renaissance movement. I wondered if Felicia also thought about this too, since deciding to call Harlem home. What was the link between the name of her company, Sugar Hill Culture Club, and Harlem itself? Why Harlem?
“I had just moved to Sugar Hill, but the name of my company is as much about geography as it is about an ethos,” Gordon told me. “When I moved to Harlem, and then to my neighborhood specifically, I felt the rich history of creative expression. I studied the Harlem Renaissance in college so I knew that the characters of that era operated as a collective. That was my vision for myself and what my company would grow to be as well. I’m collaborative by nature so it all made sense to me.”
Gordon actively pursues other like-minded artists in her mission to create invigorating art with strong messages and stories. She joined forced with Imani Razat of Spye Design, whose design concepts have been feted by Trendhunter, Daily Candy, O and Wallpaper magazines. The two have designed products such as candles and gadget cases and a sweatshirt. These items were “inspired by our travels and our relationship with money, its value and its symbolism in America, New York City, and Harlem.” Sugar Hill Culture Club has also completed a creative consultation for musician Ryan Leslie and Felicia pens her own column on the Medium.com website, called “Culture Clash.” In addition, SHICNYC’s reach extends globally. The collective has connected with German art studio, Sure.is. “I’m collaborating with Sure.is on a Harlem and high-fashion inspired sweatshirt”, Gordon affirms, which will be up for grabs later this summer. In the future, Felicia hopes to band together with rising ‘artpreneurs’ and friends Jenna Bond and Erin Gilbert.
With all of Gordon’s remarkable accomplishments (she was featured in American Elle in January!) and achievements to come, she remains humble, pleasant, and willing to give other hopeful entrepreneurs and artists advice. When asked what three things she would like future art collective initiators and entrepreneurs to regard, as they shape their career goals, she gave us three bullets.