Category Archives: Covers

Julian Domanico: The Pursuit of Justice

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Text by Julian Domanico, Copyright 2019

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Styling: Shirts courtesy of Old School Shirtmakers New York

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Assistant Producer: Anthony Colagreco

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THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

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Coming from a small, blue collar town in Michigan, I grew up thinking of myself as a “big fish” in a “small pond.” I was a hard worker in school, a competitive runner, and worked on my grandparent’s small farm. My family was one of the only Caucasian, French-Italian immigrant families in a majority of Middle Eastern families. Yet, although I was biracial and surrounded by races of all hues, my light brown skin afforded me more opportunities than my darker friends from Yemen and Eritrea enjoyed. In the 1990s in Michigan, no one used or appreciated the terminology of ‘birth lottery’ or ‘white privilege.’ Then, I did not understand what made me different, nor that it mattered. In hindsight, although I had similar experiences of poverty and being raised by a single parent as the Middle Eastern kids, we had starkly different outcomes. What I understood at the time was that I was expected to leave my rust belt town for greater challenges while the Middle Eastern kids were expected to stay to work in the steel processing plant across the street from my house.

On a sweltering day in August 2008, I took my first steps into my new life on Penn’s campus as an undergraduate. I reveled in the idea of being surrounded by bright people from across the globe to think and create alongside. I dove in quickly to my Penn experience, but haphazardly. I desperately wanted to throw away my old life in Michigan that seemed out of touch with the sleeker, more academic version I was creating in Philadelphia. I soon learned, however, that — trying to be someone I was not – created an emptiness and did not satisfy my passion to do better.

My realization that I was not finding a meaningful experience caused me to forge my own path and to take a different approach. In the summer of 2010, I worked in the office of the 56th Street Philadelphia Census Bureau. It was my first experience in government and working around highly intelligent people outside of Penn. My census colleagues spoke of activism, advocacy, and systems of oppressions in ways I had never heard. Their integrity and passion for purposeful work that served others made me question my own professional motives. Their mantra, “Why does it have to be like this,” has been forever etched into my memory. When I returned to Penn following that summer, I was thrown a curve ball that altered everything about who I was.

My life abruptly changed when Penn asked me to take a leave of absence because I was failing academically. My heart, my psyche, and my sanity were frayed. I lost my identity and, with it, my drive. In retrospect, this road of uncertainty gave me the opportunity to commit myself to self-care and my research. I studied the experiences of African Americans with obsessive compulsive disorder and also tested atypically developing children with psychosis. This work showed me a lack of access and understanding of the systems by disadvantaged persons that I – as a person of relative privilege – more easily navigated. I came to understand why so many people were disadvantaged by our power structures and how they lived lives of sustained suffering. This revelation forced me to shed my selfish lens of what I thought I lacked, to see how fortunate my life had always been, and to resolve to live authentically. I returned to Penn with a renewed and laser focus as to what mattered to me: the betterment of other people by concerted efforts to lift others up. Armed with a clear direction of how meaningful a Penn education can assist me with my goals, I graduated with the highest GPA of my undergraduate experience and immediately began working at the Public Defender’s office in Philadelphia.

Understanding mission driven was my calling, I successfully channeled my past difficulties that emerged from being different and feeling “othered.” I chose to give back through youth-centered work and become who I needed as a child. In addition to the full acceptance of my sexual orientation, which I wrestled with during my leave from college, I finally felt as though I could fully exhale. My identity as a queer male of color informed my experience in and passion for advocacy moving forward. As my world broadened through my ability to empathize and spread my compassion for others, I hit a stride that remains a vibrant cornerstone of my brand and career to this day.

Nine years of work and collaboration with top leaders in the fields of the judiciary, psychology, nonprofits, government, and politics has allowed me to deeply commit myself to a life of positive social impact. I have seen the interconnectivity and understand the “through line” that runs across people-centered service. Throughout my working life, I saw how my knowledge of juvenile mental health played a role in the juvenile justice defense work that I did across the state. I was able to tie that criminal justice understanding to the desperation one experiences during bouts of homelessness and poverty. While working at the Catholic Archdiocese, I delved into philanthropic and the direct service world which gave me an understanding of how religious communities create short-term stability, especially for black and brown youth who had contact with the criminal justice system. I then pivoted to learn about the benefits of education and afterschool programming at City Year and the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) because early educational interventions reduce the potential for poverty, addiction, homelessness and underemployment. All of this work better informed my board work, political volunteerism within Philadelphia, and even my connection with people as a part time barista for the last two years.

This ability to connect has also opened me up to new, creative pursuits. Armed with what I learned as an advocate, by overcoming personal adversities, as well as my self-care routine, I have been able to attract new career opportunities. In June 2019 I was approached by Reinhard Modeling and Talent Agency to begin work as a professional model. Modeling has been a wonderful outlet for my creativity and passions outside of advocacy. However, I want my modeling to be and mean more than the superficiality that plagues the industry. I want my work to be used as a platform for social change and positive acceptance. I’d like to shine a bright light on the power of being genuine in your own skin, believing in what you stand for, and not settling for less than you deserve. Through each of our “birth lotteries” therein lies the ability for a meaningful life that serves others while protecting your individuality. As a kid from the Midwest, modeling was never planned to be the route reveal itself. However, in life I have always been most fortunate on the road less traveled. I hope you will join me in creating your own path.

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Julian Domanico is currently the Public Health Management Corporation’s Director of Community Outreach for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, Project Leading Youth for Tomorrow (Project L.Y.F.T.). Through his nonprofit career, Julian has advocated for juveniles in placement, marginalized persons (with emphasis on people of color and the LGBTQ+ community), education equity, and on public policy issues impacting millennials.

Julian holds an appointed seat as the Social Justice Chair of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee, serves as the Board Secretary for the LGBTQ+ fundraising nonprofit, the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) and is also a board member of a youth-led, education nonprofit, UrbEd, Inc. Within Philadelphia’s political ward system, Julian is one of two Democratic Committee Person representatives for Ward 5, Division 11 (within the boundaries of 13th St. to 10th St., Walnut St. to Spruce St.). He also professionally models commercially and in fashion for Reinhard Modeling and Talent Agency. This is Julian’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Environment, Friends of TWS, lifestyle, Men, Models, News, Philadelphia, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, UPenn

Linda Ruan: 10 Questions

 

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TW: Let’s start with your acceptance to PAFA. How did you feel when you heard the news of acceptance to MFA program?

LR:  It was only a month between my submission to PAFA and my acceptance into PAFA. I was excited because it would be my first time going to a fine arts academy to pursue a fine arts degree. My four-year liberal arts experience was more on the theoretical side. PAFA seems to be a better place for me to do something more practical. I went to the open house last fall and immediately fell in love with the facilities inside and decided to apply there: a rooftop terrace that holds the best part of the city, spacious private studio space, skylit painting studios and etc. The location is also a plus. Located in center Philly makes everything more accessible. More opportunities to go to gallery openings and to meet more people in the art circle. Hope I could walk outside my comfort zone and experiment with more mediums during my next two years there. Looking forward to the new semester.

TW: You spent part of the summer visiting friends and family in Shanghai. What is it like in China these days with the tariff wars seemingly going on with out an end in sight.  Are the American tariff’s having an impact on daily life in Shanghai and more generally through out China? 

LR: I am not really into politics, so I don’t have much to say for this question. But my friends talk about it, only talk about it because there isn’t much that they could do. I remember the day my friend circle all came out and cried when 1 USD converts to 7 CNY. The currency rate is going insane. It is now up to 7.16 CNY. The rate might be a real problem to those studying abroad because it means that they need to pay more for their high tuition. Other than that, I think people just live their normal life and are not really affected by the tariff. Well, I still need to say that I am not a political person. So my words really don’t count towards this one.

TW: So you’ve clearly drawn a distinction between your art and politics.  Tell me what draws you to make Art. What is its purpose if it’s not political?

LR: I don’t think art should always be political. My painting professor Ying Li at Haverford College was the one who inspired and encouraged me to do art. She always says to me: “just paint what you see and the more you paint the more clearly you will see the object”. Landscape, cityscape, and still life are my current main interests in painting. I am interested in exploring how forms, structures, and colors impact the way I see and make a painting. One of my favorite artists is Joan Mitchell whose work focuses on abstract forms and colors.

TW: You coined the phrase Imitation Kills.  What does the term mean to you and do you apply the concept in life in some way?

LR: I used that phrase for my social platforms. Nowadays people just imitate each other, from clothing style to art style. Influencers post outfits on Instagram and followers go after them. Originality is lost or is diminishing. People are doing similar stuff. I don’t think that’s a good thing, especially in the field of art because we are different individuals and we need to use our own way to prove that we are unique, even if one’s art style has not been widely accepted.

TW: Your current series of paintings featured at the senior exhibit at Haverford College this past Spring revealed a focus on abstraction with an effusive application of paint and vigorous brush work. How do you anticipate your work evolving in the next two years at PAFA?

LR: I look forward to trying something different at PAFA so I couldn’t answer how I would anticipate my work to be. Let this be an open question and we shall see.

TW:  You have a love for fashion that is often reflected in your affection for oversized clothing as part of your day to day style.  In this series of pictures another side of your persona is revealed in your choice of  bathing suit for a series of pictures taken at the Oceana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City.  Tell us about the black two piece you brought back from Shanghai on your recent trip. What is your impression of the Jersey Shore?

LR: I bought the bathing suits from a Chinese lingerie brand named NEIWAI. The brand features intimates for petite sizes. Their design is simple but also sexy in a subdued way. I think that impression is similar to my day to day style. They don’t have too many options in bathing suits, so I just bought the piece that I think might fit me the best in size. I chose black because that has always been my top color. The leather jacket is from All Saints. I feel more comfortable covering more of my body. Speaking of the Jersey Shore, I mean, who doesn’t like the beach? It’s a perfect getaway from busy city life. I like the architecture of the Oceana. The design is quite modern and the curves on the exterior are totally on point. Shoutout to Tony who picked this place to shoot. The surrounding fits the outfit perfectly.

TW: The Chinese government has blocked access to Google, Facebook, Youtube, and other mass global communication platforms on the internet.  What do you think the reason for that is?

LR: I think the voices on these social platforms are different, especially when the problem goes to politics. However, I am not saying that one voice is better than the other. It’s just that politics has always been a complicated thing. Our minds could be easily influenced by words spreading on these platforms. The government is just trying their best to eliminate the unnecessary issues that might arise.

TW: Are artists based in China heavily censored by the government as to what they can express in a work of Art?

LR: I am not familiar with the art circle in China because I spend most of my time here in the States. But I think we can do whatever we want unless we create and show art that has strong politically sensitive subjects. Other than that, I believe that artists based in China have enough freedom.

TW: With the exception of Al Weiwei are there other leading artists from China having an impact on the global stage that inspire you to make Art?

LR: I am thinking about adding more Chinese elements in my paintings. My two favorite Chinese artists are Cai Guo-Qiang and Xu Bing. They are both creative in their way of making art and are also the ones who incorporate Chinese materials and culture in their work.

TW:  What are your goals in the next 5 years?

Haven’t planned that far. I hope to have a solo opening after graduating from PAFA. So I guess I will keep painting. I am thinking about going back to Shanghai to spend more time with my family after graduation. It just has been a while since I first came here.

Editor’s Note: Linda Ruan is a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College with a concentration on painting and art history. She recently enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

Also posted in Accessories, Art, Blog, Current Events, Environment, Erotica, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Glamour, interview, lifestyle, Models, Painting, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Travel, UPenn Photography, Women

Fashion Fetish 25 Years: Now Available!

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FASHION FETISH 25 YEARS: ORDER NOW!

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Now taking orders for this special limited edition print run of 500 copies on superior quality, Proline Pearl Photo 140# paper stock.  Standard portrait size, image wrap cover 8 x 10 in, 21 x 26 cm. 240 pages. Each copy sold is printed to order, signed and numbered until the edition is sold out. U.S. customers please allow 14 days for printing and delivery. International customers please allow 30 days for printing and delivery. Click here to enter check out: http://tonyward.com/shopping-cart/books-bonus-gift/#gallery/537ab8257ae5dd811ebdcab8cff3523a/102/cart

I would like to thank all of the incredible models, editors, stylists, magazines and companies that made this book possible! 

In order of appearance:

Mikala Mikrut, Alice Chaillou, A.H. Scott, Titziana, Michelle Seidman, Anthony Goaslin, Pascale Descance, Bill Weiting, Ayesha, Dana Rochelle, Sandy Ward, Sharon Franklin, Monica Miraglilo, Marita, Paul Mojica, Deborah Shaw, Richard Elms, Ingrid Cesares, Lee Henshaw, Sandra Bauer, Angelique, Wendy Taw, Nami, Vibe Magazine, Scott & Richard, Bob & Becky Marker, Deann, Paulette Fallon, Bobbi Eden, Kianna Dior, Shay Sights, Rachel Louise, Kelly, Holly Singelyn, David, Savanna, Hallie, David & Devon, Diana Desiderio, Tyson Beckford, Thandie Newton, Quincy Jones, Keith Murray, Heidi & Michelle, Andrea Suwa, Blend Magazine, BLVD Magazine, Lilian DeJong, Steffi, Justine Bakker, Ivita Rence, Jana, Anna Borleffs, Allison Dunlap, Dagmar Rose, Ettore Salon, Elizabeth Southward, Jennifer Cole, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Vault Productions, Domina Barbie, Jilian Nonemacher, Leg Show Magazine, Isabella Reneaux, Esther Young, Sascha Lilic, Spoon Magazine, Neiman Marcus, Penthouse Magazine, Natascha, Emina Cunmulaj, Sonya Bright, Tony Ward (the model), GQ Magazine, Thomas Kramer, Park Avenue Magazine, Guinevere Van Seenus, Atomic Bombshell, Catherine Trifilleti Design, Alex Wagner, Louva, Alejandra Guerrero, Floore Jansen, Kimberly Kane, Jennie Shapiro, Maggie Stein, Delicious Corsets, Taboo Magazine, Rachel V, Ashlynn Brooke, Bonnie Rotten, Jessica Saint, Jennifer Lester, K Vaughn, Aradia Ardor, Kevin Stewart, Becky Marker, Katie Kerl.

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TWE: September 2018

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TWE: September 2018

 

 

To access Tony Ward Erotica galleries, click here. You must be at least 18 years of age to enterhttp://tonywarderotica.com/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Art, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Erotica, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Glamour, Models, Nudes, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Summer Thompkins: How Being Passive is Hurting our Women!

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Portrait of Summer Thompkins by Tony Ward, Copyright 2018

 

 

Article  by Summer Thompkins, Copyright 2018

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HOW BEING PASSIVE IS HURTING OUR WOMEN!

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When I was asked to write an article I was nervous, as at least 300 topics flew through my head as to what I would like to speak about. They all had a common theme however: sex work, femininity, and being a woman in today’s society. The last thing I wanted to do was restate articles, news headers, feminine agendas, and statistics. Instead I wanted to tell a story.

In my first year of college my English class read a story titled, “Lucky”. It was a truth telling, from the victims perspective, of her journey from being raped violently in college to what ensues thereafter (the healing, the information processing, police reports, etc.). In the beginning an officer tells her after she’s just been severely assaulted that she is ‘lucky’ she wasn’t killed, as the girl who was victimized earlier that year in the same exact location, had in fact been murdered. This was pointed out in class by the teacher as a focus point. She brought up the heinous idea that anyone in that situation could be considered lucky. That then opened my mind and my eyes to something that happens all too often in sex work, as a feminist, and as a woman in general, esp. when dealing with assault. We are made to feel that we are fortunate, lucky even, no matter what trauma, abuse, or inhumane treatment we are put through because we are so often quieted by the fact “it could have been worse.”

The Women’s March was an incredible historical gathering, but how often did you hear about “other women having it worse” in other countries, as a means to downplay those who did come out to support the march’s efforts? From a large scale to micro-aggressions, women everyday are made to feel guilty for their valid discontent. If your daughter, mother, sister, or wife told you someone today hurt her, would you tell her “People get hurt everyday! Relax honey.”

The passive approach towards these issues, and towards women/womxn* in general are becoming more dangerous. Women who go to authorities with concerns are met with disbelief, and all too often murdered thereafter by those they were reporting. Sexual assault in the entertainment industry has been called out louder than ever these past few years, and yet a celebrity who has been involved in multiple cases of sexual assault is President of these United States.

The solution starts at the root. There is never something too little or too large that you can do to help. One of the most important things we are missing as a society is: accountability. There is a weak backbone in the bodies of most when it comes to seeing a multitude of issues take place around us. Silence is often louder than words. Those who do not correct their fellow peers when they are: racist, sexist, or outwardly offensive are contributing to the problem. The police officer, by telling the victim she was “lucky” was contributing to the problem. By downplaying these traumas and tragedies we are allowing them to continue. By laughing it off, and saying “it was just a “joke” after calling a woman a “bitch/hoe/slut” you are contributing to the problem. It will not be until we take women seriously, and all of the passive, aggressive, and disrespectful narratives they are painted under, that we can move forward in women’s rights.

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About The Author: Summer Thompkins is from Philadelphia, a 21 year old model, writer, feminist, and new contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To access additional articles by Summer Thompkins, click herehttp://tonyward.com/2018/03/11/summer-thompkins-men-joke/

 

 

Also posted in Accessories, Art, Blog, Current Events, Environment, Erotica, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Models, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, Women