Matthew Sampson: The Sneaker King

Portrait by Tony Ward of Matt Sampson, the sneaker king
Matthew Samson. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

COVER FEATURE

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Text by Matthew Samson, Copyright 2022

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The Sneaker King

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Sneakers to me are more than an item of clothing. It’s a way for me to express myself. I’m never the most outspoken person in the room. It’s often my sneakers that speak for me. My love of shoes started at a young age. My grandfather would send me a pair once a year. Upon his passing, I had a pretty nice collection. Unfortunately with his passing so did my love for shoes. It was many years later I met my friend Herb Simpson. His exact words to me were “You’re a good dude but you need better shoes”.  The next day he came to work with the newest Jordans for me. With that one gesture, the love for shoes was back. For a while, I would often run my purchases by Herb. If he approved I would purchase it. I eventually developed my style and direction. My collection started as only Air Jordans. I branched out to Adidas, Reebok, Fila, Puma, Vans, and Asics. If I felt it was nice I got it. Like many people during the pandemic, I had a lot of free time. So I decided to try something different. I began recording YouTube videos about sneakers. I did vlogs of me shopping in stores. I also did reviews of the newest sneakers. Things started to pick up for me during that time. With the notoriety from my videos, I began selling shoes. It started slow but I became everyone’s sneaker connect. Sneakers have allowed me to do things I would’ve never thought of. From traveling to different events, being on podcasts, modeling for K.Vaughn, and now even being on the cover of Tony Ward Studio. In closing, if you have a passion, no matter how big or small follow it. You never know where it might take you!

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Portrait of Matt Sampson the sneaker king by famed photographer Tony Ward
Matthew Sampson. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022.

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About The Author: Matthew Sampson is a full-time father of a wonderful 16-year-old daughter who also loves shoes. He recently started creating content in 2020 and posting to IG and YouTube. Matt also has become the sneaker connect for multiple people in Philadelphia. You can his sneakers for sale on his Instagram sampson_matt_. Feel free to reach out if you need items sold as well.  This is Matt’s first contribution to TWS.

Matt’s YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovYBh_odqJg&authuser=0

Editor’s Note: Matt is wearing a KVaughn scarve, Winter collection. Photographed at the Rittenhouse Grill in Philadelphia on November 27, 2022.

A.H. Scott: Your Choice to Vote

Young asian woman sipping tea in European coffee shop
Photo: Tony Ward, Styling by KVaughn. Copyright 2022

Text by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2022

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Your Choice to Vote

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Just remember that your choice to vote is always bigger than just about you

History didnt begin the second a doctor spanked your newborn ass and you let out a wail

Since the moment of beginning, right now and onto futures hence

Freedom is more than a bumper sticker of red, white, and blue

No time for false patriotisms cue

Democracy needs to be held up and respected true

Roes gone and Brown can be gone, too

On the ballot are deniers of election, acting like their conspiratorial vision is the only selection

Infected by the dark tide of damning what they see as the other

Some are not seen as equal in the family of humanity

Identity bashed beneath waves of an ideological haze

Banning books and thoughts of progress is the conservatives latest phase

Odd is it that they want to control what can be read

While those who are adults among them are mathematically inept

Not even knowing how many baby mamas youve screwed and left

Over and over the playbook is the same

Snarky they are, as their malarkey has taken them far

You call anyone not to the right of you a commie and lib

But, damn, dont worry about what I am, cuzI can whip a few cold remarks ever so glib

No party holds the key to what loving this country is meant to be

Voting is cornerstone of this republic in which we live

Nobody can easily think democracy can be ripped away

Thus, we better vote like it might be our last

Fascistic winds across the land have not yet passed

Hucksters, opportunists and true believers are on the ballot this year

That which they have planned for America will be something many of us cannot bear

Yet, some say both sides are the same

Well, I know one thing to be beyond a transparent claim

If these ultra-maga conservatives win, our freedoms will go quickly down the drain

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A.H. Scott is a poet and essayist based in New York City.  Miss Scott is a veteran contributor to this blog.  To access additional articles by A.H. Scott, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/tick-tock-knockin-on-reckons-door-part2/

BTS: Kitchie Ohh Luncheon

 

Behind the Scenes Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

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Photographs by Earnest Thomas, Copyright 2022

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Kitchie Ohh Luncheon

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After the successful shoot with Kitchie Ohh for the new Vixen’s series, I invited friends over to meet Kitchie for lunch.  I selected an eclectic group of friends drawing from different aspects of the professional world including; Kitty Hailey, the famous Philadelphia based private investigator who primarily works on civil rights cases.  She is a good person to know if you’ve been abused by the U.S. legal system. Kitty was accompanied by her assistant investigator, Malik Mubashir a history and religion scholar who graduated from Harvard in the 1970’a. He’s currently one of the beloved teachers at the Friends Select School in Philadelphia.  Malik is dedicating his free time assisting Kitty on various high profile civil rights cases.

Also in attendance was Anthony Seraphin and his lovely sister Bunny who once owned the Seraphin Gallery on Pine street in Philadelphia. Tony continues to make private sales and investments in the arts.  Out of town guests included friend and colleague Ted Kawalerski, professional photographer/film maker  New York and his girlfriend Dana Montemurno, a highly skilled skin care specialist based in Westport Ct. 

Needless to say my personal assistant Anthony Colagreco was present offering up one of his spectacular vegetarian dishes.  Besides his cooking talents TC is also a master massage therapist.  Also in attendance was my long time friend, Sam Binder a Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts  trained artist whose primary interest is in sculpture.

The gracious Miss Kitchie Ohh enjoyed the guests and delighted in the food, drink and lively conversations.

Many thanks to my creative director KVaughn who came up with the brilliant idea to invite the fabulous photographer Earnest Thomas to photograph the luncheon. Thanks Earnest!

Harvey Finkle: Under One Sky

Harvey Finkle: Under One Sky

PRESS RELEASE:

 

Upcoming Exhibitions:
 
Under One Sky: Reflecting Immigrant Communities.
The Photographs of Harvey Finkle, A Harvey Finkle Retrospective, 1982-2018.
 
 
Curated by David Acosta, Artistic Director for Casa de Duende, opening October 1st, 2022 5-8 PM @
The Dene Louchheim Gallery, Fleisher Art Memorial,
 
719 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
 
 

Kitchie Ohh: Beyond The Playground

 

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2022

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

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Creative Direction: KVaughn

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Hair & Makeup: Michael Connor

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Photography Assistant: Anthony Colagreco

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BEYOND THE PLAYGROUND

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Most often, when we think of a bully, we think about the bigger kid on the playground picking on the smaller ones; pushing them around or beating them up for their lunch money.  The problem is so much more complex and, I can assure you from experience, it goes well beyond the schoolyard; running rampant in office settings, social groups, and in families around the world. 

I have already shared at a very surface level that I suffered years of verbal abuse from my peers growing up. The daily reminders of everything that was wrong with me lead me to believe that they must be right. I just wasn’t good enough, and it hurt like hell. I did my best to avoid anything that made me a target. I faded into the background, withdrew into myself, and watched with a mixture of relief and extreme Catholic guilt as the bullseyes were drawn on other kids’ backs. I coasted, invisible, right on through high school graduation. Paralyzed with fear that I would encounter a new crop of bullies with new things to hate about me, I opted out of college. I did explore my independence by moving out of my parents home.  

Entering the workforce, full-time as a teenager, I was kind of a novelty in the office. I was, and still am, incredibly responsible, dedicated and hard-working. Only now, I’m nowhere near as naive. I often found myself responsible for my workload, plus the things that coworkers didn’t want to do. Experience told me that speaking up would make me a target, so I just did the work and kept my mouth shut. Soon, I was doing the work and taking the blame for nearly everything that went wrong or didn’t get finished, even if I had nothing to do with it. I had countless meetings about performance-related problems that weren’t actually mine. Someone needed to be reprimanded, might as well be me. They knew I wouldn’t fight back. Next, I was pushed into covering extra hours, holidays, all the shifts no one else wanted. “You’re not dating anyone, you don’t have kids, no reason you can’t do this. You don’t have anything to do.” Ouch. If I ever was lucky enough to have a day off, the very next time in the office I was berated with how inconvenient my absence was for everyone.  I did eventually reach my limit and left.

Having learned a little bit about office dynamics and politics, the next job was a vast improvement.  Not perfect, but I gained some respect – and learned how to set some professional boundaries. This angered the office bully. They came for me, personally. I declined a happy hour invitation. They told everyone I wasn’t coming because I thought I was “too good” for them. I ate salad for lunch and it was clearly and directly a statement about the unhealthy choices they made for their midday meal. Leaving the office for the gym every evening was an equally heinous rebellion against them. A prominent member of the community left one of our events saying “see you later, hon.” The minute we were back at the office, I was accused of having an affair with this married man. Everything I did was wrong, but I wasn’t doing anything!

Things that happened at that job were the final straw. I was working in that position at the time I had my revelation that not one of the names I was called, not a single thing I was accused of, or made to do, had a damn thing to do with me. That realization gave me back all of my power and my voice. I didn’t – and don’t – need to shrink myself down, make myself invisible or watered down for the benefit of another. I can say no, I can refuse to take on more than I’m able, I can defend myself against insults and allegations. Professionally, personally, socially, in relationships. I am worthy of respect and should not accept less.

It’s an ongoing process of undoing all of the damage; I don’t think it will ever be finished. There will always be people who just can’t hold their tongues. Their obligation to point out flaws, try to exploit them, and put others down is a force they just cannot resist. I could write a whole book of very scathing stories, with damning details from various people who have entered and thankfully exited my life over the years. But like I said, their behavior has got nothing at all to do with me. Neither forgiven or forgotten, I’ve accepted, let go and moved on. And I am so much better for it. 

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About The Author:

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits for over the last 20 years, currently with a food-related Philadelphia nonprofit. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then shes worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles.  She has been featured in -and on the covers of- multiple print and digital publications. Over the years she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for local Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn. 

In addition to her food insecurity-related work, she has also volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even on the events team of a local brewery, pre-pandemic.  

Youre just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is be both.” The model and the homemaker,  sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.