Posts tagged with "homeless"

Young Bae

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Young Bae’s childhood reads like a painful chapter of Oliver Twist. Using her innate talent – art – to overcome years of poverty, homelessness and abuse, Young managed to escape.

Young’s mom, an artist herself, was consistently unable to provide and care for her children and members of their community refused to volunteer assistance. Young recalls the cultural reaction to her family’s suffering with clarity,

“Korea is a materialistic country,” confides Young, now proprietor of the marquee Diamond Tattoos shop in New York City’s Times Square. “No matter how hard you work, it is hard to break away from poverty – nobody gives you an opportunity. If you’re poor, you’re poor for life. They treat the less fortunate like shit, hence I couldn’t talk to anybody about how I was living – not even my best friend. So I kept it all a secret, as best I could.”

Young did her best to mix in with other more privileged kids, even as she and her family moved around in church basements, abandoned houses and even a shipping container throughout her teenage years. “I may have been homeless with no money, but I was always fresh and fashionable,” says the self-taught tattoo queen has come a long way to now ink high-profile clientele and eager fans of the drama-filled show, “Black Ink.” “When my family didn’t have access to a shower I would clean up at public restrooms every morning. I’d also get hand-me-down-clothes from church and create my own fashions, or at least I tried to. My teachers suspected I was poor because there were things I couldn’t pay for, but for the most part I think I flew under the radar.”

She didn’t fly under the radar though when it came to her talent, her teachers and classmates acknowledged her ability to sketch, draw as well as paint. Young began receiving accolades for her fabrications, using the sales to buy basic necessities.

Young was able to land a partial academic scholarship to a college where she continued to hone her craft until she was ready to leave Korea.

“New York is an artist’s city,” says the Chugye University graduate, “so it just made sense.”

They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere and the bonafide hustler Young took the motto to heart. In 2007, the 22-year-old made a beeline for Koreatown in Manhattan, touching down with just $80 and a student visa to study English, she landed a job at a local nail salon.

Despite a language barrier, she wouldn’t stop there. Young continued job hunting, getting jobs at restaurants, jewelry shops, even illegally hawking her art in New York’s famed Union Square. All this to make her share of the rent for a small place with roommates in New Jersey.

On the way to the tattoo shop in NYC, the neon lights of New York City brightly shined on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Tattooing was illegal in South Korea so Young had no experience. “I walked in, took a look around at the tattoo sketches on the wall, and thought, hey, I could do this. So I offered the shop owners a barter: in exchange for giving me a shot I would clean their shop for free. They agreed.” With that, her apprenticeship commenced.

In no time, Young became confident in her skills and moved to another shop where she could demand a tattoo artist’s wages. Quickly becoming the most requested artist in the shop, Young decided look into owning and operating her own business.

“I rented this little ratty spot on 46th Street in Times Square. It was literally a storage room in the back of an eyebrow threading shop. I got licensed, worked like three additional jobs to afford the $1000/month overhead and scoured the area to find shelves, paint and other stuff to decorate. I upholstered my first tattoo chairs with fake leather I found on the street. Then every day I’d go hold up this human-sized sign advertising my shop, and miraculously people showed up. Eventually so many showed up, I quickly outgrew the space!”

With Young’s growing credibility and reputation among fellow artists throughout the tri-state area, it was no wonder that reality TV show producers eventually came calling.

“My shop might not have been the fanciest, but my work was good and news about me began to spread quickly. It kept getting bigger and busier every year,” she says.

Young was delighted to join VH1’s popular show “Black Ink Crew: New York” during its fifth season. Heading into its seventh season, Young Bae is a fascinating and loveable character to watch.

Through it all, Young gives God the credit for not just where she is today but where’s she’s headed, “I had faith that poverty, homelessness and abuse wouldn’t be the end of my story. I went through all of what I did so I could come out on top on the other end and eventually go on to help others who are vulnerable like I was. There is greatness waiting for us all and I’m determined to live and share my best life now.”

Currently, Young Bae is working on an athleisure line 2one2 and a book sharing her life experiences.

Additional information can be found on her wikipedia.

Architects for Animals + “Giving Shelter” Event

Architects & Celebrities Including Clint Eastwood, Jay Leno & William Shatner Accept Challenge to Help Homeless Cats

Architects for Animals “Giving Shelter” Event October 19 in Southern California’s Culver City to Benefit Local Non-Profit FixNation

 
One of this year’s most innovative design events, Architects for Animals® “Giving Shelter” exhibit, returns to the Herman Miller Showroom in Culver City on Thursday, October 19th 2017. The event is expected to be a sold-out fundraiser for LA-based non-profit FixNation, which provides free spay/neuter services for the city’s skyrocketing population of homeless cats.  

LA’s top architecture and design firms as well as individual architects and designers have been invited to design, build and donate one-of-a-kind and functional outdoor dwellings for cats. Shelters will be displayed at a cocktail reception attended by the public, VIPs and media representatives. Also on display: cat food bowls decorated by feline-loving celebrities such as Jay Leno, Beau Bridges, Elvira, William Shatner, Clint Eastwood, Eric Dickerson, Tricia Helfer and Morgan Fairchild, which will be available for purchase via an online auction.

“These cat shelters are absolutely remarkable,” says FixNation’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Karn Myers. “They will help raise awareness about homeless cats and provide practical solutions that can be implemented throughout our community.” 

This year’s event has added significance as the organization honors Myer’s late husband, Mark Dodge. The couple co-founded FixNation 10 years ago.

Los Angeles is home to one of the nation’s largest populations of homeless felines, an estimated one to three million cats. FixNation is a model for successful Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and humane colony management programs across the country and around the world.

“Many communities use lethal methods in an attempt to control the population of stray, abandoned and feral cats. Such methods are not only horribly cruel, they simply don’t work,” explains Myers. “We founded FixNation because we believe TNR is a much more effective and compassionate alternative. Our mission is to manage colonies of homeless ‘community cats’ and gradually reduce their number through humane sterilization.”

Participating design firms this year include: Abramson Teiger Architects; d3architecture; ES-EN-EM; HLW; HKS; HOK; Knowhow Shop; Kollin Altomare Architects; RNL; and Standard Architecture | Design.

The event is open to the public from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the HermanMiller Showroom: 3641 Holdrege Ave, Los Angeles CA 90016. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased online or at the door.

Photos of the 2016 Architect for Animals “Giving Shelter” creative designs can be found here.

About FixNation

FixNation is an award-winning Los Angeles-based non-profit that supports Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs for homeless cats. The organization provides free spay and neuter services for homeless cats as well as low-cost services for pet cats. Founded in 2007, FixNation has cared for nearly 150,000 cats to date. Details at fixnation.org.

About Architects for Animals®

Architects for Animals® by Feral Design Group LLC is an awareness raising initiative that plans one-night events benefiting select animal welfare organizations. Participating architecture and design firms as well as individual architects and designers design, build and donate creative outdoor shelters to provide animals with refuge from the elements. Details at architectsforanimals.com.