Q&AZN: Banana Issue 002 Cover Artist Greg Foley
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, editors Kathleen Tso and Vicki Ho of Banana Magazine are taking over Milk with eight different features, highlighting some of their community’s best and brightest creatives. Next up? Artist Greg Foley.
Greg Foley is a half Filipino and half Irish-American artist, author, and designer—his portfolio includes an impressive scope from Grammy-nominated album covers to children’s books (he does it all). Best known for being one of the founding members of Visionaire and V Magazine, where he has collaborated with the likes of David Bowie to Yoko Ono, however in a quick scan at his resume, you’ll find that he’s also a teacher at Parsons, a contributing artist for The New Yorker, illustrating and authoring books—the list goes on. Greg Foley was the Banana Issue 002 cover artist, setting the precedent and bar for our approach to our covers. He’s an Asian American in the creative industry we’re lucky to call one of our mentors.
Read on for more about how Greg Foley’s Filipino heritage plays a part in his identity.
What is your heritage?
My mother is Filipino and my father is Irish-American. I was born in the Philippines and came the the States when I was six months old.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
For the most part I grew up in Austin, Texas with a few years in California and the UK in-between. I left Texas to go to RISD. Then I lived in New York City for over twenty five years. Last year my wife and I moved to LA and had a baby girl. Now we spend most of our time on the West Coast but still have a place in the West Village, so we can come when we need.
Who is an APA creative that you look up to?
There are so many… Paul Pfieffer, Isamu Noguchi, Maya Lin, Joey Santiago, Karen O, Cary Fukunaga, off the top of my head.
How has your heritage played a part in your passions and in your work?
To be honest, as a little kid I must’ve been called every slur in the book because no one really knew what race I was. Unfortunately it made me want to turn away from my roots and just “fit in”. But as I grew up, I realized being mixed is a blessing that’s allowed me to walk in almost any world.
When was the first time you realized, through your career or your passions, you connected with your heritage and felt that sense of pride?
During college I interned one summer at Details for editor Stephen Gan (former Bazaar and current Elle creative director) and stylist Michael Salientes, who were both from the Philippines. We became friends and when I graduated, I helped Stephen start Visionaire and V Magazine among other things. Early on I realized I’d happened upon a community of Asian Americans and it makes me proud that we’ve come up together.
What are you gearing up for right now in your career? Plug in what you got going on right now!
I’m always making new artwork. My recent book COOL: Style Sound, and Subversion (Rizzoli) just went into it’s second printing. Check out the ongoing COOLxAppleMusic playlists, or get my limited edition prints from Poster Child Prints. Also I’ve just launched my newest children’s book called Kat Writes a Song (Simon & Schuster). It’s about sharing your creativity, because the world is better when you share what you love with other people. In a nutshell that’s what I’m trying to do.
Featured image courtesy of Hoshi Ludwig
Stay tuned to Milk for more from Banana Magazine.