PRIDE Nets Unite Poster

I’m Adam Koon, a queer artist hailing from New York. For me, art isn’t just a passion; it’s a force that drives every stroke of my pen and every splash of color in my design. Making art isn’t confined to a singular realm; it’s a boundless journey that I embark upon with unbridled enthusiasm.
I’m constantly on the lookout to add new skills to my arsenal. Thanks to some incredible opportunities that came my way, I’ve discovered my identity as a designer, honing my craft in the realms of design, illustration, and lettering.

Inspiration for the piece:
I was inspired by sports mascots and how they wear another identity to make everyone happy. Many of us have had to hide our true selves out of fear and wear a straight identity. For my illustration, I wanted to capture what it looks like to embrace and celebrate who you really are.

WIN Nets Unite Poster

Emmy awarded Creative Director for the New York Liberty. Demonstrated history of creative direction that stretch from ESPN, Athletics Unlimited, New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls.

Art Title: Women’s Impact

I was involved in a creative workshop with about 15 young ladies from Powerplay. The non profit organization. These young ladies described and answered the questions to the prompts in which I used to design the poster. These questions where what they wanted to be as adults, who in their life inspired them, what athlete’s they looked up. It was a lot of fun. We gave them a safe place to get inspired and think about what empowerment, diversity and confidence means to them.

Noche Latina Nets Unite Poster

Damian Orellana is a designer and illustrator based in Queens, NY. As the second oldest brother from an immediate family of 15 (all from the same mama & papa), family has always been a circling source of inspiration for his work. He feels beyond grateful to be a creative because he gets to work across a diverse range of industries. Some clients under his belt include Google, Visa, and Adobe, just to name a few. Damian has called many places home over the years, including CT, RI, and NY. He attributes his success in design to the friends and mentors he has met throughout his journey who have offered different perspectives and advice that Damian has incorporated into his work.

Art Title: Vamos a Brooklyn

The inspiration behind this piece comes from the elements of Brooklyn, Basketball, and Home. I wanted to showcase a narrative that celebrates not only the sport but also the sense of belonging and support within a local neighborhood. New York City, especially Brooklyn, is a melting pot of cultures and experiences. The urban landscape serves as a backdrop and local parks/basketball courts become sacred spaces where individuals come together. I aimed to celebrate not just the game of basketball, but also the sense of belonging and support that echoes through the streets of Brooklyn. It’s about people’s stories of triumph over adversity, where the pursuit of one’s dreams is championed by the support of the community and the belief that anything is possible amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.

BHM Nets Unite Poster

Ron Bass is a free spirited individual born and raised in Brooklyn, NY with an unwavering inspiration of all things emitting LOVE. A thriving student to the creative world who found his passion and purpose after the loss of his beloved parents. With his distinct Love for pop art and fashion, Ronhas created works of art and apparel drawing inspiration from his upbringing in Brooklyn, Spirituality, African Culture and Textiles. His bold and colorful pieces has made its way to the wardrobes and homes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Blue Ivy, Dave Chappelle, Ellen Degeneres, Missy Elliot, Swizz Beatz and Tyler Perry to name a few. Ron has also secured global partnerships and collaborations with numerous brands like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Vans, Chevrolet, Spotify, AirBnb and Essence Magazine. Ron’s ultimate goal is to leave a profound mark within humanity by showcasing Love for thyself and others. As well as creating art that inspires and uplifts the masses.

Art Title: Dear Brooklyn

An abstract, artistic story depicting the determination, fearlessness and courage of a young kid growing up in Brooklyn, NY with a limitless imagination. This piece also serves as a multi layered juxtaposition highlighting the beauty of cultural pride, foundation and belief in one self. Inspired by the day a group of young friends offered to shoot a basketball through a milk crate that was nailed to the street post. After the made basket, the love for basketball was born and the dreams grew even bigger.

HBCU Nets Unite Poster

Often known as the “Dictator of taste” Micah Shumake is a Detroit-native born on the east side of the city. She is a mother to Judah Mercy & soon to be Shiloh Moon. She emphasizes how her dream is to take over the world, and she believes it’ll be achieved soon. Shumake exists to create, cultivate, but most importantly, to inspire. She really started falling in love with fashion and art at the young age of 4.

While the world of art had always followed her, she felt more of a jolt when she became a mother and her pursuit to dominate the art industry grew larger. Shumake’s mission is to impact on a global perspective, while creating a platform for artisans where they can reach their biggest dreams without the hurdles of financial struggle, and scarce resources. She dreams of owning a school of gifts in the city of Detroit, where young creatives within her community would come to learn all about the arts and be empowered to change the world. Shumake wants to prove to her children, and the following generations during and after her from the city of Detroit, that there are no limits, bounds, or restrictions to dreaming. Anything is possible, when you work hard, have courage, and believe in yourself.

Shumake wants to evoke culture, community, and creativity endlessly throughout her creative career. As a former athlete, she has always admired the dedication, competitiveness, and loyalty sports expect from their athletes. She is in awe of the game of basketball. She admires the dedication, strength, and hard work that exudes through athletes.

Art Title: From Generation to Generation

This image represents the beauty of humanity. I chose to combine the world of basketball, style, and community as a focus point. Sometimes style isn’t about what you have on, but how you wear it. It’s the way you walk, talk, and sometimes think. I wanted to showcase the many colors, ages, and backgrounds we share as the human race. It is important to create art for little boys and girls, that makes them feel empowered to use their imagination and to dream. Representation matters.

I have every intention to evoke a feeling connected to an individual within this piece. As we grow older, it is our responsibility that we lead by example passing our knowledge, our gifts, and our resources to help unite and support the next generation of planet shakers.

AAPI Nets Unite Poster

Kekoa and Kristen are a husband-and-wife team of multidisciplinary artists who one day met while painting a mural in Harlem and have since then continued to create together and inspire one another. Kekoa’s artistry has always been heavily influenced by the world of comic books—stories of infinite possibilities, pages bursting with epic creativity, and the journey of stepping into your own super power. Kristen, being born and raised in Brooklyn, is a big fan of the Nets and even had her commencement ceremony at the Barclays Center. Being from Brooklyn deeply informs the way she expresses herself, authentically and with grit.

Growing up, my friends and I always enjoyed collecting and trading superhero comics and cards. During those days, it seemed like most superheroes of API background were just knock-offs of Bruce Lee. None of us cared for how stereotypical they were portrayed, especially if their only superpower was a really swift side-kick. So, we ended up creating our own heroes that represented our identities and cultures. As younger children, we emulated them through games of make-believe. As we grew older, these games transferred over to sports like pick-up basketball in parks or schoolyards. Kristen always remarks on how those games could bring people of a community together despite any differences. Eventually, we replaced those superheroes with our real-life favorite players. However, signature moves and catchphrases from our own creations remained in the back of our minds and would occasionally make its way back into the game; mostly for laughs and nostalgia.

This image represents that freedom of creation and search for cultural identity. We chose to center the action around characters who represent Southern Asian, Southeast Asian, and Polynesian peoples.

Not all of us had flashy shoes to ball in, and even though you couldn’t really play or run in flip-flops, there was always someone who would show up with no intention of playing that day and ended up on the court anyway.

This image represents the spark of competition between rivals.
This image represents freedom of creation and search for cultural identity.

The projected superheroes of the two main characters each represent combined cultures. The female combines elements of Southeast Asia with the style of headdress/crown, while the male has elements of Polynesian culture through the tiki style mask, tribal markings, and lauhala (a Hawaiian term for leaves of a pandanus tree used in weaving and plaiting) woven braids. In Polynesian tattoos, lauhala also symbolizes the strength of family and community in the same way that the woven leaves become stronger together.

The lightning/fire coming from the projected superheroes in the sky represent that spark of competition between rivals. It is pretty common in anime and comics for it to originate from both of their eyes to show that once they’ve locked sight, they see each other as equal adversaries. This is not represented when one meets a lesser opponent because only when a worthy challenger has presented themself that the fire inside ignites that spirit of competitiveness.

The Brooklyn court and neighborhood are represented by the styles of buildings and hoops with busted chains. The ground and sky, however, have seamless geometric designs often seen in oriental and oceanic art and textile patterns. Also in the sky, we chose to use xiángyún (auspicious clouds), a traditional Chinese style of clouds instead of a more typical shaped cloud.

The importance of representation is vital to a community by helping groups of people feel seen, heard, and validated. This is especially true for the youth who are learning who they are and how they belong in the world. It helps influence our understanding of the world around us by bringing us out of a restricted perception and into a more inclusive perspective of others and ourselves. Building representation through sports is just another way that helps break down stereotypes and bridge different cultures through similar interests. The results can be just as powerful as some of the elements represented in this poster. Sometimes the best superpowers are just having an open-mind, being respectful, and asking the right questions.