What began as an outlet for husband/wife team, Philip and Courtney Mason, to create “beyond the computer” has evolved into a growing business that is currently making its footprint in the fashion industry and drawing attention from several major media outlets. Studio Jellyfish, a hand-painted shoe and accessories store in Miami, has been featured on television style programs FOX’s Deco Drive and NBC Miami as well as in several magazines, including Digital Arts UK and Computer Arts.
“For many years, we spent nearly all our waking hours on the computer designing illustrations, graphics, and websites for clients,” said Philip Mason, a ’95 graduate of the industrial design program.
For many years, we spent nearly all our waking hours on the computer designing illustrations, graphics, and websites for clients,” said Philip Mason, a ’95 graduate of the industrial design program.
Our new career allows us to design items for ourselves quickly on the computer, then work ‘old school’ with paint and brushes. Now, we are using all that we learned from those days of working with clients toward our own business; it feels great!”
Studio Jellyfish collaborates with a company in California to develop, design and manufacture their blank canvases, or footwear. Once the items arrive at the Miami Beach studio, the Masons hand paint each work of art to ensure they are subtly different. Oil-based paints and coatings are used to make them more durable.
“Our inspiration comes from the love we have of art history both current and ancient,” said Mason. “Much of our recent influence has come from the Pop Art era and illustrative work of the 80s.”
As co-owners of their studio, Philip and Courtney (a graduate of the graphic design department) work together to run their small business. In addition to creating their unique fashionable art, their daily tasks range from sweeping the floors to accounting and keeping track receivables.
“This is our passion and fortune,” he said. “Our new retail shop (and studio) in Miami Beach has afforded us many great things. We can test and see reactions of the public immediately for our new designs, allowing for rapid development times and sales. The international crowd gives us a broad spectrum of demographics and personality. And of course, being two blocks from the ocean we simply feel healthier and have had the chance to raise seahorses from babies! I love working here every day with my wife; I'd like to do that for the rest of my life.”
The lessons Mason learned as a student continue to impact his work today. His instructors’ words of wisdom still resound in his mind.
“As most of us who have graduated from art school will tell you, we can still hear our instructors’ voices in our heads,” he laughed. “Some of my favorites are: ‘Don't fall in love with your work!,’ ‘Talk to your pencil,’ and ‘Perfect is good enough!”
Prior to Studio Jellyfish, Mason worked as a car stylist at Ford Motor Company. He was also the owner of an Internet company that grew to include 35 people.
“I’d say that even beyond forming a successful company, designing show cars with Ford or being chosen to speak at a Governors’ convention, the moments I’ve spent selling paintings have been my favorite,” Mason said. “I do that now every day... Over the years I’ve learned that you’ve got to do what you love to do right now, don't wait.”
- Studio Jellyfish