Everyone has a favorite room in Meow Wolf Santa Fe's House of Eternal Return and for many, it’s Nico Salazar’s "Hidden Capsule."
The room features his signature black-and-white, Sharpie-drawn collision of manga, street culture, and graffiti art. In fact, after the House opened, the question Salazar seemed to be getting over and over was: "Hey, where can I buy this stuff?" The answer to this demand was the development of a full merch line for Meow Wolf.
In the three years since Meow Wolf Santa Fe's opening, Future Fantasy Delight has been a fixture of the building’s gift shop, and now "FFD" is set to unveil a spring/summer collection for 2019 with a launch party on March 23rd at HoER featuring Tommy Genesis, Albuquerque drag troupe Saints Ball, and more.
While Future Fantasy Delight has been known for its black and white palette, this new line will be the first to feature a pop of color (lavender). The content of the art, though, continues to be informed by FFD’s origins as a pseudo brand.
Salazar states, "Back in 2014, FFD started as my senior project in college. I was going for a BFA in studio arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. For my senior show, I made all these products and T-shirts that weren’t even for sale. So, that’s essentially how FFD started."Of course, the true roots of Salazar’s style — the art itself — dates back to his upbringing. Regarding the cultural influences of his work, he says, "I grew up between California, New Mexico, and Hawaii. My dad was stationed in the Navy so I grew up with Hispanic culture and Japanese culture, and I always just felt really inspired by Japanese street fashion."
". . . I grew up with Hispanic culture and Japanese culture, and I always just felt really inspired by Japanese street fashion."
These influences are apparent within "Hidden Capsule" and in FFD’s earlier lines, and this new collection is no different, save for the setting. "The collection is inspired by strip malls," Salazar notes. "I recently moved into a new house, and my neighborhood is nothing but strip malls. I kind of hated it at first, but then I decided I was just going to be inspired by my surroundings. Since Future Fantasy Delight started as a fake brand, one of the things I like to do is pose it as all of these little sub-brands, like Future Fantasy Delight pawn shop, and kind of put my own spin on them."
"The collection is inspired by strip malls," Salazar notes.
While most of FFD’s new line is currently available online and in the gift shop at the House of Eternal Return, three new items will be dropping the day of the launch party, including some of Future Fantasy Delight’s most requested styles. Until then, Salazar’s new merch line and art will be shown for the rest of the week at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles.
The Gallery has been at the forefront of the Los Angeles Lowbrow and Pop-Art scenes since 2004 and is the ideal fit for FFD’s first showing in the city. A billboard on La Brea announced the show.
Of course, the billboard came as a massive surprise to Salazar, who gushes, "That was so exciting and crazy. I didn’t expect a billboard at all. I was just happy to show in L.A., and then when they (Meow Wolf) said they were gonna get a billboard made, I was like, ‘What? That’s so cool!’ The first night we got into L.A., we were just driving to our Airbnb, and we just happened to be on the same road that the billboard was, so we drove up on it on accident and it was the coolest moment. It was so huge. I’ve never seen my art that big before, and that was just wild. We pulled over right away."
"FFD is building into a whole lifestyle brand. It’s not just clothes."
While billboards, gallery shows, and launch parties are a long way to come from a senior thesis project, Future Fantasy Delight and Meow Wolf can’t help but look ahead to what’s next.
Salazar has plans beyond merch. "FFD is building into a whole lifestyle brand. It’s not just clothes. And now with the launch party we want to start doing more events where FFD creates a community of people to gather together and have fun! "
You can check out Future Fantasy Delight’s show at Gallery 1988 in L.A. through March 22.
The Future Fantasy Delight 2019 Launch Party will be held March 23 at Meow Wolf Santa Fe.