Living Joyfantastically In Philadelphia’s Loft District

 

Artist Addye Durant, creator of Joyfantastic Design | Photo: Theresa Stigale

Editor’s Note: Addye Durant, the owner of Joyfantastic Design, lives and works in a loft on North 13th Street. Theresa Stigale talked with the artist, designer, and Prince fan about t-shirt design and her new brand Yay9! for kids.

Theresa Stigale: Addye, tell us about your lifestyle brand, Joyfantastic. It’s a remarkably inventive niche and a great name.
Addye Durant: Joyfantastic currently consists of Joyfantastic Tees for adults and Yay 9! for kids. It was a natural progression for me to start my own business, as my mother had her sewing studio and my father, Bernie Durant, had an engineering firm. I had already started my t-shirt line in high school, so after college, I was sort of expected to establish my own brand.

Addye Durant with her t-shirt design in her studio | Photo: Theresa Stigale

TS: How does your space inform your work?
AD: I really love this space! I moved in the building ten years ago. I was immediately attracted to the extra large windows and light. The open space really allows me to to think. It’s almost like I have no limits to my ideas because of the open-ness, the tall ceiling height and the light. It’s absolutely bright all day from morning to night.

Addye’s Live/work loft on N. 13th St. in the Loft District, Philadelphia | Photo: Theresa Stigale

TS: Where did you grow up and where did you study art?
AD: I grew up in Allentown, PA and moved to Philly in 1988 to go to school at the Hussian School of Art. I studied Commercial Art/Graphic Design. It wasn’t until my senior year that we started using computers so I mostly learned graphic design by hand. When we first used the computers, the program was called Freehand and I still use it today. That was way before Illustrator, which everyone uses now. When I was younger, I also studied art at home under my mother’s influence.

TS: Who inspired you to become an artist?
AD: My mother, Joyce Durant. She was an artist and master tailor. She made the majority of my clothing (and my sister’s too) until she passed away in ’97. Our house was constantly filled with creative energy. My sister Crystal is also my inspiration. She’s is a really talented artist and DJ in NYC. She’s also sings every week in a place called the Loser’s Lounge in Joe’s Pub.

Yay 9! characters on display in the studio | Photo: Theresa Stigale

TS: Tell us about your Yay 9! brand characters: Lulu, Joyce and Violet & Sid. What did you have in mind when creating these characters?
AD: Joyce, LuLu, Violet, and Sid are super cute 9 year olds who have found their Yays….thus the name Yay 9! Yays are moments, people, places, and things that bring you joy, relief, or plain old just make your day – or make your Yay! I created them out of a need for a new kind of cute, while also reflecting facets of myself, my mother and sister. Our parents taught us to embrace our uniqueness, stick to our guns, and keep a positive attitude no matter what is thrown our way. That’s a large part of the Yay attitude.

TS: What’s your favorite color and art material?
AD: PURPLE! I love working with Swarovski crystals, acrylics (both plastics and paints), and all types of craft materials.

Swarovski crystal hair ornaments created by Addye Durant | Photo: Theresa Stigale

TS: I see a variety of branded products like tees, stickers, buttons, and hair accessories. What’s your bestseller?
AD: My tees are my best seller, by far. I also create other lines besides YAY 9, including the “Badass Black Chicks” tees (they also come in “White”, “Yellow” and “Brown”). I have a mantra for that line. It’s designed for that chick that sticks to her guns, defies stereotypes, lives with stye and purpose, is ahead of her time and always keeps you guessing; and for these qualities we thank her! She is loved for being her true self and embraces her uniqueness.

Addye and her team | Photo: Theresa Stigale

TS: How did you come up with the name Joyfantastic?
AD: It’s a word that the artist Prince created and used in his lyrics. It’s both a noun and adjective–plus my middle name is Joy and my Mom’s name was Joyce, so it seemed like a great name for my business.

The “Prince” Desk, decoupage, created by Addye Durant | Photo: Theresa Stigale

TS: Speaking of Prince, I love this desk that that you decoupaged with photos of him. What’s the deal with you and Prince?
AD: Prince is my creative inspiration. His music has kept me company throughout my whole life, from adolescence into adulthood. Not to mention that he is such an accomplished musician. I actually met him a couple of times. The first time I came in contact with him was when he pulled me up onstage at a concert in Minneapolis. I was at Paisley Park. So hey, Prince, if you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by and check out your desk!

About the author

Theresa Stigale was born and raised in Southwest Philly. She earned a B.B.A. from Temple University in 1983. Theresa is a photographer as well as a licensed Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker, developer and instructor. In the past ten years, she has documented the loft conversion projects that she and her partners have completed in Philadelphia, from stately old abandoned warehouses covered with graffiti to vintage factories, some still active with manufacturing. Visit her web site at TheresaStigalePhotography.com.

Send a message!



2 Comments


  1. Talented, groovin’, generous of spirit, wonderful. In an often shockingly mean spirited and selfish world, Addye Durant is a quietly powerful explosion of joy. Her work with Yah 9! will take the world by storm, you can bet on that, and it all started in her loft in Center City, Philadelphia.

  2. Addye, I am a graduate of Hussian as well, and now work in the admissions department. I am trying to get back in touch with alumni, and I would really love to speak with you! We shared your story and article on the Hussian Facebook page, and wish you all the best! Please feel free to give me a call sometime at the school 215-574-9600 ext 211

Trackbacks

  1. On Helping Others Make Their Dream a Reality | ButterflyConfessions
Recent Posts
Haunting Holmesburg Prison

Haunting Holmesburg Prison

October 31, 2014  |  Last Light

It's Halloween and we've rounded up the work of seven photographers for a super-sized photo essay on creepy Holmesburg Prison. Enjoy! > more

Temple’s Next 15 Years

Temple’s Next 15 Years

October 31, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Temple releases latest plan, Bartram’s Mile fully funded, Penn Museum official talks up Philly as World Heritage City material, and senior living center in Roxborough opens > more

Bid Process Reveals Uncertain Future For Delaware Power Station

Bid Process Reveals Uncertain Future For Delaware Power Station

October 30, 2014  |  Developing Challenges, News

Bids for purchase and redevelopment of the Delaware Power Station are due Monday at 5PM. What will they tell us about the monumental building's future? Ryan Briggs talks to some experts and considers the future of this part of the Delaware waterfront > more

The Case For Logan Square

The Case For Logan Square

October 30, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Why the current thinking about the Parkway’s transformation needs to be more ambitious, development anxiety in Powelton Village, Brickstone’s latest acquistions in Midtown, and Councilwoman gets her district office > more

Saying Goodbye To Stokes House

Saying Goodbye To Stokes House

October 29, 2014  |  News

The end is near for the Stokes house of Holme Circle. Despite efforts by a local civic association to save the 19th century stone farmhouse at 2976 Welsh Road, it will be razed any day now for new residential development. Hidden City co-editor Michael Bixler took a trip out to Holmesburg to bid the building a fond farewell > more

Getting A Pedestrian-Driven Main Street Right In Center City

Getting A Pedestrian-Driven Main Street Right In Center City

October 29, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Chestnut Walk as a new kind of Center City street, the multiplying effects of pop-up gardens, Penn to break ground on South Bank, and angry parents unleash on Walter Palmer > more