Oct 18, 2023

Father’s Day Gift Guide: Custom Vinyl Art, Elevated Picnic Fare and More



What T Magazine's editors and contributors are eyeing for our own paternal figures, including outdoorsy accessories and psychedelia for all the senses.

record keepers

By Kate Guadagnino

When the self-taught artist John O’Hara started experimenting with encaustic wax, heating bricks of the material with an electric pancake griddle and then applying it to wood, the glossy, textured surfaces of the resulting works reminded him of a vinyl record. So he followed the thought and used encaustic wax to paint just that. He liked the geometric simplicity of concentric circles on a square panel but decided to add one flourish: In the blank space designating the record's label, he wrote, "This Must Be the Place," and the band responsible for the iconic ’80s song, "Talking Heads." Today, O’Hara sells custom vinyl paintings about as fast as he can make them through Forsyth, the St. Louis design brand that he co-founded in 2015 (and that also sources vintage furniture pieces and reupholsters them with sumptuous fabrics). Customers choose the size, the color (options include black, red, blue and metallic 24-karat gold leaf) and, of course, the song or album. "There's a strong emotional quality to them because they’re so personal," says O’Hara, who, it seems, is not alone in having vivid memories of spinning records in his friends’ basements — the music selections tend to be dad-friendly. From $1,585,

happier trails

By Diego Hadis

The lead-up to Father's Day also marks the arrival of hiking season: a good time to consider gifts that will help your dad get on the trail — or at least to immerse himself in the natural world. One source for such items is Outlandish, the Crown Heights, Brooklyn, outfitter that opened in January. It was co-founded by Benje Williams and Ken Bernard, who are Black, expressly to encourage people of color to reconnect with the outdoors. The shop sells the necessary gear but also organizes hikes outside of the city and hosts a book club focused on works about nature by writers of color. They were inspired to open Outlandish after Williams went on a backpacking expedition — his first — in the Sierra Nevada range with his father, Benjamin, on which they encountered only two other people of color, out of dozens of hikers on the trail. Despite that, Williams says, "it felt like a restorative adventure for both of us," something he wanted to share with a wider community — and to experience again. He and his father, who hadn't gone backpacking in 40 years, have been on three more trips since.

For the adventurous dad, Williams recommends an ultralightweight stuff sack from Allmansright, whose backpacks and bags are handmade in the Bronx, or socks from the Brooklyn-based label William Ellery, which offers wool-blend pairs in nature-inspired colors with names like Chanterelle and Lichen. Another option is Patagonia's Baggies, a pair of shorts for both the beach and the mountains that come in a new pattern by the Peruvian-born, California-based textile designer Daniella Manini. For the father who prefers a more relaxed form of forest bathing, there's the Ile blanket from Ita, the British Nigerian designer Jade Akinola's outdoor goods brand — gift it with a good volume from Outlandish's book shelf, like "A Small Place" (1988), the former New Yorker writer Jamaica Kincaid's essay on her native Antigua.

Jamón at Home

By Juan A. Ramírez

When the New York-based duo of Aaron Luo and Carmen Chen Wu founded their charcuterie brand, Mercado Famous, in 2022, they were continuing a family tradition of furthering a culinary culture in a new country. Luo's grandfather, a lawyer, helped Chen Wu's grandmother establish herself in Madrid where, in 1982, she opened one of Spain's first Chinese restaurants.

Now, Luo and Chen Wu, who were both raised in Spain, want to make jamón as big a porcine staple on the American charcuterie board as its Italian and French counterparts. Sold in bright blue-and-white packages, Mercado Famous's six different offerings of ham, chorizo and salchichón are vacuum-packed, rather than sealed, which Luo says distinguishes the product from "supermarket grade" meats that need immediate refrigeration. Smoked with paprika, the Lomo Ibérico is a rich, salty treat, while the company's top-of-the-line ham, the 100% Ibérico, is cured for 48 months until it takes on a dark color and buttery taste. For Father's Day, there's the bountiful Papi Chulo bundle, including two of those offerings, plus two packages of the chorizo Ibérico.

Colorful Competition

By Megan O’Sullivan

Croquet has a long-held status — its origins date back to 14th-century France — as a game that satiates a competitive spirit with style. The sport reached the height of its popularity at the turn of the 20th century, when it was estimated that 1,300 games of croquet were played on Brooklyn's Prospect Park grounds during the summer of 1900. Around that time, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle chronicled results of monthlong tournaments and described the diversion as "a healthy and harmless pastime" (in contrast to an indoor game like chess or an activity that required "violent muscular exertion" like baseball). Armani has put its own elegant spin on the game with its Saetta set, which includes four black oak wood mallets, each marked with a primary colored stripe, four matching lacquered balls and two black wooden stakes that are used to mark each end of the playing field. The 10 aluminum wickets are finished in pale gold — it may be tempting to leave them on the lawn between games, sparkling in the sun. The game's accouterments all fit in a bag made from recycled canvas and leather, so if your dad really gets into it, he can tote his Italian-made set to lawns near and far. $4,200, available at the Armani/Casa showrooms in Miami and Los Angeles,

field trip

By Jamie Sims

This year, bypass the CBD beard oil and adaptogenic chocolates and really expand your dad's mind with psychedelic-inspired gifts. Double Blind magazine offers virtual courses on how to microdose and grow your own mushrooms (there's a seminar on trip-sitting, if you want to learn how to be a sober buddy to your dad during his psychedelic journey). For the history buff, The Source Family Scrapbook offers a deep dive into the Brotherhood of the Source, a Southern California cult led by the appropriately named Father Yod in the 1970s. He and a handful of followers played psychedelic music under the band name Ya Ho Wha 13, most of which was recorded after hours of meditation. The Brooklyn-based record label Sacred Bones has released a limited edition compilation of their songs, full of fuzzed-out guitars, spiritual incantations and improvised jams. Pair that with a signed LP of the avant-garde classic "Trio for Strings" by La Monte Young, whom the ambient musician Brian Eno called "the daddy of us all." For the psychedelic aesthete, a poster of Roger Steffens's iconic 1974 photo of the Rainbow Tunnel in San Francisco or a monograph of the artist Joe Roberts's hallucinatory paintings, "LSD Worldpeace," reissued this month by Anthology Editions, would both make great gifts. I’ll be starting my dad off slow with some low-THC Singles from Rose Los Angeles — he recently confessed to me that he's never tried cannabis — but maybe next year he’ll be up for something a little stronger.

For the Sweet tooth

By Jameson Montgomery

The original Sacher torte, a decadent Viennese dessert first created in 1832 for the court of Austria's Prince Metternich, is made by mixing egg yolks, butter and vanilla seeds with couverture chocolate (a more fluid form of chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa butter). The batter is baked, then the cake is split in half, brushed with apricot jam, rejoined, glazed and usually served topped with whipped cream. Eduard Sacher, the son of Franz, the cake's originator, founded the family's namesake hotel next to Albertinaplatz in Vienna in 1876 and served Sacher tortes in its cafe. In 1962, an Austrian court ruled that only tortes made at the Sacher Hotel (or its sister property in Salzburg that bears the same name) can be designated as "original." In 2009, the property's owners established the Sacher Artist's Collection, inviting artists to design limited-edition boxes for the tortes, with proceeds going to various charitable causes. This year, the hotels’ run of 1,000 boxes will feature a drawing by the German painter and sculptor Georg Baselitz. The image — an abstract picture of an eagle, a motif that appears throughout his work — is silk-screened onto the boxes, which are crafted from poplar wood in the eastern Austrian village of Potzneusiedl. This year, at Baselitz's suggestion, the sale of the tortes will benefit Junge Musik, an initiative that supports young students of classical music with workshops, free rehearsal spaces and concerts. The tortes are available online and in Sacher Confiseries and cafes — a welcome gift for chocolate- and art-loving dads alike. About $75,

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