Table Of Contents April 2011
24 Mike Helz
52 Alice Upton
10 Chelsea DeSilva
66 Chico 84 Hayward
4 Abstraks April 2011
8 Abstraks, Sleeping Giant
Brianna Calello Pete Cosmos Darius Loftis
6 Abstraks April 2011
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8 Abstraks April 2011
I was at Hancock Gallery recently, and it was there that I first saw Chelsea’s artwork. Looking at her work, it would be easy to assume her personality is serious but when I met her for our interview she was very sweet and about as laid back as they come. D: Explain your first introduction to art. Chelsea: Well my brother was an artist, he’s like 15 years older than me, maybe more than that. I really looked up to him, more than my other siblings. When I was little I started drawing on the back of our furniture. We had this weird triangular type shape corner where I could sneak into, and I would draw back there and eventually my parents found out. They started giving me paper and supplies to support it. D Lof: From that point on, did you have any artists or cartoons, or anything else that influenced you besides your brother? Chelsea He and I used to watch the X-Men cartoon together. I had a lot of Barbie dolls but I liked the way the women’s bodies looked ridiculously dope (laughs). Its weird, because I’m not even into girls but I was like damn these girls are fine. So I was always interested in that. Then I had my anime phase after that, and all the stuff that comes with adolescence. D: What kind of art do you follow now? Chelsea: I’m a really big fan of filmmakers as well as fine artists. I really like Matthew Barney, Michel Gondry. Painters wise, I’m a really big fan of Jennie Saville. I’m a Cindy Sherman fan, whos a photographer. It varies, I don’t corner myself into any specific type of art work. I just take a lot of random things from different places i guess.
“There can be a lot of judgments passed on women that have to do with being a doll. So there is something there content-wise, I think it kind of comes from my pysche.”
D: What type of mediums do you use, and what’s your creative process? Chelsea: A lot of times like most artists, I’ve been too poor to afford supplies. It kind of just happened that I started using found objects and recycled materials and stuff like that. What’s interesting is, my style kind of deals with things that are morbid or decaying, so using things that are used helps me. I’m trying to evolve that and not have a perfect clean cut painting. Some stuff that I make can be considered collages, other things are partially paintings and partially collages I guess. I mainly use oil paint, but there’s a lot of stuff under the layers, like wax that you would use in sculptures. I’ve used wood, I’ve used house paint, I’ve used furniture that I’ve found and made it into other things. D: Do you concentrate on the content of your paintings, or do you just free form and go with the flow of things? Chelsea: The ideas of my work are mainly about objectification and I guess it’s kind of feminist, in a way. I don’t consider myself a feminist but my work tends to be that way. There were a few pieces where I used some of my old toys and dolls. I either painted them or put them in the piece themselves. [My work] is kind of talking about my transition from childhood to womanhood and how those things kind of over lap. There can be a lot of judgments passed on women that have to do with being a doll. So there is something there content-wise, I think it kind of comes from my pysche. D: What other subject matters do you like to follow, or incorporate? Chelsea: I reference things that are kind of ironic, funny, or naive. Recently I did a nude painting of myself, and it kind of sat for a while and then it started to make me uncomfortable. Because I was like, damn that was a lot of exposure (laughs). But I graffitied ‘Hey Baby’ all over Page 13: Soul’s Food - Oil Paint and Mixed Media Page 14: [Bound] Self Portrait - Oil on Canvas
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the background. And I’m holding an apple and it’s kind of referencing Snow White. It’s kind of funny because its about getting cat-called on. Its this femme fatale thing, I think a lot of people would walk into a gallery and be like, ‘she must be so plagued by blah blah blah’. It’s kind of just meant to be ironic and funny to show that yes I am a woman but at the same time I can also laugh about it. Like some weirdos may call out to me while walking down the street, but its not a big deal. Then I also reference some other pop culture things like, Marilyn Monroe. Culturally I reference somethings like, I did a portrait of myself where I was wearing a big fruit basket hat and there were Andy Warhol bananas everywhere. I take a lot from things that I find interesting or humorous and try to put them all together so they’re just this collaboration of collateral cultural things. Cultural references that people can recognize but there’s still some ambiguity of what the piece can be about. D:You live in Cambridge. What is that like for you? Chelsea: Coming out of art school and having a studio that I can go to all the time, and now having to figure out how to work in my house fucking sucks (laughs). I have to work full time and I don’t have the time to be like, I’m going to just sit in my studio for eight hours and stare at this until something happens. I really have to motivate myself to make things and to do things that will help my career as an artist. There are definitely a lot of creative people in Cambridge but, they’re in this really hippie dippie niche. I would have to sell myself short to get into to their art scene. Its interesting because as far as people there’s a lot going on; there’s a lot of crazy people, there’s a lot of families, there’s a lot happening in Cambridge. But from a professional perspective, its a little bit of a struggle to get the things done that I’d like to get done. D: Besides the paintings that you have going on currently, what other projects do you have planned? Do you plan to stay in the realm of painting and fine art? Chelsea: I’m actually working on forming a more funny project with one of my friends. And maybe one of my other friends, where we do more experimental videos and kind of do more performative things. We want to put out things that show our personalities in maybe a three dimensional way or a four dimensional way. That’s a project we’ve been talking about for a long time that we just need
to do. We feel that we’re funny people and funny people can be intelligent, but also can have deep issues that they’re masking with humor. We want to try and delve out the most fucked up things we can, and put it into some type of performance/video thing. D: I hope that turns out well, when do you plan to start all that? Chelsea: We’ve been talking about it a lot these past couple of weeks. We’re trying to get more organized about it, and that’s the hardest part I think. Making that transition from being creative to being creative and doing things with it. Probably in the next month or so, at least one project will be done. That’s the goal, at least one project. D: It sounds like your trying to be a businesswoman, or a creative director. Chelsea: My dad is a businessman so I come from that background, that’s like structure. But I’m kind of like a space case, it’s hard to balance the two. I have some ideas about the future; possibly creating a cultural center where we will have films that are shown, and maybe a gallery, and maybe a performance space. I think at some point I would like to be a creative director. D Lof: So what are your future plans, besides the project we just spoke about? Any plans on moving? Chelsea: Towards the end of my stay at Mass Art [my paintings] started to get pretty large. I had one that was almost 7’ x 5’. I would love to make huge ass paintings with scaffolding, helpers, everything. I definitely need to move out of Massachusetts and get some outside cultural experience, I think. A few of my friends are in Beijing studying there, and I also wanted to check out Germany because I hear the art scene there is pretty awesome. So I think I need to do some traveling before I figure anything out. And eventually I want to go to grad school, so these are all plans I have in the future. D Lof: Do you plan on becoming a teacher after going to grad school? Chelsea: I was always really good in giving my friends direction as far as their work, and they’re like ‘you should become a teacher’. At the same time I hate the idea of
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just doing one thing for a long period of time. (laughs) My sister told me that I should just find a husband that works because I don’t want to work, ever. We’ll see what the future holds, I’m still young so I’ll figure it out. D Lof:You said you wanted to travel to other places, what places have you been to that have inspired you? Chelsea: I’m from New Jersey originally, and I’ve been to New York City a lot and I wouldn’t mind living up there after I figure out my shit. I’ve been to Mexico and Puerto Rico, and those places are really beautiful but I thrive in a cold and bitter environment. I feel like I need to go to Europe and check that out, because I am kind of a fan of history and it would be nice to see some old architecture and all of that good stuff. Contact:
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Mike and I have two things in common; art and coming from Dorchester. Mike is a graffiti artist, but primarily focuses on tattooing at Stingray in Allston, MA. I had the chance to interview him and came to find out he’s an easy-going guy with a passion for all kinds of music. He brings his own particular style to tattooing, with a solid background in graffiti art. D Lof: Are there any artists who influenced you or influence you still?
D: What else influences you as an artist? Like classicism, fine art…?
Mike: That would be my brother Paul, he was an artist. We’d sit down together and do this little thing called ‘Draw by Draw’. He would draw part of an image and I would copy it and eventually it would turn into something.
M: I really like Mark Ryden’s art work. I like off-the-wall, nice, kind of creep detailed stuff.
D: As of right now you’re currently working at Stingray Tattoo. Can you talk about being a tattoo artist and how you are influenced by graffiti art? M: Graffiti art has trained me to have a steady hand, when I’d draw in black books it was with a ball point pen. There’s not really much room for mistake when you’re drawing with ink and papers, there’s no erasing. I work like that a lot with my line work when I’m tattooing. As far as graffiti art painting and stuff like that, it gave me more of an understanding for color. D: Are there any graffiti artists that really inspire you? M: My friends - Alone, Alert, Kurse, Tomb, Turn - guys that are Boston based artists and that I’m crew with.
D: When creating your own personal work, do you have a planned concept? M: I pretty much just go with the flow and let it ride. When someone comes in for a [tattoo] piece, we’ll talk and settle on exactly what they want. Once we have the outline together and drawn on the skin, all of it’s straight from the top of the head. D: Does that apply to every piece you do? Graffiti and tattooing? M:Yeah, it’s pretty much all from the top of the head. I don’t really use too much reference unless it’s specific, like animals. Other than that, my own style is just off the top of the head. D: Do you follow certain trends? Like doing animals all the time, or cars all the time, for example.
D: Are you from Boston? M:Yeah I’m from Dorchester. D: What was your experience like growing up? And the art scene in Dorchester?
M: No, where I’m at with my career, I’m able to pick and choose what pieces I do. Earlier on I had to deal with a lot of walk-in flash [style] and bullshit like that. But now its more steady custom work, its pretty much mine and the customer’s say and that’s it.
M: Pretty much the art scene in Dorchester for me was getting up with my group of friends. Graffiti artists I met early on when I was first starting to write; just meeting friends through friends. Eventually I would just go out and paint with different cats, and just progressing through the years.
D: So you enjoy custom pieces more?
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M:Yeah for sure. I put my 100% in every tattoo I do but doing my own custom work is definitely the best. D: Do you find yourself leaning toward a certain style in
tattooing? M: I guess my style is kind of a dark style, like demons and zombie type scenes going on. D: I remember we talked about the kind of music you listened to, like Iron Maiden.You said you used to draw the cover as a kid, correct? M:Yes. I always closely examined all the Iron Maiden covers. Just the different things going on, I thought, were really cool and really blew my mind at a young age. D: Was that the case with other album art covers or just particularly with Iron Maiden? M: Iron Maiden and the early Pushead Metallica artwork. I was into a lot of H.R. Giger imagery and I really dug Paul Booth’s style of tattooing ‘cause it was really dark. D: What other projects do you have planned for the future? Any gallery stuff? M: Nothing at the moment coming up. Recently in the past few months I wrapped up some art work for Next T’s. Which is an outerwear branch off of Flow Snowboards in California. I also helped out with some graphics on a snowboarder’s top model - Scotty Lago. Other than that there’s nothing really coming up, just been working. D: Is designing graphics for merchandise something that you’re really into? I know there are a lot of artists who have to do that to survive. M: I’m not really too into that; I was just stoked to find that my buddy was the team manager. Flow Team came to me and asked me to do some graphic work for the snowboard and the NXTZ line. That was pretty much it, I kind of just stay to myself and do my own thing as far as painting pieces and doing tattoos.
“I’m here at the shop tattooing, and I work with a lot of great artists and there are a lot of really great artists in Boston. As far as graffiti goes, the graffiti scene in Boston has been beat down a lot by the vandal squad. Out in New York, Colorado, and California and a lot of other cities, its thriving.” D: Do you have a particular creative process? M: Not necessarily as far as going out and painting. Of course there are things that need to come into play as far as the spot we’re going to, if its hot or not, and painting either day or night. Just getting paint together and everything else that goes with that. D: What is your opinion on the Boston art scene? Have you traveled to other cities where they have amazing art work like New York, L.A. or San Francisco? M: As far as the art scene I deal with, I’m kind of in a little bubble of my own. I’m here at the shop tattooing, and I work with a lot of great artists and there are a lot of really great artists in Boston. As far as graffiti goes, the graffiti scene in Boston has been beat down a lot by the vandal squad. Out in New York, Colorado, and California and a lot of other cities, its thriving. D:You would say that’s pretty frustrating? M:Yeah.
D: Do you get much personal time to do your own paintings?
D: I hear the same thing from other artists as well. Do you see that changing possibly?
M:Yeah, my personal time pretty much comes in the summer. All my free time in the winter is snowboarding. Its kind of a little bit cold to be painting outside so once the spring and summer comes I’m out painting a lot.
M: Not really, Boston is really small and the vandal squad, they’re lead by a woman officer that should almost be a graffiti writer herself. She knows all the ins and outs of everybody’s life, so I don’t know if that’s really going to change
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even if she does retire. There are other people in line for her job; might not be as bad when she’s not around but we’ll see what happens (laughs). D: Do you get any inspiration from other cities? Like you said Boston is a small city. I guess it kind of has its own style. M:Yeah for sure, other cities definitely have their own style. As far as influence, I guess I’m just get influenced on how hard people are getting up in other cities and friends of mine and what they’re doing. When I started tattooing it was illegal in Boston so I moved out to Colorado. And when I moved out there I hooked up with SWS crew and they do a lot of stuff out in Colorado. When I moved out there Pearl and Alert came out, and we kind of influenced those guys a lot which is really cool. Of course I get influenced from fellow artists of mine. D: What are your future plans for the rest of the year, and do you have any advice for an upcoming graffiti artists or tattoo artists? M: Up and coming, there are no plans right now, I definitely want to do a lot more tattoo convention type things. Art shows always pop up, so I’m sure there will be a few of those going on this year for sure. As far as a word of advice if you’re going to be learning how to tattoo, make sure you have a good mentor and watch your line work. As far as going out and painting, just don’t get arrested (laughs). Contact: email@example.com 617-254-0666 One Harvard Ave. Allston, MA 02134
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Orchard Skateshop, a locally owned and operated skateboard and apparel boutique has quickly become a staple in the Allston Village community. Â Having moved into the old Japanese video store on Harvard Ave. from the Mission Hill neighborhood, the double decker has been transformed. Â It features a range of decks and hardware, clothes and shoes, a mini ramp open to all who are appropriately equipped and around the corner and up the stairs is a whole floor dedicated to an art gallery, fittingly known as the Extension Gallery. The gallery shares its name with the charity run by the owners, since all the commissions they make are for skate-
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boarding advocacy as well as funding for public events such as the Ringer Park Jam from June of last year. Â I had a chance to post up amidst their latest showcase and chat with co-owner, Armin Bachman who gave Abstraks the exclusive on what their agenda is for this hidden gem. Pete: How has the move from the Mission Hill area to Allston gone for you guys? Armin Bachman: The move has been for the better, there's a lot more going on here and I mean, we like mission hill but we were kind of on an island; and out here there's a bit more going on. [In Allston], there's an actual active retail community, the neighborhood has that feel where you can come here and you don't have to be coming for just
one place. Â You can come and spend all afternoon in the neighborhood; get something to eat, do some shopping, go to a show, get a tattoo, whateverâ€Ś so, we're really taken with Allston. P: Why is it so important to you guys to have an art gallery above the store and how did the idea come about? AB: We've always [appreciated] the natural correlation
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between skateboarding and art, they both have appreciation for the small things. We used to have a gallery integrated into the old shop, it wasn't the space we have now, it only had 550 sq ft, when we had openings it would end up maxed out at like 50 people and when we were looking for a new space, it took over a year. The main focus was to find space for the mini ramp and when we found this spot the space up here was just the icing on the cake. [Eventually], one thing lead to another and it helped us really formalize our charitable efforts that we already had going, it kinda tied everything together. Â The gallery is called the Extension Gallery which shares the same name as the charity we founded called the Extension charity, which is basically our efforts to make skateboarding more accessible in the city. So, there's some skateboard advocacy stuff, some donation programs, we're looking to get some college scholarships set up for skateboarders; so our commissions from our art sales get reinvested 100%
44 Abstraks April 2011
in the skate scene. P: How has the turnout of art enthusiasts been since you moved to Allston? Do you guys have a lot of artists submitting ideas for the gallery or do you find artists you like and are familiar with? What's the process for finding new artists to showcase? AB: Its a mixâ€Ś We definitely have artists we really admire as well as some of our friends and it works out into some of the shows that way, sometimes its just totally out of the blue like these guys here, [individuals] live in the neighborhood and are kinda friends of friends and one thing led to another. Â We like to have a place to showcase work from our friends and also get introduced to all the different artists in the neighborhood and have the opportunity to help the art scene in the city grow a bit more; so we definitely take submissions from everybody. We try to keep a focus on the artwork making you wanna come revisit it; where
it'll take a couple visits to soak it in and we're fortunate enough to have such a unique space with the three different rooms, that the possibilities are limitless as far as what you create up here so when we work with an artist we ask them to come up with some kind of concept [on how they] would utilize the space.
miers, art showcases and will feature many more outdoor events such as the Ringer Park Jam this summer. Contact: www.orchardshop.com 156 Harvard Ave in Allston. 617-782-7777
P: What's the future of the gallery? Are there any plans to separate it from the store and have it stand on its own or will it always remain as an attraction for the store? AB: We want it to be able to stand on its own and be known as just the Extension Gallery, as the efforts with the charity grow and the seeds we've planted grow and things develop we'll build more of an identity for the gallery but it'll always be attached to Orchard. Orchard regularly runs events, skate demos, video pre-
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Currently exhibiting at Orchard’s gallery is the !ND!V!DUALS. Check out their bio and see what they are all about.
!ND!V!DUALS is an art collective based locally dabbling in the salvaged wood and scrap material game to bring forth a glance into the imagination of a child and craftsmanship of a man's man. Featured at the Extension Gallery at Orchard Skateshop on Harvard Ave in Allston, Abstraks had an exchange of electronic mail with the !ND!V!DUALS to get to the bottom of this creature conundrum. !ND!V!DUALS was founded in Boston in 2003 and includes Luke O'Sullivan (MFA RISD '09), Colin Driesch (BFA MassArt 06'), Dominic Casserly (BFA MassArt '06), Andrew Meers, (BFA MassArt 06') and Winston MacDonald (BS Boston University 08'). Using primarily sculpture and Installation, they have exhibited in New York city,
at Bonnaroo music and arts festival in Tennessee, and throughout New England. !ND!V!DUALS live and work in Boston, MA. Using salvaged material we create sculptural installations occupied by large-scale or life-size characters and creatures. We have been influenced on varying levels by 1990's cartoons, animations, along with set designs and films. Creatures and anthropomorphic beasts have been the focus of our study, but compliment a mutual interest in creating environments and transformative art experiences. The narratives are fairly open, but encourage our viewers to be transported into the world of our sculptures. Lovesick Café” at Orchard Skateshop Extension Gallery is
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a delicious blend of savory insides and salvaged decor. We are proud to serve the freshest locally grown, sustainable, organic cuisine. (warning) The employees are predators and are not to be disturbed. The cute, prickly, green furballs are savages. This Summer we will be creating an installation at Bonnaroo music and arts festival for our fifth year. And later in the summer/fall 2011 we will be exhibiting at 4rth Wall Project in Boston. Be sure to check out our website for information about future shows and images.Â Contact: www.individualscollective.com
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I’ve been fortunate to watch Alice grow as an artist since we were about 13 years old; in fact I’m pretty sure we met in art class. We are local kids; we grew up in Saugus, where the art department in public schooling was mostly pushed aside. There were times when we had to hope art classes would be offered the following year, and after our influential art teacher left during our Junior year the art department crumbled pretty bad for a bit. Alice and I were far too determined by our own ambitions to be deterred. There are some people born to make art, I’ve always seen Alice as one of these people, and as she finishes her bachelor’s degree at Mass Art I can’t help but be incredibly proud of her. I have high hopes for her future as an artist and make-up artist. Brianna: Can you talk about some of your influences, be “I think the most important they artists, daily life, or your heritage? Is there one artist that has played a big role in your life? part is figuring out initially if your concept is even a concept, Alice: I would say just being inspired every day by things I see, whether it be patterns, shapes, colors, people with if it even makes sense to other funky style, anything. All of that stuff inspires me because it’s all about being an artist constantly, looking around people… how to communicate and seeing how you can make something better, or how it. I think these are things that that design doesn’t work, or why those colors work. Inspiration comes from my uncle as well, not directly, but happen more in the head than because he had no shoes growing up, he had no money; they were pretty poor so to see that my uncle really on paper.” made something out of himself definitely inspires me. He just created this huge museum/gallery/café in Okinawa, it’s huge, and it cost millions to make. He really made it big out of nothing. I think a lot of people think about the “starving artist” and I think that is more of a stereotype, and it makes me mad because you don’t have to be a starving artist, it’s up to you, you know what I mean? Kat Von D also, I admire her “I don’t give a fuck” type of attitude, because not a lot of people have that, including myself. I just think she’s very talented. B: Do you have any mentors at Mass Art that have played a big role in your life?
right now I have a teacher named Scott Bakal, he played a big role in the illustration scene. He was vice president of society of the illustrators, I believe. He’s just very involved in the illustration community as a whole. He’s young and very business orientated as well as being an artist. A lot of the teachers at my school are older and more traditional [and that’s both] good and it’s bad. I mean they’re not up to date with digital artwork and they don’t really accept that type of thing. So it’s good to have someone like Scott, and other teachers that are young who can accept it and give good advice on how to market your work, to help you be a businessperson as well as an artist.
A: I wouldn’t say any that played a big role in my life, but
B: I know for me the past couple years have really shaped
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me as an artist as I near graduating, I’ve really honed in on the way process plays a big role in the final result, how is your creative process? A: It gets a little hard for me to explain because I work with multiple mediums, it’s a different process for everything. I think the most important part is figuring out initially if your concept is even a concept, if it even makes sense to other people… how to communicate it. I think these are things that happen more in the head than on paper. To be honest with you, I really don’t sketch much. I do multiple thumbnails sometimes just to make sure the final will work out compositionally. I think as long as I am very sure in my head about color and tone choices, I’ll be happy with the final piece. B: Can you talk about your senior thesis work, Pinups: The Reality of The Fantasy. A: I mean at first I didn’t realize what I was getting into, I was just fascinated with pinups, but through researching it I realized there was so much more than “pretty smile, long legs”. It was a symbol of innocence; it was something for soldiers to look up to, to want to protect someone so innocent and naïve. It was a way to get the soldiers home, it was also representing a change in the time; women of that time weren’t necessarily looking like those pinups, they were starting to wear pants and starting to work in the factories to take over jobs for men. It was also unfortunately what the soldiers were seeing, and they were thinking they were preserving what was. When really it was the total opposite here. I also went into researching femininity in general and how important it is for a woman to have her hair or even looking at the women in the holocaust, and how little things took away their femininity. The Nazis would perform scientific procedures on them to figure out what type of medicines would work, so they would gash their legs, infect them with germs, anything that to see how they would react to it. To see a pinup with her legs as the most feminine aspect of her, and then to see a woman with her leg gashed up is interesting because you can compare the different realities of the time. So that is why my project was called, “Pinups: The Reality of The Fantasy” …Or vice versa. B:You are also a make-up artist; does this go hand-in-hand with your work? Do they influence each other?
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“I see myself as successful, hopefully doing the things that I am planning to do, without much in the way. Being a happy person, and constantly staying inspired.” A:Yes, and that is sort of why I’m starting to work towards a beauty/fashion and lifestyle portfolio because I want a way that my two worlds can collide. I feel like I go to art school and I get my hands dirty, and then I go to work as a make-up artist and I have to have my nails clean and look presentable, it’s two different worlds. If I can focus my work towards fashion, which I do naturally, then I think it’s definitely worth it because the two can go hand-in-hand. B: It’s 2011, have you ever felt as though you still have to prove yourself a little as a woman or do you feel that feminist ship has sailed? A: I think in 2011 women have even more power and should have even more confidence. Even in the media… Beyonce sings Single Ladies and Ne-Yo sings Miss Independent. It’s all motivating us to be what we, in America, can be. I think we should take that and fucking go with it, because I think women have just as much power as men do these days. B: How do you feel about the Boston art scene? Both in general, and in comparison to some of the places you may have traveled to. A: It’s definitely smaller, I don’t think as many people accept or maybe are just more ignorant about art, because most of Boston is pretty conservative. It doesn’t make me not want to live in Boston, especially with the type of work that I do. I find my inspiration mostly online, and of course most of it roots from New York City. It doesn’t un-inspire me but I definitely don’t think it’s as creative of a place as New York or other parts of the world. B: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A: I see myself as successful, hopefully doing the things that I am planning to do, without much in the way. Being a happy person, and constantly staying inspired. And hopePage 60-61: Pin Up - Acrylic on Found Wood Page 60-61: Foot Locker - Acrylic on Wood April 2011 Abstraks 63
fully not getting burnt out, hopefully finding that happy middle ground where I don’t get burnt out as an artist and decide I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m going to try not to do that in life. B: Anything you want to add? A: People should know that I may look girly; I may love make-up, and lashes, and lipstick, but it’s not about materialism, it’s much more than that. If I wear lipstick that is bright pink it’s because I love the color, it’s because I love the way the color contrasts with the eye shadow, it’s all about art. It’s all about art, and I’m going to leave it at that. Contact: http://aliceuptonillustration.blogspot.com/ <http://aliceuptonillustration.blogspot.com/> “Like” Alice Upton Make-Up Artist on Facebook.
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Josh “Chico” Josh “Chico” Torres Torres
When I first met Chico, I was in Stingray asking if someone could look at my sketchbook. He took some time and sat down with me and really gave me a great critique. Since then I’ve hung out with him outside of Stingray, and have really come to see him as a friend and as an artist I respect. It was a blast to have the chance to interview him and find out about his past, present and future in art. D Lof: When and what was your first experience with art?
figured that would help me as an artist. D: Can you talk about some of your influences?
Chico: About Kindergarden and I was about 5 years old, and it was my grandmother who used to sit and watch Bob Ross. That was my introduction to it, I would sit next to her and draw stick figures and shit [laughs]. But that was my first introduction into art, my grandmother’s influence as an artist.
Chico: Not too much outside of my grandmother. Art was kind of a self expression. Outside of running the streets with some of my home boys doing graffiti, it was kind of like I wasn’t really exposed to a lot of fine art or a lot of avenues to direct me. In high school I took some art classes but it was really kind of a joke, it was high school art. I didn’t really get into being D: Were you really focused on art throughout trained for what I do now, until my early 20’s. middle and high school or not really? One of the O.G.’s around the scene this dude Ese (Jimmy Vierez) from back in the day. He kind C: I did it but it was more of a side thing. I used of took me under his wing and I started doing it for a outlet for emotions. In my mid-teens I started doing some graffiti stuff so that’s when I murals at clubs on Landsdowne. I started taking started taking art a little more seriously. Up until graffiti to city street walls, to canvas, and at the time I started branching into photorealism. I see then it was something that I could do to pass a lot more shapes and shadows than I do actual the time or do for art class. design work, so like characters I was never really into. With his help I kind of warped my style, and D:You’re currently an artist at Stingyray tattoo used spray paint to get that photorealistic look. and you mentioned you did graffiti. Are there Which back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s any other genres of art that you’ve worked in? nobody was really doing. It was like me, him, and a couple of years later a couple of European C: I did everything pretty much, I did fine art cats came out, and they started killing it. What stuff, I did graffiti, illustrative stuff. As I got older I was doing back then doesn't even come close I got more into fine art. I ended up going to to what these guys are doing, but it was good to college for that. I went to the Museum of Fine be on the forefront of a new kind of style. There Arts [School]. I wanted to get into animation and stuff until I found out how much of a pain in were no rules to it, and I had nobody to look to the ass it was, and how much work was involved. for examples or reference cause it was all brand new and cool. I tried to cover it all, and all the styles because I Page 69: Untitled - Tattoo
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D:Yeah, when it comes to European graffiti art, it’s completely out of this world the things they do. Do you still follow graffiti now, or even incorporate it in your own art when you get the chance to create a piece?
“I like to touch upon all styles and everything, and its makes you well rounded and it helps you grow.”
C: Not really. I do use some of the graffiti aspect that I learned to do custom script, and different styles of lettering I do in tattooing. It’s not too often that I get to sit down and start to sketch out some graffiti style stuff. These days it’s more taking photorealism and illustrating it a bit.
when I got comfortable with what I was doing I started getting into the photorealism stuff which is what I like to do. Anytime I can add a little bit of both to set shit off, it works out well.
D: Talk about your start in tattooing and how you’ve gotten to where you are. C: One of my boys was a tattoo artist and he had seen one of my art shows that I was getting ready to do, and he started begging me to tattoo. I didn’t really know anything about it, and I got tattooed but I really didn’t put any serious thought into it. At that time my boy who kind of took me under his wing had moved to LA. He started a company doing music videos and movie sets, and T.V. commercials. I was planning on moving back to L.A. and doing that, and it came down to right before I left, my boy was begging me again to do it. So I said before I leave and end up doing this, I might as well learn a trade that I can take and do something with. But my initial thought was I don’t want to touch people, I don’t want to shave people, I don’t want to deal with people’s blood.You get over it pretty quick, you think about the art more than who you’re touching or what you’re doing. That was a pretty quick hurdle to get over, but I ended up falling in love with it and just kind of pushed myself. It was a new medium for me to conquer and master, and I’m 4 plus years deep right now. I’m learning new techniques, new avenues, new color schemes, so its a constant growth process that I’m going through which is good. I started off doing more pop arty illustrative stuff, and Page 70: Untitled - Tattoo Page 72: Untitled - Tattoo
D: With so many styles in tattooing like Japanese, Chicano, Americana, etc. Is there one that you prefer the most, or just straight up custom? C: It’s funny because as an artist and a person you’re always evolving and always growing. And you’re always finding new things to influence you through your life, and your artwork matures. For me to say what style that I’m into or what I’m doing, it’s a constant evolution, it constantly changes. The more I learn the better I get, which influences my path. Where I say I started off doing illustrative, pop arty stuff like hard lines, using a lot of graffiti influence has now become no lines and photorealism stuff. I like to touch upon all styles and everything, and its makes you well rounded and it helps you grow. Here at Stingray you have to do everything because there is such a wide spectrum of people getting tattooed and asking for different styles of work. What I like to do is photorealism with a bit of illustrative touch to it, what I will do is everything. D: Are you originally from Boston? C: Nah I’m originally from L.A. and my parents are from the east coast. I was out there for a little while and then I came back to the Boston area. But I say I grew up in Boston, because that’s where my ideas kind of became mature and my life experiences that I take with me kind of started off when I was in my mid-teens. It kind Page: 73: Untitled - Tattoo Page: 74: Untitled - Tattoo April 2011 Abstraks 71
of opened my eyes up to a lot of things. D Lof: Future wise, what are your plans? D: L.A. has a huge graffiti and tattoo scene of its own, what are your thoughts on the art coming out of that area? Chico: Two totally different styles.You have the southern Cali style stuff, a lot of black and grey, cholo stuff, soft shading, and beautiful work. I was heavily influenced by that about a year or two ago. I was trying to get on that Jose Lopez level, all that stuff is really cool. The mexican brush art lettering is dope, I get into that cause that stuff is tight as fuck. All the Aztec art is really cool, and the clown stuff is alright. I don’t really feel it as much as the traditional Aztec stuff or what they’re doing with a lot of their black and grey. Like Mr. Cartoon I give him props, but there’s a place for that work and it’s just not in my heart. But I respect it and give credit where credit is due. Those dudes are doing their thing. D Lof: Can the readers catch you at any of the tattoo conventions coming up, or anywhere else in the future?
Chico: Future wise, snowboarding [laughs]. But really though I’m just going to keep going with my tattooing, I don’t want to be a slave on the grind with it. I’d like to be able to get to a point where I’m doing all my custom work on my own. A tattoo or 2 a day would be perfect for me. I’d like to get to that point so I can have more free time and do the other things that I love to do. I’d love to be on the mountain at least 4 days a week, I’d like to travel a lot, and I’d like to invest in other things like artwork or tattoo shops. Anything that’s going to give me financial freedom, and eventually get to tattoo when I want and spend time with my family and do all that kind of stuff. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 617-254-0666 One Harvard Ave. Allston, MA 02134
Chico:Yeah, I did the Boston convention last year, and I’ll probably do the Boston and Philly conventions next year. Right now I’m just kind of traveling around looking to do guest spots all around the country, maybe outside the country like Spain, or Japan. It’s starting to all happen for me now, I’m starting to get my walking legs. I’m comfortable being able to spread my wings and get out there. The past couple of years for me have been training and learning and trying to get my legs up. But for me it’s really young right now, so anybody who wants to give me guest spots let me know. I’m just really trying to get out there, cause my work is only getting better, and it’s maturing everyday. In the next 4 or 5 years when I hit my 10 year mark I’ll be comfortable where I’m at. Page: 75: Untitled - Tattoo Page: 76: Untitled - Tattoo April 2011 Abstraks 77
Artists are always looking for ways to get themselves out there, and to have organizations and companies back them up. It can be difficult because many artists donâ€™t know where to start, or who to ask to help out. We here at Abstraks have found some people willing to help those artists out. Glovebox is an artists community that partners with over 150 emerging and established artists to gain exposure for local art and culture. They have been successful in doing this through exhibitions, community and charity involvement, and networking. Glovebox was established in 2007 by Jodie Baehre and Liz Comperchio. Their process of helping artists is pairing them up with neighborhood businesses/organizations so that both parties benefit from the art exhibition. They assist the artists in each show from conception to completion, and help to teach emerging artists to market themselves. Above: Chairs at Twelve Chairs, art by Kate Castelli close up of installation and party
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Gloveboxâ€™s latest project, coming up in April, is an exhibit with Twelve Chairs from the Fort Point area. This event will help local artists to exhibit work in their studio space. They also plan to partner up with the AIB (Art Institute of Boston) Illustration & Animation department for their senior show. The two departments are coming together to feature in one show, and Glovebox will help the Senior artists with: submitting work, writing and sending bios, photographing and emailing images of work, mounting/ framing work professionally, etc. On June 11 of this year, they are having their first Short Film & Animation Festival. As of right now entries are pouring in to feature films and animations, they plan to make this into an amazing event that will take place at the Somerville Theatre. As for the future plans for Glovebox, they look forward to progressing and expanding their network. They intend to bring on board for their staff a part-time or full-time Page 81 Top: Glovebox artist Ari Haubens working being featured at MFA opening of new Art of the Americas wing
director to operate Glovebox year-round. They plan to continue to help more artists, expand their website, daily blog posts, and expand to other cities like New York. In the meantime though, they are planning a huge fundraiser to celebrate their newly acquired Non-Profit status. Whatever else they accomplish, theyâ€™ll continue to nurture and grow a community of artists who support each other. Contact: www.gloveboxboston.com email@example.com Liz Comperchio: firstname.lastname@example.org Jodie Baehre McMenamin: email@example.com
Left Bottom: Somerville Theatre where theyâ€™re having their film festival in June April 2011 Abstraks 83
Hayward Meyers is a man who is constantly on the move, and always looking straight ahead. He’s been fortunate enough to follow his childhood dreams of becoming a comic book artist. He also has his own business revolving around comic books. I sat down with Hayward and got some insight into what it is like in this busy man’s world. D Lof: Explain the type of art that you're involved in.
like some of the work is digital and some ink.
Hayward: First and foremost I'm an illustrator but I lean more towards the comic book side of illustration. I grew up with comic books, I watched all types of TV shows that revolved around comic books, and that's basically what I grew up off of. Even before I went to college to learn art, comic books were always on my mind before I learned how to paint. I thought what if I could incorporate comics with painting, but for the most part professors hated comic books, and were more into fine arts. We had plenty of great friendly debates in class [laughs]. I've been pretty much drawing my whole life ever since I was about 5 years old and I remember receiving a spanking for drawing on the wall in my aunt’s room. And here I thought I was doing her a favor with my markers [laughing].
H: Well for the Severed Head Comic Book cover I drew then scanned the image into Photoshop. But I still use traditional media even though I haven't used it as of late. I'm familiar with all mediums acrylic, oil, watercolor, etc, I’ve used them all. If I'm working on an image for comics I won't do pencils, because I hate smudged so I draw with pen. I treat the pen as a paintbrush and don't worry about mistakes; with me there are no mistakes, just convenient accidents.
D: What comic books do you find yourself reading, or what comic books did you read as a child?
D: It's sick, I recommend it.
H: I went from old school Kirby Marvel, Spiderman and Hulk, to Jim Lee’s X-men, to Spawn. Even a little bit of Japanese Anime in school. Anime was new and inspiring to me, it was like having an "eyegasim" when I first saw "Fist of the north Star", then "Street Fighter", the anime movie. The Japanese culture had manga books where the art was in a class all by itself, so I adopted it for a little while and thought ‘I'm gonna master this anime stuff’, until I a good friend of mine in college ruined it for me and showed me a comic book called "Battle Chasers" illustrated by Joe Madureira. I wanted to set fire to that book. [laughs] But nah, Joe had that style mastered to a science, so I was thinking I'll try something new. It wasn't about being discouraged, but more like reinventing my style. D: What are the types of mediums you use, since you're pulling from all of these different genres of art? It looks Page: 87: Guykoden Cover - Digital Page: 88: Fuzzy Slay -
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D: Are there other mediums you plan to experiment with? H: To be totally honest with you, I don't know yet. I'll come across something that will be cool and I'll dabble in it. oh maybe airbrushing.
H: I had a kit, years ago I think my uncle bought for me before I knew anything about airbrushing. I had to be about 10 or 11 yrs old when I got my first badger airbrush, but my grandmom was not trying to let me use it in the house. Who ever bought me that badger airbrush just wanted to set me up for another beating 5 years down the line. [laughs] D: Do you look at a lot of other art? H: Whatever catches my eye it doesn't matter. It could be a train wreck for all I care. It's whatever is out of the ordinary for me. I guess that is where my brain goes into sci-fi mode. Just looking at a stack of books could be art to me because I look at the contours. When I read I don't see words, I see the shapes of the words. The word "and" looks like a racecar at side profile to me.
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D: What's your current situation with Severed Head Comics, and working in the comic book industry? H: Severed Head Comics is an independent collective. Working with them is cool, there's really no pressure, which I think is a good thing because it allows artists to be more creative, but there are deadlines of course. It's about pacing yourself, but working with the art director Josh Faulkenberge has been a very cool experience so far, because he is like-minded and is passionate about the "Guykoden" project I'm involved in. Matter of fact, you will see the finished product at the Boston Comic Con that will take place in April. I'm excited, Josh is excited, everyone that is part of Severed Head is excited to display their talents. If anyone is interested in working with Severed Head Comics; artists, writers, everyone is welcomed to collaborate or get their stuff out there! D: What future projects do you have planned? Or any side projects you have going on right now? H: Aside from Severed Head, another organization I'm working with is Black Envelope. I'm designing and illustrating the look of a four part saga called “Cyphrons”. Talk about sci-fi to the fullest. "Cyphrons" you will hear more about soon. I'm working with a brilliant man who goes by the name Robert Dunbar who wrote these books. You see how "Lord of the Rings and "Harry Potter" and " Star Wars" have so many parts? “Cyphrons” is of the same caliber, but different. Something this big requires big moves, which are and will be done by summer so I'm excited about that. I'm also putting together my portfolio to execute big plans for myself for when I move out west, but my main project right know is Worp, a website geared for artists, writers, and creative people; such as myself and other fans of comics, movies, and video games. I'm mostly excited about Worp which will be coming soon, I have a lot of people and fans waiting for something like this, so you can see I'm a busy man, and I haven't even scratched the surface. D: Congratulations! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Music is art in itself, but album art is not without merit, it is on its own, a captivating medium. Defcon is a Hip Hop group that has an album coming out at the end of April. And if you look at the album art it might look familiar, the artist is Taj Campman, featured in our previous issue. Heâ€™s also one of the members from the musical group, along with Subtex and Outwrite. The group has been together for over 3 years, and has released 2 other albums. D Lof: How does the album cover relate to your music? Taj: Well the album is called Grey Sky Appeal. The album is all about the human condition, and embracing the good and the bad. Itâ€™s about everyoneâ€™s inherent attraction to darkness, and finding inspiration in hardship. For the album
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cover we came up with three iconic images (plane, pigeon and pin-up girl) that we felt represented the message of the record. D: What was the inspiration for the album art? T: I drew inspiration for the album cover from a lot of sources. We started by looking at old pilot badges, and bomber jacket emblems. That is where I got inspiration for the overall aesthetic of the cover. Also, old propaganda posters, pin-up girls, and industrial revolution era advertising. The images that spoke to me all came from very difficult periods in history, but in some way the images offered hope or at least an escape. That is what I tried to capture in the cover.
D: Does the album art give an outsider an idea of what the album is about before they listen? T: I think the album art gives the music context. It sets the tone, without being too obvious. Of course you can enjoy the record without the art and vice versa, but having them together gives a complete representation of how we intended our art to be absorbed. I think album art is very devalued these days, and having a visual component to a listening experience is important. D: How does the album art represent the music group as a whole, does the style of the album represent the group? T: This album is very personal for all three of us. It rep-
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resents the last year and a half of our lives. It has been the greatest time of our lives and in many ways the most challenging. We have all gone through different hardships and experiences, and the music was the place where we came together to heal. So, yes, the album art represents our process. And each of the three images holds special meaning for each one of us, and hopefully to our fans. We have spent a lot of time trying to figure out new avenues to promote and market our product. Be on the look out for tons of hilarious promo videos, animations, clothing and limited addition posters of the three album images, that come with download codes for the record. Contact: http://facebook.com/defconhiphop