IN THIS ISSUE FEATURES
EATS Purgatory Pizza...pg.49
All Def All Day.............pg.10 Cage One....................pg.14
Vyal One....................pg.27 Adam Espira..............pg.32
THE ARTIST BOX
Shrine...................pg.44 The Mccarricks....pg.46 Art! The Magazine | 1
Full (dott but w
Specializing in Employment and Labor Law Litigation Wrongful Termination Workplace Discrimination Sexual Harassment Disability Discrimination Pregnancy Discrimination National Origin Sexual Orientation Racial Discrimination Overtime Pay Rest & Meal Breaks Tip Pooling Commission Wages Employee Status Vacation Pay
Carney R. Shegerian, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
Arbitration 225 Arizona Avenue, Suite 400 Santa Monica, California 90401 www.shegerianlaw.com Telephone: (310) 860‐0770 Facsimile: (310) 860‐0771 2 | Art! The Magazine
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THE CARTOONCENTRIC OF
I GUESS YOU’D CITE GETTING TO DRAW TANK
JASON DAYGLOW From fanzines, to Tank Girl and beyond… Brit artist RUFUS DAYGLO has his art-ray set to stun! WHERE AND HOW WERE YOU RAISED? My family moved a lot when I was a kid: to North America, Europe, Japan and the Antipodes, so I got exposed to many different cultures, and Pop cultures. We were like a post-modern Swiss Family Robinson, but with more Lego. My parents were quite creative so I was definitely encouraged to draw and generally live in a fantasy world! DID THE WAY YOU WERE RAISED HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON YOU BECOMING AN ARTIST? Definitely. Living in North America, and especially Japan, I was exposed to everything from Mad magazine, to Mobile Suit Gundam. The Japanese comics and anime blew my mind. I was a huge Star Wars fan, so to discover all the different amazing Japanese series such as Fang Of The Sun Dougram, Sun Vulcan, GoLion, Gundam, Xabungle, Ideon, and Gatchaman was just insane! I also loved US comics like Sgt. Rock, GI Combat, Weird war, and the Unknown Sodier –any comic where Nazis died violently in a stream of Tommy gun bullets. WERE YOU SURROUNDED BY ART BOOKS WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? [Not art books as such, but] my Dad gave me a Ronald Searle [Brit artist and satirical cartoonist] book when I was tiny about the character Nigel Molesworth, and I was hooked. Dad also bought me Star Wars and 2000 AD comics, which got me started wanting to be an artist; he explained that if I practiced I could draw them too when I grew up. Which was like a diamond bullet through my tiny cranium – people get PAID to draw? I consider myself to be really lucky [to get such advise]. We also had a lot of National Geographic magazines, and other cool stuff, and Mum always bought us paper and pens. WHAT WERE YOUR EARLIEST INFLUENCES? The original Star Wars films were definitely the things that got me hooked. I had an ‘Art of Star Wars’ book, and would pour over the Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnson designs. Then it was 2000 AD, the seminal [Brit] sci-fi comic: I loved Mick McMahon, Brett Ewins,
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Brendan McCarthy, Gary Leach, Carlos Ezquerra and Ron Smith’s amazingly different art styles – yet they were ALL quintessentially 2000 AD. It felt inclusive and yet exclusive – it was my bar to measure art by. I also loved Mort Drucker and Jack Davis in MAD Magazine, they drew the ridiculous film spoofs, and they were both master caricaturists and storytellers. Drucker is a fucking genius and utterly under appreciated. And finally Ronald Searle, Britain’s finest cartoonist, he’s the creator of Nigel Molesworth, St. Trinian’s and a host of other offerings. His line-work and characters just sing with life. He was unique and absolutely brilliant. My other big influence was Japanese toys made by such companies as Clover, Bandai, Popy, and Tomy. The robots were amazing: brightly coloured, heavy, and bristling with weapons, laser swords, lances and guns. I wanted to be a giant robot when I grew up.
“My other big influence was Japanese toys made by such companies as Clover, Bandai, Popy, and Tomy.”
GIRL AS YOUR BIGGEST BREAK, SO WHEN AND HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? The great thing about being an artist is no one expects you to grow up. Well it wasn’t a ‘break’ as such: it was more kinda symbiotic. I was drawing for 2000 AD and IDW [publishing], and in a moment of boredom and procrastination was looking on EBAY. I saw an ‘unpublished’ copy of a Tank Girl script by Alan Martin (Tank Girl writer) for sale, and on a whim bought it – for £5 [$8]. And lo and behold, it was Alan selling it. He was working in a pub in Berwick [UK]. We started communicating and met up in Brighton at a comic con with [comics artist] Glyn Dillon. I suggested my friend Ashley Wood should take over on Tank Girl art duties, as I knew he was a huge fan. Ashley and Alan started work on ‘Tank Girl - the Gifting’. Ashley asked me to help out – and I ended up taking it over. Alan and I then did six series together.
HOW DID YOU SET ABOUT DRAWING SUCH AN ESTABLISHED CHARACTER AS TANK GIRL? I tried to stay reasonably faithful (as I always hated it when characters get unnecessarily changed). Although at first, Alan directly told me to do certain things, like less detail. But detail crept back in, as that’s how my mind works. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ADDED TO HER CHARACTER/ THE OTHER CHARACTERS WITH YOUR RENDITION? I think we made her fun and bouncy again. We brought her back to a new generation of Tank’ fans, which was so great. I’m really proud of that. I wanted it to be like MAD magazine, anarchic, silly and fun; like Sesame Street fightclubbing with Grange Hill [a Brit kids TV series] while watching TOTP2 [Brit music show], with the sound turned up too loud.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WORKED THAT WAY? No, I used to work at ‘home’ as I lived in a warehouse space, and prior to that an abandoned South Bank University building – it was like living in The Shining [and ironically] it drove me slightly mad as I was always working, and even when I was lying in bed I could see the fucking desk. I’d end up eating my dinner at my workstation, and once or twice doing even less savoury things there. That was when I realised it was probably best I got a studio. WHILE PREDOMINANTLY AN ILLUSTRATOR, WE FIRST CROSSED PATHS AT THE MAGICK EYE 2 SHOW AT ORBITAL LAST YEAR, WHERE YOU SHOWED SOME PAINTED WORKS. IS THIS A DIRECTION YOU
MOVING IN NOW?
Yeah! I wanna do a lot more painting. I love making a mess! I want the new book I’m doing – SOLID GOLD DEATH MASK – to more painterly and messy. It’s important to keep experimenting and making mistakes. If you don’t risk failing
you’ll never get anywhere. Failure is such an important thing, and it scares the fuck outta most people. But you should embrace it. It teaches you to keep going. If you can fail and keep going, nothing will stop you. Except maybe a 10 tonne truck – that might do it actually.
WHAT WERE YOUR EARLIEST INFLUENCES? The original Star Wars films were definitely the things that got me hooked. I had an ‘Art of Star Wars’ book, and would pour over the Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnson designs. Then it was 2000 AD, the seminal [Brit] sci-fi comic: I loved Mick McMahon, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, Gary Leach, Carlos Ezquerra and Ron Smith’s amazingly different art styles – yet they were ALL quintessentially 2000 AD. It felt inclusive and yet exclusive – it was my bar to measure art by. I also loved Mort Drucker and Jack Davis in MAD Magazine, they drew the ridiculous film spoofs, and they were both master caricaturists and storytellers. Drucker is a fucking genius and utterly under appreciated. And finally Ronald Searle, Britain’s finest cartoonist, he’s the creator of Nigel Molesworth, St. Trinian’s and a host of other offerings. His line-work and characters just sing with life. He was unique and absolutely brilliant. My other big influence was Japanese toys made by such companies as Clover, Bandai, Popy, and Tomy. The robots were amazing: brightly coloured, heavy, and bristling with weapons,
laser swords, lances and guns. I wanted to be a giant robot when I grew up. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WORKING AS AN ILLUSTRATOR. I started drawing fanzines while still at secondary school, and would photocopy and sell them. It was a really valuable experience. Drawing fanzines taught me storytelling, and also showed me what worked on a printed page. Fanzines are a great place to experiment and make awesome mistakes. I’ve learnt more from my mistakes than I ever did at school – and I’ve made a lotta mistakes. They also give you the opportunity to find like-minded people: people who want to write and draw. It’s so much easier now, you can just join deviantART or whatever; but pre-internet you had to HUNT out other wannabes, and creative people. So it was kinda magical when you made a connection. I also drew lots of punk flyers and posters for friends’ bands, usually in return for a beer, but more often [than not] for absolutely nothing. It was great fun, and made me feel like a surrogate [band] member, despite my lack of musical talent.
From there I started apprenticing at an animation company, and eventually worked full time as an animator, drawing everything from Tony the tiger, Snap, Crackle and Pop, the Nesquik bunny, Bugs Bunny, (lotta bloody rabbits) to Gorillaz pop videos. I eventually quit animation and started working full time as a Comic Book gimp. TELL US ABOUT YOUR PEANUT BUTTER AND SPERMICIDAL JELLY PROJECT FROM WAY BACK WHEN. I did a fanzine years about 20 years ago with two friends, David Tulloch and Simon Morse, called PISTAKE. I drew a strip called Peanut Butter and Spermicidal Jelly, which was a nonsensical adventure about me, my then GF, and Simon. It was my feeble attempt at doing a Tank Girl type thing. I recently found all the art and when I have time I’m gonna scan it all and make it available online for people to laugh at. I’d like to collect all our PISTAKE stuff as a book.
WHICH TANK GIRL SERIES DID YOU WORK ON? The Gifting, Visions of Booga, Tank Girl – Skidmarks, The Royal Escape, We hate Tank Girl, Bad Wind Rising; plus Pinups for Suicide Girls, and an aborted mini strip for BIZARRE magazine (The Tank Girl guide to Life) – I drew one but Alan decided he didn’t wanna do it. IS YOUR WORKSPACE AT HOME OR ELSEWHERE? I have my own little studio. It’s like a cross between the Bat Cave, a junk shop, and Das Boot [German movie about a German U-Boat]: stuffed full of toy robots, taxidermy, books, and skeletons and skulls – and my motorbikes. I can barely move in there right now! I sit in there, sipping luke warm coffee, and loudly singing Ramones songs – really, really badly. I like having a separate workspace. I think it’s important. It makes [what I do] a ‘job’. I go to work, act stupid, and then leave to act stupid at home with Ripley my cat. It’s a tough job. Thankfully I have a patient cat.
“I go to work, act stupid, and then leave to act stupid at home with Ripley my cat.” Art! The Magazine | 6
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“To be an artist, a professional artist, you have to want it more than anything else” DO YOU EVER USE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY WHEN CREATING, OR ARE YOU A TOTALLY OLD SCHOOL, HANDS ON KINDA ARTIST? I think, well hope, that you can be both. I draw everything by hand. I fucking looooove drawing. It’s what makes me breathe. But I love that I have the option to use Photoshop or Illustrator, or any other digital tool – that’s amazing. I’ve really enjoyed doing ‘real’ painting though. There’s no ‘undo’, you have to embrace chance and make it work. It teaches you patience and humility.
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WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE WHO SEE YOUR WORK GET OUT OF IT? I hope they realise that if a moron like me can tell a story, so can they. What makes me happiest is when people send me their work and tell me they were inspired to try, by me. I’m not the best at anything, but I try at least. I love what I do, and I hope people pick up on that fact. If YOU don’t like…how can anyone else? WHAT DRIVES YOU AS AN ARTIST? Doing something I might actually be happy with? To be an artist, a professional artist, you have to want it
more than anything else: end of story. No excuses. You do it because you absolutely have to, because you daydream about it, because you [sleep] dream about it. It’s in your DNA. For me, it’s life and love. It’s also kind of my secret place, where I can go and be and do what I want. HAS YOUR ‘DRIVING FORCE’ CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? Funnily enough, I was thinking about this the other day! I think primarily I’ve always drawn to express myself, as I see everything in my heads in pictures. I’m a visual person. I see things pictorial and as colour Lego blocks – like
when I say a sentence, it’s in Lego Morse code. So when I express things in words, I can be rather melodramatic, as everything in my head is a science fiction opera. I feel much safer drawing. It’s my lexicon, my safe pond. I don’t know if that’s how other artists feel. I remember mentioning this to an artist friend, asking if he saw things as colour blocks, and he looked at me like I was on acid – so maybe I’m just tuned in wrong. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON CURRENTLY? I’m working on SOLID GOLD DEATH MASK, a story of two warring sisters. They are the Daughters of Death, and Death has gone
awol. I started it a while ago, but got derailed by various circumstances, involving my friend breaking her neck, then my dad getting cancer and dying – but I’m trying to get back into gear. The last 18 months have been…err, interesting. So I’m excited to get it done ASAP. I’m also designing toys for Ashley Wood’s 3A toy company – a dream come true!
“I luuuuurve Robots! I think it started with R2D2 and C3PO, and then when we moved to Tokyo it was Gundam, and Gold Lightan.” I BELIEVE YOU ARE A HUGE ROBOT FAN. SO WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM YOU FIND SO FASCINATING? MIGHT WE SEE YOU INVOLVED IN A ROBOT-THEMED PROJECT IN THE FUTURE? I luuuuurve Robots! I think it started with R2D2 and C3PO, and then when we moved to Tokyo it was Gundam, and Gold Lightan. I just loved the
designs, and as I didn’t speak Japanese I had to guess and make up my own stories to the series – I narrated it in my own head. So I was kinda bewildered and bummed out when I finally saw subtitled versions on DVD as an adult, as the stories were almost old fashioned. I preferred my own mental kid’s version!
MIGHT WE SEE YOU INVOLVED IN A ROBOT-THEMED PROJECT IN THE FUTURE? I definitely wanna do my own crazy, Giant robot story. Maybe reuse one of the idiotic ideas from my childhood!
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ALL DEFF,ALL DAY
Los Angeles poets Matt Sedillo and David A. Romero feature on YouTube channel from Russell Simmons By: Matt Sedillo and David A. Romero with photography by Nora Maha
.A. is full of poets. Two of the hottest in the scene are the Mexican-American spoken word artists Matt Sedillo and David A. Romero. Recently chosen by Russell Simmons to be some of the first spoken word artists featured on his new YouTube channel All Def Digital, these two poets have made it their mission to represent Los Angeles worldwide.
combination of two forms of poetry. One, is the literary, classical tradition, where words like “shopworn” are familiar. The other, is a spoken word influenced by hip hop where the repetition of the word “beat” leads into a call and response crescendo. Was this balance of opposites intentional? Does it reflect the arc of the poem?
MS: I wrote it in pretty much one sitting after a rough night at General Hospital. I came up with the phrase “L.A. is full of pigs” while in San Francisco doing some book promo with my publishers.
MS: “L.A. is full of pigs” is a poem that begins as a narrative and eventually becomes a damning social critique. In the beginning, I am really telling a story. I am telling my story, the story of not having health insurance and being neglected by a system that is not organized to address human need for any other purpose than seeking profit. The transition is when I speculate “How many more bounced checks/ Free clinics/Carry cash/And leave the account in the negative/Stand between me and him/Me and the bitter wind?” From that point on ,the poem speculates about the fears of becoming homeless and having to deal with the LAPD. Who, for the homeless, for us all really, but for the homeless in particular, are very much a paramilitary force.
DR: Stylistically, “L.A. is full of pigs” is the
DR: What’s the most important idea to walk
For this special article of Art! The Magazine, the two poets traveled to some of the locations of their respective poems and videos to interview each other and get the story behind the poems. DR:When did you write “L.A. is full of pigs?”
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away with from “L.A. is full of pigs?” MS:The poem “L.A. is full of pigs” is not only about police brutality or homelessness. It is a poem about the links between both the neglect and the abuse that is carried out by a system that is only capable of exploiting and/or discarding people. People really don’t understand till it is too late how society is actually organized. The reality is that you have far more in common with someone on the street, and are far more likely to be in the same position as them, than you do with the people who own the economy. We need to stop seeing someone who has been discarded by society and react to that by counting our blessings. We need to start asking questions, like; what kind of society do we live that allows for such things to happen? We need to wake up and see the direction things are going in and understand who is causing that and who is enforcing that. FTP!!!
““L.A. is full of pigs”” In the streets In the suburbs In the wind In a barely kept Hollywood bathroom Wheezing Vomiting Coughing up blood These past few days These past few years I have spread myself Across this sprawl And now fear this drive May kill me May kill us all And I wander Over to General Hospital Between whose walls Desperation Wears in high concentration Upon the faces of The shopworn And prematurely-ill alike As they await upon news Of illness
They cannot afford to have Survival without insurance This may take awhile Los Angeles is full Of untold misery A homeless man Sleeps next to me And I can smell The years of hard distance Between who he is now And who he may have been And all that stands between him And the bitter wind Is chance Is the kindness of a night nurse Who will let him sleep in peace Los Angeles Is full of good people Who from time to time Can turn a blind eye To killer policy And I wonder How many bounced checks Free clinics
Carry cash And leave the account In the negative Stand between me and him Me and the bitter wind? And if so Where would I go? From Venice to San Francisco There is an outright war On the homeless A war On the dispossessed There are Fewer and fewer options They got Shelters For women and children All inadequate But for me Just man up homeboy To that concrete pillow To that cardboard blanket And freeze your ass to death Yes, this city Will leave you to die On the same stretch Of sidewalk Where banks stretch Into the sky And I wonder As even now Skid Row Is being gentrified As this city As this system As the pigs Push people Past poverty Past hunger Past homelessness Towards the very edge of existence On Skid Row Where all the so-called complexities
Of an economy Are laid bare Where the rich Are literally stacked upon the poor Los Angeles Is full of grotesque absurdity Especially On Skid Row Where they spend millions Annually Policing The misery Of people with Nowhere to go Because when your pockets are empty And you ain’t got nothing And change is just not coming There is no real difference Between a booming metropolis And a barren desert And the world of money Passes by you Passes through you As though you Were just part of the scenery Protected in the knowledge That they are serviced By pigs Who speak the language of violence The language of the nightstick The language of untold misery That will beat you for begging Beat you for sleeping Beat you for breathing Beat you for doing Whatever it is You need to do To survive the night In the bitter wind Los Angeles Is full of pigs By: Matt Sedillo
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““Undocumented Football”” When life throws everything at you... Don’t drop the ball “Don’t drop the ball” Blue 42 Set Hike! A brown quarterback’s fingers Tighten around the white laces Of a football Roosevelt vs. Garfield They meet today Upon an annual battleground Where local legends spell rivalry In defensive and offensive formations Upon this old field In this dirty stadium Football sounds a lot like Boyle Heights Like East L.A. Like years of pride and history “Sounds like Roosevelt is in motion Number 42 Miguel Is with them Crossing the line of scrimmage Clad in red and yellow” His muscles tell a story Miguel has always been running Running from la migra
Las placas Everyone who wants to Stop him Ask him, “¿Dónde están sus papeles?” Where are your papers? Miguel’s too fast though How fast? Too fast Too fast for borders, laws Checkpoints, dogs To fast for fences Ditches Detention centers And walls Definitely too fast for the fool Unfortunate enough to be D’ing up on him now Through it all Under the glare of stadium lights Past the booing Cheering Chanting And screaming Through a maze of players like a beam of holy light Miguel’s vision is clear He loves this game It gives him focus
Gave him purpose Miguel will be defined by this moment He knows this No college will recruit him His record doesn’t scream “draft pick” But that’s not the issue Miguel never cared for politics He just loved his coach His team This American game of football His dream To make a catch In the only important game that he could Miguel will not score the winning touchdown This game will be added to a losing record That will make for a losing season There are so many reasons for Miguel to drop the ball Walk out of this stadium just another statistic Undocumented student Faceless illegal immigrant There are so many reasons for Miguel to drop the ball And as it spirals towards him Carrying the weight of a future
unfathomable He thinks to himself “Don’t drop the ball” “Don’t drop the ball” So he catches it Like how he catches his diploma Like how he catches his degree Like how he catches the hand of his high school sweetheart And they cross the threshold of that goal line together He cradles the ball in his arms Like his son John First born legal First born free To pursue his dreams And not always be running So damned Hard This is just one story from the East L.A. Classic Roosevelt vs. Garfield Just one game for Miguel Of Undocumented Football
“Los Angeles is falling apart” MS: “Undocumented Football” is set during the East L.A. Classic. For those who might be unfamiliar with the history behind it, can you speak a little to what exactly the East L.A. Classic is? DR: The East L.A. Classic or “The Classic” is the homecoming football game for both James A. Garfield High School and Theodore Roosevelt High School. The Classic is one of the most highly acclaimed and attended high school football games west of the Mississippi and has taken place every year since 1925. It’s kind of a friendly battle between the communities of East L.A. (Garfield) and Boyle Heights (Roosevelt). To the best of my knowledge, the rivalry is about even, with Roosevelt slightly edging out Garfield in wins. My father was an alum of Roosevelt, so from time to time his old buddies from the neighborhood would get together and go to the Classic. I was fortunate enough to go with them a couple of times. The first time was one of the first big football games I ever went to and I remember being overwhelmed by the bright lights and the cheering fans. This was the sense of excitement I tried to bring to “Undocumented Football.” MS: Is there an actual Miguel?
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DR: Miguel is primarily based upon Isaac Barrera, an immigrant rights activist and former high school football player. I watched Barrera perform some beautiful poetry at Corazon del Pueblo’s “Flowers of Fire Open Mic,” and what really fascinated me between poems was his personal testimony of being undocumented and playing as a running back and middle linebacker for Belmont High School. Looking for a unique way to tell the story of undocumented students, I knew Barrera’s was the type of underdog sports story that a lot of people could get behind and I started to started to develop the idea of “Miguel, #42” who played as a wide receiver for Roosevelt (since then, I have met a number of “Miguels” who once played for Roosevelt, Garfield, and more). It’s been my pleasure since the writing and recording of “Undocumented Football” to get to know Barrera a little better and he wants you all to know that he “still holds a record” with Belmont’s football program. MS: What can our readers do to support the undocumented? DR: Check out the Immigrant Youth Coalition and the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. Both come highly recommended by Barrera.
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THE CEREBRALLY DYNAMIC ART OF
n the realm of graff art, there are few as downright mind-blowingly original as the UK’s CageOne. While he may have kick-started his calling with big-ass, bold lettering, these days he’s on a major abstract expressionist tip, that, in his own words: “embraces the unseen beauty in decay, and dances with the poetry of despair.” Read on and revel in his world. Q: WHERE AND HOW WERE YOU RAISED? A: I was born and raised in York - when Graffiti first hit the Northern UK, this small city (more commonly known for an ancient wall, I thought best not to tag) became a surprisingly strong Graf scene. I was encouraged to be independent and indulge in my newfound obsession. However, I distinctly recall a rather large number of heated debates over my slight compulsion as a young teen, to sneak out under the cover of darkness and hit the coal freight trains parked in the layup close to our home.
Q: DID THE WAY YOU WERE RAISED HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON YOUR BECOMING AN ARTIST? A: Without question: although my parents recognised an undeniable passion for art (which I never demonstrated in any other areas of academic or athletic genres, well, other than running the tracks and hopping fences like a Yorkshire ninja), I actually wasn’t encouraged to become an artist professionally, as my family at that time could not envisage a lad from York becoming an established contributor to the Contemporary Arts. They viewed it as something “other people did”. They loved the fact that I was so motivated (I had to be dragged out of bed to attend school, but 2am Graf adventures were ironically easily achieved), but unequivocally demanded that I focus my future endeavours on some sort of manual trade; the notion of earning a living as an artist was completely alien to a working class family from Yorkshire. To be perfectly honest, this adversity just fed a stubborn determination in me, and I have been paradoxically making them proud, by proving them utterly wrong since! Also, I have learnt how to live purely on beans on toast when things have been a bit, um, slow - now times are good, I even have grated cheese on top. Q: WERE YOU SURROUNDED WITH ART/ART BOOKS GROWING UP? A: No. The first art book to enter our house was the founding classic ‘Spraycan Art’, which I got for my 13th birthday. This was quickly followed by the Graffiti Bible ‘Subway Art’, which has been on permanent loan from York Library since sometime in ‘87 – we should probably keep that between us though, the overdue fine must be pretty hefty by now. The only piece of art in our house belonged to my Mum, and was
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rather endearingly a print of Claude Monet’s ‘Poppy Fields’; I can still recall exactly where it hung in our house and have appreciated this epic Master of the Fine Arts since childhood. I first became aware of that which is now recognised as Graffiti, Street Art or, as it’s referred to by one of my original mentors, Part2ism, as Pure Resistance Art, whose walls were the very first I came across on the streets of York; he had painted an expansive wall by the side of a Bingo Hall. I was immediately I was amazed, inspired and determined to paint public spaces – and paint ‘big’. Q: WHAT WERE YOUR EARLIEST INFLUENCES (ART AND NON-ART-WISE)? A: That original jaunt passed Clifton’s Bingo Hall established a series of contemporary influences which naturally included the Graffiti artwork I was exposed to by Part2ism on the walls of York, and the pieces photographically documented in ‘Spraycan Art’. During this time, the HipHop scene had reached UK shores as a unique and diverse music phenomenon, it’s socio-political underbelly echoed our desire for artistic self expression and experimentation, which challenged the conventions of curriculum based drawing and dictated techniques. I crossed paths with an art teacher from my secondary school a year or so ago, and noted her surprise both at my success as an artist, and the fact I teach graffiti workshops to prison inmates, as opposed to being a guest at her Majesty’s Pleasure [by which CageOne means, not being an inmate himself]. Soon after I began my experimental journey with aerosol art, I was fortunate to attend an official graffiti jam in York held in a Sainsbury’s [the UK equivalent of someplace like Target] car park. It was amazing to meet & converse with established UK Graffiti artists such as Goldie & Tuff Tim, who had already transcended from the subversive label of ‘Pure Vandal’ to Recognised Artist. After this event, I became more proactive in my pursuits, and began to paint with abandon alongside local writers. As our confidence, techniques and grew, we began to journey further afield to expand our structural portfolio and meet others entrapped by the lure of illicit painting. Q: DO YOU HAVE A ‘DAY JOB’ AS WELL AS BEING AN ARTIST? A: It’s an interesting concept, whether an Artist is considered ‘full or part time’ [employment]. I personally am fortunate enough to maintain a decent standard of living by attending to commissioned works, selling canvases and prints, and running graffiti workshops for an array of agencies and causes; however, I am fully aware other artists maybe unable to apply themselves in this way, or in fact
choose to balance their artistic careers with more ‘conventional’ employment. As it happens, the 9-5 routine and I have a mutual understanding/distrust of each other. So it’s probably a good job I can paint.
spite its limited life on the street; and egotistically, I cannot begin to articulate the unrivalled excitement of seeing the product of your late-night (mis)adventures pull into a station and inspire conversation by anonymous strangers.
Q: WHY DID YOU GO THE GRAFFITI ART ROUTE? A: I personally feel that Graffiti embodies a holistic approach, rather than a mere artistic genre; the development of personal technique and style is intertwined within the life journey of the artist and represents an influential myriad of cultures, conventions and personal values. Having never been exposed to the mass of Fine and High Art as a child, Graf was the first type of art I experienced in the flesh. I simply loved the scale and size of the pieces, and have always been fascinated by the ‘Live Art Dynamic’ of gaining the opinions and critique of the public whilst painting; this insight is particularly rewarding when it comes from those with no formal training, and/or little experience of art - a place I appreciate and can still relate to almost 25 years of painting later. Graffiti is all encompassing, yet grounded, established yet remains relatively subversive, and intrinsically fulfilling de-
Q:DID YOU HAVE ANY GRAFF ARTISTS THAT YOU LOOKED UP TO/WERE INSPIRED BY? A: In the dark days before the Internet and social media, the most productive way to get your artwork seen was to trade photographs with other Graf artists. I traded with many from all across the globe, and in the late ’80s, became enchanted by the work of Danish Writer Bates. His work simply shone in comparison to contemporary fellows, as every piece he created was of an extraordinary standard, and his lettering bore an unrivalled flow, which easily transcended competing styles. However, even to this day, I find that although I appreciate the talents of a high number of diverse artists, I tend not to follow the fashions and events of others, to maintain my unique approach and perspective.
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Q: WHEN DID YOU FIRST START DOING GRAFFITI & WHERE? A: My first official piece occurred in 1987, and was highly original in context, colouring and location. It consisted of the letters ‘UA’ (to represent the Urban Artist Crew - of which myself & a lad from school remain the original founding and only ever associated members), and was painted with a black outline and chrome fill, down a very classy alleyway in York, using Hycote car spray paint.
ment had exacerbated the impact upon my vision. As part of the recovery and cathartic process, I then began a series of paintings based on examples of poetry by William Blake; I continued to use the original styles of my previous paintings, however the scars from the laser treatment distorted the images, blurring them. These pieces soon evolved into the style I paint today. Leaving the recognisable and literal images behind, to evolve into painting in a non-objective and abstracted aesthetic.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR STYLE THEN? A: In the late ’80s I began as all Graffiti artists do, by painting big bold lettering with a fat outline. This visual aesthetic was extremely popular at that time, however I chose to use subtle pastel colours (as opposed to bright red and blue shades) and filled my letters with overlapping and layered blocks of pure colour.
Q: HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? A: I am now completely lost to the enchantment of a purely abstract aesthetic, emblazoned by both an existential foundation and the paradoxical purity of line, depth and movement. Inspired by the works of Lowry, my work embraces the unseen beauty in decay, and dances with the poetry of despair.
Q: WHERE MOST GRAF ARTISTS STICK TO A ‘TAG’ OR FIGURATIVE STYLE, YOURS IS DECIDEDLY ABSTRACT. WHY DID YOU GO THAT ROUTE? A: Much like one’s own personal journey, my painting style has evolved, grown and developed over the years, and will I hope, continue to do so. Having begun as a Graf Writer, I went through a variety of phases where I played around with various styles and techniques of lettering and shading, until the late ‘90s where I concentrated mainly on characters and portraits. In the space of a single day in 2003, I lost the sight in one eye, and needed subsequent and repeated laser treatment to save the other eye; after the initial operation, my vision was severely impaired, and I feared that I had completely lost my sight and the ability to paint. As promised by the lead surgeon, my sight gradually began to return in one eye; however the scars caused by the laser treat16 | Art! The Magazine
Q: DO YOU PREFER CREATING YOUR ART OUTDOORS OR INDOORS? A: I prefer painting outside for the same reason I began painting decades ago – I love the live interaction with the public, and vehemently believe that art in any form or discourse, should be made available to all. Many galleries ostracise those without a working/academic knowledge of ‘Fine’ art, and subsequently create a rather obnoxious and intimidating experience for the viewer; thankfully there appears to be a new generation of gallery happening, be it ‘Pop Up’ or established, who are determined to shatter these conventional boundaries. But even still, nothing can compare with carrying a rattling bag full of cans (no longer designed for cars) to paint a public space.
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Q: WHAT MEDIUMS AND TECHNIQUES DO YOU USE WHEN CREATING ART INDOORS? A: I mainly use ink, aerosol, emulsion and acrylics to create my canvas work. I like to drip ink over the canvas as a base, then apply transparent aerosols to create depth and shadow. Rather unconventionally, I use squeegees and old bankcards to spread the emulsion and acrylics across the canvas; I tend to utilise a hybrid of different textures and techniques, though not all are transferable to my outdoor pieces. So although there is continuity in style to my work, the canvases concentrate on finer detail and manipulation of light.
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Q: IS YOUR ART REFLECTIVE OF YOUR PERSONALITY? A: Deep, dark and seemingly miserable? Not in the last year. There clearly exists parallels between ‘life and art’ and I am now known to explore with an array of colours again, and crack a smile on occasion. Muses will do that to you it seems. Q: WHAT DO YOU HOPE A VIEWER FEELS WHEN THEY SEE YOUR ART? A: Anything but apathy I would hope. Art is an entirely subjective entity.
My work is created within a fixed moment of time, emotion and space, and it has never been my intention to project my artistic motivations onto another’s engagement with a piece. There is no singular nor empirical definition of my paintings, nor am I comfortable with others making such assumptions about my own perspective. However the viewers themselves will connect with my work in a way that is both unique and appropriate for them, and will reflect their own personal history/ subjective insight - whether their critique is positive or negative. I merely value and appreciate the response. Q: FINAL QUESTION: WHAT IS IT THAT DRIVES YOU AS AN ARTIST? A: The initial stimulus was an indisputable desire to: develop
my craft, prove I can be successful as a working artist, and to live each day doing what I love; having spent such a lonely and fearful time in darkness, fearing that I may never regain my sight and be able to paint again - I live each day to simply paint, and immerse myself in the many facets of life and art that I find symbiotically vital. —Billy Chainsaw CONTACT: email@example.com www.cageone.co.uk www.facebook.com/cageone.art
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aised in Boyle Heights, Judith Bautista’s art embodies colorful traits illustrated between a blend of Day of the Dead skulls or ‘kalaveras’, Frida Kahlo’s Mexican art and life. Wood pieces play canvas to original acrylic paintings shedding light on life and death. Emulating artistic abilities of her mother and artist Norma Rodriguez, Judith hesitantly placed her talent on the backburner up until her adult years and has only recently taken up painting a year and a half ago. “My biggest inspiration and the first person that connected me to art was my mom who is an artist, said Judith, “I grew up watching her paint and waking up to the smell of paintings.” Judith, now 33, says about her opening art reception, “I tried to tame my desire to create art and look elsewhere….but it’s bigger than me.” Titled ‘Amor Eterno: Kahlovera Art’, her one-night-only event accommodated an array of characters at the M Bar located in the heart of Boyle Heights near Mariachi Plaza. Her “mad love” for Frida Kahlo is what pieces together her acrylic work due to the rawness Kahlo continually expressed through her work. Being able to relate to a brave female figure, Judith extracted Kahlo’s flairs and mixed them with a unique approach, “because it’s a woman at her complete truest self and she’s not intimidated to express how she’s feeling.”
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She has also tapped into other art mediums through props, paper mache and jewelry-making through Kahlovera Art. Becoming the creator of Lil’ Bitter Pixie Face Painting, she fulfills a desire she hopes to one day be able to do professionally. Here, she does body art for parties, events and photo shoots while hoping to be able to apply her styles in films and on-the-set. When she is not doing maternity body art and children’s face painting, much of her face painting revolves heavily around elaborate Day of the Dead ‘kalavera’ face painting and decorative flowers in a colorful Mexican palette. Kahlovera Art focuses on canvas and acrylic although jewelry and crafts are also created. “La Musica es la Gloria” (acrylic on wood) represents the life of her friend Gloria Estrada who “has enlightened this world with her musical soul.” Deep red and orange acrylic paint portray an illustrative skeleton wearing dark braids as she plays a beige acoustic guitar. This image is completed with a treble clef stamped on her Underlying pieces of advice are embedded in other paintings like “El Vicio” which expresses to its spectators to “Stop Binge Drinking!”
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“I tried to tame my desireto create art and look elsewhere... but it’s bigger than me”
Local musical talent The Finger Dancers played an intimate set and engaged the audience in its emotive world at the reception. Made up of blues and jazz, this duo completed the night with soulful sounds. Crowds grew louder as attendees greeted Judith and mingled. Pale and deep yellows behind a bouquet of flowers are beautifully depicted in a large piece dedicated to Judith’s mother. “Norma” stands out in an intermingling palette of mellow yellows and bright greens as a centered skeleton woman styles a head of long brown hair with her hands full of flowers. Details inspire awe in many of her paintings such as this one. Judith enhances this particular piece by adorning the figure’s hair with
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red flowers and butterflies. Judith paid close attention to Kahlo’s sensitivity to emotion and it proved present in every painting on display. Skull designs were a centerpiece as hand-made dangle earrings and necklaces, per request of friends, were for sale. Many of these sold by the end of the night. SHOULD I ADD HOW THE CONCEPT OF ‘AMOR ETERNO’ TIED IN? Judith concluded with, “I feel very blessed. I was very happy with it. I just hope that I got around to greeting everybody… Thank you so much for supporting. This is a little dream and they’re helping me push it forward.”
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ART AS A WEAPON: GRAFFITI SAVED MY LIFE
rom spherical hues of blues to winking pinks to glowing greens, a distinct palette of colors leak from an unparalleled mind focused on creating art on any medium available: the mind of Los Angeles-based graffiti artist VYAL ONE. Using public walls, discarded furniture, commercial trucks, vinyl records and even coffins as his own creative outlet, VYAL creates worlds of wonder described best as dark psychedelia carrying a hint of political angst. “Graffiti doesn’t belong on canvas just as much as it doesn’t belong in the LA River just as much as it doesn’t belong on discarded
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couches. Yet, it belongs in all those places,” says VYAL speaking on his own reevaluation of art. Painting since the late 80s, a twelve-year-old VYAL was initially inspired by the art culture that surrounded him growing up in East Los Angeles. Today, drowsy-eyed faces and cosmic concoctions engulf most of his work. Drawing eyes since he was a young child, his use of these “symbols of knowledge” have weaved their way into his graffiti for the past 15 years. "Once you put eyes on something, you give it a life of its own," says VYAL.
Integrating such “representations of thoughts and ideas” are what VYAL states draw people to his work. Large murals are successfully illustrative of good use of shading and highlighting technique coupled with stellar usage of foreground. Bursts, drips and linear detail capture dynamic attention to context. “You can paint an eye anywhere in the world and no one will be offended,” says VYAL, “Globally, I know if I could paint eyes, it won’t offend anybody. It could look over the community. It could interact with you. It could follow you. It could represent god…or the devil. It’s my thing that I do.”
Discarded couches and mattresses are targets for this artist who immortalizes the resurrection of such inanimate objects with assorted expressions and philosophical thoughts. Specializing in public art, he advertises finished work on his personal Instagram (@vyalone) for those interested in picking them up and hauling them off. His message: If you can find this, you can keep it. Needless to say, an item that might have been waiting for trash day is quickly scooped up by various fans of his work.
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In 1992, after showcasing his work at Occidental College, Chaz Bojorquez, one of graffiti art’s biggest pioneers, reached out to Vyal’s parents and encouraged them to support his artistic talents. That day, he invited Vyal to be featured in a show called “The Next Step” at Zero One Gallery. Vyal remembers, “It was just a real
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honor to have that guy come to my house and go out of his way and invite me to a show. I was real honored to be a part of that and I still honor Chaz often.”Earlier this year, Vyal was featured in a special book collection in the Getty Museum titled LA Liber Amicorum. Displaying works on paper by a number of graffiti
and tattoo artists throughout Los Angeles, museum visitors can view this book when they take an official tour. “It’s pretty cool having sketches from dudes you’ve known your whole life and then now we all share these drawings in this black book in the vaults of The Getty. Fucking awesome.”
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-STUDIOCuriosity creeps upon entering VYAL’s studio bursting with some of his earliest pieces, installations, in-the-works canvases and his own creations-like a round children’s table one would find at a public park masked with layers of spray paint as a peeping face. Endless waves of spray paint cans swamp tabletops and shelves next to installations stationed inside the studio. An organic sculpture titled “Dream Catcher” (2012) contains large pieces of barbed wire holding an American flag. A mannequin hand reaches out from inside alluding to hardships in the immigrant world Vyal grew up closely allied to.
“He Watches Over All His Children” involves a crib filled with empty white spray cans. Surveillance cameras point down as a white painted doll lies inside. Shedding light into the world of politics, this metaphor connects constant political intervention with surveillance on the masses since childhood. “There might not be a political message in each of my paintings but all my paintings are political being a person of color...I’m a non-conformist and my brown skin reminds me I am oppressed. I can identify with their struggles in Hawaii and in Palestine. What we need is more action versus content. Art is a weapon,” says VYAL.
VYAL ONE is available for custom and live graffiti art and can be reached at vyalone@ gmail.com. More information can be found on his webpage: http://www.vyalone.com/ 30 | Art! The Magazine
-ON A GLOBAL SCALEGraffiti art in this fashion has gotten him to multiple locations worldwide such as Mexico, Germany, Spain, England, Gaza, Israel and Palestine as well as roughly thirty states inside the US. In 1995, through the German government and a mural exchange program, VYAL alongside Man One and Asyl’m were invited to create a mural on the Berlin Wall. Recognizing its historical significance, they attempted to construct a mural in hopes of adding yet another voice to its value. In 2011, Susan Greene-a Jewish mural painter from Washington-invited him on an eight-day-trip to Gaza and they created ten murals throughout Palestine in relation to clean water rights. Returning from these trips with a renewed work aesthetic and outlook on life, VYAL applied himself more wholeheartedly in his work. “No matter what the language
and religious barriers, art is a nice way to put those differences aside and come together creatively,” says VYAL. -BACK HOMEWork on vinyl records and photo transfers on empty spray cans and rat traps are some of the projects VYAL works on when he is not working on a mural or collaborating with other graffiti artists. Despite having worked on projects through Lexus and Neiman Marcus, VYAL enjoys being a mentor in his community. He currently teaches a weekly aerosol art workshop to children and adults at Self-Help Graphics & Art (selfhelpgraphics.com). Finally referring to the messages tied to his work, VYAL
responds, “We’re doing it out of the love for art and our community. It’s not offensive to us.”
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HOW DOES YOUR EARLIER WORK COMPARE TO WHAT YOU DO NOW? There are many years of development to my work, it’s been a long evolution. Earlier work was about the search for my own personal style, experimenting with different mediums, trying to throw off the easy imitation of my heroes. Most of it is unrecognizable to what I do now. Once I did find a visual language that was my own, I have attempted to keep fine-tuning that vision towards my own sense of perfection – a perfection I’m aware I’ll probably never achieve. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU MAKE A BREAK INTO BEING A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST? Around 2008 a gallery wanted to represent what I did, so I began to sell my work to a wider audience. Confidence in yourself is empowering, other people’s confidence in you is even more so. It shows you the potential you have to make a go of it, and escape your day job. DOES YOUR HOME ENVIRONMENT REFLECT YOUR ART?
I have always been very interested in artists as collectors and how they arrange and decorate their interiors. These things have long been appreciated as artistic extensions of ourselves, and usually compliment, or even show another unknown side to someone not always obvious in their art. I have always been fascinated with the past, and by surrounding myself with antique objects and furniture. I feel it gives me a direct link back through the centuries. These objects also work for me, serving as props in many of my paintings. This is something artists have done back through time, and I am happy to be part of that heritage. IS YOUR WORKSPACE AT HOME OR ELSEWHERE? I prefer to work from home. When the impulsive need to paint comes, it is better for me to have things directly at hand. I’ve had studios in the past, but they always end up being neglected. WHAT MEDIUM(S) DO YOU USE WHEN YOU CREATE ART?
imagery. I still use the computer, but I also paint acrylic paintings, with the intention of mimicking the computer style. Acrylic is the best medium for bold, graphic, colorful effect. EVERYTHING SEEMS SO PRECISE AND CLEAN-LINED IN YOUR ART. IS THERE A REASON FOR THIS, AND IS IT REFLECTIVE OF YOUR PERSONALITY? I like the clean modern look that the style gives: although not unknown in computer imagery, I think it is quite unique to transpose this into physical paintings. As much as I admire the work of the Old Masters, I have no desire to replicate their traditional painterly style. My style communicates a sense of almost ritualistic order, uniformity, symmetry and harmony. The Georgians understood the sense of harmonious, almost divine proportions in their architecture, and I try and introduce some of these ideals into my presentation. These actions show that like many artists I seek to create some kind of order to the chaos I see in the world around me.
I initially found my own visual language in the digital medium, making sharp computer
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF ADAM ESPIRA Groomed throughout childhood to be a Mormon missionary, when he was old enough to leave the fold, Adam Espira followed his true calling – ART. This is his story… TELL US ABOUT YOUR RELIGIOUS UPBRINGING? I was born and raised in Norfolk, in the shadow of Sandringham, the Queen of England’s house – where she usually delivers her Christmas speech from. Every Christmas day my parents would take me to see the Queen coming out of this little church on her estate. She always looked miserable, and it’s then that I realised we had something in common: she didn’t want to go to church either, but it was expected of her like it was expected of me – except I was raised as a Mormon. My parents joined the church when I was one-year-old: missionaries knocked on their door and they converted. Being raised in the Mormon Church is being part of a system, a tried and tested system. You are indoctrinated from childhood, rising through spiritual levels, being 34 | Art! The Magazine
groomed to be a missionary for the faith when you turn eighteen. A missionary is disconnected from his family for 18 months, leading a semi monastic life, preaching the gospel. I said thanks, but no thanks. DID THE WAY YOU WERE RAISED HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON YOU BECOMING AN ARTIST? I’m not sure that my religious upbringing turned me onto art, but there are definitely elements of that upbringing evident in my work. Growing up in a church means you participate in their rituals. From the more well known facets of Christianity – such as daily prayer, baptism, and sacrament, to more Mormon specific secret rituals like Baptism for the dead etc. As you get older you question more and more
what you believe in. I did my own research into the church’s history, and for me personally it had no credibility. It makes a lot of members happy, and gives them a focus in life, but I knew I did not believe it or need it. ASIDE FROM THE USUAL STUFF THAT KIDS DRAW/ PAINT, WAS THERE EVER ANYTHING WEIRDER THAT STARTED APPEARING IN YOUR ART BACK THEN? Kids are pretty weird anyway, well compared to adults. They have a lot more freedom to explore their imaginations. I did the usual things kids did, played with toy soldiers etc. although maybe I took things to extremes now and again. I’m not sure how many kids hacked the limbs off their soldiers, painted them in blood red paint, and
scattered their corpses across the battlefield after a play session. WERE YOU SURROUNDED WITH ART/ART BOOKS GROWING UP? Yes, my father is a painter, and has an amazing study room. The walls are covered floor to ceiling in books from years of collecting. The ceiling is painted with clouds, just like a Rene Magritte picture. Vintage tomes on the old masters, early edition Ian Fleming’s and Agatha Christie’s sit side by side on the shelves. Guitars inhabit the corners (my father’s band played with The [Rolling] Stones back in the day), and an out of tune piano dominates the room. It’s a magical place
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HOW DO YOU USE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY WHEN CREATING?
visual harmony with the composition. Individual elements could be interpreted as follows;
I make specific computer compositions that find life as giclée prints, but I also make digital sketches, or preparatory collages when planning a ‘real’ painting.
HUMAN ANATOMY – ESPECIALLY DISECTED IMAGERY: Humanity - our base nature - biological machine - physicality - weakness - decay – fragility.
THERE ARE SEVERAL, YET WELL DEFINED ASPECTS TO YOUR CURRENT WORK. PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS/SUBJECTS WOUND THEIR WAY INTO YOUR PSYCHE, AND WHY YOU BELIEVE THEY’VE EMERGED AS PART OF YOUR ART:
MEAT: ABOUT WHICH I MUST ALSO ASK – ARE YOU A CARNIVORE OR VEGETARIAN? AND HAVE VEGETARIANS EVER GOT UP IN ARMS ABOUT YOUR WORK?
I’ve collected the component elements to my pictures over many years, acting like a magpie picking out the things that interest me. I’m primarily attracted to archetypal symbolism that criticizes humanity’s less savory attributes. These archetypes have both historical and modern representations, and I enjoy mixing up and playing with the connections with past and present – although it’s not all hard criticism and symbolic meaning. Items such as helmets, carrier bags, and meat all have an aesthetic value too; the shapes, the colors, the textures, can be used to build a
I’m a carnivore. I’ve never known a vegetarian to get upset about my work. Meat-eaters tend to think my work is pro-meat, and vegetarians tend to think it’s a statement against meat! It’s interesting that viewers see the depiction of meat in such a political way, associating it with animal rights. Viewers in the 17th century would have seen meat as being symbolic of mortality, the ephemerality of earthly existence, or even wealth and abundance. Again I am keen to point out the aesthetic value, the beauty of the deep reds and marbled veins.
TESCO [the UK equivalent of a store such as Target] PLASTIC CARRIER BAGS: Consumerism - branding – fashion. RITUALISTIC SYMBOLISM: Rituals of life traditions passed down and enacted through generations - pomp and ceremony. ROYALTY: Vanity - hierarchy - wealth – tradition. WAR: Man’s ability to destroy man - our animal nature – greed. PERIOD COSTUMES: HAVE YOU/DO YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME AT MUSEUMS RESEARCHING THESE COMPONENTS OF YOUR ART? 36 | Art! The Magazine
Rather than using museums as source material I have built up my own collection of vintage and reproduction historical clothing to use as props in my work. I recently attended a costume sale for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and go to various living history events throughout the year. THE OVERALL ‘LOOK’ OF YOUR ART IS STEEPED IN SYMBOLISM. ARE YOU SENDING A MESSAGE WITH YOUR WORK? In essence my paintings are vanitas paintings. The various symbolic elements (past and present) co-exist to cast a critical eye upon humanity, and our society. This is the general message, although it’s not set into stone. I welcome and encourage personal interpretation by
the viewer. WHAT DO YOU HOPE A VIEWER FEELS WHEN THEY SEE YOUR ART? I hope they can find at least one of three things: an element of criticism, an element of beauty, and the sense of humor. FINAL QUESTION: WHAT IS IT THAT DRIVES YOU AS AN ARTIST? To create the perfect image, which contains a harmonious balance between all the elements I have mentioned during this interview. I’m still searching.
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orn and raised in Tujunga, California, artist and entrepreneur Joe Kenck is trying to make a name for himself in the current and ever growing Los Angeles art scene, and he’s doing it all by himself. “Most people have never heard of it,” Kenck said in regards to his hometown, which he proudly wears tattooed on the top of his left wrist. The same could easily be said of Kenck himself. However, Kenck is “doing work” to try to change that, and proving that some self-determination and a strong “do it yourself ” attitude can really go a long way. In 2006, Kenck hatched his brain child Sideshow Brand, a clothing line for both men and women. After attending a screen printing class at Pasadena City College, Kenck says he began screen printing his own designs for his clothing line. Kenck self-advertises his brand in what he calls “guerrilla advertising.” For this activity, Kenck makes his own Sideshow Brand posters and stickers and plasters them around in different parts of the city. More often 38 | Art! The Magazine
than not, Kenck’s accomplice on such missions is his father, the man who Kenck says supports him most. “It’s a good bonding experience,” Kenck said with a laugh. “Even today he text me like, ‘Hey, you want to go out pasting?’” Kenck says his father enjoys the experience and likewise he enjoys the time himself. Thanks to a friend of Kenck’s the Sideshow Brand name has even made it to Berlin, Germany. Incorporating his art with the name of Sideshow Brand, Kenck says he wishes to bring beauty to the city and hopes that his art brings at least a little bit of happiness to anyone who may happen to see. Sideshow Brand is available for sale online on Kenck’s website sideshowbrand.com. His clothing line is also available for sale in a few mom and pop stores, such as Billy’s Boardshop in Montrose. Sideshow Brand can also be found on Instagram and Facebook under the same name. The Sideshow Brand Facebook site features regular giveaways for followers. Art! The Magazine | 39
However, in more recent days Kenck says he chooses to focus more on his growing art career than on his clothing line. He has previously been featured at the monthly Downtown Los Angeles Artwalk with other artists and has a solo art exhibit coming up on August 31 at The Wine Cave in Montrose. Kenck is accustomed to using acrylic on canvas, but he says he likes to experiment and try different things, sometimes using mixed media. Some of Kenck’s art work mixes spray paint and stencils with acrylic, and only recently he says he began experimenting with chalk. Kencks work is mostly portraits of women, but one piece which stands out is of a man, a former employer which Kenck worked for in his teens. The painting, titled “Mattress Man” and available for sale on the Sideshow Brand website could be considered a bit vulgar, portraying an old man with both middle fingers up and appears to be screaming. The name of the man in the painting is Sam Adams, “Just like the beer,” Kenck said, “and it’s crazy ‘cause he was a recovering alcoholic, and he was sober for like, fifteen years, and this guy’s nuts... and he’s very interesting; cool as hell.” By the sound of the story which entails with the artist’s painting, it is apparent that this former employer from many years ago made an impression on the artist which the artist effectively conveys
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through his painting and his story of the man, making it a rather touching piece of art work. According to Kenck he does his best work at night, and tries to paint at least once a day. However he finds some days more productive than others, and admits there’s always room to grow. “Even if you think you know there’s still something to learn.” He says he tries to persevere through his mistakes to create something which he finds satisfactory. “Looking back at stuff I did years ago compared to stuff I did know, it’s a crazy change.” Kenck had formerly been working at a restaurant for 13 years until it closed this past January. Now when Kenck isn’t creating works of art or working on his clothing line, he says he works a number of “odd jobs” making t-shirts for motorcycle shops and film crews and occasionally he paints a mural or two. Kenck says he lost a bit of focus on his clothing line but does intend to get back to it in the near future. “We all would like to think we’re on the way we want to be, and no one’s going to do it but you, you just got to take action and you got to do the work.”
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| MUSIC |
| MUSIC | HOW HAS YOUR MUSIC DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS? ‘Imminent Room’ is my debut solo record. It’s the first time I’ve ever written a body of work entirely alone, and I massively enjoyed being my own boss, pleasing myself and generally not giving a flying whatever about what people made of it. WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR MUSIC CONVEYS? It’d be nice if people who listened to my music were inspired to be creative, via whatever outlet that may be. Lyrically I’ve expressed myself through exploring my own relationships and life experiences – what else do I know? I’m in no way attempting to be anybody’s role model or control anyone’s thoughts, and I really don’t care if people hate my music. I don’t see the point in writing music to please everyone but leaving yourself unsatisfied. I make the music I personally want to hear. I make no apologies for that.
“Music has always fascinated, entertained and inspired me, even at an incredibly young age”... WHERE WERE RAISED AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? I’m a Yorkshire lass [who] grew up in a small farming village right on the border of North Lincolnshire [England]. I now live in the middle of nowhere in an old barn at the foot of a mountain range in deepest South Shropshire [England] with my partner in crime (both musical and otherwise), Miles Hunt [head honcho with The Wonder Stuff]. Picture lush green rolling hills, sheep, and local pubs serving up homemade pies and real ale. WHEN DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN MUSIC? Music has always fascinated, entertained and inspired me, even at an incredibly young age. Some of my earliest memories are of my father, who is a classical guitarist, playing to me before I went to sleep, instead of reading bedtime stories. WHAT/WHO WERE YOUR EARLIEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES? My Dad was keen for me to take up guitar, but the moment he played [Nigel] Kennedy’s version of [Vivaldi’s] ‘Four Seasons’ to me, that was it. I pestered my parents until I got my own violin, which, to my delight, arrived on my seventh birthday.
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WHAT INFLUENCES YOU NOW? Musically, anything that’s angular yet melodic: [David] Bowie’s a good example of writing progressive pop/rock in this way. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST DRIVING FORCE? The desire to express myself eloquently and also the urge to explain to the world that music doesn’t have to be bland - it IS possible to have challenging music (lyrically, audibly and visually) that is simultaneously accessible to a great number of people. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC? [It’s] creative, unusual, tuneful, dark, sometimes aggressive, often tongue-in-cheek, emotional, coherent, visceral, and hedonistic. Tonally it’s a treat in the headphones [because the] production is overall pretty shiny, using consistently contradictory instrument couplings (church choirs and gruff guest metal backing vocals from Jeff Walker of Carcass, mixed over a drum ’n’ bass drum beat and cellos). On paper it sounds hellish, but it genuinely works. Once you stop trying to put my music under genre umbrella terms, my music all makes perfect sense.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST PIVOTAL MOMENT OF YOUR MUSIC CAREER TO DATE? Waking up totally skint one morning as a student at Birmingham [UK] Conservatoire in 2005 and deciding to make the trip to Stratford Upon Avon to busk, where I was spotted by The Wonder Stuff’s producer. Shortly after, that band took me on my first tour bus tour and showed me that a career in the world of a rock band is the one I wanted to pursue, and I was good at it. From that moment I realised you need to show a little initiative if you’re going to make something of yourself, and those who do are able to achieve the seemingly impossible. I’ve played to many big audiences now and met and shared stages with some pretty incredible musicians, but choosing music over bar work as a student set me on a path I’m now very happy with. WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? I’ve turned a creative tap on by writing this first album of mine, and it doesn’t show signs of letting up anytime soon. I’ve just started work on my second album, so ideally I want to get that recorded, gig as much as possible with my live band, and continue to make music videos. I oil paint too and have a few commissions to see to, so I’m going to enjoy spending time on those.
“Some of my earliest memories are of my father, who is a classical guitarist, playing to me before I went to sleep, instead of reading bedtime stories”..... Art! The Magazine | 43
| MUSIC |
SHRINE This rough trio spills the dirt on their shredding sound and riff-heavy rebel anthems.
traight out of Los Angeles, California, this band of trouble melts your face with loud grooves a la Thin Lizzy meets Hawkwind meets Motorhead-a signature mix of punk attitude and heavy rock and roll. Their newest release Primitive Blast, out on July 10, 2013, has marked an energetic reputation as this band’s songwriting partakes in girls, skating and tales of debauchery. Since 2008, vocalist/guitarist Josh Landau, bassist Courtland Murphy and drummer Jeff Murray have expressed themselves with ‘70s flair between practice, playing shows and bombing hills and local vacant pools. 44 | Art! The Magazine
With the help of Black Flag’s Chuck Dukowski, they released their self-titled debut back in 2010 and now have made a name for themselves playing limitlessly throughout LA and the USA. On their way to global recognition, The Shrine’s wild antics have landed them on the same bills as bands like Pentagram, Graveyard, Holy Grail and The Sword. Finally back from Europe after touring in places like Greece, France, Russia and Austria, this mob of vintage tees, denim-vest wearing long hairs dedicates a little time to Art! The Magazine.
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“If it ain’t broke... Break it”. ART!: For those who have yet to experience The Shrine, how can you describe your sound? Josh: Every sound guy tells us to turn down. Imagine somebody trying to tell Harley Flanagan or Biz Markie to “turn it down.” Ain’t gonna happen. We’re not going to turn it down. How did the three of you link up? Josh: Me and Court went to the same high school and I knew him as the resident guitar shredder back then. We met up at a party a couple years later and Court had switched to bass guitar and after talking about Thin Lizzy for a while, we started to jam. I saw an ad Jeff put out saying “Loud, Mustached Drummer looking for like-minded idiots.” Once we were all in the same room, we never stopped jamming. And when did you decide your sound worked? Josh: It was quick. We all played from different influences, but it all had the same vibe. It’s evolved over time...in the beginning it was more Hendrix and Blue Cheer and Pentagram. Back then, for us, there was an innocence to it, but then it got dark and strung out. What’s the first band you listened to that made you want to create music? Josh: Bands like Black Flag and The Minutemen made me sit in my room and play guitar all day while other people were finding drugs for the first time. But then you kinda
find other stuff, and Black Sabbath and Hendrix opened up a whole other tangent. It’s like when Kiss took off the make-up. It changes a lot. What inspires you to continue making music? Josh: We just want to see what happens next. We’ve been to Russia recently playing shows, and looking around and seeing people that seem to feel the same way we do. There’s people that we are friends with or have worked with that inspire us quite a bit. Every time you get to watch Chuck Dukowski play up close to this day is inspiring. What’s your favorite part of playing live? Josh: The crowd reaction. In Athens, Greece, people bought our skateboards and were crowd surfing with them. In Moscow, kids we’re climbing on stage and pulling us offstage. Locally, we had a guy split his head wide open at one of our shows and he was at our show the next day. That’s what’s up. What can people expect out of The Shrine in the near future? What’s next for you guys? Josh: We’re finishing our next album and trying to put out a taste of what we recorded with Guy Tevares in Holland. Other than that, the word is “tour.” Any last words? Josh: If it ain’t broke... Break it.
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| MUSIC |
| MUSIC |
WHAT INFLUENCES YOU NOW? A day in our house can see Philip Glass rubbing shoulders with Sigur Ros and Jacques Brel, but we strive to find something unique. If it sounds like someone else, we bin it [that’s Brit slang for getting rid of it] and start over.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST DRIVING FORCE MUSICALLY? We started playing 'live' for our own benefit initially, but audiences were moved in a way that we never expected. The realisation that we could affect people so profoundly and get a kick out of it became a drug. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC?
Audio/visual sonic maelstrom moving from light to dark with mellifluous ease. WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR MUSIC CONVEYS TO PEOPLE WHO SEE IT? It’s an individual thing. Some people find it beautiful, others are unsettled and we get a lot of tears. We've learnt to accept all reactions. WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR 2013? We’ve done lots of recording so far. We're working on our own album, but also have projects underway with Kristin Hersh, Marc Almond, Little Annie ( Anxiety), and are currently doing string arrangements with Tony Visconti.
THE MCCARRICKS: who are, Martin McCarrick (cello/piano): who was born on the kitchen floor of the family home, and raised in Luton and London UK; and Kimberlee McCarrick (violin): who was born in L.A. and raised on a hippy commune in California and later in the Nevada desert. WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW AND WHY? We live in Central London by the river. We are very impatient and London has everything we need within 10 minutes of leaving home. WHEN DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN MUSIC AND DID YOU KNOW BACK THEN THAT IT WOULD BE YOUR CALLING IN LIFE? MARTIN: My parents were swindled into buying a piano from a school teacher when I was seven years-old, and lessons began aged eight, followed by cello lessons at eleven. I played in public at any given opportunity. It brought attention to an otherwise unremarkable and slightly funny looking kid. I wanted more of that.
great emotional awakening but more like an undeniable fact. It never occurred to me that I would do anything else. WHAT/WHO WERE YOUR EARLIEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES? MARTIN: I would mime to Fire by Arthur Brown. It made me feel empowered and Devilish. I was hugely exposed to classical music, which made me tingle in all the good ways. [David] Bowie was my teenage pop hero. KIMBERLEE: There was always music in the house when I was little: Janice Joplin, The Doors, The Supremes, Benny Goodman, Bach, Mozart. Undoubtedly, being exposed to such a wide variety of music had a major influence on me.
KIMBERLEE: I started learning violin when I was 9 and took to it straight away. From that moment I suppose I always knew that I was going to be a violinist; not from any
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| EATS |
Conveniently located off the Gold Line via the Pico exit, bizarre murals illustrating a wicked world of purgatory and pizza attract customers from a distance. Seducing customers since 2007 using some of the most sinful ingredients, Purgatory Pizza uses its own motto of ‘Penance Through Pizza’ to attract both local and new faces. 12” medium ($12), 16” large ($14) and 18” extra-large ($16) pizzas cater to an assortment of tastes here. While some may choose between meat-loving toppings like Canadian bacon and chorizo ($1-$2), others indulge in greener choices like jalapenos, spinach and artichoke heart ($1,$1.50,$2)-all accompanied by a thin crust. As carpoolers, motorcyclist and bicyclists travel 48 | Art! The Magazine
to and from Downtown Los Angeles, many take pit stops for Purgatory Pizza. Large graffiti and street art pieces boldly accentuate the store’s front and parking lot. Since its grand opening, many artists including Ian Campbell from The Cat Cult have added their own illustrations on their walls. Their popular two-slice-and-a-coke special ($4.50) keeps others coming for more. Travis LaBrel, manager, elaborates on Purgatory’s handmade crust made with fresh dough and their made-from-scratch sauce, “We’d rather make it ourselves. Give it that mom and pop feel.” Dante’s Revenge sizzles as pepperoni, chorizo, jalapenos, green peppers and Diablo sauce cover this pie ($18.50).
Buffalo Soldier tempts with chicken, onions, black olives, green peppers and garlic adorn a thin crust ($18.50). Armagarden satisfies with mushrooms, onions, black olives, green peppers and garlic ($19). Vegans can enjoy any pizza (made with vegan cheese) creating a meal topped with an assortment of vegetables to their liking. Any 16” large vegan pizza is sold at $20. Combinations like Dave’s Junkie Special have field roast sausage, jalapenos, mushrooms, green peppers, and Diablo sauce. Others like Thor’s Thundering BBQ have gardein chicken, BBQ sauce, onion and pineapple. They also have a vegan pesto chicken sandwich for $6.50.
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| EATS |
| EATS | Their signature Diablo sauce is available in any slice or whole pizza. While it remains a secret, staff believes many can easily guess the recipe but suggest customers try for themselves. Walls inside are just as busy with art but take on a lovelier approach. Messages like “When we’re apart, it’s good to know the same stars hang above us” surround dining patrons. Large windows offer lighting and visibility for those grabbing a bite while they wait for their trains. Its staff are heavily involved with music and art and specifically seeked employment in Purgatory Pizza as flexible hours cater to
their musical lifestyles if they need to take off on tour or have gigs coming up. Criminal Hygiene’s drummer Sean Erickson and guitarist Michael Fiore, Olin & The Moon’s drummer Travis LaBrel, Retox’s bassist Thor Dickey and guitarist Michael Crain and Fidlar’s frontman Zac Carper have or still work here as Purgatory cooks. With a staff full of musicians, Purgatory Pizza’s musical spectrum ranges from hardcore to country to thrash giving this pizza joint a reputation perfectly suitable for Arts District. Something you’d notice upon stepping foot in the place as noise-filled soundtracks set the mood.
Its growing reputation has only helped in listing itself next to other notorious pizza joints in DTLA like Two Boots Pizza, Garage Pizza and Masa de Echo Park. “We like extreme things in the world: playing music and eating pizza.” –Travis LaBrel Location hours are Monday thru Friday 11:30 am-11 pm and Saturdays/ Sundays noon to 11 pm. Purgatory Pizza is located at 1326 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA. 90033. Orders and deliveries can be made at 323262-5310.
story and photos by Janice Espinoza
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| READS |
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A peek into Art! The Magazine’s artist community JEANETTE SABO WHAT ARE YOUR ROOTS? I was born and raised in Kirkby, Liverpool [England]. WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW AND WHY? Having spent 25 years living in London as a dancer, choreographer, and singer/songwriter, I moved to Florida in 2002. London had simply become too grey – in more ways than one. WE FIRST CROSSED PATHS DURING YOUR DAYS WITH THE GLOVE [JEANETTE WAS LEAD VOCALIST FOR THE GLOVE: A PROJECT/BAND CREATED BY ROBERT SMITH (THE CURE) AND STEVEN SEVERIN (SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES) IN 1982], DID YOU CREATE ART BACK THEN TOO? I was 23 [years-old] during The Glove days, and immersed myself completely in the whole ’80s youth of it all. Art was the furthest thing from my mind! SO WHEN DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN ART? That started happening when I arrived in America in 2005. I started messing around on the walls of my house after seeing amazing graffiti from a train, on a building along a railway track in Miami. I took that same train a year later, but by then, that building was dust. It gave me a huge appreciation and respect for art. I felt connected to it and wanted to be part of it. From then on I dabbled with ideas of art. I had no real direction until I picked up a piece of charcoal in 2010, and suddenly realized that that was my catalyst, my way into my own art. And I started learning. WHAT INFLUENCES AND DRIVES YOU TO MAKE ART? Being self-taught, I find that what influences me now, is the not really knowing what influences me. This puts freedom into painting for me. I don’t know what’s coming [out of me] or why, and that, I think is the greatest driving force regarding my work. What’s developing through that is confidence in my ability to trust that process. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART AND TECHNIQUE? My art is a sneaky peek into my psyche, an expression of my subconscious executed through imagination: and the only way I can get that on canvas, is to not think too much about what I’m painting, and simply just engage with it.
*WORDS BY: BILLY CHAINSAW
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GAYE BLACK WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED? Born in Plymouth to a Swiss mother and called Victoria Beck for the first four and a half weeks of my life, then adopted, renamed and brought up in Bideford, Devon. I was just known as Gaye when the band first started [Gaye was bass player for legendary Brit punk band The Adverts]. I was written down as Gaye Advert on a Stranglers guest list one day and it stuck. WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW AND WHY? London, because it’s where things happen that I want to go to - gigs, art shows, everything. I moved there after finishing at art school. WHEN DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN ART? I had always been interested in art as well as being mad on music: I used to do cartoons and paint everything ridiculous colours when I was a kid. I was intending to work in design, which was the original reason for moving to London, but the band [The Adverts] happened and I became side tracked and didn’t get back into art for years.
WHAT/WHO WERE YOUR EARLIEST ARTISTIC INFLUENCES? When I was at school I got into stuff like [Albrecht] Durer, Art Nouveau and surrealism. [Hieronymus] Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ made quite an impression. WHAT INFLUENCES YOU NOW? I still love surrealism, quirky old engravings and woodcuts, symbolism, and a lot of creepy stuff. I am influenced by the music I listen to while I’m creating stuff, found objects, and anything that I find atmospheric, be it photogra-
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phy, graphic art, or film. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST DRIVING FORCE REGARDING YOUR ART? Trying to realise images I have in my head. I have had a lot of amazing creepy dreams. I often write them down in detail, with illustrations when I wake up. I would have to be an incredibly skilled painter or filmmaker to represent them to my satisfaction. Sadly I am both lazy and a perfectionist!
I am influenced by the music I listen to while I’m creating stuff, found objects, and anything that I find atmospheric, be it photography, graphic art, or film. IMAGE: Name Image: Title
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WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED DRAWING/PAINTING AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START? Gosh, I’ve been drawing/creating in some form for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a house filled with my father’s wonderful, surrealist paintings. Drawing/making things was always encouraged as a family activity. One of my earliest memories is making storybooks with my parents and illustrating them. As I reached my teens, I was often holed away in my bedroom listening to music and making intense little collages. I never really stopped! WERE YOU ENVELOPED IN ART AND SURROUNDED BY ARTISTS WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? It was hard not to! It was all around me. Our lounge was always overflowing with the most marvellous collection of strange, scary and beautiful books. Inspiring objects were everywhere too. Among the many, was a mannequin fashioned into a lamp by my father. I suspect this led to my lifelong fixation with mannequins and doll parts, (and a fondness for [German artist] Hans Bellmer). Growing up, I was particularly obsessed with films and comics. There are far too many to mention but I was especially enamoured with David Lynch’s early films and William Burroughs’ use of the Dadaist cut-up technique. DESCRIBE HOW YOUR STYLE HAS DEVELOPED. I studied Fine Art at Brighton University. During this time I made a lot of conceptual pieces, working largely in sculpture and photography. As the years have gone by, my work has taken a more aesthetic/narrative form. Instead of focusing on raw self expression, I am more interested in creating a mood that reflects my fascination with early cinema and female saints. HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? I would say it’s most comparable to Art Deco. I use minimal, clean lines, often with block colours. The characters I create, frequently 60 | Art! The Magazine
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ARE YOU AN INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT? Gosh, that’s a tricky one. I’d say probably both! I’ve always had a very strong sense of my own identity. I’ve never been afraid to stand out in a crowd and love to spend time with my much adored friends. However, I’m really happy spending long periods alone in my own little world creating things. An introverted extrovert perhaps?!
of German Expressionism & early Hollywood. As well Weimar Berlin culture & Mexican folk Art but my all time inspiration is my grandmother. She’s an amazing woman who tells the most wonderful stories. She has always encouraged me to pursue my art and her house is absolutely filled with my creations.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION? Wow there are just too many things! I’m obsessed with the vamps
I don’t feel like I have much choice really! It’s part of who I am.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST DRIVING FORCE REGARDING YOUR ART?
WORDS: BILLY CHAINSAW
CONTACT Website: http://www.saffronreichenbacker.co.uk/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saffron-Reichenbacker/284263195781 62 | Art! The Magazine
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