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BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

MAGAZINE

ARTS + CULTURE

ISSUE #21 june 2016

hamer one • sean norvet birdo • lady be • jon todd wax head • birdcap uncle strawberry

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Dedicated to the brilliant, beautiful and bizarre. Whimsical tales, visuals and various odds and ends about obscure and misunderstood sub-cultures. Bizarre Beyond Belief is a bi-monthly digital publication & daily updated blog with an online shop. Disclaimer: Some of the content on this site may contain offensive nature. BBB does not condone or promote the activities portrayed, it is merely documentation of said sub-cultures. Submissions & general inquiries to: contact@bizarrebeyondbelief.com Advertising proposals & press requests: contact@bizarrebeyondbelief.com

Cover: Sean Norvet Website www.bizarrebeyondbelief.com Shop: www.bizarrebeyondbelief.storenvy.com SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Instagram: @bizarrebeyondbelief Facebook: www.facebook.com/bizarrebeyondbeliefmagazine Twitter: @bbbmagazine Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bbbmagazine Tumblr: www.bizarrebeyondbelief.tumblr.com 2

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MAGAZINE

ARTS + CULTURE

ISSUE #21 june 2016

CONTENTS

TABLE OF

BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

INTERVIEWS birdcap Uncle StrawBerry lady be hamer one SEAN NORVET

PAGE. 4 Page. 36 Page. 50 page. 82 page. 112

IMAGE FEATUREs JON TODD BIRDO Wax head

page. 22 PAGE. 64 PAGE. 100 bIZARREbEYONDbELIEF

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Birdcap We’ve been interacting with Birdcap for a number of months now and he was an obvious choice for this issue as he holds all of the elements of an artist we love. His whimsical and graphic work ranges from giant murals to interactive sculpture scenes, all of which are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. As a nomadic artist, Birdcap has been living out of his suitcase for years and has flown out to the far depths of the world. From Tokyo to New York and many places in between. This has without a doubt allowed him to take visual and narrative cues and play a heavy role on the cultural accumulation of an exciting transient life. We’re thrilled to have him kick off our incredible twenty first issue and we look forward to many years of collaboration and friendship.

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“We really want to democratize street art by making it accessible to all.”

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: You were born under the Reagan administration, can you describe the influence of this presidency on your upbringing? Birdcap: To tell you the truth, I was five days shy of two years old when he left office.  He obviously had a major influence on American society - a negative one in my opinion. There’s a pretty good Killer Mike song about it.  I was raised by a community that elected him in back to back terms. I grew up in a very conservative area of Southern Mississippi where the U.S. was the hero of every tale and every sin we ever committed was all worth it for this perfect nation.  I was born under a thick blanket of conservative white patriotism, so in that way Reagan was sort of ever present.   BBB: Growing up in a small town in the US, artists must not often be a career choice, what sparked your interest in the creative industry?   Birdcap: Drawing was just my way of getting through

public school. Mississippi isn’t famous for its education system.  Also, between you and me, I was an easy target to get picked on during those years.  I was a Styrofoamwhite ginger dumpling with Pokemon cards spilling out of my pockets.  Drawing stuff for people on request got me out of the firing squad some days, and more than that it gave me self-worth during those years.  I didn’t know back then how it would manifest itself, but I knew pretty young I wanted drawing to be involved in whatever I ended up doing.   BBB: Were there any other artists in your family or amongst your friends who helped you in your pursuit as an artist?   Birdcap: Not when I was young, nah.  I had comic books and cartoons though.  I’ve met a lot of supportive artists since then.  The whole reason I really plunged into the mural scene was the community. I started painting on walls back when I was living in South Korea out of necessity sort of.  I was lucky enough to paint with some

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really great artists early on in my career who gave me great advice and acted as living examples of what it would take to make this sort of career work. They had been painting a lot longer than I had.  I just wanted to try not to embarrass myself in front of them.  The community is still the motivator for me.  I do a lot of collaborations; it keeps it fun.   BBB: You’ve left your hometown and now live out of your suitcase, was this choice integral to the development of your art?   Birdcap: Totally.  I can’t imagine even making work right now if I’d stayed.  After Hurricane Katrina I didn’t really have much material stuff to tie me down anywhere.  I graduated from an art college in 2009 amidst the Great

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Recession, so realistically it’s not like I was going to find a job and settle down. Traveling made sense, and it seemed a lot cheaper than staying put and collecting more and more bills as I got comfortable.  I think the lifestyle has had a huge influence on the work, down to the materials, the process and the genre.  If I had a studio for the last five years I’m sure I’d be a very different artist.   BBB: You’ve created work all over the world, which is your city favorite to travel to and/or create work in and why?   Birdcap: That’s tough.  I’ve got a lot of love for Seoul and Memphis because I’ve spent the most time in those two cities, but I think Bangkok is really a painter’s paradise; it’s warm all year long, paint is cheap, walls are flat, and


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cops are willing to negotiate. I couldn’t get over how nice everyone I ran into while painting there was.  I remember painting a piece on the back of some warehouse when the property owner came up to me.  I thought I was fucked but he just wanted to give me some water and bread.  Gingers don’t look like they’d survive long in the sun.  I painted a hostel for free room and board while I was there too.  Anyplace you can barter gets in my top picks.   BBB: Your work is often whimsical and surreal, how did you develop your aesthetic?   Birdcap: I just keep drawing.  I think a lot of it sort of formed out of all the cartoons and comic books I read when I was young.  I studied art history in college and to some extent I think I have a latent urge to sneak references to that in from time to time.  I’m pretty into folk tales, local myths, and religious stories. That comes into play I think as well. Korean masks, Mayan glyphs,

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Japanese Yokai, Voodoo charms, etc, all sort of have their stake in my work. For the most part I just try to let it all fall into place naturally.  Whatever I’m interested in makes its way into the style a bit.  When I try to think about aesthetic too much it starts feeling forced and arrhythmic, so I don’t think that much.     BBB: Muralism has been on the rise these days, do you have any opinion on how the success of the craft came to be?   We’re in the midst of a lot of urban revival right now. I think murals have their role as relatively cheap, highly visible testimonies to that.  The economic downturn changed the migration patterns of the younger generation.  Young people don’t see a lot of hope in owning a house fresh out of school.  They aren’t moving to the suburbs.  They’re moving downtown.  Car culture climaxed with


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the last generation so there’s an investment in what’s nearby. People are endorsing and commodifying what it means to be local, and murals are a big part of that.  So that’s some of it.   The other part is that graffiti became marketable to the mainstream at a certain point. To me that was inevitable; a culture that rich never stays untapped. The history of it all, how it came to be what it is, it’s incredible. I have a lot of friends who are graffiti heads and aren’t super happy with the developments.  Graffiti had a really rigorous way of coming up and building respect. It was risky and took a lot of work.  Now that money is an incentive you can see muralists coming straight out of school with no relationship to the culture.  A lot of those people have no interest in graffiti, but graffiti is what created the market they’re trying to cash in on. I’ve never been a graffiti

kid in the pure form, but I sympathize with their point of view. Part of me wants everyone to have slept on the street a couple of times.  Ultimately, quality is the name of the game though.  You can be a senator’s son who’s never touched a can for all I care, as long as your work is dope and you understand that graffiti artists are a big reason this lane is open to you right now.  And I mean, at the very root of it, murals are great. Graffiti is great. Art on the street hits an unfiltered audience who aren’t in a gallery-goer mind set. It changes the culture of a city in the way that a white walled gallery can’t. Murals also a happy break from the unsolicited advertisements normally imposed on pedestrians in an urban environment.   Part of me is nervous that this is a temporary trend and in five years there will be 2 million muralists and four jobs.  At the same time, it was fun before any of us were getting

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paid, so I guess it’ll just go back to that. Money is great though. BBB: You work both indoors and outdoors, how does your creative process differ between the two fields?   Birdcap: The process is pretty similar I think. Each wall is different, so they all have to be tailored to a point.  Usually though the difference is just a matter of having to check the weather.   BBB: You work indoors, outdoors and sculpturally and digitally, if you were to choose only one medium for the rest of your career, which one would it be, and why?   Ah that’d be terrible, haha.  I’d have to go with outdoor walls I guess.  It keeps me sane.  All of the other mediums are great, but I can start to go a little stir crazy if I don’t get away from them from time to time.  I think it’s good for your head to be outdoors.  Painting outside usually means painting with others too.  The other mediums are a lot more solitary.  I’m glad choosing isn’t a real situation though, they definitely inform each other.  My walls

would take a hit if I couldn’t draw anymore. BBB: Can you name 3 things outside of the art world that you absolutely not live without?   Birdcap: Hip Hop, Books and Hot Sauce.   BBB: If you’re wasting a Sunday away binge watching TV, what 5 shows would be on your list to see?   Birdcap: Peep Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Simpsons, The Mighty Boosh, Roseanne.   BBB: As a busy man who’s constantly on the move, what’s next on the horizon for you?   Haha, man just trying to stay busy.  I’m headed to Korea next month to paint a few walls with a local artist. When I get back I have a couple jobs to shore up in Memphis, then I’m going to go backpacking for a bit.  I got a grant this year to travel and paint so I’m trying to get the itinerary worked out right now to head out West for a few months. Shout out to ArtsMemphis (for the grant) and my people Nosey42 & Mae Aur (just ‘cause)!  

www.birdcap.net | instagram: @birdcap

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jon TODD Jon Todd is a Toronto based mixed media artist. Todd combines many mediums in his art including painting on found objects, collaging various papers, wood block cuts and screen-printing. His artistic process involves layering various mediums coupled with distressing techniques. It is this process that gives his art a unique style and places his work in the grey area between raw beauty and refined chaos. Todd’s unique style of paintings can vary from hyper detailed elaborate portraits to bold and intense collage pieces. All his works are adorned with intricate symbolic images and patterns that allow the viewer to decipher the story behind the painting and its characters. Todd continues to push the boundaries of his art through continuous research and experimentation with new techniques and styles.

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UNCLE STRAWBERRY After finding out about Uncle Strawberry through the wonders of social media, he quickly became one of our favourite artists. His pop art influence and reappropriation of the world’s most recognizable cartoon and comic book icons, set his artwork apart from the rest. No only does he have beautiful layer work and intense precision on his characters, he also hand cuts and sands the contours of the piece to add a dimension few others would venture into. If you aren’t aware of his work already, there is no time like the present to follow his work and hopefully snag a painting before they sell out.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Your work often references influential pop culture characters, why do you use these characters as your muse? Uncle Strawberry: It’s what makes me happy. My childhood consisted of watching cartoons, collecting comics and action figures, and eating those sugary breakfast cereals which always had some already iconic

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character covering it. We spend our whole lives wanting to grow up, then the rest of our lives wanting to be a kid again. Surrounding ourselves with nostalgia, you can almost relive that in a way, it makes one feel good. BBB: That being said, how would you describe your practice — as a pop artist, comic book or illustrator? 


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and how to go about executing it, from there I go to work. There’s definitely a great attention to detail with the woodcuts, you’ve got cutting, sanding, and filing before you can even begin to paint. Regardless of whether its canvas and wood, I always go about laying paint down the same way, the Warhol way. Color first, then detail last. People always ask how I get my lines so clean, what brushes I use, what brand of paint is the best. It’s in neither the brush, nor the paint, it’s really all in the wrist. That, and years of practice.  BBB: You often do commissions, how do you pick and choose what to do or who to create for?  US: I try to take on all and any commissions I can get, however not everyone’s ideas coincide with mine. It can’t be my art if they’re dictating the medium of expression.   BBB: You work both on canvas and with cut out pieces of wood, how do you feel the pieces relate to the viewer between the mediums? 

US: Pop artist, pulling from comics and illustrations. BBB: Your work has an extreme attention to detail, can you describe your creative process from conception to completion? BBB: It all starts with an idea. From there I decide if it would make a better cut-out or a canvas/panel piece

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US: I’m known for my woodcuts. I know a lot of people love the woodcuts for that 3D realistic feel, it’s almost like sculpture peeled from the page. BBB: You’re based in St. Louis, what is the scene like in your hometown and why stay there as opposed to the obvious locations like NYC or LA? US: One keeps close to his own territory. As for an art scene in St. Louis, I think I’m its best kept secret. I am its art scene. However, unless you went to the art institute of Chicago, people tend to overlook you. If it’s not a Midwestern landscape people don’t want it.  BBB: Nowadays artists often becoming more and more self-taught, how do you feel about art education

institutions such as colleges or universities? US: A professor told me before I dropped out of art school that art can’t be taught, one can only give insight on technique. I think art school is a sham like all schools. I’m living proof that you can walk out of art school only a few credits away from a degree, and accomplish more than any piece of paper you could pay for, you can’t grade art.  BBB: You sometimes allow your work to be amongst the street, how do you feel the urban environment interacts with your characters? US: I don’t consider myself a street artist, however I do gain a lot of inspiration from street art. 

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BBB: If you’re hammering away at a studio session, what top 5 albums would be playing in the background? US: As of late it’s been shuffling jazz; Miles, Coltrane, Monk, Milt Jackson, Eric Dolphy, shit with movement, shit with swing. Beggar’s Banquet by the rolling stones. BBB: If you were to name your top 3 artists who inspire you of any genre or time period, who would they be and why? US: Warhol is always number one. He’s the reason we look at things the way we do, he made soup art. I think he had a substantial impact on graphic design, not just then but even more today.

And Kaws. The clean lines, cartoons, the color theory and design. From his paintings to his sculpture work and toys, he’s definitely the most prolific artist today. He’s also had a huge influence on my work. BBB: With 2016 well under way, what can our readers expect from Uncle Strawberry for this year and beyond? US: I have a print release coming up, more details on that to follow, as well as a group show in the UK taking place in May. If you really want to know what I’m working on and what I’m doing, my Instagram @uncle_strawberry is always active as I’m always working on something.

instagram: @uncle_strawberry

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ART FAIR LE CAPITOL 4310 BOULEVARD SAINT-LAURENT JUNE 9—12 2016

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Presented by DeSerres in collaboration with Index Design

Exhibitors : Galerie Bloom (Montreal) Galerie Station 16 (Montreal) #Hashtag Gallery (Toronto) Galerie Artêria (Bromont) Galerie d’Este (Montreal) Galerie C.O.A (Montreal) Artgang (Montreal) Colagene (Montreal, Paris) Revue Esse (Montreal) DeSerres (Montreal) MURAL (Montreal) Visit muralfestival.com/foiredart for more information

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LADY BE Lady Be is an exceptional Rome based artist who fortunately enough for us, reached out to send some of her latest work. After our first interaction with Lady Be, we thought a feature with her in the magazine is a must. The Italian artist creates contemporary mosaics, usually featuring icons and famous portraits entirely composed of discarded and recycled objects such as buttons, toys and dice. The meticulous nature of her work shows exceptional attention to detail by perfectly correlating the material to the colour which gives the illusion of depth through highlights and shadows. Lady Be blends almost everything we love about art - colour, detail and pop culture. It is an absolute treat to get her involved wtih the publication and we feel strongly that you’ll agree.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: What was your first interaction with the art world and what prompted you to become an artist?

BBB: You currently live and work in Dorno and Rome, how would you describe the art scene in these places and how do you think they could improve?

Lady Be: I believe that when we are born we already know what we will become, and I feel that I was born with a paintbrush in my hand. One of the first memories I have is of a day at the nursery. While I was drawing, my young friend came to me and said: “The flower you are drawing is too big”. At that moment, I remember thinking: “Why is she saying that? I am good at drawing, I know what I am doing”. After finishing primary school, I attended an art school and then a fine art academy. What I like about my profession is that I always knew that I wanted to pursue it. I studied to become an artist and, since I was born, I never thought of becoming anything else but an artist.

Lady Be: Italy has a very important art history, but nowadays our country does not foster art, and being an artist in Italy today is really difficult. We have to pay skyhigh taxes and there is a lot of competition. If we include both those who do it as a hobby and as a profession, it is estimated that there are about a million artists in Italy, so approximately 1 in every 60 people. Further to this, Italy is the third worse country in Europe for corruption. In our daily practice, it is obvious that one must have connections in order to move forward and that we have no meritocracy. Our institutions are in a critical state and are not able to help, so we all have to fund our work with our own money.

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I have lived in Dorno, a small town in the north of Italy, since I was born. Because of its small size, everyone knows everyone and many family friends, and even some schools, help me to collect the recycled materials, objects and small toys that I need for my work. The advantage of living there is that I have a big house, so I can work in the open air and in large spaces when I have to create big artworks. It is a peaceful village and a relaxing place, although it can be a little foggy and cold in winter. I also have a small flat, which is my registered studio, not far from the city centre of Rome, 500 km away from Dorno. Rome is right in the middle of the country and it is a large city, full of history and art. Unfortunately, it is badly preserved and its art scene is very commercial and neglected by the general public. This second location allows me to have everything I need for my art available at a stone’s throw, including many fine art and DIY shops, and a lot of flea markets where I can buy the plastic objects I use in my artworks. Rome is also well connected to the rest of Italy and to the world, which is convenient since at the moment I am travelling a lot for my exhibitions and events. BBB: You attended a couple of art schools, can you describe your experience at these institutions? Lady Be: Attending the art school Alessandro Volta in Pavia was very important for me. My teachers were very competent and experienced and they have been able to help me in my choices. I am still in contact with some of them and I hear from them daily. They are like friends to me and I still rely on them for advice and suggestions about my work, because their judgment has always been, and will always be, important to me. Last month I went back to my high school to talk about my art. I spoke for two hours, showing some of my artwork and some pictures of it to the students, who were excited and enthusiastic to see what this school could give them the opportunity to become. It was one of the teachers who had the idea of inviting me back, and he funnily called this meeting “Sometimes they come back”, from the title of one of Stephen King’s short stories! The Academy of Fine Arts in Sanremo was also a very special place. Sanremo is a beautiful and artistic city, with a very important role in the Italian cinema and music scenes. The academy was very special and very selective: last year there were more professors than students, so we

could benefit from being followed by our teachers on an almost one-to-one basis. I graduated with top marks from both schools: I really was a bit of a nerd! BBB: Do you feel that you as an artist and as a person benefitted from attending these institutions? Lady Be: I feel very proud that I have attended the art school Alessandro Volta in Pavia. This school opened exactly on the same year I reached the age to enter high school. Before then, Pavia did not have a public art school and Milano was too far from the town where I lived so, if it was not for this institution, I would have had to attend a school specialising in science or humanities and this would have irreparably changed my destiny. I also think I benefitted hugely from attending the Academy in Sanremo. It was thanks to one of the teachers that I had my first exhibition in 2010 and this lead to many other opportunities and even chances to exhibit around the world. I must thank all the teachers I had for their understanding approach and for their help, since without them I would not have become the person and artist I am today. BBB: Since 2010, you have exhibited frequently, where was the most memorable show that you had and why? Lady Be: The most memorable show was certainly the one we held on the Eiffel Tower, while my staff and I were in Paris for the Art Fair “Art Shopping” that was being held just under the Louvre Pyramid. The exhibition on the Eiffel Tower only lasted one day, but what a day it was! We woke up at 4 am and were ready in front of the Eiffel Tower at 6 am. We stayed on the tower until midnight. Only our enthusiasm could keep us going for so many hours! The Exhibition was held inside the Salon Gustave Eiffel, on the second floor, 57 meters above ground, and we had to carry the artworks and easels up the steps ourselves. It was going to be a very prestigious event that would have lasted until the evening, so I was wearing a nice, elegant long dress, jewels and high heels, since I could not get changed and there wasn’t any storage room available where we could leave our things. So I had to go up all the external stairs of the tower on my high heels, carrying easels, artworks, banners and all the material for

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the exhibition. It was the 23rd of October 2014, in the morning it was still dark and, on top of that, at one point it started to rain! I was on my feet all day, without sitting down, not even for a second, but it was worth it, because it was a very beautiful exhibition, a strongly emotional and wonderful experience. There I met some very important people from all over the world and it was Salvador Dalí’s son, José Van Roy Dalí, who opened the exhibition. In fact, it was there that I exhibited for the first time my portrait of Dalí. The exhibition was very successful and people were enthusiastic about my art. It all ended with a wonderful midnight dinner in the restaurant on the Tower. BBB: You often work with recycled materials, why did you decide to use these materials? Lady Be: The plastic materials that I use are part of me. I always keep every little thing, because I am very attached to memories, but more importantly, because I have always been taught that things should not be thrown away, as long as they work. The first artwork I completed when I was 19 was a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. It was made with all those items that, although they had lost their original function, I did not want to throw away. I wanted to give them a second life, a second chance. The recycled material that has lost its original function, in my works acquires the function of “colour” and this way it earns a higher status as part of an art object. These are things that people throw away, one could say that they are rubbish, but at the same time they could be defined as Pop, since they are objects that we all know and recognize as part of our everyday life. Through my art, I want to send a message in support of recycling and sustainability, making people aware of the fact that everything can have a second life and can be recycled in many ways, and that even garbage, the most humble matter, can become the thing that more than anything else elevates us spiritually: Art. BBB: How does the creative process using recycled goods differ from using paints, metal or wood? Lady Be: I used to say that my art, what I call “Lady Be

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Art”, for me is like painting. I have studied and I know how to create good figurative paintings, but for years now I have been replacing paints with plastic trinkets. With them, I can obtain shadows, lights, perspective, depth, distinct expressions and all the nuances and chiaroscuro I could create using a brush, because the materials I use cover a whole range of colours. Of course, this process requires hard work and a lot research and preparation. I collect the objects from different sources (flea markets, e-bay, friends, schools, or even finding them myself on the seashore) and then I split them by colour. Finally, I cut and model them, and split each colour into different shades. The result are as many bins full of objects separated by colour, and for each colour a full palette of shades ready to be used when the time comes to glue the pieces on the preparatory drawing on the table. What I would like to underline is that my material is never coloured after I compose the art piece. Each object is kept in its original colour, because I want people to recognize it as it is and therefore it must not be altered in any way. Rightly enough, many art critics and art experts define my art as “contemporary mosaic”; mosaic is an art with an ancient origin, that is originally interpreted by me with objects typical of this time and that will remain as witnesses of this era. So, genre-wise, my art is closer to mosaic than to painting and sculpture, although when I am creating it I feel like I am painting. BBB: You tend to use iconic artists as subject matter, what is it about these individuals that draws your attention? I do not only portray artists, but pop icons in general. I portrayed celebrities from the world of cinema and music such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon as solo artists (in fact, my name “Lady Be” was inspired by its assonance with the song “Let it be”, that is very important for me), cartoons like Pinocchio or Batman, some political icons such as Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung and Hitler and some fashion brands like Elio Fiorucci’s dwarf and the logo of the leather manufacturer Braccialini. I also create portraits on request. What I prefer to do, however, is to portray iconic artists, because I hope that


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one day their faces will become known to the public as much as those of personalities of cinema, politics and music. There are not many artists whose face is known by everyone and not only by art lovers. I believe that artists should be remembered as they are and not only through their artworks, because their life, their personality and even their physical appearance, especially for pop artists,

is important. BBB: Out of all of the artists you have created portraits of, who was your favourite to make and why? Lady Be: I have created portraits of Salvador DalĂ­, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frida

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Kahlo and Van Gogh. I particularly enjoyed portraying Frida Kahlo because of the way she lived her life and because she is an icon, not only as an artist but also as a woman. Her life as a Mexican Surrealist painter reveals a woman of extreme magnetism and originality, an artist whose sensual vibrancy comes straight from her own experiences: her childhood near Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution, a devastating accident at the age of eighteen that left her crippled and unable to bear children, her turbulent marriage to muralist Diego Rivera and his intermittent love affairs, her association with the Communist Party, her absorption in Mexican folklore and culture and her dramatic love of spectacle. You might not believe it, but I can say that in my country, today, it is still difficult to be a female artist, especially when you are quite young. Often, when I exhibit, I am labelled as “the youngest artist” or “the only female artists”, and people judge me also because of this. For all these reasons, I feel very much on the same wavelength as Frida Kahlo. BBB: What would you say is your biggest challenge as a practicing artist? Lady Be: I would like to produce sculptures, but because of the technique I use this could be very difficult. My art was initially conceived as painting, it was meant to be bi-dimensional and I think it would be difficult apply it to 3D, but I am sure that the result would be spectacular! On a separate note, my greatest aspiration would also be, one day, to be exhibited at the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, although I expect the journey that leads to such an achievement to be very long and complex since only a few artists are awarded this great honour. BBB: With summer upon us, what can our readers expect of Lady Be in the coming months? I am getting ready to bring my art to different parts of the world and at the same time I am working with one of the

galleries where I normally exhibit in Italy for a prestigious catalogue about Plastic Art, that will be testimonial of my Contemporary Mosaic. On 9-12 June I will exhibit my first sculpture, a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, and a special big Artwork against Domestic Violence (the Beaten Barbie) in Verona’s Art Fair, the “1st Triennale of Contemporary Art International Art Expo”, within the “Museo Italia” section. Then, on the 22nd, I will have an important exhibition in Castel dell’Ovo, a historical castle in Naples. Finally, on June 26th I will have an important Art Auction, the proceeds will go to charity. I am also taking part to the auctions of “Charity Stars” with my artworks, donating 30% to important charitable organizations. This summer I will be traveling to America: on July 29th my art will be included in a videoexhibition in a conference room in Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood. On September 17th I will be in Venice to receive the Casanova Award in the special event “Venice in Art” that will be held at Palazzo Frangini. On October 13th I will come back to the USA to present one of my artworks via a video presentation in a conference room in Manhattan, New York. Finally, on October 16th I will take part in the award-giving ceremony that will mark the conclusion of this series of events in an important conference hall in Washington. After the summer, my artworks and I will return to Paris, where between 21-23 October I will be at “Art Shopping”, an Art Fair held inside the Carrousel Du Louvre, under the Louvre Pyramid. I will come back to Italy on November 5th to open a Solo Exhibition with all my new artworks at the gallery L’Alfiere in Turin, which is also an auction house. On November 19th I will be in Vienna to receive the Klimt Prize for artistic merits. I would recommend to all the readers to check my website regularly to keep up-to-date with all my events and dates: www.ladybeart.com

www.ladybeart.com

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BIRDO We here at BBB have known Birdo for a number of years and it seems like a long time coming to have him grace the pages of our magazine. From our days as party animals to the respected and motivated individuals we have become, we’ve seen Birdo’s growth as both an artist and a person. Birdo, or as some people know him Jerry Rugg, has an extraordinary ability to adapt to any surface whether it’s indoor or outdoor. His brilliant imagination and concepts have led him to being quickly one of the most respected mural artists on the circuit today. A Toronto staple of both graffiti and muralism, we’re unbelievably thrilled to have gotten him to unload some pictures for this issue so we can share the wild, wacky and incredible world of Birdo.

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HAMER ONE Hamer One is a midwest based graffiti and fine artist who is not only an animal out in the streets, but also in the studio as well. The all-American artist has put in a ton of legwork in streets, but may even be better known for his efforts on steel. His bold lettering and vibrant colour palette speak volumes about his personality in the scene. Beyond his capabilities of letter structure and colour schemes, he’s also an incredible drawer and illustration artist. His black and white comic book and typography inspired illustrations convey his undeniable talent in all aspects to the art world. We were lucky enough to steal some time away from his busy schedule to share some wisdom on the midwest graffiti scene and his practice as an artist.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: When was your first interaction with the graffiti scene and what prompted you to start painting? Hamer One: My pops is a locomotive engineer for the railroad and the UP used to have company parties actually on the railroad property. That was when I first saw a train car roll by with a full scale piece on it. I was like whoa what was that! I was always really into comic books and art growing up so this caught my eye real quick. BBB: We’ve read you used to cut school and go paint freights in Omaha, can you describe the scene out there at that time? Hamer One: Yeah. I used to skip school to go paint in the freight yard right down from my school, we would be

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painting in there while they were working and pushing cars around haha, just dumb kids. BBB: You’ve done a lot of work all around the Midwest, what makes the graffiti scene out there different than the east coast like NYC or Boston? Hamer One: To be honest I haven’t been around the east coast hardly at all. I really have no comment on that. BBB: Detroit used to be a graffiti artists dream up to a few years ago, how do you feel about the government cracking down on graffiti out the in the D? Hamer One: I guess it is what it is, when it’s super easy to get away with its only exciting for so long. Graffiti is illegal and that’s how I’ve always viewed it, so for me


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they can do what they need to do. BBB: Do you think this will help or hinder the arts and culture scene of Detroit? Hamer One: Detroit is really rad they are going to make the best of it no matter how it plays out. BBB: Which other cities are your favourite to paint in and why? Hamer One: I LOVE Chicago. It’s fast paced and has lots of real dope spots. There are a lot of real cool guys in Chicago that have been more than awesome to me, they know who they are.

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BBB: Have you ever gone out on a mission whether local or foreign that you’ve felt too sketchy to paint? If so, can you tell us about the experience? Hamer One: Way too many to remember ha, but even when it was sketchy it’s what you do, so you figure it out and try to pull it off without getting slammed. BBB: Beyond graffiti you also create a lot of comic based art, how do you feel the two fields feed off one another? Hamer One: Comic books and graffiti go great together. It involves a lot of line work and very well thought out pieces to create the end result. I have been into comic books ever since I was little and then saw graffiti and just


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to put them both together.

you site as influences?

BBB: Do you feel it’s important to create beyond just traditional letter structures?

Hamer One: Greg Cupelo, he is one of the top comic book artists in the world and also self-taught like myself. He is a beast and very few people have the discipline and drive he does. Not only does it inspire me in my illustrations, but also when I’m out painting graffiti, to make sure I never half ass what I came to do.

Hamer One: It’s always good to have a strong perspective on letter structure. One thing that bothers me most is when someone says “oh I love those colors”, because a lot of people have no clue what good letters even look like. For me it’s very important to have strong structure. Anybody can go buy some fancy Montana colors and use the same exact colors as someone else did and a lot of people can’t even tell the difference in the quality because they both used “cool colors”. When you strip all of the color off of a piece and it still looks awesome to me that is more important. BBB: What major inspirations outside graffiti could

BBB: With summertime fast approaching, what plans do you have for the warm weather of 2016? Hamer One: It sucks that it’s going to be summer because I spend a lot of my time right now at my desk making drawings. I also work seven days a week, so I get out and spray as much as I possibly can. Hopefully I can focus on some larger scale graffiti pieces and travel to some new cities I have planned.

wwww. rustonly.bigcartel.com | instagram: @hamer.one

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wax head Our man Wax Head has been out and about crushing cities all over the world. Growing up in our native city of Toronto, he eventually moved out to Montreal where his career is undoubtedly flourishing. The Canadian based artist conceptualizes work unlike anything ever scene before. His zany and eccentric imagination lends itself to making some of the most memorable characters out there. Recently, Wax Head has been traveling the world and leaving his mark on just about any surface he can get his brushes on such as India and the United States, among many others. If you’re unaware of his work, it’s a real treat for us to showcase it to you, as we’ve had the pleasure of following his work and seeing it develop over the years. Voilà!

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SEAN NORVET We’ve been following Sean Norvet for a lengthy amount of time now and he’s easily been one of our favourite artists since first we first saw his work. Words can’t describe his brilliance as an artist both conceptually and technically. His outrageous and bizarre canvas work are clear depiction of why anyone would would want him in a magazine that has a name like we do. From its surrealist nature, to it’s contemporary content, Norvet displays an obscene amount of talent and precision. His work often juxtaposes as he says “elegant photo-realism with twodimensional cartoon buffoonery.” We’re ecstatic to have him talk to us and hear his many thoughts on growing up in Los Angeles, various inspirations and his exciting origins as an artist.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Lots of people usually move to LA to “make it”, can you describe what it was like actuallygrowing up there? Sean Norvet: Growing up here you take some things for granted. Spoiled from non-stop sunny weather. If it

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gets below 60 degrees, the heavy-ass jackets and scarfs come out. You can go snowboarding on Tuesday, and be lounging at the beach on Saturday. From my experience, almost everybody knows somebody in the entertainment industry, and no one really cares. In High School, you could go to house parties and maybe see a 90’s C-List


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child actor doing blow in the kitchen.

feel Los Angeles can offer that no other city can?

BBB: It’s evident that the LA arts and culture scene is always thriving, what first sparked your interest in pursuing an arts career?

SN: I think one of the coolest things about LA is that the city itself is made up of a bunch of mini-cities. Vast amounts of culture, and a really good variety of food. Also the sun year round.

SN: Well I guess it started with what got me interested in art in the first place. My dad had some Zap Comics and psychedelic art books that blew me away. Looking at these when I was around 6-7 years old had a huge impact on me. Once I discovered cartoons it was game over. I wanted to be a cartoonist for Ren & Stimpy, and create my own cartoons. Fast forward to high school, I was still into art but I think I was too stoned to realize I should pursue it as a career. Thankfully my art teacher saw I had some talent, and she supported me and gave me all the info on art schools around LA. BBB: Is there any one thing (or many things) that you

BBB: Your style brilliantly blends photorealism and cartoon like visuals, what (or who) would you say helped develop this aesthetic? SN: Thank you. I think it came about from pushing and pulling things around and experimenting. Its two forms of art I respect and enjoy creating so it just happened overtime. Lately I’ve been really trying to push both elements further, and I’m excited about some upcoming ideas. BBB: You completed your BFA at the ACCD in

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Pasadena, do you feel this was an integral aspect of your artistic development? SN: Overall, Art Center was a great experience. It definitely helped sharpen my skills and helped me discover different styles of art making and problemsolving. One of the best things about it is meeting other creative people that become your peers. I’m glad to be friends with some insanely talented people, and learn from some amazing teachers. BBB: Would you recommend aspiring artists or designers to pursue post­secondary education in the arts as well? SN: I guess it depends on what you’re majoring in. I think nowadays art schools are pretty overpriced. Unless you can get a full-ride scholarship, or your family is rich, I would think about other options. Maybe try YouTube University, or enjoy the debt until you’re 70.

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BBB: Your work is often fun and humorous, do you feel it’s possible to make art out of pure enjoyment versus having a message behind it? SN: Of course. Life’s too short. Make art that you want to see. The message usually seems to follow. BBB: Can you describe your creative process for a piece from conceptualization to finished product? SN: It usually begins with a main thought or idea. Something pops into my head like a theme, or some subject matter. If I’m stumped, I usually just start sketching with pen to paper. I keep it loose and draw the overall composition in chicken scratch. Then, I usually scan it into photoshop and play around with it. I dig up some reference photos and drag them into the sketch and collage and mash things up. The first draft usually looks nothing like the finished piece because I’m constantly changing things. I’m covering stuff up, or sanding it down. I keep pushing and pulling things around until I’m


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satisfied with the results. BBB: You hold sponsorships with Winsor and Newton, what does this entail and how did it come about? SN: Yeah, HUGE shout out to Winsor & Newton. I’m still humbled that they chose me as their youngest ambassador of the year. I grew up learning with their paint, so it’s unreal to have their support. This came about through a company they work with who saw my work at Art Basel. They contacted me to find out more, and it went from there. Mainly, they wanted me to promote myself using their products through social media, and show that I’m an ambassador on my website and all that. I also did some confidential paint testing, which I can’t talk about. In return, they hooked me up with practically anything on their website to experiment with and use in my work. I’m blessed with paint and brushes for a while to say the least. BBB: If you’re grinding away on some studio work what top 5 albums would be in your play list jamming out in the background? SN: Rotation as of late has been: Blue Sky Black Death

- Noir, Horace Andy - Skylarking, Com Truise - Galactic Melt, Dr. Dooom - First Come First Served and Tycho Awake BBB: If you woke up one day and lost your creative edge, what other career path do you think you would take? SN: Damn, I don’t know. I would probably get drawn to other creative fields like music or food. If the creative edge was completely lost, I’d try to be an entrepreneur and make stupid money off of some infomercial invention. BBB: Are there any projects, events or general information you think our readers should know about Sean Norvet? SN: Just rocking out a steady amount of work for group exhibitions and commissions. Working on a little merch company with a buddy of mine coming out soon, and that’s about it for now. Check me out on Instagram: @ seannorvet and feel free to shoot me a message and visit my website at www.seannorvet.com and thanks to Bizarre Beyond Belief for the support! Buy their shit!

wwww. seannorvet..com | instagram: @sean_norvet

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MURAL

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ART FAIR

LE CAPITOL 4310 BOULEVARD SAINT-LAURENT JUNE 9—12 2016 Presented by DeSerres in collaboration with Index Design

Exhibitors : Galerie Bloom (Montreal) Galerie Station 16 (Montreal) #Hashtag Gallery (Toronto) Galerie Artêria (Bromont) Galerie d’Este (Montreal) Galerie C.O.A (Montreal) Artgang (Montreal) Colagene (Montreal, Paris) Revue Esse (Montreal) DeSerres (Montreal) MURAL (Montreal)

Visit muralfestival.com/foiredart for more information

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Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine Issue #21  

The 21st instalment of Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine includes image features with Jon Todd, Birdo, Wax Head and includes interviews with La...

Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine Issue #21  

The 21st instalment of Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine includes image features with Jon Todd, Birdo, Wax Head and includes interviews with La...

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