JAY STONE X THE EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE X SPRING ISSUE 2015
â€œThe applause and patience of the laws in nature override lies and the laws of nations.â€?
TABLE OF CONTENTS P: 8 | BLACK PHOENIX
P: 20 | QUEEN OF THE CHEST BOARD
Editor In Chief JASON STONE EXEC. EDITOR
P: 32 | GIVE EM’ THE BRAND
P: 40 | OUR LITTLE DEATH
HEAD OF PHOToGRAPHYY
P: 42 | AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CIRCUS P: 46 | ART IS THE DEFINITION
P: 54 | LOOKING OVER VARIOUS ERRORS PHOTO : JASON STONE SHIRT BY : COOKED UP | cookedup.bigcartel.com
JONATHAN ALONSO CONTRIBUTORS
KAT LEIGH YESENIA ALONSO FRANK DENIRO ELIZABETH CASTELLON SHAVON MITCHELL LIZ DUCLOS
By Jay Stone May 11th 2015 THEEXPERIENCEMAGAZINE.COM
NYC Dog Walker / Sitter for inquiries contact
â€œI prefer girls to reign all over the wordâ€?
BLACK Phoen i x Saêda Solo
INTERVIEW & PHOGRAPHY : JAY STONE CREATIVE DIRECTION : JAY STONE + SHAVON MITCHELL + ELIZABETH CASTELLON DESIGNER: ELIZABETH CASTELLON ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHY : JESI ALONSO + FRANK DENIRO + SHAVON MITCHELL MAKE -UP ARTIST : LIZ DUCLOS
Black [blak] 1 . b e a u t i f ul
2 . ro ya lty
3 . t e n d er
4 . s t re n g th
Phoenix [fee-niks] 1 . a m yt h i ca l b i rd o f g re at b e au ty
2 . t o ris e fro m i t s as he s i n the f res h n ess of y ou th a n d l i ve th ro u g h an o th e r c y cle of y e ars: o ft e n a n em b l em o f i m m o rtalit y or o f re b o r n id e al i s m o r ho p e . 3 . p e e r l e s s b e a u ty o r e x c e l l e n c e 10
The quote on quote “It” factor isn’t something taught or can be shown. Folks are born with this extraordinary charm and confidence that illuminates a room. That is something model Saeda Solo embodies effortlessly. Having being placed infront of cameras at a young age, she became a natural born star. For her, “ripping the runway” is nothing more than a chance to showcase her the power & spunk that vibrates through her personality. Here is someone who knows the world is hers for the taking and she will be conquering all obstacles one empowering step at a time.
JS: You just did a show for NY Fashion week recently. How was that experience for you as an upcoming model?
SS: As an upcoming model, it was a great experience being apart of NY fashion week. I met a lot of people; great connections, designers and I love everything that I wore. It was an upgrade for me. JS: What are some of your hobbies?
SS: Traveling, most definitely. A new city/ state/country whatever it may be, it presents new faces, things and places you’ve always heard of but wanted to experience for yourself. I love meeting new people and my interest in the unknown leads me to explore wherever I may be. Inspiration is also gained through travel whether it be a way of living or unique styles in fashion especially. JS: How did you get into modeling and when did you realize it was what you wanted to do? SS: When I was a baby my mother was a photographer so I was constantly having my pictures taken, and just naturally we’re a photogenic family.I always had a flair for fashion at a young age, always dressing up, and drawing the attention of others with my look. Here and there I would dabble in local fashion shows growing up, but it was nothing too serious. Not until college did I start to take more of a serious interest. Modeling has always been appealing to me, and me being a Communications major focusing on the entertainment industry I thought it could be another way in getting my foot into the door. Not to mention it’s something that I enjoy doing and it looks effortless on my part. JS: What are some of the highs and lows of modeling and becoming a part of the fashion world?
SS: The highs in modeling, you’re able to meet so many people and it depends on how well you network and take advantage of your resources, you can be well connected with prominent figures in the fashion world. If it’s something that you love to do then it doesn’t
even feel like work most of the time, you’re having fun. Traveling, across the country or across the world, fashion is around the clock and models are always needed. There are many opportunities as a model, if you fit the criteria. At times the criteria can be discouraging, which leads to the lows of modeling. The modeling industry can be very critical, that’s just how the business is operated. As a model one has to find where you fit in this business. An independent model, like myself, does the research on their own finding opportunities such as castings and networking with businesses and people just to get noticed. A model who is signed to an agency, their opportunities increase tremendously (depending on the agency). JS: How important is it for the model and the designer to be connected? Do you feel that a shoot is better when there’s chemistry between you and a person who is directing the shoot?
SS: If you as a designer are sensitive about your craft, and are very involved in the pieces that you have taken the time to create then you will absolutely care how it is displayed going down the runway or advertised. I believe it is important the model and the designer should be connected. The designer knows what inspired the creation of each individual piece/ garment with that you could match that with the personality or look of the model. Before the designer meets the model they have already envisioned how it would be showcased, meeting the right model just brings it to life. I do believe there should be a connection; in the same breath I would say a confident model can make anything look attractive. Great chemistry between the creative director and/or photographer and the model will result in greatness period. I have great chemistry with my photographer Dameon A. Morris from Twisted Pyramid; I’ve seen myself grow as a model throughout the years working with him.
â€œThere is no other way 14
to be than confident.â€? 15
JS: I read another photographer say: “ Saêda is a dazzling model, and when I first saw her, I couldn’t help but think that I could spend all day with her shooting her!” What is it you think you bring to the table? SS: What I bring to the table, working with a designer or photographer, I think I’m very confident in what I do and how I wear the clothing. I’m very easy going and I love to take critiques just to make myself a better model! JS: Judging just off your work, you have a confidence that jumps out. Has that quality always been with you?? SS: YES! My personality has forever been outgoing and a dash of sass. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will? There is no other way to be than confident. I believe in my ability and work ethic, because I’ve witnessed my progression. Surely the love, encouraging words and sound advice from others gives me a boost.
JS: Who inspires you? Are there any models? Artists? SS: I wouldn’t say anyone in particular inspires me, as far as me being a model but I’m just inspired by models in general. I’ll see something that I like and I’ll pick up something from that. Music artists, different songs inspire me or motivate me as a model. JS: How did you end up in Daddy’s House Recording Studio? What was that like?
on their (Faith Evans, Biggie, 112, etc) music. JS: What project that you’ve been part of are you the most proud of?
SS: Wow, I feel as though I’ve had many great experiences working with several people. The project that I’d say I am the most proud of is appearing in the Rome Fortune “4 seasons” music video featuring OG Maco. When I was asked to do the video I was a bit hesitant. I hadn’t been in a music video before then, and had never heard of the artist. But I wanted to diversify my modeling career, so I said “hey, why not, you never know!” I received a text message when the video was released, watched it, I kept cool but I was so excited. I just thought “now what?” I’m thinking what should my next career move be, all it meant was for me to keep pushing my work out for others to take notice. I was more excited than anyone else because I knew I was the curly haired girl in the video, and the only female model at that. It later aired on REVOLT TV, I was floored (literally) I didn’t know it would be such a success. JS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Are you still modeling or will you be pursuing other things that being in the industry opened a door for?
SS: In 5 years, well I wouldn’t cross out modeling but it depends on where it takes me from here. I definitely see myself doing something else, maybe radio or television cause that’s another love of mine! I actually enlisted into the air force! So I will be in the Air Force within those 4-5 years as well! I’m everywhere! I wear different hats! Whatever makes me happy that’s what I’ll be doing!
SS: This story is still funny to me only because it wasn’t planned, and it happened so quickly. I’d been in New York a couple days for a few casting calls and I was on my way back home (Albany). My bus wasn’t schedinstagram.com/saedasolo uled to leave for about an hour or so. A friend of mine, who’s involved in music, invited me For INQUIRIES: SAEDASOLO@GMAIL.COM to the studio since we hadn’t seen each other in awhile and I had time to spare. Being there was pretty cool. I sat in a studio session of a young artist recording, everyone there was pretty laid back. For them this is the norm, but for many, to be in Diddy’s studio would be a dream for an aspiring music artist. This is a BIG DEAL! And here I am just hanging out. Just seeing the plaques of some of hip hop’s greatest on the wall, that was a special moment I had to capture. I grew up
“And your reflection is your connection to more collections of more directions and paths”
QUEEN OF THE CHESS BOARD SHEREAL
INTERVIEW : JAY STONE + Simonette white PHOTOGRAPHY: JONATHAN ALONSO CREATIVE DIRECTION: FRANK DINERO + JAY STONE
“...On a chessboard the Queen has one of the most lethal plays on that board. Don’t sleep on us.” SheReal lives by her name. Her grind, her hustle, her radiant smile, all behind some vehement lyrics. She doesn’t play with her craft, her talent is inherent. With no qualms in her attitude, she has decidedly dedicated her life to her art as an MC. SheReal came with musical history behind her, having her father to thank for her love of music. She is well-rounded in the artform from poetry to dancing; entertainment is in her blood. SheReal is making her fellow female MC’s proud by continuing to pay homage to the women that precede her and those that have helped progress the HipHop culture. She confidently defends her comrades but is ready to respectfully dominate. Her prowess to hype the crowd as she energetically performs leaves positive imprints in her audiences; and her passion and candor left The Experience team with a memorable interview and an emphatic discussion on Hip-Hop. SheReal is on her way and coming for that crown. Read as she lets us in on her musical progression, iconic influences, and her latest mixtape Real Hip-Hop Still Exists
SW: Who is SheReal? SR: SheReal is a female that loves music and uses it to connect with others. I live to be on stage, it’s something that I had to actually realize. It’s my favorite thing to do out of anything else in the world. If I could be on stage on all the time, and sheesh I hope I know what I’m asking for...if I could be on stage every single day I would. SW: What was it like growing up for you? What was music like for you as a child? SR: My father plays the keyboard, the acoustic guitar, and the bass. He was a songwriter. HipHop wasn’t in my household. It wasn’t even allowed. I was told that a lot of the messages that were conveyed in the music that was popular was inappropriate for my age level. So what was played at my house was what they loved. We listened to BabyFace, that was my favorite songwriter in the world when I was little. I wanted to work with Teddy Riley, that was the first producer I ever wanted to work with. My father and I used to dance, when I was like 2 years old, to Bobby Brown Don’t Be Cruel. My stepmother came along, she’s a big Earth, Wind and Fire fan. All we listened to [was] Prince, Stevie Wonder; going to their friend’s house, it was Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Roberta Flack. This is what I grew up around and then I started hearing Hip-Hop from my peers. That wasn’t really my foundation. SW: What was your first introduction to Hip-Hop? Who was that? Do you remember? SR: No, not really. I know it was like third grade. I know it was Kris Kross, I used to walk around my house with my stuff backwards. I still do!. At the same time I was listening to Kris Kross, I was also listening to Natalie Cole. So ‘Unforgettable’ [Unforgettable...With Love] is one of my favorite albums, so it’s like I could hear Biggie at school, I could hear Pac around my cousin’s house and stuff like that. My mother’s side of the family is from Cali, so when I’d go out there, it’s Snoop and Dre, that’s what my older cousins were listening to. I was always running around with the boys.
SW: After that introduction, what does HipHop and music mean to you now? SR: I didn’t start rapping because it was some type of trend. I didn’t start rapping because I saw everybody else doing it. I started rapping because it was the best way for me to get my thoughts out. Out of my head, out of my heart. It brought me peace in a way that nothing else did. When I started sharing shit that I was writing, shit that I was spitting, ‘cause before this I wrote poetry, but when I really got into writing rhymes and I was sharing it with people I knew, they was looking at me crazy! The response that I was getting was so great that I felt it made sense to start performing. It made sense to start putting projects together because of the way the people responded. If people didn’t respond to me the way they do when I make music, I probably wouldn’t do it as much. It’s not just for me, I don’t write songs just for me. I could just have some type of diary or some shit. SW: Top five rappers? SR: Jay-Z was my first favorite rapper. Then came Eminem, Kanye West, Missy Elliot. I was actually in love with Missy Elliot as an artist before Jay, but Jay kind of surpassed her in my heart...and Andre 3000.
“I rap, guys rap, we all rap, we all Hip-Hop artists. And it’s ok and it should be embraced. ‘Cause there are kings for a reason like there are queens for a reason. And queens don’t rule the same way kings rule. And queens don’t tell the same story. But I feel like it shouldn’t be looked down upon just because I’m a female. Shit, on a chessboard the Queen has one of the most lethal plays on that board. Do not sleep on us.” 23
SW: We were listening to the new mixtape Real Hip-Hop Still Exists and I fell in love with the Queen Interlude. How important is it for you to show and remind people of the female influence in HipHop? SR: First off, I grew up in the 90s, I’m an 80s baby. I grew up at a time when you had all those different people. It’s not like I put those people together out of the blue, I really listened to them. I heard Queen Latifah, the
Missy, same way you can hear MC Lyte, same way you can hear Left Eye, even Angie Martinez! Yo Angie had a record with Jay-Z son, not every female rapper could say that! And Missy was my favorite because there was something about her creativity and everything she brought to the table as a whole. You can’t say Missy was the greatest lyricist to exist but I mean damn! She can write songs for damn near everybody, and
like “yo they bodied her”. No! It was music! I miss that and I feel like they took that away from us by making it a fucking competition and making it seem like females can’t rock together. ‘Cause when you saw Missy, you saw Da Brat and you saw Lil’ Kim and you saw Mary J. Blige and all these niggas was together in a video. And it wasn’t a bad thing. We don’t see that as much anymore.
she sings and makes beats and she can dance and kept that element and that aspect of Hip-Hop together. She made it cool to be yourself. You can do you, she was on a video with a fucking garbage bag and finger waves and made that shit look hot! I don’t think anybody else could’ve done that. She’s one of the few female rappers that has a song with Eminem. That’s some ill shit. It’s not like her doing a song with Em or doing a song with Redman or anybody else, you ever felt
SW: Do you want the term “female rapper” to be extinguished or do you want to embrace the fact that you’re a woman and you’re a rapper? SR: When I get asked that question, I feel like there is no difference. I rap, guys rap, we all rap, we all Hip-Hop artists. But something just came into my brain that was like “what if? what if there’s a reason, there’s a difference?” and it’s ok and it should be embraced. ‘Cause there are kings for a reason like there are queens for a reason. And queens don’t rule the same way kings rule. And queens don’t tell the same story. But I feel like it shouldn’t be looked down upon just because I’m a female. You shouldn’t put me in a different category and make me feel like I don’t have as much power as a brother that does. Shit, on a chessboard the Queen has one of the most lethal plays on that board. Do not sleep on us.
SW: I saw you give love to Brazil on your instagram, how has international love been for you? SR: It’s dope, it shows you the power of HipHop. It started in the Bronx, but look at where it went. Look at how people can connect with the illest stories. People can feel you when shit is real, it’s an energy. I can listen to a song and not understand what they’re saying and still feel something or take something from that. It’s in the vibe. It’s beautiful. People overseas make me feel like they respect the culture way more than America does. They keeping it alive over there, they still dance and they still into that era I feel like I grew up on. JS: I heard on your intro you say you’re tired of people talking bad about New York. Why do you think people feel like New York fell off and what do you think New York has to do to get back to prominence in rap? SR: New York, to me? It became wack, we lost our voice. We lost what made us original. We started following what everyone else was doing and that’s wack. It used to be New York had it’s own sound, the South
had it’s own sound, the West had it’s own sound. What happened to that? That’s what makes it cool, that’s what makes it fun, everybody’s being themselves. Everybody sound like everybody else, that’s one of the most annoying things to me right now, is the lack of originality in Hip-Hop. You didn’t listen to Busta and think about anybody else, you didn’t listen to The Lox and think about anybody else. Now every fucking song on the radio sounds like every other fucking song on the radio. That is so corny! My top five is not my top five because of what other people think. It’s because those people had a crazy effect on me as an individual. Those are people that connected to me as much as my fucking limbs. SW: You said everyone sounds like everyone else on the radio, out of the newer generation of rappers, who do you connect with? SR: I love Kendrick. I actually listen to Section.80 and Overly Dedicated more than I listen to Good Kid M.A.A.D City. I like J. Cole, Born Sinner and  Forest Hills Drive. Those two are my favorites, thus far. Drake, I’ve actually been a Drake fan for a very long
JS: You have songs like “Salute Single Parents” and “Don’t Judge Me” that are flagrantly missing on mainstream radio. Do you think there’s a way to produce songs, such as these, for radio without compromising too much? SR: Yes, it has to be done correctly by the right person, that’s all it takes. I feel like I don’t promote those songs enough. It’s crazy you brought that up because a lot of people that heard the project, “Salute Single Parents” is their favorite track. And I feel like, why shouldn’t it be? Not on some cocky shit, but because a lot of people are from single parent households. Look at how many powerful people have been birthed from single parent households. It’s a beautiful thing, it’s something I felt like could connect us. I wish people talked about shit like this more. Talking about what’s in your pocket doesn’t do shit for me, it only creates more jealousy.
lebrity concert series where you could win $1,000 and you had to put up 150 to enter these contests. I just did them consistently ‘til I started winning them consistently. Once you win three times in a row, your jersey is retired, that’s it. It was dope, I’ve had people like Rah Digga come out as one of the judges who put me in that position. So it was cool ‘cause I wasn’t only accepted by [my] peers but by people who are connected to the industry. From there, it just seemed to create other opportunities. Being able to open up for Styles P or Juelz, to me doing colleges mostly. It’s dope ‘cause over the summer I had people coming up to me like “I remember you when you was at my school.” I was at John Jay the other day and somebody said to me they remember me when I was at Stony Brook. That was so long ago, but to leave those lasting impressions on people is great. Eventually, my goal is to be everywhere.
SW: Tell us about the competitions you’ve won around New York CIty and what were those experiences like? SR: I started, to my recollection, in Club Pyramid. They had different unsigned ce-
SW: Tell us about your writing sessions. Do you spend a whole day writing or do you take a couple hours a day to do so? SR: It’s a little bit of everything. I used to write way more when I first, first started. I kept a sharpie on me and I could write on anything. It’s whatever inspired me. Jay and Em they inspired me to talk about shit, it was like a trigger. Like I’m listening to In My Lifetime and I’m writing over Streets Is Watchin as he’s rapping, writing over the beat. That’s how it started, and now I don’t do that as much. Now it’s an inspirational thing, when it comes to me or I actually do take time out of my day and say “I’m bout to go work on a record.” Usually it’s internal, I start getting this itch like I’m a fucking crackhead or something. I can’t think, I can’t sleep, I keep waking up at 3-4 in the morning and that’s when I know it’s something I gotta get off my chest. EXPM: How did the concept of Real HipHop Still Exists come about and what are you hoping it will accomplish? Also, the cover is interesting, who’s idea was it and do you see yourself in those artists chosen for the cover? SR: The idea initially came, for the title and the album, from me selling CD’s in Times Square. Shout out to the dudes that’s out there in Times Square, they took me under their wing and didn’t make me feel like “Get the fuck outta here”. I like to talk to people, so it’s like “Do you listen to Hip-Hop?” “Do you love Hip-Hop?” and a lot of people made me feel like they weren’t listening, They made me feel like real hip-hop doesn’t exist anymore. It made me feel crazy because I know there’s really people out here who are producing music that is of value. It’s only because of the radio, [they] made it cool to bring the club to the house, and the club everywhere else, like that’s the only state of life people are living. That’s not enough to feed my soul and obviously nobody else’s. So I got a lot of people out here listening to old shit or other genre’s of music! They’re not even listening to Hip-Hop anymore. It’s not speaking enough of the truth, I thought Hip-Hop was created to tell our stories. Things that were robbed from us. I don’t hear enough of the balance. It’s ok to want the
club, but there should be a balance. That’s where the concept came from, I felt I needed to tell my truth. The cover is me. I was in Barnes & Noble and I was racking my brain. I saw a magazine that had the top ten military leaders in history. I walked over to the magazine and I was like “you know what would be so dope? If these were all hip-hop artists. Oh and if they all had my face!?” I didn’t know how I was going to get it done but I went and found pictures of my top ten hip-hop artists that I love. My engineer made my CD cover. He brought my idea to life. I was nervous I didn’t know if people were gonna like it, or if people were gonna judge my top ten, ‘cause you know Biggie’s not on there, Pac’s not on there. I thought people would be like, “I don’t know what Hip-Hop is”. SW: What’s your biggest accomplishment to date? What are you super proud of? SR: For me, my biggest accomplishment to date is being as focused as I am. Because I know there was a time I was all over the place and Hip-Hop made it so I was no longer like that. Once I started focusing on my dream and making it come true, it made me more steady to where I actually cared about going to work, because I need a 9 to 5 that’s going to help me pay my bills and help me pay for my shit. To be this consistent as an individual is a great accomplishment for me. Musically? Business wise? Sway in the Morning. That seems to be the one thing that gets the most views, that gets the most respect. SW: Where will SheReal be in the next couple years? SR: Hopefully everywhere! I still have dreams of having a Roc-A-Fella chain. I really want to know what it would be like to be in that circuit, to work with Jay, to work with Kanye, to be around Beyonce. I want to be on tour, I want to be at every college, on every stage. I want to know what it’s like to perform at The Garden. I want to know. DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE: REAL HIP-HOP STILL EXISTS Sherealtalk.com/ facebook.com/IAMSHEREALTALK twitter.com/sherealtalk Instagram.com/sherealtalk/ youtube.com/user/sherealtalk
Wood You Wear
Koekkje is a clothing brand by the intuitive fashion designer:
Angely Cookie De Aza
INTERVIEW : JAY STONE
PHOTOGRAPHY: JONATHAN ALONSO
Give Em’ The Brand Scott Walker is your classic all around artist in every sense of the word.
Having being able to walk the tight rope between the fine art and the graphic design world has given Scott versatility that will soon help him establish his own business. He ended up proving that art was not “nonsense” and if your passion allows it, you can land opportunities with the likes of companies like Nike one day while participating in live art battles in the streets of NYC the next. You have the power to wear as many hats as you desire. Scott is just one of the prototypes to that truth. JS: What was your upbringing in Cambridge like? SW: I loved growing up in England. Cambridge is a beautiful part of the world, a quiet University town just north of London. We lived in a small village and my elder brother and I went to nice schools in the town center. I worked hard at school, I was almost a straight A student… although it’s worth noting that at aged 16 my Art teacher gave me a C grade and told me “I’d get nowhere with this nonsense I called art”. And while it’s an exaggeration to suggest I’ve spent the years since then working solely to prove him wrong, I won’t deny there’s a wonderful sense of satisfaction that comes from the successes I’ve had recently. JS: How did you end up in Brooklyn? SW: After high school I was offered a place at Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts (CSVPA). I had been travelling in Australia with no real plans beyond that, so at my interview I had little in the way of a portfolio to show them. I hadn’t taken the required Art Foundation year, and I could barely name a graphic designer. All I had to show them were a couple of sketches. They took a gamble on me, and I spent the next 2 years there learning as much as I could. The college was small, with only 3 or 4 students per class, meaning I learnt a ton in my time there. For my final year I was given a choice: I was guaranteed a spot at their larger, accrediting college outside London, or I could try anywhere else in the world. I trusted the staff there, and so after a lot of discussions, we agreed I should apply to Parsons in New York. I owe the staff at CSVPA more than they
will ever know and will always be grateful for their guidance. JS: You are a man of many hats in the field of the arts. Which would you say is your favorite medium? SW: For as long as I can remember, I have loved to draw. The physical process of holding a tool and using it to mark something in your own given style is, to me, incredibly liberating. There is something very primal about it. When we’re young, our illustrations are wild and honest. As we get older we tend to recognize the hand as a direct extension of the conscious mind, and our skills evolve accordingly, drawing becomes more refined. For this reason I have always loved cartoons and pop art; these worlds form a bridge between our juvenile affinity for bright colors and bold shapes with our developed understanding of reality. Take artists like Buff Monster, Ron English, D*Face or Incarcerated Jerk Face… all of them have mastered the art of taking childhood iconography and extrapolating it for an adult audience. That takes more than just mechanical skills; it requires a broader recognition of popular culture and specifically, your capacity to contribute something original to it. JS: What is your process when you start a fine art piece? When you start a graphic design project?
SW: Regardless of what the medium is, the process always begins the same way, with conception. Once an idea has been born, it must be nurtured. Occasionally ideas evolve naturally but for the most part I find they need procurement, either through research
the foundation of the project. My advertising professors at Parsons drilled in to me the value of ‘big ideas’; these are the richest and most rewarding in terms of creative product. Once I have an undeniably huge idea, the next step is to select the appropriate medium… It could be an illustration, an ad, an app, a mural, a poster, and a sculpture… anything. The last step is the aesthetic considerationto make whatever it is, beautiful. I’m still fairly new to the fine-art world so I’m stumbling in the dark a bit but from what I’ve gathered so far, the artistic value is dictated simply by your ability to select and do justice to the medium that best suits your idea.
“Graphic Design to me is an exercise in story telling with as little info as possible. The more focused your communication is, the more chance it has of moving its audience. Illustration is almost the exact opposite. One could argue cartoons are themselves simplifications”
UNTITLED SCOTT WALKER ILLUSTRATION 35
JS: Tell us about your experience working with Nike for their “Portrait” App. I personally thought it was a really great and original idea, which isn’t easy to come across. What was the inspiration behind it? SW: I have always loved NIKE as a brand so I don’t mind admitting I was hugely proud to be an Art Director on that project. I have a tattoo of the goddess Nike on my shoulder, it honors one of their soccer campaigns from a few years back: ‘Joga Bonito’.
JS: Is it easy to turn on and off the contrasting styles you have when it comes to hands on illustrating and graphic design? One is very detailed while the other has a clean, minimalistic look. SW: Yeah there is definitely a duality to the work I do. Graphic Design to me is an exercise in story telling with as little info as possible. The more focused your communication is, the more chance it has of moving its audience. Our eyes are naturally trained to decipher every element of graphic design: the The big idea behind NIKEiD: Portrait was that type, the layout, the colors, the scale etc. For every photograph we take is a highly charged me, it is therefore logical that if you have as personal expression, but beyond sharing few of these elements as possible clashing these images for gratification on social media, with each other, you leave your design open we rarely harness their full power. With our for less scrutiny. Of course there is more to it app, your Instagram photos are celebrated than reductionism, but like I said, I start with in front of the whole world with every step a concept, and conceptually minimalism proyou take in your custom shoes. Social Media vides a great foundation. makes it very easy to access Creative Directors if you know where to look, so our team Illustration is almost the exact opposite, in established a list of people whose work for my opinion. One could argue cartoons are the brand we admired, and created shoes themselves simplifications but even these for them with their photos. The response was have numerous physical details. My drawgreat and winning a D&AD Best of Year award ing style is born out of an interest in William was an awesome way to end a sweet project. Morris and the British Arts & Crafts moveHoping to work on more projects with them ment. Regardless of whether I’m doing a down the line. photorealistic pencil drawing or painting a skateboard design, I’ve found the more time JS: What has been your favorite project to I spend applying intricacy to an illustration, work on? the more people enjoy it. SW: That’s hard to say. I’ve spent a few years in the ad game in New York and it’s fun – it’s JS: What advice would you give anybody full-on Mad Men shit, you know? The billwho is in school or just coming out of boards, the agencies, the drinking culture, the school, looking for employment in a very money... it’s cool. I worked on the Wild Turkey competitive field? Especially somewhere “Give ‘em The Bird” campaign and it was awe- like New York City? some. When I was 23 I got my first billboard in SW: It sounds like the boring thing to say but Times Square for some Chevrolet work I did my advice would focus on networking with and I got to admit it was a cool thing to see. the right people. I don’t like social media beBut in terms of personal satisfaction, I really cause I’m fairly introverted but even I underenjoy illustrative projects. In October I cusstand you have to keep in touch with people tomized a tequila barrel for Herradura Tequila and for a visual artist, networks like Instaand am really proud of how it came out. Most gram provide a magnificent and immediate recently I’ve been supporting Secret Wallsplatform for showing your craft. If you’re a live art battles that happen all over the world. foreigner, good luck! I’ve spent the last 4-5 Not only is it great fun to draw in front of an years slowly securing legal working status audience, but it’s an incredible way to access here as an artist and it’s incredibly expensive hugely talented artists from around the globe and at times, soul-crushing. The rewards are and learn from the community. plentiful though. I’m lucky to have travelled to 5 continents and I’ve worked in 3 of them - I can say genuinely that there is no other art community quite like that in NYC.
JS: You are a full blown brand, with your entire arsenal of skills, where do you see yourself in a coupe of years? SW: I’m in the process of establishing an LLC., so my priority for the time being is learning the subtleties of the industry and what it means to be a professional artist / designer in NYC. It’s nice to hear people like your work but I’m 26 now and compliments, likes and followers don’t pay the bills, so it’s about grafting and doing as much creative work as possible to build my network. If I’m honest I’m not sure I have much more to achieve in terms of the advertising industry. I’ve done TV spots, billboards, social media campaigns, and print campaigns… I suppose I haven’t won a Cannes Lion award or a CLIO but to be honest I don’t think I can be bothered with the agency politics that goes into winning those things. I’ve recently written the introduction to a sci-fi graphic novel but there’s no timeline for when that’ll be finished. In the Summer I’m definitely looking at doing some murals in Brooklyn. I’d love to have another art exhibition and
collaborate with some of my favorite artists. The competitor in me would love to win Secret Walls one day but I’m in no hurry, it’s enough fun just to go along and meet people.
ScottwalkerDesign.com I N S T A G R A M . C O M / S C O T T L L I A M W A L K E R
OUR PETITE MORT
ican Horr or Story : Circ us
presented by Atiya Lee 42
My name is Atiya Lilly Gassaway aka Atiya Lee. shortly after they give birth their babies are I’m from Queens, New York. I’m a 20-year-old stolen from them and are taken to training faanimal rights activist and a producer of my cilities. YouTube channel Atiyaleetv. Before their performance the animals are First things first: here’s a little information starved and deprived of food & water to avoid about myself. I was home schooled from the “accidents” during their performance. 1st - 12th grade. I’ve been passionate about animals ever since we adopted my cat “lit- Tigers in the entertainment business are oftle sue” from an animal shelter 17 years ago, ten declawed, drugged & have their teeth reshe’s been my motivation ever since. moved to make them more “manageable.” I used to tell my mom that my goal in life was to save the world.... that’s actually still my goal Some circuses such as the UniverSoul Circus to this day. do not even possess an exhibitor license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which alI’ve spent the last two years spreading aware- lows them to exhibit the animals. ness about animal issues that many of my peers are not aware of. I must say though, On February 14th 2015 the UniverSoul Circus my number one priority has been the abuse was cited for abusing their elephant on stage done to animals in the circus. and mentally scarring hundreds of people. The elephant was too scared to get off the I’ve definitely evolved as a young animal ac- stage so the trainer stuck a bull-hook (a long tivist. Last year, with the help of PETA (people pole with a sharp metal point) into it and atfor the ethical treatment of animals), I orga- tempted to pull her off the stage. It took 40 nized nine protests in my hometown, Jamai- minutes for her to leave the stage. ca, Queens, against the UniverSoul Circus and was extremely surprised at the amount of Now, after reading all that information, I’m support I received from my friends. asking YOU, yes YOU, to take a pledge not to support the abuse done to the animals in the Here are some things you may not know circus. It’s easy! Step one is simply to boycott about the circus, it’s animals and it’s training the circus, step two is to spread the word! You methods. can do those two things and have a huge impact. 96% of circus animals lives are spent in chains. Trainers use whips, tight collars, muz- For much more information please check out zles, electric prods, bull-hooks (you’ll never my YouTube video: see an elephants trainer without one by it’s “Atiya Lee Presents: American Horror Story: side) and other painful tools of the trade to Circus” on my YouTube page AtiyaLeeTv force animals to perform. Although The Ringling Brothers recently announced that they would be retiring their elephants from performing in the year 2018, they didn’t mention that there have been 39 documented deaths of animals in their care. Most people don’t know that the elephants performing in the entertainment industry are forced to have babies at an early age, then
“The physical part of my church emits the invisible arts of my work”
ART IS THE DEFINITION INTERVIEW : JAY STONE PHOTOGRAPHY: Michelle Facundo
Otha “Vakseen” Davis is “Providing the cure for wackness” everyday. this isn’t arrogance, this is pure, admirable knowledge of self. his sense of art has followed him from a boy to a man, creating his own lane along the way. women, beauty, adversity and society are all the aeshetics behind the visions of vakseen’s art. his entreprenurial mind helped get his foot into the music world all the way never forgetting where he came from and who he is: the definition of art. JS: It’s hard to create a vision of beauty and trying to be original at the same time. How did your particular artistic style come about? How do you communicate your vision onto the canvas so effectively? VK: I was at a distinct point in my career where everything I was creating was selling, but it wasn’t challenging me from a creative standpoint. I was also in search of a specific style that would allow me to drive in my own lane and establish a niche brand. I’ve learned that’s an essential key to success from my work in the music business. The first painting in my current style (Ignorant Butterflies) just sort of happened. To this day, when I create, I get these visions and then work quickly to bring them to life. Granted, I have to bring the vision to full fruition, but everything starts with the vision. I know exactly what I want but that’s all God. That first piece challenged me and gave me an opportunity to share my thoughts, as well as a message. I was pretty hooked from that point. After creating 2-3 more paintings in that lane and getting great feedback, I switched all of my focus to this new direction and have never looked back.
and Otha “the musical entrepreneur” VK: It’s hard to say that my dad being in the military played a role in me being an artist, but I do recognize it’s a part of my journey. The military kept him working a lot and he was always out to sea on duty. My mom basically raised me, so that probably allowed me to be more in touch with my feelings and emotions. Maybe if my dad wasn’t in the military I would’ve been more inclined to be an athlete, like he was. Who knows haha. I had a pretty normal childhood from what I recall...
I grew up overweight, so I wasn’t always the most confident. I wasn’t a hermit or anything, but I was insecure. Society does that to people. Especially with the importance we place on each other’s outer appearance. It wasn’t until I was much older that I was able to love myself, and express the inner voice that my childhood circumstances wouldn’t allow. When you can’t find JS: Lets go deeper... tell us about your the words, or even worse, aren’t upbringing and how being a military kid allowed to vocalize your feelings molded you into the all around artist you within an accepting environment, are today. Who is Otha the “fine artist” it’s amazing how creativity can
serve as a conduit for emotional release. Art helped maintain my sanity in this crazy world. As for the artist versus the entrepreneur, they’re definitely the same person. My journey, I wouldn’t change for anything in the world. Although I’ve been an artist from day one, I’ve spent most of my life pursuing a music career. It wasn’t until I moved to LA in 2011 that I really started to take art serious. People kept seeing my old work from high school and the few sketches or whatever I’d done since and sort of opened a new path for me. God will definitely talk to you; you just have to listen. It’s pretty crazy to think I’ve only been pursuing art since January 2012. Sometimes I get anxious, wanting things to move a little quicker and have to remind myself of that fact. JS: In my research I noticed that you’ve worked with many industry stars and major brands. How did it feel being able to contribute to the likes of many big names? VK: It’s truly a blessing. My humble beginnings as an intern in the music business laid the foundation for everything I’ve been able to accomplish in the biz and in the art world. My biggest focus has always been making an impact on the culture so working with established artists definitely allows you to do just that. I have to stress that I’m just as excited about the lesser known artists I’ve worked with. I’ve always felt I’ve been underrated so I’m all for the underdog. Being able to help break an act from the ground up is a special experience, if not more special than working with known brands. JS: Is it safe to say that your passion for the arts is the peace of mind in such a hectic schedule? VK: Absolutely. When I’m painting, I’m just there, in the moment. It’s almost as if nothing else exists. That’s an amazing experience and extremely therapeutic. Everything can be chaotic in the music business or life period, so art provides the perfect balance to my life.
“Women are God’s greatest work of art and I believe life as we know it, evolves around women. My creations definitely evolve around women and focus on their natural allure and the insecurities created by Pop culture. In essence, my art is a reflection of society’s idolization of beauty and the surreal, superficial times we live in.”
THE DEVIL IN MISCONCEPTION ACRYLIC
JS: What do you draw inspiration from when creating your pieces? VK: Life. Women. Beauty. Adversity. My art deals with personal identity and evolves around society’s idolization of beauty, the enhancements women endure to obtain this level of “perfection” and the impact this has on our society. High end fashion magazines are a big inspiration for my creative process. I’m also a fan a dope art so even going to a gallery opening and seeing dope new work is a big inspiration. It puts me in competitive, creative mode. JS: Your work has such an interesting style and with the shapes and figures, it builds up the viewer’s curiosity just like a good piece of art should. What is the meaning behind your work? VK: Women are God’s greatest work of art and I believe life as we know it, evolves
around women. My creations definitely evolve around women and focus on their natural allure and the insecurities created by Pop culture. I can’t fathom being a woman in this world. We live in a society where everything you see in the media is perfect; these perfect images that are supposed to represent an image every woman can relate to. It’s not realistic and there’s no balance. Nine times out of ten the images have been photoshopped, the models have had some sort of procedure done or they’re engulfed in makeup or high end fashion. It’s been happening for so long that perfection is the new role model. I’m not against fashion or enhancing yourself. My issue is with beauty being defined for us. This perfection is creating insecurity and forcing our young women to hate their own natural beauty. Instead of embracing individuality, imperfection and loving your unique self, we’re
championing cosmetic surgery and anything that covers up your true beautiful self. We’re creating a new breed of carbon copies where everyone has the same lips, nose and wears the same clothes. In essence, my art is a reflection of society’s idolization of beauty and the surreal, superficial times we live in. Each painting I create is a unique portrait of an insecure soul with an incredible story to share JS: You have some of the most creative pieces of art I’ve seen. I have a big appreciation for abstract and clean visuals. How do you normally begin your process? VK: Thank you! Everything starts with the vision. From there, I attack my creative process the same way a cosmetic surgeon would. I use high end fashion and beauty magazines to clip and surgically collage the perfect features together, which brings my ideas to life. From this point I recreate everything by drawing, then painting these beautifully insecure souls onto the canvas. Initially, I would create using both acrylic and oil or water color paint. Now, I solely work with acrylics. My pieces come to fruition quickly, so I love the flexibility, depth and complex layers acrylic paint allows for. JS: Who are some of your favorite artists? VK: I love the OG’s like Rene Magritte, Picasso and Salvador Dali. These guys paved the way for surrealists like myself. Aside from that, I’m truly a fan of anyone doing something creative to enhance the culture. JS: How has all of this translated in your Vakseen LLC business? VK: There’s always room for growth and advancement, but I’m blessed to be in my fourth year of working for myself. Amongst the exciting projects I’m working on at the moment, we had the #1 record and an international smash last year (Pitbull’s Timber). I’m also currently in a position where I’m transitioning art more into the forefront of my career. The traffic I’m
blessed, but I work very hard and smart. JS: Has there ever been a time in the industry that you ever felt discouraged? How did you get back up off your feet? VK: Haha every day! If it’s not my clients, it’s business politricks or art. My newest painting actually had me feeling very discouraged. There was a lot of fine detail and sometimes that can simply overwhelm you mentally. It ended up taking me two weeks to complete, when it usually takes one, but I worked through it. I’ve come to learn and accept that anything worth doing comes with adversity. That’s what gets me through the feeling of being discouraged; knowing the end result will be well worth the journey. I think patience and persistence are VERY key. JS: Tell us a little bit about the scene in Los Angeles. How do fine art and music mingle in California? VK: LA is an incredible place for a creator. With all of the creators here there’s a natural energy that you just feel. That’s actually what sold me on the move from Miami. I love that you can find music and art literally everywhere. The two worlds work hand in hand, but they’re still two completely different scenes. That’s pretty interesting to me. The same people you see going to art shows aren’t generally the same ones you see at music events or in the studio. But both fields are definitely related. I’m actually working on a special project where the sole focus is to fuse the two worlds. I can’t wait to share that with you guys! I did two album covers last year as well. I’m definitely looking forward to doing more. JS: Ultimately, what is the legacy you want to leave behind?
VK: My goal is to enhance the culture in any and every way possible. Music, art, fashion, food, you name it. I love creativity! I love the culture and the fact that we have the ability to change it through our actions. We can easily complain about how much bullsh*t there is out.....or we can do something about it. Quality is everything! That’s where Vakseen stems from. Day in, day out, I’m focused on providing the cure for wackness.
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LOOKING . OVER . VARIOUS . ERRORS WRITTEN BY : Avery Thurman Like the Sun’s rays her UV’s pass through me x-rays reveal in my darkness still existed a man with the potential to be happy I thought he died cause of death.... Suicide !! killed himself dying to be acceptable in someone else’s eyes but your rays hastened me awaken to the Beauty found in your radiance gave life back to me Your genuine kindness subdued fears deeply rooted within me Your positive attitude lifted and introduced me to heavenly altitudes Changed my latitude and longitude Now the coordinates of my affections is in your self luminous presence, Celestial blessings I’ve been illuminated to the revelation that everything I passed through has made it possible to be present, right here with you now our future is that of a beautiful horizon . We’ll culminate our love in the skies. The firmament is where we reside as we never stop being who we are... you’ll remain the Sun (my star-the one) and I’m still just a Dark Cloud.... A Dark Cloud in love with the Sun
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