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OUR STATEMENT OF PURPOSE NEVER STOP. SOAK EVERYTHING IN. ACCEPT AND UTILIZE YOUR SURROUNDINGS. USE IT TO BE CREATIVE. WE BELIEVE IN PLACING YOURSELF IN THE SITUATION YOU WANT TO BE IN. WE BELIEVE IN CREATING WHAT YOU WANT, FROM ART TO LIFE’S SCENARIOS. N E V E R S TO P D E S I G N I N G . W H E T H E R YO U ’ R E D E S I G N I N G C LOT H E S O R D E S I G N I N G J O K E S . NEVER STOP LISTENING. IT COULD BE LISTENING TO NEW MUSIC OR LISTENING TO WHAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY. W E B E L I E V E I N CO L L E C T I N G . CO L L E C T I N G S N E A K E R S , S T I C K E R S , A N D S TO R I E S . H E R E AT

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ART & DES IGN

P H OTO

STY L E

T R I S TA N E ATO N

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S T U SSY M A D E 5 0 M I L .

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W I L L R O B S O N S C OT T

XMAU

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A C O L D WA L L

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TIEN AUSTIN

WO M E N I N S T R E E T W E A R 7 9

ROMINA CENISIO

LI FE S T YLE

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A$AP ROCKY

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URBAN $TYLE

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ARIEL SCULPTURE

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TO M O K A Z U M AT S U YA M A 3 3

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M.I.M.A.

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W H O L I K E S W H AT ?

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TH E M OV EMEN T

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KEITH HUFNAGEL

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K AW S

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CONTENT


DESIGN TEAM

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HECTOR GONZALEZ

GARRETT NUTGRASS

Creative Director

Art Director

PHOTOGRAPHY, PRODUTION CONTROL, TRAFFIC

EDITOR, TRAFFIC

Hector is a graphic designer from Chicago, IL. When it comes to design he tackles projects with a clean and contemporary style. He prefers to work with branding and packaging design, while incorporating photography when possible. When he's not designing, Hector enjoys fabricating objects in his woodshop, designing furniture, and going out to shoot photos while exploring the city.

Garrett is a writer at heart who happens to be distracted by his many other interests in life, from art and clothing, with anything Japanese sprinkled in-between. He hails from Louisville Kentucky, and specializes in Advertising Copywriting. Garrett likes injecting a sense of humor into anything he writes, and his design aesthetic is modern and bright. Basically he wants the reader to laugh, or viewer to think what they’re seeing is truly cool. In his free time he likes to eat good food and drink bourbon, preferably combined.


JASON D. FRANKLIN

EMAN HAMMAD

BREIONNA DILLON

Senior Editor

Director of Photography

Designer

DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, DESIGNER

DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH

PROCESS AND MEDIA DIRECTOR

Jason is a quiet man who enjoys surrealist art, as it allows for strange imagery, as well as an unruly placement of elements. He’s developed a crude, sketch-like art style based on the “cute brute” style of Luke Chueh, a graphic designer who depicts animals in odd situations. When not designing he likes to collect and play video games. One of his favorite games is Super Robot Wars: Zexis, which he can play with minimal error despite it being entirely in Japanese. Other interests include science fiction movies, and American and Japanese Animation.

Eman enjoys exotic and interesting things thanks to her multicultural background, she’s half Saudi and half Turkish. To her fashion and makeup are not just accessories, but rather a vital part of social life. She’s a true believer in the quote, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. She enjoys photography and trying to capture what the brain sees. Her design work is very organized and she is mindful of the little details.

She is from Chicago and enjoying doing Editorial Layout Design along with Web Design. Lately she has found that design for Advertising has given her the biggest challenge, and has made her a stronger designer in general. When she has downtime she likes to practice freelance photography, especially of her 10 year old daughter Andrea. She’s always looking for additional tips and new skills when it comes to graphic design.

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ART & DESIGN 13 19 27 33 39 45 51

Tr i sta n Ea to n X ma u Ar i el Sc ulp t u re Tomoka z u Mat su yam a M.I.M.A T he M ovem e n t Kaws


PHOTO: MATTHEW THERON

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TRISTAN EATON’S

PLAYGROUND "THE COMIC AND TOY-FUELED CHILDHOOD OF TRISTAN EATON HAS MATERIALIZED AND MATURED INTO AN IMPRESSIVE SERIES OF PUBLIC MURALS.

"

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

ARTICLE: G. JAMES DAICHENDT

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Designing a toy for Fisher Price as a teenager gave him an early start and these experiences led him to enroll in the School of Visual Art, New York where he honed his skills as an illustrator. Dropping out before graduation, he founded his own design company, Thunderdog Studios where he was involved in a variety of projects from filmmaking to corporate gigs. Despite some early successes, Eaton is perhaps most well known for creating the designer toy called the Dunny with Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz in 2004. The rabbit like character with elongated ears is in many ways the anti-thesis for Jeff Koons’ “Rabbit” (1986). Koons sought to appropriate and reimagine the everyday item through the medium of stainless steal and his sculpture acts as a Trojan horse within the museum. The elevated status and context of Koons’ inflatable toy is now an example of luxury and wealth despite its humble origins. Eaton’s Devil Bunny (the origins of the name Dunny) in comparison is an original design and instead makes sculpture accessible for the masses. As a blank canvas, dozens of artists like Gary Baseman or Shepard Fairey have taken the basic shape and reimagined it in limited quantities for fans. In recent years, Eaton has dedicated himself to creating large-scale murals and emphasizes this passion: “At the end of the day, I love painting walls

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and the outdoors more than anything, but I value all of the other paths I’ve walked on.” Several pieces dot the southern California landscape, but there are examples around the world including works in Europe and Asia. The common aesthetic features a strong outline or a black and white image to ground the mural. Within this foundation, there is often simulated tears or layered sections within the piece that reveal additional imagery. These new insights expose blasts of color and pattern and have provided the artist a distinctive aesthetic. Eaton acknowledges he lacks a trademark style like many other muralists. However, the majority of his recent work is layered with playful imagery and a call back to his early interest in toy culture. If a vintage diner, comic book illustrator, and Hanna Barbera decided to collaborate to make well-designed murals they might look like Eaton’s work. From Donald Duck to writhing snakes, Eaton’s sampling of visuals seems almost addictive. The slick combinations are mature and add layers of interesting juxtapositions that wrestle with one another for attention. The tension is overwhelming yet pleasurable, so much that the visuals have an audible effect and are loud in the mind’s eye.The disruptive and beautiful effect is a combination of Eaton’s sensibility to color and line. It’s an experience that is reminiscent of the Sirens of Greek Mythology. The enchanting and


dynamic arrangement of forms in Eaton’s murals are extremely pleasing, yet like the rocky and dangerous locations the Sirens lured sailors into are comparable to Eaton’s formulaic strategy. Eaton’s strong background in design and experience with corporate clients both helps and hinders the artist. Eaton explains how he walks this line: “Whenever I collaborate with a bigger brand it’s always me expressing my art the way I want to. Otherwise I won’t make that choice. I won’t work with them. I’m lucky that when I do work with big brands I get to do it my way and I get to have my name front and center and say ‘this is my fine art...’” Style can and does prevail when his large mural of medusa also stands in for a Versace logo. We see this in Eaton’s impressive work for the Pow Wow festival in Hawaii. The extraordinary graphics and scale may be his most complicated piece to date but it also may be one of the most disappointing because it can be reduced to a colorful billboard masking as art. Versace can be seen as a patron of the arts in this situation but it’s exactly the type of public work that the city of Los Angeles banned when corporations found new ways to advertise their products through the work of artists.

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In contrast, Eaton’s most successful murals capitalize on his experience and interest in lowbrow culture. Located in the heart of the Arts District, “I Was a Botox Junkie” features a glamorous woman clutching her cheek. The vintage black and white beauty references another era, that of old Hollywood. However, streaks tear into the woman’s face to reveal garish colors, text, and even a monster that peaks out from her forehead. A needle is conspicuously hidden that represents a new type of addiction for vanity. Eaton’s critique on beauty in Los Angeles is a perfect fit and although it’s not as technically refined as the Hawaii piece, it’s much more genuine. The strides made by Eaton from designer to artist are impressive and the flurry of mural activity is a sign of significant growth for the illustrator. One hopes that he can continue to develop meaning and substance with the work that will match his keen eye and technical abilities. Accessibility is an obvious goal but the sensuous and gorgeous layers in Eaton’s work are amazing tools for creating an aesthetic playground worth looking and thinking about.


"Accessibility is an obvious goal but the sensuous and gorgeous layers in Eaton’s work are amazing tools for creating an aesthetic playground worth looking and thinking about. "

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XMAU

Y

ou’re not seeing things wrong; everything is low-res and grimy, pixelated and made to look like a still frame from a televsion cartoon. Welcome to the world of XMAU, a world where everything feels tropical, tinted in warm and dark colors. Color and creed has blended so that every person is red. Everyone has their bad habits, be it soda or cigarettes. Crime pays well, and style is a way of life. XMAU’s real name is Mau Lencinas and he’s an illustrator from Argentina. He translates his

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sketches into red hyper visualized illustrations, primarily using Photoshop. Anime and today’s street fashion inspire his characters. They shoot guns and rock Adidas. The color palette of each ads an abstract signature to all of his work. After one glance you’ll be able to recognize it immediatly in the future.


PHOTOS: XMAU ARTICLE: GARRETT NUTGRASS

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ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

Welcome to the world of XMAU, a world where everything feels tropical, tinted in warm and dark colors.


Crime pays well, and style

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

is a way of life.

ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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ONE-POINT EIGHT

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chelman’s soft, voluminous net sculpture surges 180 feet through the air between buildings above Oxford Circus, the busiest pedestrian area in all of London. The monumental floating form is composed of layers of fiber, braided and knotted together in vibrant whues that pulse with changing wind and weather to create a choreography of undulating color. At night, the sculpture comes to life with projected colored light. The precise colors and patterns are created interactively with members of the public, who are invited to use their smartphones to select colors and tap out patterns with the touch of a finger. These patterns are projected onto the monumental surface of the sculpture, and proceed to interact with one another, creating rippling effects for all to see. The work’s title is 1.8, referring to the length of time in microseconds that the earth’s day was shortened as a result of a single physical event, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that emanated from Japan. The sculpture’s form was inspired by data sets of the tsunami’s wave heights rippling across the entire Pacific Ocean. The artwork delves into content 26 | NVR MAGAZINE

related to our complex interdependencies with larger cycles of time and our physical world. The sculpture’s net structure is a physical manifestation of interconnectedness – when any one element moves, every other element is affected. Lightweight and flexible, the sculpture is designed to travel to other cites around the world after its 2016 London premiere. It is constructed from technical fibers that are 15 times stronger than steel by weight, and custom color blends that Echelman combines with programmed colored light to create the final artwork. The artwork invites you to pause amid the bustle and commotion of life in a big city, offering a chance to gaze skyward and contemplate a physical manifestation of the interconnectedness surrounding us.


PHOTO: JANET ECHELMAN

ARTICLE: STUDIO ECHELMAN

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MATERIALS AND SIZE Fiber, Buildings and Sky combined with Colored Lighting, Wifi, and Interactive Computer Programming. Fibers are braided with nylon and UHMWPE (Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) Dimensions of net: 100ft x 45ft x 20ft 28 | NVR MAGAZINE


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PHOTO: E A TN O H HM EC R A GMOMNAZDA L E Z

Lacoste.com/live

ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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PHOTO: MATSUYAMA ARTICLE: JELLYFISH

The Art of

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T

omokazu Matsuyama is a Brooklyn based artist whose large-format paintings (acrylic on canvas or paper) and sculptures depict dynamic scenes of cartoon-like cowboys and pop samurai in colorful settings and plaid and polka dot patterns. He was born in 1976 in Japan and moved to L.A. at the age of eight. Three years later, his family moved to Tokyo and eventually he went to New York for grad school. All these cultural experiences have influenced his current style that reinterprets traditional Japanese folklore by making use of American pop art imagery.

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Matsuyama’s work is similarly influenced by both the austerity of post-war contemporary art and the rough extravagancy of popular culture. Perhaps his work is a more conscious and introspective response to the tensions of bicultural experience. An upbringing split between Japan and America spurred the questions of national and individual identity that figure prominently in the style and subject matter of his paintings – attempting to parse the “natural chaos” of our social environment, Matsuyama pushes viewers to confront their conceptions of cultural homogeneity, which seems to contradict notions of Japaneseness. Discerningly appropriating influences from modern art and Japanese art from the Edo and Meiji eras, Matsuyama’s paintings are an aesthetically exciting and culturally fascinating facet, which portrays the lifestyle of this time.

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ALLTIMERS.COM

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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M.I.M.A.

The street art museum

What is it about Brooklyn Street Art that is so appealing that one would curate the opening exhibition of a museum with it?

F

our pillars of the New York Street Art scene are welcoming the first guests of the new Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA), which opened days ago in Brussels. Attacking the cherished institutions that relegate grassroots people’s art movements into the margins, MIMA intends to elevate them all and let them play together. Graphic design, illustration, comic design, tattoo design, graffiti, street art, plastic arts, wheat pasting, sculpture, text, advertising, pop, story-telling, aerosol, brushwork, and naturally, dripping paint. Obviously street culture has been mixing these influences together in a never-ending lust for experimentation; punk with hip-hop, skateboarding with tattoo, performance art with graffiti – for the past four decades at least. The folk tradition of cutting and pasting predates all our modern shape shifting by centuries, but institutional/organizational curating often has a 38 | NVR MAGAZINE

preference for sorting street culture disciplines into separate piles. With the inaugural exhibition “City Lights” MOMO, Swoon, Faile, and Maya Hayuk each bring what made their street practice unique, but with an added dimension of maturity and development. Without exception each of these artists have benefitted from the Internet and its ability to find audiences who respond strongly to the work with physical location a secondary consideration. Now as world travelers these four have evolved and refined their practice and MIMA gives them room to expand comfortably. Rather than recreating the slap-dash chaos of street clash, and aside from the aforementioned drips and splatters in geometric neon hues by Hayuk, the museum setting is contained and crisply defined. Perhaps because of the cross-disciplines hinted at and welcomed, the overall effect is more contemporary than urban.

SWOON. Work in progress. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016.


In precisely the ex-industrial part of town that is usually slaughtered with graffiti you can still see a variety of bubble tags floating above murky waters along the canal walls from the terrace of the 1300 square meter, 4 story MIMA. It’s an oddly storied juxtaposition perhaps, yet somehow perfectly natural and modern. If the popular imagination of “museum plus Street Art” conjures anything for you, it may present some kind of overture toward the continuation of the street into the formal space and vice-versa. Faile’s two-color stencils and slaughtering of walls inside clearly connect to ones they have done over the last 15 years and that are currently on New York streets. Their huge prayer wheel assembled here was actually shown in the center of Times Square last fall with tens of thousands of tourists climbing it, sitting upon it, posing for selfies with it and spinning it, so the continuum is very much intact in that respect.

MOMO. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016.

Similarly, Swoon’s wheat-pasted family of figures and her hand-cut paper patterns on mottled walls in the basement recall her work on street walls in Red Hook Brooklyn at this moment – as well as her periodic takeovers/installations inside choice areas of abandoned urban neglect through the years. To complete the dialogue at MIMA her hand-painted linotype prints are also wheat-pasted outside on Brussels walls near the museum, not slapped but placed with her customary consideration of context and proportion. Ever the developer of new methodologies for painting, MOMO piled long strips of fabric in an overlapping circular pattern upon layered patches of color and unveiled the new work by gathering the invited artists and museum founders to watch as Faile’s Patrick McNeil slowly pulled the “rope” outward, breaking sealed layers and revealing a heretofore non existent composition. To share and remember the birth NVR MAGAZINE | 39

ARTICLE: ALICE VAN DEN ABEELE

On opening day (which was delayed by weeks because of the recent airport and transit bombing here) the crowd who queued on an overcast day down the block along the Canal in Molenbeek was undaunted by the wait and expectant. Housed in a former beer factory, the greater collection includes large installations by the marquee names in the main spaces and smaller pieces ranging from Stephen Powers and Todd James to Piet Parra and Cleon Patterson in galleries evoking whitebox.

PHOTO: ALICE VAN DEN ABEELE

Hayuk’s space, with its raised ceilings and stained glass window treatment is a hand-hewn modern chapel, borrowing a holy inflection and spreading it across to the urban art faithful who will make the pilgrimage to this new hallowed space.


Maya Hayuk. Work in progress. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016.

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Maya Hayuk. Work in progress. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016.

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process he leaves the tools of revelation in a pile before it. In this way MOMO recalls his street practice of conjuring and developing new tool making and art-making techniques when bringing work into the public sphere. Aside from each evolving from the subcultures of the street in some capacity, the nature of the works transcend the partitioning that can define exhibitions, allowing the various practices to become the language of the culture. MIMA appears to have the physical space, as well as the psychological and philosophical space, to contemplate the multiplicity of voices that are flooding the streets and the Internet; forming subcultures and ultimately culture. The City Lights in this case are as much on the various dialogues of the street as the street itself. MIMA is the creation of four co-founders; Florence and Michel Delaunoit, Alice van den Abeele, and RaphaĂŤl Cruyt. The inaugural show is curated by van den Abeele and Cruyt and many of the artists shown in the extended collection here have a history and special meaning to the two through their venture the ALICE Gallery, which has as its strength a focus on art collaborations and exhibition with sculpture and installations.

FAILE. Work in progress. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016.

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PHOTO: ADIDAS.COM/ORIGINALS

all originals

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“So that’s why I think it’s the most exciting part of it, who knows where the container is going to end up, who knows who is going to see it?” WONDERS SOWAT

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PHOTO: BISMILLAH GEELANI

MOVEMENT

IN DELHI I

ndia’s capital, New Delhi, is getting a makeover with dozens of local and international street artists setting out on a mission to transform the city’s landscape. With a view to making art accessible to everyone, the artists are using Delhi’s footpaths and walls along with transportation containers as a platform for the expression of their imagination. Bismillah Geelani spent some time with the artists at work and reports how art works are being used to impart social and political messages besides enhancing public spaces. The Inland Container Depot on the outskirts of Delhi is Asia’s largest dry port. Usually buzzing with honks of moving vehicles, the surroundings these days are much calmer.

French artist Sowat sees it as a homecoming for street art: “Graffiti was born on trains. It was always the idea of having roaming museums; painting your work somewhere and having it travel throughout the city or throughout the country. Sowat continues, “That’s why I think it’s even bigger than street art because those containers are going to travel through the country and they are not going to be seen only by people in the urban spaces, I hope they are going to be seen by people who live in the country side as well.” Street art has had to fight a certain stigma in many countries, with aerosol paintings in public spaces not receiving the same level of respect as visual art in other mediums – like oil paintings on canvas. Street artists in many countries face fines or criminal penalties. But events like the Delhi street art festival are helping to shift perspectives of the public and even of the art establishment.

Since early February, the port has been turned into a venue for the Delhi Street Art Festival and dozens of artists are at work amid a backdrop of live music and dance performances. “Ours is a not-for-profit group and through these festivals we are trying to take art works out of the conventional galleries and enclosed spaces to make it available to a wider audience,” explains Akshat Naureyal, co-founder of the Start “Delhi being what it is, has been a center of the India Foundation, the group organizing the festival. international art with lots of museums and art “In India, enjoying art works is thought to be an galleries,” veteran art critic Abhilash Khandekar activity for the elite or people from the upper middle says. The writer for one of India’s leading newspapers class. What we are trying to do is to democratize art continues, impressed. “But this is something really and make it accessible to everyone.”This year’s very good, containers being used as art walls is really Delhi Street Art Festival is the fourth of its kind. new and different, this is a wonderful exposure for This time organizers made shipping containers the me. I’m amazed and very happy to be here. primary canvas.

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ARTICLE: BISMILLAH GEELANI

THE


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PHOTO: MICHAEL SPIZZIRRI

“OFF THE WALL” 48 | NVR MAGAZINE


PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

USA RAW DENIM $145.00

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IS EVERYWHERE

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PHOTO: REBECCA SMEYNE

ARTICLE: CARLO MCCORMICK

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“KAWS is remarkably articulate and totally aware of what he’s doing as an artist and his place in the art world.”

W

hen a huge balloon version of KAWS’ celebrated figure “COMPANION” floated down Fifth Avenue in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year, it seemed that surely that was as big as the artist and toy maker could get. Previously, his “COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH),” a massive fiberglass sculpture, had toured from Hong Kong to Europe to the Standard Hotel in New York. But now KAWS has two major museum shows running -- at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas -- and this month he’ll have a pair of solo exhibitions opening in New York: one at French maverick dealer Emmanuel Perrotin’s new fancy uptown gallery, and the other at legendary powerplayer Mary Boone’s Chelsea gallery. And if you were one of the 10 million people who tuned into August’s MTV Video Music Awards, you saw Kaws take over the stage of the Barclays Center with his giant version of the MTV moon man, in what was one of the grandest co-branding opportunities afforded any visual artist. This is undeniably the year of Kaws. But if his work is omnipresent, from the bastions of high art to the hipster nooks and crannies where his apparel and toys are collected and coveted at dizzying prices, KAWS, the man, is far less visible. Perhaps the shyest and most soft-spoken of art stars, he rarely leaves his studio, and when he does, it’s with a persona that is somewhere between humbled graciousness and a deer caught in the headlights. Having known him since he was still a struggling kid called Brian, I knew the only way to engage KAWS would be to go out to his studio. There I was reminded that his modesty aside, KAWS is remarkably articulate and totally aware of what he’s doing as an artist and his place in the art world. I’d love to describe his studio, a splendid new building designed by Masamichi Katayama of the Japanese architectural firm Wonderwall, which is as sparsely functional and elegantly minimalist as the aesthetics of its inhabitant, or tell you about the amazing art collection he keeps as “the food that sustains me” -- a broad array that runs the gamut from his New York art pals to early masters of Japanese pop art -- but he made me promise not to talk about this stuff. Right, just don’t tell him I told you.

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Privacy is a hard thing to negotiate in the world of celebrity, and KAWS is as painfully reticent about basking in the glory of his success as he is inspired by the creative opportunities it has allowed him, particularly in regards to impacting people who are not normally exposed to the possibilities of fine art. A consummate outsider, he knows most of the biggest power players in our culture, not just because his work is great and defines the zeitgeist like no other, or even that the opportunity to monetize it in today’s market is as profitable as printing money, but through the most fundamental matters of cultural production and commerce. Unlike most famous artists, KAWS has something few in visual art actually enjoy: rabid fans who wait on line for days just to see what his latest project will be. What makes this even more noteworthy is that he himself is a fan, subject to the same process of collecting stuff as a way of constructing one’s identity as the kids around the globe who fetishize his work. If he knows a big-time dealer like David Zwirner, it’s not because he’s trying to show at his gallery, but because he buys punk iconoclast Raymond Pettibon’s work from him. And if you press him on some of his most well-known supporters, like Pharrell Williams, his longtime collector who commissioned work from him early on in his career, or Kanye West who he did a record cover for, he will either describe them as friends or talk about what their work means to him. If he has stories, he’s not sharing. “I don’t leave the studio, so it’s not like I’m out drinking with these people,” KAWS explains. “It’s important to keep your life simple, otherwise you’ll never get anything done.” Neither a fine artist who does commercial work, nor a commercial artist who does fine art, KAWS is decidedly both at once and emphatically neither as he refuses to parse those distinctions of high versus low. Last we checked, you can still see some of his early graffiti work on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel, and his first pieces to be shown in galleries were phone booth and bus shelter ads that he removed and reworked with his own slick additions and then returned to their locations. The arc of his involvement with streetwear that began when he did his first T-shirt design for Subware in 1991, and continued through his immensely popular clothing line “ORIGINALFAKE,” only ended this past spring because, as he says, “I love waking up and making stuff, and dealing with a business takes away from that.” What’s most telling is his response when asked the difference between his suite of huge sculptures he’s making for the Mary Boone Gallery and his work as a pioneering creator of vinyl figure toys: “To me they involve the same thought process, so it’s funny that when I work big in bronze it’s called a sculpture, but something I do that’s small and plastic is called a toy.”

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“Remembering the way Keith Haring’s art made me feel comfortable walking into a gallery or a museum. I just want to make stuff that no one is ever too stupid to get.” Years ago John Waters told Paper that one of the things he loved best about art was that it was a hermetic little world that totally intimidated most people, and while we must agree with that, there are occasionally those exceptional figures like KAWS, who are able to reach a vast audience in utterly direct ways, that are ultimately transformative. Kids who haven’t been to a museum since some goof-off school field trip years ago, and have certainly never before enjoyed the experience of art, will line up to see KAWS’ many shows this fall. This fact alone ratifies his work and gratifies him far more than however the consensus opinion of the academy may fall. Little seems to satisfy him more than scoping Instagram for kids taking pictures in front of his work with their hands over their eyes in his signature pose. It’s a funny gesture that looks like a game of peeka-boo, but is more a picture for a world in perpetual denial, an expression of frustration, fear, anguish, grief and anxiety rendered somehow benign through the properties of comic art caricature. “I always wondered why figures never had these kinds of expressive gestures, they were always proud super heroes standing tall or in other stiff poses,” he says. We can relate to KAWS’ “COMPANION,” and that’s the whole point. In this way, the commercial work -- an expansive field of production that has had KAWS co-branding with the best jeans, shoes, skate-and snowboard companies and reworking the most beloved icons of Disney, Warner Bros, Star Wars and Peanuts -- is as much a part of the equation as his installations in galleries and museums. “For me it’s about crosspollinating, it’s that chance to bring kids who follow me into museums. When I was a kid my first introduction to art came through graffiti, skateboarding and the Pop Shop,” KAWS recalls. “I remember the way Keith Haring’s art made me feel comfortable walking into a gallery or a museum. I just want to make stuff that no one is ever too stupid to get.”

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STYLE 61 73 79 87

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Stuss y M a d e 5 0 Mi l . A Cold Wa ll Women i n S t re e t we ar R omi na Cen i si o


PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

Amanda Comstock Fashion Entrepreneur

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PHOTO: BUSINESSOFFASHION.COM

ARTICLE: STUSSY.COM/LOOKBOOK

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I

n 1980, California-bred Shawn Stüssy began creating surfboards that combined innovative performance

shapes with a graphic style combining elements from reggae, punk and new wave music, leaving his literal

HOW

mark on each board with a broad-tipped black marker. His signature paid homage both to graffiti handstyles and his uncle, abstract painter Jan Frederick Stüssy. In 1984, Shawn Stüssy went into partnership with accountant Frank Sinatra Jr. (no relation to the singer) on an apparel line using Stüssy’s name. The label was the first to make caps marked with signifiers for fashion brands, not sports teams. The idea came from kids who donned white painter’s caps — Stüssy reinterpreted them with his own graphics and colour schemes.

BECAME A $50 MILLION GLOBAL STREETWEAR BRAND WITHOUT SELLING OUT

Among two of Stüssy’s most enduring designs are a pair of linked S’s, a play on the famous interlocking C’s of the Chanel logo, and a graphic that says “Stüssy No. 4,” riffing on Chanel’s signature perfume. By 1990, the business was generating $17 million in annual turnover. By 2014, Stüssy, still independently owned and operated by the Sinatra family, had grown into a global streetwear brand with annual revenues of $50 million.

BY 1990, THE BUSINESS WAS GENERATING $17 MILLION IN ANNUAL TURNOVER.

How did they do it? “They may have come from a skate and surf background, but they didn’t stay there,” says Chris Gibbs, owner of streetwear-led menswear store Union Los Angeles. In the brand’s infancy, Shawn Stüssy travelled to cities like London, Paris and Tokyo, where he found people who shared the same tastes in music, fashion, and culture. In 1991, Shawn Stüssy and James Jebbia, then-owner of Union and future founder of streetwear label Supreme, opened Stüssy’s first flagship store in New York. A 900-square-foot space located at 104 Prince Street, it was part of the first crop of retailers that planted their flags in the still-gritty, up-and-coming Soho neighbourhood. Stüssy’s globe-trotting, like-minded group of DJs, club kids, skaters, and multidisciplinary creatives included guys like Hiroshi Fujiwara, Michael Kopelman, and Luca Benini — all of whom have helped disseminate the aesthetic and culture of what’s now called “streetwear.” The so-called “International Stüssy Tribe” spread its message not just by wearing all manner of custom varsity jackets, graphic tees and baseball caps (Kopelman credits Stüssy as “the first company to send boxes of gear to fans”), but also through an allencompassing lifestyle that transcended genre.

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The Stüssy style did to clothing what hip-hop did to music: creating something new and fresh by sampling the familiar. Stüssy apparel was as rife with lyrics by Bob Marley and Eric B. & Rakim as it was with design nods to Comme des Garçons. Stüssy himself was often inspired by magazines like i-D and the store reinforced the unique visual language of the clothes with forwardthinking campaigns and editorials by photographers like Ron Leighton, Juergen Teller, and Mario Sorrenti. “It became this mash-up of what was going on at the time, which was hip-hop and surfwear,” adds E.P. Cutler, a consultant for WeConnectFashion and author of an extensive report on the 2015 streetwear market. “Stüssy was the first to marry the two in a way that was really interesting.” As the company approached the mid-nineties, however, it began to falter. Stüssy’s hand-styled logo was being confused with the similarly scrawled signature of American youth-oriented clothing label Mossimo, which was less selective about its list of stockists than Stüssy. The brand was also losing business to a new trend — urban-themed lines skewed towards a more aggressive hip-hop aesthetic. “In the early ‘90s, ‘urban’ was where it was at: Triple Five Soul, FUBU, Mecca, Akademiks — those guys were driving the market,” remembers Gibbs. The label’s decline was punctuated by Shawn Stüssy resigning as the company’s president in January 1996, citing the desire to spend more time with his wife and son in Hawaii, saying it was “not a hostile thing.” His departure precipitated the company’s worst performing year ever. “That was the lowest point in Stüssy’s history,” recalls David Sinatra, Stüssy’s 28-year-old chief executive and Frank Sinatra Jr.’s son. The company’s revenue had been reported at $35 million the previous year and in 1996 it sank to $21 million. Despite the dip, the business remained in the black. “My dad would want me to

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remind you that we’ve been profitable every year of our 35 years,” jokes Sinatra.

“Shayne Oliver, he’s a street guy. He’s 100 percent one of the better fashion designers of our day, but he’s also a

Frank Sinatra Jr. took the reins of Stüssy and a new

guy who would throw a lot of parties and would DJ — and

creative team was put in place. Nick Bower, a Central

that’s what we do.”

Saint Martins graduate whose first job was at Valentino, became head designer. Paul Mittleman was appointed

Despite rumours in the early 2000s that Sinatra Jr.

creative director in 1997. The second iteration of Stüssy

had plans to sell the company to Renzo Rosso, whose

lacked Shawn Stüssy, but besides his last name,

OTB Group is the parent company of brands including

the company also had a rich visual well of over fifteen

Maison Margiela, Marni and Diesel, Stüssy remains

years of archives to draw from.

an independent label. It operates more like a family business than a global corporation, but it also feels

With sales declining in the United States, Sinatra Jr.

like a fashion house with the shadow of its original

focused on building Stüssy’s global business, where it

designer looming over it. David Sinatra has taken on a

was received especially well in Japan. At the time, the

more active role in the day-to-day operations in California,

Harajuku streetwear scene was booming: brands like

along with Vancouver-based Fraser Avey, Stüssy’s

Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Goodenough, Nigo’s A Bathing Ape, and

29-year-old global brand director.

Shinsuke Takizawa’s Neighborhood flourished. “The business has grown in a crazy way the past couple of In Europe, Luca Benini helped boost Stüssy’s retail

years,” says Sinatra. “We reluctantly did over $50 million

presence through his distribution company, Slam

last year.” Reluctant because, according to Sinatra, the

Jam. To this day, Stüssy does more business globally

company is currently trying to cut back and stay small. “It

than it does in the US and David Sinatra estimates

was probably one of our biggest years ever — and it was

the split is about “60-40,” with Japan remaining its

an accident.”

largest customer base. Stüssy’s international tribe has swelled into a worldwide movement. “Even though they don’t have the original designer, their most iconic signature would be the font — his handwriting, which they were able to retain,” says Gibbs. Stüssy also traded in the currency of the logo flip — the

WE RELUCTANTLY DID OVER $50 MILLION LAST YEAR.

reinterpretation of famous trademarks and images with

Sinatra characterises Stüssy’s third act as having a

a knowing nod, channelling the attitude of placing graffiti

“brand-first, revenue second” philosophy, in order to avoid

or a sticker over a subway ad. In addition to Stüssy’s

becoming “this big monstrosity that doesn’t stand

Chanel homages, the younger Sinatra remembers one

for anything.”

particular Stüssy pattern modelled after Louis Vuitton’s monogrammed print: “I know Shawn did it, it was

As a market, Cutler describes streetwear as an industry

probably in the late ‘80s, we called it ’Stu-ey Vuitton,’ and

that business-minded types “are trying to get their hands

we got sued for it, actually.”

on, but they don’t really know.” Her report valued the streetwear industry at around $75 billion in 2014 — half

“With all those logo flips, we have a long history of cease-

the size of the $150 billion market for sportswear apparel.

and-desist letters,” admits Sinatra, who sees Stüssy’s

Unlike Volcom (acquired by Kering in 2011 for $608

torch being passed to current designers such as Virgil

million) and A Bathing Ape (acquired by Hong Kong

Abloh and Shayne Oliver.

conglomerate I.T in 2011 for about $2.8 million), by

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choosing not to sell, Stüssy has worn its authentic

collaborator Kiko Kostadinov.

streetwear provenance on its sleeve. “Dover Street is something that is probably at the “We look at Nike, Patagonia and some of these other

pinnacle of inspiring retail for us,” says Avey. “We

brands that have this wider reach but still have a really

had the concept to kind of show up and do a bit of

strong connection to what makes them special,” says

a retrospective on the brand.”

Sinatra. This year alone, Stüssy has released collaborations The last four years have seen fresh faces appear in

with Union Los Angeles, Japanese labels Mastermind

Stüssy’s creative team. Paul Mittleman left his post as

and Sophnet, London design studio La Boca and Santa

Stüssy’s creative director in 2011 to become Adidas’

Monica skateboard shop Rip City Skates. Sinatra says

global senior design director. Nick Bower resigned in

these collaborations and projects are a branding play.

2014 as Stüssy’s head of design. Nin Truong, founder of “There’s no real economic motivation in working with the streetwear label Maiden Noir and accessories line

Union [Los Angeles] or DSM [Dover Street Market]. We

Blk Pine Workshop, has since assumed Bower’s duties

probably lose money on those projects, but those are

as design director.

the projects we get excited about, and those are the projects our friends get excited about.”

Fraser Avey brought on Ryan Willms, editor-in-chief of Inventory magazine, less than a year ago to help

What Stüssy is making money on, however, are a slew

spearhead the label’s marketing and communications.

of wholesale accounts that vary from boutiques with

Avey credits Willms with running point on Stüssy’s

fashion cred like Trés Bien and Colette to larger chains

latest project, an installation on the fourth floor

like ASOS and Urban Outfitters, one of its biggest

of Dover Street Market, New York, consisting of

accounts in the US. That said, Stüssy keeps a close eye

a collaborative capsule collection, vintage Stüssy items

on the types of product that go to each stockist, to keep

from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and special one-of-a-kind

its multi-tiered business consistent with the brand’s

pieces made from deadstock Stüssy garments by

particular point of view.

Central Saint Martins design student and SHOWstudio

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“Whatever we do with Urban [Outfitters], we’re very careful that it’s not because Urban Outfitters wants to make more money; it’s because it’s something we feel is genuine to Stüssy,” asserts Sinatra. “As a team, we’re doing what feels right, when it feels right,” agree. Another reason Stüssy remains relevant is that streetwear and the culture associated with it is inherently young. In the age of the Internet and social media, it’s never been easier for teens to find alternative brands that speak to them outside of mainstream mall labels like Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale — all of which are in dire financial straits. “What a young kid in Taiwan is wearing isn’t so far off from what a young kid in New York is wearing anymore,” notes Sinatra, who says that the increased sophistication and brand understanding amongst younger consumers is one of the reasons Stüssy is thriving, while “brands with less of a value proposition” struggle. “You got kids who know all about Raf [Simons], who know all about Stüssy’s history, and they don’t even have a driver’s license,” he adds. Cutler thinks Stüssy’s staying power also has to do with its entrenched branding. For older consumers, it hits a certain nostalgic note, but for kids, it just looks cool. “The Stüssy logo is still powerful and still relevant 35 years on. That says something,” she says. “It’s a resuscitated brand that never lost touch with its heartbeat.” “This is the environment we’re supposed to be in,” adds Sinatra. “This is the age of the small culture brand doing well.”

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

Amanda Comstock Fashion Entrepreneur

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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A-COLD-WALL:

STREETWEAR INSPIRED Informed by his own upbringing, Samuel Ross's immersive approach to design blends politics, fashion, music, and art. If you follow the British streetwear scene, then Samuel Ross is a name you’ll know. But even though the designer has put out a capsule range with Harvey Nichols, appeared on stage at Selfridges with Virgil Abloh, and has his every move covered by Hypebeast and other streetwear platforms, Ross and his label A-COLD-WALL don’t really receive their due recognition from the UK’s fashion establishment. A-COLD-WALL is a “design project” intended to deliver an injection of art and aesthetics into the streetwear sphere via the clashing of environments and class systems. Ross’s vision is realised by way of pop-up installations themed on “wage disparity”, radio shows and sound design, as well as reversible long sleeves, hoodies and oversized overcoats. As for the question of whether it’s art or is it fashion – that’s irrelevant when the clothes manage to look purposefully modernist, the materials and textures are interesting, and wearing the garments feels both street and aesthetically sharp in a way few other labels really manage.

Are you an artist or a fashion designer? Samuel Ross: I painted, did illustration, then I moved over to product design, I was doing fucking kitchen installations and then graphic design for recording artists – for my generation graphic design is like the swipe key into the fashion industry.

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PHOTO:

COLD WALL SS16

ARTICLE: DARYOUSH HAJ-NAJAFI

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So what is fashion for you? Samuel Ross: It’s a medium. Clothing is just another way for me to articulate ideas – what I love about fashion is the design process. Which is why I say I’m a designer, not specifically a fashion designer. Product design is my love. I want people to be able to buy a piece of A-COLD-WALL furniture and have that as a centrepiece in their lounge too. Products that people connect with have soul, they say things that can’t be said and aren’t audible. There’s a difference between a design that has soul and a product. Soul is something that articulates an idea, that connects these dots that can’t be expressed through language. It touches on art, it’s expressive.

You just flew out to South Africa to work with singer-songwriter Petite Noir on a project for a Cape Town museum. Samuel Ross: Yeah, he’s influenced by the same religious influences I’ve always been into. I spent a

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lot of time in church, having an identity crisis when I was 16 or 17. It was a weird time, I was from some super working class area, from ends, it was only going to uni that took me away from that crisis and I was able to focus on design and explore other pursuits.

So are there spiritual dimensions to A-COLD-WALL? Samuel Ross: There are, there are. All the soundtracks that come from A-COLD-WALL I’ve made myself, I’ve sampled a lot of traditional European choirs. I’ve always been attracted to this idea of religious perfection. It’s only in the last 100 years that church and state have really separated here. But the idea of the working class and religion has always been quite interlinked, and church has always been used to direct people.


How does that feed into your fashion aesthetic?

The clothes are meant to look like cold walls?

Samuel Ross: A-COLD-WALL’s mission statement is clashing environments and class systems. So religion is attractive, but being a working class kid from ends, I’m also influenced by the environment I grew up in. My early pieces were based on British tailoring, overcoats and pressed trousers. I’m not working with tweed anymore. I’m using canvas, I’m using cotton tyvek fused to wool, I’m using lace cotton now, lots of cotton jerseys and canvases but also nylons. At the moment cotton jersey speaks to me just because of working class tracksuit bottom culture, but also canvas speaks to me, canvas feels coarse and helps me articulate the texture of a chalk wall, and ages well like buildings do too. All my fabrics are trying to articulate architectural materials that can’t be worn through fabric.

Samuel Ross: The thought process behind the clothes initially was to articulate the textures of the environment I grew up in. Such as pebble brick walls, grey pebbledash, off creams, colours that were kind of meant to be ignored and to blend in. There is an acuteness and sensitivity to these colours and textures that is really subtle. Once I figured out a way to create these washes by overdying by hand, adding certain salts to clothing whilst dyeing, I was able to create an environment through fabric. Producing these clothes feels like a labour of love, using a really coarse French terry with a high thread count that has been overdyed four times, for me that’s luxury. I don’t think mass production in a factory with a high price point is luxury, we’ve lost this idea of the handmade and artisanal.

“There’s a difference between a design that has soul and a product. Soul is something that articulates an idea, that connects these dots that can’t be expressed through language. It touches on art, it’s expressive”

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You have this quite militant stance of only supplying stores that offer you the space for an installation. Samuel Ross: A-COLD-WALL is not just a streetwear project, is also cultural commentary. It’s really important that the concept is completely articulated and understood through an audio experience, a physical experience and the clothing. The installations are a way that people can really understand that. For my generation installations are a way of cutting through the way we digest content. A flat image of a painting and looking at Instagram work in the same way. It’s important that the art that I’m putting out there fully immerses and that there’s a subtle shock value to it, that isn’t always obvious with the clothing, because I want the clothing to be wearable but the ideas are complex.

With installations you feel like you’re in a scared space, you’ve gone somewhere, you’re transformed. Samuel Ross: Yes, by building an installation in Rotterdam I’m bringing them black working class Britain. They can touch the ripped up sofa and feel societal tension it represents. I keep saying this but it does keep coming down to class and colour. I use the installations so people can really get a lot of shit that people live through.

What is the racial and class dimension of A-COLD-WALL? Samuel Ross: I’m not claiming to be some sort of saviour, but I haven’t been able to name a black British designer that’s influenced me or my peer group. I can’t name one. I also remember being 16 or 17 and thinking we haven’t had a big artist like Damien Hirst. And we haven’t had any (big) name designers from ethnic backgrounds. And people are starting to notice. “A-COLD-WALL is not just a streetwear project, is also cultural commentary...by building an installation in Rotterdam I’m bringing them black working class Britain” – Samuel Ross

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So you think if there were more working class artists, there might be more Damien Hirsts? Samuel Ross: Maybe. People reduce streetwear to commerce – you’re saying, ‘No, this is art.’ Samuel Ross: People love the clothes and they love the brand’s aesthetic, but there’s this cap on the ambition of anything labelled streetwear that I’m trying to break through.

Do you think there’s a connection in the way both streetwear people and art people like to collect? Samuel Ross: The streetwear world and the art world are almost parallel. The whole idea of collection, that luxury is saying both ‘I was there’, as well as ‘I purchased it’. The idea of presence at an installation is a high point if you’re a fan of the brand you can be a part of something. It’s the same as being part of the dinner hosted for your favourite contemporary artist.

What does the A-COLD-WALL name mean? Samuel Ross: Our entire society is based on walls, that slightly unpleasant feeling of rubbing your hand against a wall, that barrier, is a feeling everybody knows. It’s something that resonates with people from different places, a kid on a council estate can rub their hand against a cold pebbledash wall, and a kid from a mansion can rub his hand against the cold marble.

All this talk of graphics, architecture and walls. It feels technical, machine-like and in an old fashioned way, masculine, almost. Samuel Ross: I’m black British Caribbean, the truth is that is a hyper masculine culture and is obviously gonna articulate through design and clothing. There’s not really much celebration of femininity amongst those communities at all. I’m the weird art one of all of my friends. The others are in jail or doing X, Y and Z. So, I want A-COLD-WALL to be almost like aspirational propaganda.


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women in

STREETWEAR

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PHOTO: DA RNEL L ROZENBL A D

BFF

S T Y L I N G : E E FJ E P E I J E N M O D E L S : D I E U D O N N É E C O M V A L I U S & Y L J A T H E U N I S

LOOK BOOK 2016

T

he select photos from this lookbook for clothing brand “BFF” focuses on empowering women through cutting-edge street wear looks. Snapped by Darnell Rozenblad, a photogr apher and gr aphic designer based out of A msterdam, s t y le is m o s t cer t ainly on the m enu . Br ight backgrounds pair well w ith the clean aesthetic of the st y ling, w hich features iconic Champion logos, stars, and bold graphics.

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

Signature British nightclub establishment. Sound-defining British record label too. www.fabriclondon.com

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ROMINA CENISIO Is Giving Urban Culture A Makeover

The graphic designer who brought rhinestones to Hood by Air has a new line, Venomiss. “Question. Does everyone look equally lathered?” Hayley Pisaturo examines the scene unfolding on her bed: five shirtless guys, abs glistening, lie crowded like hot dogs on a china plate. On top is the relish: a model named Hedy La Fleurt wearing thigh-highs and glitter belly-button art, her legs squeezing someone’s neck.

E

veryone doesn’t look equally lathered, so Hayley heads to the back row and smears baby oil on chests. A stylist runs in and rearranges Hedy’s buttlength hair extensions. It’s decided that the Venomiss logo—inscribed on the clothing in rhinestones and all of the boys’ chests in temporary tattoos—isn’t quite visible enough. A rearrangement is proposed: “What if she’s laying on all of them with her leg popped up like ‘I’m the bitch’?” Romina Cenisio, who co-founded Venomiss with Hayley, watches this unfold from the corner. Her fingernails extend into pink talons, identical to the ones Hedy’s wearing. You can tell she’s thinking about how the photos will turn out when Venomiss launches, like she thought about Skrillex’s glow-in-the-dark T-shirts or Luar Zepol’s Matrix-inspired prints or those Hood by Air contact lenses, all of which she designed. The thing is, that stuff was for guys. And

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Romina’s a girl—the kind of girl who wears a bikini top and a pink “R” belly button ring when you meet her for the first time. Venomiss is the collaboration of Romina, graphic designer about downtown, and Hayley, a stylist who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Brooke Candy, and Nicola Formichetti. When it launches in June, it will be a fashion line and a creative consulting agency “by the girls, for the girls.” For both, it’s a side project, but one that lies close to their hearts, considering so many labels in the high fashion and streetwear worlds are run by men. The aesthetic is feminine (booty shorts) yet powerful (sharp stilettos). When one of the male models on the bed is stabbed, Hayley teases: “You’re not used to the girl being aggressive. It’s usually the other way around!” The male models are basically props, Romina explains, since Venomiss is a womenswear line. A native of El Paso, Romina, 28, moved to New York ten years ago for school at FIT, and made her first foray into design as an intern for Gerlan Jeans. Next came Luar Zepol, Astrology IRL, and Hood By Air, the first two which she continues to freelance for. She also did a stint at Trukfit, Lil Wayne’s line, as head graphic designer (“He loved anything that had to do with being stoned, so I drew a lot of joints and weed leaves”).


PHOTO: CHRISTINE HAHN

ARTICLE: Alice Hines

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Growing up in El Paso, she was a cheerleader but also a partier, sneaking out of the house on weekends to go to raves in the desert and clubs in Juarez. Mexico was where the girls in her high school went to settle beef. Once, after one of them attacked Romina in a moving car, Romina opened the door and threw her onto the road. These days, she’d never fight a girl. “We have to help each other out.” All along, she was making her own clothes, for instance, a Y2K rave outfit of cut-up Smurfs bedsheets. “My style in highschool was Tommy Hilfiger slutty preppy [during the week] then on the weekends I’d glitter and do all the buns, like I guess Miley is doing now.” This situation—where a widely loathed fashion item Romina has been into for years has a renaissance—happens over and over. In 2010, Romina was living in Austin and going to school, and had started bedazzling chokers and selling them on Etsy as a hobby. When she came back to New York, Gerlan Marcel of Gerlan Jeans had seen them on Tumblr, and invited her to intern. These days, similar chokers are ubiquitous, and Romina doesn’t wear her own as much. “I don’t want to be some Tumblr ho!” she says sadly. The trend cycle is a problem that both fuels and plagues the world that Romina lives in, from which fads like logomania recently emerged. Unlike past downtown subcultures, which defined themselves in opposition to pop culture, the current scene

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PHOTO: CHRISTINE HAHN

embraces and borrows from the mainstream. This creates a paradox—if coolness wants to be recognized as such, it has to keep producing new creative variations, which both resemble and differ from the masses. I’d argue that this is a pretty nice encapsulation of Hood by Air’s aesthetic, which in recent seasons has moved from logo bombardment to logo deconstruction. While she was working there as head graphic designer, Romina created one logo out of silicon mold, another in Swarovski crystals, another on the pair of contact lenses. “I could probably sell them on some black market now,” she says with a laugh of the lenses.

ARTICLE: Alice Hines

Romina and Hayley are considering marketing Venomiss to one area of mass culture still mostly ignored by the hip universe: EDM. The tanks, tees, and dresses, made out of white ribbed cotton and decorated with logos in rhinestones, are less high fashion than “your basic mall girl brand,” per Romina. They recall ‘00s-era Paris Hilton, who, by no coincidence, is now touring the world as a DJ. EDM is a perfect launching pad for a line, Romina says, because everyone in fashion dismisses it. Meanwhile, she embraces all subcultures. “I go home to El Paso and I go to the country club and I two-step. Or I go to EDM night at Webster Hall on Saturdays, and it’s bros from New Jersey in neon having the best time.” Coming from a lot of people, this statement would be ironic, but not Romina. “Every subculture is here for a reason,” she says. “When people hate these things it’s pointless to me because if it’s alive and it matters to someone, then it’s worth something.” In other words, if you show up at Webster Hall EDM night next week in a bedazzled choker, Romina won’t throw you out of a moving car. She’ll probably be happy. “It means it’s catching on.”

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PHOTO: MICHAEL SPIZZIRRI

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

PHOTOS 93 103 109 117

W i ll R obs on S co t t T i en Austi n Ja s on D Ta y lo r U r ba n $ ty le

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WILL ROBSON-SCOTT street photographer

Will R-S is a London born photographer and director based somewhere between London and New York. In the following spread you will find a select series of his work that relays the grit and attitude of street culture. CLIENTS Converse, Vans OTW, Nike, Adidas Originals, Nike SB, Nokia, Puma, Harpers Bazaar, Doubleday and Cartwright, Victory Journal, The Independent, Size?, Mother London, Undefeated, Garage Magazine, 679 Records, Huck, Mass Appeal, Esquire (UK/RU), Topsafe London, Clash, Sailor Jerry, Ministry of Sound, Protein, Acclaim, Dazed Digital, Anomaly, Asos, Colville and Walker.

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PHOTO: WILL ROBSON-SCOTT

ARTICLE: W I L L R O B S O N S C OT T.C O.U K

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ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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ARTICLE: GARRETT NUTGRASS

[PHOTOGRAPHER]

PHOTO: TIEN AUSTIN

An Interview and Spread with


Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Tien Austin, I am from Hawaii.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not making art?

What kind of art do you make?

I love to read and to hike. A lot of my inspiration comes from books I’ve read or from nature.

I make all kinds of things but my main focus is photography.

What’s the last art show you saw?

How would you describe your style?

Bones at Galerie F (Chicago), it was amazing. So many great artists were featured in that show.

That is a really hard thing to describe. I feel like it’s always changing. A lot of my work is based around capturing magical scenes and trying to make the world seem like a psychedelic place because truly it is, have you ever seen a bat flower? It’s bizarre looking. Was there a defining moment when you realized you had found your style?

Oh gosh, I’ve been so obsessed with magical and mysterious things, I think it was just something that naturally came to me. But a defining moment in my creative career was when I realized that I should only create things I loved and to focus on subject matter that I cared about, when I started doing that my work became much stronger.

Any odd stories you could share that have happened during the process of making art? (A hobo heckling you while doing a mural perhaps?)

There was one time for a shoot I decided to go into the forest and paint a bunch of trees pink, I’ve also been shooting on the beach and a naked old man asked for a picture with the model, we were at a nude beach but it was still an interesting experience. What are you currently working on?

Currently I’m working on multiple projects. I have been cutting rubylith for a possible screenprinting project down the line, I’m making a crown for a future shoot and drawing a tattoo for a friend.

Who are some artists that inspire you?

Lastly, what’s your favorite food or drink?

There are so many artists that are inspiring. Two of my absolute favorite artists are Tim Walker and Alphonse Mucha, both have a dreamy theme to their work that I love. I also love Salvador Dali, but I think that’s just because of his cocky attitude.

I love ramen and sushi. Basically any type of Asian food, fish eyes perhaps?

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EMPTY SKIES T H E U N D E R WAT E R M U S E U M

*The Gardener

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ARTICLE: URBANREALIST

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PHOTO: JASON DECAIRES TAYLOR

The thought of a museum underwater is something straight from a fairytale. Jason Decaires Taylor has brought that surreal dream to life. He is known for his underwater sculpture museums that are only accessible by diving. Taylor has recently added one to the Lanzarote Coast in the Canary Islands. He’s using this particular museum to pay homage to the many migrants who lost their lives while on their journey. The effect is beautiful and haunting all at once.


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PHOTO: EMAN HAMMAD

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PHOTO: MATHEUS COUTINH/ELVIS BENICIO

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his mixed media photography spread by Elvis Benicio and Matheus Coutinho takes a huge pot and stirs in style, swag, and precision. It’s fun and aloof. Design flourishes cut between the models and liquid blobs swirl around fresh kicks and outfits. A grey monochrome palette covers the entire ensemble, leaving the viewer to question what’s real or digital. In Brazil, young people from the outskirts of São Paulo are creating their own identity. Exploring, with consciousness, an infinite collection of fashion references, art and music that web provides. This initiative translates visually through an intense graphic appeal, unique, artistic and realistic photographic style. I found a group called Ver$usxBoyz through VICE's blog (Brazil). They're a fashion lifestyle movement made up of young people from São Paulo, aged between 15 and 19, They express themselves by posting photos on Tumblr and Instagram. They came up with the name Ver$us as an aesthetic opposition to the Brazilian youth standards. That is, versus society. Another group, called Future Gang, also joined this project. Design / Elvis Benicio Models: Gui Marinho, Igor Felipe , Kevin David, Nick Müller, Vinni Tex, Derek Lucas, Bruno Swarovisk, Jorge Barros.

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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A$ AP R oc k y M oti on Ca p t u re I nva de Com i c C o n Ag enda Trad e S h ow W ho Li kes W h at ? K ei th Huf nag e l


PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

Amanda Comstock Fashion Entrepreneur

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L.A.’s Sound Factory Studios. He looks away from the table, away from a sparse dinner he occasionally picks at, away from me, and repeats, under his breath, the two words I’ve never heard him say, and didn’t think I ever would: “No comment.”

PHOTO: NEIL KRUG

A$AP Rocky is sitting across from me at a table inside

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“When Rocky was up late on the phone before the fame, when fame was the plan, and the plan was to make it, to start a movement in New York that put a dent in youth culture through music, fashion, and art, it was Yams on the other end of the line. Always.”

To be fair, it’s been a long day, and he’s barely on the other end of it. A studio all-nighter that ended at 8 a.m. A photo shoot. This interview. A corporate fashion meeting. But despite his schedule, the “no comment” is still a surprise, even though it’s in response to a question about his love life. And not even a great one. It’s one of several times during this conversation where Rocky rolls his eyes, leans his head back—his braids dangling over the back of a studio chair—and stares into the ceiling in response to a question. He’s just not feeling it tonight. Rocky’s usually a talker. The 26-year-old Harlem native’s outspokenness has been well-documented in these pages and elsewhere more than a few times over the course of his young, white-hot career. His candor is part of his innate charisma: He’s never not had something to say. And typically, something that shows up on arrival as a classic Rocky quotable. So why’s he being tight-lipped now? Is it just the exhaustion from a packed schedule? Or a different kind of fatigue? It’s hard not to consider the latter. In the two years since he released his chart-topping debut album Long Live A$AP, he’s also emerged as one of rap’s foremost fashion trendsetters, and landed in a relationship with model Chanel Iman. He modeled in a Ferragamo campaign, and took his first

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acting gig, in the indie darling Dope (a movie that—of course—ignited a fierce bidding war at Sundance for the distribution rights). Last October, Rocky’s first proper track in over a year, “Multiply,” was released to rave reviews. The song also made news because of Rocky’s jabs at fashion lines Been Trill and Hood By Air, two brands he’d provided crucial support to before. On New Year’s Eve, Rocky released the booming “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2.” Fans freaked out. Clubs banged it. Writers praised it. A common headline emerged: 2015 was poised to be the year Rocky was back. Then life got in the way. Barely three weeks into the new year, Rocky’s best friend, business partner, and, for lack of a better term, spiritual guru A$AP Yams passed away suddenly. Yams was there from the very beginning. When Rocky was up late on the phone before the fame, when fame was the plan, and the plan was to make it, to start a movement in New York that put a dent in youth culture through music, fashion, and art, it was Yams on the other end of the line. Always. Understandably, Rocky’s hesitant when the topic of Yams comes up. “Everything [with Yams] was collaborative,” he says, in a low voice, dragging his words a little. “All decisions were 50-50. I would hear


Earlier that night, after the shoot, we pile into his manager’s BMW 550 GT. Rocky takes the backseat, and asks if there’s anything he can roll weed on. It’s a 40-minute drive from Venice to Beverly Hills, where Rocky will meet with representatives from an iconic denim brand—we’re sworn to secrecy on the name— for an upcoming collection. He uses his phone to start playing—at full, earsplitting, bone-shaking volume—cuts from his new album, At.Long.Last.A$AP. It’s evident Rocky’s proud of the new work. He smiles as we’re listening to it, and taps his Raf Simons adidas from the backseat. After the album cuts, Rocky switches over to “Liar Liar” by the Castaways and “Gila” by Beach House (which he names as one of his favorite bands). We head into the meeting. It looks like a department store exploded on the floor of the otherwise chic apartment; mood boards are everywhere. Executives stand around, and before long, they’re pitching Rocky on various pieces of clothing. As acid-washed jackets and denim bombers are being shown to him, Rocky chews on Sour Straws from a nearby snack spread, and begins replying to the pieces he’s shown in rapidfire succession: “Yes.” “No.” “No.” “Not feeling that.” “Change the paneling on that.” “Move the logo here.” “Keep it simple—it’s more about the lifestyle, not me.” “Too modern.” “No, we need to be more precise for the women.” “That’s good.” “No.” Over the course of this series of exchanges, everyone in the room watches Rocky, hanging onto his every word to an obsessive, almost comical degree,

The drive to Sound Factory is short—about ten minutes. Plaques commemorating the Jackson 5, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brian Wilson, and others line the walls. Vintage copies of Rolling Stone are sprawled across a table. Inside the studio, superproducer Danger Mouse is mid-conversation with MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser—someone Rocky’s always wanted to work with. “Heard the new shit,” Goldwasser shakes Rocky’s hand. “It’s dope.” That night, Danger Mouse will float in and out of the studio as Rocky listens to beats and browses through WorldStar. At one point, he lands on a Vine compilation, and watches all 17 minutes of it, at times letting out loud cackles, which peak during one Vine titled “Thot Walk,” at which he completely loses his shit. After his food arrives, Rocky forks through it lazily, and starts in on the business of answering questions, however reluctantly. You’ve been away from the spotlight a little bit. Was that a conscious decision? Yeah. I needed time to master my craft. You don’t rush art, and I don’t think you quickly produce fine art. You take your time. That’s not an excuse, or me trying to justify [any delays], that’s truly what I believe. I took time off and learned how to act, learned how to make beats and do production. How has the making of the music changed, then? This is more free than I’ve ever been. I’ve never been this free making music, ever. I’m experimenting, listening, and looking for different sounds.

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ARTICLE: JOE LA PUMA

When Yams passed, a photo of Rocky clutching his hands in the hospital waiting room surfaced online. To this day, it’s probably the most poignant (albeit invasively captured) expression of mourning from Rocky on Yams. For 2015, there was a plan. And for the first time, not only have things not gone according to plan, but the guy he made the plan with isn’t there alongside him. It’s not hard to understand why Rocky might be on guard. Or why he might want to look away.

as though they’re receiving the divine instructions, taking notes both mental and literal on everything he says. This goes on for a solid 90 minutes. Back in the BMW, as we drive to his house off Melrose, Rocky comments on the Pacific Design Center building, his voice carrying a lighter lilt than it’s had all day: “You never realize how beautiful this building is until the night time.” We pull up to Rocky’s house. There’s a black Range Rover in the driveway, even though Rocky doesn’t drive. Inside, Goyard bags are scattered throughout the living room. A TV is in the kitchen with an old-school Super Nintendo hooked up to it. Rocky takes a seat in the kitchen, and begins a FaceTime call with Chanel Iman (publicly, his ex-girlfriend). Iman—with whom he seems to be on friendly terms—has somehow locked Rocky out of his iPad. “No one told you to put a password on it,” Rocky smiles at Iman through the phone, and she jokingly fires back, “Shut up,” cracking the room up. After the iPad issue gets resolved, Rocky moves the call to his bedroom. He returns 30 minutes later in a Margiela sweater, a camel trench coat, black jeans, and crisp white and green Stan Smith adidas, ready to get back to the studio.

PHOTO: NEIL KRUG

him out, and he would hear me out.” Yams wasn’t just known for his instrumental role in the A$AP crew’s artistic development, but for an eclectic, finely tuned ear to the music scene of today and tomorrow, an incredible ability to discover new artists, and a razor-sharp wit—all of which informed Rocky’s music, his aesthetic, his ideas, his attitude. He was genuinely a tastemaker—a word thrown around all too often, but in this case, with good reason. Yams’ ear was special. And everyone knew it. Especially Rocky.


Looking back at Long Live A$AP, are there any regrets? Yeah. I’ve got that cliché thing where I hate my biggest songs. I remember Yams saying he didn’t like “Wild for the Night.” Would you ever make another song like that? There’s no need to. No? What other flaws did you see in the last album? That album was rushed. By whom? Me. Why? I felt like I had to prove certain things that don’t matter. [That] I was capable of hit singles and platinum records. That’s not what I was ever after. That’s something that you just hope for. In the three years since we last spoke, what has changed most about you? I’ve matured. I’m 26. I view life way different. [Pauses.] A little more different. And I don’t give a fuck, still. How do you view life differently? I don’t take people for granted no more. Nobody’s promised tomorrow. I cherish everybody while they’re here right now. Is that something that you didn’t do before? Sometimes. I was oblivious. I did that by default. I was always away and getting caught up in my own life. One of the new songs starts out: “Gentrification split the nation I was raised in.” It’s one of the more politically conscious things you’ve written. What do you see when you look at the state of America right now? It’s fucked up. That’s all it is. Cops killing people, people killing cops. It’s all fucked up. I think it’ll all change soon. I think people with a badge—or not—are gonna stop abusing authority across the world, and learn to appreciate one another. For real. [Smiles.] All they need is weed, some love, some good sex, some good-ass music. I’m talking about a night with something exotic. I’m talking a night with like an African-Moroccan-half-Swedish-quarter-Italian-partFrench-Parisian. Mhmm. But she got the African booty, though! She got caramel skin, but you can tell that like, she got a little bit of vanilla in her, though. You feel me? [Laughs.] Sure. So it’s safe to say that women still inspire you? I’m passionate about women. I look for ways to manifest that into my music. If they don’t get the message, then I’ll make something special for them. The message will get through one way or another. I love women. And I love the bitches.

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What’s the difference? There’s a difference. What is it? I’m not saying one’s worse than the other, but “women” got they shit together. “Bitches” is just out here, all burnt out with they heads cut off. Chickenheads. But somebody gotta love these hoes. Are you single now? No comment. OK, let’s go back to an old relationship: How do you feel about the criticism of Iggy Azalea for not being an “authentic” rapper? That [situation with Iggy] is unfortunate because nobody wants to be portrayed that way. I’m quite sure she doesn’t. I think she works hard like the rest of us. Silly or not, 300 million people like to watch it on YouTube, so who the fuck are we to say anything? So you don’t think the criticism is fair? It comes with the game. If she fake on something, somebody is going to call her bluff. That’s life. I’m not looking at it from a standpoint of “I used to be boning this chick’s back out.” I’m looking at it [as] “She’s just a person.” You can’t bluff. You gotta just be 100. That’s all I could really say. The question is: Was she not being 100 about something? People feel like she’s manufactured. She’ll be fine. It gets to a point where people start accepting so much mediocre shit—accepting the minimum and the typical—to the point where everything gets so oversaturated that people don’t have a choice but to go back to the original, hardcore, raw [art]. Everything raw. Every aspect of art. It changes and it makes shifts. Speaking of changes, the Been Trill/Hood By Air diss in “Multiply” really made noise. What was behind that? It’s really nothing. A lot of people cared. No one cares. You know that’s not true. I don’t even think it’s worth talking about. [Those brands] just didn’t acknowledge or respect my shit. I feel like I started all that and niggas didn’t even acknowledge my shit. Or respect my shit. How did they not respect you? The people behind the brands didn’t acknowledge me as a pioneer because I didn’t sit down and create the name Hood by Air with Shayne [Oliver]. I’m taking full


No matter what, it’s never enough time. You’re always gonna say, “Wait, give me two more seconds. Let me get a couple more minutes.” When you’re the perfectionist and trying to craft a really dope piece of art, shit...

credit for that brand, for anyone knowing anything. Yes. I’m taking credit for that. I liked it when I was way younger. It had a little run here and there, but nobody ever really kicked it off. I knew Shayne on a personal note. I was like: “Yo, let’s bring this shit back.” It took me years. Shayne’s stubborn. He’d give me a sweater one year, a T-shirt one year. It was like that. I have a lot of shit from back in the day, and I’d say after “Peso”— because we have Hood by Air in the “Peso” video—by the time it hit 2012, 2013, he was ready. Because I was out there in the field. I just made that shit look jiggy. And what about Been Trill? Come on, with the Been Trill. Don’t even get me started because you know. People want me to answer questions they know the answer to. There’s nothing to talk about. Whether Rocky wants to or not, there’s plenty to talk about. After watching some more WorldStar, he politely asks us to leave the studio to get some work done with Danger Mouse. The difference between the Rocky of a few years ago and the Rocky of now is jarring, to say the least. A little under two weeks later, I step off the elevator into the penthouse of his apartment building in Soho. Rocky—who’s consented to a second interview—is nowhere to be found in the dimly lit space. After a few minutes, he emerges from his bedroom, but only for a

split second: “I’ll be right out, my stomach’s fucked up. Make yourself at home.” He disappears again. Inside the living room, a painted portrait of Einstein hangs over a long wooden table, supporting a Mac desktop and an Alexander Wang ashtray full of blunt ashes. A purple light dangles from the long hallway that connects his bedroom to the living room. After a few minutes, he emerges wearing a gray robe and red Visvim slippers. He’s fresher, more alert than the night in the studio two weeks ago, but he’s still not exactly pouring his heart out. Are you living a more private life these days? You weren’t even at New York Fashion Week heavy this year. I’m not private like I think I’m Michael Jackson or some shit. I’m just trying to, I don’t know, distance this space between me and social media. Me and... just media in general. Why? It’s the cliché: The media’s good for twisting stuff up and making something out of nothing. For you, that’s new. What changed? Maybe I came to the conclusion I just didn’t wanna talk to some motherfuckers no more. Why do we go from liking blue today to red tomorrow? I don’t know. Motherfuckers change. When I wanna talk, I’mma do it. NVR MAGAZINE | 129


When I wanna be places, I’ll go. I prefer to be free. And I feel like when you live that life of paparazzi, media, social media, when shit hits the fan, they’re gonna be the same people that destroy you. So I don’t wanna give them the credibility of making me, because when it’s all said and done, the motherfuckers won’t be able to break me. We talked about you being an artist before a rapper­— —There’s a difference. Let’s be clear on that. Do you feel slighted when people call you a rapper? No, because that’s gonna happen. That’s what I do. But I feel like nowadays, the term “rapper” doesn’t mean anything honorable. How so? When you walk through hotels in foreign countries, they assume you’re either an athlete or a rapper. It’s almost like: Rappers are becoming the new GED way out of things. A few weeks ago, we talked about not rushing art. What’s going on with the album? Is it ready? No matter what, it’s never enough time. You’re always gonna say, “Wait, give me two more seconds. Let me get a couple more minutes.” When you’re a perfectionist and trying to craft a really dope piece of art, shit... Who were your muses for this album? And inspiration? Michèle Lamy, my relationship status, my social status, Danger Mouse, just my life, my current situation with A$AP. And drugs. What kind of drugs? Psychedelics. Before it was all about the slowdown. Promethazine. Codeine flow. Now it’s like that, but on another level to the max. Are you still taking them? I use them to my advantage. It’s not something I wanna fuck with all the time. That’s the beauty of it. You can dip and dab with the psychedelics, but that ain’t something I wanna keep doing. Nah. When we were in L.A., you were listening to a bunch of different types of music. I’m going to be honest with you, man. When Yams died, psychedelic music healed me. Stuff like the The Mysterians, “96 Tears.” That’s all the stuff I love. I love classic rock. Take the Doors—those organs. It’s why I love Danger Mouse’s aesthetic. I always loved the mantra of A$AP Bari’s clothing line, VLONE: “Live alone, die alone.” How does that play into your life? If you look at the concept of birth and death it’s, like, I 130 | NVR MAGAZINE


would rather be “VLONE” because you’re born alone and you die alone. Is that something you feel like you live consistently? For sure. Especially when you got loved ones popping in and out your life and shit.

“It doesn’t make me want to go harder, it lets me know I have to go harder. I don’t have any other choice. I have to.” Any plans for the day the album drops? I might drop acid for A$AP Yams. Let me honor his name. [Pauses.] I know you need your rock star moment. I know you need it! [Laughs.] You got it. We leave the table and Rocky brings me into his bedroom to listen to the album. The massive space is lit in an orange hue; a giant tapestry hangs over his bed, on which a Liberace-esque pile of gold chains is scattered. Rocky mumbles an apology about the room being messy: “I should’ve cleaned up,” he says under his breath, and then: “I had someone over last night.” Clearly, something interesting was happening the night before. A webcam on his entertainment console is trained against the wall. I ask Rocky why a camera would be facing a wall; he says whoever was over last night did it. Shouldn’t he, the celebrity, be the one worried about having a camera on him, in his bedroom? He just mumbles back, sotto voce, “Well, she was famous, too.” He cues up the music, lights a blunt, and motions for me to take a seat on one of several massive Goyard chests scattered around the bedroom. One track features Miguel singing over a sample from Rod Stewart’s “In a Broken Dream.” Another track wields verses from Juicy J, Bun B, and previously unreleased bars from one of his musical heroes, the late Pimp C. One song has Rocky singing in a falsetto (in the room, he warbles along to the track). Another, “Holy Ghost,” is ostensibly a searing indictment about rappers being slaves to their titles, but Rocky’s more interested in how it’s tied up in conflicts about spirituality. “I didn’t want this to get confused [as] bashing religion,” he explains, and then raps a few bars from the track after it’s done playing: “Who’s more important than your lord and savior/Won’t let the pearly gates up, it’s probably due to all your poor behavior/My mental got a couple tips to save ya/You can count it as my only favor/thank me later.”

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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

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Motion Capture

Chance the Rapper “Angels” - Independently Released Uplifiting gospel rap that puts on for the city of Chicago. Catch Chance spitting bars on top of the Blue line train while his posse dances in the cart below. The video also features eye popping ANIMATION by artist Hebru Mantley’s studio

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ARTICLE: GARRETT NUTGRASS

Music videos play an important part in capturing the mood of a song and putting it into visual treatment. Sometimes a message is to be portrayed, other times the expression comes off through abstract presentation. When done well it can feel like a song was made intentionally with the music video in mind. Here are four videos that say very different things while staying true to their musical foundations. The stills themselves are amazing, but hopefully it will make you want to check them out online after.

Brodinski featuring Bloody Jay “Us� - Bromance Records With the neon bathed backdrop of Hong Kong serving as the foundation, Brodinski takes us on a hazy drug filled trip through the underground where personal pets are dyed in extravagant patterns, gambling is prevalent and risk is around every corner.

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Tei Shi “Bassically� - Independently Released One part Robert Rodriguez, one part old school arcade beat em up. Tei Shi throws grenades at a ground dwelling tentacle monster, while getting down with her female compadres and singing a roaring refrain that will get stuck in your head for days.

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ARTICLE: GARRETT NUTGRASS

Rufus “You Were Right” - Sweat It Out Music Australian import Rufus provide the visuals to the first single off their sophomore album. “You were right” is an epic break up track. The visuals reflect the euphoria that can come from finally being released from a troublesome relationship. The on screen actors become weightless and float into the air as the music builds upon itself.

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DESIGNER TOYS and

DUELING ARTISTS Invade COMIC CON

After eight years of catering to fans in capes and masks, New York Comic Con is hoping to expand its audience.

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he annual convention, which opened on Thursday, is expected to draw 120,000 people to the Jacob K. Javits Center through the weekend, up from 96,000 three years ago. But the show’s organizer, ReedPop, is looking to grow beyond the traditional audience of diehard comic book fans.

It has also attracted the Hollywood set. Actors like Seth Green and Robin Williams and singers like Travie McCoy, Katy Perry and Samantha Ronson are big fans. In the movie “This Is the End,” the actor Seth Rogen revealed his personal collection from Kidrobot, a company that makes limited-edition designer toys that are sold in boutique stores and can cost anywhere from $10 to $10,000. ReedPop hopes to lure the growing collector base, as well as curious retailers, by establishing the Block as an entity distinct from the rest of the convention. Call it a con within the con. “We are trying to go a little bit further this year in terms of branding,” said Lance Fensterman, the global vice president at ReedPop and the show manager for New York Comic Con. The company has invested $20,000 to develop a logo and to print programs for the Block. And ReedPop is planning to have a D.J. and a live art competition among visiting artists. The idea is to create an experience similar to that of a Brooklyn art gallery, Mr. Fensterman said. “You will know you are in a different neighborhood,” he said, adding that ReedPop, a division of Reed Exhibitions, which organizes industry trade shows and conferences, is developing a stand-alone concept of the Block. ReedPop’s efforts appear to be paying off. The Block will include 65 exhibitors this year, up from about two dozen last year. The exhibitors say they like the extra exposure of the Block because it helps drive sales.

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ARTICLE: GREGORY SCHMIDT

For the last two years, ReedPop has been working to promote an area of the convention it calls the Block, which includes exhibitors that sell items like street wear, designer toys, art prints and books, which tend to be a little more expensive than the typical comic books and T-shirts sold at the convention. Such products — which bridge the gap between toys and art — have a large fan base that is quickly becoming mainstream.Companion, a Mickey Mouse-inspired sculpture from the Brooklyn artist KAWS, was featured as a balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year and replaced the Moonman this year as the trophy for MTV’s Video Music Awards.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: KIDROBOT

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“It really is a pretty big sales event for us,” said Galen McKamy, the senior design director at Kidrobot, which is offering more products at the convention than it has in years past. Mr. McKamy said the Block had helped Kidrobot connect with artists for collaboration. For example, the company is partnering with the artistic fight promoter Secret Walls on a live art competition, in which two artists vie to create their best artwork on a 36-foot canvas in 60 minutes. Kidrobot also plans to bring artists like Frank Kozik and Greg Rivera to its booth for autograph sessions. “Bringing urban artists together in an area like the Block helps draw customers to a smaller company like his,” said Mr. Rivera, the president and co-owner of Mishka, a lifestyle brand that makes street wear and designer toys that are sold in boutiques and larger retailers like Urban Outfitters.“If we were in the middle of it, we would get lost,” he said. And it is an opportunity to promote larger projects. Sean Leonard, the owner and director of the Cotton Candy Machine, an art boutique in Brooklyn, will unveil a new collection of books featuring the art of Tara McPherson, the Cotton Candy Machine’s artist in residence. Ms. McPherson will be on hand to sign artworks and promote her solo show next week at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York. “We’ve figured out a formula so that it’s a good time of the year for us,” Mr. Leonard said. Toy Tokyo, a toy boutique in New York’s East Village, has been an exhibitor at the convention since its inception, and the store’s owner, Lev Levarek, says the Block is a better fit for him. “If they fit us into the comic area, it wouldn’t work,” Mr. Levarek said. “The Block is a more artistic area.” This year, he is taking four booth spaces for merchandise and autograph signings, including a session with the artist Ron English, who designed an exclusive vinyl toy for Toy Tokyo this year. “We treat it as great time to do business,” said Mr. McKamy of Kidrobot. “A lot of the artists in the Block are queued up to be involved in product lines in coming years. It’s good to see them.”

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Top: Inside a Kidrobot Pop-up store at Comic Con Bottom: A Kid Robot figurine.


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PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

SHOP.KRINK.COM


AGENDA

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genda is the most diverse and creative lifestyle fashion trade show in the world. since 2003, agenda has emerged as the premier destination for brands and retailers to converge. agenda is where passion becomes profit and the business of creativity is conducted in a truly authentic environment. what began as a satellite show with a small grouping of 30 brands has since transcended into the quintessential lifestyle fashion trade show. agenda’s portfolio now includes six shows, in three cities, expertly curated with over 1,000 brands and a recurring brand-building conference. buyers, brands, investors, distributors, and media hail from around the globe, gathering at agenda to build partnerships, participate in the community, and grow their businesses. while agenda has organically evolved, the brand ethos and core values remain steadfast. agenda is a level playing field. the exhibitors are diverse in scale, but they are all treated equally. the show serves as a conduit between brands and buyers, from core to corporate. buyers from across the globe are in attendance, ranging from the largest department and chain stores to the most influential boutiques. the same entrepreneurial and independent spirit that agenda was built on still resonates today. the agenda team is made up of street wear, action sports, lifestyle and fashion community members. as the trade show landscape has evolved and shifted, agenda’s commitment to nurturing creativity and allowing product to be the focal point, has endured.

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PHOTO: FRANCIS SANTOS

THE BERRICS AGENDA

ARTICLE: AGENDASHOW.COM/ABOUT

Having already built one of the strongest and most respected trade shows in action sports, and street wear, Agenda has further integrated the skate industry in a unique partnership with The Berrics. The Berrics was formed by legends Steve Berra and Eric Koston and is the #1 skate media website in the world. The Berrics Agenda is an ironclad union of street and skate culture. Built in 2009, Agenda and The Berrics forged their partnership as the true platform capturing the authentic skate culture on the Agenda show floor. Brands and buyers interact at the The Berrics Agenda ensuring that the skate industry is able to conduct business in a manner conducive to the core philosophies of skateboarding culture. The Berrics Agenda is now poised as the largest skateboarding trade show in the world.

THE WOODS The Woods is a show-within-a-show, presented with a unique aesthetic and artfully curated selection of brands. This section looks and feels different than the rest of the show floor in terms of both presentation and occupants. The brands exhibiting here are a curated selection of elevated lifestyle brands. They sample from a broader influence and are more acutely connected to emerging fashion trends. Ranging from legacy brands inspired by heritage and nostalgia to the new emerging lines sourcing inspiration from the great outdoors, they all share a common theme of craftsmanship and refinement. Be it footwear, apparel or accessories, they are all exploring sophistication, premium materials, outdoor aesthetics, heritage, contemporary style, progressive trends and a broader scope of inspiration. The Woods is an elevated environment for brands to showcase their crafts.

P I N & PAT C H This dedicated show segment at Agenda Long Beach serves as a homage to the emerging category of personalized accessories. From quirky to vintage to opulent, Pin & Patch caters to standout brands showcasing a refreshing take on wearable pin and patch art.

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AGENDA WMNS Agenda WMNS is a curated female-centric platform where all pretty things unite. One of our fastest growing show categories, Agenda WMNS houses a new generation of women’s collections. Paying close attention to trends, street culture, art, design and music, they are finding themselves on the fringes of the fashion industry. Drawing from a diverse pool of inspiration, these progressive collections are emerging as an entirely new genre. AgendaWMNS is a forum for these heroines of trend to connect with relevant and receptive buyers ranging from department stores to influential boutiques, as well as media and key influencers. WMNS exhibitors now have a unifying platform to conduct business. A show-within-a-show, curated by and presented from female perspectives. Agenda WMNS is a movement offering year round experiences, ranging from events, initiatives and other brand-building exercises, contributing to the expansion of this exciting new women’s voice.

E N C L AV E Enclave exists as an integrated section of Agenda Long Beach, specifically catering to premium street and men’s contemporary collections. Enclave offers a unique environment, reflecting the design and style directions of these brands. A stark white palette distinguishes the Enclave section from the rest of the Agenda floor. Gallery walls, lighting, and minimalist fixtures allow lines to speak for themselves uncluttered and tastefully displayed. The brand array is tightly curated and Enclave targets the buyers and retailers relevant to these brands.

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PHOTO: FRANCIS SANTOS

The Point is surf-centric show segment. Agenda steps behind the lens of authenticity to collaborate with a careful selection of brands who are committed to presenting the most innovative, cutting-edge products for this core group of athletes. From shapers and equipment to apparel and gear, The Point boasts an impressive roster of brands who embody the unique culture of the surfing lifestyle.

THE ESSENTIALS by Manready Mercantile The Essentials is the premiere destination showcasing the finest in grooming goods, leather goods, soaps, candles, textiles and other personal essentials. The Essentials, in partnership with the respected men’s goods conglomerate Manready Mercantile, will host a careful selection of both well-established and up-and-coming Makers whose dedication to quality craftsmanship, innovative techniques, and personal stories are expressed through their goods.

FOOTWEAR Agenda’s dedicated home for the best in footgear. Footwear at Agenda is the mecca for streetwear and skate brands to present their latest releases and give a first-hand look at their newest collections. Nice Kicks is the official media partner for Footwear at Agenda.

AGENDA RESOURCE A network within Agenda dedicated to manufacturing, technology, logistics, and innovative solutions where brands and retailers can connect with forward thinking partners directly on the show floor.

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ARTICLE: AGENDASHOW.COM/ABOUT

THE POINT


AGENDA EMERGE CONFERENCE Agenda Emerge is a creative brand building conference featuring today’s most iconic creative directors, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs in the youth marketplace. As action sports and street wear continue to thrive, Agenda Emerge presents a platform for concise and productive industryadvancing dialogue to occur. Agenda Emerge has become a conduit for the teachers and students of these industries to converge and explore how to find success and capitalize on the pursuit of passion. Emerge has established itself as the most valuable and insightful conference in street wear, action sports, and design and is a place for rookies and veterans alike to get answers to the questions they’ve always wanted to ask. It is a forum for the core philosophies of entrepreneurialism to flourish and education in brand building to take place. Agenda Emerge has been able to host some of the most influential industry mavericks and offer a glimpse into their processes, strategies, mistakes and achievements. Legendary rapper Nas, skate icon Paul Rodriguez, street wear vanguards Marc Ecko, Bobby Hundreds and Jeff Staple as well as renowned Nike sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield and world-famous street artist Shepard Fairey are just a few personalities who have delivered poignant and candid lectures to Emerge attendees. Their lectures have resonated with audiences as not just lessons in business, but life as well. When we launched the Agenda Tradeshow in

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2003, we redefined the ways in which brands and entrepreneurs interact. We set forth to introduce a forum for creativity, inspiration and commerce. In 2013, we segued this forum into the Agenda Emerge conference, which established a new source of inspiration. Along the way, we have been fortunate enough to engage with and learn from some of the most accomplished mavericks of fashion, design, action sports, art, and music. Agenda Emerge now exists as a public portal into the creative process. We have created Emerge to inspire the next generation of innovators and to reignite the passion of the veterans. We believe that brands, artists and designers are storytellers and we are captivated by their stories. Emerge is our way of telling these storyteller’s stories. Through unprecedented access and insightful narratives, we will explore how these mavericks of industry have adapted to, overcome, conquered, disrupted and influenced their fields of work. Agenda Emerge is an exploration of passion and the people that have found success in its pursuit. For years we have been inspired by our friends, colleagues and idols and this is our opportunity to learn what makes them tick. More So… it’s an opportunity for us to share it with you.


PHOTO: FRANCIS SANTOS

ARTICLE: AGENDASHOW.COM/ABOUT

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PHOTO: EMAN HAMMAD

I

f you take a read through our recent feature, 20th Century & the Rise of Graffiti, it is obvious that street art, in its many forms, has become inextricably linked with the world of music. One can’t think of the word graffiti without thinking of hip-hop, but as mentioned in the 20th Century feature, graffiti also had close ties with the world of punk rock. Not that it is unusual for the worlds of art and music to come together, just take a look back to the involvement of Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, both in a management role and the iconic banana album sleeve, to see that they both serve each other. But the scene around graffiti and street art seemed to give birth to a whole new generation of artists that were inspired by music, who then fed their imagery back into the world of music. To get you in the mood, take a look at 10 Album Covers by Artists, which includes work by D*Face, Keith Haring, Maya Hayuk and Retna amongst others. So, the big question, Street Art and Music: Who Likes What? It’s not quite as simple as artists loving rock and roll and artists loving hip-hop, though they do tend to split into one or the other. But it is not always

the case, just as one can appreciate many forms of creativity, one can appreciate many genres of music and you always have to take into account that artists have to pay the bills like the rest of us, so if their artwork appears on an album cover, does it mean they love the music? Take for instance Jean-Michel Basquiat, he designed an iconic record cover for the Rammellzee Vs K-Rob release Beat Bop and made an appearance in the iconicRapture video by Blondie, which also featured Fab 5 Freddy, which helped to introduce hip-hop and graffiti to a wider audience. However, his own musical project, named Test Pattern and later changed to Gray, was noise rock inspired. Another classic example is the work of Futura (2000), one of the early subway painters in NY, a scene linked with hip-hop. The 1980’s saw Futura working with legendary punk band, The Clash, on sleeves and also painting live on stage while the band were playing, while more recently his name has been associated with the trip-hop label Mo’Wax and the band UNKLE. See some more on this inBuild & Destroy and Urban Archaeology.

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ARTICLE: STEVE GRAY

Street Art and Music:


Shepard Fairey – Flogging Molly, Whiskey On a Sunday

Shepard Fairey – Billy Idol, Idolize Yourself

As mentioned earlier, hip-hop and street art are inextricably linked, both being sub-cultures born on the streets of the United States and feeding off of each other. The styles of early graffiti writers were championed by those in hip-hop circles, such as Blade andPhase 2, while the films Wild Style and Style Wars incorporated both into their imagery. The iconic Wild Style logo was based on an original piece of subway art by Dondi and then perfected as a mural by Zephyr, Sharp and Revolt for the film.

hop linked, the 1990’s and 2000’s saw the emergence of a new breed of street artists who had been inspired by rock and punk music. A great number were also influenced by the skateboarding and zine culture that grew with such music, such as Kid Acne (Destined for Greatness) and Stefan Marx (In Dreams) along with Urban Nation curator Yasha Young (listen to her Widewalls Interview).

Dondi also worked with Keith Haring on the cover of Duck Rock by Malcolm McClaren, one time manger of the Sex Pistols, who helped bring hip-hop to the UK with his solo releases. Wotupski!?! by Jellybean, released in 1984, featured classic graffiti writing from Seen and Duster and more recent times have seen KAWS artwork appear on 808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West, who claims he is receiving an honorary doctorate from an art school later this year (Art Degree for Yeezus?), while perhaps the most bizarre is the Ron English cover forF.A.M.E. by Chris Brown in 2011, which one can only hope is an act of subversive street art! While the late 1970’s and 1980’s saw graffiti and hip-

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Two of the most well-known names in modern street art have been associated with the rock and roll side of music, the first beingBanksy. The legendary street artist has been known to paint punk characters with slogans, while his work has appeared on several record releases, most notably that of UK band Blur. If Banksy is to be believed, then perhaps the Blur cover was purely an exercise in paying the bills, rather than loving the music, but in other cases one can believe he genuinely had an interest, as with hand stencilled covers for Blowpop Records, one of which was being offered for sale in 2013 for a mere 37,500 dollars! Shepard Fairey has often created images of punk icons, as can be seen in the SID: Superman is Dead exhibition he did with photographer Dennis Morris. Fairey also created his own Obey records label


ARTICLE: EMAN HAMMAD

Banksy – Blur, Think Tank

Banksy – Blowpop Records

and has created many album sleeves for a variety of bands, more of which you can read about in the Poster Power article. There are some of course, who will feel that the over exposure of street artists like Shepard Fairey lessens the provocative nature of the art being used within music, but on the plus side, there are still like minded individuals who seek each other out for collaborations, such as Stephen Powers, aka ESPO, working on the artwork of Wakin’ On a Pretty Daze by Kurt Vile. In terms of iconic covers, one must mention the work of Joey Krebs, and aka Street Phantom, whose ghostly image graced the cover of Battle of Los Angeles by Rage Against the Machine, simple but stunning.

and punk, along with skateboarding and the DIY culture of zines, who is now creating album sleeves for Christina Aguilera and making portraits of dead musicians such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse for his 2014 exhibition Scars & Stripes.

Street Art and Music: Who Likes What? can only scratch at the surface of the close relationships that have built up between street art and music, from hip-hop to punk and beyond. Even though is sometimes appears that graffiti and street art are now an accepted part of the art world and the use by musicians of imagery can be seen just as a marketing ploy, one shouldn’t forget that many were inspired by music to go out and create. Such is the case with artists like D*Face, inspired by hip-hop

Speaking as someone who has had the privilege of their images being used on some record covers, I can confirm it is a great honour and very exciting, which goes to highlight the importance between likeminded individuals from the art and music worlds coming together for the right reasons, both to be inspired by the art forms. But likewise, as Banksy pointed out, you have to pay the bills and if someone offers £75,000 for your images, which is what the Blur album image generated, one can fully understand an artist saying yes even if they don’t like the music!

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PHOTO: MICHAEL SPIZZIRRI

#ALL-STARS

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KEITH H UF NAG EL INTERVIEW

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hilst there are many who will only know HUF from the infamous Plantlife line those who are aware of the company’s history will know that behind their recent success a lot of hard work and dedication has gone into building a brand that has credibility and longevity. However, what many people might not know is that HUF’s foundations lie in skateboarding and the man behind the brand, Keith Hufnagel, is one of the most recognisable skateboarders in the game. His skateboarding has that raw east coast style blended with an ability to skate very fast, which he learnt on the streets of San Francisco. This undoubtedly makes Keith a really rad skateboarder to watch and anybody who might not have seen his video parts should stop and check YouTube before reading the rest of this piece. We met Keith in the lobby of the hotel they were staying in the day before the HUF Southbank demo. They were running late and waiting by reception there was a slight concern that we wouldn’t be able to do the interview as nobody seemed to know where they were. However, eventually Keith turned up and we sat down over a beer to chat about how the tour had been, the history of HUF and why loyalty is important within skateboarding. It was evident that everybody was pretty beat up and I have no doubt in my mind that a HUF tour wouldn’t be for the faint hearted. Still, Keith provided some interesting responses and it’s always nice to get the viewpoint of somebody who has been in the game for so long. Enjoy. 154 | NVR MAGAZINE

" OUR A T T I T UDE C OM ES FR OM S K A T EBOA R DI N G BUT W E L I K E C H I LLI N G A N D H A N G I N G OUT A N D W EA RI N G C OOL C L OT H E S A N D G OI N G OUT A T N I G H T A N D DOI N G A LL T H ES E T H I N GS A N D T H A T ’ S S T R EET WA R E. "


PHOTO: HUFWORLDWIDE.COM

ARTICLE: BREAKSMAG.COM/2014/08/OG-KEITH-HUFNAGEL/

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So talk us through the tour so far? How’s it been, because we’re near the end right? Yes, there’s one more stop. So we’re on the HUF Stoops x Thrasher Euro Tour. How’s it been? It’s awesome, it’s getting to the point of craziness because it’s like a 24 day trip so everyone’s tired, everyone’s broken, everyone’s pretty much over it but they’re all still doing it. Where’s been your favourite place so far? Apart from London obviously… Besides London, they’re all different. Amsterdam was fucking awesome. So, a portion of our readership, because we’re not fully skateboard oriented, maybe don’t know the full history of HUF or how it came about. Could you maybe give us a brief overview or how you went from starting the company to where you are now and how the company came about? How long have you been going? How you moved from New York to San Francisco? I mean super brief, I grew up in New York City, and I was going to college in San Francisco in 1992. Pretty much, I went there because I was addicted to skateboarding and San Francisco was the capital of skateboarding at that time so I went there. It had a feeling of New York City, just much smaller so I was attracted to that. I turned pro in 1993; actually 1992 right when I got to college, so I dropped out of college instantly and started travelling the world. I’ve been travelling the world since then. So basically, it was just doing the pro thing for the next 10 years. I moved around, stayed in San Francisco for a while, moved back to New York for a couple of years and then moved to LA and I just did a lot of travelling. I did about 10 years pro and I was like, man I kinda just want to get something else rolling. I’d been travelling to Tokyo a lot and seeing what was going on there. I was seeing what was going on with Stussy and I was involved in just being around Supreme when it started. So I just started a store in San Francisco because it didn’t really exist there the way I saw it in LA, New York and Tokyo. London too. I mean that was happening here also. Just really no experience, didn’t know anything, didn’t have a business plan, nothing, just started. Did you start by printing t-shirts? No we started with retail stores. So you had the store but no product line? No right away we did. We had t-shirts too because I was part of Deluxe, which is Real Skateboards. They basically helped me do it right away. They were like this is where you order the t-shirts; this is where you print it. It was all a family, like they pretty much 156 | NVR MAGAZINE

owned the printers, so I basically just walked in there and started printing t-shirts. So, in San Francisco you were the first real core skateboard store that was servicing the community so to speak? To some degree, I mean we were doing sneakers, we were carrying Stussy, we were carrying Supreme, we were carrying all the little brands that I saw around the world that I liked, that I was connected with and wanted to bring all under one roof. That was my vision of a retail store and it worked, I mean it was doing really, really well and right away were making our own brand, which was selling and we just started expanding. We made a t-shirt, which sold, we made a t-shirt and a hat, then we made a t-shirt, hat and a sweatshirt. Then it was like, t-shirt, hat, sweatshirt, denim. T-shirt, hat, sweatshirt, button up and it just grew and grew and grew. I mean we were just doing it. There was no plan, it had a very organic growth to it and then we had to figure out how the hell we were actually going to put good margins on this product and like make it even better and do this whole thing and that was the whole new world of manufacturing. Now I’ve been doing apparel for 11 years and I’ve been doing footwear for like 3 and a half years. Does the store still exist or did it shut down recently? All the stores during the recession, we ended up closing them all and focusing on the wholesale of the business. We had a lot of problems with a lot of brands and a lot of things weren’t selling and it just wasn’t working. I mean 2008 to 2011 was a horrible time period for retailers and anybody that survived it is good. We had problems where the product just wasn’t selling like it was before and the companies were pushing us to buy more and more and more, forcing it on us. So we were just like, we’re done. We want to focus on what we’ve created and focus on our own brand. So we left it all, we dumped it all and cancelled all our accounts, paid all our bills. Do you think your skate style is very New York because you moved at 18 to San Francisco? Do you think there’s still a difference in style between the two coasts? I think I’m a hybrid but I definitely have an East Coast style because that’s where I learnt all my style and then San Francisco brought speed into the equation and power. That’s when I learnt how to go super fast. I was scared shitless when I first started bombing hills but I got addicted to it and learnt how to control it and go faster and faster and faster and do tricks whilst you’re going fast.


Yeah but that’s New York. It’s like, we’re in traffic all day long so all of a sudden you’re cutting speed and you’re hopping through the cars and you understand it all. The only thing that’s going to fuck you up is a hole in the ground or something like that but maybe you can ollie fast enough to get over it or ollie up the curb, powerslide, whatever it is you know.

I mean that depends on where you’re talking in Europe. I have a very New York feeling when I’m in London. I feel like it’s very New York. In Copenhagen, I feel like it has its own style. I feel like everyone is wearing thinner gear and high water pants. It’s like that Norse kind of look and I feel like that’s nailed when you go to Copenhagen. That’s what it is and I feel like they created it to some degree or they own it a least. London’s all over the place, it has everything here. It’s very New York; it’s a melting pot of people. Same with Amsterdam, Amsterdam’s a very similar place to London and New York also. Yeah. So, you’ve been with Real for a long time now? It’s my 20-year anniversary on Real. Have you had to turn down any big offers from other brands/companies and what’s made you stick with Real this long? The only offer that I ever really had… I had a few contemplating offers but it must have been mid 90s, late 90s or something, I went on tour with the Girl and Chocolate team and you know two of my best friends Keenan Milton and Gino Iannuci were riding for them. So you know, I travelled with them, hung out with them and they were just like, ‘man you should just ride for this company’ and I was like ‘fuck yeah’. You know, everyone’s family with Deluxe and Girl and they talked to me. They were like, you know if you want to do it, we’ll do it but you have to really want to do it. I ended up not doing it because I didn’t want to be that person to jump around. I wanted longevity. 20 years at some place is rad. It’s not like I’m making all this money and all that it’s just dedication and I wish some people out there would look at that and think I should do that because once you start hopping and then you become old you’re done. They’re not going to support you until your later years.

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ARTICLE: HECTOR GONZALEZ

So you’ve obviously travelled extensively over here in the last 10 years, how do you think the skate scene over here and Europe in general differs from the states?

PHOTO: HECTOR GONZALEZ

Have you had any near misses with cars when you’re bombing hills?


Do you think there’s too much of that in skating? Oh yeah. I mean right now there’s a lot of hopping and people quitting and starting companies and that’s cool because that’s what happened in the early 90s where all the dudes from World left and started Girl or like dudes started all these companies and that’s totally cool. If you’re the owner and you have all this crew then you’re totally fine but it’s rad for someone to be in a company for 20 years too. So who right now is getting you really stoked about skating? Who keeps you excited and motivated about skateboarding? I like style and power. For me the people looked up with like Gonz. You know Gonz is different now, he’s older, he’s still doing rad stuff. People with power, People like Busenitz. There’s a whole group of people out there with style and power. Anyone that’s super powerful when they skate. I mean if you look at like Austin or Dylan they are on the team but when you look at them skate, they’re beast. It’s like the shit they do, it’s retarded but there’s lots of people out there like that. There are more people like them. I’m a style guy in skateboarding, it’s really how you ride the board in the end.You don’t have to land every trick, you drop in do something rad and that’s better than some dude who did 300 tricks. Obviously there’s a big focus on streetwear, maybe not intentionally, but it’s considered in part as a streetwear brand. Yes. Whether you classify it as that? I call it a skateboard lifestyle brand, which is a crossover brand. Our core is from skateboarding but love the lifestyle too so we’re not going to alienate ourselves to just being in skateboarding. Our attitude comes from skateboarding but we like chilling and hanging out and wearing cool clothes and going out at night and doing all these things and that’s streetware. Fashion too, there’s a mix of everything in there. That’s a true brand, a pie that has every little piece in it and you know I see a lot of skate brands that are just skateboarding and they’re the ones that suffer because they alienate themselves, they’re too core. If you put yourself so core that you’re struggling with your own business but that’s their true passion and I have passion . I like everything in streetware, I like skateboarding I like fashion, I luke art, I like music. I like all these things and that’s where the brand comes from.

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So, 12 years is a long time, what’s next? What’s on the radar apart from selling a shit load more socks. I don’t know what you’re talking about. (Laughs) I mean we’ve kind of come to a good point in our apparel where we’re at. We’re really dialing it in and making it better and better and better. We’re at a good spot, it’s enough every season to be putting out there. We’re not really trying to grow beyond that. We’re trying to maintain it. We’re really looking to grow in footwear. That’s my next question, so how long’s footwear been going on now? It’s about 3 years. What was the impetus to starting the footwear. You’ve obviously got years of experience so what could you bring to the table that other brands couldn’t do. I mean I rode for DC when it started. I did DC for 5 years then I went to DVS for 10 years and then I was in the store selling all these other brands and you know I felt like we could do just as good a job if not better than all these other people. I mean with right factories and the right people, we could really do this. I partnered up with somebody who was very footwear experienced and we started. We started really, really small and it’s hard to do footwear small. No matter what. Yeah because the molds are so expensive aren’t they? Everything’s expensive, the factories don’t want to deal with people who wanna run a couple of hundred pairs and we just kept doing it and doing it and pushing it and hired skaters and hired more skaters and started a team because I feel in footwear, no matter what, you’ve got to have a skateboard team. You’ve got to have people to back it even if you got runners and you got fashion shoes you got all these different things going on. You’ve got to have something that’s the backbone of it and that’s skateboarding to the end. We are skateboarding, we’re not going out to hire other types of people and that’s our footwear programme. We want to be big and also giving back to skateboarding is a really big goal of mine. You know, we’re supporting people to have a lifestyle that they can travel the world and skate and we support them and we let them do what they want to do and be themselves. A lot of companies now are like telling you what colours and what logos to wear and all these things and it’s like fuck that, let’s make the shoe you want you don’t have to be a fucking billboard and just be who you are express yourself. Because that’s skateboarding. It’s being who you want to be and not being what you’re told to be because you’re making a lot of money. Fuck that shit. It’s wack. NVR MAGAZINE | 159


Just wanted to finish by talking a bit about Southbank. You’ll be there tomorrow. Obviously, have you been following the Long Live Southbank campaign? To some degree yes. I don’t know enough but I know that either someone bought the building or something like that. I heard that they’re willing to build something close to there? Yeah they are. But the thing is, is there’s a lot of history to that spot. Yeah you can’t move history but the thing is, everything changes so is it good or bad? The people who are doing this need to weigh the options for skateboarding and if they can guarantee something better is it good or is it not good. I don’t know but I mean I’ve skated Southbank and it’s totally rad but if someone bought a building it may be inevitable that they’re going to change what’s there. I mean I don’t want to be the bad news but if they can stay then I mean, rad let’s do it but what if they built you something better is it good or not. I don’t know what’s better or worse I’m always like devils advocate with what’s going to happen. What if you get the opportunity to build something else and you don’t take it and they turn that damn thing into a Starbucks and you’ve got nowhere to skate.

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PHOTO: MICHAEL SPIZZIRRI

How important is it to you that people who don’t really know about HUF’s history get the skateboard link? Also, how valuable do you think it is at this current time in skateboarding to have a skate brand that’s actually run by a skater? I think it’s crucial in skateboarding but for people who are into streetware or fashion it’s just that they like the product and we need to make a product that’s good and that people want and that stands for itself no matter what. You go into a store, what are you going towards? A brand name that has a standard of quality usually. A don’t want to be the brand face forever though. Seriously, it’s like the goal is to be hey that was the history. I’m still there and do stuff but it’s like there’s people that get WRL that don’t know who Ralph Lauren is. That’s fine.


PHOTO: M A N O F M A N Y.C O M

THE STAN SMITH EST. / 1973 #STANSMITH NVR MAGAZINE | 161


Signature British nightclub establishment. Sound-defining British record label too. www.fabriclondon.com

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CREDITS A-Cold-Wall

Romina Cenisio is Giving the Streetwear Makeover

Article by: Daryoush Haj-Najafi for Dazed Digital Photography: A Cold Wall SS16

Article by: Alice Hines for I-D Photography: Christine Hahn

Agende Trade Show

Street Art and Music: Who Likes What?

Article by: Agendashow.com Photography: Agendashow.com

Article by: Steve Gray for Wide Walls Photography: Eman Hammad

Art of Matsuyama Tomokazu

Empty Skies The Underwater Museum

Article by: Jellyfish Photography: Matsuyama

Article by: The Urban Realist Photography: Jason Decaires Taylor

An Island of Designer Toys and Dueling Artists Within New York Comic Con

The Movement In Delhi

Article by: Gregory Schmidt for The New York Times Photography: Courtesy of Kidrobot Ltd.

Article by: Bismillah Geelani Photography: Bismillah Geelani Tien Austin

BFF Lookbook Photography: Darnell Rozenblad

Interview by: Garrett Nutgrass Photography: Tien Austin

How StĂźssy Became a $50 Million Global Streetwear Brand Without Selling Out

Tristan Eaton Playground

Article by: Jian Deleon for Business of Fashion Photography: Stussy DSM Collection

Interview by: James Daichendt Photography: Hector Gonzalez

Kaws is Everywhere

Urban Style Photography: Elvis Benicio and Matheus Coutinho

Article by: Carlo McCormick for Paper Photography: KAWS, Rebecca Smeyne

Will Robson-Scott

Keith Hufnagel Interview

Photography and Biography courtesy of Will RobsonScott

Article by: breaksmag.com Photography: hufworldwide.com & Mike Spizzirri

XMAU

Motion Capture

Article by: Garrett Nutgrass Artwork courtesy of XMAU

Article by: Garrett Nutgrass Image Stills accredited within article.

Special Thanks

M.I.M.A. Article by: Alice Van Den Abeele Photograpghy: Alice Van Den Abeele One-Point Eight Article by: Studio Echelman Photograpghy: Jenet Echelman

Amanda Comstock Michael Spizzirri Matthew Theron Jacob Padilla Tien Austin Ami Klinker Raymond Castanda Marwa Hammad Emad Iskandarani

Quiet Storm: A$AP Rocky Article by: Joe La Puma for Complex Photography: Neil Krug

NVR MAGAZINE | 163


Magazine nvrmagazine.com


166 | NVR MAGAZINE

Nvr magazine  

Never Stop. Soak everything in. Accept and utilize your surroundings. Use it to be creative. Never stop creating. Be it creating art, cr...

Nvr magazine  

Never Stop. Soak everything in. Accept and utilize your surroundings. Use it to be creative. Never stop creating. Be it creating art, cr...

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