Page 1

the premier issue - 18.01

Christian Joy | Haile Binns | Kyrian OKane | McKenzie Brill Amy Roiland | Alison Segel | Max Hollein | Mark Slee

DESIGNED BY: Morgan Wolf CURATED BY: Kate Zaliznock CONTRIBUTORS: Jordan Snedegar Lindsay Beach Vivian Sachs Sydney Forester Jason Bowman Gabby Lovazzano Mckenzie Brill Ted Chin www.weareopencolor.com IG: @open.color Contact: kate@weareopencolor.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 INTERVIEWS & CREATIVE WRITING Amy Roiland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Max Hollein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Merrilee Challiss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Alison Segel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Mark Slee/Heron Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Christian Joy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Haile Binns by Lindsay Beach . . . . . . 29 Heather Rosner/JOY Gallery . . . . . . .31 Kyrian Okane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Optimist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Jordan Snedegar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 PHOTO SERIES Gabby Lovazzano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 McKenzie Brill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Jason Bowman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93


Photos by:










Photos By: Jake Gonen, Jason Bownman, Joshua Lee, Brittni Zacher. Opposite page: Mackenzie Brill

EDITOR’S letter So here you are. We’ve gotten this far. Welcome to the first issue of Open Color Magazine, a project of the Open Color arts collective. We couldn’t be happier to have you join us through these pages. This issue features some of our all-time favorite creators and innovators, from the gorgeous portrait photography of McKenzie Brill, to the comedic brilliance of Alison Segel, to Fine Arts Museums director Max Hollein and more. Our whimsical cover was shot by Vivian Sachs and styled by Sydney Forester, and re-envisioned through a collage by Ted Chin on our back cover. I want to personally thank the myriad of misfits who have made Open Color possible, from allowing us to feature their brilliant works, to putting weeks of sweat and tears into installing those creations, working the door at our events, refining our digital presence, and contributing financially toward making our dreams a reality. Since we started in 2016, every step on our just-begun journey has only been achievable because we banded together to weather each storm and celebrate each victory as one family. This issue is our love letter. With Gratitude,

Kate Zaliznock

IT’S A COLORFUL LIFE: Amy Roiland By Kate Zaliznock Photography by Amy Roiland

You know within your first 30 seconds of interaction that Amy Roiland isn’t fucking around. We first crossed paths in an Uber pool, both hurrying to our own creative projects (me, an Open Color art installation, her, a photo shoot) and it took but a glance over the shoulder to immediately become immersed in All Things Amy. A suitcase or bag or some sort of container was sprawled across the backseat between her and an assistant, though it was impossible to decipher the vessel underneath piles of wearable, delicious magic. Scarves, shoes, some sort of disco ball embellished accessory; all in the process of being organized and orchestrated seamlessly while the car heaved and weaved through the San Francisco hills. My eyes widened and I immediately had to 5

know who this wonder was. The thing about creative energy is that if you’re open, you can feel it, almost like static electricity. Amy exudes this, but not just because she’s excited about her own work—she also wants to know what  you’re  about, what  you’ve  got going on. These are the people that breed real innovation and collaboration, and it’s why I couldn’t be more excited to have had the opportunity to ask Amy a few questions. Our favorite thing about you is your totally unique approach to blurring the lines between retro and modern. Have you always been drawn to this aesthetic, or did you go through a vari-

ety of fashion phases before arriving here? I feel like more and more lately I have been really connected to this aesthetic. I have definitely gone through a lot of different fashion phases, one was even PUNK in grade school, green hair, different color contact lenses. Haha! Designing, blogging, photographing and modeling eyewear is a huge part of your creative presence. What is it about eyewear that you love most? I have always felt like eyewear completes every ensemble. Whenever I dress up I look in the mirror and think, whats missing? 100% of the time it’s my eyewear. I love how wild eyewear designs can get, it’s so inspiring to me. Eyewear is one of my favorite accessories, hands down.

Tell us about the process of designing, both in collaboration with Betty and Veronica and more recently on your solo ventures. I really take my inspiration from 1960s films and of course Wes Anderson. For the Betty and Veronica collaboration I sat down and looked through a ton of their comics. I tried to get a vibe on what eyewear they would sport. I also have a lot of vintage eyewear books, these are really inspiring. Our Ethel and Cheryl sunnies were inspired by a 1950s pair I found in my book. I just made it my own by changing the color and shape a little. I am working on my own eyewear collection but need to partner with someone huge to launch it. What are three key pieces of advice you would give to anyone looking to develop a solid digital presence? Be consistent, have great content, and focus. You have to be consistent with your content and your postings. You have to post at least once a day to get yourself out there and grow. You have to have amazing content to pull people in and make them want to follow you. And last but not least you have to focus on one thing. You can’t be blogging about food, fashion, dogs, cats, boyfriend, etc.. You need to be consistent and focus on your content. If you don’t do this you will confuse your audience. I hardly ever post personal things on @ afashionnerd. I save those posts for my FB, Snapchat and my own personal private IG account. A 6

Nerd is FASHION ONLY always. Since your job is a lifestyle rather than a nineto-five, social events can quickly turn to shop talk—do you ever carve out solid “off ” time and go off the grid? Yes I do, weekends mainly. I try to relax on weekends if I am not shooting blogs. I work during the week for Betty and Veronica so it’s hard to juggle my own blog and my work. My wedding is coming up in two months and weekends have been jammed up with wedding talk now. Sometimes I feel like I never get a break. I am having a blast though! My breaks are my work. Who are some creatives our audience should know more about? @mirandamakaroff of course, she’s a genius and my favorite artist. What’s been playing in your headphones most I have a few fun campaigns coming soon and my recently? very own eyewear line if I can find the right partKimbra = ALWAYS ner! What do you have coming up that our readers Any parting words? should keep an eye out for? Stay focused, stay happy!

The future of Fine Arts with Max hollein By Kate Zaliznock You might call Max Hollein a revolutionary of sorts. As director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the title brings with it a certain air of distinction, but Hollein balances this with a genuine fascination with all things creative, regardless of stature or reverence. Emerging artists could easily think striking up a conversation with one of the most important figures in the San Francisco arts community would be intimidating, but it’s as simple as showing up to a Members Night at the de Young, shaking a hand and introducing yourself. When it comes to the local arts scene, Hollein is all ears, and we certainly appreciate his support of Open Color. This quiet fellowship with the underground is what makes Hollein a new kind of prominent figure; one that’s using his influential position to promote forward-thinking, 9

innovative ways to juxtapose the classic with the cutting edge. What are some of the ways in which the Fine Arts Museums reach out and connect with San Francisco’s emerging artists? What is the best way for an emerging artist to introduce him or herself to the FAMSF community? Our contemporary program is a new initiative which juxtaposes the work of living artists against the buildings, sites and is in dialogue with the collections of the de Young and Legion of Honor. As part of this program we frequently feature artists based in or connected to the San Francisco Bay Area. Last year for example we had a performance by Nate Boyce, and currently we have installations by DIS and Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Up next will be projects by Ranu Mukherjee, taking over our atrium, and Anthony Discenza who will be creating a soundtrack of San Francisco played above the 360 degree view in our observatory tower. Our curators are in constant dialogue with the local arts community—from the artist, to the gallerist, to the viewer alike. Past exhibits like the Oscar de la Renta retrospective and the Summer of Love installation are some examples of the many ways FAMSF is working to expand traditional museum collections. Why do you think it is important to highlight art forms such as fashion and music posters alongside standard mediums like oil paints and sculpture? The Fine Arts Museums are fortunate to have holdings in many areas of the arts, including extensive collections of works on paper, costumes and textiles. We frequently organize exhibitions where it’s relevant to bring in works from a range of mediums to give visitors a better understanding of and immersion of a broader cultural topic. This was certainly true for Summer of Love and will also be very obvious in our upcoming show on Contemporary Muslim Fashions this fall. Another great example is the upcoming exhibition at the de Young about arts’ dialogue with industrialization in the 1920s and 30s, Cult of the Machine, which includes paintings from our American art collection, alongside photography, design objects, and a Ford Phaeton automobile from 1937! Another example is Weapons of Mass Seduction, that is primarily a exhibition on propaganda posters from WWII but also includes children’s kimo-

nos that were adorned with tanks, airplanes, and swastikas. What have been some of your highlights as Director of the Fine Arts Museums? Do you have any advice for those seeking similar career paths? I am overwhelmed by the Bay Area community’s warm response to our new direction of programming. The massive interest and response in our Summer of Love exhibition was definitely a highlight in 2017, as well as bringing our Rodin collection into dialogue with contemporary artists, Urs Fischer and Sarah Lucas, and of course the Gustav Klimt which we have all been able to organize in a very short amount of time but with great results. I think there is no clear career path for a director, possibly even thinking about it as a career might already be a detour. You need to be driven by a passion for the arts and its interaction with a broad audience and need to see it as your mission to establish possibilities to accomplishing that. What sets San Francisco’s art scene apart from any other in the world? San Francisco has a unique history of attracting free thinkers within a culturally rich and established framework, contributing to a great climate for tech, design and artistic practices. Excellent educational institutions, a plethora of existing and newly established galleries, world class museums, art fairs and a supportive collecting community all contribute to building its voice in the contemporary world. Its inclusive nature in many ways is why we’re able to put on an exhibition like the upcoming Contemporary Muslim Fashions. It will be the first major museum exhibition to explore the topic. In many ways, we’re able to put on this exhibition because San Francisco is a city unlike any other. 10

Shining objects with merrilee Challiss By Kate Zaliznock Merrilee Challiss is an artist radiating creativity. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, she has solidified a decades-long fight to preserve the arts in her community, most famously through BottleTree, the former renowned music venue. It was in fact at BottleTree where we first met nearly a decade ago; I the intern, she the mystic creator who was constantly inventing ways to connect and inspire through music and art. Merrilee’s personality features a contagious sense of calm and serenity, even in the most chaotic of times. She weathers the storm, and emerges from the other side oftentimes with fresh artistic inspiration. Here Merrilee shares with us about her creative process, showing her work in San Francisco, the music that moves her, and more. 15

I’ve read that when creating a series you tend to listen to a few albums on repeat. What is the link for you between music and visual art? How does the music you listen to while creating affect your visuals? Music has always been a huge part of my life.  In many instances specific music has inspired, informed, and been imbedded/woven into the work. On those rare, magical days when one achieves total flow state (sometimes partly induced by music) there is a sense that you are weaving (in collaboration with the subfusc) the unseen realms, layering color and line into patterns on the page.  Over the past couple years, I’ve been listening to a lot of pure theta wave tracks when I work… if anyone has any suggestions of things to listen to, let me know...

Looking back on the last decade or so of your multifaceted career, what do you see as some of your biggest evolutions, professionally and creatively?   Making the transition from running a music venue (RIP BottleTree 2006-2015) and making art part-time to full-time artist, I underwent a lot of egoic death and experienced a lot of shifts both personally and professionally. I found myself in a period of recalibrating expectations and reconnecting to a spiritual path that I had sidestepped to chase a dream many years before.    Now I live much more in the “now” and feel incredibly grateful to be alive and to get to make art everyday.  I see that all life is (and all moments we have here on Earth are) precious. I believe that the purpose of our species on planet Earth is to become more conscious and as I get older I’m more and more interested in how art can be a catalyst for the evolution of consciousness.  I feel that part of my contribution as an artist/citizen/healer while I am here on Earth is to bring as much light and healing feminine energy into the world through my art as I can. How can we expand the role of art and the role of artists in our culture to evolve our collective vision towards a brighter future?     Walk us through a “typical” day in the studio (if one such exists). Do you work under routine discipline, or is your schedule more widely various?  Most days and nights you will find me, and possibly one of my three cats, hunkered over a table in my light-filled live/work space in Birmingham, Alabama a few blocks from the Civil Rights District.  Part of my ongoing journey has been the merging of my art practice with a nascent and developing spiritual practice. I would say my existence these days is near monastic, my devotion to my practice pretty near all-consuming. I try to work every day for as long as my eyes and hands allow and typically I am working on multiple projects at once on a rotating basis. 

You recently exhibited at JOY Gallery in San Francisco. What are some notables on the show, and what are your thoughts on the Bay Area creative community?   The show at JOY Gallery was only the second show I’ve had in SF—the other happened around 2005—so it had been a while since I have interacted with the community. I definitely feel that there is a special receptivity here on the West Coast to my work, something I attribute to the proliferation of the psychedelic community and DIY culture.    The people who came to the show—largely a testament to the spirit of Heather Rosner (who runs JOY) and her connections in the creative community—really engaged with the work and I also had some great connections/conversations with new people, which is always notable. Do you see any notable similarities between the Southern creative community and the art scene out west? Who are some Southern artists we should know more about?   That is a big conversation—what I don’t know about the art scene out west is, well, a lot. I do see artists everywhere stepping up and speaking out in their communities, which gives me hope for humanity at large.    Check out: Daisy Winfrey, MaDora Frey, Doug Baulos, Pinky Bass, Stacey Holloway, Chris Lawson, Amy Pleasant, Pete Schulte … there are many more artists to add—this is just a few.    What are you currently working on? Anything we should put on our calendars?  I have several upcoming exhibitions in the South in the works. Hopefully I’ll be back in the Bay Area before too long. Please check my website:  www.merrileechallis.com for updates! 


LIGHTENING UP with Alison segel By Kate Zaliznock

Alison Segel is a reminder of why the Inter-

net can be awesome. The Los Angeles-based artist and writer serves up fresh comedic relief on the daily to her readers and followers, letting them into her beautifully dysfunctional and all-too-relatable world. One of 2016’s Young and Hungry top 100 emerging writers, Segel is a current staff writer at Elite Daily, and is former managing editor of Women. com. On the side, she’s a budding artist with her portraits of celebrities with braces, which quickly required prints and t-shirts to satiate demand. Segel spoke with us about her terrifying but inspiring entry into freelance writing, her ridiculously funny family, where to check out art in LA, and more. 19

You’ve been recognized for your funny and fearless writing. How did you get your start and what advice do you have for anyone hoping to make it as a freelancer? The honest answer which I never really give out is that I was in an abusive relationship with a coworker in my previous job in an older career, and actually had to leave my job and change cities in order to get away from him. I moved back to Los Angeles and in with my parents for a bit, and essentially had to start my life all over again. Sophia Rossi at Hello Giggles was nice enough to give me my first online writing gig, and it all really took off from there. I’ve been super fortunate that many people I’ve met off the Internet have given me opporunities and allowed me to have a

fresh start when things have looked pretty dismal. Sophia has been a huge support to me professionally, personally, and spiritually and I’m so grateful to her. She’s helped so many women. Your family’s group texts are some of the best reading on the Internet. Tell us a bit about your childhood and how your upbringing has shaped your writing and artwork. I grew up in Pacific Palisades and Malibu and went to high school in the Valley. It was definitely a bubble, and still is to this day. My family doesn’t know that I post our conversations and they would definitely kill me if and when they find out. But we are all zany and weird and funny and I love my parents and brothers so much. One of my favorite pieces in my house is your Valley of the Dolls portrait. What’s the story behind celebrities with braces and what have been some reactions you’ve gotten to your artwork?  Oh my God! You bought the Valley of the Dolls portrait! I didn’t put that together! Thank you! The whole idea actually started when my girlfriends were over one night and we decided to do puff paint art on t-shirts. Everyone was hogging the colors except the bright orange and I thought—I guess I’ll just draw Miranda from Sex and the City then! And then I thought: maybe I’ll draw a pic from when she had braces! It turned out looking insane and I posted a picture on my Instagram. Next thing I knew, people were direct messaging me saying they’d pay for art of celebrities in braces. Being a struggling freelancer who will do pretty much anything for cash, I just decided to start doing commissions as a joke. A few months later I was designing a billboard for the radio station KROQ in Los Angeles. I just have a lot of fun doing it, and I think people have fun thinking of who they’d like to see in braces. It’s

light hearted and funny, and we could use some more of that in the world right now maybe? I feel very grateful for everything that is going on. Where are some of your favorite LA spots to discover new art? I work part-time at an amazing art gallery called Galleries 1988 owned by my dear friend Jensen Karp that I absolutely love. It’s on Melrose. They showcase tons of both established and emerging artists who do work under the pop culture/entertainment umbrella, and it’s been really motivating and inspiring to work there. For example, they do Bojack Horseman and Rick and Morty themed shows, so it’s right up my alley. (You can check out their Instagram @galleries1988.) I also love Wacko in Los Feliz, especially for weird art books on some of my favorite artists like Mark Ryden. If I want to have a “me” day, I’ll go to The Norton Simon in Pasadena. Although you won’t really discover new artists there. That’s more of a Van Gogh type situation. 20

What do you have coming up that we should keep our eyes peeled for? I’m working on a movie with a director I’ve always really admired, which is pretty exciting! As in doing some writing on it. That will come out at some point unless everything goes to shit, so stay tuned. I also do red carpet coverage for a network, so sometimes I get paid to make memes, which makes me feel a lot younger than I actually am. Additionally, I’m designing some t-shirts for a streetwear company, and some tour merch for a musician. Hoping to do some more art collaborations, so get at me.

Who are some creators our readers should know more about? This artist Super Secret Fan Club recently had a show at the gallery and I bought a bunch of their stuff. It’s all Garbage Pail Kids inspired—and I am personally attracted to anything that is a little off putting and gross that also has an air of nostalgia. If you want some good pins, Patti Lapel (@PattiLapel on Instagram) has the funniest on the planet.) I also really like @Under_The_Pinfluence. Maggie Mull and Luke McGarry are hilarious cartoonists. I also follow some artists like @Jameslynchart, @morganecline, and @du.blonde who do really creative illustrations, animations, and paintings. Also, @theyellowhairedgirl does really cool Instagram collage stuff. 21

Changing the game: mark slee & Heron Arts By Kate Zaliznock


the tech world wants to support the arts in San Francisco, they need to start paying a hell of a lot more attention to Mark Slee. The former Facebook Product Design lead left his position to make room for more artistic endeavors, the main of which being his gallery, Heron Arts, located in the SoMA district of San Francisco.


Heron Arts has been home to most Open Color events since its inception—events that, to be frank, would not have happened without Mark’s generosity in donating his space to us for weeks at a time. Oftentimes, our conversations have grown out of a shared frustration that very few in his field of expertise share in Mark’s take-action approach to preserving the city’s creative community. His bluntness on the realities of the tech industry’s

relation to the art scene is a much-needed perspective if San Francisco is to reclaim space for traditional creatives in the local economy. Mark sat down with us to talk about his gallery, his own artistry, upcoming projects and more. You’re immersed in the art scene through multiple angles; as a visual artist, gallery owner, and electronic music producer, you have seen the community through different eyes than most. Do you have a favorite role to play? I really enjoy wearing different hats, so I guess I would say that taking on multiple roles is actually my favorite role (I guess it’s a meta-role?). But with that said, electronic music has always been the number one passion. From my teenage years

I was hooked, listening led to music production, which led to DJing, which led to organizing events. Events led to building lighting installations and visual art, and then events branched out into other types of exhibitions via the gallery. All of these endeavors are connected in my mind, but when I trace it all back, music is definitely at the root. We’ve always seen Heron Arts as an excellent example of how the financial benefits of the tech industry can directly benefit the creative community—but it requires very dedicated effort by those who wish to make the transition. How hopeful are you that other successful tech figures will invest in supporting the arts, regardless of projected returns? It’s a tough question and I wish I had a more positive answer, but my honest take is that I’m not incredibly optimistic. San Francisco is amazing and unique in a lot of ways, but I think when it comes to arts and design it can suffer a bit from being a one-industry town. We don’t have the same level of established creative industries like you might find in New York or LA (e.g. film, fashion, media). As a consequence, I think the tech world

can end up a bit insular, with less social exposure to people working in other worlds and different types of arts. I think many folks in tech already feel like they are part of a strong creative community through tech itself. And then there is the topic of Burning Man, which is fantastic and obviously something I’ve put a lot of time and energy into myself, but I do suspect that some tech resources that might go into supporting real-world arts do end up redirected towards people instead building their own Burning Man projects and art cars. A very cool part about this is the ethos of art being about “doing” rather than “financially supporting.” But I also think there are some unintended consequences to the Burner culture of pretending money doesn’t exist—it can create a bit of a blind spot in thinking about how artists that don’t have high-paying day jobs will be supported (e.g. pouring tens of thousands of dollars into art cars seems to have become totally socially acceptable, yet many would feel self-conscious about the signaling of buying artworks or funding art events in that price range).

both pages: Trashedy by Bordalo II

Tying back to the first question, I feel that dance music always offered me a bridge out of the tech world. It kept me simultaneously in a different type of creative community where I met different people with different careers and interests. Without that passion and exposure, I’m not sure if I’d have been so interested in pursuing a project like Heron Arts.

tronic music in particular just really appeals to me. I find that music has a way of capturing certain feelings that are very mysterious, but that also somehow seem basic and essential. I guess part of the point is that it’s extremely difficult, maybe impossible, to put what they are to words. Hence music. I think a great piece of visual art can do the same—leaving you with a sort of indescribable feeling of “getting it”—but music has always You’ve been a cornerstone advocate for Open been the strongest and most consistent path for Color since the beginning, and also share a be- me to find my way there. lief in the power of organic, real-world connection in the community. Who are some What have been some of local artists you your favorite moments think should be shared at Heron Arts? getting more atAt the end of the day I tention? just really enjoy seeing Shameless groups of people coming s elf-promotion together around the arts, here, but I’m exhopefully having a mocited for a show ment to break out of the coming to Hernormal day-to-day and on arts this June experience something which will feature different. Some of my faan installation vorite moments at Heron and photographare about the big spectaic exhibition from cle (e.g. the New OrleaniThomas Jackan, Detroiter, Hallowolfson (thomasjackbat street parties), others sonphotography. are about seeing people com). Thomas forming and bringing together their own com- does incredible work photographing inanimate munities (like the One Found Sound orchestra, human-made objects suspended mid-air in natthe Beehive Society, the CCA Furniture program, ural settings. The physical setups are completely or Open Color!). Every event offers something real, no Photoshopping, and yet the work ends different. up feeling incredibly surreal. It poses lots of open-ended questions about the intersection of Music has always been your first passion. What our natural world with our human innovation, does creating music offer you that no other me- and I appreciate that the work is not heavy-handdium can? ed about prescribing any answers. The prompt to I tend towards a pretty existential, philosophical reflect is just there, floating in space. view of life—I think the abstract nature of elec25

right & opposite pages: Trashedy by Bordalo II

both pages: Hallowolfbat by Dennis McNett

SOUND in technicolor: the world of christian joy

Karen O

By Kate Zaliznock

Christian Joy isn’t your average creator. She conjures otherworldly imagery, from neon-colored clothing for rock stars to giant stuffed sculptures floating down from the ceiling and more. Joy’s work has been internationally exhibited, including installations at The Victoria & Albert Museum (London), The Museum of Art and Design (New York City), Mode Museum (Belgium), and Open Color’s launch celebration at Heron Arts (San Francisco). We sat down to talk with Christian about her influences, challenges, and what comes next.

some of the influences that most interested you? I think I’ve basically always dressed the same, a little bit boyish, with a graphic flourish of some sort whether it’s just color blocking or an actual print. I also love to feel like a collage, combining small details with bigger punches of color or unusual shape. My mom was a big influence. She has a great sense of humor and she’s very DIY. She liked to experiment. Also, my older brother who had all of the great 1980s clothes like Bugle Boy and parachute pants. He was very new wave/ new romantic. I was in constant awe of his ability to look like a pop star. I was also very influenced Your wearable creations are pure genius. What by 80s pop music. I wasn’t allowed to listen to did you dress like growing up, and what were rock music growing up, so every chance was like 27

eating a huge, gorgeous piece of cake! What have been some of your biggest hurdles when creating artwork that will also financially support you? I guess it’s making people realize how much work goes into creating a piece especially when it comes to creating individual looks for a performer. You have to come up with the concept, do the drawings, make the patterns, sew it, fit it and then create any other details like prints or embellishments. Everything is one of a kind so you’re really getting more than just a dress or a cape. What have been some of your favorite reactions to your work? It’s really interesting to see the artwork that people have created using my costumes. It’s kind of surreal. There is one woman who did this amazing oil painting of herself in Karen O’s costume from Glastonbury in 2009. Also, the kids who copy the looks and make them into Halloween costumes. They do such an amazing job. It just totally blows my mind. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned on the business side of being an artist? Find a solid group of people to work with, a good tailor, pattern maker, anyone who can help you get from point A to point B in the easiest and most effective way possible but also have the craft to make the piece look perfect.

What is inspiring you right now? I feel like I’m always being presented with such a varying array of concepts especially with working with performers. One person will love Lord of the Rings and want to look like that and another will want to look like Little Richard so I’m always researching ideas that I wouldn’t maybe normally be into. The most recent inspiration has been 18th Century gowns. I had to make one for someone recently and it was the hardest damn thing I’ve ever done. I’ve always been more interested in men’s dress from that period, but I began to have to look at women’s clothing and how it was made and the crazy layers beneath the actual gown. It’s endless. Who are some creatives our readers should know more about? Oh one of my favorite artists right now is an ex intern named Camilla Carper. She has an amazing conceptual line called Femail and she’s also doing a project where she makes her clothing for a year out of one 20-yard piece of linen. It’s interesting to see how she’s created pieces for cold weather and yoga class. What do you have coming up that we should look out for? New costumes for Karen O and Maggie Rogers and I’m doing a show at Secret Project Robot this summer. 28

In focus: haile binns By Lindsay Beach Haile Binns, a proud Jamaican-American from Upstate New York, is a self-taught painter who has always been obsessed with color. As a young child, she would spend her days with crayons filling pages with colors for hours.

Binns. “But if you don’t use them, you can’t cultivate them to their greatest potential. You need to open the door.”

That art dealer opened his door and sold her first painting. That check allowed her to give But Binns’ confidence about her gift for painting up her career in fashion, pack up her New York didn’t always come easy. After high school, she City apartment, and move to Hawaii. stopped painting to focus solely on a career in fashion. But eventually she found her way back Binns spent two years immersing herself in Hato the canvas, spending her nights painting after waii’s natural beauty. Hiking everyday into the mountains made of hard rock and volcanic ash, work, only to hide her artwork under her bed. and recharging by the Pacific Ocean—these natIt wasn’t until Binns stumbled upon and began ural elements eventually made their way into to frequent a local art dealer’s shop in New York her artwork. City that she built up enough courage to share “It was the first time I connected with nature,” her artwork. says Binns. “I was on this island, and I’m Jamai“I’d been rejecting my gifts for so long,” says

can, but I’ve never experienced island life before. Living 24/7 island life was different and nature was always in your face. It was very impactful and inspired me and my work.”

Binns gleans inspiration from powerful women like Alma Thomas, the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, Lena Waithe, the first black woman to earn an Emmy Although she was happy in Hawaii, she found Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy herself painting less and distracted by her beau- Series, and Queen Nanny, a Jamaican military tiful surroundings. Binns ultimately made the and spiritual leader of the Jamaican Maroons. decision to move back to New York City to get deeper into her work. “I’m inspired by women who are powerful and don’t care about what anyone thinks about “Painting is healing,” she says. “So when I was them. When I see that in black women, I love in Hawaii, over time if I needed to be healed I that and it’s inspiring,” says Binns, as her face could go to the ocean or go to Hana and disap- lights up. “It makes me really proud to see wompear for a few days. In New York City, it’s just en who are going out there and doing it for concrete and garbage, even though it’s the great- themselves. It gives me a sense of joy.” est city in the world,” she proclaims. “You don’t get that [same healing] from New York City.” When Binns isn’t painting in her Bronx studio, she’s teaching children art engineering and hisFinding inspiration from New York’s concrete tory. When she isn’t working, she’s buying supjungle, she would collect leftover materials from plies for painting. When she isn’t prepping, she the factories near her apartment to incorporate is always thinking about painting. into her paintings. Binns is the type of woman she gains inspiration “I was living in Brooklyn, and next to my apart- from. She’s the type of woman who is passionate ment there was a wood factory and a concrete and dedicated to her artwork. She’s the type of factory,” recalls Binns. “Canvas is expensive, and woman who uplifts her community by sharing I found myself ripping canvases apart because it her gifts and teaching others. She’s the type of didn’t feel enough for me. One of the guys from woman who goes out there and does it for herthe factory gave me a piece of wood one day and self, one stroke at a time. he told me to paint on it. My dad used to lay foundation for houses and it was often in con“I’m constantly thinking about my work and it’s crete. I mixed the two [wood and concrete] to- nice to be that way,” Binns says with pride. “I’d gether and I never looked back since.” go through periods where I was unhappy with my work but I was painting through it. When For the past 13 years, Binns has been working you reach the moments where you’re happy in this process, using a combination of crystals, about your work, there’s something so sweet herbs, dirt and flowers reminding her of Hawaii. about it. It’s like when you meet someone and Each mixture she lays onto her canvas is differ- you’re in love with them, it’s the honeymoon ent.“Each piece has its individual energy,” Binns stage. It’s all love while I’m creating.” says. “If I want it to say a certain message, there’s a certain combination of the crystals, herbs, dirt, To find Binns’ work, you can visit her website at I use to infuse energy [into the piece]. I paint www.hailebinns.com or Instagram @hailehails. because I’m trying to infuse my healing energy She has a show coming up at Rush Arts Chelsea into my work.” later in 2018.

frontlines: heather rosner & joy gallery By Kate Zaliznock

JOY Gallery isn’t where you’d expect it to

be. One of San Francisco’s newest must-visits is a creative outlet located on Third Street in Bayview-Hunters Point, a highly underrepresented district of the city. Founder Heather Rosner spoke with us about her community, collaborators, and the realities of running a brick-andmortar gallery in an overpriced and artistically underfunded San Francisco. What’s the origin story behind JOY Gallery? What made you want to start a creative space, and what has the experience in San Francisco been like so far? JOY was inside and it had to come out. I spent years avoiding management positions but still doing jobs well. I was (am) a creative and it was 31

time to become my own boss. Cheap rent and off the beaten path are my jam. Turns out I’m pretty damn good at problem solving and making things look nice. Modern or industrial spaces are a big turnoff to me. They feel cold and void of energy. The space was a shithole but I liked it and wanted to feel it out. I knew I could figure out how to make it work. Everything you ever need to know and more is on Youtube. Almost as soon as the first JOY was finished being built we had to move. So we did it again a year later on the same block. The experience (of building it ourselves, on a shoestring budget, with the help of a few friends) has been transformative. There aren’t a

lot of benefits to opening a small business in San Francisco. It would have been much easier even six years ago when there were more creative elements still in the city to pull from. We opened outside of our community and for better or worse we learned a lot about a community that we were never exposed to before. There are a lot of misconceptions about Bayview-Hunters Point. We’ve learned a lot about the struggles people who live there are dealing with. There’s a strong sense of community. I’ve lived in my neighborhood 20 years and only know a few neighbors, but on Third St. everybody knows each other. They’re all family, a cousin or brother. It’s tightly-knit. What is your advice for anyone looking to start a gallery? Don’t do it! Unless you want it to be a hobby or you have a buttload of expendable money. Or better yet start a gallery inside someone else’s space. Don’t get tied down to a brick-and-mortar business. Trust me, there are plenty of other businesses who would be eager for your curating abilities. Owning a business is tough. Wrangling art is even harder. If you’re detail oriented it will consume you. If you’re really motivated to start an art space get a grant or ten, do it with a collective, and use all of your resources. I love JOY and hope it stays open forever but the reality is that it’s unsustainable. My day job is keeping it open and there are no employees. Sometimes Allen Schlung helps out financially and physically but then on show openings, the nights we wait for with the greatest anticipation, we are running around sweating our asses off and begging friends for help. The JOY project has become bigger than me, which is tough because I can’t pay anyone to help and nobody wants to work for free. It gets exhausting asking people to do things for free, and telling them

that all of the money keeps the space going. What have been some of your favorite moments at JOY? LEWD & LEWD 2, the erotic art shows. There’s a huge void in showing erotic art. The shows become bigger each time. About half of the artists who make erotic art are women. This fascinates me. All the freaks come out for it and it’s a real good time.  SHOW! An Exhibit of Live Music Photography Since the Mid-Sixties was mostly Allen Schlung’s concept. A lot of cool people crawled out of the woodwork for it. We had Ruby Ray’s photos of Darby Crash, Alice Bag, DEVO, Sid Vicious, etc. Charles Peterson sent us limited edition photos of Chris Cornell and Kurt Cobain. And the biggest surprise of all was a kid who got his dad, Robert Sheffield, to send us photos he shot in the 60s for the Michigan Daily. He sent photos of Janice Joplin, Iggy Pop, Ray Charles, The MC5 and tons more.  Sunday Streets last year was stellar! We had bands play out front all day long. Nei Caetano Da Silva was making portraits inside.  The art shows/events/performances are all special in their own way but a few other memorable mentions include The Black Power Tarot Art Show and Sonic Divination Sound Healing Ceremony.  32

Create & cultivate: kyrian okane By Kate Zaliznock

Kyrian Okane is a living, breathing machine of creativity. Founder of the dream factory that is Creatington (Los Angeles), Okane manages to churn out incredible projects on the daily, collaborating with some of the most innovative emerging artists in North America. We chatted with the whimsical genius on his early days, aesthetics, current projects and more.

We’d love to know more about your background. Where did you grow up and what were some notable stops on the journey of building your career? I grew up in Seattle, and also moved to a small village in England from age nine to 13—that definitely shaped my personality a lot. I was always a weirdo but being a weirdo in a conservative En33

glish village was a whole ’nother level of isolation, which was a struggle but a gift as it was so obvious that I could never “fit it” or follow the trends so I went deeper into myself and listened more to what I was drawn to. I moved back to Seattle and started going to raves and festivals at a young age, culminating with my first time at Burning Man at age 16 (I looked like I was 25). The artistic freedom and visceral experience of a whole alternate reality confirmed in me that this was possible and that I needed to live in and create my own worlds. I left school then to travel to festivals and beatbox, was a vagabond feral colorful gypsy for a bunch of years, discovering my love for puppets and ultimately landing on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, a magical rainforest by the ocean where we made Dreamberry studios and I taught

myself how to make films and lots of other things graphing, and creating community based around for The Fungineers. good feelings and creative creations.     You’re a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to building alternate realities. What roles do you most typically play during a project? Yup! love to do all the things! It depends on what the project is, but I suppose creative director is a consistently thrown line, which is a classically vague title that most of the time when people tell me they do that I go, “Wait what do you actually do?” For me, it is coming up with creative ideas constantly and motivating and guiding people to get involved, to collaborate, to understand the vision and add their magic to it! And I usually end up being the last person left that cleans up, oh the glamour of making dreams happen!  Where do you draw from when creating your aesthetic? Colors! Textures! Mashups of flavors! Future vintage! Intuition! Excitement! Friends! Things that are around me! A big reason I am all about creating unique and creative working and living spaces is so that you are always in it. Tell us about Creatington and its origin story. Creatington is a surreal art collective and multimedia studio in downtown Los Angeles that was started in 2014. Before that I was living in BC at Dreamberry studios, which was an old bronze foundry on 11 acres in the woods that we turned into an otherworldly creation station. I was there for eight years and learned so much about building spaces and creating things, but it was really remote and hard to collaborate with people and find opportunities. I decided to move to LA! And knew I wanted a magical studio space so I teamed up with long time homie and member of The Fungineers, Greenz, and we found a great empty warehouse and started building! We have five private art studios and then the main studio we use for filming, dancing, performing, photo-

What has been the craziest production you’ve put on so far? Wow, that’s a hard question to answer! They are all so crazy in different ways, for now I’ll say last year when I made eight videos for Bassnectar’s live show visuals in a month, it was a blur of blowing up speakers (and almost myself) getting costumes made, painting everything non-stop, covering people with foam and other substances, getting all the homies to help out and trying out fun things I had been dreaming of for a while! The main craziness of it was I was producing, art directing and filming them so it was a non-stop juggling of hats, but I love that feeling! What do you have coming up we should know about? The Fungineers Ice Cream Truck! This has been a dream of mine for soooo many years and for the last year I have been working on turning an old ice cream truck into a mobile magical stage that we will be bringing to festivals and doing pop up shows in all over the world! It has an INSANE bumping sound system and is set up for the puppets to shine and for our cone gnomes to be making fresh waffle cones and give away acai ice cream as part of our show! I’m very excited to have a mobile portal to the magic land vibe and take it to unexpected places, small towns in middle America, shows in the middle of nature for nobody... I am putting final touches on it now and we will be doing pop up shows in LA with it soon, and our debut festival with it is Lighting in a Bottle!


keep it moving: optimist By Kate Zaliznock

When it comes to the day-to-day hustle of emerging artists, Optimist is more of a bottom-line realist. Optimist (best known for his large-scale street artwork) has traveled the world creating, each time eventually returning to the Bay with fresh perspective on his artistic direction as well as the realities of living in a city that overwhelmingly invests in apps, not artwork. Tell us a bit about your medium selections and what each of them offer to your creative expression. I use spray paint for big stuff and acrylic paint for small stuff. Spray paint for outdoors, acrylic paint for indoors. What are you currently working on? 37

Twenty-eight giant Muni bus transfer paintings. Each transfer is the birthday of an influential person that is either from San Francisco or moved there and helped build the culture that SF was once known for. You’ve talked about the realities of the hurdles with graffiti and how street cred doesn’t pay the bills. What do you see as the most viable transition for unconventional artists into patrons’ demand? You have to turn yourself into a brand because it’s 2018 and the art world is about hype, it’s about the Internet, it’s about selling yourself.  Street cred doesn’t pay the bills, but I guess Internet cred can pay the bills...

What drove you to pursue creative outlets? Has it been a lifelong impulse or was it prompted at a certain point in your life? Lifelong impulse. What do you see as the next steps in your creative journey? Keep working. Keep it moving. Do you have anything coming up we should look out for? My friend Udon and I recently made a short film about traveling and painting in Vietnam over the last five years. It’s like a travel show but with graffiti.  We have a viewing party coming up on June 23rd at Hiro building in Oakland.  There will be prints and other merchandise available for sale at the show, as well as a small body of work and hundreds of photographs on display.  Are there any places you see as particularly lu-

crative for artists to establish as a home base? Not the Bay Area, that’s for sure. Anyplace with a low cost of living. I feel like because of the Internet you can work anywhere and just ship your work to where it’s being sold. I like working out of Taipei. Cheap rent, good food, nice people, cops are chill, and it’s very inspiring living there.  How has travel affected your work? Travel is one of the biggest influences on my work. I feel like a DJ when I paint; I’m sampling images from my surroundings and using them in my work like a DJ samples sounds and other people’s music. So, when I travel, everything I see is new to me and that’s very inspiring.   Who are some emerging artists we should know more about? Safety First, Jon Felix Arnold, Dan Hampe, David Jien, and Canon Dill. 

the art of communication By Jordan Snedegar

According to Google, one of the most commonly asked questions pertains to our life’s purpose. People spend eternity hoping to unlock the key to the Universe. Funnily enough, the answer is quite simple: Communication.

times in the form of inspirational embroidered pillows or cheesy wall art, which more often than not evokes a gag reflex. Repetition makes the master. Practice makes perfect. Yada yada.

And yet, despite modern times presenting us Unfortunately, it so happens a lot of people are with the opportunity to communicate at any time with anyone, anywhere, it does not seem really fucking bad at it. But, don’t fret just yet. Luckily for us, communication is an art that can this accessibility and redundancy has made us masters of the craft. Quite the opposite, in fact. (and should) be cultivated. There is a huge disconnect here. Communication seems to be a lost art, much like Vermeer’s Emerson, OG of progressive thought, believed “every artist was first an amateur.” And how do The Concert. we typically get better at something? We do that I believe weapons of mass distraction to be vastsomething over and over again. ly responsible for said separation. They consume our presence, seeping into our interactions This ideology shows up in many ways, some41

much like hydrogen cyanide, completely wiping out our focus. We have reached a point in our existence where we put more faith in search engines than ourselves. We have all these questions. We want answers. And instead of plugging in, we resort to filling our innards with hollow-grams. Ironically, resulting in our creative starvation.

time I pass by. We flash gargantuan grins. We giggle. And sometimes he gives me free coconuts. I long for these precious, fleeting moments. Some days I fucking need it. A brief break of the mental hamster wheel, to make me feel something. Anything.

Sometimes we can crave, bodies physically aching, for notions to be shared by another. But, they may very well never see the light of day. This yearning is rooted in cosmic nostalgia. Be- And in these moments, when life feels as though cause when we are touched by the expression of it is spinning too fast and grips start to slip, another, we truly transcend realms. these are the times when it is not only recommended—but utterly imperative for survival, to There’s a man in my neighborhood that stands sit the fuck down and create something. To stifle on the same street corner selling tropical fruits, our self-expression is suicide of the soul. every damn day. We may not technically speak the same language, but we communicate each This further perpetuates the necessity of art in our lives, in any and all forms, whether transported via sound waves or waves of hog-haired bristles across a canvas. The more open we are, the more we understand. We are able to discover a sense of community, even amongst our pain. This connection is the heartbeat of the human experience. When we communicate, I mean—truly express ourselves—we bare our bones. The masks are off. Flags of vulnerability waving. And that’s how wars are won. It is our civic duty—our moral responsibility— to give our creativity the spotlight it deserves. Communication is our salvation. It is the masterpiece of our existence. And we are the maestri. From this moment forward, may our self-expression glide through the ethers like a Straussian Waltz. Will you share this dance? 42

REVIEWS Recommended Reading By Jason Bowman Conversations with Friends is perhaps the strongest Millennial novel yet written. Not because it’s about digital distraction and post-recession disenchantment, but because it’s about rethinking cultural structures. The book deals with the force of fluidity; the pervasive Millennial dismantling of life’s neat categories, especially as related to relationship (romantic, creative, professional, platonic) as well as what it means to be an adult. In raising such topics, the story points out something of an uncomfortable truth: life can sometimes seem to be much easier when the choices are fewer. The fact that most of the characters in Sally Rooney’s debut novel are so vividly awake not only shows the sharpness of their creator, but also the difficulties that arise from such sharpness. There are moments here where the characters actually seem to be paralyzed by the degree to which they understand themselves, and each other. The book is about Frances and Bobbi; two relentlessly intelligent college students, and their complicated ties to Melissa and Nick; an older couple whose initial mentorship of the girls turns into something a bit more dynamic, and challenging. Before her debut, Rooney was a champion debater. This is felt in her prose not through a forceful demonstration of logic and will, but through a powerful use of language. In debate, every word counts, and the more you can fit in, the better. Every word also counts in literature, but often times the fewer you use, the better. Rooney doesn’t falter here; there isn’t a moment of superfluousness in this book. Scenes and characters are so simply stated their humanity is allowed to beam from the page. Even the characters’ dishonesty seems honest. And this is perhaps emblematic of the crux of the Millennial life: is an awareness of one’s neuroses enough, or is it the means to a more delicate end?

REcommended listening by kate zaliznock

Marika Hackman’s I’m Not Your Man opens with a dreamy confessional in the shape of “Boyfriend,” with anchoring chords and floating back vocals. The South African proverb “Speak softly but carry a big stick” comes to mind throughout the album, with Hackman’s soft but solid delivery of searing lyrics, like “Don’t like my mouth / There’s a hole where it used to be / Can’t even smile, not even if I’m happy / Don’t feel obliged to love on my behalf ” off of “Good Intentions.” A self-taught guitarist, English born-and-raised Hackman creates nu folk interwoven with darker production elements and cascading chords to form her distinct sound. Favorites off of the 15-track I’m Not Your Man are “Gina’s World,” “Time’s Been Reckless,” “Good Intentions,” and “So Long.” The album was released via Sub Pop and is available on vinyl, CD, and all major digital outlets. 44

AA Replicant’s Replicant’s Dream Dream  Inside the dark future A ghost born through a wire She, A vision perfected They,  who tried to explain what she is gone long ago I am her You are the machine. -REPLICANTDirected by Gabby Lovazzano Featuring fashion from Karly Granger Accessories by Adam Meow Shot by Elena Kulikova MAKE UP BY megan sutherland Model: Rebecca L’Amore

“My inspiration is always to showcase the myriad complexities of womanhood. I think some of the innate qualities women possess are incredibly underrated in modern American culture and even worse, often scorned. I want the women I photograph to feel beautiful and powerful when I shoot them. I want them to feel free, safe, and encouraged in their bodies. My aim is always to embolden women; in their sexualities, their bodies, and their intricacies.” -McKenzie Brill

Photos by McKenzie Brill Instagram: @mckenzie.brill

Carla Lawson

Morgan Lev

Rachel Cohen & Alex Orsola

Rachel Cohen

Taylor Smith

Yadira Gomez

“Clouds” by Jason Bowman Instagram: @_jasonbowman

Profile for Open Color

Open Color - The Premier Issue  

Open Color Magazine is a project of Open Color, an arts collective founded to connect emerging artists to both their cities’ established cre...

Open Color - The Premier Issue  

Open Color Magazine is a project of Open Color, an arts collective founded to connect emerging artists to both their cities’ established cre...

Profile for opencolor