CORITA KENT //
AARON HORKEY //
TOMER HANUKA //
THE GILDED AGE
SEPTEMBER 2015, n176
RESERVE DRAWSTRING PANT
Art That Works
Earn a Degree or Take Classes in San Francisco or Online School of Photography Student Photograph by Amanda Bevins, School of Photography
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ISSUE 176 / SEPTEMBER 2015
RICHARD COLMAN IN SF 5 YEARS AT OUTSIDE LANDS RETROSPECTIVE OF DESIGNER TOYS CLINT WOODSIDE
SISTER CORITA KENT TIMOTHY ROBERT SMITH AT LCAD THE NATIONAL
70 DAVID JIEN
THE GILDED AGE
SIEBEN ON LIFE
KAWS AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM
David Jien Mt Catskills Boon (detail) 2012
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JUXTAPOZ ISSN #1077-8411 SEPTEMBER 2015 VOLUME 22, NUMBER 9 Published monthly by High Speed Productions, Inc., 1303 Underwood Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124–3308. © 2015 High Speed Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. Juxtapoz is a registered trademark of High Speed Productions, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author. All rights reserved on entire contents. Advertising inquiries should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscriptions: US, $29.99 (one year, 12 issues) or $75.00 (12 issues, ﬁrst class, US only); Canada, $75.00; Foreign, $80.00 per year. Single copy: US, $6.99; Canada, $6.99. Subscription rates given represent standard rate and should not be confused with special subscription offers advertised in the magazine. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Francisco, CA, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 0960055. Change of address: Allow six weeks advance notice and send old address label along with your new address. Postmaster: Send change of address to: Juxtapoz, PO Box 884570, San Francisco, CA 94188–4570. The publishers would like to thank everyone who has furnished information and materials for this issue. Unless otherwise noted, artists featured in Juxtapoz retain copyright to their work. Every effort has been made to reach copyright owners or their representatives. The publisher will be pleased to correct any mistakes or omissions in our next issue. Juxtapoz welcomes editorial submissions; however, return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts, art, drawings, and photographic materials if they are to be returned. No responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All letters will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to Juxtapoz’ right to edit and comment editorially.
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Cover art by Richard Colman Figures, Faces and Candles (April 2015) Acrylic on canvas 48" x 48" 2014
COLOR ME IN. OR DON’T. PETALUMA, CALIF. & CHICAGO, ILL. Beer speaks. People mumble. @lagunitasbeer
NOT LIKE THERE’S ANYTHING IN IT FOR YOU. OR IS THERE? FORGET WE SAID ANYTHING. SAID WHAT? DUNNO. NICE WEATHER TODAY.
E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R
ISSUE NO 176 “YOU LOOK AT SOMETHING AND IT’S EASY—NOT TO BE dismissive about it—but it’s easy to say ‘Oh, that’s orange, that’s blue.’ But all those things are super speciﬁc. It’s like that particular orange has taken a hundred other oranges that are close to it to get to that particular orange.” —Richard Colman
no time to delve deep. When Richard made the observation about color, a lightbulb went off. Maybe it helped that a week later I was in the Louvre looking at 600 years of painting history, but the bottom line is that it’s a speciﬁc process that has taken a hundred other processes close to it to make that particular painting.
I’ve worked at Juxtapoz for almost ten years, and many who contribute to the mag have been on board even longer. We are regularly surprised and even reinvigorated with each issue and each story, but sometimes a theme or observation from a subject can actually change our perspective. It doesn’t take grandiose political detail; sometimes it’s just a subtlety of craft that only an artist can engage you in that will alter your perception permanently.
Amazingly, and this often happens, the other features and articles also reﬂected this sentiment. David Jien’s visual narrative is deliriously funny and imaginative, and it took years to build. Tomer and Asaf Hanuka also really delved into the craft of storytelling with their art for The Divine. The Gilded Age piece with Aaron Horkey, Esao Andrews, and Joao Ruas is all about the lost art of past eras and reimagining the creative hallmarks of time. Even musicians The National spent over six hours playing the same song to a packed house, exploring the idea of experimentation through repetition. Adhering to the concept of a seemingly particular process, executed over and over again, the artist can enhance and invent new possibilities.
This is what happened on the 10th, hell, maybe the 14th of our second round of 18 holes of golf that Richard Colman and I played during the interview process for this month’s cover story. But the sentiment expressed in the quote above about that deceivingly simple skill artists have for capturing something in their work and evolving their craft really struck me, and sort of transformed the positioning of this piece, eventually shining through in the rest of the articles. Time and time again, the discourse of art is centered around surface-level opinions, and in this instant-hit world, there’s 10 |
Photo by Alex Nicholson
d e l e l l a ar p n U A R C H I VA L I N K .
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RICHARD COLMAN SETTLED IN QUITE NICELY MY STUDIO IS IN AN OLD APARTMENT IN SAN FRANCISCO that I converted into studio space. There is an overhead light that no longer works. It has three bulbs and wires hanging out of it. And I have a radiator that leaks. There's a bucket I put under it, which I change three times a week. I have a south-facing window with a great view, but I have blocked it out with stacks of crates and unﬁnished work. The walls are thin and sometimes I can hear my downstairs neighbors having sex or arguing. There is a creaky spot in my ﬂoor where I tend to stand when I'm looking at paintings and I'm afraid they'll know what I'm doing up here. I used to work late at night. Now I like to get up early and work most of the day. I like to be ﬁnished when the sun
goes down so I can spend time with my wife. On the porch we have a lot of plants. Watering our plants is one of my favorite things. Our apartment is above the studio. We have a neighbor, and I'm not sure what he does; he might not do anything. Sometimes we talk, but most of the time I try to avoid him. One day there was a dove in his kitchen. I wasn't sure if it got in there by accident or if he was trying to keep it as a pet. —Richard Colman
Read our cover story on Richard Colman on page 48.
Photo by Alex Nicholson
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A combination of full-color photography of the cityâ€™s much-buzzedabout art scene and thoughtful narrative that explores the art and artists that are re-creating Detroit. This beautifully designed and informative volume showcases the stunning breadth and depth of artwork currently being done in Detroit. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in arts and culture in the city.
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PER S PEC T I V E
MUSIC YOU CAN PAINT TO FIVE YEARS OF JUXTAPOZ AT OUTSIDE LANDS IT MAY BE THE COLDEST SUMMER DAY YOU WILL EVER feel, but there is something extraordinarily special about this music festival in San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Park. Despite how much this city has changed over the years, witnessing astronomical housing prices and tech industry explosions, the history of art and music is so richly rooted that it’s an ingrained rite to listen to a Neil Young set amidst the fog of August. SInce 2011, Juxtapoz has been curating the art program at the Outside Lands Music and Art Festival, from livepainting, to installations, stage art, murals, and a Flotsam universe in the woods. From Mike Shine, Dennis McNett, Monica Canilao, Camille Rose Garcia, Sage Vaughn, and the mainstays at the live-painting zone, our team has created a pictorial vision to accompany the sounds of Kanye, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Phoenix, Spoon, Tom Petty, Sigur Ros, you name it. We even had Jack White come hang out in our favorite forest zone. 14 |
For 2015, Mike Shine’s Hell Brew Revue will expand their exuberant performance art and folk music stage, while Apex, Amandalynn, Sam Flores, Zio Ziegler, Greg Mike, Ken Davis and others will anchor the live-painting triangle. If you are lucky enough to attend, take a second to stroll around the Polo Field. Take in the past four years of painting that surround the track, and maybe it will be a great visual backdrop to the Black Keys set, or maybe just a moment to relax after days of music. We like to think of it as a sensory reminder of the history of the city we call home, one that has given our culture such great art over the years. —Juxtapoz
The Outside Lands Art and Music Festival runs August 7—9, 2015 in San Francisco. sfoutsidelands.com
Dr Flotsam’s Hell Brew Revue Photo by Alex Nicholson
T H E R EP O R T
THE ART OF TOYS A RETROSPECTIVE OF DESIGNER TOYS IN LANCASTER, CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS COMES IN JULY, AND THERE’S NO AGE limit, especially for toy and comics aﬁcionados. Riding on the happy heels of Comic-Con in San Diego, enthusiasts can slide right into The Art of Toys: A Left Coast Retrospective of Designer Toys at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, California, where Julie B. from Pretty in Plastic and Heidi Johnson of Hijinx have curated a dazzling display. To help out with your early holiday hoarding, we asked a few questions. Gwynned Vitello: I always think of designer toys as being a guy’s preoccupation, but here I am talking to two women about them. Is there a proﬁle of a typical collector? Heidi Johnson: Over the last twenty years, I believe the toy collector has evolved as much as the toy has evolved. We are focused on the art toy, which has become an accessible platform for creators of Pop Surrealism/Lowbrow art and their fans. Many of these toys and sculptures are serious works of art. In my opinion, the industry has attracted the art lover, making it less about collectability and resale, but more about the love of the work. 18 |
Julie B: I don't think there is a typical collector, which is very refreshing. The designer toy world is full of girls, just go to any comic convention. How and when did vinyls evolve from toy soldiers and dolls to being so obsessively collected? Heidi: In 1999, limited editions began to be standard practice for art toys. On the West Coast, Frank Kozik was a signiﬁcant game changer, and Gary Baseman has always been a stand out. Then in 2004, KidRobot and Tristan Eaton created a collector’s frenzy with the Dunny, and eventually, the Munny. Julie: When chatting with my good friend Carl (aka “MutonIsMyFriend”), a few things sprang to mind, like how Michael Lau, Eric So and the HK toy scene of the late ’90s were game changers, fueling the early art toy adopters, the folks who originally supported brick-and-mortar stores like Toy Tokyo and Super7, as well as the online presence of pre-Dunny Kidrobot and endless eBay searches for Eastern vinyl. The LA art scene that spawned Baseman, Tim Biskup and Joe Ledbetter generated hardcore toy fans who picked
from left Frank Kozik Smorkin’ Labbits 2005 Produced by Kidrobot Gary Baseman Toby 2005 Produced by Critterbox opposite (from top) Mike Leavitt Banksy 2013 Produced by FCTRY Luke Chueh Target 2013 Produced by Munky King
up everything they could that was made by these guys and the toy companies who worked with them like Critterbox, TOY2R and Strange Co. Over the years, more amazing artists joined forces with the likes of Munky King, Toy Art Gallery, 3D Retro, DKE Toys and many more. Are there certain characteristics that deﬁne the toys, that set them apart from other objects on a shelf? Julie: What makes some pieces art toys, while others are just toys, all has to do with the artist, and that is who we want to highlight. This is not to diminish the fact that most licensed toys have artists behind them, but the driving force is the brand they are representing, not the artist. Design-driven art and designer toys are created by artists and tell a story or capture a character. These are art sculptures using the accessible toy concept as a template, whether PVC, resin, wood or metal. They are typically limited to small editions, which make them highly desirable and create a collectible value. They are small works of art on their own and warrant elevation to that status. How did Pretty in Plastic’s ﬁne art department evolve, or was that the genesis of the company? Julie: We started as a designer toy prototyping and limited edition company. There was a need for smaller runs produced locally. Over the years, we focused on art-driven toys and worked closely with artists to bring their visions to life. This led to art multiples and eventually expanded into ﬁne art. Since we focus on the creative process, quality, and innovation, it was a natural progression, and now the majority of our clients are ﬁne artists. What is the difference between Eastern and Western vinyl, in terms of composition and subject matter? Julie: In consultation with the one and only Garage Mutant, I’d say that Western vinyl is usually more artist-based. Eastern vinyl, especially JP vinyl, is more character-based and also more traditionally toy-like and playable. Are there destination hotbeds for collectors? Heidi: As Comic-Con has evolved into something different, shows like DesignerCon have become the go-to convention for collectors. Julie: For those lucky enough, local toy stores can become a nexus for collectors. Shows become not just a place to buy cool toys, but a place to meet up and socialize. As the times change, many stores have closed and now fans turn to online stores and forums. Instagram is the latest place to showcase your collection. There are Cons and festivals all over the world showcasing the latest toys and eye candy. We are honored to bring these pieces to the next level at the Museum of Art and History. Speak to how video games and comics inspire vinyl toys, and can you also identify other art forms that are source material or that have a kinship? Heidi: I think ﬁne art is inspiring art toys, and more artists are making the leap to creating 3D interpretations of their work.
THE REPORT JUXTAPOZ
Is there role reversal, toys morphing into books or video? Julie: Absolutely. Ashley Wood is a good example, and I believe he designs the toys and comes up with the stories after the fact.
What’s your personal treasury and where do you keep it? Heidi: I have a Kozyndan Rabbit Wave that Julie sculpted for Munky King and gifted me with when we ﬁrst met. It’s a favorite of mine.
clockwise from left Mark Ryden YHWH Produced by Necessaries Toy Foundation Photo by Brian McCarty Photography
What’s the most unusual display you’ve seen at someone’s home? Julie: The aforementioned Carl has one of the largest Sofubi collections I have ever seen. More unusual than the actual display is the smell of off-gassing vinyl. I wouldn't sleep in that room!
Julie: There are so many pieces I love from all the amazing artists we have worked with, it would be hard to choose a favorite. Right now the highlighted piece on the middle of my mantle is a resin Vertigo iZombie Statue of Gwen Dylan based on the designs of Michael Allred and sculpted by the infamous Phil Ramirez.
Joe Ledbetter FireCat 2005 Produced by Wheaty Wheat
Of the artists showing, are there any whose foray into toys surprises you, a painter you never thought would be interested in doing this? Heidi: The early Mark Ryden pieces are amazing to me. Greg "Craola" Simkins comes to mind as an artist whose paintings are so complex, and I was stoked to see him working on an art toy. We are seeing more and more street artists wanting to develop art toys as a nice takeaway for fans who can’t really buy work off the street. 20 |
A Left Coast Retrospective of Designer Toys, featuring murals, installations, panel discussions and workshops will be at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, California through September 6, 2015. lancastermoah.org
Elizabeth McGrath Feavered 2012 Produced by the artist
NO, YOU’RE WEIRD!
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Websites for artists artisans & photographers
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Our websites are solely for artists seeking to boost their sales and visibilty. All the tools you need to effectively present and market your work are provided. Sell work directly from your website as well as from the Artspan Online Gallery. You can make your website as minimalist or maximalist as you want. Boost your sales + visibility Artspan Storefront and Website Packages Juxtapoz readers will receive two free months by using the code: JUX15
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PIC TURE BOOK
CLINT WOODSIDE THE BEST KIND OF DEADBEAT LIFE EXPERIENCE IS ELUSIVE IN A WORLD FILLED WITH image hoarding, obsessive sharing of photography, and a visual cacophony so packed that claustrophobia chokes and engulfs. It is a visual barrage barely removed from the anxiety-ﬁlled rhythm that is this overwhelming life. It is noteworthy and interesting to view contemporary work by a photographer that dances with this rhythm, but seeks to participate with a quieter visual poetry. From an educational and work background in graphic design, Clint grew up in the blue collar, industrial city of Buffalo, New York. With a lifelong connection to music, and later, art, he has collectively produced events and spaces, becoming an artist who takes elements of his life design and forms them into a visual language and narrative through photographs. Lately, Clint has been doing Deadbeat Club, his photography imprint, to publish books and curate exhibits for the loose but growing group of artists that he has gathered. His most recent solo exhibition, Build Us A Path, at Space 1026 in Philadelphia was a very personal and meditative look at time and place. Using the aging and decaying landscape of upstate New York alongside the memories of his upbringing, he developed a personal idea of illusion of permanence in the physical world. With 35mm color ﬁlm and medium-format photographs created with a process aimed at silhouetting objects and places in life and not in stasis, the exhibition was beautiful as its presentation spanned in a line. Breaking the order were time-capsule framed snapshots from the past in groupings that conceptually seemed like decay drum rolls. Bam! Hit! Snap! Time Rolls On. And Clint seems to be rolling in a time well-spent. —Chris Johanson
Clint Woodside’s exhibition, Build Us A Path, was held at Space 1026 in Philadelphia this past spring. Check out deadbeatclubpress.com for some of the best small books and publications being made today.
Franklinville, New York from the collection Let Me Die In My Footsteps 52 pg. full color photo zine Edition of 200 Out of print
PICTURE BOOK JUXTAPOZ
above Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from the collection Let Me Die In My Footsteps 52 pg. full color photo zine Edition of 200 Out of print opposite Bliss, New York from the collection Let Me Die In My Footsteps 52 pg. full color photo zine Edition of 200 Out of print
Salton Sea, California from the collection Let Me Die In My Footsteps 52 pg. full color photo zine Edition of 200 Out of print
Niland, California from the collection Let Me Die In My Footsteps 52 pg. full color photo zine Edition of 200 Out of print
Alejandro Plaza IMAGINARIUM JULY 30 - SEPTEMBER 25
SOMEDAY IS NOW THE IMMACULATE LEGACY OF SISTER CORITA KENT The following essay by Michael Duncan is part of the companion book on the remarkable career and social activism of Corita Kent now on display at the Pasadena Museum of Art. Corita Kent: Someday is Now is the ﬁrst full-scale exhibition of her groundbreaking and revolutionary printmaking work that championed hope, acceptance and peace in the dynamic days of the 1960s, humbly paving the way for art advocates to come. CORITA KENT (1918-1986)—FOR THIRTY-TWO YEARS AN active member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—is perhaps today’s most unexpected underground art star. Acclaimed for decades by cognoscenti as a unique contributor to Pop Art and the generator of an effective style of socially engaged art making, she has been rediscovered by a new generation bred on Photoshop, grassroots activism, font-tweaking and DIY publishing. Her collective approach to art-making also speaks to an art world fascinated by collaborative group efforts and subversions of the ego-driven machinery of the art market. Corita’s conceptual grasp of the communicative powers and 32 |
stylistic possibilities of the printed word is unparalleled, in that regard surpassing achievements of renowned artists like John Heartﬁeld, Ben Shahn, Barbara Kruger, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Holzer, Mel Bochner, Bruce Nauman, Kay Rosen and Raymond Pettibon. The vigor and dynamism of her approach to the written word equals that of the best medieval and Islamic calligraphers. Few western artists have explored the ramiﬁcations of font and calligraphic stroke with the visual sophistication of Corita. A radical aesthetician working outside the mainstream art world, she created a special niche for herself within the glossy realms of 1960s American Pop Art. In much of the work, text was her subject. As she once stated, "I really love the look of letters—the letters themselves become a kind of subject matter even apart from their meaning—like apples or oranges are for artists." Her deconstruction of print-media advertising and her incorporation of graphic design into modernist compositions give her 1960s work its startling urgency. Never succumbing to propaganda, she used text as a compositional element, severing, morphing and dissecting
opposite Corita Kent, Immaculate Heart College Los Angeles, 1964 Courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles above (clockwise from left) who came out of the water, 1966. Silkscreen print on paper, 36.12" x 29.87". Collection of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Gift of Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad in honor of Katherine L. Pohlad, class of 2013. Photograph by Arthur Evans, courtesy of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College harness the sun, 1967. Silkscreen print on paper, 20.5" x 23". Collection of Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles, CA. Photograph by Arthur Evans, courtesy of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College stop the bombing, 1967. Silkscreen print on paper, 15.5" x 23.12". Collection of Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles, CA. Photograph by Arthur Evans, courtesy of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College
printed and written words to convey and enhance her works’ broad-based ecumenical meaning. Driven by a poetic, literary-minded humanism, Corita used the fragmentations and juxtapositions of collage to broadcast her message. Perhaps most brilliantly, she often toyed with the twodimensional appearances of the ads she appropriated, physically bending or folding texts and then photographing their morphed shapes to use as serigraph stencils. Tweaking the sanctity and power of advertising, these proto-Photoshop effects displayed in a literal way Corita's insouciant attitude towards her source material. Demonstrating her transformative ethos, Corita took the bull by the horns, using mass culture and Pop Art for her own ecumenical purposes. A brilliant teacher, she molded several generations of students during her heroic period as head of the art department of Los Angeles’s Immaculate Heart College before retreating into a quieter, more private zone as an independent artist in Boston. The dramatic shift in her life was an integral chapter in one of the late-1960’s most compelling and revelatory stories: the withdrawal of the Immaculate Heart Community from the Catholic church. Although not widely known, that history serves
as a bellwether of the period's idealism and the limits of tolerance for change in the organized church. Corita's prints from the summer of 1968 reﬂect the turmoil, both at IHC and in the nation at large. In Let the Sun Shine (1968), a black-and-white negative image of Pope John XXIII against an acidic yellow background seems an allegory of the dark cloud threatening Vatican II enlightenment. In Sacred Heart, against a similarly harsh yellow ﬁeld, a reproduction of the head of a rugged Mexican statue of a cruciﬁed Christ from the IHC folk art collection is severed by a large, gash-like rip through the ﬁgure's center section. In her overtly political work from this period, Corita promotes a soulful activism initiated by feeling and concern. Her loosely structured series titled Heroes and Sheroes (1969) included prints addressing political assassinations, racism, and Chicano consciousness-raising. The series celebrates not only thinkers and activists like Martin Luther King and Henry David Thoreau, but also addresses voiceless groups like the Vietnamese people, the impoverished and the politically oppressed. In her ﬁrst year and a half of independent living (1968DESIGN JUXTAPOZ
1969), Corita made 93 prints, pouring herself into her work full-time. Two series depicting the letters of the alphabet include some of her wittiest and most stylish works. In a way, the alphabets represent the apotheosis of her enterprise, distilling the written word to component essences. Inspired by a cache of turn-of-the-century posters from the archive of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, the Circus alphabet plays off the gentility of Victorian advertisements and the visceral excitements of circus acts. Loosely borrowing the stark geometrical compositions of sailing ﬂags she had spotted in Boston harbor, the Semaphore alphabet suggests the power of the written word, not just to communicate, but to ornament and enhance experience. In both alphabets, Corita's use of swirling, baroque calligraphy seems a comment on how individual letters can signal and construct elaborate and fanciful meanings.
refused to conform to market or fan-base expectations. In the desire to communicate fully, she created a dialectic of carefully chosen poetic texts and complex formal settings. Fragmented words, appropriated images, abstract forms, and layered calligraphy compliment or contrast with the meaning of the texts. With her grounded humanism, she sought to enhance viewer experience. As she explained, her goals were straightforward and generous:
Offering a radical alternative to the blue chip products of her peers, Corita Kent's striking work features both striking formal innovation and an acute engagement with social issues. Always moving her project forward, she
Corita Kent: Someday is Now is on display at the Pasadena Museum of Art through November 1, 2015. The exhibition catalog is available at shop.pmcaonline.org
“I still have the feeling when I read something that’s very exciting—a phrase or a poem—that it would be nifty to have that out of the book and onto the wall where you would see it more often. Like a message that gives you a lift, they inject, like any great words, a kind of life and hope into you.”
clockwise from top left for eleanor, 1964. Serigraph on Pellon, 30" x 36". Collection of Juliette Bellocq. Photograph by Arthur Evans, courtesy of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College a passion for the possible, 1969. Silkscreen print on paper, 12" x 23.12". Collection of Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles, CA. Photograph by Arthur Evans, courtesy of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College yobel, 1963. Silkscreen print on paper, 25.62" x 30.62". Collection of Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles, CA. Photograph by Arthur Evans, courtesy of the Tang Museum at Skidmore College
TIMOTHY ROBERT SMITH THE INFLUENCE OF THE INCIDENTAL CHUCK JONES OF LOONEY TUNES WAS ONE OF THE ﬁrst lecturers at Laguna College of Art and Design, so the legacy of levity, exuberance and humanity that imbues the school is embodied in current professor of drawing and painting, Timothy Robert Smith. Whether at Grandma’s or enmeshed in a bar ﬁght, this is an artist who can make a random moment into a big statement. Greg Escalante: At what point in your career did you almost get killed in a bar ﬁght? Timothy Robert Smith: It happened around 2006. It was at an underground warehouse party under the guise of an art show. “Art show” sounds more legal than “rave” and is less likely to get raided. At midnight, they replaced the gallery lights with laser LEDs, and it turned into a wall-to-wall dance party. This gang showed up. I said something kind of ﬂirty to a girl, who happened to be connected with the leader. The next thing I knew, the leader pushed me against a wall, and 36 |
the wall (which was really a partition) fell over. The bouncer, who wasn’t very good at his job… They never are... Yeah. He decided the best way to deal with the conﬂict was to kick everyone out and lock the door. So, I’m outside with this gang that wants to kill me. My friends were chased away in different directions and I was followed down the alley by nine guys. The leader picked up a 2x4 embedded with nails that happened to be lying in the alley. And I knew it was over. There was no way to escape. No choice but to accept it. When the ﬁrst blow came, the pain was so incredible that I couldn’t even comprehend it, so my mind just shut down. I fell to the concrete and the attack continued as I lost consciousness.
above Portrait by Yuki Toy opposite (clockwise from right:) Waiting Room Oil on wood panel 24" x 30" 2014 Any Road Oil on canvas 60" x 48" 2013 Probability Feedback Loop Oil on canvas. 48" x 36" 2014
I was told later that my other friend showed up on his bicycle, this big Irish dude who worked as a bouncer at the Troubadour. He screamed “LAPD!” to get the guys attention, and threw the bike at him. Then he tackled him and held him down until the cops showed up. Has this worked its way into your paintings? It did a lot at ﬁrst. Mostly in subliminal ways. I had to get it out of my system. What were your earliest art interests? Growing up, I made comics inspired by Mad magazine. I started collaging around the age of seven. So was that your focus, to be an artist? I never had a focus, not until my twenties. I just made things, non-stop, like I was possessed. I was home alone a lot and there were no other kids around, so I invented my own worlds to play in. I went to my grandmother’s house on Sundays, and she had cable TV, blank paper and magazines. What kind of art degree did you get? Studio art. I started taking painting classes and I loved
it! I could actually use my hands and make something immediately. What did you do after you graduated? I tried to do everything myself: get better, ﬁnd shows, be inspired. I had several shows at small galleries, coffee shops and warehouse parties. I started my own underground punk rock/noise venue, just south of downtown LA, called Zamakibo. This was a word taken from Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” meaning “inevitable destiny.” But again, I was stuck. I wanted to go to grad school, but too many art schools specialize in brainwashing and offer nothing in return but confusion and debt. I had my own visions and my own agenda. I didn’t want my mind to be squeezed into a generic contemporary art theory mold, so this is where my motorcycle journey comes in. Where was the ﬁrst place you rode to? Texas. I took the low road to NY and the high road back. I had some friends around the country that I stayed with, but mostly I slept outside in campgrounds and abandoned places off the beaten path. IN SESSION JUXTAPOZ
And when you came back, you went to grad school? Yes. Everything seemed clear and I knew what I wanted. I met my wife, Yuki, and she inspired me to really go for it. Why grad school, and why LCAD? I needed to keep moving forward with no turning back. LCAD could actually answer my questions about how to make what I wanted to make. I had a lot of raw ideas and no one else could help me. You were interning with Nicola Verlato when I ﬁrst met you, right? Yes. Nicola was working on these giant pieces and ﬁnishing them so fast. It really inspired me to step up my game. The ﬁrst painting I saw of yours was a portrait at Laguna Museum, before I meet you. That one’s called Joe Underground. He’s wearing a house atop his head because he’s “underground.” It was a Halloween costume gag that worked as a portrait. And then you got into distorted perspective. How long have you been doing that? Going on two years strong. It’s my way of stepping outside of myself to see what’s really happening. We all get so caught up in our own stories that we forget we’re just tiny pieces of an inﬁnite universe. Our minds and actions are so small comparatively. That’s why I paint small ﬁgures 38 |
in a complex, shifting environment. It feels like they’re insigniﬁcant at ﬁrst, but they’re not. Their thoughts, ideas and actions have a ripple effect that collectively forms everything around them. Do people accuse you of being under the inﬂuence when you make your paintings? All the time, but that’s not what they’re about. So it’s all this science and meditation stuff? Yep. Consciousness, enlightenment, probable dimensions, time and space, and how we humans fall into the larger picture of things. But they’re also about life and the randomness we encounter on a daily basis. Our fastmoving, technology-based society is a playground of visual distortion. It makes a great backdrop for my characters to navigate through. I’ve been developing a new series that focuses on the fourth, ﬁfth and sixth dimensions. There are people caught in reality feedback loops, communicating with alternate versions of themselves. There’s an inter-dimensional travel station that sells maps of inﬁnity at the kiosk. Stay tuned!
tumblevision.com and lcad.edu
above Revised Maps of the Present Oil on canvas 108" x 60" 2013
LAGUNA COLLEGE OF ART + DESIGN LCAD.EDU/JUXTAPOZ
Empowering a New Generation of Creative Leaders BFA DEGREES Animation Design + Digital Media Drawing + Painting Game Art Illustration MINORS Creative Writing Sculpture MFA Art of Game Design Drawing Painting
I N FLU EN C E S
A LOT OF (GOOD) SORROW
THE NATIONAL AND RAGNAR KJARTANSSON RELEASE A LANDMARK BOXED SET ON MAY 5, 2013, BROOKLYN-BASED ROCK BAND The National proved not only that practice and repetition makes perfect, but also makes for poignant performance art. Collaborating with Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson as part of MoMA PS1’s Sunday Sessions, the band played their three-minute and twenty-ﬁve second song “Sorrow” from their 2010 High Violet LP live on stage, repeatedly and continuously, for six hours. Not only did the tableau create a unique perspective on the concept of live performance, but it elevated the band to the ﬁne art realm, as each note painted a veritable brushstroke that delivered contained, almost necessary improvisation. Simply, the project was called A Lot of Sorrow. “There wasn’t one [rehearsal],” Matt Berninger, lead singer of The National told us. “We knew the song pretty well, and if we didn’t, we ﬁgured we’d be able to work it out by the 20th or 30th time. I was a little worried that we would ruin the song by doing this. I’m protective of our songs. They’re a little bit like children, so I worried that this was not a nice thing to do to the song. But the opposite actually happened. The song rose to the challenge and carried us along. As 44 |
the hours passed, I started experiencing it in ways I hadn’t before. Around the 95th time (a little over ﬁve hours into it) I started thinking about my family. The song means more to the band now than it ever did.” This summer, the entire audio performance was released as a limited edition 1,500 run vinyl boxed set by 4AD, featuring nine pieces of clear vinyl in clear sleeves held in a translucent, screen printed box. All proﬁts from the sales were donated to Partners in Health, an organization dedicated to improving the health of impoverished people worldwide. “I have nothing but good memories about that day,” Berninger says. “Even the really sad parts are happy memories now. That’s a little bit what the whole thing was about, I think.”
Ragnar Kjartansson presents A Lot of Sorrow featuring The National (2013) at MoMA PS1. Image courtesy of the artist and MoMA PS1. momaps1.org and 4ad.com
Photo by Charles Roussel
AUG 29, 2015â€“FEB 28, 2016 Rare cloaks, capes, and lei of Hawaiâ€˜iâ€™s monarchs radiate with color in an exhibition developed in partnership with the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu. Discover 75 examples of featherwork, each a masterpiece of unparalleled artistry, technical skill, and cultural pride. â€˜Ahu â€˜ula (cape), pre-1861, Yellow and black ÂśĹŁÂśĹŁ (Moho nobilis) feathers, red â€˜iâ€˜iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) feathers, and RORQÄš (Touchardia latifolia Ă€EHU Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Ethnology Collection, 09670/1909.007. Photograph by Hal Lum and Masayo Suzuki, 2014
RICHARD COLMAN MAKING IT IN HIS OWN TIME
INTERVIEW BY EVAN PRICCO // PORTRAIT BY ALEX NICHOLSON
You told me that a cool thing about being a buyer of art, or somebody who’s about to buy a painting, is that you become informed about the amount of years that go into the most current painting. It’s true. You look at something and it’s easy—not to be dismissive about it—but it’s easy to say, “Oh, that’s orange, that’s blue.” But all those things, all those choices are super speciﬁc and have developed over many paintings. It’s like that particular orange has taken a hundred other oranges that are close to it to get to that particular orange. Or the way that particular blue next to that red or that pink, that particular combination, there’s a lot of work behind that to get it to that thing that makes it what it is. A lot of times, the work I've done or the work I’m doing informs itself, especially at this point, having produced a lot of work over the years. A seemingly unimportant detail from work ten years back, or something like that, will work its way into the newer stuff. It all keeps informing itself.
ICHARD COLMAN AND I STARTED WITH a plan. We were going to create a list of places in San Francisco that each of us either used to frequent or hadn’t been to, and complete parts of the interview at each location. There was the Beatles ramen joint I wanted to try, and we even thought we would play a round of golf and ask each other a question after each hole. We did, indeed, golf, but with the audio recorder ensconced in my golf bag. The point is that we had a plan, but the plan changed. Richard has been a working artist for two decades, and over time, has established himself as someone who is willing to experiment and challenge his comfort zone. That may seem simple enough because artists are supposed to be secure in embracing impulses. But during a conversation at a Vietnamese restaurant, Richard talked about the challenges and intricacies of approaching painting, an intimate look into the craft and process of art-making. What began with an observation of one of his newest paintings, and honestly one of my favorites among the many he has done, became both a microcosm and overview of a mid-career artist who is making some of the best work at this moment.
Four Heads, (blue) Acrylic on canvas 48" x 48" 2015
Evan Pricco: You know the blue painting that I saw at your place when we began this interview? I have to ask, now that it’s ﬁnished: did you know the orange was line was going to happen? Richard Colman: Yes, they all start out differently. Some start with a sketch, some maybe with just a few lines or a general concept, but that one was ﬁgured out “color ﬁrst.” I started with this idea: I want to make a blue painting and align that orange color with it. I never really start out with any kind of rigid ideas on how I'm going to work on any particular series of paintings.
Is that “something,” to use your term, particular to being more aware as a mid-career artist? Have you come to understand a little bit more about where that thing comes from? Yeah, I think so. It’s something that comes with time, but it’s also that I’m obsessive. I obsess about everything. When I’m working, I’ll obsess about that color choice or composition. It’s not as much of a struggle anymore, but it's something I continually work at. For instance, I feel like I'm bad with color. It was never something that just came easily to me, but that’s one of the reasons I was drawn to making super colorful work. My background, I guess, would just be drawing. Drawing, like pen and ink? I was always really intimidated by color. When it came time to say, “Yeah, I want to work with color,” I was super selfconscious of it, and I still am because it was and is difficult for me to ﬁgure out. I would think, I know I want this blue to be this, but what does it need, how do I do that? Does it need more green or does it need white? What color will work well with it? It’s still not instinctual, but I can hit it pretty easily now. I can look at it and know it needs two drops of white, or whatever. Is that from practice? Or even research? It’s just from doing it all the fucking time. Is that why you feel comfortable constantly experimenting with different styles? I’m just a malcontent. Nothing’s ever good enough. I’m never like, “This is the good thing and I should keep doing this.” I just feel like when I have something ﬁgured out, it’s time to move on. Even sometimes when I don't have it ﬁgured out, I want to keep moving. It's important to keep pushing yourself. RICHARD COLMAN JUXTAPOZ
from left Five Candles Acrylic and enamel on canvas 36" x 36" 2014 Double Portrait, (orange) Acrylic on canvas 30" x 30" 2014 Noise Painting, (10 faces) Acrylic on canvas 48" x 48" 2014
You were just saying that you could do your bears forever and make a group of people really happy. But you don’t seem prone to doing that as I look back through your career. Though the bears could show up again? I come back to things all the time, like the bears, but I never feel like I just have to keep doing the same things over and over. I think there are a number of different things I could have stopped with and done just ﬁne, but I’ve never wanted to do that. It's not about that, and I think I would be bored. If I wanted to keep making the same sort of thing again and again, I’d make furniture or something. I like doing this because I can do whatever I want to do. I ﬁnd it hard to believe that you’re bad with color. I think that might speak to your unique color palette when painting. Maybe I'm not bad with color, but I’m not a natural colorist. And when you say unique, it probably just comes from being insecure about color. That insecurity probably has a lot to do with what informs my choices and makes them what they are. I’m saying a perceived slight weakness becomes a little bit of a strength, in a way. I agree. I think when something doesn't come easy to you, it forces you to work harder at it and be more conscious of what you are doing. I’ll notice when I use colors that I’ve used in the past, or a color combination that I thought was great at the time, I’ll be like, “This is a terrible color or combination. I need to do a different version of this!” That’s
sort of technical; maybe not technical, but something that falls into the craftier side of being an artist. The craftier side is interesting. We can talk about what your paintings mean later. Your newest work has almost stripped away certain elements to which we grew accustomed, but now exist as color blocks behind each painting. It’s like there’s more for the eye to take in, even though the work is more minimal. These newer works grew out of what you might call the compositionally complicated and colorful paintings. But a lot of times, in a show, I would balance those out with groups of very simple black-and-white drawings. When I ﬁrst started doing the new works, I wanted to make paintings which were just as complex as the previous ones, but that still maintained the immediacy of the drawings. By immediacy, do you mean the process? Just visually, as in looking at it: here it is, here’s the image. The older paintings had so much going on, which I loved about them, but I wanted to ﬁnd something that took the simplicity of ink drawings but were still complex and would draw you in the same way that the crazy compositions of the earlier paintings would. So color was a way to do that. I’m not using as many colors, but if I combine the colors in the right way, you’ll get just as drawn into a painting of two ﬁgures as you would to a painting of ﬁfty little ﬁgures. It can be impactful in a different way. Do you cherish those experimental phases? RICHARD COLMAN JUXTAPOZ
left Faces with Figures, (white) Acrylic on canvas 36" x 36" 2014 right Hair Eaters Acrylic on canvas 48" x 60" 2014
I can appreciate it all. For me, when I think about what I’m making, I’m working on what’s in front of me, but I’m also always thinking about the bigger picture, the full body of work, not just the ten paintings for whatever show, but the ﬁve hundred or so paintings over ten years, and all the paintings before. I’m thinking about how everything works within that scope.
was really diverse. Of course, it was over ﬁfty or sixty years, but seeing all the diversity is incredible. I’ve always thought about it that way. At the end of the line, what’s this whole thing going to look like? Is it going to look like I basically just imitated what I do a ton of times, or will there be diversity and movement to it, peaks and valleys; all that stuff that makes life and art interesting and exciting?
That gets into what you and I were talking about on the golf course, this idea of the artist retrospective and seeing an artist’s entire life’s work all at once. For most of us, that is how we ﬁrst see art. Right. My introduction to art was from a retrospective style, because when I was a kid, I didn’t really know anything about art, and I would go to a museum, and most of what I remember would be retrospectives. I was always drawn to those types of shows where you would see a lifetime of somebody’s work, and I especially loved it when all the work
The ﬁrst time you go to a museum, you see seventy-ﬁve years of work in one room, as opposed to one year. It’s not until I got older that I could appreciate the one painting or one certain period.
Having had an art career for twenty years, do you look back and feel pretty happy with your past work? Sure, that stuff was good. I get a certain nostalgia about it. It's the current stuff I always seem to have a problem with. That's the malcontent shit again, I guess. The earlier stuff
from left Three Figures, Five Heads, (orange) Acrylic on canvas 48” x 48” 2015 Noise Painting, (6 faces) Acrylic on canvas 36" x 36" 2013 Blue Vessel Acrylic on canvas 36” x 36” 2014
I did was crude, unpolished, but sometimes I wish I could still do that now. But if I did, it would be inauthentic. I like to attempt to make things as good as possible. Now, in a lot of the new works, it may look like I’m trying to make the painting perfect, but it’s not about the actual painting being perfect as it is about the attempt to make something perfect. I like taking these steps where I’m a little bit out of my depth and trying to make things as good as I can because it does something similar to my cruder paintings. It’s like, I’m not good at painting lines, but I’m trying, and it has that authentic feeling to it. I’m always chasing that. Once I ﬁgure out how to get it right, it feels like that’s a good time to move on to something else. Output, especially compared to those early ages where you’re able to crank out work after work, changes as you get older. When you ﬁrst start making things, anything, you feel like a bottomless pit of material. You can just sit down and not move for hours and have all this material dump out of you. It seems endless. Then, as you get older, there isn’t as much of that raw material in that well. You really have to think more about what you’re doing and what you want to do. It’s not so much pen-to-paper, brush-to-canvas; there’s a lot more sitting and thinking. You have a lot more life to think about. When I was younger, and I don’t know if this is true for a lot of people, the work was a lot more self-centered. The themes were pretty similar, and drawn from personal
experience. Now, I ﬁnd myself looking more into what’s going on around me and looking for the moments, or the personal dynamics in the people around me. I like what you’re doing now because the work appears to be about power structures and the way we interact. Sometimes it looks like the subjects are talking to each other, sometimes like they’re not even engaging. Some of your newest paintings show people connected to each other. I think everybody’s had the experience where you’re sitting on the stoop just watching people. You watch how they interact with each other, and my mind always goes to, “What’s driving that situation? What’s it about?” It’s all part of observation. That concept, on top of those horizon blips in the new work, comes together nicely. The way the color blips happen, with the interaction between the ﬁgures, it’s all a special moment where you need to be present. That’s when you catch the good stuff. But I’m obsessive, so I just channel that into the idea of, “How do I make that? How do I ﬁt it into a 4 x 4' square?” Knowing that, during the process, are you aware of the moments when the work is connecting? Do you notice that the background shifts because the connection between the characters is changing? Like how we might have a pivotal moment in our life, but we may not realize it until much later? I get that with the paintings for sure. There are times I'll RICHARD COLMAN JUXTAPOZ
from left Void Painting, (blue), (15 eyes) Acrylic on canvas 48" x 48" 2015
think I was making a painting about one thing and then it turns out that I was making a painting about something completely different.
(untitled) Ink Drawing Red ink on paper 5” x 7” 2015
Will you change the painting? Yeah, I don’t try to hold on too tight to anything. I feel like you could miss a lot of shit if you always do that. Again, that’s the same thing when you’re trying to mimic work. I feel like I would miss a lot of work if I was holding on too tight to the idea that it has to look like this or be like that. It’s just shutting yourself off to other possibilities, and I don't want to do that.
(untitled) Ink Drawing Red ink on paper 5” x 7” 2015
And so you let it evolve as it should. For better or worse. At times, I do stuff and it’s a ﬂop. People don’t get it. Of course, you want it to be well-received, but that’s not always the case. But that’s ﬁne. The beneﬁts of trying something are a lot more than not. I trust your reading recommendations because of your honesty. What are you reading right now? Garbage fantasy and tween literature for the most part. I would like to say that I was in the middle of something more interesting but that's what it is at the moment. Sometimes I just need the escape, especially in the middle of deadlines. I spend all day thinking, so it's the last thing I want to do when I'm not working. I just need something to shut that off. I watch a lot of garbage on TV as well.
Does anything you read make its way into your work? Everything does to some degree. I'm not really the sort of person who needs to seek out subject matter to make work. There is so much out there, and I am always looking, absorbing and processing information to use. How it makes its way in, I'm not always exactly sure, but everything I come into contact with is in there. I don't really make direct references to literature, but certain themes or descriptions I ﬁnd particularly striking or memorable make it in, for sure. Changing topics, but I think it ﬁts into the evolution: you are getting ready to potentially spend time in Tulum, Mexico and establish a new artist residency program. How did this come about? Making art can be very solitary, and space is always an issue. I don’t get as many opportunities as I’d like to spend time with other artists, talk shop and create with other people. So we want a place where that can happen. Initially, we wanted to just move the studio and our home down there but things have grown since then. We've got the website up now [casaurraca.com] and then at the end of August, we'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign to help with some of the funding. We already have a long lists of artists and collaborators we will be working with down there. It's super exciting! In the history of the arts, especially in the last 150 years, there’s a reason artists make moves to do those kinds of RICHARD COLMAN JUXTAPOZ
things, to be productive around other artists. Now, with things being so fast paced, and a lot of our cultural centers around the world having been almost eliminated, this sort of thing becomes necessary. Space and time are always an issue, so you need to change the conversation yourself if you can. Now you can do whatever you want from anywhere and still have access to things, but it's harder to ﬁnd that same camaraderie, that same energy as when a lot of creative people were mainly in certain places. That’s why I liked art school. I went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. You’re in an environment where you learn what you learn; some of it’s valuable, some of it’s not, but what’s invaluable is that you’re in this environment surrounded by other people just making things. It can be super hard to ﬁnd that again once you're done. I want that sort of thing again. Somewhere you can just work and be around other people working, without so many distractions. So how long has Mexico been talked about? It’ll be cool to invite other artists to come down and all do what they want to do. My wife and I started talking about moving down there when we ﬁrst visited Tulum around ten years ago but we had just started seeing each other, so it didn't really seem practical to just go and buy a place in Mexico. When we went down this last time, we still didn’t know if was feasible. But we 58 |
know a lot of people down there now and everyone started telling us that it was doable. So we really started looking into it more, and during the process of trying to ﬁgure out how to get down there and make it work, we've come to realize that there is potential to do a lot more. Yes, we can build our home, but we can also take it further to make a place where artists and friends that we love and admire can come, just to spend time and get away or work or whatever they want to do. They can bring their families or whatever, it's up to them. We want it to be a residency, but without any of the strings attached that tend to come with that sort of thing. Do what you want. Swim in the ocean, or work around the clock and just make art the whole time, it's up to you. One of the things that is important to us is that we want to work within the community on a lot of projects, and that’s something we'd love to get some of our visitors involved with if they're up for it. There are a lot of possibilities. It’ll take a lot of work but it will be worth it. What we love about that area is that artisans still make things, and on a practical level. Signs are hand-painted, there isn’t a lot of mass-produced shit. It’s people making things. It’s a cool place to be for someone who makes things, and we want to share it.
Richard Colman will open a solo show at Chandran Gallery in San Francisco on September 25, 2015.
from left Acrobat Painting, (red) Acrylic on canvas 36” x 36” 2014 Red Vessel Acrylic and Enamel on Canvas 40" x 60" 2014 Faces, Figures, Candles and Eyes, (February 2015) Acrylic on canvas 36" x 36" 2015
INTERVIEW BY AUSTIN McMANUS // PORTRAIT BY CAC MALAGA INTRODUCTION BY SELINA MILES
N A PARTICULARLY GLOOMY FEBRUARY day in London, I ﬁrst met Felipe Pantone at a well-loved legal wall in Shoreditch’s Brick Lane. Having followed his graffiti for many years, I was particularly excited to see him in action, to witness ﬁrsthand what tricks might be behind his optical illusions, the kind that only work if they’re perfect. Turns out there were none. He rendered his excruciatingly thin, straight lines almost too easily, stepping back every few minutes, closing one eye and turning his head to the side, a move that inexplicably helps him “see the piece better.” For someone who creates his artwork with such speed and skill, Felipe places little concern on technique. He is the opposite of a purist, adopting any technique to achieve his goals. From wall, to print, to computer screen, his aesthetic runs seamlessly. Straddling conventional graffiti, typography and abstraction, his work fuses punchy geometrics, color spectrums and optical illusions to create an aesthetic that is simultaneously ultra-modern and somehow reminiscent of an earlier digital era. Inevitable in people who are constantly in motion, Felipe’s ethos is volatile, ever-shifting. The more I learn of his ideas, the less I can describe him. He believes strongly in the deﬁnition and roles of art vs. craft. Proﬁcient in Photorealism, that holds no interest. “Just drawing the same thing over and over again, reproducing a photo,” he explains, “Sure, you’re a good craftsman, but it’s not art.” He maintains a deep fascination and love for Japanese culture, particularly Tokyo. He paints beautiful calligraphy, and the few photos that have been published have spread like wildﬁre. But he is much prouder of his Frankenstein die-cutting machine, with pen replacing the blade, which reproduces sharp, geometric digital designs. The liberation of handwork, he explains, is a good thing. The one thing I know for sure is that Felipe is just getting started, and the impact and volume of his work only seems to increase exponentially. He attacks every new challenge with voracity, purpose-built for the digital age. 2015 has seen him explore three-dimensional sculpture and motion graphics design. Despite this expansion, he has lost none of his potency or interest within the graffiti world. —Selina Miles
Mexico City Installation with Okuda
Austin McManus: Hey Felipe, where are you right now and what's your day looking like? Felipe Pantone: I’m in my studio in Valencia. I came back from Hamburg yesterday, washed my clothes, did some work, and I’m heading to Barcelona this afternoon for a group show with my crew, the UltraBoyz. Where did the name Pant originate, and when did you decide you were going to use your real name, Felipe, in front of your tag name? I chose Pant randomly when I was thirteen or fourteen years old as my graffiti name. Even though a T is not the best letter to end a piece with, I never changed it. There’s something challenging in keeping the same name forever and trying to ﬁnd new things in it. Then, of course, I added the typical graffiti “One” at the end of it, and I started calling myself Pant One or Pantone. Years later, I found out about the company, and I thought it was a lucky coincidence. Felipe is my real name, indeed. I reckon Pantone by itself would be too confusing with the well-known company.
The ﬁrst time I saw your graffiti, I immediately thought of the old Tron logo from the arcade machine. When did you decide to really experiment with your graffiti, and what did your ﬁrst piece look like? Obviously, I did a lot of traditional graffiti, wildstyle, and all of that. My ﬁrst piece was an embarrassing chrome ﬁll-in, blue outline, a simple piece. But I also always felt comfortable experimenting with new things. I tried 3D styles, simple letters, trains, bombing, Hyperrealism, characters. Some of those I still do. I think the styles came from the Grim Team from Paris, and later my crew, the UltraBoyz, really caught my eye. Primitive future, Jack Kirby-inspired galactic styles. You could feel they had an interest in taking graffiti somewhere else. There are many different inﬂuences in your esthetic. In your own words, how would you describe the work? I try to make my work be a reﬂection of my experiences and the way I look at the world. The fact that I can take a plane and 12 hours later I am on the other side of the world, and can still Skype to someone who’s 10,000 km
above Israel-Gaza barrier opposite (from top) OPTICROMÍA 14 Enamel on wood panel 31.5" x 31.5" 2015 OPTICROMÍA 19 Enamel on wood panel 39.3" x 47.2" 2015
“ THE KIDS OF THE SETTLEMENT WERE COOL, VERY USED TO THE BOMBS. THEY SAID THAT IF WE HEAR A SIREN, THAT WOULD MEAN THAT A ROCKET WAS GOING TO EXPLODE IN A FEW SECONDS ...”
away. The Internet and technology have turned the world into a much more dynamic and connected place. I try to recall this feeling in my work by using certain elements and dynamic compositions. Do you consider yourself an optimist when it comes to the future and humanity’s relationship with technology? I know some central themes in your work revolve around universality and omnipresence. Absolutely! The Internet represents a disruptive change for the better. First, it was the invention of writing that made it possible for information to travel through books. Then the invention of printing that multiplied that information. Now, with the Internet, information is multiplied inﬁnite times immediately, and is available worldwide from a device located in your pocket. Printing already brought about the end of the Middle Ages. I’m very optimistic about technology and the future. What’s the worst job you have ever had? I used to work with my father during the summertime when I was a teenager. My father is an ironworker, and that’s a super tough job, especially when installing something under the Spanish summer sun. But I’m very proud of him. Do you think those formative years helping out your father gave you some perspective later, when you started experimenting with sculpture? Well, I do know the craft more or less, meaning I know what can be done or in what ways, although I’m not an ironworker myself. I made a couple of iron pieces for the Ultradinámica show in 2014. Well, my father made them for me! And these were my ﬁrst contact with sculpture, apart from little experiments in university. You spent a year at school in the UK. Besides that, are you primarily self-taught? No! I studied ﬁne arts in university. It’s a ﬁve-year degree in FELIPE PANTONE JUXTAPOZ
Spain. I don’t know why I stayed all the way until I graduated. I guess the best thing was having this European student exchange program and spending one year in the UK with a lot of live-model oil painting, stuff that I can do but really don’t enjoy. You work with a variety of mediums as an artist, painting graffiti and large-scale murals with no letters, painting canvases, making sculptures and creating various interactive installations. You design for a wide range of products, both personal and commercial. Do you ﬁnd it's important to diversify your creative output, and does it comes naturally or is it a challenge? It deﬁnitely comes naturally. I mean, sometimes it is a challenge, like the bridge I painted recently. But having this opportunity makes me think differently about my next project, even if it’s a wall, which I’m used to. I feel that I have some concepts, hence some elements or some way of doing things, and this shouldn’t only be applied in 2D, but even in different disciplines like music or ﬁlm. What I enjoy the most is trying new stuff and ﬁnding nice things on the way. Yeah, in just a short time you painted that bridge in Málaga, a Porsche and a boat in London. Well done! Thank you! Obviously, because of my graffiti background, I ﬁnd it fascinating to paint moving canvases, stuff that can be seen here or there. I think trying new formats or even 68 |
disciplines is super beneﬁcial. I made a motion graphics music video recently, and we tried my ideas in 3D. After these, I realized I could make some sculptures. Without having done some sculptures, I would have never accepted the challenge of painting a bridge like that one. One thing leads to another. And yes, it’s the ﬁrst time I have painted a boat. It was a private person who commissioned me to do it. What about the large piece you painted at the Gaza Strip-Israel-Egypt border crossing, Kerem Shalom, which has been a target for many attacks. What was that experience like, and do you have any harrowing stories from doing that? I went there from the Israeli side to paint in this village. Kerem Shalom is one of the four crossing borders from the Gaza Strip to Israel, and the village is tiny, no bigger than twenty or thirty houses. At the time I was there, Israel and Gaza were “cool” but Egypt, only two miles away from there, was bombing Gaza at the time I was painting on the other side of the wall. We could hear like twenty bombs per day (we painted for two days). We also heard machine guns. I was frightened. Even if we knew that the thing was on the other side of the wall, you never know. The kids of the settlement were cool, very used to the bombs. They said that if we hear a siren, that would mean that a rocket was going to explode in a few seconds, so people should run and hide under this one roof. They also said that, given
previous spread Torrevieja, Spain opposite Installation views of Opticromias, Delimbo Gallery, Sevilla, Spain 2015 above Riverboat painted in London, England
where the wall was, there was no point to run, as it was too far. So it’s funny, because after the ﬁrst day, we kind of got used to the explosions and we weren’t paying much attention anymore. It must be crazy to grow up hearing that stuff everyday like those kids. You have traveled pretty extensively. What are some of the most memorable places you have been so far? Painting and traveling is what I love the most, so I try to do both as much as possible. I really enjoy Asia every time I go there. If I had to say one of the not-too-obvious places, I think Taiwan is so interesting and so much fun. Also, even though I was born there, for me, it is always good to go back to Buenos Aires. It’s quite special for me. Besides being your birthplace, what makes Buenos Aires so special for you? It’s funny, because I have a Spanish accent and I look like a foreigner to them. However, I’m Argentinean. I know exactly the culture and the words they use, so I still have a strong connection to the country. I love the way they discuss everything, and how you can convince a cop not to ﬁne you. I guess having such a good crew of friends over there makes things pretty special too. It seems like Valencia really embraces people painting in the streets, or is that because it’s rather new for the city?
There has been graffiti for a long time in Valencia. I reckon right now it’s the best city to paint in the streets in Spain. It’s not legal, obviously, but you can always have a conversation with the cops and it’s not too hard to get away with it. Barcelona used to be very famous in the beginning of the ’00s for being very permissive with street art until this mayor totally forbade it. Hopefully, they let us run longer in VLC. If I came to visit Valencia, what would you suggest as the ﬁrst thing to eat and do when I arrive? I really enjoy the Old Town. I would deﬁnitely recommend you come hang out here, order a good paella on a terrace, and spend the afternoon wandering its alleys. What are some of your favorite things to do in Valencia when you’re not painting or making work? Valencia is a very chill place. The urban area has a population of 1.5 million, not too big. I live in the city center, which is the Old Town, and it feels like a small town with very few cars; walkable and quiet. We have 300 days of sun per year, so most of the times I come back from a trip, I ﬁnd good weather. When I’m at home, I like to go running, be healthy, and take it easy! Then at night I get disorganized again.
felipepantone.com FELIPE PANTONE JUXTAPOZ
WHO RIDING WITH A LIZARD MAN
DAVID JIEN IS IN CONTROL INTERVIEW BY KRISTIN FARR // PORTRAIT BY DAVID BROACH
SOMEWHERE IN AN UNDERWORLD, THE WHO RIDERS battle the Lizard overlords, and David Jien is the grand puppeteer pulling the strings. Articulating consciousness and ruminations through visual imagery is the foundation of his storytelling language. Asking an artist to describe their craft can be a difficult quest, as the message is rooted not in words but in their creations. Regardless, I held a dagger to David Jien’s throat and made him talk, threatening him with lizard attacks and snake chokeholds. This unstoppable lizard man from another dimension just hugged and kissed the reptiles, but managed to divulge a few secrets to avoid my wrath.
along the way as I push the main narrative forward. I am a weaver of tales. Alas it is I, David, Elder Chronicler of Earf. Allow me to navigate you through the corridors of time.
Kristin Farr: Why are you so comfortable with lizards? The one in your portrait left claw marks, which you refer to as love scratches. David Jien: Yeah, he was just a big bundle of love. I had many pets growing up, including several pet lizards. My next door neighbor had a huge ball python, so handling reptiles was never really an issue for me. I am talking about domesticated reptiles, though. I am not so comfortable with the wild ones.
Yes, very much. Please tell me more about the Who riders and opposing forces. They are born, gather memories, and form character. The Who are the protagonists of my story. They ride for truth, love and everything pure. However, although their intentions are good, they constantly fall into traps and temptations. Each character has a weakness or multiple weaknesses.The antagonists, the evil and conniving Lizard men, commanded by their beautiful prince Adin Shakran, will often use these weaknesses to their advantage.
Are you telling one narrative or many different stories through your drawings? The overarching narrative is singular, but within it there are subplots, which are usually the result of questions that arise
What’s our ﬁrst stop? First stop, New Formosa, year DCCCXXXV. Home of the seraphs, safe haven for humans and creatures alike. A climatic paradise that needs no rain, watered by mist that comes from the ground, free from storms and disease. Pitchperfect humidity; full of lush plants, and fruit trees and life, this is the resting place for our Who riders. Do you like coco water?
Bring on the story. The narrative takes place in an alternative world. A world in which deep corruption has befallen its lands. A world where
“ ALL THE WHILE THE REPTILIAN LORD SHAKRAN AMASSES MORE POWER AND HIS MALICIOUS ARMY SPREADS FEAR AND ENTROPY THROUGHOUT THE LAND.”
inhabitants have forgotten their ways and have divided, father against son, mother against daughter. Shakran and his malign words have immersed deep within its people. The reptilian plague promises pleasure and power. Many have lost their kin to this deception, and now ﬁll the ranks of Shakran’s saurian swarm. Those fortunate enough to elude the intoxicating clutch have found refuge under a different regime. A regime led by Yasha Moshia, commander and king of the Who riders. In my latest show, EXODUS, the peaceful inhabitants of Earf are uprooted from their homes to ﬂee from war. In this mass evacuation, these displaced travelers seek refuge within a hope that is the fabled Formosa, a legendary island unequaled in beauty. While the pilgrims search for their promised land, they are guided by select leaders of the 72 |
Who. All the while, the reptilian lord Shakran amasses more power, and his malicious army spreads fear and entropy throughout the land. Are you living this story? Yes, I deﬁnitely think that I live vicariously through my art, and through these characters am able to express my deepest ambitions, desires, fantasies and fears. I believe that everyone at some point in their lives has to deal with an inner struggle, and that this universe is perfectly designed to offer human beings the optimal condition under which the choice between good and evil can be made. My drawings depict my struggles and joys manifested through these casts of characters. My characters are self portraits. I am a Who rider, I am a Lizard man.
left Formosa Color pencil, gouache and graphite on paper 27" x 15.5" 2013 right Shakran/Murda Musik Color pencil, graphite, gouache and holographic ﬁlm on paper 17" x 11" 2012
Do your cold-blooded reptilian overlords represent anyone else? Yeah, all those Bohemian Grove fools. Tell me about the path to developing your style. I think my visual vocabulary is constantly being reﬁned. Developing it requires one to have a particular point of view; to be able to look at something or hear something and pick it apart, then choose which parts are important to them. And then ﬁnding a way to assimilate this information into one’s own existing language. To me, the integration process can be tricky. It’s like becoming aware of how a particular plant is leaning against a fence, and witnessing a color combination in the sky at a certain time during sunset, or noticing how pale her skin is, then taking this information and making a picture with it. Not an easy task, but when the balance is right and the intention is clear, that’s when something special emerges. What historical and contemporary inﬂuences are most important to your work? I think I am most inﬂuenced by stories. Historically, I love Greek mythology and biblical stories. More modern inﬂuences would be stories by J.R.R. Tolkien, Aldous
Huxley, Hemingway, Ayn Rand. RPG games are also a huge inﬂuence. I only know about Nintendo games. What’s your favorite? Chrono Trigger is my fave, Contra is a close second, all the Zeldas are sick. Excitebike gets me excited. Your drawings give me some visceral feelings, like they’re familiar stories that I never knew I read. Are you a nostalgic person? I dwell often on days of yore. I have a love for storytelling. I believe that storytelling is the most universal way of how we humans learn. Children’s book illustrations were some of my ﬁrst introductions to art. I remember having a copy of Aesop’s fables when I was maybe seven or eight years old. I remember reading those stories and just poring over those pictures. Maurice Sendak made an impression as well. As I got a little older, I began studying the work of Akira Toriyama and his fantastic Dragon Ball manga. I drew many master copies from those books. Tell me about the scale you work in. It’s so detailed that I was surprised it wasn’t larger. The drawings I make are usually no bigger than an 11x17” DAVID JIEN JUXTAPOZ
sheet of paper. I don’t know why I draw so tiny; I suppose for the same reason people like looking at stuff through a microscope or magnifying glass. I like to ﬁnd things that usually get overlooked, but it requires careful and concentrated observation. It’s a slowed-down kind of observation. The drawings are made very methodically with great concentration.
grinding away at it like most people, I suppose. Making art is hard. Most of the time I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, I spend a lot of time salvaging work. I still got a long way to go. I’m learning new things everyday.
You mentioned Trenton Doyle Hancock as an artist you like. I think about his work a lot even though I don’t see it very often. What do you like about him? Trenton is a brilliant storyteller. His emotions and experiences translate seamlessly into his work. There is an authenticity that I love and that makes his world believable.
Do you love LA? To live and die in LA, it's the place to be. You've got to be there to know it, what everybody wanna see.
How did you get so good at drawing? Did you practice a lot or did it just come naturally? I don’t think the skill came naturally, but more like the desire for making things came naturally. I just slowly got better by
What’s your sign? I am a cock-born; I was born in the year of the cock.
What are your favorite materials? I like pencils and plutonium. Plutonium is an excellent binder.
What’s your favorite color? Yellow is beautiful. Yellow pride.
Do you have personal experience with religion?
left Bad Boy Coming Thru! Color pencil, gouache and graphite on paper 11" x 8.5" 2014 right Merciless Moon Color pencil, graphite, mother of pearl veneer and silver leaf on paper 11" x 8.5" 2014
Within the heart, man plans his course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Is there any kind of code or symbolic system you have in your mind when it comes to composing an image? All the images are connected under the umbrella of a larger narrative. I deﬁnitely set parameters when composing a picture. For example, the paper I use and the size of the paper usually varies between three different sizes—letter, tabloid and 20x30”. There are usually two styling formats that I utilize, the side-scroll and isometric perspective. Although my work is not limited to these formats, they usually fall under these codes. Lately, I’ve been exploring one-point perspective. Back to basics, baby. Your work makes me think of artists and styles from history like Ukiyo, Hieronymus Bosch, Persian Miniatures… do you look at that stuff? I am an avid consumer of historical art. When the overlord
allows, I frequent museums often. The types of work you stated are all excellent examples of work I admire. However, human work is good and all, but nothing beats the hand of the Maker. Let’s talk about sex. Sex is sacred, but when it pops off, things get goofy. Ukiyo art portrays over-indulgence. Is that a concept you think about? Yeah. I have everything, but I want more. Tell me about your sculptures. As much I love drawing, the sculptures served as a break from it. With the sculpture stuff, I can get looser and approach the work more graphically, composing with ﬂat shapes and colors, as opposed to careful rendering and modeling with a pencil. Although, gluing thousands of pieces of glass can be just as tedious. I carve the shapes DAVID JIEN JUXTAPOZ
from polyurethane foam. It’s a light but very dense foam. It’s what transportation designers use to make car mockup models. Then I adhere pieces of cut stained glass to it with thinset. Do you want to work with animation? Yes, most deﬁnitely. I would love to do a stop-motion animation using cut-outs of drawings. There’s this great French ﬁlm by Rene Laloux called Fantastic Planet. The entire ﬁlm was made with hand drawn cut-outs and stop motion. It’s absolutely beautiful. Your titles indicate a hip hop sensibility. Who’s your go-to? M.C. Escher. His style is impetuous. His rhymes are impregnable, and he’s just ferocious. He’ll have your heart and eat your children. It seems like there are a lot of secrets hidden in your drawings. My work contains many references, many things in my daily life, things I see and hear, objects that I love and cherish, my 78 |
books, my memories. Too many to list. Every item has a story. Why do you think humans like to collect things, and what do you collect? I like to collect little things found in nature—rocks, shells, leaves, pieces of wood, stuff like that. I collect minerals and crystals. I collect books. I have quite a toy collection, mostly ’80’s–’90’s Japanese vinyl. I have all the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action ﬁgures in the box, unopened. I collect basketball cards, and more recently I’ve started a collection of art on paper, mostly drawings and prints. People start off collecting things because they are passionate about something, though this can deﬁnitely lead to an unhealthy obsession. I know humans who collect nothing. Why don’t they collect? Good question. Is there anything about your graffiti background that stuck with you? Just a misdemeanor on my record.
previous spread Mobb Deep / Drop a Gem On Em’ Color pencil, graphite and holographic ﬁlm on paper 17" x 11" 2014 from left Collector, 2 Peacocks and 3-Dimensional Objects Color pencil, graphite and holographic ﬁlm on paper 35" x 22.5" 2012 Wretch Color pencil and graphite on paper 11" x 8.5" 2014
Tell me about how your art came in handy in jail. When I went to County, I would trade drawings for cookies and extra orange juice, and also for everyone to leave me alone. I made drawings for tattoos and drawings of my cellmates’ girlfriends. They were terrible drawings, like crazy rendering and shading, with the left eye lower than the right, and the nose really long and melty. Very bad. I’m surprised no one said anything.
What’s your best Karaoke song? Fleetwood mac’s “Gypsy.”
People mention existentialism in relation to your work. Watch as I combine all the juice from the mind, heel up, wheel up, bring it back, come rewind.
What are you working on right now? I have some group shows, and preparing for another solo next year. Right now I’m working on this Philly cheesesteak.
Word. Metamorphosis is another theme I noticed. I think the concept of time is intriguing. The world is changing, people are changing. I am interested how one can depict the passing of time within a two-dimensional sheet of paper.
What does your reptile brain feel like doing today? Clawing my way to the top. The top of what? Top of the food chain
DAVID JIEN JUXTAPOZ
Exodus Color pencil, graphite, gouache and mother of pearl veneer on paper 91" x 25" 2013-14
DAVID JIEN JUXTAPOZ
TOMER AND ASAF HANUKA COLLABORATE WITH AUTHOR BOAZ LAVIE TO TELL A STORY OF WISDOM, MAN AND MYTH
INTERVIEW BY GWYNNED VITELLO // PORTRAIT BY MICHAL RUBIN IN THE DICTIONARY OF GODLY WORDS, DIVINE SUMMONS A VORTEX of vibrancy and celestial energy. January 2008 Juxtapoz cover artist Tomer Hanuka and his brother Asaf of Waltz with Bashir fame teamed up with ﬁlmmaker and writer Boaz Lavie to make a graphic novel inspired by the real life story of the Burmese Htoo twins, the subjects of that very Juxtapoz cover image. The Divine travels from parched beige suburbia to a foreboding black sky, to tropics pulsating with color. We asked the Israeli-based collaborators how they channeled their collective history and imagination to create this powerful package. Gwynned Vitello: Birth order is a matter of interest, if only because we’re all susceptible to naval gazing, and twins are particularly fascinating. Was there anything about that relationship growing up that contributed to your art? And Boaz, working with your brother on The Lake speaks to another fraternal collaboration. Tomer Hanuka: As children, it was an intense and all-encompassing micro-unit existing outside of school, friends and family, where we drew and read comics. In our early twenties, we had to get away, so each moved to a different country, longing to ﬁnd an individual voice, and it took us twenty years to come back around. There is a heightened awareness to whatever it is that sets you apart, good or bad. You cling to it at a certain age, especially as a young adult when identity always feels like it’s about to collapse. But there is also a space where you can create ego-lessness with another person in a synchronized way that is connected to that childhood micro unit of the pure joy of hanging out and making up stuff. Boaz Lavie: Relationships between brothers is one of the few major issues that narrative art has always dealt with, going back to the story of Cain and Abel. I’m the eldest son in our family, and I have a sister and a brother, who’s six years younger. My brother and I had a very special relationship when we were kids, both immersed in stories that I invented for him—very elaborate stories in which both of us played main roles. My ﬁlm, The Lake, was, in a way, a journey back to those mutual experiences, this time, as adults. It’s a story about two brothers who live in a world
left to right Tomer Hanuka, Asaf Hanuka, and Boaz Lavie
THE DIVINE JUXTAPOZ
where fantasy and reality are not that easy to tell apart. And in a very different way, that’s what The Divine is about too. Compulsory military service is literally a foreign notion for many countries, certainly in the United States, where current events are barely taught in schools. What is the attitude of Israeli youth toward conscription? BL: The three of us served in the Israeli army at the same time, Asaf and I in the same unit, so it’s something built into our biographies. Twenty years ago, serving in the Israeli army was as natural and automatic for an 18-year old as
presence or absence of proximity to war affect anxieties? TH: Living in New York, you can almost tune it out, though there is still a vague feeling that something is about to go terribly wrong. Living in Israel, news, which is largely about the conﬂict, is our daily bread. Everyone is fully up-to-date and has an opinion. In many ways, it’s the soundtrack of living here. You learn to manage your anxieties, and many times, aggression erupts in the most mundane situations, like a call with the phone company. Stark realism and nightmares play equally vivid scenes in your work. Do you think dreams have a special signiﬁcance, and how do you use them in your creations? TH: Often dreams are a narrative with symbolic signiﬁcance, which is precisely what I’m after when drawing: creating a scene that is part of an ongoing action, and that also operates as a metaphor for a larger idea. It’s a form of compression that our subconscious does automatically. Dreams often feel heavy in meaning because something about the situation corresponds with an emotion that we’re processing on some back burner. That correspondence is where art becomes interesting for me. Is this somehow connected to your style of drawing the human face? In contrast to a cherubic or idealized visage, your men and women look like real people with worry lines and hair out of place. TH: Just from a craft perspective, messy shapes are more ﬂuid and dynamic and more fun to draw. And there is beauty there too. The Divine was inspired by Apichart Weerawong’s famous Associated Press shot of Johnny and Luther Htoo, who fought the Burmese army. Who had the idea for a graphic novel, and can you describe how the three of you worked together? TH: I saw the photo you mention in 2006, I believe, and went on to read anything I could about the Htoos and the plight of the Karen people in Burma. Both Asaf and myself were affected by their story. Something about the perceived superpowers in a very real and grim setting struck a chord, especially the fact that these were children. It’s as if their imagination took over an entire country.
eating or breathing. If you made a decision not to go, it could hurt you in the future: ﬁnancially, career-wise or in other ways. At least that’s what they made you think. As years have passed, many people have developed a complicated and critical attitude towards the whole system, opposing it and asking questions. These days, it’s deﬁnitely a more controversial issue than it has been before. All artwork from The Divine Published by First Second 2015
Having lived in the United States and Israel, how does the
BL: In early 2009, Asaf and Tomer asked if I wanted to do a graphic novel with them as a writer. They told me about the Htoo twins and showed me the Weerawong shot, which was amazing. There was also beautiful, early concept art. I felt that it could develop into something big, something I could dive into. But I wanted us all to agree to start from scratch to build a completely new story of pure ﬁction with no relation to the real Htoo twins’ story, apart from it being our inspiration. TH: Once Boaz wrote the story, he and Asaf directed by creating the entire book in rough layouts, which gave us a sense of the rhythm and how moments unfolded. There were a few rounds of trying different visual paths and the THE DIVINE JUXTAPOZ
Johnny and Luther Htoo Photo by Apichart Weerawong /AP 2000
“ ... THE DRAGON-MONSTER IN THE BOOK IS SIMPLY A REFLECTION OF THE MYRIAD OF FEARS EVERYONE HAS, AND THE SAME IS TRUE FOR THE TWINS.” narrative kept developing as well. Once the rough layouts were locked in, Asaf proceeded to redraw the pages very tightly, and then I inked and colored them. The children in The Divine have radically different experiences shaping each of their young lives. The dogs in Waltz with Bashir strike immediate fear. Do you believe that nature is inherently innocent? Asaf Hanuka: I think most of us live within a social and political structure that imposes a set of rules we accept as a given. But once we leave the geographical and moral borders of civilization as we perceive them, the rules are off. This is why the protagonist’s friend Jason changes once he arrives in Qualom. Suddenly he has more power and freedom, which exposes a darker side of his personality. On the other side, the children in The Divine had survived a war without adults to look after them. They had to lose their innocence to overcome the challenges of living alone in a war-torn country. Depending on the situation, anyone can become a monster. As a father, it’s unthinkable, but in ﬁction, it’s a fascinating concept to explore. 86 |
It must be enjoyable to incorporate and invent monsters and mythical creatures for your stories, but they also play a role in our dreams and fears. AH: A monster is the part of ourselves we cannot accept, or refuse to acknowledge. It does the dirty work for us. It’s the inhuman that deﬁnes the humanity. Basically, we create monsters to feel better about ourselves. BL: Monsters are usually nothing but a hybrid of very familiar stuff. When observed in a different context, those familiar elements are glued together and become horriﬁc. In that sense, it’s not surprising that the most innocent of things can easily become carriers of utmost horror: dolls, clowns, babies. That’s the material that dreams are made of. In our book, we’ve experimented with exactly this type of “horriﬁcation,” so the dragon-monster in the book is simply a reﬂection of the myriad of fears everyone has, and the same is true for the twins. Color is obviously a key element for any artist, but your use imbues it with an extra dimension, as if it’s almost
another character in the work—like those beiges used to evoke the feel of a ﬂuorescent-lit office. How do colors evoke mood and storyline for you? TH: I tried to deﬁne the mood for each sequence through a limited palette, suggesting a reductive translation of a real space with realistic lighting, hoping to get at the emotional environment of the characters. The emotions in the story are heightened and, at times, conﬂicting, so the colors needed to clash. Getting combinations of tones to work was mostly in ﬁnding tensions and imbalances with insets of colors, or an awkward harmony. What kind of paint do you use, and can you describe the technique? TH: It’s one hundred percent digital. Both Asaf and I use Photoshop, and we draw on a Cintiq, which is an electronic drawing board. Other than that, it’s rather traditional in terms of roughs: pencils, inks and colors, only it’s all pixels. Do certain colors represent a speciﬁc mood? Do you have favorites? TH: For me, it’s in the combinations; pairing certain colors creates a new feeling, either by the way they’re presented,
or the way they affect each other. That is the most challenging part of my work and what takes the longest. The Divine, if I had to narrow it down to a color combination, would be deep green and neon pink. The words used in single frames for sound effects are very dramatic. Does that come from writer or artist? Does the drawing affect the amount of text in a frame? TH: The sound effects are treated as a graphic element, so they need to work on a visual level ﬁrst, so you “feel” the sound. It’s something that is integral to the overall composition of each frame. I could imagine The Divine given an extended life in ﬁlm, but it absolutely stands alone. That said, what special experience do you think comics and graphic novels give an audience? What role did comics play in your reading life, and do they still? TH: They’re the ultimate escape for me, and a place somewhere between the surface of the paper and my retina, where things can happen—literally, anything. In a way, that is singular to this medium; they are real on paper.
THE DIVINE JUXTAPOZ
BL: For me, comics played two very different roles. As a kid, comics represented an antagonistic reading experience, something that was usually looked down upon by my parents. It was “cheap, stupid, violent, badly translated” and so forth, like two steps below TV and ﬁlms, which were located at a pretty low place as well. They were all wanting, compared to “real books,” i.e. literature. The second role, much later in life, came when I visited the US and spent some time in Japantown in San Francisco. It was a complete shock. The energy, storytelling and imagery were so overwhelming that I almost immediately thought: I want to write manga! It never happened, although I did study Japanese. The Divine is as close as it gets. Are there urban or contemporary forms of magic that modern mankind perceives as power, or is soccer the answer? TH: Maybe “the other” is the answer. Even for the Burmese soldiers, the feral jungle boys, the war orphans with nothing to lose, it seemed magical. Once you deem something outside of your cultural radius, it takes on mythical powers.
magic in sports, in general. But come to think of it, magic is never found where you look for it. Basically, there’s no right way to answer this question. In our book, magic happens when you take a contract for a two-week job and you lie to your wife about it. Where this magic happens is not a beautiful place, and it happens exactly when you need to take your last train back home. Do you believe in free time, and if you could engage, how would you? BL: I’m having a hard time separating free time from nonfree. Something is always ticking; ideas, stories and regrets about work not being done properly. But I’ve discovered Qigong during the last couple of years, and I’ve been practicing Zen meditation, so this is free time for me. This, and watching 2 a.m. reruns of Israeli talks shows from the ’80s.
The graphic novel, The Divine, is available now, published by First Second Books.
BL: I love soccer. And there’s certainly a lot of ritualistic 90 |
THE DIVINE JUXTAPOZ
THE GILDED AGE
AARON HORKEY, ESAO ANDREWS, AND JOAO RUAS AT THINKSPACE GALLERY INTERVIEW BY JESS SCHNABEL
THE GILDED AGE, AS COINED BY MARK TWAIN, ROSE from the settling smoke and blood-soaked ﬁelds of the Civil War. Many factories built for military endeavors were repurposed for new manufacturing. Industry developed at a ﬁerce pace. Veins of railroads rippled across the musculature of the country. Along with demand for gold, steel and oil, this created a signiﬁcant rise in America’s economic wealth. By the early 1900s, the US became the largest industrial nation in the world. Immigration swelled; wealth, however, belonged to the few. Ruthless business men controlled it, creating social and economic disparity, where chasms of poverty were obscured by a golden glow. Despite all this, the Gilded Age is rich with cultural inspiration that lingers today: an interest in the mysteries of the occult, speakeasy salons that incite the excitement of secrecy, and perhaps, more poignantly, a longing for beautiful ornamentation and a sentimentality missing from our current national oeuvre. In many ways, it feels as if we are experiencing a second coming of this time period, ushered by sweeping technological advances and similar economic gaps, all interpreted by a myriad of aesthetic pursuits. Enter 2012, when Andrew Hosner of Thinkspace Gallery
and artist Aaron Horkey engaged in a casual conversation about Aaron’s ideal three-person show. With little hesitation, Horkey named fellow artists Esao Andrews and Joao Ruas. A date was set for autumn of 2015, and the exhibit was christened The Gilded Age. At the time, Horkey had been solely plying his highly sought-after ornamental illustrative style on projects outside of the gallery scene, generating his return to ﬁne art pursuits. Anticipation for the unveiling of this ideally curated trio has been growing. While each artist is proﬁcient in their media of choice, it is the synthesis of these choices and their cultivated visual language that captivates. Distinctly different and yet each instantly recognizable, the conjured worlds teem with the fantastic: Andrews’ glowing colorful world is laced with a dangerous play of delicacy and deterioration, his subjects and structures suspended with lash-thin threads of steel and spider silk, his ﬁgures skewed with off-kilter abnormalities. Ruas’ bodies are riddled with speculative transformation, and mechanical specimens thread their way into the otherwise soft ﬂora and fur-ﬁlled compositions, while Horkey continues his obsession with the imagined evidence of a world receding to a post-natural state after human extinction, focused on the winged and clawed fauna that has evolved to survive a new, brutal world.
from left Esao Andrews Chrysalis Oil on panel 8" x 9" 2015 Aaron Horkey Sunsetter Acrylic on wood panel Joao Ruas Running Dog Acrylic on Fabriano paper adhered to wood panel 10" x 10" 2014
Recently I had the opportunity to view these works in progress and speak with the artists about their ideas and inspirations as they approach the exhibit at Thinkspace gallery, where new artists cut their teeth in what is also a homecoming space for more established artists. Mutual respect and inspiring vignettes about their ideological processes follow. Jess Schnabel: While Aaron’s original intention in calling the show The Gilded Age was to focus on the idea of contemporary times being a redux of that time in US history, the title has evolved to become a springboard for inspiration. How did this historical time period inﬂuence your work for this show? Esao Andrews: When Aaron mentioned the title, my ﬁrst cursory thoughts were about things that were literally gilded, ornate and aged. It’s common imagery in his work and there’s often those elements in my work and Joao’s work too. I took the actual Gilded Age as a starting point. During that same time, you have the Gold Rush and the World’s Fair; I used motifs like the sunburst crown of the Statue of Liberty, which also appears in Art Deco buildings. I looked into Prohibition and The Great Gatsby. The surreal world I paint is deﬁnitely not historic, but I tend to take familiar elements and run my own story around them. This was the
approach for the show. It’s just that sense of the old timey American struggle. Joao Ruas: This was the biggest leap in the history of progress: for thousands and thousands of years, the fastest something traveled depended on how fast a horse could go and endure. In a couple of decades, everything changed… were people ready? I don't know… I tried to display this question. Also, it was a really weird time visually; all the beautiful, ornate designs combined with brute and destructive machinery. It's all very inspiring. Aaron Horkey: I feel like almost everything I’ve drawn over the past ﬁfteen years owes its existence to this idea of an opulent façade being sloughed away to reveal its foul inner workings. This notion is evident in my earlier work as I started to introduce the nicks and pockmarks onto my surface textures, and now has devolved into a total melting away of all sense of modernity. A war on right angles and the scourge of the straight line. The reclamation of the man-made by nature is a theme I’m extremely interested in and one that really drives the thrust of my creative output, especially now that I’m able to explore and expand on personal work outside of the commercial sphere. Esao and Joao both conjure a similar tension and release in THE GILDED AGE JUXTAPOZ
their work, a sense of a scenario askew but also one of a reassuring calm in the wake of catastrophe. I’d wanted to use The Gilded Age as a title and inspirational springboard for years, and I’m thrilled to bear witness to the work they’ve assembled for this exhibition. Aaron, your work seems to be a speculation on what happens to a world without mankind, a kind of post-natural evolution. I imagine your world is the result of the “sins” of both Gilded Ages, how we are ruining the earth, and what could possibly happen to it if we were eradicated. AH: I think a lot of my speculative attempts at imagining life on Earth after man stem from growing up an only child on a farm in the rural Midwest, isolated from the world at large. I get a real charge out of imagining what will happen to the forests of massive wind turbines that have sprouted up along the vast prairies of my region when no one is around to maintain them. I love exploring abandoned areas and structures and the deafening quiet that permeates them. The fact that I’ll never be able to experience a world without humans is as fascinating and heartbreaking as knowing the Mesozoic and Oligocene periods existed but cannot be seen. It forces me to think richly and stay sharp. If the past Gilded Age was a time of the rapid growth and industrialization of railroads, coal mining and factories, our time seems to be undergoing a similar dynamism. Technology renders us relentlessly “connected” while craftsmanship and emotional process are evaded more and more. However, being an artist and hand crafting survives as a timeless occupation. Can you each talk about what it is like to be working as an artist and producing bodies of work despite the pressing inﬂuences of technology in our modern times? AH: I’m slowly beginning to warm up to the advantages of using technology as a tool but I’m still a veritable neanderthal on the digital evolutionary timeline. I deﬁnitely think it was worthwhile to reject technology in my work for as long as I did as it allowed me to develop naturally and learn traditional methods and techniques at my own glacial pace. Building a solid foundation is only going to foster strong future work, regardless of approach or medium. I still draw, paint and letter my work completely by hand but I have started to use Photoshop to complete separations and pre-press work for screen printing. My recent foray into the wormhole of Instagram has been much more fun than I would have believed. Being a primarily visual platform, it certainly appeals to my sensibilities, as does the freedom of the DIY nature of the application. EA: As a visual artist, technology has been great for me. The Internet allows an artist global exposure without relying solely on anybody else. It allows me to see other artists’ work and information that, in general, I would not have known about otherwise. On the other hand, we are bombarded with so much interesting media and the disappointment of hearing some inspiring viral video or image was faked is so commonplace that it’s desensitizing. THE GILDED AGE JUXTAPOZ
It’s becoming harder to be awestruck. As a tool, a computer is incredibly helpful. I take reference photos on my phone and print them out instantly. Photoshop allows me to make color and composition mock-ups and alter them with ease. JR: I think we are living through an exceptional age, with exceptional pros and exceptional cons. I was a much more connected person years ago but I’ve been trying recently to get away from it unless necessary. The hive mentality is what frightens me, especially when what I choose to do with my life asks for exactly the opposite: to be unique. With that being said, it's fantastic that I am emailing you these words instantly, that I am able to establish a conversation, and maybe even a career in the US, being located thousands and thousands of miles away. However, I do wish I could calmly read a book without reaching for my phone every ten minutes. Aaron, aside from group shows, this is your ﬁrst exhibit in ﬁve years, and also your return to paint after a long time. How do you feel your work has changed, shifting from an illustrative career into the ﬁne art sphere? AH: I haven’t been able to paint much at all since the early ‘aughts, maybe squeezing in one or two small pieces per year. This is my ﬁrst major exhibit since 2010, and even though it’s not a solo show, the pressure to come correct is intense and daunting, as well as wholly welcome. I feel like the time spent away from painting has actually worked to my 98 |
advantage in terms of being acutely aware of exactly what I want to achieve with my work and how to arrive there. All those years of setting up intricately layered screen prints has made me much more conﬁdent with color, form and composition. As far as new tools, I’m completely obsessed with the transparent spray paint that is available now. When I was painting walls in the ’90s, my quiver was quite rudimentary—it worked but I felt hindered by what I was able to achieve within the framework of graffiti at the time. Now there are so many choices, and materials are so advanced, there’s really no limit to what can be created. I’m excited to see how kids coming up now utilize these new highpowered arsenals. Can you talk about why you have shied away from showing your work in galleries and why that is now changing? Also, I understand that this show came about during a casual conversation about what your dream three-person show would be. AH: I had taken a break from exhibitions to focus on reﬁning my craft and also to be more available to my children while they were young. My workload for the past ten years has been overwhelming, to say the least, and I honestly was stretched too thin to work exhibitions into my schedule other than the odd group show or print retrospective. I always had dreams of being able to focus on a cohesive body of work and to return to painting, and now I’m beginning to see that transition actually happen. I’ve been testing the waters
previous spread Esao Andrews Cloisters Oil on panel 48" x 36" 2015 from left Esao Andrews Wagon Oil on panel 24" x 30" 2015 Aaron Horkey Working on collaborative mural with Esao Andrews Pow! Wow! Hawai’i, 2015 Photo by Jessica Schnabel Aaron Horkey At work in his studio Photo by Mitch Putnam Joao Ruas Work in progress for The Gilded Age 2015
with involvement in some group shows and mural projects and the response has been very encouraging. I’m beyond thrilled to be given the opportunities I have and cannot wait to bring these pent up ideas to life. As for the other fellows in The Gilded Age, without a doubt Esao and Joao are two modern masters and I get simultaneously inspired and depressed when I see what they’ve been working on—always setting a high standard that I struggle to aspire to. I’m so damn lucky to be friends with such immensely talented folks and to share a show with these guys is an absolute dream. In preparation for this show, how much did you take into consideration the other artists’ work? What about each do you admire? EA: I have a heightened sense to put more care and sensitivity in my craftsmanship. These guys have it all—a completely cohesive world where everything living, dead, constructed or deteriorating has been conﬁdently accounted for down to the minutest detail. JR: I don't think much more can be said about these two great artists. Aaron combines discipline and draftsmanship to an extent that is just absurd, making art that references the past but not only that, is deeply modern in its very own way as well. I had the opportunity to visit his studio and see a tiny bit of his process and the surroundings that inspire his work. Going through the ﬂat ﬁles that contain years and
years of work was breathtaking; it is truly impossible to ﬁnd a favorite piece. I always felt that Esao has this whole universe inside his mind with all those forms, deep shadows and colors that only exist in that place. The way he depicts it is masterful and very human. AH: I’m mostly just trying to keep up with these guys. The level of quality in everything I’ve seen from them for this show is just staggering. Sketchbooks have continuously played an important role in your work and development as artists. There is something so intimate and vital to me about each of your sketchbooks. Why is it important to keep them? EA: My sketchbooks always have been very journal-like. I consider them to be a mix of handmade news clippings of my life, observations and exercises. Early on, I was doing quite a bit of illustration and commissioned work, so my output wasn’t feeling like “mine” at all. Putting so much effort into something that is so personal that I’d be embarrassed to ever see published makes them mine. At the same time, they are record books from my youth to the present. AH: It had been about a decade since I’d kept a sketchbook but I started up again last spring after a particularly traumatic series of events in my personal life. Once stabilized, I started drawing again, really drawing—not just drawing for a project or job. My favorite work since then has been sketches in THE GILDED AGE JUXTAPOZ
books, or on random scraps of paper and envelopes. My work has certainly beneﬁtted from this return to looseness, and I’ve seen a dramatic shift in my compositional technique and technical ability. I look at my work from before and it seems incredibly stiff and stilted, whereas now I feel like I’m ﬁnding life in the drawings again. JR: I have multiple sketchbooks, and they are all a mess. It is where I feel more at home, without pressure, even from myself. I feel that a sketchbook is the most intimate anyone can get with any artist. It's a very obvious statement but completely true. What outside elements and inspirations currently inﬂuence your work for this show? JR: I didn't know much about the period before, so I started to do research. I tried reading Twain's book but went back to Steinbeck, one of my favorite writers, to see if he wrote something about this time. I then read East of Eden and it gave me some ideas. I am listening to a lot of OM, Earth and hardcore from when I was a teenager for nostalgic purposes. AH: Always music—The Miasmah, Profound Lore and Constellation labels continue to be constant drawing 102 |
soundtracks as well as the darker end of the techno and ambient/drone genres. The forests, ﬁelds and bodies of water of Rural Cottonwood County. The BloodMilk Pinterest account. Travel, travel, travel. EA: The movie Metropolis. That New York Times article [about the resurgence of the Gilded Age] that you passed on to the three of us. And a lot of Google image searches. While this is a three-person show, each collection of work operates as a unique, contained entity. What is the heart of your individual bodies of work? EA: I’m exploring fragile scenes of hardship and the pioneering spirit in a perilous, dirty world. JR: Progress, technology, machinery, women in the 1800s, capitalism… it's a full plate. AH: A ﬂower from a corpse.
The Gilded Age will be on display at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City from September 12–October 3, 2015.
previous spread Aaron Horkey Capricorn Blues Gouache and ink on paper 2015 clockwise (from right) Aaron Horkey Irruption Ink and gouache on Stonehenge paper 11" x 11" 2015 Joao Ruas Work in progress for The Gilded Age 2015 opposite Joao Ruas Industry (study) Acrylic on Frabriano paper adhered to wood panel Work in progress for The Gilded Age 2015
T R AV EL I N S I D ER
TRAVEL INSIDER THRILLING IN MANILA
THIS YEAR, THANKFULLY JUST BEFORE THE RAINY season, I traveled with a group of artists to the Philippines for the country’s ﬁrst street art festival. Manila’s ONE Festival was produced by LeBasse Projects in partnership with the Bonifacio Global City Art Foundation and Globe, and I was fortunate to be invited to make art alongside seven mega-talented painters, hosted by some of the friendliest folks in the world. Initiating a mural project in a community just warming up to the presence of street art added an excitement to the air that was as thick as the tropical humidity. Gallerist, professional race car driver and all-around lovely person Gaby Dela Merced curated a group show while we were in town, and she kindly wrote up the following local’s tour of the freshly painted walls in Bonifacio Global City, along with many surrounding gems. Be sure to stop by her gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl, when you’re in town. Thanks to LeBasse Projects for making our time in Manila so memorable. —Kristin Farr MURALS, GALLERIES, BOOKS AND SQUID Gaby Dela Merced: Entering Bonifacio Global City, or BGC as many would call it, you are immediately greeted by Kristin 104 |
Farr’s colorful geometric mural at the Bonifacio Technology Center. Make your way down to 26th Street and you will see Faile’s massive wall at Icon Plaza featuring a multitasking, stylish woman. Walk straight ahead to stumble upon Cyrcle’s giant Astronaut on the RCBC Building, and nearby, ﬁnd AKACORLEONE’s fresh Metropolis mural, along with walls painted by local artists Egg Fiasco and Anjo Borlarda. Egg’s mural is a tribute to a rare, mysterious deer from his province. Your next stop is Fully Booked, a four-story book haven with independent ﬁlm screenings, art workshops and signings. LeBasse Projects curated a multi-story painted book installation at the store by Mike Stilkey that is a mustsee. Behind Fully Booked is the ﬁrst of Nate Frizell’s four sneaky animal murals hidden around town. At the Serendra Mall across the street, have lunch at Abe and be sure to try the Sinuteng Baby Squid, Gising Gising (veggie stalks with shrimp cooked in coconut milk) and pair them with a deliciously tart green mango shake! Party that night at the Palace Pool Club where you’ll see Drew Merritt’s mural of two women relaxing by the entrance. On the way out, take 32nd street to catch another mural by Drew Merritt at Globe Tower. Next, head out of BGC to the next city over, Makati, which is our ﬁnancial district. On
above Kristin Farr Photo by Shutterpanda opposite (from top) Faile, Cyrcle, Egg Fiasco Photography by Kayo Cosio
Chino Roces Street, or as most would call it, the Art Road, you’ll ﬁnd Silverlens and SLAB, the ﬁrst local contemporary gallery to showcase photography. NOW Gallery is just a few doors away, along with La Fuerza compound where you’ll ﬁnd Finale and Nova Galleries. Down the road, our last stop is the 2135 compound where Archivo showcases master artists, and our gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl, in contrast, exhibits street art, Pop Surrealism and other contemporary art. SHOPPING AND ENTERTAINMENT Black Market is along Chino Roces, a club featuring some of the most talented underground DJs around. For the more adventurous, head over to Burgos Street, our red light district. Go to Ringside Bar to see a little person and a lady boxing. Be sure to be a referee when you go! For the more historical parts of Manila, head over to to Intramuros, which means “within the walls” in Spanish. The oldest district of Manila, you can still see the colonial houses and cobblestone streets from the Spanish period. Be sure to go during the Saturday Market x Future Market. You can ﬁnd quirky trinkets of old Manila as well as local artists selling their work. If you are willing to rough it up a bit more, you can walk around Quiapo and Divisoria. It’s a dense city with so many random things to see, like their wet market. There you can ﬁnd someone walking along the streets selling watering jugs in one hand and cellphone chargers in the other. Not really a place to go to buy things unless you know what you want, but it’s a haven for people into taking pictures. Now head north on EDSA, our major highway, to Greenhills Shopping Center for your souvenirs in their Tiangge. They sell everything from our traditional items to generic clothes and knock-offs, more or less what you would see in a usual night market around Asia. Then check out the Ronac Center, which has WeLegendary for skater stuff, Secret Fresh Gallery and Carrot Bombing for your graffiti ﬁx. We barely have any places selling cans and other street art materials, so this is pretty much your one-stop shop. Next stop is Cubao X, further up north, where you can have shoes made to your liking. This compound is now turned into a small indie scene with quirky bars, coffee shops, pop-up galleries and random vintage shops. It deﬁnitely has a fun, anything-goes bohemian feel to it. Gold Digger has a nice selection of records. FOOD There’s an old Italian restaurant called Bellini’s at the center of Cubao X. The owner used to be a major paparazzo in Italy, and you can see a wall ﬁlled with his articles. They make their own pasta and wine. Be sure to try the angel hair Tartufo and add prosciutto. Then have the panna cotta—it’s to die for. Make your way to Quezon City to see local graffiti and have dinner at Van Gogh Is Bipolar in Sikatuna. The owner, Jetro, is bipolar and realized that certain food can change his mood. This is what his dishes are inspired by. I recommend TRAVEL INSIDER JUXTAPOZ
T R AV EL I N S I D ER
you explore the place and get a chance to talk to Jetro himself. I wouldn’t want to give too much away. Needless to say, it is an experience. Be sure to book before you go. If you catch a Dirty Ice Cream Cart (don’t worry, they aren’t dirty) along the streets, be sure to have some! It usually comes in three ﬂavors. They give you a cone consisting of about ten small scoops, or you can have it in a pandesal, which is a local bread. Cheese is our most popular ﬂavor. We brought artist Gary Baseman over a while back for a show, and this is what he fell in love with. He loved it with pandesal. He even made his own cart. Things to taste that people don’t usually blog about: Bulalo—if there is one dish to have before you go, it’s our local version of beef stew. There is a place near our gallery called Pat Pat’s Kansi. They have the best broth and the biggest bone I’ve ever seen. It comes with a barbecue 106 |
stick to pull the bone marrow out. Inasal is barbecued anything. It is traditionally served under banana leaves. GETAWAYS Tagaytay is an hour drive up to the mountains and has our smallest volcano, Taal, which you can climb. There is a wonderful restaurant called Sonya’s Garden, which is heavenly. Everything served is hand picked. You can get a massage there too. Be sure to experience Hilot, our local massage style. Boracay is about a 45 minute ﬂight plus a 15 minute boat ride away from Manila. It’s our mini Ibiza. Softest sand I’ve ever felt, and it will never burn your feet! I know so many people who planned to stay for a week, and ﬁve years down the line, they’re still there.
clockwise from top left Kristin Farr, Photo by Kayo Cosio Egg Fiasco, Faile, AKACORLEONE Photography by Shutterpanda Nate Frizzell, Photo by Kayo Cosio
Poetic Emmanuel Crespo @emmanuelcrespoartworks
E V EN T
MONUMENTS ALONG THE WAY KAWS’ NEW ICONS GREET THE PATRONS OF THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM NO TITLE IS MORE APT THAN ALONG THE WAY. EVER since Brooklyn-based artist KAWS transformed his creative output from the streets into one of the most exciting hybrid careers of pop-culture appeal and ﬁne art evolution, he has been at the forefront of expanding the dialogue of what contemporary art can be. He has long had the knack for making his work larger than life, whether by sheer physical scale, or positioning the work in places where mass audience is the instrument impelling the chorus forward. Through December 6, 2015, the Brooklyn Museum will house Along the Way, a set of two eighteen-foot-high wood sculpture companions at the entry of the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion and Lobby. The sculptures’ presence intrinsically express quiet luminance and childlike wonder, a visible welcome statement to this museum or any cultural institution. What is forgotten at times in art is the power of unexpected surprise, how a curious and playful icon can situate itself in new places. 108 |
KAWS is the master of this phenomenon, and it is not hyperbole to state, like Murakami, he has the ability to transform space by amplifying his signature work to new heights. Perhaps that nicely deﬁnes how 21st Century art can be appreciated, taking our familiar sights and making them feel more palpable and newly iconic. In an Interview Magazine piece in 2010, KAWS said, “I guess my goal has been just to ﬁgure out how to get through life making stuff.” Maybe the most interesting part is just how big this stuff is going to get. —Juxtapoz
KAWS’ Along the Way will be at the Brooklyn Museum through December 6, 2015, and made possible by Mary Boone Gallery. The exhibition also includes the paintings GLASS SMILE (2012) and SHOULD I BE ATTACKING (2013).
from left Along the Way Wood sculpture 176" x 216" x 120" 2013 © KAWS, courtesy of the Mary Boone Gallery, New York. SHOULD I BE ATTACKING Acrylic on canvas over panel 54" x 72" 2013 Collection of Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia Photo by Farzad Owrang
Spellbinding Erynn Richardson @erynnrichardson
BOOKS TITLES JUXTAPOZ IS CURRENTLY READING
LSD WORLDPEACE BY JOE ROBERTS In art school, Joe Roberts channeled the power of self with the aid of psychedelics. As an ’80’s kid, he embarked on the journey with the help of modern heroes like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mickey Mouse from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. A major hero in Joe’s life was his grandfather, who taught his grandkids how to make art, and not just with the usual art supplies but with found objects. As sister Myla Dalbesio, the multidisciplinary performance artist and model, says of their mentor in the introduction of LSD WORLDPEACE, “Time spent with Grandpa was a lesson in creativity and introspection. To teach art is to encourage the exploration of the self.” Joe Roberts shares a kaleidoscope of life experience in this survey of paintings, ﬁgurines, collages and dioramas. 160 pages with 142 full color reproductions, a testament to all heroes, mite and mighty. —Lalé Shafaghi Unpiano Books, unpianobooks.com
MUNARI'S BOOKS: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION OF BOOK DESIGNS BY BRUNO MUNARI
AN ERA WITHOUT MEMORIES: CHINESE CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY ON URBAN TRANSFORMATIONS
BY GIORGIO MAFFEI
BY JIANG JIEHONG
Called “the Leonardo of our time” by Pablo Picasso, Bruno Munari is renowned as one of the great multifaceted graphic designers of the twentieth century. Munari, a member of the Italian Futurist movement, believed that books, in their ability to convey thoughts visually, enable us to live better. Later in his life, Munari began to specialize in his long-time passion for children’s books. His innovative editions incorporated touch, movement and color, encouraging kinesthetic learning with textured surfaces and intriguing cutouts. Munari's Books, the ﬁrst Englishlanguage deﬁnitive collection focusing on Munari’s book designs, smartly features over seventy years of design manuals, manifestos and children's books. Art historian Giorgio Maffei recently republished this colorful compendium of ideas and illustrations, making this book lovers’ book even better. —LS
China has always been a force of momentum, and the rigorous and sometimes ruthless rapid urbanization of the last few years has captivated observers around the world. Jiang Jiehong, professor of Chinese Art at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom, explores this phenomenon in An Era Without Memories through the trenchant work of thirty-one of the country’s most talented art photographers. This brave book is curated into four incisive sections: Ephemeral Cities, The Otherness of the Real, An Alienated Home, Memories Invented. Asserting the power of the visual, Jiehong writes, “If photographs can ‘give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal,’ then the present life in China— which could rapidly turn into a ‘past’—urges photographers and artists to arrest the ‘past’ in order to better understand the present.” —LS
Princeton Architectural Press, papress.com
Thames & Hudson, thamesandhudsonusa.com
Intense Julian Bermudez @bermudezprojects
Erynn Richardson Sacred & Haunted September 5 through October 24, 2015 Opening Reception: September 5, 7-10 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
BERMUDEZ PROJECTS 117 West 9th Street, Space 810 Los Angeles, CA 90015 www.bermudezprojects.com
PRO FI L E
THE HUEMAN CONDITION A WALL-TO-WALL EXPLORATION OF THE SELF IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, YOU’LL SEE HER SHINE soon. Hueman describes herself as a human printer, though the output is completely spontaneous and intuitive. Her muralist mission statement has expanded exponentially this year as she crushes walls around the world with bold colors and striking faces that seemingly know the future. Signature expressive marks sit ﬁrmly between the real and abstract, inﬂuenced by digitally-minded roots. Painting walls is just one facet of her craft, and what makes Hueman extraordinary in the art ecosystem is her generosity. This was evidenced by a San Francisco mural exhibition she recently organized, securing walls for other artists to go big alongside her. And that’s where our conversation began. Kristin Farr: Thank you for including me in the Wander & Wayfare project you curated this year. How did you feel about how everything turned out? It shouldn’t be a novelty that it was an all-female artist lineup, but it was unusual. Allison Torneros (Hueman): Since there aren’t too many female muralists in the scene, we ﬁnd ourselves surrounded by guys a lot of the time. I just felt the need to connect 114 |
with other women, and in the last year, I was able to meet a bunch of inspiring female street artists while traveling. While we love our guy friends, there’s just something about bonding with other women because we share a certain understanding. I brought the idea to Daniele Rocha, owner of Rocha Art, who had just recently started up her non-proﬁt, 1Brush Initiative, an organization that facilitates public art projects and provides hands-on arts education to underserved youth. She was essential in bringing the project to life. Having all these women in town at the same time was amazing, everyone busting their ass for the entire month. It was really stressful at times, each artist creating two murals and artwork for a gallery show. But everyone worked really well under pressure and produced some beautiful work. Opening night we had a packed house and a line out the door the entire time. When ﬁguring out how to publicize Wander & Wayfare, we were sensitive about calling it an all-female show, although that’s exactly what it is. We wanted to make sure that it was
above Portrait by the artist opposite (clockwise from top left) While You Were Sleeping Spray paint and acrylic on canvas 30" × 30" 2014 Mural at Rocha Art Gallery San Francisco, California 2015 The Waiting Game Spray paint and acrylic on Canvas 36" x 48" 2014
about the art ﬁrst and foremost. I didn’t choose the artists in the show simply based on gender. They were chosen because each artist possesses a very distinct style that has made them stand out. Some women are hesitant about being involved in all-female projects because of the need to be seen as equal—there’s the idea that by focusing on our gender, it makes us less valuable. However, in my opinion, a project like this is needed to show the public exactly what women are capable of—that we can crush a wall just as well as any guy can. When you’ve got a project of this size, the visibility has the power to inspire other women. Painting outside makes me feel alive! There is real interaction with the audience and you put your whole physical and mental self into it. What do you love most about painting walls? That’s exactly what I love about public art! As an artist, I tend to spend a lot of time alone by myself, and I’m my worst critic. I can sit inside all day and just pick my work and myself apart—being an artist can deﬁnitely be an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been a fan of street art and graffiti since I was a kid, but was always too intimidated to actually paint a wall. I began painting murals after a dark period in my life when I felt like there was nothing to lose, and when I painted big for the ﬁrst time, it was like a light switch turned on. Once I got
out of my studio and onto the street, I was using my entire body to paint, I was talking to people, I was collaborating, I was in the sun. I felt alive again. I literally felt human. That’s where the name Hueman comes from. Murals involve more manual labor than actual creative thinking, and that part of the process is therapeutic for me. I show up at the wall, and I’m basically a human printer. I’ve got my mural concept ready to go, so all that’s left is the execution. Is it true that you ﬁrst lay down the expressive abstract design and then ﬁnd the face within that layer? Exactly. The ﬁrst and most expressive part of my process involves laying down basic shapes and washes using spray paint, latex paint and watered-down acrylic. Color plays a big part and sets the tone for the rest of the piece. I’ll do a bunch of these marks at the same time, then just stare at them and ﬁnd a face or ﬁgure within the layers, just like ﬁnding shapes in a cloud. I’ll bring those out and render them so they look like something familiar, then add another layer of shapes on top. Everything is pretty much improvised. It’s kind of like having a conversation with myself.
PRO FI L E
Tell me about these people and faces in your paintings. Are any of them self-portraits? The faces aren’t anyone in particular. They are anonymous people, and their facial expressions and body language are only there to help convey a feeling or story. I used to do a lot of self portraits, being that I’m my own most accessible model. These days I use models instead, but I think maybe the faces always end up looking similar to me in one way or another because I know exactly what my face looks like, how the light hits certain areas and where natural shadows occur, so it’s possible that I sometimes revert back to what I know about the structure of my own face. How would you describe the way your work has evolved over the last few years, both indoors and outdoors? My work gets more and more abstract as time goes on. In the beginning I felt like I needed to prove how well I could render the human form, like that was indicative of how good of an artist I was. These days that’s not as important to me. Once I realized I had the human body ﬁgured out, I wanted to do more beyond that. Now I prefer to communicate through form and color, which feels more powerful to me. Once I started getting up on walls, my style became more distinct—I needed my work to be recognizable on the street. This affected what I was doing on canvas. Tell me about the interestingly-shaped canvases you’ve been working with. I’ve been painting on some multi-faceted canvases lately. 116 |
I’ve been interested in seeing how my work could be translated onto different mediums and surfaces. I think my style lends itself to three-dimensional sculpture, and that’s something I have plans for in the future. I’ve also played around with motion graphics, splicing images and moving around layers. I think there are endless possibilities to explore beyond the conﬁnes of a ﬂat square. There’s a lot of fragmentation in your work. Is it metaphorical? I think the fragmentation is a result of being a graphic designer within our digital culture. It comes from playing around in Photoshop, cutting and pasting images, and from glitches in technology. The fragmentation is my attempt to literally break apart a singular moment and create the idea of motion and movement on a ﬂat surface. It’s the dissection and manipulation of a moment in time, being able to walk around in it. Are there any famous people you’d like to paint that you haven’t yet? I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan. I would paint him in every hue.
Hueman’s solo show at Mirus Gallery, Just One Moment, opens September 19, 2015 in San Francisco. HuemanNature.com
Mural in Kaka’ako for POW! WOW! Hawaii 2015
PRO D U C T R E V I E W S
THINGS JUXTAPOZ IS AFTER FALL READY, CAMERA IN BAG, SUPPLIES STOCKED
THE DAY HIKER by Battenwear In the constant quest for a good bag, whether for travel, commute or just toting a few cameras around, this accessory is essential for daily life. NYC’s Battenwear continues to be one of our favorite brands, and this Fall they are introducing The Day Hiker backpack, a 1970s-inspired bag with felt padded shoulder straps, outside pocket, plus top ﬂap pocket made in 10oz army duck fabric. Available in navy, burnt orange, and olive (with two ﬂoral patterns in Jacquard fabric, too). battenwear.com
ARTSNACKS The Farmers Market set has their CSA box, and who doesn’t want to conduct a weekly experiment with cauliﬂower and tomatillos? Art-wise, Lee and Sarah Rubenstein created a monthly service that ships premium art supplies right to your doorstep. Each box features a few hand-selected items from brands like Moleskine, KRINK and Faber-Castell. It’s a perfect back-to-school gift at only $20 a month. artsnacks.co
You had us at McFetridge. C’mon, if you saw the Los Angeles artist’s incredible animation for Patagonia’s traceable down initiative, you probably already got yourself a new jacket. We are preparing for the fall months ahead and three chilly summer days at Outside Lands in San Francisco, so we needed a few different looks from Patagonia. Here is your everyday uniform. patagonia.com
S I EB EN O N L I FE
IMPRESS YOURSELF IF THE SHOE REALLY FITS, YOU’LL WEAR IT BACK IN 2007, I WAS APPROACHED BY ADIDAS TO work on a custom colorway for their Superskate shoe. I was stoked. When I asked what type of customization was possible, they told me the sky was the limit. My brain started churning and I ended up throwing everything at it: numerous material types, embossed text, screen-printed vertical stripes, ﬂuorescent laces with matching accent stitching and side piping, characters printed on the exterior and interior of the shoe—hell, I even replaced the word Adidas on the side with my own last name. These will be the coolest shoes ever, I thought to myself. Fast forward to me actually seeing the shoes for the ﬁrst time, and only one thought went through my mind: I’d never wear these. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t think they looked kinda cool or that they were an unsuccessful product. But what I came up with was something that didn’t match my personal tastes. I essentially designed a shoe that 120 |
I thought kids would like and missed an opportunity to create something that I actually liked. Who knows, maybe that was a smarter route, but I really wished I would have thought more about it and created something that I felt comfortable wearing. I mean, I put my last name on the thing. So, what’s the point? Well, I think that anytime you’re making something, it’s important not to get too wrapped up in how you think your creation will be viewed by its audience. If you like it, that’s probably the most important thing. Make stuff that you’re proud of and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. Plus, trying to ﬁgure out what kids like is kinda like trying to ﬁgure out what grasshoppers like. You kinda have to be one to know. You know? —Michael Sieben
P O P L I FE
PARIS GALERIE PERROTIN’S HOTEL DU GRAND VENEUR
1 | During Paris Fashion Week, Takashi Murakami and Vans held a special launch party and exhibition at Galerie Perrotin’s Hotel Du Grand Veneur in tandem with the worldwide release of the Murakami x Vans Vault collection. The artist was happy. 2 | Michael Dupouy of La MJC and All Gone hosted a talk with VP of Lifestyle and Footwear at Vans, Steve Mills, and Takashi.
3 | One of the three pairs of Slip-Ons in the collection. These got a little Takashi customization. 4 | Mills with Doug Palladini, Vice President, General Manager, North America at Vans. Everyone wants a summer trip to Paris.
5 | British musician Ghostpoet crossed the Channel for a performance at the party. 6 | Takashi was in a signing mood. One lucky guest got the full treatment.
Photography courtesy of Vans
P O P L I FE
LONG BEACH LONG BEACH MUSEUM OF ART
1 | Thinkspace and Pow! Wow! curated a series of city-wide murals around Long Beach, and the Long Beach Museum of Art hosted the Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape exhibition to coincide with the project. Here is Saber in front of his massive mural indoors.
2 | LBMA Executive Director, Ron Nelson, with French artist, FAFI.
4 | There is a ton of street talent in this trio: The Low Bros surround Nychos.
3 | Former Juxtapoz cover artists Audrey Kawasaki and Greg “Craola” Simkins ﬂank frequent contributor, artist Nathan Spoor.
5 | Meggs and Miya enjoy the California evening. 6 | Alex Yanes stands proud in front of his site-speciﬁc installation in the museum.
All photography by Sam Graham
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juxtapoz art & culture magazine