Issuu on Google+


his issue is dedicated to the so-called stubborn brood who have held strong to their own worlds, where dreaming is the law. ‘Coz no matter how hard you try to fit in, every other guy sees things differently. These artists inspire us with how they dream and give us courage to live the life we choose.

When we started listing down all our dream artists for this issue, Fafi was at the top. Squirming and praying, we hit her up and asked if we could feature her. Her response? “I wanna do your cover!” At this point our hearts jumped. Cover girl Fafi draws a magical world filled with the Fafinettes, giving them the chance to start over with no rules. We love to stare at Nabil Elderkin’s soulful portraits, we are moved by Ron English’s political statements on contemporary culture, and are fascinated by Blek le Rat’s take on art as a social message. José Parlá teaches us to take our pasts into our present. The Broken Social Scene shows us that there is no limit to joining a band. Up Dharma Down ignore genres with their neo-soul-trip-hop-tronica. We feel that true artists defy fear and share their vision to the world, and that’s what gives it color. You don’t need a degree from Parsons, Juilliard, or Pratt. Anyone can be an artist just by being who they are, but you will need these tools: Imagination, Courage, and Persistence. So to all those artists out there, stay in your fantasy world. Live it as intensely and passionately as you can. The world is waiting. -Status Team

STATUS ISSUE 07 abstract

Pearl Hsiung


STATUSPHERE x REVIEWS.........................16 GO-SEES.......................................26 SWAG SNEAKERS......................................30 SHIRTS........................................32 ACCESSORIES...................................34 WATCHES.......................................35 HEELS.........................................36 BAGS..........................................37 CRAYONS AND MARKERS...........................38 MAESTRO BLACK LIPS....................................40 BRENDAN CANNING...............................41 LITTLE BOOTS..................................42 PASTA GROOVE..................................43 GRAHAM FUNKE..................................44 TENGAL........................................45 UP DHARMA DOWN................................46 HEARTSREVOLUTION..............................47 MASTERMIND MILO NAVAL....................................48 LINDA LOVEMADE................................49 ONE SCHOOL....................................50 KINGA BURZA...................................51

Kazuhiko Kwahara

KIKO ESCORA...................................52 IAN FRANCIS...................................54 PEARL HSIUNG..................................55 EGG FIASCO....................................56 TORBOKRAPFEN..................................57 KAZUHIKO KAWAHARA.............................58 WAWI NAVARROZA................................62 GRAPHIC GRENADE...............................64 HEAVY HITTER RON ENGLISH...................................68 JOSÉ PARLÁ....................................72 BLEK LE RAT...................................76 NABIL ELDERKIN................................81 WORKING GIRL FAFI..........................................85 LISSY TRULLIE.................................90 MIND JOB......................................92 NIGHT VISION..................................94 TRANSACTION...................................99 MUSE x SARAH GAUGLER..........................102 ADULT COLORING BOOK...........................109

W Kiko Escora

Graham Funke

e are so lucky to have Fafi create the cover art for this issue. So, here it goes. Welcome to the Carmine Vault—Fafi’s world— where anything and everything can happen. Play with her enchanting Fafinettes, like the one featured on our cover sporting red hair and decked out with a Parisian cap and face painted hearts. Now, rip into the pages of her art and creation, and just lose yourself in her world.



KAI HUANG usually feasts on steaks and burgers, but photography is what eats up most of his day. As we got hold of this busy lensman, we had him capture on camera visual artist extraordinaire Kiko Escora. Already fiddling with his first camera at 12, the turning point came after Kai won the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation photo contest. From photographing celebrity profiles, editorial spreads, and advertising imagery, Kai’s been taking his bite, a huge one at that, of the sharp shooting arena. 


Brothers Ryan and Randall Dagooc of MANGORED may not have taken any formal degree in design or photography, but that isn’t stopping this twosome from creating photos to tickle your brain. Seeking to create a “visual perfume” in their photos, they’re creative geniuses who make the most stunning yet unconventional portraits. “We love what we do,” says the pair. “the highs and lows, and weave it all into what we are, and what we are to become.” Flip the pages and hover over their amazing work on our art issue Muse, Sarah Gaugler.  

Miguel Miranda

Miguel Miranda began his visual conquest when his uncle gave him an instant camera, and since then, he has never stopped clicking away. Work on different magazines, various ads, and fashion editorials in the Philippines have all added up to the years of experience he’s had taking photos. We had him shoot for us music producer Pasta Groove, and we must say he’s making his uncle proud.

Team Manila

Continually marking the metro scene with their unique graphic take on cultural figures and objects—from the national hero to street food—Team Manila is surely proud to be Filipino. A thing they wish to see would be their work in the National Museum beside famous Filipino painter Amorsolo’s. With Team Manila’s patriotism, they were certainly the right choice to photograph homegrown musicians Up Dharma Down.

EDITOR Rosario Herrera ART DIRECTOR Revo Naval ASSOCIATE EDITOR Victoria Herrera Assistant Editor Nante Santamaria MARKETING DIRECTOR Jon Herrera ASSOCIATE MARKETING DIRECTOR Mesh Villanueva DESIGNERS Nicole Bianca Po Patrick Jamora Editorial Assistants Christine Braganza Erika Hoffmann

INTERNS Mikko Abello Hector Agtarap Enzo Belen Tracy Collantes Kim Dayag Mikki Dela Rea Stanley Estrada Vince Foz Anne Claire Nichols Lucille Robinson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sarah Meier-Albano Yaj Asovlas Raymond Ang Marla Cabanban Anna Canlas Chiara Cui “E” Shinji Manlangit Ralph Mendoza Lisa Recio Eirene Uy Toff de Venecia Anine Vermulen Ramon De Veyra

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Rony Alwin Luca Benedet Curtis Culig Kai Huang Jay Hanna Patrick Jamora Kazuhiko Kawahara MangoRed Miguel Miranda Revolution Ren Rox Nante Santamaria Shawn Smith She’s Got a Gun Team Manila Zach Wolf Norman Wong FINANCE Eva Ventura PUBLISHER Whiz Kids Publishing

What’s your STATUS? We’d love to hear from you! Email us. It’s also available digitally at WWW.STATUSMAGONLINE.COM For advertising opportunities, please email / Or call (02)8901708 / (02) 8956833 Status Magazine / Unit 3 / Ecoville / Metropolitan Avenue / Makati




LOVE TO KOVET W ithout any intention of getting into fashion, childhood friends Dasha Zhukova and Christina Tang were just searching for the perfect pair of jeans. When nothing turned up, however, they just decided to create them. KOVA & T is all about that “can’t-put-yourfinger-on-it” kind of effortless style. As a rebuttal to the over stylized jeans we see in stores, this brand works wonders with the finest Japanese denim that still retains its shape after heavy budges and multiple washes. With a clean design minus the excessive treatments,

fter working for street wear labels Mecca and Ecko, Dao-Yi Chow teamed up with Parsons teacher Maxwell Osborne to launch PUBLIC SCHOOL NYC, the name coming from the duo’s background. However, don’t get it wrong coz’ this isn’t the “grab-a-shirt-andgo” look. With a mission to find the balance between the crisp and the gritty in New York, these two designers have found the “perfection in imperfection.” The line is definitely more than the usual logo-saturated tees as their collections illustrate

a more dapper vibe on street fashion. It’s the exquisite construction, visible from the laid-back hoodies and cardigans to their tailored leather jackets and denim that really does the trick. This makes the line perfect for the type of guy who wants to look stylish effortlessly. Now that’s some kind of education every man could use. -Erika Hoffmann

their denim is a great staple in every closet. Kova & T expanded their line to include slinky dresses and curve-grabbing jumpsuits in the brightest colors and sleekest silhouettes. Not only that their soft and comfy tank tops will put your boyfriend’s shirts to shame. Whatever your get up, persona, or mood, Kova & T is yours to transform. -Erika Hoffmann


Hand MeDYour HandMedowns

esigning for over three years now, Geof Gonzalez’s love for fashion has been with him since his eyes could grab a hold of anything from fairy-tale motifs to the theatre. His latest endeavor, The “Tita dress”, (or your aunt’s dress) is his latest renovation as he jazzes it up with a shorter length, bare sleeves, and effortless draping and pleating. Not only is Geof in love with the forgotten styles; he also takes a lot of love from the fabrics that inspired those “Tita dresses” to begin with. “I

16 -

n the best way possible, GENERIC SURPLUS is the shoe of the fashion set on recession lockdown. With everybody cracking their piggy banks and prying their bank accounts open, buying a $300 pair of sneakers just isn’t practical anymore. So say hello to the statement shoe on a budget. Developed by the LA-based company The Generic Man, Surplus differentiates itself from your Vans and Chuck Taylors with its monochromatic schemes and simple lines. Think JFK going nautical in Hyannis

use the defective fabrics of factories—the one with a defect in the printing because those are the pieces of material that are unique. You can’t replicate that defect,” Geof says. Despite Geof’s canvas and media that make use of forgotten or rejected clothing, we feel his identity in the fashion industry will be anything but. -Erika Hoffmann

Port. Or Ezra Koenig and his Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa existence. With Military High Tops, Wingtips, Plimsolls, and the suddenly ubiquitous Boat Shoes, Surplus hits all your basic shoe needs. They’re basic, comfortable, extremely stylish and just the thing to keep you looking sharp from Cape Cod to the Sunset Strip. -Raymond Ang


Just in case W

e all hate getting our gadgets scratched and dented. That’s why INCASE is godsend to us rough-handling, technology-loving people. Made with lightweight yet shockabsorbing material that lasts a lifetime, Incase products spares you from worrying about dropping anything electronic. With these laptop sleeves, covers, slip-ons, and carrier bags, what more could we ask for? Great design, of course! Incase also sees to it that

imagination doesn’t get left out. They have the art scene’s best—Parra, Krink, and Huf—add fun, color, and playfulness to this serious commodity. In case you’re worrying about the commotion inside your bag, we’re pretty sure your gadgets are staying pretty. -Enzo Belen

STAMP’D LA W hile the sneaker scene was enveloped in the darkness of maximalism, the clouds opened up for a great big beam of light in the form of the label STAMP’D LA.It all started when shoe designer and founder Chris Stamp started customizing Chucks and Tom’s for big names like Steve Aoki, DJ A-Trak, Ellen Degeneres, and N.E.R.D. The brand’s minimalist take on sneakers consist of clean silhouettes and none of those flashy color schemes. Business grew so big that they decided to come out with their own line. Now they’re in demand in stores all over the scene— we’re talking LA, NYC, Tokyo, France, and Germany.


irc.Zon.Zoc.Zing.Zub. You’d think we were throwing out lines from a comic book and maybe that’s what NOOKA designer Matthew Waldman was thinking when he named these crazy, mind-blurring time tellers. Coming from a mix of the words New and Yorker, hence Nooka, this design firm exploded to launch it’s own line of watches that are not only stylish but also reliable. With wild spiraling dots and lined bars on the display, Nooka offers us an alternative way to tell the

time instead of the age-old analog and digital ways we have gotten used to. Its sleek and modern designs are perfect for any one who’s into forward fashion. -Christine Braganza

The new collection uses a single high-top canvas model in different color and print combinations. Aptly named “Numberd,” each pair is printed with a number from 0-9 in big bold text, not to mention that special little pair with the letter “S” on it. With the neat lines and minimalist aesthetic, these shoes set you apart from a sea of overcompensation. -Raymond Ang

Black Light


hat color do you see when you close your eyes? Black? Wrong! What you actually see are varying shades of gray. In German, they call this Eigengrau, but in designer MIKE LAVAREZ’ world, he calls it fashion. This kind of confusion is where Mike got his inspiration—he wanted to channel the darkness and the doubt of life and depict it in his garments. With one shift of angle or movement of the clothes, you see the black tones of his dresses in a whole new light. Okay, so maybe at first glance we are a little reminded of something Morticia Adams would wear, but upon closer inspection, his threads dazzle to perfection. Slip in one of his creations and you’re sure to be the star of anyone’s dark night. -Erika Hoffmann - 17

QUIN-essential H

idden in an enclave, Quincy Hotel is a heartbeat away from Singapore’s shopping haven, Orchard Road. This boutique hotel has the polished design and coziness you seek while traveling. It mixes vibrant style with an atmosphere perfect for relaxation. Picture yourself being surrounded by luscious velvet, bold colors, frosted glass, and a toss of pillows everywhere. We’re ecstatic just thinking of the marshmallow couches and the colour-changing lights dotting the pool deck. With top-of-the-line pampering and the surprise design elements spilling out from every corner, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is shopping, going out, and having fun. Not bad for a dilemma.

(22 Mount Elizabeth 228517 Singapore) -Christine Braganza

Face That Sh*t S tarting from a hand-stiched magazine that had the scans of a friend’s art, the concept was nothing but a play of words. FECAL FACE, from creator John Trippe, is a quizzically-named website offering a cyber-hangout for artist and art connoisseurs. But don’t be fooled. Aside from being the blast of colors and mischievous images that resemble Willy Wonka’s factory, this site also offers an incisive look into the art scenes of San Francisco, Los Angeles,

and New York. What’s better, not only does it disseminate the latest buzz to its art-loving readers, it also keeps you updated with different gallery openings. Pick the minds of artists who gained hype thanks to the site that sends fresh word daily; there’s Albert Reyes, Kyle Ranson, and Jeremy Fish. This site is a landmine of inspiration. -Enzo Belen

Custom Made B

outique hotels are always such a palatable eye experience, especially with designers under their commission. CUSTOM HOTEL, located in Los Angeles, definitely satisfies our design hunger. It is a spectacle by famed LA architect Welton Beckett. Every corner and floor has its own quirks. Walking into the lobby, one would see the eclectic furniture and marble floors accented by dark wooden planks and endearing little sheep. Take a short walk outside, and you’ll see the outdoor pool and bar designed with the contemporary California lifestyle in mind. An added bonus has to be the flat-screen TVs, an iPod docking

station, and every modern traveller’s addiction: free Wi-fi. The hotel also gives out free coffee, fruits, and pastries in the morning with chill, soothing music in the background. Anyone care for a croissant?

(8639 Lincoln Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90045; 310.645.0400;) -Enzo Belen



reating a cozy atmosphere of “New Oriental Scenery”, DOZO IZAKAYA DINING BAR—“Dozo” meaning, “please” or “welcome”—ushers you through their wooden door and into oriental heaven. The joint’s decked out with cherry blossoms and Japanese lanterns, giving that Zen energy. Dozo fuses traditional and contemporary interior by using Japanese materials such as wood, steel partitions, and stonewalls. To cap off that neo-oriental touch, Taiko drummers perform live with hypnotizing Ryukyu music, beating as you dine. The cuisine is prepared by

18 -

none other than Japanese delicacy master, Takashi Nozaki, along with Miss Nylon Woo, who has wowed diners at various 5-star hotels. The next time you are in Taipei be sure to stash up on moolah and get your grub on.  

(No. 102, GuangFu S. Road., Daan District ; Taipei City, Taiwan 106) - Tracy Collantes


SEEING GREEN T he new SONY BRAVIA WE5 LCD TV is where environmentalism and technology meet. Aside from its ultra sleek design, this TV model is all about saving energy. First of all, it uses a backlight that saves up to 40% energy compared to other LCD TVs. Its Presence Sensor Function temporarily turns the TV picture off if it senses you aren’t in the room anymore. Think of it like a computer standby mode that shuts off after 30 minutes of nonactivity.  Also, depending on how light or dark your surroundings are, the Ambient Light Sensor can automatically adjust the picture

Flip Out


aris Hilton, Robert Downey Jr., Pamela Anderson, and Obama’s kids even. These are some of the celebrities rocking the Flip Video camcorders to shoot whatever it is them celebs do. The Flip Mino HD is touted as the world’s sleekest HD camcorder. With a 4GB memory, it can store up to an hour’s worth of footage. Enjoy watching your videos on its 1.5” diagonal LCD displaying in 16:9 cinematic widescreen—in other words, that’s crystal clear, people! Powered by the Flip Video Engine 3.0 and an internal lithium-ion battery you can recharge through USB. Sharing, editing, and organizing your

settings without you having to lift a finger. Lastly, you can still save energy with the TV turned off. Instead of having to unplug the cord from the main socket, this TV has an Energy Saving Switch, that lets you shut off the power consumption in a breeze. With all these power saving features, this eco-friendly TV lets us save the planet one show at a time. Captain Planet would be proud. -Vicky H.  

videos and photos are real easy with the pre-installed FlipShare software. Best of all, you can give your new toy a bit of your own personality by customizing the cover with an image of your choice. And with a pricetag of $229.99, a whole lot cheaper than all those other complicated camcorders in the market, the Flip Mino HD is exactly what you need to release the Spielberg in you. -Mikko Abello


torm’s coming! And no, we aren’t talking about the weather. Get ready for BlackBerry’s latest addition—Storm—its first full touch screen phone. The touchscreen called SurePress lets you choose the way you type. Just hold it up in Portrait mode to use the keyboard, sure helpful with its list of 35,000 English words, or flip it sideways to Landscape mode for a full QWERTY keyboard.With the same features we all loved with the original, like camera with zoom and flash, video features, and advanced media player, this will sure send

thunderbolts of lust at anyone. Lest we forget, BlackBerry still is all business. Take calls and e-mail, access the Internet, and do all your biz with just one phone number wherever you are. Getting lost? It’s Bluetooth v2.0-enabled, VZ Navigator capable with built-in GPS, and pre-loaded BlackBerry Maps so you’ll always find your way. Our forecast is this Storm’s definitely gonna hit! -Mikko Abello

Bat-benz N

ope, it’s not the newest Batmobile, but the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG sure feels like it came straight out of the comic book. This car has taken a lot from the aviation world; it has the awesome swing-wing doors, a wing-shaped dashboard, and an amazing interior that looks more like an aircraft cockpit. From the finest materials used, like nappa leather and genuine carbon-fiber facings if you wish, to the electrically-adjustable sports seats with integrated

head restraints, this insane ride provides absolute rider comfort. And with eight airbags that deploy from pretty much everywhere you can think of, you’re sure to feel like a superhero. We could go on and on about this gas guzzler with its sound system designed by Danish audio specialist Bang & Olufsen, but half of its features we don’t understand nor do we think you’ll ever even get to use. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG debuts on the market in Spring 2010. - 19

DJ CONTRA upupdowndown leftrightleftright


DJ VICE www, Black Eyed Peas – The End - “Boom Boom Pow” Vice says: “The Peas have a club banger again! And everyone I talk to whenever I play this agrees that the true star (as bad as it’s gonna sound) is Fergie on this track. Feels good to hear a female MC with that old school swagger on this track carry her weight.” Calvin Harris – “I’m Not Alone” Vice says: “I had no idea what direction this song was going after the first minute and when it takes the twist, it hooked me. If it’s possible I would love to slow dance then rave dance to this over and over and over. Loving it for many reasons!”

ACT UP: The Techy Romantics

The Lonely Island – Incredibad - “I’m on a Boat” Vice says: “If you haven’t seen this on YouTube then you are truly out the loop by now... This is a mandatory track to drop now. I love the people’s reaction and how intense they wanna tell people they are on the boat.”


he Techy Romantics is a band with soul—the dancy kind, well at least that’s what their name means to them. Having found it off an e-vite, Dondi Virrey, the band’s keyman/samplist, immediately checked up MySpace to see

20 -


Curses – The Deep End - “The Deep End (Holy Ghost! Remix)” Contra says: “There are very few acts out today that I can confidently pick up anything they release/ produce/remix and know that I could play it out in the club that night. Holy Ghost! consistently impress me.”

Speedometer – Four Flights Up - “Am I Your Woman? (ft. Ria Currie)” mikecons says: “This song shares the same hook/sample as Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love”. I like playing it because the horn intro fakes people out (they start doing the dance). Doesn’t hurt that it’s released by the UK’s Freestyle Records.”

Amanda Blank – “Driving” Contra says: “Wow, such a beautiful song. Tastefully minimal production by XXXchange (Spank Rock), Amanda captures a hauntingly catchy Stevie Nicks-like vibe as she sings while playing guitar. Definitely keep both eyes on this girl!”

Pete Philly & Perquisite – Mystery Repeats “Hope (DJ Mitsu Remix)” mikecons says: “I play Jazz Hop a lot so I’m always on the lookout for new underground goodies (aaah, I miss the ‘90s…), this duo off Amsterdam is one of my favorites. The track is a head-bobbing mix of Jazz, Breaks, and Soul. Plus it’s remixed by Mitsu. What more can you ask for?”

of these and have bring to the mix, powerful

Major Lazer – Hold the Line - “Hold the Line (ft. Santigold & Lexx)” Contra says: “Switch and Diplo have got some heat with their upcoming release. I’ve worked with both guys over the past 4 years, great respect for what they any table. Put Santi into and you’re dealing with a future.”

Low Vs Diamond – Low Vs. Diamond - “Wasted (Contra Remix)” Contra says: “These boys opened for Santigold on our 1st US tour in 2008. Afterwards, they let me turn their relatively slow, straight, rock ‘n’ roll song into a cool, spacey-disco vibe.”

if the name was taken. Luckily enough, it wasn’t. That worked the beginning of the soulful techno music typical of the Techy Romantics. There’s Camyl Besinga, the Catholic school-girl/ punk rocker on the vocals, Ryan Villena, the trio’s guitarist, plus the occasional DJ, keyman, and samplist Dondi Virrey. With no drummer, no bass—just a guitar, a keyboard, a voice, and a Macbook, they make up this punk-rock-house fusion. Their diverse sound is a reflection of their unique musical backgrounds. Vocalist Camyl says, “We just want to appeal to people who come from the same backgrounds as us, here and abroad.” She started out wanting to sing in a punk rock band while Ryan had stints in the rock scene for years. Dondi, has always been into the house music scene.

Bilal – Love for Sale “High and Dry” mikecons says: “There’s nothing like a cover that’s well-thoughtof. Yes, this is that Radiohead song rendered by the silky smooth Nu Soul cat Bilal (off his yet unreleased Love For Sale album). There’s a surprise Big Band break that serves as the bridge, for good measure. My band actually covers this song.” Mike’s Apartment – Lovers/Quarrel - “Lambing” mikecons says: “Speaking of my band, please check out the latest single from our independently-released debut LP, Lovers/ Quarrel. It’s a snappy Nu Soul joint that’s perfect for chillin’, road trips, or waiting for that wave.”

The Cardigans, The Cure, and New Order helped them create their unique sound. Ryan says, “I wanted to sound the way we want the music to sound for ourselves. The sounds we wanted, the sounds people wanted.” With their natural synergy that translates into their music, the Techy Romantics play with effortless harmony. Dondi says “We’ve got good rapport” and that’s clear. Less than one year of being together, the band is set to release their first album. Now if that doesn’t show that they work well together, we don’t know what does. -Christine Braganza



first saw the film back in 2002. It became my instant favorite film of all time, and all the more when I found out it was directed by my favorite music video director of all time, Spike Jonze. When Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) attended a screen writing workshop, Robert McKee talks about voice-overs and how it should never be used when writing a screenplay. It was only after the 3rd viewing that I realized that after that scene, the movie stopped using VO’s, only until the end of the movie. When Susan Orlean was interviewing John Laroche, she asks how he could just change interests so easily. In a very casual way John tells her, “Done with fish.” [after his obsession with tropical fishes and, previous to that, turtles and Dutch mirrors]. In that short scene and in those three lines you instantly un-

VD hunting is as exciting as unearthing a treasure— like a little French movie which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year, a feat after 2 decades. Its French title Entres les murs is a candid marker to its approach: showing that there are complex circumstances literally Between the Walls of classrooms. The dialogue between teachers and students, the discussions among peers are worth observing for an insight into contemporary social issues. Why is Voltaire now inaccessible for high school students? Why are school grammar rules different from how people actually say things in the streets? Why is the question of homosexuality still brought up by people who say it doesn’t bother their sensibility? In a class composed of


derstand his character, which makes it amazing. This scene was probably one of the reasons why the Academy decided to give Chris Cooper the Best Supporting Actor award. I think what’s special about this film, as well as Spike Jonze’s other films, is the fact that the whole thing feels like it had a special place in the director’s heart. And you could feel that as you watch each and every scene until the very end. The film has heart, and in a way that’s what I try to achieve with the projects that I do. Heart over art! [If I do a cut of Adaptation, it would] definitely be more cheesy. More love and katorpehan and explorations on the feeling of insecurity, but I’m telling you, it wouldn’t be even half as good as it is right now. -King Palisoc



Asians and Africans as much as white Europeans, how do we know what’s suitable to write or what’s proper to say? This novel adaptation raises these questions in typical days of juvenile raucous and sometimes satisfying moments in a teacher’s life. In a class replete with pronounced differences— liking fries, rap, and the hood or hating talent show contests, politicians, and Tektonik— memorizing the Pythagorean theorem, understanding techtonic plates, or reading The Republic might sound irrelevant. The question is: what have you learned yourself? -Nante Santamaria



f you think there’s really a romantic world for city guys and robots, where country boys fall for fishy creatures, where wild animals trick supposedly saner ones, where AI is the new IQ, and where aliens collect the heads of famous people, dude, take these five animated prescriptions from STATUS. Coming soon in theatres. And/or DVDs. -HF Yambao


Roger finds out that he’s controlled by some entity, so he seeks help from supermodel Nina in fleeing from the underground network. This is Europe in a not-sodistant future running out of oil. Just the voice haunting him hints The Matrix all over but possibly more with this shizzle’s $5M in 4 years prod value. Flick Tease: Supermodels don’t save you everyday.

Astro Boy

Osamu Tezuka’s famous manga gets a new millennium makeover and Hollywood star power. The ultimate ‘80s kid superhero from the hyperfuturistic Metro City is back to show this generation how to rock…err, save the world flying with his x-ray vision, improbable speed, and astrorocket strength. Flick Tease: As cute as Pinocchio who kicks ass.

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

Think cute Japanese cartoons ala Little Mermaid. Ponyo’s a fish girl who strays from underwater and ends up in 5-yearold boy Sosuke’s home by the shore. Inspired by the life of its director Hayao Miyazaki, today’s most smashing in Japan, it was awarded anime of the year, and there’s Tina Fey as the lil boy’s mom. Flick Tease: It ranks next to Wii as the No. 1 Hit Product in Japan.

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

Fantastic Mr. Fox

In the most epic Futurama ever, dark forces are on the offensive, hell-bent on blocking the dawn of a super green age. The Planet Express crew’s out on a final adventure searching for robotic love, being space outlaws, and saving the last hope of the universe. With guest star Snoop Dogg, as himself. Flick Tease: The Simpsons meets Star Trek for both geeks and freaks.

How Mr. Fox outwitted three evil farmers to steal chickens, ducks, and turkeys is presented in a pleasantly knotty mix of animations styles. Cult god Wes Anderson reworks the Roald Dahl classic with his take on the work’s bookends. There’s Bill Murray on voice already; now we want to hear the OST complete with scores recorded on location. Flick Tease: It’s The Wild Wild Wes. Period. - 21

An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies By Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith


f you’re wondering whether this is just some sick Internet joke, guess again. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies does exist. It’s available, and it kicks major zombie ass…or whatever’s left of them. With all the collabs and mashups going on these days (just check out YouTube and soak yourself with AMVs), P&P&Z actually comes out as a huge surprise. Using most of the original Austen text, “co-author” Seth Grahame-Smith inserts a mouthful of black humor, wit, action, gore, and martial arts into it. Yup, good ‘ol classic kung-fu—ninjas included to maximize pop culture flavor. The original plot is still there but with some nifty altercations to fit the horror genre. The Bennet daughters are trained in

the ways of the Shaolin to fight-off zombies, politely called “Unmentionables”, plaguing the heavily-fortified cities of Europe. Of course, the Austen formula is very much alive, with the heroine Elizabeth still fighting the gender conventions of her time. And what about Mr. Darcy? He’s now a badass slayer of Unmentionables! Those who love grindhouse-type of movies would totally dig this book. As for Austen fans, well, I still recommend that they give this little piece of modern lit a chance. It’s not everyday that you read stories about Edwardian Era women with guns and knives beating the unliving shit out of some filthy zombie. If Jane Austen is still alive (but she’ll probably be a zombie by now), she might even enjoy it. -Yaj Asovlas

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


hen the trailer for this new Spike Jonze movie made its debut on Ellen (and on the Internet about a minute later), it quickly became one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. But can a movie based on a book with 338 words in 10 sentences be worth the hype? Hell, yeah. Published in 1963, this Maurice Sendak won the Calcott Medal, the Pulitzer for Children’s books, right on the next year. The premise is a staple for other children’s classics like Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland; but instead of a nice little girl, you get Max: a mischievous boy. After messing around the house, he’s sent to the bedroom without dinner. That’s where he creates a mythical land filled with “The Wild Things” who hailed him their king. In three wordless

22 -

spreads, Max roars and tumbles—angry, rowdy, and proud of what he’s doing. But as you flip the page, you see him tired and lonely—something definitely in the core of this book—also a subtle way of showing Max’s fear of growing up. With a script cowritten by McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers, the adaptation is expected to extend the psychological themes in the book. And if you wanna know how committed Jonze is to this project, well, he kicked out his current flame, Michelle Williams out of the production just because she didn’t jive with their vision—that and the numerous re-shoots he had to endure. WTWTA is expected to be released this October together with The Wild Things, a new novel by Eggers inspired by the film.


ny book that dares to proclaim its own awesomeness might receive—and probably deserve—a raised eyebrow or two. Especially if the illustration on the cover shows a frog-like creature sporting a pink cape looking like it’s about to eat the Earth. What awesome things could this “awesome” book possibly have to say that its title practically chants like a cheerleader: A-W-E-S-O-M-E? Flip it open, and the pages will reveal vibrant, whimsy, and bright illustrations of pink unicorns, instrument-playing baboons, jellybean-powered cars, and upside-down trees. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. It also makes for the perfect bedtime reading—if only by making children excited to sleep (which makes parents even more excited) in order to dream “that perfect dream inside your head.” And even if you’re not a child, this awesome first book by writer Dallas Clayton will make you question whether your dreams have been a little bit too grey and practical of late. Every color, shape, drawing, and word in An Awesome Book challenges both child and adult reader alike to dream ginormous dreams that roar—dreams than can’t be mistaken for anything else but dreams. The fact that the lines rhyme only adds to its own dreamy yet sprightly rhythm of fancy that infuses life into the sometimes drab and dreary reality called everyday. If you feel a teenyweeny tinge of doubt in the dreamlike quality of your recent REM-sleep reveries, no need to thank Dallas—just go ahead and dream.

-Shinji Manlangit -Eirene Uy




The Monster Children Gallery based in Australia is an urban and contemporary art gallery that showcases art in various forms. Before you go on thinking it’s a gallery filled with paintings of Stitch with some Gremlin sketches thrown in, think again. From 2D artifacts to Polaroids, graffiti graphics, pop art short stories, and some of the coolest guerilla advertising, the Monster Children Gallery takes art appreciation to a whole new level. The gallery exhibits contemporary artists such as Courtney Brims, Todd James, Beci Orpin, Anthony Lister, Thomas Campbell, Evan Hecox, Andy Jenkins, and Alex Kopps. Definitely some art monsters we’d love to have under our beds.

Attention, size queens! While ad man Jay Chiat once asked, “How big do we have to get before we get bad?” FINALE ART GALLERY says big and bad don’t have to be synonymous. Instead, bigger might actually be better. While most Pasong Tamo warehouse owners use their big space to showcase their BMWs and Porches, Finale owner Evita Sarenas uses her 350 square meter space to showcase the best of Manila’s young contemporary art scene. From the Sotheby’sapproved Geraldine Javier to the always-inventive Poklong Anading, Sarenas and exhibitions manager Sylvia Gaston have provided the big space for the mammoth pieces that have become the contemporary scene’s norm. With its stark white walls, bare concrete floor, and exposed ceiling beams, Finale is a showcase for art, nothing more and nothing less.

20 Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2011, Australia -Tracy Collantes

Warehouse 17, La Fuerza Compound, # 2241 Pasong Tamo, Makati City -Raymond Ang

Illustration by Nikkie Poops

VOCA-BULL-ARY avant-garde – think Lady Gaga wearing her risqué outfits while behaving like Britney Spears Baroque – an ornate 17th cent. aesthetic; the first name of the new US president Dada – early 20th century emos, only smarter Erotica – porn for geeks who see beyond the sublime beauty of the human body GIF – how they animate the picture of that reporter throwing his shoe at Bush (Yeah, we like replaying scenes blow by blow) graffiti – illegal writings on the wall which you can buy in auction galleries. At rates you can’t afford, son horror vacui – why you fill your room’s entire wall with mag cutouts and posters kitsch – Hannah Montana Lorem ipsum – random words from Cicero’s On the Ends of Goods and Evils used by graphic designers and understood by nobody Madonna – picture of the British singer carrying her adopted Malawian baby minimalism – the excuse used by lazy and playsafe artists nude – what subjects wear in erotica Nouvelle Vague, La – a French filmmaking style in the ‘60s; why hipsters worship Wes Anderson photography – the name claimed by Facebook pic snappers who don’t necessarily know what aperture is Pantone – Crayola for graphic designers; referred to in numbers instead of fancy names self-portrait – your Facebook pic, usually taken with a webcam, complete with tacky effects; peace sign optional surrealism – an apple covering your face in a self-portrait, usually uploaded in Flickr and making it to Explore when faved by lovers of erotica trademark – a sign used by artistic people who can sue your for millions later if you bite their style verisimilitude – a measure of how much weight you gain before the camera watercolor – mom painting; pursued when she’s ready to explore her creative side - 23



With the various over-the-counter facial products out there, it’s so hard to know which one suits you best. Why not go for the all-natural ones? Friendly on the skin and the environment, it’s a win-win situation.


The best way to a clean face is by using an effective cleanser. Priori Revitalizing Cleanser gives you this 99.2% natural and gentle, light lathering cleanser that’s suitable for all skin types. Designed not only for your face but also for your body, this natural cleanser will have your skin feelin’ soft and clean in no time.


All those late nights are finally taking its toll on your undereyes. But fret not ‘cause Garnier has the perfect solution: the Garnier Light Brightening Eye Roll-On. This roll-on formulated with caffeine, immediately stimulates the eye area, reducing dark-circles and puffiness fast, leaving you with an instant bright-eyed look.  

6. Seaweed Solutions

Moisturizing before applying make-up is important for beautiful skin. Jurlique’s Moisture Replenishing Day Cream is packed with the zest of calendula, chamomile, and plant oils of rosehip and avocado, to protect the skin. So you can say bye to dryness and hello to healthy-lookin’ skin.


  This soap smells so yummy, it will make you want to put it in your mouth! Fresh’s Sugar Lychee Soap has vegetable glycerin and shea butter base that’s not only healthy for your skin, but nourishing and long lasting as well. What makes this even more tempting is the bright grapefruit and transparent lotus flower that gives you that dewy look.

4. TEA TIME Most ladies want that fresh and clear skin that lasts throughout the day. Kiehl’s now gives us the closest thing possible. This gentle herbal gel toner is formulated with the extraordinary Yerba Maté Tea—made with nutrient-packed concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—to keep you looking at your best all day.

Daily grime and make-up can easily clog pores. The Body Shop gives you this lightweight gel treatment—the Seaweed Pore Perfector—to target problem areas like blocked pores, excess oil and of course, the occasional blemish. Now you can go on with your day without worrying how much dirt’s getting in your face.

7. SOFT LIPS Taking care of those luscious peckers ain’t a seasonal trend. Whether it’s a scorching hot day out or a breezy, windy day ahead, you gotta show some love to those lips. Good thing The Body Shop’s Aloe Lip Treatment is a non-greasy lip balm that nourishes, moisturizes and protects the delicate skin on the lips.

8. SPRAY IT ON You’re in dire need of some shut-eye, but you know you can’t afford to go to bed. Splash your face and spritz some of Juice Beauty’s Hydrating Mist to help you feel refreshed and awake. What’s great about it is it’s certified organic, making it suitable even for sensitive skin.










Wingtip Shoes

Camo Jacket

New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Singapore, Manila. Sweat the technique.

Gray Dress

Photographed by Vicky Herrera

V-Neck Tee

Varsity Jacket

High Waisted Shorts

Trench Dress

Faded Jeans

Printed Dress Scarf

26 -

Tweed Vest

Distressed Vest Colored Sunglasses

Electric Blue Dress

Aviator Sunglasses

Oxford Shirt

Black Vest Purple Pants

Head Wrap

Printed Lining

Printed Tights

send them gosee photos to - - 27

SWAG JUNE/JULY 2009 Photographed by Revolution at Triptych Studio Make up by River Guilas of MAKE UP FOR EVER and Egay Dacay of THE MAKE UP FORUM Hair by Jimryan Ros Modeled by Kaye Agnes of Calcarrie’s International Models Philippines and Derek Hubalde of PMAP



Simply exquisite. Try ‘em for size.

Shirt by WeSC [P4,350] Jeans by WeSC [P8,300] Shoes by Generic Surplus [P3,350]

30 -




















1. Onitsuka Tiger Lawnship [P5,200] 2. Generic Surplus Boatshoes [P3,000] 3. Puma R698 Mesh [P4,230] 4. Generic Surplus Military High [P3,350] 5. Supra Skytop [P9,150] 6. Supra EE Diablo [P4,680] 7. Generic Surplus-Plimsol [P2,685] 8. Etnies [P3,700] 9. Vans Av3 [P4,495] 10. Etnies Sal 23 [P4,200] 11. Emerica Parker [P4,200] 12. DC Smith 2.0 [P4,790] 13. DC Pure xe [P4,290] 14. DC RD 1.5 se [P4,490] 15. Adidas Forum lo rs [P3,995] 16. Adidas Superstar I TP [P4,295] 17. Nike Dunk High 08 nd [P4,195] 18. Nike Air Max 90 Premium Le [P5,995] 19. Puma r698 mesh [P4,230]

19. - 31




Jacket by WeSC [P7,300] Shirt by Dimmak [P1,600] Jeans by WeSC [P8,300]




Stock your inventory with must-have prints. 1. Dimmak [P1,600] 2. DC [P1,290] 3. Ezekiel [P1,200] 4. Dimmak [P1,600] 5. Greyone Social [P1,500] 6. Puma [P1,370] 7. Daily Grind [P5,50] 8. DC [P1,290] 9. Dimmak [P1,600] 10. Daily Grind [P500] 11. DC [P1,290] 12. Hurley [P1,150] 13. Team Manila [P550] 14. WeSC x Stash [P2,875] 15. Billabong [P1,650]

16. 16. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

Jeepney Clothing [P1,350] Adidas [P1,495] Vans [P350] Adidas [P1,495] Team Manila [P550] Deter Clothing [P1,200] Billabong [P1,500] Deter Clothing [P1,200] Electric [P1,300] Puma [P695] Sneaktip [P1,970] Stussy [P1,225] Dope Clothing [P1,250] Dimmak [P1,600] Crooks & Castles [P1,780]



32 -

























30. - 33



SWAG 3. 1.










9. 12. 10.




golden touch

That little extra shines a long way.

1.Tint [P1,398] 2.Tint [P1,398] 3.Dumond [P1,255] 4.Tint [P998] 5.Aldo [P1,055] 6.Tint [P998] 7.Aldo [P895]

8.Tint [P1,998] 9.Dumond [P1,300] 10.Dumond [P2,000] 11.Aldo [P2,895] 12.Aldo [P595] 13.Firma [P1,480] 14.Aldo [P695]

34 -

swag 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

WATCH yourself

The Ivy [P14,900] The Murf [P21,000] 5130 [P17,000] 4220 Chrono [P22,400] The Outsider [P9,800] The Capital [P13,000] The Dictator [P10,200] The District [P11,900]

9. The Quatro [P8,300] 10. The Small Player [P13,300] 11. The Private [P7,900] 12. The Rigi [P11,900] 13. The Iris [P8,900] 14. The Lodown [P7,750] 15. The Iris [P8,900] 16. The Newton [P7,200] *All watches from Nixon available at Stoked Inc. stores nationwide.

...Coz timing is everything
















16 - 35




Black Dress by Trilogy [P2,850] Shoes by Aldo [P6,995]











These sexy and solid platform heels make you feel like you’re walkin’ on clouds. 1. Michael Kors [P5,850] 2. Aldo [P6,495] 3. Gaupo [P17,000] 4. Steve Madden [P7,450] 5. Charles & Keith [P3,450] 6. Solea [P3,875] 7. Steve Madden [P6,450] 8. Charles & Keith [P3,250] 9. Enzo Angiolini [P8,250] 10. Michael Kors [P7,450] 11. Solea [P4,190] 12. Nine West [P6,650] 13. Steve Madden [P4,950] 14. Micheal Kors [P6,950] 15. Micheal Kors [P6,650]

36 -

















Dress by Topshop [P3,195] Bag by Tint [P3,998] Earrings by Firma [P380]


Keep your small, handy items close with these fun shoulder bags. 1. Tint [P5,998] 2. Tint [P5,998] 3. Charles & Keith [P1,999] 4. Aranaz [P4,200] 5. Dumond [P8,300] 6. Aranaz [P1,700] 7. Carbon [P6,998] 8. Topshop [P1,995] 9. Charles & Keith [P2,299] 10. Aranaz [P7,500] 11. Dumond [P4,700] - 37


COLOR ME BAD Choose your weapon of choice to attack your coloring book. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

38 -

Crayons [P26.75] Super Color [P51.75] Stabilo [P33.75] Sakura [P26.50] Artline [P98.00] Pentel [P39.75] Schneider [P30.00]

SWAG - 39


lip service From Georgia to outer space, BLACK LIPS talk about their long psychedelic journey and starting to sober up, or so they say. Having just released their new album 200 Million Thousand, the selfproclaimed flower punk band talk with STATUS about not having day jobs, recording analog, and their filthy mouths. By Nante Santamaria Photographed by Zach Wolfe


ne of these days, you’re about to witness the first band to play in outer space. Well, maybe. “If Sir Richard Branson, the rebel millionaire, sponsors us, then we will surely go,” they remain tentative. That would literally be a long way since Black Lips soared off their garage punk beginnings in Atlanta. That’s a southern city, all right, but as the guys themselves once said, the best rock ‘n’ roll comes from alienated, middle class, suburban young people. Come to think of it, shooting to space or not, just listen to them and you get the same blast. That’s what happens when you have Cole Alexander (vocals/guitar), Jared Swilley (vocals/bass), Joe Bradley, and Ian Saint Pé (guitar) in a studio which just released 200 Million Thousand. More diverse than the band’s previous four records, they now shed better light on their influences like Wu-Tang Clan, Los Saicos, and 13th Floor. But that doesn’t mean a lot of fuss. Their blues-infused brand of garage country rock is all about being raw and earnest. Get a dose of their “Short Fuse” and “Bad Kids”, and you’ll hear the multiple layers of spunk and badness their fans go crazy for. With their four to five gigs a day in SXSW 2007, you’d think that Cole would totally struggle just to speak by noon, but on they went until the end of the round-the-clock fest—just to avoid washing dishes or rolling tortilla sandwiches. “We like to play,” and attesting to that, they continue “We haven’t had day jobs in about 4 years.” In that same year, they signed up with Vice Records,

40 -

joining other cult bands like Bloc Party, Justice, and The Stills. It must be one hot mess in their studio party. But then, that’s something they willingly get themselves into. Back in Georgia, they were banned from a club after burning down a set of drums. In a Merc Lounge gig at NY, Cole pissed to his mouth and spit the concoction to the audience. And in an epic Indian tour, he kissed Ian before the raving crowd and played the guitar with his, uhm, p(r)ick. That concert had to be cut short, and they immediately fled from the conservative country they just messed with. But that was then. Recent observers note that the band may be losing their edge as they soften up. They just shrug it off and say “No. We’re not circus clowns.” You’re probably thinking: these guys just read How to be a Rockstar for Dummies. The truth is: they’re just hardcore like that. “We do what we feel like,” they say and “we are very impulsive and bad at planning things. That’s why we never did school, and only do this.” If you’re lucky too see them live, you’ll notice that their guitars are not even in tune sometimes. But

that’s the charm. Even when doing their punk records, they prefer to press the sounds on hard vinyl before encoding them into CD’s. “We are very strict about having everything analog and recording live with minimal mics. More human that way. More passion. Robots don’t have emotions.” Sorry to rippers and P2P sharers; they just can’t hear all the grit unless they go to Black Lips concerts or get the black crepes. Nice anti-piracy campaign, yes? Except the guys also cuss like pirates themselves. Which doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. “Girls love us. Even when we have filthy mouths. Actually, I think they like that better.” With the ongoing rabid reception to 200MT and with each guy pursuing his side project, looks like everybody’s happy and it’ll be a long way to go even if they push through to outer space. Really, why would anyone leave? Cole says “Because this is my life, and we’re a gang united by one cause. And I am having the time of my life.”


Social Harmony The Original Broken Social Scene-ster BRENDAN CANNING dishes out the dirt on the band’s ever-growing ranks, Canadian law, and a mysterious place known only as “Poo Mountain”. By Chiara Cui Photographed by Norman Wong


f you’ve purchased this magazine, chances are you probably own one or all six of Broken Social Scene’s albums, you dirty hipster, you. And if you don’t—well then, why the hell not? Broken Social Scene’s been a reliable staple in every music geek’s diet since they first charmed the panties (or boxers—we don’t discriminate) off us with their debut album Feel Good Lost in 2001, and then again with 2002’s You Forgot It In People. With songs that speak to both the hopeless romantic and fervent cynic in all of us, Broken Social Scene has crafted a sound that is as original as it is complex. What started as a dynamic duo, with Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, in 1999 has evolved into something you could actually call a social scene, with, like, 17 or so people calling themselves bandmates. Broken Social Scenesters now include the likes of Emily Haines from Metric, Leslie Feist, then Amy Millan and Torquill Campbell of Stars, to, you know, name a few. Since then, they’ve managed to take up permanent residency in the hearts and playlists of indie-rock fans worldwide, and though we may never be as cool as them, at least we’ve got the music. And, hey, if Lester Bangs has taught us anything, it’s that,

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” Hey Brendan! Tell us what you’ve been up to lately. Aside from the cold winter, the band just finished a quick tour, which brought us to Texas and then to the west coast of North America. I also just finished a video for the song “Love is New” from my record. It’s interesting how you call yourself a collective instead of just a band. That means it’s not unusual for two gigs to sound very different from each other while still allowing us to identify that it’s you. What musical elements keep the “Broken Social Scene” consistent? The musical elements are trust, understanding, listening, and visualizing. That’s why the music will always sound like Broken SS. Okay, we’ll spare you the “How many Broken Social Scene members are there?” question, but for the fans who wanna know—are you still open to more members? Always open for more interesting people until the day we die. What major influences have inspired you to create the music that you do?

Kraftwerk, Beastie Boys, Tortoise, Pink Floyd, Aphex Twin, Motorhead, Sun Ra, DRI. But obviously, each of you brings in completely different musical influences, so that you guys have instrumentals, as well as vocal-driven tracks, ambient, and electro. Who decides on the musical direction? Quite often the song will dictate in its own way. In other words, if it’s sounding good, don’t start asking too many questions. Perhaps that’s why your sound continues to evolve through all the albums. Where is it going now given the larger set of musicians involved? We’ll know when we start recording. Do you actually put limits on improvisation? You guys don’t just pitch in your part as you please—do you? Tell us about your creative process. …and give away our secrets? Not on your life. (Laughs) Fair enough. We still think the “I’m Still Your Fag” video was brilliant. That video was a short film shot eight years before the song was written. The text was added once the song was was done by Chris Grismer.

Where it always has: in people’s ability to make interesting and creative music that will challenge the norms that envelop us on a daily basis. How the music is digested is anyone’s guess. Any strange or interesting ontour experiences that you’re at liberty to divulge? Our tour manager was in six countries in thirty hours to retrieve my passport, which was left in a German hotel. We made the gig, which was in Spain, but it was such a shit show that it is forever known as Poo Mountain. Bummer. Any places you want to play at but haven’t gotten a chance to? A lot of people here in Manila would kill to see you guys live. I’ll just wait by the phone and wait for Manila to call and hopefully no one gets hurt. Killing is a crime in Canada. Is that so? How about that new album we heard you’re releasing this year, is it true? What should we be keeping our eyes fixated on in the twenty-oh-9? …In the world of rock ‘n’roll, nothing is ever certain.

So, where does the future of music lie? - 41



All over the internet and into the world, LITTLE BOOTS, aka Victoria Hesketh, is walking all over us, and we love it. Intro by Isabel Tañedo Interview by Vicky Herrera


42 -

that’s “Stuck on Repeat.” Teaming up again with Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, Little Boots released her debut album Hands in last month. First things first, let’s talk about your online videos. You’ve done a lot of covers and the outcome is refreshing since it gives your own take on the music. Why do you like doing this?  I’ve always done a lot of covers because when I learn someone else’s song I break it down and understand how it works so it makes me a better songwriter. The videos just started as a joke with my friend, but we had such a brilliant response that I started doing more and taking requests online. It’s just something that really connects with people because they are so raw and genuine.   Who would you love to do covers of your songs? We hear you’re a big David Bowie and Kylie fan—it would be totally crazy if they did a cover of “Stuck on Repeat” or “Meddle.” (Laughs) Yeah I would love Bowie to do “Stuck on Repeat” I can imagine that. Maybe Miley Cyrus could do a pop punk version of “Meddle.” Pop, Electro, Hip-hop and Rock… Do you think genres can still even be defined nowadays with all these mash-ups? I suppose not, I think genres are always a bit misleading; there will always be music that can’t be defined or put in a box because that’s the nature of it and always has been. I suppose categorizing and giving things names helps people understand it and have reference points so it’s not entirely bad.   You’ve been through a lot of struggle with Pop Idol and indie band Dead Discoboth experiences weren’t easy to go through. What was the hardest and most important thing you’ve learned from these experiences that are now helpful to your career? It wasn’t really that bad! Pop Idol was just one day of my

life, so it wasn’t a big deal, it was just an opportunity. It didn’t work out which looking back was the best thing to have happen. My band was more difficult, as I really loved it so it was sad when it started to come apart. I think now it was the best thing for everyone involved. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to trust myself and my gut instincts.   I see you are all up on YouTube and MySpace, with your own blog to add. How do you feel about the Internet? I think its all part of the world we live in now and ultimately its pretty exciting, people will look back on this time as revolutionary in the internet. I only ever do online stuff that I enjoy and want to share, never stuff that feels contrived or forced. I hate when you come across artists where it’s obvious their record labels had them do online stuff or are faking it. There always seems to be that fine line between the rawness of the independent vs. the fame of the mainstream. In your case, do you ever think you can still achieve mainstream success and still keep up that raw quality? I just want to keep making music and writing good pop songs. If a song is good you can’t really dispute it, it’s just a good song. I don’t really think too much about what’s mainstream or what isn’t. I just try to write the best songs I can.   I’m gonna bring out the girly girl in me and talk about your hair. Since the time you’ve dyed it, really do Blondes have it better? My hair is certainly in a lot worse condition! And the up keep is very time consuming and expensive, but I think it looks less nerdy and I did meet a really hot guy who is now my boyfriend… so I guess so.

Photo courtesy of Warner Music

was asleep! I just woke up and am on my way to two photo shoots, then rehearsal, a video meeting and the gym. I’m exhausted just thinking about it,” says Little Boots. It’s a fastpaced schedule for the rising music star. It’s as if overnight, Little Boots was crowned to conquer the pop music world in the most modern way possible: via the internet. But calling her an Internet star doesn’t do her any justice. For unlike the other photo filled and useless ramble blogs out there, Little Boots possesses more talent than what is visible through your screen.       Born in Lancashire, England, Little Boots started messing around with music at just 5 years old, starting with piano and moving on to synths at 17.  A onetime Pop Idol contestant, Little Boots has graduated from touring with a jazz band, and all-girl dance-pop band Dead Disco. Now, at the ripe age of 25 and armed with new gadgets like the Japanese Tenorion, Stylophone and Theremin, Little Boots is wowing the music world, releasing that song on your iPod



There’s this one hip-hop artist who doesn’t live up to the bling of his industry, and it’s a good thing we found him. A tad bit shy of the limelight, PASTA GROOVE shows us what’s beyond rappin’ and scratchin’. By Raymond Ang Photographed by Miguel Miranda


hen you’re invited to a hip-hop head’s home studio, this is what you expect: some bling on the table, a Biggie or Tupac poster on the wall, and maybe even a bulldog or two. In Pasta Groove’s case, however, this is what you get: a Louis Armstrong record on top of the DJ mixer, a framed Hitchcock poster leaning on a wall, a Trainspotting can, and what looks like a keyboardguitar resting near a drum box. As if things couldn’t get more unlikely, he brings out a signed Ryan Cayabyab record. Mr. C, as the genius Filipino composer is known, was once an aunt’s plus one

to a family dinner. Being a fan of the master’s jazzified version of traditional serenades (Kundiman), Pasta Groove didn’t miss a beat. He introduced himself and brought the legend down to his home studio. “My fan boy moment,” he recalls. Paolo Garcia to his friends and family, Pasta Groove is a music fan first and foremost. Though he grew up with hip-hop culture, MC-ing at twelve and DJ-ing at clubs by 16, it was his gramp’s vinyl collection that opened his eyes to the genres that preceded hip-hop. “My grandfather passed away and he left his record collection with me… I’d go through them and I’d hear the original

The music is thick, carried by a heavy hip-hop beat with a feeling of drunken carelessness carried by blissful instrumentation that wouldn’t be out of place in a Billie Holiday record. Then there’s a soaring soul vocal that might as well be Erykah Badu. Distinktive is a music fan’s tribute to hip-hop, and the melting pot of Pasta Groove’s radically diverse influences. “This is really my take on hip-hop culture. I’m hoping people will realize that it’s a tree with different branches.” The branches are, of course, soul, jazz, hip-hop, and funk. Being that his dad and uncle were part of Hotdog—

that’s what people want to see. People want to dance too. They want a piece of that top ten whatever.” It’s this disparity between himself and the Akons or Nellys that leaves him feeling disconnected from the mainstream, and perhaps the reason why only five hundred copies of Distinktive were printed. After all, Distinktive is more a labor of love than an industry product. It’s really just the result of five years worth of jamming sessions and more than forty collaborations—from Up Dharma Down’s Armi to Kjwan’s Jhoon— before the world spotted them. But contrary to his friends’ fate, Pasta Groove actually doesn’t want this album to explode and become the talk of the town because he released this for his homies, not the industry. He continues to surprise us, “For me the most fulfilling part of this whole thing was going out backpacking the album and selling it and having my peers wanting to buy it and support it and having their love. I’m happy that it got out to those people, the ones that really wanted it, and the ones who are making moves as well in terms of this kind of sound… this groove shit.”

samples of hip-hop artists. It kind of made me realize that everything was just passed on. Hip-hop really is a samplebased music that looks back to the past.” By the time Pasta Groove plays a track from his album The Distinktive Sounds of Pasta Groove, the initial randomness of the home studio starts to make sense.

the band that pioneered Manila Sound in the ‘70s—music has become his way of connecting to the older generations. “Hip-hop helped preserve that sound. It’s splicing and dicing…deconstructing music but with the live element [included] to keep a human pulse.” But hip-hop this experimental is not always an easy sell. “The music videos and bling— - 43




90’s-obsessed and mustached, skating DJ Graham Funke would trade his fancy spirits for 7&7’s. No scum artist. By Marla Cabanban Photographed by Shawn Smith


orn with a last name like Funke (we kid you not; his father, cinematographer Alex Funke, is IMDb-able), it’s likely that your destiny has been laid out for you. Such is the case with the mustachioed Graham Funke. A ten-year veteran in the DJ scene, the guy packs substance with panache. Aside from the usual slew of celebrity patrons, he also has the names of Hillary Clinton and director Bryan Singer, among others, under his belt. With his roots in LA, he has become an institution of sorts in the last decade—being the spark that helped ignite some of the more notable clubs in the area. He finally solidified his status with the world-famous Forty Deuce in Sin City. The man has a lot to say, and we’re lucky enough that he has taken the time to exhaustively answer all the questions posed at him. What is DJ-ing in LA like in a nutshell? My main man Benny Black got a note recently that might shed some light. Essentially, Los Angeles developed the notion that you could get away with playing music not necessarily associated with dance clubs. Our hot spots always had a ratio of patrons who might be in rock bands or actors who fancied something besides your typical nightlife faire. So we aimed to please everybody, utilizing good songs from all genres, and still keep the dancefloor packed. Nonetheless, this multiple-genre style of DJ-ing seems to be affiliated with Las Vegas in the recent past and there is an easy explanation for it: when Sin City started its nightclub boom, they imported Hollywood DJs to open the venues.

44 -

What can you say to this Henry Rollins’ quote: “There is nothing like going to a euro music festival and hanging out with these super-selfimportant guys who carry suitcases of records. What are you? ‘I’m a musician, man. I’m a D.J.’ You’re a fucking thief of music. You’re a record player player.” There is some truth to Mr. Rollins’s statement; I constantly remind my peers that we are just playing records, and while it is the skill set, creativity, and programming that separates one DJ from the next, the main purpose of the job is the success of the night. Am I thief? I think not.

We hear you’re into skating; what can you say about how it it’s picking up again and how it’s not unusual to have DJ events tandem with it? I grew up on the Westside of Los Angeles; skateboarding was intrinsic to the nature of that area. Skateboarding is a sport of the individual, which ultimately promotes the unity of a group. DJing essentially has the same blueprint. In addition, both are activities that all people are aware of, yet very few actually understand. Birds of a feather, you know, and that is why you are finding more and more instances where skateboarding and DJing are paired.

Social lubricant of choice? For real, if a club serves Fernet-Branca or Suntory or Bollinger, I’m impressed and set for the evening; this is so rare. But I will gladly settle for a refreshing 7&7.

What are you working on these days? StoneRokk and I, known affectionately as “The Captains of Industry,” have our fingers in a few pies. We have been in the studio working on music for some of your fave artists, been in one meeting after the next with various entertainment entities, and finally “got the band back together,” joining our old buddies DJ Vice, DJ Five, and DJ OB-one, behind the S.K.A.M. artist banner, under the tutelage of Sujit Kundu.

If you weren’t a DJ, what do you think you’d be doing now? I’ve produced music, I’ve acted, I’ve been published, I’ve crossed the globe playing records. Basically, if something interests me, I get involved. So if records hadn’t caught my fancy at an early age, that energy would’ve been directed at one of the other facets. StoneRokk and I are gearing up to tackle the world of sailing next.

Name a song that will always make you remember the start-up days. I’m gonna go with “Double Dutch Bus” by Frankie Smith. What’s the chief difference between the current crop of superstar DJ’s and the landscape you were in when you first started out? When myself and my peers began, there was no money and there was no fame. There was only love of music and the artform. Now that you can get rich and famous as a DJ, you are forced to question the motivation of some of these newbies. And you want the truth. You encounter celebrities, iconoclasts, and legends when you do your rounds, but who are the people that would get you to drop on the floor and foam in the mouth in ecstasy? Half the time, I don’t recognize the people of note. And if they must explain to me why they are of note, then they aren’t anybody I’d be interested in. I’ve had a few influences in my life, each a pillar in his chosen field, and I’ve tried to incorporate their influence into my own worldview. Individuals like Emilio Pucci, Roger Vadim, Bob Guccione, Ernest Tidyman, Anton Szandor LaVey, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and my old man Alex Funke. Unfortunately, most are history, but not too long ago, I did cross paths with one of my idols in the lobby of the Chateau Marmont: Robert Evans.



jazz Sound artist, improv actor, conceptual filmmaker, and datascratcher TENGAL teaches STATUS how he gets away with murdering all sorts of sound. By Nante Santamaria


s I briskly walked along this semiflooded sidestreet to meet Earl Drilon, TENGAL to most people, I was thinking what his asylum might look like. I imagined a bachelor’s bedroom/ recording lab, but what I got was a house possibly built in the ‘60s, two brown mongrels taking shed in the garage, and an aunt waiting for her voice student in the living room. “You should be interviewing her, not me. She’s an opera singer in New York.” he sheepishly suggested after greeting me. That afternoon we talked in his wide old school salon, there was something ominous about the heavy rain lashing on the roof. The scene at the windswept garden could very well be from one of his video clips, looped while he’s mixing some ambient sound samples to some visual algorithm. The wind tentatively whistling through the faded curtains said I was in for a kill. Tengal just pours, no, surges with razorsharp insight when he rambles about his work. What would you expect from an artist preparing a desert shoot for an installation called Situations of the Flesh, jumping from Malaysia to Singapore for music festivals, and managing a media art kitchen called SABAW (lit. soup)? You’ll sense his odd appetite for the obscure and taboo—from bondage to post-DJing, philosophy to “acting”, and his childhood fancy Shawie to, well, shit. Here are some life lessons from the guy who scored directors Raya Martin’s Autohystoria, Khavn De la Cruz’ Squatterpunk, John Torres’ Todo Todo Teros, and Lav Diaz’ Death in the Land of Encantos resounding acclaims in Cinemanila, Vancouver, and Venice film festivals. For all I knew, he probably was coding, through all the buzz of questions, some kind of music I couldn’t record. Sound designer + composer + actor + curator + filmmaker = ARTIST Maybe I’m just an artist in a very general way…what interested me most were these composers who were pushing the boundaries of notated music… You approach the musician maybe in a more spiritual way, in a more direct way.

Shit happens when you steal samples from a religious fanatic’s radio show. [“Godhead” was] my early experiment…and I had this band…called Eattae… If you can read in Filipino, you’ll definitely know it means [eat] shit. We were joking ourselves that our genre would be murder jazz—like we’re murdering musical jazz…what was interesting in making this thing was the song was notated…that’s basically radio sampling. Filmmakers can be rockstars too. When I got back [from Berlinale Talent Campus], I started working with Lav Diaz… We were playing in this noise band…called The Brockas. We were just basically pissing the music scene off—that was the intention, playing with hype. Musical instruments can feed on themselves. I’ve also been performing lately with a very simple mixer, and I just put the output of the mixer and play it inside. It’s like the mixer is feeding on itself. You’re generating the internal sound of the mixer… It’s like a post-DJ thing. DJ’s scratch records; a post-DJ would scratch data or mix data. Stem cell research will preserve genius. Maybe I’m an old man stuck in a young man’s body. But I don’t really wanna grow old anymore. I just wanna retain this. If I could be immortal, and my brain can probably just grow and whatever and I can keep my body to the same thing…that would be great. Starving artists can live off grants. I don’t have time to do something else. That’s why I’m also broke… I used to work for…a cable show and created this macho, sexist, politically incorrect show called Men Power… That’s pretty much the closest thing that I had to a day job. Don’t do what is asked, and you could still pass. My school’s kind of experimental…it’s called Community of Learners; it’s in QC… they were encouraging us [through] these alternative teaching methods. Instead of making a paper, for example, can I just make a comic book…as a project? It pretty much taught me how to get away with anything. Real life can make you the Best Actor. I don’t even think I could call it acting…[the director of Todo Todo Teros] was telling me stuff but, most of the time, I was just doing my own thing. There’s no scriptwriting, and then he just…follows me around, and then I sort of interact. That’s a very strange experience. You can be your own teacher. I didn’t have money [on my birthday]… To celebrate, I just made a sort of vow to myself and to the public: “OK, I’m gonna make 23 albums and release it in 23 months…” I’m going to…make it into a box set and call it My Education because it is, in a way…a self-education thing…you sort of challenge yourself so you move forward, and after that, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. - 45


COSMIC ORDER When UP DHARMA DOWN comes to mind, the average audiophile immediately recognizes them as one of the more original, distinct reverberations in Filipino music today. With their second album out and kicking the butt of the sophomore-slump monster, STATUS checks out the group that feeds on Chinese food and produces food for our souls. By Marla Cabanban Photographed by Team Manila Makeup by Kay Rodriguez for Make Up Forever


ad Up Dharma Down never existed, vocalist Armi says she would be flying a plane or cooking. Guitarist Carlos Tañada insists he’d still be in a band but conceded that he probably would be doing the same thing he does on the side–running a couple of noodle stalls. Manager Toti Dalmacion chews in agreement as the other two proceeded to make a killing out of the Chinese food they just ordered. But thank God Up Dharma Down does exist. Their debut album Fragmented, released in 2006 left listeners swept off their feet. Raw, thought-provoking, and soulful, Up Dharma Down’s brand of unclassifiable electronica was also able to perk the interest of the BBC’s Mark Coles and Time Magazine. Fast forward to now after releasing a stunner second album, Bipolar, in 2008 and frontwoman Armi Millare winning as this year’s Best Overall Female Vocalist at the Asian Voice Independent Music Awards. As you shoot the band quizzical looks when you make your inquiries, you’ll be countered with simple answers and wistful headshakes, coupled with gentle peals of laughter. The four self-proclaimed introverts are adorably scared shitless of being put on the spot; they literally don’t have much to say. Deer in headlights is the collective facial norm, and as Armi

46 -

says, if she were to have her way, she’d reduce her duties to strictly songwriting and performing. The subject of Bipolar and the sophomore slump came into discussion. As the typical definition of the slump goes, it supposedly arises as a result of ill preparation.  Fragmented had the advantage of gaining momentum from years of notebook-scribbled lyrics and melodies. “The trick is to make a first one,” as Carlos quips. Both he and Armi describe the generation of Bipolar as something they gladly took their time with without being overly indulgent. If a phrase could sum up Up Dharma Down’s chief motivation, it would be when Armi said, “The mood sets the product. Timing is everything.” No traces of a slump can be deduced from this album. If anything, the listener can detect more cohesion in its songs. If Fragmented echoed the footprints of Armi and Pol, Bipolar feels like a culmination of all four members, with everyone getting equal billing. Being a self-produced band meant calling the shots with the direction one wanted to take. A lot of emotion is chucked into their end product, with Armi sharing that she can’t write a song that isn’t drawn from real life, or “creative non-fiction,” as she thoughtfully added.

Carlos and Armi redirect my design queries to their drummer Ean Mayor, a graphic designer by profession, who also panders to the call of the mood. “Our music is already complicated, I guess… with different elements, styles. I like minimal designs when it comes to visuals… Gusto ko ma-calm yung owners ng Bipolar with the album art.” He cites VASAVA (a Barcelona design firm), Peter Seville (famous for the sleeve designs of Joy Division and Suede), Travor Jackson, and Kashiwa Sato as his inspirations. When asked about having the word “trippy” as its most designated term coined by their fans to describe them, Armi and Carlos chorus with amusement, “Well, better than boring?” They themselves don’t know what to make out of the iridescent concoction they have on their hands, yet what we know is that whatever it is they’re doing, it works, and we like it. STATUS recommends: Fragmented: 1. Oo 2. Pag-agos 3. Lazy Daisy

Bipolar: 1. Taya 2. Sana 3. All Year Round



NY three-piece HEARTSREVOLUTION incites a riot with their ice cream truck-aided glitch electro music. By Ralph M. Mendoza Photographed by Curtis Culig


or obvious reasons, the idea of Dairy Queen trucking around their frozen goods to the sound of electronica is as remote as it sounds. HeartsRevolution, while not as huge a dessert brand yet, has managed to do so and even more. Procuring a DIY refurbished ice cream truck called Heartschallenger, the trio began selling their merch—ice cream, toys, vinyl—at gigs back in 2004. Eventually, electro ensemble HeartsRevolution was formed. “Initially we did not set out to start a band,” says Prince Terrence (live drums). “Ben (Ben Pollock, synths/electronics) was in another band. Lo (Leyla “Lo” Safai, vocals) asked him to make music for the ice cream truck. It felt good to work on something fun without limitations, so he quit to do something he believed in.” Since then, HeartsRevolution has blazed trails to

as far as UK. Recent discography includes a 12” dubbed Ultraviolence, a split 6” with colleague Crystal Castles and two EPs—C.Y.O.A. and Switchblade. STATUS probes their beginnings, ice cream trucks, Swarovski crystals, and futurevolutions. The Heartschallenger ice cream truck eventually parked in your lives. You guys have organized parties, sold sweets, toys, and anything imaginable. How exactly did a music career come about? After that we did our first track, “CYOA! or Choose Your Own Adventure” on a white heart shaped vinyl, we thought it would be nice to create the music we wanted to hear and make it beautiful. After that record sold out (in a week) we made a 6” glow in the dark split w/ another boy/girl duo from Toronto, Crystal Castles. The rest is history. A little over a year ago we added

Prince Terrence to the band. He plays drums. Together we are the holy trinity. Care to name-drop some musical influences? Ben: Motown, Wu-Tang, Pink Floyd, The Beatles Lo: The Strokes, Nirvana, Bikini Kill, The Smiths Terrence: Liquid Liquid, Tricky, Portishead Was it always easier pushing your music out there since you had the truck to aid you? We have never tried to push anything. If you create a quality item or experience people will want to share that with their friends. Heartschallenger Ice Cream Truck is our own magical bubble to transport our ideas, dreams, and in the process... ice cream, candy, toys and merchandise.

I like the odd heaviness of C.Y.O.A. It’s got electroclash thrown in there, but how else would you describe your material? Was this track taken from the book series I grew up devouring? Yes, the title came from the book series, but the energy came from being at a crossroads in our lives. In your 20’s you spend time figuring out who you are and what you stand for. Then before you know it you are faced with responsibilities, and your life gets planned out for you by default. CYOA is all about not knowing anything and figuring out everything as you go along, taking the time to stop and to do what you want today and not waiting another minute longer to being the person you want to be. Quickly back to music: have you been touring of late? Where are you now? This past 6 months we have supported Midnight Juggernauts, Sebastien Tellier, Ladyhawke, Peaches, Yelle. Heartsrevolution is in NYC finishing up the album and working on videos. Give me your top 3 gigs. The really memorable ones that you dream of duplicating someday. Heartsrevolution is all about change. We aren’t into duplicating experiences. [We are] creating things that are exciting, new and inspiring. Your debut single “Ultraviolence” was released December 1st 2008 by Kitsuné Records. The same label that helped Thieves Like Us. What’s in store for Hearts this 2009? Heartsrevolution just signed to do a full-length record with Kitsuné! The label is run by Gildas Loaec, he has worked with Daft Punk for the past 15 years and fully understands the importance of visuals to complete the musical story. For the debut album Ride or Die we are making videos for every track. It is a long process but we will take every opportunity to spell out our vision and message. Other than that, we love the idea of creating a parallel universe… made of Swarovski crystals! Why don’t you guys pull up at Manila and throw the next party here soon? We’ve had lots of revolutions, literal hardhitting coups, you name it. We would love to! One of my dearest friends from childhood was from Manila. He used to show me pictures and it seemed like a magical place with clear water and white sand beaches. When’s the party?! Just let us know, and we will bring the ice cream! - 47



Furniture designer MILO NAVAL tells STATUS about his love for Le Corbusier, having no typical day, and solving the global crisis one furniture at a time. By Nante Santamaria Photographed by Revolution


hile he’s not one of those rock ‘n roll artists, I immediately got the creative vibe when I entered Milo Naval’s high-rise abode— boasting a two-wall view of the business district’s noon skyline, solid geometric furniture in the living room, a widescreen LCD TV, and a huge spherical lamp looming over the long table where he sat. I guess that’s just how it is when the artist you’re dealing with is an architect turned interior designer turned furniture maker. Everything seems neutral, but you begin to nod in amazement as you notice the details—irregular strips of suede on a rug, dots of laminated newspaper peppered on the globular lamp, and organic marbling that reveals the age of the jagged but varnished wood table. Three months ago, he mesmerized us in his first solo exhibit Survivalism. Who would have a forestsimulating row of chairs in one’s living room, or maybe a bunch of plastic bottles transformed into a lamp, used rubber strips padding a metal chair, and soda caps covering a leaf-shaped coffee table? We knew then and there, this Good Design award winner in Japan got stories to tell and that his vision will survive today’s tide of dreary designs. You’ve been designing furniture for a decade now, but you had your first solo

48 -

exhibit only this year. What have you been up to before? Different exhibits…or the trade fairs all over the world—the Paris, Cologne, and Frankfurt shows, ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in NY, and the trade fair in Milan. Aside from that…a show together with a group called Movement 8 [an internationally-recognized alliance of Filipino designers]. Were there people who you idolized first and made you decide to do design for a long time? I like the works of Budji Layug, Edong Lazatin, and Jiro Estaniel. These are the people that I looked up to when I was a student of interior design and even at the time I was [already] practicing in the early stage… The influence that I was sort of following was the lines of the furniture Corbusier—the straight lines…very contemporary, very minimalist. What makes your company Evolve Designs different from other furniture studios? The medium that we use mostly are from abaca, raffia, rattan, leather; it’s actually mixed media. There’s metal, there’s glass, wood combined with sustainable materials. That seems to be very important for you now as an advocacy.

I thought that it’s important to…help find solutions also to the present global crisis. For example, abaca is a material which we use excessively, but at the same time we also try to replant… The material is sustainable itself. Some of your pieces are actually mimicking nature; is it some kind of aesthetic principle? For example, you do a rock garden with a simple moss furniture, it could already give life to an environment like that. The idea with “Autumn Rain”, the sofa wrapped with narra leaves…I thought of using it as the finishing surface for my sofa to come up with something really natural. At the same time, we’re being able to use a waste material. Which are the most furnituresavvy cities you’ve been to? I find the Europeans to be more open to new ideas, new materials, new forms, new furniture. Unlike the Americans, they’re conservative in certain aspects. The Europeans, when you come up with something new, they easily grasp it. Have your ever thought of relocating overseas where your designs are very wellreceived? I find it easier to manufacture and create things here in Manila… If I’ll be some-

where else…I’d be using the same materials… I’d rather stay here and sell there and come up with things which are not familiar to them. Could you walk us through one of your typical days? No, I don’t have a typical day. I try to work at a pace that I’m comfortable with. In the same manner, when I create things, I only like to do things I like. Today, I can be here sitting with you. Tomorrow, I’ll be in the beach. Or later I’ll be somewhere there in the mall, observing. That’s also the reason why I don’t work in an office. Is there any big project, which when you finally do it, you’ll say “I can stop designing.”? If you are somebody who creates, I think you would always want to create… It’s like an outlet for a creative person—his work and the things he does. How would you describe yourself and your work in a nutshell? You can associate my personality with what I do. If you find my collection simple, functional, or sort of having a classic look, I think that is what makes me also.



Love Love struck Love Leaping around the crazy schedule known as her life, LINDA LOVEMADE tells STATUS what it’s like to run a success story. From being a party guru, fashion/ graphic designer and self-proclaimed “free floating ninja”, she’s got some supreme skills we’d all love to dissect. By Sarah Meier-Albano Intro by Tracy Collantes Photographed by Rony Alwin

inda Nguyen’s (a.k.a. Linda Lovemade) got more under her belt than your average multi-tasking chick. This Orange County native just wants to stretch her creative juices as she struts what her momma gave her. Currently the women’s designer of Burton’s, Ladies Lotto Los Angeles chapter director, and Lovemade’s founder/designer, event producer, graphic designer, Linda’s an all-around ninja. She’s pretty much the brains (and braun) of prêt-à-porter brands Obey and Lovemade—an events company and creative collective that supports other female professionals. Spearheading an entire team of photographers, designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, DJs, event and marketing coordinators, fashion consultants, and designers, while doing some spinning on the side. As we scratch our heads in awe and wonder as to how this femme fatale does it all (while keeping her perfectly-manicured nails intact), Linda throws us some of her tips and tricks.      True or false; it is possible to start a design career off an Illustrator for Dummies book. Sooo true! Well, the book, and a whole lotta dedication to studying and researching as well. When I worked out at Obey back in 2002 I started out as an intern and knew I couldn’t work my way up unless I stepped up my design skills and learn how to create tech-packs and work with graphics on the computer. I remember bringing my laptop home every night and practicing design programs with an Illustrator for Dummies book by my side. It totally helped ‘cause 6 months later I learned enough and got promoted to be their women’s designer.   So I hear you just turned 27. How’d you celebrate? I’m finding that as I get older, birthdays become less exciting. On my 27th birthday, I went out with my girls to a party where Justice was DJing and hung out with family the next day, which is always nice. Anything major on your “Gotta Get Done Before I Turn 30” list? I haven’t really set a timeline for myself like that yet, but I would love to travel for a month straight around Eastern Europe and Australia. I feel like I should travel as much as I can while I’m young before getting tied down with work and babies!

Let’s pretend I just touched down at LAX. I have 24 hours, and you’re my tour guide. Where are we going, what are we eating, where are we drinking, who are we meeting up with, and where would we rather drop dead than be seen at? Girrrl. Hang out with me, and you will get food coma! I’d take you out to brunch at the Beverly Hilton or Chateau Marmont then go thrift shopping and get dinner in Venice Beach or Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffle. We’d drink mango and strawberry mohitos at SLS hotel and get dessert at Yogurtland. Then at night, we’ll go dance it all off at an event that my friends are DJing at. I don’t care where we’re seen, as long as we’re feeling the music and having a good time. Who would you love to design an outfit for, and for what occasion? I would love to design an entire airline one day, everything from exterior/interior of an airplane, to the logo, colors, and menus, down to the uniforms! There were days when a Vietnamese girl rocking the socks off of the Cali up and up scene was straight unheard of. Thoughts on how things have changed over the decades? The Internet and digital media have a lot to do with it. On an events level, I feel like the one thing that changed drastically is how we market now versus how we did it in 1999. Back then it was all about handing out flyers and putting up posters at a local record store or boutique. Today, email lists and online networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter make it a lot easier to spread the word about what we are doing. Also, I feel DJ culture changed a lot over the years as well. Now, if you “play songs” behind the deck with headphones, you’re a DJ. I’m a fan of DJs who not only play good music, but who can blend/mix tracks. Much respect to all the vinyl DJs out there! Anything you feel strongly about that you want to communicate to young women all over the globe? Do what you love, do your research, pay your dues, and don’t rely on anyone but yourself to get where you want to be in life. - 49

mastermind MASTERMIND

Jump StArt Mark Twain once said, “Never let your schooling get in the way of your education.” Although memorizing facts, theories, and names seems to be the only thing there is to learning, if you ask us, knowledge is overrated; identity and creation are today’s armory. It’s a pretty good thing that one school has the same vision. By Erika Hoffmann Photographed by Everywhere We Shoot


t happens almost always to the latest defiant kid. A fish out of water—they are forced to get a “real course” at a university instead of a “hobby” like art, but now there’s another option thanks to The One School. SHIFT is the branch of The One School that educates today’s youth on present day media. It’s like sketching extensive portraits of your crush at the back of your notebook in school only taking it up a notch by doing it through graphic design and digital motion pictures. Similar to taking an Advertising course in more mainstream schools or universities, SHIFT lets you dissect and critique digitized art and movie clips, the only difference is the works are yours.

50 -

The mentors that help you find your storytelling voice are renowned pioneers of the field. Among them is Team Manila—the graphic powerhouse known for fusing Filipino culture of yesterday and today with images from national hero Jose Rizal to everyday common Pinoy scenes like the jeepney and fishball stands. There’s also Quark Henares, the acclaimed director of several movies that have caused ripples in the film industry. His movie Keka was even highly praised by Hollywood bigshot Quentin Tarantino. Although we love to dive into the utmost creative projects, we gotta admit, we need to know some business basics. That’s where the Lex Ledesma puts in his two cents into the marketing aspect of SHIFT. The

entrepreneur and professor coaches the young aspiring creatives. After all, every artist creates but it would be better to sell. Indeed, if you are dreaming to be the next Spielberg, Hot Topic graphic designer, or simply the next YouTube sensation, SHIFT is the school you need to ship into. Aside from having a smaller student number, they have a direct approach between teacher and pupil through a one-on-one mentoring system. It’s personalized education, as they themselves put it, geared toward manifesting outputs instead of graded papers on reflected theory. And the best part is that you don’t have to start from any particular level. SHIFT will meet you where you’re at

from having zero knowledge on Photoshop and Film to advance learning such as Typography, Image-making, Composition and Print Design. But don’t be fooled because this kind of education is not at all fluff, in fact, it may even be harder than conventional schooling because this will not only require you to think; it will also require you to act. When it comes right down to it, the best part of SHIFT is that they don’t teach you data or information about today’s industries; instead, they crack your egg and throw you right at the center of it all. For anyone who wants to rebel, let loose and be free to discover who you are, this school is the one for you.

mastermind MASTERMIND


Sit back—no, genuflect—as KINGA BURZA tells STATUS many knight’s tales, like her take on directing music videos for stars like Calvin Harris, The Teenagers, and Katy Perry. By Raph M. Mendoza Photographed by Ren Rox


rmed with the strictest color palettes, Kinga Burza can turn thrift into nifty on any given shoot. And vice versa if she wanted to. In fact, when The Teenagers put their sex-talk single “Homecoming” into Kinga’s noble hands over two years ago, they got more than what they had bargained for. All shot on Super 8mm, the video was such a shimmering, visual treat that every teenage girl who YouTubed it reddened with lust as they envisioned themselves in the fictive hotel party— wielding pompoms while French-kissing French kids who could barely pronounce the word “seat” right. “Every job is different but I always come up with ideas privately and write my own treatments,” relates the adorable 28-year-old redhead. “I always aim to do something I think would work within their campaign, be appropriate to their audiences, and be unlike [what] they’ve done before.” Born in Krakow, Poland, but raised in Sydney and Melbourne, Kinga grew up engrossed with music videos. “My earliest memory traces back to the ‘80s, where I used to sing and dance in front of the telly to Wham!, Belinda Carlisle, and Salt-n-Pepa. When I learned how to press record on the video player, I would then make mixed VHS tapes of my favorite videos for my friends.” Kinga soon went off to the University of New South Wales, where she completed her BA before finally taking her

postgraduate studies in Theatre and Film at UTS in Sydney. During this time, Kinga also began shooting amateur videos for her ex-boyfriend, Sydney musician Jack Ladder, and several other friends she had in bands. In 2005, she relocated to London, where she hit gold at Michel Gondry’s respected film production company Partizan. “I’d only been in London for four months and my flatmate happened to be signed to 679 at the time and needed a video,” she says. After pitching and winning the commission, Kinga went straight to Partizan’s executive producer for help. “Everything I had done until then was completely amateur, I had no idea how to work with a budget of 10,000 pounds, let alone have any idea where to hire a professional camera from in London. Lucky for me, Partizan agreed to produce it and immediately after the video was made, asked me to join their books.” Partizan, responsible for hatching films like The Science of Sleep, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and semi-recently, Be Kind Rewind, had already been Kinga’s other obsession since way back. Adds King: “I’ve always been a massive fan of Gondry’s work and I used to spend hours on the Partizan website examining all their produced work and dreaming to work there one day.” Which she did, of course—Kinga going on to churn out visual work for The Teenagers, M. Craft, The Thrills,

The Rakes, Calvin Harris, Ladyhawke, Kate Nash’s “Foundations”, for which she won Best Pop Video at the UK Video Music Awards, and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”. “Katy Perry is a natural born superstar,” declares Kinga. “The girl can pout on call, perform flawlessly over and over again without complaint, giggle her way through a rough day and charm the socks off anyone she comes within close proximity to. I adore her.” At work or not, Kinga is her usual “mega busy” self—a mode of genius she affects her imperial “Kinga Team” with. “The most important thing is to secure a solid production team. A great DP, gaffer, 1st AD, art director, wardrobe, etc. When I get my favorite crew, I relax as I know I got the Kinga Team and they are like family now.” Now whether she will write her own screenplay anytime soon is not out of the picture. “I am currently reading scripts and would like to one day move into film but I’m waiting for the right project as it’s such a long-term commitment, coming from a three-minute video to potentially a 90-minute film. I’m in no rush yet.” In the meantime, though, Kinga plans to keep gleaning more pop tie-ups. “Nobody can confirm it yet but I would love to work with Britney Spears. It’d be a dream come true!” - 51


52 -


captured on canvas

STATUS picks the mind of painter extraordinaire KIKO ESCORA, Cultural Center of the Philippines’s Outstanding Young Artist, on what it’s like to be a bona fide ar-tiste in a rapidly modernizing world. By Toff de Venecia Photographed by Kai Huang


t’s a quiet afternoon in the city. The concrete is age-old and the atmosphere, brittle in what seems like a modern leap from the historic melees of the East and West. In the cornerstone of Old Manila, we are led into the industrial world of Kiko Escora. Nothing fancy, really—just a white studio with wooden floors, playing sanctuary to a bunch of paintings that have auctioned around the world. Born Francisco Hipolito Escora at the University of Sto. Tomas Hospital in Manila, Kiko is wise beyond his years, holding a confidence and frailty about him that compels you to double take, question, and engage him through his works. A firm believer in the power of “now,” his bullheadedness is what enabled him to exhibit in art galleries in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. Enabling him to craft collections of piercing potency that hook, sink, and emancipate the soul. “If I want something, I have to find a way to get it,” says Kiko who is currently showing at Beijing, adding, “Otherwise, I won’t be able to sleep.” The elder of two brothers, the man pretty much grew up in Manila and was one of those kids who had always known what they wanted to do from the get-go. “There was no question in my mind. I didn’t even think about it,” he says of his default desire to paint, adding that he had been immersing in the craft since his awareness first sparked. “I’d draw [Matchbox cars] from front to side view maybe because whenever I’d play with the neighbors, we’d put our toys together and they’d get mixed up.” In that, there was a need to document his playthings for safekeeping, his curiosity lit up, like a match-head that rubs against a rough surface. “At some point, I just wasn’t happy with stick figures anymore. Put some flesh on him. Too muscular, make him slender,” illustrates Kiko of how his art progressed. “Work on the street. Add a dog, a tree, a house behind it, a

mountain, a sky,” and just as his art expanded in depth, so would his soul as he grew up. When he and his family moved to Sorsogon at the tip of the Bicol Peninsula during his high school years, Kiko realized that every kid had that innate potential to become an artist “but as they grow up, different interests kick in, and they forget.” Not Kiko. He says that as an artist, it’s important to desire otherwise, you wouldn’t possess the doggedness to finish. You don’t just succumb to no shoulda, woulda, couldas. For Kiko, a masterpiece is not so much as an object but the act of living life to the fullest. He adds, “We have the opportunity as artists

“Tomorrow, next year, next century… Every work will have its audience, as long as you put it out there. That is your responsibility as an artist.” or as human beings to work on the larger scales of things.” This was his exact same philosophy when he reached the final years of schooling. “I’m pretty much self-educated,” confesses Kiko who took up Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines but quit almost immediately because of work. His immediate goal, of course, was to finish but academics were really just steppingstones to a grander destination. “I had to prioritize,” he says, confessing, “Actually, I didn’t quit. I’m still on leave.” Kiko’s life has been crazy of late. No lunches, no masking distinction between starts and ends—his circadian

rhythm’s devoid of space in the pursuit of a more exacting endgame of bliss. “That’s how I am when I’m cramming for a deadline. I eat when I’m hungry. Sleep when I’m sleepy, or try not to sleep at all.” Getting lost, he summons the figurative elements beyond the canvass and renders them while in a deep trance. He says, “With painting, you capture a vibe. A feeling. A gut. All the energy comes in subconsciously,”—an exercise passed on through the beautiful magna opera of Picasso, Michelangelo, and Francis Bacon— three of Kiko’s personal paragons. Whereas his works have always spoken for themselves, not one singularity but a collective that is constantly in the making, there is a tendency to deter attention or scrutiny away from the man working the brush. Who exactly is the nowadays multi-media artist Kiko Escora? “Not really sure. Here’s the thing. There’s a Kiko Escora who I think Kiko Escora is. And there’s a Kiko Escora who they think that I am. And then there’s the real Kiko Escora— but I don’t think I’m the right judge for that.” In that artists embark on a lifelong search for their identities, whether on self-actualization, manifest destiny or recognition and labels, Kiko was never really one to care. “People will label you whatever you do. At the end of the day, what you do becomes who you are. So just do your best,” after all, what isn’t understood today is tomorrow’s brilliance. Kiko, however, in true intrinsic fashion, does not chase the wind of applause but rather commits to artistic accountability. “Tomorrow, next year, next century… Every work will have its audience, as long as you put it out there. That is your responsibility as an artist.” Amen. - 53



Often inspired by television and world events, IAN FRANCIS interprets modern life with so much depth that one wonders if he’s looking through the looking glass. By Anine Vermulen Intro by Rosario Herrera


an Francis may be living in the old port city of Bristol, England but his work on canvas is deep with the soul and insight of a renegade prophet. When looking at his mixed media pieces, one may feel desolation. He has described his own work as “apocalyptic” with scenes of timeless spaces devoid of past and future. The human figures captured in the scenes offer a glimmer of hope in contrast to the bleak surrounding. However, they feel as though they are quick sketches and are often left incomplete. Are they fading away into space, or are we left to complete the image with our own interpretation? This humble artist takes us through his creative process, the challenges he encounters, and day-to-day life.

love, and being able to do artwork full time has been fantastic. Or maybe it was when I was about 7 and we had to make clay owls in primary school, and mine exploded in the kiln, which put me off sculpture for life and confirmed my obsession with two-dimensional images.

Can you take us through a typical day in your creation process? I work pretty much every day, although it varies from about 5 hours up to maybe 11-12 hours depending on how I feel. Because of the way I paint, there’s a lot of variation between planning out ideas, painting quite loosely, painting detailed work and drawing. I like to break the day up, so I usually work in the morning, go and meet friends or sit in a coffee shop reading in the afternoon, then work through the evening.

Were you ever a struggling artist, living off pot noodles and White Lightning? Yes, absolutely! I’ve never actually had a pot noodle or drunk White Lightning, but I’ve drank a lot cheap vodka in my time. Actually, one of the advantages of being in Bristol is that, although it’s not cheap, it’s not as expensive as living somewhere like London or New York, so I was able to support myself working pretty minimal hours. I was poor, but that didn’t really bother me, it gave me a lot of time to focus on my artwork.

Can you tell us why you have described your work as mixed media painting? At the moment I work primarily in oil and acrylic paint, acrylic ink, pen, pencil, charcoal and bits of photo transfer, all layered together on canvas. I like to mix quite rough/raw paint textures with more delicate detailed painting/drawing and harsher geometric shapes made from paint or photo transfer. I’m trying to create a tension between the different media and to get them to play off of each other, hopefully to create something more interesting than if I just used them on their own.

What has been your biggest challenge regarding your work to date? Probably getting used to the commercial side of gallery work, as it’s something I knew nothing about. I’ve been working to deadlines constantly for the last few years, which is an easy thing to complain about but I think it has probably helped my work improve. I’m going to take some time now to just paint without committing to any deadlines, to just play around with ideas and hopefully push my work on a bit.

What are the defining moments that helped shape your career? Probably being picked up by a gallery in Los Angeles, there’s something about doing work internationally that I really

54 -

How is the art scene in Bristol? I have no idea, to tell you the truth, despite having lived here all my life I’m not really involved with the art scene in Bristol. This is a lame cliché, but I really think the competition for me in art is with myself, I get frustrated with myself a lot of the time because I feel I should be doing better artwork, doing a better job getting ideas across to people.

To which artist would you most compare your work with? Hehe… I have no idea. Ideally, someone who isn’t very good, so I look better.


VISIONS OF PEARL Being quirky is one thing, but being able to paint surreal images which some may describe as throbbing phalluses and volcanoes erupting into space is another. Artist PEARL HSIUNG takes quirky to the next level. By Anine Vermulen


he has managed to up the ante with her quirky, unique, and surreal art that draws you in and makes you want to live in her paintings, which, if you stare at them long enough, can make you feel like you’ve been popping acid, without the negative consequences, of course. Whimsical, phantasmagorical, and sometimes just plain confusing, self-proclaimed struggling artist Pearl Hsuing is taking the LA art world by storm. You are quite a character; you remind me a little bit of Björk and Amélie. How do people handle your off-beat quirkiness? I think of myself as a really normal person. Sometimes I’m pretty sure I’m boring. I don’t think that I’m that off beat. Personally, I think I’m an assimilator. OK, an assimilator with a fondness for cheap clothes, eating garbage, and goofing. Your work, including the short films and paintings, are very surreal. Do you draw inspiration from other surrealists? When I was first developing this work, that now you see as being ‘surreal’, I was just trying to match imagery to the ideas and conceptual concerns I had. Then I definitely did have moments of realization when looking at the charcoal drawings of Odilon Redon and films of Luis Buñuel and writings of Bataille. These things matched up with how influenced I was with how Yayoi Kusama spoke about her practice, the characters and inventive narratives of Octavia Butler and Philip K Dick as well as some of the horror and humor of Polanski films. Your earlier works depict phallic-shaped, red-tipped, almost throbbing volcanoes and large candles spewing their load. Can you explain the giant phalluses in your

Hissure, Enamel on canvas 2006 work in relation to the way the rest of the art world views them? I think that as much as one person sees recurring phalluses, others will see the openings/ orifices or the mounds and blobs or only the lines that are hairs or cracks. For instance, why did you see volcanoes as phalluses with the tops blown off rather than as orifices exuding? How long did it take you to establish yourself as an artist in LA? Actually, I still am a struggling artist and think this term is still completely relevant. Using it loosely takes for granted and diminishes how big the struggle is for many artists including myself. It is really difficult to live as a working artist and to work as a living artist. Choosing to make art full-time and to make it a career is a gambling entrepreneurship. Being a full-time artist, do you ever feel that you might run out of inspiration? Yes, there are times when I don’t have new ideas or exciting motivations to make

Saint Perpetuum, Enamel on canvas 2007 work, but you just have to keep messing around until something comes up. Creative block is just one of the obstacles you run into at any stage during production—but then you have to treat it as a brainteaser and problem solve it. I use the path of least resistance, or taking the ‘easiest’ route or going with what is most absurd.

visualizing a new video piece, library, home, pets, hopefully seeing or talking to friends, hedonizing, TV, lots of scatological bathroom dreams…

Do you perceive fellow artists as competition? Rather than feel competitive, I feel more motivated by the ideas and practices of other artists. I thrive off their developments, and seeing their intellectual and creative engines pump out amazing things.

What does the future hold for Pearl Hsiung? I’m sure it’s not going to stop being full of the unknowable, change, transformation, and surprise.

What’s your average day like? There’s really no typical day for me because I have some kind of amnesia or short attention span that refuses to retain what it is I did from one day to the next. Lately, some activities my weekdays have in common are coffee, emailing, pushing pennies from here to there, reading, bussing to the studio, drawing, painting or whatever activity in the studio, crossword puzzles while paint is drying,

Do you have any advice for up and coming artists trying to make it in the industry? Buckle down and do the work, man.

Where would you say is the best place for an artist to make a successful living? That’s a tough question—I’m not sure and it’s really hard to gauge because of the recession. I will tell you my opinion in 15 years. - 55

mastermind MASTERMIND

“if you don’t react too much, it’s like it’s fine...i’m not the type of graffiti artist who says fuck the police.”

BOMBS AWAY By Anna Canlas Photographed by Patrick Jamora


gg Fiasco was gonna hit up Barcelona for the street art—then he realized he didn’t really exist. “I don’t have a birth certificate,” the 22year-old painter and graffiti artist admits. “My mom had me when she was young, and she didn’t really think about any of that stuff.” Guess you can cancel the travel papers then. It’s a mad, mutual understanding: Egg Fiasco knows no laws, and the law knows no Egg Fiasco. Often going out in groups of two or three—one being the lookout—the advertising student with the slime green paint under his fingernails likes to sneak up on Philippine authority. “It’s proof that the law has holes.” Not to say that he’s public enemy number one. Whenever he gets caught, Egg doesn’t even really run that far. To him, the chase equals guilt. “If

you don’t react too much, it’s like it’s fine… I’m not the type of graffiti artist who says fuck the police. If there’s no police, there’s no authority. There’s no graffiti.” That might explain his painting hours between ten AM to five PM. Almost like a day job—but without the pay. Starting out two or three years ago, Egg got inspired after hanging out at his friend’s place, where a Malaysian street artist called One Day talked about his philosophies. “He was telling me that every time you do graffiti, you meet new kinds of people. Compared to doing a painting at home. So many hours, just doing one fucking thing.” Instead, Egg prefers to go ghetto. “Rusty walls are perfect for my solid artwork,” each piece telling a story about the situation in those parts. “Sometimes, people come

As the street art STATUS would like tion. World, meet name deceive you. playful works are mess.

up to me and ask how much do you get paid? Or, what gang do you belong to? Probably because there are a lot of gangs where they come from. How they react tells you a lot about their mentality.” At this point, he whips out the Broken Window Theory. “If a place is dirty, it’s considered uncivilized. But if I put my art on that wall, it becomes civilized again.” Influenced by character art in London and the farfrom-American-graffiti styles in Tokyo and Brazil, Egg has fun in the urban jungles of EDSA highway and Recto (Philippines), tagging walls and train stations with his trademark smiling letters—a cross between letter-based graffiti and image-based street art. When he’s not doing that, he’s customizing Qees and Stitches into toys that eat rainbows or wear ice cream sundaes for his blog fans, getting free

scene continues to grow, to give a proper introducEGG FIASCO. Don’t let the His wild, colorful, and hardly what we’d call a

paint and walls from local street art supporters, making stencils of Marcos with his tongue sticking out, painting on canvas for his next gallery exhibit, and— explaining his trippy name. At once, Egg makes like a Sex Ed teacher at a Catholic school. “Egg means life. Rebirth.” Then goes on to a little nutrition lesson. “It’s rich in substance yet fragile.” He tops it all off with some self-help. “It’s an urge… into action.” And what about Fiasco? “At the start, I wanted to change Egg. Cause all my close friends are [street] writers. They said, if you use EGG,” he air-draws the letters. “It’d suck. You can’t do anything with it… But then FIASCO is great. A lot of action…” Besides, “Any fool can accomplish failure. But not everyone can do a fiasco...”

56 -


We caught up with one of Dim Mak’s premier designers, 25-year- old, Italian-born Paolo Danese AKA TURBOKRAPFEN, and found out what makes this electro head tick. By Anine Vermulen Photographed by Luca Benedet


rawing inspiration from vintage movies and posters, and combining this with flashes of disco (because old school is the new school) laid over trans-electro beats, Turbokrapfen manages to create fun, upbeat, and interesting t-shirts, flyers, and AVP’s for artists such as Steve Aoki and the always masked, ever elusive Bloody Beetroots. Being a certified and unique graphic designer is one thing; having your talent recognised by someone who has as much clout in the electro industry as Steve Aoki certainly takes your status in the world of graphic design up a notch. This kid has definitely earned his bragging rights in the tripped out world of design and electro. When did you start designing? Have you ever taken any professional art lessons, attended art-oriented schools? I’ve always had a great interest in pictures, comics and drawing things. I started doing graphic stuff about 8-10 years ago, just for fun. After the High School, I got a Visual Arts Degree in Venice, where I studied with some great artists, and

finally I returned to my first love, graphic design. Electro is the name of the game. Have you always been a bit of a techno bunny? What drew you to the electro scene? Techno? No, not really. But techno, like many other genres, with its influence gives shape to the thing we call Electro. In the matter of “electro” music, I started finding out by myself the convergence of Rock/ Punk and Disco, listening to many indie bands with this attitude. Then the dance side of this music became independent, spreading many electro sensations all around the blogs. The first time I’ve ever heard of Beetroots was actually in a music blog. I fell in love immediately with their sound, and I discovered later that they were living very close to me! We became friends after their first gigs in Italy and then we started working together. Dim Mak is Steve Aoki’s brainchild. How did you meet him, and how did designing flyers, T-shirts, and logos for some of Dim Mak’s most influential artists come about?

I started working with Bob and Tommy (of the Bloody Beetroots) first doing some freakin’ video visuals, and then drawing graphics for gigs and remixes. Soon I’ve had the chance of showing my works to Steve and Dim Mak guys and they liked the stuff. Soon, I started working for Dim Mak Records and Dim Mak Collection. The electro style aesthetic seems to be a modern take on the throwback of 80’s underground street style. How would you describe your design style? Yeah, it’s right, Electro is influenced by this kind of culture, but I prefer thinking that everything interesting can converge into the Electro style. I think there are a lot of small flashbacks on interesting experiences of the past; artists and designers build up their style from “time capsules” they found pregnant for a present prequalification. Personally, I like working with shocking colors, strong images, and comic style letterings. I’m getting inspiration from hand-made vintage film posters as well as Pop Art classic paintings. There’re no limits and the final work has to be

impressive. After all, I think my style can be defined as “Power-Pop”. By the way, what is the electro scene like in Italy? The scene is quite exciting! Bloody Beetroots and Crookers open the way to a lot of good producers and DJs. It’s a really good thing that these guys grow with a strong international attitude. Congorock, His Majesty Andre, Cécile, Nic Sarno, Blatta & Inesha, Fucked from Above 1985…the list is long. Do you have any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for? Sure, check out these: the new Bloody Beetroots WeSC Pro Headphones; they’re in the shops worldwide for quite a while now. The 55DSL Survivor Kit x Dim Mak, a fresh tent perfect for partying at the summer festivals; the Bloody Beetroots limited edition jacket, even for 55DSL. And last but not least, a bunch of new freakin’ tees for Dim Mak Collection. - 57


PALLA-LEL UNIVERSE Japanese architect-photographer-graphic artist KAZUHIKO KAWAHARA, or Palla (as he likes to call himself), is undefinable in his works. He digitally manipulates commonplace images of buildings, landscapes, and objects and then mashes them into a kaleidoscope world. By E.

58 -



f you are one of those people who believe that life and art are sciences, you might as well get ready to be converted by Palla, because to him, order is still random no matter how hard we convince ourselves otherwise. “I noticed…from my art works that daily experience includes inconsistencies,” he bravely admits. “Art, photography and architecture should be the critique for our world system, and I hope my works want to be so.” Indeed, the lenses we put on when we flash, shoot, and view images from a camera provide us different angles from which to see the world, but a little tipping of the scale, a little tweaking, and a little distortion of just one facet of an image can change this “world”. Take, for instance, a typical building, or imagine a whole street of buildings. Palla would take that image in various angles, reverse it, overlap it, distort its reflection, and arrange it in a manner that makes it seem as though buildings were constructed from the skies and trees were planted sideways. Offbeat? Yes. The image looks as though it could exist in fifty years when machines will have raised their status from passive robots to dominant androids. But is it also dreamy and oddly romantic? Definitely.



“I’ve learned by experience that preconception of transformed [pictures] creates no good worlds”

60 -


“The space my art works present seems to be…irrational from the three-dimensional space recognition. The photographic expression is to retransform three-dimensional space into two-dimensional by certain rules.” This distortion, in turn, manifests in his works as a sense of oddness or of something chaotic. So, now we know how but why? What is the philosophy behind his toying with the reality we all know? I suppose it is the artist in him that wants to reinvent life. He wants to challenge reality and see the “what if’s” of this world outside his head. Through reflection and repetition, he wants people to rethink their ‘biased’ or instinctive views on what they ordinarily see or expect to see. He says, “I don’t think that I create a new structure through my artworks. Rather, I sense the uncertainty in existing structures through them.” In some ways, Palla is raising our standards by helping us unlearn the world. He goes

on to tell us, “The system we take for granted develops something grotesque and scary. To get at the reason why is essential to [understand] the meaning of my artworks.” Why. Reason. Meaning. These are the questioning words that boggle almost every soul-searching individual trying to obtain a deeper understanding of his world. But Palla, on the other hand, prides himself in the bliss of the unknown, the journey rather than the end goal. “I don’t assume any scene after transforming. I’ve learned by experience that preconception of transformed [pictures] creates no good worlds,” Palla says, “I think that transforming rules are crucial essence for the meaning of my works. The simpler and less the rules are, the more interesting works I can create.” And when it comes to the journey of life, he is no different. He wants to be remembered through his works “after a hundred years, at a deserted house, Palla’s

works were found from a discarded hard disk”—simple, non-assuming yet still messily dreamy—very Palla. To say his work is interesting is an understatement because his work is bold, mesmerizing, forward-seeking—a vision that can be attributed to his culture and nation. He tells us, “Japan as an economically affluent country, provides me a base for artistic action.” Although the recession is hitting the Japanese art scene and although his experimentation with photography, architecture, and digital manipulation may be only understood by a few people enlightened by chaos, there is no doubt in our minds that Palla couldn’t care less. After all, in his kaleidoscope universe, skeptics are probably hanging off a tree growing sideways. - 61


Why would you say that the things you’ve done about a month ago are things you’re “moving from now”? Has inhabiting New York contributed to that?

 I gave my mind an enema. I think since 2008 I was feeling something was at work, a passage. A cycle was over and it’s time to shed skin. [NYC is] the perfect place to seek and destroy. New ideas are born from the old. I’m not saying old ideas are shit; they’re just boring. It’s just that it has to innovate and grow from itself. Ideas, like energy, don’t die, they merely transform…
 Every day every night there are exhibit openings, museum events, film screenings, theater, performance, gigs, open studios, the list goes on. It’s not everyday I meet Yoko Ono, hang out backstage at Town Hall, pass by CBGB or Allen Ginsberg’s house, see Kim Gordon strum that bass, or stand just a few inches away from my favorite Kippenberger painting or a Man Ray photogram. Then there’s the subway, the beautiful trash bags along the street, the abandoned warehouses in Brooklyn, the skyline, the minutae of city stories and what goes unnoticed.

 What was the most personal and affecting photograph you’ve ever taken? My works have different temperatures but the most intense public exhibit so far was Saturnine because it was made at a time when I was really insular and traveled extensively and was plagued by a lot of existential questions. It was very emo, lyrical, and deadpan at the same time. 

THE WAWI FACTOR From mind enemas to shooting with vintage cameras, visual poet gothic chanteuse WAWI NAVARROZA shows us what triggers her shutter. Introduction by Christine Braganza Interview by Vanessa Balao Photographed by She’s Got a Gun


eing mistaken for a lesbian or claiming to be a “cross-dressing androgyne” is all part of a normal day for Wawi Navarroza. When hearing these claims, she just shrugs it off, “Well, I’ve got serious issues of penis-envy.” Perhaps it is Wawi’s easy-going attitude and open outlook that keeps her constantly intrigued by life. Her dark silhouettes and dramatic lighting, on the other hand, are what’s keeping us intrigued. Winner of the Ateneo University Art Awards 2007, she also received Honorable Mention in PX3 Prix de la Photography Paris in the same year and, in 2000, the Con Otros Ojos prize in Barcelona. Graduating with a degree in Communication Arts - Photography, Wawi has traveled all over the world to gain new inspiration. Right now, it’s New York that has been giving her just that. “I’m so stoked to be here right now because everything is a flux of tendencies and there’s such a diversity of people here,” she says. However, a new artistic direction is on the horizon. “Lately I’ve grown a distaste for what is overtly romantic, sentimental or emotive.” Her upcoming exhibit in Silverlens Gallery this August will showcase how far she has transformed since her first solo Saturnine: A Collection of Portraits, Creatures, Glass & Shadow.

62 -

You strike me as a manifestation of the look of your photographs and vice versa. Is this something you consciously act upon? Bottom line is I love inspired work. And it could be in the form of clothes... I look at fashion not as a chichi thing but something that’s there to explore. Like a box of crayons. So if it’s there, why not? But no, I don’t do “looks”. How have your relationships with men affected the subjects and the approach you employ in taking photographs? 
 I do take a hefty dose of testosterone from the men in my life but when it comes to non-collaborative work, the approach and subject is always mine and a solitary personal quest into my pinhole heart. Being one who’s viewed a myriad of captivating images, what would you say has been the most beautiful thing your eyes have set upon?
 Often, the most beautiful things are the elusive ones. It has always been the ultimate seduction in the history of Photography to capture a golden moment, an arresting image, or a perfect fabricated idea. Some of these “things of beauty” have turned into clichés when photographed and I’m not so crazy about it. While some photographers are hell-bent on taking the images of the grand, the rare, the beautiful, I’m more prone to deny the camera now. I think it’s equally as interesting what goes on outside the frame.



ELECTROLYCHEE Founder: Bru + Marcushiro Date founded: September 2005 Inspirations: The city’s grime, beauty, nostalgias, kitsch, comics, books, magazines, people, travel, music, Greenhills, Cubao. What’s the story behind your brand name? Are you guys heavy eaters of lychee? It’s a lyrical play on words and our style. Our works play within computer-generated vector art (electro) and organic, hand-drawn imagery (lychee). We don’t eat them overly much but we do like the funny fruit. How did your streak of doing ad campaigns both locally and internationally start? It started out with pro-bono album covers for local bands. We’re so taken by the music, we’d do covers at next to nothing. Until now, we’re up to our ears in the local music scene as fans and organizers. When people see these covers, word gets around and helps us reach more clients. What were some of the things inside you that really pushed you to keep going, and what were some of the things that made you reluctant? This is what we want to do full-time: make art. And we don’t have to clock in to work—it’s our own schedules. On the downside, it takes a lot to be work partners with your significant other, but we’ve braved the storm. Also we’re really just a two-lychee team that’s why it’s really hard to put new merch every season.

These graphic geniuses have not only made drawings, doodles, and animations move, but also the hearts, minds and culture of today’s youth as they exploded here and across the oceans. By Erika Hoffmann

64 -

DREW EUROPEO Date started: January 2001 Inspirations: Random things, cultural differences, stories behind the scenes What separated you from the flock when you first started your graphic brand? Open-mindedness. Experimenting with all the things I do. Strong sense of design and color. How did “The Drew Europeo” start? When did things go from artistry to art powerhouse? When I was younger, I used to design or illustrate for personal fulfillment. Not minding what others would say or think but it was back in ‘97 when I really got exposure to global clients. It was a huge transition; it was a challenge to translate the client’s identity to the project while maintaining my sense of style.


What are you striving to accomplish this year? This year, I promised myself to go back experimenting and being curious to find a new style or find new ways or processes. Hopefully I will manage to do more exhibitions and design for a cause.

Date started: 2006 Inspirations: 123klan, Hydro74 You’re 19 years old but have already worked with big bands and brands! How on earth did you get to be so big to get all these names under your belt? With Nike, it was through Team Manila, with Paramore, FOB, and other bands, it was through an online design community where I met the Merchandise Brand Manager of FBR (Fueled By Ramen), Amy Zaglauer. After a few design pitches, some got approved and were produced and sold at band tours across the US and at Hot Topic. How did you first start fiddling with graphic design? Were you originally a doodler? It was a hobby in high school; I looked at some tutorials online, joined forums and got myself a bootleg copy of Photoshop. I didn’t doodle much before—mostly digital works back then. Biggest accomplishment? Probably living on my own, and this year I’m planning my first solo exhibit! Wish me luck. - 65

THE ACID HOUSE Founders: Ivan Despi & Pauline Vicencio Formally Started: September 2007 (but we’ve been working under other companies since 2003) Inspirations: Comics, books, movies, photography, music, and other studios/artists What started your graphics to move from sketches to lifesharing stories? We started out as motion designers in ABS-CBN network, new to the concept who only learned through hands-on training. After a year, Ivan resigned and set up his own shop where he was able to push his standards higher in terms of broadcast design graphics. But after 1 year and 4 months, he reached the saturation point—same projects + same clients = same same. Recently, we’ve started breaking into advertising but still maintain our broadcast clients because we like the variety of projects. What has been the biggest challenge that you’re surprised to have overcome? Setting up/maintaining the studio. We’re not a big corporate studio backed by absurdly rich investors with a whole crew. At times, we have to go out to pay overdue bills, buy this buy that, then go back to finish our work. To do all of that alongside the main work seriously takes the momentum away. Who are your dream collabs? Doing a music video for Radiohead/Thom Yorke, Björk, Sia, Explosions in the Sky, or Venetian Snares. That’ll be the last paid work we’ll ever do and then we’ll retire. :) Where did your name come from? It’s the title of a book by Irvine Welsh (author of Trainspotting).

TEAM MANILA Founders: Jowee Alviar, Raymund Punzalan Date started: 2002 Inspirations: Designers Republic, Tomato UK, David Carson, CalArts How did you come together to create Team Manila? We were in constant communication about the careers of our friends in Manila and what I’ve been picking up in graduate school. I came back, and we started in a small room in my house. Our initial investment was our calling card—designed well with a nice finish and all—made us look legit! Top 3 weirdest inspirations you guys have ever had: 1. Tapang Kabayo 2. BMW-driven-rich-lola-with-a-bodyguard who chatted with us for an hour 3. Jowee once called out a guy in SF wearing a nicely designed hoody. Apparently, Jowee just called out Bobby Hundreds of the The Hundreds. What inspired you to use Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, as a major embodiment of your brand? We want to relive something very Filipino and re-introduce it to the youth, thus we reinterpreted our national hero with a modern twist.

27+20 Founders: Nico and Katwo Puertollano Date started: 2007 Inspirations: Music, movies, art, skate, friends, and life experiences What’s in a name? Where did 27+20 come from? That was the age when Katwo and I first met. You guys are actually the powerhouse studio behind many ads that dominate Manila highways like Pepsi, Nestle, and Human; how did you get to that point? I’m not sure about dominating (smiling), but it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice. It really started by just introducing ourselves, word of mouth and when we designed the album of Twisted Halo and created their first video. Biggest lessons and accomplishments you’ve gained? It’s good to be able to speak and understand Tagalog, even though I still have a New York twang. I just wish I knew Bisaya or Ilonggo. Biggest mistakes you guys will never repeat? My biggest mistake is taking on too many projects at the same time. It burns you out and lessens the quality.

EVERYWHERE WE SHOOT! Founders: Ryan Vergara & Garovs Garrovillo Date started: Love started 2003 and work around 04-05 Inspirations: Too many to mention Your company started out as a love story!? We started as friends then loveeerrrsss. We both went to Benilde. I set up a shoot (for a Portfolio class) where I asked Garovs to style, I had a really bad crush on her, then discovered our mutual obsession with fashion lifestyle magazines. That made us quite angsty. Why the lack of these types of visuals in the Philippines? We felt like we literally shot everywhere! Then, I had this “grand plan” of merging photography and graphic design. No one that time was doing it, so I thought we had this whole market niche. How did you tap companies and publications from other counties? We don’t know! We never bothered because we’re too excited haha! When we do ask, they say they saw our link from a website or a design portal. Thank God for internet! How did you get the word out when you were first starting? While at our favorite bookstore, we had advertising idea! We hid around 350 of our business cards into design & photography books and alas! Ad agencies and strangers contacted us about it. They thought it was a cute idea. Hehe. Didn’t hear from that bookstore though. Hehe. - 67

68 -

Heavy Hitter

illery When a distinction is made between terrorist and messiah, the billboard artist, toymaker, and self-proclaimed “culture jammer,” RON ENGLISH blurs the lines, gets spotted, and has some feel-good time. By Toff de Venecia


’d never thought I’d be anything else aside from being an artist,” quips Ron English in an autograph signing and meet-and-greet at Fresh Manila, a fancy Quezon City stomping ground for toy connoisseurs around Metro Manila. Decked in green cargos, a top hat, and a simple black shirt purveying one of his designs—a topless Marilyn Monroe with two Mickey Mouse heads painted on both her breasts—he adds, “I think art is really good for people. It’s just too bad that not a lot of people are interested in the craft.” A Dallas native who was schooled at the University of Texas, Ron is a proprietor of agitpop or what he calls popaganda—a progressivist methodology to political thinking. As with the recent Obama campaign, a lot of artists have taken to the streets, according to Ron, and have exacted more potency in rendering their art. “More people are becoming people,” he professes, adding, “This whole thing is becoming big!” While you may recall seeing his rendition of a fat Ronald McDonald that debuted in Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, nowadays, Ron is associated with his Warhol-inspired Abraham Obama by MINDstyle, a project that has sprouted into wall murals, t-shirts, MacBook GelaSkins, and its famous bust form. The depiction embeds the African-American president’s face on his predecessor’s bearded silhouette. “I was trying to make a political statement with likening the two presidents. It was being argued that [Obama] was way too young and way too inexperienced. But he happened to have almost the same experience as Abraham Lincoln. Also, Lincoln freed the slaves and it took all that time for a black man to be president. It’s kind of like the completion of a process.” Since turning to billboard art as a form of socio-political activism in the 80s, Ron and his crew have been kicking it guerilla-style, challenging and possibly overturning corporatist values with whimsical, Salvador Dali-like images and statements such as ‘Masturbation is Murder,’ ‘Keep Hope a Lie,’ ‘Wall Street: We Make Money - 69

70 -

So You Don’t Have To,’ and ‘McDonald’s: Better Living Through Chemistry.’ The group operates in broad daylight so as not to attract that much suspicion among nocturnes, opting for an overt and purposeful hit-the-ground-running style to hijacking billboard spaces from Sin City to Madison Avenue. While Ron is definitely at the forefront of this billboard liberation movement, according to him, it wasn’t always this political. Back in the day, Ron created billboard art as a form of embellishment for his photography, the artist’s preliminary medium. He recalls, “I moved into a house with a bunch of political activists and I wasn’t political at all.” But when his colleagues saw his work, they sensed the potential of Ron’s art in reaching people and really getting that message across, whether in a microscopic, macroscopic, or totally different form. It was then that Ron ruminated on the idea of utilizing corporate logos and skewing popular brand imaging in a provocative, almost subversive manner. “I mean, if you’re going to risk getting jailed for a second degree felony, you better have some statement with it besides just doing art,” he connects. Then he realized, remembering the stark arrests and the large risk that constantly baffled him and his fellow “culture jammers,” not to mention that the act of billboard subversion could only eventuate with a handful of operators, the next best thing would

be creating stickers. “I thought, well, what would be a lesser crime? ” Although the artist had gained a reputation of being a social provocateur and has gained a following all across America, Ron is starting to veer away from billboards and has

“I mean, if you’re going to risk getting jailed for a second degree felony, you better have some statement with it besides just doing art.” ventured into the art of making toys and stickers as alternative means to realizing his advocacy. What Ron hopes to do is proliferate these stickers on the net for young people everywhere to operate sub rosa, plaster them on supermarket goods, and partake in the crusade. He adds, “I want to build a movement of awareness, create a national dialogue about it, and get people involved. If you write, I’ll give you a hundred stickers.” Heavy on his cultural machinations as reflected in the artist’s unique blend of art, commerce, and political advocacy, Ron admits that most

people are still prone to follow suite with the Establishment. “People tend to accept the way things are but they don’t realize that they can change them— which is why the Obama campaign is so interesting because people stood up for their beliefs. People felt they had more power. Even my black friends seemed more buoyant, a lot more positive. Obama went straight to the people—the ones who gave him sixty dollars, a hundred dollars. And finally, the blue-blooded white boy club was broken.” Where the unexamined life is not worth living, Ron is all about implicating the status quo, channeling philosophy into art, and getting people to think twice, thrice, four times even, and read between those lines. “I look at art as a form of visual landscape to draw from. I want to be able to question and learn things but at the end of the day, be able to go to sleep and think that I still don’t know. But I’d like to find out.” So while the hostility towards Disney, Big Tobacco companies, and the Republican Party remain piece and parcel to his admirable cause, we just had to ask: “Do you sneak in a meal or two at McDonald’s when no one is looking?” He concedes, “Nope, but I eat at Burger King.” - 71

Soho, Manhattan Circa 1981

72 -



New York-based artist JOSÉ which articulates both our expressive creations speak contemporary artists. Yes, strokes.

PARLÁ’s abstracts continue to intrigue viewers. Behind his method and artistic philosophy, urban landscapes and his personal history, lies genius. Whether through ink or paint, his of his journeys—from being a graffiti writer in Miami to becoming one of the most sought-after José Parlá has many stories to tell. We just need to read between the lines…or shall we say

By Vicky Herrera - 73

heavy hitter

look at one of his pieces, and upon taking a closer inspection, I notice how all the details come alive. I see how the red paint dripped down the side of the canvas, how the layers of paint add to the rich texture, and the white script, although indistinguishable, reminds me of old graffiti lettering. It looks like a wall you’d find in downtown NYC. However, it’s on a canvas hanging indoors. Ironic? Not really, for this is the point that José Parlá makes. His work reminds us of what we oftentimes take for granted—the streets. Born to a family of Cuban exiles in Miami, José would explore the neighborhood with his brother, filmmaker Rey when they were growing up. Together, they were always looking for their own adventures—from painting on walls to getting lost in railroad tracks. Later, Parlá attended the Savannah College of Art and Design where he deepened his techniques. But he always kept his street influences at hand—whether it’s being a former b-boy or graffiti writer—he is influencing the artistic aspect of this culture through his work today. Calling his work “segmented realities” or “memory documents,” his art is a reflective interpretation of his thoughts, emotions, and experiences. In short, it’s his personal history expressed with his work. Despite appearing unplanned, the final masterpieces hold perfect harmony and organization. Parlá is inspired by the art found in the streets— from faded graffiti lettering to rusty paint. He uniquely mixes these street elements with traditional materials like wax, powdered dye, and ink. However, it isn’t simply an act of merging unlikely materials. There is a psychological lesson that Parlá wants us to understand: we need to open our eyes to the beauty and history that our streets hold. He has exhibited his work in Germany, Australia, London, Tokyo, and New York. Most recently, he had his latest show Reading through Seeing in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. It showcased his recent paintings, works on paper, photographs, and ceramic works. Parlá continues to travel consistently around the world to look for new sources of inspiration. You seem to be inspired a lot by the idea of history—from the layers of materials you use in your art to your observations of the histories of urban landscapes; tell us why you are fascinated with this concept? History fascinates me because it teaches us about where we come from and informs us about humanity’s triumphs and failures. It’s always been my belief that a good painting must have history in its own making, a story of its own. That being said, my layers of paint, collage, symbols, and writing are representative of different periods of history both in humanity and in my own life. Could you describe your creative process? How can you decide the final outcome? My work is a stream of consciousness; I am tapping into a river of memories, information, and history, where even the creative process is a sketch that reveals itself, as I am creating/painting. You were pretty much self-taught right up to the time when you went to the Savannah College of Art & Design. How important is art school nowadays to an artist? School is always important. What school did for me more than anything was teach me to rebel even more than I already had. I was constantly arguing with my professors at Savannah about history as well as painting and philosophy. It’s not even about the school or the professors as it is about the other students and the competition that drives some students during this period in art school. I never abandoned what I was doing in the streets. There was only one other [graffiti] writer like me in SCAD who was also from Miami named Dekay. We brought the style to Savannah and influenced a bunch of locals to paint too. We must have painted more than 100 freight trains at night and went to school in the daytime. Do you have your own set of design rules? No design rules.

74 -

How has your involvement in the street scenes in the past affected your mentality and approach to art now? My approach has always stayed consistent with being a B-boy and a [graffiti] writer. The battle is always fierce and I must paint better each time I do something new. It’s like battling as a B-boy in many circles when I was out there steady in the parties and parks. The adrenaline kicks in and I am all about the moment the tune fills the air and later the memory that is created. To me there is no winning or losing. What matters is that you play and have fun. It looks like your form of lettering is applied to the canvas as well. In a way, are you trying to preserve the old forms of lettering and the graffiti culture through your art? Yes, very insightful, part of what I did with my style a long time ago came from several experiments on how to approach and incorporate my hand style writing into paintings, so that I could preserve the form as a text and a source of my personal history. How often do you experiment with new works? How do you choose which materials to experiment with? What else do you do to keep yourself constantly growing? Every painting I do is an experiment. I use materials no one uses or most artist never think about using. A lot of artists I know who have a great unique quality keep a lot of secrets as to what their materials are. I like that tradition. As for learning, everyday I learn something new through reading, traveling and observing. Inspiration in my life comes from many sources in everyday life. Speaking of experimentation, as recently featured on your blog on Honeyee, you are also experimenting with ceramics. You went to Bizen, Japan making pieces with one of the traditional ceramic-making families, The Kimura family. How was that experience for you, and how is it affecting your work now? I have been visiting the Kimura Family (Ichi You Gama) in Bizen, Okayama since 2002. My friends Tanushi and Eda from Balance invited me. At the time they supported my first solo exhibition in Tokyo and invited me to meet Hajime Kimura to work on Bizen Yaki pottery. The colors of the Bizen Yaki are similar to the tones of my paintings and this brought us all together to experiment further. Bizen still gives me a lot of inspiration. You say that traveling has influenced your art a lot, specifically traveling to Asia. What other countries would you like to visit and learn from? Philippines, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, India, Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, and Spain. There is so much to see in the world. What type of consciousness would you like the viewers to learn from you/your work? I’m a painter with many abstract thoughts about the world. The paintings I create are my personal experiments to try to understand my own thoughts. The thing about artists is that they have this keen sense of observation. What similar trait did you notice about all the people you’ve met from these different backgrounds? I noticed that people from different backgrounds are curious about the other people from different backgrounds. What do you think it is about the human spirit that longs to create? Our human spirit is driven to understand what is going on in this world even though we may never fully arrive at that understanding.

Personal History - Writing Of A Vernacular System


heavy hitter

BLEK supremacy Congrats kids, street art is finally legit. Good thing BLEK LE RAT, the pied piper of stencil, is nice enough not to say, “I told you so.� By Nicola M. Sebastian Interviewed by Risa Recio and Nicola M. Sebastian

76 -

heavy hitter - 77

heavy hitter


don’t drink alcohol, I don’t take any drug, and I hate to go out in nightclub.” Words that could be spoken by your stereotypical square, going nicely with his notably straight laces and the stick firmly lodged up his you-know-what, instead come from the lips of a man considered by many as the Godfather of street art: Blek Le Rat. The man who transformed the stencil from your mum’s arts and crafts project into the weapon of choice for urban, guerrilla art-fare, is, in fact, a nicelooking, middle-aged man living, in his own French-accented words, “a simple life with my family in the countryside.” “ Surely there must be some kind of mistake. Where’s all the angst and anarchy? The more-famous-yet-still-faceless Banksy has been quoted just about everywhere for saying, “Every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well. Only twenty years earlier...” Okay, that may explain the advanced years part, but either Banksy has finally gone mental or I’m missing something. Who is this Blek Le Rat and why is he happy? It all started with a rodent. The year is 1981 and a young, unassuming man by the name of Xavier Prou is spraying a black, slightly oversized rat onto the grimy wall of a Parisian subway. He uses a stencil, an idea he got from some Mussolini propaganda he saw in Italy as a kid. Armed with a couple cans of spray paint and a stencil, he unleashes a full rodent rebellion upon the cementways of Paris: they’re everywhere, leaving the city’s residents puzzled and vaguely disturbed. Satisfied with his tiny revolutionaries, the Eurasian (Chinese-French) Prou signs off on his work with the name Blek Le Rat. Le Rat wasn’t finished. In the years to follow, his stencils grew and changed shape—quite literally. Blek pioneered life-sized stencils, and his black-and-white characters moved into the street corners and alleyways of the world. Seeing eye-to-eye with passers-by, fitting in perfectly with the rest of the urban rubble, the images didn’t offend, or clutter, but spoke to those who looked. One of them even shouts at city-dwellers. A grumpy, old Irishman, one of Blek Le Rat’s favorites, is forever giving English soldiers an earful. “The man is very brave because the soldiers are very nervous… with their guns…I have always been fascinated by people who do not hesitate to say what they think at the risk of their lives,” explains Blek on his website. Another time, Prou decided to quicken the dreaded attack of Russian soldiers by spraying their silhouettes all over Paris, showcasing the political insight and dark humour that are Le Rat’s signature. Look at any Blek Le Rat piece, and it seems like it truly belongs there on that slab of cement, as if it had always been there (just like that ancient, blackened wad of bubblegum right below it). Not just because the original stencils have been vandalised by younger generations of punks, but mainly because Blek, who was once an architecture student, loves the medium itself—the concrete structures that make up the urban landscape. “In architecture we didn’t only study how to build a building or bridge, we learned how to see a city and how the people live in it, how it is built and organized.” Between stencil and city, Blek negotiates a fragile peace treaty. The teachers at L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts would’ve been so proud. ‘Course, the authorities never seem to see it that way. Despite the skill and noble intent behind this particular spray can, Blek’s done time like any legit graf artist. “The last

78 -

time I was arrested by police was in Buenos Aires... I was kind of paranoid because I noticed that people did not like street art too much. I decided to paste some posters on a Sunday at six o’clock in the morning to be safe with the police. After a few posters I didn’t notice that I was already pasting in front of a police station and didn’t see the cop on guard duty.” Thing is, the vandalism isn’t the high that gets him—and it ain’t the aerosol fumes either. “I hate the fact that this art is illegal... I don’t have the impression of vandalizing; vandalism is done by desperate and angry people who want to kill the city before it kills them,” insists Prou. “Rather [I’m making] a present to the people.” It was never about giving the finger to law and order. When Blek looks back on a life dedicated to stencil art, what he remembers the most isn’t all the times he played cat-andmouse with the dudes in blue. “It was my first graffiti spraying rats in Paris…because I really knew at that time that I was doing something important in the development of art,” he shares. “I didn’t know how and when but I knew at the time that people would appreciate this kind of art one day.” But, when graffiti is made legal, is it still street art? Or is it kinda like a kid from the ‘burbs singing about his sneaks and calling it gangsta rap? Blek finally shows a little angst: “For 28 years people have asked me this same question and for 28 years I have said NO, prohibition is not essential to street art and YES street art would be more developed and accepted by the people if it was made legal.” Consider us schooled, Mr. Rat. But why rats? “Rats are the only wild, living animals in cities,” explains Prou, “and only rats will survive when the human race will have disappeared and died out.” He also notes that “in the word ‘rat’ you also find the word ‘art’”—and to Blek that isn’t just wordplay. For Blek, these vermin, that mostly elicit effeminate shrieks and mushroom clouds of pesticide from human civilisation, make perfect guerrilla warriors for his mission, that of bringing rat—I mean art—to the people. “Art needs to be democratised,” dogmatizes Blek. “Art should not be accessible only to a short minority of educated people but to everyone.” It’s that simple—no fancy art sh*t here. When he stencils the Madonna and Child on a random concrete wall as if they’d gotten bored of museum life and decided to kick it on the street, that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. “Street art is a huge museum where the artists of our time express themselves,” says Prou. “Only a few people in the world go to museums or galleries to see art. I think the point is that street art goes directly to the people, it changes completely the concept of art.” And so, the streets of the world are the stage for possibly the most important movement in all art history, according to Prou. The final act of freeing art upon the world. Like his self-portrait, “The Man Who Walks Through Walls,” Blek does just that, bags and stencils in hand as he reaches through yet another wall to touch people. Blek Le Rat breaks down walls—whether of class, culture, or whatever else—through the walls themselves. Now that’s a rebel yell, I’d say. Blek Le Rat listens to hip-hop, loves his wife, and unabashedly exclaims, “Life is beautiful.” He’s finally recognised for heralding the rise of a new world of concrete creativity, of which he reigns king, and graciously applauds Banksy “for being clever enough to have been influenced by [his] work.” Mr. Rat is a happy guy. “If you are an artist do not hesitate to show your work in the streets of your city…but don’t paint huge murals. I hate huge, painted murals.”

heavy hitter

“I hate the fact that this art is illegal... I don’t have the impression of vandalizing; vandalism is done by desperate and angry people who want to kill the city before it kills them.” - 79


“A photographer without true vision or identity is like a farmer without fields.”

80 -


heavy hitter MASTERMIND

THEORIES OF In the case of photo progeny NABIL ELDERKIN, beauty is not only the subject but also the eye, a veritable object, and the beholder— anyone who can pick up a camera and capture the truth. No cheating though. He says all padawans need to start from somewhere. And they should definitely start with this little thing called film. By Toff de Venecia


eep shooting. Try every kind of lighting, every shutter speed... But don’t start on digital… You won’t be happy in five years!” warns the Aussie when asked to confer his Yoda’s worth to padawan photographers who’d someday want to get published. Nabil is the heir apparent to an art form permeated by the likes of James Nachtwey, Peter Lindbergh, and Rodrigo Prieto—three of the photographer’s personal heroes. He’s shot dozens of fashion editorials and magazine covers, including one for STATUS that dramatically portrayed his buddy and Adidas style maven Jeremy Scott. He’s a close collaborator of R&B singer Kanye West, with the two working together on a photo book called Glow in the Dark that comes out later this year. With a ridiculous amount of street cred up his arsenal, the red, hot celebrity degrees of separation, and his game lens on, it’s no pickle to assume that Nabil Elderkin has definitely entered the building. But like most practitioners in their enviable prime, the guy keeps his eye on the prize and tripod firmly planted on the ground. “I am still a budding photographer myself,” he says, stressing, “Success is relative. Everything is relative—like a cousin.” Nabil began his career shooting fellow surfers in sunny Australia. “I think life influences your work in every way. I spent most of my life there,” crediting his stirring sense of aestheticism to his parochial escapades in the Land Down Under. Communicating in a truthful, almost realistic form that boasts a degree of drama and surrealism, Nabil’s compelling style catapulted him into the world of music and sports photography. This prompted a subsequent move to Chicago in 1999 and, finally, to Los Angeles where the photographer is currently based. So who exactly is the revered man behind the lens? “The same man in front of the lens, maybe a bit more of a dick” humors Nabil. On a normal day, Nabil fashions a clean pair of jeans and a comfy shirt, sporting LOVA threads and Insight. He also spends most of his time being a family man, sitting at home in front of the computer, and working the circuit. Oftentimes, he frolics around airport lounges and the occasional bar or club where he takes to social recreations. “I love meeting new people. I love traveling. And I live very much in the moment.” He’s also very A.D.D, synergizing his way of photography with the life of the times and the pulse of today—a pulse, the photographer claims, that’s also very A.D.D. He a.d.d.s, “I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. I think it has its positives and negatives.” For Nabil, this particular mindset has attracted nothing but positive results. - 81

heavy hitter Results such as the photo shoot he did for Will.I.Am. Nabil was asked by the artist to direct a video for the Black Eyed Peas—a feat that became his springboard to the world of music videos. Several other windows opened after that, including directing for John Legend’s “Stereo,” Common’s “The Game,” and Kanye West’s “Welcome to Heartbreak.” If you ask to which weightier industry he belongs to, Nabil responds, “Both are heavy in their own way.” But he feels that videos will be more influential to him on his future transition to film. Life, music, people—these are some of the elements that kindle a person’s art. But nothing beats a spiritual excursion to a land immersed in both beauty and adversity to change the rules and up the ante. Take for instance, Africa. Nabil says, “Each country within Africa has its own differences, similarities, and problems. All the ones I have been to are so amazing. The people inspire me,” recalls Nabil who paints an enigmatic picture of the poverty-ridden continent with a beauty that surpasses all odds—an abstract of golden smiles and frowns where smiles are more predominant. In that Nabil once directed Seal’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” he connects this with Africa and the possible quagmire of an interconnected, globalizing world. “Change is happening,” he says, adding, “We just need to actually step up and use our many, many powers that each one of us has and contribute, instead of (just) relying on the powers that be.” He says that the prospect of change has spilled over to all forms of media and these have since diversified beyond print. “A photographer without a magazine behind him is like a farmer without fields,” writes legendary British photographer Norman Parkinson. Nabil retorts that although there is a lot of truth in that saying, a more accurate account nowadays would be: “A photographer without true vision or identity is like a farmer without fields” given that several other media platforms such as the Internet have become potent avenues in which a photographer may find his light. In the end, it all goes back to one’s relativity—where he is, what he does, and just how truthful or special his output can get. Nabil connects that a lot of truth can be revealed in photography, but so can a lot of lies. “Though it doesn’t always turn out to be that way,” he reneges. So when another great photographer, Richard Avedon, surmises that all photographs are accurate but none of them the truth, we couldn’t help but wonder: Are all photographs mere depictions? And if so, are we all just spectators to the beautiful letdowns of prepossessing artistic flukes? Nabil ends, “I’ll have to think about this one a lot more…give me a couple of years.” Like he said, he’s still learning.

82 -

STATUS ISSUE 1 Status has A.D.D.

STATUS ISSUE 2 Status is Not at its Desk

STATUS ISSUE 3 Status is out to Launch




STATUS ISSUE 4 Status is a Piece of Work

STATUS ISSUE 5 Status is Revolutionizing Rebellion

STATUS ISSUE 6 Status is Hustlin’

UFFIE Nov/Dec/Jan 2008




84 -

working girl

& From painting in small town Tolouse, France to spreading her delightful Fafinettes around the world, FAFI’s fanciful mind has created a cult following. To join, just keep this in mind: break the rules, explore your imagination, and yes, fall in love with everything. STATUS peeks into the world of this endearing artist. by Vicky Herrera - 85


he Carmine Vault is not Earth. It’s in another solar system but quite similar to our planet. The inhabitants have the possibility to come see us but they should never meet humans because they are not ready for it. So they peer in... secretly...” says the 33-year-old Fafi. Conceived by her imagination, this special world called the Carmine Vault is where her popular Fafinette characters live. Dressed cuter than what you’d see in fashion zines, these funky femmes carry an aura of sexiness, playfulness, and empowering spunk. But don’t get it twisted for they also have a dark side. “The Fafinettes never die, but when they alcanize, something we can compare our death, they wake up meaner and meaner…it’s eventually scary.” Why would Fafi allow these darlings of graffiti to turn into monsters? I have no idea. Besides what does it matter, Fafi creates her own rules…or lack thereof. Let’s go back to where it all started: Toulouse, France. Fafi, who prefers to not give out her real name, studied in a convent school, was painting graffiti on the side, and thought that she would eventually end up becoming a nurse. A future in art was definitely not in the career plan. “I absolutely had no art connections and my parents desperately asked me to get a ‘real’ job instead of being a delinquent. In the end, I decided I was going to become a nurse and just keep painting on walls during the weekends.” But the moment she entered nursing school, she knew she was headed in the wrong direction. Taking a chance, she made a dramatic

86 -

U-turn in life. Fafi adds, coloring our imagination with an animated depiction of events, “It’s similar to American movies when the hero finally does something amazing, and there’s the dramatic music playing,” but she snaps back into reality in a drop of a penny and starts to tell us her story “I built my website; that was the beginning.” Fafi’s decision to join the world of graffiti was a result of pure, relentless passion. “Instead of fantasizing about it, I decided to be a part of it. But I never thought I could do this for a living.” Especially since in the world of graffiti, it is still very much a guy’s game. Fafi had to face early prejudices head on. “I was toyed, insulted, I fought with guys.” Then again, there were its adventures, “I had fun. I met incredible people. I’ve been arrested by the police. It’s an accelerated life school.” And to further stray from convention, Fafi used paintbrushes instead of spraycans. But that also shows that her choice of tools and materials is not her main concern. “I could be on an island with a rubber and a paper pen and I would be happy, I really don’t need much and I’ve never been too keen on the technical processes.” At the end of the day, what really matters is being able to think creatively. “I think I could have done anything with a creative output whether it was being a chef, a photographer, or even a stripper, as long as there was a creative process involved.” How exactly did Toulouse produce graffiti’s biggest

sweetheart? It’s not really the artistic hub of tomorrow’s budding artists. “I don’t know what’s happening in Toulouse now. The only thing I know is that the city doesn’t care about developing an artistic life here, so the best artists already left and are successfully working in other countries,” says Fafi. She can only credit her influences to what she found within her own home. “My father had a collection of French and Belgian comics from the seventies like Spirou. I spent many afternoons reading them, also the filthy erotics L’echo des savanes from my cousins in the countryside.” She also found Austrian painter, architect, and sculptor Friedensreich Hundertwasser to be a huge influence. “I was interested by the fact his creations can go from paintings to architecture, you could watch his art and also live in it.” For Fafi, art isn’t simply a skill to practice but a world to escape to. Today, Fafi is working in Paris. She lives with her husband, French music producer and DJ, Ed Banger Records’ Mehdi, and their 3-year-old son, Neil. She has amassed an impressive portfolio that spans more than 15 years as an artist. She published her own book of sketches, illustrations, canvas paintings, and street work called Love and Fafiness. She has also gone global, painting on random walls from her travels to Spain, Japan, Thailand, Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, and exhibited her work in galleries in Los Angeles, Sydney, New York and Paris. She even turned Lily Allen into a

Fafinette for her “Oh my God” video produced with Mark Ronson. We can’t say we didn’t see the collabs coming; every successful artist eventually gets tapped by a major company to design something. Her product collaborations with lifestyle brands LeSportsac, M.A.C. cosmetics, and Adidas, made their way to every fashionista’s wish list, while her endearing Fafinettes landed the top spot on the “I wanna look like that one day” list. So when it comes to business matters, who exactly is the puppet and who is the puppeteer? Fafi explains how she works with big companies—with no strings attached. She says, “I put myself in a position where I don’t need to work, so I don’t need to compromise the artistic part. If there’s an unjustified constraint, I back off. It’s the second sentence I say when I am at the first meeting.” By laying all her cards on the table, Fafi can ensure that she has creative control over her projects. Well, almost. “Unfortunatey, you can’t control every part of the process such as the final aspect of the product, the marketing, what’s going to be displayed on the windows. I was very disappointed when the M.A.C. packaging came out.” When it comes to true artistic collaborations, it wasn’t about the big guys but about the real guys. “Collaborations with brands is not the panacea for me, but I’d like to work with people who really love what they do and tend to excellently such as Codognato and Globe-trotter. I’d also - 87

working girl

88 -

working girl

like to collaborate with Rene and Radka in photograph, mix our two universes,” Fafi says. “I wanted to work with Sesame Street, but after they met me, they never wrote me back. I don’t know why. I loved it.” Fafi’s artistic growth is because of her need to do new and different things. “I look at things,” she says. “Not just the ones you think.” She also challenges herself a lot, pushing the boundaries of what she is used to. “As soon as I am too comfortable. I change fields. I could have done cute Fafinettes with big breasts all my life and be successful with it, but I decided to impose some other creatures, not sexy at all and more subtle,” Fafi says. These new creatures also exist in the Carmine Vault and are a direct result of her willingness to stretch her imagination. “I am so happy that Birtak, Hmilo, and the Hillminis found some love in this vast world!” Each character’s story is as random, whimsical, offbeat, and unconventional as the next. There is Birtak, a former pirate turned ballerina who, by the way, has a wooden leg. “Man or woman, who knows what he is? There’s no gender concern in the Camine Vault,” says Fafi. There is also Hmilo, a depressed figure that looks similar to an elephant. He also loves to brush the Fafinettes hair. And lastly, there are the Hillminis. “Little hills part of the ground, telling bad jokes and keen on bling bling jewelry,” says Fafi. It’s nice to hear that the Fafinettes have some play buddies. But what about the boys? How do the Fafinettes fall in love? Fafi fills me in, “They can fall in love with everybody or anything, they can even fall in love with a table. But they have fast crushes, so it’s OK.” Lucky them. To love is easier in the Carmine Vault, unlike Earth. “We need more Love. I hope to do a transgenic version someday,” Fafi says. The Fafinettes are inspiring a new wave of young girls with their free-living, no rules philosophy. After much

thought, who wouldn’t be inspired to take a plane to the Carmine Vault and kick it like their homegirl? They are independent women who can do anything and fall in love with anyone (or anything). They rock hearts on their cheeks, wear colorful, kittenish outfits, and pout their lips with an expression that almost says, “Take it or leave it dude.” With lovable curves and tongue-in-cheek antics, it seems as if they poke fun at the ridiculous “should nots” and stereotypes of the world. These kinds of cool women aren’t far from reality, for these are the kinds of women Fafi knows. “I just see people in front of me and get inspired. Obviously, I don’t know much models!” says Fafi in response to the obvious lack of bones and size zeros in her figures. “I just want to enliven what I see everyday, maybe adding a little bit of self-confidence about it.” With a comic book in the works and few more collaborations with Addidas in the future, what else does Fafi want to accomplish? “I’d like to have my Yacht driving license if possible,” she says. And for her art? “I want people to come to me in an after party and we could play,” she says in response to its possible affects on others. That may sound like a simple answer but it just shows how unpretentious and chill this girl really is. Seriously though, fans or critics aside, Fafi will continue to focus on her art, the passion that led her to this path of happiness. She never knows, nor cares, who likes her or who doesn’t. “I never read emails. But I noticed crazy girls drawing my creations in their skin with the help of a certain technique called ‘Tattoo.’ I told them to be careful because it didn’t look easy to wash under the shower.” Did she just say crazy? Aww hell naw. It’s not like I wanted to wash it off anyway. Besides, it’s the best way to remind myself to follow my bliss. - 89

working girl

90 -

Model-songstress Lissy Trullie sets America afire with her sleek leather and deadpan androgyny—all within a diet-punk moan. By Ralph Mendoza Photographed by Jay Hanna


t was probably her strawberry-blond bowl cut that drew you in at first—or a hazy dream of her making out with you, regardless of gender. Any which way, everything else cements your gaze—a furlined bowler hat, ‘50s leather motorbike jacket, black leggings, lofty heels, and a six-foot stance that unites Bjork’s innocent pout with Mick Jagger’s infamous cool. Even Courtney Love herself had already zigzagged aboard, periodically leaving public comments on Lissy Trullie’s MySpace account. “I don’t care if I look gay,” scoffs the 25-year-old singer. “I don’t want to partake in an idea of a stereotype. That’s encouraging a convoluted way of thinking.”  What really got people thinking and talking, however, was her strippeddown slant to rock. The bisexuality, or whatever you call it, has long been secondary. Singles like “Self-Taught Learner” and “Boy, Boy” slowly win you over with their needle-thin pop rhythms and wistful lyrics. Brilliantly low-fi covers of Hot Chip’s “Ready for the Floor” and Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” hardly hurt either.  Originally a native of Washington , DC, Trullie (whose real name is Lizzy McChesney) grew up a shy kid, splitting time between parents. From three years on—that is to say as far into the past as she can delve into her memories—she spent early summer mornings glued to her dad’s expansive record collection as he schooled her in the ways of Motown, Surf Rock, Folk, Soul, and Classical.   “He’s had a huge influence on my life in that way,” says Trullie of her dad. “I used to make mix tapes of those bands from the ‘50s and ‘60s—I was just completely obsessed. And especially as a teenager, I was into punk and post-punk. Grunge was also big. So it’s been sort of a marriage between all those eras.”  Her musical journey developed further as an early teen when she spent her time running around DC, watching punk bands that thrived in the city. It wasn’t long before Trullie started making some of her own. “I started playing the xylophone at the age of 10, but soon I pleaded with my parents to replace it with a guitar,” adds Trullie. She eventually wielded one and found her true calling. Though she began playing in bands and writing songs for friends

to sing at the age of 14, it would be many years before she started performing her own material. The shy kid still held fast, content to let others stand out front.  When she got to high school, she and her mother moved to New York, where Trullie began to soak up the history and atmosphere of the city. Like most New Yorkers, she held a lot of odd jobs to get by. They spanned the gamut from dish washing and janitorial work early on, to the “only in New York” story of being scouted randomly on the street, leading to a brief stint at professional modeling during college. Aside from modeling for fashion magazines Elle, Jalouse, and SOMA, the redhead was also the face of actress Chloë Sevigny’s clothing line. But Trullie is quick to remind fans that she had already left all that glamour years ago: “I haven’t done any professional modeling in a while, so it astounds me when people still think I model. Donald [Donald Cumming of The Virgins] and I only did it to score some quick cash before.”  After several hits and misses in the music scene, the four-piece selfnamed band was born. Joining her were ex-Saves The Day member Eben D’Amico (guitar), Josh Elrod (drums) formerly of Nashville noise outfit Tan As Fuck, and Ian Fenger (bass) of Ambulance LTD. “We’re all like snowflakes,” links Trullie. “Different and special in our own ways.” Soon after it all began to click. The songs that Trullie had been writing were finding a new life in front of live audiences. Toward the second half of 2008, it was apparent the band had something going for them. Playing gigs on a regular basis around New York City, their labors were bearing fruit in the form of a steadily growing fan base. With those same fans requesting music to take home with them, the next step was clear. It was time to put the songs down on tape for a release.  Having entertained a few different paths, they decided to put out their first release via an upstart indie label out of Brooklyn called American Myth. “American Myth was fantastic!” says Trullie. The move allowed them to retain great control of their own development and recording early on, a step they

considered vital to the natural growth of the band and their fledgling fan base.   In December of 2008 they spent a few run and gun marathon weekend sessions recording and self-producing the six songs that would make up the Self-Taught Learner EP. It wasn’t long before they came out of the gates running in 2009, embarking upon their first national tour as they worked towards the release of the EP in February.  On the track “Self-Taught Learner”, Trullie longingly recalls a “first kiss,” but eventually rummages deeper. “It’s about accepting, appreciating, and respecting loss,” explains Trullie. “It’s personal, in that I wrote it about a friend who passed away, but I’m trying to communicate that experience, not singing it for myself.”  But Trullie was nowhere near what she is now just a few years back. “I used to think I sounded like a frog,” confesses the Trullie of her distinct “tenor”. “But I’m getting the hang of it; it just took me a while to realize that my voice is like another instrument.”   On February 11th 2009 they played to a sold-out crowd at the Mercury Lounge, where a visibly emotional Trullie thanked the fans and the people who’d supported her and the band up to that point. “The EP release was great,” gushes Trullie. “Friends and family were all there. The show was very much in their honor.”  The future definitely looks bright for the band. Since then, Trullie has signed with Wichita (UK)— a label home to the likes of Bloc Party, The Cribs, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs—and Downtown Records (US), who in turn house Amanda Blank, Spank Rock, and Santigold. They’ve also just wrapped up a gig at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. Now they want to tour England and play more dates across the United States with friends The Virgins and Anya Marina again. “We are close to making a decision on the producer so we can record the LP this summer,” relates Trullie. Thing is, nobody can wait for that, not even Trullie herself. - 91

mind job

Can Street Art be Real Art? by Ramon De Veyra


n today’s world, we feel like Street Art is growing to become more influential, accepted, and prevalent. But despite this growing popularity, we asked ourselves: can street art ever be considered as “real” art? Here’s a spoiler: the answer’s yes. But even if the answer was no, it wouldn’t matter. The gatekeepers and self-appointed arbiters of taste would have us believe that street art is mere vandalism, puerile, nothing more than a cry for attention, too easily reproducible to be considered “fine art.” But more and more, museums and galleries have opened their arms to embrace street artists, and the audience they bring with them. Nico Puertollano of design studio 27+20 reminded me of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the enfant terrible who went from tagging New York’s walls to hanging paintings in some of its most prestigious galleries, hobnobbing with the cognoscenti and even “collaborating” with the likes of Andy Warhol—by applying paint directly onto their canvasses, sometimes without permission. Robert Williams introduced the word “lowbrow” into the fine arts lexicon by insisting his work be identified as such when fine arts came calling, then started Juxtapoz magazine to specifically cover a vibrant underground arts scene he felt was being unfairly ignored. Many of Juxtapoz’s subjects are now well-known names, and Juxtapoz is no longer the only magazine covering the same movements (see Hi-Fructose, Arkitip, etc.). Banksy used to smuggle his artwork into museums and hang them on the wall until they started adding them to their permanent collection. Now he’s had major exhibitions in London and New York. Some look at this movement with skepticism: is it a matter of art attitudes changing and broadening, or more savvy curators and gallery owners trying to capitalize? Is it a genuine

92 -

enthusiasm and cultural acknowledgement? Some are paranoid because many street artists started out specifically to be anti-establishment, counter to the tastemakers who insisted on a consensus for validation. Which is why they took it to the streets. This has been the strongest appeal of street art: the freedom to communicate. No censors, no editors, no curators, “a direct expression of one’s artistic vision to the masses” as Marcus Nada of Electrolychee put it. It’s one-to-one, artist to audience, no filters. It’s immediate, and done well enough, can be understood from afar, from a moving vehicle, by people, who live vastly different lives, yet understand the same message. Whether it’s Banksy’s clever anti-authoritarian stencils or your basic graf tag bearing your nom-de-street, it’ll be seen. So yes, street art is in museums, galleries, with entire books devoted to the topic. It adorns store window displays and covers of albums. But here’s why it wouldn’t matter whether it could be considered real art or not: it wouldn’t stop them. Even success hasn’t been able to curb the tendencies of the proper street artist. Ron English still goes out art-bombing when he visits new cities. Shepard Fairey got arrested in Boston earlier this year on graffiti charges while his first major solo exhibition was at the local Institute of Contemporary Art. Banksy still unveils his occasional pranks, and gets massive press for it. Any proper street artist worth his salt won’t abandon where they came from. When they started, it wasn’t with dreams of making money or doing a cover for Kanye. It was to throw out an idea into the world, unfettered; temporal thought-bombs for an unsuspecting audience, with no expectation of monetary recompense or even authorial credit.

NIGHTVISION Shoreline @Boracay


t’s that time of the year again when the sun, sand, and waters collide. Summer is on everyone’s mind as the temperature continues to hit the roof. Smart Gold, Smart MYTV and Styles Entertainment held “Shoreline”— the summer’s best beach event, last April 17-19.

94 -

night vision

N - 95

night vision

Trilogy Opening @Rada Street - Makati

96 -

night vision

Dimmak Manila @Embassy - 97

night vision

MTV Summer Break @ Boracay

98 -

trans action

Gile’s Peterson Festival @Zirca - Singapore

Gareth Pugh Fashion Show @Audi Fashion Festival - 99

Where to find stuff in this magazine ADIDAS Available at all Adidas stores nationwide ALDO Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City ARANAZ Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City BILLABONG Available at Stoked , Power Plant Mall, Makati city THE BODY SHOP Available at Power Plant Mall, Makati City CARBON Available at Power Plant Mall, Makati City CHARLES & KEITH Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City DAILY GRIND Available at Team Manila, Power Plant Mall, Makati City DC SHOES Available at BratPack, Greenbelt 5, Makati City DIMMAK CLOTHING Available at Trilogy, Alvion Centre, Makati City Tel:328-1071 DUMOND Available at Greenbelt 3, Makati City ELECTRIC Available at Stoked, Power Plant Mall, Makati City ENZO ANGIOLINI Available at Greenbelt 3, Makati City EZEKIEL Available at Stoked, Power Plant Mall, Makati city FIRMA Available at Greenbelt 3, Makati City


STEVE MADDEN Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City

Everywhere We Shoot See

GARNIER Available at all major beauty stores

SUPRA Available at Greyone Social, Power Plant Mall Tel:896-5084 & Greenbelt 5 Tel:729-0945

RIVER GUILAS (Makeup artist) MAKE UP FOR EVER Unit 307 Prince David Condominium 305 Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights 1108 Quezon City, Philippines

GAUPO Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City GENERIC SURPLUS Available at Trilogy, Alvion Centre, Makati City Tel:328-1071 GREYONE SOCIAL Available at Greyone Social Power Plant Mall Tel:896-5084 & Greenbelt 5 Tel:729-0945 HURLEY Available at Stoked , Power Plant Mall, Makati city JUICE BEAUTY See JURLIQUE Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City KHIEL’S Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City MICHAEL KORS Available at Greenbelt 5, Makati City NIKE Available at all Nike stores nationwide NINE WEST Available at Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong City ONITSUKA TIGER Avialable at Onitsuka Tiger, Greenbelt 5, Makati city PRIORI See PUMA Available at all Puma stores Nationwide SOLEA Available at Power Plant Mall, Makati City Tel: 896-1691

T Available at Greenbelt 3, Makati City TEAM MANILA Available at Team Manila Power Plant Mall, Makati City TINT Available at Power Plant Mall, Makati City Tel: 896-3507 and Greenbelt 3, Makati City TOPSHOP Available at Power Plant Mall, Makati City VANS Available at Vans SM Mega Mall Bldg. B, Mandaluyong city WESC Available at Trilogy, Alvion Centre, Makati City Tel: 328-1071 ARTISTS KAYE AGNES (Model) CAL-CARRIE’S INTERNATIONAL MODELS PHILIPPINES Suite 1514 Cityland Herrera Tower 98 Rufino Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City Tel: 844-0350 / 753-3700 Rony Alwin (Photographer) See EGAY DACAY (Hair Stylist) THE MAKEUP FORUM Mobile: 0915-541-4157

DEREK HUBALDE (Model) Professional Models Association of the Philippines See KAI HUANG (Photographer) See PATRICK JAMORA (Photographer) See MANGORED (Photographer) See MIGUEL MIRANDA (Photographer) See REVOLUTION (Photographer) See KAY RODRIGUEZ (Makeup artist) MAKE UP FOR EVER Unit 307 Prince David Condominium 305 Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights 1108 Quezon City, Philippines JIMRYAN ROS (Hair Stylist) Mobile: 0927-824-0435 See SHARON SOLEDAD-MALIG (Makeup artist) SHU UEMURA Mobile: 0928-622-8598 TEAM MANILA (Photographer) See STUDIO TRIPTYCH STUDIOS G/F Sarmiento Condominium, 177 Yakal St. San Antonio Village, Makati City E-mail: Mobile: 0917-532-3373


TATTOOED ON OUR MINDS By Erika Hoffmann Photographed by MangoRED Make-up by Sharon Soledad-Malig of Shu Uemura


f everyone goes zig, go zag,” says 22-year old band singer, graphic illustrator, tattoo artist, and part-time model, SARAH GAUGLER. And indeed, zag she went when she ran away from home at the age of 17 to nourish her hunger for the arts at UST while most girls would have just done otherwise. Currently, she is in the band Turbo Goth with their first single out entitled, “Morning Swim.” Sarah quips, “Our songs vary from many different genres but our music is all rock, pop, and happy—no real category.”     When Sarah walks in, her contradicting styles of edginess and graceful sophistication makes her stand out. She’s sporting a boho-chic headband, a black tanktop, and a tattoo of an embellished heart on her right shoulder that reminds us of a school-girl-in-love doodle rather than a rough and tumble tat. When asked about how everything began, she looked up and answered as if there has never been an official beginning. “I guess my art started when I was a kid drawing,” she replies casually. Her attraction to the arts was pretty natural,

102 -

just like her recent success. When she was in college, the band Orange and Lemons saw her artwork on the Internet and were immediately captivated that they asked her to do the illustrations for their Moonlane Gardens album cover. It won at the NU Rock Awards and everyone just started to want her to design for them. But the applause to her work paper soon got old, so she wandered on to a different canvas—skin. “I got impatient; besides, you should never stop growing.” Sarah Gaugler is definitely unclassifiable as seen in her art, music, and even persona, which she emulates from Madonna and Audrey Hepburn—the kind of juxtaposition of flair and classic whimsy that only makes sense in her world. She is a creator, both seeing the world and personally compelled to add to it. Nothing or no one else feeds or quenches her hunger. “I just do what is beautiful to me. It’s a struggle, but I do it anyway because this is what God wants me to do.”


Status 7 - feat. Fafi