Page 1


INSIDES

48

Yoon sul 96

sainer


106

130

118

140

Dave kinsey best dressed

zosen & kenor recycled percussion

14 Thailand

38 24/Seven

22 show & tell

40 Dropping

26 Creative Quest

60 Photo

28 BAckground

84 Stupid Questions 150 Junk Food 152 Nut & Bolt 154 Tiny skate shop

photo yoon sul


CHIEF

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Joe LoVasco joe@steezmagazine.com COPY EDITOR

Taylor Kendall taylor@steezmagazine.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Greg Manning gman@steezmagazine.com CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Stewartsmithphoto.com, Dan Muchnik, Buddy Bleckley, Yoon Sul, Babas, Marcus Sears, Brendan Wixted, Michael Kahan, Rob Collins, Sean Michon, Jeff Crowe, Ace of LA, Joe Hammeke, Joel Woodman, Nike SB, Mike Chew, Gabe Ginsberg CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Joe Banda, Bo Vice, Bro Vice, Taylor Kendall, Sydney Lindberg, Katie Mack, Peter Levandowski CONTRIBUTORS

Buddy Bleckley, Pat Milbery, Florian Hopfensperger, Ashley Rosemeyer, Dave Bachinsky, Erik Hoffman, Karim Ghonem, Landan Luna REPS

Pete Prudhomme, Doug Brassill, Chris Gadomski, Doug Setzler, Nick Legere, Dustin Amato, Ryan Brouder, Johnny Miller INTERNS

Michael Connolly, Lauren Georgiades, Jenna Hoy THANKS

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© Steez Magazine® LLC 2013

ISSUE 28 COVER: photo- Dave Kinsey - Tequila Carousel (cropped) text- Hand painted by Josh Luke and Kenji Nakayama of Best Dressed Signs

MYSTERY QR’S We got some good stuff for ya this time around! As usual a mix of business and pleasure, practical and extracurricural. To get the full effect be sure to try em all.


checking Thailand

Words and Photo: Florian Hopfensperger

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What do you think when you hear the word, Bangkok? I gotta tell you what you need to think! This city rocks so hard! Did you ever imagine living in kind of like an amusement park? If yes, go to Bangkok and have everything you need in less than a minute. Ride Skytrains like rollercoasters, and taxis for two bucks an hour. In Thai translation it is called the “City of Angels”, and you know what, it’s true ‘cause everywhere you look, you’re gonna see angels. Expect to see some of the crazy ladyboys, something that is actually a generally accepted fashion out here. Long story short, I’ve been traveling for a while; the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia. However, coming to live in Bangkok during the European wintertime was something that I didn’t expect 3-5 years ago. If you like an urban life in a very compact style, it’s gonna be the perfect city for you. As I said, get out of your home, join the overpopulated jungle and have everything you need. Thai food is

bomb and so cheap. The Thai lifestyle seems to not be complicated at all. Everything is possible. And if not, no worries, because your straight attitude of western life will change immediately. For me as a skateboarding photographer it’s important to find the perfect spots for certain tricks. I like to find crazy, epic looking spots to tell a story with my photos. That’s what I found with Bangkok. If you’re in town and want to join us, come visit Preduce Skateshop at Siam Square 1. We’re always down to roll. I gotta say thanks a lot to Simon, Tao, Geng, Jane, Ryan and Peter who always back me up with good times. Thanks so much for making it happen!


Geng Jakkerin - Crook If you don’t know Geng Jakkerin yet, then now you know one of the top of the line skaters in Asia. This photo is a perfect example of a perfect trick in a perfect spot. He got pop!

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checking Thailand


Leo Anzevui – Fs Noseslide Leo is my all-time homie from Switzerland. He moved to Bangkok a couple of years ago and started riding for Preduce Skateboards right away. I can’t tell you how many times I went out skating with him during the night. Turning the night into day was our daily mission. This fs noseslide happened so randomly, just by rolling down the hallway.


checking Thailand

Tao Kirpullap - Fs 180 Tao is the first Thai skater I got to meet when I rolled into Bangkok. He’s amazing! If you’re in Thailand sometime, you need to skate with Tao! Put this on your must-do list. Top 3!

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Peter Pecheratrana – Bs Flip If you want to taste amazing Thai food cooking skills, you got to meet Peter Pecheratrana. His cooking is bomb, and so tasty. Besides that, he knows everything in town and is a 100% real homie! I am f*cking stoked about this bs flip photo!

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checking Thailand

Marko Grady - Heelflip To tell you the truth, Marko Grady is one of Thailand’s sickest new comer kids. His skating is so awesome. Same goes for his personality. Heelflips for dinner!

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Show & Tell Do you wear this when you DJ? Absofrickenlutely ;) In your opinion, is side-boob better than cleavage? Good question... hmmmmm, on me? Or her?

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Belanger

Interview AB Photo Stewartsmithphoto.com

Lauren

Is it hard for you to swim? Not at all.

What do you eat at Thanksgiving dinner? I take turns every year, but I definitely always save room for desert, yummm! What kind of music do you bump when you DJ? I personally love house music, and a great mixup, although I do have something up my sleeve that I can’t wait to have finished.  


Are male models bigger divas than females? I believe we’re all the same creature. Teehee! Feel good, Look good. Although I have come across a few divas, who am I to judge? Power to ya! Would you rather be in a pie eating contest or hot dog eating contest? Great question. I’d have to say hot

dog eating contest because you never know what kind of pie you’ll have to eat! Haha… and well, a hot dog, well… it is what it is. The more mustard the merrier! Tell us a secret about you? I can belly dance, shhhhh! I don’t know I’m shy about it, and I also enjoy being the drink mixer. I have to say, I like being in control of the tipsy lol, shhh!

Bettano

Have you ever ridden in a blimp? Zeppelin? No haha, but I have no fear that’s for sure!

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CREATIVE quest

This has been a summer of global creation; the opportunity to travel and create around the globe has been an amazing yet eye-opening experience. When traveling to new places, meeting new people and being allowed the chance to learn about new cultures, you are taught a lot as long as you listen with more than just your ears. While globetrotting, I have been highly influenced by conversations with the people of every culture. Throughout many social interactions, there has been one common observation that remains consistent. Whether I’m on the home soil of America, eating noodles in Japan, skateboarding along the beaches of Brazil, enjoying the architecture of Barcelona or partying in Germany, the amount of self-doubt I encounter in people saddens me. In many of my conversations, individuals have exhibited a great sense of internal fear. Whether it’s based on what others think of their creations and being judged, or not amounting to what expectations society places upon them. I have listened to many excuses for not making art or not doing what they are passionate about in life. All I can offer is encouragement to do our best to pass on more positive energy to each other.

I typically don’t paint cliché messages like this on the streets, but the people of Brazil were so beautiful. Their ability to welcome the entire So-Gnar crew into their culture without walls inspired me so much. I decided to take this inspiration and use it to create a message I wanted to leave behind. It was to thank the Brazilian culture as well as encourage anyone to “Love Yourself!” My body was filled with adrenaline, excitement and joy, knowing I was painting a positive message that was more universal than a bubble letter throw-up. I faced the risk of getting busted for painting illegally, but at that moment in time, I tuned out and kept my focus on


creating especially for the people. With the high amounts of traffic the beach receives from tourists all over the world, I hope this message of consciousness encourages all. The little kid pictured here is Brazilian, homeless and was so curious to try to paint with us. The So-Gnar crew took this opportunity to teach a person from the younger generation a skill he could carry on for a lifetime as we handed him a can. We all smiled together, and this moment of life marked an awakening, reminding me to stay

focused on the bigger picture of life and to spread love wherever I am lucky enough to travel and create! Please contribute to the following hashtags through instagram, #createordie #todayicreated, these are hash tags that not only have been created while traveling, but also reached millions of kids across the world, reminding them to create or die!

Peace, Pat Milbery

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BACKGROUND

Finding something you live for is one thing, but making friends that live for the same thing is hard to come by. Brandon McConnell, Pittsburgh local, has been bombing hills for as long as he can remember. The suburbs of New Castle, PA have a lot of hills that are just waiting to be skated. One morning, I got a phone call from Brandon McConnell and he mentioned that his crew was planning on hitting street the entire day, and I should make the drive to take some photos. It’s rare to go out and hit street with a group of skaters, so of course, I was down to go. Local skater, Sean Stumpf, joined us and we drove an hour north to New Castle at about 8 in the morning. It was cool to get together with a group of skaters from Pittsburgh, New Castle, and even Colorado. This crew knew each other from anywhere between one to five

years so they knew how to push each other. Brandon had the idea to shoot a photo bombing a hill; it was a great opportunity with the whole crew around. He had a few hills picked out but, since it was a business day the road he had originally planned for was a no go. We decided to go to East Washington Street, which was a double hill and had a perfect flat spot to take a photo. All the skaters took off down the hill and being that it was on a back road, they were able to just coast for a good while. This experience made me appreciate the freedom of skateboarding and the ability it has to bring people together. -Ashley Rosemeyer

P Ashley Rosemeyer

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EQP Camera: Canon Rebel XSI Lens: 18-200 Tamron


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BACKGROUND

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Remember Transworld Feedback, when they had “That Day”, Chad Muska skated around 9 spots and ripped them all in Arizona? Josh Hawkins pulled a 2013 “That Day”. I woke up to Josh on my porch, coffee in one hand and his cell phone in the other. He was already motivating the group to meet up at the first spot. He told me he had some spots in mind, which I was already curious what he was gonna say because of his ability to skate any terrain. If you

have seen his “Happy Medium” video parts, you know he’s that dude that can find something new in the old spot. He told me he wanted to adventure to a city just on the outer skirts of L.A. We arrived along the L.A. river, to the right was a tilted bank that ran along the entrance of the bike path. The bank grew over head high and was super slippery. We started from the top, bombing down the path to try and wall ride as far as we could. There were

P Dave Bachinsky R Josh Hawkins, tail slide EQP Camera:K1000pentex Film: 400tx bw


smaller squares that were beveled, so we were doing a wallride ollie-out to them. There were so many possibilities with this spot, Josh rifled out a quick line with a friend that was filming. When we all gathered around to see the footage, an error logo came up on the screen. Then I just watched him ride away from the bank, getting speed wobbles and then proceeding to throw a frontside flip while going as fast as possible on the narrow path. Two seconds

later, Josh was back up at the top and had no problem charging at it again. By now it’s still before noon and he had a whole list of gems to shred. He got around 6 other clips that day, and made the adventure up north completely worth it. Keep an eye out for the Southwest ripper, he’s like the Northeast...just shreds, eats and camps. -Dave Bachinsky

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BACKGROUND

P Erik Hoffman R Julian Lewis, Bs flip EQP Camera: Canon 5d Lens: Canon 70-200mm IS Lighting: Alienbees b1600

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More times than not, my involvement with skateboarding does not leave the confines of a skatepark. I don’t attribute this much to a lack of motivation, but more to a lack of an adequate environment required for skateboarding. Suburbia often presents this all too common dilemma for aspiring skateboarders, although just when you thought you had found all your local spots, your little Asian friend comes up with the bright idea to use Google Earth to search for more. Julian and I drove over to check out what we thought was an accordion-esque rooftop. Most of

the time photographers are quite skeptical of shooting in locations such as a rooftop, where they can potentially get busted right after they set up all their equipment. This spot however, happened to be closed, in the middle of the woods, and perfect enough to be in a videogame. Not only that, but a clear day and lack of trees in the area allowed for a glowing golden light to aid my photographic efforts. These are the days we all dream of, when all the variables come together to produce a final product that exemplifies a decisive moment. In this case, Julian catching this backside flip. -Erik Hoffman

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BACKGROUND

I have a theory. I actually have lots of theories. One of which is you can’t get mad at the knucklehead working at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru for messing up your order, when afterall NASA built a satellite and forgot to convert some of the measurements from Standard to Metric, and the entire thing burned up as soon as it entered outer space. I mean, NASA has some pretty intelligent people working there, and if they are allowed to blow it from time to time, I guess you can’t get too mad at the high school drop out with the face tats working for minimum

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wage because he confused your medium hot coffee with no sugar for an iced blueberry and cheese, extra cream extra sugar extra.. whatever, right? Then again, if Corey can back smith this head high electric box on his second or third try, and make it look good at that, then how hard can it be to remember ice in my coffee? -Karim Ghonem


P Karim Ghonem R Corey Goonan, Back smith EQP Camera: Nikon d3 Lens: 16mm fisheye Lighting: Qflash, two sb900’s

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BACKGROUND

The guys had been itching to shoot for about two weeks before this less-than-stellar day rolled around. It was a typical Lubbock afternoon, with the wind blowing a steady 25mph straight across the gap. It was going to be near impossible for anyone to put down anything on this day. Will charged this gap for a solid thirty minutes, but frustration soon rose with the wind consistently blowing his board out from under him. The guys needed a break and I needed a new card. Will walked away from the group and I knew this was probably it. Will came flying down the run up and snapped the cleanest kickflip I've ever witnessed. It was almost as if the board never left his feet. He floated in the air forever until finally coming down and riding away clean. All you need is that one trick to show why you ever picked up a board in the first place. Keep pushing. Keep riding. -Landan Luna

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P Landan Luna R Will Gariepy, Kickflip EQP Camera: Canon 5D mkiii Lens: 70-200mm 2.8

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24 Seven

Benny Balderrama Words / Photo Buddy Bleckley

getting a shaven

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I met Benny through a few friends, and upon first impression I had no idea how talented he was on a skateboard. When we first skated together it was mainly ditch spots and smaller things. When he said he wanted to smith grind this 17-stair rail, I was like “Damn, really? F*ck it, let’s do it.” We met up the next morning at the local park. However, I didn’t find Benny kicking around

warming up, but rather getting a fully shaven head in the parking lot with dollar store razors. That’s just the type of dude Benny is. When we got to the rail, a few people wanted to try tricks on it because the kink was freshly cut off. We ended up getting kicked out the first day before Benny could try to smith it, but went back the next day to get the trick. While he was trying the trick,

the lot with store


24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24

fully

head in parking

dollar razors

he kept getting stuck on the shitty wood landing and then doing little penguin slides across the grass like it was nothing; making funny jokes and bets with all of our friends there the whole time. After a few more tries, and a little motivation of the cops pulling up for a, “do it this try” situation, he stuck it. I had no idea Benny got so gnarly, even the police were impressed.

You can check the footage of the front smith in the new, “Meet the Lurkers” video from Lurkville Skateboards, or check out Benny’s last part in Josh Chamber’s video, “Where are We Going?”

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DROPPING Summer ‘13

G-Shock 30th Anniversary WATCH, $200

Everyday Noble SUMMER TEES $25ea

Herschel HILLTOP WALLET, $25

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Neff BRODIE STATIC SHADES, $50

DGK, Organika, Expedition DECKS, $50ea

Strongback ELITE CHAIR, $80

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Vans CHIMA PRO, $65


DROPPING Summer ‘13

Leatherman SKELETOOL SX, $80

Smith LOWDOWN SHADES, $120

Stance Back to the beach, $12

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Hex x The Hundreds AXIs iphone wallet, $55


Ambig banana map woven, $54 zephyr shorts, $54

Jammy Pack blackedout, $65

GoPro hero3 black ed., $400

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DROPPING Summer ‘13

Hennessy V.S. Limited edition bottle by os gemeos, $32

ThirtyTwo hood ratS trucker, $25

Ezekiel Kodiak shirt, $50 The standard boardshort, $59

FKD 44

shane oneill gold series bearings, $20


Silver Trucks josh kalis everlast series, $25

MTN Hardcore limited edition cans Chaz, $40 belin, $40

Outdoor Technology turtle shell boombox, $130

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DROPPING Summer ‘13

Herschel sutton stussy duffle, $88

Kicker cush talk headphones, $80

Hilliard’s pint 4-packs, $10ea

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Braydon Szafranski, London, Wild in the Streets 2010

Wants to See You Smile Interviewed by Sydney Lindberg Photos Yoon Sul

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oon Sul rides a Harley sportster, not to be cool, but to save time and gas. It’s almost essential for someone living in Los An-

“It wasn’t go skateboard day for me. It was go to work day for me,” he said over the phone. Yoon has been commissioned to take photos for almost every skateboard magazine out there. That day, he was downtown Los Angeles at Hollenbeck Plaza, taking photos for Nike SB of kids skating across the 6 th Street bridge over to the 6th and Mill Skate Park.

than a city skyline or nice alley way or something really cool. Downtown has a lot of that.”

“All the bigger Nike guys over in New York, they got a barge out there and they’re cruising along the Hudson River,” Yoon said. “Honestly, I would have rather been there.”

Yoon loves skateboarding photography, but he appreciates the lifestyle stuff even more.

Traveling is just another perk of the job. Before, it was mainly to find good street spots, but now he travels more for different events. “It’s a lot easier,” Yoon said. “Being in the streets you’re never guaranteed that photo you need. And with events it’s much more controlled.”

geles with a busy lifestyle. He gets home from work with bloodied knuckles and sweat dripping down his back from carrying his gear all day. He cracks open a Pacifico and takes my call. 50

“Plus, there’s air conditioning,” he said. Now, a lot more people are competing for four or five pages in a magazine. Yoon used to spend hours driving in Los Angeles traffic, only to get kicked out of a spot after five minutes, even on a Tuesday. Now, he said he’d rather know before hand that he’s going to get paid for each shot. “Anywhere downtown L.A. is my favorite place to shoot skateboarding, period,” Yoon said. “It’s a little New York-esque in a way, rather than just some set of stairs in a suburban neighborhood. For me, a rad spot is also what’s in the background. You know, it’s not so interesting when there’s a bunch of trees in the background, rather

“One of my favorite photos is this one I shot with Paul Shier at the end of the 1st Street bridge. And another photo with him right on the 6th Street bridge, with the arches of the bridge and East L.A. in the background.”

“The best photographs are the ones when you’re shooting someone and they have no clue you’re shooting them,” Yoon said. “I grew up looking at those kind of photographs more than skateboard photographs.” He grew up looking at photos by Richard Avedon, a fashion and portrait photographer that helped define America’s definition of style and beauty during the last half of the century. “His photos made a major impact,” says Yoon. “He shot this whole New Mexico community of minors for one book, and I was just blown away. There is a stylized side to him, and also this documentary side that just blew me away completely. There’s this one particular photograph by him of his dad on his deathbed. And I was just like, oh... that’s really, really cool. Even though it’s his dad on his deathbed.” To capture that moment is incredibly powerful, especially with the lasting truth a photograph provides.


Dustin Dollin, Carlsbad, CA 2009 post broken board

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“That’s what I love,” Yoon said. “When you capture something that’s real versus going, oh, stand here and tilt your head. Pretend that you’re happy or pissed or something.”

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After attending high school in the Pacific Palisades, doing everything possible not to go to college, and chasing after a degree in sociology, Yoon went to Art Center to be a fashion photographer. He thought he would live that rock star life shooting hot chicks and half naked babes. Turns out, that wasn’t for him.

“It was too fake, too full of shit and it gave me that weird embarrassing butterfly feeling in my stomach”, Yoon said. “I’ve always said there’s two ways of taking photos. You can be the biggest liar in the world, or you can be the biggest truth teller in the world.


Brian "Slash" Hansen, Mt. Washington 2008 Backside Smith Grind

Bullshit versus what life really is,” he said. “And I don’t airbrush shots, zits, or moles or anything, or paint boobs larger, haha.” Black and white shots have always been his first go-to. He said after he printed a photo for the first time, he knew it was what he wanted to do. Sometimes color distracts from what the photo is really trying to say. Yoon puts photographs out for all of us to get a little glimpse of this place, or this world that we’re so in awe of. He said the most important

thing that any photograph can do is put you there. “That’s what I mean by the whole truth telling, or the whole lifestyle thing,” he said. “My goal is to have people look at these photographs and feel like they are there.” “Whatever they’re doing, wherever they are, I want them to feel like they are right there in front of the moment I captured,” he said. “That’s important to me.” The first photo he printed was a photo

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he took of a voodoo shop in New Orleans. The photo actually made it into his high school yearbook, so it is logged and documented. “I remember it coming to life and I was like, no way, that’s so f*cking cool.”

Antwuan Dixon, Carlsbad, CA 2009 Pre face tat

“I’m not a loner, but I loved being alone with the chemicals,” he said. “With no other distractions, I would just put my headphones on and listen to the music. I mean, the first interview I did for Transworld with Danny Supa, developing that interview alone took me nine months.” That interview came out the week Yoon graduated from Art Center -proof of his hard work, and the be-

ginning of his future. Between the ages of 16-21, Yoon had met a lot of big pros in the industry. And with friends like Danny, he said he sort of just fell into it. “I call myself the luckiest unlucky man on the planet, or the unluckiest lucky man,” he said. Because the whole photography thing happened after Yoon got run over by a Mercedes when he was 15, and thought he was going to be blind for the rest of his life. “When I was underneath the car, all of these fluids were burning into my eyes,” Yoon said. “I technically got run over twice. The woman ran over me, then, she backed up and ran over me again. I opened my eyes and there was nothing but black. I kept trying to open my eyes wider, and nothing but black. I was probably blind for a good five minutes, but it felt like five years.”

“It was gnarly. I thought for the rest of my life, I was never going to see things again -- my family and their faces, and my friends, and the f*cking sunset. It kind of went to my head. In a corny way, once my vision came back it made me really appreciate seeing all those things, and seeing things in general.”

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“So, I asked my dad for his camera. He gave it to me and I started shooting photographs from there.”


Marquis Preston, Las Vegas, NV 2010 Last month Filming for Emerica's "Stay Gold"

He said, “I wanted to become a photographer to document those moments that I almost lost forever.” So what’s the most beautiful thing he could ever lay his eyes upon? “That’s a tough question, that’s a really tough question,” Yoon said. “The smile on someone’s face when they’re legitimately happy. That, or the sunset, because sunsets are really cool. But no, you know, I really love seeing someone who is legitimately, emotionally happy.” One of those moments took place in 2009, when Yoon had the opportunity to travel to Afghanistan for two and a half weeks to shoot

the opening of Skateistan, a school that used skateboarding as a tool to get kids inside. It was started by two Australians who wanted to bring skateboarding to the Middle East. The timing happened to be just right, and Yoon took the job. Afghani culture is radically different than here. Kids don’t just go to school; they’re born to help the family do whatever it takes to survive. But if you wanted to skate, you had to go to school at Skateistan. First came the boys, then came the girls. “It’s funny because the women aren’t even allowed to fly a kite, or ride a bicycle,” Yoon said. “They’re

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not even allowed to ride in the front seat of a car. But, for some reason they were allowed to get on a skateboard and skate. And I was there to shoot the first time these girls were allowed to be anything other than a girl. They were jumping on skateboards and pumping around the park. It was... pretty insane,” he said. “I’m dying to go back there.”

where he did everything possible to not go to college, or as little as possible in school period. He ended up at Santa Monica City College where he spent most of his time out partying. “A number of my friends got hooked up into heroin, going in and out of rehabs,” he said, “getting clean only to relapse again, you know?” “One day, a real good friend of mine who had gotten clean came over to my old apartment in Brentwood,” Yoon said. “He was clean for a year and a half, and he looked great. He had always wanted to be a photographer for surfing and he was going to Art Center in Pasadena.”

Pete Eldridge, East LA, CA 2011 Filming for TWS Hallelujah

He said he’d also like to go back to Korea now that he’s older so that he could truly experience the culture and soak it all in. Yoon’s Korean, and he traveled there as a little kid. But he was completely out of his comfort zone, so he wasn’t able to appreciate much. “Being a skateboard photographer and being able to travel, that changed a lot,” Yoon said. “Actually, that’s how I found out who I really was, because of traveling. When you’re not home and you’re not in your comfort zone, that’s when you get to really know who you are.”

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Still, home is where the heart is. Yoon was born and raised here in Los Angeles. He went to a large high school in the Pacific Palisades

“He knew that I was always really into photography, and you know, that I was out partying at the time. And he came over and was like, ‘What the f*ck are you doing? You’re wasting your time right now. You know you love this shit, just go to Art Center with me. I know you love photography, I know you love skateboarding, I know you love this and that... just do it.’” Two days later, the guy relapsed and died. That was it. The day he passed, Yoon pretty much just said goodbye to whatever life he had at that time and just focused on getting into Art Center and becoming a photographer. It wasn’t easy. “You appreciate a lot when shit like that happens,” Yoon said. “It’s hard at the time, but it comes to a point where you realize it’s not my fault that he died, but he was there in my life and on my couch that day and he told me to just do it, stop being a pussy and just do it.”


“There comes a moment where you realize that my life is the most important, and that’s it, period.” It took Yoon another year and a half at Santa Monica City College to raise his GPA to a 4.0 so he could get into Art Center. He said before that moment of clarity, the photography thing was a constant question of ‘do I want to do this, do I not want to do this?’ There’s a lot of work ethic that goes into being a photographer. It’s not just shooting a photograph, whatsoever. But, Yoon has dedicated his life to doing what he loves. “At the end of the day, to me, what I do is a reward,” he said. “I’m very fortunate and I thank the lucky stars for that every day.” “My favorite thing is getting a roll of film back. To this day, you just never know what you’ll get. That’s my favorite part. I love not knowing,” he said. With a digital camera, you take a photo and you look at the back of the screen and there it is, done deal. But, between the time you shoot it on film and the time you get it back to the lab, there’s that little period of time that goes by. “There’s been times I don’t even want to develop a roll of film for days, or for months,” he said, “because I don’t want to know until I feel like it.” To this day, Yoon gets a rush when he gets a roll of film back. He gets giddy like a little schoolgirl, like ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see what I got!’ And with his Contax especially, he said he loves the Contax because it’s a real nice lens, and the quality of the photo with the right film is superior.

“You just can’t get that with digital, even if you spend hours in Photoshop or Lightroom,” he said. It’s scary what’s happening to film. Now, it’s just a novelty. You go to Urban Outfitters and there’s an old guy there with a roll of 120 film. Yoon said he’s watched shelves of his favorite printing paper get whittled down to one shelf, and now he’s watching the fridges of film get emptier and emptier too. “There’s nothing like sitting in the dark room,” Yoon said. But with the economy right now, nobody can afford to do that.

“Let’s put it this way, I shoot digital so I can afford to buy film,” he said. “And don’t even talk to me about sequences, that was the most depressing part about shooting film back then,” he said. “Just seeing hundreds of rolls in the trash can, that was the worst.” That’s where digital really makes sense, is sequences. “I hate shooting sequences by the way,” Yoon said. “A photo should be something that is lit nicely and has a great composition. With sequences, you’re just capturing a trick. You might as well just shoot video and pull the frames out.” It seems like everything needs to be instant these days, and Instagram is the perfect example.

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“It was a little fun when I first started because I could shoot a photo of the sunset on my iPhone and instantly post it. Now it’s almost like a pre-requisite for my job, and a free way for all of these companies to advertise,” Yoon said.

Paul Shier, 6th Street bridge, Downtown, LA, CA 2007 Backside kickflip

By the way, Yoon’s Instagram is @Yoonicorn213. The name actually came from Derek Basset, who Yoon first met when he was working on his first interview with Danny Supa. “Anyways, Derrick would come out west a lot during the winters, and let’s just say, whenever you’re hanging out with Danny you’re getting high as f*ck off whatever weed we’re smoking,” Yoon said. “And, one night, we’re watching The Big Lebowski and Derrick looks at me and says, ‘You’re a yoonicorn.’ At the time I thought it was really corny, but after a couple of years I realized what a unicorn really was and now I dig it.”

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The photographer truly is one of a kind, a mythical creature, roaming the world with his Contax around his neck at all times. And tonight, Yoon happens to be heading to the most magical place in the world, Disneyland. “My girlfriend and I, that’s our ther-

apy,” Yoon said. When they have a long, hard week they just go to forget about everything else that’s going on. “It’s the one place in the world where I know I can be a kid again,” Yoon said. “And, I can get a beer... and just walk around with a beer.” “It’s funny too, with the whole Berrics thing,” he said. “For some reason, that’s where I get recognized the most. I don’t go to Disneyland to get recognized, I go to Disneyland to be a kid again. But a lot of people that go to Disneyland are fans of the Berrics,” he clarified. A few weeks ago, Yoon was at Disney on high school grad night. He said he couldn’t walk for three minutes without a group of kids walking up and screaming ‘Yeah!! I love the Berrics! Da da daaada...’ “It’s kind of weird,” he said. “I didn’t become a photographer to be famous, I became a photographer to take photos.” But, if it puts a smile on their faces, then f*ck yeah I’ll give ‘em a high five and take a photo with them, he said. Like he said before, he just loves to see people happy.


R Daniel Dubois Fs 360 P Daniel Muchnik

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R Ludo Charbonneau Ollie P Babas

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P Marcus Sears

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R Eric Abo Ollie P Brendan Wixted

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R Moses Salazar Blunt to drop P Daniel Muchnik


P Michael Kahan


R Tom Rohrer Nose manual P Dave Bachinsky


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R Frank Faria Ollie P Daniel Muchnik


R John Cruz Back tail P Landan Luna

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R Lee Berman Fs 180 P Rob Collins


R Ariel Perl Fs noseblunt P Sean Michon


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STUPID QUESTIONS

Sean Malto Interviewed by Katie Mack Photo Nike SB

While filming for “Pretty Sweet,” what was it like to see Jack Black naked, up close and personal? Pretty funny! That guy is a truly talented actor. He came into a group of guys he didn’t know and put on an amazing performance! If you could choose one skill that you could instantly download (like they did in “The Matrix”), what would that be? I always wanted to play an instrument. It would be sick to instantly know how to play the piano!

Let’s hope for my sake that Marty doesn’t f*ck this up for me!

Could you describe your feelings at the moment you found out you were going to be a Street League action figure? It was definitely trippy, going in and getting your face scanned. Never thought that I would ever have an action figure, but whatever, I’m hyped that they used an Escapist shirt! What the hell are you smiling at? Life. Do you point and laugh at mongo pushers, or do you shield them from the vicious hecklers? I really don’t even pay attention. They’ll figure it out eventually. I’m not necessarily concerned that they push with the opposite foot than I do. Why would you let your poor friend, Aaron, straight up eat a jar of mayonnaise? I don’t think there’s any stopping Aaron from doing whatever he wants to do. If he wants to torture himself, that’s cool with me, I’ll sit back and laugh! Where do you stand on the apocalypse? Ranging from no-shits-given, to doomsdayprepper-status? No-shits-given. If Marty McFly totally screwed up the space/time continuum, and created a present where you were not a skateboarder, what would your world look like? Shit, I have no idea. Let’s hope for my sake that Marty doesn’t f*ck this up for me!


STUPID QUESTIONS

Streetbike Tommy Interviewed by Taylor Kendall Photo Jeff Crowe Tour infonitrocircus.com

Favorite athlete, Lance Armstrong or Barry Bonds? Lance Armstrong. Who cares about steroids, what he did for the world and the amount of good that came out of his wins supersedes any stupid shit anyone has to say about him today. Best Halloween Costume? Hugh Hefner because the accessories are hot bitches scantily clad. Who would you rather box, Bob Barker or Bill Cosby? Bob Barker. I am a Happy Gilmore fan and it would be awesome to re-enact that fight scene. Cheesecake or Apple Pie, which would you rather hit Travis in the face with? Cheesecake. I hate Apple Pie. Favorite childhood toy? My first 12-gauge shot gun. I must have put 500 rounds a week through that thing, from the time I was about 10 years old. If you could be anybody, who would you wanna be?

If I could still be me and just switch lifestyles, I am going to have to go right back to Hugh Hefner. How many concussions have you had? Just one. When I crashed my first truck when I was 16. I rolled it and I was ejected from the truck. Biggest fear on tour? No after-party. What would you put in your time capsule? McDonald’s fries. It’s the only food that doesn’t decompose. If you were a superhero, what would your name be? That would be a question answered when I find out what superhero powers I have. Can anyone in the Nitro Circus freestyle rap? Wheelz kills it. First thing you would do if you were the President? Make everything a flat tax. Do you believe in Aliens? Yes.

Bob Barker. I am a Happy Gilmore fan and it would be awesome to re-enact that fight scene.

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STUPID QUESTIONS

Jereme Rogers Interviewed by Joe, Bo, Bro Photo Ace of LA

When does the new record drop? They keep dropping until I die, and probably continue to after I've done so. Are you expecting anything less than platinum? I don't know if I live with any expectations anymore... just the present. But yes, I am capable of achieving platinum status, I plan to take music as far as it can go.

toos. I'm content. What’s your updated bang number at now? Beyond counting. Are you the best? I'm no better than anyone else, but the flip-side of that, is once you come to this realization, you're then subject to the glorious fate of realizing you're no less than anyone else. Is there going to be

Who’s the Biggie to your Tupac? No one has to lose for me to win. Anyone you want to collaborate with? Everyone relevant... but Sade would be my ultimate choice. What is your favorite tattoo? Faith Over Fear, which exists on my right forearm. Do you plan on getting your face Twuan’d? I doubt I'll be getting anymore tat-

a Selfish video? Plenty. If you invented a new trick what would you call it? Mine. When’s the last time Southie beat you up? Never. Anything you want to say to the haters? I love you... and you should too.

I love you... And you should too. 88


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STUPID QUESTIONS

Dusty Wygle Interviewed by Taylor Kendall Photo Jeff Crowe Tour infonitrocircus.com

Favorite athlete, Lance Armstrong or Barry Bonds? Lance for sure. Who would you rather box, Bob Barker or Bill Cosby? Bill Cosby without a doubt. It would be so entertaining. He would probably have me on the ground without throwing a punch. Could you imagine.. “come here boy, I’m gonna flim flam fadoodle you right in the shnozoodle!” I would lose it. Plus did you see what Bob Barker did to Happy Gilmore? No thanks. Favorite childhood toy? Does my dirtbike count? I had this McDonald’s toy set that you could make fries with out of sandwich bread and put cinnamon sugar on them. Soo good.

A chicken nugget, a Red Ryder BB-gun, my favorite VHS tape and 90

a VHS player.

If you could be anybody, who would you wanna be? I don’t know. I have it pretty good. But it would be cool to have been a Comanche Indian back in the 1700’s. Maybe just for a few days to see what it was like. Biggest fear on tour? Missing out on the fun stuff we get to do. And obviously injuries and missing shows. What would you put in your time capsule? A chicken nugget, a Red Ryder BB-gun, my favorite VHS tape and a VHS player. If you were a superhero, what would your name be? All the good ones are taken. Do clowns scare you? No. Never understood why people are either. First thing you would do if you were the President? Make our current president write an apology letter for sucking at life. Do you believe in Aliens? No. But I’m not against the idea that they might exist. If they do they better have cool lasers.


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STUPID QUESTIONS

Tod Swank Interviewed by Joe, Bo, Bro

Was Hilary Swank ugly growing up? Not related. I’ll bet she was a cutie. Currently reading any sci-fi novels that may inspire a skateboard franchise? No, not really. Reading the Steve Jobs biography on my Apple device. It’s different than a book. Done any good vert lately? Nope. Which company under Tum Yeto is your least favorite? None. I just wish we had the resources to properly and fully back all our brands. What do you consider good love makin’ music? Pink Floyd. Have you ever swindled a homeless man for taco money? Never. Have I been? Yes I have. Do you feel bad for the other old vert dudes who are bagging groceries right now?

I’m sure there are a bunch of old vert dudes doing awesome things out there. Ever taken any nudies with Ed Templeton? Nope. What does the back of Mike Sinclair’s neck smell like? I do not have a clue. Can I borrow, or just have $20,000? Nope. If you could punch any president square in the butt, who would it be? USA Presi? International Presi? Business Presi? Tum Yeto Presi? I’m kicking my own ass all the time.

I’m sure there are a bunch of old vert dudes doing awesome things out there.

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STUPID QUESTIONS

How

Dan Drehobl

much time do you have?

Interviewed by Joe, Bo, Bro Photo Joe Hammeke

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Do One, Kill One, Marry One: Marbs, Pivot Fakies, Dogs? How about I do Rosie O'Donnell, kill Sarah Palin, and marry Oprah? When you moved from Maine to California, were you surprised to find women with all of their teeth? No, but it was cool to find ones with vaginas. How have you been coping with Amy Winehouse’s death? Amy who? Have you ever used a shake weight? No, I prefer to just use dicks. Are we gonna see you in Street League this year? No. Do you think you could beat the flying tomato in a game of S.K.A.T.E? No, but I bet he could beat me in a game of p.l.a.g.i.a.r.i.s.m. How often do you play Skate 3?

Never. How many dimensions will the next Krooked video be in? 11, Gonz has been working on a thesis in string theory. Now that you’re diabetic are you thinking of switching to sugar free cigarettes? Funny thing is, nicotine actually increases your blood sugar. Favorite beer? Diet root, I quit drinking alcohol almost 2 years ago. Got any crazy screwboo stories? How much time do you have? How many people have tried to book a flight on Freedumb Airlines? A bunch actually. Buckle up because it's going to be a bumpy ride. Would you much rather be Forever in Blue Jeans, Babe? Sure, as long as they’re not skinny jeans.


Interviewed by Sydney Lindberg

Sainer is a street artist

indisputably his own. Right

who is putting Poland on

now, Sainer is traveling

Photos Courtesy of Sainer

the map with his colossal

Europe with his friend and

murals. You gotta respect

fellow artist, Bezt. Together,

his attention to detail in

they make up Etam Cru, and

works that can span up

they’re bringing street art

to 10-stories high. His

to a whole new level.

realistic portrait style has a surrealistic twist that is

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Bastard mixed media on canvas

I like to take things that I maybe saw on the street, in a movie or some other place, and I just make it more surreal and my own. What was life like growing up in Poland? I grew up in the early ‘90s in Lodz. As far as I remember, it was not so easy to get toys and things from the shops. Instead, my friends and I would spend whole days just wandering around. We’d invent games and create toys from anything that we could find. It was definitely more creative than the way kids are spending their free time nowadays.

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Your real name is Przemek Blejzyk, how’d you get the nickname Sainer? There’s no great story behind it, but it started with graffiti. I was looking for the combination of letters that would fit together. My first nickname was Sain, and a friend once called me Sainer. So, now it’s Sainer.

What role has art played in your life thus far, and what does street art mean to you? Art has been my strongest passion since I started painting 8 years ago; I was 16. At the time, I was a big fan of hip hop culture, and I wanted to be part of it – to meet painters and musicians with some kind of authority. I got a kick out of the possibility to work with people who already inspired me. I first started doing graffiti as a hobby, mainly focusing on characters and sketches with letters. Back then, I was more into practicing football, and didn’t take art seriously. Unfortunately, I injured my knees and had to resign from football. I started to dedicate all my free time to drawing characters and portraits, and finally decided to take exams to go to the Fine Arts Academy. So, I guess ‘street art’ is just a word to me, my passion to paint is more important. What draws you to focus on characters and portraits in your graffiti? I always wanted to create freaky characters like the ones I saw in cartoons when I was younger. I guess I just wanted to make my own. Then, at art school I started practicing classical portraits. As I painted more and more, I realized that I wanted to focus on people and portraits. I think it’s a natural process to start


Etam Azores, Portugal

with something new, and to keep adding elements until you’ve created your own style. For me, it’s a natural transition. There’s no big philosophy behind my work. I like to take things that I maybe saw on the street, in a movie or some other place, and I just make it more surreal; make it my own. How would you describe your style of painting? Surrealistic illustration? I use elements from real life and combine them together in lots of different ways. But, as I said, definitions are not so important to me. Where do you find inspiration for your murals? Everywhere. Mostly from real

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world situations I see on the street or in movies. Sometimes music is a big inspiration, and books as well. Inspiration is everywhere. It’s really cool to go to a place where you’re going to make a mural the day before to learn how the surrounding area looks, and to see how life goes on around that place. Then you can decide how you really want to change the place. For example, once when I was in Katowice, Poland, I arrived at a wall and saw that there was a church in front of it. That’s when I decided to connect the two places by mural. Which piece of your work speaks the most to you, and why?


I don’t know actually. The best thing for me is that I can put almost everything I can imagine in my head onto canvases and walls. Do you think you’ve always been a creative person? I think everybody has a wild imagination. The question is how will you use it. I drew a little bit as a child, but in primary school I never got good marks from art. What emotions or feelings do you hope to convey through your murals? That’s a tough question. I’m mostly focused on creating a good painting. I don’t like telling people what they should think. That’s why I never tell the stories about my paintings. I mean, of course I have some stories behind my paintings but, I prefer to listen to the stories that other people create when they see my work.

about showing them a path where they could walk and relax a little bit, using their imagination. What are some recurrent symbols or elements that may help someone build a story? It’s hard to say. There’s no one key to symbols; people read them as they wish. But, mostly I mix people with animals to create funny situations, and I like to create contrast between small and big elements. Speaking of big, you often create murals that span buildings, sometimes ten stories high, and the level of detail is incredible. What’s your process for doing this? It’s simple. First, I sketch everything. Then, I add colors. And finally, I work on the details. It’s the same process as painting a canvas, only on a larger scale. After doing a couple of walls, you get used to working on a bigger scale.

I give people the right elements to build their own stories. It’s more

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O mixed media on canvas

How long does a typical wall mural take to complete? The typical wall mural takes around 6-7 days using spray paint, acrylics, rollers, brushes and lifts. I noticed many seem to be portraits, are these random individuals, people you know, or maybe nameless individuals? It depends, some of them are my close friends, and some are people I don’t know. Sometimes, I search the web for photos that could inspire me by pose, character, or anything else. When I find a pose or portrait I like, I change it in my own way to create a painting. It reminds me of hip-hop’s use of sampling. Other times, if I already have an idea in my head, I will take photos of my friends or myself to have a better idea about the details I need to paint in order to make it more realistic. Finally, I sometimes just use my imagination and freestyle. There seems to be a melancholy theme, none of the subjects look at the viewer, as if they are hiding sadness. Why?

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It’s not the first time somebody has asked me about that. Maybe it’s because melancholy faces are more curious, you couldn’t know what they’re really thinking about. A second reason is that there are so many happy, “plastic” faces on billboards. There’s no need to paint another one. Many of your pieces also have

a house, or a birdhouse -- what does this mean? It’s mostly about aesthetic. I really like these dirty, old wooden houses, compared to geometric or floral patterns. Also, when I was younger, I would often spend holidays with my grandmother in the countryside where there were a lot of those wooden elements. Some of your paintings are like a mind trip -- I love the kid jumping on mushrooms. What inspires these? I was inspired by a song that my friend produced. The lyrics are in Polish, so you won’t understand it, but it’s about a kid running through the city, and he is describing in a funny way the things he sees. Of course I change it a little bit to be more psychedelic, but I think that vibe of this song describes my painting very well. What do you hope people take away from your work? It’s cool when people just like my work. They don’t need to take anything tangible from it. It’s nice when they stop for a little bit and turn on their imagination, when they will use elements I paint to build a story about the work in their heads. Together with Bezt you make Etam Cru. How did the two of you meet, and what’s your relationship like? We met at the Fine Arts Academy six years ago, and have been doing walls together since then. Mostly, I paint people, and Bezt


It’s better to work individually sometimes, and to compare experiences after you get them on a canvas. focuses on animals. We always have a big brainstorm before working on a wall together and just go from there. Right now, we’re traveling together across Europe to paint walls. He is definitely one of my best friends. Sometimes, we even think in the same way. In contrast, we work on canvases alone. It’s better to work individually sometimes, and to compare experiences after you get them on a canvas. Then, we can translate those experiences to a wall.

What are some of the benefits and pains of doing large collaborations? Working together allows us to exchange ideas, but you must compromise to create the final effect. Also, you need to know what skills you bring to the team; it’s just like playing on a football team. You have works all over Europe, including Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Portugal. Did I miss any? Where is your favorite place to travel? We were also in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic. Every place is

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really cool to visit, and so culturally different. You never know what’s going to happen while traveling, but in the end we’re traveling for work. Sometimes, we only see a wall and a hotel. I’m really happy that my passion gives me an opportunity to visit all of these countries. Where are you headed to next? We plan on going to Bulgaria, Russia, Norway, the U.S. and France. Do your street murals differ from your canvas works? How so? On walls, I can’t use the same media that I use to create canvases. It’s different, but experiences from big walls can still translate to canvases, and vice versa. What kind of media do you use in your canvas works, and why? At the beginning I was using oils, but right now I use acrylics, because they dry faster. I’ve also started using acrylics on my walls. That makes it easier to bring new experiences from the canvas to a wall.

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A lot of your canvas works seem to be inspired by music, what are your thoughts on jazz and music? It’s a big part of my work; I never work without music. I really like jazz, funk and rap. These music styles are strongly connected, and are often based on the same foundations. There’s great knowledge behind music and a lot of space for improvisation.

My father is a musician, and he always shows me great music to listen to. I enjoy his instrumental, chill out songs because they have a lot of feeling. When I was younger, he wanted me to play on keys, but I didn’t want to learn because I preferred playing football at the time. He always supported me, taking me to special trainings and such. It was the same with painting. I’m glad that he gave me so much support. It gave me the power to work. Do you think there’s a connection between art and music, and if so, what is that connection? It’s a heavy topic. I think there are a lot of connections and to describe it in full I would need much more time. Here’s the short version: I think composing music is almost the same as painting a canvas. You need to know the right proportions between all of the elements to prepare good work. What other artists do you look up to, and why? Sebastian Kruger, Zdzislaw Beksinski, Norman Rockwell, as well as a lot of classic painters in Poland and Russia from the 19th and 20th century. My problem is that I don’t remember all of their names, I’m more focused on specific works. Anything else you’d like to add? Thanks to everybody who has supported me.


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Dave Kinsey

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Interviewed by AB Photos Courtesy of Kinsey and (portrait) by Joel Woodman


Seventh Sin, 2013 mixed media on canvas 22 x 20 inches

Dave Kinsey, or simply

artist? Maybe Kinsey is just

“Kinsey” as they call him,

extremely lucky or maybe

is one of those guys whose

it’s like they say, “Behind

lucky enough to possess

every good man is a good

large quantities of both

woman”, and Jana, Kinsey’s

talent and motivation. It’s

wife, certainly plays an

pretty hard to pin down

instrumental role in his life

exactly what you’d like to

and business too. She’s

ask someone who has had

also the first person in my

their hands in just about

seven years as editor to

everything and been suc-

prank me with an entirely

cessful with it all nonethe-

fake interview! It’s good to

less. Seriously, how do you

see they can both still have

redesign the Mountain Dew

fun with it all at the same

logo, have your own Absolut

time. And to that we raise

collaboration bottle, run

our Boddington’s!

a renowned gallery and design firm, AND have an astonishing career as a fine

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Oligarchy, 2011 mixed media on canvas 50 x 40 inches

I like to begin each painting with a bit of uncertainty…

Give us a little background about your roots, upbringing, schooling, home life etc? I grew up mainly back East (Tristate area) but lived in California for a few years, which is what brought me back. I attended the original Art Institute of Pittsburgh, then transferred to Atlanta, when it was actually a good art school and not a commercially-franchised institution. My parents divorced when I was four, which provoked me to escape into drawing, which became a sort of therapy for me. Luckily, my Mom and Step-dad were very supportive of my art and alternative interests (hip hop, punk, graffiti, skateboarding), which really kept me focused in a positive direction.

How did you transition from a designer to a “fine artist” per se in the 90’s and early 2000’s? Was it difficult at first? I’ve actually always done both, but back in the 90’s, the BLK/MRKT design work made for a more lucrative living, allowing me to focus on my artwork without the pressure of having to sell it to make ends meet. I did a lot of design work in the skate industry, which made it easy to implement my own aesthetic onto board graphics and tees I was creating, and in return it gave my personal style a boost of extra exposure. Since then, those roles have been reversed and my fine art has taken on a more professional position in my daily life. I still do design, but now I’m able to be more selective about the projects I take on, which I’m thankful for. If the economy had kept its course, would you have continued to push commercially and less personally? Not necessarily. I’ve actually been lucky that this particular downcycle did not affect my fine art,

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Photo Joel Woodman

and I was able to continue on the path that I was on, doing a mix of personal and commercial projects, although I don’t think either one is fail-safe. I know a lot of designers who lost big projects and ongoing gigs, as well as galleries and artists that lost collectors, so I don’t think there was a safety net for either of

composed of a layering process of mixed media on canvas—acrylic, ink, spray paint, collage (discarded mail, old book pages). I like to begin each painting with a bit of uncertainty, which helps keep the creative process engaging to me. I normally have a rough idea in mind when it comes to my colors and content, but it’s not until later in my process that things start to settle into place visually and the narrative comes together. I also create screen prints that I sell online, but that’s more of a reproduction type process. Do you keep a lot of your own work or tend to collect other artists’ work? I used to keep all my earlier work because I didn’t need to sell it to make a living, plus I felt strange about departing with my originals for some reason. It may have been due to the fact that I didn’t feel I was ready to call myself a painter. By the mid to late-nineties, I began to get inquiries from people like Rob Dyrdek and Mark Ecko, which made me realize it was time to let go.

the two. I’m thankful that I was able to make it through.

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How are you producing most of your original mixed media pieces? Screen printing, hand painting, spray painting, layering? What’s the process? Most of my works are painted,

My interest in collecting art all started by doing trades with my peers. Then BLK/MRKT gallery opened in 2001, and set off an addiction that is hard to quit. My partner Jana and I have dozens of original pieces, which are like a slice of the urban contemporary art scene, and a somewhat historical archive of the genre we helped establish. Have you ever had a really neg-


Peace, 2012 acrylic and ink on Arches paper 28 x 20 inches

ative review? How’d you deal with it? Probably, but I really don’t pay much attention to things like that, so I wouldn’t have noticed. You’ve done quite a few collaborations personally and through your design firm BLK/MRKT, including projects for DC Shoes, Apple, Absolut Vodka, musicians and more. Were there any projects that you battled with to the point where only failure seemed imminent? No, luckily everything’s always gone pretty smooth. There are probably one or two war stories from back when we first started, but that had more to do with our naivety. I’ve also turned down big projects for Proctor and Gamble, because of their affiliation with animal testing, and a few cigarette companies because that industry is just shit. When it comes to commercial projects, I understand it’s a collaboration, so that always keeps things in perspective with my focus on the ultimate and positive outcome for the client. I think one rule of thumb is that I never release an idea I’m not pleased with,

no matter what. That way, projects always finish on a positive note. Has a client ever tried to force you into an idea or concept you just weren’t comfortable with, or are you always able to have complete artistic freedom? No, but I’ve had silly requests like, “Can you up the refreshment factor on this soft drink label?”!? I don’t always have or need 100% artistic freedom, as I’m often working with talented creative directors from great agencies or brands, but I’m generally given a lot of respect in that sense and am able to make a case for what I think works best most of the time.

Sometimes I just say I paint houses if someone asks what I do for a living, hah!

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Tequila Carousel, 2013 mixed media on canvas 40 x 32 inches

Riot & Reason, 2011 (cropped) mixed media on canvas 61 x 46 inches


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Akhal-Teke (War Horse), 2012 mixed media on canvas 40 x 50 inches

Some of your recent works like “Sea Lion Woman” struck me as being somewhat different from your past work that was mainly male subject matter. Are you changing direction a bit or is it more of a subject matter change? Yeah, I rarely paint women. Same style, different gender. My work is always evolving, I like to push myself and challenge my comfort zone. In the past few years though, I feel like I’m beginning to hone in on something I’m stylistically content with, but I don’t think I can begin to explain it. When you meet someone new who’s unfamiliar with you and your work, do you have a hard time explaining what you do? Yes, that’s always a ridiculous question. My works give a much better explanation visually, which is why I prefer painting as a means of communicating. In the past I’ve

found it impossible to try and sway someones mind to begin to imagine what my work might look like— it just never works. Sometimes I just say I paint houses if someone asks what I do for a living, hah! How much help does an artist as established as yourself have? In terms of creating fine art, I think that’s a really individual question, but I have an assistant that lives and works in L.A. I don’t like to be bothered when I paint, so having solitude while I work is essential. You’ve got your hands in a whole bunch of projects, does the stress ever get to you? Have you ever wanted to just check out for a couple months? Stress is always trying to get me, but that’s just a symptom of being busy. I now live on some mountain property in the Sierra-Nevada’s north of L.A., so this environ-

“I feel like I’m beginning to hone in on something I’m stylistically content with, but I don’t think I 114

can begin to explain it.”


ment smooths out a lot of those wrinkles. I also really like to work a lot, which keeps me on top of things. I’d like to check out for a couple years actually, but I’m not sure how realistic that would be. What I’ve got going here is pretty perfect to be honest. It’s easy to step outside and take breaks with my dogs, check out the sunset with my soul mate, go down to the river, etc. When I need to be immersed in the urban jungle, I can be in L.A. or San Fran in just a few hours. If you did decide to check out for a couple of years, what would you do or where would you go in that time? I’d like to explore California a bit more. It has one of the most geographically diverse landscapes in the country. After that, I’d probably head to Kauai and do what I’m doing here. It’d be nice to just make art and not have to worry about everything I create having

an ultimate destination. You’re obviously extremely talented, but in your eyes, what do you think has been the key to all your success? Thanks, I appreciate that. Perseverance is probably the most important tool of success. Is there something you’d really like to do but just haven’t had the opportunity yet? Yeah, I’d like to visit Africa and possibly the Middle East if shit ever calms down over there. I have an offer to show in the United Arab Emirates, so we’ll see in the next couple of years if I can make that a reality. If you get the show in UAE, is there a certain message you’d like to convey for it or would you just be stoked on showing over there? How about a show called “Portraits

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Sea Lion Woman, 2013 mixed media on canvas 60 x 46 inches

gust, as well as a bunch of group shows. A big solo in February 2014 at White Walls in San Francisco as well. BLK/MRKT is also producing a clothing line, “BLK/MRKT Original”, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. Never a dull moment!

of Mohammed”? Seriously though, I personally wouldn’t go over there with a message per se. In the UAE they have certain regulations about what you can and cannot show in the form of art—no nudity or antireligious imagery—so I’d probably just keep it to abstract figurative or non-figurative works, and maybe my florals. kinseyvisual.com blkmrkt.com

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Have you wheat pasted or done anything in the street lately? No, I haven’t really been motivated to do that for awhile now. I’ve just naturally found myself wanting to focus on my internal studio output with my paintings, and less on my street art persona. What’s on tap for the rest of 2013 and beyond? Boddington’s is always on tap, along with some shows coming up: a special pop-up in San Francisco, and a solo in Zürich in Au-

Can you give us an idea of what to expect from BLK/MRKT Original? Will it be more about your design work or fine art? I can’t spill the beans on that one just yet but I will say that it’ll definitely be more design/brand based. I’ll for sure be dropping some of my art into that, along with some of other artists’ we’ve worked with in the past. You must get countless e-mails every year from kids looking for work? What would stand out enough to make you consider hiring one of them? Actually, most of the e-mails I get are from fans and students seeking advice. I try and respond to every one because I know how much it might mean to them. When you can get some positive words from someone you admire, it can really help fuel your fire. I remember meeting Mr. Rogers (R.I.P.) when I was a kid, and it really gave me a sense of life’s unlimited potential. Any of those positive words you’d like to offer in closing? Unlearn.


Rider: Adam Hohmeyer Photo: Waylon Wolfe

Carrabassett Valley Academy A Better Way to do School

www.goCVA.com


/ Josh Luke, Meredith Kasabian and Kenji Nakayama

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Almost everywhere we go

designer, photographer,

today, we’re surrounded by

marketer, artist, you name

advertising. Lights, signs,

it. Sure we all have the abil-

billboards, banners, blimps

ity and access to watered

and all that other crazy crap

down photo, video, design

has consumed our lives and

and media materials, but

become a regular piece of

that doesn’t mean we have

the backdrop of society.

the ability to make a high

At least half of it really is

quality product from it.

crap, unfortunately. These days everyone is an expert

By AB Photos Jenna Hoy AB Best Dressed Mike Chew

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Josh Luke, his wife Meredith and the recently added Kenji Nakayama, make up the team at Best Dressed Signs in Boston and they’re one of the last few hand painted sign shops in the country, that are still putting out a superior quality product during the digital age. The invention of the vinyl sign plotter, cheap design software and the easy access and affordability of these items, have all but nearly dissolved the hand painted sign business as we once knew it. Josh, Meredith and Kenji, have made a stand in one of the nations oldest

ABOVE AB RIGHT JENNA HOY

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cities, to revive and resuscitate a nearly lost trade and help hold what’s left of this traditional media to the utmost standard of quality, that our country once thrived on. Josh Luke got his start at the renowned New Bohemia Signs of San Francisco. “I never really thought about it as a possibility for a career” Josh says after being asked to join the company by a friend that was leaving. “The owner, Damon, who is an awesome dude and my mentor, was not really enthusiastic about some random dude com-

ing in and learning his trade, but I was very persistent and it felt like a great fit.” Josh grew up writing letters and doing graffiti and had always been immersed in that lifestyle so it was natural for him to get into sign painting. “There was so much to learn, it was fascinating to me,” Josh recalls. “I just stuck around and Damon learned to like me.” After 5 or 6 years of working at New Bohemia, Meredith, came into Josh’s life and they decided to make the move to Boston to start their own company, Best Dressed Signs. Meredith runs the show now, “she’s my boss” Josh says. Meredith acknowledges that she handles all the paperwork so that Josh can do the one thing he does so well - paint. Kenji believes he was also “just meant to become a sign painter.” Kenji grew up in Japan and was always into kustom culture and motorcycles. He was inspired by the Japanese painter “Nutz” and was always heavily influenced by graffiti. Eventually he came to Boston to attend the renowned Butera School of Art and study under their sign-painting program. Although Butera was bought and closed down several years ago, it had changed drastically anyway since Kenji first attended, he warns. Enrollment dwindled from the early 2000’s until there were just a few very young students in the final year. Eventually the doors closed but Kenji pushed on. After college he built a name for himself in the fine art world and has shown at galleries throughout the country, and even has work on display at The Four Seasons in New York City. On a sunny afternoon, just around the corner from Boston’s his-


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MIKE CHEW

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toric Fenway Park, on the corner of Brookline and Boylston streets, the crew wraps up a huge mural which reads “There’s Never An Off Season”, referring not just to the Red Sox but more of the revitalized Fenway neighborhood. There’s been a lot of mixed feelings on the sign though, as there always are with large scale murals and public signage. It’s bold, bright and about 300 feet long by over 6 feet high, so nearly everyone is going to have an opinion. Josh tells us that although many have given them praise, many have also stopped to share their dismay for the mural while the crew was working. Even an elderly woman makes a point to share that she doesn’t like the new mural. That’s the goal though, to get people thinking, to make them react, because what’s the fun in making everyone happy? Perhaps this

is just one of the true powers of the sign painter. The ability to not only transform a landscape, but to help transform the way people live and interact within that landscape. Meredith assures, that’s what the crew was specifically brought in by the design agency to do. The mural was commissioned in order to help attract more artsy, hip people to the neighborhood. At the end of the day, the team leaves satisfied with their month long endeavor. Back at the office I bring up the fact that a lot of grade school students aren’t even learning cursive anymore. Kenji tells me that he’s not worried about the future of sign painting. “There’s always younger people who are hungry for designing traditional things” he opts. He believes that just like how he was drawn to graffiti as a


youth, kids will continue down the same path, perhaps not in droves like they once used to, but enough. He tells me that during the early days of sign painting, the schools were filled with middle-aged and older adults, learning as a second trade or hobby. When the numbers started receding, the demographic became younger and younger. Josh and Meredith mention to me their young apprentice, “Frisso”, from Oslo, Norway who just returned home after a three-month stay in The States. He wanted to learn sign painting but no one in his country offered the trade. He found Best Dressed online and made the trip to study under Josh and Meredith. They became close friends over time and eventually Frisso was good enough to return home and start down his own career path. “It’s self-motivated”

Meredith says. “It’s not scary that kids won’t be able to write cursive, it’s more scary that they won’t be able to read or decipher those letterforms,” she explains. “It’s like we’re stunting our sense of history in a way.” Meredith mentions the lack of personal and recent history surrounding the city of Boston for example. In Boston there’s the Freedom Trail, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and all the other textbook history that has been embedded in our brains from an early age. But what about some of the clubs, venues and bars from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s? “There was a club called “The Rat” in Kenmore Square that was there forever, they tore it down, people don’t care as much about underground history”, she says. There was little fuss made about Butera School closing Josh throws in. Their point is that

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recent generations have begun to forget what was once the norm just a few decades ago, with sign painting falling into that realm.

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Sign painting as an art form is still thriving. Kenji has been making a name for himself for years in the fine art world. He teaches some college classes and shows regularly in galleries. He’s painted on everything from bottles and hubcaps to giant saws and skate decks. Humbly, Kenji says that all the objects he’s painted were “more of an excuse just to practice pinstripes.” Nevertheless, his work is well sought after and collected. Several years ago Kenji landed some media hype over his homeless sign project in downtown Boston as well. He exchanged several homeless resident’s crude cardboard signs with beautiful hand painted signs

with the exact same verbiage on them. The signs were exquisite and received a great deal of attention both on the streets and in the media. Josh and Meredith also just wrapped up a workshop and gallery talk on sign painting at the ICA in Boston, just a week prior to my visit. They have multiple shows coming up later in the year as well as in early 2014. Some will feature traditional sign painting, while others will be more experimental and fine art leaning, still using sign painting techniques. Although Josh admits he’d like to do more work personally “You gotta put food on the table” he acknowledges and after a long day of working on commercial projects, it can be hard to come home and get right to work on more sign projects, even if they are personal.


Commercially, sign painting is thriving in the Boston area as well. Josh and Meredith have been so busy, that they just brought Kenji on board full time this summer and are looking for a new and bigger workspace across town. Meredith explains that they’re booked months in advance for jobs and have had to turn down a good deal of work due to their schedule. A lot of people don’t realize how long it takes to paint a sign from start to finish. They expect to have a design made and on their wall in one weeks time and it usually doesn’t work that way. Some large-scale murals, like the Fenway Park job can take a month or more. A hand painted sign can vary in cost, “It totally depends” Meredith says. They aren’t cheap though and that’s part of why sign painting has faced a downtrend in the past few decades due to cheap output from vinyl sign plotters. “We charge hourly,” Meredith tells me. It breaks down to design, prep, materials, pattern time, lettering, fill painting etc. Large signs aren’t necessarily more expensive though. “You can have a giant sign but if they just want block letters, that will cost a lot less than a smaller sign where you want pinstriping, gold leaf and all that fancy stuff. It really depends on how long it takes to do it,” Meredith informs. Josh tells me that they can be anywhere from $250 to $10,000, although he says he’s done less expensive in the past. Most of their work is around $1,000 for a single sign though. One has to wonder if that initial investment is just too much for a new business, in an age where flavor of the week phone apps rule our lives and businesses come and go every other month. “I think the neighborhood has a lot to do with it”, says Meredith. In other words, it depends on how much pride the businesses take in their neighborhood, and

vice-versa. They’ve found that areas of temporary residencies don’t tend to have a lot of sign painting clientele. There needs to be a cohesive sense of community. “It varies neighborhood to neighborhood,” Meredith states. If you’re a student “you’re gonna go places because that’s where you live, it doesn’t matter if they have a good sign.” Competition plays a role in signage too but it’s mainly about investing in a community. Signs are often overlooked nowadays and it’s more about the bottom line and making a quick buck. Unfortunately, many businesses feel that their signs just need to tell what type of store it is or what they sell, that’s it. It may or may not come as a surprise but a lot of the businesses that Best Dressed works with are tattoo shops. “It makes sense because they’re artists and they appreciate art. The more quality sign you have, the more quality of a business you’re running.” Boutiques, restaurants, bars and other independent shops tend to round out the rest of the clientele in the area, although the team has done a little bit of everything over the years. I ask what the dream job is for a sign painter? Josh tells me it’s anything they’ll let them design. “The sign painter is the ultimate authority,” he says. A dream job is “when you’re given creative freedom to create something really great.” A good high-exposure location and architecture plays a role in the dream job too. They don’t just want to create works of art, they want it to be seen by as many people as possible. “I like involving architectural history and creating something that works well with the space” Josh points out. Although signage can still have a large impact on the community, the role of the sign painter has become less important over the past several decades. “Designers are

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more of a face of the community,” Meredith exclaims. It’s the architect versus the contractor. “The person who conceptualizes the building gets paid way more and gets way more recognition, than the person who actually builds the building.” There’s a disconnect between the sign painter and the designer of course but people have forgotten that the sign painter is also a designer. “They possess the same qualities of a designer but in addition to that, they can actually execute the sign as well,” Meredith says. Before ad agencies, the sign painter designed the sign and there was no middleman. The group says that they are starting to gain control and respect in those areas as people start to realize more of their capabilities with every new project.

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Meredith exudes a great amount of passion for the business although she humbly refuses to be recognized as a sign painter herself. “Part of my involvement in all this is to make people look around and acknowledge the fact that it’s not just the architecture and the parks that make the city beautiful, it’s also the signs that make it beautiful” she explains. With everything becoming homogenized due to city codes and cheap vinyl signs she says we no longer think about how signage should play a much larger role in the aesthetic of the city.

Despite feeling overlooked at times the team is beyond optimistic about the future. The three plan to push on and expand so that hopefully they can spend more time on their own personal work someday down the road. “Practice, practice, practice, is what I was always told,” Josh lectures. Kids still want to sign paint in the year 2013 and they’re confident that they’ll still come through their doors. Kenji agrees that it takes a long time to get comfortable with the profession. “I always think that I’m not very talented as there’s so many talented masters from the past. I’m not trying to reinvent anything,” he states. Josh explains that everyone who comes in to learn wants to jump right to gold leafing and learn all the expert skills on day one without any fundamentals first. They lack a lot of the patience that sign painters must possess as it takes years of practicing the alphabet alone, just to be able to freehand a letter on a job site. They all assure me that although they’re a rare breed, youth will continue to gravitate to the traditional art form in the future, just as they all did. At the end of the day Josh leaves the room to read me a fortune cookie quote taped to his studio wall as some good advice to any young aspiring sign painters looking to get started. “If you keep too busy learning the tricks of the trade, you may never learn the trade.”


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A Paradise called La Escocesa Words and Photo Pat Milbery

I remember arriving in a taxi with resident artists Kenor & Zosen in search of some white paint. These two share a studio space in this very special modern day artist colony. We needed to lay a base layer down on a mural project that fellow American artist, Dave Sheets and I were collaborating on with these two Barcelona artists for the So-Gnar Art Activation at Summer X-Games in Barcelona. We needed to track down some paint on a Sunday, and in Spain, good luck finding shops open on a Sunday.

When you pull up to this place, it appears as a run-down industrial zone with a vibrant mural painted on a section of the exterior wall. One would never imagine, nor guess what beauty rested behind those closed doors. As the guys unlocked the door, we all entered together and it felt like I had found a home away from home that I had always dreamt about. Historic Spanish architecture mixed with

industrialism, decorated with color everywhere your eyes could see. Mural on top of mural, creative expression at its finest with a diverse amount of work from artists all over the globe. I remained speechless trying to take it all in. I immediately forgot about the objective of why I was there, we needed white paint?

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La Esco paradise of Spain; I had located my new found paradise. La Escocesa is a center of artistic production, which is focused primarily on visual arts (painting, sculpture, printing, design, graffiti, ephemeral architecture, among other disciplines), and is located in the neighborhood of Poblenou, a former industrial textile quarter in Barcelona. With the city of Barcelona tightening up the reigns on graffiti and public mural art, La Escocesa offers artists opportunities to create masterpieces in this shared community space, safe from police and outside interruptions.

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I separated myself from the group as a wanderer, and out of all the art shows I have attended, been impressed by and influenced from, this colony of artist inspiration took my imagination to a whole another level. The creative collaborative work was something I had never been exposed to, nor accurately defined what an “art colony” was and what a space could become with the right surroundings and platform for artists to work together in a creative area. My transformation had begun, and I no longer had any interest in visiting Ibiza, the said to be

Resident artists Zosen and Kenor, guided us on a tour through the space, and here is what I was taught. Zosen is a big fan of creating with color, very bright and vibrant, to express feelings, to give his and his girlfriend Mina’s mural work together a higher expressive intensity, which he referred to as Neofauvism. You can see it in the layers of bright colors consisting of patterns, symbols and other creations ignited through their imaginations. Zosen explained that La Escocesa Space is very popular because with the new Barcelona laws, it is now impossible to paint in public spaces. “The city of Barcelona has changed for the worse,” he expressed, Barcelona used to welcome art, embrace it and encourage art, but it has turned into a commercialized city of tourism. I could feel his frustration, on a small scale, it reminded me of


ocesa

the decision made by the city of Philadelphia to close down a spot like Love Park, which the skaters were stripped of their sanctuary, their place of creative expression. Zosen added that “the city invites us to paint murals for some of their creative centers, which is flattering and all, yet a contradiction to the role we play as street artists that have been creating on the streets for the past two decades.” Kenor, the master of overlaying geometric shapes over geometric shapes to create both incredible

dimension and depth, described La Escocesa as the center for creation. “Some of the best artists from Barcelona share this space together, and whenever I feel like painting, I walk over to a wall and paint. There are no limitations, and no uncomfortable energy around you.”

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La Escocesa


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A bit of its history

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In 1852, La Escocesa was a factory complex in the industrial part of Barcelona, specializing in manufacturing chemical products for the textile industry. In the beginning of the ‘80s, it went out of business, and the owners started renting out parts of the complex as studios and workspaces. In the ‘90s, the remaining available spaces were rented by artists, some of whom already belonged to the Associació d’Idees collective, a non-profit that has been in charge of running La

Escocesa since 2008. Many artists came from other abandoned factories-turned-creative-spaces (such as Submarino), which was a common thing in Barcelona at the time. The number of artists continued to increase to the point where they filled up almost 70% of the premises. Since 1999, hundreds of artists and craftsmen from various disciplines have worked there, and La Escocesa has become a huge creative magnet, as well as a meeting point. In 2005, 22@ came into play, an urbanism project of utmost importance for the city. Real estate companies started to acquire these constructions with the idea


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La Esc oce sa 138

of building in line with the “transformation of the neighborhood”. At the time, artists were asked to leave in exchange for a modest monetary compensation. This marked the beginning of a long struggle for the restoration of their rights and fair recognition. Finally, in 2007, the city council approved a plan for renovating La Escocesa, considered since then an Industrial Heritage Site. It was established that two of the buildings were to be destined for public use, and the complex was included in Barcelona’s Cultural Strategy Plan, as part of a plan called “Factories for artistic creation”. At the beginning of 2008, the city

council provisionally handed over the management of the space to Associació d’Idees. Nowadays, the society still continues with the project of self-managing the space, devoting it above all to visual arts, and offering inexpensive workshops for artists, promoting and marketing their work, and organizing activities in the neighborhood as well as exchanges with other artistic centers. This is a must visit if you are ever in Barcelona, I would recommend it to anyone interested in creative arts. Hope you enjoy my creative photography of the space!


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Interview AB Photo Gabe Ginsberg

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Justin Spencer and his group, Recycled Percussion, have made the American dream a reality. They started from nothing back in 1995 in rural New Hampshire and slowly built throughout the years, always sticking with their vision. After years of shows they finally hit it big. Now they’ve traveled the world, played almost everywhere, starred on primetime television, and have their own headliner show on a nightly basis on the Las Vegas strip. They’ve literally come from playing on upside down trashcans, to playing on upside down trashcans on a multimillion dollar set. Not bad… Are you done searching through your closet for that old guitar yet?

You guys got started in a high school talent show. Were you always into music and can you tell us a little bit about that, the beginnings? Yeah. The band or the group started in 1995 at a high school talent show in New Hampshire, a small town in New Hampshire and it was just basically… I’ve always had a love affair with drums. My dad was a drummer and I was looking for a way to oneup my performance from the year before. I had seen a kid in New York City performing on some five-gallon buckets. This is way back in the day before these Stomps and YouTube brought the recycled drumming to the mainstream.

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It was being popularized by the urban kids in the subways, really. I took their idea and just embellished it for a high school talent show with the thought of only doing this one-time performance. Somebody in the audience saw the per-

formance and thought it’d be a really cool idea for us to go perform at their local elementary school in the State of New Hampshire, so we did that. Then another school saw us, and as you can imagine, we started performing more and more shows as time went on. The first couple of years were really predicated around performing at the high schools and things around New England. What started as a joke, turned into, as a high school kid, a way to make some money. Wow. Now you guys obviously


stuck with it for a long time, and it was a long road but, how long was it before you realized that you guys were truly going to make it as a group? In 2001, we had that moment. The moment that, in the industry you always hear about the right time, the right place, kind of the overnight success story and after six years of $300 a gig here, $500 a gig there, all of sudden it just blew up into a college sensation, so we started breaking records left and right and went from making hundreds of dollars a show, to what ended up being thousands and thousands a show,

and hundreds of those shows. In 2001 is when the light switch went on like, “Okay, this is the real deal, time to start paying taxes and taking this seriously.” So, it was then that I dropped out of college, where I had aspirations of becoming a lawyer and just thought it’d be much cooler to follow this journey. For many, many, many, many years we spent traveling the world and creating a very successful business. Is it true that you’re the world’s fastest drummer? Yeah, that’s a very conflicting way to

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we wanted to break down the barrier of performer and audience member.

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put it, I think. There are a few people that claim to be the fastest drummer and I have just taken the high road and said, “You know what? There is no way to really measure this.” For years and years it was a claim to fame for about half a dozen of us. It got competitive and controversial and there is a thing that I can do playing drums that nobody else in the world can do and there are some things that other guys could do playing drums that nobody else in the world can do. At the end of the day it just comes down to an opinion, and it shouldn’t really be something where one person should hold that title. For many years that was what we used though. It was a great marketing tool and it has certain legitimacy to it, it wasn’t like we were just throwing something out there. There’s a lot of guys that’ll be like, “I can play something really fast for 19 seconds.” Another guy can go, “I can play something really fast for two minutes.” It’s just a matter of, if I say, who is the fastest guy in the world, the marathon runner or the sprinter? They couldn’t do each others job, so we’ll just say that I’m really f*cking fast. You guys have a regular headliner show at The Quad in Las Vegas where everyone gets to participate in the show. How does that work? It’s one of the things that make our show so unique. When we came to Vegas and we designed the show here a few years ago, we wanted to break down the barrier of performer and audience member. We thought the coolest thing to do would be to give everybody that comes into our show a drumstick and recycled instruments like pots and pans, muf-

flers, carburetors, anything you can imagine. We give out hundreds of these things every night, and drumsticks, and let the crowd perform along with us, with instructions through multimedia and video screens. It’s a lot like a recycled Rock Band, the video game, if you will, live. Nobody has ever done that. We have a full orchestra of people in the audience that perform with us every night and that really adds a whole other dynamic to our show. Where exactly have you guys toured and is there a favorite place? We’ve toured everywhere. From Europe to Asia, all the way to Canada. Some of our best crowds are in the Midwest. A Vegas crowd is certainly a good show, so there is some, okay play for me monkey, type of thing going there. They appreciate the subject as much but there is certainly, “I’m in Las Vegas, I expect to see a Vegas show” and you deliver that experience, but there is something different for playing in Dubuque, Iowa where they don’t see this kind of level of show, day in and day out. You get a reception that is a much higher feeling than you’ll feel in Las Vegas. I think from a crowd perspective, the Midwest is great, and from a touring standpoint, from a culture standpoint, places like Egypt, we just got back from Singapore last week and we were in Paris three weeks ago. I mean, it’s kind of cool to experience different cultures, you see how they respond to our show, and because there’s no speaking in our show, there’s no language barrier. 145


I was going to ask you about Singapore. What was that trip like? I know you guys just got back from there. Singapore was really cool. It’s a super modern city and it’s crazy. It’s like going to China but everything is super safe, super clean, very modern, very small. When you squeeze five million people into this teeny little island that is 20 miles across, I mean it’s like the third most populated region in the world. It’s different because, and adversely so, it can be like, “Wow, they thought that was funny.” So if you tried to joke and it didn’t work, we would just say onstage, “That works in America”, and when we go back to America we would just say, “That works in Singapore.” So it’s a different culture for sure.

ing and go through every note, what we’re going to change. So, if you saw us tonight you might not see big changes, but when there is 400 in between, there is a big change. Do you find a lot of new instruments while on the road or during the course of the year for the show, do you add a lot of new stuff? Yes, finding of instruments and more finding of inspirational ideas. We might see something that’s, like ”Wow, that would be really cool” so it’s so much more than just finding recycled objects in our shows, they’re big, big productions. We’ve spent millions building these shows with props and the whole show comes down from the ceiling upside down. It’s more like, ‘Wow, imagine if we could do this really cool thing because I saw something in another place,” more so than listening to what this sounds like. Back in the day, that was it, “Look what this sounds like.” Because that’s what we were, a band that was playing for 500 dollars a day at high schools and we put our stuff in the cars and would go unload it, and the heartbeat of the show was what sounds we could come up with. Now that has changed. You can now go, “Whoa, we have big budgets, we can build ideas and concepts that would wow people.” And that’s more like what we’ve transcended into.

…this is the real

deal,

time to start

paying

Do you guys ever make it back to your home state of New Hampshire? Yeah, we go back there once a year and do about eight to ten shows there. We do independent shows there, like every winter for holidays we go back there, and just do a bunch of the sold-out shows all over the region. That’s our favorite place to play. We get to go home and see our friends and family and show what we’ve been working on and the shows are always different because by the time we get back there, we’ve done other big performances, we do 400 shows a year. So you can imagine, after every single show we have a band meet-

taxes and

taking this

seri-

ously.”

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You guys were on America’s Got Talent and even China’s Got Talent, what were those experiences like and was there a lot of crazy stuff, a lot of bullshit going on behind the scenes? Oh yeah, America’s Got Talent was a really cool experience for us because it really did, from a creative standpoint, challenge us because we weren’t a singing act, or a comedy act. We didn’t have the material. If you’re singing an act, all you have to do is think, “What’s the next song I’m going to sing next week?” So every time you advance every week on America’s Got Talent, you had seven days to come up with another wow factor because that show is based on wow factor. So we’d be like, “Okay.” So, it forced us to really dig down deep and to think what’s really cool that we can do and that’s what’s cool in Vegas and now we’re headliners in Vegas. We’re one of the hottest shows on the strip, but if it wasn’t for the experience of having a couple really creative ideas going and thinking, “We can do these things,” I don’t think we’d have the same impact here that we’ve had. Still, from that standpoint on any TV show there’s going to be “say this and say that because the producers know what’s good for TV,” and Amer-

icans like to have their heartstrings tugged if you know what I’m saying? But from a creative standpoint and a show standpoint, I think it’s legit, it was truly us. Your show now is super active, involves power tools, ladders and all sorts of stuff, it’s a crazy, crazy setup. Has anyone ever been seriously injured in/during a show? Oh yeah, broken bones all the time. Ankles, fingers, nose, got hit in the eye hard with a drumstick just four days ago and had blood in my eye the entire show. We’re jumping off ladders backwards, so on and so forth and we’ve got a bunch of days in a row. I was playing with a really bad flu a few months ago on stage, where I was playing with a 103 temperature for like six to eight days and getting fluids in the day and then playing the show at night. Because you really can’t cancel the shows, so from that standpoint it’s very physical. Each of us spends at least 90 minutes in the gym every single day, or train or mountain bike and just stay super active, that kind of thing. That all transcends on stage as well and we have to do those kinds of things to keep the show energy up. I mean

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Recycled percussion

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you’ve seen the videos; it’s like an athletic event more than a concert. Totally, it’s crazy! What do you think is the most unusual aspect of the show? I guess a little more surprising is the humor of the show. There’s a lot of humor in the show, people go out to the show, and after 80 minutes you don’t feel like you’ve been watching guys drum. It’s the really edgy, cool, sexy, comedic factors of the show that you wouldn’t normally expect. You’re like, “Oh it’s just guys banging on stuff,” except it is anything but that. What’s in store for the future of Recycled Percussion? Still doing the Las Vegas show, I mean that’s a full time mission control situation. That’s the heart and soul of the brand, as we continue to build that, and we’ll see what comes next. That’s a good deal, having your own band and your own show in Las Vegas and between PR events, writing stuff in studio, doing private events and headlining every night, your schedule is really really full. It doesn’t get better than headlining in Las Vegas, it really doesn’t. No doubt, that’s awesome. Lastly, so many people are making music these days, what do you think the key to success is? I do this speech every night on stage before my drum solo, I talk about when cassette tapes were around, that was the last time that marked when f*cking music was still music, not this computer-generated stuff, and once in a while a good band comes along and you go, “Oh yeah.” And it doesn’t come down to vocal processes; it didn’t come down to tricks or samples. It comes down

to an artist, like, just being an artist and believing what they’re doing. When you’re doing that nowadays, it’s completely against the grain because everything is the opposite, everything is, we can all make an album with our Mac laptops in our bedrooms, right? So now you just got a few microphones, and buy a four-hundred dollar drum kit, and just make music. That ends up being something that is much more pure because it’s becoming, “Did you see this guy? Have you seen this band?” “Yeah, that’s what f*cking Zepplin sounds like. Wake up. That’s the real shit. That’s when music was music.” So to me it’s not going, “Wow look at what this guy’s doing on YouTube.” It’s already been done. It’s about going, “I want to be an artist and make something on my own.” And usually that tends to get recognized. I think it’s better to try to be a trendsetter than to follow the trend, because trends are moving so fast, it’s almost impossible to keep up with them, so you might as well go for your own thing. Just don’t overthink the process. Just go for it and believe in it, and if you believe in it, you’ll keep going. Nothing guaranteed. If you told me 10 years ago we’d be doing a multimillion dollar deal in Las Vegas headlining, I would have laughed because I was playing drums for free lunches at cafeterias in high school. You have to believe in what you’re doing and stay the course. It takes time but you’ll be surprised how people abandon that course ahead of time when they have no idea what the future would have ended up like.


JUNK FOOD

Witches Among Us

Words Katie Mack

Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble; Eye of newt and toe of bantam, badge of captain and F-4 Phantom! Such chants are most likely heard on the breeze blowing from the weekly Wiccan/Pagan ceremonies held at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Yes, it’s true, the U.S. Air Force has actually allowed witches and warlocks to infiltrate their ranks. This is due to the fact that, probably, their high priest, Tony Gatlin, has cast one of his famous hypnosis spells on Mark A. Welsh (the Third), General Air Force Chief of Staff. Shockingly, the Wiccan group was started over a decade ago, and has been slowly growing in legitimacy and in numbers. What started with 10 to 25 attendees, has grown into a following of 300 to 400 willing participants. It is certainly a sight to behold the digitalcamouflage-wearing officers, and cadets in their tiny caps and heavy boots, dancing with brightly colored ribbons around a May Pole, led by Gatlin in his black Dracula robe, which he may or may not have purchased at Party City.

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Gatlin told KENS 5, a local TV news station from San Antonio, “All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans.” Yeah, yeah, we get it Gatlin, enough with the crazy magic riddles, people want to know what is Wicca all about? Should we be worried? Are they having world-domination meetings with Satan? Are there going to be Witch-burnings I can look forward to? According to Gatlin and most Wiccan/Pagan sources, witches do not worship Satan, but they do cast spells. What kind of shit is this?! What is the world coming to!?

Run for your lives! Gatlin tries to reassure us that spells and magic are simply the means by which they practice their faith. “Magic is manipulating energy to make your will manifest,” Gatlin continues, “Christian faith may have prayer… we have things that we call spells that are akin to prayer.” Ok, Gatlin, answer me this, if witches actually do magic, then why are the Wiccan prisoners of California bringing up a lawsuit against the state for their own chaplain? You would think, if you could do magic, you wouldn’t be in prison… am I right? Wouldn’t you just go poof, and Shawshank Redemption yourself? But as of February 2013 there is an estimated 183 to 2,000 Wiccans in California jails. And that’s not the end of it! We may be seeing a wave of Harry Potterwannabes apparating all over the US! In Massachusetts, on May 17, 2013, another inmate brought up a lawsuit of his own against the state claiming that they denied him access to objects necessary to his faith, which included cakes of dragon’s blood resin, hazelnuts and Mugwort ritual tea. There’s no denying it, witches are living among us, you might even be one and you don’t even know it yet. As for me, I’m anxiously awaiting my eleventh birthday and my invitation to Hogwarts!


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NUT & BOLT

Correctly used, seatbelts reduce the risk of death in a crash by 61%.

If the amount of water in your body is reduced by just 1%, you’ll feel thirsty. If it’s reduced by 10%, you’ll die.

Studies show that if a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building it has about thirty percent less chance of surviving than a cat that falls off the twentieth floor. It supposedly takes about eight floors for the cat to realize what is occurring, relax and correct itself.

September 3rd is International Bacon Day. A person can live without food for about a month, but only about a week without water.

Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.

40,000 Americans are injured by toilets each year.

A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times. The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” 80 It is illegal to hunt camels in the state of Arizona.


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SHOP SPOTTING Louisville EatS BD’s Mongolian Grill Mo’s The Melting Pot Backyard Burger Shalimar

BRANDS Emerica, Vox, Globe, Dekline, iPath, Antihero, Real, Krooked, Cliché, Darkstar, Enjoi

SHRED SPOTS The Riot Gap The Gas Station Ledge The Bank to Ledge Comp USA / ITT Ditch Industrial Hip

INFO 2510 Plantside Drive Louisville, KY 40299 (502) 671 8682

13 Tiny Skate Shop Riot Skate Park and Tiny Skate Shop is more of a home or a family than just a shop. They’ve been around for 13 years, established in 2000. They specialize in keeping skateboarding real in Louisville Kentucky and staying very involved in the skate community by being skater owned and operated. They host mini ramp contests, games of skate, the

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Mon: 5 - 7 Tue-Sat: 1 - 10 SUN: 12 - 9 King of Riot, Go Skate Day events, cookouts, lock-ins and more. Floyd l Freels, the owner, has been skating for 27 years and still loves it as much as the day he started. The shop sponsors an awesome team of skaters so be on the lookout for the third dope shop video coming out soon.


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Steez Magazine Issue 28  

Issue 28 Summer 2013. Featuring interviews with Dave Kinsey, Yoon Sul, Best Dressed Signs, Recycled Percussion, Sainer, Zosen & Kenor. Thail...

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