We grew up just doing bad things... - BB BASTIDAS
MOOSE MEATBODIES BB BASTIDAS SHELLY FINKEL
ANTOINE BRUY LAUREN TICKLE TRAVIS PURRINGTON OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC
CHECKING IN SOUTH KOREA
100 BB BASTIDAS
SHOW & TELL
120 LAUREN TICKLE
130 OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC
152 NUT & BOLT
154 FOOD TRUCK SPOTTING
P - Dominic Palarchio R - Cooper Przekop, boardslide
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ISSUE 34 COVER AND LIMITED EDITION BAND: BB Bastidas - Untitled. The cover image is based off a mural I did in Oceanside. It represents two realities of life and afterlife. As for the band, that was from a recent Deathwish graphic I did for Erik Ellington. I just like how it looked on the band. The board series was called “Prophecies”.
Snowdogg Carter, Phil Ashworth, Moi Martinez, Hallie Fernsebner
EDITOR’S NOTE We get asked a lot, “What is Steez, what does it mean?” Honestly, we really don’t care what the word means or represents, because it’s not about us. This magazine is an avenue which allows writers, photographers, pro’s, artists, athletes, personalities, celebrities, entrepreneurs, risk-takers, musicians, professionals and amateurs alike, to express themselves. Everyone here has a love for print and we attempt to bring together interesting people and their journeys to share with readers from across the world. This magazine could be called anything... We love experimenting with print techniques and design concepts, that’s why every issue is pushed just a little bit further than the one before. Don’t worry about the name, if you were lucky enough to get a copy of our first of many Limited Edition artist series then you definitely know. That’s all,
Words and Photos Manchul Kim
Korea, which will hold the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018, does not get a lot of snowfall. There are some areas that experience a lot of snow, but most of the time, people who enjoy snowboarding ride at ski resorts, which use artificial snow.
South Korea CHECKING IN
best performance of the day. I used the confrontation between North and South Korea for my photos; there are several war museums near the DMZ from the Korean War. This is a great place to shoot photographs. I stayed nearby the DMZ for about 3 weeks with the DIMITO Snowboard Team. I took photographs at a closed resort and at the war museum where they have a tank. We had lots of issues, but the biggest problem was that the rider could not gain enough speed to jump, because we were taking photographs on flat land. Finally, we shot some successful photographs by connecting a rope to a 4WD truck. Ku Bon-Ryul had the
The Korean snowboarding market is not famous or popular yet, but snowboard culture is popping up in a variety of places. Red Bull competitions were started just few years ago. It gave a lot of chances to Korean snowboarders. The first winner was Ahn Taehwan. He was among the first generation of snowboarders in Korea and is supported by his family. A lot of Korean people expect him to have a good result at the next Olympics. Ban Chang Hyunâ€™s picture was taken on the same tour at the DMZ location shoot. Korean band culture is also in-
Rock ‘n Roll Radio
The band could not perform for a year, and are just now starting to play again.
teresting. The Hongik University area in Seoul is a mecca for Korean bands. This place is the most famous spot in Korea where a lot of bands play a variety of performances, yearround.
K-pop became famous and trendy in the world only few years ago. Many auditions and competitions have been created to find more artists. Many bands from the Hongik area can become rock stars through these auditions and competitions, giving them many opportunities to perform. The band “Rock n’ Roll Radio” was discovered after winning one of the competitions, “Korean Hello Rookie.” They performed at SXSW recently and they are planning to play at NY CMJ Music Marathon. In this case, after winning, bands are typically on a fast track to fame.
Ban Chang Hyun
ABOVE Rock ‘n Roll Radio BELOW Ku Bon Ryul
Another group, “Galaxy Express,” won a TV audition program and was contacted for a commercial film. This is an unusual and exciting opportunity for a band! Galaxy Express ultimately lost the contract, though, due to a marijuana-related incident (marijuana is illegal in Korea). The band could
not perform for a year, and are just now starting to play again. Honestly, I like their music a lot. I think most of America thinks that K-pop is only music like PSY’s “Gangnam Style.” If you have an interest in Korean culture, you should give the music a try!
SHOW AND TELL
Interview By AB - Photo Jana Cruder
I’m super into men who know their plants.
Tea is supposed to be healthy so what’s the best alcohol to mix with it? Ah! Two opposing forces. Some mixologists are making some neat concoctions with tea and vodka. But for me, I take my tea straight up.
Do you know anyone using FarmersOnly.com? There was a time I lived in Southern Virginia but those folks get married real quick down there. Thanks for guiding me to that site though. I’m super into men who know their plants.
What’s your succulent count up to? I’m currently on the road so my four little beauties are being babysat in the valley right now. I miss them so much.
Have you ever surfed with Kelly Slater? No, but I’ve had Indian food with Ian Walsh.
Is this gold chair for sale? If it is, I want it! Why are you so happy? Because I woke up this morning! Oh and because: Tea. Sunsets. Succulents. Flowers. Chocolate. Sunrises. Piglets. Surfing. Kale. Ants.
Have you ever done a Carl’s Jr. commercial? You’ll never see me in a fast food ad. Unless a kale fast food joint opens up. Riff Raff sold prom dates for $28K, how much would yours cost? If the money was going straight to charity, my bid would begin at $100k. Any takers?
Have you ever played cards with Kenny Rogers? If Kenny Rogers is up for playing cards with my OSHO Zen Tarot deck then I hope that card game happens immediately. Why should I meditate? Because then you’ll get it!
MARCO DELGUIDICE Words and Photos
This wall ride had one of the sketchiest run-ins of the season.
The width of the ledge was close to a foot and a half. That was bordered on one side by a chain link fence, on which we had affixed the bungee. This was flanked on the other side by a fourteen foot drop to flat. When you dropped in, you had to dodge the slack in the bungee so you didn't hit it and get tossed off the ledge. Temps were warm, and it got hit the rest of the day.
R - Ryan Kittredge, wall ride
R - Alec Ross, kickflip
MIKE SUDOMA Words and Photos
Blue Pool is a pretty popular spot to skate here in Winnipeg, but itâ€™s a tricky one to get tricks at.
Like most Winnipeg skate spots, the ground is pretty rough from our cold winters, and there are little pebbles everywhere you go just begging for you to roll into them so they can send you flying on your face. Alec told me he wanted to skate Blue Pool and potentially get a trick on it. Blue Pool is one of the many spots in Winnipeg that you can only skate in the spring and fall. Mainly because in the winter it's full of snow and it's
filled with water and swimming/ screaming children throughout the summer. When Alec said he had a trick for it, I was hyped and ready to shoot it because we may not get another chance before the snow flies, making us have to wait a year. We headed out and drove across the city to Blue Pool. We unloaded our boards and my camera gear from the truck, and proceeded to climb the fence,
trying not to drop anything in the process. Alec skated around a bit while I set up the flashes and set the camera up. The sun was setting so I made sure I had my flashes on at full power so I could keep Alec lit up while keeping the sunset dark and colorful. A quick game of SKATE was played to warm up. Alec now being warmed up, started tossing himself down the drop and within a try or two, landed an ollie into the bank. He then started trying the kickflip. After a couple of mob flips (when the board goes vertical, making it impossible to land), landing primo, and rolling on the rough blue ground, he rolled away perfectly. Hype filled the air as we checked the photo. We packed up, struggled over the fence, and drove home happy.
R - Andrew Hinchliffe, fs blunt
RICKY APONTE SINK & DESTROY Words and Photos
While wandering through the halls of this abandoned nursing dorm, somewhat close to the UConn campus, I stumbled upon this one hall in particular filled with rooms that had these amazing sinks in it.
It was just an instinct of mine to hop in one of the rooms and capture the purity of these pristine porcelain sinks amongst their crumbling surroundings. I had no intentions of creating a full portfolio out of the sinks while I was shooting, but that became the end result. They just made for gorgeous photos, the balance of the sinks just drew my eye to shoot the photos as I did. I wanted to make sure all the photos were from the same distance and that the sinks were the same scale in each image, I wanted a sort of uniformity to the photos. Each room had one sink directly in the middle of the wall, the sinks were the only sign of hygiene left in this building
that was once essential for its cleanliness. After leaving the dorming house we were on our way out of the abandoned depot when we stumbled on this crazy spot! It was a really crusty bank to rail, and not only was the spot crust but on the bank was literally a trailer. Ya know, something you’d see behind some pickup truck carrying a lawnmower. After moving that huge trailer out of the way, we could finally see the run-up. It was shitty, but we weren’t about to let that ruin this spot for us. After about a half hour of dumpster diving we finally gathered up some materials to actually make this spot skateable. Literally right after we get this spot fixed a cop drives by
us, and at this point were all like, “Aw shit, alright pack it up,” but the cop just keeps on going like nothing happened. He could of easily slapped us all with a $92 trespassing fine. I set up my flashes and we got to work fast. Andrew put down this front blunt (with about a thousand pounds of wax on that rail) in five or six tries. About a month later we tried coming back to the depot but were stopped in our tracks by gates reading, “Area to be demolished”. Super bummed that they’re getting rid of everything, but also ecstatic that I was able to take advantage of not only the sinks, but be able to shred a pretty rad spot in a gnarly area.
R - Ethan Edwards
TIM SNYDER Words and Photos
I had thought it was going to be just another average winter day in Fredericksburg, but when Ethan called me saying he had just acquired a bunny suit, it was obvious he had other plans in mind. He rolls up to my apartment downtown and hops out of his car already fully "bunnied" out. Just the sight of a big pink rabbit doing kickflips in the street made it hard to keep a straight face. We discussed a few ideas we had for the suit, like funny skate photos or whatever to try and make the best of the day. We shot a few random photos around town and don't get me wrong, it was funny, but we weren't getting what we thought we would. Our small town is known for the nearby trains that pass through all day
long, so we decided to head towards the tracks. Right when we arrived, Ethan was quick to strike some poses flexin’ in the bunny costume, and we were all getting a good laugh. That’s when we heard the bells ringing and saw an Amtrak train chugging away from the station coming toward us. Ethan stood his ground on the tracks, flash was popping and we were finally getting good photos. At this point the train was 40 yards from Ethan blowing the horn relentlessly. I
was shocked that he hadn’t got out of the way yet; the train was approaching quickly, so I kept snapping. He stayed in front of that train longer than anyone ever should, jumped out of the way last minute, and we fled the scene. Unfortunately we were stopped in the street soon after by a police officer saying he had a call about a man in a pink bunny suit trespassing on the tracks. He asked, “could this be you guys?” The cop was cool and let us off with a warning, but it’s something I’ll always remember.
24 / SEVEN
URP M N EA
To Sean Murphy, snowboarding is a lifestyle. It's the reason he wakes up in the morning; it's the reason why he exists.
Words Justin Leavitt Photo Brent La Fleur
Sean Murphy is originally from Wisconsin. He later migrated to Colorado, couch-surfing in Breckenridge just out to live his dream. Ripping it up all over the state, his cat-like reflexes and ninja style enable him to pull out almost any trick on a rail, and fly with the best.
Loving to go all around, lapping park, hitting urban, ripping powder in the backcountry, he laid down a part for the Nightmare Development video, “Established Forever”. He got to compete in the Dew Tour Rail Jam in Breckenridge, CO. Representing Templeton Outerwear, Shop Future Shock, Grassroots California, Nightmare Development, Vans Rockies, Candygrind, Zeal Optics, and Mercsminion, he really enjoys setting up a sick double-down handrail in the streets. At this spot, an abandoned office building in Denver, Sean got broke off and almost broke his leg on a rail support, but you can see here he still conquered.
1. Filament Kusala $70 2. Element Chad Tim Tim Hoody $50 3. Catalyst Ultra Slim Waterproof Sleeve $45 4. Wicked Audio The Warden $20 5. Munk Pack Oatmeal Squeeze (6 pack) $15 6. Pelican Voyager iPhone 5 Case $50 7. GoPro Hero 4 Black $500 8. Second Shot Recycled Skate Watch $250 9. Smith Lowdown XL $70 10. Neptor Portable Battery Pack $50 11. Boom Swimmer $60 12. Olloclip 4-IN-1 Photo Lens + Case $100 13. CapturePOV GoPro Strap Mount $70 14. Bracketron EZCharge Dual $20
38 1. The Hundreds Ellsworth Pullover $66 2. The Hundreds Mash Jacket $150 3. Mishka Green Thumb Button Up $82 4. Mishka Brooklyn Masters Deck $50 5. Herschel Lake Bucket Hat $40 6. Herschel Little America Bag $90 7. Arion Urban Zen Headphones $50 8. Mishka Lamour Outlaws Shirt $18 9. Filament Shadow $85 10. Tavik Cultpepper 5-Panel $32 11. Vans Old Skool MTE $75
DROPPING 1. DC Billboard Jacket $170 2. Tavik Vincent Woven $60 3. Tavik Droogs Jacket $100 4. Mishka Destroy Camo Hunter Cap $38 5. Ogio Ascent Bag $100 6. Vans SK8-Hi MTE shoes $80 7. Mishka ETD Salute Snapback $25 8. Outdoor Tech Wireless Chips $130 9. Bern Team Macon EPS $50 10. Quiksilver Summit Beanie $30
W S U
LISTEN IN YOUR WORLD. SKATE IN OURS. Nothing takes you to a higher state than when music and skating in its rawest forms, collide.
ACTIVE NOISE + POWERFUL 40MM + COMFORTABLE EAR CUSHION ACOUSTIC DRIVERS CANCELLATION
A LIFETIME PROMOTER Interview By AB Photos by SFX, WENN, Jay Falvey, EPA
an interview with
41 Photo Jay Falvey
Shelly Finkel is the man behind some of the biggest and most notable events in the world. He’s promoted countless concerts, boxing matches and festivals including the infamous Summer Jam ‘73, which drew a record 600k+ people for a single event. Shelly’s career has come full circle after a 30-year stint in boxing, working with some of the biggest names in the sport. Today he’s back in the music industry and although the genre has changed considerably, the goal is still the same – make everything bigger and better for everyone. Shelly is a lifelong promoter at heart.
Tell me a little bit about your childhood, before we dive into all the rest of your career. Where are you from and what was it like growing up? What were your aspirations as a child? I grew up in Brooklyn. It’s a pretty hot area now. The border of Crown Heights/Bed-Stuy. When I went to school there, it was a very rough area. My goal was always to be successful. One day Mike Tyson said to me, “Shell, did you ever hang out in Lincoln Terrace Park?” That was the park that bordered his neighborhood and mine. I said, “Of course.” He said, “You know, I used to mug
people there.” I said, “Oh, that’s good, Mike.” I always felt that I was going to be successful and growing up you think, “Oh, well, maybe I’ll be an engineer, I’ll be this, I’ll be that.” I never had a real specific plan. Today your title is Chairman of Strategy and Development at SFX Entertainment. Can you explain that role in layman terms and what you’re currently working on? Well, I was one of the three founders of the company. It was Bob Sillerman, Mitch Slater and myself. I have been doing mostly all of the live acquisitions and
Summer Jam ‘73 BELOW
Mitch and I do them together with Bob. We also work on the direction of our live entertainment and where we’re going with it. Well, we’re the largest in the world now between owning Electric Zoo, in certain markets, Tomorrowland, Mysteryland… We’re attempting to grow all the brands that we acquired and do the best we can to make the best experience for the fans, and to make the festivals larger and better. You’re used to producing large music events, but what are some of the biggest challenges in today’s events as opposed to 30-40 years ago? Well, the challenges are that you don’t want to have your main artist playing in the market too often so that they get diluted. You hope that when they play your festival, they’re not in the market for at least six months on either side of it. But there are clubs that book them in other places. Because you want them to have the maximum selling crowd when they do a big festival? Correct. Because they’re asking for large guarantees and in order to do that, you have to sell a lot of tickets and it gets harder to do that when you make the artist not as valuable. Also, we’re looking all the time to improving our experience for the audience.
You got started in music fairly early on. Can you set the stage for Summer Jam ‘73? What were the events leading up to it and how did you get involved with this particular concert? Well, my partner at the time, Jimmy Koplik, we did a lot of shows together. I think it was the Allman Brothers, we had at Colt Park in Hartford in 1972, and The Dead came up and jammed with them and Jimmy and I said, “This would make for a great festival.” We put it together. I went up to Watkins Glen, the Grand Prix race track, met with the head of the track, a man by the name of Henry Valent, probably deceased by now, and pulled it off. You drew over 600,000 people, a world record. How nervous were you when that all started to formulate? Well, I knew we would do 150-200,000 people. I did not dream of doing that kind of business. It was an amazing, amazing experience as it unfolded. My daughter went to Hobart and I guess about, I don’t know, seven years ago or so I went there and saw in the town plenty of things still from Summer Jam. Now, what was it like after Summer Jam? Were there a lot of new opportunities that opened up because of it? Not really. The thing was, a lot of people were afraid after that. The town got so jammed they had to airlift food into McDonald’s because they couldn’t get through the roads. The day of the festival, they shut down the New York State thruway; traffic was backed up 100 miles into White Lake. Just innumerable things. Look, when I had met with Jimmy [Koplik] in Utica in February ‘73 for Santana, the day after the event, I flew up to Watkins Glen, met with Henry Valent, and I said, “How many is the most people you ever did up here?” He said, “100.” I said, “Okay. I’m going to do more.” He looked at me - I’m a kid at 28 - and he said, “Sure. What do you want to pay me?” We worked it out. Two weeks before my event, I’m up there for his race and I said, “How
RIGHT - CLOCKWISE
Finkel with Mike Tyson Finkel with Manny Pacquiao Sensation Source of Light
you doing?” He said, “Great. 25,000.” Our event is two weeks later and he says, “What about you?” I say, “We’re past 150,000.” He thought I was joking. Then a week and a half before the event, kids started coming to the area and started camping. About four or five days before the event, the state came in and said, “You don’t have 1,000 johns, we just counted.” I said, “What do you mean?” They said, “You have 957. If you don’t get the other 40, we’re not opening.” I got Portosan to get me the rest of them, and as they’re coming up the hill on these flat beds, you hear noises in the johns. You start opening them, kids snuck into them in order to get into the event early. So a lot went on. Unbelievable. It seems like musicians at that time were much easier to access and much easier to work with. Is that true? No, no. It’s totally different today but not at all. Today, because of the decline of record sales, the live [musicians] are more helpful than before, actually, and they’re willing to do social media. Whether it be Tweeting or sending out blogging or whatever else they do, where in our day and age, there was nothing. Maybe a couple of radio interviews.
So you go through the ‘70s producing music and then all of a sudden you transition. Did you kind of say, “The hell with music. I’m getting into boxing?” Well, it wasn’t quite like that. What happened was, there was a youngster who lived next door to me who had lost his dad. I lost my father when I was young so I always had a soft spot, let’s put it that way. I started taking the kid with me to my concerts and then I started taking him to the Golden Gloves to watch. A couple of kids I got friendly with, they were expecting to go to the ‘80 Olym-
“I go to L.A. Coliseum, there are 85,000 people there and I said, “How do I not know about this?”
pics in Moscow. Carter boycotted them and they asked about coming with me to handle them. We were still doing all the music, only my partner was handling it and I was addicted to boxing, running around the world with it. Then it became very big and in ‘84, I recruited four of five kids who became world champions. Really interesting things, and it grew, and I ended up managing Tyson and ended up managing Evander Holyfield and Pernell Whitaker and Manny Pacquiao and, you know, worked with everyone. Then in 2010, I was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. I learned about electronic music then. I feel like the world goes around. In ‘68, I went up to the Boston Garden and I said to Ed Powers, “I want to bring a show here.” He said, “Fine, who do you want to bring?” I said, “Jimi Hendrix.” He said, “Never heard of him.” So now it’s 2010, I’m sitting at a table with some people, fella on my right said, “You know, I manage Deadmau5,” and I
said, “Who’s that?” So he said, “You want to come with us tonight to Electric Daisy?” I said, “Sure.” I thought I was going to a club. I go to L.A. Coliseum, there are 85,000 people there and I said, “How do I not know about this? What is this?” And I am a quick study and I learned and then we started putting together the idea for it [SFX]. Looking back on your career in boxing, was it really kind of the same as you promoting a fight as opposed to promoting a concert? Is it equally as stressful because you’re worrying about that one big event? Well, each of them is different, but if you’re a promoter at heart, you’re a promoter and you learn the different things and you move with the times. When I was selling tickets, you had to go to the physical venue. Today, you buy them online and you don’t leave your house. Totally different mindset. Then boxing doesn’t use social media much because very few people, unless you’re part of HBO or Showtime, you don’t have the database.
But here, the kids want you to have their names, so that they can know when an event or something is happening. Boxing has faded a little since its heyday. Oh yeah. Boxing hurts itself. One team is going to win the Super Bowl and you’re going to know who the football champion is. It’s not going to be four other organizations and four other Super Bowl Champions. So you could win the BC title and you say, “I’m the middleweight champion of the world.” Someone else has the WBA and, “I’m the middleweight champion of the world.” Someone has the IBF and it’s crazy. So to me, the important thing is not the belt but the star power of the individual, whether it be an athlete or star, and that’s what you’re building. You’re not building a champion, you’re building a star.
The town got so jammed they had to airlift food into McDonald’s because they couldn’t get through the roads.
Most people know Muhammad Ali, the heavyweights, you couldn’t tell me what divisions Floyd Mayweather is in today but you know who Floyd Mayweather is. You couldn’t care if he was junior, middleweight champ or welterweight or middleweight. You want to see him fight Pacquiao. No one says, “Hey, he’s going for the middleweight championship.” No, he’s fighting... So it became a name value, where before, “Oh, you know, Sugar Ray Robinson’s going for his fifth title. He’s the first one ever to do that. He came back out of retirement to fight for the middleweight title.” You don’t feel that anymore. That’s not what builds the fight anymore. After 30 years of boxing, you decided to get back into the music industry and you’ve hinted that you weren’t happy about some of the changes in boxing. Can you explain that decision and how you knew it was time to leave? Well, I still handle the heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, but I also have a part management with Deontay Wilder, who won the BC part a week ago. Those are the only two fighters I work with. I felt that I had an opportunity to do some things again in entertainment, which I was yearning for. I went through someone, they approached me to do some things, a company called Empire Sports and Entertainment. Wasn’t quite the right thing. When I saw the electronic, Mitch and I brought it to Bob, Bob says, “Let’s do it, I think it’s a home run,” and we ran with it. Now it’s being built into a large enterprise that hopefully will give some excitement and value to its customers. 46
If you were to walk away from it all tomorrow, would you be satisfied with everything you’ve accomplished or do you feel that you’ve got
more to do, still? I have a ton more, not because I need accomplishments, it’s just I can’t imagine getting up and just going to the gym and walking. So many people dream big these days. What would you tell them? Well, there’s a couple of things. I think life is, let’s say you’re on a river and there’s a lot of exits. You got to pick the right exits. You got to believe in your beliefs in order to follow them. You shouldn’t be afraid of failure because failure is part of success. Look, boxing in many ways mirrors life. The really good fighters get knocked down but get up. The great fighters, most of them have lost a couple of fights, but you don’t remember that. You don’t remember necessarily if Joe Frazier beat Ali, you just remember Ali is the greatest. Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard. A lot of people lose, but you win more times than losing and part of, I think that I’ve learned in time, is to build a strong foundation when you dream big so that you have your legs under you when you have the opportunity, rather than just going for it and not having a good foundation. The thing is you also you learn with age and experience and hopefully you want to impart it where you can. It’s not easy. I once wanted to do a book and it was, I don’t know if you’d call it fiction or science fiction, but I wanted for the next generation, to come along, your kids, and not have to make the mistakes you made. Why do they have to make it? I made them already. But life doesn’t work that way, sadly, and you got to learn to see yourself. Not every hit is a home run but if you get on base enough, you’ll get home.
Summer Jam â€˜73 photo Jay Falvey 47
BEHIND THE BUSHES AND SCRUBLANDS
an interview with
ANTOINE BRUY Interview By Caytlinn Strickland
Antoine Bruy has spent years traveling, hitchhiking across Europe, to meet new people and share their lifestyles through his photography. Some of his most well known images involve those who choose to live off the grid, the Roma gypsies in Europe, and other subcultures around the world. Antoine describes what it is like to live off the land, away from the rest of society, as well as his goals to travel to the U.S. to capture a similar lifestyle, and the motives behind his photography of brothels, architecture and more.
You traveled through Europe for three years photographing the people that choose to live off the grid. How was that experience living with them and photographing them? Actually, I keep traveling. This project is still ongoing. The experience was really very intense for me because I was traveling by hitchhiking, and I met those people I photographed that way. I lived with them. It was very interesting because I could learn a lot from them and how they were living, which is very different from the way I live today. I mean I grew up in the big cities, I still live in the city. It was a very powerful experience. How did you find the people that live off of the grid? How did they react to you photographing them?
Actually the first time was by accident. I was just traveling by hitchhiking and then I met some people who were living off the grid. They just picked me up. They just proposed for me to come to their place and to have dinner, to rest a little bit, stuff like that. I spent probably a week with them making pictures. From this accident, letâ€™s say, I started looking for other people living off the grid, but through the WOOFing network, which was a network made to connect volunteers -- people who want to help people who are living in the countryside. People who grow vegetables or who have cows and sheep, and are looking for people to look after them and help them in their daily life. 51
Most of the people who grew up in cities, they wouldnâ€™t know what to do as soon as they were somewhere out in nature...
Actually the crowd funding is now done, and I managed to get enough money to travel to the U.S. and buy some film and process them when I get back. The plan would be to go to the Appalachians and probably New Mexico as well. I’ve been quite lucky because this project has been well spread over the internet and I have some people who contacted me just to say, ‘Hey, hi, I have a place off the grid which looks a little bit like what you’re photographing’, and how it was a good thing to get in touch with people in the U.S.
Is this a lifestyle that you would choose for yourself? Would you be interested in going off the grid? Who knows, yeah, maybe? No, actually, I’m more like a- I’m like a photographer. I’m really interested in making photographs of meeting new people and traveling. It takes a lot of time to make good photographic work, so no. I’m more focused on photography. If you want to have a place like that it’s like a full time job. You don’t have any time to do anything else, basically because you have to look after the place, you have to take care of a lot of things and you need to have different sorts of knowledge as well to be able to live off the grid like that. You need to be able to, I don’t know, to build a house or to fix anything that has to be fixed and you have to be able to grow your own food. You have to be able to take care of animals a little bit. I don’t know, so many things. It takes a lot of time I guess as well, to live that way. On your website I saw there is a section that asks for people to donate or help fund you to go to the U.S. and do a similar project. How has that been going and what are your plans to do in the U.S.?
Do you think what you’ll find in the U.S. will be any different than what you found in Europe? The thing is that, in the U.S. or in Canada, it’s like there’s way more space than in Europe. There are a few parts in Europe where it’s not so crowded, but it’s quite difficult to find and there’s going to be less and less space. In the U.S., there’s enough space and I think it’s easier to get off the grid when you are in your country than anywhere else in Europe, actually. So, your Behind the Bushes series is not off the grid but it has the same type of style as the off the grid pictures. Your pictures portray a lot of people that might be poor or living in their own community outside of society’s norms. You’re right, somehow it’s very similar to Scrublands as well, but different because it’s a very particular community, because it’s real Roma people. What were you seeing when you took the pictures of Behind the Bushes and how does that compare with the Scrublands people? The differences between the two projects, you mean? Most of the people I met for Scrublands were often like people from Europe, from Germany, from Spain, or rather well-educated people who were looking for a place very far from society, to be
able to live their own way of life, and to be very respectful about the environment, stuff like that. Behind the Bushes is all about the Roma community in Europe. All the pictures in there were made in France, in camps in different cities. The thing is that they are somehow living off the grid as well but the biggest difference, I think, is that they didn’t really choose to live that way. They’re living this way because they don’t have the choice. They are immigrants who came to France to find a better way of living and to try and get more money for their family. The only way, the only choice they had when they arrived in France, was to live in these camps and to make their house out of recycling materials, stuff like that. I think the biggest difference is that they didn’t really choose to live that way.
So, your photography seems to focus on these types of communities that work together, whether they’re underprivileged or they choose to be that way. What about these cultures interests and inspires you to photograph them? The first thing is that the people I have been photographing, like in Scrublands or Behind the Bushes, have a very different kind of lifestyle than I’ve been used to. Like I said, as a child, until maybe 18, I didn’t really travel that much. It’s pretty much like the
It is because of technology that we are in this situation right now and maybe it’s time to connect again to what we lost somehow... opposite of how I’d been living in my early age and that’s why I’m really curious and very interested about these people. Also, most of the people who grew up in cities, they wouldn’t know what to do as soon as they were somewhere out in nature and stuff like that. I was curious to know how you could manage to live in nature. Some of your other pictures seem more architectural in a way. Looking at the massage parlors, or the brothels, without knowing that’s what they were, you could easily just mistake them for rooms. Yeah. What were you trying to portray in these images? For the brothel actually, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I was very interested about the architecture itself and all the objects inside the room. It was kind of funny because somehow if you just looked at these rooms and didn’t pay attention to every detail, you can completely un-
we’ll be fine again,” or something like that. I think it’s a big mistake actually because I have the feeling that somehow it’s like you’re just pushing the problems a little bit further and further and further and at the end there is nothing solved. It’s just like trying to find a solution to fix it for a few years, a few decades, until it’s going to be fucked up again. What I’m really interested about, like these people in Scrublands for example, is that they will say, OK, the solution doesn’t come necessarily from technology. It is because of technology that we are in the situation right now and maybe it’s time to connect again to what we lost somehow, which is probably like being in touch with nature and to be aware that we are all depending on it. The only way we can survive or live, is more about collaborating with nature than using it for our own purpose. derstand what it is but it would be like a random room or like a weird room from IKEA, you know? Yet, when you start looking at the details you realize that it might be something else. I wanted to portray these rooms, which seem like quite weird and you don’t really get it, but it’s when you just take the time to look at it that you can really understand it.
What is your opinion on the constant growth and reliance on technology, because the people that you photographed don’t really have that, I’m assuming? Do you think it’s important? What’s my opinion? I think we’re expecting too much out of technology most of the time and I think our society has the tendency to say, “OK, we’re in this fucked up situation, somehow, but no worries the technology will solve everything and
Do you feel that technology has impacted photography in the way that it’s either taken or viewed? Oh, yeah, for sure. Today we all have cameras and it’s very easy to take pictures, to print pictures, to show pictures everywhere like on the Internet, so of course it has a very interesting new tendency as well. What I was saying before, I’m not against technology at all, and I was more talking about the fact that we are sometimes hoping for too much out of it. Nowadays, it’s very interesting how some photographers can manipulate their photographs and make something, which couldn’t work in the real world. For example, I’m thinking about photographers especially in architecture who are kind of sculpting new objects, which couldn’t work in reality. Yeah, the digital age of course has changed a lot, like the way people are looking at pictures, and the way photographers make them as well.
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TRAVIS PURRINGTON INTERVIEW
Interview By AB Photos Courtesy of artist
Travis Purrington is an American born, European inspired and educated designer who recently redesigned the entire US currency as part of his major thesis. Since his currency debuted it’s stirred a great deal of thought among both traditional and contemporary mindsets. He’s brought to question, exactly who and what our money represents and why it hasn’t changed in over a century? He also hates the European delicacy of pickles wrapped in fish skin.
What’s going on in Poland for the holidays? Are there any strange traditions over there or anything special? They eat a lot of fish on the holidays. I’m here because the girlfriend is from Bielsko-Biala and this is actually my third Christmas here, so I’m getting pretty used to the traditions. They’re not so different from the US. I’m trying to think of something more interesting to say. They’re actually in the kitchen right now, making an insane amount of noise preparing something for tomorrow. I’ve had a lot of pierogi’s while I’ve been here. Some of the Polish families here have a tradition where they have these pickles that are wrapped in fish skin. They’re pretty gnarly. I was at my girlfriend’s house today and she offered me some. I was like, “No. I think last year was enough.” In general, there are a lot of Christmas teas and there are lots of sausages. The big tradition here with my girlfriend’s family are the piles of breaded trout. You’re originally a US citizen raised in Idaho but studying abroad. Can you give us some information on your personal background and also on your career background? I guess I would start out with the fact that I was actually born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with
Storm Trooper concept RIGHT
$100 bill concept
my twin brother. We were adopted by our parents in Pocatello, Idaho. I remember lots of family vacations that were road-trip-based. I think in order to subdue us in the car and also when we went to church, was to get us drawing. My brother and I, we would always have drawing contests in the back of the car. My dad would be the judge of who drew whatever. We both stayed pretty heavily in the illustrative pre-design type area right through junior high and high school. When we started getting into university, my brother went first. He got a degree in computer animation in Phoenix, and I was going to the University of Utah, where I started to get a bachelor in design. There was always this kind of passive competitiveness, because we’re not aggressive towards each other at all, but we’re very quality-oriented when it comes to our work. While at Utah, I got pretty involved in European design from a design history class. When I say ‘European design’, that’s probably more the twentieth century modern design. For instance, the Bauhaus. What started to infatuate me beyond the aesthetics of design, which I think my life has been based off of the formality of the aesthetics in art and design, was learning about the twentieth century art movements such as Futurism, and Dadaism was a big one, and then Russian avantgardism was pretty huge. Mikhail Roginsky, Alexander Rodchenko and Kazimir Malevich, these were all guys which I began to learn were really, really, really pushing the boundaries of what we consider art and design to be. Long story short, I did my bachelor’s at the University of Utah and I worked for a couple years with an architecture material firm. Also, while I was going to school I became the creative director of ARTBOARD Magazine, as well as lead designer for a ski and snowboard film company, which I worked really
heavily with as far as developing posters, a clothing line and different marketing materials that were all based in skiing and snowboarding. I guess all good eras come to an end. I eventually decided that I wanted to expand my visual communication knowledge, so I looked into taking part in a master’s program at the Basel School of Design in Switzerland, which for me was also not a bad choice because there are pretty good mountains there. You’ve also done a lot of traveling. How do you find inspiration in your travels and in your journeys for your design? Or don’t you? Oh no. I think it’s quite hard not to find inspiration in your travels, especially when you have a photography-oriented mindset. I would say just looking for angles and moments to photograph, no matter where you are, puts you in a precarious position. I’ve been to South Korea, Istanbul, I don’t know how many different European countries. I still go home back to the States and go to Mexico. I always try and empathize with where I am. If you
want to be a graphic designer, or if you want to be, I guess, a good artist in general, I would say that you have to have a pretty deep dimension of empathy. What’s interesting is that you’re translating your experiences for someone else, and the experiences that you’re translating from someone else’s experiences or history or culture. If you’re doing visual communication, it’s easier to make a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy but then you lose the resolution that you’re trying to convey. It really takes a lot of effort to keep that resolution of culture, or of perspective. It varies from person to person, because everybody’s translation of events is different. I guess the quality or the mastery comes through isolating the parts of the looking glass which you find captivating, and somehow sustaining that all the way until you find a product. As part of your major thesis at Basel School of Design, you recently redesigned the American banknotes. What did you hope to accomplish by this project? Before I was actually cleared to do the thesis, I had to present a proposal to the board at the Basel School of Design. At the end of the proposal, they asked, “What are your objectives?” Originally I said my objective was to create a discussion about contemporary monetary value and its future, and develop questions regarding the role currency plays in communication, sociology and/or evolution.
I would say I wanted to make a project which had some sort of significant outcome. To me, going to the Basel School of Design was such a pipe dream to begin with, that I got accepted and that I got a visa. I remember my dad, when he was driving me to the airport, he was like, “So you got an apartment all lined up?” I was like, “No.” He was like, “What do you have?” I was like, “I’ve got three days at a bed and breakfast.” He just looked at me and shook his head, because my dad is an old-school grocery store owner, so he runs things by the books. He was
surprised that I’d actually got my shit together to get accepted into the country of Switzerland. For me, once I was already here, this was just a hell of a learning experience and a cultural experience. Let’s see, there was one other American, who was actually from Ohio. There was one from Mexico and three Iranians in the group when I got there, which my dad was really interested about. Oh yeah, there were Russians, Germans, Lithuanians, Turks. As far as the design experience, it’s one thing. On the other hand it’s very much a cultural experience. You’re going out with these people on a daily basis because you don’t have anyone else to go out with. You build that rapport with discussions on world events or design or whatever it is. One of my friends was South Korean at the time. I lived with him for like two months before I found my own place. We had a lot of very interesting discussions. It seems like you wanted to do something that made a major statement? I did want to do something big, but I didn’t know what that was. Maybe I was dreaming at the time, but I was thinking of reinventing the news resource, or something like that would be a sufficient goal for coming here and having this experience, but I’m not a news guy. It’s like there are limits to what I can commit to. One thing that I did think about was what piece of communication does everyone carry with them which doesn’t change based on reporting styles or news stations or basic opinion, as far as what you would see as a product. I was thinking we carry around fliers every day in our wallet, and there’s billions and billions of these fliers. It’s a basic form of monetary propaganda. Switzerland has the Swiss franc, obviously, but they change it every twenty years. When I first found that out, I found that really very fascinating, because it’s not a little redesign. It’s not making the number a little bigger or orange or adding one piece of security over here. They hold a competition and they
let poor rudolph join in any reindeer games.
2009 X-Mas card
invite ten different designers, and whoever wins, designs the money. I was really blown away by that, because I was thinking when was the last time the US did anything like that? I think the answer is kind of never, especially once I got into the history of the US banknotes. I came to the conclusion that it would be a really interesting place to start as far as trying to develop a new communication system. Do you think that the Swiss model of adapting to a completely redesigned currency every twenty years is a model that the US could adopt? Have you approached anyone from the US Treasury Department about your currency? The model would have to be modified, obviously, because the Swiss have something like eighty million banknotes in circulation, and the Federal Reserve has thirty billion banknotes in circulation around the world, including several countries which use our currency as their currency. The US circulation rate is roughly twice the European Union or the Euro, the European Central Bank circulation rate, which has somewhere around fifteen billion. It’s a big job, for sure, definitely not possible every twenty years. What I wanted to convey was that maybe it should have a redesign at some point and basically have a spring-cleaning. What’s really nice about the freedom that the
rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. and if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows.
then one foggy christmas eve santa came to say: "rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. they never
then all the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee,
rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history.
.0003383 .398397003 _ _ _ _ _
dasher dancer prancer vixen comet cupid donard blitzen
from this_ I will be great _46472r01
Swiss have as such a small society is that they can change the cultural messaging on their banknotes every twenty-some-odd years, depending on what’s relevant for the people at the time. For the last twenty years, Switzerland has actually been celebrating artists on their banknotes. Every denomination has a different artist, from Giacometti, to Le Corbusier to Sophie Arp, and from painters to sculptors to orchestra conductors, which is a large cry away from Presidents and other people of strong structural authority. So have you seriously approached anyone about your designs? No, I haven’t approached anyone yet. I guess I’ve had a few people contact me who are very behind the idea of the designs I’ve made. They’ve told me that they’re striving to contact Congress and push their desire of these notes to become a reality themselves. At this point I’m not interested, I
guess, in contacting the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, just because I’m pretty sure from what I’ve researched it’s a long hard road. They have mountains of reports and market research, which the results of those reports both confirm and scare the living daylights out of them. There are basic reports from the eighties which say that, for instance, the single greatest thing they could do to help the blind would be to change the size of their currency based on denomination. The official answer from the Department of Engraving and Printing was that this would have a profound effect on how Americans act with their money and Congress doesn’t really like words like ‘monumental change’ and ‘profound’, so these things get pushed under the rug. It’s not an exact quote.
Just to interject: Would they think that having different-sized denominations would make people thriftier? People think about it more before they spent a hundred-dollar bill because it’s bigger than a five-dollar bill? That’s possible. The report that I was talking about
was really geared toward the visually impaired, but at a certain level, having a larger bill obviously intrinsically means something more than having a smaller bill. What I think is interesting, or would be interesting in the future, is to try and develop a system that makes people more quality-conscious rather than quantity-conscious. These are difficult questions to answer in one respect, but on the other hand, right now we live in a visually-immersive society. The amount of time the average human being spends on a computer looking for images which accept them or motivate them is completely exponential to what it was twenty years ago. In that sense, we’re still using money that was visually concocted or designed during the Civil War. We’re living in a society which is trying to consolidate a future that they want with a past that they have and also want, because we’re also changing the past continually to fit our idea of ourselves, to make ourselves feel either better or worse. You can’t deny that we’re somehow living in a Nineteen
Congress doesn’t really like words like ‘monumental change’ and ‘profound’, so these things get pushed under the rug.
Eighty-Four environment. We use arguments of the past to try and make our present relevant, but the thing is that the US dollar is the same, virtually, for a hundred and fifty years, design-wise, or at least style-wise, give or take.
them to look back at, to be proud about, in history? I’m not saying that the Founding Fathers should not be revered, but in the first place, they didn’t want to be on the money. George Washington, the last thing he wanted to be was depicted on the US dollar.
With credit cards, Paypal, Square and now Apple Pay, do you think that currency could ultimately ever be completely eliminated? I know you’ve done a lot of research on currency, so I’m curious to hear if paper or currency in a tangible form, as we know it, could be phased out in a few decades? I think tangible currency is here for a while. Banknotes and coins are here for less time. The project I wanted to do was basically seen as a transitional project from the beginning. You can’t get from Point A to Point C without Point B. We have this history, this colonial/Revolutionary history which moves to Civil War history which moves to an industrial society history, to now we have the digital era. At some point there has to be an evolution of what we see as money. This was simply a suggestion of one way to try and get there. I assume that you can’t just pull the plug. We’re a generation-based society. You have your Generation X, your Generation Y. Society kind of moves in twenty-year increments, so what I see as the generation growing up now, they won’t even remember what it’s like to not have a cell phone.
Since this project went viral, I would say the vast majority of negative comments have been people who would consider themselves United States patriots, who are annoyed, if not enraged, that the Founding Fathers, namely George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, have been taken off of the money. They don’t understand that to respect the Founding Fathers, we should have never put them on the money in the first place. In the end, I found myself actually representing my view as an individual of where I come from, but also some things that I felt were the idea of American currency. Based on my research, keeping the Founding Fathers or any President, living or dead, was out of the question.
On the one hand there is stoicism to that history, but on the other hand there are Civil Rights violations and atrocities, and history which not everybody wants to be directly related to, especially two hundred years into the future. So what do you give
The next big question then is, what do you put on the money when the main thing that goes on the money is no longer an option? That’s where I had to start developing my own ideas, my own themes, start looking at different systems and how they evolved, and how science and general relativity of being plays into making a good human being, who is trustworthy, who takes authorship in his work, who is able to distinguish quality. These things began to play a much bigger role in the development of what became my US currency proposal. You said you’re working now professionally. What are you doing? Right now, I’m working in Zurich for a company
He was surprised that I’d actually got my shit together to get accepted into the country of Switzerland.
called EF, which is short for Education First. EF is an international language travel company. A lot of people in the States would never have heard about it because the largest product they sell is English to other foreign-speaking people. Based on how you want to learn English, they set up either a study abroad or boarding school or summer vacation destination style package for people. You actually go where you learn the language. It’s not just English. It’s also German and French and Japanese and seven different languages, but by far the largest product is English. I’m designing campaigns to convince the world to speak English. In general, it’s more about convincing people of different cultures to interact with one another and find a common ground.
I hate open-ended questions, but you’ve already done so much at this point of your life. I’m just curious what the next step is for you, or what your future plans are, if you have any? Where I am right now is a beginning, to be honest. I would say there are a lot of production-based projects which I’m looking forward to doing. I also want to keep this idea of theory-based projects going because I really would encourage other designers and artists to push concepts they have
in mind to the strongest limit they’re capable. I plan in the near future to redesign the US passport as a continuation of what I’m doing on this level. I also would like to do more artistic things, which are a little less stressful and less technical. The banknotes were a technical project, and if you want to just make art, you can’t do it. It was right on the edge of what I was able to focus on to get those done, but also the idea of continuing with that. The passport I think would be a really great piece to design, because if you design a really great passport, then you’re encouraging an entirely new generation to travel, to get out there and to mix. I would say that me coming out here has been a truly positive experience. I know it’s not possible for everyone to have quite the experience I’ve had, but pretty much anywhere you are, you can reach out and find people from other cultures who are willing to talk about their experiences. As long as we can keep that empathetic thread alive in our society, I think we’re in a better position to iron out a lot of these cultural differences we see in the news and that we struggle with trying to understand mentally on a day-to-day basis. Yeah, to cut a long story short, the future is pretty wide open still.
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RIP TAYLOR Interview by Rob Howie
What’s your favorite fruit and why? Pomgranit, because I can spell it!
ON ALONE TIME
I’ll let you know when I finish. Hahaha!
When did you lose your virginity? Tomorrow, and I can’t wait! Ugliest celebrity you’ve met? I haven’t yet… Hit me with your best pickup line. How much? What foods make you gassy? Pomgranit.
Where did you wake up today? Cleveland. And it was closed.
Can we have your honest opinion on nipple rings? Honest? No. New Years resolution? Already broken. If you could appoint the next President, who would it be? Hillary Clinton. Most expensive pair of underwear you own? See-through. Favorite euphemism for masturbating? I’ll let you know when I finish. Hahaha! Favorite board game? Answering these questions!
Hypothetically, if you had a large sum of money, where would you hide it? Ah, the title of these questions. At a bank so I am insured when somebody steals it? Which I would not be when I tell you where I would hide it and have a few of the readers trying to steal it from me. Max amount of times you’ve farted during a match? Haven’t done that, not that I know of. I’ve said stupid stuff like, “I am too strong for you, you can never get that lock you are working for right now”, and I lost a contact lens like 4 times, never lost a bit of wind. What kind of five-star breakfast did you cook up this morning? Boring breakfast, almost every morning, quinoa with honey, start the day with something healthy. On the weekends it will be bacon, tomato and onion baked in a pan, then add eggs. Or, the “Rutten breakfast”, filet mignon or any other great steak with a red wine sauce I make where you can dip your bread, very good!
Whose ass would you kick for a Klondike bar? Give me some gloves so I don’t hurt my hands too much and put me in a prison in the pedophile section, all of them. I mean, for a Klondike bar???!!! Heck yeah! What’s the difference between a gerbil and a hamster? The tail? A gerbil has a longer tail. A gerbil can live with other gerbils, they actually like each other. Our last hamsters weren’t really like that, they tried to kill each other, very violent. Even weirder, why would I know this? When I lived in Holland but was fighting in Japan, some US fighters told me what Gerbiling was (I have a red line underneath the word right now in my Word Doc so I don’t even think it’s in the dictionary, but I am sure the readers know this), I’m still in shock. Name something you can’t punch through. The concrete floor in my house, through an amount of water longer then my arm, a grain of rice, any kind of grain actually that you throw up and hit, a ping pong ball and tennis ball hanging from a rope? I just tried
(I am serious) hitting a fly that came too close to my food; you can touch them and maybe KO them (while flying) but not punch through them, while flying. What is your go-to melee weapon? Nunchuks, and in a really bad one, a minigun (with LOTS of bullets), I win! How many bags of groceries can you carry? Depends what’s in them. I have carried like 12, 6 in each hand while squeezing a pack of toilet paper between my arm and body. I can do much more if you put ONE item in each bag, preferably a small item. What is your favorite calisthenic? Dips. I did 93 one time at a competition. Then again, I know a guy who can do... wait for it, 172 pull ups! Favorite Bruce Lee lesson? Fighting while using “controlled anger”. I could never find a word to explain how I was hitting and kicking. I said that I was like, “loading up in my mind and suddenly releasing all my power in a kick or any strike, like a bubble that bursts”. When I read Bruce Lee said: “controlled anger”, I said: “Or that”.
ON PUNCHING STUFF
The concrete floor in my house, through an amount of water longer then my arm, a grain of rice...
PHOTO: SCOTT SULLIVAN
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Why is it always Morgan Freeman who plays the voice of God and never you? Good question. I guess when they want God to have a sense of irony, they’ll come a-knockin’. In the meantime, I’ll just have to wait Morgan out. Why did you help relaunch the real J. Peterman Company? Was it because his name is also John? I have loved the J. Peterman Company ever since I began my “association” with it through the parody on Seinfeld. I helped the Company through financial difficulties back in 1999, and have been an active member of the Board of Directors since and an occasional contributor to the Catalog. It is still my favorite bit of Venture Capital -JPeterman.com Did someone write your lines for Seinfeld or did they just leave that up to you? The lines were very strictly scribed by an enormously talented team of writers, who loved to write “long form” for Peterman with his endless and ponderous monologues. That said, during rehearsals there were times when I found a different and sometimes funnier take, and it made it into the show.
Whereabouts on the bucket list did being in a soap opera land? At the time - it was the most
important thing I had ever done. Back in the eighties, daytime TV was as popular as prime time, and much more stable. I learned a lot about acting on television a small black hole - as opposed to the expanse of a Broadway theater. It prepared me a lot for film as well. When will you be doing an audiobook of bedtime stories? Funny you should ask-- I’ve written three books, which have all been best-sellers. The last one is a children’s book called, THE PERFECT DOG, a Dr. Seuss-style poem I wrote to my son about the notion of what a “perfect dog” would be like (it ends with the thought “The dog that is perfect, is the one next to you”). It actually contains a CD of me reading the text. Additionally, I have recorded the Books-On-Tape for the other titles I have written, It’s OK To Miss The Bed On The First Jump and Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have To Do It. Who dubbed you the 7th Most Interesting Man? Have you appealed to be put higher up on the list? The title is self-appointed, because I know that, at any one time, there are only 6 people having a better day than I am. It speaks to my eternal optimism, balanced with a small dose of
humility, and a healthier dose of self-parody. Besides your own, whose voice is your favorite? Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, and Paul Harvey (posthumously). Best toilet paper substitute? They no longer publish the Sears Catalog-- which tells you the last time I gave this question any serious thought. Name one everyday ritual? I do the USA TODAY Crossword Puzzle each day. Not the New York Times. I’m not that smart. I also say one prayer every day and every night before I step onstage “Lord, Let me be surprised”. And I always am. Favorite type of meat? Toss-up. The tenderest Filet with a port-wine reduction (Ralph Lauren Restaurant in Chicago). Or Lamb with a garlic-onion jam (Stonewall Kitchen). Hypothetically if you had a large sum of money where would you hide it? I’d buy cases of returnable-soda bottles and take advantage of the healthy .10 cent return/per bottle. Oddly enough, you’re the only one who has ever asked me for that depth of financial advice.
Photo Courtesy of Discovery
ON PUNCHING CAMERAMEN
Clearly not enough – they just keep coming.
Prediction on how many F-bombs you’ll drop in this interview? None, because my wife’s here with me right now. Favorite barbershop in the Yukon? No, I don’t have one actually. Have you ever sprinkled gold flakes on your ice cream? I haven’t - because then I have to pan it later and that would be a shitty job. How many cameramen have you punched during filming? Clearly not enough – they just keep coming. Are you aware that you have a Twitter account? I am because my wife told me that I do.
Last time you shaved the beard completely off? It was 1990. I had to do it for a job. Best thing to do in the Yukon besides gold mining? Best thing? Leaving in the fall! What kind of beer does the Viking drink? Heineken preferably… Otherwise whatever I can get. Last you time you fought a grizzly bear? You know, it’s been a while. I’ve got most of them already or scared them off. There aren’t many coming around anymore and showing up. Favorite texting acronyms? Acronyms? None – I don’t do any of that that stuff.
Photo Courtesy of ThirtyTwo
How many illegal Dang’s do you own? I gave a pair of those recalled ones to my brother. Oakley sued Dang Shades for a lot of money. They are the worst company out, don’t support those fuckheads. DON’T BUY OAKLEY! ON SNOWMOBILING
So my top speed now reads 127 mph..
Have you Mass’d up anything lately? We massed up Salt Lake, we got a huge crew of imports there. Fastest speed on a snowmobile? Not sure. I flipped my sled upside down and the throttle got stuck wide open for a minute or two. So my top speed now reads 127 mph on my sled. Chrisgrenier.com is a highend real estate company. Is that a secret backup plan? Yes.
How many coffee tables have you built to date? I’ve built a few. I built one for pro golfer Jim Furyk this summer. No big deal... Who would you pick on if you could create your own South Park episode? Probably Timmy Ronan. Last time you rode while listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd? It’s been a while. What did you get Travis Kennedy for his birthday this year? Nothing, but I probably should have. Travis Kennedy is a legend. One of my biggest childhood inspirations growing up. Iron Curtain 3 ender part is a classic.
Portrait Shot by JT Rhoades
Interview By Michael Connolly Photos Courtesy of artist
Defining Powers Law 15
What’s up BB, what have you been doing recently? I’m good, just finished painting this mini ramp at the new Zero office. Probably just going to paint some random stuff today. It’s raining here. It never rains in California, so it’s kind of cool. Are you busy with a lot of commission work? I just do random things during the week. I don’t know. I don’t really plan anything it just comes to me. Me and my buddies are doing this sock company called Psockadelick... so I usually work on that a fucking lot. Then just random graphic design jobs that I’m commissioned to do. Like, Jamie called me the other day and asked me to paint the ramp, so that turned into a three-day thing. It’s just sporadic like that. I don’t know. People just hit me up randomly. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes I don’t want to do it.
When we hit BB up with the concept for this issue he was immediately down to get involved. I can honestly say that I have never worked with someone as responsive and collaborative as this dude. From deck graphics to murals, to independent film projects, to starting a sock company with his homies - BB has been ravenously productive. A quick glimpse at his portfolio of work shows that BB changes his style routinely and is always exploring new ways to manifest his creative perspective; something I find sincerely refreshing in an industry controlled by fad culture. Do you think working spontaneously like that helps you stay creative in your art? Yeah, because if I am in a routine it makes me go crazy. I don’t like routine, I don’t like mundane 9:00 to 5:00 situations. That makes me dull and isn’t good for my art. Switching things up is good for me. I used to move around a lot. When I’m somewhere for too long shit gets stale, and I can see it in my art.
I’m a pretty optimistic person, but I feel like it’s looking a little fucking gloomy out there.
Let me ask you this then... if I said I had a spaceship and I was leaving for a journey deep into outer space, would you be down to come with me? Yeah, I’ll definitely go for sure. Fuck yeah! What would you bring with you, who would you bring with you? I can bring a person? Yeah, you can bring a person and you can bring three items. How long are we going for? Shit, man, we might not even come back. Okay. Fuck. Well, I would want a hot chick because I do want to have sex... but she would probably get annoying. So I’d want a homie with me, because then he could help out if we got into some shit... wait, is there already a girl on the UFO or do I have to bring one? We might meet some sexy alien bitches, man. I don’t know. Okay. Well, if we’re going to meet aliens, there’s no point in bringing sand to the beach. I would bring my brother Mouse. Then I would bring, I don’t know, probably a pad of paper and something to draw on, right? Then... maybe some weed. To be completely honest, if we were to go up on a spaceship, I probably wouldn’t bring anything and I would just fucking go. Perfect, we don’t have that much room. Anyway... back to Earth. What was growing up in Oceanside like? I’m sure you have gotten into some pretty heavy shenanigans. Fuck. I mean it was anywhere from 6 to 15 friends 105 just getting fucked out of our heads, I don’t know... skateboarding is really apparent here. Skating and
surfing is a really a big deal. We grew up just doing bad things like chasing girls around and getting fucked up. When there is a lot of us together it gets magnified, you know what I mean? Then we’re all like fucking insects or something. We’re just huddled up in a little area, and there’s a million of us. It’s like the fucking Little Rascals clubhouse but way more x-rated. Are you always surrounded by homies? Yeah. Fucking pretty much. Since I’ve been a little kid, it’s like a pack of wolves or something. There’s always so many of us around. There’s just a million fucking homies around all the time. I think it’s the vibe of the community where I live, that’s kind of how it is. Sometimes it gets to be too much. Actually, to be honest, I keep to myself a lot nowadays. Tell me a little bit about your independent film project, “Joseph.” How did that idea come together? I just wanted to fucking expand my art so it could go more, not necessarily interactive, but be seen in a different way. It wasn’t just a flat image or an illustration on a skateboard or something. Because when I do something for so long, I just want to change it up all the time. So I saw the film as a new venture to do. Around that time all the little Shep Dawg kids were always hanging outside of Figgy’s house where I lived last summer. And they just remind me of us, but fucking six or seven years ago or something. So I thought it would be sick to capture that. How did you end up casting Rowan as the main character? I don’t know. To me, he’s the most charismatic dude out of all of them. He can talk really well. What inspires your illustration process? Are you always doodling or are you waiting for 106 ideas or inspiration to hit you? I don’t know. This goes back to what we were first talking about... I think it’s just me living in whatever is happening around me. Like Joseph, I was hang-
We grew up just doing bad things...
ing out with those dudes at my house when they were coming around a lot. I might have watched something inspiring and it really hyped me up, like how someone filmed or whatever. So, it’s a combination of things. I also get a lot of ideas before I go to sleep. I have this book next to my bed, and if I’m on it, I write my dreams down when I wake up so I can remember what I dreamed about. Do you have an all-time favorite skate graphic? Well, what popped in my head right now when you said that was the Powell Peralta board with the black panther coming out of the triangle. I think it’s a Natas graphic. Do you think people have certain expectations for you as an artist, especially in the skate industry? Fuck. I don’t know what they expect. It’s weird when you meet someone that you don’t know, but they
know what you do and they want you to be a certain person or act a certain way or something. I don’t really know what other people think. Sometimes people will try to say, “Oh, I want you to do this,” and pull up something that I did a while ago, and be like, “Yeah, make it like this.” But, I pretty much change my style every three months so it’s hard. What was the first pro-model graphic that you worked on? It was a Richie Belton board for Chris Markovich’s old company Crimson. That was the first board I did. I was living with Chris then and Lizard King was coming down a bunch, and I did a board for him for Think. Then I was trying to do a board for Alfaro for Black Label. I did a Foundation board for Nuge that never got used. I did a Baca Baker board before he was even pro. I don’t even know what the fuck I was doing! I never know what I’m doing, ever. I just do it. So, if
anything happens in my life, it’s a win, because I shouldn’t even be anywhere. A lot of your work is very symbolic and seems to have a very narrative feel. Do you create art in the hope that people will understand what you’re trying to convey? At first, I was trying to tell people things, but I notice you can’t force humans to learn something. You can’t tell them what to do. You have to just put something in front of them. Like if you have a little kid and you want him to eat healthier, you just have to put it on the table and hope that he eats it. You can’t sit in front of him and make him eat it. They have to gradually want to do it. The reason I even do art is because it’s like therapy for me. So, if I’m speaking about stuff a lot, I can 107 paint it. No one can tell me, “No, you can’t say that. You can’t do that.” It’s not like a job. It’s just
a personal thing. Sometimes I just go paint for myself and I’ll just write a bunch of shit and play with stuff and do imagery and symbolic stuff. If people want to look at it and try to decode it, they can. So yeah, it’s for me and whoever wants it to be for them. When did you start painting murals? Is it something you’ve always been involved with or was there a point when you started moving your illustrations to a larger scale? Dude. Everything’s the same. If I can paint, I know how to do Illustrator. If I know how to do Illustrator, I know how to paint murals. If I know how to paint murals, I can make a movie. If I can make a movie, I can probably make a song. It’s all the same formula. How has an elevated sense of self helped you develop as an artist? Can you try to explain in your own words the concept of a higher conscience? When you reach a state of higher consciousness, you can never go back to the way you were before. I’ve went into things and dealt with things and you can never go back. It sucks because you see a lot of things for what they are. It’s honestly like the Matrix. You go in and then you realize what is really going on around you. You start to see things in a different light, and perceive things in a different way. Do you think people doubt what they can’t understand? Yeah. Fuck. I could get really weird on this, but I don’t know, people will probably trip out. I seriously feel like there is a parallel universe going on at all times. I feel like there’s someone in my room with me every night. It’s really fucking weird. That’s crazy... well what do you think the world 108 will look like in the distant future? What do you see? What are your thoughts or predictions about how we are going to progress as a
culture or what the status of Earth will be like in terms of the universe? Okay. That is a good question. I feel that as a society people’s values are being lost. Attention spans are going down. I feel like as technology keeps growing people will get dumber and we will have a lot more Artificial Intelligence, which will probably be the death of us. I see a lot of drastic fucking weather changes. I’m a pretty optimistic person, but I feel like it’s looking a little fucking gloomy out there. Shit, I see the middle class eventually collapsing in America. We pretty much have a militarized police situation happening right now so I can see that getting worse. There’s a lot of tension on race right now that the media is trying to portray. I feel like the media is trying to distance people of different colors, and I could see that escalating real quick. Pretty much just don’t ever watch the TV or any mainstream media. It’s just seriously a lot of bullshit that no one needs to be exposed to. Media scares me, man. I can make a bunch of t-shirts with weed and fucking “Let’s drink beer” on them and probably make a lot of money. But it’s just dumb comedy. I call that shit fart joke art because it’s easy. I feel like we’re polluting the world so much. Do I need to make something that is going to go out there and pollute more nonsense? Was there ever a moment where you were like, “Holy shit, I’m actually doing this and people really dig it?”. Fuck yeah, everyday. It’s a trip. There are moments in my life where I look around at the situation and where I’m at or who I’m with or what I’m doing, and I fucking have to take a second to pinch myself. That’s what life is all about. That’s the best thing ever. You know, my family is really poor. We were never rich. I never had shit or anything. My whole life has been a struggle. That’s why I live for those moments.
GUITAR DORK DONE RIGHT WITH MEATBODIES Interview By Sydney Lindberg Photos Denee Petracek and Alice Baxley
One Friday night in December, I hopped in my car and braved Los Angeles traffic to meet Chad Ubovich of Meatbodies at a family arcade in Los Feliz, nestled near upcoming musical neighborhoods Silverlake and Echo Park. Meatbodies encompass all the sounds of California in their self-titled, first full-length album nerd rock, stoner rock and surf glam.
I usually come here these times of day. My friends come over and we all play video games together. Seriously? What’s your favorite game inside? I’m hoping they have Mortal Kombat 2. I know they have the Jurassic Park game, that one rules too, but I’m really hoping they have Mortal Kombat 2. Nice, I hope they do for ya too. So, you’re a killer guitarist and bassist whose recorded and toured with FUZZ and Mikal Cronin, close friends with Ty Segall and started your own project ‘Chad and the Meatbodies’, now shortened to Meatbodies. How did the project come about?
I started Meatbodies when I was touring with Mikal Cronin a lot. In-between those times, I would come home and I would have a week or so, sometimes two weeks, at most three, before I’d start touring again. I didn’t have anything to do so I just kept it going. I started writing my own songs and playing shows, like at Burger Records and stuff like that. Back then I was calling it Chad and the Meatbodies. Eventually, I picked up enough steam and was asked to record my own thing. Yeah, you’re first release was a limited edition cassette tape, right? The first Chad and the Meatbodies thing was a cas113 sette tape, yeah.
Thatâ€™s why you got to find the dudes that you can ride in a close space with for a long time.
Who can even listen to that? People with tape players? No, I think it’s like, a lot of my friends and stuff, we all have tape machines and it’s kind of a cool, niche thing. My friend Ty [Segall], he called me up and was like, ‘Hey why don’t you have any Meatbodies stuff?’ He was starting a tape record on his label GOD? Records and he wanted to make one for me. At the time, this dude from LAMC Famous Class, it’s a record company in NYC, wanted to do a split, so Ty wanted to do a split too. He gave me a week to get him some shit. I had already been recording bullshit back in those days, when the band started. I was between touring, and I had been staying at my mom’s house in my little kid room. I had my fucking computer and a mixer and all this shit that I was recording on. I had a few things already, which I then touched up in a week. That’s what that first tape is. And then? Finally, when I was back touring with FUZZ, I got a call from In the Red Records who had heard the tape. They wanted to do a full album, and they were like, yeah, we’ll pay for everything. Who are the other guys in the band? How did you all meet? They’re just friends of friends hanging out around LA. I got Patrick [Nolan] to play guitar and my friend Killian [Leduke], but they weren’t on the album. I pretty much did everything on the album except drums, because I just can’t play drums. I just skipped that for some reason. I got Ty to play drums on some of the songs on the album. It’s nice, I had my friends on the album and then the dudes that I tour with are just friends, but not the same guys. Are you touring now? We just got off. I’ve been back home like two weeks now. We did 51 dates through America and
Canada. We were gone for a month and a half. Wait, you were only gone a month and a half, like 6 weeks, and you played 51 shows? Yeah, we had, like, two days off in that time. That’s what touring usually is. It’s definitely the only thing that I’ve been able to do legitimately and know what I’m doing and think that I’m okay at. Touring definitely changes your brain after a couple years. That’s pretty rad then. It’s definitely a lifestyle. Was it in a van, or do you have a bus? Definitely don’t have a bus. That would be tight. We have a van. I mean, we’d love a bus but-- vans are cool. That’s why you got to find the dudes that you can ride in a close space with for a long time. I think that’s what helps you distinguish what is a good band and what’s not. Like, if you’re all riding in a van and you can stand each other, it’ll be okay. Since you recorded the album solo, do you do all the writing for Meatbodies? Yeah. Where do you get inspiration for songs?
I like a lot of different bands in different genres. How about your top five right now? The Meat Puppets. I just started listening to a new MGMT song the other day. I haven’t listened to them since high school. I feel like everyone gives MGMT a bad rap. I think they just got really big and some people like to write them off. Anyways, I was listening to their new album, self-titled, on Spotify and I really liked it. So, MGMT, yeah, I guess that’s a weird thing to say. Let’s see… I’m always listening to Black Sabbath, well, Ozzy and Black Sabbath. Once every couple months, I start listening to my favorite Ozzy record, Diary of a Madman. I’ve been listening to that since I was like 14, or something like that. It rules. And finally, number one for sure is Roy Wood. Roy Wood was in a band called The Move in the 1960s and then started ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). They have all those famous songs like... shit... you know that song, “Mr. Blue Sky”? It’s on all these movies and stuff like that. Anyways, it was him and Jeff Lynn in ELO. They kicked Roy Wood out and he started doing his own thing. He made this band called Wizzard with two z’s. He’s the man on his own solo stuff. He’s a freak, like a weirdo freak. He wears all this makeup when performing. Kind of like KISS, but this is 1971 and he’s playing pop music. Huge ratty hair, crazy face makeup, crazy costumes and he’s just playing pop rock’n’roll. Pretty rad. How would you describe your sound? I once wrote on Facebook as a joke, “heavy groovy” under the description. Now, I feel like every review that’s coming out is like, “the self-entitled ‘Heavy Groovy’ band Meatbodies…” It’s O.K. I guess. But our music, for this album especially, and for some stuff that’s been coming out recently, it’s definitely 116 just guitar nerd, guitar dork, stoner dork. Yeah, stoner dork music. That’s what it is.
Do you have a favorite track off the album? I really like the song ‘Plank’ because the process of writing that song was really interesting to me. It was a completely different song than it is on the album. It had a completely different sound, a completely different melody. When I got to the studio, I was definitely in an environment that I hadn’t been in for a while. There was just silence. I was trying to show them [my producer and engineer] the song that I wanted to do and I started thinking about it. I felt like the whole thing should go differently. My engineer and producer went away to give me an hour and I just walked around reconstructing the whole song. Then, I wrote lyrics for it and it came out. The next day Ty came up and his fucking van broke down on the way. I had to pick him up and it was this whole big thing. Finally, we got to the studio and I was like, here’s the song, let’s see what you can do to it. The moment he started playing that drum beat, I was like, shit, that rules. That was the first song we started recording so I was like, ‘Hell Yeah!’ this is going to be fun. What comes first usually, riffs or lyrics? It’s usually riffs. I would like to be that guy that has an entire concept and comes out with lyrics first or something, but for a lot of those songs, lyrics were the last thing I wrote. I would look at the list of things I still had to do and they’d [my producer] be like, do you have lyrics for this yet? No. I’d have to walk around outside for like a long time and just write a lot of lyrics before I’d come back. What’s next for Meatbodies? Up next... we have a European tour in February, and after that a SXSW tour and then that’s kind of it for the year because I’m taking a break to do the next FUZZ record. So, it’ll be FUZZ for the rest of the year. You mentioned you do stuff with other Burger Records bands a lot? I’m going on the Burger Caravan thing after SXSW. A bunch of Burger bands are going out there and caravanning it. When we come back, we’re playing Burgerama.
He’s a freak, like a weirdo freak. He wears all this makeup when performing. What’s something cool about yourself that not many people know? I don’t know if I would describe any of it as cool. I’m a big comic book nerd. Favorite superhero? Batman. Yeah, big comic book nerd. Love wrestling. Reads Wikipedia, a lot of weird things. Like what? I just read a really good one about cashew trees. The trees grow horizontally in places like Brazil, like they stretch out really far and they grow what’s called a cashew fruit. A cashew fruit looks kind of like an apple, and from that apple a green looking cashew bulbs out, But that’s not the cashew. You have to open that up and the cashew is inside. It’s like alien shit. And, on top of that, it’s even harder to get the cashew out because the thing that holds the cashew pod is poisonous. It’s like poison ivy. If you touch it, you break out. So, in order to eat a
cashew you have to roast them. But even roasting them, you have to step away because the smoke, if you get it in your lungs, that’s poisonous too. I don’t know why, or how the fuck someone figured that out. Cashews rule! I also read something cool today about multiuniverses and the physics behind multi-universes. They’re trying to figure out if that’s real or not. It sounds like you’re totally living the dream… playing with great musicians, touring, writing and producing your own stuff. Yeah, totally. It’s definitely something that I’ve wanted to do my whole life and now I’m kind of doing it. But, I think that goes for anybody and whatever they want to do. They should be doing it. They should never settle and be like, ah nah, I’m not going to do to that. 117
When I’m trying to make songs I can’t be around people. What does music mean to you? Music is kind of a weird thing because I don’t know if it was instilled in me or not, like a nature or nurture thing. My dad’s a high school band teacher so I grew up with him playing the sax and then he wanted me to play piano at an early age. In that way, my mind thinks in very melodic or dramatic ways that infuse music or melody or harmony or something. I think for me, a lot of times music has kind of been used as a release, and maybe I don’t know the importance of that release now because 118 I’m doing it all the time. I don’t know; I’ve been trying to figure it out for a while. I don’t know if I’m just fidgety and I need to do something with my
hands, or if music is another form of creation and I need to create things in order to feel godly? Or something? I don’t know. That’s why when I’m trying to make songs I can’t be around people. I need to literally close myself off for a while and deprive myself from being able to do things because then I just get bored and I have to start making music. Is it hard to write when you’re always out on tour? Totally. It was definitely hard making the record at first because I hadn’t had any time to myself. Finally when I got in that studio, I realized there were a lot of things I hadn’t been thinking about. Well, it turned out great. One last question. Who is the one person, dead or alive, you’d like to jam with? I’d jam with a young Bill Ward. I’m not going to jam with another guitar player because it would be like oh, that’s cool, yeah I can do that. But totally jam out with Bill Ward on drums? That would be sick.
MYRADIO929.COM Rock & Ride with Radio 92.9. Check out where we will be and join us for a day on the mountin and a killer aprĂ¨s party in the lodge. More information at MyRadio929.com
LAUREN TICKLE INTERVIEW
Interview By Sydney Lindberg Photos Provided by artist
Artist Lauren Tickle sits down with hundreds of dollar bills and begins to purposefully cut them up and fold them into artsy jewelry pieces. All of her necklaces and brooches are made up of the most valuable thing we can imagine, money. Imagine walking down the street with a beautiful handcrafted watch made out of dollar bills, or wearing a necklace made out of cut up $5 bills on the subway. What would people say? How would you feel? These are the hard questions Lauren tries to answer.
Hey Lauren, thanks for taking the time to chat! How are you? I’m good! If you don’t mind I am going to have my lunch while we talk because I’m on break at work. Not a problem at all. What do you do for work outside of your art? I’m a goldsmith. I basically make rings in high karat gold. They don’t cast at my job, so we use rolling mills and drop plates to make traditional goldsmithing jewelry.
Is that your background? I got my masters in jewelry metalsmithing from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I went to school for my undergrad as an Art Education
major, but I realized that I really enjoyed making jewelry and that I was putting all my spare time in the studio. I also realized that I couldn’t really be the art teacher I wanted to be until I knew who I was as an artist myself. I felt like that was one thing that art school teachers lost - being an artist themselves. I feel like that makes some lessons less creative. That’s why I switched over majors and went to grad school for jewelry. Do you see teaching in your future at all? Yeah! I eventually want to teach, but I couldn’t teach if I didn’t know my own art practice. It’s just something from my teaching philosophy that I felt strongly about. Your recent jewelry project, outside the 9-5 job, is creating jewelry pieces out of dollar bills. What’s your drive behind the project? What message are you trying to convey? I want to see why it’s important to portray certain value or wealth while you’re walking around. For example, while I was living in New York City for grad school I wondered why people would have to carry around Louis Vuitton bags or why they would have to dress a certain way to show a certain stature. I ended up losing a best friend while in school, and I think that really changed me. It made me wonder why we valued material objects when it really doesn’t show the worth of a person. I wanted to question my assumption about the idea of value and what we value. You know, they’re just material objects. So after my friend’s death, I started wearing $1 bills down the lapel of my jacket and got a bunch of different reactions. One day I was on the subway, and this guy was like, “hey, someone is going to mistake those $1 bills for $100 bills.” And you know, it shocked me. He was just a passerbyer and it was funny because I was sitting right between these two women who had huge designer handbags which were totally worth thousands more
I’m also making fun of people that want designer brands.
than the $9 that I had visible on my lapel. That project led me to question how can you make a dollar bill more valuable if you deconstructed it? To me, labor really makes my pieces valuable because I hand cut everything with these tiny scissors and hand pierce everything that makes up the backing. It’s a labor of love. I’m also making fun of people that want designer brands. There’s also a little bit of a parody because I’m using something that has its own label, dollar bills. It’s making fun, but it’s having fun at the same time. What about other artists like Damien Hirst who exhibit extravagance and great wealth in his works? Yeah, like the skull made out of diamonds that asks what’s more valuable, human life or all the diamonds that are encrusting this human skull? Exactly. Have you ever thought of going down that route and using other media for your jewelry? 125 Our culture has always used jewelry materials for their value. For example, a lot of men will go in and
spend a ton of money on a wedding band for his wife. My project is about making jewelry out of that hard cash that people use to buy jewelry. Where do you see the project going? I’m not really sure where it will go. I’m more interested in seeing the conversations that happen when people wear my pieces, how the public interacts with my pieces, and what kind of conversations those wearing my pieces want to have with other people. Do you currently have individuals wearing your art pieces? Yeah. Right now I’m working on a project for my upcoming solo show in Sweden where I’m sending individuals a little care package with handmade 126 brooches, asking them to wear those out in public and ask people questions about the brooches. Then, I’m asking the jewelry-wearers to document
themselves and their journey with a disposable camera and a journal. The wearers are to write down their story of wearing the brooch and all the conversations they’ve had with people. The third, and final piece, is going to be telling their story via microphone that was recorded on their iPhone, which will be played aloud in the gallery. As soon as any jewelry piece leaves my hands it then becomes the message of the person who is wearing it. It’s the wearer’s conversations and interactions with the piece that end up determining its life. That’s what I’m interested in documenting. Do you have any expectations? I don’t want to have any expectations. As an artist, I want certain things to happen. But also as an artist, I have to be able to let things go and let other things happen because that’s when true discovery takes place. I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am
There’s beauty in the flaws of craftsmanship.
now if that one guy hadn’t told me that my $1 bills would be mistaken for $100 bills. Do you only use $1 bills in your pieces? I also use old $5 and $10 bills as well, but only pre1995 so it’s kind of hard to find them. You have to go to the bank teller and ask for them specifically. Why pre-1995? Because of the new anti-counterfeiting measures, only the old 5, 10s and 20s have the same green filigrees that are still visible on the $1 bills. I’m looking for that same filigree. What’s the most expensive piece you’ve made? It was a necklace that was I think $300 worth, made of $1 bills. How long does a piece like that take you?
That took a solid month and a half. It’s funny, people think $300 is so much money, but I actually spent over $1,000 to make that piece because I had to cast all the silver tree branches for the backing. So even though I cut up all this cash, the amount of money I spend on materials is so much more. You mentioned the man on the subway who kind of inspired the whole project. Who else do you look up to as an artist? There are a few other artists I really like for different reasons. Roxy Paine is someone who I admire even though his work is very different than my own. I like the way he can command a space with his sculpture. I think it’s really amazing and that’s something I look forward to doing. Obviously, my work commands a different space because it’s worn on the body, but I still look for a piece to command the 127 body in a way that will always get a reaction out of someone.
So even though I cut up all this cash, the amount of money I spend on materials is so much more.
I also really like the contemporary jewelry artist Kim Buck. One thing I really like about his jewelry is that it’s handcrafted. Centuries of true craftsmanship are becoming less and less important to people. He has one work titled “Pumpous” and it’s this inflatable ring. It’s just pompous, a little stuck up, and it’s synonymous to you pumping up this real pompous person. I like the playful aspect that goes along with his pieces. Off the bat, those would be the two that I really like, and want to be like. Is there anything I might have missed that you’d like to add? There’s beauty in the flaws of craftsmanship. I think that’s something I really admire and am very passionate about; finding beauty in the flaws of craftsmanship. That’s why I do what I do. You mentioned you have your first solo exhibition coming up in Sweden. Are you excited? Yeah, I have a really good friend that lives in Sweden. Actually, one of my teachers from RISD who inspired me as I began this currency series also lives in Sweden. It will be really nice to be in the home country of the person who inspired me to work this way. It’s a very important thing for me. 128 It seems as if the whole project is coming full circle. I wish you the best of luck in Sweden!
THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC
THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC
Interview By AB
“Old because it’s the best!” That’s what it says on the cover of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. At over 220 years and counting, they’ve got something to brag about. I didn’t know much about the Almanac myself, but after a couple reads through, I got on the phone with editor, Janice Stillman, to see what’s so great about the Old Almanac anyways. Let’s start off with shotgun almanac trivia to put you on the spot. What was the cost of the first almanac? About six cents. What year did it go to color? It was, I believe in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s but it was incremental at that time. We’ve added color pages over the years because it’s the best display frankly, of several of the sections that you see; the gardening, the food, the trends, and often the weather. What is the purpose of a hole in the corner? The purpose of the hole in the corner has for centuries been to hang the Old Farmer’s Almanac in the most convenient spot. Be that the outhouse and yes, indeed some people still use them, or the kitchen, or the barn, or the garden shed, or even your pocket if you can finagle it. It’s costing us
something in the order of $45,000 a year to have the hole punched. How many copies are currently printed? We print a few more than three million. About 500,000 of those are for the Canadian edition and the remainder are distributed throughout the United States in three different geographic editions. Has the cover art always been the same? The cover has not always been the same which is the short answer, but it has been since 1852. The first several decades were really all texts, and text that’s similar to page one without the color illustration in the center. A couple of years after Robert B. Thomas died, the four-season illustration with the big, red digits in the center became the standard for the Old Farmer’s Almanac. There have been 131 very minor changes since then.
THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC
Best fishing is during the rise and set of the moon.
The weight of a fat bodied fish can be estimated by (length x girth x girth) /800.
What other countries have almanacs? Certainly almanacs are as old as dirt. Our research indicates that even the Egyptians started them, more astrological, which has to do with the zodiac and less of an astronomical direction, and more like chipped on stone or sticks. We’ve heard from folks in China who produce almanacs over there. We’ve heard from folks in England. To me, it’s unknowable. Any culture that has at any time been agricultural might very well have had one, and that’s just about everybody at some time. Last of the trivia questions, true or false? According to the almanac, basil can be used as an aphrodisiac? Indeed, it is true. The Old Farmer’s Almanac was founded in 1792. Can you briefly tell us how and why? Robert B. Thomas grew up in Western Massachusetts. He grew up on a farm as most people did in those days. We had dirt roads, no TV, no radio, no Internet. None of the tools that we have today. People usually had two things in their home to read; the Bible and the Farmer’s Almanac. Note that I said, Farmer’s, not Old. There were many Farmer’s Almanacs. Farmer’s Almanac, it’s a genre read like news, sports, or a fashion magazine. He read the almanacs of his day. His dad was a teacher and he had a library. This was a rare thing in those days, but we suspect that it consisted of a couple of shelves perhaps of books and one of those was titled, Ferguson’s Astronomy. After Robert B. Thomas finished his farm chores and his homework, he might pick up Ferguson’s Astronomy, go out and lie in the fields and gaze up 132 in the sky, at the moon and the constellations, look for the meteor showers and various other celestial events.
The odds of a surgeon leaving an instrument inside a patient are 1 in 7,000.
We like to think that our weather predictions are 80% accurate traditionally.
As I say, he and his family read Farmer’s Almanac in their day and essentially decided as he grew up and continued to see these, that folks needed another one. They needed a true calendar of the heavens. He, in particular wanted to make an almanac that was useful with a pleasant degree of humor. In his late teens, early 20’s, he traveled to Boston and worked with what was called an almanac maker to come up with the astronomical information. Thus, it launched tables of numbers that you see in the calendar pages and the historic and quirky facts and information on the right-hand page. We call those the left and the right. He did the calculations for 1793 and decided that he would put out his very first edition, so he added a couple of articles, anecdotes for humor, vacation dates at Dartmouth and Harvard in particular because of course, folks who are going to school needed to come back to the farm to help with the chores seasonally.
THE OLD FARMERâ€™S ALMANAC
The odds of being a chronic procrastinator are 1 in 5.
The best days to breed animals in February 2015 are the 10th and 11th.
Neptune has the strongest winds in the solar system at 1,300mph.
He added a distance between places. There were no maps, so people needed to know about how long it was going to take to get somewhere. A table of interest rates at 6% because there weren’t calculators or anything like that. So, he’d got this little book, I’ve got a copy in my hand, and he printed about 3,000 copies. He sold it for about six cents in today’s money, and sold out, and essentially never looked back. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America. You started in 2000. You’re the 13th editor and the first female editor after hundreds of years of men. Was that at all challenging? There were only two choices; male or female. (laughter) Of course, every issue is challenging. Certainly, the first one was probably the most challenging. Judd Hale, whose uncle founded Yankee Magazine and acquired the Old Farmer’s Almanac, had sort of a slow spell. It didn’t provide the information the people needed. His son, Judd Hale, was the editor of the Old Farmer’s Almanac for over 50 years. Judd is a character like no other. He told me when I first came, he says, “You really should read every edition.” So, I did, you know, to be sure. Sometimes, you just skim on them, sometimes you really get caught up in it. We have a copy of every single issue here in the office and we refer to them for content for our calendars, our kid’s book, our cookbooks, and different things all the time. When I came on board, I had to learn what an almanac was, what a farmer’s almanac was. Certainly, that helped me get a sense of how this publication developed and grew, and became what it is today. Make no mistake about it, every edition is a challenge, especially in the world we live in with so many opportunities for people to get information in other ways and other places. The challenges are to stay current and relevant, even in our case because a lot of what we put in the Old Farmer’s Almanac are predictions. In fact, we like to think that our weather predictions are 80% accurate
Whether it was 1792 or it’s 2015, everybody wants to find a little romance. traditionally. Everything else from the sunrise and sunset, to the length of day, and the trends; every other prediction is 100% accurate. Virtually, everything that you read in there complements the calendar aspect and/or the lifestyles attached, to sort of reflect the calendar. It’s unique because you have a publication that’s so old and you have to stay true to some of that original content but you have to stay current with the times. How has the role of the almanac changed in the last several decades with the advent of the Internet and all this new technology? As I say, we’re in-step, if not sometimes we hope, a little bit ahead and we have sometimes, been a little bit ahead of the e-Book market. We came out with an e-Book on roses. I think it was about eight or nine years ago. It was slightly before e-Books really took off and we’re bringing those back, to complement the almanac in its various forms. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has something for every day. We still sell millions of print editions. We’re selling more and more e-editions in various forms because that’s the course where folks are going. There’s a small farm movement. Some of those 135 folks read the Old Farmer’s Almanac, but there is that back-to-nature, back-to-the-slowdown. I know
THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC
WINTER WEATHER PREDICTION FOR 2014-15
you’ve heard of Slow Food, no doubt. The length of days, these days for example, especially as the days get incrementally longer, folks are always interested to see by exactly how many minutes. I think, certainly some of the core information is relevant every day almost every minute. Weather forecast; that is the single biggest interest of folks who read the Old Farmer’s Almanac. As I mentioned, we’re traditionally 80% accurate. I can explain how we make our weather forecast in a moment, but here we predicted the “refrigernation” that is cold weather across two-thirds of the country from essentially the Continental Divide-Eastward. We did predict a little bit of relief from the drought in California and they’ve seen some of that. I could pick out a few places where our predictions have come to pass. Certainly, there are times and places when they haven’t. I want to know, is the Farmer’s Almanac geared more as entertainment value or do you still have hardcore readers who really plan their days, weeks, and even year based off the almanac? Absolutely. Again, to be useful with a pleasant degree of humor is a pretty wide sweep. Yes, folks do plan things. They plan their planting by the moon. If you notice that chart with the map, it’s in the back 136 of the book. The best days which is another thing that folks plan, by quitting smoking. People tell us all the time that it works. The setting eggs and the
following spread is important because more and more people are keeping chickens. Gardening by the moon sign or you’re planting by the moon. It’s an old tradition. It has to do with the idea that in the same way the moon can affect the tide height, the moon can affect the moisture in the soil and so the germination of a seed. Again, it’s minutely. We’re not going to see floods in the soil, but that’s the idea. That’s the tradition. Folks also rave about the idea that if they do plant these things within the window of time suggested here, that they have better success. Fishing, almost half of our readership is interested in fishing. I spoke to the calendar pages, the weather obviously, but I just also want to emphasize some of the feature information here, too. Where Does the Time Go as a calendar and sort of timepiece of the year. We decided to specifically ask that question. What are the odds of things happening? We’re all fascinated with that. They’re titled Amusement, it’s there because that is part of the useful with a pleasant degree of humor. You have to think, way back again, on horseback, miles from perhaps any kind of a hospital or aide center with a doctor, folks had to make-do. They were looking for ideas that they could sort of create potions, things that they could make to find relief, comfort, and make themselves better, so we included home remedies.
Bill of Rights day is a holiday celebrated on December 15th.
The best days to castrate animals in March 2015 are the 16th and 17th.
The story on romance speaks to the folklore of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Again, whether it was 1792 or it’s 2015, everybody wants to find a little romance. Any little edge up, any little thing you can try. We put those in for fun yes, but because they are just part of life for everybody. You’ve been editor for 15 years now. You must’ve seen some interesting reader response mail. Anything memorable? Any angry farmers? As I’m looking over my shoulder, I have a bundle for just about every year I’ve been here of correspondences from readers. We got a lot of feedback from folks in California last winter when we expected heavy rains in Central California, in the farming area. It didn’t happen. As we explained in the 2015 edition, we regret that. That was unfortunate and perhaps should have been considered more thoroughly. In fact, the line is on page 194, “In retrospect, perhaps we should’ve forecasted this route is a highly amplified pattern that would lead to a cold and snowy winter in the East. Also, it’s just a mild and dry winter in the Southwest.” A lot of folks were disappointed and they wrote to us as loyal, regular almanac readers and we do respond. We respond to just about everybody who sends a comment or asks a question.
On March 20th, 2015 there will be a total eclipse of the sun visible East of the US.
give her that explanation because she didn’t have the context to see the original nature of it, the evolving nature of it, and then the transition in writers and voice. I was reading that the weather is supposedly derived from a secret formula that the founder, Robert Thomas came up with 223 years ago now, obviously with help of some modern technology today. How close do you actually stick to that original formula and how scientific is the long-term forecast altogether, or does it honestly just feel like throwing spaghetti at the wall sometimes? Oh, not the latter by a long shot, by any means. Robert B. Thomas wasn’t inventing ideas and information so much, but his father was a teacher. There was a value of education in his household. From his interest in astronomy and just the larger world really, he became aware of sunspots- these are magnetic storms on the surface of the sun that Galileo discovered in 1610. In the intervening years, between then and when Robert B. Thomas became aware of these kinds of things, there were theories about the influence of sunspots on climate and ultimately, weather.
One woman, actually just this week, commented on the farmer’s calendar essays in the calendar pages. She noticed that there had been a change in the tone, the voice, the nature of the column; that’s going to happen. We had one person who wrote that column for about 30 years. He developed a style that other writers have tried to emulate, some with more success than others. That was especially interesting because we know that a lot of folks who read the farmer’s calendar as I say, look forward to them for that sort of mood. It’s a bit of a mood piece.
Sunspots occur in cycles of 11 years on average, and historically, when there are more larger, more frequent sunspots, we have had warmer conditions. When there are fewer, smaller sunspots, then we’ve had cooler conditions here on Earth. Sometimes, there are double cycles. There are various multiples of this cycle, but historically, that’s what Robert B. Thomas was looking at. Again, and as you pointed out, back then, he had relatively primitive tools and limited information. Over the years, we have continued to subscribe to the theory that the sunspots influence weather and climate. We have brought on experts in their time to make our weather predictions and certainly take advantage of all the scientific data or information that’s available. 137
She’s frankly very grateful that I took the time to
It is the basic formula, and I don’t know it because
THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC
Three different men, ranchers in fact, called up to tell me how accurate the best days were for castrating their animals. I’m not a meteorologist nor a solar scientist but, the core ingredients of our weather forecasting is solar science, to study the sunspots in particular. Climatology is the study of prevailing conditions over time, and that really just means looking back in history and seeing how the solar cycle corresponded and does correspond to the actual weather events and climate periods here on earth. It’s a secret formula but, we try to tell the true story because we don’t think that we’re hiding our forecast behind the curtain, so to speak. When we give you our results, we’ll often give the prediction for our success with temperature and precipitation, and then a combined average which for our last winter was 80.6% accurate across the country. I’m just blown away every time I see the results of our weather forecast because, for example, on average last year, last winter in particular, our forecast differed from actual conditions by less than two degrees Fahrenheit. Are there any secrets, codes, or hidden information in the almanac that anyone doesn’t know or I guess, maybe just what are some of your favorite hidden gems if there are any? Wow, you know, people ask me what’s my favorite story? I’ll be honest, it’s always the first version of the latest assignment. All of these are great fun to put together, but by the time I see them in proof three or four times and then finally bound, I’m onto 138 the next one. There are certainly no secrets, no codes. There’s
nothing mystical about this. It’s all facts and data, and folklore and fun as you say, because that is what the Old Farmer’s Almanac is. It’s meant to be useful and it’s meant to be amusing. The trends, I’ll be honest with you, they’re remarkably accurate. A woman who’s been putting that together has been doing it for, I’d say about 10 years now. It’s really an open book. There are no secrets. Lastly, this Friday is the best day of January to have dental care. How many people in the office have an appointment? Well, they haven’t announced their day off yet. I can’t be absolutely sure if they’re all going at the same time. I mean, it is amusing, all this stuff. Quitting smoking, dieting, cutting hair but also, near the bottom, weaning animals or children. It’s huge. People swear that whether they’re weaning an animal from its mother or even from a bottle or a baby from diapers and the like, they say that it sticks. It’s more effective on those days. Castrating animals, slaughtering livestock, you know, there are best days. One time, true story: I was on the phone and doing a radio interview with a station in mid-Florida. Three different men, ranchers in fact, called up to tell me how accurate the best days were for castrating their animals. It was remarkable. I wouldn’t believe it if somebody told me, I’d say, “Really?” It was not the same fellow three times, I promise you. That’s not your typical radio interview either!
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Interview By Taylor Kendall Photos Courtesy of artist
Meet Moose, aka Paul Curtis. Hailing from the UK, Moose has been artistically cleaning the streets for over fifteen years doing what has been coined ‘reverse graffiti’. He’s worked two Olympic opening ceremonies, traveled on tour with Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder, heads his own record label, and has DJ’d extensively across the world, nevermind the abundance of travel he undertakes for his present work. His skillsets are vast, and he is easily one of the friendliest people I’ve had the good fortune to speak with. Have a seat as he recounts some of the magic he’s experienced.
The knowledge that I have, Iâ€™m like a professor of dirt.
Moose, you have an interesting set of skills... It’s not like putting paint on a wall. You don’t know what’s going to happen most of the time. You can have a pretty educated guess, sometimes you’re sure a wall will work pretty good and it doesn’t. Other times just when you’ve given up you’ll find something great. The knowledge that I have, I’m like a professor of dirt. What is the general list of equipment you need? It’s more... you get a knowledge of what works. I’ve never ever done anything in my life with a chainlink fence before today. Like when you see people work with spraypaint, I’m looking for a much brighter, but natural surface that’s gotten dirty in a way I can clean off quite easily. I often use wooden stencils and a high-pressure washer, but equally as good is an old sock on a dirty, tiled wall. That’s the coolest piece of equipment I’ve used. I can draw with my finger, I use shoe brushes, you can do stuff with snow, a lawnmower, you can draw in dew on grass. It’s all about making a temporary mark that doesn’t do damage to anything. Normally that’s about subtracting something. I use craft knives on old posters. I rip through the posters because they’re litter, if they’re out of date then they’re rubbish. I’ve planted seeds before and drawn with that, that’s the only thing I’ll ever add. My general kit is a pressure washer because it cleans so profoundly, and if you’re using wooden stencils then you can get real detail with it. You can back off the pressure and do tonal things, using it like an airbrush. That’s where I’m at with it at the moment, getting into the different pressures. The sandblasting is different because it takes awhile to do, but it’s a really lovely feeling, it feels like a very artistic process. The pressure of the sandblaster, it’s actually microns of marble, is about 1/3 of the pressure, but it’s very abrasive. One of my favorites is using a stick on a street
sign. The street sign has to be completely dirty of course. The broken branch is blunt and it scrapes off the moss and algae, and is obviously highly reflective when a car headlight hits it. In fact, I’ve just been doing it a couple hours ago here. I do this little anarchy symbol but I do it in hearts. The whole thing is a reverse of doing damage to something. It’s a restoration process. It’s refacing a thing, rather than defacing a thing. That’s the beautiful question. That’s the thing that gets shoved in the faces of the authorities. That’s what I really love. These stuffy establishment people struggle with it, they don’t know what to do. It’s like, “Stop it,” and I go, “Why?” and they go, “I don’t know but you’ve got to stop it.” Police try to arrest me but they can’t. Criminal damage occurs when it costs money to return something to its original state. The famous case, the precedent, was when Greenpeace had drawn chalk lines of bodies in the streets like a crime scene. Chalk washes off in the rain, but because the council wanted it removed before it rained, it cost money to get the jetwashers out to clean off the chalk, so they were fined for criminal damage. If they want to they can find a way but they really struggle with it. Police have arrested me for hours at a time, and its just turned into—well you can’t be too much of a smartass with a policeman. If they’re arresting you for criminal damage and you’re using a piece of equipment that the street cleaners use, it’s never gonna- ah I nearly said this, it’s never gonna wash, in fact I’m gonna say that- that’s a terrible pun but it’s never gonna wash, it’s never gonna work out in court. If they’re going to arrest me they’re going to have to arrest the street cleaners. Then they say, ‘well you’ve left marks behind’ and I say, ‘well actually I’ve been removing marks and the reason this wall is defaced is because of pollution and you should arrest the people who made the pollution.’ That makes them want to arrest you even more because you’re be- 143 ing a smartass with them. It’s just ridiculous. It’s Monty Python. It’s properly Monty Python.
That’s rich. Do you have trouble with the paradigm of admiring the art of traditional graffiti artists while also disapproving of their defacing property to put up their art? No, I don’t think I occupy any kind of higher ground with it. I love street art and a lot of stuff that people do with spray paint. On occasion I’ll go, ‘wow that’s a really beautiful tag’. I think tagging is a bit primitive, but I admire a good artist whatever they’re doing. I admire people as well who are prepared to go to prison for their art, but I don’t think they need to. We are very different. I am out in the middle of the day with a hi-vis jacket. When you’re using a highpressure washer and you’re dressed like a street cleaner, people will not even notice you. Whereas they have to operate really under the cover of darkness because they’re taking risks. You have to kind of admire people who take risks to do their art, it’s a romantic thing I really like. The thing I like about my stuff is that I’m only using colors which already exist in the environment, I’m not adding anything. So these images I do tend to emerge really gently, kind of like a ghostly truth from the background in a way that is really unobtrusive to the eye. The standard street artist is wanting you to look at what they’ve done so they use bright colors. The good artists don’t need to do that necessarily, but it’s that kind of a visual jolt that I think upsets people. It’s loud, it’s visual litter straight away, whereas when I’m getting away with putting stuff on walls I try and do it where it looks like it’s always existed on that wall. I use lots of flowers and nature-y things that look really beautiful. People let it go because it’s just, very gentle, and at the same time intriguing. They look and go, ‘wow this is really beautiful,’ these 144 flowers that are emerging on this piece of concrete where nobody has ever cared. People walk to work everyday through this completely soulless piece of
You have to kind of admire people who take risks to do their art, it’s a romantic thing I really like.
land. These flowers are emerging and when they disappear I might do them again. It’s like breathing, it’s this magical thing. The kids absolutely love it. When they realize that actually this has been done in pollution the whole thing gets a really sinister twist to it. That’s the gag. I think you’ve got 3 seconds, if that, with people when they’re walking down the street. You got 1.5 seconds of them actually paying attention to what you’ve done, and then 100 yards down the road they’ll digest that information and go, ‘wow, he did that in pollution.’ The kids love it, the old ladies love it, and then the police come and they kind of like it as well. I always think of this one time I was in Brighton-- I’d been going back to this one wall for maybe a year. The original stuff I’d done had started to fade. The new layers then were tonally much brighter, so I was getting this big, gorgeous depth. I was doing like a virus garden. I was getting mates of mine to send me a design of a virus that they’d made. I said you can mix a corporate logo with a disease
and just play with it. Then the street cleaner came, and he didn’t just clean the whole wall… which I wish he’d done rather, because it so upset me. He cleaned it out in a way that looked like you took a marker pen and just scribbled out the bits, these beautiful little images. It just looked awful. I kind of went, ‘OK, this is an organic thing, this guy is collaborating with me.’ I just changed my outlook on it. I went back and turned his marks into something new. While I did that I had parents coming out, thanking me-- this actually got me a bit emotional. They were thanking me for coming back and doing this street art thing, because their little boy had been asking where all the flowers had gone. That’s happened to me a couple of times. So I feel like oh goody, there’s no vandalism in what I’m doing, I’m doing something positive, and I’m getting people to enjoy spaces they would never even think about. Once you do this in an environment that’s never had any love, or had anybody put any kind of effort into-- that area is changed forever in their lifetime, because suddenly there is a little bit of magic and a bit of care in there, and
it just spreads. Good feelings spread. I really think it changes people’s attitudes, for a few seconds maybe, but it’s something. How time consuming is it to make the stencils? There are two or three phases. The first time I’m working with a piece of plywood I’ll take a Sharpie and draw directly onto the plywood. If I got something that I really love, I’ll photograph and project it onto the wood. It then goes through a complete change because I have to work out how to make it into a stencil, work out how this piece of wood isn’t going to fall apart in my hands. Every time you cut a chip out of that wood you’re weakening it, and you’re gonna fire water, probably at like 2000 PSI at it, so all these different changes go on. When I get the jigsaw out and actually cut them, it goes through another change. It all has a very kind of manual look about it. I think that kind of adds to the charm of them. I spend a lot of time cutting the wood, that’s where all the work is. 145 You’ve seen the Broadway tunnel scene. I did some really big ones, I did most of those myself.
...these flowers that are emerging on this piece of concrete where nobody has ever cared.
I was so destroyed when I did that piece. I saw myself on that video, and I know I’m slurring my words because I’m so tired, and that was before we did the piece. Then I had an hour of sleep for a Fox News interview which was totally hilarious. I was so destroyed that I was really relaxed, but they made me take my sunglasses off and it was really bright. I could hardly hear what they were saying, I remember asking the cameraman, “what’s the lady’s name I’m gonna talk to?” and he said, “she’s called Sue,” and I was like alright just remember her name, I’ve got to get it in the first sentence. It doesn’t have to be like that though, I can do some freehand stuff, I should do more. It’s going back to that thing about confidence. I know Banksy is the same. He doesn’t think he is a good artist, that’s why he uses stencils. I’ve got skills with a pressure washer, I’ve been doing it for fifteen years. I do think it’s a very unusual thing I started doing though. Graffiti artists have got this great code of conduct, a surprising one where they won’t bite your style. When I first did it I thought, ‘I’m giving this to the world, this is legal graffiti, this is a game changer, people can do it in front of police.’ And nobody did it for five years. So for five or six years it was this weird hobby I had. It’s quite a strange scenario all around. It really is a novel idea, there really are so
many opportunities and places to do it. It’s so simplistic, the method, it’s interesting not many other people have picked up on it. Yeah that is one of the beauties of it. I remember when I first saw the walls in Leeds where I started. I saw where drunk people had wiped their hands along the sides of the tunnel and left this gleaming clean stripe all along the side of the tunnel. What I really love about it, is you’re getting to the same place visually as if you were using a color. It just goes about it in a completely reversed way. My whole thing is, we accept too much. We go around and we just accept too much, we do what everyone else does but we don’t have to, we can question things. In a weird way could you say the ultimate goal of all this is to raise public awareness to the point that there are no more dirty areas to do clean graffiti? Yeah, that was the ultimate one. I took a load of people down to one of the tunnels in Leeds-- this goes back to the question about graffiti artists. I don’t have a relationship with most graffiti or street artists. I’ve been involved in graffiti dialogues, I made friends with a guy called Stik, who does the stick figures around London. I really want to do a piece with him where I do the background and he does the foreground. I don’t really have much relationship with graffiti artists though. I’m always disappointed when they do graffiti festivals and they don’t invite me because, it’s just a really quirky, interesting thing. There are amazing artists out there with spray cans, but there’s also this other side. You can be inventive, and being inventive on the street is what gets you points. Anyway, I got all the local graffiti artists in Leeds and said, ‘let’s all do a tunnel at the same time, and at the end the tunnel will be mostly clean.’ What are the police gonna do? We’re cleaning the tunnel. If this thing picks up then actually graffiti becomes part of a random clean up 147 operation, imagine that turnaround? They tried to arrest us. We’d gone luckily, but my friend was
there taking photographs, and he got drilled by the police, but he wouldn’t give them any information. What’s happened now is these dirty walls are being commissioned by advertisers. It’s become valuable. I’ve got mixed feelings about that. It’s a paradox. Actually, the dirt is there due to us overconsuming. So, if in any way you are adding to people over-consuming then you are missing the point. I felt really awkward about it. There are places in London I go and do my art where there’s adverts now. People are kind of chasing each other around trying to find the dirty walls, I love that as well. I remember being in a room with people who invited me to talk about doing an advert for one of their green cars. I asked them, ‘so are you gonna tell me about how green your cars are?’ They just started laughing. People in advertising… have you ever seen the Bill Hicks bit on advertisers? Oh yeah he’s one of my favorite comedians. So that’s where it’s at. I feel dirty for working with them but from time to time I have. I wanted to explore every angle of this process. I’ve been on the banks of the River Thames, spraying a massive antigovernmental message telling them to ‘Change the politics – Save the climate’ and was chased by police along the River Thames within a mile of Westminster. They couldn’t catch us because we had somebody on top of the millennium eye, the big wheel, with a pair of binoculars telling us the police were coming. We were dodging the police and hiding behind boats. They finally caught us. When they came on our boat they were furious but by the time they left they were cool. River police aren’t like normal police. It’s a different ballgame. I remember Leeds city council, them saying to me, 148 ‘we will never work with you.’ What I’m doing is a good thing. It’s a way of message writing. It’s temporary, it’s zero impact. Counsellors should be all over it.
Want more magical stories from Moose? Check out steezmagazine.com for the full, unadulterated narration.
They’re the ones who made me notorious. They complained about me in the newspaper. The newspaper came to me and asked what I think about the counsellors calling me a vandal. I said I think their vandals, the state of the town is disgusting. They’ve got money to clean these walls and their not doing it. That brings up a good question. What do you estimate the average lifespan of your works are? It varies enormously from the process I use. Generally, on walls, up to a year or so. On the floor, depending how many people walk on them, those will last four to five months. The ultimate one is, it’s not sandblasting but that’s the term people use. I did a piece in an old police station in Bristol a couple of years ago. I was given permission to do it. I decided that I was gonna make the tattoos prisoners would have. They were generally swallows because swallows come back. So, I had all these swallows flying out the front door. I had the Love/ Hate fist on each side of the door as well. Except, one side of the door said ‘Love’, and the other side of the door said ‘More Love’. I just wanted to get the bad feeling out of this old police station. We were sandblasting into Portland stone. There was 5mm of carbon, like honeycomb black carbon on top of the stone. We were cleaning through that to get to the stone. It was like engraving. I think that will be there for, I don’t know, a hundred years? I mean it’s taken 150 years for the wall to get that dirty, it’s going to be there for a really long time. I loved that. It was really beautiful. I’m sure some people think that’s just awful. That’s the thin line we are treading, if I think something is beautiful, I know somebody else hates it. Alas, such is the spice of life. Thank you Moose!
acoustic twang is a familiar caw, and the shrill cry of ‘YEAH’.
ROCKY – PART IV OF IV Words Kahli Scott
After this, I stop hanging out with the group. It’s bitter at first, like training yourself to drink black coffee. Then it starts to feel good. I realise I don’t miss them. But I wonder about Rocky. What has Angelie done with him? Did she kill him? Did she sell him? Does she still have him now, hidden in a shoebox, faded and dying; is she trying to coax Blue’s secrets out of his lumpy grey tongue? I have dreams about it at night. Fucking Rocky, gone but never forgotten. I find myself watching the sea birds that cling to the backs of the benches by the beach. Scavengers, spies, poets. No different from us in the end, especially when they learn to talk. Maybe Blue was right, in loving a bird so much. I find myself heading to Blue and Cody’s house one sizzling afternoon. The door is always open, and Cody is splayed out on the couch wearing nothing 150 but loose shorts that present what’s underneath to me in an almost telescopic fashion.
I look instead at the stillempty birdcage in the corner of the room. Inside was once a myriad of wooden toys, a bell of speckled seed, three mirrors, a water dish, a teal-coloured treat dispenser. They’re gone now. I guess Blue’s given up. A game show is on TV. Cody can barely open his eyes, but he tells me Blue hasn’t been home for days. “Been at his Dad’s,” he says, “up that hill past the school.” The sun is fierce. I climb the hill, feeling as if I’m carrying a scalding steel pan on my shoulders all the way up. I’ve been to Blue’s Dad’s house before. Angelie insisted last year that we crash Blue’s birthday dinner. Tough steaks on a too-hot barbecue, charred asparagus spears, bargain beer. I’d fought the urge to cry; it was so pitiful. Now, sweat drips into my eyes from streams on my forehead. I hear someone playing guitar inside the house— Blue’s Dad is a musician in a cover band, lead guitarist and everything. Complementing the
I hover by the side of the house. The window looks into a sunroom, teeming with plants in terracotta pots, a long row of sharp-tipped succulents, a creeping vine curled round and round a curtain rod. Some of the plants are brown and dead; others look more alive than most people. Amongst the green sits a titanic aviary, big enough for a flock of macaws. It’s decked out with a myriad of wooden toys, a bell of speckled seed, three mirrors, a water dish, a tealcoloured treat dispenser. Sitting on his perch, like the king of the world, is Rocky. Rocky the parrot, Rocky the best, Rocky the lie. Blue’s standing in the doorway to the sunroom. He’s looking right at me. His torso is bare and I read the tattooed words like a book that only just now makes sense. He couldn’t have just outright said, “I hate the lot of you; I’m out.” Surly as hell, sure, but Blue wasn’t brave. He’d needed some tangible sign of us being terrible. Only we’re not all that bad, in the end, so he’d had to go and make up a crime that no one committed. Blue mouths through the window to me, “Don’t you fucking tell anyone.” I hold my hand in a thumbsup, and press my sweaty finger against the glass pane. It leaves a smear. I won’t tell, Blue. But just remember; now you’re really one of us. Yeah.
Sending an entire building through the mail has been illegal in the US since 1916 when a man mailed a 40,000 ton brick house across Utah to avoid high freight rates.
You have no sense of smell when you are asleep. Crocodiles swallow stones to help them dive deeper. No one knows how many people live in the country of Bhutan. No census has been taken as of 1975. Adult polar bears usually just eat the skin and blubber of a seal. They leave the meat for cubs and scavengers. Some eskimos have used refrigerators to keep their food from freezing.
Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a spacesuit damages them.
There is about 200 times more gold in the ocean than has been mined in our entire human history. Popeye had four nephews : Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye, and Poopeye. Human birth control pills work on Gorillas.
Pieces of bread were used to erase pencil lead before rubber.
Your brain is more active when you are sleeping than when you watch TV. The slogan on New Hampshire license plates is ‘Live Free or Die’. These license plates are manufactured by prisoners at the state prison in Concord. Canada is an Indian word meaning ‘Big Village’.
Carrabassett Valley Academy W W W. G O C VA . C OM
Rider: Nick Malone Photo: Waylon Wolfe
Addresses 5411 Wicker Park: 2045 W. North Ave. 773-276-8344 11am to 11pm Sun- Wed 11am to 2am Thurs - Sat 5411 LakeView: 2850 N Clark St. 773-755-5411 11am - 9pm Sun - Thurs 154 11am - 10:30pm Fri - Sat www.5411empanadas.com
5411 is an Argentine baked empanadas restaurant in Chicago, started in 2009 by 3 friends. It started as a delivery only service, transitioned into the most successful food truck in Chicago and now added 2 brick and mortar locations and a factory.
Best local places to find you Around the Loop area. Best to follow us on twitter @5411empanadas The most popular items on the menu Definitely try the bacon, dates and goat cheese empanada. General points of interest in the area The Chicago River, Millenium Park, the lake path.
Events near you Wicker Park fest every summer is cool. Things to do on off days Check out Wicker Park, Logan Square, the Chicago Library and the Art Institute Museum. Night life Thereâ€™s plenty of bars!
Published on Mar 9, 2015
Steez Magazine Winter Issue 34. Featuring a South Korea Checking In, Alicia Henry Show & Tell, Sean Murphy rider spotlight, Winter Product R...