CHECKING IN BURNING MAN
SHOW & TELL
110 DAVE EGGERS
120 MR. WEREWOLF
130 GEORGE DUBOSE
140 KILLER BOOTLEGS
150 ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES
152 NUT & BOLT
DJ JAZZY JEFF
154 BAR SPOTTING
Photo Dominic Palarchio, NYC newsstand guy
Trevor KARMA Gendron email@example.com CHIEF
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Steez Magazine® LLC 58 Pulaski St. nd Building 1, 2 Floor Peabody, MA 01960 607.329.5767 Individual issues cost $5.00 in the U.S. and Canada. Steez is printed quarterly (Jan, April, July, Oct) and distributed in all 50 states and Canada as well as published online through Issuu.
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© Steez Magazine® LLC 2015
Ana Ochoa, Electric Works, David Corio, Concepción Studios, Mike Sudoma, Chip Allen, Kevin Fuentes, Tim Snyder, Alex Cole, Marco DelGuidice CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Sydney Lindberg, Marc Predka CONTRIBUTORS
Dylan Johnston, Daniel Muchnik, Star Foreman, Sasha Maslov, Dominic Palarchio REPS
Pete Prudhomme, Doug Setzler, Dustin Amato INTERNS
Hallie Fernsebner THANKS
Snowdogg Carter, Moi Martinez, Bella & Luna, Chris Gadomski, Nick Legere, Ryan Brouder
By: Marc Predka
ISSUE 35 COVER AND LIMITED EDITION PACKAGING: KARMA - The first time I brought up wrapping the Limited Editions in denim and putting some pins and patches with exclusive artwork on them, none of us envisioned what we actually had to do to make them happen. Each inch of denim was custom treated, hand-cut & sewn and assembled. We even added a back pocket overflowing with extra exclusive goodies including an exclusive mix tape by DJ 7L, a book plate, Dave Eggers sticker, leather Narragansett drink coaster, Deep Eddy collaborative vodka nip, Killer Bootlegs vinyl mold and more! We literally put a lot into each one of these 250 pieces so you have a lot to take out of them. Have fun!
EDITOR’S NOTE I’m no stranger to the efforts Steez Magazine has been consistently putting out over the last 8+ years. My barber, “Big” Jay Mower connected Andy, Michael, Joe and I at a drop party at his shop. We bonded over mutual interests and I was honored and humbled when they asked me to be the first guest editor and curator they’ve ever had. They gave me carte blanche and their full support. This issue is a much needed outlet to not only show some of my own career portfolio, promote my current projects and design some custom work, but more importantly, to assemble some of the most talented and deserving people I know. Everyone more than delivered. So here we are - Steez Magazine #35. Andy keeps saying it’s a milestone issue. All I know is we put a lot into it so I hope you can take just as much from it. Enjoy,
AM SKATE CONTESTS COMING TO 34 CITIES INCLUDING
WASHINGTON D.C. PHILADELPHIA NEW YORK BOSTON BUFFALO TORONTO DETROIT ENTER THE VOID AT WWW.ZUMIEZBESTFOOTFORWARD.COM
When I went to Burning Man for the first time I thought I had a clear understanding of what to expect and what it is. I was prepared for it. When I got to Black Rock City and spent some time there I realized that people who
Burning Man have never been there before would have little understanding of what Burning Man really is. So I asked the question to people who make Black Rock City what it is.
Words & Photos Sasha Maslov
Shrine 7th Burn | California
Anastasia 3rd Burn | Lviv, Ukraine
Burning Man is a free form jazz odyssey.
Burning Man is home. It’s an expression of freedom and love.
CHECKING IN- BURNING MAN
Lin Laurin 2nd Burn | Brooklyn
Iris Bergcrantz 1st Burn | Malmo, Sweden
Ryan Doyle 18 th Burn | Detroit
Burning Man is a place where people go to create their version of an ideal society. It’s a place where art, party, family and work become one. It is a place that is created for you to be yourself.
Burning Man is a planet on this earth different from everything else. Those who visit Black Rock City will experience humankind in the best way possible where money and religion don’t get in the way. Everyone could benefit from a Burning Man experience.
Burning Man is a place to unleash your monster and be the superhuman that you are.
Patricia Ryan 4thÂ Burn | San Francisco Burning Man is a test of a human spirit and taking that spirit into a greater conquest in the outer world.
SHOW AND TELL
Interview By AB Photo Ana Ochoa
SAM VIRGA Are you usually barefoot? I actually hate feet so no, in my house I wear socks.
Kelly Ripa is a doll! She’s not scary at all, I promise.
How many speeding tickets have you gotten in your lifetime? Way too many. My first one was the week I received my license. What stocks are you trading currently? Zero! Instagram selfie count? Haha, somewhere around 1,000. Last time you were mistaken for Kim K? From behind? All the time.
How has the drought in California affected you? Switched shampoos to hydrate, I’m good. Is Kelly Ripa actually an alien or less scary in real life? Kelly Ripa is a doll! She’s not scary at all, I promise. Any good Kanye stories? Nope. Plenty Of Fish profile name? mojor lezchow69 Favorite smog day activities in LA? Car racing in Huntington Beach on the weekends. 23
Slayer or Maiden? No doubt Maiden.
Words & Photos Dylan Johnston
THIS MAN DID NOT WANT ME TO TAKE HIS PHOTOGRAPH.
The Butcher This man did not want me to take his photograph.
I was in Villa de Leyva, a small, old bohemian village in Colombia that was once an escape for artists and writers but has since become a magnet for gringos and tourists. While walking through the farmers market and admiring the local faces and foods of the town I came across this butcher filleting beef in a small cutout of a building, just big enough for a table and racks to hang his meat. I immediately tried making an image but he spoke softly in Spanish and waved me off. Since I don’t speak Spanish I found my friend to act as a translator and went back to his “store.” She began a conversation with him and we purchased some steaks.
As he began to fillet I began making photos, I don’t know if he was ok with me taking images because we made a purchase or if he didn’t realize any were being taken because I was using my rangefinder, but I was able to shoot half a roll before he was done. In broken Spanish I asked if I could take a formal portrait of him but he shook his head no and seemed fed up with me. Slightly disappointed he wouldn’t allow me to make a portrait I left the farmers market hoping I would be happy with what I was able to capture. The next morning my friends and I boarded the four hour bus ride back to Bogota and cooked the meat that night for dinner. It was the best cut of beef I’ve ever had.
I FELT A GREAT RELIEF THAT HE FELL ONLY TO THE GROUND
AND HAD NOT SPLATTERED HEAD ON
It’s the kind of room you’ve been in a thousand times, or maybe not. It’s spacious yet insufferably dim and oppressive. Clipboards hang from Velcro patches stuck on walls the color
Words & Photos Daniel Muchnik
Ratface When you wake up on concrete, mere steps from a spot and aching to skate before breakfast, you must be on a Metro trip. The #quityerditchin crew awoke at a well-known ditch that morning, and after a humbling session, decided to veer farther off of the beaten path and skate the gargantuan drainage structure shown here. We knew that while skateboarders frequented this area, nobody seemed to want any piece of this beast, and that’s all the motivation that Chris “Ratface” Jatoft and Joel Jutagir needed to dive in. After a few successful navigations of this natural double black diamond – a rarity in the era of custom-built parks and manicured street spots – they both wanted more. The consensus
came that rolling down this 45 degree slope without a few speed checks would be some sick kind of suicide, but safety wasn’t paramount. After a close call with the concrete wall in front of which I stood to shoot this photograph, Rat ran up the hill for one more run. Keeping his speed checks to a minimum, he flew through the gap with obscene speed, and somewhere between the speed wobbles and the sand, got tossed a good 20 feet forward. I felt a great relief that he fell only to the ground and had not splattered head on, but the relief was short lived as I realized that he wasn’t getting up. As it turned out, he took the entire force of the fall to one of the body’s most fragile structures. It takes
about 8 foot-pounds of pressure to break the collarbone, and a 150 pound rat flying through the air at 30mph generates well in excess of that. I’ve seen Chris battered many times, and he typically shakes it right off, so seeing this expression from him was the sign of true agony. Still, all were calm, and with no particular rush we headed to the hospital. By that evening, Chris was already tossing out a few frail bonelesses with his good arm, and that’s what makes him a true skate rat. The man simply can’t not skate.
Words & Photos Star Foreman
AN ICONIC WOMAN, WITH BEAUTY AND STYLE.
Dita Von Teese I don’t know a photographer who doesn’t want to photograph Dita Von Teese. She is a bucket list model. An iconic woman, with beauty and style. I first photographed Dita for the LA Weekly. I was called two days before the shoot and told we would have an hour and a half, that the shoot would be at her house, she wanted to feature her car in one of the set-ups and the art director couldn’t make it, so I would be on my own. I was thrilled and terrified. When you work for the LA Weekly, you go in blind to many assignments. There wasn’t time to do location scouts, and Dita was flying in the night before, so I would be meeting her on the day of the shoot. Her amazing assistant, Jasmine, did all of the arranging for the shoot, and my assistant for the shoot (and kickass wardrobe stylist in real life) Dominique V Richardson and I arrived about a half hour before the shoot was to begin. 28 Our third set-up for the day was in the driveway with her gor-
geous vintage car. It was a light and beautiful day, and I placed a single light on a stand with only a reflector to modify the light. Dita was wearing a red dress from the Dita Von Teese collection and everything was perfect. The sun shining behind the car and the light coming in from above created a cinematic set of images. For me, that was what was important - to photograph Dita as the screen icon of yesteryear that she so resembles. For me, photographing her is like having Ava Gardner young and beautiful and ready to shoot. Now, Dita is very fair skinned. During the shoot, Dominique was on a ladder above the car, holding a diffuser over Dita to keep her from becoming sun burned. I was only able to keep her in the sunlight for around 2-3 minutes at a time. Ever gracious, Dita would go in and out of the car until we got the shot. Between the Packard, the red convertible and a silver sports car, everywhere you looked there was something beautiful.
Photo & Words Dominic Palarchio
24 / SEVEN
24/7 ALEC ASH Out of all the people I shoot photos of, nobody works harder than Alec. He’s holding down two jobs, working as a restaurant host and at People Skate
and Snowboard. If that wasn’t enough on his plate already he’s also a full-time student. Despite all of his real life responsibilities he’s showing no signs of slowing down on the board. Not everybody is cut out to slam hard, get back up, land the trick, and show up on time for a nine o’clock class the next morning. Not being able to
make it out there every single day builds up his motivation for the days he has off. He’ll be up early on a Sunday ready to drive the crew to any spots he planned the night before. Lately everything has been paying off for Alec after dropping parts (shared and full) in three videos this past year.
1. House of Roulx Lamour Supreme Drawings $500-$1,000 2. JG Autographs, Inc. 1780 John Hancock Document $5,500 3. Cayler & Sons Paris Denim Vest $125 4. Burton Trowinda Towel $40 5. Arbor Rally $170 6. Bohnam Blanket $50 7. JG Autographs, Inc. Kansas Autographed Violin $1,495 8. JG Autographs, Inc. Original Wanted Posters $35-$1,000 9. JG Autographs, Inc. Autographed De La Soul Album $185 10. JG Autographs, Inc. Cypress Hill Autographed Bongos $199 11. Halfwits From Nothing Tank $35 12. Cayler & Sons Paris Mesh Shorts $54 13. Bohnam Snapback $20 14. JG Autographs, Inc. Dita Von Teese Personally Owned Corset $3,995 15. JG Autographs, Inc. Kennedy Assassination Newspaper $195
34 1. Mighty Healthy x Gino Iannucci Crest Tee $32 2. Toren Fundamental Shell $245 3. JG Autographs, Inc. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter Autographed Gloves $249 4. JG Autographs, Inc. Grateful Dead Autographed Guitar $2,500 5. Burton Tinder Backpack $90
13 12 11
1. JG Autographs, Inc. Woodstock Autographed Box Set $595 2. JG Autographs, Inc. Autographed Air Jordan Iâ€™s $2,500 3. Cayler & Sons Flagged 5-Panel $55 4. Ethika Royalty $25 5. Boston Soundworx Basix Earphones $30 6. Mission Belt Co. Steel $40 7. JG Autographs, Inc. 19th Century Photos $100-$5,000 8. Fugoo Tough $230 9. XQISIT LZ380 $70 10. Burton Beeracuda $20 11. Cayler & Sons Cush Uptown Backpack $85 12. Bohnam Ping-Pong Paddle $25 13. Bohnam Keen $20
DEEP SONAR 550
HIGH CLARITY MUSIC FOR THE MOMENTS THAT TAKE YOU EVEN HIGHER DEEP SONAR 550 Extreme Clarity PC Speakers With Dual Subwoofers
High Definition Audio
Control Box for All Sound & Input Settings
Custom Shaped All Wooden Cabinets
Mesh Metal Grill Protection
Extra Long Detachable Cables
Robust Components for Loud Peaks Without Distortion
Interview by Trevor KARMA Gendron Photos Provided by The Artist and Concepción Studios
I LOVE THE WAY YOU HATE ALISON MOSSHART
It’s with no shame that I’ll admit to having a schoolboy crush on Alison Mosshart and have coveted her sultry drawl since I first heard The Kills stripped down sophomore opus No Wow in 2005. She is a creative tempest, a renaissance woman that you can feel the constant cool radiating off of. When Steez approached me to curate this issue, she was at the tip top of my wish list. I extend major gratitude to my good buddy Noah Uman for playing match maker. 38
“I Love the Way you Hate” (Based on The Kills song “I Hate the Way you Love”)
You started very early, age wise, in Discount as far as fronting a band and going on the road. Can you tell how those early experiences shaped you into the musician and person you are now. I loved touring from the very first time i ever got to do it. It was total bliss to me. Driving a van all through the night, sleeping on floors, sardine-style, in stranger’s dorm rooms, apartments, garages, living on bread and peanut butter and coffee. It was all highways and highways, laughter, hysteria, sleep deprivation, house shows, tiny venues with broken PA’s and all that. It never ever felt like a drag. It was an adventure. Booking shows using pay phones, dealing with honest people and bad people, not getting paid or paid next to nothing or getting ripped off or getting a break; learning everything as we went along, getting lost, finding our way, relying on the kindness
of strangers and fans and likeminded artists, practically endlessly. It was a dream come true learning experience. It taught me more than I could ever answer in an interview. Doing it from the ground up, makes you a capable person, I believe. Learning the ins-and-outs of all the factors of running a band, being in a band, being a touring band, putting records out, selling merch, doing record artwork, promoting yourself, putting yourself out there, taking endless financially unviable chances and risks, pushing yourself beyond the point of rea-
son from a young age, made me unafraid to carry on in the same fashion forever. I know that none of it ever felt like a hassle. All of it felt like a dream. Playing music was and is the thing that makes me happiest, and if that’s true for someone, there’s really nothing you can’t endure. You don’t notice pain, and if you do, it gets washed away in the music. That’s the one thing I know I’ve learned and will share with people when they ask, how did you start? I started because I loved it, I felt immediately at home screeching through a mi-
of urine from slightly dehydrated bladders, pens hanging from said clipboards on a limp, frayed piece of neon pink yarn tied through the little O on top. The intake assessment form is supposed
DOING IT FROM THE GROUND UP, MAKES YOU A CAPABLE PERSON, I BELIEVE.
THE FASTER I’M GOING, THE MORE HONESTLY AND
INSTINCTIVELY I FEEL LIKE I’M TAPPING INTO SOMETHING 42
crophone even if there were only five people there. Both of your current bands have very direct, morbid monikers. Is that pure coincidence or did you have an influence in the namings? If so, why so similarly macabre? That’s a coincidence. Those bands were named at least 10 years apart. Jamie came up with The Kills, and I’m fairly certain Jack came up with The Dead Weather. Maybe that says more about the people I choose to work with. Ha. Or maybe it says nothing at all. I’m gonna say it’s coincidence! You work with two very different musicians in Jamie Hince and Jack White. Can you explain the difference between your working relationships. What does fronting two successful bands at the same
time mean as far as commitment, consistency and creativity. What are the main differences between The Kills and The Dead Weather? The working relationships are different, the style is different, the people are different, and ultimately, the most vital difference is the opposing dynamic of the two groups. The Kills is a two-piece band who uses drum machines and works on the tight rope. There’s no speeding up, slowing down, veering off; there’s little jam element to The Kills. We write the songs and piece them together like great puzzles. It’s a different kind of creativity. It’s a different kind of performance too. It’s almost like taking your natural instincts, destroying them for the sake of art, and then on stage fighting to drive out a new natural instinct. It’s a battle between the heart and the machine. If you jump off you’re derailed. Alternatively, The Dead Weather is a four-piece, a human landscape, where the heart is king as much as whim and mood. It’s completely free and wild and produces a completely different kind of music and performance style. I feel lucky as hell to get to work in both these ways, because I think they both have endless possibilities. They oppose one another in their challenges, which is what makes them so interesting to me, and vital.
Are your alternative personalities (VV in The Kills, Baby Ruthless in The Dead Weather) a direct result of the creative difference for each band? Does your approach to writing change with each persona? Will you elaborate on the difference between Alison, VV and Baby Ruthless on stage or in real life? There is no difference. I don’t have three personalities. Those names are nicknames given to me by people in the bands. You know how you just wind up with nicknames and then they stick and suddenly you are asked to answer for them? Well… You are extremely prolific and have guested on a host of records by your peers (Gang of Four, Primal Scream, Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, Plecebo) and have had original songs for film and television soundtracks including ‘Twilight’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ Is working for a “third party” a whole other writing process in order to fit in musically or thematically?
Generally it’s not a writing process at all. Usually the song is written and my job is just to sing it. It’s really fun when I get to write but that’s rare when you’re doing vocals for someone else’s record. I enjoy writing for other people’s music. It’s great if the music and melody are inspir-
IT ALWAYS COMES BACK TO LOVE AND MUSIC AND HIGHWAYS AND MUSCLE CARS, THE THINGS I FIND ENDLESSLY ROMANTIC, INSPIRING AND HEART THUMPING. ing me. I’ll either have an idea straight away, and have it down in an hour or not. If not, it’s probably because the song’s not for me. I say no to a lot of things that I think would suit someone else’s style and approach much better. You’ve recorded some eclectic covers but the Gary Numan reworking really stands out as something different. Can you speak on how that came about and why ‘Are Friends Electric?’ That was the first thing The Dead Weather ever recorded together. That was the test run to
see how we sounded together and if it felt good. Jack suggested that song. I actually didn’t know it. I’d heard it, but wasn’t super familiar with it. It’s nice doing covers you don’t know, because you copy them less. You sing it different. You’re not chasing the voice that’s been drilled into your head, so you immediately get to interpret it differently and make it your own thing. You are also an accomplished painter/fine artist and started showing your work professionally last year. What is your muse?
to break down and characterize each individual by the number of checked boxes in the right or wrong place. A series of do’s and don’ts are being more or less barked at me from a sensitive
into something. I always bite off more than I can chew on purpose, and it usually works out. Surprises start coming to the surface. New ideas. Leaps.
How would you describe your style? How much of a priority do you give to your fine art? Do you find it hard to juggle your need to paint with your need to write and play music? I’ve always loved making art. My mother was an art teacher and I grew up in a sea of art supplies. That love got funneled into making record art and poster art and whatever was needed for my bands throughout the last few decades. When I started spending more time in Nashville and LA and had a little time off and more space, I started painting more, and bigger, and suddenly I had so much work, friends suggested I do a show. The response has been great. I’ve now shown pieces at the group show Push It at ArtNowNY last year, at Art Basel Miami this year, and at the art charity for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. I have a solo show in NYC on June 18th
at ArtNowNY, which I’m revving up for. It’s soon! The muse? That’s hard to pin down. I suppose my muse is my life and all this endless running around the planet I do. Lots of transplanting, coming and going, cities, highways, strangers, friends, the general slash and burn of jet lag and hotel life and skewed social situations. It always comes back to love and music and highways and muscle cars, the things I find endlessly romantic, inspiring and heart thumping. I juggle a lot, but I’m happiest when I’m juggling a lot. When my brain feels like it’s about to burst into flames because I can’t get stuff recorded or painted or moving fast enough, I feel most alive. The faster I’m going, the more honestly and instinctively I feel like I’m tapping
Who are some people that you are checking for in 2015 - both in the music and art worlds? Honestly, I’ve had my head down working like crazy since 2015 kicked off and I haven’t gotten a chance to see or hear much of anything. The last art show I got to go to was Christian Marclay’s show at the White Cube in London, and he always delivers. The last band I got to see, was Queens of the Stone Age last Halloween when we played with them. That show was epic enough to last me a while. What is next for you musically and your art? I’m currently recording the next Kills album. There’s a bunch of Dead Weather songs in the works too. There’s my solo art show coming up in a few months. and after that, I reckon I’ll be on tour for a couple of years. Lastly: do you have a copy of Dream and Drive that you’ll sell me for less than $250?! I don’t. I would suggest you write to Domino Records in London and tell them you want to buy one, or pressure them to repress. That book is cool and I’m really proud of it. I think you’ll probably still be able to find one for a reasonable amount of money if you dig deep, or fingers crossed, it’ll be reprinted one of these days.
face in insensitive tones. I’m sitting in a classroom chair with an armrest but it’s made for a lefty so I’m horribly twisted and I don’t know what to do with my hands. My shoes and jewelry are
Photos: Provided by The Artist
Jen Uman is like the super cool, super mysterious aunt you never had. You see her a couple times a year and she comforts you with her maternal nature and sage-like wisdom but is the first one to tell your friends a filthy joke or turn the other way when she catches you smoking a cigarette. She effortlessly marries styles and themes that would never normally even look at each other. Imagine rustic American folk art figures in carnal Kama Sutra positions and you are standing on the edge of her waters.
taken. My mother is crying quietly and my father and sister stand in silence. Itâ€™s Friday night so my mandatory 72-hour evaluation doesnâ€™t officially begin until Monday. Thinking about how long
Interview by Trevor KARMA Gendron
"Uman Being: Jenifa Taught Me" (an ode to the De La Soul song and graphics).
You started out your art career a little later than most. Was that a conscious decision or something that just organically happened based on where you were in life? I did. I always painted and drew and made movies on a camcorder and anything I could try my hand at I would. Growing up in Southern California the natural evolution was to attend Cal Arts or move away to study whatever medium; but for me it never felt like something I needed structure or tools to learn. Instead I made up new ways that were a comfortable fit for me to practice. Timing played a strong part too. When the time came I was able to focus on my own ideas with hearty life experiences/ influences and was able to sit down and get them all out. You are completely self taught as well, correct? That must give you a great deal of freedom and flexibility, but you also must be extremely confident in your output. I’ve had those moments when the more confident I feel the more I doubt it. But now I trust 50
that thing inside that I can’t argue with anymore. The more I trust it the better the work becomes. The freedom is awesome but it doesn’t come natural for me to stay with one specific concept. My mind bounces around a lot and that pairs well with the flexibility part of the deal. What is your preferred medium and why? Gouache paint and this random generic brand ink pen I was gifted from a friend in India. It’s gooey and imperfect to work with which I like. The ink has a succinct smell and the pens last forever. I’ve always worked with gouache. Initially because it was cheap but after working with oth-
It might not even be a concept you believe in but trusting the Art Director and their vision is key.
Before we even started the book, publishers had been in touch with us based only on word we had started working together.
I’ll be here has brought along a whopper of a panic attack. I’m being medicated. I’m given a double bed room but I’m currently the only one occupying it so it’s hard because my brain is
understanding of both these and all topics in a visual way. I grew up with strong Jewish culture and eastern philosophies which comes with their own art, music, books, and those too kept leading me to new places.
er forms I always came back to gouache. It manipulates well and it’s what I know. I have a heavy hand though and go through a lot of paint. Gouache is not easy to find in individual large quantity sizes. Ethnicity and sexuality are two dominant motifs reoccurring in your work. Can you elaborate on why these things are so important to you and why they appear so often in your painting? There are so many things to peel back when it comes to both subjects. They are unending topics of legends and history and the more I look into each the more it helps me work out my own
You lived in New York City for so long then a few years ago uprooted and landed in Nashville. How is the energy different? They are both regarded as creative hubs in the US. Does the scene and local flavor inspire? I had been coming to Nashville for a long time before moving. It became a second home where my friends and their kids started nesting. When NY first began seeing massive gentrification changes it ripped our neighborhood apart, my job was washed away by the economy, and everyone had moved away. My New York was changing at the same time I was growing up as an adult. Being at an impasse I was ready to take a leap of faith and get out. It took about a year to get the NY day to day rhythm off my shoulders. The energy in Nashville is great and although I am not much in any social scene where art is concerned, this town has been incredibly generous to me welcoming what I do with a strong arm of support to the arts. I get a lot of good air and nature here but the buzz in NY
is like nowhere else. In one day here I saw a family of turkeys, an owl, deer running, rabbits, and I have a cardinal couple that lives in my backyard. It’s a different pace. Have you been exhibiting at all since you’ve been in Nashville? Yes. I just signed to a new gallery in town and have had a handful of shows here. The support is astounding and for me who leans on the social reclusive side I am always blown away to see the support for the work that I do.
You also do commercial work, for example, The New York Times. How much of a juggle is your commercial work with your personal work? When working a commercial job do you feel the need to “soften” or “tame” your initial ideas? Phew, that’s a really good question. There are always hoops to jump through if you are working an editorial job. There will be a series of preliminary sketches and whichever Art Director is at the helm it is their job to pick which work will go to print. It might not even be a concept you believe in but trusting the Art Director and their vision is key. They might see something you don’t and it’s your job to trust them and be prepared to do what they need done no questions asked. I don’t do much commercial work but I like it. Although it can feel confining at times it’s a nice change from
The freedom and being solicited to do exactly what you do is a rare advantage.
having to discipline myself and shift my ideas in a different way. You’ve published a feature booklet with Nieves. Can you speak to that process and releasing a work with a very niche but very highly regarded publishing house like them? Working with Nieves has been my favorite project. Everything they do is thoughtful and beautiful and to be a part of that catalog is incomparable. The freedom and being solicited to do exactly what you do is a rare advantage. You’ve also published a book “Jemmy Button” with Italian artist Valerio Vidali. Could you offer some insight into that process? I know you didn’t speak much Italian and Valerio not much English but the
art and book came together. The story is pretty unique as well and, I believe, historically factual. Please expound on the experience and publishing the book in multiple countries. Valerio and I met over the internet. We didn’t speak each others language but we were persistent and found ways to make it work. We had ideas and stories and with every email our strategy for making a project together became clearer. It was decided Valerio would spend time in the states, we would meet, and see this project through. We knew there was something different from anything else we had done before as artists. We just made it happen. Before we even started the book, publishers had been in touch with us based only on word we had started working together. We hadn’t even created anything but they wanted the book. Because it is a true story that Valerio and I both related to for our own reasons it was important to us for it to have the potential to go outside of the traditional children’s book standard, and representing a true historical time. We made no decisions until the book was finished. We chose the best agent out there (Debbie Bibo) and she worked tirelessly with us to get Jemmy to readers around the world. You also work with musicians and bands like Clem Snide
buzzing and I have nobody to help make it stop; nobody to bounce my crazy off of. My family is ushered away and I’m left alone in my room. As I sit and doze I notice my jaw and shoulder
and Jeff the Brotherhood. How is working in the music world? You also have done some video directing as well correct? I’ve come up with concepts and there are specific people or music that fit the idea. I just ask to see if the people I have in mind are up to collaborating. So far it’s worked out well. If I have an idea for a video concept I will absolutely try to see it through but I need to have a balance in my focus on completing other works also; keeping video projects more as a hyper special design to pull out of the treasure box and play around with now and again. I met Eef Barzelay/Clem Snide in the 90’s in NYC and we have been collaborating for a long time. We have been able to pare our ideas down so simply and mostly let what he has written lay the groundwork. Jeff the Brotherhood is a band I fell in
love with when I first heard them and they triggered new ideas for me. When I solicited them to make a video together they were so open and understood my concept with no explanations; which is nuts because more often than not I have an innate ability to make myself very unclear. Is there any music or art that is influencing you currently? My newest obsession is art deco in Bombay, India from the 40’s and 50’s. The architecture is not common for old colonial Bombay but once I discovered it I dug deep to find as much as I could from this time. I am listening to a lot of old gold Indian film songs and nothing too new but those melodies always inspire. Where else do you draw inspiration from? What or who is your muse? I ask a lot and I read a lot. The
more I learn the more subjects come up and I want to keep going. Inspiration comes from so many things that sweep me away. It could be wind or romance or a bike or a blob. It is not consistent. My muse-- I’ll never tell! What is next for Jen Uman? I just wrapped our second Jeff the Brotherhood video and I am about to start working on my first show at the new gallery space. I have a book coming out from a publisher in Germany which will be 100 line drawings of my own. I also work on a sub culture website called ZINDAGi, I want to focus more on the site this year and bring more attention to some solved historical mysteries from Bombay and beyond. I have my work cut out for me.
doing strange things. It feels as if strong, but gentle hands are pulling my jaw, trying to get my chin to touch my right ear while simultaneously yanking my left shoulder through the ceiling. I
Interview by Trevor KARMA Gendron Photos Provided By DJ Jazzy Jeff and David Corio
I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of great artists and people over the years but few are the sum of his parts like DJ Jazzy Jeff. Not only is he a pioneering DJ, Grammy winner, genre-bending producer, technology advocate and globe trotting party starter, he is a world class individual with an honest enthusiasm and hands-on approach to everything he is involved with. With an international brand as strong as his skills and top flight people like Lynette Townes and Nicole Palumbo at the helm of his business, it is no wonder Jeff has remained so relevant for so long, blessing so many with his personal 'touch of jazz.' Jeff was cool enough to give me almost two full hours of great conversation for this piece. The following are some of the highlights. - Trevor KARMA Gendron
Can you speak to your longevity as you have come to be one of the most consistent DJ’s through so many phases of the artform. 86 96 saw a dramatic change, same with the DJ explosion of 96 – 2006, even to today: it went from simple rubs, backspins, transforming to crabs, flares, Serato, midi pads. It’s literally been such
an evolution. How have you always been able to stay ahead of the curve? What I think, personally, first is I’m a fan. First of all, I’m a fan of music. I’m always listening to music and looking for a new kind of music. I’m not one of those people that turn a deaf ear to things. Especially from the DJ side. When your job is to play music for people to have
a good time, it’s not really up to you to determine if people should like something or not. I’m a super-fan of technology. Just being around and watching how technology has grown, and advancements that have come into fruition over the years with the equipment. Like you said, from 45’s, to 12 inches, to albums, to the digital vinyl, to CD’s; being a gadget fanatic, you stay up with all that kind of technology. A lot of times I am in front of it because I’m looking for the newest thing, and curious what the next five years are going to be like. I don’t think anybody who does anything well knows everything about it. I think the idea is not to be the teacher, to more so remain the student, because there’s somebody in their bedroom right now, creating something that can change the world. I don’t care how much experience you have, if you keep your eyes and your ears open to what that is, then you can be there also. Totally. You had a natural progression when you went from lugging around 200 pounds of vinyl spot to spot, to just having a laptop, or even at
this point, a tablet or phone. It was almost a blessing with the digital vinyl. It allowed me to take all of the music that I really wanted to take wherever I went. What I told people from the beginning is, digital vinyl doesn’t make you a better DJ. It doesn’t make DJ’ing easier. Digital vinyl makes it easier to carry your records around. If you sucked as a DJ before on real vinyl, you suck as a DJ on digital vinyl. The only advantage that digital gave you was the ability to carry your music collection. I was the alien, going around as the music purist, with everybody wanting to see what you’re going to do, and all of a sudden I pull out a laptop. It was like, “What? What is that?” You almost had to do a demonstration to show people that what you can do on this is the same thing that you can do on vinyl before we got everything started. It was an interesting start, because of the way everybody looked at you for being someone to usher in this new technology, but you look now and everybody in the world is on it.
As far as DJ culture, before there was Hip Hop; You were using all of the elements to create something new. I was DJ’ing before there were Hip Hop records. We had a section of records that had drum breaks that we would play, and
I'm always listening to music and looking for a new kind of music, and exploring. I'm not one of those people that turn a deaf ear to things.
rappers would come up and rap over the drum breaks. It’s very much so the same thing. This is Philadelphia, it’s not New York? Absolutely. What was it like to come up in the Philly scene in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s? How much influence were you getting from New York? I know there were labels like Pop Art in Philly, who were signing New York artists like Shante and other Juice Crew members that would go on to Cold Chillin’. What were you guys doing in Philly, and how was New York influencing you, or was it happening simultaneously?
It was definitely a huge influence because it was the birth place. But what happens is I think, you’re so... “Okay, we want to do it like New York, wow, they’re so cool in New York, this is where it’s going on.” You would get the tapes coming down from New York of T-Connection and Roseland and Fever, and all the rest of this, to hear what’s happening. You weren’t there, so you didn’t actually know. Speaking of that early Philly stuff, before you and Cash Money and Too Tuff, Code Money and those guys, who did you guys watch? Who was the older initial school that you guys looked up to? The not so household names.
make my way to the nursing station and they inform me I must be having a small reaction to the large amount Haldol injections it took to sedate me to keep me from screaming “cunt” at every
It was guys like Disco Doc, and Disco Red, and E-Man disco in Philly that I looked at. But at that time those guys weren’t mixing. This was pre-cuttin’. They were mixing a little bit, but it was more their play selection. It also had a whole lot to do with their equipment, because you would go-- Sometimes these guys would set up in the park, and at that time you’re looking at a mountain of speakers and just this sound that was enormous. You knew you couldn’t afford anything like that, and that’s what made these guys. You didn’t really know what these guys looked like. You knew their name, and you saw these big stacks of speakers on scaffolds, it wasn’t until later when you started adding a mixing element. The early stuff that I was doing, I was mixing 2 records together, and I was mixing for 15 minutes. It was an ounce of cutting or scratching in. That was one of those things, when you first heard that was when the light bulb went off like, “what are they doing? How are they doing it? I need to try that.” It just so happened that myself and Grandmaster Nell and Cosmic Kev and Cash were pretty much
around when that era started. We learned as it exploded. You created a very influential scratch technique called ‘The Transformer,’ right? When you initially did that, was that just something that you did on a whim? Were you trying differ-
ent things? You were saying you were blending, you were really mixing heavy and then the scratching stuff comes later. When you actually create a scratch then it becomes a staple in the entire culture, perfectly showcased on tracks like ‘Live at Union
Square,’ was that something you set out to do, it just happened, you did it, somebody freaked out, what? It was a little bit of all of that. First of all, I don’t ever look at the invention of something like that. The first person I actually heard do anything remotely similar to that was a DJ from Philly named Spinbad. When you start looking at the evolution of scratches and all the rest of that, Grand Wizard Theodore scratched something to make somebody else scratch it like he did, but add their own flavor. And then someone else takes it, and adds their own flavor, the next thing you know Grandmaster Flash puts the fader movement in it and then you’re just like, “Okay, how can I do it?” It was one of those things that, me taking what I saw someone do that was very basic, and I was like, “I need to add some rhythm in it”, and I started doing it in my basement. A friend of mine who was in the basement at the time was like, “Wow, that sounds like when The Transformers open up.” That’s actually how the name came, he
nurse or staff who came in my vicinity after my incident. I’m given Benadryl and sent to my room. I doze briefly but am awakened again, this time by a tingling, choking sensation in my
was the one that was like, “That sounds like, from the cartoon.” I would never do it out in public, because it was so different I didn’t want to freak people out. One night we were doing something, and Lady B was there. She was on the radio, she was the queen of hip hop, and I did it. Everybody freaked out, and the next day she got on the radio and started talking about, “I just saw Jazzy Jeff last night and he did this ‘Transformers’ scratch.” It literally starts like that. It’s one of those things that you do, and that’s a very good point about the differences in New York and Philadelphia and everywhere else. You couldn’t tell me they weren’t doing stuff like that in New York, then I go to Union Square and I do it and everybody freaks out.
out so much they kept requesting the recording. Now the recording is being played like it’s a song. That gets you a million and one shows, it basically cements your name in history in New York. We called Mr. Magic and were just like, “Hey, can we get a copy of the tape?” We
and playing it on the radio, people liking it, and we’re getting the tape, we put it on a record, the record sells 3 and a half million copies, so everybody knows about ‘Live at Union Square.’ Rap was still in its infancy at the time. A lot of people were thinking it was going to be a fad, or a flash in the pan, kind of like punk. Then Run DMC gets on MTV for the first time. Something else happened that I think gets overlooked for legitimizing hip hop at the time, you guys won a Grammy. That had never happened before. It was the first time it was ever even thought about. How important, looking back, did you ever think when you were doing those parties in West Philly, orNever.
A great DJ is like a great chef. You don’t necessarily cater to the people you’re cooking for, they’re coming to taste what you’re cooking.
The time that we performed in Union Square, Mr. Magic was the host. Mr. Magic records ‘Live at Union Square,’ and unbeknownst to us we’re back in Philly, and 2 days later he plays the recording on the radio. Then what happened, people freaked
decided to put the tape on the He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper album. When you look at the circumstances, it’s like, what are the chances of Mr. Magic being the host of this show, and actually taping it and you don’t know it,
You would actually win two. You won two, right? Yeah. We won actually four, including what we won for Will’s solo stuff. The first one in particular, to me, it was... I’m a little younger than you, but still old enough to remember this as
I think the idea is not to be the teacher, to more so remain the student, because there’s somebody in their bedroom right now, creating something that can change the world.
it was happening live. I was like, a rap group just won a Grammy! I couldn’t believe it. I think what was more important and what resonated more with the Grammy’s was we were so excited that we were nominated for the Grammy’s. It was the first year they were going to include hip hop. And then we got a report that they weren’t going to televise the hip hop award. It was kind of like, you know what? Let me see if I can get this right. You have 12 classical awards on television. You got 6 or 7 country and western categories. You have 6 jazz categories. There’s 1 hip hop category and you’re saying you’re not going to televise it? Then you start looking, and of course, we’re young. We’re in our early 20’s. You’re looking, kind of like, okay, let me see if I can get this right. Hip hop is the most dominant in sales of music out right now, and you’re not
going to televise our category? We were like, if you’re not going to televise it we’re not coming. We were young enough and militant enough, especially at that time because that’s when the Public Enemies were out and we were just starting to get an understanding of who we were, and sticking up for ourselves, to not care about the importance of the Grammy. It was more important that, if you’re going to shit on a culture, we can’t be a part of that. Even though we had made it to the Grammy’s, we knew that there were still people saying this was a fad, and this was going to end. It’s kind of like, this has become my life now. So someone saying that what you do is not significant enough to last, you’ve got a year and that shit is over, so go back to working in fast food. You got upset.
But you know what? The boycott sent a message that we were united. We got a lot of press from that, to the point that every year since then it’s been there, ironically, every year since then until this year. So you started by saying you’re still such a fan. You’ve had such an incredibly long, successful career, but you’ve also taken it to a point where you’re more than just an artist, you’ve actually become a brand. You do a lot. You’re consistently not just DJ’ing, you’re producing, you’re producing various types of music, you have your T-shirt lines, you have your merchandise, you have a very strong team behind you, you have Touch of Jazz, you have Vinyl Destination. Could you just speak upon, how come some artists just make it so far and how you’ve elevated it to the point where, now, beyond yourself you’ve elevated it to a brand. Jazzy Jeff, Touch of Jazz is a name that people trust. Could you speak a little bit on that and how important that is? I was just one of those people, that, not only did I spin records, but, everything that I’ve heard someone do on a record, if it was a cool edit, if it was a drag, what instrument, I wanted to know what it was. I took an interest not just in me playing the records, but I took an interest in what
was on the records, the sound of the records. Me listening and looking at the labels, and realizing, everything on this label has a distinct sound. You start reading and realizing that everything on this label is recorded in a specific studio. You want to know, what kind of board do they have? Is there one specific engineer that does all of this stuff to make it sound like that? You learn musician’s names, and engineer’s names, and producer’s names because you took a liking to it. I think that’s what started the whole thing. It was kind of like, “Okay, I want to be able to make every record that I play. I want to know how to make every record that I play.” So you start focusing on the production side.
We were producing all the Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince music before we even knew we were producing it, when someone else was taking credit for it. You learn, this is what a producer is? I’m doing that! Then you want to produce, then it’s like, you can produce for your own group, but can you produce for someone else? You do that, and that works, then you start learning more of the business side. Once that thirst for knowledge came in it just never went away. I think, for me more than anybody, I hated having to rely on anybody. I didn’t understand. One of the biggest things that used to drive me crazy is you tell me
that I’m the one with the talent, I’m putting together some music, putting together what I feel is a masterpiece, and I give it to someone who has never made a record in their life and they say no. I never understood that there was always a gatekeeper. I understand that there’s good music and bad music, but it was always put upon someone that could basically say “no.” They’re not saying no because it’s bad, they’re saying no because they don’t like it. That means that your opinion is what’s going to set the tone for what the world hears or doesn’t hear. I never understood that. I can tell you, from 1988-89, I had been envisioning the time that you could put out whatever you want to put out, and let the public hear it. It always seemed to be this thing of- I have to make this music and I have to give it to you, you have to like it, and then you decide to put it out. You send it to a radio station and let the radio station play it, and see if people like it. That was way too much to get my music to my fans. I wanted a direct line, how can I get it directly to them and let them decide? It wasn’t until recently that we had that ability to cut out the middlemen who used to make the decision if you can hear something or not. I used to always wonder how much great music out there have we never heard because some-
body said it wasn’t good enough, and you might have broken someone’s spirit? That idea is what kept me, it was like, “Okay, how much control can I get?” All right, I have a production company. I bought a studio. I was the odd guy in Philadelphia because no one had ever had a studio that was open to the public. They couldn’t understand, ‘how are you going to make money?’ I’m just saying, you know what, if I make good records, I know how I would make records in the studio for Jive, and I would have to pay Jive for the studio time. So why not own the studio, and let me make the records, and the person who likes the record, and buys the record can pay an even cheaper rate to me because the production company owns the studio? This wasn’t me setting out trying to be a visionary, this, to me, just made common sense. When that worked, it was kind of like, ‘why can’t we have a production company and a publishing company?’ When people would say it’s a conflict of interest, I’m like, if we’re working enough, the production is going to feed the publishing company. These were all common sense things to me, that just cut the outside world out. Then it’s like, now we can make our own music, and if people like it we have our own publishing company, and that just turns into how can we get it out? It all just continues to escalate.
throat. I’m having trouble breathing and swallowing. Again I make my way to the nurse’s station. This time however there is a sense of urgency bordering on panic as they inform each other,
RALLY SNAPPY TURN | WIDE PLATFORM | STASHABLE SIZE
P : Matt Smith
SNAPPY TURN | WIDE PLATFORM | STASHABLE SIZE P : Matt Smith
Dominic Palarchio Alec Ash, Boardslide
never me, that I am indeed on the verge of suffering from anaphylactic shock. Iâ€™m rushed to the medication closet and stabbed with needles and again sent back to my room, however this time
Chip Allen Mike Baker, Handplant
Kevin Fuentes Chino Henry, Krook
Tim Snyder Old Man, Windows
Alex Cole Christian Manhard, Front board
Daniel Muchnik Centennial in rain
Tim Snyder Ethan Edwards, Front board
Marco DelGuidice Down to the firehole
Tim Snyder Nashville cop
check out Victor and Kohei In the Transworld movie “Origins”
CZARFACE INSPECTAH DECK: MC
Yes, taking refuge within social media. Shaolin Monks or Jedi Knights? Jedi Knights; Monks are forced to concentrate, Jedi concentrate AND use The Force. DC or MARVEL? Marvel, but I feel DC… Marvel is like ‘Transformers,’ DC is ‘Pacific Rim’.
Guilty Pleasure Song? Moloko, “The Time is Now.” Reminds me of growing up in the Newark, NJ house music scene… and it’s great getaway music in Grand Theft Auto 5.
Favorite Non-Rap Album? Kem, Kemistry. Best NBA 6th Man of All Time? Kevin McHale, hands down - a beast but no finesse-- then I’d say Vinnie Johnson who initiated the phrase, “instant offense.” Greek or Italian Pizza? Italian: Leave well enough alone. If You Could Have Anyone’s Hair In History, Whose Would You Choose? Hugh Jackman’s ‘do as Wolverine, it just looks like “don’t fuck with me.” Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith or Kate Upton? Upton… Nice Eyes! Weren’t Marilyn and Anna the same person? Like before and after? Corey Haim or Corey Feldman?
Is this another Marilyn/Anna Nicole question? Feldman had better and more classic movies, in my opinion. Are Aliens Among Us? Yes, taking refuge within social media. Adam West, Michael Keaton or Christian Bale? Michael Keaton. I would say Adam West just ‘cause I love the originals, but Keaton had that dark side like the real Batman from the comics. Bale was also good... What Was the Last Non-Music Related Book You Read? Status 1 & 2, by Jordan Belcher. A woman is consumed by the internet and her followers which turns deadly… 1 million followers with no likes? SMH. Good books.
under the direct care of a supervising nurse. -END
Interviewed by Trevor KARMA Gendron
CZARFACE ESOTERIC: MC Interviewed by Trevor KARMA Gendron
I’m shooting 35% in my men’s league. Shaolin Monks or Jedi Knights? Jedi Knights, sorry. DC or MARVEL? Marvel by a Latverian mile but I like DC too, how can’t you? Guilty Pleasure Song? “Flicka Dat Wrist.” Favorite Non-Rap Album? Tubeway Army, Replicas.
Best NBA 6th Man of All Time? Obviously early 80’s Kevin McHale.
Greek or Italian Pizza? Greek, easy.
Have you not heard Canibus rap?
If You Could Have Anyone’s Hair In History, Whose Would You Choose? Chewbacca’s, so it stays forever.
Who’s Doper: 7L on the Mic or You on the Turntables? A bed of nails, death row, the blade of a machete. These are just a few of the things that 7L would rather get on than the mic.
Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith or Kate Upton? Kate Upton... live in the present. What Does DWYCK Mean? Guru said “DWYCK” is another word for dick so I’m sticking to that. Corey Haim or Corey Feldman? I don’t have the energy to give a cute or funny reply about this. How’s Your Jumper These Days? I’m shooting 35% in my men’s league. Are Aliens Among Us?
Worst Place, City or Country to Crap on Tour? Italy. Adam West, Michael Keaton or Christian Bale? Bale. I’m also excited to see what Affleck does with the role. What Was the Last Non-Music Related Book You Read? The Art of Racing in the Rain.
CZARFACE 7L:PRODUCER, DJ Interviewed by Trevor KARMA Gendron
ON NBA 6TH MAN
I don’t know what this means. Shaolin Monks or Jedi Knights? Jedi. DC or MARVEL? Marvel. Guilty Pleasure Song? It’s not guilty if you like it, that’s how I look at it. I like some questionable 80’s songs, but for new radio shit it’s all guilty to an extent.
Hmmmmm... being bald this hits home. Probably Brian Ferry.
Favorite Non-Rap Album? Hmmm. Guy’s first album. Or Prince, Sign Of The Times. This list could go on forever... Otis Redding, so on and so forth.
What Does DWYCK Mean? I used to know this, I was thinking about it the other day. It now escapes me.
Best NBA 6th Man of All Time? I don’t know what this means. Greek or Italian Pizza? Italian - but I’d say Santarpio’s in East Boston kills all pizza I have ever had. So whatever that is considered, I like that. 94
If You Could Have Anyone’s Hair In History, Whose Would You Choose?
Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith or Kate Upton? Marilyn.
Corey Haim or Corey Feldman? Haim. Feldman lost me with the MJ routine. How’s Your Jumper These Days? Not good. Are Aliens Among Us? Yes. Who’s Doper: You on the Mic or CZARFACE on the
Turntables? Definitely CZARFACE on the turntables. Worst Place, City or Country to Crap on Tour? Everywhere. Adam West, Michael Keaton or Christian Bale? Bale. Those movies Nolan nailed it, all three. It was a good start with the first, the second was like Empire (Strikes Back) status and the last one was a great ending. Keaton is the man though. What Was the Last Non-Music Related Book You Read? Drink This. A book on wine that still leaves me clueless to what will make me seem like I know what I am talking about at a restaurant.
CZARFACE Interviewed by Trevor KARMA Gendron
Twiki from Buck Rogers- Hair Always on Sleek
Best NBA 6th Man of All Time? Roy Czarpley.
How’s Your Jumper These Days? Works for most vehicles.
If You Could Have Anyone’s Hair In History, Whose Would You Choose? Twiki from Buck Rogers- Hair Always on Sleek.
Are Aliens Among Us? Humorous.
DC or MARVEL? Czartel.
Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith or Kate Upton? Paula Patton
Guilty Pleasure Song? The Golden Record - Voyager 1.
What Does DWYCK Mean? People piss with it.
Favorite Non-Rap Album? The Sound of Howling Planets and Whistling Helium.
Corey Haim or Corey Feldman? Michael.
Who’s Doper: 7L on the Mic or You on the Turntables? Nonsense. Worst Place, City or Country to Crap on Tour? Guermessa, the Secondary Moon of Tatooine. Adam West, Michael Keaton or Christian Bale? Adam West.
KNOW YOUR HISTORY KARMA Interviewed By Michael Connolly Images Provided by KARMA
I met KARMA against a barbershop wall last year at the release of our 32nd Issue featuring Esoteric. He is the type of dude that emits a palpable vibe of respect and accomplishment without saying a thing. After getting to know KARMA, and his story, I started to realize how incredibly different the music and creative industries have become in a relatively short time. I think that as a community,
we tend to get enraptured and distracted by the most current “forward thinking” trends, without ever questioning the origin or integrity of what we consume. KARMA’s work ethic and aesthetic spell out a clear message--know your history. - Michael Connolly
Olâ€™ Dirty Bastard Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version Deluxe 2 x LP Re-Issue Elektra Records/Get On Down
TREVOR KARMA GENDRON
So let’s start by going back to when you were younger, growing up with 7L. How did you guys get into Hip Hop? When did you end up crossing paths with Esoteric? It’s 1985, I’m ten years old, that’s when everything really started. We were listening to tapes that 7L’s older brother and a couple other older guys we knew had, like Slick Rick, Run D.M.C, Public Enemy. We really got into it. A lot of the kids that we went to grade school with were into rock like Def Leppard or Van Halen and stuff…we weren’t into that so we used to bring our boomboxes on the bus and get in trouble for blasting NWA. We would come home from school and record Yo! MTV Raps on cassette recorders and make tapes. We were 100 young, we weren’t going into New York or anything yet. It was just about whatever we could
get our hands on. Then we were actually renting 4-tracks and stuff from Daddy’s Junky Music and from used record stores, using them to make terrible beats and stuff. You know just figuring it out-- then we kind of graduated into buying older records like jazz records, funk records. We would be like, ‘Oh, this is the sample that Premier used on this song.’ Oh my God! You know, it got to the point where we felt like we could make beats. 7L was always the real talent but I tried to dig for loops and help. Seems like you had a very driven DIY mentality straight off the bat. If you wanted to get it done, you had to do it yourself. Yeah, you know, it wasn’t easy. We used to ride our bikes to the Record Exchange in Salem; it’s still there. Anything that was a rap record or looked like a rap record, we bought. If some-
Peanut Butter Wolf 45 Live: Classic Rap 7”s 7” Vinyl Box Set in Round Tin Stones Throw/5 Day Weekend BELOW
GZA/Genius Liquid Swords Deluxe CD Re-Issue with Wooden Chess Set Geffen Records/Get On Down
I LEFT MY JOB AT THE DESIGN FIRM
AND MY MOTHER WAS LIKE, ‘ARE YOU CRAZY…’
TREVOR KARMA GENDRON
Trevor KARMA Gendron “Oh Crap…” Tryptic Print
CZARFACE Self Titled CD with Limited Edition Pop-Up Packaging Brick Records/ Fly Casual Creative
body was on somebody’s song, and you saw it, you bought it. We would go to Strawberries or like, Tape World in the mall where you had to ask the clerk to go behind the desk, and as a kid they never wanted to sell to us because of the parental advisory sticker. Just to be a jerk they would be like “Yeah I can’t sell this to you.” It was a totally different world then. Then 7L and I went to Salem State. They had student radio and we would listen to these two rap shows. There was one that played all stuff we liked; Gangstarr, Organized Konfusion, Wu, Nas and Biggie was just barely coming out, and we would be like, man who is this DJ? He would rap at the end of his shows, you know, we were like we need to meet this kid. We finally went to go meet him at the radio station, and long story short it ends up being Esoteric. We ended up being totally like-minded, he grew up on the same stuff we did,
Hip-Hop, Star Wars and comic books, basketball. We just really hit it off. Once we got our licenses and stuff we started driving into Boston to go record shopping. I remember taking the train in and going to Nubian Notion or Funky Fresh Records. So what were you studying at Salem State at the time? Originally, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted, but it was definitely going to be something to do with art. My junior year I realized that graphic design was the way to go. Salem State actually had a really great art department. My mother was a professor there and I could go for free so I took advantage of that. When I got into graphic design, 7L started making mix tapes and stuff so we needed somebody to do the art. It was like all right, I’m going to learn how to do graphic design so I can make tape covers for his mixes or flyers for gigs. Were you guys an official
group at the time? We were like a loose conglomerate of a bunch of kids. We didn’t know what we were actually going to do. Some kids were more serious than others and some were better than others. Eventually we really just got down to the three of us, 7L, Esoteric and myself. We started out under the name, God Complex. Then we met this dude from Boston, Madsol, at a music conference and for some reason he really took a liking to us. He was from the same projects that Edo. G was from and for some reason he saw something and took us under his wing. He knew a lot about the industry. He had a show on WZBC which was Boston College radio. Basically he was like, “I can produce your record. Your beats are good, but I’ll bring you into the studio.” We ended up producing 103 a bunch of demos with him between like 1993 and 1996.
TREVOR KARMA GENDRON
Did you guys have to pay him? No, there was no money. If we went to a studio, we paid the studio time. There was no money; it was just like people trying to get on. Then we met another guy Adam Defalco (Papa D!), and another kid from Salem State, Josh Gagne, he went by Truth Elemental, he had a group too. He was like, “You guys are dope, my group’s dope, let’s press up a record. We’ll just figure it out.” He did some crazy scam and got some sort of student loan from Salem and we just got the money up. 104 We pressed the initial EP and one side was his group, Archi-
tects of Intellect and the other side was us as God Complex. Then we just started sending it to every rap magazine we could find, or we’d go and give the record to whoever was spinning out in New York or Boston. We’d go to New York and just hand out records to whoever would take them. On the back of the record was our phone number, and I remember the first time we got a call, it was a crazy 800 number. That number is originally how we met Vinnie Paz from Jedi Mind Tricks and Celph Titled. One time Prince Paul actually called and was like, “Yo, this is Prince Paul. Somebody gave me your record at the Rock
Steady Crew Anniversary. I just wanted to call and tell you guys keep doing your thing. You’re really dope. This record’s hot.” We’re like, Oh man, Prince Paul. Then it was like…all right we can do this. It really gave us some confidence. After the EP came out, I got all these local kids, and everyone was dope and complemented each other. So yeah, we went and started what would be Brick Records, basically not knowing anything at the time. Somebody needed to do the art work, I was the most art inclined person and had access to stuff at Salem State. I was taking graphic design
Fat Boys Self Titled Deluxe CD Re-Issue with Pizza Box Tin Pan Apple
classes and teaching myself all this other stuff on the side. I was printing stuff at two in the morning for free. It was just total guerilla style. Brian Coleman was writing for CMJ, which was a big college music journal at the time, wrote up our God Complex record and called it “the best indie hip hop record of the summer,” or something like that. Then all of a sudden, we’re getting calls from all over the country from record stores. Like, “Yo, I need these records.” When it started to get serious there was this plan for a couple European tours with The Artifacts and Hieroglyphics, but I was like, ‘Dude, I can’t go to Europe for three weeks. I’m dead broke, they’re not really going to pay us. I’m in school.’ So it just basically came to a point where I had to make a decision. So I think I’m not as musically strong as the other two, if I stay in school and forgo on all this cool stuff that’s happening, then I can finish school, which was something I wanted to do. Then I can help
…WE GET TO BE THE GATEKEEPERS OF IT, ALL THESE AUTHENTIC PIECES OF GENUINE HISTORY.
run the label and do the art… Was that a hard decision for you to make? Yeah, it was and looking back on it… I mean I’m glad in the long run, but I definitely missed out on some great experiences. We had just basically started when I finished school and got a design job at a firm in Boston. I was still doing all this stuff on the side again, using all their resources at night and stuff. Did you see yourself falling into a managerial type of role for the group? Yeah, I didn’t really realize it, but definitely. I was letting them be the artists and I was falling back to make sure the stuff was as tight as possible. We still didn’t know what we were doing. I was just doing everything I could. It was kind of that role. Then we just started
signing other acts to Brick Records and had the opportunity to do a record with MF Doom. What record was that? The Doom and Grimm split EP record. This was before Doom had the mask. I have a roll of a hundred photos of him with no mask on, he’s got like a stocking mask on his head or his hat is real low on his face. Then my partner Adam got a job with Landspeed Distribution when they opened up out of Boston, and I ended up getting a job as the Art Director there without knowing basically anything about being an art director, I had this portfolio of all DIY stuff that I printed at Salem State. I left my job at the design firm and my mother was like, “Are 105 you crazy, you’re going to work for some start up record la-
TREVOR KARMA GENDRON
Trevor KARMA Gendron “Kruger is Your Mother” Graphic Identity Personal Project
bel?,” but I ended up staying with them, and then at Traffic and with Get On Down for almost 12 years. I got to do a lot of big records - Cormega, Freddie Foxxx, 50 Cent, Mobb Deep - all the Cold Chillin’ and B-Boy and Warlock re-issues, the big Wu-Tang box sets - worked with Sony and Universal etc. So by now I have a bunch of experience, I’ve worked with every rapper you can think of and have this amazing portfolio. Meanwhile, I’m doing freelance work with Stones Throw, Greensleeves, Now- Again, Jedi Mind, Kenny Dope, Jazzy Jeff.
relationship. My grandmother had severe Alzheimer’s and she was living with my parents… there was a lot of personal stuff going on. I was really burned out of the music industry and was starting to get sick of it. The industry was starting to get really selfish and petty, everybody was out for self and out for money.
Then about four years ago I was really burnt out and just 106 got into a bad place.
It just got really bad for me. I thought it was getting really whack. Like I said, there was a lot of personal stuff going on, stuff that I was dealing with
I had come out of a really long
All the technology changed, the digital age came in and everything got easy. Now you can record an entire album in your mother’s bathroom on your phone.
in my family, personal stuff in my own head. My brother had been building his company JG Autographs and we had been loosely talking about me coming in for years. He was always like, “Yeah, I could really use your help,” but it was never to the point where I could justify it or I wanted to walk away from the music stuff. Then he started getting bigger and he got a couple of other employees and he was like, “I think we can do this. I want to take this in a different direction. I want to really rev this up.” So I said let’s do it. I was really depressed and very anxious, I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was extending myself and not getting much back in return. It didn’t even have anything to do with money. I
House of Roulx & Co. Graphic Identity House of Roulx
was still doing stuff for kids for free because I believed in them. It just got to a point when it wasn’t fun anymore. The shows started getting terrible, the scene was falling apart and I was like, I’ve got to get out of this. I felt old, I felt out of touch with it. The other thing was that I sacrificed a lot of personal work. I had to start taking time for myself because I kind of lost that. Around that time I started doing more freelance work for companies outside of the music industry and I liked that. How are you able to approach each assignment that comes across your desk with a fresh outlook? What were some of
the struggles as an art director? Yeah, it’s hard. It was getting to the point where I was trying to make innovative packaging designs but the budget was gone; the physical stuff just wasn’t selling like it used to. When something ten years ago would have sold ten thousand copies and now it’s only going to sell a thousand, you can’t justify putting tons of money into packaging or large campaigns. So from there you moved on to JG Autographs where you work now with your brother? Yeah I had this opportunity with my brother, Jared, and his company. The initial project was to re-imagine, re-tool and re-build the website from scratch. Everything is custom because ev-
ery piece we handle is a one of a kind. Say you have 100 photos of Clint Eastwood and they are all signed. You don’t just put one up and sell it, if there are 100 you have to put every single one up because it’s the individual autograph you are selling not the generic item. It’s murder from a retail platform it’s crazy on the backend. So Jared and I, with the help of a great team of developers in NH, built this cutting edge website; it was responsive before we even knew what that meant. We were just designing to fit multi-platforms. I know nothing about web design, I’m all print, so I was applying an album campaign to it - where 107 you need the same content to display correctly on a CD,
TREVOR KARMA GENDRON
WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE PROVENANCE OF WHAT YOU’RE WORKING WITH, THAT’S RECKLESS. LP Cover, cassette, post card, poster and billboard. The dream was to come in and build up JG, which we’ve been doing, getting more into historic and cultural antiquities and items, and then launching a 2nd division that would cater to more fine art, graphic design, photography projects, hopefully some publishing. So that is House of Roulx - the new brand that we are launching this Spring. I’m serving as Creative Director, and Jared and I are both curating the projects. We are working with our in-house team and other artists and creatives, both renowned and up and coming. I just want to create a brand you can trust and believe in, and follow and collect. You may not be into every single thing we do, but hopefully you can at least appreciate where it’s coming from and the final quality of it. KARMA, your work ethic and mentality really resonates with this genuine do-it-your108 self quality. Do you think that after leaving the music industry the work you found
yourself doing with JG, and handling all this incredibly unique and collectible historical memorabilia kind of satiated what you were missing in music? Yeah I think so. The best part is, I’m learning every day and I like that. I like to teach myself things - I like to help grow things toward a greater goal. I’m a big reader, I’m very much into art, film, photography and books. I’m that jerk who buys the $200, deluxe version of a package when you could buy the Walmart edition for $9.99. I really appreciate that stuff, I appreciate collectibility, so I understand it. I’m trying to cater to myself. It just takes me back to the grassroots of learning something new. Like I really didn’t know much about the Civil War and now I know a whole lot; I can read these vintage documents or handle original photography, and I really enjoy that. Working with photos from say Carl Van Vechten with the Harlem Renaissance and learning how he changed the scene for the black and gay community in the ‘20s and ‘30s, basically by
being a really cool off the cuff photographer who documented it all. That stuff is super important culturally and we get to be the gatekeepers of it, all these authentic pieces of genuine history. Not like the mass market crap you see today that will be gone tomorrow. When you don’t know the provenance of what you’re working with, that’s reckless. It’s like coming up with a rap song and you sample Puff Daddy who sampled Grandmaster Flash but you don’t know who Grandmaster Flash is, or you love MIA but you don’t know that she sampled The Clash but you don’t care either. Or these designers that jack a logo or a theme from someone who jacked a logo or theme from someone else. Like you love Supreme but you have no idea who Barbara Kruger is. I just think if you’re into something you should see it through - be way into it - study it. When I get into something I need to know everything about it. Coming up in the Hip-Hop scene you had to know everything because you could get called out constantly. I had to know, wanted to know, every lyric to every Rakim song and every Lord Finesse song. I needed to know who Futura, Dondi and Fab 5 Freddy are, and the roles they played. If you wave a flag, you sure better know what that flag stands for.
Untitled, 2015, silkscreen on paper, 15x22
Dave Eggers Interview Interviewed By AB Photos McSweeney’s and Electric Works, SF
When I think of professional writers, I think of people who live in a hut out in the woods somewhere for five years at a time like Thoreau, scribbling jargon on countless pads of lined paper. Emerging from the forest finally to bring their notes to some furious editors who work countless hours trying to compile a coherent story from the mess that’s been handed off- Only for their inscribing hero to head back to the woods for another five years of silent,
genius writing hibernation. I know that sounds pretty stupid, but this is not Dave Eggers. Dave Eggers is a writer, artist, publisher, editor, non-profit founder and philanthropist… the list goes on. He’s been known to stage hecklers in the audience during his own public speaking events and hire exotic dancers for book signings, so we know he’s a real human being as well. Despite losing both of his parents to cancer at a young age, Dave persevered,
leaving college early, moving across the country and raising a younger brother on his own. From there he’s dabbled in just about everything, and been pretty successful with it all nonetheless. He’s a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Heinz Award winner, TED prize recipient, and an all around pretty good guy as far as I’m concerned. - AB
McSweeney’s Quarterly 29 112
He was brilliant, and bold, and opinionated, and he swore a lot, and laughed a big sinister laugh…
You’re at a party, social event etc. Someone you’ve never met approaches you and introduces himself or herself. They have no idea who you are so they ask, “What do you do for a living?” What do you say? I just say I write books. It’s not a very interesting answer. It’s always tempting to fib, and say I’m a stuntman, but I never have the sack to lie. Can you give me the process of writing a novel from start to finish? I know it’s not as easy as having an idea, sitting down and writing 50K words over the course of a month and then having it edited and published. What’s the whole process and timeline if you don’t mind? Maybe we can use one of your past works as an example? In the past, every time I’ve written a book it’s been radically different. What Is the
What and Zeitoun were very protracted processes involving a lot of interviews, travel, research, fact-checking, on and on. The Circle, because it was the most recent, was a relatively quicker process. I’d been taking notes for years, thinking I might someday write something involving technology and privacy and democracy, but it wasn’t really coming together until 2012, when I wrote a scene involving a woman being scolded for spending a weekend without documenting it on social media. It was just a satirical scene, but it made me laugh, and out of that the novel grew. Usually a book starts with a passage, a scene, that clicks. Once something clicks, the rest comes in a rush. Once I had the tone and the protagonist for The Circle, that book was written in a shorter span of time than anything else I’ve done. 113 Still, there are multiple steps: revising repeatedly, then show-
much of the book’s predictions have already happened to some extent or another. We do live in a world where increasingly everything is measured, and data drives an incredible amount of decision-making, rightly or wrongly. And in general we’re blind to the terrifying amount of data that’s accumulated about us, and how it’s commodified. But then again, it hasn’t gotten as dark as The Circle depicts.
McSweeney’s Quarterly 3
ing the book to 10 or 12 other trusted readers, sending it to Knopf, revising various parts up to a dozen times, copy-editing, proofing, then finally publishing. In this case I think the whole process was one year, which is about as fast as it can happen for me. In The Circle, the main character becomes over-consumed in a near future world of technology, consumption and overbearing social media. How closely do you believe this mimics our future society? Why did you choose 114 to make the book take place in the next decade as opposed to 40 years from now
and did you base The Circle off of any specific company, like Google or Apple? The Circle is a fictional company that’s subsumed all the existing companies and combined all their services into one unified operating system. To some extent it’s what every existing company would want most — to have most or all of a person’s life channeled through their portal. It would make them insanely powerful and incredibly dangerous. So I just imagined what would happen if a company like that existed, and if the company was run by dangerous people without much regard for freedom, privacy or human rights. I think
I want to talk about your artwork. I came across it at Art Basel and was surprised to see so much work. I know you studied illustration in college and used to draw and paint. Writing is obviously an art form but what made you get back into drawing and painting recently? In college I studied painting for a few years, and once took an illustration course, at a different school. Growing up, I more or less assumed art would be the way I made a living later on. In high school and later at the University of Illinois, I worked at the school newspaper, and that got me more interested in journalism. I was really drawn in by the immediacy of the form, and the impact you could have. I also had a strange experience as a summer intern at a Chicago gallery. There was this incredible apparatus set up to show and sell contemporary work, but only about ten people a month would visit the gallery. It seemed really sterile and
Untitled, 2015, silkscreen on paper, 22x30 elitist and sad. So that turned me off painting for a long while. But recently, I got involved with Electric Works, a great gallery in San Francisco, they do a lot of very street-level and hands-on events and outreach. And best of all, when we sell a painting, all the proceeds go to ScholarMatch, our college access nonprofit. It gives me an excuse to do these paintings, which are usually ridiculous. Most of your artwork consists of animals, sometimes people, paired with a proverb or biblical quote that you choose after the character is finished. How do you choose the text for your piece and
why use biblical references? Sometimes the text is from the Bible—which is full of incredible poetry—and more often it’s some rejoinder that occurs to me. I just painted a dachsund with the words, “Probably Not a Factor in 2016” around it. It made me laugh, but I do sometimes wonder about what my kids are seeing: a 45-year-old man painting dachsunds on the dining room table, chuckling to himself. I noticed you don’t feature a lot of your artwork in your own books, either on the cover or as editorial illustration. Why is that? Humility? I was considering putting some
I do sometimes wonder about what my kids are seeing: a 45-year-old man painting dachsunds on the dining room table, chuckling to himself.
drawings in a new book, oddly enough. But usually there’s an artist more suited to the subject than I am. I recently wrote an all-ages picture book about the Golden Gate Bridge, and I wanted Tucker Nichols, one of my favorite artists, to illustrate it. His work was just better for the subject matter. I’ve been an art director and designer for so long at McSweeney’s that I usually can admit when there’s someone more suited for certain material than I am. What’s next for your art career? Do you plan to devote more time to drawing than 116 writing or will the two compliment each other for future projects?
Painting gives me a level of in-the-moment joy that I can’t quite describe. And I can do it side by side with my kids, and that’s such a trip. So I think it’ll always be a part of my life now. And when Noah at Electric Works says there’s a show coming up, and can I paint some more mammals, I have an excuse. Working with Maurice Sendak and Spike Jonze on The Wild Things must have been a dream come true for a writer/ artist. How did that project come to fruition and were there any memorable stories that came out if it? Maurice was everything you’d want him to be, and a lot more.
He was brilliant, and bold, and opinionated, and he swore a lot, and laughed a big sinister laugh, and at the same time he was very gentle and very vulnerable. I loved him and will always be grateful to Spike Jonze for bringing me into that project. Are you still in touch with Valentino from What is The What? He’s the godfather to my son! And he runs the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which the book helped get going. The Foundation operates a secondary school in South Sudan — Valentino is the visionary behind it — so we have to be in touch about that periodically,
A Hologram For The King
Untitled, 2015, silkscreen on paper, 22x30
too. Given the success of his school — it’s rated one of the very best in the whole country — he was recently named minister of education for his whole region. What are some upcoming projects at McSweeney’s that you’re excited about? There are always great books in the works. We just published The Voice of Witness Reader, a collection of oral histories from that series, and that book I’m really proud of. McSweeney’s went nonprofit recently, and is finishing a really nice Kickstarter campaign, so we’ll have more freedom to do the stuff we always have wanted to do. A lot of students are scared 118 to get into journalism or writing currently. They fear that there’s no career in the writ-
ing fields as everything online is published for free. How do you combat that through 826 National and your own personal advocacy? I taught a high school class for 11 years called The Best American Nonrequired Reading. I stay in touch with a lot of the students, and after college, a bunch have found writing gigs after college too. There aren’t as many print journalism jobs as twenty years ago, but there are some opportunities. One former student writes for an educationrelated website. Another writes for the Baltimore Sun; another for San Francisco Magazine. A bunch have gone into the nonprofit world. One works at a bookstore. But that’s all to say that there are a lot of ways to make a living as a full- or parttime writer. I didn’t make a living writing until I was about 28 or so.
Before that, I temped, and illustrated, and did graphic design… a dozen jobs, and I didn’t mind it. I knew I was learning. Young writers have to know that their twenties are a period of soaking things in, traveling, learning, seeing things, getting out of your personal bubble, having your presumptions upended. If you get right out of college and expect (or want) to get a job as a writer, you might be making a mistake. You might be better off working on a merchant ship or a cannery or a hospital – something new, something where you might learn a thing or two. Lastly, how often do you get tired of writing? I don’t. I might dread a deadline or get stuck for an hour or a day, but I never get tired of it.
MR. WEREWOLF INTERVIEW Interview by Trevor KARMA Gendron Photos Provided by The Artist
Detail of, Coming Home
1920 Hammer and Sickle
don't quite remember how or why (full moon perhaps?) I happened upon Jakub’s work, mainly because once I did I was completely enthralled and my previous interest lost. I was instantly teleported into his mythic, romantic worlds and remained there, pleasantly trapped, for a good period of time. His robust scenery really sunk in and held tight; his art is, ahem, worse than his bite. I immediately bookmarked any pages with his work, made a plan to purchase some prints and filed him in my ever-growing category of "stuff that deserves more props." By his own admission this is his first real coverage in a US publication. America, welcome to the future that is the 1920 Eastern Europe of Mr. Werewolf.
You use the moniker “Mr. Werewolf,” it seems like a pretty straight forward choice based on your work. Is there hidden or personal connotation to it? How does your inner Werewolf differ from Jakub? It’s a long story. Many years 122 ago when I was very young, during one of the my winter trips into the Polish mountains, I was
bitten by strange... since then I have the ability to transform into a super badass werewolf, so I guess this is where it came from. But seriously, I just love wild nature and animals. Werewolves are for me the epitome of the wild, the original force of nature, brute strength, I like them very much. I always imagined them, not as evil monsters, but more as mythical guardians of the old order of nature. I think
that deep inside, everyone has something of the werewolf. What is your art background? Any formal training? I loved drawing and painting since I can remember. I’ve also always been interested in fantasy & science fiction, so it was rather the natural course of events. My first steps as an artist was on canvas and paper, a long time before discover-
Werewolves are for me the epitome of the wild, the original force of nature, brute strength
ing computer graphics, which I hope you can see in my work. Choosing artistic studies was the natural order of things. I have a fine art background and education, however, I learned most of it as a self-taught by studying my favorite artists and paintings. I always read a lot of books, studied art albums and old masters painting, all this certainly helped shape me as an artist. Itâ€™s a process that lasts a lifetime and
there was no special event that made a special impact on it. What is your main inspiration? Does your native Poland have a dramatic influence? What is the contemporary art scene like in Poland? Certainly the history and daily life, movies, games, books for sure. History and ancient beliefs are my great passion, they are a huge inspiration for me and have
great influence on my work. One of the last of my works, “Ded Moroz” is obviously inspired by Slavic mythology. In the Communist era, at the east and in Russia, he took over the role of Santa Claus and giving away gifts on New Year’s Day, but really in Slavic mythology, he is a terrible ruler of frost and winter. I think he is super awesome! I know that through my work, many people in the world began
1920 Strange Visitors
to be interested in the history of my country, and I am very proud about it. In Poland, the majority of people are interested in history, they are proud of it, it is a very important part of the culture.
Detail of, Ded Moroz
I like to mix historical facts and situations with my own motives, ideas and visions. I attach great importance to the details, the equipment and the costumes, because it allows you to embed painting within a specified period of time. When it comes to contemporary art in Poland, from one side, it is a lot of very talented and amazing artists. From the other side, people are not really interested in this kind of creativity, they’re still dominated by a conservative attitude, but of course that is changing. In such a digital age why have you chosen the more traditional acrylics as your preferred medium? Do you work in any other medium? I really like both techniques. Currently I work mostly digitally on a tablet, because it saves a lot of time that I can spend with my loved ones. But every now and then, I miss the canvas and paint and I go back to the traditional paintings. In general, for many years I experimented with style and technique that suits me, and at the moment I think I can say that this mix of impressionism and realism in my own way, suits me the most. Through my work, I try to combine classical painting style, modern design
of error. It is easier to improve the composition or return to a previous version, which saves a lot of time. I prefer to paint in acrylic or oil leisurely and when I have more time.
and interesting concepts. For me the most important thing in my work is to always create a unique atmosphere via telling some kind of story, showing everyday situations in an unusual environment. I like the more subdued, discreet colors, as well as the more static, not so dynamic compositions. I do not know why, I have never thought about it. I just paint the way I feel and I like. It is probably a reflection of my own nature, what I like and what interests me. I like wild environments, open spaces, discreet and natural colors, winter, wild animals, werewolves.
One of the main things that attracted me to your work is your inclusion of animals as centerpieces. They play the role of both hero and villain depending on the piece. What is the importance of the animal presence in your work? As I mentioned before, I really love animals and wildlife, they are very important to me. I have felt this from childhood. In my work I try to show everything that I love and how I see the world, so, wild nature and animals such as wolves, dogs and bears are obligatory parts of my paintings. Sometimes it seems to me that I had better contact with animals and feel better among them, where everything is honest and simple, than among my own kind. Excluding my wife, my wife is awesome.
You are extremely prolific and paint at a frenetic pace - I see that you sketch whole pieces in as little as 30 minutes sometimes. Does the use of acrylic help you in the speed you are able to work? When it comes to these quick, 30 minute sketches, most of these are performed digitally. Digital painting gives more room for maneuvering and the margin
Your work brings up romantic scenes rooted in classic mythological or fairy tale themes. I see “David vs. Goliath,” “Man vs. Machine,” “Man vs. Nature,” and “Past vs. Future,” “Revenge or Redemption.” Can you expound on the importance of these reoccurring motifs? 127 Yes it is true, I often refer to classical motifs, probably for the
ings in one of the galleries in the US, it would be amazing!
fact that I’m a romantic. I like strong contrasts, and romantic heroes fighting alone with windmills. I think it’s also because of the interest in the history and ancient myths, where such situations we meet quite often. How important is historic accuracy in your work? Are you a student of history? No, I never studied history, but I’m very passionate about it. I read a lot and I think I have quite good knowledge about it. On the other hand I do not want to create purely historical illustrations, it would be boring for 128 me. I like to mix historical facts and situations with my own motives, ideas and visions. I attach
great importance to the details, the equipment, the costumes, because it allows you to embed painting within a specified period of time. On the other hand I always try to add something new, something alternative, fresh. I try to narrate the well known story in my own way. I know you have started exhibiting in Europe - how has that experience been? Any plans to come to show your work here in the States? So this year, you will be able to see my work in art galleries in Poland, France, Germany, perhaps in Italy. Everything looks great, I’m very happy and I hope I will be able to show my paint-
Do you do any commercial work? If so, how do you maintain a balance with your personal work? Yes, of course, from time to time I make some freelance works. The last job was a great adventure for me. It was work on concept arts for the new King Kong movie, it has always been my dream. Currently I mainly focus on my own projects and paintings, which from beginning to end I can control and decide everything, it gives me the greatest satisfaction. Together with ‘Stonemaier Games’ I’m working as an Art Director on the production of a board game ‘Scythe’ based on my world and paintings from the 1920+ series. I’m very excited about this project. What does the rest of 2015 and beyond hold for Mr. Werewolf and what do you hope to accomplish? This year will certainly be very important to me. As mentioned, a lot is going on, various exhibitions, propositions, perhaps a television series based on my 1920+ series and ‘Scythe’ game. However the most important for me, at this point, is a board game. I hope that it will be a great success and then my painting and the world I created, will land on the tables of the players from around the world, it would be something amazing. Keep your fingers crossed.
â€œI never forget that the cover is not for my recordings, but the recordings of the artists. If I like the cover, I can put it in my portfolio or on my website. The artist has to live with it forever. I never forget that.â€? - George DuBose
By Siydney Lindberg Photos Provided by DuBose
DuBose’s passion for photography and love of music led him down a career path that he couldn’t have ever planned for himself. He started starting out taking photos of his friends and other interesting people hanging around the New York club scene, and even had a chance to shoot Madonna’s first concert when she was fronting a band called “The Breakfast Club” at Uncle Sam’s Blues in Long Island. “I shot one set and went backstage and introduced myself and tried to give her some encouragement. She was trying to be sexy but was kind of nervous about it. I told her that it’s great, but don’t be nervous about your stage performance. Her manager kicked me out of the dressing room and I never heard from her again,” DuBose said. 132 Madonna is the only artist that DuBose would still love to make
a cover for. “Other than that, I have already worked with my heroes,” George said. And he has books to prove it -- several books because he never crosses genres in writing. Notably, DuBose planned and shot many of the iconic album covers for the new and growing Hip-Hop scene that was emerging from New York in the 80’s and 90’s. George DuBose is the Godfather of Hip-Hop photography. It often went like this. DuBose would get a call from the label to make an album cover or take a few press shots of an artist. DuBose would meet with the artist to discuss his or her concept, then take it and run. “Regardless of who has the concept, it needs to be practical for the technical execution
Big Daddy Kane
“ I took his idea and twisted it around to something that I thought was more practical ”
of the photo and it needs to work with the amount of money in the budget,” DuBose said. He often worked on low budget shoots with artists that had yet to breakthrough. In fact, the little guys is who he worked with his whole career, the up and coming doing their first album covers. Oftentimes, that album would blow up and the artist would go and hire another photographer with a big name for ten or twenty times what they had paid George for his next album. “I don’t think I ever got to work with a superstar,” he said. (Although, he failed to mention that many of these “little guys” ended up becoming legends… for example, Run-D.M.C. or Notorious B.I.G. But, more on that later.) The Genius is a good example of one of these crafty low-budget shoots that DuBose would set up. The Genius wanted to be
standing on a pedestal giving a sermon or a lecture and he wanted to be wearing something like 20 different gold chains. He wanted to wear more gold than all the other rappers were wearing, DuBose said.
“The Genius thought it was the bomb,” DuBose said.
DuBose had the idea to build a gold room. He put up poster board with big sheets of gold foil on it and he got some gold buttons from a coat company to glue to the wall so it would look like gold rivets. The result looks like a vault with solid gold walls. He had gold lettering “Words from the Genius” printed on strips of black paper and glued them to large art books that were set on a desk draped with a gold tablecloth. The best part is, he had a bathrobe that his father had brought back from Syria after World War II, which Genius is wearing in the cover. The bathrobe has little black men hunting cheetahs with dogs, spears and bows and arrows.
Big Daddy Kane had an idea for his first cover, “Long Live the Kane.” He wanted to be carried in a litter (a chair supported by two long poles) by four black men in the front and four black men in the back. Dancing slave girls would throw flowers from in front and behind this parade. Kane was talking about having 16 people plus himself on the cover.
“I took his idea and twisted it around to something that I thought was more practical,” DuBose said.
“Where was I supposed to shoot this Cecil B. DeMille production?” George asked Kane. “Central Park?” DuBose took the concept and refined it down to Kane on a throne, with three slave girls 135 feeding him apples and grapes. Everything in the scene is
and move the camera over to another background.
white, purple and gold to keep the flavor of the idea and make everyone happy. Working with Punk and Rock artists was different. DuBose did his first album cover with the Ramones for “Subterranean Temple” in 1983. He got the group to meet at the subway station at 57th street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. The D train would come from Coney Island to 57th and stop, stand there for 20 minutes, then go back to Coney Island. DuBose knew that if he could get the 136 group to go to that station, they’d have around 15 minutes while the train was standing to
do some shots. It all worked out. “A lot of times, it was really, really easy to work with the Ramones because there’s no real leader,” DuBose said. “They didn’t want anybody standing in front and they didn’t want any different clothing or makeup -- just their jeans and leather jackets.” Photographing the Ramones was really a simple production and it got to the point where DuBose would think of backgrounds for the photos and the guys would come and lineup four in a row. George would shoot the photos, order a pizza,
“One time, I got like five different photos in less than an hour and a half,” DuBose said. “That’s one of the reasons the group liked me. I didn’t fuss around with the lighting or anything. I just kind of went for it and they could get five publicity pictures to use for the next year in a very short time.” “Seriously, I guess I was born to make album covers,” George said. “My first album was the B-52’s and I did that for myself, so I had no art director or anyone pressuring me.” That first album cover wasn’t planned at all. One day, a buddy from Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine called George up and asked him if he would shoot this band that was to play at Max’s Kansas City that night. The B-52’s opened their set with the Peter Gunn Theme, which George said was the first song he ever learned how to play on
the guitar, even before he could tune it. “I thought to myself, boy, if I had enough talent to sing in a rock band I would love to be in this band,” he said. George offered to shoot them for Andy Warhol’s “Interview” magazine, but didn’t get the correct lineup. One of the girls had already gone back to Georgia. DuBose asked the manager to stand in as the second girl. That was fine since nobody knew what the band looked like to begin with. That was the B-52’s first published photo in “Interview” and a Japanese magazine. “Later, when they returned for more NYC concerts, I was able to get them into my studio again, offering them Piña Coladas and Banana Daiquiris,” George said. He turned one of the best photos from that session into a 16x20” black and white poster. He printed 1,000 copies and put the posts up in the street around the venue for their upcoming concert.
“The posters were stolen as fast as I could put them up,” George said. “I didn’t know about wheat paste and was only using masking tape to hang them up.” He began selling the posters for $0.52 each at their gigs. Two years later, Island Records bought the poster image and it was hand colored for the first album cover. DuBose originally saw hip-hop as a smaller part of New Wave music in the 70’s and 80’s, which was, at the time, making big waves. So when Prism Records asked DuBose if he would photograph Biz Markie for his debut single “Make Music with Your Mouth, Biz,” he figured the self-proclaimed “human beatbox” was pretty New Wave. Biz showed up wearing a striped jersey and a black baseball cap with gothic lettering. He looked like a football referee. George took the font from the cap to
design the packaging for the single. That font has been used over and over by Hip-Hop artists, especially for tattoos. Needless to say, DuBose found a niche and he never got out. Mr. Cee, Big Daddy Kane’s DJ, called George one day and asked for a favor. He said he wanted to put a single from this young kid in Brooklyn on a compilation album for a radio station. Mr. Cee needed a picture and this kid had no photos. He asked George if he would come out to Bed-Stuy to take some photos. “At the time, that was the most dangerous neighborhood in Brooklyn,” George said. “And more dangerous than any neighborhood in Manhattan and probably the Bronx.” “I told him that I would do the job, and I would do it for free 137 because Big Daddy Kane did so much work, but I wasn’t going to
him to point the gun somewhere else, just not at the camera. He then took two shots to finish the roll of film and that was it. “I don’t know,” George said. “I didn’t talk to him. We didn’t become pals and I don’t think he liked white folk that much at that time. I wouldn’t say he was hostile, but he did not look friendly. There were no smiles in that whole shoot.” “I wish my Biggie story was better but it’s just the way it was you know what I mean?” George said. “I was right there when he popped out of the box.”
do it alone,” George said. With only one roll of black and white film (he was worried about getting his gear stolen), George headed out to Bed-Stuy with Mr. Cee. They met Christopher Wallace, a 19-year-old pot saleseman, on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street, George said. Apparently, Biggie wanted to be photographed with the street signs of “his” corner. Biggie was all decked out not in the usual Hip-Hop 138 garb, but with Oakland Raiders jerseys and hats and whatnot. After taking 34 shots of The No-
torious B.I.G. and his DJ, George was ready to head home. Biggie had another idea. He asked George if he would take a couple shots of his posse. “I thought to myself, what posse? I don’t see any posse,” George said. Next thing I know, I’m looking around for space to lineup 20 guys, he said. So I lined them up and I had to tell them to stand unusually close together. “I look in my camera and Biggie all of a sudden has an Uzi pointed directly at the camera,” George said. George calmly told
Since his start, George DuBose has shot over 300 album covers and worked with a diverse roster of artists from the Punk/New Wave artists of his early career to breakthrough hip-hop artists on Cold Chillin’ and beyond. He now lives in Germany with his wife and has a small house where he stores his archives over 5000 vinyl albums, a large poster collection, and all of his negatives and slides. He may not have always been sure of himself as a young photographer just starting out, but he never missed the mark.
Spring / Summer 2015 Collection Austen Sweetin in The Great Outdoors Photography by Alex Warburton coalheadwear.com - @coalheadwear
KILLER BOOTLEGS INTERVIEW Interview by Michael Connolly Photos Provided by The Artist
It’s funny and depressing to recall the few vivid memories we cherish, some far less sentimental than others. The majority of mine seem to have something to do with unboxing Transformers or shooting pizza disks out of a Ninja Turtles abdomen. I close my eyes and almost see my greasy little fingers caressing the foil of a new pack of trading cards…or digging in the dirt to find the remains of a knock-off GI Joe that couldn’t handle the heat of battle…
I am now 24 and would legitimately sell you my girlfriend for a trip to Toys-R-Us. No cheap grandma shit though. I’m talking all access, no shelves barred, and definitely no mom hands guarding the cart. That said, it may not surprise you to know that when Peter Goral, founder of Killer Bootlegs,
explained how he and his kids got down for play time I almost ditched everything and bought a plane ticket to Illinois. What Pete creates blows my mind and satiates every corner of my being. His insane attention to detail, dedication to the process, and ability to bridge the
gap between more traditional styles of art with toy bootlegging, make him one of the most sought after artists in his industry, not to mention lands him a top spot in the list of people I wish were my neighbor. - Michael Connolly
First off, where are you currently operating out of? Rockford, Illinois. It’s about forty five minutes outside of Chicago, closer to the Wisconsin border. Is that where you’ve pretty much lived your whole life? Yep. I grew up in a town called Cherry Valley which is a little township right outside of Rockford where I currently reside with my family and kids. How old are you? I’m thirty years old as of Valentine’s Day this year. And you have two little guys? Yep, a boy and a girl. As a dad and as a toy bootlegger how do you think play has changed? Can you compare how you played when you were younger with how you see your kids playing now? Is it directly relatable to rapid changes in technology? It all depends on the parent in my eyes. I play with my kids with figures and action figures just like I did when I was a kid. Even though they tend to pick up little 142 things, like my son is more interested in the weapons, more so than the actual toys. He’s always
turning something into a knife or some kind of weapon to chase his sister around with. Technology too, a lot of parents, just sit their kids in front of the television with iPads. I have thousands and thousands of toys. I dump a big bucket of action figures out, that’s how we get down man. Dude! I am flying out and coming over, I am all about that. When I was younger the most ultimate thing was that trip to the toy store. Do you think that extreme craving for toys still exists? Or is it all about big ticket electronics now? What were some of your favorite toys growing up? Oh… Star Wars, GI Joe’s, mainly Boba Fett and Storm Shadow. I really had a thing for the bad guys, always. My main focal point was collecting Boba Fett up until about 2009 when I decided I wanted to make my own toys as opposed to buying them. But, I don’t know if it is the same anymore. I was trying to go over memories and stuff that I wanted to bring up in this interview. One that really sticks out was when I was younger, I wanted a 1988 version of Storm Shadow, I was born in ‘85. I couldn’t find one on the shelves in stores and I remember crying when I got it,
out of joy and happiness. One of the best memories of my life. Getting that one figure at a garage sale with my nana. It was unobtainable at the time. Now with eBay and stuff you can just type it in and find something. Back then it was the pursuit, the hunt; ‘96, ‘97 I was looking for Princess Leia. That man face Princess Leia that came out in Power of the Force 2. Would you consider yourself a collector? Yeah, I still do go after some things. Currently I’ve been going after a lot of Polish bootlegs. It’s like real production toys that were manufactured without the license or license approval. I have a Polish heritage, so it’s cool for me to go and track these toys down that are basically from where my family hails. What are some of your most prized pieces in your collection? Well, we had a tornado here in the midwest last week. The few things that I was grabbing were my ASA 80’s Return of the Jedi Boba Fett, and a blue Snaggletooth. A few things like that which are irreplaceable in my mind. I got a Boba Fett, probably five or six years ago, mint,
I dump a big bucket of action figures out, thatâ€™s how we get down man.
I’m casting four hundred fifty little parts and then sanding them all perfectly smooth.
perfectly mint and it has this one little hangar tear from where you would hang it on the rack at the toy store. A little kid must have pulled it down and made that little tiny tear. I got a hell of a deal on it. That’s my one white whale pretty much. That Boba Fett, I love it. Do you normally pull inspiration from toys that are currently being manufactured? Are you hitting toy stores and local shops for inspiration? Not necessarily. It actually seems like the big companies are doing that with my scene. Watching some of the bigger players and watching what they are doing. Whether it be somebody making toys for movies that never had toy lines, or mismatching parts. They are doing these match em’s, where it’s like you can get a turtle and you can take them all apart limb by limb
and mash them together. They are borrowing from us. Which is neat. It means they are paying attention. What is it that you’re looking for specifically in a toy? What is perfect mint versus tainted, and how does that compare to when you are personally designing a piece? Attention to detail. I’m not just turning them out and pushing them out as fast as I can. I sit there and literally sand them and sand them for hours. It’s really blood, sweat, and tears when it comes to my work. I’m trying to push it to that next level. Some guys are doing that and some guys are just comfortable with where they are at. I’ll never be comfortable, I always need to push it to that next level. To get it better than factory quality. That’s where I feel I’m getting really close to obtaining that. Where
my work is better than you could get from the store. Whether it be the paint lines, that there’s no seams, any of that. For my collection, it’s not always about quality. A lot of times it’s about concept and if it catches my eye. It could be the cheapest little piece of resin that some guy made on his first pour. But, when it comes to my work, it’s about the quality. So what are some of the toy genres? I know there are knock off’s, bootlegs, and art toys…what else? Are there specific names for figure styles and characteristics? Here is Sofubi and Japanese vinyl, which is soft vinyl that is produced in Japan. Reminiscent of the old Mazinger Z toys and Kamen Riders in the 70’s. They are soft vinyl produced from steel molds in Japan. That’s really big now. I have a figure in development, a couple of figures actually, that we are working on getting produced over in Japan right now. There’s that and there’s like Keshi which are Muscle Men. If you remember them from the 80’s. The little one inch, one and a half inch men. Are these all in the bootleg realm or is there a specific term for that? People like the term art toy, I guess. It all falls under the art 145 collectible. Some of them are toys, some aren’t. I feel like
mine, even though they may look like toys, aren’t really meant to be played with. They are meant to be put up and displayed. Some are meant to be played with and have more articulation. Something I’m envious of and I strive for is to eventually have a toy that is made in vinyl with full articulation. Something that you can throw in a backpack and head to Comic Con with, as opposed to having to pack and ship them, all fragile like. A knock off would be, I guess, like a straight rip off of something. If you didn’t change or alter it one bit. You were to say take a Boba Fett figure and just re-mold it. It’s like a rip, just a complete copy. Ok so what exactly is a bootleg toy then? I guess a bootleg toy would be a toy that is made without the licensing approval from whoever the concept belongs too. The difference is if it was mass produced, like I was saying with the Polish bootlegs, the ones that were manufactured as opposed to the DIY vibe, which is what I do. I do more of an art bootleg. It’s kind of confusing. A bootleg toy, you would buy at a Dollar General. Like a Spider-man, it looks like Spider-man…but it says Man-Spider on it. You know what I mean? 146 When did you officially start bootlegging toys? 2006, 2007.
What were some of the first figures or projects you were working on? I did an R2D2 spray paint can. I did a Boba Fett without his helmet unmasked. I had them signed by the actor that played Boba Fett. Those are maybe more around 2008, 2009. Were you working out of your garage at that time? What was your studio space like? Yeah. Working out of the kitchen, the garage, and my grandma’s basement. I had set up shop and worked there for a while.
What was your setup like? Pretty much like a workbench and a stool. Now it’s gotten a little more involved with all the pressure pots and vacuum chambers. Was there a point where you felt like things were going to take off? When did you start the Killer Bootleg brand? Killer Bootleg started in 2008, I think. Before that I was called Wheatstraw Wars after the old Rudy Ray Moore Film, Petey Wheatstraw, The Devil’s Sonin- Law. People I would run into
mary focus and my full time job.
would call me Petey Wheatstraw after I introduced myself so I was like, all right, I’ll just start calling myself that. So instead of Star Wars it was Wheatstraw Wars. I rolled with that for a couple of years and then after looking at the Kenner logo, Killer was just switching the letters around. I made the logo in MS Paint, I had no idea how to use illustrator at that point or anything so I blew it up and started moving the pixels around till I got it where I liked it. Then I gave that to my brother, he vectored it and made the Killer logo. That’s history I guess.
The figure that really made me go, ‘wow, this is something’ was a figure I did called Franken Fett, which was Boba Fett with a Frankenstein head basically. That one sold out. That’s when I was like, it’s not me just farting around, it was a hobby. After that is was like, ‘okay dude, this is something I should pursue.’ At the time, I was working at a factory making a little over minimum wage. It was hindering me a lot more, I was having to turn down jobs and opportunities. Two years ago it got to where Killer Bootleg became my pri-
Can you explain your process a bit? What goes down after the inspiration hits? Are you sketching, what kinds of tools and material are you working with, and how long does the whole process take? A lot of times it depends on the figure. The CZARFACE figure, which I’m working on right now, for Esoteric, 7L, and Inspectah Deck has taken me two years of figuring out. Before they even asked me, I knew what parts I would use. It was almost destined. When Esoteric e-mailed me I was like, I already know what I’m doing. To tell you quite frankly, this figure is my best work. I’m about at the end. It looks great. The process is a lot of times me focusing in on the artwork. Then I’ll make the figure. If I collaborate with somebody I will say ‘hey, I’m using this part, I really want to use this part, I want to use this leg.’ I’ll draw something up. I’ve given artists the parts I’m going to use and they draw something. Then we go. Sometimes I just need to look at the parts and I start piecing them together, whether it’s lower half of this arm or this torso or this head. Sometimes it really often just sparks from one piece of one toy that I want to flip. I’ll take figures and I’ll cut them all apart. Some of them come apart more easily than others. Throw it into a little bit of boiling 147 water and a lot of toys will just pop right apart. Over the years I
all the spots and then mold it so it’s one solid piece. If I’m doing a run of figures that’s nine pieces, and I’ve got to make fifty figures, I’m casting four hundred and fifty little parts and then sanding them all perfectly smooth.
have parted tons of toys. I have bins of three hundred arms, a bin of one hundred fifty torsos, five hundred heads. I just set all that stuff out and start going. As I glue here, cut pieces off, I’ll fill in with sculptee, boil it, take it out, sand it. A lot of times I will take my sculpt of a bunch of toys, whether it be like, five, six, seven parts to make one chest. I will make a mold of that and then take my casting and work on my casting. I sand it too so it’s perfectly smooth. A lot of times it’s easier to work on the resin as opposed to something that’s like a Frankenstein, seven toys in clay, holding it together with super glue. Once I have a stable enough piece I will mold it and then work off that, recycle the mold and mold it again; to where it is perfectly perfect. Then you end up with a finished molded piece. What is the post process like? Sanding them. All my figures are unique, like how they made old action figures. Whether it moves or not, the arms don’t move, the legs don’t move, the head doesn’t 148 move. I want them to look like they do, that’s just my personal preference. Some guys do fill in
Then there’s assembling them, cleaning them, painting them. A lot of my paint applications are forty steps. I’ll do a wash on it to get all the nooks and crannies and crevices. I want them to be like flesh tones. I take hot pink and I will do a hot pink wash on the figures so that in the ears and the nose, the eyelids and the creases of all, that’s all hot pink and real deep. Then I’ll take that part, mask it all off and airbrush it with flesh tone, and dust it lightly so that it actually does look like human flesh as opposed to being a flat flesh tone. I really do go the extra mile. My work speaks for itself in my opinion. Can you talk a bit about bridging the gap between toy and art? I know some of your work is more abstract and really seems to exist as both. Yeah, definitely. I definitely strive more for the art. I know they are in essence supposed to be toys despite the amount of craftsmanship and talent that goes into each and every one of them. A lot of people paint one picture, they draw one picture, or take one photo, or paint one wall. I do that but then I have to do that over and over and over and over and over and over. It becomes
art in the form of repetition. There is a big process that goes along with it. I see it becoming more and more accepted in the art world as time goes on. Where people are holding gallery shows that are solely devoted to art toys, whether it be the genre I work in or others. How do you feel the medium of toy making transcends two dimensional illustrative art or painting? You can pick it up and hold it. It is tangible. Not that a painting isn’t tangible, it harkens back to those childhood memories in my opinion. It’s that, for me, it was that want, that need, that desire to get that figure, to have that one. I started off doing two dimensional art and was very comfortable with the paint and a brush, pen and paper. It just wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to make something that you can hold in your hand and you get that feeling of, ‘wow, look at this, I made this thing.’ It’s the same when you paint something but it’s like to hold it in my hand and set it on a shelf and compare it against what I’m interested in. I live and breathe action figures. I wake up, morning, noon, and night, it’s everything I think about. Besides my kids and stuff. For me to move into this medium, it was really a natural progression. In my mind, what I’m here to do is to fulfill this mission that I started with Killer Bootlegs.
their bodies than adults. As the babies grow older, some bones eventually fuse together (like in the skull), resulting in fewer bones as an adult.
Hens don’t actually “sit” on their eggs; they squat over them, supporting their weight on their feet and on the edges of their nest.
The delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention spent much of their time getting drunk. One surviving document is a bill for a party on September 15th, 1787, two days before the signing of the Constitution. Items on the bill were: 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of Claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 8 bottles of cider, 12 bottles of beer, and 7 bowls of alcoholic punch. All of this for only 55 people. Twitter’s bird logo is named Larry, for Larry Bird. In the election of 1968, Wilt Chamberlain endorsed and campaigned for Richard Nixon.
In 1973, Mao Zedong told Henry Kissinger that China had an excess of females and offered the United States 10 million Chinese women. Horseradish is a member of the mustard family and can count cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts among its cousins. In a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill, Admiral John Fisher used the phrase “O.M.G.” Despite the horrific display, nearly two-thirds of those aboard the LZ 129 Hindenburg survived its fiery crash in 1937. Babies have more bones in
In the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, Ariel and her sassy crab friend, Sebastian, overcome the wicked sea witch, and Ariel then swims off to marry the man of her dreams. However, in the original tale, the mermaid’s fins-for-feet exchange comes at a price—namely, that every step on her new legs causes her excruciating pain. And that’s not even the worst part—in the end, the prince marries someone else! John Lennon’s 1975 single “Number Nine Dream” peaked on the Billboard pop singles chart at number nine. Similarly, Prince’s 1993 single “Seven” peaked at number 7. Clifton Keith Hillegass is the “Cliff” behind Cliff’s Notes. He started his company in 1958 when he published 16 Shakespearian study guides. Humans can lose up to 30% of their total blood volume before going into shock.
There’s a rumor that Twinkies have a shelf life of 20-plus years. The truth of the matter, however, is that it’s closer to 25 days. The plastic-wrapped desserts contain the same apocalypse-vulnerable preservatives you’d find in most commercially baked breads.
c a r ra
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rider: chase blakely photo: waylon wolfe
C arrabassett V alley A cademy
W W W. G O C VA . C O M
Good Life resides in the heart of downtown Boston and is a full restaurant and nightclub experience.
Once an ode to Sinatra and the swinging Rat Pack-era of yesteryear, a family acquisition of the venue, major renovation and heavy marketing campaign has simultaneously transformed Good Life into a popular lunch and after-work haunt for business
men and women and a nighttime hotspot for club-goers, hipsters and overall music lovers. Good Life has earned numerous awards from local media including several honors from The Boston Music Awards and The Dig, proclaiming the best dance venue
in the city. With two floors, three bars, local artwork, live music and DJ’s from across the country spinning both upstairs and down, Good Life is a slice of something different in Downtown Crossing.
Address: 28 Kingston Street Boston, MA 02111
Parking: We validate for the Lafayette Garage at the Hyatt (Avenue De Lafayette). Bring your ticket with you to Good Life and ask a staff member to stamp it.
Best things on the menu: Try our pizza and sandwiches.
Phone: 617-308-7110 Hours: 11:30am - 12am Mon- Wed 11:30am - 2am Thurs - Fri 11:30am - 2am Sat 154 Closed Sunday Goodlifebar.com
-Nights and Weekends (4pm to 5am) - $11 maximum rate. -Weekdays - $2 off per hour (each of 1st two hours).
Points of interest: Downtown Crossing. Public transportation: (MBTA) Downtown Crossing – Orange Line Park Street – Green Line Downtown Crossing or South Station – Red Line
Published on Jun 16, 2015
Steez Magazine Issue 35 Guest Curated by Trevor KARMA Gendron. Featuring a Burning Man Checking In, Sam Virga Show & Tell, Alec Ash rider sp...