Under Republic: E-Dubb Da Bo$$!!! What’s Happening? E-Dubb Da Bo$$: Same bologna, different bread. All work, no play! UR: How’s Life? E$: Life’s good, no complaints. UR: What’s cracking up in Racine? E$: Same ole thing in the town, everybody tryna stay above water. On the music tip, we starting to show a little unity. UR: How long have you been making music? E$: I was in the band in 5th grade, on the drums. I’ve always liked making grooves, so I guess you could say since 5th grade. UR: What inspired you initially to start making music? E$: My brother used to be the man in the 80s and early 90s. He was the biggest DJ the town ever had. Used to throw big parties and dances—the
next day he always had a big stoop knot of cash!!! He was a huge influence— shout-out to DJ Sir Jam-A-Lot!!! UR: How has living in Racine influenced your music and art? E$: Everything I talk about is Racine. When you hear me talkin’ about being a Bo$$ and all that gunplay— that’s Racine. The reason my stories are so vivid and realistic is because I done seen and lived it. That’s the Racine I grew up and made a name in. I’m a 80s Baby, Generation X. UR: What’s it like hearing your voice on a track? E$: After all this time, I still get geeked. But when other people are feeling it—goose bumps. UR: How do you feel when performing? E$: Go-rilla! UR: Would you say that you rap for yourself or for others?
E$: It’s mutual—I do it for the fans, but if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it— especially nowadays. UR: What are you trying to achieve through your music? E$: I’m tryna achieve success, self-actualization and show these cats how to eat off their craft. I am. UR: How do you gather the inspiration for a new track? E$: The instrumental usually sets the tone, but my young piranhas are so hungry and creative—they keep me fresh. UR: What are the benefits of working on a track by yourself versus working with others? E$: Creative control, but I like to hear other people’s ideas too. Doesn’t mean I always agree, but it’s cool to know what other people are doing. UR: Which would you say that you prefer of the two? E$: I like collabos.
Collaborating is cool, but I like to show my ass solo, so solo. UR: How do you feel about the music industry nowadays? E$: I don’t feel any kind of way about the music industry—it’s all about adapting and progressing. Everything comes and goes, you just gotta be able to stay innovative—ahead of the pack. You can’t just rap or produce, I got my hand in everything—artist management, marketing, production, merchandising and digital distribution. You gotta hustle. UR: Where do you see yourself and Double or Nothing Entertainment headed for the future? E$: I see us headed for greatness. Yung Cilla is the future and the truth, gonna see a lot of him... Plus he’s only nineteen-years-old— gonna be here for a minute. UR: What has been the
biggest obstacle that you have had in the game? E$: Clown ass artists and janky promoters. [laughs] UR: ...the biggest benefit? E$: Employment and self-actualization. UR: Who inspires you in your life? E$: Family. UR: What would you do if you weren’t in the hip-hop game? E$: Survive and Hustle. I would still be riding new Chevy. [laughs] UR: What projects do you have coming up? E$: Man it’s gonna be a hot summer, we got Yung CILLA—The Takeover Street Mix CD coming June 15th. Yung Cilla—Cilla “The Album” dropping July 15th. My Omerta album is projected for September 11th. In the between time, we gonna drop the Westside Connect Mix CD with Stromile. UR: What can we expect
from the E-Dubb Da Bo$$ solo album? E$: I’m gonna give it to ‘em with Omerta—all the Bo$$. UR: Any shout-outs? E$: Yea! What’s hannin’ to my nigga Stromile. What’s up to Just Rich in Atlanta. What’s up to Chucky Jones. Shout-out to Stay Fresh Shawty, Da Bakahman and Corn Corleone. What’s hannin’ Mr. Wicked. Yung Cilla—get on yo grizzy nigga!! What’s up to Holiday J. What’s hannin’ Ms. Wis man. Shout-out to everybody in Racine doin’ what they pose to. 100.
Under Republic: Hey Derek! How’s it going? Derek Ihnat: Great! UR: How’s Philly? DI: Philly’s great! UR: What’s hangin’ over at The Art Syndicate? DI: Artsyndicate was a curatorial project I worked on from ‘06 to ‘09 upon my return from the West Coast. I moved to San Francisco in ‘04 and started working for White Walls Gallery with Andres Guerrero and Justin Giarla as their first gallery assistant. I got paid in food and beer, but I also had the opportunity of working closely with the gallery’s studio artists Henry Lewis, Sylvia Ji, Shawn Barber and Anne Faith Nichols. With that, I was able to sit and watch them create amazing work and see their artistic process. This became invaluable to me and I forged some great friendships while at work. While working with the gallery and securing an ever
growing cache of friendships with the featured artists, I was able to start shooting photos and writing for Juxtapoz Magazine, which was also a great experience. I then moved to Los Angeles and began documenting art shows for Juxtapoz there. I met Marsea Goldberg of New Image Gallery and sporadically popped in to pick her brain and chat about the art world in general.Through all that I gathered from the artists and curators alike, I moved back to Philly and opened my own gallery—The Art Syndicate. UR: How’d it all work out? DI: It was great! I spent the first few months sleeping on my buddy Kevin’s couch and poured all my money into creating the space and curating shows. It was very spontaneous and that aesthetic took Philly by surprise. I showed some great artists like WOWCH!,
Hunter Stabler, Skullphone, Danny Perez, Albert Reyes and Bigfoot amongst others. This lasted for a while, but then the owner of the building decided to sell the space. After that, I started guest curating around the city, which lasted for a little while. I closed out curating a show at Space 1026 with Monica Canilao and Kyle Ranson. We did a full-scale installation and their work sold out. It was at that high point that I felt it was time to leave the curatorial biz and try out my luck in a new direction. UR: How often are you painting these days? DI: After leaving the gallery business, I started messing around with watercolors and painting fashion illustration. I was a film photography major in college and wanted to create works of art similar to vintage photography. Inspired by
fashion—I wanted my images to have a timeless, classic feel to them. I participated in several group shows around the city and began to build a body of work and through a little shameless marketing—I started showing my work outside the city. UR: How did the Cry for Help show at Thinkspace Art Gallery go? DI: It went great! Andrew Hosner was very supportive of my style & vision and allowed me to have work in the show. I was excited to have my work in the gallery alongside artists like Van Arno, Chet Zar and Amy Sol. This show was also great because a large percentage of the proceeds went to helping abandoned animals and endangered species. UR: Do you have any upcoming shows? DI: I linked up with the artist
Bonnie Durham, who’s curating a space in NYC called Verlaine. I’m also doing a solo show of my fashion inspired watercolors coming up in October. This is the largest space I’ve ever shown in and I’ll definitely have to create a huge body of work. But I’m excited about the challenge and not to mention, the chance to show my work in NYC’s Lower East Side. UR: As both a curator and artist, which would you say you prefer? DI: I have a passion for curating and exposing people to new art—this is why I began curating in the first place. It wore thin on me after a while and now I blog for people. It’s almost the same, but a little easier and there’s no overhead! I’m fully focused on creating my own work now though. UR: Why? DI: I enjoy the process of creating my own romantic
imagery. UR: If you had to choose, skateboards or bikes? DI: I’ve skated since age nine, so that’s about twenty-six years of solid skateboarding. I haven’t been skating too much since I left SF though, I definitely miss the hills. UR: How did you find Under Republic? DI: I think we wound up on each other’s mailing lists or something—you know how that goes. But honestly, I’m a magazine-junkie and the aesthetic of Under Republic suits my personality in many ways. UR: What’s next? DI: I’m gonna go home and paint. UR: Any shout-outs? DI: I just want to thank everyone I’ve met along the way for their inspiration and support. And I want to give my son Max a big “Hootie-hooo!!!” He’s the most inspiring to me.
Under Republic: What up Ryan? Ryan Patrick Collins: What up man! How’s it going? UR: I can’t complain. How goes it with you? RPC: Chilling dood. Just busy, busy, busy... On the grind. UR: What’s new in your neck of the woods? RPC: Lots of work and school. I’ve been trying to get ready for summer and squeeze some painting in. UR: With your hectic schedule, how often have you been getting a chance to paint? RPC: I’ve been painting a fair amount. I’ve been pushing myself to do stuff as best I can after a long day of school. I just had my first show, so you know, I’ve been painting a lot late
night, pretty much just to make sure that I get it done. Staying motivated and actually getting yourself to do it is the hardest part. I’ve been making sure that I at least get one piece done a week. Actually, this last week, I haven’t gotten a chance to do much, because finals are coming up. But after finals are done—man, I’m painting all summer. UR: Should we expect straight A’s from you this semester? RPC: Umm, this semester I’m taking some gnarly classes, but I’ve been hitting the books pretty hard. I’m definitely more serious academically than I been in the past. I’ll probably get about a good 3.5 GPA if I’m lucky. We’ll see...
UR: How are you handling the work/school grind? RPC: Work and school man, it’s good. I definitely haven’t been tested this hard to be motivated on so many levels though. In this last year, I’ve been producing more art than I ever have before. Umm, I’ve been working a lot as well. And with school, it’s my heaviest load that I’ve ever taken academically and just plain unit-wise, so it’s going good man. It’s just a juggle. You definitely got to be on top of your shit and manage your time wisely. I mean you got to go to bed when you need to go to bed and wake up early—you’ve got a slot for everything each day. UR: I understand that you’ve also just started tattooing, tell us a bit about that...
RPC: Yeah, I’m just trying to get my foot in the door. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and thankfully I’m lucky enough to have a friend who’s been kind enough to show me the ropes. I’m also happy to be working in an environment where people are producing art and who I also look up to as artists. They’re all friends of mine as well. So far, it hasn’t been too crazy serious or professional. I’ve just been learning stuff, stuff that I’m interested in man. I’ve only got three tattoos under my belt so far, so there’s still so much more to do. This summer I hope to really let loose! UR: You mentioned earlier that you recently held your first art show, how’d that go? RPC: It went great! You know—same thing, I’ve been doing a lot of stuff this past year and the shop I’ve been tattooing with, Resistance Gallery, offered to let me do a show. So I got my stuff going for that and gathered up a bit of a portfolio. I had never really shown my work before, so I had pieces ranging over the last few years. Not to mention, all the new stuff I’ve been busting out. I framed everything that I had and wound up showing about
thirty different pieces. I had a good turnout and sold some stuff, which was solid. I sold more than I had expected, so that’s good. UR: Did the show live up to your expectations? RPC: Definitely man. The show went well, there were much more people than I thought there would be and I sold some stuff. Not to say that selling was my only goal, but it definitely helps when it’s time to kick back. You know, five hundred dollars went just towards the frames alone. Having some people kick back and just having people being stoked on my work was the biggest thing for me. The more support I get, the more I want to create. It’s not necessarily about making the money or anything, it’s just about stoking people out, you know. You’re proud of your own work, but when you’re hearing from an outside source at the same time, it perpetuates my drive that much more. UR: Why did you choose to major in printmaking? RPC: Printmaking for me is kinda like a lost art—I like the grittiness of it. I fell into it over at Fresno City College by accident. The biggest influence in my going that direction would have to be my teacher, I’ve taken five semesters with
this guy, Nick. He’s a rad dood. I just like the way that he teaches art and his love for printmaking definitely has influenced me. Carving out of wood and etching out of copper, just all sorts of mediums that I never would tried out on my own. I think that it’s important that these older techniques and trades aren’t lost with today’s technologies. It has its own consistency and feel to it. It takes a lot of work and can definitely be frustrating, but I find the process to be very rewarding. UR: What motivates you to create? RPC: I enjoy art, I always have, especially now as I’m trying to pursue it at different levels. I want to stoke people out, that’s a big thing for me. I feel that you can be as cool as you would like to be socially. But for me, I’m not a social butterfly, so I really want to put stuff on pen and paper, or through painting— whatever you wanna do. Getting good feedback from that is what I get stoked on. For me it’s not about being fake out at a bar, trying to sleaze on some chick. You know, I’d rather live behind paintings and pictures, and not have it be all about my public image. I went through a pretty heavy break-up that
beat me up a bit about nine or ten months ago and I’ve just kinda used that to start trying to produce stuff. I went through a period where I was trying to do a drawing-a-day type deal. It just kinda rolled on from there and I’ve just kept going with it. It’s definitely been therapeutic. If you can’t afford a therapist, art helps out. UR: How often have you been getting a chance to skate? RPC: Me, to skate? I’ve been skating not too much dood. This semester has been pretty brutal. I’ve been, at least, trying to stop by a park now and then. I’ll just roll around for a few minutes. It just one of those things—you’ll skate a lot
when you’re younger, then you go through the injuries. I tore my ACL a few years ago and ever since then, street skating has pretty much been a no-go. So now I’ll cruise the mini-ramps and bowls at parks and stuff. But yeah, this semester hasn’t been too eventful. This summer I definitely want to plan some trips to some parks with the homies and get back on my board. Skateboarding is definitely another form of therapy, just cruising around and having a good time. UR: What’s good at your work—SBI? RPC: SBI’s been good man. Coming up on my five-year marker at the skate shop. It’s definitely the dream-job coming out of high school.
Getting a job there was rad for me and everyone there’s been family to me since I was a kid. I work with my roommates and we’ve all known one another for a long time. I mean everybody’s been there for such a long time, no newbies. I’m still the newest kid. It’s been cool man, it’s just been getting a little more mundane as I go on. I’m ready to hopefully get my foot into something else here soon, but I love it. The boss is great and everybody who works there’s a good person, so it’s been rad. UR: What do you have planned for this summer? RPC: This summer, man, I’m just going to try and relax as much as I can and take a load off. These last few
weeks of school have been super-stressful. Hopefully, like I said, get in some skate trips with my buddies and work as little as possible. I’d also like to learn more about tattooing and maintain my focus on producing more artwork. I’d like to continue working on paintings and drawing, working with people at the shop and hopefully get a few collaborations going on. That’s about it, I’m trying to take a summer to myself. UR: Where do you see yourself going in the future? RPC: I’d like to take what I can from this apprenticeship and hopefully start tattooing. I’d like to learn that just as a trade, if nothing more and see what happens from there. I think
that because I’m young and because I’d like to try out some of these things that are smarter to do while you’re young. It’s like, if doesn’t work out, cool. If it does, cool. Besides that, I want to keep on pursuing school and get my masters in printmaking at some point. I’d like to do that out in Oakland at CCA, but we’ll see man. We’ll see what happens—everything kinda has to go day by day at this point. Take what you’re given, you know. UR: Tell us in a few words your appreciation of coffee... RPC: Coffee man! Coffee’s the greatest thing ever! In my opinion, coffee’s the modern man’s addiction. I quit smoking cigarettes
almost a year ago now, I was smoking three packs a day—so coffee is about my only vice. Without coffee I can’t function dood. I’m drinking a venti coffee with an extra shot of espresso, black, as we speak. So I need it to function. I love it. UR: Is there anything else that you might like to add? RPC: Just that I think you’re doing a good job with the mag and I appreciate you doing this for people—it’s cool. UR: Any shout-outs? RPC: I want to shout to everyone at the shop, Heather, “Smuds” the cat and all my homies that have been good friends to me throughout the years—I appreciate all of you that have been there. Thanks.
Under Republic: How the heck have ya been? Luna Park: Couldn’t be better! Just got back from visiting my parents in New Zealand, where my dad’s been a guest professor for the last semester. As much as I love NYC, after thirteen years of living here, I’ve realized how important it is for my sanity to get out every now and then, breathe fresh air and generally take a break from the hustle and bustle. New Zealand was all that and more. If you can get over the long-haul flight (twelve+ hours from the West Coast), you’re in for a treat— stunning landscapes, good eats and even better drinks, super laid-back and friendly locals and some of
the best graffiti productions I’ve seen in person. No joke. UR: What’s new? LP: I like to keep myself busy, so I hit the ground running after my vacation and immediately got back into the swing of things for the Eames Inspiration project, my second curatorial effort in collaboration with Billi Kid. We selected twenty graffiti and street artists to do their thing on an iconic plywood Eames chair—the chairs are on display in the windows at Barneys New York for three weeks and simultaneously up for auction to benefit Operation Design. Otherwise, there are a ton of exciting summer projects coming up that I’m looking forward to documenting.
And I’ve got a list of places I’d like to explore in the city to occupy me for many, many weekends to come. UR: How long have you been taking pictures? LP: As long as I can remember! There are pictures I took in family photo albums from the early 80s, so I’m guessing I got my start when I was ten or so. I’d mostly take photos on vacation or when I was goofing off with friends. It wasn’t until I developed the habit of shooting daily, about six years ago, that I really started taking the craft seriously. I don’t have a formal education in photography, so a great part of what motivates me is the desire to learn better
control of my camera (currently a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi). The beauty of digital photography is that one can shoot as many frames as necessary to get the right shot. And since my subject matter is often a given, I’ve been able to concentrate on honing my composition skills. UR: What inspires you to shoot? LP: First and foremost, the canvas that is the City of New York. The artists who adorn the city’s walls continually amaze me and— as corny as it sounds—am truly grateful for the many moments of joy they have provided me. Nothing makes my day like coming across an unexpected gem in the rough. Hunting graffiti has taken me all over the city—to places I never even dreamed existed— and has really opened my eyes to the forces at play in shaping the city. Witnessing the massive push to “develop” large swathes of the city in the last decade has motivated me all the more to capture places whose existence is threatened. While I accept that street art and graffiti are ephemeral in nature, I can’t help but be saddened when parts of our culture’s
heritage are routinely wiped out. UR: How did you get started? LP: Walking through a warehouse district on my way to the train in Brooklyn, I came across what I would later learn was a Swoon piece. The delicately carved face of a girl stared out at me from a wall and literally stopped me in my tracks. I’d never seen anything like it. It was an eye-opening moment for me and from then on I noticed street art and graffiti everywhere. While I was initially interested in street art, my appreciation for graffiti grew as I became more familiar with it. Today I’m equally obsessed with both and don’t really give a damn for whatever labels people use to pigeonhole one or the other. From expertly practiced handstyles to carved wheatpasted linoleum cuts, if the work is good, I’ll photograph it regardless of what mediums were used to create it. I have a very broad definition of art in general and of graffiti in particular. The graffiti I see today I think of as a fluid, constantly mutating and evolving art form—for it to continue to grow, it is absolutely vital that there not
only be room for experimentation, but that it be tolerated, encouraged and not all immediately dismissed as “art-faggery”. UR: Do you take your camera along with you everyday? LP: Are you kidding me? Of course! Never leave home without it. I never know what I’m going to encounter in my daily journey through the city. What’s there one day is very often gone the next, so it pays to be prepared. UR: What role does graffiti/ street art play in your work? LP: Well, considering that I work as a reference librarian for my day job, they don’t play a role at work, but street art and graffiti more or less take up all my waking hours outside of work. Seeing how I earn my paycheck doing something different, I’m free to invest my energies into something I love. UR: Have you considered a career with photography? LP: Sure, I’ve dreamt about how great it would be to run around all day, getting paid to take photos, but I’m pretty sure the novelty would wear off as the monetary pressures increased. The photography market is highly competitive, a tough nut to
crack and, frankly, I’m quite happy keeping photography as a hobby. UR: How about art shows, you down with the getdown? LP: Yeah, definitely. Artists got to eat too, you know. I’m always fascinated to see how artists whose work I know from the street present themselves in the gallery. I won’t go so far as to say “If it’s not on the street, it’s not graffiti.” But something’s definitely lost when you move an illegal art form indoors. On the other hand, something is also gained when the pressure to create quickly is removed and artists can fully develop a style or concept. Curating has been an interesting
experience as well— matching artists with a concept is one thing, putting on a coherent, good-looking show is another. UR: How do you feel when you know that you just captured a great shot? LP: Like I’ve won the lottery! I tend to split my work into two categories: documentary shots and arty shots. The documentary ones are pretty straightforward, meant primarily to capture a piece of work and nothing too extraordinary. The arty shots are ones that incorporate graffiti as one element of many that make up the entire frame. These are tougher to pull off, as there are many factors that
have to come together at the right moment. There are but a few handful of these a year that truly satisfy me—I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is, but I recognize it when I see it and for a second or two I feel giddy. UR: ...when you miss a shot? LP: Generally, it’s a brief flash of frustration, but it passes quickly. I get most annoyed by lighting issues— shadows that fall right across a piece are a huge pet peeve of mine and graf trucks that zip past before I can get my camera out too. But missing a shot is nothing to get bent out of shape about... Some days luck just isn’t on your side. UR: Have you ever been harassed for shooting graffiti?
LP: Oh sure, that comes with the territory. But at least I haven’t gotten any angry “Hey! Did you do this??” accusations from people thinking I’ve come back to flick my own work. Mostly I get confusion, people not understanding what it is I’m doing. Recently, I was mocked by some puffed-up neighborhood guy for not knowing anything about and not being able to read the graffiti I was photographing. When I shot back with “SPOT, VIRUS, JEE, EWOK.” his jaw dropped. I have to admit I enjoy exploding people’s stereotypes about who enjoys graffiti. UR: Do you write? LP: Funny, I get asked that a lot. A few years ago, a writer friend asked me if I got up. I said no, to which he replied, “But Luna, if you’d put up a sticker everywhere you took a picture, you’d be all city by now!” [laughs] I do carry markers and stickers in my camera bag, but what I do with them I keep to myself. UR: What’s your favorite thing about living in the city? LP: That I’m never bored! That there are still so many parts of the city I’ve yet to see and so many adventures I’ve yet to have.
UR: Favorite thing about photography in the city? LP: Not ever running out of people, places, things and, of course, walls to photograph. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. As long as I have the energy, passion and drive to keep it up, I will. UR: How do you feel now that you’re back? Should we expect some sweet-ass vay-kay flicks soon? LP: Relaxed and ready to roll. Vay-kay flicks coming as soon as I find time to edit them, which’ll be tough because there’s nothing quite like NYC streets in the summertime. I’m expecting it to be another busy summer. UR: What’s your take on post-production via Photoshop etc.? LP: I like to keep it minimal: light cropping, rotating to line things up and maybe a touch of contrast/saturation boosting if necessary, that’s it. I don’t have patience for stitching together massive panos, though I love to see what other people do with them. UR: Would you, if offered the chance, consider living on Mars? LP: Absolutely, Mars is so much more than a bright star on the horizon. UR: Do you have any houseplants?
LP: Yes, but they’re all hung up high so my naughty kitty doesn’t eat them. UR: Are you happy? LP: Yes. And I’m grateful for all that I have. UR: Any shout-outs? LP: Shout-out to my family and friends spread far and wide across the globe. Shout-out to all the New Yorkers near and dear to my heart. And big shoutout to everyone whose work I’ve photographed... Thank you for inspiring me and or giving me a reason to leave my house with spring in my step and a smile on my face.
Under Republic: Vargas! What the hell’s going on dood Christian Vargas: Not much man, just walking over to Iron Bird, probably gonna get fucking rained on. UR: How goes it? CV: It’s going alright, it’s going alright. UR: Have you been painting or what? CV: Yeah dood, I’ve been working some long ass hours over at Broadway. I’ve been trying to get to the studio at six if I can, but usually before seven. I at least put in eight hours a day. I’m on a pretty fucking stressful painting regimen. I’ve been trying to get five paintings done a week. UR: What have you been painting?
CV: Umm, at the moment, just kinda animals, just really random shit. A lot of friends portraits of like, Mike Howe and Robert Amador. I’m trying to make it through the entire Broadway crew. It’s been as random as you can get. Yesterday I did some beer bottles, still life paintings of beer bottles. UR: How’s the Broadway life been treating you? CV: The Broadway life... Sometimes it can be distracting. It took awhile for me to get used to it. I spent, you know, the first two months there doing absolutely nothing but fucking up and now that I’m on this schedule where I get there early in the morning before everyone
shows up. That way I can at least get a couple hours of work in. Towards the end of the day I hang out for a bit, but you know, that’s the only way to do it man. It’s tough when you’ve got all of your friends hanging out under the same roof—you don’t get shit done. UR: What shows do you have coming up? CV: I’ve got this show over at Iron Bird Cafe for July’s ArtHop which I’m busting my ass off for now. But I’m still trying to pick up another show, maybe I can pitch something up in SF— but the fucking rain’s coming down now... Great. At the moment, nothing. Nothing else but that… UR: How’s the five paintings a week program working
out for ya? CV: It’s tough, if I don’t buff them out before Wednesday man. It happens a lot. I usually do about ten paintings a week and then buff out half of ‘em. So I, you know, I gotta get over that. But I fucking buff out my work like crazy dood, it’s not going to make it too long... UR: How the hell are you going to buff out half of your work in a week!? CV: You know what... It fucking... I really don’t know man. I buff out way more. Honestly, if those paintings are still my studio in six months they’re all fucking gone. There’s no way that something’s gonna last too long—re-used canvas and re-used panels. It kinda sucks though, I wish I could have a few of those back—I wouldn’t be stressing as much as I am right now, you know. UR: Would you say that you are your own worst critic? CV: Yeah, yeah... Definitely man, for sure. I’ve always felt that it should be that way. Umm, and that you should be your biggest critic, not your biggest fan. And never think that your work is too damn good. That’s one of my main things, that’s probably why I buff so much. I don’t feel
that just because I paint something that means that it’s show worthy. I definitely do quality control fucking daily. And, and things usually get buffed out at the end of the day. That’s badass huh? That Amador Street sign... [points to the sign] UR: That’s pretty sick. CV: Robert wants that sign right there. UR: It’s a small fucking fence, easy to hop—swoop it. Anyhow, where were we? Oh yeah, you’re your own worst critic... CV: Yeah, yeah. Mike says that I’m my own worst enemy. I’m really fucking—I buff anything. I buff murals out. I just can’t really get over shit. It’s just, sometimes it feels good to buff over shit. Then, the next day, I regret it. I gotta work twice as hard just to make up for lost time. UR: Does that motivate you as an artist? CV: You know, I think that if I liked my work and liked what I was doing I probably wouldn’t do it. It’s just the drive that I need, you know. I need to stress. I need to feel like the work looks like shit in order for me to continue on going. I think that it’s necessary for me to be my biggest critic and to, you know, demand
the highest quality of work from myself. At least that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to paint at a certain level, whether or not I ever reach that level remains to be seen. But I need to work hard at it to get where I would like to be. That was a fucking shitty answer... UR: [laughs] CV: [laughs] UR: On a lighter note, what’s your take on bunny rabbits? CV: Ahh, I fucking hate ‘em dood. Nah, I had one a few years back—it would take shits everywhere, absolutely everywhere. It would disappear for days in the house. It got out one time and fucking hauledass, it looked like it just got out of prison man, it was gone. It turned the corner and I never saw it again. But, umm, I guess they’re cute. UR: Would you consider purchasing a bunny harness to walk your bunny? CV: Oh hell yeah dude!!! Absolutely, no doubt, I wouldn’t do that. UR: Have you been selling? CV: Yeah, I sold a few paintings this week. It’s been good, ever since March ArtHop I’ve sold a few. Umm, enough to pay the rent, put gas in the truck and maybe eat once a
week. Yeah, it’s been alright. UR: What’s your favorite subject matter to paint? CV: Umm, for awhile it was portraits just because it’s somewhat challenging every time. The tones change from like every different angle and lighting condition. But lately I’ve really into painting the most random things, just to see if I can paint anything, you know. Just recently I showed up to the studio and saw a few beer bottles from the night before and figured I’ll paint a couple of these bad boys just to see how they will come out in ten minutes or so. Just random stuff—dogs, dogs that I’ve had that passed away, friends, beer bottles
and other shit. UR: What do you want to talk about? CV: This interview. Umm, that’s pretty open... I don’t really—you gotta prepare me for that one first. UR: What does art mean to you? CV: It means everything man, absolutely everything. It’s my vehicle in the pursuit of self-satisfaction and self-accomplishment—a possibility of one day being content. It’s both the cause and remedy to my anxiety, frustration and insomnia. It’s my downfall, my obsession, my heroin—I can never get clean. UR: Who’s your biggest fan? CV: I haven’t met ‘em yet. Who the hell knows? I doubt that I have any.
UR: Are your folks supportive? CV: Somewhat. They umm, pass... UR: Are you down with boozing and painting? CV: Ahh, you know, they don’t go together. I’m down for boozing and I’m down for painting, but I can’t do both at the same time. UR: Together is a no-go... CV: Yeah, together is a no-go. After a few beers I tend to just sit down and stare at people. Nothing gets done until the next day. UR: Have you tried the new malt liquor/energy drink Four Lokos? CV: Unfortunately, I have man. At the end of the night, sometimes you’re broke and you have no other options.
UR: What’s the theme of your upcoming art show at Iron Bird in July? CV: It’s going to kind of be a three parter. First, there are the family portraits that I’ve been working on. Then, the second part is like the work mule, the beast of burden—portraits of animals that just work in the field. The third part is going to be the random stuff that I’ve been painting recently, like the beer bottles and such. It all sort of comes down to this big puzzle of what makes me. Ugh, check out Mike Howe and Josh Wigger’s mural... UR: Yup! It’s burning. CV: Oh yeah... UR: I’ve got this question here and I don’t really like it. What sells? Let’s change that to are you surprised to what sells versus what doesn’t? You know, like you’ve got something that you really like that doesn’t sell. Then, you’ve got something that you’ve banged out real quick and, of course, it sells. CV: Fuck, I just realized that we are talking to each other on the phone, but we’re standing right next to each other. UR: [laughs] CV: Yeah, yeah. I’m completely surprised. Sometimes people buy
things that I was planning on buffing the day before, or the day of that particular ArtHop and it’s bought that night. It’s like shit—I would have destroyed this work had they of not bought it. Then other times, the things that I think are going to sell don’t. It seems like what I like, other people don’t, and what I don’t like, people love. That’s not always the case, but it’s really hard to tell who wants to buy what. Lately colors have been selling more, but my work isn’t very colorful. So I just don’t sell at all—yeah, or hardly ever. UR: Do you think that it would be a good idea to let people download this interview and experience my high-pitched voice? CV: Nah, fuck—probably not man. UR: [laughs] CV: [laughs] UR: They could get a sample of what’s really going on here—how last minute and hastily thrown together it really is. CV: I doubt that they would be able to understand me anyways. My voice is as deep as motherfucker. It’s like Barry White times two. UR: Where do you see yourself going in the future? CV: Hopefully not in Fresno, but still killing it painting,
or trying to kill it at least. I wouldn’t mind having some really solid shows. Shows that I can work for and do some badass installations. I could totally get into that right about now. Finding some spots that can handle some really good installation work. Where I have two months in that space to really do something. To build something and not just have to ship all the work there, which is normally the case. And, sad to say, that won’t happen here in Fresno. This town doesn’t support that. That’s why we have to leave, and that’s why everyone does leave. UR: Any shout-outs? CV: Umm, just the Broadway Crew, normal cats, you know. Guys I paint with, Visual Love Art Collective, and umm, that’s pretty much it. You for shooting the photos that I used fucking on everything, you know.
Cheese Filled Crumb Coffee Cake
Crossaction ProHealth Toothbrush
The House Of The Devil
Dee-lish! I can’t stop eating this cake when I get one at the crib. These things are fuckin’ slamming! That perfect super-soft texture blasted with powdered sugar and plugged with cheese filling will have you coming back for more, long time. I’d had a few of these tastetaculars in the past, but it wasn’t until recently when Fresh and Easy made its way onto the scene that I started hooking ‘em up all time. And this is not a good thing. I’ve been getting chubstered out. Ask my ladyfriend, she’ll tell ya. But for now it’s on. Today, she had a piece, and I had the rest. I need to get out there and ride my bike cuz that Insanity workout gave me shin splints. Long live Entenmann’s!!!
I never would of thought that I would be sitting here writing a review for a toothbrush, but hey, life’s funny like that. This toothbrush was given to me by my dad, my dad was given the toothbrush by his girlfriend, his girlfriend was given the toothbrush by her Ex-Husband, who was in the Oral-B commercial for these particular toothbrushes. Random enough for ya? But who the heck is going to turn down free toothbrush, not this guy. And that’s not even the best part, when I first used the Oral-B Crossaction Pro-Health toothbrush it was wonderful! The Crossaction really does the trick—it feels like your getting twice the work done with half the hassle. All said and done, this’s my favorite toothbrush, maybe it’s just because I’ve been using those Dollar Tree toothbrushes for so long now.
A throwback to the great slasher flicks from the past, The House Of The Devil does a tremendous job reviving that classic horror movie feel. Put in the position of needing to gather some quick cash Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes on a babysitting gig on the outskirts of town. It just so happens that this job falls on the same night as a much talked about lunar eclipse—cue the Satanism and all that jazz. What really makes this movie is how well paced it is. Suspense should be this flicks middle name. Ti West, the writer/director also does an amazing job capturing the essence of the 80s through the terrific cinematography and plot development. And, if you don’t mind my saying, Jocelin Donahue is not too hard on the ol’ peepers. Watch this one with your favorite person.
Cheetos Mighty Zingers Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante I just got back from the liquor store where I snatched up these snackers—99¢ out the door isn’t as frequent as it used to be. Great thing about these guys are the tear and pour action they’ve got going on, just tear away the top corner for that perfect pour action. The Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante flavor is pretty damn good. I’d have to say that it’s a nice middle between regular Cheetos and the Flaming Hot jumpoffs. And at three hundred and seventy calories per bag I wonder why I’m still chubby. Looks like that was lunch. Cheetos also has a few more flavors of the Mighty Zinger variety that are probably worth checking out. I think next time I’m going to look into a nice Ragin’ Cajun & Tangy Ranch for myself
Devin The Dude
This is Happening
Red Dead Redemption
Electro-synth-poppunk coming atcha! Crystal Castles pushes their limits and expand at least my listening repertoire with their second self-titled album. This bad-boy got leaked on the Internet sometime in April and up until then I hadn’t heard too much about them. But I think that’s because I’ve been out of the loop for a while. It’s time to get out of Fresno. Back to Crystal Castles, this album is awesome. “Doe Deer” immediately picks up the pace while “Violent Dreams” takes you down to your deep dark place. Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time understanding the lyrics, so no snazzy lil’ quotes for me to fill up space with this time. Crystal Castles have got a great thing going, go out and get yourself a copy of this album, by any means necessary.
Yup, Devin’s back with his smoothedout junted flow. Suite 420, aptly released on 4/20, only contributes to Devin’s already strong catalog of work. You can expect the same consistent quality of rap you have come to expect from Devin, along with some more vocal tracks with Devin flexing his pipes. On “People Talk,’ my personal favorite, Devin dials in some of his own sentiments spitting “And if I did give a damn about a whispering ass nigga, there just aint no way I could be out here clocking figures.” Another great thing about this album is that, chances are, you will listen to some of Devin’s older albums as well. At least I did, and had a few laughs and a bit better of a week just because of those Dev-Dev classics. Thanks Devin.
Is leaking your album the new or next way for artists to blow their work up? I’m saying though, it seems that a fair amount of well to do acts followed suit and choose this route for their recent releases, or maybe we just live in a world full of thieves—either way LCD is back! “Drunk Girls”, their first single, is a bouncy brash pop song with an awesome video. Speaking of awesome videos, if you get a chance watch their “Bye Bye Bayou” video when you’re on good one—catch that right here if you want dood. Back to the reviewing—I was walking perfectly in sync with “Dance Yrself Clean” yesterday without even having to try and that’s pretty freaking cool in my book. “Talking like a jerk, except you are an actual jerk and living proof.” Pretty much..
So I lagged in renting this one until May 20th, two days after its release, and was unable to rent it anywhere! Seriously, every Blockbuster in town was all checked out. Thankfully my sister and I were able to get ahold of a copy for pretty cheap off Amazon. Another two days and here I am game in hand ready to go. And in two more days I will finish this review. Okay I’m back and ready to duel motherfuckers! RDR sports the same controls as the GTA’s with a few minor adjustments for the better. The gameplay is extremely engaging and fun. My only complaint about this one would have to be that I haven’t gotten a chance to play it as much as I would like. As soon as this issue is done, you’ll know where to find me.
Debts II Society—located in Downtown Fresno’s historic Chinatown at 1427 Kern St— opened its doors on April 25th, ‘09. We carry brands such as Under Republic, Rocksmith, Village Hill, FreshIntl, Entrée, Hellz Bellz, Married to the Mob, New Era, Mishka, Legal Dope, American Apparel and more. Most of the brands we carry are sold exclusively at Debts II Society in the Central Valley. We’ve got everything from hats and beanies—to hoodies, jackets and button-ups for men and women alike. Village Hill is also owned by Debts II Society. Established in New York, Vhill emerged from ideas and inspiration from friends and family. Vhill brings a fresh new look to clothing using both classic and modern trends to emphasize today’s lifestyle and culture. We strive to produce fine apparel that catch the eye of creative individuals worldwide. The store receives new arrivals monthly and carries only limited Vhill quantities. We’ve also recently opened an art gallery located next door to the shop called Nihon Gallery (nee-hone), which has events and shows displaying artwork from various artists. The gallery is open by appointment only, but we have an opening reception the first Thursday of every month from 5-10pm featuring new artists. Debts II Society and Nihon Gallery bring a fresh new look to Fresno by bringing a lot of inspirations from the East Coast. Be sure to check out http://www.debtstosociety.blogspot.com/ and http://www.nihongallery.blogspot.com for more info. Thanks!