In September 2012, I decided to put everything in storage to travel Europe and do art. I visited 6 countries, shooting girls and graffiti. A movie is coming out in Spring 2013 about my adventures, but for now here is a teaser, edited by Sean Vahle. Stay tuned for a whole series of travel diaries and a zine. This is where my heart is.
Come see my skull tomorrow night at Crewest. 110 Winston st., DTLA, 90013.
Seriously just got goosebumps watching the #publicworks documentary. Great work @jwawro and @lalaarts ! If you give a shit about street art you need to see this. www.vimeo.com/48163882
I don’t really know where to begin. So many thoughts exploding my brain these days. It’s all good, and it’s all positive, but for some reason humans feel the need to figure out what pushed them to this point, if they are even lucky enough to get a nudge, and I guess that’s where I’m at.
Lots of things were happening at once. And for now, it’s my theory that these things all happened for a reason. I was waiting for a sign, for a twist of the arm, to finally push me in this direction. I don’t know why it’s so hard to for us to do what really should come natural to us, but after a series of events here I am.
I was shooting on a rooftop in Puerto Rico when I came to the decision. This is it. Here I go. I’m putting all of my things in storage, selling the rest, and bouncing. There have been some trips I’ve been putting off. So, I can be a slave to my rent or I can just go. I’ll spend a month shooting and pasting and stenciling in Europe, and then I’ll spend a month in Bali sorting it out. Mentally and spiritually. And then I’ll base out of Mammoth for a bit. And then maybe I’ll just keep going. LA will always be “home”, for the record.
So here I stand mid August, I’ve been on a travel job since mid July. I’m still not home. And I have till the end of the month to sort out my life. I want to get it all just put away, flush away all the loose ends, so I can get on the plane and sleep, and land and create.
I have just over 2 weeks to close the current Polaroid show at my gallery, open the next show, then close La Compound, move out of my house, move out of my studio, and organize a 6 country tour of Europe, and make sure I save enough for Bali. I have to get a new Passport, I have to ship art, make a new poster design, screen print it, cut stencils, make stickers, process my thoughts, love my dog as much as I can because I will miss her so, somehow get that 800 pound photo booth somewhere safe, organize my hard drives, hopefully get some more work in the meantime, and get dozens of other ducks in a row. My current state of being is overwhelmed. This is the chaos that is going to precede some freedom.
The conflicts that go through my head are for starters: guilt. Why do I feel guilty for giving it all up to be free? Other people need to work, and have real jobs, or else the world would fall apart. It’s not like everyone can just take off to an island, or else who would fly the plane, who would make the cameras that I shoot on, etc? Obviously even the simplest of lives needs responsible people to help operate it. So why should I feel OK with fucking off? But then I guess I reassure myself about how hard I’ve worked. I know this is my time to create. And maybe somehow some of it might be contagious or inspire some sort of change.
It’s also hard to walk away from my gallery, and my studio. I love that space so much. That place feels good. I love the Downtown LA Arts District. I really was proud that I had finally become an adult and was going to see something through to a long term. But like one of my camera men told me, it is just time to move on. So many great things came out of that space. I collaborated with great artists, made new relationships, and got a snowboard design deal with Arbor. La Compound is not over. But I have to remember to not always find ways to over-complicate my life.
It also seems to be semi-weird timing for me because I’m almost in some sort of a nesting mode. I’m all about home improvement magazines and plans of what I would do with my next garden. I feel like making a home and settling down. So perfect timing to go travel by myself for 2 months? Somehow I have to believe it is.
And here I go. I believe this is a series of adventures. I know it’s a metamorphosis of sorts. I want to share it. Because I believe the instinct to slow your pace of life is something that is strangely familiar to everyone of us, and something we all avoid, because we are trained to behave otherwise. I believe that the more you know, the less you need. I believe that I want to make a life, not a living. And I know that it’s not a case of being done with This, just a case of being ready for what’s Next. It’s going to be a wild ride I think. I’m full of love, and sometimes doubt, but mostly excitement and passion and power. I can do whatever I want. And that makes me feel more grounded and in control than anything else.
I am looking to collaborate with artists and models in Europe. Please contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in collaborating or have something in one of these cities I should know about. Here is my tentative schedule but it might change a few more times (I will continue to keep it updated here) :
A look into what I’m up to.
Where: La Compound Gallery
830 Traction Ave. #2G
Los Angeles, CA, 90013
What: “Board Culture” A collaborative group show of painted Skate, Snow, and Surf boards. Including video installations of boarding lifestyle.
When: Opening Reception, Saturday April 28, 2012, 7-10pm
Dates: Exhibit runs April 28- June 16, 2012
Contact: Sawa, Gallery Director
Staying true to the downtown Los Angeles art scene, and celebrating the love for any culture that rides on boards, La Compound is proud to curate it’s 3rd show, featuring artistically adorned Skate, Surf, and Snow boards.
Snowboards have been graciously donated by ARBOR, skateboards came from blanks, and Surfboards have been donated by art appreciators after being heavily ridden in the ocean. Boards were then distributed to an invitational roster of some of LA’s finest artists- including muralists, street artists, former skaters and riders, punk and metal band illustrators, pinstripers, tattooers, photographers, and fine artists. The final product will be of epic collaboration.
La Compound is also taking their hats off to people with disabilities that are still getting out there and shredding. They are going to have an installation of Adaptive Surfboards and the Monoski, including projection of the trailer for “Ride into Reality:” a documentary by Jason Rider about disabled people that are still getting out there and finding their soul ride. Dedication for this lifestyle finds inspiration everywhere.
Which leads into one of the most important art forms of this culture: film making and photography. Included in this exhibit will be a video wall installation by Rick Charnoski and Buddy Nichols, the duo behind Six Stair- an 8mm skate shooting team that have been making legendary films since 1998.
Opening Night featuring:
Live T-shirt printing by Hit + Run crew
Full bar by Serve Mobile Bars
Music by DJ Pay Ray and Mago
Steve Olson-changed the look and outlook of skateboarding since 1978 by introducing us to hardcore punkrock skateboarding. His artwork ranges from ripped leather to broken skateboards and fur or fishnets.
Norm-Norm’s main influences lay in the very foundation of his art; the streets. His choice of imagery, tone, and wonder, are all the pieces to this familiar life. With the support of the AWR/MSK family, Norm rose through the ranks of the graffiti world, using the tools given to him to excel in his goals. He turned his love of urban culture into fine art. Ranging from his paintings of beautiful women altered by hand, miniature constructs of ghetto city scenes, and his drive to never stop tattooing, failure is definitely not an option. His patience and drive keep him moving, learning, and progressing as an artist. And now, tattooing has taken him into the future. He produces his own unique style; a body of work that ranges in all forms, but keeps its own identity.
Two Rabbits Studios-is a design firm, commercial screen print shop,
and fine art studio ran by Los Angeles-based artists Mike Thacker and
Bob Motown. Since 2007, the pair have designed and printed hundreds of
rock posters and promotional pieces for movies and video games. Two
Rabbits started small in a North Hollywood backyard—less than five
years later, and they’ve been featured in galleries, Flatstock poster
shows, and craft fairs in the United States and UK. They’ve worked
with Warner Music Group and concert promoters Goldenvoice for artists
ranging from Skrillex to Wu Tang to Portishead. Recently, Thacker and
Motown’s focus has been on fine art pieces that reflect upon their
hand-printed process and design.
Sunny Phono-Sunny Phono is an artist from Los Angeles, California, whose works of art reflect the mind state of his environment. The abstract textures and colorful backgrounds give center stage to his highly detailed abstract portraits. What can be described as a “masked” man, entails the black lines that are solid, and unforgiving, set against a chaotic arrangement of strokes, scratches, and agitated color. His work aims to incorporate the mixed frustrations that this world has produced. With so many creative talents, Sunny Phono has a way to create unique pieces of art that are influenced by his love for the creative arts.
ABCNT-“He who seeks titles, invite his own downfall.”
CRYPTIK- The Cryptik Movement is a public art campaign dedicated to helping humanity evolve towards greater awareness and understanding through the use of compelling, iconic imagery that demands both scrutiny and reverie. The purpose of this organization is to facilitate the development of a deeper, more meaningful philosophy of life. Our main objective is to challenge people to think of other possibilities and to see a different reality; one that encompasses many ideologies, philosophies, and belief systems in order to help us better understand our place in the universe. The organization is entirely free of any religious or political agendas and, therefore, serves only to provoke wonder and inspire thought. The goal of this organization is to serve as a catalyst for a change in consciousness on a global scale. At this very critical juncture in human history, either we evolve or DIE!! Join the Movement! The “Great Awakening” is upon us.
Aise-AISEBORN is a LA-based aerosol artist whose artwork is inspired by nature, realism, classical art, sculptural elements, classical architecture, mathematics and science. His work is 120% purity, 100% longevity, 99% timeless, 109% divinity and 0% boring.
Sawa- Photographer, filmmaker, creator, curator. Born and raised in Los Angeles, her photography mostly lends itself to an erotic nature, but also creates surreal moments. Many of her photos are like stills from a movie, but in an alternate universe.
Taylor Dunfee- Photographer, illustrator.
Andy Woll- An artist working in various mediums, Woll has formal training in drawing and painting but is more interested in the ideas which conceive a project than the formal execution of the work.
Eric Wetterstrom- Pinstriper since 2005, been painting signs since 2003. Eric pinstripes freehand usually only drawing a center line. Keeping everything traditional as possible, using gold leaf, copper leaf, and shell on glass.
Farron Loathing-Farron Loathing’s phantasmagoria can be felt throughout the underground Metal music scene and other spheres of cool, in t-shirts, album covers, concert posters. band logos, skate boards, video games, toys, and motion pictures, all corrupted by Farron’s macabre imagination. His major influences include Albrecht Durer, Marvel Comics, Austin Spare, folklore and the occult, thus creating a language with which to express the dark beauty of a hidden world that whispers to him from beyond the infinite chasms of the sub-conscious. Farron is from Los Angeles.
Mike Fisher-Skating, punk, grindcore, and Glow in the Dark Monster Model kits: all allies in warping the creative mind of Los Angeles artist Mike Fisher. Operating under the banner of MaximumFluoride for more than a decade Fisher has adorned posters, shirts, stickers, and decks and canvases with his macabre imaginings. Aside from various windows, poles, and walls, Mike’s work has appeared in the books Inside The World of Board Graphics, Heavy Metal and Hardcore Graphics, The Art of Modern Rock, I Want Your Skull, as well as art galleries all over the world.
Sung “Keyn” Song- Tattooer and owner of Unbreakable tattoo, Painter.
CS-Navarrete- Los Angeles based Contemporary Fine Artist CS-Navarrete creates large scale mixed media pieces (gallery & public works) drawing inspiration from his diverse ancestry and cultural influences from advanced ancient native civilizations of Peru / Mexico primarily aside from other influences and schools of thought. Instilling mathematics and geometry in what he calls his “root systems” by means of sub-divided right triangles, golden section properties in core regions & plotting trajectories based off of underlying grids in the beginning stages result in an intriguing sense of structural integrity and rigidity meanwhile retaining gestural movement and fluidity in the root forms. You’ll find elements of duality echoed throughout, balance and a sense of kinetic movement by shifts in geometry from one shape to another. Overlying aesthetic cohesiveness by the parameters set in place in the creative process keep the series and progression in his work relevant to one another even when certain areas of the work are pronounced more than others. Using a range of acrylic & oil based enamel paints with additional use of programmable L.E.D lights (installed on location if possible) add an extra veil of intrigue creating psychedelic sensations in brilliant shifts of spectrum in an intelligent minimal manner. Interested in op-art, sculpture, architecture, 3D modeling, holographic art & lenticular lamination (to list a few) has led CS to explore taking his art off the wall in the studio working towards creating paintings/sculptural installations that are both physically tangible and holographic in nature. CS attended Art Center College of Design following up with Gnomon School of Visual Effects to further enrich his education by immersing himself in 3-dimensional modeling/sculpture. Keep an eye on him as he continues towards his envisioned future body of work.
District Millworks- A custom fabrication art shop and design studio specializing in reclaimed wood and salvaged materials.
Smog City-SMOG CITY IS A WARNING SYMBOL FOR THE DANGER OF TOXIC LIVING IN POLLUTED URBAN AREAS - DESIGNED TO DRAW ATTENTION TO A NEGLECTED PUBLIC ISSUE THROUGH THE CULTURE AND MEDIUM OF STREET ART. THE PROJECT AIMS TO ALERT AND REMIND PEOPLE THAT THE ENVIRONMENT WE LIVE IN IS A RESULT OF OUR ACTIONS – OR IN-ACTIONS – AND IS IN FACT A FRIGHTENING AND DANGEROUS REALITY..Haunted Euth- Selling the shadow to maintain the substance.
Steve Martinez-is a Los Angeles-based painter whose practice is an exploration of his intuitive relationship to the materiality of paint.His work aims to manifest the visual imagery of his own imagination while striving for clarity in communicating his subject matter to the audience at-large. Both photographic and graphic design elements are continually informing the evolution of his art practice; often his work will juxtapose figurative renderings with reductive, abstract and geometric shapes. Mayan symbols and hieroglyphs are a recurring theme in the artists paintings and are an homage to his Guatemalan ancestry.
Evan Skrederstu-Muralist and painter *Evan Skrederstu* focuses particularly on the processes of painting of his work, juxtaposing natural and urban environments through meticulous, often photo-realistic, technique. Skrederstu worked as a lead scenic painter in the entertainment industry for seven years, heading high concept creative projects for major theme parks, museums, and production companies. Working in a venue where the artist was meant to be invisible only amplified his drive to represent the relationship between the physical world and the artist’s brush, resulting in self-reflexive works that spotlight how they were created. Over the past fifteen years, Skrederstu has honed his craft on materials that rangesin scope from enormous to tiny. Whether his finely detailed renderings grace insect exoskeletons, or large buildings, Skerderstu constantly explores the relationships between artist and work, man and nature. His work has been featured in the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), and *The Wall Street Journal*, and is owned by prestigious collectors such as Gerald Buck and Robert Downey, Jr.
Chris Brand-Painter, sculptor, draftsman, muralist-Christopher D. Brand is an artist with transcendent range in a variety of media. From his dynamically detailed renderings in ink or acrylics that call to mind the very best of scientific illustration to his eerily real polymer clay sculptures, Brand is steeped in the cultural history of Los Angeles as well as Japanese aesthetics, his work seeks to combine these diverse influences while pulling the curtain back on the constrains of reality. With installations involving aspects of real life environments, fantasy and sound combined, the impossible and familiar become one. His pure line-work is both bold and confident, frequently immersing the viewer in dreamlike surrealism while hinting at the elegance of a grand design lurking just beneath the surface.
Jose A. Lopez-artist/muralist from Los Angeles, CA.
Alex Moro-born in Mexico city in mid 80’s and later immigrated to America like most families in search for a better life. His interest in the arts grew after looking through at some video game magazines that had character illustrations and concept art, but it all really started in middle school, always being in the street skating through the streets of south central looking at graffiti. This made him wonder how it would feel to have that rush of freedom travel through his body and out the world. Now after thirteen years and still active in the streets he continues to evolve breaking into the fine art world learning traditional figurative painting along with a graffiti touch
Tony Tee- Los Angeles Concrete jungle TonyTee has piled his work throughout the city for almost a decade. Independence? It wasn’t always like that watching his brother and cousin draw as kids, he was inspired. Now a evolving artist, His Contemporary art and Graffiti clash to give birth to a unique trace he is leaving in his path . What he has observed come out through his paintings, emphasizing on the influences, struggles, culture, and self motivation in his path to push forward letting nothing stop him hence TonyTee.
Dr. Nuse 89-first descendant from bayamon puerto rico,started painting graffiti in the late 80’s art shows include,sticker phiends,peel here,and today and forever.publications strength,crash,thrasher,juxtapoz
Dame-is a prolific graffiti writer and fine artist. He has put in more than 20 years of work on the streets as a member of the internationally renowned crews AWR and MSK. His graffiti pieces are a kaleidoscope of color and shapes, which reflect his myriad inspirations. DAME’s fine art is pulled from his outdoor work, and is rendered in spray paint, acrylic and several coats of high-gloss resin. His artistic talents have taken him around the world—from Miami to South Korea—and he has been featured in numerous publications, including Juxtapoz, Frank151 and the LA Weekly. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Evol-Born in the middle east and raised in france, Samir ” EVOL ” arghandiwall is a graduate of Cal Arts with a bachelor’s degree in character animation / film video. He has worked in animation and video game studios as an storyboard artist / character and concept design artist. Currently a creative art director in the apparel industry. Samir has been involved in the graffiti culture and uses the medium of aerosol to communicate his art to a grand scale. accomplished in the craft of illustration / graphic design / animation / character design.Born in the middle east and raised in france, Samir ” EVOL ” arghandiwall is a graduate of Cal Arts with a bachelor’s degree in character animation / film video. He has worked in animation and video game studios as an storyboard artist / character and concept design artist. Currently a creative art director in the apparel industry. Samir has been involved in the graffiti culture and uses the medium of aerosol to communicate his art to a grand scale. accomplished in the craft of illustration / graphic design / animation / character design.
Trav- a habitual daydreamer, who has always had a hard time focusing on anything at all, except his art. TRAV Never cared about a formal education, dropping out of school to further his search to find what exactly graffiti could bring to the table. in 2001 TRAV began working with THE SEVENTH LETTER, and painting in such cities as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Ensenada, Vancouver, and more. TRAV is considered to be his toughest critic, and a perfectionist working for days on a single illustration, and refusing to submit anything he is not happy with. His style of work could be summed up as a digitally organic infusion of text, and textures. TRAV lives to work, and works to live, he would give his last dollar to further the expansion of his name and often does. TRAV currently lives and works in Los Angeles
J.W. Pippen- Baltimore native, exploring Edo period Japanese painting and its translation from ink on silk to spray paint on wood. Blending that imagery with iconography from Tibetan Buddhism, Occultism, Catholicism, and various other spiritual disciplines.
JamieGrace Davis … and MORE
Rick Charnoski and Buddy Nichols