Offering up a limited run of hand-designed outerwear for the people
April 21, 2014 by Will Bundy
It’s been a long time. We shouldn’t have left you. The weather is getting warmer, but Bay nights are generally pretty chilly, so we’re bringing out a limited run of hand-designed hoodies for the folks here and beyond. For the design, we drew some inspiration from a staple Oakland institution, De Lauer’s Super News Stand. Hoodies are 100% cotton and American made, printed here in the East Bay.
To the folks out there who we’ve seen on the street, or on Instagram, or anywhere else, rocking our tees, thank you. It means a lot that y’all are out there spreading the gospel. For now, we’re working on some things we’re extremely juiced about, but we’ll stay grinding over here, and keep the merch coming too. If you dig what we do here–parties, articles, art shows, screenings, whatever–the shop is a cool way to show your support. So shouts out to you. Special thanks to Carmina too for modeling these in epic fashion. You can find one here, in our online shop.
April 21, 2014 BY Will Bundy
This Friday marks the opening of our group exhibition at Grid Gallery in Oakland
April 21, 2014 by Will Bundy
This Friday, we’re proud to be bringing you “Feels”, a group show featuring twelve of our favorite artists from Oakland and beyond, at West Oakland’s own Grid Gallery. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to bring folks together, and we’re honored to be working with some of the creatives who inspire us on a daily basis. “Feels” celebrates the community around us–both physically in Oakland and SF, and digitally–with a focus on points of connection and common threads in our experience: sex, nostalgia, pop culture, iconography, strange and absurd shit that pops up out of mundane everyday life.
The Bay, and particularly Oakland right now, is host to a community of creative folks working outside of the margins, creating extraordinary, imaginative work despite the fact that the traditional avenues for forging artistic careers are vanishing in front of our eyes. The logical response to that reality is collaboration–linking with like-minded collaborators on the ground level (or like, Twitter and shit) to build. “Feels” is meant to facilitate those collaborations, and though the artists have different lenses–whether psychedelic and surreal, tongue-in-cheek, or gritty and direct–there’s a certain kinship, and a common set of sensibilities shared between the works.
Put a little more simply, the show is an opportunity to link with dope and unusual people. So in that spirit, we’ll be hosting an opening party this Friday with booze and slap and trippy ass projections. Sounds will be curated by the formidable Trill Team 6 and Yung_SMH, and once again, the show will feature works from the folks on the flyer above, some of which you’ll know and some of which you won’t. To get you better acquainted, below is a preview, offering a brief introduction to each of our artists and what they do. Peep this for now, and slide through Friday between 7 and 10 PM, to see the latest from everyone involved.
April 21, 2014 BY Will Bundy
Melbourne-based illustrator Susanna Rose Sykes makes feelings fun
April 20, 2014 by Danielle Schnur
In the deep, dark depths of the Instagram world, hidden in the cracks between morning Starbucks selfies and gym mirror shots, there exists a contrasting, authentic world of actual art. Though we know all too well by now that the internet is making us both more informed and more isolated (blah blah) it would appear that this paradigm works out well for artists and art fans alike. Today, young, even mildly tech-savvy creatives can enjoy their characteristically emo solitude while employing the good old IG to effortlessly share their work and process with the masses. That’s where, under piles of red-eyed bottle service snapshots, religious memes, and endless ego, I found Susanna Sykes. The 3-by-infinity digital grid revealed a pastel toned world of fruit, tears, and titties – and with just a couple scrolls and double taps, I was hooked.
April 20, 2014 BY Danielle Schnur
A couple snaps from our latest Wine & Bowties film screening
April 18, 2014 by Max Gibson
Photography by Kyle Davidson
We said it Thursday during the screening, but we’ll say it here again. From the outside looking in it may seem like Wine & Bowties is a one, two, or three person operation, but in reality it took a village. Shout out to the folks that have spread our name. We can feel your energy. We’d also like to take a moment to give some supreme love to Jacquie and Sarah for their contributions to the screening, as well as the homie Halston for joogin the projector through and through. Max & Ari, salute to you as well, thank you for the space to do our thing.
As we mentioned, our mission is to unite our generation. To celebrate the culture around us while giving nod to the past. That mission embodied Thursday’s screening of Style Wars, and in a sense embodies our pursuit. Kyle of Intwovision blessed us with some snaps from Thursdays screening. Take a look for yourself…
April 18, 2014 BY Max Gibson
Open Mike Eagle on art rap, and his steady rise from the underground
April 17, 2014 by Amanda Gayle
The mélange of rap and high art is most commonly attributed to Fab Five Freddy, a flamboyant personality who brought together the likes of subway graffiti and Andy Warhol. Since then, hip-hop has ballooned into divergent schools of art, from the ratchet to the abstract and beyond. The bridging of the two continues to be explored on levels perhaps more mainstream than Freddy ever imagined, most recently with Wu-Tang’s current experiment – releasing only one copy of their next album, in the hopes of restoring the golden age ideal of album as art piece.
Open Mike Eagle, a veteran of LA’s storied underground, has seen a recent surge in recognition that traces its roots all the way back to his 2010 project Unapologetic Art Rap. Since then, his music has continued to experiment with the relationships between the underground and the highbrow, and with Dark Comedy slated to drop in June, it’s likely he’ll keep exploring that tension in detail. After failing to cross paths here in New York, Mike and I hopped on a Skype interview earlier this month, and caught up on some of the projects that have kept him busy over the lead-up to his latest.
April 17, 2014 BY Amanda Gayle
Belgian illustrator Ellen Van Engelen gets groovy with color
April 13, 2014 by Juan Gomez
If you ever go back and watch any early Sesame Street episodes you’ll notice two things: the wacky characters, and the psychedelic art. The latter seemed impervious to the idea of sharp right angles – be it in commercial ads, album covers, or school textbooks, there seem to be no shortage of lines in motion. Enter Belgian illustrator Ellen Van Engelen, whose work unabashedly recalls this free-flowing era, only occasionally inserting subtle glimpses of modernity – a laptop or cell phone – to distinguish it from her acid-dropping forbearers.
Though much of her thematic focus lies in the simplicity of the seemingly mundane, it’s the Edelmann-like dreamscape in which her characters bask in that drive her illustrations. Whether it’s melting away on a classroom desk, summer love in an open meadow, or a mere telephone conversation, Van Engelen’s art allows the swirls of color, rather than the subject matter, to depict eternal ambition and youthful absurdity.
April 13, 2014 BY Juan Gomez
We return to Oakland Surf Club this Thursday with a hip hop classic
April 11, 2014 by Max Gibson
The screenings were getting good. Moments in time for our community to come together around a memorable flick. From the story of Father Yod and The Source Family, to Michael Jordan’s early days, the films varied widely in voice and message, yet each was unified through their peculiar and extraordinary qualities. Fortunately for us, Max, Ari and the rest of the OSC fam were down with the movement, so we continued on.
This Thursday we’ll be screening the seminal 1983 hip hop documentary Style Wars. For those that have seen it already, come for the vibe, for hip hop fans who haven’t, this is a must see. Remember seating is limited so come around 7pm to ensure a seat. Beer and popcorn on deck, but BYOB. Much love ya’ll.
April 11, 2014 BY Max Gibson
How unsung Oakland design duo Phunky Phat Graph-X quietly shaped the aesthetic of '90s rap
Tumblr, and I guess the Internet in general, has a tendency to play out trends to death. One of the most prevalent of these in the last few years (which I want to say, like many Internet trends, started with the BasedGod) has been the resurgence of Pen & Pixel-style album artwork. Known for their gaudy, and often straight up ridiculous imagery and fonts, The Houston-based design firm rose to prominence in the late ’90s and early ’00s for its work with Rap-A-Lot, No Limit, and Cash Money. Now, alongside pictures of Actavis pints and naked women, the Pen & Pixel aesthetic has become a Tumblr staple.
But before Master P returned to his native New Orleans from Richmond, California, and before Wayne and B.G. uttered the phrase “bling-bling” on a track, an East Oakland graphic design company called Phunky Phat Graph-X was producing a high volume of artwork for a thriving Northern California independent rap scene. Founded in 1992 by brothers Thomas and Tracy Underwood, Phunky Phat Graph-X produced the artwork for the initial releases by Master P and his then-fledgling No Limit Records. In addition to their work for No Limit, Phunky Phat was also responsible for some of the most iconic artwork for West Coast rap cult heroes like C-Bo, JT the Bigga Figga, and E-40 among many others. Phunky Phat remained active throughout the ’90s but their work slowed to a halt in 2001, and a decade later, in 2011, Tracy Underwood passed away.
A glimpse inside the creative world of filmmaker Lala Openi
April 7, 2014 by Max Gibson
Photography by Max Gibson
It’s funny how you happen upon things. The bike makes it so easy to just check shit out. It was only recently that I was introduced to the art of Lala Openi. It was curiosity that brought us together first. Biking home, I saw the MOCO Gallery in Downtown Oakland filled to the brim, spilling out into the streets. “Lemme check this out,” I thought to myself.
Fortunately for me, the work being consumed was The Discourse, Openi’s exploratory look into the thoughts and lives of today’s youth. Centered in the Bay Area, the film tackles broad questions about society, oppression, consciousness, and growth. Comprised of over five years of footage, The Discourse features a variety of DIY interviews whose true value lies in the words being expressed. After peeping the film, it only seemed right to sit down with Lala to chat about the world, her artistry and the origins of The Discourse.
April 7, 2014 BY Max Gibson
We went underground and came back with these pics
March 31, 2014 by Max Gibson
Photography by Max Gibson
The goal was transcendence. We were here to unite the people. Slowly but surely those ’09 dreams were coming to fruition. An organic movement with few preservatives we continued on, connecting with the like spirited along the way.
What was to come was still to be told, yet the journey grew sweeter by the day as more and more found themselves dancing to a similar drummer. Oakland became ground zero as inspiration fueled innovation. In a sense it was all for the making. Power in numbers proving themselves over time. 324 to be exact. Wave, Tap, Starter Kit and Jay, were the latest to lend their talents to the celebration and for that we were thankful. But the celebrations started and ended with the people. Those that chose to see what a Wine & Bowties party was all about.
March 31, 2014 BY Max Gibson