Omens & Offerings: A Conversation with Hannah Stouffer

Omens & Offerings: A Conversation With Hannah Stouffer

Illustrator Hannah Stouffer breaks down her artistic journey and her new show at RVCA SF

Every once in a while, you come across artists whose back catalog is so stacked, it’s hard to even make sense of. Looking at Los Angeles-based illustrator Hannah Stouffer‘s CV, some names come popping out at you right away. There’s her tenure at Juxtapoz. There are high-profile solo shows in LA, New York, and Miami. There are commissions for cultural institutions like Nike, Vans, Levi’s, and Dior, and editorial illustration work for The New York Times and NPR. The work itself is just is varied: natural phenomena, human bodies, metaphysical symbols, psychedelic glitter panels. There are common threads between works, but dozens of different mediums, from gigantic murals and in-store installations, to hand-drawn prints and textile patterns.
If you’re the kind of person who finds themselves browsing through Juxtapoz often, Hannah’s fingerprints would be hard to miss. Serving as the mag’s Illustration & Erotica Editor for several years, Hannah’s taken on curatorial projects to go along with her individual artistic ones, serving as a key player in putting together anthologies like Juxtapoz New Contemporary and Juxtapoz Psychedelic. In looking over Stouffer’s career so far, you can see a lot of intention–both in the detail and conceptual aspects of the work, and in building the kind of relationships that allow you to get paid for doing cool shit by people who have the budget for it. It’s an elusive balance, and one I think a lot of us are still working out.

Hannah’s latest work comes in the form of Omens & Offerings, a solo exhibition up at RVCA’s SF flagship location. When the homie Bob Sagat made the hike out the Haight a few weeks ago, we were able to set up an opportunity to talk to Hannah a little about the show, the meaning behind it, and about what she does more generally. Naturally, I found a way to wedge in a question about Ludacris. Read on below.

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DAYS AT THE FAIR

DAYS AT THE FAIR

We made the push down to Socal for the 2015 L.A. Art Book Fair

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In an era where many claim print to be dead, I came back from The 2015 L.A. Art Book Fair assured that print is as alive as ever. Now if we’re talking about “traditional” print magazines…it might be bad for you. XXL, US Weekly, and everything else you see right before you buy some shit at the supermarket, are in dire straits. Yes, for ya’ll I believe it’s bad.

Yet for a legion of artists, creatives and independent thinkers, print as a medium for expression is as vibrant, resonant and essential as ever.

The 2015 L.A. Art Book Fair was the proof. Amongst a wash of independent publishers and well-executed outfits, the fair featured an ungodly amount of dope, inspiring, inspirational work. Taking up nearly every wall of the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, the fair featured artists and creatives from around the world, united around their love for print.

There was energy that came across many of my interactions throughout the fair. A kinship of sorts when you find a book so on point, you have to hold back from fanning out. Adam Vilacin‘s work did just that, as his recent series, Dead Wrestlers and Dream Team are just plain amazing. The book fair is a little overwhelming to be honest. There’s just so much to see and dive into that sometimes you have to come up for air. Below you will find a sampling of visuals from the event, accompanied by a little commentary in reference to the work.

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TOTALLY STOKED

TOTALLY STOKED

All-around artist Marilyn Rondon keeps it unapologetic and all the way 100

In a world that tells women to shove it up our twats and shut up, I’m just trying to take up space. It’s a simple mantra, really. One that reminds me, while in a hurricane of rage for all things socially and systemically oppressive, that I’m ready for war. A call to action, if you will: Women! Let us take up space! I wear this mantra daily–in the width of my hips and the volume of my voice and the texture of my hair. I wear it in refusing to apologize for my biology or censoring my talk of vibrators and diva cups. And I’m just out here, really. Living that simple truth one day at a time. Trying not to get felt up on public transportation, or belittled for every expressed emotion, or violently yelled at for politely denying a sexual advance from a car full of dudes on my walk home. But a real win is finding other women putting on in the fight, beside me. And my latest ally discovery is the multitalented warrior goddess, Marilyn Rondon.

Marilyn is a self-made Venezuelan queen with a tatted crown to match, a master of all things creative and of keeping it all the way 100. Since beginning her artistic journey at a design high school in Miami, Rondon has followed her heart and affinity for adventure and authenticity into a layered career involving 35mm photography, zine production, paint, installations, modeling, and writing.

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SWIMMING POOLS

SWIMMING POOLS

London-based Annu Kilpelainen supplies the vibes with some wavy illustration work

Art is about energy, the energy the artist puts into his or her work, the energy that shines through the canvas, the headphones, whatever. Art that survives the garbage bin, the drawing board, the little trash can on your computer’s desktop, it should make the audience feel something, happy, sad, whatever, it should trigger something, anything. London-based illustrator Annu Kilpelainen clearly grasps that concept.

Scrolling through her website, I’m struck by just how much energy is embedded in the blistering blues, the sweltering reds. I find myself wanting to see more of the landscapes, to see what’s outside of the frame. I want to know the stories behind the pieces. I want to know the subjects of her work, so much so that I forget they are two dimensional, that they reside in Kilpelainen’s creative stockpile. The easy, rounded, curved lines so prevalent in her work are soothing and comforting, often despite the hectic scenes they create. A car hits an impossible turn along a cliff, a car nosedives into a sky blue swimming pool, Cleopatra holds a pistol in her manicured hands, scenes that feel like still shots from an art house film. All in all, Kilpelainen’s work houses an illustrator’s mastery of color and landscape and pairs that with the intimacy of a well-timed snapshot. Annu is certainly an artist to watch in the New Year.

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JON FOX AT WHITE WALLS SF

JON FOX AT WHITE WALLS SF

The UK-based artists brings a selection of elaborate pieces to the City

Jon Fox

Shouts out Nastia over at Hi-Fructose for the heads up on a very cool show. Next Saturday, White Walls SF will host Jon Fox and a collection of paintings heavy on maney, colorful conflict. Entitled “If You Don’t Object Then You Must Agree,” the show features a curated selection of the UK-based painter and illustrator’s work. Kings, monks, swordfights, skeletons, tree people, cosmic swirly stuff–Fox’s pieces are busy in the best way possible, little visual feasts that keep on giving.

In a super flowery, but still pretty cool artist statement, Fox expounds a little on what’s going on in his work: “Amid a wealth of swirling, coded imagery and layers of geometric forms, apparitions of characters emerge. Embodiments, or manifestations of my own meditative thoughts and feelings. They often appear entangled within cyclical games and conflict, losing their way, or engulfed a midst the swirling clouds of a larger restless energy.” Word. Some selects from his back catalog below, and slide through White Walls next weekend.

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY KYLE PLATTS

ILLUSTRATIONS BY KYLE PLATTS

Colorful scenarios from this London-based illustrator

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I stumbled on Kyle Platts’ work and couldn’t shy away. I mean how could you? I hesitate to say that the London-based illustrator’s work is “layered.” In a sense, that designation rings true, but really Platts lays it all out there at once. There really aren’t layers at all, just a collection of images that could stand alone, but instead work in unison to create a sort of puzzle, one that you can marvel at and appreciate, section by section. There’s a sort of poetry in his work, a sense of acknowledgment of the absurd. It’s easy to see some of his work and chalk it up as juvenile and vulgar, and to an extent you wouldn’t be lying; but there is an undercurrent present throughout that reminds you that the artist is witty, informed and has something substantial to say. Take his most recent work: asked to “create a utopian version of 2015,” Platts, in his trademark style, does exactly that. In one detailed illustration, Platts touches on everything from gun violence to Kobe’s embattled achilles, from a cure to Ebola to peace between Palestinians and Israelis. All in all, Platt’s work is reminiscent of an Archie comic–if Archie comics were made by someone hip, unafraid and just a bit absurd.

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MEET BASS COAT

MEET BASS COAT

Joshua Fisher and Eda Levenson fuse nail art and music into an immersive live experience

Joshua Fisher and Eda Levenson are best friends and creative collaborators. After meeting in their freshman year of college at UC Santa Cruz, they quickly connected through their shared interest in social justice work and artistic expression. But when the two entered separate grad schools that put 1,000 miles of separation between them, their bond only strengthened, inspiring the duo to expand culturally and creatively, together.

These days, Joshua is better known as DJ Creelfish, with a residency at The Layover and a stacked Soundcloud, while Brooklyn-based Eda works under her alias Lady Fancy Nails, boasting an impressive collection of nail artwork, and a following of adoring fans. Together, however, they are Bass Coat; a bi-coastal collaboration of audio, visual, live, and wearable art. In fusing their respective mediums, Eda and Joshua manifest as Bass Coat to create eclectic mixes and performance-based events for their friends and following. The latest edition of the Bass Coat mixes just dropped this week, in anticipation of their collaborative event with our friends at Flavourhood, fixing to crack this Saturday night at Urban Stitch Boutique. “It’s going to be multiple forms and ways to interact with creativity,” says Eda. “Like, audio, visual… or nah,” she laughs. To unpack the meanings and makings behind Bass Coat, and their upcoming event, I sat down with Joshua and Eda, who expanded upon their creative instincts, gender politics, and art as a means for social activism.

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ON FROZE

ON FROZE

Born and raised in LA, visual artist Brvinfreeze captures some of the city's stranger scenes

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“I like it because it’s very green and still looks kind of terroristic.” Brvinfreeze, habitual shooter and graphic artist, has just sent me a self portrait. He’s sitting in what’s ostensibly his backyard patio, one leg crossed over his lap, rocking khakis and chucks and a black wool ski-mask. In a brief couple of conversations, he’s been anything but confrontational. “I’m nice as fuck,” he tells me in a text, “but also very FTW.” That combination, good-natured humor meets appetite for destruction–comes across in the work, displayed on his Tumblr and Instagram in a well-curated stream of playful anarchy.

Brvinfreeze’s work ranges from graf throwups, to street shots, to collage, and it’s stronger for its diversity. After all, the Eastern half of Los Angeles is a place that allows you to pull a lot into your orbit. BF stitches together the common threads from disparate scenes: perusing his Tumblr, you’ll find everything from late night tagging missions to Ham on Everything parties, from GG Allin to the Basedgod. Recently, he’s had the chance to channel his own based stream-of-conscious approach across the pages of his own print works, publishing his debut zine (RELAX) and book (Colors) through Nighted Life. On the tail end of a big 2014, we caught up with the young artist, and took some time to dig into the archives.

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FEELS II: THE ARTISTS

FEELS II: THE ARTISTS

An intro to the many talented folks taking over the walls of Oakland Terminal this Saturday

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There’s a reason why the flyer reads a little like a movie poster. We’re surrounded out here…it’s damn near overwhelming. Even with a roster of 20+, I can think of a few dozen heads that could’ve easily been on the show that aren’t. Anyways, weird cultural rituals aside, we have a lot of reasons to be thankful for the community we live in. The last few days have understandably seen some chaotic shit in Oakland, but we’ve been feeling the love from all directions. Thanks for the feels EBX, thanks to friends and fam, and thanks especially to the creative folks putting in the legwork to make this one go. Good things ahead.

Below is a very brief introduction to some creative individuals you should get to know, if don’t already. The collection of artists taking over the walls of Oakland Terminal this weekend are all over the map in terms of medium, but again, there are undeniable common threads running through their work. Whether it’s gritty, in-the-moment snaps off the street, or intricately detailed illustrations, each of our folks has a talent for creating vibey, resonant images. They’re able to pull things out of everyday life that are weirdly poignant, or poignantly weird. Some pieces are loud and psychedelic, and some stark and simple. All of them are things we’re proud to share. Click the names or pictures to learn more. Two more days.


BUY TICKETS TO FEELS II

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OVER THE RAINBOW

OVER THE RAINBOW

Chris Ritson brings a psychedelic set of sculptures to B4BEL4B

Chris Ritson

If you’ve had a chance to spend a night inside the walls of B4BEL4B, you have an idea of what to expect with this one. On the right night, stepping inside can feel like dipping your toes into an alternate universe, or at least a very cool corner of Oakland’s experimental arts scene. In September, Hawa’s MAS#ALLAH residency put a spotlight on emerging voices in a global community of Middle Eastern artists. Then, in October, B4BEL4B teamed up with art-and-tech powerhouse Codame for a hyper-futurist visual feast with Ephemeral Vessels.

This month, they’ll be hosting work from Honolulu-based artist Chris Ritson, whose 3-D work combines traditional sculpture with bismuth crystal, combining natural, organic processes with his own artistic intention with stunning results. As Chris puts it himself, Chris’ work “serves to create dialogue with the environment and imagine new roles and modes of interacting with nature,” allowing his pieces to “speak to our cultural anxieties and relationships with nature, analyzing the myths and prerogatives specific to a psychology of the self.” Visually, we’re talking vivid, kaleidoscopic color blooming out of pristine white sculptures, creating a contrast you can’t help but be drawn in by. The show, Over the Rainbow, opens this Friday. Details here and here, and some work below.

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BY DESIGN

BY DESIGN

Madrid's Carmen Fernandez Sanz keeps it fresh with her ongoing pattern collection

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It’s never been so pleasant to fall down the rabbit hole than when you come across a dope artist on the internet. It’s so affirming isn’t it? My take is that there’s always been incredible artists since the beginning of time, but only until the advent of the internet have we been able to access the work of so many. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when considering the work of Carmen Fernandez Sanz. Based in Madrid, Spain, Carmen’s vibrant pattern work is captivating and timeless. Transitioning from a career in fashion design to surface pattern design, today Carmen’s work is available on everything from coffee mugs to shower curtains. Consider the following an introduction, but we’re pretty sure this isn’t the last you’ll be seeing from Carmen within these pages.

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