Adventures in Art with Jayson Musson

Adventures In Art With Jayson Musson

The creative mind behind Art Thoughtz debuts a new web series

There is a mastery to how artist Jayson Musson integrates hip-hop into his works of art. The painter, sculptor, and the creator of several successful web series, is adept at using the hip-hop vocabulary to point out the absurdities of the art world and vice versa. His 2010 video series, Art Thoughtz, found him in character as art and rap sage Hennessy Youngman, who compares the self-mythologizing strategies of Joseph Beuys and Jay-Z in building their legend as artists. The forward and funny series managed to be accessible while exploring some of the more inaccessible corners of the art world. Throughout Art Thoughtz, Youngman guides viewers through employing excessive ambiguity or exploiting “Rococo trappings” as keys to making “an art,” all with the bravado of a rapper in his prime. In one particular episode directed at black artists, Youngman preaches the importance of tailoring black art to white audiences using anger and slavery to guilt observers into attention. While he delivers his advice, the message “SLAVERY Y’ALL” flashes in big, brightly colored letters across the screen.

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SPRINKLE ME

SPRINKLE ME

Brandon Tauszik & Cameron Woodward take us inside the creative video production house known as Sprinkle Lab

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It was Brandon Tauszik’s poignant documentation of streetside murder memorials that originally introduced us to one half of the creative partnership behind Sprinkle Lab. A videographer turned photo documentarian, Brandon’s a fixture of the Oakland arts scene, and has popped up here and elsewhere for work that’s stark, deliberate, and no frills in its approach. In 2012, Brandon partnered with his business savvy co-founder Cameron Woodward to form the indie video production house Sprinkle Lab.

Having crafted memorable videos for Bowties favorites like Antwon, Main Attrakionz, and Queens D. Light, and lifestyle campaigns for Levi’s and Mishka, their portfolio is an eclectic mix of art house visuals and for-hire commercial work. A few years in, it seems the future is bright for the duo. Having added a team of creatives to the squad in the past two years, today Sprinkle Lab runs as a lean business with their eyes on developing engaging visuals. Sitting down with Brandon and Cameron in their studio, we spoke to the founders about their early days as business owners, the challenges of entrepreneurship, and the greatness of Beyonce.

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FOTO BOMBING AT OAKLAND TERMINAL

FOTO BOMBING AT OAKLAND TERMINAL

@BAZOOKAFILMS77 and King 157 headline a community celebration this Friday

King 157

Can’t think of too many places putting on harder for the local artist community right now than Oakland Terminal. Whether it’s hosting weekend turnups with friends like Queens D. Light and Willie Maze, or showcasing Oakland street art history with TDK and TMC, or opening up their doors for Feels II, Terminal has been a West Oakland arts hub for a minute now.

On Thursday and Friday, they’ll be hosting a show headlined by Chicago and San Antonio-based artist and filmmaker Jaime Sanchez, known to the interwebs as @BAZOOKAFILMS77. Known for showcasing the work of street artists through video pieces documenting their process, Jaime is joined here by Bay graf superstar King 157, Lundgren Photography, and a handful of other creatives. In conjunction with the show, Terminal will be putting on for the community once again, hosting a Winter gear drive for the homeless community in West Oakland. If you’re sitting on some under-utilized jackets, scarves, or hoodies, slide through Friday, or holler at OT at oaklandterminal@gmail.com for details. Keep up with the latest from them here, and catch some Bazooka Films selects below.

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BLACK RADICAL IMAGINATION AT YBCA

BLACK RADICAL IMAGINATION AT YBCA

A celebration of futurism, surrealism, and cutting-edge black cinema

Black Radical Imagination

When we first met Erin Christovale, she was busy organizing a brilliant series of L.A. art events and happenings with the Native Thinghood collective. Harnessing the creative energy of a core of young artists, Thinghood wrapped avant garde impulses in an approachable vibe, mostly due to the great folks behind it. Fast forward a few years, and Erin has been at work, along with co-curator Amir George, in creating community around forward-thinking black cinema. With Black Radical Imagination, Erin and Amir have created a touring forum to celebrate the tradition of afro-futurism and afro-surrealism, and the filmmakers carrying the torch today. Under that banner, BRI has held screenings, gallery events, and panel discussions with a who’s who of up-and-coming film visionaries.

This week, Black Radical Imagination has set up shop at SF’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for their half of a two-part exhibition New Black Cinema X 2. Showcasing a program of short works, this installment of BRI will feature contributions from directors Jeanette Ehlers, Lewis Vaughn, Sanford Biggers, Lauren Kelley, Ephraim Asili, and Vashti Harrison, and Terence Nance, director of 2012’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty–each offering work that’s “radical” or experimental in some sense, from non-traditional narrative to surrealist imagery. Honestly, can’t recommend this one enough. Grab tickets here, and we’ll catch you out there tomorrow night at 6.

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A COACH IN THE KILL ZONE

A COACH IN THE KILL ZONE

A look inside Castlemont High School's Football team and the coach looking to transform it from within

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Oakland breeds heroes. Something tells me it’s been like that since the beginning. People just move with purpose out here. Maybe it’s in the air. The most recent independent film that’s come across our table focuses an eye on East Oakland, and more specifically Castlemont High. A short documentary that expresses the bond between sports and community, A Coach in The Kill Zone sheds an unwavering glimpse into the life of Edward Washington, the newly enlisted football coach at Oakland’s Castlemont High School.

With three years having passed since the Knight’s last win, at the ripe age of 25, Ed’s challenge is to turn the program around in the face of immense obstacles on and off the field.

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POWER UP

POWER UP

An intimate conversation with Elaine Brown over The Black Power Mixtape

Photo by Jasmin Porter

As Elaine spoke, I tried not to blink. My eyes, welled up with water were about to burst and I didn’t want her to see a tear stream down my face in the middle of a Q&A. “What the hell you cryin, for?” She’d probably ask. The moment was real, and I felt it. But I wasn’t the only one.

On Thursday night we partnered with our friends at Oakland Surf Club to present a screening of The Black Power Mixtape. After some brief technical difficulties, we screened the film to a beautiful audience of artists, creatives and thinkers. The room was so thick that people were standing, it was a squeeze to even find a place to be. A few moments before the film, we were blessed by Elaine Brown, the former Chair of the Black Panthers and still an activist at heart. With her dynamic voice, loaded with purpose she spoke to us about the 1960’s, contextualizing the film through a searing history lesson of race relations in Oakland and abroad.

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THE VILLAGE OF PEACE HITS THE TOWN

THE VILLAGE OF PEACE HITS THE TOWN

Berkeley's favorite indie film crew comes home to tell the story of the African Hebrew Israelites

Village of Peace

A few years ago, we threw up an early trailer for a documentary called The Village of Peace. Directed by Niko Philipides and Ben Schuder, the film offers a look into the world of the African Hebrew Israelites, a small black community that uprooted itself from the turbulence and oppression of 1960’s Chicago to relocate in Dimona, Israel. The migration brought roughly 300 people to Israel, with the intention of founding a society based on a strict set of principles–among many others, polygamy, veganism, and the study of ancient scripture.

Today, Village of Peace is a finished product, having begun to make the festival rounds and even garnering some unexpected support from NBA superstar (and now, exec producer) Amare Stoudemire. As they were able to do (hugely) successfully with their feature debut, Licks, Niko, Ben, Jack, Aaron, and the rest of the team behind the film will be bringing VOP home tomorrow to the Grand Lake, as a part of the SF Jewish Film Festival. For folks who appreciate indie filmmaking, or who want an opportunity to soak up some knowledge about life in a different paradigm, this should be dope. Screening starts tomorrow, Friday the 8th, at 2:30. Tickets here.

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