CITY BY THE LAKE

CITY BY THE LAKE

Rio-based photographer Tiago Sperotto on his photographic journey back home to Porto Alegre

Photography by Tiago Sperotto

It was 2010 when I first connected with Tiago Sperotto. On the verge of being fired from my first post-college job as a barista, on my last day, Tiago approached me with a simple question. “Dude, do you know anyone that needs some photography work done?” It was a serendipitous question, as the Bowties, still in its infantile stages, was in dire need of a shooter to add to the team.

From there, the rest is history, although our journey is still only beginning. Lending his photographic skills to a number of shoots for us over the years, it was love that eventually brought Tiago back to his native country of Brazil in 2011, where he still lives today. Currently residing in Rio, but raised in Porto Alegre, Tiago’s most recent work showcases some of the gorgeous environs the city has to offer. Chatting about his upbringing in Porto, the city’s evolution, and the magic of Guaiba Lake, Tiago offered some insight into what makes Porto Alegre so special.

Read More

“BLEEDER”

“BLEEDER”

Abstract perfomance artist Jared Clark creates colorful imagery through an unorthodox approach

Find your medium, and go for it. It’s a message we’ve been promoting on the Bowties since the beginning. Whether you’re creating coloring books for today’s hottest rappers, or building modernist sand castles out of well, sand, there are infinite possibilities when it comes to creativity. Most recently, the whimsical work of Jared Clark exemplifies this idea quite well. In his recent work, simply titled “Bleeder”, Jared manipulates paper and ink in a way unlike any other I (or maybe you) have come across.

When discussing his creative approach, Jared states, “The series came naturally from this idea of filming the bleed images of markers – and using physical limitations as a way of keeping the image pure. Once the physical limitation ideas took the forefront, I turned the camera from the paper to myself and a path into performance was born.” If it feels a bit like I’m leaving something out, you might want to hit the MORE for a better idea of how Jared goes about creating these abstract pieces.

Read More

“CAN I BUM A CIG?”

“CAN I BUM A CIG?”

A short cultural history of tobacco advertising in America

Irving Penn
from Irving Penn’s “Cigarettes”

It’s hard to deny the allure of cigarettes. A looming presence in the cultural history of America and beyond, the cigarette has now become perhaps the single most indelible symbol of the intangible essence of cool. Whether dangling from the lips of James Dean, or as an accessory to the sumptuous aesthetic of high fashion, the cigarette has played a pivotal role over the last few centuries in constructing an aura of leisurely pleasure.

Today, the marketing landscape for cigarettes has changed dramatically, although many still condemn cigarette companies for their subversive advertising tactics. First introduced to the American public through an advertisement in a local New York newspaper in 1789, it was in fact the Lorillard Tobacco Company that first familiarized America with the seductive pull of tobacco-related advertising.

Read More

BIOLOGY, YESTERDAY

BIOLOGY, YESTERDAY

What the trippy illustrations from a 1972 textbook can tell us about the intersection between art and science

Biology Today

It couldn’t have just been the drugs, right? I suppose it was a combination of things–a golden age for psychedelic art and graphic design, an era when every new scientific discovery seemed to be expanding our collective understanding of human nature, a thousand Ram Dass or Sagan-inspired fusions between both of those worlds. All I know is my textbooks growing up, from the late part of the last century and the early years of this one, just didn’t look like this.

Biology Today, printed in three separate editions for college-level science students, was a prime example of the confluence between the aesthetic and scientific realms that seemed to characterize its particular time period in the world of popular science. In addition to some fifty-plus editorial contributors–seven of them Nobel laureates–Biology Today called on an impressive collection of the era’s most imaginative visual communicators in order to explore and interpret the subject matter at hand. Spanning virtually every medium imaginable, the illustrations, paintings, photo montages and diagrams supplied by those artists bring to life those concepts with psychedelic, surrealistic imagery–from reimagined biblical scenes, to visualizations of drug trips, to cell structures and all kinds of groovy body parts. For the design folks, this is some solid vintage eye candy. For the TED Talk crowd, it’s a reminder of just how far we can take things when we blur the lines between disciplines. And finally, yeah, it’s not a bad advertisement for doing a whole bunch of drugs either. Thanks to 50 Watts, for the inspiration.

Read More

LCD: THE BOOK

LCD: THE BOOK

Photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya captures the unforgettable moments from LCD Soundsystem's glorious run

LCD Ruvan Wijesooriya

If you’ve seen LCD’s farwell concert doc, Shut Up and Play the Hits, you’ll have to remember the last shot in the movie. That goofy kid with tears streaming down his face encapsulated the feelings of a million loyal followers all at once, in a handful of endearingly embarrassing pans across his face. To me, as an ending, it seemed pretty damn fitting for James Murphy: equal parts tongue-in-cheek, flat-out funny and genuinely poignant, not unlike more than a few of LCD’s most memorable songs. Despite the fact that no one really plans to start being a world famous rock star in their mid-’30s, something about LCD’s run just seemed so goddamn perfect, for lack of a better word. A mission statement first single, three unbelievable albums, and then you bow out at the height of your powers, to a sold out Madison Square Garden, bursting at the seams with adoring fans and white balloons.

Of course, that’s a brief history. So fortunately for all of us, photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya was there to capture the moments as they happened, at least during the tail end of LCD’s glorious journey. Aside from having a knack for snapping iconic portraits of James, Nancy, Pat and company, Wijesooriya also pays just as much attention to the surrounding scenery. Crowd shots, clusters of balloons and oceans of plastic cups color the pages of LCD, alongside performance and studio shots, giving us all at least a vague sense of what it actually might have been like to be along for the ride, from Hyde Park to Williamsburg to Indio, and everywhere in between. Elegantly put together by James Timmins, and featuring a handful of exclusive interviews, it’s a solid coffee table option all around. And for those of us who have been grieving with “All My Friends” on repeat for the last two or three years, it’s kind of a must-cop. Feel free to do so here.

Read More

NOT ANOTHER MAGAZINE…

NOT ANOTHER MAGAZINE…

A conversation on publishing and the new media landscape with Oliver Maxwell Kupper

Reviving print through his own unique lens, Oliver Maxwell Kupper sits at the crossroads of the changing face of publishing. Inspired by his passion for photography, as well as a handful of vintage art house publications and periodicals, Kupper made his own foray into the art and culture world alongside photographer and creative partner Adarsha Benjamin, with the creation of Pas Un Autre. Translating as “Not Another”, Pas functions as Kupper’s literary and creative outlet. As the publication’s founder and editor-in-chief, Oliver’s daily routine consists of creating and curating content, while constantly growing Pas’ sphere of influence.

Perhaps Oliver’s greatest accomplishment thus far though, has come in the form of his journal’s recent transition from the online world into printed form, defying conventional wisdom, and bucking the trend of an increasingly digitized publishing world. Since publishing its first issue in May of 2011, Autre has since garnered a global following for its sharp aesthetic, nuanced editorials, and features with art world luminaries, from James Franco and Yoko Ono, to famed artist and designer Kaws and oddball indie god Ariel Pink. Throughout, Oliver has maintained a sharp vision and an aesthetic sensibility that’s helped distinguish the Pas brand across both platforms. Recently, we sat down with Oliver to touch on his influences, and get inside the mind of a creative at the vanguard of new media publishing.

Read More

SAND MANSIONS

SAND MANSIONS

Calvin Seibert innovates with his interpretation of the time honored sand castle

Sandcastles were fun back in the day. Back in the days when we were all about waist high and had a couple teeth missing. Fortunately, for art’s sake, some of us never graduated from those cherished beach days. Sand sculptor Calvin Seibert is one of those people. Manipulating sand into clean, distinct geometric formations, Seibert’s creations resemble something closer to mid-century architectural structures than just mere sand castles. Over the past six years, Seibert has developed his celebrated sand aesthetic, creating works that are a stark contrast from the bucket and pale castles you and I used to make. With a ton more creations on view at his Flickr page, Seibert’s work is a reminder that anything can be made dope with a dose of passion and creativity.

Read More

HELLO BROOKLYN

HELLO BROOKLYN

One B, Two Z's. A conversation with street photographer and cultural documentarian Jamel Shabazz

Legendary photographer and cultural documentarian Jamel Shabazz captured the spirit of Brooklyn in one of its most turbulent eras. In our conversation with Jamel, he offered up invaluable insight on a number of things, from the importance of intuition to the true meaning of cool.

Read More

DETROIT: THEN & NOW

DETROIT: THEN & NOW

Superimposed photography from Detroit's vibrant past

Detroit. Once America’s promising haven for economic growth and prosperity has since fallen into a dismal free-fall of despair and deprivation. A symbol of America’s industrial might in the 1950’s, during the decade Detroit held the countries’ highest median income and the highest rate of home ownership. Unfortunately, the past sixty years haven’t been as kind to the Motor City; the decline and relocation of the American auto industry from Detroit to Mexico and other countries offering cheaper labor costs left the city in dire straits. With the loss of industry came the loss of jobs, and with the loss of jobs came a devastating downturn in the city’s population. In an unprecedented arc of growth and decline, the past century has seen Detroit’s population surge from a mere 285,700 in 1910, to over 1,800,000 in 1950, only to shrink back to a discouraging figure of 713,000 in the year 2010. With little industry and a still declining population, today, in many ways Detroit has become a symbol of the process of urban decay.

Fortunately, there are those who care about Detroit’s past and subsequent future. In efforts to “raise awareness of the social and economic challenges the city of Detroit faces,” urban exploration enthusiasts simply known as Detroiturbex have compiled a collection of captivating photos documenting the rise and fall of America’s illustrious city. Focusing their lens on Lewis Cass Technical High School, the project documents the school’s rise and subsequent fall by superimposing vintage photographs from the school, on top of identically composed pictures of the abandoned school’s now dilapidated environment. In doing so, the project serves as a sobering visual time capsule of Detroit’s vibrant past and dreary present.

Read More

EXPLANATORY POWER

EXPLANATORY POWER

Mixed media artist Jesse Draxler on influence, inspiration and the beauty of monochrome

Jesse Draxler

When I first came across the work of Jesse Draxler, it was his sketchbook series that pulled me in. Borrowing bits and pieces from media both old and new, and filling in the empty space around them with colorful touches of his own, even Jesse’s roughest collage work put on display nothing so much as an expansive imagination. More importantly, it offered a brief, but valuable glimpse into the artist’s creative process. Less than a year after my discovery, Jesse’s evolution as an artist was happening fast, from solo shows in Echo Park and Minneapolis, to commissions for The New York Times.

Over the coming months, his collage and design work seemed to become increasingly focused, often stripping away loud color in favor of razor sharp intentionality and aesthetic cohesion. These days, Jesse’s series are striking and exact–psychological and often dark, with images and ideas juxtaposed in unexpected and thought-provoking ways. Themes of sexuality, and occasionally, violence predominate in some collections, while others simply play off geometric shapes or aesthetic principles. But each piece comes as a part of a bigger whole, with each series giving us a look at a new corner of that ever-expanding imagination. A few months removed from showcasing his Untitled series at our Black & White show this summer, we figured it was time to catch up with Jesse once again, and to explore with him all the places he’s been at artistically of late. From the mythology of Basquiat to the power of simplicity, read on for a glimpse inside the mind of Jesse Draxler.

Read More

THE COCONUT REVOLUTION

THE COCONUT REVOLUTION

How a tiny island nation orchestrated the world's first eco-revolution

The Coconut Revolution

“This is the story of an unsung people, who took on Papua New Guinea, Australia and the biggest mining company in the world–who started by fighting helicopter gunships with bows and arrows, and who have lost a tenth of their population–and yet have managed to create what may be the world’s first true eco-revolution.”

When I saw Michael Lewis speak in Berkeley the other night, he said something pretty revelatory about his creative process as a writer. Basically, he told us that his favorite part of his creative process as a storyteller was finding a story too good to fuck up–that he found himself motivated most by the fact that he’d been entrusted to tell a story so compelling in and of itself, that even if he told it just competently, it would make for something entirely captivating. I’d imagine British director Dom Rotheroe must have felt the same way about the story he found upon arriving, flanked by revolutionary soldiers, in a tiny boat on the shores of Bougainville. His film, The Coconut Revolution, released a decade ago, tells the improbable story of an indigenous people whose sheer force of will and ingenuity overcame staggering odds. It’s the story of their fight for their land, their culture, and their independence–and of a rare and extraordinary exception to what tends to be the rule of global capitalism.

Read More