WOMEN OF JUAREZ

WOMEN OF JUAREZ

Katie Orlinsky photographs the women of Mexico's deadly drug war


Women of Juarez Katie Orlinsky
Photography by Katie Orlinsky

When a portrait is really good, it doesn’t just capture the subject’s essence – it gives you a glimpse into their world. Even better, is when that world is something most don’t even know exists.

Katie Orlinsky’s beautiful black and white photographs in her series Prison Portraits: The Ciudad Juarez Women’s Prison do just that. Living in El Diario of Ciudad Juarez, the then murder and drug capital of Mexico, Orlinsky sought out the women’s prison to capture images of the prisoners. What emerged are stunning black and white portraits that give a face to the growing female population participating in drug-related crime.

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Through My Lens

Through My Lens

A photographic glimpse into the life of Daghe

With the digital age already in full swing, the realm of photography has, in many ways been turned upside down. The ubiquity of camera phones and the rise of Instagram have made taking a photo easier than ever. Yet with the rise in convenience comes a greater appreciation for time honored approaches to the art form. Enter film.

Shunning the “vintage filters” in exchange for the gritty imperfections of a film photo, our friend Daghe has amassed a collection of photographs that paint a vivid picture of his experiences and interactions. Shooting everything from bad bads and It’s It bars, to party pics and L.A. landscapes, Daghe’s images relate the eclecticism of his on-the-go lifestyle, teaching us all how to really move and shake in the 2K13.

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HORT vs. NIKE

HORT Vs. NIKE

Berlin's powerhouse design collective lends a hand to Nike basketball

It was only after I started meeting graphic designers (mainly Russ and Hass) that I began to acknowledge the essential nature of design. Before working alongside them, I grossly disregarded the importance of thoughtful design when it comes to representing an idea, concept or business. The advent of the Adobe Suite has revolutionized the field for our generation, yet with so many tools at our disposable it seems there are still those that are able to use the tools better than others.

Billed as “a playground for creative people,” Berlin-based graphic design house HORT has garnered love across the globe for their fearless approach to design. Working in a variety of media, from large scale installations to editorial work, to full scale rebrandings and stationary, the design collective has amassed an exceptional portfolio of creative works. With nearly a six-month wait list just to apply for an internship, it’s easy to see why HORT receives the love they do. Recently, the collective put together a collection of some of their collaborative work with Nike. Entitled HORT vs. Nike, the collective was given the assignment to develop a set of rules and design graphic elements that were adaptable and could easily be used by the Nike graphic department. The theme of each poster was based on comparisons between two parties. Only scratching the surface of HORT’s collective capabilities, the HORT vs. Nike collaboration is a good starting point for us hoop fans with a love for design on the side.

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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Rebekkah Castellanos' photographic journey across China

It’s been a few years now since we first met Rebekkah Castellanos. When considering her artistic progression, much has changed, while some things have stayed the same. First and foremost, Rebekkah still takes incredible photographs, but more recently, she’s also added music to her growing repertoire, as one half of the group Xolo alongside her boyfriend Justin Cefai. In the Summer of 2012, Rebekkah had the opportunity travel to China. The trip was a gift to her and her family, in return for housing a foreign exchange student from Beijing in their home nearly two years ago.

Blessed with a round trip ticket, Rebekkah jumped at the opportunity, making stops in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai while braving eminent typhoons and culture shock in the process. Never without a camera, Rebekkah captured her experiences in an extraordinary fashion. From the ancient Terracotta Warriors and Buddhist temples, to sprawling urban centers, and impromptu portraits of the people she encountered, Rebekkah managed to to soak up all the visual inspiration these diverse locales had to offer. Fortunately for us, she’s been kind enough to share her journey with the Bowties.

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HOMES OF THE FUTURE

HOMES OF THE FUTURE

Charles Schridde's vivid vision of life in the decades to come

I couldn’t have been the only one whose jaw dropped when we were given our first glimpse into the exquisite home of Mr. & Mrs. Draper in the fifth season of Mad Men. Their apartment was doper than nearly anything I’d ever seen–chic, minimal and full of vibrancy, their abode made me wonder if homes of the sixties really looked like that. It wasn’t until recently then that I came across the work of Charles Schridde.

A Wild West enthusiast and commercial illustrator by trade, Shridde was commissioned by Motorola to envision the homes of the future, stunning, luxurious and perfectly situated to house Motorola’s most recent line of radio equipment and large-screen (19 inches) television monitors. The year was 1961. Taking on the enviable commission, the illustrator got to work creating an array of visuals that ran in Life Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post from 1961 to 1963, depicting these elegant dream-homes, symbiotically nestled into their natural surroundinngs. Today, those illustrations provide some vintage visual inspiration, as well as serving their original intention, allowing us to imagine the possibilities of the future.

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A LOOK INSIDE LICKS

A LOOK INSIDE LICKS

Tragic and redemptive, Jonathan Singer-Vine's feature film debut brings a powerful Oakland story to life

There’s something about the montage that effectively opens Licks that sends shivers down your spine. As the opening credits roll, Oakland scenery drifts by outside the passenger seat window–stately Victorians, liquor stores, kids playing–all set to Lykke Li’s gorgeously delicate “Time Flies”. A lone car creeps down the block, while an unsuspecting kid stands on his stoop, looks up, and catches a bullet to the head. His mother comes barreling down the stairs, torn apart already, and collapses on her son’s body. The sequence is hauntingly beautiful, an unforgettable introduction to Jonathan Singer-Vine’s gripping directorial debut.

Nearly three years in the making, Licks is nothing if not a labor of love. From writing and developing the script along with his good friend Justin “Hongry” Robinson (also known for his musical exploits as Hongry Hussein), to casting, to location scouting, to shooting and even promoting the film–Jonny and a small team of talented collaborators took on virtually every aspect of the process of shooting their first feature film independently. Notably, the film was shot entirely in the East Bay, with a limited budget, and an impressive cast made up almost exclusively of first-time actors and Oakland natives. The result of all the challenges first-time filmmaking presented them with is a film that feels authentic, raw and full of purpose.

The narrative of Licks follows D, a young man whose botched armed robbery attempt lands him a two-year bid in prison and a pair of bullet wounds. Two years later, D returns home to find a neighborhood in paralysis. For an ex-felon, drugs and violent crime seem like his only viable option, and now, even more than before, D finds himself surrounded by temptation and tragedy. It’s a coming of age story heavy on tragic realism–far from mere sensationalism, the heavy doses of violence, sex and drug use that punctuate the narrative serve the function of telling D’s story in all the graphic, grimy detail it deserves. Of course, we’re hardly the first ones to pick up on Licks‘ appeal. The film made its festival debut last month at SXSW, where it was one of just eight movies nominated for an award. Tonight, it’s set to make its Bay Area debut as a part of the Oakland International Film Festival, at the historic Grand Lake Theater.

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ANDY’S WORLD

ANDY’S WORLD

A glimpse inside the creative universe of illustrator and visual artist Andy Rementer

A few weeks ago, we first shared the illustrations of Andy Rementer. Colorful and refreshingly clever, Andy’s work manages to blend insight with humor, all wrapped in his signature, distinctive aesthetic. While our first feature on the artist showcased his comic series, Techno Tuesdays, Andy’s portfolio is vast and varied. Covering everything from white walls and wrapping paper to pillow cases and the pages of the New York Times, Andy’s signature style has been showcased in galleries around the world. Somewhere between Paris and New York, Andy gave us the opportunity to catch up with him about his favorite work music, dream collabs, and the pitfalls of digital dependence.

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IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS

IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS

Conceptual performance artist Bas Jan Ader left behind a limited but iconic oeuvre, then disappeared at sea forever

Bas Jan Ader

Somewhere between Cape Cod and the Western shore of Ireland, Bas Jan Ader was most likely swallowed up by the sea. His final art piece, In Search of the Miraculous, would consist of a botched journey across the Atlantic in a twelve-foot sailboat, the smallest vessel ever to make its way across that vast stretch of ocean. When the boat washed up on shore, Ader’s body was nowhere to be found, and though even his friends and family thought his death to be an elaborate hoax, his disappearance has remained an enigma ever since.

Over the course of the previous decade, Ader had amassed a small collection of masterpieces, each of them notable for their utter simplicity. It would be hard to imagine another artist so mythologized, based on such a limited body of output. But the works most often cited in connection with Bas Jan Ader’s name, including, perhaps most notably, his final voyage, carry with them an eerie sense of purpose, and a minimal aesthetic geared for undeniable communicative power. Many of his most famous works are short, performance-based films of Ader himself, some of them featuring short but unforgettable messages, penned by hand. In the years since his 1975 disappearance, Ader has become something of a cult figure in the contemporary art world, with creatives of every stripe developing their own romanticized notions about who the artist was, and the mystery surrounding his death. Among other things, the 2007 feature-length documentary, Here Is Always Somewhere Else, explores his life and final days in great detail. I suppose I’m only the latest to be pulled into the orbit a story like his creates.

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IN THE NAME OF LOVE

IN THE NAME OF LOVE

Facing discrimination, Uganda's gay community is finding a voice, and Rachel Adams is there to tell their story

Rachel Adams

The world is changing fast. A half century removed from colonialism and a quarter century after the reign of Idi Amin, Uganda is facing all the challenges that come along with an underdeveloped economy and a legacy of political turmoil and sweeping tragedy. More recently though, one story caught the attention of the global community, which shed a troubling light on the tension within Uganda, between old and new ideas. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, first proposed in 2009 by Member of Parliament David Bahati, represents a substantial threat to Uganda’s LGBT community on the whole, proposing harsh criminalization of homosexual behavior of any kind. In some versions of the bill, offences have carried with them proposed punishments such as life imprisonment and even the death penalty. It would be hard to imagine a more high-tension backdrop for ground level photojournalism than the one UK-born, Cairo-based photographer Rachel Adams has chosen to explore.

There’s something genuinely heroic about the kind of DIY journalism Adams does. With something as simple as a camera and a computer, Rachel’s been able to offer a glimpse into a world, and a set of issues of that might otherwise remain impenetrable. Of course, from afar, it’s the kind of situation that’s easy to moralize about in broad, sweeping terms. But for Rachel, watching from home hardly seemed like something she could do.

And so last year, Rachel found herself in Kampala, Uganda for a small, but momentous event in the history of the LGBT community there: their first pride parade. Through words and images, Rachel told the story of that day–all the way up to its unfortunate conclusion, which included several arrests by local authorities–and soon after attracted the attention of media outlets worldwide. Already, Rachel had captured a powerful moment, a snapshot of a community pushed to the fringes of their society, struggling to be heard, and to find a space in which to celebrate a fundamental piece of their own identities. Since then, Rachel has spent time in Uganda, documenting the issue from all sides, from an intimate portrait series of transgender performers in Kampala, to an in-person interview with Bahati, the man behind the infamous bill, published by Vice late last year. That her own safety and well-being has often been in jeopardy throughout the course of this project isn’t all that surprising, but it should give you an idea of her commitment to great journalism. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Rachel about her experiences, in Uganda and beyond, and about the stories she’s been able to tell so poignantly.

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COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE

COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE

Transatlantic design duo Department International turn exercise to excellence

Department International

Given the platform we’re working on here, it probably wouldn’t surprise you if I told you how impactful the internet has been on my own creative potential. But honestly, it damn near astonishes me every day. In a strange way, we really have the world at our fingertips here–a vast continuum of dope shit to peruse and creatives to connect with. No partnership illustrates that better than Department International, the design firm and creative experiment founded by Brian Okarski and Bobby Singh, two graphic artists living on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Forging a friendship and creative practice via the interwebs, NYC’s Brian Okarski and London’s Bobby Singh began their collaboration with a simple goal: creating something, anything, every day for 100 consecutive days, and sharing their favorite work online. As one might expect, all that practice eventually spawned a rather impressive collection of work, the kind that emerges out of close collaboration and a fruitful exchange of ideas. Psychedelic, warped color and stately typography quickly became staples of the iconic images and hypothetical magazine covers created under the Department International banner, and before long, that mass of recreational material caught the attention of those interested in harnessing Brian and Bobby’s keen aesthetic sensibilities. Among those impressed by DI’s output was our good friend Hassan Rahim, who recruited the duo for the latest in his Ghosting zine series, giving the duo the opportunity to curate a stunning collection of work from their contemporaries. Recently, I had the chance to touch base with Brian and Bobby and ask them a few questions about, among other things, where they’ve been, where they’re headed, and even the genius of Soulja Boy.

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FRANK OCEAN FOR BAND OF OUTSIDERS

FRANK OCEAN FOR BAND OF OUTSIDERS

Frank joins the Band for a candid collection of Polaroids

Frank Ocean

Today it seems as though few are surprised by the meteoric rise of Frank Ocean. I remember it was a Facebook post from Nic Nac that introduced me to the gem lying beneath Odd Future’s massive sphere of influence. A classic album, a poignant letter and a couple Grammys later and April 2013 Frank Ocean, quite frankly (pun intended), can do whatever the fuck he wants. For example, lending his likeness to the searingly relevant aesthetic of Scott Sternberg’s Band of Outsiders. Shot in a whimsical fashion by Sternberg himself outside the Los Angeles Times building, these Polaroid portraits place Frank on an illustrious list of creatives who have graced the pages of Band of Outsiders’ understated campaigns. From Jason Schwartzman to Kirsten Dunst, and now Frank, the Band reminds us that often, it’s not always about the clothes, but more so who’s wearing them.

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