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GANGSTERS DOODLE

We take a look inside the world of Post-It Note Illustrator turned author Marlon Sassy. The Vancouver based artist has grown a considerable following for his hip-hop culture inspired “doodles,” and with his first book under his belt, it seems like things are only going up for our friend Marlon.

Category Archives: Art

CULTURE & CREATIVITY

Charting the artistic pursuits of Stuk Designs founder Brette Sims

Brette Sims
Photography By Max Gibson

What do you think is the value of being fearless?

It’s what separates a brilliant artist from an artist that’s like, “Hmm okay”… almost touching you, but not really. It’s hard to put your art out there. It’s like putting your soul out there to be judged by people.

Read our full interview with artist, designer and Stuk Designs founder Brette Sims here.

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COLÓN TO EAST L.A.: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF GUSMANO CESARETTI

Gusmano Cesaretti

There’s a common thread that ties together each of Gusmano Cesaretti‘s photography collections. Each collection displays his uncanny ability to capture a specific place and time, in a way that feels almost mythical, and yet also deeply personal. While each series, taken as a whole, paints a sort of romanticized portrait of the place in question, the idiosyncratic details of each picture tell a story of their own. The pair of collections currently being shown at Los Angeles’ Roberts & Tilton gallery– the first documenting 1970s East L.A., and the second depicting the harsh realities of Panamanian street life– put some of the most powerful examples of that particular talent on display.

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WILD ANIMALS BY ROP VAN MIERLO

Wild Animals

It always seems like we should show the illustrators and authors of children’s books more love. Personally, I credit folks like Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Bill Watterson, Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein for stretching out my imagination as far as it would go when I was a kid. I suppose what distinguishes the great from good in that category are the books you can flip through fifteen or twenty years later and still be blown away by their creativity or their power to convey complex ideas in deceptively simple ways.

Whether or not it’s intended as a children’s book, in the traditional sense of the word, Rop van Mierlo‘s wordless Wild Animals collection has that same sort of classic feel and elegant simplicity to it. Billed by van Mierlo as “a wild book for civilized people” and “a sophisticated book for wild people”, Wild Animals is a collection of gorgeous watercolors, done in a playful, gestural style that almost recalls Rorschach inkblots. Aside from that, the award-winning work is self-published, and now in its second printing. Read on for a closer look inside, or cop here.

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UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US: THE STORY OF NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL

Until the Light Takes Us

I don’t listen to Norwegian black metal. Until about two hours ago, I couldn’t have told you anything about it, and after spending the better part of that time learning about it, I can’t say I’m rushing to find a download link. But Until the Light Takes Us is just a fascinating film, and for that hour and a half I was immersed in a subculture completely foreign to me. Released to mixed reviews in 2009, the film is the product of directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell’s vision, a documentary compiled through years of interviews and archival footage with some of Norwegian black metal‘s most controversial figures.

That most critiques of Until the Light center around the overly sympathetic, romanticizing tone it takes toward its subjects only makes sense. The story of black metal is, after all, primarily documented as a result of controversy– a series of church burnings, a handful of murders, and some grisly suicides, to be more specific. Beyond that though, the film explores the troubling ideology behind those actions, and behind a cultural phenomenon that captured the world’s attention at its peak in the mid-’90s. For those curious enough, it’s an experience, to say the least. Read on for the full movie.

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GLENN LIGON’S AMERICA

Glenn Ligon

Glenn Ligon is certainly not the first artist to use America as a conceptual framework through which to explore his own identity. But through some combination of Ligon’s unique experience in America, and the biting wit and keen insight he brings to that discussion, his contribution stands as something definitive and original in contemporary art. Most noticeably, Ligon’s art is about being black and about being gay in America. But far from transparent or obvious criticisms about race or sexuality, Ligon’s work is highly conceptual, offering personal meditations that match the complexity of the subject matter he’s approaching.

Sunday, January 22nd marks the last day of Ligon’s America at LACMA, a large-scale, mid-career retrospective commemorating the 61 year-old artist’s life and work so far, and all I can say is that I wish I had gone sooner. The exhibit is both rich in ideas, and diverse in style and form, showcasing Ligon’s evolution as an artist through a comprehensive survey of stylistic experiments. Neon signs reading “America” and “Negro Sunshine” welcome viewers. In another room, huge prints of images from the Million Man March tower above. Perhaps most common in Ligon’s work, however is the use of text, as messages about identity, repeated poetic mantras, and excerpts from a chorus of different voices of black American history– Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Pryor, or early ’90s Ice Cube– line the walls throughout.

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SUNSETS BY TIAGO SPEROTTO

Sunsets By Tiago Sperotto
Photography By Tiago Sperotto

Written and Photographed By Tiago Sperotto

The sunset has always fascinated me, providing inspiration as a child. I used to admire the spectacle provided by nature, watching that huge fireball plunging into the sea or hiding behind the mountains. Since I started taking pictures the dusk was my favorite time of day for shooting. At this time the light becomes ideal, with colors ranging from orange to red to yellow. During the four seasons of the year, the colors of the sunset blend with the clouds, wind, and dust, creating amazing tones in the sky and water. Photography is drawing with light, allowing you to capture what you see with your own two eyes.

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JON SARKIN & COMPULSIVE CREATIVITY

Jon Sarkin

In 1988, Jon Sarkin was working full-time as a chiropractor, when one day, a sharp, paralyzing pain shot through his head. In the weeks after, he suffered from a constant ringing in his ear, and from distortions in his hearing that made even soft noises intolerably loud. Soon after, a visit to the doctor would reveal the source of Sarkin’s suffering, a swollen blood vessel in his brain, which had expanded and impinged on his auditory nerve. The only remedy would be brain surgery, the results of which could range from complete success to catastrophe. When Sarkin awoke after the surgery, his head was bleeding profusely. And something else had changed.

Sarkin had suffered a stroke during surgery, and even after the initial stages of recovery– relearning speech, sitting, walking and other basic tasks– his family would come to notice sweeping changes in his personality. He was considerably less restrained in conversation, unable to filter his thoughts, less responsive to the concerns of others, and distant. As a husband and father, he simply was not the same. Despite the strain put on many of his relationships though, Sarkin soon developed a new passion of sorts. Or maybe it would be more accurate to call it a compulsion. Jon had begun to draw– quite often –and he couldn’t seem to stop.

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THE HOMECOMING

The Homecoming
Photo By Tangni Elizabeth

I think I speak for Will and I both when I say that last Wednesday was nothing short of amazing. To be honest, it felt a bit surreal. It all went by so fast. Nonetheless, The Homecoming was a true moment. Thanks again to everyone that made the night what it was. The celebrations are nothing without you. As usual, many thanks to DJ As-Is for providing the soundtrack to the night and to Tangni and David for capturing the night through their lens.

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VISIONS OF ICELAND

Hlaus

Maybe it’s just the expert work of a few different photographers I’ve seen. Or maybe it’s just that Iceland is so god damn gorgeous that you could show up with a disposable and come out with a phenomenal batch of pictures. Bon Iver’s “Holocene” video, directed by Nabil, definitely seems like a case of the former, and I’d have to say these do too. In any case, it’s pretty cold outside, and coming across these semi-anonymous images, credited only to a Flickr page under Hlaus today, they seemed seasonally appropriate. Shot this past summer, the shots capture the rolling hills, landscapes and mountain ranges of Iceland in a powerful way. If the word “breathtaking” wasn’t so played, it might come in handy here. More from Hlaus here for now. Someday we’ll be out there too.

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SELECTIONS BY GREG GOSSEL

Greg Gossel

Greg Gossel work is focused yet extensive. Similar in aesthetic to the comic book imagery of Roy Lichtenstein, Gossel’s work is an ode to pop art iconography. Juxtaposing a variety of images that take on a new meaning when assembled together, it seems as though much of Gossel’s work celebrates the famous faces of popular culture. Splicing in iconic brand names alongside romantic comic book quotations, Gossel’s collage and silk screening work manages to exist in this timeless realm that blurs the time in which it was made, keeping his work pretty ripe and plenty fresh.

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THE HOMECOMING

The Homecoming

Era Art Bar
19 Grand Avenue
Oakland, 94612

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PORTRAITS OF THE HOMELESS

Portraits of the Homeless
Photography By Lee Jeffries

Biking through the pouring rain two nights ago I wondered what it would be like to be homeless, in the rain. Unimaginably difficult to merely survive without a roof or a place of rest, I tried to empathize with their constant struggle. But I won’t fool you and act like I understood. I couldn’t. All I could do was imagine. Fortunately there are those who have gone to greater lengths than I to understand their struggle. Capturing searing profiles of over 100 different homeless people, U.K.-born photographer, Lee Jeffries has recently showcased this stunning collection of photographs. And while the images within serve to capture a part of Lee’s efforts, I’d recommend checking out Lee’s flickr page to view the full scope of the project.

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SACRED INK: PHOTOGRAPHY BY CEDRIC ARNOLD

Sacred Ink

And I thought I knew some folks that were yatted up. Working out of Bangkok over the last decade, French-British photographer Cedric Arnold turned his attention a few years ago to the ancient Thai tattooing tradition known as Yantra. Steeped in spiritual tradition and mysticism, Yantra tattooing entails an intricate and painstaking process, performed with a long bamboo stick, and typically administered by monks. Sacred Ink, shot on a variety of different cameras, represents Arnold’s attempt to capture a unique aspect of the culture in which he’s immersed himself.

“A body, used as a canvas, every inch of skin filled with sacred text and figures of mythical creatures, all forming a protective shield. A boxer, a monk, a construction worker, a policeman, a soldier, a taxi driver, a shipyard worker, a shaman, a tattoo master; men, women, and their inked protection from evil spirits and bad luck. Enter the world of Thailand’s spiritual “Yantra” tattoo tradition.”

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PASSION & ILLUSTRATION

A chat across the pond with Bristol-based illustrator George McCallum

georgemc

George McCallum
Illustrations By George McCallum

Why do you choose yourself as the main protagonist?

“So people can see what my take on a situation is. It’s quite exciting to be able to literally show someone how your mind works, so they can almost be you. I don’t know if that sounds sort of egotistical of me. It’s not meant to be. I just enjoy doing work about subjects that I know about, and I know the most about me, if you know what I mean.”


Read our full interview with Bristol-based illustrator George McCallum here.

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ICE CUBE CELEBRATES THE EAMES

Who knew that before he was Ice Cube, O’Shea Jackson was on the path to becoming an architectural draftsmen? Sharing his thoughts on the brilliance of designers Charles & Ray Eames, the video, as a part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative, is a lesson in history and architecture. Celebrated for creating the Eames Lounge Chair amongst other notable creations, the couples contributions to the realm of architecture and furniture design are nearly unparallelled. Beautifully shot, I find myself more pleased to see Ice Cube in this than Are We There Yet? Hit the play button and see for yourself. Thanks Jatan.

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