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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OUT FROM WITHIN

OUT FROM WITHIN

A look inside the visual mind of Ryan L. Rocha

Meeting Ryan Rocha makes you wonder how many budding artists are standing behind coffee counters around the world. It was a simple interaction at the coffee counter that led to our initial conversation. My $5 Yeezus Tour tee always a grand conversation starter. Our conversation about music, led to a conversation about art, and a conversation about art introduced me to his work.

Raised in Sactown, with relatives in the Bay, Ryan’s work serves as a road map into the mind of a critical thinker. Drawing much from his experiences and relationships for inspirations, Ryan cites his grandmother as one of his primary influences.

As one of the visual artists from last November’s FEELS II Festival, we thought it only appropriate to check in with the mixed media artist. After recently publishing a collection of drawings, writings, and paintings entitled “Four Piece,” Ryan spoke with us about life in Sac, the meanings behind his work, and his beloved Vava.

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Straight Shots

Straight Shots

Gorgeous views from across the pond, shot by Magdalena Korpas

There’s a unique crispness to the photos of Magdalena Korpas. Born in Gdansk, Poland, Magdalena’s love for photography has taken her all over the world, from Amsterdam to Paris, to her current home in Los Angeles. And while her acting endeavors have provided her with some considerable recognition in the field, Magdalena’s passion for photography reigns supreme.

Magdalena describes her work as an effort to quench her curiosity around the complexity of human behavior. Whether friends, family or strangers she meets along her travels, Magdalena takes to her subjects with an honest lens, capturing individuals authentically, and as they are. Fortunately for us, Magdalena’s work found our inbox. Hence the words, and the accompanying photos below.

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CREW LOVE

CREW LOVE

Lauren Crew on her photographic career and shooting "ideas, not things"

 

Lauren Crew sits across from me in the too-loud Oakland coffee-shop/hipster mecca where we both feel slightly out of place. Technically, we hella belong. We fall perfectly within the 23-35 age bracket that recently populates the ever-gentrifying neighborhood we’ve picked to meet in, though we’ve both known Oakland from our youth. Then there’s the fact that we met through a blog and have shared walls in local art shows. But Lauren’s not your average. Her handful-of-years head start out the womb on the rest of the coffee shop kids is transparent every time she opens her mouth to speak in witty, thoughtful prose. Lauren’s pigtail braids, gold name necklace and thick rimmed glasses might have you thinking she’s 10 years younger than she is, and her relatability flows effortlessly with every excited hand gesture and sarcastic remark. It’s that ease and humility that keeps reminding me of her experience on this earth and my adoration of her. And her work.

Lauren takes pictures, but not just any pictures. She takes pictures for large-scale installations, jewelry campaigns, fashion lookbooks and, just as importantly, for personal growth. Back in undergrad, when she picked up a film camera while abroad in Ecuador, she really didn’t think anything of it until folks started to take notice. Since, Lauren has developed her skill for capturing hard-hitting concepts and visual texture into a viable business and undeniable presence in the local arts scene. With nearly a decade of shooting, framing, hanging, installing and slanging under her belt, Lauren has become plenty well versed in creating work and the art of presenting it.

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BLACK ARTISTS ON ART

BLACK ARTISTS ON ART

Oakstop brings a legacy of black art to Oakland for First Friday

Black Artists on Art

This Friday, February 6th, the creative coworking space Oakstop will be celebrating its first anniversary and opening its gallery doors to welcome Black Artists on Art: The Legacy Exhibit. Oakstop is the dream of founder Trevor Parham, a longtime friend of the ‘ties and art curator. You might remember him from last year’s Town Business group show, which aimed to celebrate Oakland’s timely artistic current. Since, he has transformed that very emphasis into a more permanent spatial presence. Sitting just above 19th St. BART, Oakstop functions as a shared work environment, event space, and art gallery, that, as their mission statement reads, “fosters collaboration, professional development, and economic sustainability for creative entrepreneurs and local businesses.”

The Black Artists on Art exhibition is based on a book series of the same title, created by Dr. Samella Lewis in 1969, that showcased actively producing black fine artists in light of the disregard they often experienced from mainstream art institutions. Lewis’ grandson, Unity Lewis, is working to continue the legacy of the series through a revival, and publishing new books for the series that include contemporary black artists. Friday’s exhibit will serve as a launch for the broader campaign to recruit over 500 new black artists for the series, by showcasing work from 36 original and contemporary contributors for a three-generations-deep display of black fine artists. For a sneak peak of some of the iconic art included in the show, peep the images below. The event will be held upstairs at Oakstop’s 1721 Broadway gallery space, and runs from 6pm till midnight. It’s about to be legendary. See you there.

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THE POLITICAL LINE

THE POLITICAL LINE

A closer look at the de Young's massive Keith Haring retrospective, before it goes away

If you haven’t had the chance yet to check out The Political Line, now would be a good time. Like now. Go. As of today, you have less than two weeks. The exhibition, which opened up at the de Young in November, is something to behold, showcasing dozens of works from Keith’s ridiculously productive, tragically short ’80s run. Haring, for folks in our generation, is one of the two or three most iconic visual artists of the last century, a figure whose influence is completely inescapable if you have even a passing interest in art or own a Tumblr account. Seeing the work in person though, reminds you why he’s so ubiquitous, and why the work is so essential.
Visually and physically, the show is spectacular, with Haring’s symbol-language spilling out across an insane variety of media, from giant tarp canvases to subway drawings, ceramic pots to ten-foot totem poles. Naturally, it’s also a feast of ideas, placing a particular emphasis on Haring’s most politically charged pieces, and grouping them loosely by theme. While some pieces refer explicitly back to the circumstances of their ’80s genesis (Apartheid or the AIDS and crack epidemics), others–say the ones where computers supplant human heads–seem to foreshadow where we’re at today. And then there are more personal pieces: everything from journals full of dick drawings, to unearthed art school videos, to the heartbreaking “Pile of Crowns” for his fallen friend Basquiat.

If Haring’s language was something of a constant, it was a language that whose communicative power he was compulsively, constantly pushing into new territory. Taking in that volume of work firsthand, you get a chance to see just how much he was able to communicate in such a short time. To the extent it’s possible, The Political Line makes you feel like you’ve actually gotten to know someone.

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