The story of how Nas became Nas
October 8, 2014 by Max Gibson
“I wanted you to feel New York at night,” said Nas, when discussing the motives behind his canonical 1994 debut, Illmatic. Landing conveniently inside the walls of Oakland’s own New Parkway Theatre, One9 and Erik Parker’s documentary, aptly titled Time is Illmatic, is a unflinching glimpse into the upbringing of a hip-hop titan, and the making of a classic.
To me, Nas always seemed like this sort of ubiquitous yet somewhat inaccessible hip hop legend. Yet watching the documentary helped to unravel some of Nas’ pressing curiosities. As viewers, we’re brought into the Queensbridge of Nas’ youth, full of the vibrancy and vices that make the neighborhood what it is. In the midst of this beautiful chaos came Nas, hailed as one of QB’s nicest pretty much from the jump.
When his surrounding school system failed him, Nas found himself at a crossroads. To stay in school and continue on a pointless mission, or to follow his passion for creating music. When his father–jazz trumpeter Olu Dara–told him, “Quit school, develop your craft, and I’ll support you,” Nas’ destiny was sealed. What transpired was a rise of epic proportions. And one that we still have the privilege to watch evolve today.
Peep the trailer below and catch Time is Illmatic at select screenings at the Parkway over the next week, and learn more about the film here.
October 8, 2014 BY Max Gibson
Shooters Kris Kirk and Madison East on making art together, and an unlikely EDC oddyssey
October 3, 2014 by Will Bundy
As a shooter, it seems like there’s a lot to be gained from wandering out your comfort zone. Unfamiliar places tend to heighten your senses and let you pick up on new things, often when you’re not coming into a place looking for anything in particular. For Kris Kirk and Madison East, that meant venturing out from Silverlake and East L.A. into the gigantic, neon-drenched, seratonin-sprinkled clusterfuck known as the Electric Daisy Carnival to soak up the scene. The resulting collab zine, Meet Us Under the Electric Sky is, like the festival itself, an exercise in visual stimulation. Madison and Kris both bring a certain eye for detail to the project, picking out distinctive characters and scenery out of a sea of sights and sounds vying for visual attention.
Fortunately, Electric Sky is just the tip of the iceberg for both Kris and Madison, so shouts out to the Bay’s own Nighted for putting me onto yet another pair of dope photographers. In addition to photo work, Madison has carved out her own aesthetic through collage and mixed-media pieces, while Kris has made a practice out spontaneity, turning late nights in the East L.A. punk scene into a continuous stream of Tumblr consciousness. Thankfully, Nick put me in touch with Kris and Madison, and let me pick their brains a bit about everything from bad acid trips, to drinking pee, to brostep. Now here comes the drop.
October 3, 2014 BY Will Bundy
Enter into the colorful, nostalgic world of Michelle Guintu
September 22, 2014 by Max Gibson
We came across Michelle Guintu going down the rabbit hole, the internet making everything so accessible. Praise be to the internet, where you can meet a lover, get a job, or find your new favorite artist. In the latter section is where we find Michelle Guintu. An East Bay raised, SF-residing visual artist, Michelle’s most recent exhibition came together in the formation of Hype Nation, a group show curated by RVCA and the VASF Gallery this summer.
When I touched base with Michelle she was in transition, having recently wrapped up her latest show, and looking forward to her second solo show in L.A. this December. With a vibrant and playful aesthetic, much of Michelle’s recent work depicts a whimsical 90’s hip hop utopia, where TLC is reunited, and Biggie, Pac and Janet Jackson go on picnics. Amidst it all, we see a sharp attention to detail that makes Michelle’s work unique. In between creations, we spoke with Michelle about how she developed her aesthetic, her early memories creating, and her love for R. Kelly.
September 22, 2014 BY Max Gibson
Oakland's realest arts collective returns with a two-part group photo show and zine
September 18, 2014 by Will Bundy
I don’t think I’m alone in saying the last Flavourhood show was one of the dopest events I’ve ever been to. Buried deep under Korean BBQ hotspot Gogi Time was a group show for the ages, spread across different disciplines, but curated with care by Japheth, Ben, Ruth, and the FH team. Seen 2, the East Bay art collective’s latest project, opens up on Friday in Berkeley, and narrows the focus a little, so to speak.
Seen 2, as the title hints at, is a two-part group photography show, highlighting the work of 18 of the Bay’s finest shooters, including many friends of the Bowties, and even our very own [Dispo] Max Gibson. Also on the bill: FH’s Japheth Gonzalez, Kristian Contreras, Lauren Crew, and OnTask affiliate Valentin Saqueton. All that talent will be split up across consecutive Fridays, with the debut on Friday, and part two a week later on the 26th.
Aside from the art on the walls, Seen 2 will also provide the platform to launch Flavourhood’s latest publication, a 48-page collaborative zine with work from a handful of the folks in the show. Below, we have a few rare excerpts, but Friday, you’ll get a chance to delve a little deeper. Come find us there. Show opens at 6.
September 18, 2014 BY Will Bundy
An intimate conversation with Elaine Brown over The Black Power Mixtape
September 8, 2014 by Max Gibson
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.
September 8, 2014 BY Max Gibson
We chat with mixed-media artist Austin Willis as he preps his debut art exhibition in Oakland
September 4, 2014 by Max Gibson
Photo by Goose
Perhaps we weren’t the only ones left with a raised eyebrow and our curiosity piqued when we heard mixed-media artist Austin Willis announce his first art show. It’s a smart move, considering Oakland’s current renaissance and the ground level ingenuity, which leaves plenty of room for collaboration. Specializing in graphic design and digital illustration, at the ripe age of 20, the self-taught artist has recently enrolled in San Francisco’s Academy of Art University to sharpen his skills. From digital design pieces laced with crisp patterns, to custom kicks, to album art, Austin’s already begun building up a solid body of work that’s both playful and distinctive. On the cusp of his first solo show, we took a moment to chat with Austin about his inspirations, influences, and what we can expect from his upcoming debut at Downtown Oakland’s Massive on Friday.
September 4, 2014 BY Max Gibson
We're back at Oakland Surf Club this Thursday for our documentary screening
September 2, 2014 by Max Gibson
We’re juiced to announce our return to Oakland Surf Club this Thursday with the return of our documentary film screenings. This month we’ll be screening Göran Olsson’s Black Power Mixtape, the Civil Rights film that examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in American society from 1967 to 1975. Shot by a group of Swedish journalists documenting the Black Power Movement, the footage (discovered some 30 years later in the cellar of Swedish Television) portrays the reality of race relations in America at that time.
For folks around our age and beyond, we hope the film offers some context to understand race relations today, and also inspires folks to harness their own passions and creativity. This screening is FREE99, and we’ll have some complimentary beverages and popcorn available as well. Looking forward to this one, see you all soon!
What: Black Power Mixtape
When: 7PM, Thursday, September 4th 2014
Where: Oakland Surf Club (337 14th Street, Oakland)
Details: Free Admission, Bring a Friend
September 2, 2014 BY Max Gibson
Introducing the vibrant and varied work of Scott La Rockwell
August 27, 2014 by Emilio Courtade
As he describes it, Scott La Rockwell’s company Rockwell Creative is a one stop shop. The photographer slash illustrator doesn’t make me choose between desktop image-friendly imagery and scenes captured “in the streets” … and that’s a beautiful thing.
Rockwell’s body of work ranges from vector illustrations to concert photos. Even looked at in fragments, his work (each sliver and slice of it) can stand proudly on its own merit. Examining it all together leaves me with a very real impression that Rockwell Creative has a lot of its bases covered.
Scenic shots, shown together on Rockwell’s website under the label ‘Places,’ bring me to the places where they’ve been shot. The images are at once dark and bold and contemplative but the other sensory details are especially striking. I can faintly hear the soft, repetitive murmur of cold, ocean water reaching rocky shores. I suddenly remember the droning hum of crickets under a sherbet-colored sky at dusk..
Then, we find ourselves, “In the Streets.” The fighting, the American muscle car riding at dusk, the glow of fireworks exploding overhead… images that more so bring us to a moment in time as opposed to scenic views and vistas. Intimate images that feel borrowed or maybe like part of a conversation I wasn’t supposed to be a part of…
That leaves us with Rockwell’s vector work. ‘Sharp and ‘energetic’ are the first words that come to mind.
A one stop shop, indeed – whether it be for his illustrations, his photography, his cinematography, his whatever-ography, Rockwell has, at the very least, earned an inquisitive eye.
Keep up with more of Scott La Rockwell’s work at his personal site Rockwell Forever
August 27, 2014 BY Emilio Courtade
A conversation with Post-It Note artist Marlon Sassy and his ongoing collection of Gangster Doodles
August 21, 2014 by Max Gibson
While the advent of the internet has provided a platform for nearly anyone with access to express themselves, the saturation of nearly every creative field is hard to dismiss. From photo and video technologies lowering the barrier to entry, to the digitalization of DJing, at nearly every turn getting into a field is easier than ever, while getting noticed has become even harder. Which is why we often like the celebrate the peculiar, the extraordinary, and the simple on Wine & Bowties.
Utilizing the office supply post-it notes at his work, Marlon Sassy has amassed a collection of unique portraits that have taken on a following of their own. Simply known as “Gangster Doodles,” Marlon’s pastel portraits have developed a cult following, popping up all over Instagram, while also evolving into the formation of his first printed book of the same name. Sliding into the the DM’s with precision, we reached out to Marlon on the gram to learn more about his beloved doodles.
August 21, 2014 BY Max Gibson
A glimpse inside the photographic adventures of Max Claus
August 20, 2014 by Max Gibson
The year was 2013 when we first were introduced to the work of Max Claus. In need of a photographer for our first party with Syd the Kid, we tapped him to help us out in a bind. Fast forward a year and Max is still at it. Having blessed us at Wine & Bowties with moments from our first and second Bike Nights, it’s safe to say Max’s shots are valuable. A couple classes at the Academy of Art University and some good practice helped the cause too, as Max has begun to develop a crisp aesthetic. Often capturing adventures with the homies, dope landscapes and more, Max’s photos continue to dazzle, but are only getting better. Juiced to see what he comes with next.
August 20, 2014 BY Max Gibson
From the Bay to the heartland in a split zine from Brandon Tauszik and Nathan Pearce
August 12, 2014 by Will Bundy
Brandon Tauszik has had his hands in a lot of cool shit lately. In addition to gorgeous video work from folks like Antwon, Main Attrakionz and Queens D. Light, and a handful of commission projects, he’s also carved out a reputation for concentrated, idiosyncratic photo essays on everything from doomsday prophecies to Oakland’s tragic and ubiquitous murder memorials.
Brandon’s latest project, All Night Long Vol. 2, finds him teaming up with Illinois-based photographer Nathan Pearce on a collaborative zine for Same Coin Press–which, as the name hints at–serves up the work of two different shooters in the same publication. Pearce’s stark black-and-whites from small-town, heartland Illinois are paired off with Tauszik’s gritty, full color snaps from Oakland, SF, LA, and other urban locales across California. If there’s a certain contrast in the realities being depicted, there’s also a solid kinship between the two collections, and an eye for capturing peculiar, sometimes eerie moments. Like those moments though, these are likely to disappear. They’re limited to 50 copies, so cop one here before they’re gone.
August 12, 2014 BY Will Bundy