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BEEN ON TASK

From tats to tags, visual artist Jus Ontask takes us inside his creative process in a couple different mediums. Luckily, the homie and OnTask family member Veeejzilla was around to document, giving us a step-by-step look at these pieces coming together.

Category Archives: Art

MEET BASS COAT

Joshua Fisher and Eda Levenson fuse nail art and music into an immersive live experience

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Joshua Fisher and Eda Levenson are best friends and creative collaborators. After meeting in their freshman year of college at UC Santa Cruz, they quickly connected through their shared interest in social justice work and artistic expression. But when the two entered separate grad schools that put 1,000 miles of separation between them, their bond only strengthened, inspiring the duo to expand culturally and creatively, together.

These days, Joshua is better known as DJ Creelfish, with a residency at The Layover and a stacked Soundcloud, while Brooklyn-based Eda works under her alias Lady Fancy Nails, boasting an impressive collection of nail artwork, and a following of adoring fans. Together, however, they are Bass Coat; a bi-coastal collaboration of audio, visual, live, and wearable art. In fusing their respective mediums, Eda and Joshua manifest as Bass Coat to create eclectic mixes and performance-based events for their friends and following. The latest edition of the Bass Coat mixes just dropped this week, in anticipation of their collaborative event with our friends at Flavourhood, fixing to crack this Saturday night at Urban Stitch Boutique. “It’s going to be multiple forms and ways to interact with creativity,” says Eda. “Like, audio, visual… or nah,” she laughs. To unpack the meanings and makings behind Bass Coat, and their upcoming event, I sat down with Joshua and Eda, who expanded upon their creative instincts, gender politics, and art as a means for social activism.

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FANTASTIC PLANET

Superior Viaduct unearths the soundtrack to a psychedelic sci-fi masterpiece

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La Planete Sauvage

Not that it should surprise us in the least, but Superior Viaduct continues the tradition of reissuing epic, strange landmark albums this month with the vinyl release of Alain Goraguer’s soundtrack to La Planete Sauvage. Originally released in 1973, Planete–or Fantastic Planet to the English-speaking world–is a stop-motion visual feast, a psychedelic sci-fi collab from director Rene Laloux and illustrator Roland Topor that’s surreal and probably vaguely terrifying off a handful of mushrooms.

Gorageur, a former collaborator of Serge Gainsbourg, created a sonic backdrop that’s since become the stuff of lore, a lush 37 minutes of sweeping, baroque prog-jazz slow burners. Woozy funk vamps give way to narcotic Rhodes textures, backed up by big heavy breaks and sweeping orchestral elements. As Superior Viaduct’s description puts it, think psych-era Gainsbourg with a few extra “space-age synth flourishes.” Naturally, OG copies fall into the special class of crate gold that you’re unlikely to find outside of say, Madlib’s personal collection, or on Discogs for something astronomical. Thankfully though, SV’s got us covered, in store and online. Get acquainted below, and swoop a copy now before they disappear.

La Planète Sauvage (1973) from Chaivalla on Vimeo.

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FOTO BOMBING AT OAKLAND TERMINAL

@BAZOOKAFILMS77 and King 157 headline a community celebration this Friday

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King 157

Can’t think of too many places putting on harder for the local artist community right now than Oakland Terminal. Whether it’s hosting weekend turnups with friends like Queens D. Light and Willie Maze, or showcasing Oakland street art history with TDK and TMC, or opening up their doors for Feels II, Terminal has been a West Oakland arts hub for a minute now.

On Thursday and Friday, they’ll be hosting a show headlined by Chicago and San Antonio-based artist and filmmaker Jaime Sanchez, known to the interwebs as @BAZOOKAFILMS77. Known for showcasing the work of street artists through video pieces documenting their process, Jaime is joined here by Bay graf superstar King 157, Lundgren Photography, and a handful of other creatives. In conjunction with the show, Terminal will be putting on for the community once again, hosting a Winter gear drive for the homeless community in West Oakland. If you’re sitting on some under-utilized jackets, scarves, or hoodies, slide through Friday, or holler at OT at oaklandterminal@gmail.com for details. Keep up with the latest from them here, and catch some Bazooka Films selects below.

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ON FROZE

Born and raised in LA, visual artist Brvinfreeze captures some of the city's stranger scenes

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Brvinfreeze

“I like it because it’s very green and still looks kind of terroristic.” Brvinfreeze, habitual shooter and graphic artist, has just sent me a self portrait. He’s sitting in what’s ostensibly his backyard patio, one leg crossed over his lap, rocking khakis and chucks and a black wool ski-mask. In a brief couple of conversations, he’s been anything but confrontational. “I’m nice as fuck,” he tells me in a text, “but also very FTW.” That combination, good-natured humor meets appetite for destruction–comes across in the work, displayed on his Tumblr and Instagram in a well-curated stream of playful anarchy.

Brvinfreeze’s work ranges from graf throwups, to street shots, to collage, and it’s stronger for its diversity. After all, the Eastern half of Los Angeles is a place that allows you to pull a lot into your orbit. BF stitches together the common threads from disparate scenes: perusing his Tumblr, you’ll find everything from late night tagging missions to Ham on Everything parties, from GG Allin to the Basedgod. Recently, he’s had the chance to channel his own based stream-of-conscious approach across the pages of his own print works, publishing his debut zine (RELAX) and book (Colors) through Nighted Life. On the tail end of a big 2014, we caught up with the young artist, and took some time to dig into the archives.

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FEELS LIKE…

Our first art and music fest was way too fun

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Looking back on Saturday night, I don’t think I’ve ever said thank you so many times and really meant it. Call it gratuitous, but here go a few more because YDI. First and foremost, to the squad of all squads: D, Brad, Jesse, Cole, Morgan, Little Little, Baby D, Justin–love y’all and thank you for pouring so much into making this one go. To the artists, musical and otherwise, for creating great shit and sharing it with us. To the folks at EBX, and to Charles, Max, Jasmin, and Ray for documenting. Especially to Aleks, Ed, Dave, Darius, Nate, and Tim for hosting us and trusting that we wouldn’t fuck things up too bad. Lastly though, to my brother Max for building this thing with me, for helping to facilitate my weird ideas, and for really just believing in the kid.

For those of you for whom none of this makes any sense, last Saturday we launched Feels II, a celebration spread across three warehouses in West Oakland, showcasing some of our favorite creatives. I did some gushing on Twitter about it already, but this community is unreal and we’re lucky to be a part of it. I wouldn’t say our job is always easy, but finding tight folks to work with hasn’t ever really been a problem. Can’t think of a place I’d rather be doing this than here at home. Here’s to whatever’s next.

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FEELS II: THE ARTISTS

An intro to the many talented folks taking over the walls of Oakland Terminal this Saturday

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Wine & Bowties

There’s a reason why the flyer reads a little like a movie poster. We’re surrounded out here…it’s damn near overwhelming. Even with a roster of 20+, I can think of a few dozen heads that could’ve easily been on the show that aren’t. Anyways, weird cultural rituals aside, we have a lot of reasons to be thankful for the community we live in. The last few days have understandably seen some chaotic shit in Oakland, but we’ve been feeling the love from all directions. Thanks for the feels EBX, thanks to friends and fam, and thanks especially to the creative folks putting in the legwork to make this one go. Good things ahead.

Below is a very brief introduction to some creative individuals you should get to know, if don’t already. The collection of artists taking over the walls of Oakland Terminal this weekend are all over the map in terms of medium, but again, there are undeniable common threads running through their work. Whether it’s gritty, in-the-moment snaps off the street, or intricately detailed illustrations, each of our folks has a talent for creating vibey, resonant images. They’re able to pull things out of everyday life that are weirdly poignant, or poignantly weird. Some pieces are loud and psychedelic, and some stark and simple. All of them are things we’re proud to share. Click the names or pictures to learn more. Two more days.


BUY TICKETS TO FEELS II

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NATURAL ELEMENTS

Alice Pennes puts watercolor on paper to create vibrant pieces inspired by the natural world

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H-HR

As usual, it was a by chance occurrence that brought us together. A photo job assisting the talented Lauren Crew had brought us into the rolling hills of the Wine Country. On assignment to photograph winemakers and their vineyards, Lauren and I traveled to the doorsteps of Phil Coturri. He welcomed us to his sprawling vineyard, known to enthusiasts as Winery Sixteen 600. Lauren photographed him amongst his grapes as the sun set in the background. It was beautiful.

A serendipitous moment came a bit later. Walking back to the house after an hour of shooting, I noticed a woman, who later introduced herself as Alice, sitting in the back yard deck. As I passed by I greeted her, only to notice the vibrant colors lying inside a sketchbook nearby. I assumed it was hers. Colorful shapes juxtaposed against natural elements made each page stand out from the last. We promised to link back up to share her work with more folks, so here we are. A talented arts educator and holistic creativity coach, Alice spoke to us about her subjects and their meaning.

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UP ALL NIGHT

Zine press and street photo collective Nighted celebrates the release of their sixth anthology

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Nighted

Two years ago, I moved back to the Bay from LA. Coming back home can mean lot of things, but for me, coming back at 23 instead of 18 included taking stock of all the cool shit that had happened since I left. At first glance, it was easy to feel like an unusual amount of cool, creative shit had been popping up in Oakland while I was gone. In retrospect, it’s pretty obvious to me that that ground-level creative bubbling–from art shows to zines to weird music–has been pretty consistent since I was a kid. Maybe the climate in Oakland and SF these days offers fuzzier lines than ever between skate culture, punk, rap, rave, and “serious” art. More likely though, tall tee/Killa Season Will just wasn’t really plugged in to quite as much shit back in ’07.

Sometime around then, in early 2012, Nick Garcia was making a pivot from the graffiti game into indie print publishing. With a new daughter around, Nick decided to rein in the later, weirder nights, in favor of being a cool dad. Still though, Garcia felt like there were stories he needed to tell, from himself and others. Pooling some resources with other shooters–most of them leaning toward gritty, street-level stuff–Nick created NIGHTED Life #1, an anthology of photos and stories, capturing moments both grimy and glorious with a curator’s sensibility. From weird drugs to street carnage to more subtle, cheeky juxtapositions, Nighted’s output balanced a no-frills, limited-fuck-giving approach with a firm dedication to giving unheralded but deserving shooters a platform to do their thing.

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OVER THE RAINBOW

Chris Ritson brings a psychedelic set of sculptures to B4BEL4B

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Chris Ritson

If you’ve had a chance to spend a night inside the walls of B4BEL4B, you have an idea of what to expect with this one. On the right night, stepping inside can feel like dipping your toes into an alternate universe, or at least a very cool corner of Oakland’s experimental arts scene. In September, Hawa’s MAS#ALLAH residency put a spotlight on emerging voices in a global community of Middle Eastern artists. Then, in October, B4BEL4B teamed up with art-and-tech powerhouse Codame for a hyper-futurist visual feast with Ephemeral Vessels.

This month, they’ll be hosting work from Honolulu-based artist Chris Ritson, whose 3-D work combines traditional sculpture with bismuth crystal, combining natural, organic processes with his own artistic intention with stunning results. As Chris puts it himself, Chris’ work “serves to create dialogue with the environment and imagine new roles and modes of interacting with nature,” allowing his pieces to “speak to our cultural anxieties and relationships with nature, analyzing the myths and prerogatives specific to a psychology of the self.” Visually, we’re talking vivid, kaleidoscopic color blooming out of pristine white sculptures, creating a contrast you can’t help but be drawn in by. The show, Over the Rainbow, opens this Friday. Details here and here, and some work below.

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BLACK RADICAL IMAGINATION AT YBCA

A celebration of futurism, surrealism, and cutting-edge black cinema

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Black Radical Imagination

When we first met Erin Christovale, she was busy organizing a brilliant series of L.A. art events and happenings with the Native Thinghood collective. Harnessing the creative energy of a core of young artists, Thinghood wrapped avant garde impulses in an approachable vibe, mostly due to the great folks behind it. Fast forward a few years, and Erin has been at work, along with co-curator Amir George, in creating community around forward-thinking black cinema. With Black Radical Imagination, Erin and Amir have created a touring forum to celebrate the tradition of afro-futurism and afro-surrealism, and the filmmakers carrying the torch today. Under that banner, BRI has held screenings, gallery events, and panel discussions with a who’s who of up-and-coming film visionaries.

This week, Black Radical Imagination has set up shop at SF’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for their half of a two-part exhibition New Black Cinema X 2. Showcasing a program of short works, this installment of BRI will feature contributions from directors Jeanette Ehlers, Lewis Vaughn, Sanford Biggers, Lauren Kelley, Ephraim Asili, and Vashti Harrison, and Terence Nance, director of 2012’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty–each offering work that’s “radical” or experimental in some sense, from non-traditional narrative to surrealist imagery. Honestly, can’t recommend this one enough. Grab tickets here, and we’ll catch you out there tomorrow night at 6.

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KEITH HARING AT THE DE YOUNG

San Francisco welcomes politically charged, vibrant works from the '80s icon this November

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Keith Haring

We all love Keith for what he did for his generation, and the ones to come. The vibrancy, the color, the messages–it all came together to create a timeless aesthetic that remains relevant today. Internationally recognized as one of the dopest of his era, Keith Haring’s work has been shown the world over. Starting next Friday, a massive retrospective will bless the walls of San Francisco’s de Young Fine Arts Museum, giving Keith fans the chance to see a wide selection of rare and celebrated works.

Entitled The Political Line, the exhibition will feature more than 130 works of art, including large scale paintings (on tarpaulins and canvases), sculptures, and a number of the Haring’s early ’80s subway drawings, among other works. The Political Line opens November 8 at the de Young.

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ELEVATED MOMENTS

Berlin-based photographer Madison Dinelle shares some gorgeous black-and-white stills

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Every once in a while, a remarkable submission will come across our table at Wine & Bowties. Most recently, we’ve been introduced to the work of Madison Dinelle, a Berlin-based photographer with an observer’s eye and a love for documentation. Utilizing only available light, without the use of a tripod or other gear, Madison’s work takes on a minimal vibe, focusing in on illuminated objects or surfaces, while keeping some elements mysterious.

“My goal is to try to see freely,” says Madison, when referencing her approach, “[I] try to transcend the boundaries of my admittedly limited perception. It’s to attempt to see the world for what it looks like rather than what I know it looks like.” That approach is on display below, in a few highlights from her evolving body of work.

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