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.
Category Archives: Art
We chat with mixed-media artist Austin Willis as he preps his debut art exhibition in Oakland
We're back at Oakland Surf Club this Thursday for our documentary screening
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
Introducing the vibrant and varied work of Scott La Rockwell
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.
A conversation with Post-It Note artist Marlon Sassy and his ongoing collection of Gangster Doodles
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.
A glimpse inside the photographic adventures of Max Claus
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.
From the Bay to the heartland in a split zine from Brandon Tauszik and Nathan Pearce
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.
Berkeley's favorite indie film crew comes home to tell the story of the African Hebrew Israelites
A few years ago, we threw up an early trailer for a documentary called The Village of Peace. Directed by Niko Philipides and Ben Schuder, the film offers a look into the world of the African Hebrew Israelites, a small black community that uprooted itself from the turbulence and oppression of 1960′s Chicago to relocate in Dimona, Israel. The migration brought roughly 300 people to Israel, with the intention of founding a society based on a strict set of principles–among many others, polygamy, veganism, and the study of ancient scripture.
Today, Village of Peace is a finished product, having begun to make the festival rounds and even garnering some unexpected support from NBA superstar (and now, exec producer) Amare Stoudemire. As they were able to do (hugely) successfully with their feature debut, Licks, Niko, Ben, Jack, Aaron, and the rest of the team behind the film will be bringing VOP home tomorrow to the Grand Lake, as a part of the SF Jewish Film Festival. For folks who appreciate indie filmmaking, or who want an opportunity to soak up some knowledge about life in a different paradigm, this should be dope. Screening starts tomorrow, Friday the 8th, at 2:30. Tickets here.
Psychedelic visions and feminine forms at Classic Cars West
When we launched our group show, Feels this May, Max and I got the chance to become better acquainted with the folks who make up the artistic community at West Oakland’s Grid Gallery. Among others though, we met Elena Kulikova, an extremely talented photographer and image-maker whose operation is based out of the Grid. She’s friendly and soft-spoken in person, but her work speaks loudly, steeped in psychedelia and kaleidoscopic color. Female forms and floral motifs are mutated into new shapes and filtered through prismatic effects, making for some supremely trippy imagery that’s easy to get lost in.
“Crystallize” is Elena’s latest solo show, and it finds her dipping into new stylistic territory, layering and literally growing crystals on top of still images to create a dreamy set of mixed-media pieces. The show opened last Friday, but it’ll be up at Oakland’s Classic Cars West, in the heart of Murmur territory, until after next month’s First Friday. Below, check out some of the work, and learn more here.
The end of an era at an unusual East Bay landmark
The Albany Bulb, for those who haven’t ever stopped by, is a hidden gem in the East Bay cultural ecosystem. It very literally embodies the “one man’s trash” aphorism by virtue of a) very literally being made out of trash and b) being full of beautiful and frequently disregarded things. Part-park, part-encampment, part-sculpture-garden, the Bulb has been an institution for decades, as well as home to some of the East Bay’s disenfranchised folks.
More recently though, the Bulb is set to undergo a large-scale “transition”. While the specifics haven’t been worked out completely, it’s pretty clear it won’t look the same for long. For starters, its homeless population of 60+ was evicted earlier this year. On the eve of that eviction, the folks over at Slow Cool Assault ran a very dope, very informative piece, which you can check out here. Fortunately, they enlisted Tanja Baker to snap some pics too, to commemorate the Bulb pre-transition. Peep those below.
Welcome to the Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando's most beautifully turnt up street
“Lined with pawn shops, strip clubs, sleazy motels, and sketchy bars.” That’s how photographer Bryan Soderlind describes the Orange Blossom Trail, a seven-mile road that runs down Orlando’s spine. Known as “The Trail” to locals, the road is a transit hub for many Central Floridians. Pair that with a bevy of eccentric businesses and a diverse population of commuters, residents and solicitors, one can understand why Soderlind describes the road as his favorite in Orlando. Despite its battered reputation, the photographer explains how the block’s buzz routinely drew him in when he passed through, eventually producing an extensive collection of photos. From cars to chickens, the photos shed light on the area’s culture and characters.