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.
Ladies and gentlemen, FEELS II is in the books. Much love and many thanks to all the folks involved in bringing our first art and music festival to reality. Bringing together a host of musical artists, from Kool A.D., Teebs and Kreayshawn, to visual artists like Ryan Rocha, Bud Snow and more, FEELS II was one to remember.
On the heels of some exciting new releases and a Feels II collab, we caught up with indie zine gods Nighted Life and its founder Nick Garcia. He put us up on Nighted’s origin story, the back catalog, and which shooters to look out for in the 2015. Also included, some thoughts on tall tees and “knowing better, doing worse.”
A quick look at the de Young’s massive new Keith Haring retrospective, The Political Line. Focusing on Haring’s more deliberately political works, the pieces take on consumer culture, technology, sexuality, and racism head on, and span the length of Keith’s short but prolific career.
Some vibrant nostalgia from the mind of Michelle Guintu. East Bay raised but SF residing, Michelle has developed her aesthetic simply by painting the things she likes. From 90’s R&B superstars, like Missy and Aaliyah, to Joe Montana paintings and McDonald’s installations.
Ever since Percy Miller started something called No Limit Records, and completely changed the way rap is marketed and distributed, there has been an unwritten but all-important rule of rap: you get on and then you put the rest of your people on – all of them. And few current rap collectives have stuck to this blueprint as faithfully as the A$AP Mob. Yams let us in on the plan about six months ago and now it seems as though everything is coming to fruition. A$AP Ferg, the member of the team who’s been anointed “next up”, has been owning the summer. It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing “Work” and the first single off Trap Lord, with a hook paying homage to Mr. Trailor-Load-A-Girls, is poised to make the same kind of impact.
As Rocky experiments with the pop sound, Ferg has picked up right where A$AP’s frontman left off, sonically combining strains Three 6 Mafia, DJ Screw, and Bone Thugs, all delivered with the Uptown bravado of Bigavelli. The most recent Trap Lord leak, “Hood Pope”, sticks faithfully to the formula. The Very Rvre-produced track lends itself perfectly to Ferg’s nostalgia-rap ballad, a near perfect Bone Thugs imitation. Only time will tell how many other A$APs get a solo shot, but right now, it’s clear that Ferg deserves our attention. Trap Lord drops August 20th; looks like there’s even a proper collaboration with the various Bones on there too.
One day we’ll have our own neon signs, but in the meantime let us marvel at the work of Meryl Pataky. A San Francisco based mixed media artist, Meryl’s work consistently revolves around elements found on the periodic table. From silver and copper to neon, iron and carbon, Meryl creates a variety of abstract works that relate to her concept of universal connectedness. In doing so, Meryl combines technical expertise–from welding to glasswork to metalworking–with her own personal narrative, building complex pieces that invite the viewer to guess at what thoughts and experiences influenced her process.
Most recently, Meryl’s work has been featured within the walls of The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco. In her exhibition entitled Cellar Door, Meryl recreates the elemental symbol of the noble gases: helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr) and xenon (Xe) pumping the glass tubes with the material they represent. Also juxtaposing her neon pieces against natural outdoor backgrounds, the artist effectively alters the character of the neon, placing it in unfamiliar territory, and thus giving the signage and accompanying words new meaning. Cellar Door is currently running at The Shooting Gallery until August 10th, but keep up with Meryl here to follow her artistic exploits.
Before you think my chest cavity lacks a beating heart, I was in love once. At the time, the thought of being with anyone else was physically off-putting. But I was 15, and the only person to have given me an orgasm was me. Now that I’m 25 and have been single for 5 years, I’m finding the thought of giving up promiscuity more difficult than the thought of finding “the right one.” Are our ideas about chastity, purity, and sexual commitment not grounded in millenia-old ideals of mythology and religion? Even those ideals are bullshit, since we all know that people have been sleeping around since we had full-body fur. Monogamy, to me, is historically held up as an ideal for women to live up to. Some men do it, too. But the women are the ones who are punished more severely for sleeping around, both culturally and religiously.
So why are people monogamous? We all have different reasons. To many, there is no stronger display of commitment than being physically intimate with only one other partner. Yawn. Don’t get me wrong; I know that sometimes love has a funny way of giving us tunnel vision, and that isn’t inherently something bad. But wouldn’t life be more fun if, instead of showing each other we’re committed by sleeping only with our significant other, we were free to have healthy, anonymous, and sometimes dirty sex with others? It totally would. Why can’t we redefine what it means to be “monogamous” to mean we only love one person? Even that would prove to be difficult, because humans are capable of loving several people at once. Why don’t we just get rid of the word and its constraints altogether, and redefine our relationships in the ways which fit us best?
There are very few Antwon songs that don’t involve some dick sucking. There also aren’t too many without a healthy amount of distortion, or oblong, fuzzy noise. Some tend toward cloudy and atmospheric, some ’80s groovy, and others, just plain grungy. “Dying in the Pussy” though, more than anything, just sounds big. Massive. Big enough to accomodate that outsized personality, all that griminess, and then some. If there’s an intersection between weirdly sexy and morbid, “Dying” finds it, runs it through seedy VHS quality, and blows it up to big screen proportions. And yet, still, like most of the best shit off of Antwon’s tapes, all that punky grain only serves to add color to a song that’s deceptively straight ahead approachable. For the folks like me, that thrive off finding ways to make strange shit translatable, I guess you could say I’m just happy Antwon’s doing him. Cop “Dying” on rare-ass 7″ marbled white-and-black vinyl from Suicide Squeeze here.
Saturday night was too real. Someone told me it was the 2014. Really one for the books if you ask me. Everything just came together, really can’t be mad at too much. Whole lotta superstars in the building Saturday night. Whole lotta positivity in the building Saturday night. It was hard not to notice.
Whole lotta thank you’s to throw around too. First and foremost to the folks that stepped inside our doors, thank you. It’s really all about you. You make our celebrations what they are. We also got a lot of help this time round from a few unsung heroes, namely CP and Morgan who lent their time and effort to ensuring that things flowed smoothly. Undoubtedly though, the most love goes to Yung_smh, who threw down a marathon set for the ages.
Bruce Davidson’s seedy, soulful Subway. Jamel Shabazz‘s nostalgic portraits of high-top fades, shell toes, and dookie rope chains. Mary Ellen Mark’s teenage runaways. Ricky Powell’s classic, impromptu shots of Chuck D or the Beasties. Too many great photographers to name have found inspiration in the hyperkinetic cluster of urbanized energy that is New York. Images shot on the streets of the big city have shown us some of the ugliest, most serendipitously beautiful moments imaginable, most of them shot purely out of instinct.
Three years in the making, director Cheryl Dunn’s Everybody Street collects interviews, archival footage, and of course, treasure troves of iconic street-level imagery, to paint a broad-based portrait of an art form that evolved along with the city itself, turning the endless possibilities of the street corner into a canvas for something transcendent. Some of these images speak for themselves, even out of context–the grisly aftermath of a streetfight, a junkie shooting up, Brooklyn kids busting fire hydrants open–but hearing the folks who were there to snap them talk about that moment takes on a whole new level of realness. If the trailer is any indication, this one ought to be something special, for shooters and non-shooters alike. Hit the MORE for a few interviews from the film, with Ricky Powell, Mary Ellen Mark, and Bruce Davidson.
A lot of you have been with us for a long time now. In the four-plus years since we started this thing, things have changed plenty, and mostly for the better. In a sense, this was a long time coming. Tonight marks the opening of the Wine & Bowties Online Shop, our first foray into online retail, and yet another extension of this experiment, and what this thing can do. We may be taking on a new platform, but the mission is essentially the same: to promote the creative work we’re excited about, and to build out what we do on the computer screen into the tangible world. In the months to come, we’ll be featuring a curated selection of products and one-off items, both from Wine & Bowties and our extended family–including artists, brands and individuals that reflect the scope of what we do here.
For now, we’ve chosen to roll out a brief selection of limited edition items. First and foremost, the Wine & Bowties Pyramid Tee is now officially for sale online. Hand-designed, 100% cotton, and conceived in Oakland, California, the Pyramid Tee serves as a cursory introduction to the shape of things to come. Additionally, we’re now featuring Wine & Bowties letterpress stationery. Hand-printed in Oakland, these cards feature a minimal design by Max Gibson, geared to encourage quality communication without the use of a screen. Lastly, to commemorate our Spring exhibition at Warehouse 416, we’re proud to offer a limited number of copies of A Dangerously Curious Eye, Barry Shapiro’s timeless portrait of life on the fringes of San Francisco in the late 1970s. To everybody that’s been with us since day one, thank you for everything. We couldn’t do this without you. Onward and upward.
Feeling a bit like the calm before the storm right now. My Saturday night is about as turnt down as they come, and I couldn’t be happier about it. At the moment, I’m staring off into space, rattling keys in a front a lakeside view, and taking it all in as Saturday starts spilling into Sunday morning. So, as Saturday night soundtracks go, tonight’s installment is, appropriately, on the low key side of things. There are a couple all-out bangers, thanks to usual suspects Ferg, Danny, Q and 40-Watta, who came through with a few that were hard to miss. But mostly, we’re keeping it vibey for tonight. Whatever your feelings may be about high fashion and gated communities, shouts out to Drizzy for staying so damn consistent, and especially to Sampha, whose music we’ll be getting into in a bit more detail very soon. The Ariel Pink too, might just be a summer classic. More subtle genius from Earl, some deep house, some Dom, and some rare, recently unearthed Hov, that made me feel better about Magna Carta Holy Samsung Commercial. All in all, things are looking good.
This morning I passed by a woman who had just hit a fire hydrant. There was water spouting 20 feet into the air, into the street, and onto her car. As she sat in her purple PT Cruiser, thinking about how fucked her Tuesday morning was, I wondered if this poor woman was thankful for anything. Or was she merely caught up in the moment? I mean, it could’ve been worse right?
These ruminations about cars, their utility, and potential destructiveness come to mind when considering the work of Nicolai Howalt. The Copenhagen-born artist’s photographs of accidents up-close relate the carnage of a car accident, situating startling imagery into an aesthetic context. In Nicolai’s collection, Car Crash Studies smashed interiors are juxtaposed against abstract images of warped metal and steel, opening up a dialogue about what kind of artistic merit one can pull out of something so crucial. “I wanted to see if cruelty also could have some beauty in it,” remarked Nicolai, in reference to his photographs. Jarring, but resonant, Nicolai’s photos offer a sobering reminder of an everyday reality, tracing a thin line between beauty and devastation.
If shit’s been a little heavy lately, and it has, there’s always something to celebrate. Next weekend, we’ll be gathering some beautiful folks and taking things back to Downtown Oakland, where we hope you’ll join us. For everybody who managed to sweat through their shirts last time, thank you. We’ll be making a few adjustments on your behalf, and we’ll keep the slaps coming. For those of you looking to experience some quality, Oakland-centric cinema, make sure to catch Licks at The New Parkway earlier in the evening, before you make your way over to us. It may be almost August, but as far as the summer goes, it’s looking like the best is yet to come. On a related note, we’ll be making an announcement this Sunday too. For now, stay tuned, and hop on our email list for the address. We’ll be sure to get it out to you in time for the function.
I’d say something clumsy like “mark my words” about this kid, but at this point, they’re not mine to say. A lot of people’s words have described this kid favorably, with a lot of them pointing to a bright and hopeful future, and even more of them finding examples to point to right here in the present. Naturally, when I first heard “Out Getting Ribs” a year or two ago, the first thing I noticed was that voice. Maybe even more so than the Alfred E. Newman good looks. Puberty hit this kid like a brick wall, and left with him a jagged and beautiful instrument for channeling all the angst that comes with being a supremely talented teenager.
In more recent months, I’ve only really heard things from Archy Marshall that confirm all the promise that gorgeous little song hinted at. For one, that prodigious piece of songwriting was no flash in the pan. The brooding “Rock Bottom” and “Octopus”, with its wistful, trip-hop sax breakdown, demonstrate that pretty convincingly. Just as important, the kid has the kind of eclectic cultural appetite that leaves you extremely well-armed as a tastemaker. He digs on Fela and Outkast, Grunge and Gil Scott Heron, Dilla and W.H. Auden. He’s got a subtle, understated visual eye (peep the video after the MORE). He’s a ravenous gearhead, and he can even spit a little bit, as evidenced by a droning, codeine-drip verse from Mount Kimbie‘s gorgeous new album.
All the outside context aside though, the kid can just flat out write a song. “When positivity is hard to reach, I keep my head down and my mouth shut,” Marshall laments, “‘Cause if you’re goin’ through hell, we just keep going”. When he’s snarling out vague bits of feeling like this one, the line between teenage earnesty and a wiser brand of world-weariness starts getting fuzzy. And up against that scraggly guitar, and all that cavernous reverb, that croak turns transcendent. With all the heady influences and mega-hip eclecticism, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon is likely to be an album that gives us lots to think about. But “Easy, Easy” confirms that, more than anything, it’ll make us feel something too.