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ART + CULTURE + DESIGN

SHEPARD FAIREY
REFLECTING ON POP ART FOREFATHER JASPER JOHNS

+ TODD FRANCIS // MARGARET KEANE // JESSE HAZELIP


JULY 2014, n162
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JUXTAPOZ
ISSUE #162 / JULY 2014

10 CONTRIBUTOR JEREMY FISH

14 INTRODUCTION
18 THE REPORT ED RUSCHA

22 EVENT BAN7 AT YBCA

24 PICTURE BOOK YAN MORVAN

32 DESIGN DANA TANAMACHI-WILLIAMS

36 FASHION TELLASON DENIM

42 INFLUENCES JUSTIN BLYTH

48 SHEPARD FAIREY
60 ANDREW POMMIER
70 JESSE HAZELIP
80 MARGARET KEANE
88 KIKYZ1313
96 TODD FRANCIS
104 TRAVEL INSIDER PHILADELPHIA

108 BEAUTIFUL BITS


110 BOOK REVIEWS
114 EVENT SFMOMA ON THE GO: GORGEOUS

118 PRODUCT REVIEWS


120 SIEBEN ON LIFE
122 POP LIFE
126 PERSPECTIVE

JUXTAPOZ.COM
Shepard Fairey in the studio preparing for his upcoming exhibition,
The Insistent Image: Recurrent Motifs in the Art of Shepard Fairey and
Jasper Johns opening at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
through July 12, 2014. Fairey’s body of work is entitled Power & Glory
and features brand new works, which will be unveiled for the first
time at the Halsey. Photo by Jon Furlong
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THE FINAL READER

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TECHNICAL LIAISON
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DAVID BROACH INTERNS

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JUXTAPOZ ISSN #1077-8411 JULY 2014 VOLUME 21, NUMBER 7


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CONTRIBUTOR

JEREMY FISH

IT WAS A REAL PLEASURE FOR ME TO INTERVIEW thank-you to Todd Francis and all the dudes at DLX, Printime, Portrait of Mr. Fish at his favorite San
Francisco landmark by Mike Hipple
Todd Francis for Juxtapoz. Both Todd and Jux played a big Dustin and Duane, Keith and the dudes at Think, and most of
role in my life over 15 years ago. In the late ’90s, I worked all, Eric and Fausto. I am super grateful for all the cool shit
in San Francisco for a screen printing shop called Printime. I learned at that time in my life.
We printed the posters for Juxtapoz, as well as all the
skateboards, tee shirts, and stickers Todd was designing
for DLX at the time. This was my first job out of college, and
I often refer to this period of my life as "grad school." Todd For more information about Jeremy Fish, visit sillypinkbunnies.com

would have been my favorite professor, and Juxtapoz would


have been my most read textbook. I’m not sure where I JUXTAPOZ.COM / JEREMY - FISH
would be today if it wasn't for both parties. So, a massive

10 JUXTAPOZ CONTRIBUTOR
INTRODUCTION

ISSUE No 162
“Giant stickers are both embraced and rejected, the reason
behind which, upon examination, reflects the psyche of the
viewer. Whether the reaction be positive or negative, the
sticker’s existence is worthy as long as it causes people to
consider the details and meanings of their surroundings. In
the name of fun and observation.”
—Shepard Fairey, Obey Manifesto, 1990

Talk about having a little future perspective. Nearly a quarter


century later, this quote still holds true. Almost eerily true.
Shepard, for all his early experimentation with the Obey Giant
campaign, didn’t know the Internet was coming, that street
art was about to become an international movement of epic
proportions, or know that Beautiful Losers or Art In the Streets
were going to be influential exhibitions of underground
culture. And that a sticker would play a major role in why
street art became such a phenomenal populist success,
reaching the ends of the world because of a singular man’s
relentless energy and pursuit of a goal. That goal—get you to
see the sticker, think about it, remember it, contemplate why it
exists. Well, we think it worked.

I’m kind of amazed, looking back, that it took Juxtapoz until


the Fall of 1998 to give Shepard a partial cover, sharing the
spotlight with pop surreal artists. There have been so many
moments in Shepard’s career that warranted covers, some
moments that actually altered the way we as an audience
look at art. The last time his work graced the cover was
November 2007, just after one of his seminal exhibitions,
E Pluribus Venom, opened with Jonathan LeVine Gallery in
multiple locations in NYC. And then Obama happened, Hope his overall popularity. The clothing, prints, fine art, commercial
happened, May Day opened at Deitch Projects in Spring work and gallery have all made Shepard a larger-than-life
2010, Art In the Streets shortly thereafter in 2011, and Shepard figure that has had its detractors, though nonsensically. So, in
steadily became a household name. He was on the cover of claiming later in this issue that Shepard is a gateway artist to
Time, covered by the New York Times and every other major so many integral parts of underground and prevailing culture,
media outlet. There is a chance even your grandfather knew we note the doors he opened for street art to grow, to help
his name (okay, well, mine did). awaken an interest in politics, to make fashion accessible, and
I would go further to say he made art something to care about
There is so much to the story of how Shepard became such for thousands of people who might have never walked into a
a force in contemporary art, but there is something uniquely museum or gallery. This summer, he will introduce thousands
special about his newest work, Power & Glory, that will reside of kids to one of America’s finest artists, Jasper Johns. That
within the exhibition, The Insistent Image: Recurrent Motifs in is important to Juxtapoz, the art community at-large and the
the Art of Shepard Fairey and Jasper Johns, that will be on future of museums. We need someone to lead the charge, and
display at the Halsey Institute in Charleston, South Carolina Shepard has been that one person.
through July 12, 2014. For Shepard, obviously, it is a return
home to South Carolina, to a city where, as he related in our In our 20th year, we honor the pillars of our community, the
extensive interview, he was seen as an outsider with interests artists who provoke while standing the test of time, who
that ranged from punk to skateboarding. “To get to go back to define what we do in print. I’m convinced Shepard remains the
South Carolina and do a show at a prestigious institution with embodiment of our goals: to make art accessible and powerful
a great artist like Jasper Johns is a little bit of great revenge,” on one’s own terms. Mission accomplished.
Shepard says.
Enjoy #162
The funny part about about that statement is not only is it
revenge against growing up with counter-culture interests in
what Shepard called the “rigid social structures of the South,”
but revenge against perhaps a growing misunderstanding of

14 JUXTAPOZ INTRODUCTION
THE REPORT

ED RUSCHA AT GAGOSIAN NYC


FOR THE SPRING, A CALIFORNIAN MOVES EASTWARD

ALTHOUGH BORN IN OKLAHOMA CITY, Ed Ruscha has That passage has been bookmarked in our office for years, above
Ed Ruscha, Honey, I Twisted Through
been in Los Angeles long enough to be perhaps the most not only because of the sense of mystery uncovered by More Damn Traffic Today
A High Line Commission, on view May
ideal and representative artist of the City of Angels. One an artist at work, but it helps define a natural trait that the 2014 – May 2015
Photo by Timothy Schenck
could argue, without much debate, that Ruscha’s brand of West holds in all forms of creative endeavors. There is hope, Courtesy of Friends of the High Line
1977 / 2014
art is synonymous with California itself, a commentary of invention, reinvention, and a horizon of possibilities. Strike
westward expansion and the imagery that accompanies it. it rich in gold, tech, Hollywood, take your pick. In the artist’s right
Cold Beer Beautiful Girls
If California is the edge of the world, and movement toward mind, California is what you want it to be. Three-color lithograph
Edition of 60
the West is the great unknown, Ruscha has spent 50-plus 30.5" x 40.5"
© Ed Ruscha
years pioneering the journey. Author James Ellroy once eloquently noted of Ruscha’s work Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Photography by Robert McKeever
“[He is] the visual deus ex machina of what has become 2009
“I prefer drives that are long and desolate,” Ruscha told the most over-scrutinized city on earth… Mr. Ruscha's LA
ArtBook in 2011. “That's the kind of experience I felt when pictorials contextualize paintings of mind-altering pills,
I first drove out West—horizontal and empty. Some people could-be-anywhere gas stations and outright non-LA
get bored by driving long distances and not seeing any locales. Black skies that could mean day or could mean night
activity. I love it. I see things out there. I let the desert be the tell us: ‘This is LA.’ Mountain ranges north of the city are the
inside of my brain, like this space where I can begin to clear mental landscapes of persons seeking alternatives to LA.
my mind, or inventory my mind. When I'm driving in certain A hazy grey-black-white picture of a blank TV set is a
rural areas out here in the West, I start to make my own denuded LA looking back at us.”
Panavision. I'm making my own movie as I'm driving.”

18 JUXTAPOZ THE REPORT


In May and June 2014, this West Coast standard-bearer 10th Avenue. At the time Juxtapoz went to press, the mural
Periods
moved to NYC for a special three-part exhibition with was to run through May 2015. Lithograph
Edition of 60
Gagosian Gallery: a series of new, small-scale bleach-on- 28.75" x 28"
© Ed Ruscha
linen paintings, Crystal Skies, Service Clown, Sour Twist from “I guess that's what poets want to do: put ideas on stage. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery
Photography by Paul Ruscha
Gagosian’s booth at Frieze, coinciding with a major survey I settle for a single word,” Ruscha opined recently in an 2013
of prints produced over the past 40 years, with a selection interview. At 76 years old, Ruscha remains a powerful figure
of photographs taken in the 1960s and printed in 2003 in Ed in contemporary art, experimenting and expanding the
Ruscha: Prints and Photographs at 980 Madison Avenue. Western narrative. For a month, NYC got to see it firsthand.

The third project features Ruscha’s first-ever public


commission in New York City, the pastel drawing Honey,
I Twisted Through More Damn Traffic Today (1977) For more information about Ruscha’s Gagosian exhibitions,
visit gagosian.com
reconceived as a huge mural painted onto an apartment
building adjacent to the High Line on West 22nd Street and
JUXTAPOZ.COM / ED - RUSCHA

20 JUXTAPOZ THE REPORT


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EVENT

BAN7 AT YBCA
ADOBE BOOKS BACKROOM GALLERY REPRESENTS

BAY AREA NOW IS THE SIGNATURE TRIENNIAL HELD meant to mimic the backdrop of San Francisco and the
Installation detail
at the ambitious Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Mission District where Adobe’s Backroom Gallery is located.” Kristin Farr and Jeff Meadows

Francisco. For the 7th edition, YBCA invited 15 local It’s a high honor to exhibit our work at YBCA, a space
arts organizations to commission site-specific projects that has hosted some of our favorite shows like Beautiful
throughout the museum-caliber space. My husband, Jeff Losers and David Shrigley. And the chance to represent the
Meadows, and I are working on a collaborative installation Backroom Gallery, which has supported many of our favorite
curated by Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, along with artists over the years, is truly a dream. This summer, expect
visual artists Lori Gordon, Erik Otto, Aaron Bray, and sound your mind to be blown and soothed at the same time. We’re
artists Marc Kate and Brian Tester. Our curators, Calcagno bringing our YBCA game. —Kristin Farr
Cullen and Christopher Rolls, explain: “We are creating an
environment that is lively, cluttered, and colorful, evoking the
spirit of Adobe as an all-inclusive space.
BAN7 is on view July 18 - October 12, 2014

There will be a large structure that is both warm and inviting


For more information, visit ybca.org/ban7
as well as meditative, welcoming visitors to spend some
time contemplating and participating in the space. The JUXTAPOZ.COM / YBCA
surrounding installation will provide a colorful intensity,

22 JUXTAPOZ EVENT
PICTURE BOOK

YAN MORVAN
THE MOMENTS BETWEEN THINKING

“WHEN WILL MY LUCK RUN OUT?” must have certainly


crossed the mind of Yan Morvan more than once. Chased,
beaten, shot at, kidnapped and tortured, sentenced to
death twice and having his family threatened have been
ancillary job hazards in Morvan’s 40-year career. He has
documented every type of criminal and fascist sub-culture
imaginable, whether it’s Hell’s Angels, skinheads, rockers, or
other gangs. Often referred to as a leading figure in French
photojournalism, Morvan’s gripping photographs reveal the
unsettling reality of threatening and dangerous conditions
that exist in this world. He has covered 20 wars over the
course of 8 years, including those in Iraq, Philippines,
Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Iran, Rwanda, Kosovo, as well as
the fall of the Berlin Wall. He lived in a hotel in Bangkok for
six months, recording conditions of the local prostitutes, and
is most well-known for his extensive 20-year documentation
of Parisian suburb gangs. Of all the stories that have
surfaced about Morvan’s experiences, the most astounding
may be his interaction with France’s most notorious serial
killer, Guy Georges, who actually served as a sort of photo
assistant to Morvan before kidnapping him. Morvan’s resume
reads like that of a PTSD victim who relentlessly returns to
the battlefield. A slew of books featuring his work have been
released over the years, and he has spent time as a teacher,
Newsweek correspondent, staff photographer for Sipa
Press, and even paparazzo. —Austin McManus

For more information about Yan Morvan, visit yan-morvan.com

JUXTAPOZ.COM / PHOTOGRAPHY

24 JUXTAPOZ PICTURE BOOK


JULY 2014 25
26 JUXTAPOZ PICTURE BOOK
JULY 2014 27
28 JUXTAPOZ PICTURE BOOK
JULY 2014 29
DESIGN

DANA TANAMACHI-WILLIAMS
CHALK WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING

YOU MIGHT FIND DANA TANAMACHI-WILLIAMS create a how-to stencil book specifically to be used with chalk. above
Flourish
listening to country music or collecting vintage packaging I thought the idea was pretty fun, but felt that chalk was pretty Photos by Andrew Ryan Shepherd

for inspiration while she works on any given number of limiting, considering how much I love working and crafting top right
Women’s Deja Vu Flying V
projects within her newly-formed Brooklyn-based design firm. in different mediums. So, I pitched it to the publishers to let Snowboard for Burton
Tanamachi Studio started modestly, but now Dana is adding me do the book using paint, embroidery, cut paper, bleach right
clients such as Oprah, Time Magazine, Nike, Burton, Target, pen, etc. I simply showed them all the personal work I had Puffin Chalk
Series of book covers for
and even Google to her roster. —Brent Gentile been doing in these mediums, and they immediately gave me Penguin’s children’s division

the green light. And I’m incredibly excited about releasing a


Brent Gentile: I think I discovered Tanamachi Studio as a typographic stencil book, DIY Type, this September.
result of the chalk-based work, but is that something you’re So, am I trying to move away from chalk? Not necessarily. It
currently moving away from? just feels like a natural progression to work in other mediums
Dana Tanamachi-Williams: The funny thing is that by trade, that I enjoy and feel comfortable in. I’m incredibly thankful my
I’m a graphic designer, letterer, and sometimes illustrator. clients trust me enough to do so!
When my work began to gain traction, it just happened to
take the form of chalk. But I’ve never considered myself a Have you always been interested in typography?
“chalk artist.” That’s something totally different. I’m a designer, Before my first design classes in college, I had no idea what
first and foremost, and that can come in many sizes, shapes, typography was. But when we started learning about parts
or mediums, so working with new materials was certainly of letters, and the differences between serif and sans serif,
uncharted territory professionally, but personally—not at all. a whole new world opened up to me. I remember thinking,
For instance, last year I was approached by a publisher to “Wow, so you’re telling me that the spaces between each

32 JUXTAPOZ DESIGN
letter in a word really matter, and that they should all visually
be the same? There are people out there who care about this
stuff?” And I decided that I wanted to be one of those people.
I love design, and I put those elements to use every single
day, but I mainly use letters and simple illustrations to solve
most of my design challenges. It just feels right to me. After
I graduated and moved to New York, I was able to draw a lot
of type by hand while working on Broadway show posters at
SpotCo during the day. And I’d find myself doing the same on
my subway ride home or on nights and weekends.

With your most recent personal project, Flourish, it seems


like you’re moving more toward using ornate patterns.
Is that something new for you?
Yes, pattern is definitely something new for me. While
traveling to Tokyo a couple years ago, I became obsessed
with collecting books of Japanese floral patterns. After I
returned, I would visit Kinokuniya Bookstore here in NYC just
to stay inspired. I knew there was a way to incorporate these
patterns with my typography, I just didn’t know how that would
take shape. Finally, last year, I embarked on this large-scale
personal installation, Flourish, where I used these Japanese-
inspired patterns to create giant letters on a 36' x 11' wall.
I didn’t outline the letters, but instead let the pattern just fill up
the shape of the letter and stop when it reached the exterior.
Flourish was a lot of hard work, but incredibly therapeutic.
After quickly mapping out each letter, I spent the next three
days drawing these patterns freehand with a gold paint pen.
A month later, I was working with Nike on branding the 2013
San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon, and they loved the
Flourish piece so much, they asked for a similar installation
of their own. It definitely goes to show that if you continue
pushing your limits with personal work that inspires you, subsequent party—Alice in Wonderland, Great Gatsby, and
clients will see what you’re capable of. the Mad Men holiday soiree. Like I said, at that point I was a
recent grad who was working long days spent mostly on the
Can you unpack the balance of working on personal computer, and I longed to do something with my hands again.
projects versus client projects? This was the perfect outlet—I would go over beforehand and
Creating personal work was how this whole thing started for just start fleshing out ideas. No sketches beforehand, no art
me in the first place. I was simply a young designer working directors, no clients! Just me, a piece of chalk, and my type
long days at an agency in NYC, and I found myself practicing specimen books.
calligraphy and lettering on my commute home and in my
spare time. One Saturday, I happened to attend a friend’s Believe it or not, I actually got my first commissions through
housewarming party in Brooklyn, and when I entered the friends of friends who saw those pictures on Facebook.
apartment, I noticed their kitchen walls were painted with The first was for a modern furniture gallery in Soho, and the
black chalkboard paint. This was pre-Pinterest, 2009, and next was Google. Talk about a big jump. But, do you see
I had never seen such a thing! The hostess encouraged me to what I mean about creating personal work that inspires you?
pick up a piece of chalk and doodle something—”You’re artsy, Practicing my lettering in the form of these chalk installations
right? You should draw something!” So, my friend and not only helped me improve in my craft, but also opened up a
I drew the word Brooklyn in an arch shape using Victorian-ish whole world of opportunity.
letterforms just for fun. It wasn’t until friends began asking
us to take their photo in front of our silly scrawls that I ever What a great story! I imagine that a young designer doesn’t
considered it being worth a second thought. The next day, often hear that personal work can make just as big of
everyone went home and uploaded their photos to Facebook, impression as client driven work. For some reason there’s
and our drawing became the souvenir for that first party. this overwhelming feeling that if your project isn’t a national
Throughout that following year, my friends asked me to come campaign, it doesn’t have validity.
over beforehand to create a themed photo wall for each Don’t get me wrong, I think that client work is incredibly

JULY 2014 33
important, even for young designers. I want to know and see Have you considered starting a Tanamachi type foundry? San Francisco Nike Women’s
Marathon branding
that someone can take an idea from start to finish, not just No way! Typeface design is a whole ‘nother beast. I have Photos courtesy of Nike

post unfinished sketches to Instagram. But I do think that it’s the utmost respect for people who make and sell their own
vital for designers to consistently be working on self-initiated fonts for a living. It takes a lot of time, patience, and attention
projects because people won’t know what you’re capable of to every painstaking detail. I’m more of a broad strokes kind
unless you show them. It’s the idea of doing work to get work. of designer, even though I do try to put a lot of detail into
everything I do. I just don’t think I have the stamina to run
Personal work is so much better than spec work, right? a foundry!
Exactly! It’s for yourself and it’s about improving. You can
experiment with no one watching. Everyone needs that I’ve always felt like type designers are the unsung heros of
season of anonymity—the freedom to fail. our industry.
They really are. I can’t express how much admiration I have for
Do you create your own typefaces or manipulate type designers. They are a different breed altogether—very
existing typefaces? creative and visual, but also extremely mathematical. They
I don’t really create my own typefaces—for me, it’s more about quietly plug away for thousands of hours on a single typeface
taking elements from history and creating something new. for little to no recognition, yet we use and interact with their
What I love about lettering is that I can borrow from my type handiwork every single day.
collection and apply different drop caps, shadows, flourishes,
descenders, etc. Most days it feels like a puzzle that I’m
putting together from all the images floating around in my
mental and physical libraries. For more information about Dana Tanamachi-Williams,
visit tanamachistudio.com

JUXTAPOZ.COM / DESIGN

34 JUXTAPOZ DESIGN
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that you want in your closet, and they make them really North Carolina. You’ve even encouraged contributions
well. What started as a single-fit of denim jeans made in regarding ideas on shape and fit from stores you sell to.
San Francisco has grown into a staple of expertly-made, What is it about collaboration that helped Tellason grow?
well-designed lines of jeans, fleece, and jackets, with plans Sometimes the word “collaboration” sounds overplayed,
to expand into other everyday basics. This isn’t trendy, this but the word and the exercise of collaboration still means
isn’t even part of some seasonal fashion planning—these something special if it is natural and part of your DNA.
are hoodies and jeans, utilitarian jackets and basic T-shirts For us, we are secure enough to know that this industry
made with care and thoughtful appreciation for what lasts. of ours is simply a series of redefined and regurgitated
We talked to founders Pete Searson and Tony Patella at tops and bottoms. We are not looking to invent anything
their studio in Sausalito, California, and asked them about since the reality is that it has all sort of been done before.
Joe Strummer, House Industries, and the spirit of like- Acknowledging that there is very little, if anything, left to
mindedness in art and life. —Evan Pricco invent in the apparel market, we just get on with making
super high quality goods that serve each customer as
Tellason exists because of both of you and your joint effort, optimally as they can. Back it up with some good old
vision and determination. But one of the great things you customer service, and try to make some friends along the
have always made clear is the collective aspect of making way. When we speak with someone and listen to what they
a pair of Tellasons, whether from House Industries in the have to say, we are really listening. No BS, we are in this
logo design, Tanner Goods’ emblematic leather patch, or conversation because we respect the person we’re facing

36 JUXTAPOZ FASHION
and value their opinion. If their ideas are relevant to our
culture and we hear it from others along the way, let’s do it.

In the video series, Tellason Stories, you do minimal, if


any, branding, and yet you capture a spirit that matches
your aesthetic and ethic. I assume the idea behind them
was to tell the story of a certain style of classic sensibility
prevailing amongst unique personalities.
Turning on a camera and pointing it at us as we speak about
raw denim, or selvedge denim or made in the USA just
doesn’t feel fresh. For one, we have already done that. We
would much rather highlight creative sorts out there just
doing what they are doing, who happen to be wearing our
jeans. The first profile, “Meet Todd,” is a perfect example of
what this is all about. Todd, a photographer by trade, sent
us some pictures of his grease filled jeans a couple of years
ago. We did not sponsor him. He went into a local shop in
Seattle, bought a pair and started wearing them. Once we
saw the beautiful pictures of his jeans, we made contact
and flew up to Seattle soon after and shot that video. It
was a long day of shooting with a little bit of cop dodging
as we rumbled down the freeway, standing in the back of a
convertible, shooting a guy on a motorcycle six feet away
from our back bumper. But, in the end, Todd spoke naturally
about bikes and what it is like to live an authentic life. We
remember standing there holding the microphone feeling
pretty gassed and he just let the story flow. He is not the
type of guy you can buy into, and for him, as a motorcycle
builder, to appreciate what we do is one of the things we are
most proud of.

One of the reasons I wanted to pursue this story about


Tellason is the brands and shops with which you are
associated, whether in the US, Japan, Korea, or Germany.
They all have a very smart and appealing art direction.
Has that been one of the fun parts about traveling around,
seeing how shops and other brands applying various art
directed looks to their products, as in the photography,
interior design, and the paraphernalia brands collect?
Traveling is everything to us and we consider it a true privilege
that these shops and distributors work so hard to tell our story
and really have a go at it, just as we do here in the States.
There are so many good things to buy, and they choose to
stand up for us and sell our jeans in their shops with real pride.
It is one thing to go to a tradeshow in another country and
come home with some contacts and handshakes, but traveling
abroad when there isn’t any industry thing going on is the key. A little art that hits you right in the chops can go a long way.
These shop employees and owners are in their own court What we mean by this is that we all can take a story or a
and we can have a meaningful discussion about business, visual and radically change our lives for the better. Think
life, food or some old punk band. Anyone who has spent time of the examples: the Guggenheim Museum was designed
at a tradeshow knows that there is way too much hustling after the seven layers of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, the Eames
going on, as well as a thousand distractions that subvert the bentwood furniture all derives from their innovations making
experience. leg splints for the U.S. military, it goes on. Small, pure ideas
of something great, whether it be the philosophy of Joe
Art wise, what are some things that inspire you two? We Strummer and how he lived his life and interacted with the
had a chance to discuss both X and Joe Strummer today.

JULY 2014 37
people, or the fact that we still laugh our asses off every time seemed to be a good idea. They have their limitations. But
we see the movie Fletch, will always be part of our DNA. the shot of you or your dad wearing a great jacket, shirt, or
After all, every big thing or big idea started small. boots that stand the test of time evokes an entirely different
impression—one of pride and satisfaction in knowing you
You see a ton of clothing and products every year in your had the minerals to buy something substantial.
travels. What are some surprise details and touches that
stand out to you when you see something you like? If you If you could dress one film in history, which would it be?
see a jacket that appeals, what details do Fletch. We’d love to see Alan Stanwyk, Fat Sam and Ted
you remember? Underhill in a pair of Tellasons.
Sometimes we learn more about style and design by
acknowledging what is not there. Superfluous notions of
“trend” or “hot right now” always seem regrettable. It is great
to have modern ideas and act upon them, but make them For more information about Tellason, visit tellason.com

useful! Think about how you will feel if, in 20 years, you see
a photo of yourself wearing it. We all have that box of photos JUXTAPOZ.COM / FASHION
and get a good chuckle out of the half shirt and OP cord
shorts worn in high school, or the shitty parachute pants that

38 JUXTAPOZ FASHION
INFLUENCES

JUSTIN BLYTH
HOW THEM-THANGS BECAME A THING

THERE ARE PLENTY OF TUMBLRS THAT ARE WELL who has formal training, and more importantly, thoroughly Portrait by Brian Williams

curated, searched and groomed, processing years of cultural understands and interprets the work they deal with, its
imagery that were long-forgotten but more appreciated context and cultural heritage. So maybe the web is more
with age. Them-Thangs was one of the best, a site in which of a curator’s hell. People have time to kill, so they collect
we invested hours upon hours spellbound by the clever and share photos they like. It’s not curation, but at the same
combination of colors, eras, celebrity, and nostalgia blended time, I’m not mad at it. We have insatiable and minuscule
into such an appealing aesthetic. Justin Blyth, a designer attention spans so we suck it up. I think if you do it in a way
and Art Director from Los Angeles living and working in that the underlying themes tell an interesting story, then it
Amsterdam, is the man behind Them-Thangs as well as can be cool. But, ultimately, we’ve ripped curation a new
projects with Nike, Stussy, Playstation and more. Here, in his asshole and taken everything out of context, posting and re-
words, are his influences. —Juxtapoz posting endlessly until any semblance of meaning has been
completely shredded. I think the term curator is about as
NOSTALGIA meaningful as creative director nowadays. It’s like, you put
It might be a disease, and I definitely suffer from it. your logo on a tote bag, you’re now a creative director.

THE WEB AS CURATOR’S PARADISE THE RETURN OF THE PAST


I don’t know if curator is the word. A curator is someone I mean, the past always comes back around as far as

42 JUXTAPOZ INFLUENCES
I READ WALDEN A WHILE
BACK—NOW THAT’S A
GOOD PERSPECTIVE
SHIFTER. I WANT TO LIVE
LIKE THOREAU BUT I’M
TOO MUCH OF A PUSSY
trends and fashion stuff go. But deeper than that, I think
we’re really struggling for something to hold onto now.
Everything is so quick, fleeting and meaningless. Tweets,
hashtags and likes take up people’s entire days so that they
completely forget to actually socialize in real life. All that
shit is so dishonest and either totally vain and self-absorbed
gloating, or passive-aggressive bullshit. I think everything
is so backwards now that we’re looking to the past, to our
parents’ generation and even earlier, to remember to slow
down and just do physical, tangible things again. Just live in
the moment a bit more, not try to capture and share every
waking moment or fleeting thought, make tangible stuff,
just chill out. I read Walden a while back—now that’s a good
perspective shifter. I want to live like Thoreau but I’m too
much of a pussy.

AN AMERICAN IN AMSTERDAM
Even though I sometimes miss the States, I’ve been here for
six years and it’s been a dream. Some things are backwards,
but a lot of things about America are backwards too.
Amsterdam is such a beautiful place, almost idyllic. It looks
like a postcard; you ride your bike to work, it’s very chill. I’ve
been lucky enough to see a lot of the world over the last six
years. It’s changed my perspective quite a bit, and I’m very
grateful for that. I wouldn’t have that perspective if I had
stayed in LA. All of that aside, I wouldn’t be mad at some
better weather and a good taco.

THEM-THANGS
I was working at this agency in Amsterdam. Our client
had moved on, and my freelance contract wasn’t up. I was
in there at my desk every day and didn’t have shit to do.
Naturally, I just surfed the Internet all damn day, saving
photos along the way. I also have a thing for collecting old
magazines and books, so I’d scan shit at my desk. Eventually,
I dumped them all on a hidden page of my site and shared it
with friends as a sort of inspiration thing. It just took off from
there and eventually evolved into a small magazine. We did
two issues, the second was with Hassan Rahim and Justin
Van Hoy (RIP). I don’t really update the blog any more and
the magazine is such a labor of love, it’s hard to make time.
I’m not really sure what’s next for it, if anything.
BEING A DESIGNER AND ART DIRECTOR TODAY R. CRUMB
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t quit my job. I don’t Always a place in my heart for Crumb. My dad had that melty
know if a lot of people can say that, so it’s a nice feeling. I stoner face thing in our house when I was a kid and I keep it
went to art school and did that whole thing, but it’s definitely out as one of my reminders of him. That documentary on him
a changing landscape. Kids think Supreme branding is tight is amazing too, he’s a super weirdo.
but don’t know who Barbara Kruger is. That shit bugs me out
sometimes. So I think there’s something to be said for going COLLECTING BOOKS
the classic route and not getting an Internet education. But, I hate it. They take up too much space and they make
at the end of the day, if you have talent and a good attitude, everything dusty.
then just go out and get it by any means. Ultimately, the goal
is to get away from the computer more and more the longer
you’re at it. I don’t think anyone wants to be a 50-year-old
designer. Become a conceptual thinker, put the whole thing For more information about Justin Blyth, visit jblyth.com

together and work with a team to bring your ideas to life.


JUXTAPOZ.COM / JUSTIN - BLYTH

44 JUXTAPOZ INFLUENCES
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LIMITED EDITION CO-LAB
AVAILABLE NOW
SHEPARD FAIREY INTERVIEW BY EVAN PRICCO PORTRAIT BY JON FURLONG

IF YOU DON’T KNOW SHEPARD FAIREY, YOU KNOW SHEPARD FAIREY. You have
encountered an Obey Giant sticker before, I guarantee that. There’s a chance that you,
your son, or daughter is wearing an Obey shirt right now. Unless you were living under a
rock in 2008, you saw an Obama “HOPE” poster, and it probably gave you pause, whether
you voted for the man or not. So, you know Shepard.
He has spent nearly 25 years blanketing pop-culture Evan Pricco: Let’s start with how people see your art on
with his imagery, an experiment in phenomenology that a daily basis. You have fine art, street art, public art, and
was created "to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s the clothing. For those who are not inundated with art
environment," which Shepard wrote in his 1990 Obey everyday, the clothing is probably the most approachable
Manifesto. Flash-forward to the present, and the Obey and relatable way to show your art to people.
project is not only successful, it has gone through all the Shepard Fairey: The idea of my graphics on T-shirts was
major stages of an indie-band gone multi-platinum—an actually something that was higher in the mix as a priority
underground icon experiencing the inevitable backlash, but when I started than anything else. I never thought I would
a popular figure galvanized to champion the underground. be taken seriously as an artist. The first sticker I ever did
Amazingly, through all of this, Shepard still maintains a close was a byproduct of me trying to teach a friend how to make
relationship with his fans and followers, one of the few artists stencils for homemade T-shirts. Clothing is an unintimidating
to consciously include them in releases and projects. format. It’s a very populist format.

And no matter where Obey has taken him, it all funnels But for me, it’s all important. Of course street art is incredibly
back to art. "There are a lot of things I love," Shepard says. important because of the scale of the application and the
"I love music, I love making pictures, I love feeling like I fact that it’s in public space. The part of the energy that
can comment on things that are unjust in society or in our went into it transfers to the viewer, and especially if it’s done
government or foreign policy. But art is really the only way illegally, a bit of the thrill for the voyeur is knowing that it was
I can bring all those things I love together." a thrill for the creator. That’s an important element, where
the medium is the message.
I’m sure I speak for many when I say Shepard was and is the
gateway drug. A gateway to street art, a gateway to politics, Street art is the foundation of everything in a way. It starts
gallery culture, music, fashion, and maybe even a gateway the story.
to a little counter-culture activity. And as Shepard’s career Right. I like a lot of street art because it’s political in that
has grown from the streets of Providence to international the more people that demonstrate that they will not just
recognition as creator of perhaps the most famous piece submit to whatever arbitrary rules are out there, the richer
of art created in the last half-century, he has remained the dialogue is about who’s in control and why. But it’s not
accessible and grounded in the subculture that bore his all I care about. I love the pleasurable side of music but a
aesthetic and work ethic. His latest museum exhibition, The lot of my favorites mix pleasure with provocation. Socially
Insistent Image: Recurrent Motifs in the Art of Shepard Fairey or politically, whether it’s Public Enemy or The Clash, Bob
and Jasper Johns, runs through July 12, 2014 at the Halsey Dylan, Bob Marley, or Dead Kennedys, I try to keep that
Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, and places mindset for what I do visually.
Shepard in the company that many have spoken about in
recent years—partnered with a pioneer of Pop Art, two Our 20th Anniversary gives us a chance to both reflect
artists balancing popular imagery with critique, two artists and look ahead. Your career over the past 20 years, more
back home in South Carolina. like 25, was announced with a manifesto that laid out an
experiment that was based on the potential of Obey and
I spoke to Shepard at his art studio in Los Angeles, in the your art. It was quite spot-on, wasn’t it?
midst of finishing his Power & Glory series set for the Halsey. I was only twenty years old in 1990 when I wrote that
He was comfortably candid, and knowing that Juxtapoz manifesto, and a lot of it was based on things I’d observed in
was celebrating its own milestone in 2014, forthcoming in a the one year I’d been doing the sticker campaign.
conversation that spanned past, present, and future. I applied that to the theories I’d read, situationism and

JULY 2014 49
phenomenology, and things I’d seen play out as trends in a little bit soul crushing. I look back to some of the early Power & Glory Flag 3
Mixed Media
pop culture. But I’m amazed reading it now. It sounded like I Flipside compilations and that banter between the songs, Stencil, Silkscreen, and
Collage on Canvas
knew what would happen in the future. I had no fucking idea with a band saying, "We want you to either be motivated to 44" x 44"
what I was doing and what was going to happen. put the record on or take it off." That’s how I feel. You know, 2014

if my stuff is creating a conversation, it’s OK if there’s a little


You couldn’t have foreseen the Internet at that point. hostility. Indifference is the enemy.
The great thing about the campaign early on was that there
was a sort of pride that people had from getting to the You’re working with a completely different kind of peer in
bottom of why it was out there. The whole thing started as Charleston, South Carolina at the Halsey Institute. Jasper
this punk rock chain letter, this street art version of a meme. Johns is a figure from a previous generation of Pop artists
But no, I had no idea. You know the Internet is great for many who could be seen as passing the torch to you. How did
reasons, but it’s also taken that thrill of investigation out of a the show come about?
lot of things. People can just search for things and know right I’m from South Carolina, as is Jasper. He moved to New York
away, and then they don’t feel invested. and I moved out for college to the Rhode Island School of
Design. Pop artists were always really big for me as soon as
But in a way, it’s sharing. It’s a community, but now I started paying attention to 20th century art. Growing up in
maybe that community has grown so big, it’s hard to find South Carolina, I was really only surrounded by very quaint art
the center. that was meant for tourists. It was paintings of landmarks, and
One of the things I really liked was that before the Internet ducks and seascapes.
there was a work ethic that was essential. You could only
really assume that people would see stuff firsthand, and if The art that initially intrigued me was what Raymond Pettibon
they saw it other than firsthand, it was going to come out was doing for Black Flag, Winston Smith for Dead Kennedys,
in a graffiti magazine or maybe pop up in the corner of a and Jamie Reed for the Sex Pistols. And then I discovered
fashion photo randomly, probably months or years later. So Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns. The
the volume of stuff you had to put out there was really, really Pop artists were a big deal to me because there was relatable
important. I’m glad that I had that period of time. subject matter. It was getting traction in the art world but it
was rendered in a way that sort of elevated it, and they each
The location, too, the actual physical location of it, was had their own approach. I liked Target Before Faces by Jasper
essential, right? Johns a lot. I just immediately loved it. And the flags, I love
You wanted to make sure you got the most high profile spots the flags. I loved the depth and the texture, and the idea that
because people would start talking about it. Everything something that’s so accessible could transcend its perceived
was word-of-mouth. I do like that the Internet has allowed limitations based on the execution.
people to share things that are happening in different
cities. A lot of people ask me now, "Well, street art for you This is a novel fact but a total coincidence: I happen to
was originally about finding an audience outside of elitist know Jasper Johns through his step brother, or half brother,
institutions like museums or galleries, and making it more because he runs this barbeque restaurant on Edisto Island
democratic. Isn’t the Internet more democratic?" Yeah, but and catered my art assistant’s wedding. His name is Bubba,
it doesn’t deliver. When you just create something digitally and it’s Bubba's BBQ & Bash. One of the things that is so
and share it digitally, there’s a level of safety that I don’t awesome about this show for me is that whatever I thought
think is compelling to people. Doing something on the street was a handicap being from Charleston, knowing Jasper
and documenting it and then sharing that digitally—at least Johns was from here was the inspiration. The social structure
people know there was something tangible and physical there is pretty rigid, and me being into skateboarding
created that a human being had to do with their hands, take and punk rock was always an issue. People would call my
some risk and get it out there. I think the computer is useful, parents to say, "We saw Shepard scraping paint off a bench
but its ability to transmit real human emotions and real with his skateboard, and that’s not respectful." My dad was
human connections is reduced and certainly not as powerful. always telling me that I was closing doors to my future.
So to get to go back to South Carolina and do a show at a
Can democracy survive on passive aggression? I would prestigious institution with a great artist like Jasper Johns is
say no, since that’s what a lot of the Internet is, especially a little bit of great revenge.
any comment section. Real democracy is face-to-face
interaction, hand-to-hand, or that’s the way it should be. Validation. The stuff that you were into as a kid was
If someone’s saying, "Fuck off, sell-out" in an Instagram actually leading to something.
comment, it becomes a whole different set of rules. Mark Sloan, who is the senior curator at the Halsey, really
I had to recalibrate my sensitivity because of the anonymous likes, for a lack of a better phrase, outsider art. He always
comments on the Internet. I mean, I’m pretty sensitive. One liked my work, gave me a show at the Halsey in 2002 and has
of the things I was always trying to do is put stuff out there followed my work since. When he saw May Day at Deitch, and
that I thought my peers would respond to as an alternative noted my development and the direction it had gone with the
to all the generic shit that’s in the world. And then to find layering, he thought it would make sense to pair me up with
that a lot of my own peers seem to hate what I’m doing, it’s Jasper Johns. So that’s a big honor, a big deal.

50 JUXTAPOZ SHEPARD FAIREY


JULY 2014 51
But the cool thing is that in 2002, when I did the show at San Francisco, and LA, I actually think that this is going to above
Close Sign (B)
Halsey, I went nuts with street art in Charleston. I did it without create some really interesting conversations in Charleston. Mixed Media
Stencil, Silkscreen, and
permission; it really upset people and Mark just took the Collage on Paper
heat for it. This time, he was able to actually secure a lot of You’ve done museum shows before, most recently at 19.5" x 17"
2014
pretty significant legal walls for me, and that’s some of the the Boston ICA, and the Warhol Museum show. But
right
benefit of being an established artist, I guess. It gives Mark the this is a little different, you working with this artist as a Open Sign
Mixed Media
leverage to say, "He’s in the National Portrait Gallery. He’s in contemporary. Have you had interactions with him? Stencil, Silkscreen, and
collections at these places. He’ll submit the design to you." I’m Or responded to his work in the show? Collageon Paper
19.5" x 17"
getting some permanent or semi-permanent painted murals No, I considered it meaningful that he was cool to be 2014
in Charleston which is insane because Charleston isn’t… let’s paired up with me. I’m designing some of the promotional
just say you have to go through a really vigorous process materials for the show using both of our works in them,
of review for anything because most of the town is historic and he’s approving that stuff. The work that he’s showing
architecture. As much as I love the idea of doing shows in is a combination of newer works, and works going all the
really cosmopolitan places like New York, London, way back to the mid-1980s. My work is all new, and if not

52 JUXTAPOZ SHEPARD FAIREY


brand new, within the last couple years. One of the things I "Oh, this piece is really great. I’m really proud of this." I look
noticed is Jasper has a diamond-shaped motif in a few of the at the whole thing as a cumulative effect.
things that he’s done, and I’d actually already designed my
Deconstruction of Flags with the diamond. I was really happy Johns has his American flags, they’re a quintessential
to see that there was a coincidental connection. piece of American art. When people think of Jasper Johns,
that’s what comes to mind. You have two references right
Mark Sloan’s concept for the show was in Jasper and me now, Andre the Giant and the Obama Hope poster. What is
both revisiting a lot of the same motifs and how they’ve your flag?
evolved over our careers. There’s continuity but there’s also Evolving from the Andre, the stylized—what I call the icon face,
evolution, depending on what we’re doing aesthetically. For the Obey Giant icon face, I think that’s my contribution. It’s sort
me, my color palette is dark. Obviously I use the word "obey," of ominous, sort of goofy. I don’t think it’s incredibly appealing
other slogans, and a lot of the decorative motifs. One of aesthetically but conceptually, the way that I created a
the things I always felt about my work, and I can’t speak for counter-culture icon that worked as a signature element within
Jasper, was that there’s no one piece where I’d say, a whole campaign that’s lasted all these years, that’s my piece.

JULY 2014 53
Maybe the version of it in the five-pointed star appeals the something really significant. I like the idea that although things above
Dark Wave
most to me because unintentionally, it connects back to the may start from humble beginnings, when you pay attention Mixed Media
Stencil, Silkscreen, and
stars in the American flag, the Chinese flag and the Russian to the potential, you can figure it out as you go. And that’s Collage on Paper
flag. The five-pointed star is used in ways that Americans fear exactly what I did. Edition 2 of 10, HPM
47" x 36"
and revere all over the place. That face within the five-pointed 2014

star gets reactions ranging from, "It’s a pentagram with Satan I think a lot of people are paralyzed by fears that their right
Empire State of Mind
in it," to, "This is a symbol of pushback against unwanted plan won’t be genius enough, and their art won’t be the Mixed Media
oppression from authority." masterpiece that bowls over the world the way they were Stencil, Silkscreen, and
Collage on Canvas
hoping, so they just don’t do anything. But art is so intuitive 30" x 40.5"
2014
Some people look at it in that way, so it’s my symbol of the that I think you just respond to what moves you. Maybe you above
counter-culture pushback, all fair interpretations creating won’t find your unique voice the first time, maybe not the
useful dialogue. So I’m really proud of that image. But with tenth time, but at some point, it will yield something where
the Internet now, everyone can think, "Oh, it’s related to his you’ll say, "I’m onto something here." And other people are
clothing and art brand." As a stand-alone, does it really have going to validate your feeling of being onto something. A lot
the same potency anymore? That’s why I’m always coming up of people start to do something that’s based on checking
with new images that I hope are potent but still use that Obey which way the wind’s blowing in the art world or pop culture
icon as a signature element. Regarding the Andre The Giant so they never really tune into that unique voice that’s theirs.
sticker, that was the most crappy, DIY, spontaneous thing ever, And of course I’m always accused of biting this style or
and yet it was the first piece of what I think has grown into taking that image. But even though I’ve been inspired by

54 JUXTAPOZ SHEPARD FAIREY


constructivist propaganda, punk album covers, and Warhol, While I was researching Johns, I thought it was really cool Descending Power
Mixed Media
I think at many different points, I have come up with ways that there was a support system of inspiration around him Stencil, Silkscreen, and
Collage on Canvas
to filter those inspirations through me to create something beyond, obviously, his relationship with Rauschenberg. 40" x 40"
unique that looks like me. I’m grateful that my journey to His friendships with Cage and Cunningham, and all these 2014

being able to say that started with something as silly as the creative people who were trying new things in the early right
Green Power
Andre sticker, and I want to remind people that they don’t ‘50s—leaving Abstract Expressionism and moving into Pop Mixed Media
Stencil, Silkscreen, and
need to feel intimidated, just make shit. Just make shit, man. Art—that is really inspiring. Do you feel the art community Collage on Canvas
Look, I started with this crappy thing. you’ve grown up with has that kind of kinship? 44" x 59"
2014

56 JUXTAPOZ SHEPARD FAIREY


I can absolutely tell you that there was a group of people that You’re in your car, you’re driving around LA, and you see Paradise Turns
Mixed Media
were crucial to my evolution and my courage, and that was one of your Andre wheatpastes placed in a great, visible Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage
on Canvas
the Beautiful Losers. Obviously, in the early 1990s, we didn’t spot. Do you ever find yourself reflecting and thinking, 44" x 59"
call it Beautiful Losers because that term hadn’t been coined "This has all been pretty fun?" 2014

yet. It was everybody hanging out at the Alleged Gallery in I know on paper how fortunate I am and how grateful I should
New York City. Aaron Rose had a real vision, coming from a be, and I am, in so many ways, grateful because I get to make
similar place as me. He loved what was going on around the a living doing what I love to do. That’s extraordinary. It’s still
art of skateboarding, music, and graffiti. And those things hard work because being able to be creative on my own
were very different at the time. The first show in New York that terms requires a lot of work to do things that aren’t part of my
I had work in was at his gallery in 1994. It was a show called predisposition, like running a business. So yes, I feel really
Represent, curated by Carlo McCormick, and the concept of fortunate. But I’m young at heart, and although I’m 44, the
the show was artwork inspired by streetwear. I was making idea of appealing to younger people who aren’t jaded is really
artwork and turning it into streetwear. At this point I had only important to me. I feel like whatever I’ve done, I haven’t done
made about five poster designs ever. I had done a lot of street enough to show that I still have that outsider punk mentality.
art, a lot of bombing, but little as far as art posters. I haven’t done enough street art recently. I haven’t gone out
to see enough bands recently. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able
You weren’t even thinking, "Oh I’m going to have a fine to rest. When I go on vacation with the family, I enjoy a couple
art career." days, and then I get restless. If I have my laptop with me, I
No way. Absurd. I got a call from Evan Bernard, do you know work on graphics or do research or whatever. I go out and
who that is? shoot some photos, but I can’t just do nothing.

"Drive the lane like I was Evan Bernard"… Beastie Boys, It really is the relentless experimentation.
"Get It Together." Yeah, the feeling you were talking about. When I’m out
Yeah, yeah. So I get a call from Evan Bernard, "Hey, are you driving around, when I see something I’ve done, there’s a
going to be at the show tonight in New York? You know you’re moment of satisfaction. But when I see other good spots
on the flyer." And I said, "I didn’t even know about it." And he I haven’t done yet, that’s when I’m like, "I’m not doing
goes, "Well if you come, could you bring me a few of your enough!" When I do an art show and get validation from
T-shirts?" And I think, "This guy’s connected to the Beastie people that I look up to, it is really incredible. Having people
Boys! Of course I want to bring him T-shirts!" My crew and I who started off as heroes of mine now consider me a
did the three-hour drive from Providence, and we get there for respected peer, I can’t really ask for much more than that.
the opening, and Futura was there, Phil Frost was there, Mike And in a way, the weight of those people that I admire is so
Mills. Phil Frost said to me, "I really like those Andre The Giant much greater than all the haters out there.
things." Twist had some work there also, and I loved his art.
Meeting all those guys, it was such a small clique of people at Part of the reason I’ve been able to do the things that I’ve
the time, we all became friends and did projects together. The been able to do is because I tend to not think about how
camaraderie only lasted for a few years. By the late 1990s, what I’m doing is supposed to be reflected upon, because
everybody had developed enough on their own that they that paralyzes me. I think about what I am feeling right now,
didn’t need the support of the group anymore. what I want to do right now, and hopefully, if it makes sense
right now, it will make sense to look back on it in a few years.
Who are some artists right now making work that you are Does it attract something important in that moment, or does
excited about? it address something about human nature in a more timeless
As far as newer people that I’ve discovered, there’s this way? To think back or reflect every time I’m doing something
guy, Harland Miller, out of the UK, that I love. He paints in regard to my art, and not just approach it intuitively, just
these works inspired by old Penguin Book covers. It’s shuts me down.
incredibly romantic-meets-dirty-filthy stuff. I think there’s a
convergence of a lot of really interesting things happening in
his work. It’s Pop Art but he’s got his own thing. I love smart
Pop Art. For more information about Shepard Fairey, visit obeygiant.com

I really love what Cleon Peterson is doing also. Cleon’s been JUXTAPOZ.COM / SHEPARD - FAIREY
working for me for a long time, and with me; but he’s always
been a ridiculously talented guy. He’s got his thing down
now. I’ve been loving what Retna’s been doing for about
the last three years. Retna’s work is really beautiful. Getting
down to what is the most powerful essence of what you do
is the best way to go. It’s really cool to see his evolution to
something I think is truly masterful.

58 JUXTAPOZ SHEPARD FAIREY


ANDREW POMMIER INTERVIEW BY KRISTIN FARR PORTRAIT BY MANDY-LYN

ANDREW POMMIER’S ART IS LIKE AN OLD BUDDY FROM GRADE SCHOOL,


charming and full of mischief. His imagery resonates in our hearts because, like life, it’s
a mix of light and dark, cute and tragic. “It’s funny because it’s sad,” has been a frequent
response to his work, but he’s heading in a new direction. Pommier’s illustrative designs
for skate companies and other clients are distinct from his paintings, and he’s built solid
careers in both areas, working with top players like RVCA, Adidas and Monster Children,
and showing internationally. As he explains the current phase of his artistic evolution,
he’s starting to play it fast and loose, adding a new, calculated energy to his work.

Kristin Farr: You have more than one painting that says, or Hostel. I admit that stuff makes me uncomfortable even if BEYOND THE STORY
“I hate your dog.” Have you been wronged by a dog? it’s fiction.
All three cars I've owned have
Andrew Pommier: I lived with a great dog named Raina for
been station wagons
many years. She was a pit bull/whippet cross. I do like dogs, Some other juxtapositions in your work are sadness and
but within a certain range. Basically, I’m picky about dogs. humor, humans and nature, fear and safety. What interests Last year I changed from a long-
standing vegan diet to a more
I had been thinking about doing something with that phrase you about these oppositions?
animal protein/whole food way
since moving to Vancouver, and it just recently came to In the past, my work has been best described as “it’s funny of eating
fruition. It was just me being a contrarian and looking to get a because it’s sad.” I’m trying to get away from that description,
rise out of people. Kind of juvenile, but also kind of fun. but I do like juxtaposing opposites because I like the visuals From time to time I enjoy a huge
cup of pretty bad convenience
those opposites allow. For example, man and nature is store coffee, served black
Tell me why you like to draw animals smoking. something you could explore until the cows come home, but
I like the device of a cigarette because it gives the sense of I think I would get bored of having that one conversation over
corruption. The cigarette is also something I like to add as it and over again. I don’t put too much forethought into what
takes away the idea that I’m doing a straightforward painting emotional resonance is going to result from my work. I let the
of an animal. visuals present themselves, and I try to make work that I find
interesting. Thinking about what I’m trying to communicate
You admittedly draw dark things to balance out a tendency is more of a conversation for after the brushes have been
toward cuteness, and I’m curious to know what kind of cleaned and the paint tubes have been recapped. I first have
cute stuff inspires you. Are you also into horror movies, or to deal with the execution of the imagery.
do you have a harder time connecting with the dark side?
Sometimes even your drawings of knives are cute. Even if you’re not considering the emotional response
Exactly, I draw cute knives. It’s just the way my line works. ahead of time, you’re good at capturing moods. Are you a
I don’t know how or why everything I do ends up being seen very observational person?
as cute. I think it has something to do with drawing the eyes I can be very observational from time to time. Sometimes
too big, or the roundness of the fingers I draw. As a result, my head is in the clouds, and sometimes I’m looking too
I need to skew the image the other way— basically, bunnies, internally to notice what’s happening around me. The moods
but smoking and drinking, carrying a knife—or crossing out I present in my work aren’t often planned. I tend to let mood
the face with quick, aggressive marks. It’s always an uphill roll out as it will.
battle, which is fine. I really like Hello Kitty and My Neighbour
Totoro, and any Miyazaki film. I’m actually fine with being on So then it probably reflects your own moods.
the cute scale, it’s how I roll. I wonder if there is a version of Yes. What I make is, at times, cathartic. Other times, it’s
the Kinsey Scale for cuteness? a problem to solve. My paintings are a reflection of my
sketchbook, which contains my most honest work. My
I’m not a fan of horror movies but, if pressed, I would rather sketchbook is where I record my life, and some of the
watch something like the reboot of Friday the 13th or The stronger ideas that are in its pages could be end up being
Cabin in the Woods than that weird horror-porn like Saw realized in the format of painting.

60 JUXTAPOZ ANDREW POMMIER


Your style evokes a lightheartedness, even when very dark, Watercolor isn’t a friendly paint. It doesn’t excuse mistakes the above left
That Boy You Knew
like the ski mask portrait in shades of black. Tell me about same way acrylic and even oil does. Oil on canvas
8.5" x 11"
making that painting. 2014
I’ve been lucky in the fact that I seem to have a handle I was happy with the work I made with acrylic but don’t think
above right
on mixing bright colors, which I think lends to the I got that close to making a large acrylic painting capture the The Addition by Subtraction
Oil and holes on panel
lightheartedness of my work. It’s nothing I tried to learn. feeling of a small watercolor; I still use acrylic when it makes 9" x 12"
Although I actually dislike having to pick the color of sense, yet near the end of my acrylic period, I was pining 2013

things and didn’t particularly enjoy color theory class in art for the smell and process of oil paint. I have taken ideas and right
Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em
school, I did learn a little from that. The black painting was techniques from my acrylic work and incorporated them into Oil on panel
a challenge to see how subtly I could shift black to make some of my work in oil, like using graphite mark making, 20" x 24"
2010
it render a figurative painting that would appear black in not as a starting point, but as a present element in the
following spread left
normal lighting, where the figure would only be revealed finished piece. The Warren
with direct light. That painting was also about me learning Oil on panel
20" x 24"
how to use form and tone to define an object instead of a Many people think it takes days or months for oils to dry, and 2010
line, which is something I’ve relied on for most of my career. it can, when used thickly or heavily with light colors. Yellow following spread right
will take so much longer to dry then most other colors, but The Sparrows Have It
Oil on panel
Are you still working in oil paint? there are really effective mediums you can use that will make 20" x 24"
2010
I returned to painting in oil in late 2009 after a hiatus of almost any color dry overnight. And with the longer drying
a few years. When I was 17, I had yet to be introduced to time of oils, there are so many different ways to execute
acrylic paint, and my high school art teachers weren’t very marks. I’m having a blast with it and am really happy with the
knowledgeable or informative. So on a visit to an art store in return to oil.
Toronto, I bought some large tubes of oil paint—red, yellow,
blue, white and black—and started there. I made almost all my Who are some artists you relate to?
paintings in oil until I came to a point that I felt that acrylic was George Condo, Philip Guston, Alex Katz, Wes Lang, Gokita
more conducive to what I wanted to accomplish. So I left oil all Tomoo, Colin Chilag, André Ethier… and on and on.
together to try to get my larger works to echo my watercolor
pieces. I was hoping the speedy drying time would loosen
my execution. I think watercolor is closer to oil than acrylic.

62 JUXTAPOZ ANDREW POMMIER


What’s good in Vancouver these days? What do people call art school that I learned one could make a living as an artist above left
I Hate Your Dog
Vancouver for short? outside of illustration or graphics. I think coming so late to Acrylic and graphite on paper
9" x 12"
There is an amazing amount of great new coffee shops contemporary art making, I was able to do my own thing 2014
springing up all over the place, especially around my studio. with no real external influences other than comic books and
above right
There is a new arts district in Vancouver that has most of the skateboard graphics. A Pause for Conversation
Acrylic and graphite on paper
major commercial art galleries moving closer in proximity to 8" x 10"
each other, and as a result, there seems to be a broader art Which comics and skate graphics were most inspiring? 2012

conversation happening. Little to no snow over the winter is I started skating in the mid ‘80s, which was the height of right
A Fine Thing
always a good thing. It’s one of the main reasons I moved out Powell Peralta, so almost any of those skeleton-based Oil on canvas
here. As for shorter names for Vancouver, it’s just shortened boards were an inspiration. VC Johnson is so untouchable 11" x 14"
2014
to Van, or sometimes it’s referred to as Lotus Land, but that’s in his ability to render. It was kind of intimidating. It wasn’t
not really shorter. until I learned that pros could draw their own graphics that
I thought there might be some room for my hand. Reading
Tell me about the town where you grew up and if you think about and seeing the work of people like Neil Blender, Chris
it had a lasting influence on your art. Miller and Tod Swank was really eye opening, as it was
I grew up in Sudbury, which is a small city centered around artwork that wasn’t as polished as the board graphics. My
nickel mining. It’s located four hours north of Toronto. There favorite comic books as a kid were The X-Men and The New
is no doubt that it influenced my work. It was pretty devoid Mutants. I remember seeing an early New Mutants story
of a culture. My parents are both creative types. My dad is that Bill Sienkiewicz drew. His style is amazing and really
an excellent woodworker and a decent draftsman, and my different from most other comic books, which was another
mom, pretty crafty with needlepoint and sewing. We had art part of my early art education.
books around, and a few paintings on the wall. We would
always stop at museums on road trips. With that said, I was
pretty ignorant of the larger art world and I had no idea
about contemporary art or galleries. It wasn’t until I went to

66 JUXTAPOZ ANDREW POMMIER


I love how something can be conveyed so simply with a I feel weird now too. Speaking of Canadian TV, you were The Moth Guide
Oil on panel
comic style. You can draw a perfectly realistic face, but you featured on The Jon Dore Show. 20" x 24"
2013
don’t have to. The meaning is there. Do you think about that The reason my work was in that show is because my friend
sort of thing? Nancy Niksic was the art director and also happens to be the
I do think about that. When I start a painting or drawing, owner of the work used in the show. My good friends were
I want to render it as realistically as I’m able. The past few writers on the show and managed to direct a few episodes,
years, I’ve been trying to keep myself in check with eye which helped them to get more established in the world of
sizing. If I’m not paying attention, I’ll end up painting a television. It’s too bad that show was only on for two seasons.
Walter Keane-esque face. I’m getting better at accepting my
tendencies and the characteristics of how I paint. I’ve been Talk about the urge to make multiples of a similar image.
trying to get out of my own damn way. Trusting myself a little Are there any series you’re working on right now, or
more, and not overthinking it. imagery you’re obsessing over?
I will go on jags of making similar paintings. I’ve definitely
I also don’t have a good handle on which of my pieces are worked in series, but I don’t want to make what I paint too
going to be liked. The pieces I think are the least successful formulaic or have really rigid rules. I let imagery end when it
tend to be the ones the audience gravitates to the most. It’s ends, or allow my work to evolve and drift when it needs too.
a funny thing. What motivates change is my interest in solving the visual
problem. The work I’m making now has some relation to
Sometimes the differences between your paintings what has come before, but it’s far from me repeating myself.
and illustrations are surprising. Do you make a
conscious distinction? Last year, I did a small show in a friend’s new Vancouver
A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to distinguish coffee shop. I was hesitant at first as the venue is pretty
the two. I felt the illustration and painting were too close to much where weekend painters or hobbyists show. I wasn’t
each other visually and were communicating on the same looking to hang work in a coffee shop, but upon reflection,
level. A work on canvas could become a T-shirt graphic, or a it was a good spot to try out an idea, as it was a stark white
skateboard graphic could just as easily end up on a canvas. space. I put together a show of new and old work that was
At one time, that was fine, and I enjoyed that homogeny, all made in black and grey. The work was all over the map
but it was feeling stale and I was getting bored. The only in terms of media (oil, watercolor, ink, pencil) and technique
real visual problem I was solving was deciding which animal (some rendered loosely, some tightly) and subject matter.
costume to clothe a figure and it was getting really cut-and- I wanted it to look like a group show. I was happy with how
paste. I wanted to return to a more artistic conversation, and it looked, and generally, people were really responding to
working with oil allowed that to take place. So I was able to the looser, quicker pieces. I came away from it with a better
make more of a distinction between my two areas of output. understanding of my art and that was the beginning of me
trusting myself more and getting out of my own way. I guess
Which came first, the shoes you designed for Adidas, or all I’m obsessing about faster and looser paintings. The work is
of the characters wearing Shell Toes in your earlier work? still recognizable as mine but I believe there is more energy
Painting the shoes came first. I really liked the idea of linking present in the newer paintings.
all of my figures together with the same footwear, which is
an idea I borrowed from the Chapman Brothers. They did Any big shows or travels coming up?
a series of crazy conjoined mannequin sculptures with all Last year ended on a heavy travel note. The last part of the
the figures wearing the same shoe, in that case, Nikes. For year, I went on a trip to Buenos Aires just to see it, and then
me, the Shell Toe is a simply constructed shoe, one that I’ve Tokyo to see Neutral Milk Hotel and present an art show.
always felt connected to with my early love of RUN-D.M.C. This summer I have solo show in Berlin at Okazi Gallery.
and the Beastie Boys, to skateboarding in the early ‘90s. I’m hoping to go to Australia for an artist residency at The
It seemed to make the most sense for the paintings. I was Art Park, or extend my time in Europe to possibly take
showing them at Antisocial Skate Shop when the lads from advantage of some art stays there.
Adidas stopped into the shop, and I was able to connect with
them through that visit.

What’s the last funny, amazing or weird thing you saw on For more information about Andrew Pommier,
the Internet? visit andrewpommier.com
I just watched a short video piece online that highlighted the
creepiness of the host of a budget 1980s Canadian children’s JUXTAPOZ.COM / ANDREW - POMMIER
game show named Just Like Mom. The video showed the
times where the host would basically force 11-year-old girls to
kiss him on the mouth. I remember watching the show when
I was a kid and totally missed how weird and creepy the
host was, and I can’t believe he got away with it for over 500
episodes. I felt weird after I watched it.

68 JUXTAPOZ ANDREW POMMIER


JESSE HAZELIP
INTERVIEW BY JUDITH SUPINE INTRODUCTION BY AUSTIN McMANUS PORTRAIT BY MERIDITH JENKS

FROM GRAND CENTRAL STATION IN NEW YORK CITY, I TOOK THE SCENIC METRO
North line that snakes along the Hudson River to the small town of Beacon to visit my old
friend, Jesse Hazelip. Originally from the West Coast, Jesse relocated several years ago,
substituting big city stimulation for solitude, allowing him more time to focus on artwork
and raising his son. While exploring the surrounding areas of upstate New York, Jesse
discovered an abandoned old prison that he frequently visits and from which he draws
inspiration. He repeatedly and enthusiastically suggested that I needed to come explore
the facility with him, so organizing this feature became an excuse to finally take him up on
the offer.

Approaching the eerie compound in Jesse’s large white lot of racism towards my brother. He’s adopted and black,
cargo van, we joked about the vehicle’s appearance and and he was the only black kid in the entire county. Those
how we looked like scrappers. The prison, which consists of rednecks let him have it. He’s been in more fights than
several separate buildings, was surprisingly absent of any most professional fighters. I would jump in when I could,
graffiti or vandalism, despite being unused for a long period but we were in different grades and were assigned different
of time. Lurking around, taking photos and doodling on walls, playgrounds. I guarantee that I’ve beat up more white kids
the world outside temporarily dissolved and I realized why over the N-word than most black people. When I finally
Jesse had asked me to come. It’s a place for conversation, found graffiti after my move to California, I was instantly
contemplation and tranquility. The infrastructure included consumed. It was the perfect channel for my angst. It was
ridiculously tiny cells and was a sobering reminder of destructive but nobody got hurt. It was also a way to seek
America’s highly profitable, inhumane and deeply corrupt the attention that I was lacking in other aspects of my life.
incarceration practices, the most prevalent theme in Jesse’s I was in self-destruct mode and the danger involved was
most recent body of work. —Austin McManus very addicting. There’s nothing like putting your life and
freedom on the line and getting away with it. I’ve been on
Judith Supine: Were you making art where you grew up in an unfathomable amount of graffiti missions and only been
Cortez, Colorado? arrested once. I’ve been in handcuffs more times than I can
Jesse Hazelip: Yes. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but that was mainly for drunken nonsense that
remember. My art was always very angry. I would draw from never ended with me getting booked. Cops are bored and
comic books and create my own characters, and was heavily lazy. It’s not like Law and Order.
influenced by skateboard graphics. Now that I think about it,
I’m not sure if I was drawing the superheroes or the villains— Describe your first encounter with graffiti writers.
just really poorly drawn buff monster dudes killing people. When I first began writing, I had absolutely no connections
I started drawing in sketchbooks at a very young age and to any graffiti writers or influences. I initially chose a stupid
managed to hang on to most of them. It’s nice to be able to name. I think it was Trix. No disrespect to anyone currently
look back at the beginning, the early stages of my attempts writing that name, but it is stupid. I would write out a short
at art making, long before I knew it would be my “career.” pseudo-political phrase and sign it with my terrible tag.
It’s strange, because I guess I was always an activist at
You first saw graffiti at age 12. Why were you an angry, heart, though at that time, I wasn’t even aware of what
unhappy kid at this age? activism was. By the time I met some graffiti writers at my
Family issues had a lot to do with it. There was alcoholism high school I had already been writing terrible toy graffiti
involved and a very unhealthy family dynamic. It didn’t help for about two years. My friend, who was writing Wish at the
that in Cortez, I was able to start drinking at 11 due to adults time, introduced me to this guy Winks, and eventually, Noe.
with a twisted perspective on child rearing. I also saw a Much later I met this weirdo named Jehu. Winks put us in a

JULY 2014 71
crew RCK, then Wish (Coke) and I started a crew called DCK times that I’ve been in a county jail facility. I was shocked by above
Brioche
which turned into DCF. We dropped that crew and started the inhumane treatment and the obvious racial bias in the Ballpoint pen on paper
22" x 15"
OSD Outsiders, which is the crew that I’m still in. Graffiti will population, and I could guess that it was much worse in higher 2012
always be the core of my art and inspiration. My approach to security prisons. My experiences there triggered the need to
right
vandalism has changed, but I will always be a graffiti writer make art to bring attention to the atrocities silently occurring W Vulture on the street in NY

at heart. behind those thick concrete walls. The book The New Jim
Crow by Michelle Alexander has been my bible in researching
You described graffiti as dealing with your personal this series. She worked tirelessly, uncovering blatant racism
problems in a public manner. What are those demons? throughout all levels of our judicial system.
I was going through a lot. My parents were splitting up and
I had moved away from my mother and Navajo friends in Though there are many issues that need examination, I think
Colorado. I can’t tell you how many times I cried at the end that there are a few pressing ones that need to be dealt
of Dances with Wolves when the white boy leaves the tribe. with urgently. The number of prisoners with mental illness
I was such an outsider in this new environment and had is sickening. Prisons are not at all capable of caring for the
zero friends. I found graffiti on my first train ride through the needs of these individuals. Solitary confinement is another
L.A. River. It was the perfect way to occupy my bored mind. major violation of human rights. This method of incarceration
I found a place in graffiti where my mind was completely is equivalent to torture, especially when you have prisoners in
present and not distracted by all of my demons. I could focus these conditions for multiple years and sometimes decades.
only on what I was doing at the moment because if I didn’t, One of the most prevalent issues I have a problem with is the
I could be hurt or incarcerated. overwhelming number of nonviolent offenders doing serious
time for drug charges associated with the ages-old drug war
How do you define compassion? that we’ve been losing for more than 40 years. If we were in
Being able to look at a criminal and love them regardless of Iraq for 40 years, do you think the public would be supportive?
their deeds. People in our society are very quick to judge We need to take a different approach, obviously.
others, especially poor people, based upon their own reality.
I’ve been reading a lot about the prison system for my current How did the heron and buffalo first come to you? What
body of work, and it’s alarming how racist and cruel the would Jung say these represent?
current punitive system is. I had a small taste of it the few Jung would be proud of me, I assume, for listening to my

72 JUXTAPOZ JESSE HAZELIP


visions, or at least according to individuation. For my series When did you first encounter gang graffiti? How has that above
Enrages
about war, the heron and buffalo came to me as in all of my influenced your art? Mixed media on wood
24" x 48"
work, in a vision. The visions aren’t always obvious to me at When I moved to California from Cortez, I still had an 2014
first, but they reveal themselves in time as I go through the aversion to white people because of the way they had right
process of realizing them. The only real guideline I have in treated my brother in Colorado. In Cortez, I had gravitated High Rider
Mixed media on wood
my work is to stay true to my vision and never sacrifice the towards almost exclusively hanging out with my Navajo 32" x 32"
2014
integrity. That’s why you don’t see Jesse Hazelip computer friends. In Colorado, there weren’t any formal gangs, though
skins or tote bags. I’ve turned down a ton of commercial jobs we had started one after watching the movie Colors. In
that were motivated by exploiting my imagery to sell their Goleta, CA, there weren’t any Navajos, so I began trying to
product. With my personal work, the answer is always no, hang with the Mexicans. I was determined to get into the
regardless of the compensation. gang at my junior high called G-13. I became obsessed with
their tags. Everywhere I walked, I would see gang graffiti.
What type of art do you imagine your son Kingston making The cholo culture has been very influential in much of my
in 30 years? self-expression. The use of Old English typography, Dickies,
This is a life of suffering and rejection. Would you want your Nike Cortez, and answering everything with “órale.” I ended
son to follow the path of the artist? Kingston is almost five up doing graffiti instead of getting into the gang, thankfully.
now and is making the most amazing drawings of these My surroundings at the time definitely ingrained the cholo
monster creatures. They are all completely from his mind, script in my mind.
and I have no part in it. I definitely don’t want to push art
on him, but when he requests that we make it, I get very You are a master of lines, but also a dreamer and thinker.
excited. The path of an artist is a scary journey, so I wouldn’t Do you find yourself closer to Dürer or Joseph Beuys?
wish it on him, but I’ll support him in whatever passion he Dürer has been a major inspiration to me, aesthetically.
chooses. With my luck he’ll become a Republican golfer! My I was also very inspired by Duchamp in terms of the more
family was split in their support of my work. My mother and conceptual approach to art. With Dürer, I was attracted to his
sister were always very encouraging, so I was lucky in that line quality and composition. With Duchamp, I was attracted
sense. Most of my family, especially my extended family, to his rebellious soul and his ability to shift the perception
never really understood me. They thought I should get a real of art. I’m very aware that I’m an anomaly when it comes to
job. It was funny to see how many jumped on board once I art. I take a lot from the writings of Orwell, and the theme
started getting some serious gallery shows. All of a sudden in his book 1984 that the hope is in the proletariat. So, in
everyone is supportive! With Kingston, I want him to feel free my work, I try to find a way to engage the widest spectrum
of pressure and find his own path. I’m excited to witness his of people and not abstract it beyond comprehension. I use
journey and I hope I can support him in his interests. animal metaphors because everyone has a relationship with

74 JUXTAPOZ JESSE HAZELIP


JULY 2014 75
Streets of West Oakland
2009
animals and has a way to relate. I choose issues that affect I started an art gang called Barrio Caravaggio (BACA) with a above
C.O.V. (Cycle of Violence)
all of us as a culture, so I try to use visual icons that are easily homeboy of mine. The gang has had some internal issues, Mixed media on wood
35" x 58"
identifiable, but in a manner that isn’t common. but I’m still reppin’ it. 2014
I hope that this approach will guide people into the dialogue right
I’m trying to encourage. By putting the images into public And finally, with Michael Sam recently coming out as the G Vulture
Mixed media on wood
spaces, I expand from the gallery setting to include more first openly gay NFL player, how does it feel to be one of 45" x 33"
2014
people in the conversation. The art world itself is a very 4,000 gay street artists?
privileged atmosphere and doesn’t include the majority of I honestly wish I were gay most of the time because gay
the population. people tend to be hilarious and open-minded. But to answer
your question, I’ll insert cliché instead of gay. Street art is
I have to turn myself into the NYPD next week. Are you a sorry term that I hate being associated with. I’m not sure
anticipating the conjugal visits? what it even means now, but there is an excess of biting,
I’ll smuggle a phone into you the old-fashioned way. I’m sure spot jocking and general lameness across the genre. I came
I’d have to wait in line to fuck though—the girls are up on up doing graffiti, and if you stole someone’s style, you got
you. Maybe if I go pee off the top of the Williamsburg Bridge into a fight. If you spot-jocked someone, you got into a fight.
and film it, I can come join you at Rikers. Us white boys have Maybe if we start handing out some beatings, we’d see some
to stick together in there. respect within this cliché community. A message to street
artists: stop going over graffiti with your knock-off Banksy
Are there any artists from the past who would write graffiti stencils and wannabe Swoon posters. And don’t press
and make street art? charges when you get beaten up.
I would like to think that Caravaggio would be a graffiti writer.
I’m kind of obsessed with him as an artist and an individual.
He would get into brawls, and he actually murdered at least
one person, though it was probably in a drunken street fight. For more information about Jesse Hazelip, visit jessehazelip.com
Actually, it might suck if he were still around because if my
crew had beef with him, I’d have to fight that maniac. JUXTAPOZ.COM / JESSE - HAZELIP

78 JUXTAPOZ JESSE HAZELIP


MARGARET KEANE
AUTEUR OF THE BIG EYES
TEXT AND PORTRAIT BY ROBERT L. BROWN

“ THE GIRL WITH MANY EYES”


BY TIM BURTON

ONE DAY IN THE PARK


I HAD QUITE A SURPRISE.
I MET A GIRL
WHO HAD MANY EYES.

SHE WAS REALLY QUITE PRETTY


(AND ALSO QUITE SHOCKING!)
AND I NOTICED SHE HAS A MOUTH,
SO WE ENDED UP TALKING.

WE TALKED ABOUT FLOWERS,


AND HER POETRY CLASSES,
AND THE PROBLEMS SHE’D HAVE
IF SHE EVER WORE GLASSES.

IT’S GREAT TO KNOW A GIRL


WHO HAS SO MANY EYES,
BUT YOU REALLY GET WET
WHEN SHE BREAKS DOWN AND CRIES.
IF YOU CONCEDE THAT THE EYES ARE WINDOWS TO THE SOUL, THAT EVERY PICTURE
tells a story, or even that art imitates life, then you might consider revisiting the career
of Margaret Keane. This fall, Tim Burton will release the major motion picture Big Eyes,
documenting the life and controversies surrounding Margaret and her former husband,
Walter. The production of that film practically obliges the necessity to contextualize the
influence of Margaret’s aesthetic and style on countless artists in the pages of Juxtapoz
and beyond for nearly half a century.
Most importantly, it’s time to once again shed light on the I ended up liking the life drawing classes better. Complicated Lady
Oil on canvas
eerily stunning paintings for a new generation of readers 24" x 36"
©1976
who were never introduced to Margaret Keane. Robert Speaking directly of her youthful motivation, Margaret says,
Brown, Executive Director of the Keane Eyes Gallery, writing “‘Big-Eyed’ paintings were the result of my desperate need to
about his friend and colleague, makes the case, and he’s a express my deepest emotions, which led to pouring out my
star witness. intense feelings into an imaginary child’s eyes, and this is what
I put onto canvas. The child represented me, although I didn’t
“Big Eyes,” prior to becoming the title of Burton’s film, was know it at the time. And viewers often recognized their own
a term commonly given to a style of painting from the early inner child in my paintings.” By chance, in San Francisco, she
1960s, lampooned by the critics, but embraced by the public. met Walter Keane, who noted the overwhelming response to
For over a decade, it was assumed the painter of those her paintings and how people found themselves captivated by
kids with hypnotic round eyes was Walter Keane, and that the way she captured the innocence of youth. She honed “Big
his wife Margaret, painted the older women, characterized Eyes” to perfection, making it her own.
by willowy forms and dark almond eyes haunting their oval
faces. That’s how the world knew the Keanes; the married Before Walter, when my daughter from my first marriage was
darlings who employed two distinct styles on canvas. born, I began to draw her. Soon, all my neighbors wanted
A painting attributed to Walter would be boldly signed me to sketch their children. The local picture framer told them
“KEANE” in capital letters, while the elongated subjects he wanted to meet me, and when I went to visit, he told me
were usually signed in the script, “MDH Keane,” with each that I could become a portrait painter. He was impressed
usually stating the year of creation. with how I “captured” children, so I began doing them in oil
and had several shows of portraits of children. I did lots of
Today, it’s widely known that the painter of both styles is the portrait sketches of children at art fairs, and this was good
wife, Margaret, and the definitive word “is” asserts that the training, but I later wanted to paint imaginary children in
creator and signer of each approach still actively paints to different settings. These children all had enlarged eyes, and
this day. Even in her late 80s, she is capable and inspired to I didn’t know why, except that eyes have always interested
turn out the evocative mood that was so popular in the ‘60s. I me as the most expressive part of the face. My school books
laughingly assure people amazed by her story and huge body from grammar school onward all had drawings of eyes in the
of work that, fortunately, her eyes and hands are busy as ever. margins. I couldn’t sit still without doodling—still can’t.
How amazing that she is still here to paint and tell her story.
When the frenzy really hit, exerting undue duress, Walter
Margaret Keane: As a child, I remember I was always drawing. convinced Margaret that, among other things, a woman during
In the first grade, a teacher told my mother that she should that time could never be taken seriously as an artist. The
encourage me, and at age 10, I started drawing lessons at the pressure blindsided Margaret, when approached one evening
Watkins Institute in Nashville. I was the youngest and could by a woman who had purchased a “Big Eyes” from Walter
not do the finished work like drawing from casts of heads and and casually queried, “Do you also paint?” This unleashed
hands. It was a challenge, but gradually I improved. Around an outrage of emotions from Margaret, but Walter responded
this time, I painted in poster colors on a piece of smooth with more of his indoctrination, and in the end, succeeded
wood, two versions of one little girl. In the background, the with his personal propaganda.
child was crying, but the one in the foreground had a big
smile. I gave it to my grandmother as a present; maybe that One of my favorite paintings is The Black Dress (1963). I like
was prophetic of my paintings and life—sad and happy. I sold the mystery it poses. She was to have had on a black dress,
my first drawing when I was about 12 years old for one dollar but the background was black, so where does this leave the
to my uncle’s friend. During high school, I sold drawings of girl? Is she part of infinity? Is she nowhere or everywhere? I
pin-up girls and movie stars to my classmates, and later in like the expression in her eyes that stare right at you. I think it
New York, though I thought I wanted to be a fashion illustrator, captured some of the questioning in the eyes of those earlier

82 JUXTAPOZ MARGARET KEANE


“Big-Eyed” children that Walter claimed as his, but doing so in
an older “MDH Keane” style. I also like Escape from this same
year. I wanted to escape from the impossible position I was in,
and the lies.

Who can judge her? I have personally come to notice that


women of her age who visit the gallery, women who would
have been at the same professional and marital status at
that stage, would similarly be unable to speak up. While
disappointed in her own personal resolve, Margaret went
along with the lie, that Walter was the painter of the kids with
the big, round eyes.

Surrendering ownership of those “Big Eyes” to Walter, she


felt and knew she needed something of her own while she
continued painting, and so developed a new focus and
interpretation. Out of this evolved a style similar to Modigliani,
and if ever there were a case for painting for two, this was it.
Throughout all those many years the world acknowledged
them as a successful, painting couple. The wife had her style,
the husband had his, each signed differently, with Margaret
being the one doing both, using two different signature styles.
The world didn’t know about this, and all the while, there was
no turning a corner without seeing a Keane painting. The
success became mind-blowing. Every dime store, department
store, frame shop, gift and design shop sold or employed a
Keane image, and Walter was prolific as a promoter, bringing
the art and himself to Hollywood and national TV.

When I began to try and develop another style, I decided


to use an older girl instead of a child. I loved Modigliani’s
elongated, delicate women. I was greatly influenced by his As we often see throughout pop-culture and popular opinion, above right
The Stray
work, and also Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and the Flemish once a lie is out in public discourse, it’s almost impossible Oil on canvas
portraits. I tried to make the eyes smaller and more oval but 12" x 24"
to pull it back. In spite of all the media attention given to the ©1962
they often turned out larger than I had intended. court trial between Walter and Margaret, which Margaret above left
rightfully won, you can still encounter visitors to Margaret No Dogs Allowed
Oil on canvas
This lifestyle of lies couldn’t last. For Margaret, ten years Keane Gallery in San Francisco asking if Walter is alive and 12" x 24"
was finally enough time to summon the courage to pack her painting. The fact that he never painted the “Big Eyes” amuses ©1962

suitcases and fly to Hawaii. Grabbing her daughter, Jane, at first, until they consider the abuse. The conversation always right
Taking A Walk
Margaret sought a new life, and why not paradise? She had tends to sway toward why Margaret withstood the fiction, Oil on canvas
never stopped painting, and her artistic abilities seemed 18" x 24"
finally applauding her decision to emerge and turn out more ©1960
to improve. The warm tropical environment impacted the beautiful and powerful work while in her 80s.
compositions, which became more colorful, populated with
children who were often smiling and appeared happier. She One of the developments that came about while Margaret
still paints tearful young faces, but assuredly, they are drops lived in Hawaii is her generous portrayal of animals in her
of joy. New love and marriage entered her life, fulfillment at paintings. In the ‘60s, there may have been one cat or one
last. She was enjoying life, and yet, there was the gnawing dog, but now some are only of animals, or some with a single
question about a real purpose in life, the why and where, human. Naturally, she still works in the classic Keane style
and is this it? For someone whose first artistic inclination was we recall.
impelled by emotion, a spiritual quest evolved, and Methodist,
Catholic, Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist and Hindu religions I doodle while talking on the phone or listening to something.
were explored, with none answering her questions. In time, Some of my best doodles have become paintings. They seem
she found found her answers in the Bible and Jehovah’s to express things from my subconscious. Most of the time, I
Witnesses. Skeptical at first, she became convinced she was will work on four or five paintings in various stages. I will stop
learning the truth she was seeking, and was baptized in 1972. on one, go to another, and get a fresh view. If I look at one
And after living in Hawaii for 27 years, Margaret was drawn canvas too long, it gets distorted and I can’t see it objectively.
back to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she continues to
paint, preach, and enjoy life. Another aspect of her recent work has been a series of
socially conscious paintings created for the Kinship Care

84 JUXTAPOZ MARGARET KEANE


Network at San Francisco’s Edgewood Center for Children. lines in the background or borders, and overlapping planes, above
Boston
The center assists in finding a bridge for children at risk, in as well as distorting the faces to draw out emotion. Oil on canvas
30" x 24"
this case, those whose parents are jailed, mentally ill, suffering ©2007
from AIDS or deceased. I’ve always felt there was a dynamic narrative to be told right
about the Keanes. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Beach Bum I
Oil on canvas
Each painting is a challenge as I attempt to juggle colors, the writers of Big Eyes, along with director Tim Burton and 18" x 24"©1997
composition, lines and planes to achieve a finished whole. actors Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, created a film that
I start off with an idea, but it will often change and evolve is a collective celebration of Margaret’s art and vindication.
differently as I paint. I just start and look at what begins to Filmgoers will even get a chance to see the film end in a
unfold, and then may develop it by putting my feelings into it. dramatic courtroom “paint-off” scene. At a wrap party for the
I know a lot comes through my subconscious, although film that was held at the Margaret Keane Gallery, a beaming
I consciously try to portray something from my current life. Margaret walked into the gallery with about 50 folks present,
fueled with excitement surrounding the movie and a new
Without a mental block throughout these past years, Margaret lease on life. The film presents a new door for her to enter,
finds the paint just flowing onto the canvas. She has the and we benefit from her creative mind, hands and eyes.
unique ability to say “done” and move on to the next creation,
which is partially why she has such a large body of work.
While she may characterize herself as disorganized in other
aspects of her life, it does not apply to paint on canvas where Robert L. Brown is the Director of the Keane Eyes Gallery in
she is consistent, methodical and clear-headed. It’s like San Francisco California
moving from one room to the next, knowing clearly how to get
Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, which documents the life of Margaret Keane,
there, and we enter the same room by enjoying her work.
will open in theaters December 25, 2014

Depictions of time and space have always interested me. As a For more information about Keane Eyes Gallery, visit keane-eyes.com
result, they have been in the background in many of my older
girls. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the perspective JUXTAPOZ.COM / MARGARET - KEANE

86 JUXTAPOZ MARGARET KEANE


KIKYZ1313
INTERVIEW BY HANNAH STOUFFER PORTRAIT BY ION STUDIOS
DEATH ANXIETY IS AN EXTREMELY COMMON, PERSISTENT FEAR OF OUR OWN DESTINY,
and the inevitable outcome for us all. It's no wonder that this daunting unknown can
propose an overwhelming fear as we are constantly attempting to guide and understand
our very existence. The perception that we should be afraid of this reality, or the path to it,
rather than revel in the beauty of life, seems almost as morbid as death itself.
We seem to try and separate ourselves from that which we There are a lot of references to children and animals in El Colmo de un Sordo
(Tribute to Goya’s Soplones)
are made, the blood, the guts and decay, as if there was your work. Did you have any special relationship with Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper
2013
a choice. Few are able to embrace the often grotesque animals growing up?
aspects and perceived visual aberrations of this cycle Since I was a child, I’ve always been in the company of cats.
and put them in perspective, accentuating the beauty I really think with every single one of them, I’ve developed
as a celebration. Kikyz1313 is one of them. She is able to very warm and meaningful relationships. I don’t see animals
fearlessly explore what makes us, finding beauty in the often as pets. I think they are the most honest friends one could
aesthetically unsettling, and encouraging us to do the same. ask for and they hold great value in my artwork.

Hannah Stouffer: To start, who are you and where are What do you consider beautiful?
you from? I believe everything is beautiful, but I’m also aware of the
Kikyz1313: Everybody calls me Kikyz. I’m from one of those unwillingness of most people to objectively observe the
lovely small towns in the center of Mexico where you can inherent aesthetic within all things. I personally find the
see and smell the manure of horses outside your house, and ultimate beauty in life’s details that most people don’t bother
people set off firecrackers to make it rain. looking at, like the brief moments when someone behaves
with pure and honest intention, or when a bird is performing
Do you find that your home in Mexico and its surroundings his routine without knowing someone else is looking. I find
affect and influence your work? it extremely beautiful when the gray-blue light of the dawn
I definitely think that the cultural context of every artist hours distorts everything, fusing images together and
influences their work, and personally, I believe it’s essential resulting in a mass of shadows.
for artwork to carry a social commentary. Artists have a great
responsibility to make a public statement on the failures of On the other hand, the beauty of human entrails lies in
any system. If an artist's work evokes reactions and opinions perceiving them as part of our human description. It is only
in the audience, they can repair the gaps from within society. society's foolish idolization of immortality and perfection that
makes us fear death, and keeps us far from understanding
How did the name Kikyz1313 come about? the whole beauty in nature.
This is actually a cute story. I invented the signature with
the purpose of marking my drawings at the age of five. What have been some of the most influential events in
Kiki was my nickname, and 1313, according to my parents’ your life?
recollections, was supposed to be the date. As years passed There are two main events that have changed my life. The
Kiki slowly mutated to Kikyz, and it felt OK to continue first one was my art residency at a fishing village isolated
using it for my professional career. I think it acted as a warm in the southwest of Sweden where I had enough time and
reminder of who I am, or maybe I just like holding onto those more than enough silence to get along with myself and
childhood memories, who knows? Very few people know my appreciate nature. I was able to analyze and understand
real name. a lot of our social behaviors, but more than anything, I
realized the deliberate alienation we have from nature—
Tell me about your childhood and some of the most how the impossibility of communion induces an existential
memorable moments. void, which we later try to replace with futile materialistic
I have lots of beautiful memories, but I think the most vivid pleasures.
time of my childhood would be at the age of 10. I can picture
myself wearing the convent school's uniform during rainy I believe mankind has forced a parallel reality that’s been
summer afternoons, and spending time with my brother and absorbing everything from the immaculate and balanced
sister recording video capsules. We would invent stories organic world, sadly, to the point of thinking about ourselves
about detectives and supernatural powers and play with my as an unnecessary chaos. Nevertheless, my faith in humanity
cats. I remember I preferred to socialize with family rather was kind of restored when the second event in my life
than going out to play with the neighbors—family was the appeared. Taking the risk of sounding too romantic, I’m
most important to me. certain that meeting the love of my life has improved me
in a professional and personal way. Being a reclusive and
cautious person most of my life, marrying another artist

90 JUXTAPOZ KIKYZ1313
who understands and trusts me deeply definitely has an You don’t seem to be negatively affected by the deceased. above
An Odd Spread
immeasurable significance. What is your relationship with death? Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper
2013
Death affects me in the same way it does everyone else,
I find it super important, as an artist, to be able to engage in but it’s because of my desire to understand that I study this right
Miasma’s Trill
experiences. Do you think that comfort can be damaging? dilemma. You can say that its representation, in so many Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper
2013
No doubt, comfort in any situation can be measured with ways, helps me to assimilate death and my own mortality. It’s
mediocrity. As an artist, I like to constantly place myself through my work that I try to make people see the same thing
outside a comfort zone and challenge my capabilities so that I’ve taken from it. More than feeling afraid or threatened
I can grow both technically and ideologically. by dying, I have a deep respect for time and decay. There’s
no need to be a mortician or a forensic surgeon to face death.
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares? Day by day, we are all confronted with it, when we see a firefly
Actually, I do. A very recurrent nightmare that I’ve been having that died from the heat, witness a tree rotting, find a mutilated
since I was 12—I haven’t had it recently, but it constantly takes corpse of a dog at the side of the road, houses taking over
place outside of a derelict, burnt red house that is covered crops, or when we see a loved one die from disease. These
in weeds. It’s particularly in the right end of the yard where a are events that we usually live through but it seems we never
great feeling of anxiety hits me, and a geometric black steam give them the significance they deserve.
tries to absorb me. Sometimes I’ve entered the house and
tried to hide from those strange feelings, but every corner of Have you had any encounters with actual cadavers?
this house feels extremely uncomfortable. The curious part I have my bachelor’s degree as a fine artist, but
is that sometimes a regular dream leads me to the yard of nevertheless, due to the direction I wanted to take my work
the house, and I notice that I am in the same house I’ve been and my desire to further my comprehension of death, I
visiting for years. The situation develops differently every time, visited the city morgue several times. From those visits
but its appearance never changes. I obtained experiences, like witnessing the autopsies, that
allowed me to formally establish my line of work.

92 JUXTAPOZ KIKYZ1313
What are you truly scared of?
This is a little embarrassing, but I’ve always had an irrational
fear of aliens, especially the pale, dwarfish, skinny ones with
giant black eyes. Once I went on the E.T. ride at Universal
Studios back in the ’90s and became muted by fear. [Laughs]
I think that pretty much sums up my level of cowardliness.

Do you consider yourself an illustrator?


I consider it fairly difficult to decipher what an illustrator
in contemporary art is today. I believe the commercial
standards of illustration have radically changed in the past
five years. The illustrator is starting to focus on aesthetic
and traditional fine arts, and the fine arts are respectively
sharing this commercial focus. Speaking from my own point
of view, I wouldn’t consider myself a formal illustrator since
my education, however little it might be, and objectives
strictly aim toward the graphic arts. I would describe it
as a discipline where the use of line prevails as drawing,
watercoloring, ink or engravings, but doesn't reach the
mass usage which illustration often does. In my work, I not
only consider the visual and aesthetic formal values, but
my artwork is supported by an exhaustive research effort, a
planned composition and tonal palette, as well as a narrative
and conceptual enrichment.

How is your current work different from the past two series
you’ve done?
I think the most relevant differences between Cadáveres
Esquicio, Cadere Innocens and my current work resides in
the strengthening of the artwork’s objectives and intentions
as well as the technical improvement. With each work, I try to
surpass my skills narratively and technically, though I consider
myself in constant states of change. My first two series
emphasize the personal pursuit of style and a unique speech,
where the aesthetic of death is represented in a rougher and
more evident way, and my current work has more formal and
subtle solutions that aim to poeticize the abnormal.

This effort to poeticize objects and subjects that are usually


repellent, such as death or the deformed, is achieved by
joining together elements of no evident relation within
the same meticulously composed cosmos. It evokes a
whole new significance from their regular perception,
accomplishing a visually comforting feeling, but also an
emotional stress by the characters and actions depicted in
the composition. This ambivalent experience will provide
the audience with an intellectual exercise, emotional
momentum, and dialogue with the artwork.

What are you using for reference in your illustrations?


I can describe them as hybrids constructed with many
different references. Usually after sketching my idea, I look
at my surroundings for elements that I might need for my
composition. Then I take a series of photos, and with the
help of my four-year-old collection of images, scraps from
animal books, and photos from friends, or stock photos from
the Internet, complete the composition I have in my head.
My models are also a sort of a collage, where I can use
several photos from the same girl or even different girls to

JULY 2014 93
above
build the desired pose. Working with children isn’t particularly Are they comfortable with the idea of death? Sepulcro
easy. You can say I double the work on my pieces, but I'd I think my children are aware about time passing, and rather Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper,
mounted on board
rather have everything planned than just let ingenuity and than a comfortable feeling, they experience completeness 2012
nonsense lead my works. and merge themselves with nature. There is an intimate right
connection with both plants and animals who act as Sun Lurker— Lovecraftian Remembrance
Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper
With your renderings clearly meant to invoke an emotional companions and guidance during the next step of their 2014
response, what is the reaction most viewers have when existence—death.
looking at your pieces?
The very first reaction from people is a long muted moment. Who are they?
This is curious because just before the silence starts to get a They are my ideal conception of humanity. I think childhood
little uncomfortable, people suddenly react with an admiring is the stage that best depicts humankind, because far from
response, closing in a little more on the drawing so they are any obsession or materialistic ambition, we just get carried
more able to appreciate all the details in which the artwork away by our primal instincts and reach our personal fulfillment
is made. I think what people enjoy the most is to getting lost with the most simple things, which later become perverted,
inside the tiny atmosphere that I’m presenting, and where they forgotten or replaced by the passing of years, and inclusion
can wonder what’s happening inside there. into the economic system in order to fit the status quo.

Talk to me about your interest in anatomy, especially the How long does it take for you to complete a piece?
grotesque, and even deformed. Working on a medium size of 30x40 centimeters (11.8x15.7
Anatomy has been always a fundamental part in the inches), it takes me around 35 days to complete a piece,
artist’s education. I feel that every one of us chases the working 8 to 12 hours daily.
anatomical knowledge by means of understanding our
nature. Nevertheless, within this quest, I noticed the avid What’s next for you?
desire to detach from our internal bowels. We seem to I have a couple of upcoming events in November, a double
perceive ourselves as empty, invulnerable and perfect skin involvement at Spoke Art, exhibiting my work for the Annual
carcasses, depriving all human virtue from the entrails, the Wes Anderson tribute, as well as in the special event
diseased, deformed or even the blood for the fear to recall Thinkspace Gallery is curating. Also in December, I’ll be joining
our own ephemeral existence. Consequently, I’ve come to the Thinkspace’s booth at Miami Scope Art Fair 2014 with their
conclusion that it is the complexity of the neuronal, digestive usual extraordinary line up, and will start 2015 with my solo
or muscular tissues that truly defines the human nature, and show at Fifty24MX in Mexico City.
therefore I won’t call them “grotesque,” as they are part of
our reality. Prejudice and the heavy standards of conventional
esthetics are what induce our vision to miss and reject the
beauty within all these things. For more information about Kikyz1313, visit 1313.mx

The children in your works seem somewhat unaffected by JUXTAPOZ.COM / KIKYZ1313


the gruesome nature of their surroundings.

94 JUXTAPOZ KIKYZ1313
TODD FRANCIS
INTERVIEW BY JEREMY FISH PORTRAIT BY AMBER B DIANDA
HERE IS SOME PERSPECTIVE: I doubt that NASCAR fans respect and adore the artists
and designers who decorate those racecars. But look at skateboarding: the guys who
design art graphics for skateboards are truly loved by the folks who partake in the culture.
If you ask a 30 to 40-year-old skateboard dude to identify their favorite artist, the response
is usually Jim Phillips, VC Johnson, Wes Humpston or Pushead. This genre of wooden
decoration was pioneered by them and countless others, spawning a unique category of
modern art and design known simply as skateboard graphics.

The irony is that this genre of artwork is designed to be and getting to dream up and draw crazy stuff. I knew if I Pigeon #211
Watercolor and india ink on paper
destroyed. Even though it is collected, displayed in homes, blew it, I'd be back to office jobs and a complete nightmare 15" x 22"
2013
garages, man caves, galleries and museums, the art is existence.
applied on devices that are designed to be ridden around
on. The board is used for stunts, tricks and maneuvers, At the time, I didn't look at it as a career. It was just a really
and the graphics tend to be left behind on rails, ledges and fun, creative setting to have some fun and stiff-arm the future
curbs as a reminder that someone shredded that spot. I as long as possible. To think I'd still be doing it more than 20
consider these folks to be some of the most talented artists years later is pretty funny, but it’s still fun. A good idea still
of this century. Not because I decorated a deck or two in makes me cackle like an idiot, and making people laugh or
my time, but because it’s a culture to which I subscribe, a roll their eyes or whatever with a board graphic still means
grand tradition to be respected. Todd Francis lands in this the world to me.
category of conception and execution. He has some of the
best skateboard graphics of all time with a combination of How many boards do you think you have designed at
humor, style and vulgarity that strikes the intended chord that this point?
skateboarders look for in their artwork. Ladies, gentleman and Who knows? I do know that I've got more than 300 in my
art nerds of all kinds, I present artwork and board graphics, collection, and those are just the good ones. I've done more
applied with the skill and finesse of a true master craftsman: than my share of stinkers over the years, never hung onto
Todd Francis. those. Maybe it’s like 400 or 500, or more? Who knows… and
who cares!
Jeremy Fish: Why skateboard graphics? Was it a dream
come true, or a random-ass job, and did you imagine when You once told me that 16-year-olds only want two types
you started that you would spend several decades doing it? of art: either funny or tough. You either need to make
Todd Francis: It’s funny, but doing skateboard graphics them laugh or make them feel badass, and somehow you
never seemed like a possibility in my life. Growing up, I used manage to pull off both vibes in a lot of your artwork. How
to draw random, goofy graphics on my friends’ decks. But did you develop this theory, and what are some of your
this was when Powell and SMA were dominant, and their favorite boards that illustrate this idea?
graphics were just so perfectly done, it seemed like a waste Well, that was a long time ago, and that might've been a
of time to aspire to something like that. Whenever I'd stare huge simplification of how to look at things. Doing graphics
deeply into the graphics VC Johnson did for Powell in its for over a decade with Element sort of opened my eyes to
heyday, I couldn't fathom doing anything as well as he'd possibilities of telling a story in different ways.
done those graphics. A Powell dragon sticker was something
you kept in your desk drawer for your entire life. It was just That said, I do tend to like strong reactions, and I try to avoid
so amazingly well-drawn. the dreaded “Wait, I don't get it?!” This comes from the years
I spent doing editorial illustrations and political cartoons,
Fast forward 10 years and I'd just moved up to San Francisco, where the viewer’s inability to quickly understand the point
and was working horrible office jobs to pay the rent while means you've dropped the ball. It’s immensely helpful to put
simultaneously freelancing for local free SF newspapers like yourself in a 17-year-old skate mentality, which isn't hard for
SF Weekly and the Chronicle. I was extraordinarily miserable. me because I think I'll always be stuck in that mindset. You
A friend of mine who worked at Slap Magazine heard about want to feel something strongly, and you want something
an entry level art room job that had opened at Deluxe, and powerful and authoritative to identify with.
I pounced on it. The pay and hours didn't matter one bit. It
was an opportunity to get paid to do artwork for a living, so In terms of that immediate impact, I've got a few personal
I worked at it as hard as I could. It was clearly the opportunity favorites, most of them for Anti-Hero. The Julien Stranger
of a lifetime, and I was surrounded by smart, funny people, K9 deck will always be one of my favorites, and the Cardiel

98 JUXTAPOZ TODD FRANCIS


Flesh Eating Bacteria deck always makes people cringe a few months until the Eagle was born and chased away the above
When Animals Rape: Park Ranger
too. The Anti-Hero Eagle still has a lot of punch for me, but pigeon. But I always liked the pigeon, really enjoyed what it Watercolor and india ink on paper
30" x 22"
part of that might be for how long it’s lasted and how many stood for and how it was disgusting, troubled and resilient. 2008
variations have been done over the years. And all the pigeon A great symbol, right? Did a few more pigeon graphics in right
stuff I've done gets that reaction too, because these pigeons the last few months I was working in-house at DLX, showing Desolation: Tigers
3-color screenprint on paper
are a scroungy bunch. They look like they'd leave a grease different pigeons doing different dopey stuff: two pigeons 24" x 18"
2013
mark on your pant leg, and they're always up to no good. trying to fire a handgun into a crowd, another pigeon with
They make you laugh, but they're always riddled with tumors hands instead of wings trying to avoid an oncoming car, stuff
and bald spots too, so you want to keep your distance. like that. Then I left SF and moved back to LA and shelved
the pigeons for awhile.
Describe your relationship to pigeons and your pigeon
characters. Does the Anti-Hero Eagle ever get jealous that A few years later, I started drawing pigeons again, mostly
you draw so many pigeons? just for my website and to make me laugh. And then, more
The whole pigeon thing started with Anti-Hero. One of recently, when I started doing Anti-Hero graphics again,
the first team boards from the early days was this simple we decided we should bring the pigeons back in a big way,
drawing I'd done of a greasy, skinny street pigeon, standing and that was that—laughs galore. I recently started a small
just above the back trucks. Real pure and simple, it was an clothing brand called Special Crud, and the pigeon is my
idea from Julien and Sean Young, who wanted a scrappy little company mascot, featured in different ridiculous ways
pigeon that "looked like someone dumped an oil change on T-shirts and prints and other stuff. I've been doing lots
over its head." We all liked how it came out, and it lasted for of paintings lately featuring the pigeons doing various bad

100 JUXTAPOZ TODD FRANCIS


things, and they still make people laugh, and they still mean was on a matte black deck, and I always loved how that
a lot to me, so I'm sticking with the little suckers. looked. Here we are, years later, and not very many people
know who I am, but being able to say "I'm the guy who did
The Eagle was a funny creation. It happened while the entire the Anti-Hero Eagle" carries a lot of weight with a certain
Anti-Hero team was doing a massive US tour. This was sector of society. Pretty cool.
before cell phones, so there was no way to show sketches
to Julien or to discuss with him what we should do for a new I think your new book LOOK AWAY is a wonderful
team board. Jeff Klindt came in one day and said, "Okay, compilation of your all-time greats. Any fan of
we need a new Anti-Hero team board this week, and I want skateboarding, skate graphics, or disturbing hilarious
something tough!" I wasn't sitting on any sketches or ideas illustration should own this damn book. Are you proud of
he really liked, so we started digging through some vintage all this work?
tattoo books until we saw a really great American eagle I'm really glad you like the book, that means a lot to me.
tattoo. We both agreed that might make for a powerful board The book's publisher, Winston Tseng, has, in recent years,
graphic. Jef Whitehead had just done some great tattoo- published similar books on Mark Mckee and Todd Bratrud, and
themed board graphics for Anti-Hero, and it made sense. I guess he thought I'd be a good subject for the next one in
So out comes the pens and the china marker (that's what I the series. The first two books came out really well, so the bar
used for that crumbly gradient shading in the wings because was set high. With LOOK AWAY I tried to make it more than
it photographed well on the old stat camera we had in the just deck after deck, because that format gets sort of boring
back), and a day or two later, out comes the Anti-Hero Eagle. after a few pages. We mixed in a lot of studio art and other
We immediately made it into stickers and tees, and it went unexpected stuff. It’s a huge honor to be chosen to appear in
over really well, completely drowning out the pigeon and a book like this, so we really tried to make it as interesting as
all the other team boards we'd done. I can't remember what possible. You only have one shot at getting it right.
color deck it went on at first, but one of the first colorways

JULY 2014 101


As for being proud, yeah, I guess I am. I'm gratified when The perfect professional balance for me is jumping back above
Various skate deck graphics
people laugh or do a double take or get some type of strong and forth between both worlds, studio and commercial,
right
reaction. So I'll probably be happiest if I spot that reaction without having to soften my ideas or work on anything Desolation: Monitor Lizards
from someone as they leaf through it. I'm not completely proud of. Trying to make my studio art 3-color screenprint on paper
24" x 18"
a little varied and unexpected, I never want to fall into a 2013

What are you working on these days? Do you see yourself niche where my art is predictable or dull. I think that's the
moving into different genres or mediums with your art? kiss of death, just doing what people want or are willing
What type of work would you like to do? to buy, instead of dreaming up what challenges you as an
I just launched the clothing line, Special Crud, with Yong- artist. I have some art shows in the near and distant future,
Ki Chang of Equal Distribution, making some nice, simple and jumping around between charcoal, inks, acrylics and
T-shirts and and some other interesting stuff. And for the last watercolor is a good adventure, and hopefully, far from
two or three years, I've been working with Anti-Hero again, predictable. Between all that and trying to be a good dad to
doing board graphics and really having a great time with it. my two daughters, I've got my hands full.
I'm always working on new studio art and screen prints and
other things, like our suicide-themed Christmas ornaments, What are your five favorite skateboard graphics of all time?
all of which are available through Equal Distribution. Plus, And in that vein, the top five favorite decks you designed?
I've got some artist projects coming out soon with Stance, Oh man, that's a tough one. Off the top of my head, I'd say
HUF, Quinton and other good people in the near future, the original Powell two-color dragon top graphic was my
which keeps things lively. This book project has also kept me favorite skate graphic of all time, because I remember just
extremely busy, with release events and art shows planned staring at it endlessly and feeling like I could never draw
in the coming months, so it should be good. like that. It was really an education staring into that sucker.
I know, it’s not a deck graphic exactly, but who cares? That

102 JUXTAPOZ TODD FRANCIS


top graphic was just a huge inspiration. Next, the original The original Anti-Hero Pigeon one is up there too. The Matt
yellow Natas Panther graphic by Kevin Ancell (via Frank Rodriguez Down Home board for Stereo, I always liked that
Frazetta), because I remember where I was the first time I one. Maybe one of those Day After graphics for Element,
saw it. Just like Natas, it was super powerful for the time. the one with the tank… or the Element Wray Animalism one
The last three… how about any one of the Wes Humpston with the bighorn sheep; one of those I'd say—flip a coin. This
Dogtown graphics from around 1977? They changed board Vagrant All Stars set that recently came out for Anti-Hero
graphics for good, and again, were really super powerful and was one I was really happy with, the Hewitt Catcher one
original for the time; all my neighborhood friends and I were where the homeless guy is squatting and taking a crap, that
always drawing them onto our notebook covers. Include makes me laugh still… Either that or the Stranger Goiter from
any one of those Evan Hecox Chocolate Street Scene decks the Anti-Hero Disease series. That one is just so troubled.
from the late ‘90s, because they were just so nicely done That's five right there. Tomorrow I might change my mind,
and really set the tone for what a lot of people tried to do in though.
the following decade. Lastly, maybe the Powell Ray "Bones"
Rodriguez Skull and Sword deck from the mid ‘80s, because
that was my first good skateboard, and I was really proud
of it and never wanted to scratch the silver paint off. Pretty For more information about Todd Francis, visit equaldist.com,
goofy list, but screw it. toddfrancis.com, and winsthings.com

Best five I've drawn? I don't like picking out my favorites, JUXTAPOZ.COM / TODD - FRANCIS
but I always list the Anti-Hero Julien Stranger K9 Nature's
Revenge deck as probably my single favorite. From the
colors to the message and the simplicity, I do like that one.

JULY 2014 103


TRAVEL INSIDER

PHILADELPHIA
PHOTOGRAPHER AND SCULPTOR ADAM WALLACAVAGE TAKES US AROUND

I SEEM TO TRAVEL A LOT, TO THE POINT WHERE SOME Murals,” and for good reason. Numerous projects and George Draguns
Layback Roll Out
people assume I live in NYC or Los Angeles. The fact is that ongoing programs give this city a fantastic range of public (3)

I live in Philadelphia. It's a great city to be based as an artist, art.


and when I have time, I take off to other places, which always
makes me think about "Philadelphia Freedom." This city The catalyst for many of these big works is the Mural
doesn't hold you down or suck you into one area; it's easy to Arts Program, started in 1986 as a part of the anti-graffiti
get to the countryside, to the Jersey Shore, to neighboring network. Philly has more than 600 murals around the city.
cities like NYC, Baltimore, and DC, or to the mountains just I love the Joe Boruchow mural at 10th and Dickinson.
to the west.
Awesome Dudes Printing 1 has a changing mural wall
Philadelphia is extremely diverse in culture and ethnicity, full outside their screen printing shop. Of course, working on
of treasures, museums and, of course, history. There are so this piece, I just happened to run into my old dear friends,
many places I could mention here, such as the Liberty Bell, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, who was working on an X-Wave
the Mütter Museum, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the painting, with fellow artist, Thom Lessner. Check this spot
Barnes Collection, but those are the probably places you will out on 6th and Reed Streets.
head to anyway. Here is a list of some of my favorite places
and things. Shown in this magazine and around the world as an example
of public art that cities should be instituting around the
CITY OF MURALS globe, the Love Letters 4 project by Steve ESPO Powers is
Philadelphia has been awarded the designation “City Of a collection of 50 rooftop murals from 45th to 63th Streets,

104 JUXTAPOZ TRAVEL INSIDER


best seen from the elevated Market Frankford subway line.
Hop on the subway at City Hall to 69th Street and back, and
get off at some of the platforms for the best view. The Dream
Garden at the Curtis Publishing building across the street
from Independence Hall is a 15-by-49-foot glass-mosaic
mural designed by Maxfield Parrish and made by Louis
Tiffany. Comprised of 100,000 pieces of glass in 260 colors,
it is literally a jewel of the city.

CEMETERIES
I love visiting cemeteries whenever I travel to a new country
or town, and Philadelphia has some of the oldest and most
beautiful I can think of. Laurel Hill Cemetery 2 is my
favorite. Founded in 1836, Laurel Hill spreads over 74 acres
and hosts many events such as the vintage hearse meet that
happens in the summer.

FOOD AND DRINK


2
I don't go to a variety of restaurants in Philly because I really
only go to Beau Monde. It's a French crepe place that, in my
opinion, is just perfect. The decor is always appropriately
evocative and the staff is the best. I love hanging at the bar
late at night sketching or writing... like I'm doing right now.

If you want to eat tacos, the Italian Market area on south 9th
Street has about 500 taquerias. I don't know why. It's weird.
There weren't any 15 years ago, but now it's ridiculous.

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar is around the corner from the


famous cheesesteak places. Paul E works there and will
either give you a hard time or amuse you. Either way, it's
worth it, especially if you like to smoke indoors. Or maybe
you want to check out Tattooed Moms on South Street, a
great bar and restaurant that is gives visitors a real Philly
feel. It always has a handful of locals but it's welcoming to
everyone and large enough for anyone to feel right at home.
3
SKATE AND SEE
Anarchy, chaos, and ongoing construction define FDR
Skatepark 3 . Living on borrowed time since the mid-
1990s, this place is an anomaly for existing on the edge of a
beautiful city park. No rules, no authority, no permits. I can't
even describe half the things I've seen there over the past
15-plus years, making this place one of the last areas of true
dangerous freedom.

Philadelphia City Hall 5 is one of my favorite buildings


in the world, and just up the street from where I live. It is
adorned with 250 sculptures by Alexander Milne Calder,
grandfather of the famed kinetic sculptor, Alexander "Sandy"
Calder. This building is also the tallest masonry building
in the world and largest municipal building in the entire
country. It should be on every visitor’s list.

JULY 2014 105


6

5 7

SHOPPING fast in Philly. Two of my favorite venues are Union Transfer Artwork by Martha Rich
(6)
Two of my favorite stores are Anastasia’s Antiques and Prof. and Kung Fu Necktie. Union Transfer is in a beautiful old
Ouch’s Bizarre Bazaar And Odditorium. Anastasia’s is a building built in 1889, with gorgeous, sparkling chandeliers
beautifully curated antique store full of Victorian treasures. hanging from some 50-foot high ceilings, and the acoustics
Bizarre Bazaar is a store founded by a true original in the are unbelievable (Band: The Residuels). Kung Fu Necktie
world of wacky weirdos and goofy guys, Professor Ouch, aka is a smaller venue and can get crowded, but if you squash
Furry Couch. He was into collecting the strange and unusual yourself into the front, you will be right there next to the
back when it was still strange and unusual. stage (Band: Cream Circus).

Space 1026 6 is an art gallery and studio founded by a Other great places to see bands are at basement shows
group of artists and skateboarders who returned to Philly and block parties 7 . These are usually put together by
from Providence, RI inspired by the studios of Shepard Fairey people associated with the Philly Punx Picnic. I never really
and Fort Thunder in the ‘90s. It was simply a space where know how to find them on my own, so I just ask my friend
people could collectively work together and have studios, Johnny. But if you see someone with a DIY tattoo, they could
silkscreening facilities, and a gallery. Originally thought of probably point you in the right direction for a couple beers.
as a five-year experiment, Space 1026 still thrives today as a
great art community that constantly changes with its rotating
cast of characters.
For more information about Adam Wallacavage,
visit adamwallacavage.com
MUSIC
Philadelphia is a great city to see bands play, just the right
JUXTAPOZ.COM / ADAM - WALLACAVAGE
size so that sold-out shows in NYC might not sell out so

106 JUXTAPOZ TRAVEL INSIDER


BEAUTIFUL BITS

SEVEN ON SEVEN
TECHNOLOGY AND ART IN COLLABORATION AT THE NEW MUSEUM

WHILE COLLABORATIONS ARE POPULAR IN THE Whatever it is that they come up with, they will exhibit the Hannah Sawtell and Avi Flombaum
Image courtesy of Rhizome
art community, it’s not automatic to usher multiple artistic work at the New Museum in New York. As we touched on and New Museum, New York

visions and distill them into a single project. Introducing an in one of the earlier Beautiful Bits piece, the New Museum
artist and partnering them with someone in a completely is doing some really creative and exciting stuff revolving
different field seems like an even more daunting venture. around digital art and what that means today. It’s inspiring to
Yet this is what Rhizome has just done at their Seven see them jumping in to this plan headfirst and giving it their
on Seven conference, pairing seven artists with seven all in this odd new world. —Nick Lattner
technologists to form seven teams who have 24 hours to
develop something new. Something new is a pretty broad
term, but I assume placing restrictions on the project was
only going to make the two different sides of the brain that For more information about the New Museum, visit newmuseum.org

were already colliding even more frustrated. The conference


has a great set of technologists (Nick Bilton, Anil Dash, Jen JUXTAPOZ.COM / BEAUTIFUL - BITS
Fong-Adwent, David Kravitz, Aza Raskin, Kate Ray and Avi
Flombaum) and artists alike (Kari Altmann, Ian Cheng, Simon
Denny, Holly Herndon, Kevin McCoy, Hannah Sawtell, and
Frances Stark) but just because you have two great figures in
their own worlds doesn't mean those worlds see eye to eye
when working on a project together.

108 JUXTAPOZ BEAUTIFUL BITS


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REVIEWS

BOOKS
THE TITLES JUXTAPOZ IS CURRENTLY READING

ATOP A HILL IN FROSTVILLE


I’m not the first, nor the last person, to feel that children’s books could presage the tastes
of adulthood. You can’t really give your infant or child a Lucian Freud book without planting
a penchant for drink and a little darkness. Keep it playful and fun like one of our favorite
illustrators of the moment, UK-based Daniel Frost, who teamed up with Portland-based
publisher Little Otsu to release Atop A Hill in Frostville, the first official children’s book from
both entities. Storied with only illustrations and devoid of text, the narrative follows a boy and
his dog waking up to a sunny morning in the town of Frostville. And like most things Frost,
subtle details enliven action pop-ups in each read, encouraging multiple page turns and a
chance to create your own dialogue. In fact, I have been doing a one-man stage play of Atop
A Hill in Frostville all month in the Jux office. People are looking at me strangely. I can’t help
myself. —Evan Pricco
Little Otsu, littleotsu.com

YINKA SHONIBARE MBE


Yinka Shonibare, the British-Nigerian conceptual artist, is best known for works like Gallantry
and Criminal Conversation (2002)–11 life-sized headless mannequins dressed in sumptuous
African print Victorian-styled formalwear, going at it from every angle in an 18th century
sex orgy. Which isn’t to say that he’s particularly porny, but rather that his signature use of
Dutch-printed “African” batik fabric exuberantly explores the mish-mashed mayhem of race
and cultural identity in a post-colonial landscape. Shonibare, one-side of his body paralyzed
by a chronic spinal cord disease, employs a team of assistants to create sculpture, painting,
installation, photography and film in an ever-evolving investigation into what it means
to be alien. Overflowing with vital commentary and photos of his best work, this book is
Shonibare’s most comprehensive monograph. “You know, all of the things that are supposed
to be wrong with me have actually become a huge asset. I’m talking about race and disability.
They’re meant to be negatives within our society. But they’re precisely the things that have
liberated me.” –Lalé Shafaghi
Prestel Publishing, prestel.com

THIS IS… SERIES


This boisterous trio of books is art history like you’ve never seen it before. The author,
Catherine Ingram, a Scottish art historian, begins the series with three of the acknowledged
greats—Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí and Jackson Pollock. Gleaning the idea from working
with an illustrator on a children's guide to the Science Museum in London, Ingram created
these conversational, accessible monographs for art enthusiasts of all ages. Andrew Ras, the
illustrator of the books on Warhol and Dalí, and Peter Arkle, the illustrator for Pollock, elicit
the unique philosophy of each artist and enhance Ingram’s words with easy eloquence. "We
want it to be taken on the tube and enjoyed," says Ingram, hoping each book is an "inclusive
experience." Drawing out the humanity of these great artists, Ingram reveals the human
factors that guide the story and history. These are a delightful addition to any and every
library. –LS
Laurence King, laurenceking.com

110 JUXTAPOZ REVIEWS


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JUXTAPOZ.COM / SUBSCRIBE
EVENT

GORGEOUS
SFMOMA ON THE GO AT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM

THE DOORS OF THE SFMOMA ARE SHUTTERED DURING parts of other stories. Even if the works are just across town, above left
Jeff Koons
the current expansion, but the artwork refuses to be we see them a little bit differently. Michael Jackson and Bubbles
Ceramic, glaze, and paint
confined and is “On the Go,” with dynamic partnerships Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through the Marian and Bernard
at local venues. Say Gorgeous aloud, think about what As a collaboration and juxtaposition of creative works, how Messenger Fund and restricted funds
© Jeff Koons
the word elicits, and experience the works grouped with does this exhibition differ from last year’s Beyond Belief Photo by Ben Blackwell
collections from the Asian Art Museum. collaborative exhibition with the Contemporary Jewish 1988

Museum? above right


The Buddhist deity Simhavaktra Dakin
Gwynned Vitello: Did the physical building housing the CH: Each of the museum collaborations in the On the Go Dry lacquer inlaid with semiprecious stones
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Asian Art Museum, as well as its contents, dictate how you program really has its own flavor. Gorgeous is unique because Reign of the Qianlong Emperor
(1736–1795)
formed the partnership and selected a theme? it takes its premise from the possibilities of what can happen Photo by Ben Blackwell
Allison Harding: I’ve been interested in the history of the Asian when you bring together two strikingly different collections. right
Art museum site as one of transitions, first as a city hall, then Marilyn Minter
Strut
a library and now as a museum. In bringing iconic artworks AH: When I saw Beyond Belief, my experience of the work I Enamel on metal
Collection SFMOMA
into this building, I thought about how this history might shape know and love from SFMOMA felt fresh and different in the Accessions Committee Fund purchase:
gift of Johanna and Thomas Baruch,
the ways we experience art. Think of the Gorgeous galleries Contemporary Jewish Museum’s space. There was something Charles J. Betlach II, Shawn and Brook
Byers, Nancy and Steven Oliver, and
presenting a “third space” that is neither Asian Art nor about these two museums being neighbors that personalized Prentice and Paul Sack
SFMOMA, but an amalgam. the experience. For Gorgeous, we were challenged with how © Marilyn Minter
2004-2005
to bring together art from two neighboring collections with
Caitlin Haskell: For me, it has also been interesting to think little in common. Both have stunning artworks, so we started
about how the closing of SFMOMA’s building allows you to there, and began by asking how and why certain art affects us.
see its works in new contexts—in other gallery spaces, or as

114 JUXTAPOZ EVENT


From the perspective of a curator, was it somehow freeing
to select from an entire collection rather than concentrate
on one genre or particular artist?
CH: No one person could be an expert on all of the material
in this exhibition. It’s just not possible, and that’s actually a
relief. You don’t have to know the objects you’re looking at
in advance of seeing them, which is so often expected of
curators and art historians. You can come to understand the
art through the process of looking, and it’s very refreshing to
break old habits of viewing.

AH: We challenged ourselves not to rely on contextual or


conceptual information about the works. We wanted the focus
to be on how we experience art—those moments in front of
a piece, before you read the label, when you have a visceral
reaction to what you see. While it was freeing to explore
such a wide variety of artworks and think about them from
new perspectives, there is a vulnerability to looking first and
thinking about how and why you react as you do.

The word “gorgeous” has a more physically aural impact


than the word “beautiful,” which conjures the flowing and
ethereal. Can you explain if and how that was intentional?
AH: The choice of Gorgeous as the title was intentional. The
works in this show have aspects to them that are pushed
beyond conventional beauty into a zone where tensions can
be felt. Marilyn Minter’s painting, Strut, for example, is not
only glamorous, excessive, fetishistic and seductive, but also
grotesque, dirty and maybe even dangerous. We might be in
a zone beyond the familiar, and thinking in new ways, might
acknowledge or rethink our preferences or assumptions. Of
course, the reactions and thoughts that artworks provoke are
subjective. They’re fluid, and what’s attractive or repulsive
to me will be different from you. Yet most would agree that
“gorgeous” is playful and exaggerated, more “over the top”
than conventional beauty.

CH: We didn’t call the show “Beautiful” or even “Beautiful?”


and that was deliberate. I don’t think we’d be as interested in
putting on those exhibitions. Gorgeous sounds alluring and
extreme. It’s a powerful title, and the exhibit doesn’t shy away
from that.

With many objects from the Asian Art Museum being over
two thousand years old, are you asking viewers to re- CH: I’d say this is a re-examination of beauty. Or maybe just
examine the traditional connection of youth and beauty? a chance to start examining how we think about beauty.
AH: That’s interesting. I see how, for human beauty, there has We’re asking people to consider it as they might not have
traditionally been a connection to youth. For art, however, I before, putting it into a context where we start to notice its
think we often see age as a rationale for beauty, like patina or ambiguities and limits. That’s radical, whether or not it’s a
ruins. Old objects connect us to the past, representing bygone youthful impulse.
ideals that we might strive to attain again. In this show, we’re
not intentionally setting up a dichotomy of “old” things from How did you decide on the groupings of art? Did you
the Asian and new from SFMOMA. The objects came from literally look at your respective collections and take notes?
distinct traditions and cultures. AH: We walked through each museum and shared responses
to works on view. The groupings were the result of a lot

JULY 2014 115


of back and forth. As the list took shape, we began to see How important are the quotations in the catalog and the left
Jeff Koons
resonances among objects, some unexpected. While some text adjacent to art groupings in the exhibit to viewing the Self-Portrait
Marble
address the body or the art object, and others are more show? Do you think words give important context to the 37 ½" x 20 ½" x 14 ½"
Collection SFMOMA
conceptual, these groups are intentionally fluid and intended experience? Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan,
fractional and promised gift to the San
to be a starting point for viewers to think about art with CH: I’ll let Allison comment on this, since she authored Francisco Museum of Modern Art
fresh eyes. some of these texts, but I see them as more suggestive than © Jeff Koons
Photo by Ben Blackwell
definitive. One of the keys to this exhibition is conveying to 1991

CH: We’ve been working on this a long time, and it’s a great visitors that the “tombstone” information we put on a label right
Robert Smithson
concept to have in the back of your mind as you go about doesn’t tell the whole story. We include that, of course, but Non-site (Essen Soil and Mirrors)
Soil and twelve mirrors
daily life at the museum. I would come across an object and there’s more to these objects than just knowing their maker, 36" x 72" x 72"
Collection SFMOMA
say to my partner on the show, Janet Bishop, “What do you the culture they come from, or their intended use. The Purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis
think about this for the Gorgeous checklist?” Or sometimes texts encourage a viewer to engage with the art in a more and the Accessions Committee Fund: gift
of Collectors Forum, Doris and Donald
having seen a piece in the Asian Art Museum would spark an personal way. Fisher, Patricia and Raoul Kennedy, Elaine
McKeon, Helen and Charles Schwab,
idea and we’d decide to go view a work in storage. Norah and Norman Stone, and Robin
Wright
AH: What is gorgeous to me will likely be different from what © Estate of Robert Smithson / Licensed by
VAGA, New York
I doubt you’ll declare a favorite, but please try and tell is gorgeous to you. We wanted the voices in the show to be Photo by Ben Blackwell
me anyway. personal as a way of underscoring the subjective nature, so 1969

CH: I love so many, but to get off the fence, I’m especially we signed the labels and focused our writing around how
excited to see the Dan Flavin corner piece, something we’re we experience the works. Art historical context is important,
showing for the first time since it entered the collection. And but we find that the works in Gorgeous push boundaries
from the Asian Art Museum, I’ve come to love three works and provoke in ways that go beyond the sum of factual
particularly: the Mythical Bird-man sculpture from Thailand, information. We hope that this experience of the art will
the red Qing dynasty lacquered chair and the Han dynasty come before the text.
ceramic figure, all different, and each tremendously affecting.

AH: I’m looking forward to Robert Smithson’s Non-site in the


same gallery as a set of Japanese screens. Both have a real For more information about Gorgeous, visit sfmoma.org

earthiness. And I’ve fallen in love with an Indian sculpture of


a goddess from the Asian, which will be installed near the JUXTAPOZ.COM / SFMOMA
Flavin. I’ve been wondering whether a halo of fluorescent light
might interact with her stone surface in unpredictable ways.

116 JUXTAPOZ EVENT


REVIEWS

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illustrated with Ricky’s classic photographs. He even asked The Montana Colors Water Based Spraypaint 300 3 is their
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118 JUXTAPOZ REVIEWS


SIEBEN ON LIFE

RIP OKMT
PASSION PROJECTS

IN 2002, I HELPED OPEN A SMALL ART GALLERY IN


downtown Austin called Camp Fig. We were in operation for
approximately four years, eventually closing and reopening
in a bigger and better space under the name Okay Mountain.
All of the original members of Camp Fig, myself excluded,
dropped out at various points along the way, and it only made
sense that the new venture had an identity and name of its
own—something that everybody could have equal ownership
of. Hence, the new name.

Okay Mountain Gallery exhibited over fifty projects from 2006


to 2014 and worked with hundreds of artists from all over the
world. I'm speaking of the gallery in past tense because last
month, with a three-year lease coming to an end, we closed
up shop, spackled and painted the walls one final time, and
handed over the keys to the building's owner.

In both the early days of Camp Fig and Okay Mountain,


I loathed when people would strike up a conversation at
either space by saying anything along the lines of, "Cool spot.
I used to run a gallery, too." My thoughts being: great story,
quitter. But now, today, I find myself on the other side of that
fence. I too used to run a gallery. So what's the point of this
meandering tale?

First, I wanted to take a moment to thank anybody and


everybody who has ever run an artist-run space. The work
is tireless, taxing, and (as far as I can tell from hundreds of
conversations I've had) financially straining and draining.
Second, I wanted to let you, the artist, know what you can
do to help ensure that any grassroots galleries in your
community live to see another year. Buy something from them.
Buy anything: a print, a T-shirt, a sticker, a small drawing or
a miniature painting. Every artist I've ever met has at some
point complained to me about wishing more people bought
art. Yet more often than not, they themselves are not actively knowledge that I've gained, the connections that I've made,
purchasing other artists' work. If artists themselves, as a and the friendships that I've forged have been priceless. That
community, can't be counted on to support the arts, who are being said, if you've ever entertained the idea of opening a
we expecting to magically fill that role? gallery, I say fuckin' go for it. Worst case scenario is you only
last a year or two and then you throw in the towel. In which
And before you get your feathers ruffled too hard, I already case, you're pretty much right in line with every other small
know your argument: you're an artist; therefore, you don't gallerist out there. No shame in that game, my friend.
have the financial comfort of such luxury purchases. To which
I will retort: Beer and/or wine is a luxury purchase, and you Final note: Okay Mountain still exists as a collective; we're just
seem to have no trouble scrounging up cash for that expense. no longer operating a commercial art space.

So as not to end this article on a sour note, I'd just like to state
that operating a commercial gallery with my friends for over a
decade has been one of the best experiences of my life. The JUXTAPOZ.COM / MICHAEL - SIEBEN

120 JUXTAPOZ SIEBEN ON LIFE


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POP LIFE

LOS ANGELES
JUXTAPOZ PSYCHEDELIC BOOK RELEASE PARTY AND ART EXHIBITION AT THE WELL

1 1 2 2 33 4

5 6 7 8

1 | Ryan de la Hoz fronting his piece at 4 | When celebrating psychedelic art, you must 7 | Juxtapoz Psychedelic book editor Hannah Photography by Sam Graham

The Well do this Stouffer with cover artist, Andy Gilmore

2 | Alex Grey and his wife Allyson entertained 5 | Art Alex (Pardee) and Juxtapoz Alex 8 | Madsteez and Shark Toof
by live painting throughout the night for the (Nicholson)
crowds
6 | More fun with “Future Eyes,” with or without
3 | Good friend Sean Newport had a series of psychotropics
great paintings on display

122 JUXTAPOZ POP LIFE


POP LIFE

LOS ANGELES
THE GAY 90’S WEST AT KOHN GALLERY AND BRITWEEK AT COPRO GALLERY

1 1 2 2 33 4

5 6 7

1 | The best part of the Ryden opening at Kohn 4 | Anthony Ausgang and Rick Morris 6 | RETNA and BritWeek’s Charlie Jane Photography by Sam Graham

Gallery? The dressed-up guests


5 | Juxtapoz publisher Gwynn Vitello and 7 | Kristen Tischhauser, Bridget Bulters,
2 | Actress Krysten Ritter and pal co-founder Greg Escalante at the BritWeek Andrea Hong, Maffy Kelly, (uncredited),
exhibition at Copro Gallery and Michelle Cosnett
3 | Marion Peck, Camille Rose Garcia, and
Mark Ryden

124 JUXTAPOZ POP LIFE


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PERSPECTIVE

INTO THE NIGHT SKY


FINDING THE RIGHT SPOTS, AGAIN AND AGAIN

I THINK MANY OF YOU SHARE MEMORIES OF SEEING there is a relentless sense of exploration. One of the best Illustration by Travis Millard

one of Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obey Giant wheatpastes lectures I ever heard was from Shepard at SFMOMA, right
around the world. I remember, after a long overnight flight as his seminal monograph, Supply & Demand, was released.
from San Francisco to London, being dead tired, riding in Talking about being creative, challenging the system, and
a taxi on the M4, entering central London from Heathrow, channeling your influences into something greater was
and seeing that ominous, all-knowing Obey icon positioned pivotal in my life, and I’m sure the same is true for countless
perfectly, centered and straight, on probably the most visible others. Even as Shepard opens the new body of work,
billboard in all of the metropolis. It seemed, in the city of Power & Glory within The Insistent Image: Recurrent Motifs
Orwell and CCTV, that Shepard had made his statement in the Art of Shepard Fairey and Jasper Johns, I smile at
at the entrance to London. All who pass shall know. And remembering those moments on the M4, or in San Francisco,
knowing Shepard, I thought to myself, “Damn, even he has to or LA, or anywhere else in the world where the Obey Giant
be happy with that spot. You can’t beat it!” still looms large, and the joys of disrupting power take flight.
—EP
But again, knowing Shepard, the drive will always be
there. Maybe I didn’t realize the extent to which his drive
appropriates itself until I interviewed him for this issue,
but the reason there is the Obey street campaign, fine JUXTAPOZ.COM / PERSPECTIVE
art, clothing, gallery, and commercial projects is because

126 JUXTAPOZ PERSPECTIVE


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