A tribute to one of the most influential artists of my life. At age 10 I figured out a way to obtain what is still one of my favorite albums by Tupac entitled, “All Eyes On Me”. The year was 1996 and the nation was spinning from the influence that rap culture was ultimately impacting its youth. Regardless of the explicit nature of his tracks, Tupac is an inspiration to anyone who takes the time to listen to his lyrics. I feel lucky for having the opportunity to see the harsh reality his music told at the age I did. Being from an affluent, suburban neighborhood I nonetheless memorized the lyrics to every track on both of those 2 “books” along with a myriad more. Not only did it give me a perspective beyond the care-free life I was privileged enough to grow up living, but at the bottom line- Tupac was a thug- and shit well so was I for about 6 years straight on Halloween.
Now while Tupac is most often remembered for his contribution to gangster rap- he was also an incredible poet. The following poem of his is my favorite and funnily enough I brought it into class to share in the 7th grade. To say the least, my english teacher was surprised but also rather impressed.
When Tupac was shot down it was a shock heard round the world; yet the legacy he left behind is something few in this world could come close to attaining. The fact that in so much of his music he admits and seems to inevitably foresee an early death for himself only further makes me appreciate the way this man lived his life based on the circumstances he was dealt from birth.
Remembering the incredible artist he was I often listen to the following track and smile:
His final words: “Anytime ya’ll wanna see me again, rewind this track right here, close your eyes, and picture me rollin'” – well at this point I think its pretty self-explanatory.
The smoothness of this dudes moves is emblematic of how I want to live my life. I like how the video has a cyclical nature to it as well. And if for nothing else, Foster the People- Pumped up Kicks as a dubstep remix- well it kills it.
After thinking more about the themes and concepts Gregory Siff set forth in his opening last night I came to a bit of a revelation and it goes a little something like this-
In life you have the potential to make others happy if you know in your heart that your love for people and the amazing things they do is true. The fact is, when you are finally capable of truly revealing this to others it becomes infectious. A positive attitude and outlook on life is everything. If you believe in yourself no matter what happens, you can know in your heart that those you love are people that you can turn to with open arms and ultimately they will love you back. I also think this to be the most beautiful art form that we can develop and remaster as we move throughout our lives.
Whether you end up breaking hearts or falling into love the key is to recognize that life is a journey not a destination, so regardless how things end with others, it will have an impact on both theirs and your life. And at some point down the road, you will always be able to reflect on it as a positive time in your life- either from what you learned or by coming to terms with what you have lost and still appreciating what you had.
I’m kinda on this Thanksgiving tip right now and reflecting on the blessings I’ve had in my life to get me where I am today. All along the same lines, I think in life- first you need to help yourself by letting others help you. I feel blessed to have been brought up by loving parents and to have been surrounded by people from an early age that helped me realize my self worth and unlock my potential at an age earlier than most. Once you achieve this level of understanding I believe only then are you capable of living in this way- it is also only then that one can begin to help others with the same token. This is an extremely difficult concept to accept but I implore others(and myself) to try and let go of their inhibitions and give it a try. If accomplished, I think you have the opportunity to truly be free and begin to fly.
I know everyone can have an impact on the world and show others things they’ve never seen, make them both smile and cry, and I thank whatever power it may be for being lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most amazing people you could ever imagine. The goal is to ultimately help others and by doing that you can only better yourself. The question arises, how? and yet opportunities present themselves for us every day which passes us by. Take them. And learn voraciously, be inquisitive, and continue to make those around you better by showing them the compassion and respect they deserve- especially those who you know love you unconditionally. At the end of a day- there is always a choice- to stay latent or keep moving, to remain resistant to sincerity or open yourself up to being vulnerable. If you choose the latter- your potential is limitless.
Feel lucky if for no other reason that you are alive and what the future holds is in no one else’s hands but your own. And while that choice is always exclusively yours, those decisions should be made with respect that helping others not necessarily yourself is the best way to prosper.
Much Love and Give thanks. The harvest is nearly upon us.
Last night on 11.11.11 the street artist Gregory Siff had an opening for some of his new works at the historic La Founderie in Echo Park, Los Angeles. After walking around the gallery for only 5 minutes I was already amazed with the guys style and humor. To give a brief summary of the themes that run throughout much of what he paints- first off, he clearly has a casual relationship with boxes(no pun intended) as these little squares run consistently in many of his works. Secondly, Gregory has an incredible wit, poignant yet unassuming, simple yet highly entertaining and extremely passionate. Whether is was the differently labeled stickers of which I obtained one- my personal favorite- “I’ve Made Mistakes, But I’ve Also Made People Smile Too”- or the way in which he takes a simplistic face and adjusts it only slightly to re-create it into a “new person”, overall he is clearly very talented and got a great outlook on life! To quote the man himself, “You will lose and lose, don’t stop, one day you will win.”- Gregory Siff. The quote is something everyone can believe and I think on a very personal level, as soon as you can admit it to yourself- the point is you have already won.
One other thing I’d like to say about street art and Siffs style especially is the value of impulsiveness and having no regrets. It’s clear when you look at his work, as is true with many other street artists, that as they create something its about being confident in the concept and not worrying about the small details, ie. paint dripping, an imperfect line drawn, instead the point is to communicate a near compulsive artistic expression with decisions on how to move forward for each work constantly changing while never looking back.
So I was fascinated by this piece in particular from the moment I saw it. Obviously, on a literal level there is no greater joy than the man’s birth of his son so to consider it a “win” is to put it lightly. But anyways, aside from the unbelievable and beautiful honesty of the piece, while I was looking at it, this kid comes up to me and says, “do you like it?” “I go, ya I love it.” he says, “well the baby, thats me.” We ended up talking for a while about how he knew Siff and loved art and I just thought it was a really cool little aside.
Here’s a quick interview on the guy which more than anything just shows his passion for art and the way he thinks.
If you want to check out his site for updates on what G has been doing click here: Gregory Siff has a heart.
Found out about this guy thanks again to unurth Street Art. Currently, working in San Paolo the complexity and abiding nature of his works are unique to say the least. As explained in Juxtapoz magazine the body of his work is “inevitably related to the struggle of day-to-day existence that Paulistas experience. Population density and the constant strain of urban anxiety become the subjects for many of Ethos’ narratives.” Shout out to the one and only Travis Silvers who’s currently whylin’ out down in San Paolo. Let me know if you see catch any of his works on the streets.
Ethos is quoted saying, “The binary states of consciousness (wakefulness and sleep) prompt in us a condition of temporary lucidity. In a series of paintings and drawings of one universe in relation to the other, the Insomnia collection shows us small breaches; letting out signs of this mutual influence between subconscious and its inability cease activity.”- well that makes sense. (Juxtapoz Magazine, 2009)
Also, be sure to check out Claudio’s main site at: The Art of Claudio Ethos
Or for for a profile on him: ArtSlant – Claudio Ethos