11.11.11- Gregory Siff

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.

Ya I'm just gonna say it- this picture is pretty sweet.

Poets- its where the bar is. Not only is this picture perfect with the guy mid-sip but I think it communicates very well the humor that Siff exhibits. To title the bar area "Poets" is a great little inside joke which you will either get or not get- likely depending on whether or not you're a poet.
D O N T ST O P

                      

                                                      

All Smiles
Side Angle
Helicopter Angle- Keaton and I were discussing how its funny that when you go to an art show you are definitely going to get a good picture take. Exhibit A- helicopter angle
Whispy Faces
ONE DAY YOU WILL WIN

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.

G

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.

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David Choe- A Los Angeles native and extremely versatile artist with graffiti roots

In 990, inspired by acclaimed graffiti artists Hex and Mear One, David began doing graffiti on bus benches, billboards and back alleys across the city.

To get an understanding on the incredible life and individuality of David Choe I strongly recommend checking out the documentary Dirty Hands: The Art and Crimes of David Choe. Obsessed with traveling, Choe has made one expedition after another, venturing everywhere from the jungles of the Congo to painting graffiti and murals around the globe, crafting a self-image and life history that’s an art piece in and of itself.

In 2007, he described his “dirty style” painting aesthetic to Fecal Face webzine, saying, “The dirty styles rule all other schools and styles. The layering, the personal touch to everything. I’m from the school of dirty styles, but it’s more than just style and surface, it’s every dirty thing that’s inside you.”

As he told Juxtapoz magazine, “I never stopped graffiti. It influences my fine art, with the quickness and immediacy of it. I use oil paint like it’s acrylic, because I can’t wait for it to dry. I love fucking with mediums and seeing how they react to different mediums, but I always considered graffiti separate from my art. I always looked at it as destructive, anarchist, political, spiritual, and mostly just fun. It was a release from being cooped up, hunched over drawing tiny drawings with rapidographs and mechanical pencils. Fuck everything I’m doing at home, I‘m going out late at night to have an affair with the streets. I’m not worried about mistakes, or trying to make shit look right, or fame, or writing a tag over and over—I’m looking to destroy, pure vandalism, and maybe somewhere in between the process I can achieve enlightenment, fulfillment, and redemption, but probably not. You can’t ever really describe the feeling until you’ve stolen two cans of Krylon flat black and hit the streets with reckless abandon. The freedom of speech, and scale of the words and pictures, is humbling.” (Juxtapoz Magazine, 2007.)

His trademark image of a sharp toothed whale is recognizable and can be found in many cities across the globe.

For more on David Choe check out this article: The Redemption of David Choe | Juxtapoz Magazine | Matthew Newton | Matthew Newton

And the Giants Win the World Series!!!

It was nearly a year ago that the culmination of all that is beautiful in sports occurred when the Giants won the 2010 World Series.  I can’t say enough about how incredible it was to watch that immaculate sports event come together.  The teams swagger and character, the come from behind play-off birth, the lincecum/halladay match-up, Wilson being a lights out time and time again, Renteria’s game winning home-runs in both 2 and 5, Cody Ross just being so clutch etc. etc. etc.  Having gone to Giants games my whole life by far the toughest part of watching the Giant’s World Series birth and eventual victory was having to watch it in Los Angeles and then missing the parade due to midterms f*%# my life right. god that sucked.  Anyways, one of my favorite timepieces that actually resides in North Beach of SF is a mural that perfectly encapsulates the general awesomeness of the Giants and that team.

On a similar note I’d like to share a letter that was written to the Giants by an incredibly talented blogger named Drew.  His site rocket-shoes.com is awesome and this post in particular really struck home when i first read it last year. A Love Letter To The San Francisco Giants

Check out this little video to get the full exposure of the mural:

Early rap roots

A bit off topic but hey whatever its my blog so I guess I can do as I please..

Alright so if growing up in the 90’s wasn’t already weird enough with the style, pop culture, and strange tv shows that emerged in that decade- then rap music’s influence on our generation certainly was the cherry on top of that flavorful sundae. But unlike any of the other artists it was Eminem who gave us youth the most raucous, explicit lyrics likely to ever go mainstream the way his did.  We were kids and we loved it.  I remember weaseling my way into Tower Records and convincing someone a bit older than I to buy me The Marshall Mathers LP.  I gave him a $20.  I told him he could keep the change. I was 13 and ready to be told how to say F*%# the world by Eminem.

Now while that album featured diabolical tracks like “Kill You”, “The Way I am”, and “Kim”… I’d like to share the earliest of early tracks by his that really just does it for me.

Eminem – Infinite

In 1995, Marshall recorded his first album titled Infinite, which only sold about 1000 copies.

Background:   So I guess Eminem did pretty well in school considering the circumstances until year 9. He failed for the third year in a row and decided that he had had enough. At that point he left school to work on what he was most passionate about: rapping.  Talk about really committing to what you believe in and having it work out. He started getting a name for himself when he was 17, even though he got into the rap game when he was 14. He was using the initials from his first and last names to form his rap name “M & M” which later became “Eminem”. Against all the odds, fending of repeated rejection for his unfittingly white skin and bleached hair, he rose to stardom nonetheless.  The reason: raw talent and determination.  Forcing himself to go on radio shows and participate in freestyle battles his street cred grew and eventually became what the above track is so appropriately titled- Infinite.

 

Unique New York: The Enigmatic Basquait

Basquait began his career in art as a graffiti artist in NYC in the late 1970s, and in the 1980s produced neo-expressionist painting.  If you haven’t seen the feature film, “Basquait” that depicts the lifestyle and culture of the time for art in New York I strongly recommend it.  Anyways, I figured I couldn’t have this blog up for too long without paying tribute to one of the most uniquely foreign yet contrastingly humanizing artists ever to grace the streets with his work.  Basquait is often noted for his use of internal human anatomy in his works- apparently at age 7 he was given a book called Gray’s Anatomy by his mother and used it throughout his life as a reference for the various human anatomy he chose to depict.  Sadly, at the age of only 27, he died of a heroin overdose, yet still today he is celebrated as one of the most impactful U.S. artists of our time.  In 2002, his piece titled “Profit” was sold through Christies at a price of 5.5 million.

Street Art Photos – Year 2010 | STREET ART UTOPIA

This site offers an incredible collection of street art.  Styles are extremely divergent between featured artists.  I like how they offer collections based on the year, month etc.  Gives a nice frame of reference for the piece.

106 of the most beloved Street Art Photos – Year 2010 | STREET ART UTOPIA – StumbleUpon.
Street Art Utopia also introduced me to a new artist by the name of David Walker.  I think he’s my new favorite.

david_walker_street_art_1david_walker_street_art_3_london