ART

ART

Kehinde Wiley

It was almost impossible to choose which of Kehinde Wiley's fukin rad paintings to display. I chose these because I liked the themes of 1) hot women mugging in front of psychedelic wallpaper, and 2) men lying down. (This theme is in no way Wiley's, these paintings are from different exhibitions and projects.)

The men lying down are, in fact, part of Wiley's Down series. Paintings in this series reinvent the poses and compositions of master works with  young, black dudes as subjects. The paintings are badass and flawless. They're also enormous (see artist in last image for scale), which further emphasizes their sensation du triomphe (#iwokeuplikethis).

Stop what you're doing and g visit kehindewiley.com to see more and even more of his pieces. Go now. Do it. 

 Portrait of Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew, 2013

Portrait of Mary Hill, Lady Killigrew, 2013

 The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, 2008

The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, 2008

 China Samantha Nash, 2013

China Samantha Nash, 2013

 The Virgin Martyr St Cecilia, 2006

The Virgin Martyr St Cecilia, 2006

 Femme piquee par un serpent, 2008

Femme piquee par un serpent, 2008

ART

Femilly Killer (aka Emily Miller)

"I desperately tried to flatten myself into a hot dumbass on the Internet," begins Femily Killer's (aka Emily Miller's) artist statement on her website. That is the best statement ever, and I don't know what it means!

Femily (Emily) is an artist from Florida living and working in Brooklyn, NY.

Among other endeavors, F(emily) creates oil paintings with these alla prima, chunky, side-by-side brush stroke techniques. Her website says they "a sort of 'internal self portrait,'" but I posted a few sort of actual self portraits. 

I particularly like Selfie After Thiebaud. I'm guessing it was a good time. 

To see more self(ie) portaits, etcetera, visit emilyemilymiller.com or follow the hot Internet dumbass (!) on Twitter @femilykiller.

 Self Portait (June 19) 

Self Portait (June 19) 

 Avatar (Michelle) 

Avatar (Michelle) 

 Selfie After Thiebaud

Selfie After Thiebaud

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Two Riders

"Two Riders" is an excerpt from Sasha Vasilyuk's forthcoming memoir, Falling Up. To read more about Sasha and see more of her work, visit her website.


I met Amit in the dusty courtyard of a hostel on the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama, a small town in the driest desert on earth, Chile’s Atacama. Stocky, bald with a wide grin and cunning eyes, he was hunched above a computer that glowed against the starkness of the hostel’s mud brick barracks and thatched terrace roof. He brimmed with confidence and energy, pointing eagerly to the screen and explaining to his three Chilean friends something about “usability.” His English was fast, reflecting his Indian childhood and Canadian passport.

We introduced ourselves and he explained that he and his friends came here for the weekend from Santiago, Chile’s capital way down south, where they were working on launching a web startup. My own post-divorce solo sojourn was a bit harder to summarize, so I left it at “I’m traveling through South America.”

Night descended quickly onto the desert town, bringing with it the lonesome yelping of the neighborhood dogs under the Southern Hemisphere constellations that I hadn’t yet learned to recognize. One of the oldest settlements in Chile, San Pedro de Atacama has become a small backpacker haven with a few unpaved blocks of lively restaurants serving hippy South American fare; shops sporting garlands of colorful ponchos; and tour agencies offering trips to climb nearby volcanos, swim in salt lakes, and photograph pink flamingos that call this barren region home. I joined Amit’s group as we took the wide dirt road from our outlying hostel along crooked fences and one-story huts toward the noise, the lights and the smell of grilled meat that wafted from the town’s center.

We settled in at a cozy restaurant on the corner, ordered our hippy-cum-Chilean dinner of llama stew with spinach and quinoa, and before the two bottles of the spicy Chilean Merlot had a chance to turn into a headache, Amit had somehow managed to convince me to join him the next morning on a motorcycle ride through the desert.

I had never been on a motorcycle before, but his resume sounded bulletproof –- he had been riding since the tender age of twelve, had taken his bike through a dozen countries in Europe and Central Asia, and despite last year’s crash in Mexico that almost left him with only leg, was ready to explore South America on two wheels. He told me all this with an ebullient enthusiasm that disguised underneath it a minor key, barely audible but unmistakable. It may have been the wine, of course, but I thought I could sense that Amit was a fellow journeyman on the road from breakup.

I said yes without hesitation. I think it was the one leg story that convinced me. After all, now he’d be extra careful…

In the late morning of what turned out to be Easter Sunday, Amit and I went to meet our motorcycle guide, Juan, a handsome 31-year-old Chilean with blond surfer locks and a black motorcycle jacket. Juan took us to his headquarters just outside of town. There, emerging sleepily from the headquarters, which was also their house, we met Juan’s cousin and cofounder Rodrigo. Tan, with jet black curls and a squeaky clean white smile, Rodrigo was one more good reason for me not to crash and die today.

Twirling me like a tiny Russian doll in their rough hands, the two men dressed me in a padded jacket and a tight-fitting helmet that popped like a cork onto my head. Imitating tough Hollywood heroines, I hopped on the back of a black BMW 650GS, also known as the Dakar bike, and clasped my hands around Amit.

"Holding on tight?" I heard his muffled voice through the helmet. I flicked up my thumb and he started the motor, its roar jiggering my hip bones.

It wasn’t until we turned out onto the highway following Juan’s bike that it dawned on me that motorcycles don’t have seatbelts. I know it’s pretty obvious, but somehow I didn’t quite get the full meaning of it until I saw that the clasp of my hands around my riding partner was the only thing between me and sure death. Then, it dawned on me that I was not carrying any documents and that my new friend didn’t even know my last name. Smart…

Yet I suddenly stopped worrying because there was something incredibly romantic about anonymously dying in a motorcycle crash in the driest desert on earth. It looked so cinematic. I couldn’t stress much anyway because at 100km per hour, the wind is so loud you can’t hear yourself think. Your nostrils become dry wind tunnels and your neck hurts from trying to hold your helmet-head from getting ripped off. And that’s in the back.

After leaving San Pedro de Atacama in the rear view mirror, we entered no man’s land where copper-rich cliffs hugged the smooth two-lane highway, a landscape surreal enough to be part of a videogame. Soon, we emerged onto a plateau, dark red and barren with not a building or a tree or even a bush in sight. I half expected a sign that said “Welcome to Mars”.

I could see the earth curving toward a row of volcanoes on the horizon. The sky was close and intensely blue. The only thing moving in this landscape was Juan, eating up the snaking highway ahead of us. As we drove, my ears began to feel congested –- we were climbing, and climbing fast.

Then, Juan signaled to us and we turned onto a dirt road with a sign that read Rio Grande. With the asphalted highway behind us, we were now truly in no man’s land: just us, the dirt road, the Martian landscape, and the wind. I was starting to see the appeal of the two-wheel lifestyle.

Juan signaled again and pulled over on a flat stretch next to big boulders. When I jumped off the bike, with my left hip and my right wrist sore from leaning left since we left headquarters, Juan said he was sorry the highway part of the trip had been so boring. Boring?! Clearly, someone has been living here far too long.

“Just wait until our next stop in Rio Grande village,” he said, beaming. “You will see!”

We continued riding through the reddish crater as the dirt road narrowed and the turns became sharper until, like a startling patch of blue in a cloudy sky, we emerged onto an enormous valley sliced in half by the road, paved and gleaming, as it zoomed straight toward the giant cone of the snow-capped volcano towering ahead.

We passed an enormous billboard showing road workers with a sign that read “Better roads for better Chile.” We soon passed the road workers themselves, painting the lane divide and waving to us cheerily, the only visitors they must have seen all day. It occurred to me that Chile was clearly doing well if a dozen men were sent to pave a road through nowhere to a 100-person village. But when we saw the first glimpse of Rio Grande, I knew why.

After an otherworldly landscape of rocks and jagged peaks, we landed back on Earth to witness it in all its glory: from the top of a canyon we looked more than a hundred feet below onto a wide stream gurgling through a leafy oasis, the green so unexpectedly welcome after an hour of red. There, a round woman in a magenta skirt and a wide-brimmed hat herded a dozen wooly alpacas. Further upstream was her village –- mud brick houses, dirt roads, a whitewashed church with a thatched bell tower and a cross.

This was a place where a loud motorcycle visitor was an event of the week. When we parked our bikes, weathered indigenous men sitting in front of their low houses, waved hello. They all knew Juan, who used to teach English in the village.

The streets were quiet -– no car engines, no hammers, only the sound of drying laundry pattering in the wind –- and as we walked around the tiny village, the only tourists that day or maybe that month, Juan told us his story. He grew up on a farm not far from Santiago, but his father was a motorcycle enthusiast, so instead of riding a horse, he learned to ride a bike. After college, he spent eight years working in the tourism industry in Chile and Bolivia, and then decided to venture out on his own. He hoped the Dakar motorcycle race, an event of global proportions set to pass through Atacama Desert in a few months, would put this region -– along with his tour agency –- on the bike aficionado map.

We paused at an intersection of two dirt roads, surrounded by burnt orange houses that weren’t much taller than us, decorated only with a two dark narrow windows. Here, the conversation turned to Juan’s girlfriend, a college student living in Santiago. For the past year, they saw each other once a month, but just yesterday decided to try a “less committed, more open relationship”.

“We want to keep our feelings, but just be more flexible,” explained Juan, blushing a little.

Amit shook his head with skepticism.

“I’m going through a divorce right now and in my experience, that’s the first step toward the end,” he said.

I had been right about the minor key in Amit’s voice, after all.

“I agree,” I told Juan.

Let’s try separating had been my way of avoiding uttering the ruinous, irrevocable divorce. And now here I was, very separated indeed, standing with two more souls at a crossroad in a remote Chilean village.

It was time to head back. The sun was inching closer toward the horizon and riding through the cold night was beyond my romantic idea of desert martyrdom. Back on the bikes –- more stiff than ever -– we climbed out of the oasis, along the river canyon, onto the open plane, past the billboard (the actual workers now gone), through the dirt road, and out onto the highway where my ears popped several times as we made our way back down toward civilization.

As we drove, I watched the shadow of two people on a bike dance along the road as the orange volcanoes glistened in the setting sun. It was hard to believe one of the shadows was me. It could have been old lovers making their way around the country. Or, like in our case, two new friends riding through nowhere, hoping to make it out okay on the other side. 

ART

Cleon Peterson

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Cleon Peterson's primary color paintings of athletic, sadistic violence in 2D are pretty awesome even though (or because?) they make me a bit queasy. The subjects fight in a bleak, context-less place like slaves did in scenes from the walls of a Pharoah's tomb. 

The three shown below are 1) a horrific war of bodies stabbing and choking each other, 2) a scene reminiscent of police beatings filmed as of late, 3) what looks like a match between two luchadors. (Not really, but kinda.)

Whew. Rough stuff. And the others (or the feeling of viewing dozens of them at once) are even more chilling/terrifying/sickening/moving. I'd suggest you go see them by visiting cleonpeterson.com. 

 

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ART, WEIRD

14 real and made-up words

  1. baishchildegraphe: the embarrassment of reading a journal or diary from childhood
  2. calculanguish: searing frustration and anger at a malfunctioning computer
  3. chrysalis: the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm
  4. consternaleugh: a situation in which you forget which lie you told someone
  5. drogepericulum: a fearful confusion of forgetting you’re high
  6. jouska: a hypothetical conversation that you compulsive play out in your head
  7. kenopsia: the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet
  8. lachesism: the desire to be struck by disaster -- to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire
  9. mauerbauertraurigkeit: the inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like
  10. mannekille: the feeling of watching a bug you decided not to kill go free
  11. mirenphobia: fear of making eye contact with yourself in the mirror
  12. osseoakhos: the ache of a bone mending itself 
  13. vellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookshops
  14. videreavinde: a daydream while playing a game about winning the game’s world championship 

ART

Todd James, aka REAS

Todd James (REAS) started as a graffiti artist in the 80's tagging NYC subway cars. He also painted these neon, energetic cartoons of sunburnt lumps. I'm not sure why two of the ladies have duck bills, but I like it.

The purple-haired broad in the red onepiece is going to be me later today at the pool <Sunglass Emoji>. (As if I could be that fly.) 

To see more of Todd James's fierce neon, visit his site: toddjames.com.  

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ART

Caryn Cast - County Fair Winners

I love these paintings based on winners of a county fair by Queens artist Caryn Cast. Maybe it's her Florida-to-Tennessee upbringing (maybe not), but these pastels/acrypic/paper/wood pieces are awesomely reminiscent of Mid-America genre paintings of community, rural, middle-class folk doing their thing.

I particularly love Gayle's smile. I'd be smiling, too, if I had that many jars of pickles. Pickles. Yum. 

In addition to these artistic accomplishments, Caryn has won lots of prestigious awards, and produced a particularly interesting and arresting mural of Kim Jong II milking a cow.  The Supreme Leader is half smiling half grimacing as he squeezes the cow's udders. It reminds me of the photos I saw once of  Kim Jong Un's tour of North Korean factories and farms in which he gets very excited about looking at salmon and other items. 

Anyhow, visit her website to see the Supreme Leader and other delightful pieces. 

 

     

 

 

ART

Anthony Samaniego

Ah, Los Angeles. Covered in concrete, butting up to hot mountains spread over with tinder brush. Chaotic with millions of people under pastel smog sunsets. Ridiculous traffic, art deco building-lined streets, 100 ft high advertisements for BCBG, cement next to white sand beach. 

Anthony Samaniego's "dreamscapes" evoke the feeling of existing in this hot, frantic, fantastic place.  Like his photos, Los Angeles feels restless, colorful, changeable, sprawling, hot with steam. 

Apparently, Samaniego wanders the byways of LA -- particularly at night, at dusk -- looking for the perfect shot. He takes photos with his old, film Mamiya camera. To get the layered effect of his images, he takes multiple exposures on the same negative. To get the nice white splotches, he exposes the negatives to light multiple times. Afterward, he works with the colors until they're neon-perfect.

Don't you love 'em? Doesn't it make you want to wander into the hot hills looking for graffiti-ed rocks and lizards and the line of brown smog hazing over the streets and sprawl?

To see more of his groovy visions of Los Angeles, visit his website, or his Instagram

ART

Jihee So

I found Seoul/Toronto artist Jihee So's art on Instagram. Her flat pastel illustrations of people with long necks make me feel calm. The face and neck shapes are like Kitagawa Utamaro's beautiful women, but are of both women and men living in 2015 who have put a bird on it. Anywow, I like it. 

To see more of Jihee's illustrations, visit her Instagram feed

ART

Sage Vaughn - Wildflowers

Ex-graffiti artist and naturalist painter, Sage Vaughn, wears infra-red night vision goggles while he paints. Because lots of animals and insects look through infra-red eyeballs.

He's been featured in all kinds of famous galleries and on the albums of widely-known bands. 

Here are some close-ups and some faraways of pieces from Sage Vaughn's Wildflowers series. The one called Vasquez looks like flowers on top of the Flatirons I see everyday in CO. Maybe it is? 

To see more, visit sagevaughn.com. 

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 Vasquez

Vasquez

 LA Burial Grounds

LA Burial Grounds

ART

Patrick Dougherty - Stickworks

Oklahomian Patrick Dougherty builds architectural sculptures out of tree saplings. He has won lots of awards, obviously, for his twisty wooden masterpieces. 

Stickwork, more like, that's-an-ahmazing-mini-palace-made-of-trees-work is featured below. (Notice how the artist is often standing and thinking deeply in many of the photographs.) I like how it looks like a bunch of these are erected in front of super rich people's mansions. Oh, you whimsical rich people.

But, really, though. That one with the yellow flowers? C'mon. Take me there asap. 

You can see more of these curvy, widow-filled stick wonders at stickwork.net.  


ART

Bryan Sheffield - Lord God

FatherSons zine released its first book, Lord God, by Bryan Sheffield. The book has photos that are big camera flashes on trees at night. Light creates spots on the images like light fairy (devils?).

I love the one of palm trees blowing in the Santa Anas. I grew up in Orange County, CA, surrounded by those skinny, ridiculous Seuss trees that freeze in temps below 55 degrees Fahrenheit and struggle to stand up straight. Those trees leaning under the street lamp at one am when I was 16 and sober and The Used squealed through the bad car speakers. 

I wonder why he named the series Lord God?

Go see more emotive tree pictures photos at fathersons.net.

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ART

Baron Von Fancy

Maybe you'd heard of New York artist Baron Von Fancy (Gordon Stevenson), but I sure had not until this pleasant morning when I happenstanced upon his lively, lewd, funny phrases in black ink that populate the likes of billboards, socks, lighters, doormats, sponges. An Urban Outfitters merchandiser's dream. 

Here are some fun examples. My least favorite is the one about yesterday because ... well, damn; that's true, huh. My favorite is the one with the horse. Oh, the lighter one ... Hm. Which one is your favorite? 

 

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ART

Mike Biskup

Mike Biskup paints soothing Where's Waldo and magic eye pictures. Not really. (But kind-of.) Painted with watercolor (translucent, pastel) and India ink (permanent, black), his multilayered works are ordered, architectural romps through the daisies. Or, the product of meditations on a happy yellow word repeated into nonsense: "guava, guava, guava."  

On his website, he mentions hanging paintings on the wall to be added to over days, weeks, years. He also mentions that his art is inspired by the Buddhist idea of Interbeing. Which has something to do with a cloud. And rain. And the meaning of life.

I like it, Biskup. You keep doing you.

To see more (and purchase) these pieces, visit mikebiskup.com.

 Mindset K

Mindset K

 Knight By Day

Knight By Day

 A Step Felt in Full  

A Step Felt in Full  

 Serra

Serra

ART

Albert Reyes

Albert Reyes lives in El Sereno, a suburb of Los Angeles. I've been following him on Instagram for a while now. If he truly creates as many pieces as he posts, he's pretty much a machine. He pumps out striking drawings and paintings of working-class (and working-girl) LA-ers at a dizzying speed. It seems as well that he's been on quite the booty train: white girl booty, black girl booty, Hispanic girl booty. Booty upside down and sideways and from da back. Booties to make you laugh, make you cry. Booties to inspire. 

My anaconda don't! //

I gathered some booties below. And threw in an Elvis, for good measure.

Check out more booties and more black/white/dynamic/graffiti-tinged/absurd/anaconda-don't pieces at thealbertreyes.com or on his Instagram @thealbertreyes. 

 

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ART

Stacy Rozich

Seattle-born, but LA-based artist and illustrator Stacey Rozich paints these fantastic and surreal cultural and religious mishmashes that I friggin luv. 

In the paintings below, it's as if Christmas demon, Krampus, and his Schnappviecher escaped from the Wudel Hunt, rounded up some skeleton amigos from the Día de Muertos fiesta, broke into an Urban Outfitters to don some coachella-style rompers then stumbled -- high on Meow Meow -- into a Byzantine dyptich that, by nature of their pagan presence, morphed into what looks like a rockin party. With Doritos. And PBR. And a tiger.  

#solsticemuertosfiesta2014, bitches!

To see more of her #phantastic work, go to staceyzorich.com.

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ART

Gosha Levochkin - pizza water colors

Pizza is fuckin delish. It has lots of gluten (gluten is everything that's bad for you, right?) and dairy and grease. Your friends on paleo/gluten free/veg-only/cayenne pepper+apple cider juice fast whathaveyous can't eat it. Because of this, it's a greasy, triangular symbol of [insert tiresome food/culture commentary]. And, as you can see from LA artist Gosha Levochkin's pizza water color series ... it's hilarious.

Pizza, lol. It's the best. Imma get me a piece rn. 

For more silly (and not so silly) water colors, illustrations, and paintings from Gosha Levochkin, go to goshalevochkin.tumblr.com!

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ART

Other Fudge

Travis Millard's (Instagram handle: @theotherfudge) illustrations make me lol and generally feel a buncha delight. They're goofy in a rat fink sorta way, but also sunny-afternoon happy.

I also love his prints (featured below), which are often collages of faces: dog faces, human faces, cartoon faces, trophy, er ... faces. (Now that I've seen his trophy print, I really want a trophy that says, "Oh Well" or "Eh." Don't you?)

Anyhow, check out his illustrations and comics on travismillard.com (make sure to read the one with the pink bears.) Oh, and: fun fact: Mel Kadel, his LA lady friend, was also featured on El Balazo. Theme? Hm. 

Enjoy! 

 

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ART

Laurence Valliéres - Cardboard Animals

Canadian artist Laurence Valliéres makes these incredible cardboard animals -- some of which seem to enjoy destroying vehicles. 

IncorporApe (see image #1) presents some of these such animal hooligans. Built at Fresh Paint Gallery in 2013, the structure of the car is made of wood, but the apes are made of cardboard. Friggin apes. Even cardboard ones'll roll your car and tear your face off. *shiver* 

Another such animal + vehicle sculpture was made in Toronto for Nuit Blanche (see image #2 below). It's title is: "There is an elephant in the truck." I love the artist's description of its purpose: "to yield the overall impression that the cardboard sculpture is too large for the truck." Consider the impression yielded. (PS: I wonder what the guy on the bike is thinking.)

Finally, this amazing silverback gorilla (see image #3 ... obvz) is just chillin in a gallery not ruining any sort of vehicle whatsoever. I want to touch it, too. ... How much are flights to Montreal? 

If you want to see more sweét sculptüres of apes and giant mammals made of cardbôard or cement, visit laurencevallieres.com.

 

 IncorporApe

IncorporApe

 There is an elephant in the truck

There is an elephant in the truck

 Gorilla

Gorilla

ART

Buckley Now

Sarah Buckley is an LA illustrator and pattern maker. Her illustrations break subjects into multifaceted areas and/or flat, geometric forms in a single plane. They are simple and sexual and feel like pieces of half-remembered dreams. Fingers, thighs, hair create patterns that give me feels. Below, I've copied a couple examples.

See more at cargocollective.com/buckleynow

 

wind horse 

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You & I

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New Woman

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Hobo Artist 

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