I get asked all the time - who are the artists that inspire me and my work? Who do I look to for influence, ideas, and inspiration? There are plenty of amazing artists out there, but definitely a few lately who I’ve been admiring and really trying to wrap my head around… I want to touch on two artists in particular who, lately, I have been thoroughly immersed in. First off - Ernesto Caivano. Wow. What can I say? Sometimes I see an artist’s work and it makes such an impact on me that I rethink the way I do things and the way I approach what I create. The best link online is to Ernesto’s portfolio page on the Richard Heller Gallery site. Let me just say that his piece “An Offering for Courtship, 2004”, and the other pieces in that series, are easily in my top favorite pieces of art of all-time. No question…simplistic beauty and a brilliant use of negative space, Ernesto’s linework and stark black on white/off-white feels so crisp when you look at it. Pieces like “Pursuit in the Shadows, 2004” are so organic and natural feeling - I love looking at work like his - so far from digital… Alright - anyways…onto the next… A legend and a classic - Ed Ruscha. Looking at Ruscha’s monograph by Richard Marshall, I get so caught up in his work…you know that feeling when you find an artist or musician so intriguing you just seem to get lost in their imaginations instead of your own? I don’t know how to word that really…but that’s how I feel when I look at his paintings. Sounding all artsy fartsy…sorry about that. Anyways - why he chose the words and phrases he chose for certain works - that’s what I’d like to sit down and talk to him about someday. On the other hand, I don’t want to know, because there’s a mystery to looking at a painting of a mountain with the words “CLARENCE JONES 1906-1987 REALLY KNEW HOW TO SHARPEN KNIVES”. Something funny about it too…Anyways, check Ed Ruscha Catalogue for a great selection of his work. He was once called “one of the four most influential artists to have emerged in the 1960’s, along with Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, and Bruce Nauman.” Check these two artists out though - especially if you’re ever in a creative rut. Nothing like being thoroughly refreshed by another person’s work to get inspired.
No posts lately cause I feel like my head is on a different planet with all these projects. But I love the feeling – ‘space out, stay busy.’ Hanging with close friends is key, I love the social scene. I also love Grand Rapids quite a bit right now – everything is what you make it. I love the ‘dont be bitter, be better’ ideology. I think 70’s rock is the next thing – the next cool sound. I swear as soon as it gets cold I start zoning out and thinking about tiny islands in the middle of nowhere – Google Maps for Treo isn’t helping, ha! In fashion, what is the difference between classics and basics? Companies that have a leader with a public image/personality seem to do so much better than those that don’t – I think people feel it’s more tangible. Hip-hop clichés are done for those that didn’t originate them…if you started them its cool, if you didn’t…start a new one. Why is it impossible for me to get a proper-fitting peacoat? Ever went back to your parents house and looked thru all your old stuff from when you were a kid?! Time-machine. I need to switch out to a Mac for the ‘fun stuff.’ And that my friends…is what’s up.
I think its safe to say our time artistically is influenced by Andy Warhol. I was flipping thru this Barneys catalog that came in the mail and noticed that they are licensing Warhol to push their products. In it, every few pages or so, they published some of his classic quotes. Here’s a few. “I like to be the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place.” or “My new line is, in 15 minutes everybody will be famous.” and “My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person.” Dude was funny. Now I see his streetwear comparisons come from. After reading this article I find his fascination with business and expanding his brand through art, motivational. I didn’t know Campbell’s soup was remaking their labels Warhol color themes, that’s kinda cool, right? My favorite quote of his is this… “Fashion wasn’t what you wore someplace anymore; it was the whole reason for going.”
Maybe I’ll start doing this on a regular basis. “Who approved that?!” I’ve seen some pretty horrible advertising and design lately, and I thought I’d point some of it out very explicitly. This is not meant to just be hating on these things, but more of a challenge to everyone who reads this to think about it. And if you had a hand in the design, maybe you can email us and try to explain or something. So for this first post…what is up with the new MTV site??? I would compare the MTV.com experience to that of walking into a Wal-Mart. You never really know where to start, you can’t believe how much stuff they have and that gives you a headache, and everywhere you look are ads and logos. Let me break this down… Where do you start? On the top left? Maybe on the bottom middleish left? Or maybe you just wait to see if it starts doing things on its own? There are, count them, 11 separate ‘feature’ areas of the site, 2 of them are purely advertising. It’s honestly like a chore trying to figure out where you should start. Maybe if you can’t figure it out just use that gigantic search bar up top. There is so much content on this site, your processor’s speed will drop for sure…maybe if they weren’t trying to house 8,002 trillateragigflops of information it would be a little smoother. See, since MTV doesn’t play music on TV anymore, they crammed it all into a few servers for us to look at online. And don’t get me started on the ads. You are forcefed so many ads on this site it’s not even funny. After you click on a link and wait for something to load, before you play a video you get a full commercial, there are ads littered across this site.
But - and there is always a but - this is MTV. What do you expect? The point is information overload, the point is to put so much crap in front of you you just take what they give you, and the point is while maybe this site is totally unusable and In My CPU, Stealin’ my MHZ (who got that…?), who do I think I’m kidding? This is exactly what MTV.com is supposed to look like, whether I like it or not. Sluggish, over-the-top with filler, and endless, mind-numbing advertising.
How to start this post…not sure. I’m such a big Jay fan, huge…so I am ultra critical of this album. First things to clear out, the Neptunes & Swizz tracks are terrible – should have left them off. Now that we have that out of the way, I can honestly say I really like this album. It needs to be listened to in an entirely different context than any of his other works – and actually, different than any other rap album ever made. He’s mature now, his life is worlds different than when Reasonable Doubt came out, or even Volume 2 – so the content and feel of the album is of course going to reflect this. This is truly business-rap…warm-up music for the boardroom. Me vs. venture capital firms type music…ha, seriously. The tracks: (1) I dig ‘Prelude’, the beat, Mr. Pain-in-da-ass’ intro, all of it. (2) Just Blaze does some amazing work for ‘Oh my God.’ Something to shift gears to, good stuff. (3) Wish they wouldn’t have leaked this, I love it, but would have had more impact off a first-listen within the album. Another classic driving track. (4) Closing down roads in Monaco to race Ferraris and Zondas?! A zillion miles from reality – nuts. (5) ‘Lost Ones’ – finally a little inside glimpse from the man himself, very interesting and very good. (6) Wow, pretty amazing track, and John Legend fits perfect. We love to hear Jay talk fly – he lets us live vicariously through him on tracks like this. Inspirational (7) The opening line of this song is pretty much all you need to hear, ‘you don’t have enough stamps in your passport.’ But yeah, this is the maturity here – real chill track. (8) The classic this-one-is-for-my-mother track – good stuff. (9) Terrible, seriously. After ‘Change Clothes’ and ‘Frontin’ this is all we get? (10) ‘Hollywood’ is good stuff – Jay-Z talks quite a bit about fame in this album, how its the most addictive drug. Beyonce and Jay blend so well on this track. (11) Ehh…not too into this track. Doesn’t even really sound like a Dre beat. Good lyrical content though. (12) What is this?! Not a good look, shouldn’t be on the album. (13) An intense track indeed – didn’t actually expect this from Jay. Very good, not too much more can be said – although its interesting to hear Jay kind of apologize for just giving money and not time. (14) Another ‘wow’ track – a great way to close it out. My favorite line off the whole album: ‘…sunset hov, how you get so fly? I said from not being afraid to fall out the sky…’ So yeah, a thanks goes out to Jay for another album to get inspired from. He is truly a living legend.
Annnnddd we’re back!! Been a minute since we did an interview right?! We decided to take a break from that – plus we couldn’t think of anybody we really wanted to interview, and its almost impossible to get a hold of Marc Jacobs himself. So you know… Anyway, we are hitting you guys quite hard today with an amazing new interview put together by our new champ Virgil. Introducing Ibn Jasper – this guy is next level. Image consultant for Kanye West himself, amazingly talented barber behind all your favorite celebrities cuts, global jetsetter, and a classic chi-city trend baron. Just try to catch up with this dude…yikes. Check our interview where Ibn addresses the recent Kanye stage-rush on MTV, flying private, $1500 shape-ups, hanging at Nigo’s house, international shopping-sprees with the G.O.O.D. Music crew, ollies over shopping carts, and too much more. We got exclusive pictures of Kanye and Justive vs. Simeon backstage hugging it out!!!
Question for the Louis Vuitton fans out there, where did this white damier canvas come from? It is out of control, seriously fresh. Damier is like the dude version of the classic LV monogram. There’s no reason the get all self conscious rocking the Damier. I just love how the made an already subtle pattern, subtle and eye catching. For the past year or so I have been rocking the key and change holder as a wallet and I finally feel like I have come to that perfect balance I had been searching for. It carries only the essentials; I was tired of cutting off the circulation in my leg with the billfold format. Enough. But seriously, the white Diamer says what I am thinking.
Where was this when eBay was a steady hustle for me? I love this. eBay Pop, its like the NASDAQ composite for items on eBay. The movers-and-shakers if you will. This is, again, reinstating the fact that eBay has truly changed commerce throughout the world. And yo, does the IRS audited PayPal accounts?!?! Seriously, think about it. Anyway – this is a great little service. As I mentioned, back when I sold stuff on eBay all the time this would have changed everything. One thing to think about – its going to basically tell all the bootleggers EXACTLY what to knock-off you know? Whatever the market is demanding. Not that is was hard for them to find out before – but now there is like an actual ‘index’ for it. Pretty unreal. So check it out…buy a wholesale lot of cell phone antenna signal-boosters, sell them in singles…you’ll be BAAAALLLLIINNNNNNN!! Ha, maybe not.
Remember the stronghold Swatch watch had on us when we were kids? Taking their spot in modern times are Toy Watches. My lady hooked me up with one and I am now I don’t have to look at my phone to see what time it is. These watches have been catching my eye in Annie O when we were out in New York to Needless Markup in Chicago. Their trademark look is their shiny see through acrylic casings and bands. They are like reinterpreted Rolex GMT-2 with a fun twist. So about those Swatch watches…they are not making a comeback just yet so keep them in that drawer next to your bed.
So I just came to the obvious realization…with the decline of innovative “streetwear” the pendulum is swinging back to where we all started. The big basic brands, Banana, Polo, Gap etc. The benefit now days tho is that the big brands quit being so uptight and are actually being creative, taking risks and getting better trend reports. With H&M fresh off the Lagerfeld collaboration they have just tagged up with Victor & Rolf to produce some stunning pieces. High fashion, lower budget. Very inclusive, not exclusive. Of course I gotta see these pieces in person but the art direction of the whole project has got my attention. Viktor & Rolf snapped with their latest collection and carried over the same intensity with this less expensive iteration of their brand. So smart for the Viktor & Rolf brand as well. Most cats aren’t even hip to them as designers. Hats off to H&M for raising the standard. Another business model I would like to see bitten by competitors.