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JULY 2014, n162







ISSUE #162 / JULY 2014






















































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


































































































Published monthly by High Speed Productions, Inc., 1303 Underwood Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124–3308. © 2014 High Speed Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. Juxtapoz is a registered trademark of High Speed Productions, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author. All rights reserved on entire contents. Advertising inquiries should be directed to: Subscriptions: US, $34.99 (one year, 12 issues) or $75.00 (12 issues, first class, US only); Canada, $75.00; Foreign, $80.00 per year. Single copy: US, $5.99; Canada, $6.99. Subscription rates given represent standard rate and should not be confused with special subscription offers advertised in the magazine. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Francisco, CA, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 0960055. Change of address: Allow six weeks advance notice and send old address label along with your new address. Postmaster: Send change of address to: Juxtapoz, PO Box 884570, San Francisco, CA 94188–4570. The publishers would like to thank everyone who has furnished information and materials for this issue. Unless otherwise noted, artists featured in Juxtapoz retain copyright to their work. Every effort has been made to reach copyright owners or their representatives. The publisher will be pleased to correct any mistakes or omissions in our next issue. Juxtapoz welcomes editorial submissions; however, return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts, art, drawings, and photographic materials if they are to be returned. No responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All letters will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to Juxtapoz’ right to edit and comment editorially.

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IT WAS A REAL PLEASURE FOR ME TO INTERVIEW Todd Francis for Juxtapoz. Both Todd and Jux played a big role in my life over 15 years ago. In the late ’90s, I worked in San Francisco for a screen printing shop called Printime. 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 would have been my favorite professor, and Juxtapoz would have been my most read textbook. I’m not sure where I would be today if it wasn't for both parties. So, a massive

thank-you to Todd Francis and all the dudes at DLX, Printime, Dustin and Duane, Keith and the dudes at Think, and most of all, Eric and Fausto. I am super grateful for all the cool shit I learned at that time in my life.

For more information about Jeremy Fish, visit


Portrait of Mr. Fish at his favorite San Francisco landmark by Mike Hipple


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 happened, May Day opened at Deitch Projects in Spring 2010, Art In the Streets shortly thereafter in 2011, and Shepard steadily became a household name. He was on the cover of Time, covered by the New York Times and every other major media outlet. There is a chance even your grandfather knew his name (okay, well, mine did).

There is so much to the story of how Shepard became such

a force in contemporary art, but there is something uniquely

special about his newest work, Power & Glory, that will reside within the exhibition, The Insistent Image: Recurrent Motifs in the Art of Shepard Fairey and Jasper Johns, that will be on display at the Halsey Institute in Charleston, South Carolina through July 12, 2014. For Shepard, obviously, it is a return home to South Carolina, to a city where, as he related in our extensive interview, he was seen as an outsider with interests that ranged from punk to skateboarding. “To get to go back to South Carolina and do a show at a prestigious institution with

a great artist like Jasper Johns is a little bit of great revenge,” Shepard says.

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

his overall popularity. The clothing, prints, fine art, commercial work and gallery have all made Shepard a larger-than-life figure that has had its detractors, though nonsensically. So, in claiming later in this issue that Shepard is a gateway artist to so many integral parts of underground and prevailing culture, we note the doors he opened for street art to grow, to help awaken an interest in politics, to make fashion accessible, and I would go further to say he made art something to care about for thousands of people who might have never walked into a museum or gallery. This summer, he will introduce thousands of kids to one of America’s finest artists, Jasper Johns. That is important to Juxtapoz, the art community at-large and the future of museums. We need someone to lead the charge, and Shepard has been that one person.

In our 20th year, we honor the pillars of our community, the artists who provoke while standing the test of time, who define what we do in print. I’m convinced Shepard remains the embodiment of our goals: to make art accessible and powerful on one’s own terms. Mission accomplished.

Enjoy #162




ALTHOUGH BORN IN OKLAHOMA CITY, Ed Ruscha has been in Los Angeles long enough to be perhaps the most ideal and representative artist of the City of Angels. One could argue, without much debate, that Ruscha’s brand of art is synonymous with California itself, a commentary of westward expansion and the imagery that accompanies it. If California is the edge of the world, and movement toward the West is the great unknown, Ruscha has spent 50-plus years pioneering the journey.

“I prefer drives that are long and desolate,” Ruscha told ArtBook in 2011. “That's the kind of experience I felt when I first drove out West—horizontal and empty. Some people get bored by driving long distances and not seeing any activity. I love it. I see things out there. I let the desert be the inside of my brain, like this space where I can begin to clear my mind, or inventory my mind. When I'm driving in certain rural areas out here in the West, I start to make my own Panavision. I'm making my own movie as I'm driving.”

That passage has been bookmarked in our office for years, not only because of the sense of mystery uncovered by an artist at work, but it helps define a natural trait that the West holds in all forms of creative endeavors. There is hope,

invention, reinvention, and a horizon of possibilities. Strike

it rich in gold, tech, Hollywood, take your pick. In the artist’s mind, California is what you want it to be.

Author James Ellroy once eloquently noted of Ruscha’s work “[He is] the visual deus ex machina of what has become the most over-scrutinized city on earth… Mr. Ruscha's LA pictorials contextualize paintings of mind-altering pills, could-be-anywhere gas stations and outright non-LA locales. Black skies that could mean day or could mean night

tell us: ‘This is LA.’ Mountain ranges north of the city are the mental landscapes of persons seeking alternatives to LA.

A hazy grey-black-white picture of a blank TV set is a

denuded LA looking back at us.”

above Ed Ruscha, Honey, I Twisted Through More Damn Traffic Today A High Line Commission, on view May 2014 – May 2015 Photo by Timothy Schenck Courtesy of Friends of the High Line 1977 / 2014

right Cold Beer Beautiful Girls Three-color lithograph Edition of 60 30.5" x 40.5" © Ed Ruscha Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Photography by Robert McKeever


In May and June 2014, this West Coast standard-bearer moved to NYC for a special three-part exhibition with Gagosian Gallery: a series of new, small-scale bleach-on- linen paintings, Crystal Skies, Service Clown, Sour Twist from Gagosian’s booth at Frieze, coinciding with a major survey of prints produced over the past 40 years, with a selection of photographs taken in the 1960s and printed in 2003 in Ed Ruscha: Prints and Photographs at 980 Madison Avenue.

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) reconceived as a huge mural painted onto an apartment building adjacent to the High Line on West 22nd Street and

10th Avenue. At the time Juxtapoz went to press, the mural was to run through May 2015.

“I guess that's what poets want to do: put ideas on stage. I settle for a single word,” Ruscha opined recently in an interview. At 76 years old, Ruscha remains a powerful figure in contemporary art, experimenting and expanding the Western narrative. For a month, NYC got to see it firsthand.

For more information about Ruscha’s Gagosian exhibitions, visit


Periods Lithograph Edition of 60 28.75" x 28" © Ed Ruscha Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Photography by Paul Ruscha





BAY AREA NOW IS THE SIGNATURE TRIENNIAL HELD at the ambitious Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. For the 7th edition, YBCA invited 15 local arts organizations to commission site-specific projects throughout the museum-caliber space. My husband, Jeff Meadows, and I are working on a collaborative installation curated by Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, along with visual artists Lori Gordon, Erik Otto, Aaron Bray, and sound artists Marc Kate and Brian Tester. Our curators, Calcagno 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.

There will be a large structure that is both warm and inviting as well as meditative, welcoming visitors to spend some time contemplating and participating in the space. The surrounding installation will provide a colorful intensity,

meant to mimic the backdrop of San Francisco and the Mission District where Adobe’s Backroom Gallery is located.” It’s a high honor to exhibit our work at YBCA, a space that has hosted some of our favorite shows like Beautiful Losers and David Shrigley. And the chance to represent the Backroom Gallery, which has supported many of our favorite artists over the years, is truly a dream. This summer, expect your mind to be blown and soothed at the same time. We’re bringing our YBCA game. —Kristin Farr

BAN7 is on view July 18 - October 12, 2014

For more information, visit


Installation detail Kristin Farr and Jeff Meadows




“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





YOU MIGHT FIND DANA TANAMACHI-WILLIAMS listening to country music or collecting vintage packaging for inspiration while she works on any given number of projects within her newly-formed Brooklyn-based design firm. Tanamachi Studio started modestly, but now Dana is adding clients such as Oprah, Time Magazine, Nike, Burton, Target, and even Google to her roster. —Brent Gentile

Brent Gentile: I think I discovered Tanamachi Studio as a result of the chalk-based work, but is that something you’re currently moving away from? Dana Tanamachi-Williams: The funny thing is that by trade, I’m a graphic designer, letterer, and sometimes illustrator. When my work began to gain traction, it just happened to take the form of chalk. But I’ve never considered myself a “chalk artist.” That’s something totally different. I’m a designer, first and foremost, and that can come in many sizes, shapes, or mediums, so working with new materials was certainly uncharted territory professionally, but personally—not at all. For instance, last year I was approached by a publisher to

create a how-to stencil book specifically to be used with chalk. I thought the idea was pretty fun, but felt that chalk was pretty limiting, considering how much I love working and crafting in different mediums. So, I pitched it to the publishers to let me do the book using paint, embroidery, cut paper, bleach pen, etc. I simply showed them all the personal work I had been doing in these mediums, and they immediately gave me the green light. And I’m incredibly excited about releasing a typographic stencil book, DIY Type, this September. So, am I trying to move away from chalk? Not necessarily. It just feels like a natural progression to work in other mediums that I enjoy and feel comfortable in. I’m incredibly thankful my clients trust me enough to do so!

Have you always been interested in typography? Before my first design classes in college, I had no idea what typography was. But when we started learning about parts of letters, and the differences between serif and sans serif, a whole new world opened up to me. I remember thinking, “Wow, so you’re telling me that the spaces between each

above Flourish Photos by Andrew Ryan Shepherd

top right Women’s Deja Vu Flying V Snowboard for Burton

right Puffin Chalk Series of book covers for Penguin’s children’s division

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, clients will see what you’re capable of.

Can you unpack the balance of working on personal projects versus client projects? Creating personal work was how this whole thing started for me in the first place. I was simply a young designer working

long days at an agency in NYC, and I found myself practicing calligraphy and lettering on my commute home and in my spare time. One Saturday, I happened to attend a friend’s housewarming party in Brooklyn, and when I entered the apartment, I noticed their kitchen walls were painted with black chalkboard paint. This was pre-Pinterest, 2009, and

I had never seen such a thing! The hostess encouraged me to

pick up a piece of chalk and doodle something—”You’re artsy, right? You should draw something!” So, my friend and

I drew the word Brooklyn in an arch shape using Victorian-ish

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 considered it being worth a second thought. The next day, everyone went home and uploaded their photos to Facebook, and our drawing became the souvenir for that first party. Throughout that following year, my friends asked me to come over beforehand to create a themed photo wall for each

subsequent party—Alice in Wonderland, Great Gatsby, and 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 computer, and I longed to do something with my hands again. This was the perfect outlet—I would go over beforehand and just start fleshing out ideas. No sketches beforehand, no art directors, no clients! Just me, a piece of chalk, and my type specimen books.

Believe it or not, I actually got my first commissions through friends of friends who saw those pictures on Facebook. The first was for a modern furniture gallery in Soho, and the next was Google. Talk about a big jump. But, do you see what I mean about creating personal work that inspires you? Practicing my lettering in the form of these chalk installations not only helped me improve in my craft, but also opened up a whole world of opportunity.

What a great story! I imagine that a young designer doesn’t often hear that personal work can make just as big of impression as client driven work. For some reason there’s this overwhelming feeling that if your project isn’t a national campaign, it doesn’t have validity. Don’t get me wrong, I think that client work is incredibly

important, even for young designers. I want to know and see that someone can take an idea from start to finish, not just post unfinished sketches to Instagram. But I do think that it’s vital for designers to consistently be working on self-initiated projects because people won’t know what you’re capable of unless you show them. It’s the idea of doing work to get work.

Personal work is so much better than spec work, right? Exactly! It’s for yourself and it’s about improving. You can experiment with no one watching. Everyone needs that season of anonymity—the freedom to fail.

Do you create your own typefaces or manipulate existing typefaces? I don’t really create my own typefaces—for me, it’s more about taking elements from history and creating something new. What I love about lettering is that I can borrow from my type 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.

Have you considered starting a Tanamachi type foundry? No way! Typeface design is a whole ‘nother beast. I have the utmost respect for people who make and sell their own fonts for a living. It takes a lot of time, patience, and attention to every painstaking detail. I’m more of a broad strokes kind 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 a foundry!

I’ve always felt like type designers are the unsung heros of our industry. They really are. I can’t express how much admiration I have for type designers. They are a different breed altogether—very creative and visual, but also extremely mathematical. They quietly plug away for thousands of hours on a single typeface for little to no recognition, yet we use and interact with their handiwork every single day.

For more information about Dana Tanamachi-Williams, visit


San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon branding Photos courtesy of Nike







PLAINLY-STATED, TELLASON MAKES THE CLASSICS that you want in your closet, and they make them really well. What started as a single-fit of denim jeans made in San Francisco has grown into a staple of expertly-made, well-designed lines of jeans, fleece, and jackets, with plans to expand into other everyday basics. This isn’t trendy, this isn’t even part of some seasonal fashion planning—these are hoodies and jeans, utilitarian jackets and basic T-shirts made with care and thoughtful appreciation for what lasts. We talked to founders Pete Searson and Tony Patella at their studio in Sausalito, California, and asked them about Joe Strummer, House Industries, and the spirit of like- mindedness in art and life. —Evan Pricco

Tellason exists because of both of you and your joint effort, vision and determination. But one of the great things you have always made clear is the collective aspect of making a pair of Tellasons, whether from House Industries in the logo design, Tanner Goods’ emblematic leather patch, or

fabric from Cone Mills' White Oak plant in Greensboro, North Carolina. You’ve even encouraged contributions regarding ideas on shape and fit from stores you sell to. What is it about collaboration that helped Tellason grow? Sometimes the word “collaboration” sounds overplayed, but the word and the exercise of collaboration still means something special if it is natural and part of your DNA. For us, we are secure enough to know that this industry of ours is simply a series of redefined and regurgitated tops and bottoms. We are not looking to invent anything since the reality is that it has all sort of been done before. Acknowledging that there is very little, if anything, left to invent in the apparel market, we just get on with making super high quality goods that serve each customer as optimally as they can. Back it up with some good old customer service, and try to make some friends along the way. When we speak with someone and listen to what they have to say, we are really listening. No BS, we are in this conversation because we respect the person we’re facing

Photography by Alex Nicholson

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. These shop employees and owners are in their own court and we can have a meaningful discussion about business, life, food or some old punk band. Anyone who has spent time at a tradeshow knows that there is way too much hustling going on, as well as a thousand distractions that subvert the experience.

Art wise, what are some things that inspire you two? We had a chance to discuss both X and Joe Strummer today.

A little art that hits you right in the chops can go a long way.

What we mean by this is that we all can take a story or a

visual and radically change our lives for the better. Think

of the examples: the Guggenheim Museum was designed

after the seven layers of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, the Eames bentwood furniture all derives from their innovations making

leg splints for the U.S. military, it goes on. Small, pure ideas

of something great, whether it be the philosophy of Joe

Strummer and how he lived his life and interacted with the

people, or the fact that we still laugh our asses off every time we see the movie Fletch, will always be part of our DNA. After all, every big thing or big idea started small.

You see a ton of clothing and products every year in your travels. What are some surprise details and touches that stand out to you when you see something you like? If you see a jacket that appeals, what details do you remember? 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 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 and get a good chuckle out of the half shirt and OP cord shorts worn in high school, or the shitty parachute pants that

seemed to be a good idea. They have their limitations. But the shot of you or your dad wearing a great jacket, shirt, or boots that stand the test of time evokes an entirely different impression—one of pride and satisfaction in knowing you had the minerals to buy something substantial.

If you could dress one film in history, which would it be? Fletch. We’d love to see Alan Stanwyk, Fat Sam and Ted Underhill in a pair of Tellasons.

For more information about Tellason, visit





THERE ARE PLENTY OF TUMBLRS THAT ARE WELL curated, searched and groomed, processing years of cultural imagery that were long-forgotten but more appreciated with age. Them-Thangs was one of the best, a site in which we invested hours upon hours spellbound by the clever combination of colors, eras, celebrity, and nostalgia blended into such an appealing aesthetic. Justin Blyth, a designer and Art Director from Los Angeles living and working in Amsterdam, is the man behind Them-Thangs as well as projects with Nike, Stussy, Playstation and more. Here, in his words, are his influences. —Juxtapoz

NOSTALGIA It might be a disease, and I definitely suffer from it.

THE WEB AS CURATOR’S PARADISE I don’t know if curator is the word. A curator is someone

who has formal training, and more importantly, thoroughly understands and interprets the work they deal with, its context and cultural heritage. So maybe the web is more of a curator’s hell. People have time to kill, so they collect and share photos they like. It’s not curation, but at the same time, I’m not mad at it. We have insatiable and minuscule attention spans so we suck it up. I think if you do it in a way that the underlying themes tell an interesting story, then it can be cool. But, ultimately, we’ve ripped curation a new asshole and taken everything out of context, posting and re- posting endlessly until any semblance of meaning has been completely shredded. I think the term curator is about as meaningful as creative director nowadays. It’s like, you put your logo on a tote bag, you’re now a creative director.

THE RETURN OF THE PAST I mean, the past always comes back around as far as

Portrait by Brian Williams


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.


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.


If I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t quit my job. I don’t

know if a lot of people can say that, so it’s a nice feeling. I went to art school and did that whole thing, but it’s definitely

a changing landscape. Kids think Supreme branding is tight

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 the classic route and not getting an Internet education. But, at the end of the day, if you have talent and a good attitude,

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

R. CRUMB Always a place in my heart for Crumb. My dad had that melty stoner face thing in our house when I was a kid and I keep it out as one of my reminders of him. That documentary on him is amazing too, he’s a super weirdo.

COLLECTING BOOKS I hate it. They take up too much space and they make everything dusty.

For more information about Justin Blyth, visit






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 with his imagery, an experiment in phenomenology that was created "to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment," which Shepard wrote in his 1990 Obey

Manifesto. Flash-forward to the present, and the Obey project is not only successful, it has gone through all the major stages of an indie-band gone multi-platinum—an underground icon experiencing the inevitable backlash, but

a popular figure galvanized to champion the underground.

Amazingly, through all of this, Shepard still maintains a close relationship with his fans and followers, one of the few artists to consciously include them in releases and projects.

And no matter where Obey has taken him, it all funnels

back to art. "There are a lot of things I love," Shepard says.

"I love music, I love making pictures, I love feeling like I

can comment on things that are unjust in society or in our government or foreign policy. But art is really the only way

I can bring all those things I love together."

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, gallery culture, music, fashion, and maybe even a gateway to a little counter-culture activity. And as Shepard’s career has grown from the streets of Providence to international recognition as creator of perhaps the most famous piece of art created in the last half-century, he has remained accessible and grounded in the subculture that bore his aesthetic and work ethic. His latest museum exhibition, The Insistent Image: Recurrent Motifs in the Art of Shepard Fairey and Jasper Johns, runs through July 12, 2014 at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, and places Shepard in the company that many have spoken about in recent years—partnered with a pioneer of Pop Art, two artists balancing popular imagery with critique, two artists back home in South Carolina.

I spoke to Shepard at his art studio in Los Angeles, in the

midst of finishing his Power & Glory series set for the Halsey. He was comfortably candid, and knowing that Juxtapoz was celebrating its own milestone in 2014, forthcoming in a conversation that spanned past, present, and future.

Evan Pricco: Let’s start with how people see your art on a daily basis. You have fine art, street art, public art, and the clothing. For those who are not inundated with art everyday, the clothing is probably the most approachable and relatable way to show your art to people. Shepard Fairey: The idea of my graphics on T-shirts was actually something that was higher in the mix as a priority when I started than anything else. I never thought I would be taken seriously as an artist. The first sticker I ever did was a byproduct of me trying to teach a friend how to make stencils for homemade T-shirts. Clothing is an unintimidating format. It’s a very populist format.

But for me, it’s all important. Of course street art is incredibly important because of the scale of the application and the fact that it’s in public space. The part of the energy that went into it transfers to the viewer, and especially if it’s done

illegally, a bit of the thrill for the voyeur is knowing that it was

a thrill for the creator. That’s an important element, where the medium is the message.

Street art is the foundation of everything in a way. It starts the story. Right. I like a lot of street art because it’s political in that the more people that demonstrate that they will not just submit to whatever arbitrary rules are out there, the richer the dialogue is about who’s in control and why. But it’s not all I care about. I love the pleasurable side of music but a lot of my favorites mix pleasure with provocation. Socially or politically, whether it’s Public Enemy or The Clash, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, or Dead Kennedys, I try to keep that mindset for what I do visually.

Our 20 th Anniversary gives us a chance to both reflect and look ahead. Your career over the past 20 years, more like 25, was announced with a manifesto that laid out an experiment that was based on the potential of Obey and your art. It was quite spot-on, wasn’t it?

I was only twenty years old in 1990 when I wrote that manifesto, and a lot of it was based on things I’d observed in the one year I’d been doing the sticker campaign.

I applied that to the theories I’d read, situationism and

phenomenology, and things I’d seen play out as trends in pop culture. But I’m amazed reading it now. It sounded like I knew what would happen in the future. I had no fucking idea what I was doing and what was going to happen.

You couldn’t have foreseen the Internet at that point. The great thing about the campaign early on was that there was a sort of pride that people had from getting to the bottom of why it was out there. The whole thing started as this punk rock chain letter, this street art version of a meme. But no, I had no idea. You know the Internet is great for many reasons, but it’s also taken that thrill of investigation out of a lot of things. People can just search for things and know right away, and then they don’t feel invested.

But in a way, it’s sharing. It’s a community, but now maybe that community has grown so big, it’s hard to find the center. One of the things I really liked was that before the Internet there was a work ethic that was essential. You could only really assume that people would see stuff firsthand, and if they saw it other than firsthand, it was going to come out in a graffiti magazine or maybe pop up in the corner of a fashion photo randomly, probably months or years later. So the volume of stuff you had to put out there was really, really important. I’m glad that I had that period of time.

The location, too, the actual physical location of it, was essential, right? You wanted to make sure you got the most high profile spots because people would start talking about it. Everything was word-of-mouth. I do like that the Internet has allowed people to share things that are happening in different cities. A lot of people ask me now, "Well, street art for you was originally about finding an audience outside of elitist institutions like museums or galleries, and making it more democratic. Isn’t the Internet more democratic?" Yeah, but it doesn’t deliver. When you just create something digitally and share it digitally, there’s a level of safety that I don’t think is compelling to people. Doing something on the street and documenting it and then sharing that digitally—at least people know there was something tangible and physical created that a human being had to do with their hands, take some risk and get it out there. I think the computer is useful, but its ability to transmit real human emotions and real human connections is reduced and certainly not as powerful.

Can democracy survive on passive aggression? I would say no, since that’s what a lot of the Internet is, especially any comment section. Real democracy is face-to-face interaction, hand-to-hand, or that’s the way it should be. If someone’s saying, "Fuck off, sell-out" in an Instagram comment, it becomes a whole different set of rules. I had to recalibrate my sensitivity because of the anonymous comments on the Internet. I mean, I’m pretty sensitive. One of the things I was always trying to do is put stuff out there that I thought my peers would respond to as an alternative to all the generic shit that’s in the world. And then to find that a lot of my own peers seem to hate what I’m doing, it’s

a little bit soul crushing. I look back to some of the early

Flipside compilations and that banter between the songs, with a band saying, "We want you to either be motivated to

put the record on or take it off." That’s how I feel. You know,

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

hostility. Indifference is the enemy.

You’re working with a completely different kind of peer in Charleston, South Carolina at the Halsey Institute. Jasper Johns is a figure from a previous generation of Pop artists who could be seen as passing the torch to you. How did the show come about? I’m from South Carolina, as is Jasper. He moved to New York and I moved out for college to the Rhode Island School of Design. Pop artists were always really big for me as soon as I started paying attention to 20th century art. Growing up in South Carolina, I was really only surrounded by very quaint art that was meant for tourists. It was paintings of landmarks, and ducks and seascapes.

The art that initially intrigued me was what Raymond Pettibon was doing for Black Flag, Winston Smith for Dead Kennedys, and Jamie Reed for the Sex Pistols. And then I discovered Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns. The Pop artists were a big deal to me because there was relatable 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 had their own approach. I liked Target Before Faces by Jasper Johns a lot. I just immediately loved it. And the flags, I love the flags. I loved the depth and the texture, and the idea that something that’s so accessible could transcend its perceived limitations based on the execution.

This is a novel fact but a total coincidence: I happen to know Jasper Johns through his step brother, or half brother, because he runs this barbeque restaurant on Edisto Island and catered my art assistant’s wedding. His name is Bubba, and it’s Bubba's BBQ & Bash. One of the things that is so awesome about this show for me is that whatever I thought was a handicap being from Charleston, knowing Jasper Johns was from here was the inspiration. The social structure there is pretty rigid, and me being into skateboarding and punk rock was always an issue. People would call my parents to say, "We saw Shepard scraping paint off a bench with his skateboard, and that’s not respectful." My dad was 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

prestigious institution with a great artist like Jasper Johns is

a little bit of great revenge.

Validation. The stuff that you were into as a kid was actually leading to something. Mark Sloan, who is the senior curator at the Halsey, really likes, for a lack of a better phrase, outsider art. He always liked my work, gave me a show at the Halsey in 2002 and has followed my work since. When he saw May Day at Deitch, and noted my development and the direction it had gone with the layering, he thought it would make sense to pair me up with Jasper Johns. So that’s a big honor, a big deal.

Power & Glory Flag 3 Mixed Media

Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage on Canvas 44" x 44"


But the cool thing is that in 2002, when I did the show at Halsey, I went nuts with street art in Charleston. I did it without permission; it really upset people and Mark just took the heat for it. This time, he was able to actually secure a lot of pretty significant legal walls for me, and that’s some of the benefit of being an established artist, I guess. It gives Mark the leverage to say, "He’s in the National Portrait Gallery. He’s in collections at these places. He’ll submit the design to you." I’m getting some permanent or semi-permanent painted murals in Charleston which is insane because Charleston isn’t… let’s just say you have to go through a really vigorous process of review for anything because most of the town is historic architecture. As much as I love the idea of doing shows in really cosmopolitan places like New York, London,

San Francisco, and LA, I actually think that this is going to create some really interesting conversations in Charleston.

You’ve done museum shows before, most recently at the Boston ICA, and the Warhol Museum show. But this is a little different, you working with this artist as a contemporary. Have you had interactions with him? Or responded to his work in the show? No, I considered it meaningful that he was cool to be paired up with me. I’m designing some of the promotional materials for the show using both of our works in them, and he’s approving that stuff. The work that he’s showing is a combination of newer works, and works going all the way back to the mid-1980s. My work is all new, and if not

above Close Sign (B) Mixed Media

Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage on Paper 19.5" x 17"



Open Sign Mixed Media Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collageon Paper 19.5" x 17"


brand new, within the last couple years. One of the things I noticed is Jasper has a diamond-shaped motif in a few of the things that he’s done, and I’d actually already designed my Deconstruction of Flags with the diamond. I was really happy to see that there was a coincidental connection.

Mark Sloan’s concept for the show was in Jasper and me both revisiting a lot of the same motifs and how they’ve evolved over our careers. There’s continuity but there’s also evolution, depending on what we’re doing aesthetically. For me, my color palette is dark. Obviously I use the word "obey," other slogans, and a lot of the decorative motifs. One of the things I always felt about my work, and I can’t speak for Jasper, was that there’s no one piece where I’d say,

"Oh, this piece is really great. I’m really proud of this." I look at the whole thing as a cumulative effect.

Johns has his American flags, they’re a quintessential piece of American art. When people think of Jasper Johns, that’s what comes to mind. You have two references right now, Andre the Giant and the Obama Hope poster. What is your flag? Evolving from the Andre, the stylized—what I call the icon face, the Obey Giant icon face, I think that’s my contribution. It’s sort of ominous, sort of goofy. I don’t think it’s incredibly appealing aesthetically but conceptually, the way that I created a counter-culture icon that worked as a signature element within a whole campaign that’s lasted all these years, that’s my piece.

Maybe the version of it in the five-pointed star appeals the most to me because unintentionally, it connects back to the stars in the American flag, the Chinese flag and the Russian flag. The five-pointed star is used in ways that Americans fear and revere all over the place. That face within the five-pointed star gets reactions ranging from, "It’s a pentagram with Satan in it," to, "This is a symbol of pushback against unwanted oppression from authority."

Some people look at it in that way, so it’s my symbol of the counter-culture pushback, all fair interpretations creating useful dialogue. So I’m really proud of that image. But with the Internet now, everyone can think, "Oh, it’s related to his clothing and art brand." As a stand-alone, does it really have the same potency anymore? That’s why I’m always coming up with new images that I hope are potent but still use that Obey icon as a signature element. Regarding the Andre The Giant sticker, that was the most crappy, DIY, spontaneous thing ever, and yet it was the first piece of what I think has grown into

something really significant. I like the idea that although things may start from humble beginnings, when you pay attention to the potential, you can figure it out as you go. And that’s exactly what I did.

I think a lot of people are paralyzed by fears that their plan won’t be genius enough, and their art won’t be the masterpiece that bowls over the world the way they were hoping, so they just don’t do anything. But art is so intuitive that I think you just respond to what moves you. Maybe you won’t find your unique voice the first time, maybe not the tenth time, but at some point, it will yield something where you’ll say, "I’m onto something here." And other people are going to validate your feeling of being onto something. A lot of people start to do something that’s based on checking which way the wind’s blowing in the art world or pop culture so they never really tune into that unique voice that’s theirs. And of course I’m always accused of biting this style or taking that image. But even though I’ve been inspired by


Dark Wave

Mixed Media

Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage on Paper Edition 2 of 10, HPM 47" x 36"



Empire State of Mind Mixed Media Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage on Canvas 30" x 40.5"



constructivist propaganda, punk album covers, and Warhol, I think at many different points, I have come up with ways to filter those inspirations through me to create something unique that looks like me. I’m grateful that my journey to being able to say that started with something as silly as the Andre sticker, and I want to remind people that they don’t need to feel intimidated, just make shit. Just make shit, man. Look, I started with this crappy thing.

While I was researching Johns, I thought it was really cool that there was a support system of inspiration around him beyond, obviously, his relationship with Rauschenberg. His friendships with Cage and Cunningham, and all these creative people who were trying new things in the early ‘50s—leaving Abstract Expressionism and moving into Pop Art—that is really inspiring. Do you feel the art community you’ve grown up with has that kind of kinship?

Descending Power Mixed Media Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage on Canvas 40" x 40"



Green Power

Mixed Media

Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage on Canvas 44" x 59"


I can absolutely tell you that there was a group of people that

were crucial to my evolution and my courage, and that was the Beautiful Losers. Obviously, in the early 1990s, we didn’t

call it Beautiful Losers because that term hadn’t been coined yet. It was everybody hanging out at the Alleged Gallery in New York City. Aaron Rose had a real vision, coming from a similar place as me. He loved what was going on around the art of skateboarding, music, and graffiti. And those things

were very different at the time. The first show in New York that

I had work in was at his gallery in 1994. It was a show called

Represent, curated by Carlo McCormick, and the concept of the show was artwork inspired by streetwear. I was making artwork and turning it into streetwear. At this point I had only made about five poster designs ever. I had done a lot of street art, a lot of bombing, but little as far as art posters.

You weren’t even thinking, "Oh I’m going to have a fine art career." No way. Absurd. I got a call from Evan Bernard, do you know who that is?

"Drive the lane like I was Evan Bernard"… Beastie Boys, "Get It Together." Yeah, yeah. So I get a call from Evan Bernard, "Hey, are you going to be at the show tonight in New York? You know you’re on the flyer." And I said, "I didn’t even know about it." And he goes, "Well if you come, could you bring me a few of your T-shirts?" And I think, "This guy’s connected to the Beastie Boys! Of course I want to bring him T-shirts!" My crew and I did the three-hour drive from Providence, and we get there for the opening, and Futura was there, Phil Frost was there, Mike Mills. Phil Frost said to me, "I really like those Andre The Giant 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 the time, we all became friends and did projects together. The camaraderie only lasted for a few years. By the late 1990s, everybody had developed enough on their own that they didn’t need the support of the group anymore.

Who are some artists right now making work that you are excited about? As far as newer people that I’ve discovered, there’s this guy, Harland Miller, out of the UK, that I love. He paints these works inspired by old Penguin Book covers. It’s 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.

I really love what Cleon Peterson is doing also. Cleon’s been

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.

You’re in your car, you’re driving around LA, and you see one of your Andre wheatpastes placed in a great, visible spot. Do you ever find yourself reflecting and thinking, "This has all been pretty fun?"

I know on paper how fortunate I am and how grateful I should

be, and I am, in so many ways, grateful because I get to make

a living doing what I love to do. That’s extraordinary. It’s still

hard work because being able to be creative on my own terms requires a lot of work to do things that aren’t part of my predisposition, like running a business. So yes, I feel really fortunate. But I’m young at heart, and although I’m 44, the idea of appealing to younger people who aren’t jaded is really important to me. I feel like whatever I’ve done, I haven’t done enough to show that I still have that outsider punk mentality.

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 to rest. When I go on vacation with the family, I enjoy a couple days, and then I get restless. If I have my laptop with me, I work on graphics or do research or whatever. I go out and shoot some photos, but I can’t just do nothing.

It really is the relentless experimentation. Yeah, the feeling you were talking about. When I’m out

driving around, when I see something I’ve done, there’s a moment of satisfaction. But when I see other good spots

I haven’t done yet, that’s when I’m like, "I’m not doing

enough!" When I do an art show and get validation from people that I look up to, it is really incredible. Having people who started off as heroes of mine now consider me a respected peer, I can’t really ask for much more than that. And in a way, the weight of those people that I admire is so much greater than all the haters out there.

Part of the reason I’ve been able to do the things that I’ve been able to do is because I tend to not think about how what I’m doing is supposed to be reflected upon, because that paralyzes me. I think about what I am feeling right now, 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. Does it attract something important in that moment, or does

it address something about human nature in a more timeless

way? To think back or reflect every time I’m doing something in regard to my art, and not just approach it intuitively, just shuts me down.

For more information about Shepard Fairey, visit


Paradise Turns

Mixed Media

Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage on Canvas 44" x 59"




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, “I hate your dog.” Have you been wronged by a dog? Andrew Pommier: I lived with a great dog named Raina for

many years. She was a pit bull/whippet cross. I do like dogs, but within a certain range. Basically, I’m picky about dogs.

I had been thinking about doing something with that phrase

since moving to Vancouver, and it just recently came to fruition. It was just me being a contrarian and looking to get a rise out of people. Kind of juvenile, but also kind of fun.

Tell me why you like to draw animals smoking.

I like the device of a cigarette because it gives the sense of

corruption. The cigarette is also something I like to add as it takes away the idea that I’m doing a straightforward painting of an animal.

You admittedly draw dark things to balance out a tendency toward cuteness, and I’m curious to know what kind of cute stuff inspires you. Are you also into horror movies, or do you have a harder time connecting with the dark side? Sometimes even your drawings of knives are cute.

Exactly, I draw cute knives. It’s just the way my line works.

I don’t know how or why everything I do ends up being seen

as cute. I think it has something to do with drawing the eyes too big, or the roundness of the fingers I draw. As a result,

I need to skew the image the other way— basically, bunnies,

but smoking and drinking, carrying a knife—or crossing out the face with quick, aggressive marks. It’s always an uphill battle, which is fine. I really like Hello Kitty and My Neighbour Totoro, and any Miyazaki film. I’m actually fine with being on the cute scale, it’s how I roll. I wonder if there is a version of the Kinsey Scale for cuteness?

I’m not a fan of horror movies but, if pressed, I would rather watch something like the reboot of Friday the 13th or The Cabin in the Woods than that weird horror-porn like Saw

or Hostel. I admit that stuff makes me uncomfortable even if it’s fiction.

Some other juxtapositions in your work are sadness and

humor, humans and nature, fear and safety. What interests you about these oppositions?

In the past, my work has been best described as “it’s funny

because it’s sad.” I’m trying to get away from that description, but I do like juxtaposing opposites because I like the visuals those opposites allow. For example, man and nature is something you could explore until the cows come home, but

I think I would get bored of having that one conversation over and over again. I don’t put too much forethought into what

emotional resonance is going to result from my work. I let the visuals present themselves, and I try to make work that I find interesting. Thinking about what I’m trying to communicate

is more of a conversation for after the brushes have been

cleaned and the paint tubes have been recapped. I first have to deal with the execution of the imagery.

Even if you’re not considering the emotional response

ahead of time, you’re good at capturing moods. Are you a very observational person?

I can be very observational from time to time. Sometimes

my head is in the clouds, and sometimes I’m looking too internally to notice what’s happening around me. The moods

I present in my work aren’t often planned. I tend to let mood roll out as it will.

So then it probably reflects your own moods.

Yes. What I make is, at times, cathartic. Other times, it’s

a problem to solve. My paintings are a reflection of my

sketchbook, which contains my most honest work. My sketchbook is where I record my life, and some of the stronger ideas that are in its pages could be end up being realized in the format of painting.


All three cars I've owned have been station wagons

Last year I changed from a long- standing vegan diet to a more animal protein/whole food way of eating

From time to time I enjoy a huge cup of pretty bad convenience store coffee, served black

Your style evokes a lightheartedness, even when very dark, like the ski mask portrait in shades of black. Tell me about

things and didn’t particularly enjoy color theory class in art

Watercolor isn’t a friendly paint. It doesn’t excuse mistakes the same way acrylic and even oil does.

making that painting. 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

on mixing bright colors, which I think lends to the

I got that close to making a large acrylic painting capture the

lightheartedness of my work. It’s nothing I tried to learn. Although I actually dislike having to pick the color of

school, I did learn a little from that. The black painting was

feeling of a small watercolor; I still use acrylic when it makes sense, yet near the end of my acrylic period, I was pining for the smell and process of oil paint. I have taken ideas and techniques from my acrylic work and incorporated them into


challenge to see how subtly I could shift black to make

some of my work in oil, like using graphite mark making,


render a figurative painting that would appear black in

normal lighting, where the figure would only be revealed with direct light. That painting was also about me learning how to use form and tone to define an object instead of a line, which is something I’ve relied on for most of my career.

Are you still working in oil paint?

not as a starting point, but as a present element in the finished piece.

Many people think it takes days or months for oils to dry, and it can, when used thickly or heavily with light colors. Yellow will take so much longer to dry then most other colors, but there are really effective mediums you can use that will make

Who are some artists you relate to?

I returned to painting in oil in late 2009 after a hiatus of

almost any color dry overnight. And with the longer drying


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 knowledgeable or informative. So on a visit to an art store in Toronto, I bought some large tubes of oil paint—red, yellow, blue, white and black—and started there. I made almost all my paintings in oil until I came to a point that I felt that acrylic was more conducive to what I wanted to accomplish. So I left oil all 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.

marks. I’m having a blast with it and am really happy with the return to oil.

George Condo, Philip Guston, Alex Katz, Wes Lang, Gokita Tomoo, Colin Chilag, André Ethier… and on and on.

above left

That Boy You Knew Oil on canvas 8.5" x 11"


above right

The Addition by Subtraction Oil and holes on panel 9" x 12"


right Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em Oil on panel 20" x 24"


following spread left The Warren Oil on panel 20" x 24"


following spread right The Sparrows Have It Oil on panel 20" x 24"


What’s good in Vancouver these days? What do people call Vancouver for short? There is an amazing amount of great new coffee shops springing up all over the place, especially around my studio. There is a new arts district in Vancouver that has most of the major commercial art galleries moving closer in proximity to each other, and as a result, there seems to be a broader art conversation happening. Little to no snow over the winter is always a good thing. It’s one of the main reasons I moved out here. As for shorter names for Vancouver, it’s just shortened to Van, or sometimes it’s referred to as Lotus Land, but that’s not really shorter.

Tell me about the town where you grew up and if you think it had a lasting influence on your art. I grew up in Sudbury, which is a small city centered around nickel mining. It’s located four hours north of Toronto. There is no doubt that it influenced my work. It was pretty devoid of a culture. My parents are both creative types. My dad is an excellent woodworker and a decent draftsman, and my mom, pretty crafty with needlepoint and sewing. We had art 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

art school that I learned one could make a living as an artist outside of illustration or graphics. I think coming so late to contemporary art making, I was able to do my own thing with no real external influences other than comic books and skateboard graphics.

Which comics and skate graphics were most inspiring?

I started skating in the mid ‘80s, which was the height of

Powell Peralta, so almost any of those skeleton-based boards were an inspiration. VC Johnson is so untouchable

in his ability to render. It was kind of intimidating. It wasn’t until I learned that pros could draw their own graphics that

I thought there might be some room for my hand. Reading

about and seeing the work of people like Neil Blender, Chris Miller and Tod Swank was really eye opening, as it was artwork that wasn’t as polished as the board graphics. My favorite comic books as a kid were The X-Men and The New Mutants. I remember seeing an early New Mutants story that Bill Sienkiewicz drew. His style is amazing and really different from most other comic books, which was another part of my early art education.

above left I Hate Your Dog

Acrylic and graphite on paper 9" x 12"


above right A Pause for Conversation

Acrylic and graphite on paper 8" x 10"


right A Fine Thing

Oil on canvas 11" x 14"


I love how something can be conveyed so simply with a

comic style. You can draw a perfectly realistic face, but you don’t have to. The meaning is there. Do you think about that sort of thing?

I do think about that. When I start a painting or drawing,

I want to render it as realistically as I’m able. The past few

years, I’ve been trying to keep myself in check with eye sizing. If I’m not paying attention, I’ll end up painting a Walter Keane-esque face. I’m getting better at accepting my tendencies and the characteristics of how I paint. I’ve been trying to get out of my own damn way. Trusting myself a little more, and not overthinking it.

I also don’t have a good handle on which of my pieces are

going to be liked. The pieces I think are the least successful tend to be the ones the audience gravitates to the most. It’s

a funny thing.

Sometimes the differences between your paintings and illustrations are surprising. Do you make a conscious distinction?

A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to distinguish

the two. I felt the illustration and painting were too close to each other visually and were communicating on the same level. A work on canvas could become a T-shirt graphic, or a skateboard graphic could just as easily end up on a canvas. At one time, that was fine, and I enjoyed that homogeny, but it was feeling stale and I was getting bored. The only real visual problem I was solving was deciding which animal costume to clothe a figure and it was getting really cut-and- paste. I wanted to return to a more artistic conversation, and working with oil allowed that to take place. So I was able to make more of a distinction between my two areas of output.

Which came first, the shoes you designed for Adidas, or all of the characters wearing Shell Toes in your earlier work?

Painting the shoes came first. I really liked the idea of linking all of my figures together with the same footwear, which is an idea I borrowed from the Chapman Brothers. They did

a series of crazy conjoined mannequin sculptures with all

the figures wearing the same shoe, in that case, Nikes. For

me, the Shell Toe is a simply constructed shoe, one that I’ve always felt connected to with my early love of RUN-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys, to skateboarding in the early ‘90s.

It seemed to make the most sense for the paintings. I was

showing them at Antisocial Skate Shop when the lads from 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 the Internet?

I just watched a short video piece online that highlighted the

creepiness of the host of a budget 1980s Canadian children’s 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.

I feel weird now too. Speaking of Canadian TV, you were featured on The Jon Dore Show. The reason my work was in that show is because my friend Nancy Niksic was the art director and also happens to be the owner of the work used in the show. My good friends were writers on the show and managed to direct a few episodes, which helped them to get more established in the world of television. It’s too bad that show was only on for two seasons.

Talk about the urge to make multiples of a similar image. Are there any series you’re working on right now, or imagery you’re obsessing over?

I will go on jags of making similar paintings. I’ve definitely

worked in series, but I don’t want to make what I paint too formulaic or have really rigid rules. I let imagery end when it ends, or allow my work to evolve and drift when it needs too. What motivates change is my interest in solving the visual problem. The work I’m making now has some relation to what has come before, but it’s far from me repeating myself.

Last year, I did a small show in a friend’s new Vancouver coffee shop. I was hesitant at first as the venue is pretty much where weekend painters or hobbyists show. I wasn’t looking to hang work in a coffee shop, but upon reflection,

it was a good spot to try out an idea, as it was a stark white space. I put together a show of new and old work that was all made in black and grey. The work was all over the map in terms of media (oil, watercolor, ink, pencil) and technique (some rendered loosely, some tightly) and subject matter.

I wanted it to look like a group show. I was happy with how

it looked, and generally, people were really responding to the looser, quicker pieces. I came away from it with a better understanding of my art and that was the beginning of me trusting myself more and getting out of my own way. I guess I’m obsessing about faster and looser paintings. The work is still recognizable as mine but I believe there is more energy present in the newer paintings.

Any big shows or travels coming up? Last year ended on a heavy travel note. The last part of the year, I went on a trip to Buenos Aires just to see it, and then Tokyo to see Neutral Milk Hotel and present an art show. This summer I have solo show in Berlin at Okazi Gallery. I’m hoping to go to Australia for an artist residency at The Art Park, or extend my time in Europe to possibly take advantage of some art stays there.

For more information about Andrew Pommier, visit


The Moth Guide Oil on panel 20" x 24"




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 cargo van, we joked about the vehicle’s appearance and how we looked like scrappers. The prison, which consists of several separate buildings, was surprisingly absent of any graffiti or vandalism, despite being unused for a long period of time. Lurking around, taking photos and doodling on walls, the world outside temporarily dissolved and I realized why Jesse had asked me to come. It’s a place for conversation, contemplation and tranquility. The infrastructure included ridiculously tiny cells and was a sobering reminder of America’s highly profitable, inhumane and deeply corrupt incarceration practices, the most prevalent theme in Jesse’s most recent body of work. —Austin McManus

Judith Supine: Were you making art where you grew up in Cortez, Colorado? Jesse Hazelip: Yes. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. My art was always very angry. I would draw from comic books and create my own characters, and was heavily influenced by skateboard graphics. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if I was drawing the superheroes or the villains— just really poorly drawn buff monster dudes killing people. I started drawing in sketchbooks at a very young age and managed to hang on to most of them. It’s nice to be able to look back at the beginning, the early stages of my attempts at art making, long before I knew it would be my “career.”

You first saw graffiti at age 12. Why were you an angry, unhappy kid at this age? Family issues had a lot to do with it. There was alcoholism involved and a very unhealthy family dynamic. It didn’t help that in Cortez, I was able to start drinking at 11 due to adults with a twisted perspective on child rearing. I also saw a

lot of racism towards my brother. He’s adopted and black, and he was the only black kid in the entire county. Those rednecks let him have it. He’s been in more fights than most professional fighters. I would jump in when I could, but we were in different grades and were assigned different playgrounds. I guarantee that I’ve beat up more white kids over the N-word than most black people. When I finally found graffiti after my move to California, I was instantly consumed. It was the perfect channel for my angst. It was destructive but nobody got hurt. It was also a way to seek the attention that I was lacking in other aspects of my life. I was in self-destruct mode and the danger involved was very addicting. There’s nothing like putting your life and freedom on the line and getting away with it. I’ve been on an unfathomable amount of graffiti missions and only been arrested once. I’ve been in handcuffs more times than I can remember, but that was mainly for drunken nonsense that never ended with me getting booked. Cops are bored and lazy. It’s not like Law and Order.

Describe your first encounter with graffiti writers. When I first began writing, I had absolutely no connections to any graffiti writers or influences. I initially chose a stupid name. I think it was Trix. No disrespect to anyone currently writing that name, but it is stupid. I would write out a short pseudo-political phrase and sign it with my terrible tag. It’s strange, because I guess I was always an activist at heart, though at that time, I wasn’t even aware of what activism was. By the time I met some graffiti writers at my high school I had already been writing terrible toy graffiti for about two years. My friend, who was writing Wish at the time, introduced me to this guy Winks, and eventually, Noe. Much later I met this weirdo named Jehu. Winks put us in a

crew RCK, then Wish (Coke) and I started a crew called DCK which turned into DCF. We dropped that crew and started OSD Outsiders, which is the crew that I’m still in. Graffiti will always be the core of my art and inspiration. My approach to vandalism has changed, but I will always be a graffiti writer at heart.

You described graffiti as dealing with your personal problems in a public manner. What are those demons?

I was going through a lot. My parents were splitting up and

I had moved away from my mother and Navajo friends in

Colorado. I can’t tell you how many times I cried at the end

of Dances with Wolves when the white boy leaves the tribe.

I was such an outsider in this new environment and had

zero friends. I found graffiti on my first train ride through the L.A. River. It was the perfect way to occupy my bored mind.

I found a place in graffiti where my mind was completely

present and not distracted by all of my demons. I could focus only on what I was doing at the moment because if I didn’t,

I could be hurt or incarcerated.

How do you define compassion? Being able to look at a criminal and love them regardless of their deeds. People in our society are very quick to judge others, especially poor people, based upon their own reality. I’ve been reading a lot about the prison system for my current body of work, and it’s alarming how racist and cruel the current punitive system is. I had a small taste of it the few

times that I’ve been in a county jail facility. I was shocked by the inhumane treatment and the obvious racial bias in the population, and I could guess that it was much worse in higher security prisons. My experiences there triggered the need to make art to bring attention to the atrocities silently occurring behind those thick concrete walls. The book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander has been my bible in researching this series. She worked tirelessly, uncovering blatant racism throughout all levels of our judicial system.

Though there are many issues that need examination, I think that there are a few pressing ones that need to be dealt with urgently. The number of prisoners with mental illness is sickening. Prisons are not at all capable of caring for the needs of these individuals. Solitary confinement is another major violation of human rights. This method of incarceration is equivalent to torture, especially when you have prisoners in these conditions for multiple years and sometimes decades. One of the most prevalent issues I have a problem with is the overwhelming number of nonviolent offenders doing serious time for drug charges associated with the ages-old drug war that we’ve been losing for more than 40 years. If we were in Iraq for 40 years, do you think the public would be supportive? We need to take a different approach, obviously.

How did the heron and buffalo first come to you? What would Jung say these represent? Jung would be proud of me, I assume, for listening to my



Ballpoint pen on paper 22" x 15"


right W Vulture on the street in NY

visions, or at least according to individuation. For my series about war, the heron and buffalo came to me as in all of my work, in a vision. The visions aren’t always obvious to me at first, but they reveal themselves in time as I go through the process of realizing them. The only real guideline I have in my work is to stay true to my vision and never sacrifice the integrity. That’s why you don’t see Jesse Hazelip computer skins or tote bags. I’ve turned down a ton of commercial jobs that were motivated by exploiting my imagery to sell their product. With my personal work, the answer is always no, regardless of the compensation.

What type of art do you imagine your son Kingston making in 30 years? This is a life of suffering and rejection. Would you want your son to follow the path of the artist? Kingston is almost five now and is making the most amazing drawings of these monster creatures. They are all completely from his 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 excited. The path of an artist is a scary journey, so I wouldn’t wish it on him, but I’ll support him in whatever passion he chooses. With my luck he’ll become a Republican golfer! My family was split in their support of my work. My mother and sister were always very encouraging, so I was lucky in that sense. Most of my family, especially my extended family, never really understood me. They thought I should get a real job. It was funny to see how many jumped on board once I started getting some serious gallery shows. All of a sudden everyone is supportive! With Kingston, I want him to feel free of pressure and find his own path. I’m excited to witness his journey and I hope I can support him in his interests.

When did you first encounter gang graffiti? How has that influenced your art? When I moved to California from Cortez, I still had an aversion to white people because of the way they had treated my brother in Colorado. In Cortez, I had gravitated towards almost exclusively hanging out with my Navajo friends. In Colorado, there weren’t any formal gangs, though we had started one after watching the movie Colors. In Goleta, CA, there weren’t any Navajos, so I began trying to hang with the Mexicans. I was determined to get into the gang at my junior high called G-13. I became obsessed with their tags. Everywhere I walked, I would see gang graffiti. The cholo culture has been very influential in much of my self-expression. The use of Old English typography, Dickies, Nike Cortez, and answering everything with “órale.” I ended up doing graffiti instead of getting into the gang, thankfully. My surroundings at the time definitely ingrained the cholo script in my mind.

You are a master of lines, but also a dreamer and thinker. Do you find yourself closer to Dürer or Joseph Beuys? Dürer has been a major inspiration to me, aesthetically. I was also very inspired by Duchamp in terms of the more conceptual approach to art. With Dürer, I was attracted to his line quality and composition. With Duchamp, I was attracted to his rebellious soul and his ability to shift the perception of art. I’m very aware that I’m an anomaly when it comes to art. I take a lot from the writings of Orwell, and the theme in his book 1984 that the hope is in the proletariat. So, in my work, I try to find a way to engage the widest spectrum of people and not abstract it beyond comprehension. I use animal metaphors because everyone has a relationship with



Mixed media on wood 24" x 48"



High Rider Mixed media on wood 32" x 32"


Streets of West Oakland


animals and has a way to relate. I choose issues that affect all of us as a culture, so I try to use visual icons that are easily identifiable, but in a manner that isn’t common.

I hope that this approach will guide people into the dialogue I’m trying to encourage. By putting the images into public spaces, I expand from the gallery setting to include more people in the conversation. The art world itself is a very privileged atmosphere and doesn’t include the majority of the population.

I have to turn myself into the NYPD next week. Are you anticipating the conjugal visits? I’ll smuggle a phone into you the old-fashioned way. I’m sure I’d have to wait in line to fuck though—the girls are up on you. Maybe if I go pee off the top of the Williamsburg Bridge and film it, I can come join you at Rikers. Us white boys have to stick together in there.

Are there any artists from the past who would write graffiti and make street art?

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. Actually, it might suck if he were still around because if my crew had beef with him, I’d have to fight that maniac.

I started an art gang called Barrio Caravaggio (BACA) with a homeboy of mine. The gang has had some internal issues, but I’m still reppin’ it.

And finally, with Michael Sam recently coming out as the first openly gay NFL player, how does it feel to be one of 4,000 gay street artists?

I honestly wish I were gay most of the time because gay

people tend to be hilarious and open-minded. But to answer your question, I’ll insert cliché instead of gay. Street art is a sorry term that I hate being associated with. I’m not sure what it even means now, but there is an excess of biting, spot jocking and general lameness across the genre. I came up doing graffiti, and if you stole someone’s style, you got into a fight. If you spot-jocked someone, you got into a fight. Maybe if we start handing out some beatings, we’d see some respect within this cliché community. A message to street artists: stop going over graffiti with your knock-off Banksy stencils and wannabe Swoon posters. And don’t press charges when you get beaten up.

For more information about Jesse Hazelip, visit



C.O.V. (Cycle of Violence) Mixed media on wood 35" x 58"



G Vulture

Mixed media on wood 45" x 33"












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 eerily stunning paintings for a new generation of readers who were never introduced to Margaret Keane. Robert Brown, Executive Director of the Keane Eyes Gallery, writing about his friend and colleague, makes the case, and he’s a star witness.

I ended up liking the life drawing classes better.

Speaking directly of her youthful motivation, Margaret says, “‘Big-Eyed’ paintings were the result of my desperate need to express my deepest emotions, which led to pouring out my intense feelings into an imaginary child’s eyes, and this is what I put onto canvas. The child represented me, although I didn’t know it at the time. And viewers often recognized their own inner child in my paintings.” By chance, in San Francisco, she met Walter Keane, who noted the overwhelming response to her paintings and how people found themselves captivated by the way she captured the innocence of youth. She honed “Big Eyes” to perfection, making it her own.

Before Walter, when my daughter from my first marriage was

born, I began to draw her. Soon, all my neighbors wanted me to sketch their children. The local picture framer told them he wanted to meet me, and when I went to visit, he told me that I could become a portrait painter. He was impressed with how I “captured” children, so I began doing them in oil and had several shows of portraits of children. I did lots of portrait sketches of children at art fairs, and this was good training, but I later wanted to paint imaginary children in different settings. These children all had enlarged eyes, and

I didn’t know why, except that eyes have always interested

me as the most expressive part of the face. My school books from grammar school onward all had drawings of eyes in the margins. I couldn’t sit still without doodling—still can’t.

Complicated Lady Oil on canvas 24" x 36"


“Big Eyes,” prior to becoming the title of Burton’s film, was

a term commonly given to a style of painting from the early

1960s, lampooned by the critics, but embraced by the public.

For over a decade, it was assumed the painter of those

kids with hypnotic round eyes was Walter Keane, and that his wife Margaret, painted the older women, characterized by willowy forms and dark almond eyes haunting their oval faces. That’s how the world knew the Keanes; the married darlings who employed two distinct styles on canvas.

A painting attributed to Walter would be boldly signed

“KEANE” in capital letters, while the elongated subjects were usually signed in the script, “MDH Keane,” with each usually stating the year of creation.

Today, it’s widely known that the painter of both styles is the wife, Margaret, and the definitive word “is” asserts that the creator and signer of each approach still actively paints to this day. Even in her late 80s, she is capable and inspired to turn out the evocative mood that was so popular in the ‘60s. I laughingly assure people amazed by her story and huge body of work that, fortunately, her eyes and hands are busy as ever. How amazing that she is still here to paint and tell her story.

Margaret Keane: As a child, I remember I was always drawing. In the first grade, a teacher told my mother that she should encourage me, and at age 10, I started drawing lessons at the Watkins Institute in Nashville. I was the youngest and could not do the finished work like drawing from casts of heads and hands. It was a challenge, but gradually I improved. Around this time, I painted in poster colors on a piece of smooth wood, two versions of one little girl. In the background, the child was crying, but the one in the foreground had a big smile. I gave it to my grandmother as a present; maybe that was prophetic of my paintings and life—sad and happy. I sold my first drawing when I was about 12 years old for one dollar to my uncle’s friend. During high school, I sold drawings of pin-up girls and movie stars to my classmates, and later in New York, though I thought I wanted to be a fashion illustrator,

When the frenzy really hit, exerting undue duress, Walter convinced Margaret that, among other things, a woman during that time could never be taken seriously as an artist. The pressure blindsided Margaret, when approached one evening by a woman who had purchased a “Big Eyes” from Walter and casually queried, “Do you also paint?” This unleashed an outrage of emotions from Margaret, but Walter responded with more of his indoctrination, and in the end, succeeded with his personal propaganda.

One of my favorite paintings is The Black Dress (1963). I like the mystery it poses. She was to have had on a black dress, but the background was black, so where does this leave the girl? Is she part of infinity? Is she nowhere or everywhere? I like the expression in her eyes that stare right at you. I think it captured some of the questioning in the eyes of those earlier

“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 work, and also Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and the Flemish portraits. I tried to make the eyes smaller and more oval but they often turned out larger than I had intended.

This lifestyle of lies couldn’t last. For Margaret, ten years was finally enough time to summon the courage to pack her suitcases and fly to Hawaii. Grabbing her daughter, Jane, Margaret sought a new life, and why not paradise? She had never stopped painting, and her artistic abilities seemed to improve. The warm tropical environment impacted the compositions, which became more colorful, populated with children who were often smiling and appeared happier. She still paints tearful young faces, but assuredly, they are drops of joy. New love and marriage entered her life, fulfillment at last. She was enjoying life, and yet, there was the gnawing question about a real purpose in life, the why and where, and is this it? For someone whose first artistic inclination was impelled by emotion, a spiritual quest evolved, and Methodist, Catholic, Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist and Hindu religions were explored, with none answering her questions. In time, she found found her answers in the Bible and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Skeptical at first, she became convinced she was learning the truth she was seeking, and was baptized in 1972. And after living in Hawaii for 27 years, Margaret was drawn back to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she continues to paint, preach, and enjoy life.

As we often see throughout pop-culture and popular opinion, once a lie is out in public discourse, it’s almost impossible to pull it back. In spite of all the media attention given to the court trial between Walter and Margaret, which Margaret rightfully won, you can still encounter visitors to Margaret Keane Gallery in San Francisco asking if Walter is alive and painting. The fact that he never painted the “Big Eyes” amuses at first, until they consider the abuse. The conversation always tends to sway toward why Margaret withstood the fiction, finally applauding her decision to emerge and turn out more beautiful and powerful work while in her 80s.

One of the developments that came about while Margaret lived in Hawaii is her generous portrayal of animals in her paintings. In the ‘60s, there may have been one cat or one dog, but now some are only of animals, or some with a single human. Naturally, she still works in the classic Keane style we recall.

I doodle while talking on the phone or listening to something. Some of my best doodles have become paintings. They seem to express things from my subconscious. Most of the time, I will work on four or five paintings in various stages. I will stop on one, go to another, and get a fresh view. If I look at one canvas too long, it gets distorted and I can’t see it objectively.

Another aspect of her recent work has been a series of socially conscious paintings created for the Kinship Care

above right The Stray Oil on canvas 12" x 24"


above left No Dogs Allowed Oil on canvas 12" x 24"


right Taking A Walk Oil on canvas 18" x 24"


Network at San Francisco’s Edgewood Center for Children. The center assists in finding a bridge for children at risk, in this case, those whose parents are jailed, mentally ill, suffering from AIDS or deceased.

Each painting is a challenge as I attempt to juggle colors, composition, lines and planes to achieve a finished whole.

I start off with an idea, but it will often change and evolve

differently as I paint. I just start and look at what begins to

unfold, and then may develop it by putting my feelings into it.

I know a lot comes through my subconscious, although

I consciously try to portray something from my current life.

Without a mental block throughout these past years, Margaret finds the paint just flowing onto the canvas. She has the 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 she is consistent, methodical and clear-headed. It’s like moving from one room to the next, knowing clearly how to get there, and we enter the same room by enjoying her work.

Depictions of time and space have always interested me. As a result, they have been in the background in many of my older girls. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the perspective

lines in the background or borders, and overlapping planes, as well as distorting the faces to draw out emotion.

I’ve always felt there was a dynamic narrative to be told about the Keanes. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the writers of Big Eyes, along with director Tim Burton and actors Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, created a film that is a collective celebration of Margaret’s art and vindication. Filmgoers will even get a chance to see the film end in a dramatic courtroom “paint-off” scene. At a wrap party for the film that was held at the Margaret Keane Gallery, a beaming Margaret walked into the gallery with about 50 folks present, fueled with excitement surrounding the movie and a new lease on life. The film presents a new door for her to enter, and we benefit from her creative mind, hands and eyes.

Robert L. Brown is the Director of the Keane Eyes Gallery in San Francisco California

Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, which documents the life of Margaret Keane, will open in theaters December 25, 2014

For more information about Keane Eyes Gallery, visit


above Boston Oil on canvas 30" x 24"


right Beach Bum I Oil on canvas 18" x 24"©1997



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 are made, the blood, the guts and decay, as if there was

a choice. Few are able to embrace the often grotesque

aspects and perceived visual aberrations of this cycle and put them in perspective, accentuating the beauty as a celebration. Kikyz1313 is one of them. She is able to fearlessly explore what makes us, finding beauty in the often aesthetically unsettling, and encouraging us to do the same.

Hannah Stouffer: To start, who are you and where are you from? Kikyz1313: Everybody calls me Kikyz. I’m from one of those lovely small towns in the center of Mexico where you can see and smell the manure of horses outside your house, and people set off firecrackers to make it rain.

Do you find that your home in Mexico and its surroundings affect and influence your work?

I definitely think that the cultural context of every artist

influences their work, and personally, I believe it’s essential for artwork to carry a social commentary. Artists have a great responsibility to make a public statement on the failures of any system. If an artist's work evokes reactions and opinions

in the audience, they can repair the gaps from within society.

How did the name Kikyz1313 come about? This is actually a cute story. I invented the signature with the purpose of marking my drawings at the age of five. Kiki was my nickname, and 1313, according to my parents’ recollections, was supposed to be the date. As years passed Kiki slowly mutated to Kikyz, and it felt OK to continue using it for my professional career. I think it acted as a warm reminder of who I am, or maybe I just like holding onto those childhood memories, who knows? Very few people know my real name.

Tell me about your childhood and some of the most memorable moments.

I have lots of beautiful memories, but I think the most vivid

time of my childhood would be at the age of 10. I can picture myself wearing the convent school's uniform during rainy summer afternoons, and spending time with my brother and sister recording video capsules. We would invent stories about detectives and supernatural powers and play with my cats. I remember I preferred to socialize with family rather than going out to play with the neighbors—family was the

most important to me.

There are a lot of references to children and animals in your work. Did you have any special relationship with animals growing up?

Since I was a child, I’ve always been in the company of cats.

I really think with every single one of them, I’ve developed

very warm and meaningful relationships. I don’t see animals as pets. I think they are the most honest friends one could

ask for and they hold great value in my artwork.

What do you consider beautiful?

I believe everything is beautiful, but I’m also aware of the unwillingness of most people to objectively observe the

inherent aesthetic within all things. I personally find the ultimate beauty in life’s details that most people don’t bother looking at, like the brief moments when someone behaves with pure and honest intention, or when a bird is performing his routine without knowing someone else is looking. I find

it extremely beautiful when the gray-blue light of the dawn hours distorts everything, fusing images together and resulting in a mass of shadows.

On the other hand, the beauty of human entrails lies in perceiving them as part of our human description. It is only society's foolish idolization of immortality and perfection that makes us fear death, and keeps us far from understanding the whole beauty in nature.

What have been some of the most influential events in your life? There are two main events that have changed my life. The

first one was my art residency at a fishing village isolated

in the southwest of Sweden where I had enough time and

more than enough silence to get along with myself and

appreciate nature. I was able to analyze and understand

a lot of our social behaviors, but more than anything, I

realized the deliberate alienation we have from nature— how the impossibility of communion induces an existential void, which we later try to replace with futile materialistic pleasures.

I believe mankind has forced a parallel reality that’s been

absorbing everything from the immaculate and balanced organic world, sadly, to the point of thinking about ourselves as an unnecessary chaos. Nevertheless, my faith in humanity was kind of restored when the second event in my life appeared. Taking the risk of sounding too romantic, I’m

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

El Colmo de un Sordo (Tribute to Goya’s Soplones)

Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper


who understands and trusts me deeply definitely has an immeasurable significance.

I find it super important, as an artist, to be able to engage in experiences. Do you think that comfort can be damaging? No doubt, comfort in any situation can be measured with mediocrity. As an artist, I like to constantly place myself outside a comfort zone and challenge my capabilities so I can grow both technically and ideologically.

Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares? Actually, I do. A very recurrent nightmare that I’ve been having since I was 12—I haven’t had it recently, but it constantly takes place outside of a derelict, burnt red house that is covered in weeds. It’s particularly in the right end of the yard where a great feeling of anxiety hits me, and a geometric black steam tries to absorb me. Sometimes I’ve entered the house and tried to hide from those strange feelings, but every corner of this house feels extremely uncomfortable. The curious part is that sometimes a regular dream leads me to the yard of the house, and I notice that I am in the same house I’ve been visiting for years. The situation develops differently every time, but its appearance never changes.

You don’t seem to be negatively affected by the deceased. What is your relationship with death? Death affects me in the same way it does everyone else, but it’s because of my desire to understand that I study this dilemma. You can say that its representation, in so many ways, helps me to assimilate death and my own mortality. It’s through my work that I try to make people see the same thing that I’ve taken from it. More than feeling afraid or threatened 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. Day by day, we are all confronted with it, when we see a firefly that died from the heat, witness a tree rotting, find a mutilated corpse of a dog at the side of the road, houses taking over crops, or when we see a loved one die from disease. These are events that we usually live through but it seems we never give them the significance they deserve.

Have you had any encounters with actual cadavers?

I have my bachelor’s degree as a fine artist, but

nevertheless, due to the direction I wanted to take my work and my desire to further my comprehension of death, I visited the city morgue several times. From those visits

I obtained experiences, like witnessing the autopsies, that allowed me to formally establish my line of work.

above An Odd Spread

Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper



Miasma’s Trill Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper


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

build the desired pose. Working with children isn’t particularly easy. You can say I double the work on my pieces, but I'd rather have everything planned than just let ingenuity and nonsense lead my works.

With your renderings clearly meant to invoke an emotional response, what is the reaction most viewers have when looking at your pieces? The very first reaction from people is a long muted moment. This is curious because just before the silence starts to get a little uncomfortable, people suddenly react with an admiring response, closing in a little more on the drawing so they are more able to appreciate all the details in which the artwork is made. I think what people enjoy the most is to getting lost inside the tiny atmosphere that I’m presenting, and where they can wonder what’s happening inside there.

Talk to me about your interest in anatomy, especially the grotesque, and even deformed. Anatomy has been always a fundamental part in the artist’s education. I feel that every one of us chases the anatomical knowledge by means of understanding our nature. Nevertheless, within this quest, I noticed the avid desire to detach from our internal bowels. We seem to perceive ourselves as empty, invulnerable and perfect skin carcasses, depriving all human virtue from the entrails, the diseased, deformed or even the blood for the fear to recall our own ephemeral existence. Consequently, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is the complexity of the neuronal, digestive or muscular tissues that truly defines the human nature, and 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.

The children in your works seem somewhat unaffected by the gruesome nature of their surroundings.

Are they comfortable with the idea of death?

I think my children are aware about time passing, and rather than a comfortable feeling, they experience completeness and merge themselves with nature. There is an intimate connection with both plants and animals who act as companions and guidance during the next step of their existence—death.

Who are they? They are my ideal conception of humanity. I think childhood is the stage that best depicts humankind, because far from any obsession or materialistic ambition, we just get carried away by our primal instincts and reach our personal fulfillment with the most simple things, which later become perverted, forgotten or replaced by the passing of years, and inclusion into the economic system in order to fit the status quo.

How long does it take for you to complete a piece? Working on a medium size of 30x40 centimeters (11.8x15.7 inches), it takes me around 35 days to complete a piece, working 8 to 12 hours daily.

What’s next for you?

I have a couple of upcoming events in November, a double

involvement at Spoke Art, exhibiting my work for the Annual Wes Anderson tribute, as well as in the special event Thinkspace Gallery is curating. Also in December, I’ll be joining Thinkspace’s booth at Miami Scope Art Fair 2014 with their usual extraordinary line up, and will start 2015 with my solo show at Fifty24MX in Mexico City.

For more information about Kikyz1313, visit




Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper, mounted on board


right Sun Lurker— Lovecraftian Remembrance

Ink, graphite and watercolor on paper




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 destroyed. Even though it is collected, displayed in homes, garages, man caves, galleries and museums, the art is applied on devices that are designed to be ridden around

on. The board is used for stunts, tricks and maneuvers, and the graphics tend to be left behind on rails, ledges and curbs as a reminder that someone shredded that spot. I consider these folks to be some of the most talented artists

of this century. Not because I decorated a deck or two in

my time, but because it’s a culture to which I subscribe, a grand tradition to be respected. Todd Francis lands in this category of conception and execution. He has some of the best skateboard graphics of all time with a combination of humor, style and vulgarity that strikes the intended chord that skateboarders look for in their artwork. Ladies, gentleman and art nerds of all kinds, I present artwork and board graphics, applied with the skill and finesse of a true master craftsman:

Todd Francis.

Jeremy Fish: Why skateboard graphics? Was it a dream come true, or a random-ass job, and did you imagine when you started that you would spend several decades doing it? Todd Francis: It’s funny, but doing skateboard graphics

never seemed like a possibility in my life. Growing up, I used

to draw random, goofy graphics on my friends’ decks. But

this was when Powell and SMA were dominant, and their

graphics were just so perfectly done, it seemed like a waste

of time to aspire to something like that. Whenever I'd stare

deeply into the graphics VC Johnson did for Powell in its heyday, I couldn't fathom doing anything as well as he'd done those graphics. A Powell dragon sticker was something you kept in your desk drawer for your entire life. It was just so amazingly well-drawn.

Fast forward 10 years and I'd just moved up to San Francisco, and was working horrible office jobs to pay the rent while simultaneously freelancing for local free SF newspapers like

SF Weekly and the Chronicle. I was extraordinarily miserable.

A friend of mine who worked at Slap Magazine heard about

an entry level art room job that had opened at Deluxe, and

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

I worked at it as hard as I could. It was clearly the opportunity

of a lifetime, and I was surrounded by smart, funny people,

and getting to dream up and draw crazy stuff. I knew if I blew it, I'd be back to office jobs and a complete nightmare existence.

At the time, I didn't look at it as a career. It was just a really fun, creative setting to have some fun and stiff-arm the future as long as possible. To think I'd still be doing it more than 20 years later is pretty funny, but it’s still fun. A good idea still makes me cackle like an idiot, and making people laugh or roll their eyes or whatever with a board graphic still means the world to me.

How many boards do you think you have designed at this point? Who knows? I do know that I've got more than 300 in my collection, and those are just the good ones. I've done more than my share of stinkers over the years, never hung onto those. Maybe it’s like 400 or 500, or more? Who knows… and who cares!

You once told me that 16-year-olds only want two types of art: either funny or tough. You either need to make them laugh or make them feel badass, and somehow you manage to pull off both vibes in a lot of your artwork. How did you develop this theory, and what are some of your favorite boards that illustrate this idea? Well, that was a long time ago, and that might've been a huge simplification of how to look at things. Doing graphics for over a decade with Element sort of opened my eyes to possibilities of telling a story in different ways.

That said, I do tend to like strong reactions, and I try to avoid the dreaded “Wait, I don't get it?!” This comes from the years I spent doing editorial illustrations and political cartoons, where the viewer’s inability to quickly understand the point means you've dropped the ball. It’s immensely helpful to put yourself in a 17-year-old skate mentality, which isn't hard for me because I think I'll always be stuck in that mindset. You want to feel something strongly, and you want something powerful and authoritative to identify with.

In terms of that immediate impact, I've got a few personal favorites, most of them for Anti-Hero. The Julien Stranger K9 deck will always be one of my favorites, and the Cardiel

Pigeon #211 Watercolor and india ink on paper 15" x 22"


Flesh Eating Bacteria deck always makes people cringe too. The Anti-Hero Eagle still has a lot of punch for me, but part of that might be for how long it’s lasted and how many variations have been done over the years. And all the pigeon stuff I've done gets that reaction too, because these pigeons are a scroungy bunch. They look like they'd leave a grease mark on your pant leg, and they're always up to no good. They make you laugh, but they're always riddled with tumors and bald spots too, so you want to keep your distance.

Describe your relationship to pigeons and your pigeon characters. Does the Anti-Hero Eagle ever get jealous that you draw so many pigeons? The whole pigeon thing started with Anti-Hero. One of the first team boards from the early days was this simple drawing I'd done of a greasy, skinny street pigeon, standing just above the back trucks. Real pure and simple, it was an idea from Julien and Sean Young, who wanted a scrappy pigeon that "looked like someone dumped an oil change over its head." We all liked how it came out, and it lasted for

a few months until the Eagle was born and chased away the

pigeon. But I always liked the pigeon, really enjoyed what it

stood for and how it was disgusting, troubled and resilient.

A great symbol, right? Did a few more pigeon graphics in

the last few months I was working in-house at DLX, showing different pigeons doing different dopey stuff: two pigeons trying to fire a handgun into a crowd, another pigeon with hands instead of wings trying to avoid an oncoming car, stuff

like that. Then I left SF and moved back to LA and shelved the pigeons for awhile.

A few years later, I started drawing pigeons again, mostly

just for my website and to make me laugh. And then, more recently, when I started doing Anti-Hero graphics again, we decided we should bring the pigeons back in a big way, and that was that—laughs galore. I recently started a small clothing brand called Special Crud, and the pigeon is my little company mascot, featured in different ridiculous ways on T-shirts and prints and other stuff. I've been doing lots of paintings lately featuring the pigeons doing various bad

above When Animals Rape: Park Ranger

Watercolor and india ink on paper 30" x 22"



Desolation: Tigers 3-color screenprint on paper 24" x 18"


things, and they still make people laugh, and they still mean

a lot to me, so I'm sticking with the little suckers.

The Eagle was a funny creation. It happened while the entire Anti-Hero team was doing a massive US tour. This was 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 team board. Jeff Klindt came in one day and said, "Okay, we need a new Anti-Hero team board this week, and I want something tough!" I wasn't sitting on any sketches or ideas he really liked, so we started digging through some vintage tattoo books until we saw a really great American eagle tattoo. We both agreed that might make for a powerful board graphic. Jef Whitehead had just done some great tattoo- themed board graphics for Anti-Hero, and it made sense. So out comes the pens and the china marker (that's what I used for that crumbly gradient shading in the wings because

it photographed well on the old stat camera we had in the

back), and a day or two later, out comes the Anti-Hero Eagle. We immediately made it into stickers and tees, and it went over really well, completely drowning out the pigeon and all the other team boards we'd done. I can't remember what color deck it went on at first, but one of the first colorways

was on a matte black deck, and I always loved how that 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 Anti-Hero Eagle" carries a lot of weight with a certain sector of society. Pretty cool.

I think your new book LOOK AWAY is a wonderful compilation of your all-time greats. Any fan of skateboarding, skate graphics, or disturbing hilarious illustration should own this damn book. Are you proud of all this work? I'm really glad you like the book, that means a lot to me. The book's publisher, Winston Tseng, has, in recent years, published similar books on Mark Mckee and Todd Bratrud, and I guess he thought I'd be a good subject for the next one in the series. The first two books came out really well, so the bar was set high. With LOOK AWAY I tried to make it more than just deck after deck, because that format gets sort of boring after a few pages. We mixed in a lot of studio art and other unexpected stuff. It’s a huge honor to be chosen to appear in a book like this, so we really tried to make it as interesting as possible. You only have one shot at getting it right.

As for being proud, yeah, I guess I am. I'm gratified when people laugh or do a double take or get some type of strong reaction. So I'll probably be happiest if I spot that reaction from someone as they leaf through it.

What are you working on these days? Do you see yourself moving into different genres or mediums with your art? What type of work would you like to do? I just launched the clothing line, Special Crud, with Yong- Ki Chang of Equal Distribution, making some nice, simple T-shirts and and some other interesting stuff. And for the last two or three years, I've been working with Anti-Hero again, doing board graphics and really having a great time with it. I'm always working on new studio art and screen prints and other things, like our suicide-themed Christmas ornaments, all of which are available through Equal Distribution. Plus, I've got some artist projects coming out soon with Stance, HUF, Quinton and other good people in the near future, which keeps things lively. This book project has also kept me extremely busy, with release events and art shows planned in the coming months, so it should be good.

The perfect professional balance for me is jumping back and forth between both worlds, studio and commercial, without having to soften my ideas or work on anything I'm not completely proud of. Trying to make my studio art a little varied and unexpected, I never want to fall into a niche where my art is predictable or dull. I think that's the kiss of death, just doing what people want or are willing to buy, instead of dreaming up what challenges you as an artist. I have some art shows in the near and distant future, and jumping around between charcoal, inks, acrylics and watercolor is a good adventure, and hopefully, far from predictable. Between all that and trying to be a good dad to my two daughters, I've got my hands full.

What are your five favorite skateboard graphics of all time? And in that vein, the top five favorite decks you designed? Oh man, that's a tough one. Off the top of my head, I'd say the original Powell two-color dragon top graphic was my favorite skate graphic of all time, because I remember just staring at it endlessly and feeling like I could never draw like that. It was really an education staring into that sucker. I know, it’s not a deck graphic exactly, but who cares? That

above Various skate deck graphics

right Desolation: Monitor Lizards

3-color screenprint on paper 24" x 18"


top graphic was just a huge inspiration. Next, the original yellow Natas Panther graphic by Kevin Ancell (via Frank Frazetta), because I remember where I was the first time I saw it. Just like Natas, it was super powerful for the time. The last three… how about any one of the Wes Humpston Dogtown graphics from around 1977? They changed board graphics for good, and again, were really super powerful and original for the time; all my neighborhood friends and I were always drawing them onto our notebook covers. Include any one of those Evan Hecox Chocolate Street Scene decks from the late ‘90s, because they were just so nicely done and really set the tone for what a lot of people tried to do in 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 goofy list, but screw it.

Best five I've drawn? I don't like picking out my favorites, 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.

The original Anti-Hero Pigeon one is up there too. The Matt Rodriguez Down Home board for Stereo, I always liked that one. Maybe one of those Day After graphics for Element, the one with the tank… or the Element Wray Animalism one with the bighorn sheep; one of those I'd say—flip a coin. This Vagrant All Stars set that recently came out for Anti-Hero was one I was really happy with, the Hewitt Catcher one where the homeless guy is squatting and taking a crap, that makes me laugh still… Either that or the Stranger Goiter from the Anti-Hero Disease series. That one is just so troubled. That's five right there. Tomorrow I might change my mind, though.

For more information about Todd Francis, visit,, and





I SEEM TO TRAVEL A LOT, TO THE POINT WHERE SOME people assume I live in NYC or Los Angeles. The fact is that I live in Philadelphia. It's a great city to be based as an artist, and when I have time, I take off to other places, which always makes me think about "Philadelphia Freedom." This city doesn't hold you down or suck you into one area; it's easy to get to the countryside, to the Jersey Shore, to neighboring cities like NYC, Baltimore, and DC, or to the mountains just to the west.

Philadelphia is extremely diverse in culture and ethnicity, full of treasures, museums and, of course, history. There are so many places I could mention here, such as the Liberty Bell, the Mütter Museum, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the Barnes Collection, but those are the probably places you will head to anyway. Here is a list of some of my favorite places and things.

CITY OF MURALS Philadelphia has been awarded the designation “City Of

Murals,” and for good reason. Numerous projects and ongoing programs give this city a fantastic range of public art.

The catalyst for many of these big works is the Mural Arts Program, started in 1986 as a part of the anti-graffiti network. Philly has more than 600 murals around the city. I love the Joe Boruchow mural at 10th and Dickinson.

Awesome Dudes Printing

outside their screen printing shop. Of course, working on this piece, I just happened to run into my old dear friends, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, who was working on an X-Wave painting, with fellow artist, Thom Lessner. Check this spot out on 6th and Reed Streets.


has a changing mural wall

Shown in this magazine and around the world as an example of public art that cities should be instituting around the globe, the Love Letters 4 project by Steve ESPO Powers is a collection of 50 rooftop murals from 45th to 63th Streets,


George Draguns Layback Roll Out


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.


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

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.


is my




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.


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.


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.


SHOPPING Two of my favorite stores are Anastasia’s Antiques and Prof. Ouch’s Bizarre Bazaar And Odditorium. Anastasia’s is a beautifully curated antique store full of Victorian treasures. Bizarre Bazaar is a store founded by a true original in the world of wacky weirdos and goofy guys, Professor Ouch, aka Furry Couch. He was into collecting the strange and unusual back when it was still strange and unusual.

Space 1026 6 is an art gallery and studio founded by a group of artists and skateboarders who returned to Philly from Providence, RI inspired by the studios of Shepard Fairey and Fort Thunder in the ‘90s. It was simply a space where people could collectively work together and have studios, silkscreening facilities, and a gallery. Originally thought of as a five-year experiment, Space 1026 still thrives today as a great art community that constantly changes with its rotating cast of characters.

MUSIC Philadelphia is a great city to see bands play, just the right size so that sold-out shows in NYC might not sell out so





fast in Philly. Two of my favorite venues are Union Transfer and Kung Fu Necktie. Union Transfer is in a beautiful old building built in 1889, with gorgeous, sparkling chandeliers hanging from some 50-foot high ceilings, and the acoustics are unbelievable (Band: The Residuels). Kung Fu Necktie is a smaller venue and can get crowded, but if you squash yourself into the front, you will be right there next to the stage (Band: Cream Circus).

Other great places to see bands are at basement shows

and block parties

people associated with the Philly Punx Picnic. I never really know how to find them on my own, so I just ask my friend Johnny. But if you see someone with a DIY tattoo, they could probably point you in the right direction for a couple beers.

7 . These are usually put together by

For more information about Adam Wallacavage, visit


Artwork by Martha Rich





WHILE COLLABORATIONS ARE POPULAR IN THE art community, it’s not automatic to usher multiple artistic visions and distill them into a single project. Introducing an artist and partnering them with someone in a completely different field seems like an even more daunting venture. Yet this is what Rhizome has just done at their Seven on Seven conference, pairing seven artists with seven 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 were already colliding even more frustrated. The conference has a great set of technologists (Nick Bilton, Anil Dash, Jen 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.

Whatever it is that they come up with, they will exhibit the work at the New Museum in New York. As we touched on in one of the earlier Beautiful Bits piece, the New Museum is doing some really creative and exciting stuff revolving around digital art and what that means today. It’s inspiring to see them jumping in to this plan headfirst and giving it their all in this odd new world. —Nick Lattner

Hannah Sawtell and Avi Flombaum Image courtesy of Rhizome and New Museum, New York

For more information about the New Museum, visit




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320 pages, 8.5 X 11, $39.95



Flexibound, full color, 284 pages, 8.5 x 11,


: The Saddest Place on Earth (Camille Rose Garcia) · Through Prehensile Eyes (Robert Williams) · The Snow Yak Show (Mark Ryden) · Tragic Kingdom (Camille Rose Garcia) · Kustom : Memoir (Shawn Barber) · Dreamland (Todd Schorr) · ·









contact: (415) 824-6636 L A S T G A S P. C O M





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,


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,


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,

Featured art by Scott Burdick


Papers for light and dark media

• Warm tan and cool gray, specifically for use with light and dark media

• Available in fine art pads, rolls and hardbound and softcover art journals

• 100% recycled paper, 30% post-consumer fiber

• For experimenting, quick studies, sketching, life drawing and journaling with dry media


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® and ™ used under license from Mohawk Fine Papers Inc.





THE DOORS OF THE SFMOMA ARE SHUTTERED DURING the current expansion, but the artwork refuses to be confined and is “On the Go,” with dynamic partnerships at local venues. Say Gorgeous aloud, think about what the word elicits, and experience the works grouped with collections from the Asian Art Museum.

Gwynned Vitello: Did the physical building housing the Asian Art Museum, as well as its contents, dictate how you formed the partnership and selected a theme? Allison Harding: I’ve been interested in the history of the Asian Art museum site as one of transitions, first as a city hall, then a library and now as a museum. In bringing iconic artworks into this building, I thought about how this history might shape the ways we experience art. Think of the Gorgeous galleries presenting a “third space” that is neither Asian Art nor SFMOMA, but an amalgam.

Caitlin Haskell: For me, it has also been interesting to think about how the closing of SFMOMA’s building allows you to see its works in new contexts—in other gallery spaces, or as

parts of other stories. Even if the works are just across town, we see them a little bit differently.

As a collaboration and juxtaposition of creative works, how does this exhibition differ from last year’s Beyond Belief collaborative exhibition with the Contemporary Jewish Museum? CH: Each of the museum collaborations in the On the Go program really has its own flavor. Gorgeous is unique because it takes its premise from the possibilities of what can happen when you bring together two strikingly different collections.

AH: When I saw Beyond Belief, my experience of the work I know and love from SFMOMA felt fresh and different in the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s space. There was something about these two museums being neighbors that personalized the experience. For Gorgeous, we were challenged with how to bring together art from two neighboring collections with little in common. Both have stunning artworks, so we started there, and began by asking how and why certain art affects us.

above left Jeff Koons Michael Jackson and Bubbles Ceramic, glaze, and paint Collection SFMOMA

Purchase through the Marian and Bernard Messenger Fund and restricted funds © Jeff Koons Photo by Ben Blackwell


above right The Buddhist deity Simhavaktra Dakin Dry lacquer inlaid with semiprecious stones Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Reign of the Qianlong Emperor


Photo by Ben Blackwell

right Marilyn Minter Strut Enamel on metal Collection SFMOMA Accessions Committee Fund purchase:

gift of Johanna and Thomas Baruch, Charles J. Betlach II, Shawn and Brook Byers, Nancy and Steven Oliver, and Prentice and Paul Sack © Marilyn Minter