Interview with pro-skater Nora Vasconcellos

This week I got the chance to interview pro-skater Nora Vasconcellos after watching the inspiring new digital short, "Nora," (above) which is about her journey from being a kid who loved to skate to being the first woman on the Adidas global skate team. The film gives us a look at what it’s like to be a woman within the predominantly male skate world. Nora kicks ass and doesn’t let anything hold her back. I saw Nora skate this past summer at a competition, and she is super talented. She has become a skate icon and is an inspiration to many.

What do you love the most about skating?

I love how happy it makes me. Whether I’m skating alone or with friends, it always makes me feel good. I tend to always be in a better mood after skating.

What has it been like so far to be a part of the adidas Skateboarding global team?

It has been unreal. To get to travel alongside guys I have always admired has been incredible. I love going on trips and feeling like I have known the team forever when really it has just been a year.

What piece of advice do you have to give to other young girls who are part of a male-dominated industry?

Just to be yourself and work hard…really hard. Do not be discouraged by other people’s opinions and insecurities. It is so rewarding to get to do what you love, even when you think things aren’t working out. Read the rest

I got a shirt that is supposed to stay clean for months without washing it

Today a high-tech shirt came into my life. The shirt is made by Ably, and you can supposedly wear it for months on end and it will stay clean. Ably’s garments are made with something called Filium, a non-toxic product that makes the material resistant to liquid and odor. I wore the shirt for the first time today, and the way it interacts with water is pretty cool. I purposely flicked a little water on the shirt’s sleeve, and the water just beaded up into droplets and slid right off the shirt at high speed.

I played with the shirt in my sink for a while, watching water droplets roll around the fabric before sliding off. I swear, it’s as fun to play with as it is to wear. But I got a little over-zealous and found that it does get wet if you submerge it into water.

I also experimented with ketchup, squirting a couple of drops onto the shirt. Unbelievably, the ketchup drops, like the water, rolled off the shirt. There was no trace of ketchup to be seen. Unfortunately I then tried Tabasco sauce, and used my finger to help push the tiny drops off of it, which caused the sauce to sink into the material. It took a bit of scrubbing with soap and water to clean off the stain. I wondered if touching the beaded sauce had something to do with it staining the shirt, so I hesitantly sprinkled more Tobasco sauce on the fabric, this time keeping my hands far away from the beaded liquid. Read the rest

New paintings by Francis Ian look at sex and death through a different lens

The Corey Helford Gallery is currently showing an exhibit of fantastic new works by U.K. multimedia artist Ian Francis. Artificial Winter is Francis’ first solo exhibition in 10 years and will be on display until November 25th.

“Francis makes socially conscious works that critique and celebrate a media-inundated age. He’s described his work as being ‘about pornography and news reports from warzones rather than sex and death,’” according to the gallery.

Francis explains in the exhibit’s press release: “Looking back on my work, the focus has slowly shifted from media images of celebrities, to the curated images people create and maintain of themselves. I'm interested in the fragility of the construction of these images, the way they relate to each other, and their broader relationship with a pervasive feeling of a world falling apart. I'm amazed by the way people have transitioned from watching a world through screens, to being creators and participants of it, and the way they have become inextricably enmeshed within its structures and artifices.”

Both the subject matter and materiality of Francis’ work are captivating. When I visited the gallery, I was immediately drawn in by the very interesting juxtaposition of delicacy and harshness in Francis’ work. Francis expresses his powerful insights about our world of technology through detailed, often transparent layers of paint using acrylic, oil, charcoal, and ink. Artificial Winter is beautiful and thought provoking – don’t miss your chance to see the exhibit.

Check out more of his paintings from the exhibit here. Read the rest

Drawn and Quarterly's incredible Montreal book store

This summer in Montreal I stopped by the Drawn & Quarterly book store on 211 Bernard St. Visiting the store was one of the highlights of my trip to Montreal, and it is definitely worth checking out.

Drawn & Quarterly has published comics by some of my favorite authors, such as Dan Clowes. They also carry many awesome books and comics at the store from other publishers. I had a lot of fun looking through some books of R. Crumb's art. The store has a lively atmosphere and often hosts events.

On the store's site, you can find out about upcoming events at the bookstore.

I interviewed Alyssa who works at the bookstore. She told me the store has been open since 2007. Each of the staff members has a section of books that they have chosen for the store. The events that take place at the bookstore are often author readings, and book, poetry, and comic book launches. There's a stage and chairs in the back of the store for these events. These events happen often and the store is one of the most popular places in Montreal to attend a book launch.

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The absurd and irreverent art of 81-year-old Pedro Friedeberg

Pedro Friedeberg is a popular Mexican artist whose work encompasses the ideas and iconographies of Catholicism, Hinduism, Aztec Codes, and Occult symbols. Although the Hand Chair (shown below), created in 1962, is his most well-known piece, the 81-year-old artist has a diverse body of work that spans six decades and that includes furniture, paintings, drawings, and sculpture.

During WWII, Freideberg became part of a scene of surrealist artists who rejected the popular type of social and political art of the time. Friedeberg's work explores the absurd, challenges both high and low cultural hierarchies, and combines everyday life with fantasy.

The M+B gallery in Los Angeles is currently showing his solo exhibition, Tetragrammoebius.

The exhibition marks the artist's first solo gallery exhibition in Los Angeles in over three decades and includes recent paintings, furniture, textiles, drawings and sculptures that provide insight into the artist's singular vision. The show runs from September 23 to November 4, 2017.

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Escape into the absurd world of illustrator/cartoonist Alex Gamsu Jenkins

If you want to escape the real world for a bit, escape into the vivid, satirical artwork of illustrator/cartoonist Alex Gamsu Jenkins.

Jenkins is from the suburbs of London and graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in 2015. He describes his work as an exploration of "satirical and critical subject matter through a distinctive and vivid style.” He also tries to “avoid the pretence but wallow in humour, whilst touching on the absurd and surreal."

Jenkins' work has appeared in Juxtapoz, The New York Times, Vice, Society Magazine, and many other notable publications. Much of his work is disturbing and creepy, but in a fun way by creating an entire reality of its own -- one that feels like a chaotic and absurd dream.

Juxtapoz recently posted some wildly cool pieces by Jenkins on its website. You can check all of them out here.

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The "best children’s book illustrator in Italy" is coming to Los Angeles with a new painting exhibition

Nicoletta Ceccoli is a pop surrealist painter/illustrator from the Republic of San Marino (a microstate within north-central Italy). Nicoletta has an animation degree from the State Institute of Art in Urbino and has illustrated over 30 children’s books since 1995. She does both commercial and personal work, and has exhibited her artwork all over the world. Among many other awards, she has received a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York and the Andersen Prize, “honoring her as the best children’s book illustrator in Italy.”

Ceccoli’s work depicts a world of delicate, feminine girls alongside freaky creatures in strange situations. This duality of imagery in her work is reminiscent of the out-of-this-reality type of nightmares a young child might have. Each piece of Ceccoli’s work tells its story with a cloud of mystery around it, which is up to the viewer to interpret. The titles to her work suc,h as “Ollie Ollie Oxen Free” and “Ready Or Not Here I Come” pull us even deeper into the world of make-belief. In an interview with WOW X WOW, Ceccoli explains that “Growing up I simply never stopped loving the children’s universe. Childhood remains the only magically joyful and free condition, and as adults we end up losing that. In my opinion it can only be regained through imagination.”. This love of the “children’s universe”  is apparent through Ceccoli’s ability to pull the viewer into a childlike realm of wildly imaginatory situations.

Ceccoli’s exhibit titles “Hide and Seek” is now being displayed at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. Read the rest

Brandi Milne art exhibition opening August 19th in Los Angeles

Don’t miss painter Brandi Milne’s art exhibit which begins this month at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. The opening reception will be held on August 19th from 7-11 pm.

Milne is a self-taught artist and was born in the late '70s in Anaheim, California. Growing up close to Disneyland had a large impact on her imagination. She was constantly surrounded by classic cartoons, crayons, coloring books, candy, and Disney, which all became influences on her paintings. Milne’s paintings portray a surreal, candy-filled world that reflects emotions such as love, heartbreak, and pain.

Milne has displayed her work all over the world and has been featured in Hi Fructose and Bizarre Magazine. Milne has also has two books of her work published. If you live in LA, don’t miss your chance to attend the exhibit and take a look into the unique, fantastical world that Milne has created.

Photo of Brandi Milne by Jessica Louise Read the rest

Stepping into the trippy, sensational world of artist Bonethrower

Last Saturday on August 5th, the LA venue Rhabbitat held a special release party for the limited edition Adidas Skateboarding x Bonethrower footwear and apparel collection and gave people a chance to step into the trippy, sensational world of artist Bonethrower. Put together by Juxtapoz Magazine and Adidas Skateboarding, the event featured otherworldly sculptures, statues, and paintings by Bonethrower that seemed to come to life through changing, colorful lights and a funky DJ.

Bonethrower was at the event and gave away Adidas Skateboarding x Bonethrower shirts as well as signed posters and skate decks. I had a moment to speak with Bonethrower, who told me that he wants people to have fun when they see his art and to interpret his work in their own way. His art was super fun and psychedelic to be surrounded by for an entire night. One of my favorite pieces at the event was an alien-like throne that people could sit in and put on masks. It was so cool to see everyone interacting and hanging out on this art piece. Be sure to also check out the 200th issue of Juxtapoz magazine which features Bonethrowers’ art.

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The haunting art of Annie Owens

Artist Annie Owens’ exhibition titled “A Place Worth Knowing” will be on display at La Luz De Jesus gallery in LA from August 4th-28th. If you can’t make it to the gallery, you should definitely check out her work on her website here.

Annie’s watercolor paintings are delicately haunting. They simultaneously look like antique photographs and scenes out of an eerie fantasy world. Her work features desolate landscapes and floating houses. The women in her paintings are isolated, ghostlike, and almost appear to be translucent. Here is an excerpt from Annie’s artist’s statement about “A Place Worth Knowing”:

As one of my favorite authors Algernon Blackwood put it, “No place worth knowing yields itself at sight, and those the least inviting on first view may leave the most haunting pictures upon the walls of memory.”...Taking my queues from Blackwood’s quote, “A Place Worth Knowing” allegorically speaks to our habit as humans of turning away from the seemingly unknowable in ourselves and in others. Preferring to view the strange and unusual from a safe distance in much the same way mysterious and unexplored mountain ranges appear daunting and unreachable – opting to observe rather than to interact.

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Family bought a Warhol Brillo Box for $1000, traded it, then learned it sold for $3 million

On Sunday I saw the screening of Brillo Box (3¢ Off) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The 40-minute documentary was written/directed by Lisanne Skyler and will air on HBO on August 7th. The film tells the story of an Andy Warhol “Brillo Box (3¢ Off)” sculpture that Skyler’s parents bought in 1969 for only $1000, and traded shortly after for another piece of art. The same Brillo Box recently sold for 3 million dollars. When Skyler was a child, her father enclosed the sculpture in Plexiglas and her family basically used it as a coffee table.

In Skyler’s director’s statement, she talks about the drastic change in value of the sculpture: “I was fascinated by this stunning turn of events and wondered about all of the personal decisions that had shaped its journey. What was the role it played in other lives, and what secrets did it hold about my own family?” Skyler’s questions about the box are answered in the film through footage of the Warhol Factory scene, interviews with her parents who spent their lives buying and trading art, and a look into the rapidly changing art world that Skyler witnessed first hand as she grew up.

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Graham Nash is auctioning off his Robert Crumb original art collection

Graham Nash, the singer-songwriter who is known for being a member of the rock group Crosby, Stills, and Nash, is currently auctioning off a variety of original pieces by countercultural cartoonist Robert Crumb on the website Heritage Auctions. Robert Crumb played a key role in the underground comix movement of the 1960s. He founded Zap Comix, which was the first successful underground comix publication. Crumb is known for his provocative content, iconic characters such as Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural, and crosshatched drawing style. From Goldmine:

The top prize among the Nash’s offering of art by master Robert Crumb likely will be a dramatic Robert Crumb Zap Comix #1 Cover Original Art (1967), which carries a pre-auction estimate of $100,000 and up. The image is a perfect example of Crumb’s refusal to hold anything back, with the word “Zap” being written across the top in electrified lettering over the image of a nude man being jolted through a cord attached to an electrical outlet. The image was intended by Robert Crumb to be on the cover of Zap No. 1.

You can also find Crumb's original paintings, comic strips, and sketches in the auction lot. I believe that Crumb is one of the best artists of all time, and owning some of his original pieces would be the coolest thing ever. If you can afford it, place a bid while you can!

Image: Crumb's original art for Fritz the Cat sold for $717,000 in a Heritage Auction in 2017 Read the rest

These trippy videos are designed to entice you to purchase eyewear

Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck has paired up with the Russian eyewear company FakbyFak to create fashion videos for the release of his new eyewear line “Toy Glasses.” The three videos are named Brutal Love, Total Liquidity, and Self Destruction. Out Magazine explains that the films are “a demonstration of what would likely happen to our Sims if they were left to their own devices in an artsy sex dungeon with a bunch of acid...Beirendonck's videos employ the talents of performance artists Maria Forque, Salvia and Liza Keane, and are styled in 3D animations created by visual artists Claudia Maté, Ines Alpha and Jennifer Mehigan. They're influenced by a combination of '70s punk subcultures, Alice In Wonderland and bizarre makeup techniques”.

Wonderfully strange and psychedelic, Beirendonck’s films warp the viewer's reality and urge them to question the nature of their own perception. From Out:

These 3D spaces speak to Walter Van Beirendonck’s interest in utopias—the need to dream in order to not only escape reality but to challenge it. In doing so they ask us to break free from the mind-forged chains of convention we weigh ourselves down with day to day.

Beirendonck’s conceptual ideas behind the film make me think of Timothy Leary’s philosophy that helped define '70a counterculture; to break away from the rigid conformity that plagues so much of society and to think for oneself.

NSFW? Read the rest

Pop surrealist artist Mark Ryden designed these dreamy costumes for the American Ballet Theater’s "Whipped Cream"

The iconic pop surrealist artist Mark Ryden designed the costumes and set for the American Ballet Theater’s Whipped Cream. From an interview with Juxtapoz magazine about the ballet, Ryden stated that “The whole time I worked on it, I had in mind that I would also have an exhibition of my paintings and drawings from the project.” The last showing of the ballet took place yesterday in NYC, but Ryden’s dreamy art from the production will on display at the Paul Kasmin Gallery until July 21st.

Images: By Mark Ryden/of Paul Kasmin Gallery.

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Artist Hellen Jo's badass skate deck

Check out this rad skate deck illustrated by Hellen Jo. She lives in LA and makes bad-ass comic books and zines. LA Weekly stated that “Her zines show teenage girls in everyday scenes (like chilling at the skate park) but also in more violent settings.” The illustration on the deck is from one of Hellen's zines. “The scene comes from Frontier #2, a work filled with 32 full-color pages of troublemaking youths unleashed on the world.”

I met Hellen at the Giant Robot store in Los Angeles while she was signing the decks. I’m really into comic book art, and Hellen’s punky style of illustration stood out to me right away. You can buy one of Hellen’s decks at the Giant Robot store, in person or online.

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A book of the beautiful street signs in Paris

I don’t know if anyone knows the magnificent signs of Paris as extensively as Louise Fili. For over 40 years the American-born graphic designer roamed the “City of Lights,” documenting and photographing the signs that bring life and expression to the streets of Paris. The signs that grace Parisian cafes, boutiques, hotels, patisseries, the Métro, etc. are spectacular works of art, from Nouveau and deco to modern and pop. Thankfully Fili has preserved the images of these graphic masterpieces, as already some of the signs in this book no longer exist. As an art student myself, Graphique de la Rue is a brilliant book of eye candy that inspires me every time I open it.

Graphique de la Rue by Louise Fili Princeton Architectural Press 2015, 264 pages, 6.8 x 9.5 x 1.2 inches $26 Buy one on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Make super cute fabric pins with Sukie Button Factory

I’m 18 and still have so much fun sitting at my kitchen table doing arts and crafts. One of my favorite craft kits I own is an awesome and simple pin-making kit called the Sukie Button Factory. This kit makes it easy to create adorable fabric-covered pins. It comes with 25 pin backs and fronts, fabric with many different cute and colorful designs, a button-covering mold and pusher, a fun zine-like instruction book, and a template to help you cut the fabric (I added felt to my kit, which I’m going to experiment with). All you have to do is cut out the circle of fabric that you like and attach it to the button and pin using the mold and pusher. It’s super easy, fun, and addictive. Of course you can use your own fabric when making the pins. The finished pins can be attached to birthday cards, on clothes, backpacks, shoes, and anything else you can think of.

Sukie Button Factory by Chronicle Ages 9 and up, makes 25 pins $12 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

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