Since the late 1980s, Mike Giant has been making his mark (literally) on the landscape of graffiti and tattoo art. Following a showcase of drawings and photos at San Francisco’s Fecal Face Design Gallery this year, which combined his passion for the medium with it’s inevitable interactions and correlations with the corporate world, Creatures mused with artist about his time spent with graffiti, tattooing, and everything in between, which has shaped his career into an iconic one over the past three decades.
Category Archives: Features
It’s Friday night in Toronto - which of the 12 events that you’ve clicked ‘attending’ on are you actually going to? Better yet, which one will actually be worth it? In a city known for its nightlife, and one where nearly everyone is a promoter, it becomes increasingly difficult and crucial to make an event stand out from the crowd. Enter NUDE, a event production and artist management company that is challenging the norm. We sat down with founder Zachary Roher to discuss his vision, the future and the importance of community.
NUDE began in Montreal, where Roher was eager to do something different for the scene: “I thought I could combine my love of music, and musicians I knew, and my love of art, and the artists I knew, and curate events that didn’t focus on getting drunk or trying to get laid” - a focus that sometimes can seem unrivaled in major cities like Toronto or Montreal. In keeping with his vision, the first ever NUDE event featured over
20 art pieces by Jenna LaRose and music by Kaytranada - who was relatively unknown at the time - in a loft in Old Montreal. Stimulating and different, NUDE garnered buzz and grew from there. Since it’s inception, Roher has thrown countless events in both Montreal and Toronto, which aim to maintain a balance of focus on both art and music, rather than one or the other taking the spotlight, or one exclusively. As well as events, NUDE produces concerts, manages and represents artists and musicians, and, after working with over 70 visual artists, has hopes to begin dealing art in the future.
NUDE recently partnered with the Soho House Toronto for a series of which feature guest curators, each with a different overall theme. One of the most important features of a successful NUDE event is finding a musician or DJ to complement an artist, or vice versa. For example, the first of the series featured Toronto-based illustrator Gyimah Gariba, whose aesthetic, Roher felt, was perfectly complemented by one of his own artists, Birthday Boy, as well as the Toronto-based DJs Happy Boy Tona and Bambii. The cohesion of art and music is what ensures the flow of the event.
Another installation was presented in collaboration with Undisposable, a photographer with a similar approach to NUDE, and ACC Studios, a group of designers, artists and musicians, who Roher calls ‘one of the most interesting groups of creatives he’s ever seen’. A more interactive show took take place on Monday, May 4 at the Soho House Toronto (192 Adelaide St W).
Another major facet of what makes NUDE events what they are, is the spaces in which they happen. The loft in Old Montreal is probably the most conventional - and even that is a step away from a nightclub or art gallery. One of the first Toronto NUDE events took place in a barber shop on College, with then up-and-coming 19-year old producer Harrison and Birthday Boy, and artists Jimmy Chiale and Matt Cohen. If the talent wasn’t impressive enough, the unique space definitely added to the overall experience. Common to the loft, the Soho House and the barber shop are not their aesthetic, but that they reinforce the notion that these parties are offering something different.
The success NUDE has seen since moving to Toronto has been huge, but it wasn’t easy at first. The differences between Montreal and Toronto are very evident, says Roher: “When I first got here two years ago, it was a shock - I didn’t know where the culture was. Compared to Montreal, the community was way more sporadic. When I left Montreal, everyone supported each other. If I did an event, everyone else would be there - if they did an event, we would be there. It was always like a community.”
This isn’t to say that there was no culture in Toronto - there was in fact more of it, and finding a place to situate himself in a new city was the challenge: “Getting to know everyone is so overwhelming - I threw two weekly events for a year and it took that much to really understand everyone, where I wanted to fit in - it’s definitely hard.” He says he has since seen some changes in the right direction in terms of community support, though, which helps artists and promoters alike. He has even branded a unique hashtag - #NUDEfam - driving home the idea that family, community and support are at the heart of his operation: “I have always wanted to support artists and musicians I work with, and vice versa - that’s always been the point. I think if I can help someone be greater, they can only help me.”
On top of throwing events, Roher also manages three producers - Birthday Boy, Nightizm and Shagabond - and has plans to offer similar services for visual artists as well, such as representation and art dealing. He says the quality of some of the artists he has worked with is as good as anything he’s ever seen, so the next step of setting up a platform for their further exposure seems natural: “I find if we connect these artists with people to buy their art then the resources will improve, and then the art will improve, and it’s an amazing cycle.” Also, having just recently launched their official website, a potential editorial is in the discussion stage. And, in keeping with the off-center vibe of NUDE overall, it won’t be just any old article - “I want it to be like an art piece - I want there to be a lot more that goes into it, I want it to be an experience to go through it.”
This seems to be the common theme in all of Roher’s endeavors, and we are excited for what’s to come.
NUDE definitely offers something new and refreshing for Toronto’s scene, shedding light on artists that truly deserve the recognition. Stay up to date with all of NUDE’s projects at collectifnude.com
Creatures in Montreal
Reposted from Fresh Paint Gallery
Tongson Chen put in a nutshell the general philosophy of the group on painting: “It’s an urge, every day you think about it. I’m sure it’s the same with every artist, it’s something you just have to do whether the money’s right or wrong. Being an artist is always doing your art”
All of them are trying to live from their art, sometimes doing a little side job to stay afloat. It brought us to talking about the common problematic of making it as an artist while remaining true to your values and being able to pay the bills. They pointed out that art school can make you believe you need to paint boring commercial things or to sell out to be able to live from your art. Christina summed up a problem many underground artists face: “I’m trying to find that balance between being a commercial artist and being true to yourself, where I’m making money as an individual but also creating art to create art because you love it and you wanna put something awesome out there and share it with people and not necessarily have it be about money.”
Just like Billy, who abandoned graphic design, because it was “too clean” to get into something he loves, they are all proofs that, no matter what you’re taught, you can decide to make your own thing and find that balance with hard work. Jordan made me take a step back and realize that “When art becomes your means of survival you have to look at it as a business, and you have to do things you don’t want to do, take commissions you don’t want to take, talk to people you don’t like, go outside of your comfort zone a lot, and that’s art.” He said he couldn't trash talk people who got on the level where people know who they are because they had obviously put a lot of work into their success.
When we talked about their hometown Toronto and its graffiti scene, they seemed to admire the openness of the Montreal community. They mentioned the animosity and stigma towards street art but underlined that the reaction of the public was never going to stop it, that a lot of areas were still heavily bombed. Politicians end up ruling over what is art and what isn't, without having anything to do with the culture or having any kind of education about it.
Billy explained: “It’s winter right now, so we’re seeing a lot of it linger and hang out, but we’ve got the Pan Am games coming this summer and the city’s gonna be spotless. If you put it up, it’s gonna be gone the next day. I used to come to downtown Toronto in 2005, 2006, 2007 and this city was destroyed, it was fantastic. You could be right downtown and you look up and every rooftop is hit. And that’s all gone now, it’s all history and those writers are gone too. When Rob Ford came in, he said “I’m gonna clean up” and he kinda did that and now it’s really clean, the buff is out there. Now you have organizations that decide what goes where, it always comes down to the same 5 people.”
Chris expressed regret that the writers in Toronto were not more educated enough about the ethics of graffiti: “There’s no education within the street [about the 'hierarchy' of graffiti], it’s just about what looks nice and what looks good for the community. They don’t put into consideration that there is history to the person making it.”
They all agreed that in the end a piece is judged by how long it stays before being painted over and not by the talent of the writer. Jordan developed a very interesting concept about this phenomenon: “You see spots are getting buffed, but if you paint on a mural, chances are it’s gonna stay for awhile. So it’s kind of culture cannibalism you know, the culture is eating itself because it’s so starved in a way.”
But Christina pointed out that this auto-cannibalism could have good aspects too, for example when it comes to commissioned murals with almost automatic attribution to mainstream artists, which brings us back to Billy’s previous remark on the politic grip on urban art and the unfair monopoly of commercial/mainstream artists on municipal approval. The infinite vicious circle that Fresh Paint is trying to break.
Photo Cred. Adrien Fumex
Original Post by Lina
“Animation gives us the rare opportunity to spill our most coveted attribute, the imagination.”
You're pretty much thrown immediately in Schepperd's psychedelic nightmare-ish realm of face melting metamorphosis and endless shifting palettes. Each work is painstakingly hand drawn, which highlights Schepperd's background of traditional painting twisted with his love of unstoppable movement.
In an interview with Off The Air, Schepperd states "The animation concepts come more from exploring repetition as the driving force behind the illusion of animation", he continues "If characters were to break down they would break down into flesh and blood. Animation breaks down into key frames. So an animated character could break apart into its key frames. It ends up being wildly psychedelic."
If you haven't checked out "Off the Air" already, give it a peek. The first episode was kicked off with Blockhead's music video, "The Music Scene" animated by Schepperd for their 'Animals' episode. Off the Air is a series created by Dave Hughes for Adult Swim. Not a sign of plot or narration, it's an ADHD's dream, showcasing surreal footage based on the episode title and blended without pause into a single continuous video.
Contact Anthony at afschepperd(@)gmail.com
Represented by Randi Wilens Media
The animators in order of appearance on Dan Deacon's music video, "When I was dying" are;
Jake Fried, Chad Vangaalen, Dimitri Stankowicz, Colin White, Taras Hrabowsky, Anthony Schepperd, Masanobu Hiraoka, Caleb Wood, KOKOFreakbean
SPOTLIGHT: Chloé Rutzerveld
Is this the future of our food industry?
Chloé Rutzerveld's Edible Growth project consists of 3D-printed shapes containing a mixture of seeds, spores and yeast, which will start to grow after only a few days.
"Edible growth is exploring how 3D printing could transform the food industry," she says in the video above. "It is about 3D printing with living organisms, which will develop into a fully grown edible."
Rutzerveld's project is eye-opening to the general public in regards to what up-and-coming technology can be capable of. Some will decry such a process of cultivating and growing food, claiming that it isn't "progress" and as "foodies", they "enjoy fresh products that are prepared with love and knowledge," but I humbly disagree. Yes, food is an important part of many cultures, and nothing quite beats making a meal with someone you love, or enjoying a meal that a loved one has made for you. However, those claiming that 3D printing food is Frankenstein-ian fail to see the wonder that these little 3D printers can invoke.
This process of making edible foods isn't meant to replace how we traditionally make our food. I see it as a study into what technology is more and more capable of doing -- turning science fiction into science fact. Maybe it'll hit the mainstream in 10 or so years; maybe it won't. But if it does, it doesn't mean that we must, or even should, forgo the process of cooking for 3D printing. When viewed simply as another accessible tool in the kitchen, an advanced mini-oven, if you will, Edible Growth's technology is just another tool in our arsenal.
When I look at Chloé Rutzerveld's project, I see knowledge in the fields of design and plant biology, devotion, experimentation, and beauty. And if you were to look into my eyes upon first learning of the technology behind Edible Growth, you would in turn see wonder.
Article submitted by Charmaine Cheng
Turn On, Tune In, Make Art
What is the purpose of art? For some, the answer is simply that art provides a creative outlet or an aesthetic beauty to the world, for others it is more complex, while still many believe art to be frivolous or a luxury. For me, both the creation and appreciation of art is an act of mindfulness that lends our fast-paced culture the much-needed opportunities to sit back and reflect. It has huge transformative potential in terms of how we act in, and understand our society.
Mindfulness is the act of paying attention on purpose in the present moment, with an open attitude. In other words, it is an active attempt to listen openly and without judgement to that which is around and within you. This act is often accomplished through meditative practices that ask you to focus on breath, sensation, feelings and thoughts.
Art forces us to take an open and curious approach to the present moment. When we are taking in someone’s art, we focus on it and open ourselves up to the idea or concept they are trying to share. When we are creating art, we focus in on our own experience so we can try to communicate it outwardly. Both acts; as creator and viewer, teach us to listen to what we or others are thinking and feeling, and how we are experiencing the world.
This has huge implications for how we interact with one another. In a culture that is so obsessed with social media, we have lost the ability to listen to both ourselves and to others. We spend so much time on the computer that we ignore the whimpers of discomfort in our back, or the restless energy in our legs. More research comes out all the time about how technology is making it difficult for children to read social cues, or about how our news feeds allow us to selectively listen to only the things that interest us.
This affects the vulnerable populations in our immediate community the most; those living on the streets who our cell phones distract us from, those suffering from mental illness who we can selectively tune out. As we draw awareness away from our digital selves into the present moment, in both the creation and appreciation of art, we learn to listen to ourselves and to others more openly.
I’ve always believed that listening is the greatest act of love. What would happen if as a society we began to value this act of listening through art? To ourselves, to others and more particularly to those vulnerable populations whose voices are so often dismissed or silenced? I believe we would see just how valuable art is in making this world a kinder place.
Festivals, Crawls and Booths…Oh My
The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE) is Canada's largest juried contemporary fine art and craft showcase held every July at Nathan Phillips Square.
We interview of few visual artists that participated for the 2014 Festival and ask them their experience with TOAE, previous experiences with similar organizations and any tips for those looking to participate in something along the lines of TOAE in the future.
Video Interviews By...
Art Exhibit – Maybe Memories
"Artist Andre Kan and recent OCAD Alum brings together several of his contemporaries for the first time in this thoughtful curatorial project "Maybe Memories." Showcasing very different and personal ways of expression, this exhibition explores the artists’ desire to capture and reflect their experiences through the lens of their own psychology." - Yellow House Gallery
Featuring woks by Stella Cade, Ann Somers, Shyla Tibando, Andre Kan, Anthony Smerek, Emily May Rose, Rosalind Breen and Chris Perez.
Please join us for our opening reception on Thursday July 24th from 6:30 until 10pm to celebrate these artists and their work. Artists will be in attendance.
Yellow House is located at 921 Kingston road, between Main Street and Victoria Park.
Static V Dynamic Gallery – The Brockton Collective
2014 has seen many changes with art spaces coming and going.
Other than Creatures Creating leaving 822 Dundas Street West, this year also has The Mascot --a cafe and exhibition space--closing down, the Ossington Avenue gallery and venue, OZ Studios, and now Brockton Collective uprooting their location on Dufferin Street to start touring their exhibits and artists to further their mission to facilitate artistic/creative endeavours.
Arts Organization – Art Battle
Art Battle is live competitive painting. Painters create the best work they can across three rounds of public painting. The audience vote for the winners of each round, and the single winner of each event.
A National Championship is held at the end of each season, with competitors representing cities across Canada. This year’s Art Battle National Championship is held at the old Maple Leaf Gardens/Mattamy Athletic Centre, July 26th/2014.
"What is your background in the arts?"
Simon and I have worked on a number of projects together, from painting at home to headlining Nuit Blanche in 2010. We both seek to create new and beautiful realities, he's a little bit tech and I'm a little bit old-school
"How was Art Battle conceived?"
We were looking for a way to showcase the arts, engage the audience and build community, this seemed like a natural fit and was well-received from the beginning.
"What do you contribute your current success to?"
Good intentions, great artists and hard work.
"What vision do you have for Art Battle? What is needed to accomplish this?"
We would like to see live painting on the main-stage around the world. The National Championship this year will be the first ever stadium show for painting and we're very excited to continue and grow this model.
"What has your experience been with the variety of venues you've worked with?"
All of our shows have been fun and dynamic, we try to transform the space we work in to meet the needs of the painters and the audience. It's always nice to work in large theatre spaces, as it's a very natural fit.
"What would you advise for those interested in starting an arts organization?"
Decide what you are delivering and focus on making that as enjoyable as possible. Treat your collaborators well and make sure everyone has the right info about how to find you.
"Looking back, what would you have done differently from the get-go?"
We wouldn't change anything
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Artist Assistance, Assisting Your Own Career
Assistants are definitely an advantage to any artist, but the benefits are certainly mutual if the right relationship is made.
Jocelyn is an artist working mainly with acrylic and mixed media on a variety of surfaces. We interview Jocelyn and discover how one can balance working on her own art and someone else's while taking advantage of an established artists network, experience and work space.
Independent fashion designer – Jared Olsever
Fame Kills is a Toronto based clothing line that creates graphic apparel using iconic figures. Ranging from t-shirts to crew neck sweaters and more, this brand truly speaks for itself.
Since its inception in 2012, creator, Jared Olsever has evolved the brand beyond his circles causally wearing his gear to full scale fashion shows, pop-up shops with established companies and sales in international markets.
"This brand represents all that is corrupt in the glorification of Hollywood, the music industry, and many other forms of self-indulgent destruction. The reach for a lifestyle that is deemed successful by the media is not a reason for living, the love for what you do is.
Passion drives this brand. Hoping for success through endorsements from big names is not the direction this brands wants; the message alone defines its quality of achievement.
Art is expressed through iconic imagery and every piece is pure quality. Attention to detail and a long process of mostly hand drawn visuals are rendered digitally to create eye-catching graphics."