Artwork for Summertime 06′

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The talks and praise of Long Beach rapper Vince Staples have been fully realized in his debut studio album Summertime 06′, which drops June 30th. It is one of the year’s best releases so far; it is a tale that brings you into a glimpse into his world, almost an origin story to one of the artist whose unapologetic deconstruction of ‘gangsta rap’ is unrelenting, poignant, intelligent social commentary. His music goes to police brutality, sex, gang violence, poverty, classicism, the struggle of black people, without dipping into the realm of preachy heavy handedness that you’d expect of such a layered work. He doesn’t attempt to glorify the realities and brutality of gang violence of his neighborhood or upbringing like how trap music has been doing recently. Nor does he attempt to chastise the hood he comes from or renounce it. He sits on an in-between of commentary and personal vulnerability that I can only compare to an act such as Killer Mike and Chance the Rapper. Even acts like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, two astounding rappers who speak consciously, don’t reach the balance and delivery of Vince Staples, and they are considered two of the greatest rappers of this generation.

Alot of fans, critics, and hip hop artist hope that Vince Staples is the future of hip hop music, and I honestly hope he is. It’s refreshing because he stands on his own and if he collaborates with fellow artists such as Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Jhene Aiko, or Common, he always delivers a standout performance. The recognition has been a long time coming for the rapper and I fully support his work. Pre-order his album Summertime 06 here.

Keep scribbling.

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hackxsack for sale

No, this does mean my body, my moniker, or my site domain is for sale, it just means some my artwork is for sale. Although….if you have a good deal to sell my body I may consider it…just kidding…maybe.

Where can you find it? No where because this is just another announcement to annoy you all, so you know it’ll be out soon.

So what can you do until the etsy, society6, and amazon websites are out?

(Go to more professionally done websites with better artwork?) No, just look at my other sites to look at my other work and be sure to give feedback in the form of hearts and pluses and thumbs and soon you can convert those hearts, pluses, and thumbs into money.

Here are a few illustrations I’ve been finishing up that I’ll be posting up on my various websites to sell. I’d love to get feedback, even if you don’t have money to buy it, likes and comments are free.

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You can check a few more of them here at my tumblr blog and feel free to add me. I’ll follow you as well. Probably.

You can also find more of my work here for my portfolio page. You can message me on my twitter or instagram for feedback and artwork you’d like to see on my page.

Adventures in Baby Thrifting: A comment on fashion and branding

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So I spent my Saturday evening visiting three various thrift shops stretching from Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, and Upland to make some purchases and pop some tags. Thrift shopping is not really a new thing for me or for anyone for that matter.

I did not grow up particularly rich, so I was use to going to thrift shops, old churches, or rummaging through hand-me-downs to find some outfits. And even though I can somewhat afford some new retail clothes, and don’t get me wrong I do buy new clothes, there is something really dope about rummaging through a bunch of stuff and finding a cool flannel or a Suicidal Tendencies T shirt for 2 dollars that no one else has. For me it makes my style and my outfits feel a bit more personal.

When I began working my first job at Hollister, which is anti-thrift for a number of reasons (it’s overpriced, the CEO has been quoted for wanting fat free clientele, it’s racy sexualized images of teenagers, it’s racist hiring and marketing practices, it’s comments on how it would rather burn clothes then have poor people wear them, I could go on) I  realized how ridiculous it was to buy something overpriced because it was a brand.

Cars, clothes, and industries have that sort market and make money off of using the class issue of branding. Buyers of overpriced items consist of rich people who want to show off their stature, people who deeply enjoy the aesthetic of the brand and the outfits, people with a sense of ‘brand loyalty’, and poor people trying to pose like they can afford the outfits and pretend to have the stature.

Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”- a song about, individuality through fashion, the idiocy of spending insane money to purchase a mass produced unoriginal outfit- became a hit, hipster culture of vintage clothes and Tumblr was already pretty huge, and the trend of going to thrift shop to buy stuff began. While the average person does not go thrift shopping for clothes, the influence of the ‘thrift culture’ is strong. Big clothing companies began selling vintage-style clothes and affordable stylish clothing companies like PacSun, H&M, and Cotton On replaced clothing giants Hollister and A&F in terms of popularity.

Shopping thrifty is about more than buying old clothes from a kind like dead grandma and a bargain. A lot of stores, popular ones or obscure places, have lots of great deals. Old Navy is a place I recommend, even Hollister had a lot of great cheap deals at it’s outlet store.

But here is the stuff I bought and the kind of stuff you can also find at your local thrift store if you look hard enough.

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I copped this polaroid camera for only twenty dollars, which is cheaper than the average cost of polaroid film. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not. My last photography series was comprised of 35mm camera film, which is an aesthetic I really enjoy. So instead of purchasing a bunch of disposable cameras, I bought a film camera from the thrift store for $1 along with the polaroid.

Music wise I bought three vinyl albums and two cds for my car. The Emotions, A John Denver’s greatest hits collection, and work from the Deele (a band which had Babyface and L.A. Reid) I also got Bob Dylan’s classic album Desire and Circa Survive’s “Blue Sky Noise” the album that first exposed me to the band, which I bought brand new at a thrift shop for $3 (side note it came with a poster and bonus tracks)

And clothing wise I got three shirts and a flannel to begin the summer. My point, don’t be afraid to do some shopping at a thrift store. It’s less wasteful, it’s cheaper, and you can find some unique finds.

I’ll have some more film photography up soon.

 

A Not So Fair-Skinned Artist on Michael Brown.

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I’ve done my first form of protest art today.

The death of unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown who was shot and killed by police has caused a conflict between police forces and  protestors in Ferguson Missouri, I’m sure you all know.

In light of the issue of  the several recent examples of police brutality, blatant attacks on freedom of speech, and racism, I decided to paint posters and put them on the freeway bridge.  I originally painted them, put them on the bridge and left, but I decided when driving pass them to take a few photos, so sorry they look pretty bad, it’s nighttime and I couldn’t get a good angle. But hey, it wasn’t meant for this blog to begin with.

I’m not in Ferguson Missouri, I’m in a suburban city in California. I wanted to express my condolences for  the family of Michael Brown and  I wanted to make a statement that in the end was cathartic for myself. I am a young black male, I have dealt with prejudices in my life as I’m sure all of us had, but in all I have had pleasant experiences with people of all races and have a pretty cultu100_2607rally diverse group of friends. I also have never had any bad experience with police officers despite growing up and living in a plethora of different areas in Southern California known for aggressive officers.  I don’t believe that “black America is under attack” as told by aggressive, riled up people, but I also don’t believe that “racism is over in America” as told by cynical, defensive, or ignorant people. This issue centers around a complicated relationship between minorities ‘predominantly black male youth’  and the police.

Racial profiling, policies due to the failure known as the War on Drugs, and yes black males own responsibility in committing a large amount of violent crimes in the country are factors in dealing with the issue between police and young black males. This is the center of the issue, not the media’s poor and ineffective attempt to rile up “racism” in the form of Al Sharpton with no real solutions. Tragic terrible things happen all the time as the result of misunderstandings, ego, and ignorance there are cases of people of all different races being killed accidentally by police. There is a case to be made for systematic racism, the complicated history, and the lack of ALL sides to hold responsibility for the state racial tensions are in not just in the country, but around the world.

The United States has progressed tremendously since the 1960s, but there are still issues of prejudice of not just black male, but Black women, woman of all colors, gay people, Muslim, atheists, white males, Asian people, Hispanic people, and many other groups. There are still systematic injustices in our system and because police are the enforces of that system, those injustices are reflected by them. Mix that with human aggression, prior prejudice, fear, and pride, you have what’ going on in Ferguson. A transparency for police investigations and police activity, sensitivity and retraining of all officers to better treat their fellow human being, and open discussion of race in our homes, should be in place to end police brutality. Growing up listening to punk and hip hop groups like MDC, Reagan Youth, Leftover Crack, Anti Flag, Tupac, Mos Def, Lupe, and others, I’m influenced heavily artistically and politically by those ideals and I want my art to reflect my gratitude for those artists.

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I understand I am seen as black, but I see me being black is as relevant of a description of me as my eye or hair color. To end racism is the elimination of the concept of race. That doesn’t mean ignoring systematic prejudice and studies that show disadvantages of certain people like women or minorities. Labels do more harm than good. Michael Brown is everyone’s brother, not just Black people, or White people, or even Americans. The moment we acknowledge our unity as a human race, the moment we can deal with these issues head on and strip the labels. My art reflected that.

I am an artist. I am a human being who wants to love, learn, and listen constantly and be unafraid to express myself and I want the same for anyone else.

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I urge anyone to never be unafraid to express yourself and take a stand in what you believe in.

 

 

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

1st post reads “Take time to Love, Learn, and Listen”

2nd post read: “Mike [Michael] Brown is everyone’s brother”

3rd post read “End Police Brutality”

The honks I got while posting them from the bridge were worth it.

 

 

 

 

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I’m enjoying the fact that I have a scanner. I’m also sad that I didn’t realize they were was a scanner in my house months ago when I began this blog, but ey c’est la vie.

One of the photos is one I’ve already posted, but just scanned and I figure it won’t hurt reposting artwork if it’s done in a better quality. The other two come from my personal sketchbook, which I hardly take out artwork from. Although with my Ill Youth collection I’m doing over the summer, I may use my sketchbook to show some of the artwork.

The homeless man drawing’s sign is a reference to a Radiohead song “Fitter Happier” which you should listen to if you haven’t before. This will be some of the last artwork I’ll do that  lacks direction. I’ve been spending the past year drawing and trying to figure what my personal style and I’m getting around to focusing on what I like doing, which is what Ill Youth will be about. So I leave you with my last few eclectic works.

 

 

 

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