Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Cali Thornhill DeWitt 

Kevin Morby and Cali have matching tattoos.

Kevin is in one of my personal favorite bands The Babies as well as the excellent band Woods 

Gold, standard.

Jason and his awesome hairless dog Cheska who he got direct from Lima. 

 Petting her feels like petting the stubble on my own chin.

I met Cali on Myspace.

In 2006 I went to an art opening for a Mark Gonzales / Christain Hosoi collaboration, and happened to see a band called “Soiled Mattress and the Springs” play. They were awesome and fun and like nothing I’d seen before. When I went home I eventually tracked them down and discovered that they had a record out on a small LA label called Teenage Teardrops. I sent off a message on Myspace asking if the record was still available, and when I got the package from Cali a few days later it had a drawing and a mix cd and another record included. My first internet-based friendship was born.

Cali is a classic 'how does he do it all?' dude. Teenage Teardrops has spent the last 6 years releasing an incredibly eclectic collection of records and books. He is an amazing photographer and his photo blog has served as my window into LA for many years and has introduced me to a whole community of artists and bands that I would otherwise never have known. He and his wife Jenna make things under the name Witch Hat, including photos, zines, mix tapes, posters, prints, everything. Add to that directing and starring in videos, opening an art gallery, having a book of photos published, designing amazing show fliers, and bodying the internet as a member of the Zen Mafia, and he stays busy.

It's no exaggeration to say that Cali's work has changed my life for the better in tons of different ways.  As both a friend and an artist his positivity and productivity have served as inspiration and affirmation. Also he introduced me to Famous Ben's pizza, for which I'll be ever grateful.

Favorite his blog and look at it every day. You wont be sorry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wes Lang - Here Comes Sunshine - Half Gallery

Wes Lang

 Bill Powers and Eddie Martinez

Maia Ruth Lee and her awesome jacket

Jamison Brosseau (left) with Javier Pinon (right)

Lang and Ari Marcopoulos

Nate Lowman

Clayton Patterson

Aaron Wojack

Minka Sicklinger

 Glenn O'Brien and Wes Lang

Who knew Peter Sutherland was only 20 years old?

Rachel Corbett

 Manu Sawkar

Last night Wes Lang opened his new show Here Comes Sunshine at Half Gallery. Almost a year ago, my very first post on this site was about another opening at Half Gallery, and incidentally where I first met Wes Lang.  I hadn’t really been shooting events at all and I was just getting comfortable with taking pictures of strangers. Lang roared up on an amazing chopper that was incredibly beautiful. After a minute I went over to check out the bike, and I snapped a picture. “Don’t take pictures of the bike.” said a voice from above me, and I turned around to see Wes, who is like 6’6” and at the time had very long hair, standing directly behind me. “I don’t want that shit all over the internet.” Later I spoke to Wes and he apologized for his gruff approach, he said he was just trying to keep imitators from biting the design. He seemed like a really nice and thoughtful dude with ability to get surly quickly if needed. The work in Here Comes Sunshine seems further affirmation of that impression.

The iconography draws from tattoo and motorcycle culture, with nods to ‘high art’ and zen philosophy. The result can look like an issue of Outlaw Biker got thrown in a shredder with a Basquiat. Some pieces are simple, graphic, and look like they’d be just as at home on the back of a conversion van as hanging in a gallery. Other pieces have an incredible level of detail that is done no justice by these photos. You could stand in front of them for hours and still not really “see” everything. They are rewarding to explore, and my viewfinder felt like a great way to zoom in on each little section and geek out.
Perhaps surprising considering the imagery, the messages in the text-heavy works are largely positive, sincere, uplifting even; like eastern philosophy distilled into a shot glass. Reading through the many mantra–like phrases it was hard not to feel the positive energy yourself, and it seemed to carry over to the crowd. The Half Gallery is small and openings always spill out into the street to create an impromptu block party.  The weather was just perfect and the trees above the sidewalk green, and with a group of artists and bikers and creatives hanging out and feeling good vibes, it was a perfect little moment to start the summer.

*For the record, I never posted the picture of his bike anywhere, and I never will.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jade Townsend - Leviathan - Lesley Heller Workspace

I met Jade when I was 15 years old. We were both skateboarders in Des Moines and that pretty much meant we had to be friends. When I was 21 and trying to move to New York, I stayed at Jade's place while looking for an apartment. He had lived in Brooklyn for a while and seemed to have the city wired. He knew how to do things and more amazingly how to make things.  Despite a general zeitgeist of sardonic dismissal Jade was sincere and earnest and optimistic. He seemed to think if you worked harder than other people and believed in what you were doing, you'd eventually move forward. To be honest, at the time I thought he was a little naive. Well, I was wrong and I've enjoyed watching him prove me wrong over and over

Jade sometimes works as an art handler, and here he splays out the art handler's box truck like the skeleton of a fallen mammoth. The cab of the truck has a video projected on the windshield that is a looping, endless drive through the city. Tools adorn the dash. Elsewhere, a large painting obscures and renders faceless the person carrying it. It has nearly invisible red-on-red text that reads "Big Red Painting About Sex and Death" jabbing at the dreck that they must shuttle around every day. It's funny and a little heartbreaking to me. I've watched Jade (and many other artist friends who work in the unglamourous industry of art) spend far too much time and energy schlepping and processing other artists' nondescript turds when they should be working on their own projects. 

There are allusions to Moby Dick scattered throughout the installation, but if there is an Ahab to be found it is not Jade. He has not been pulled down by the beast. He remains positive and hopeful. In this case I guess maybe you could call him Ishmael. Wacka-wacka-wacka.