Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Nychos Libre

May 20, 2014

Becoming a successful artist can boil down to your individuality sometimes. Skill is a good percentage of someone’s talents but really it’s your substance that may hold you in a different bracket from the rest. Nychos’s anatomy deconstruction is as complex as it is bogus to the human eye. It’s literally nothing I have ever seen before. He creates an organic form and almost brutally tears it apart with all the organs and skeletal structures intact as though to mimic an anatomy chart in science class. It’s a combination of inner beauty as well as serial violence. Just signs of a true original…or a complete mad man.

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His murals are where he gets to show what he’s really capable of. For the lack of better words, he just kicks more ass when he’s not confined to a small surface area. During his visit in San Francisco for his show at Upper Playground, he added three more murals and one being the largest he’s ever done located in Oakland (not pictured below).

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And during my visit to Nycho’s show, I got to meet another SF great (Jeremy Fish) and got his new book signed. It’s a collective of all his past works for the last 5 years from shows spanning all across the globe. A great addition to anyone’s art library.

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Atak SF – Analog Tattoo Art Show

March 11, 2014

I finally got out the house. Stretched my legs on a nice subdued Thursday evening and made my way to the upper part of the Tenderloin to see Analog Tattoo‘s new tattoo shop and art show. It’s not as scary as it sounds even though it sits above one of SF’s most poverty stricken areas, but it’s still not a total good idea lugging around thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment. I am usually pretty unfazed by the ghettos here and I’ll gladly bite any hobo in the shin if it meant freeing up my shit. After all…I do have rabies.

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Stepping into the newly revamped building, you first notice a sea of work gathered by the collective that are the true masters of tattooing of today. Analog shows it’s high allegiance from the greats with Shawn Barber, Chris O’Donnell, Mutsuo, Ichibay, Mike Davis, Toby Torres, Horitomo and Mike Giant just to name a few.

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Tattooing poses a number of myths and facts resulting in some interesting statements and outcomes. Myth: Tattooing your arm miraculously makes your penis bigger! Fact: If a girl has a tramp stamp, always tell her about myth #1. Myth: A girl will go home with you because of your myth #1. Fact: Masturbating with a tattooed arm is like the prison version of the stranger.

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Though evidence will prove me wrong, I still like my tattoo artist to have somewhat of a solid background in arts. It’s not so much that it will be reflected in their tattoo work but more so that there are creative juices flowing in their heads whether it’s picking out the right colors or adjusting the composition in seeing how a piece will lay on the body. It shouldn’t be such a cookie cutter system. Every tattoo should be treated as a framed work of art.

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Dragon by Philip Leu going for a measly $9,000. Worth every penny.

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If you are seeing a man sucking on his own red penis…then my friend, you do not need glasses.

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My favorite from the show by Julian Zeff. It’s like T&C Surf Design meets old Japanese folk art.

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Mr. San Francisco

February 12, 2014

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Giants weapon of choice has always been an interesting one. People say the pen is mightier than the sword but if you used a Sharpie as your sole line of defense, you’ll realize how much of a difficult thing that can be. We’ve all used a Sharpie before. Set the tip down for an ample amount time and watch the ink bleed profusely. Quickly strike it in the direction you want and you get tack sharp lining as if it came out of a computer printer. With Mike you will never see a bleeding line…ever.

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I actually didn’t even get to talk to Mike in regards to his latest works. It seems Bobby had more of an in depth discussion with him than I did. “Hey man” and “Thanks for the photo” hardly holds as conversations these days, but I’ll take a half ass stab in why I think he drew what he drew.

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I believe this was all a reminder to his audience that he can literally draw anything in the god damn friggin’ world. Corporate logos…got it! Iron Maiden zombie axe killer…easy! Popeye The Sailor Man…what am I? An asshole?! Or it could be a conglomeration of all the cultural influences that he’s experienced in his lifetime. Or it could be a little bit of both.

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Rumor has it that Mike has already set his sights on Colorado after only living in LA for a couple of months. As he continues his journey in seeking his own self virtue, it’s always nice that he blesses us with his work at his second home in San Francisco. To see it all in the flesh, make sure to hit up FFDG. Be sure and tell ‘em Large Marge sent ya.

Ice Ice Baby

February 7, 2014

Being original has always been more of a falsified mantra for me rather than a true testament of my lifestyle. After all, I am the Chinese guy that got a dragon tattoo on my arm cause I thought I didn’t look like that Chinese guy that would have a dragon tattoo on my arm (when I actually do). So when it came for me to choose my first international trip to any part of the world, I chose Iceland to be, well…original. Ironically I found myself smack dab in a bustling destination hub visited by Europeans, Asians and this one ugly American. Suffice to say, Iceland has been on everyone’s radar for some time and I just didn’t know about it. Rookie traveler status yo.

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Welcome to the city of Reykjavik (make sure to roll that “R”….Rrrrreykjavik). The largest and busiest city in all of Iceland with a population of only about 120,000 people. Even as a whole, Iceland adds up to only about 320,000 people which is comparable to the amount of people living in Riverside (LA).

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From naked eye, Reykjavik seems all too familiar. Turn to look down the street and the view is almost comparable to something you can find in Lake Tahoe. Turn your head the other direction you’d swear you were in Minnesota. At times it almost felt like I never left the US.

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One of the bigger surprises of this city is the onslaught of graffiti that seems to be almost everywhere. I tried to put two and two together but the influences of hip-hop culture was almost non existent here, whether it be the music or even the fashion. So where did this all come from? I think in its purity, this is all just true vandalism. Getting up for the sake up getting up and strangely it didn’t even tarnish the city at all. Tags and pieces seem to fit in its proper spots where the rest of the town still seemed almost unscathed. It also helps that there literally is never any cops around at all.

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But what Iceland is known for as far as tourism goes is its monumental sights and landscapes. From the waterfalls to the glaciers to the natural hot springs, there is really only two ways in seeing it all. It’s either rent a car with GPS and a map in hand or saddle up in one of these huge buses on a daily basis and let the bus driver be your guide.

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Psychologist say the mind projects what you see with what you feel on the inside. So is this a four man band or are two men jerkin’ it while some guys takes a huge dick to the face?

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Beer seemed almost as important as the coffee here. The vast amount of cafes sprawled around the city were all equipped with your native stouts and IPAs. I wasn’t too keen on their late night eats as most closed precisely at 10pm but on weekdays, you can find most bars open all the way till 4am.

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I know they say when in Rome but I my stomach just couldn’t handle whale meat. A few bites in and it just didn’t sit well like the processed chicken and slaughtered bullshit fed beef we have at home in the states. I kept telling myself that it was just steak by buttonhole said otherwise later on that night.

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As a recommendation of sorts for Iceland, this is a country you can definitely experience and conquer in only 5 days. It’s quite gratifying to know that as much as I’ve loved this trip from beginning to end that I practically will never have to come back ever again. You really can’t say that about a lot of places. I think the bug is in me though as I now set my sights on somewhere hotter. Maybe it’s time to finally step into the jungles of Africa or pea in Mediterranean waters. We’ll see where we go later in the year.

I Am Sam

December 29, 2013

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Haight St is a sub-cultural paradise with slight changes between generations. Our hippies are now replaced with oppressed 18 year old boys talking about how they were deprived of their mother’s nipple post middle school and how I need to give them funds for their molly habits. I mean at least take some proper drugs dude. I want to see rotting teeth and protruding bone structures! What remains still is the genuine spirit of what Haight St has always embodied. You have coffee for the brewers, bikes for the transporters, records for the diggers, beer gardens for the chuggers, skate decks for the thrashers, clothing for the hipsters and of course bongs for the stoners.

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New to the scene is HoodLab SF. Part clothing company, part hemp enthusiast (well duh) and part gallery with their first show displaying works by local artisan Sam Flores.

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It’s truly a pleasure to see Mr. Flores develop into the painter that he is today. He was the first artist I knew of from the Upper Playground alumni (others being Mike Giant, Jeremy Fish and Dave Choe) back in college during my graphic design days. Known for his large hands and nicely nestled objects on top of character’s heads, the shop featured a vast variety of works that he’s done within the last two years.

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The Blueprint

December 18, 2013

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Say you are at massage parlor and Mimi asks you if you’d”Like to have mo fun?” at the cost of $250. Just as you’re about to politely say no, she then offers the basic rub and tug for a mere $80. You scramble for your wallet shamefully pulling out four 20s and proceed to open up Instagram to Van Style’s profile. Buying art is sort of a similar experience. Original work can be a hefty price tag but a copied print can satisfy that craving almost the same and at fraction of the cost. Still, I’d prefer the latter…and I am talking about buying art…you pervert.

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Just in time for the holiday season, Upper Playground drops some alternative gift options from the typical dirty mags for pops or rubber dildo for moms. Never shying from greatness, UP brought out prints from Munk One, Mars-1, Jeremy Fish, Morning Breath, Miss Van, Estevan Oriol, Sam Flores, Craola and more. Get them now fast as most have been already sold out.

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Walk Like A Warrior

June 3, 2013