Revamping the Old – Kehinde Wiley

kw3I must admit, when I first saw the paintings of Kehinde Wiley I was not impressed what so ever. My first impressions were that these paintings were tacky, kitsch and camp. The VIBRANT, the COLOURFUL, ROCOCO patterns juxtaposed by photo-realistic portraits just did not do it for me.

However, as they say, NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. After visiting Stephen Friedman Gallery for the exhibition The World Stage: Jamaica I realized the reasoning behind the way Wiley paints, and instantly fell in LOVE. Wiley is a RENAISSANCE MAN, following the long history of PORTRAITURE paintings but revamping them in an URBAN way. He attempts to bring subjects that would not usually be portrayed in this style of painting and gives these people a A STATUS OF PROMINENCE AND A VOICE.

What Wiley does is go into the streets of poor neighborhoods, be it HARLEM, the slums of RIO or in this case JAMAICA and photographs the everyday man in prominent historical poses of people of noble status. He then goes and paints these photographs onto a canvas with the backdrop of older patterns depicted within history but in different tones – brilliant reds, greens and yellows.

kw2It is a way for him to respond to SOCIO-POLITICAL issues surrounding black males-colonialism, imperialism, racism etc. By evoking these traditional painting modes onto black males and females, he is thus not only bringing status to these everyday men and women, but as well showing the inequality of the subject of the cultural “Other” that is still prominent today.

It is not camp and kitsch at all.

It is BEAUTIFUL and THOUGHT PROVOKING.

KW1

Peace Out, K.

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Words

we have nothing left but pages

those which are endless-

latching onto infinity

they go and go and go.

to spell out the savory words

the ones we keep in our mouths

they form out of necessity

out of a need to recount.

its constant

always helpful

sometimes messy and painful

but its the joyous words we aim to trace

the ones which render pleasantries

that leave sweet sounds in our ears

and kind thoughts to spare for later.

 

Cheers, NYX.

#TeamCureParalysis – Dance For Paralysis x Krewella x Electric Family

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“We fell in love with the foundation’s mission because we can donate money on an individual basis and DIRECTLY HELP those SUFFERING from PARALYSIS.” – Yasmine of Krewella

Wednesday was an incredibly SPECIAL day for the PARALYSIS community. An announcement was made that Dance For Paralysis x Krewella x Electric Family will be launching a bracelet – their first PHILANTHROPIC project on an international scale to support paraplegics and quadriplegics. 100% of Proceeds from each bracelet will go directly to Dance for Paralysis. Jahan of Krewella declares, “Every time we go on stage, we will stand and dance for those with paralysis. We believe that by working with our Krew that our efforts will help get people out of wheelchairs and back dancing again!”

Project founder Thomas Smith announces, “All parties involved strongly believe that by working together, we will become an INTERNATIONAL BEACON of HOPE for those living with paralysis. Our GOAL is to provide the proper medical resources for those with paralysis so that one day they can join us for a DANCE.”

Electric Family manager, Jake Udell states, “The Electric Family bracelet will be the first endeavour of many that we will build together in an effort to help find a cure for paralysis. Tom’s story is an inspiration and his success dealing with paralysis gives hopes to paraplegics everywhere.”

Electric Family is an EDM lifestyle brand that works with artists to support the charity of their choice through the artist(s) designing a custom series bracelet. “It is our mission, along with Krewellas’, to show the world that together we can make a significant IMPACT improving the lives of others,” says Steve Brudzewski, Co-Founder of Electric Family.

#TeamCureParalysis

GET INVOLVED AND PURCHASE YOUR BRACELET HERE!

XX, CHC (Instagram – @cultureheARTs)

P.S. Shout out to LP (Instagram – @LeannePeriece) for bringing this story to us.

 

What You Don’t See in Yourself Other’s See… Incredible Sketches of Life: Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches”

Long story short: watch this video to get inspired. DOVE HAS REALLY CREATED A POWERFUL MESSAGE.

Whatever you see in yourself is not how other’s see you. Have more faith in yourself. Love yourself more. Realise the world see’s you in a different light. We all need to realise that we are greater than who we think we really are.

See how these women describe themselves to a FORENSIC artist who creates a sketch based on their personal description. Then watch and listen how other’s describe what they see in these women to the artist, who then generates portraits based on the onlookers description’s. Whose sketch is more accurate? Tis INCREDIBLE.

XX, DP (follow us on Instagram @CultureHeARTs)

The Ugly American: Saber @ The Outsiders Gallery, London

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The opening of Saber’s The Ugly American had a record attendance level this past Thursday at The Outsiders Gallery in LONDONTOWN. This exhibition includes a large number of ABSTRACT GRAFFITI styles on canvas and wood. It is the gallery’s FIRST show of the NEW YEAR and WELL WORTH THE VISIT!

photo-2Saber’s works were divided between two floors. A total of seven trademark Stars’n’Stripes flags (Old Math Series) on stained wood, depicting the American Flag and the Union Jack, were BEAUTIFULLY displayed on the entrance level of the gallery (images above). Eight more works were displayed in the basement (so don’t forget to go downstairs)! Each work varied in size but stayed within a reasonable measurement for a gallery setting, in contrast to his works that can be seen in an outdoor environment. Yet, the use of spray paint, oils and charcoal to create these different graffiti pieces not only expanded the dimensional constraints but the overall depth of each piece. To some extent these small-scale works are even more beautiful than some of his pieces seen outdoors, as the artist now had the opportunity to use a variety of mediums.

The wood series has a more muted tonality with a more dominant use of the natural wood coloration, while the abstract graffiti canvases have VIVID splashes of colour amongst toned down tones (see images below). It gives the otherwise gray walls of the gallery a more lively conversation.

photo copy 2For Saber, these paintings are meant to give those spectators who know nothing about graffiti an opportunity to look at his work and say, “This is a beautiful painting.”

The title of the show refers to the popularized phrase in William Lederer’s and Eugene Burdick’s 1958 novel, The Ugly American, which revolves around  international perceptions of Americans. Saber states in his Press Release for the show, “It’s a reference to the excesses, and foul nature, that some believe Americans possess. Obviously this has similarities to modern Britain too, but… I come from this culture that’s so self centered, and self-preserved, and I want to expose the cracks in it.” He has been known to go AGAINST many of the OFFICIAL POLICIES in the US, particularly those surrounding the health care system, misuse of public funding, and cuts in the art sector. These themes are some of the key factors dominating his works. It is no wonder this well-received exhibition was brought to London by POPULAR DEMAND.

Do yourself a favour and go check it out!

à plus! MCC (Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @CultureHeARTs)

Kanye West: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” Goes Haute Couture…

 

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This may be old news, BUT we are still not over it. If you have not heard, American artist George Condo painted a 40K BIRKIN (Hermes, DUH) for Kim Kardashian. The purse was a gift from her ever so loving BABY DADDY / fiancé Kanye West who is friends with the reknowned artist. What a statement.

While we love Condo, this atypical canvas is surely a first. This is not the West’s first collab with Condo. If anyone can recall back to 2010, the year after West’s drunken rampage at the VMA’s over Taylor Swift, Condo illustrated West’s cover of his album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” And while the bag is untitled, it kind of recalls a similar scenario, although it appears nothing like the album cover itself.

What do you think?? Beautiful? Dark? Twisted? Fantasy?

XX, CHC (Follow us on Instagram @CultureHeARTs)

WHAT the HELLO: The Interview

… and BOOM. Just when we were not expecting to see this BRILLIANT artist intertwined between slaps and throws in LONDONTOWN, we came across our new friend from Down Under: What the Hello! What a refreshing way to start the New Year! See what he has to say about his art and brilliant advice he gives you future artists!

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Walking around SoHo London, I came across your sticker (what I like to think of the popsicle man with two legs and an upside down face – see image below) which caught my eye right away. The detail and subject made it stand out from most other “slaps” you come across on the streets – no matter where you are in the world. What made you come up with this idea to put out sticker art as opposed to putting “slaps” with “tags” on them?

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Haha! That’s so fantastic that you see my character as a “popsicle man”, I’d never looked at him in that way before and I like it. I always kind of thought of him as a small man looking inside a giant upside down head, perhaps his own head and being pleasantly surprised at what he’d found. All a bit deep and meaningful.. and kind of wanky, but I think I like the “popsicle man” idea better!

Thanks so much for noticing my stickers by the way, it’s always nice to hear that people are noticing and appreciating them. I guess when I started making them I really wanted to create stickers that would stand out and promote my art, so I made them big, colourful and kooky, and hand coloured them all so that each and every one is an individual piece of my art. 

I don’t think “slaps” with “tags” are really my thing anymore, I grew up doing graffiti so I get the whole “tagging” thing but I’m just more interested in the art now. I definitely want people to recognise my name “What_the_Hello”, but it’s more important to me that people recognise my artwork. 

Well with characters like yours, your work is highly noticeable! Where does your inspiration come from? What subjects are you most inclined to work with? Basically, how would you describe yourself as an artist?

As an artist I think most of my inspiration comes from pop culture both past and present. Of course I’m inspired by other artists, but also things like the cartoons I use to watch as a kid, the comic books I would read under my bedcovers at night, the artwork on lolly wrappers at the local milk bar etc. I always try to create images that give you that feeling of familiarity, not a tangible feeling, but more of a feeling that somehow it relates to you or your life.

We see that your art has infiltrated the apparel industry (see below) and you often refer to your work as illustrations. You have been named “Lurzer’s 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide amongst others” and have been featured in Rolling Stone! That is a major accomplishment! Do you have advice on how to get your art out there? tee 2

I studied Illustration at NMIT in Melbourne back in 2003 which is probably why I still refer to my artwork as “Illustration,” but I kind of do bit of everything these days from tee shirt design and graphics all the way through to mural artwork. The best advise I could give to anyone trying to get there work out there is to be as prolific as humanly possible, just be a part of everything and anything you can be a part of. Today especially when there are so many social media outlets at our disposal, it’s really important just to be seen as “doing.”

Clearly, you have traveled to spread your art which we he(ART). While I found your sticker art in London as mentioned before, I know you are based in Melbourne. What is the art scene like down under?! I’ve never been!

Melbourne has a brilliant art scene and there is so much happening here all the time, the only trick is knowing how to find it all. Besides having a thriving street art scene which is there for all to see, Melbourne has loads of little galleries and exhibitions popping up around town all the time so keeping an eye out and an ear to the ground is essential.

Fabulous! Hopefully I will get to go and check out the scene in the near future. However, last but an intricate part of being able to interact with your art, where can we purchase or see your latest works?!

The best way to see some more of my artwork is by checking out my website www.whatthehello.net or by following me on Instagram @what_the_hello. You can get your hands on some of my hand coloured stickers, original art and giclée prints at my Etsy shop via my website. 

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Well kids, there ya have it! What the Hello here to inspire us all. No matter what passion you wish to pursue, remember to follow your He(ART).

XX, DP (follow us on instagram @CultureHeARTs)