Black Artstory Month 2014: Native Sons and Daughters Feb. 1st-28th
Opening Reception Feb. 1st 8p-10p, The Emerson 561 Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn, NY
Black Artstory month celebrates the enduring influences and contributions made by African Americans within the visual and performing arts world. I am honored to have works included in two locations for this exhibition. The Emerson 561 Myrtle AvenueDee and Rickys 503 Myrtle Ave
BLACK FUTURE MONTH 3014 at Feb. 1st-28th The 1st of its kind in Toronto, its a Group Art Exhibition centered around Afrofuturism. Several artist taking a creative look into our distant future. Check out the opening: BLACK FUTURE MONTH 3014 at Feb. 1st-28th Opening Reception Feb. 1st 6p-11p, Daniels Spectrum: 585 Dundas St East, Toronto, ON Fore More info check out the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/
Remember when I use to post a new item everyday? I do. It was crazy. I had this loft bed that I would work under. Coming up with designs on a daily, making like a crazy person. I miss making that way and am looking forward to creating with that type of vigor. Just so you know that loft bed has since been cut down (i no longer need a ladder o go to sleep) and the operation has moved from under it. The last year has been a bit of a grown folks bootcamp. I turned thirty years old and was was like, 'WTF I need to get my shit together, I haven't traveled the world, stabilized my biz nor figured out if I believe in money or not" Believe it or not within that confusion I discovered that I'm a pretty nifty soft goods stylists and have been working for People stylewatch, Elle, Moda Operadi and PVH, Calvin Klein. It's been a long time since I've listed new junk and shot pictures, I've been on the crazy grind and most of my time and energy has been spent doing editorial product styling, my name is floating on your local newsstands but my 'junk ideas, concepts, political commentary and sillyness' has been pretty much stuck in my head. The creative process is a funny one, if you don't get the ideas out you get mind constipation. That's what I'm dealing with right now. A dusty studio space and straight up mind constipation. Don't get me wrong, taking some time off has been a good thing for the following:
- It made me realize that I run junkprints as an outlet for the stuff I make. I don't make stuff for junkprints. Basically, the business follows the art, not the other way around, stuff gets real fowl when it goes the wrong way. Some of you hard core entrepreneur number crunching business folks may think that's crazy talk, but frankly my dear, I just don't give a damn. It's important that I create work that is valuable, if it's profitable then that's a plus. It's important to me that junkprints is driven by value. I've tried the profit model and the reality is that there are waaaaay better ways too make money then making stuff and for me, that's a hard reality to come to. Writing it sounds so simple, guess that's how lessons go.
- Got real with monies, and answered some questions like where do you REALLY see yourself in 5 years.
- Visited New Orleans for the first time
- Took my dad to Costa Rica,
- I took a real estate course, (just so I could see how things work, I'm this close to getting that building),
- Had my lil sister move in (and have been gently kicking her in the butt, yay she's in college and will not be in debt),
- Severed some ties with some close folks in my life and have also sent some really valuable time with some other close folks
- Taking hot yoga hard core consistently for over a year (thx @sacred).
- Sandy happened, what a mess
- Trayvon had his right to live taken from him, and a case made clear that the US court supports the notion that Black male Americans are threatening and it's ok to shoot them (and I don't want to talk about it on facebook).
- Been watching most of my friends breed like rabbits, babies everywhere! Amazing and strange
- Also, I've been graveling with social networks, personally, I don't really like them as 'social networks', but I love them for inspiration and as outlets for stuff created.
- All in all, I've been breathing, and being private
Let's chat about Detroit. The first (and last time) time that I ever visited Detroit was for a family reunion. I was 14 years old and went with my paternal grandmother. She and my grandfather grew up there and moved to southern california before the idea of me, other grandchildren and great grandchildren ever existed. That place was the most depressing place that I had ever seen in my life. This was the 90's, Southern cali was gang land and wearing certain colors could get you rough up or killed, but Cali wasn't hopeless. It was tense. There's a quite a difference and that is what I learned as a 14 year old. I had never been to a city that had weeds the sizes of trees growing out of the freeways. It felt like no one cared about this place. They didn't even care enough to be angry. Maybe folks use to care about the place, but no one cares about it now. This was the first time that I had ever seen a 7-11 that one could not go in, and was made of bullet proof glass, put the money in the bullet proof plexi turny thing at the counter and then the clerk slides around your change and request. I visited the 'great' Motown museum that looked as though it was falling apart at the seams. I had the opportunity to meet my relatives and see my grandmother be frustrated and annoyed. She's quite a composed lady so this was very rare form for her, but it was something I appreciated. It made her seem like a more dynamic person and I understood that she had made quite a concerted effort not to be in Detroit. This is the same woman who lived in NY and worked as a nurse and at one point even lived in Alaska. That's a different story though. Let's get back to Detroit. Detroit felt like it use to be amazing, a long time ago, and folks kept reminding others that it use to be amazing as the the city is slowly falling apart. It was like showing up to a party 20 years too late. Since that trip I've been facsinated with Detroit...from a distance. It's amazing and bazaar that a place that I have always felt represents many if not most American cities. Industry comes, folks work and live, industry leaves and the folks are stuck. Eventually trains stop rolling through, flights become few and far between, those that can leave do those that can't or won't stay and become forgotten. This seems like it can happen to just about any city in America. I've always felt that If there is a revival for the Motor City it will be spearheaded by artists and DIY folks, both insiders and outsiders. A few years ago when I first caught wind that one could buy a house in in Detroit for the cost of one months NYC rent. My ears perked up a bit and I mentioned to a few friends that we should but a few places near each other and set up shop...but I wondered if I had enough optimism to actually live in Detroit or if the hopelessness would swallow me. Well, I guess I decided that the hopelessness would swallow me and decided that it's not my journey right now. In the nature of artists creating awareness I recently saw to documentaries that addressed Detroit...in two different ways. The first one is Searching for Sugar Man. It's a Swedish/British documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul. It is about is an American folk musician Sixto Díaz Rodríguez based in Detroit, Michigan. His career initially proved short-lived with two little-sold albums in the early 1970s and some brief touring in Australia. Unbeknownst to him, however, his work proved extremely successful and influential in South Africa, although he was mistakenly rumoured in that country to have committed suicide. In the 1990s, determined South African fans managed to seek out and contact him, leading to an unexpected revival of his musical career. Their story is told in, Searching for Sugar Man, which has also helped give Rodríguez a measure of fame in the U.S. I enjoyed that Rodríguez continued to live out the themes and views addressed in his music even though his music carreer was pretty much non existant for most of his life. He worked from the inside out and is a bit of a reminder that, it's not a race. It's not linear. It's life and that's all. One more thing...he makes Bob Dylan's music seem like elevator music. A portion of it was shot with an iphone proving that many of us have all the tools we need to create in our pockets...pretty powerful. I saw Detroitopia and was happy to see a documentary that tackled many perspectives on the city of Detroit. Detroitopia focused mainly on the economy and was directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. 'The three Detroiters who are profiled are video blogger Crystal Starr, nightclub owner Tommy Stephens, and United Auto Workers local President George McGregor, each of whom reflect on their own experiences and share their observations about the city, its problems, and its opportunities. Also featured are portions of Mayor Dave Bing's discussions with city officials and residents about the possibility of geographically consolidating Detroit residents as a cost-saving measure. A group of artists, mostly newcomers to Detroit, are shown as well, particularly Steve and Dorota Coy. The Coys, who are performance artists, are featured on the poster and DVD cover for the film.' (info courtesy of wikipedia) The artists they showed kinda annoyed me. I have issues with outsiders being too large of a representative for problem solving. I wish they were working more with the local community (or if that was shown, if they are). That's my own issue though, and overall I was happy to see that the city was thoughtfully and sensitively documented. Detroit may still have a bit of magic left. What are your thoughts?
When it comes to buying property, I must admit that the concept of owning a piece of land sounds a bit absurd to me. I understand that wars have and are being waged in the name of land ownership and that a good chunk of the world believes in the concept of land ownership, but I'm not fully drinking the koolaid. Basically, one can't be 'owner' of land. It existed before us and will probably exist after us. Yes, I do acknowledge the work and resources put into building a structure for occupation, but even that is simple a relocation of resources and contracted services. As far as I'm concerned, that's it. The idea of working 30+ years to own something that can't really be owned sounds silly. Not to mention the housing and financial crisis we are currently experiencing. I do understand that for many systemic reasons a good chunk of Americans were not able to 'own' land. That's not cool we should all be able to engage in foolishness...equally. that's a whole different tangent maybe I'll get back to it one day. There may very well be one thing that is more foolish than the concept of 'owning land' and that is 'renting land'. In many ways I do buy into this system, because I'm renting a space in a building in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Well I have finally jumped off the fence and decided to but a building with some like minded folks . Yep you heard right, buy a building on a piece of land in a place that is currently known as Brooklyn new York. I'm calling this endeavour Project Buy a Building A Brooklyn...duh. And what does this means for Junkprints? Well it means more open studios (maybe a store), a larger work space and maybe some rooftop parties The goal is to be ready to buy no later than this time next year. My hustle is tight right now (real tight, style like crazy, make like crazy, sleep when I can get it, blog on train rides and eat lentils and rice tight) and I'm about 27% there financially, with a great team and 2 months a head of schedule. Guess I'm taking a bite of the apple and drinking the koolaid at the same time.
I spent some time I spent a good chunk of this year restructuring junkprints and developing an awesome team. It's been interesting meeting and working with all types of folks. Honestly I have met with some real goons but the good ones always sift to the surface. I think I've left the knuckleheads behind 😉 Working with a small business is challenging. I've worked with a few as well as my own and it's def a double edge sword. The good part is that everyone and there tasks are quite visible. This is awesome because protocol is determined by real events and the rules are written as you go ie. no corporate bullshit or bureaucracy, just the task at hand and clever way to get it complete. The bad part is that there is no where to hide. If you are accountable for something and it doesn't get done, you can't wait for it to blow over or blame the person in the other cubicle. That includes me...in the utmost way. If I'm sick my business is sick, late orders, compensated discounts to make up for it and a lower profit margin, loss of customers and supporters etc. My friend Mary always says, "you will pay for your lessons some how" and that's never been truer for me than now. Learning how to run a business has been my greatest challenge and I've often think that I run a business because I believe in my work more than working for someone else vs wanting to just run a business. Not quite sure if that's a good head space to run a business in, but for now, it is what it is. This year has been the year of assembling a great team. In many ways I feel like I'm growing up and this is being reflected in my work and the way I interact with folks. Funny part is that I thought I would gain more patience, but I'm discovering that patience spent on nonsense is retarded. Basically, I'm learning to manage my efforts and put my energy into the right places. This year I've been a bit introverted as far as social media outlets have been concerned, guess I've just been putting that energy into the work and team, you know, minding my business. The following are some of the highlights of the year Bikram Yoga, I discovered over the spring that I'm getting older and my knees creak like a haunted house and hurt every time I run so in late august I started doing bikram and hot yoga pretty regularly. I'm getting real flexible and if I keep this up will be like a wet noodle by this time next year. Yep, I'm working on getting to Cirque du Soleil status. So don't be surprised if the next time I see you I'm in a knot. Art in fancy places Over the holiday season I was commissioned to decorate windows for 6 awesome businesses along myrtle ave in Brooklyn Junkprints in a Chelsea gallery? What! Styling for People StyleWatch I've been pinning like crazies for people style watch magazine. The first issue that I styled (way back on october) is this Dec./Jan Issue. This has been pretty regular and I'm currently working on late spring issues. Traveling This year the crew and I took the Junkprints show on the road. Hitting up LA, Philly DC and d town and the goodies were shipping from Toronto to Paris, Mexico and the Netherlands What's next? more art, more up, more traveling, more surprises 😉
My thoughts have been with my friends in Japan. A 9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan north of Tokyo on March 11. It resulted in a devastating tsunami which caused significant damage in coastal towns. That’s crazy and I can’t imagine what folks are continuing to go through with after shocks, rolling back outs and situation at the nuclear power plan. I thought about doing a limited edition doo dad and donating the profits but I want your contributions to go directly where they are needed. Check out www.charitynavigator.org to find a reputable organization providing relief.
On Sunday, February13, Junkprints will be having an open studio from noon-8pm. There will be talking scarves screaming Eff Winter, there will be menacing mittens, a live band more mysterious than mystery flavor kool-aid, and there will be a showcase of my Spring goodies from my 'JunkPrince' collection. So follow the yellow brick road to The Junkyard. The live performance starts at 6:30pm but the golden gates open at 12. See you soon.
Honestly, this month is ridiculous to me. I'm freakin American, not some weird hyphenated sub category version of American, I'm just as American as our slave owning fore(skin) fathers and personally you can keep the coldest shortest month to yourself and just include my(our) story in American History, which by the way is not a simple sad tale of Africans brought against there will, MLK blvds and 'by any means nessessary' speeches. The first string of Africans 'came to America as indentured servants and Africans for many years were similar in legal position to poor English indentured, who traded several years labor in exchange for passage to America. Africans could legally raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. They raised families, marrying other Africans and sometimes intermarrying with Native Americans or English settlers. By the 1640s and 1650s, several African families owned farms around Jamestown and some became wealthy by colonial standards'. (taken from Wikipedia) Doesn't get more 'American' than that. When will the folks that create the canon of educational 'American History' realize that the history of diasporic people in America is essential American History? Not a subcategory, elective or group of info that should be reviewed in February. This country was built on the backs of many from day one and a 'lil negro' month isn't going to solve anything. I totally understand where the notion of 'Black History' month came. I get that it was, in it's day, a way to include a part of American History that isn't generally included in standard American History Books, but I feel this needs to be reevaluated. I have a really hard time holding American slave owners in high esteem, sorry kids, I can't get down with George Washington, his cherry tree and slaves, Can't get down with Thomas Jefferson, and his rejection of his black off spring. That's great, he purchased Louisiana, but honestly stop asking folks to excuse these crimes against humanity to see the 'great contributions' these men made. I can't get over it even if it was the way of the day. You would be able to do alot of great things too, like building a nation, if you had slaves. Imagine if we had a European American Month, we took a break from learning about the Indigenous American People, Latinos (15.8% of the American population) and The folks who traveled from Asia and Africa (12% of the American population) to support industries of transportation and agriculture. In this lil month we could put up picture of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and tell the tale of how they were all folks who couldn't move up the social ladder in Europe but they 'persevered' with the help of the indigenous folks and there African 'comrades' and build a white house and a lil constitution and such. Imagine if we requested that Jewish youth to look beyond the concentration camps and appreciate Hitlers medical and gene research contributions to the world. Can't imagine that would do too well. America has a short rough history let's tell the tale a differently from now on. Why is it important to re-write history? because if plays a vital role in how young people see themselves in society. Everyone wants to come from something great (though most folks don't). Which is one of the ways we build our self esteem. History is a matter of perspective, now that more perspectives are being accepted it would serve the American people to include these in 'American History' Besides the dates, and social impact no one really knows exactly what happened in the 1700s and 1800s we weren't there and only have perspective on the situations, so if the tale is giving some youth a negative impression of there position in the land they were born in than it's simply creating monsters. Black history month points out how segregated we still are and honestly I'm over, you can keep February.
Its been almost a year and we still have millions of people without health care. I mean the bill said 2014 will be the year where we will see the details of the bill finally come through, but aren't we supposed to blow up, be eaten by aliens, and move to the moon by then ? WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG. I'll tell you, nobody sitting in the House or the Senate wants to give us the same health care plan that they have because apparently we are different. Don't we all deserve to be fixed if we so happened to accidentally engage ourselves in Final Destination movie scenarios? They rather have us all look like Humpty Dumpty (after the fall or-- the push), and tell us everything will be o.k. because we made falling to your death without any funds to fix yourself seem cute by making it a child's nursery rhyme. What if the clumsy egg was your 80 year old grandma, I think you would want all the king's horses and all the king's men to put grandma who needs treatment for her diabetes and funds for her Hover Chair to be put back together again. As of now, the bill is in the midst of being repealed because its unconstitutional. It is labeled unconstitutional because Obama wants "everyone" to have health care and not just some people. It is said to create death panels, raise taxes, and create nuclear waste and transform us all into New York pigeons. Republicans say it will cripple job growth and ruin the economy, they want to cut spending and by repealing this bill they think it will do that. I wouldn't call it spending, I would call it helping. People, now or in the future, are going to need health care. There may be a consensus between the parties of what may have to happen first before health care can be truly reformed and that's Immigration Reform. But as of now, total concentration within the government is to watch Sarah Palin's "Alaska" TV show and to repeal the "Obama-care" instead of finding ways to be Canada-like. Because over there, overseas from what Brittney Spears thinks it is, they have free health care and the only problem they have are the long lines. Canada's heath care system does not effect job growth at all. You sign up for the same health care everyone else gets. For Canada to be so close, how far away we have become. We make long lines seem like a problem, but the drive-thrus at McDonald's seem to be a line more appetising. We propose that if everyone in America had free health care then everyone would just run to the doctor for everything and the doctors wouldn't get paid their half a million dollar salaries, but mind you the teachers motivating little Bobby to become that doctor get little to nothing. 70% of Canada's health care is paid by their government in comparison to less than 50% in America, and in France, the government pays for nearly 80%. Did you know in Canada you can call your family physician to come by and check up on you, and here calling the doctors office sends you to a robot and a reason not to call. Why is it so hard. Still to this day, I find it amazing how we can go to the moon, plant probes on Mars, build faster computers, faster cars, but cant figure simple things out like heath care. Its not unmarked territory, but it may be unwanted territory. See America has always wanted to be the first to do things, I guess we would feel dumb following in the footsteps of other countries. We have lost so much time in not wanting heath care reform instead of finding ways to make it better. We can bailout car companies, oil companies, and all of Wall Street, but we cant fix our own people. Its time for our government to take all of the king's horses and all of the king's men and put America together again.