Dear Uncle Sam

Dear Uncle Sam,
You are like a very creepy family member and behave more like a member if the mob then a member of the family, so from here on out I’m just gonna call you Sam and drop the uncle shit. I’m wondering if it would be possible to get an itemized break down of where my tax dollars go. Just send it to my address. You know where to find me…after all you find me every year at the same time. I read some where that 40% goes to fund our expansive military complex. I don’t want to pay that much for that. Can I opt out? Let’s do away with annual property  taxes. A home isn’t a slot machine, let’s just have a sales tax and drop that fluctuating every year tax thing. Put it all into sales taxes. Also would it be possible to have taxes distributed to schools based on the numerical student population of the region verses dwelling location. I just think schools should get funding based on the amount of students they have not how rich their parents are. If rich people get really bugged out about that, they they can send their children to private school (most do that any way) and opt out of paying for public schools out of their taxes. Hey, if the education system gets better broader and more inclusive, I suspect that gentrification would be a thing if the past. Here’s how it breaks down. In our current system annual property taxes fund schools in that area and the annual property tax increases and decreases based off of some complicated, secretive schematic that factors income, census records, what color morning poo, horoscope etc. Lets trash that and just do income and sales tax. Then distribute the funds evenly per student. The child grows up, with a head full of relevant knowledge and tools to work in the environment they live in. They will have the tools to foster more beneficial contracts particularly  when it comes to real estate and development. Also what’s up with this tax bracket stuff? Let’s just tax 15% across the board…keep it simple. Oh yeah, and while I have your attention Sam, can civil servants get paid minimum wage? and minimum wage be a livable wage? Folks should want to serve their community with the intention of making it better, not getting rich. Speaking of civil servants let’s touch on police and the judicial system. They get paid out of our taxes right? So they work for the people right? OK if that is so, they are doing a bad job (I know the intentions are good, but let’s face it this isn’t really working out) and maybe they should be let got and just start over. If we know that black people are not biologically  prone to being criminals then why is that reflected in our prison, and all this brutality? Perhaps those departments have gotten lazy it’s time to get some fancy consultants in and redo this system. I’m not saying everyone is a bad apple but the whole system needs a complete new thought process behind it. I’d opt in for tax fund allocation for that. Well Sam, that’s all I have for now. It was a pleasure chatting with you. We should do this more often.

The most American,
Chanel

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Racist Rehab Project: Set Coversation

Set conversation:
Important white studio photographer (IWSP for short): I love black people. I really do. I think they are the most…absolute coolest.

Me: [continuing to arrange the shoes onset into a clever composition, for a major fashion mag shoot we are doing]

IWSP: I just think that being a black guy is the ultimate…i mean,  they have so much swagger and style….and hip hop…Honestly, I really wish I was a black guy

Me: bet you didn’t want to be a black guys when you interviewed for your job [while continuing to put the final touched on the gravity defying shoes arranged on set]

Over all silence…….

Me: [looking up at IWSP] OK, this as ready to be shot.

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The Race Card

Alrighty! Welcome to America! You may have noticed, particularly if you are a person of color, that this nation is obsessed with RACE, and using it in some form to divide folks. In fact things have gotten so out of control that seemingly smart people made up terms such as ‘The Race Card.’ It’s a term usually used when one person is pointing out, that due to racism, a particular imbalance or inequality is experienced. The other person who doesn’t want to acknowledge that, then says that the person is simply ‘using the Race Card’…as if it’s a Visa in the back pockets of jeans waiting to be used to pay for a win in a debate. So, me being the vigilante of social justice that I am, have taken the liberty of making and printing these nifty Race Cards, to remind folks how silly that concept is. You may have seen them. They have been making their way into coffee shops bookstores and counters all across the U.S. In the case that you have not yet come across them you can order them from junkprints.

4" x6" post card project. by Chanel Kennebrew/Junkprints
4″ x6″ post card project.
by Chanel Kennebrew/Junkprints
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How you see it and how I see it

Yesterday I met up with a long time friend and Brooklyn business owner and a commercial  real estate developer pal. My friend is looking into expanding his business in Philly so I tagged along with them to scope out neighborhoods talk to other business owners and get a general  feel of  Philadelphia. We had some pretty interesting conversations regarding gentrification, the inevitable boring cloud that will roll over nyc due to pricing out creatives, and we also talked about our various  view on what the future holds as far as urban development.

If you ever want to really get the lowdown on what’s to come in your neighborhood, make friends  with a real estate developer and members of city council. So much of the conversations about what will be allowed to go where are are determined  by those two entities…with supposed input from the community residents. The part that was so startling to me about many of the views of the developer was how much money and aquisition of it seemed to be a primarily concern. For examples, the proposed plan to build a gated high rise luxury apartment building in an area of row houses. The community  was completely  against it. The developer  was for it stating that by bring in higher earning residents the city could have more tax revenue. My concern is that property taxes are done based on average  area incomes so that would inevitably push out old tenants by the tax increase. He argued  that the schools and public  facilities, such as parks would get more funding from that and get better…but better for whom? My concern was primarily  for the residents  that currently live in the neighborhood not the rich ones he hoped to invite.  I understand that change is inevitable and cities are constantly in a state of flux. One thing that became very apparent in that conversation is that there is a huge gap in  perspective in how residents  view where they live and developers view that same region. I truely feel that most folks just want a decent roof over their head in a safe and neighborhoor. There are so many people in the business of shaping what that means to potential buyers, often done in a way that doesn’t support diversity in age, backgrounds and socioeconomic position. Doing that isn’t generally as profitable. So that gap in perspective of what the future of the neighborhood could be is so large that folks are often not even speaking the same language.

I don’t think that all developers are bad folks and there are some beautiful examples of valuable developments such as Crane art and the teachers lofts on philadelphia. It’s just that so much of the positive development is rarely enjoyed by people of color and old neighborhood residents. I’m sure alot of this has to do with the limited participation and involment if those parties with city planning, funding and development.

That limited involvement sounds like the same problem with every other sector (with the exclusion of activism) of business, from art, fashion, music, finance, tech, entertainment etc.
At the end of our conversation I had a series of mixed emotions and thoughts.

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What they don’t tell you about Cruises

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They sneak gratuity…pull you way out of cell and WiFi region then auto charge your credit card for gratuity…after you have been cash tipping the whole time…fail

“Washy washy”. There are over enthusiast folks eager to spray you with hand sanitizer everywhere and they say ‘Washy washy’

The cruise director makes random announcements across the ship’s pa system. It feels like you are a participant in the hunger games or in 1984. Our cruise director’s name was Dave ‘Dingo’ he had an Australian accent and was always enthusiastically announcing things like the 20 minute dance party on deck 7 or that deck 4 has sprinkles.

You will not receive an accurate map nor information about your next port unless it relates to booking an overpriced activity or excursion. And Internet service is $30 per day. Best bet is to check your emails when you arrive at your docking destinations most of the restaurants had free wifi…and negotiate when you get places. There is tons to get into.

And all the restaurants on the ship serve the same food. They just arrange it differently.

There are lots of shuffle board courts on decks perfect for socializing and getting the scoop on cruises from fellow cruisers .

The elevators take forever and are always full. Take the stairs, you probably ate 3 plates worth of food for dinner so you should probably take the stairs anyway.

The towels folded as animals and surprisingly very impressive.

Water… bring your own bottled water. The ship’s water taste sketchy and half of the water dispensers are out of order at any given time.

Everyone is super friendly, the workers the passengers…it’s pretty cool. One thing I notices is that the staff don’t get much time off. One of the fitness instructors said that he had been working for 2 weeks straight and within that time had only had 4 hours off…sounds exploitative, but they did seem happy and I don’t know the full details of their working arrangements.

Mind your head if you are sleeping on the bottom bunk

Being vegetarian/vegan, gluten free or pretty much having any kind of “dietary restriction” better yet, if you aren’t into eating heavy salt sugar and starchy meals it’s challenging to eat balanced. The folks on the ship never want to exclude, I guess it’s part of the hospitality so you’ll find yourself asking about 3 people for every dish if it’s dairy free, vegetarian etc. and most likely it won’t be dairy free (gluten free etc.) and if it doesn’t contain dairy (or whatever else you are attempting to stay away from to stay clean) it will be ridiculous salty or sweet. The part that makes it super rough is that you are pretty much trapped on the boat for the majority of the trip. And you are not allowed to bring food from your ports back on the ship.

It’s a great way to visit many places. I’m Belizean on my mom’s side and it was honestly the least expensive way to get there. While I was there I discovered that you can catch a bus up north to Playa Del Carmen Mexico, right outside of Cancun, for about $9 then catch an inexpensive flight back to the U.S. I even ended up meeting folks who jumped ship at certain spots along the cruise…don’t think you are suppose to do that but hey it’s your life

Overall it’s a dope experience, mostly because my folks are dope and central America is dope. Glad to roll with @Kennebrew the 2M2X crew and Tough Dumplin on my first communal yachting experience aka cruise.

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New Space renovation Win/Fail

THE FAIL: The internet lies. You have been warned. Over the holiday season my dad (@kennebrew) and I took a stab at building a wood and pipe table. It was a fail and I ended doing an ikea hack. I’m not gonna lie when I moved into this place I was pretty determined not to fill it up with ikea shit, but unfortunately it’s looking a lot like dude from fight club’s crib. The table, that’s the last big thing….okay? ok.
THE WIN: I’m super excited about this new space. So excited that I decided to give the bathroom a complete makeover including laying a penny floor…oh and that dragon jumper is my new work uniform.
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DETROIT AN OUTSIDERS PERSPECTIVE

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?

 

 

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How To Screenprint

Okay so you have an idea and want to print it all over the place. Here’s a lil help getting started.

Screen Printing Tutorial

Below are step-by-step instructions for 2 popular methods used to prepare a screen for screen printing–Drawing Fluid/Screen Filler Method and the Water Based Emulsion Method.

MATERIALS 10″ × 14″ Wooden Screen 9″ Plastic Squeegee Fabric Screen Printing Inks Screen Filler, 4 oz Drawing Fluid, 4 oz Photo Emulsion, 4 oz Photo Emulsion Remover, 4 oz Sensitizer, 0.5 g #6 Round Brush Mixing Sticks Iron

DRAWING FLUID/SCREEN FILLER METHOD

Step 1 on a sheet of plain paper, make up the illustrations or message you wish to print with your screen. Place this layout on a table top or other flat surface. Place your screen over this layout, top side up. Trace your design directly on the screen with a soft lead pencil.

Step 2 Select an appropriate brush. This will be determined by the type of line or texture that you want to be produced. You can work using either side of the screen. Remember that your printing will be done from the top (or “ink-fill”) side of the screen.

Step 3 Be certain that the screen is elevated–not touching the table. Paint the Drawing Fluid over those areas of your layout that you want to print. Leave the screen to dry in a level, flat position. Make sure nothing touches the areas covered with Drawing Fluid.

Step 4 After the drawing fluid is completely dry, open the screen filler and mix it thoroughly to a smooth consistency. Spoon it onto the screen fabric on the same side of the screen used for the application of Drawing Fluid. Use the squeegee or the plastic spreader to apply an evenly smooth coating over the entire screen. One pass over the screen should be sufficient. Multiple passes of screen filler will dissolve the Drawing Fluid and prevent character (image) washout.

Step 5 Again, put the screen to dry in a horizontal position making sure nothing touches the fabric. It is important that the Screen Filler dry completely.

Step 6 When the Screen Filler has dried thoroughly, spray cold water on both sides of the screen. Concentrate the spray on the areas where Drawing Fluid was applied. These areas will dissolve and the screen will become open at those points so that ink can flow through them.

Step 7 If some areas remain slightly blocked, scrub them lightly with a small stiff brush on both sides of the screen (an old toothbrush will do a good job). DO NOT USE HOT WATER DURING THIS STAGE. Allow your screen to dry in a level (horizontal) position, bottom-side up. Drying time may be accelerated by using a hair dryer or fan.

MAKING PRINTS: PRINTING WITH TEXTILE INKS

NOTE: When screen printing on fabrics, use only fabrics that can be subjected to temperatures of at least 275-375 degrees Farentheit. Do not use on nonporous fabrics such as nylon. Pre-test all fabrics. Fabrics with sizing must be washed prior to printing. This will assure proper adhesion of the textile ink to the fabric.

The screen frame is usually detached from the base and used by itself. Usually two people should work on the printing process-one holding the screen frame tightly against the fabric, and the other doing the printing. On articles like T-shirts, a piece of cardboard or paper must be put inside each garment to act as a barrier. This guarantees only one thickness of material will be printed by the ink.

Step 8 To transparentize or to improve the lubricity (slipperiness) of the ink, you may add the Transparent Base. To slow drying or to prevent screen clogging, add the Retarder Base.

Step 9 Wash-up of screens and tools must be done immediately after use. If they are allowed to dry on your screen or tools, they are difficult or impossible to remove. After the textile ink dries on the fabric, set a household iron at the highest heat that will not scorch the fabric and with a cloth or paper between the iron and printed material, iron on each side for 3 to 5 minutes. This will make the ink withstand repeated washings.

MULTICOLOR PRINTING

Step 10 Multi-color signs can be achieved easily by making one screen with the entire message on it. Prepare the screen by any method you prefer.

Once the screen is ready, simply block the words you do not want to print with your first color by putting masking tape or paper on the bottom side of the screen fabric.After you have made your first run of prints, wash the ink from the screen and let it dry. Follow this by blocking out the words you just printed and unblocking words you want to print with your second run of color. After you have made this second run, again wash the screen and let it dry.

NOW YOU’VE MADE YOUR OWN SCREEN PRINTED TEES! GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN!

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It’s a wrap 2011…farewell and good riddens

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 😉

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BLUE COLLAR

America is one hot mess, it’s always been a hot mess. I’m glad that the US has finally taken note of this, with the Occupy everywhere protests. I only wish the protests were more focused.  Many things suck, but they get better when we get better…aggressively better. We will work harder than our parents for less, because unfortunately America was build on the backs of stolen, borrowed exploited labor and efforts and most of us has reaped the benefits of that exploitation to some capacity…and honestly we can’t all be kings queens, ceo’s and overpaid executive, but we can stop supporting the folks and establishments we don’t believe in. And there’s no shame in using your hands to make things and earning a day’s wage. Unfortunately this is something most of us will have to learn to do.

Most of my day job pals have finally stopped looking for jobs (after getting hired, then getting laid off then getting hired for less pay, then getting laid off, dealing with delays in payment etc.) I’m proud of them because they are finally putting there efforts into marketing skills they possess. Teaching dance, vocal lessons, baking, basically doing things in which they are not brokers in a service. they are actually providing a valuable task or deliverable. All great changes came from folks that shifted they way they thought about things. Don’t like the walls knock them down, or leave the room.

Big ups to all the Blue collar workers. America needs more of them. We need to make things, particulary the things we use.

Remixed with my hands especially for you:

The Remixed Blue Collar shirt

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