Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday Shoutin'

I've been a bit slack on posting the past few days mainly due to a lack of inspiration in all on a hill in Southern California miles away from anything will do that to you from time to time not that I have much to complain about as it is beautiful up here. Below is what it looks like.

To give you an idea where it is here is a massively helpful map. I'm about three hours south-east of Los Angeles and two hours and change north of San Diego and Tijuana.

Idyllwild has a population of 5000 tops and if you live here long enough the chances of meeting them all is quite high. It was the original summer home for the Cahuilla Indians who sought refuge from the stifling heat down the desert and it seems like every rock, crevice and valley has a legend associated with them in some way. In the 60s and 70s it was a haven for hippies such as Timothy Leary who lived near to here in Garner Valley and Idyllwild itself was the home of The Brotherhood of Eternal Love who may or may not have been the 'hippie mafia' depending on who you believe and for those of you old enough to remember it served as a shooting location for Air Wolf. My wife is teaching English as a Second Language up here at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and as I am still in process to get my green card I do a few things here and there voluntarily like tomorrow when I managed to persuade Egon from Stones Throw Records to come up and talk to the students about jazz, funk, soul and hip hop and the lineage of the particular music genres. I will report back on all this on Tuesday.

Anyway, I thought that I'd let you all in on what has been catching my eye in recent weeks.

First up, this t-shirt by Mike Giant of REBEL8. Founded in 2003, REBEL8 is a lifestyle brand focused on the creation of high-integrity lowbrow art products with mass-appeal. Products include clothing and limited edition artist prints, in addition to a newly launched publishing arm. REBEL8 manifests a lifestyle built on community, artistic integrity, and respect.

Every REBEL8 graphic is hand-illustrated by Mike Giant. Unlike most clothing graphics, which are created by digitizing the original artwork into vector format, REBEL8 graphics are exact reproductions of the original piece. No part of the original inked line is compromised in this process, lending an edge of authenticity seldom seen in today’s mass-produced market.

Partners Joshy D. and Mike Giant met in the late 1990’s in San Francisco’s then bustling graffiti scene. Josh ran the popular graffiti website, HiFiArt, and Mike was one of the city’s most notorious writers. Years later, and having had some experience with a previous clothing venture, Josh approached Mike about creating a handful of t-shirt graphics. Mike agreed, and a small batch of shirts was made. Josh sold those shirts out of a messenger bag around the city, and REBEL8 was born.

This t-shirt called Big In Japan has really caught my eye. I have a bit of thing for Japanese inspired graphics and with this design they have really hit the nail on the head. I really like the energy of the image, top work.

You can buy this from REBEL8.

Next up, I have two designs from the always excellent Graniph company based in Japan. (How is that for a perfect segue?) I first came across them when I went to Tokyo a few years ago and as far as printing techniques and quality of products are concerned they are unrivaled as far as I am concerned. They don't stoop to immature rip offs of brands and products in order to drive their product home and that is why I like them. They have locations all over Japan and in Sydney and Taipei, so if you're in the area then why not pick up a few?

These are two of my favourites from their newish range that is available to purchase online.

You can buy this from Graniph.

You can buy this from Graniph.

This t-shirt is by Imaginary Foundation. Their designs are beautiful if a little overworked at times and most of them work as prints better than t-shirts but they are definitely a brand that I will be supporting when I open my store in a few months as they are aesthetically incredible and they have a great symbiosis between idea, craft and end product.

This is from their website, "The Imaginary Foundation is a think tank from Switzerland that does experimental research on new ways of thinking and the power of the imagination. They hold dear a belief in human potential and seek progress in all directions. The small clandestine team is headed up by the mysterious "Director" a 70 something uber intellectual who's father founded the Dadaist movement. Avoiding direct publicity the team has sought streetwear as an unlikely vehicle for bringing their ideas beyond the academic realm and into popular culture.

In his vision for the Imaginary Foundation, the Director knew that the human mind has more than one mode, that indeed it has an "ecology" of being. He knew that imagination, intuition, inspiration are basic to psyche. . . . A philosophy of research began to form: imagination as fundamental to all learning; artistic making as a model of integrating vision, materials, structure, and imagery.

What makes true vision is the poetry of life and the richness of nature.

The Foundation's basis has been a strong sense of community, free inquiry, creativity, and the experimental spirit. Over the years the Foundation has generated a critical mass of creative people in many different fields, for whom it's been a catalyst for experimentation and innovation.

The Imaginary Foundation is a crazy and magical place, and the electricity of it's members seems to make for a wonderfully charged atmosphere, so that sometimes before sessions one becomes excited and a little anxious, as though a thunderstorm were sweeping in."

So as you can tell a lot of thought has gone into it, a bit too much for a t-shirt brand? Quite possibly but then again you do need mavericks to drive any scene.

This t-shirt is probably my favourite piece from any range in recent months.

You can buy this from Karmaloop.

So now that you've fought your way through all that I'll give you a bit of a heads up for the week ahead. Hopefully there will be a couple of new installments from the One Hundred Project and I'm going to be putting up a a few tracks for you to download as well as a look at a few more of my favourite artists, so business as usual then. Have a great week.

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