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Artist Decoded

"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists. This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own mind. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside. My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic. When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”. In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art." - Yoshino
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Now displaying: Category: art
Jan 12, 2019

As if spun from ether, the synthy experimental reflections of Kilo Kish (nee Lakisha Kimberly Robinson) strikingly embody what is intangible - the overwhelmingly complex emotions we sometimes feel but cannot find the language to express. A singer-songwriter, multi-disciplinary artist and designer, Kish’s musical offerings have always been deeply intertwined with her work in other mediums. Her debut EP Homeschool (released April 2, 2012), earned praise for its disarming honesty, marking the genesis of a discography informed by Kish’s deeply self-reflective nature and innate curiosity about the boundaries of human interactions with the world. “I think people liked Homeschool because it felt really naive but also natural. That naturalness of it is almost like catching an artist in their garage band stage,” explained Kish. The EP also provides early insight into Kish’s collaborative process, featuring production and vocals from longtime friends the Internet and Pyramid Vitra - Kish had previously connected with Matt Martians ( the Internet) online, and subsequently formed relationships with the rest of the band.

Born in Orlando, Florida, Kish spent much of her early childhood in solitary settings, critiquing and exploring her surroundings autonomously, while at the same time fully immersing herself in creative projects and activities that challenged her world view. She entered her school’s gifted program at the age of five, and the advanced curriculum soon separated her from her peers. Still, the young Kish found that she preferred the company of adults, finding inspiration from the complexity of their realities. Despite having few friends of her age, her family were early advocates of both her independence and creative spirit.

Her mother in particular provided a steady stream of art supplies, books and activities to feed Kish’s voracious young mind. “I would get bored of things really easily. So once I learned how to do something I was always trying to find the next thing to learn,” Kish explained of her lifelong sense of restlessness. Yet even in becoming easily disillusioned with standard childhood activities, Kish still fell under the spell of the popular culture of the ‘90s. When she wasn’t watching a steady stream of music videos on MTV, she listened to the top 40 hits on her favorite local station. In her teenage years, Kish’s musical tastes imploded, expanding into the realm of alternative sounds and internet-based sub-genres. Spurred on by the popularity of pirating platforms like Limewire, she sought out the future-facing crooning of Bjork, and connected with the empowered folk-pop of Regina Spektor.

This plethora of influences coupled with a rejection of any state of stagnation still defines Kish’s music. A year after the release of Homeschool (while still studying at FIT in New York), she completely pivoted directions and released K+. The free mix tape was supported by a digital art zine and immersive listening session. Featuring A$AP Ferg, Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt and more, K+ chronicled the process behind its own making in order to bring the listener closer to the mind of the artist. “At the time, I kind of just considered music as another form of making stuff. I was in college thinking I was going to become a textile designer, but then to see some of my peers blowing up - Matt was with Odd Future and some of my other friends were in A$AP Mob. So I saw it happening around me and it occurred to me that it was possible,” she explained of the time.

The following year, in 2014, she released her second EP Across with the support of French fashion house and record label Maison Kitsune. On its heels came Kish’s debut studio album,Reflections in Real Time (2016) which she released through her own imprint label Kisha Soundscape + Audio. The album, a searing and deeply personal journal entry into the motivations, fears and obsessions of an artist unafraid to document her own fallacies, garnered praise for its earnestness and impeccable musicality. In an interview with Elle that year, Kish even joked that the album’s level of honesty would probably embarrass her later. As her story continues to unfold, and her already-impressive buzz continues to grow, stay tuned for more on one of 2018’s most exciting artists…Kilo Kish.

www.artistdecoded.com

Jan 4, 2019

Show Notes

www.artistdecoded.com

Dec 27, 2018

Born in 1985, artist Nick Runge grew up in Colorado. Coming from a creative family of professional artists, he was always interested in drawing and imagining ideas visually. Starting in 2004, he began thinking about art as a career and got the chance to begin small jobs in and out of the comic book industry. After 2006, he worked as an illustrator for various comic companies such as IDW, Dark Horse, and many others. While primarily making a living as a cover artist, he began painting more seriously and started exploring the world of film art and traditionally painted projects, doing various official and private commissions. These days he has stepped away from commercial properties, focusing exclusively on fine art and personal work using oils and watercolor.

As a portrait/figurative painter, Nick works from life as well as photography, describing his art as something close to “abstracted realism”, with an objective of expressing as much of the realistic human element of life as possible through a limited and often simplified approach to his rendering or brushwork, giving an illusion of realism while, at the same time, breaking shapes and form down enough to have a close balance with abstraction.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The reasons why he began his career as an artist in illustration

  • Making the transition from being a professional illustrator to being a fine artist

  • Steven Pressfield’s book, “The War of Art”

  • Creating mental devices to help you clearly navigate though your career

  • His experiences working in the comic book industry

  • Commercial viability of analog and digital artworks

  • Pitfalls of the American educational system

  • The financial realities of being a working artist

  • Art and design existing everywhere

  • How the arts are supported and unsupported in America

  • Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now”

  • The movie poster that Runge was commissioned to illustrate for the documentary, “The Death of Superman Lives”

  • Ideologies about tribes and community

  • AI creating artworks

  • NOH/WAVE

  • Art collectives

www.artistdecoded.com

www.nohwaveacademy.com/nick-runge

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Dec 19, 2018

Joseph Lee is an actor and self-taught artist who studies faces and the emotions that inhabit them.  Lee focuses on the parallel between external reality and internal process by manipulating everyday faces and objects through segmented brush strokes, color choice, and volume, converging them into a complete and balanced whole.

Show Notes:

  • Joseph’s journey into acting

  • Picking up a paintbrush as a reaction to his father’s passing

  • Intuitively thinking with creating artworks

  • Insecurities

  • His role in the, Sundance Award Winning film, “Searching” (2018)

  • Traveling to Korean on an acting job and navigating the social landscape as a foreigner

  • Utilizing a gratitude journal in your daily practice

  • Existential crises

  • SCOPE Art Show 2018

www.artistdecoded.com

Nov 20, 2018

Michael Shaw is an artist and podcast host & producer based in Los Angeles. While working as an artist and writing about art, in late 2011 he started The Conversation Art Podcast, a show that “goes behind the scenes and between the lines of the contemporary art worlds.” Inspired by his own experiences holding down a variety of jobs and projects over the years to support himself, and wanting to reach a wider audience than the niche of the art world, he created his 2nd podcast, How I Get By, to address concepts including day jobs, living on a wide spectrum of income levels and general work/life satisfaction. You can see his art at michaelshawstudio.com

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Why he started his podcast, “The Conversation: Art Podcast”

  • Our experiences podcasting and our interactions with listeners

  • Social experimentation

  • Collaboration

  • Seneca

  • Obscure films

  • The Italian Film, “The Best of Youth”

  • The films, “Lady Bird”, “Manchester by the Sea”, and “Sorry To Bother You”

  • Pop music and popular podcasts

www.artistdecoded.com

Nov 18, 2018

Linus Sandgren is a Oscar and Academy Award winning Swedish cinematographer best known for his work on the films La La Land (2016), First Man (2018), and American Hustle (2013).

www.artistdecoded.com

Oct 13, 2018

Isaac Bauman is a cinematographer and photographer based in Los Angeles.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Bauman talks about the latest feature film he worked on entitled “Bloodline”
  • Counteracting comfortability in one’s art form
  • Adapting under pressure and embracing resistance
  • A lighting technique called “blue moonlight”
  • Understanding human psychology for team communication on film sets
  • Surviving as an artist
  • Compromising one’s artistic vision to service a client’s commercial needs
  • What it takes to make a good collaborative partnership
  • Kesh and Bauman’s film project, “Controller”
  • Building respect for the people you work with
  • How Bauman got into photography
  • Exploration being the cornerstone of the artistic journey
  • The power of listening
  • Dealing with our own demons
  • Dealing with creative differences

www.artistdecoded.com

Oct 7, 2018

Tunde Adebimpe is a musician, actor, director, and visual artist best know for being the frontman of the band TV On The Radio.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The power of telling your personal story
  • His solo exhibition at NOH/WAVE entitled, “The Full Catastrophe”, opening Oct 31st
  • The importance of forgiving others
  • Poisoning yourself with negative thoughts
  • Tapping into the child-like self
  • Clarity in having children
  • Tunde growing up in Nigeria between the ages of 5 – 10
  • Using journaling as a tool in your daily practice
  • Revisiting ideas of the past
  • The consciousness stream
  • Parenting
  • How Tunde navigates between creating with different artistic mediums
  • Creative partnerships
  • Settings expectations or not setting them at all
  • The reason why he got into acting
  • Relinquishing control of a project once you put it out into the world
  • “The Square” directed by Ruben Östlund
  • Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon”

www.artistdecoded.com

Oct 3, 2018

As an artist in the group BASECAMP, Jordan Reyes has released records on the label end via OWSLA/Atlantic & Independently Popular, while playing Bonnaroo, Osheaga and touring with Chvrches, Phantogram, and more. As producer, Jordan has had multiple cuts with blackbear, Mike Shinoda, KYLE, Donna Missal, Terror Jr, Wes Period, Doja Cat and many more.  Currently, Jordan is developing a new artist project by name of bodyimage.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Psychedelics

  • Synesthesia

  • The awareness of subtle nuances and details in constructing music

  • Reyes explains his time creating music with his group, Basecamp

  • Having strength within one’s sensitivities

  • The industrial and technological revolutions

  • How physical activity can fuel a more efficient creative practice

  • Religion vs. spirituality

  • Shifts and evolutions in life

  • Creating artwork within certain boundaries

www.artistdecoded.com

Aug 20, 2018

Rina Yang is a director of photography based in London. She grew up in a small city in Japan, where she studied still life and portrait painting.

Yang is a highly accomplished cinematographer who has worked with clients such as: Netflix, Nike, Vice, and Saatchi & Saatchi, and musicians including: Kendrick Lamar, FKA Twigs, Vince Staples, Charli XCX, and many more.

www.artistdecoded.com

Instagram:

@the_rinayang

@saman_kesh

@yoshinostudios

Aug 4, 2018

Mia Bergeron is a figurative oil painter that oscillates between classical and expressionistic painting. Rooted in her upbringing in New York City with continuous exposure to modern art, her paintings also reveal her choice to study classical painting in Florence, Italy under Charles H. Cecil in her twenties. Heavily influenced by historical artists such as Diego Velázquez, Titian, Anthony van Dyck and John Singer Sargent, her paintings are also shaped by current artists such as Alex Kanevsky, Ann Gale, and Adrian Ghenie. 

Mia’s education was rooted in formal portraiture from life- she spent thousands of hours painting people and watching tweaks in eyebrows, mouths that shifted with fatigue, shoulders that grew heavy. These changes were minuscule, and yet were the markings and delineations of time. She is enamored with the nuance, variation, and subtlety that observation provides. Although narrative has been an undercurrent in Mia’s work for years, it is only recently, after being consumed with the purely visual tools she continues to discovered, that she has made it her focus. 

Mia has been published numerous times in international magazines. Her paintings have placed repeatedly in both national and international competitions, notably in The Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition (2013, 2015). She has participated in the traveling museum show “Women Painting Women”. She has also tried her hand as curator for the successful show “Unfurl” at Gallery 1261 in Denver in 2015. She has served as advanced painting adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and is a continuing instructor through Townsend Atelier, also in Chattanooga, where she resides. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • How Justin and Mia met
  • Death of a Coworker
  • The currency of respect
  • How Mia got into figurative painting
  • Mia growing up in NYC
  • Introverted vs. extroverted tendencies
  • How Mia got into oil painting
  • An artist vs. a painter’s mindset
  • Painting as a meditative practice
  • Quitting painting then returning to it years later with a fresh perspective
  • The necessity for a compulsion to create art
  • The symptom of a true calling
  • Work-a-holism and obsession
  • “The Pool Filter Analogy” 
  • Addressing fear
  • Transcending grief and fear

www.artistdecoded.com

Jul 26, 2018

Tobias Schliessler most recently lensed Ava Duvernay’s adaptation of A WRINKLE IN TIME for Disney, starring Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Reese Witherspoon.

Schliessler also recently shot Bill Condon’s visually stunning film BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, starring Emma Watson and Luke Evans. Condon and Schliessler first teamed up on the Academy Award winning film DREAMGIRLS, followed by THE FIFTH ESTATE, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and more recently, the beautifully shot MR. HOLMES, starring Ian McKellen.

Last year Schliessler lensed Peter Berg’s Boston Marathon drama PATRIOT’S DAY, starring Mark Wahlberg. Berg and Schliessler previously collaborated on a number of films including: the action/drama LONE SURVIVOR, also starring Mark Wahlberg; the sci-fi thriller BATTLESHIP; HANCOCK, starring Will Smith; the high school football drama FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS; and THE RUNDOWN, starring The Rock.

Other notable credits include Tony Scott’s crime thriller THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123; as well as Antoine Fuqua’s BAIT, starring Jamie Foxx.

A native of Germany, Schliessler studied cinematography at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. He began his career shooting documentaries, and then segued into independent features, television movies, music videos and commercials. Schliessler was honored by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) for his cinematography on Audi’s commercial WAKE UP in 2000, and Lincoln’s Financial spot DOCTOR in 2001. Both are now part of the permanent archives of The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Film and Video in New York City. His commercial work also includes ads for such high end brands as Mercedes Benz, BMW, Bank of America, Citibank , AT&T and Verizon.

Aisha Schliessler is a writer and director living in Los Angeles, California.

A third-generation filmmaker, life behind the camera is in her blood. She has worked across a wide range of projects including shorts, music videos and commercials.

Her short documentary, DOBLE 9, about four Cuban exiles connected through Miami’s Calle Ocho domino park, screened at multiple film festivals in 2016 including The Miami International Film Festival and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana.

In 2017 she wrote and directed THE END, about a lonesome beauty and her unusual dinner date, which won the Audience Choice Award at the New York City Short Film Festival (NYC Shorts).
Most recently, Aisha wrote and directed the short film PASSING in collaboration with Zeiss lenses, which will premiere in 2018.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • How he got into cinematography
  • Tobias’s father’s path into mountain climbing and documentarian filmmaking
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder (filmmaker)
  • Robby Müller (Dutch cinematographer)
  • Directors he’s worked with, Bill Condon and Peter Berg
  • Pushing each other creatively in collaborative partnerships
  • A film Tobias worked on called, “Friday Night Lights”
  • His experiences on set
  • Mentoring younger people entering the film industry
  • Working on “Lone Survivor”
  • The film, “The American Friend”
  • The film, “The Square”
  • Working with directors Peter Berg and Bill Condon

www.artistdecoded.com

Jul 10, 2018

Justin Daashuur Hopkins is an artist based in Los Angeles, CA. He is also the Co-Founder / Art Director of LA based art collective, NOH/WAVE.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Music
  • The origin story of NOH/WAVE
  • Justin’s introduction into illustrating and working as a professional illustrator at the age of 14
  • Traditional educational systems
  • Creative business partnerships
  • The challenges of working with commercial clients
  • Balancing out one’s ego
  • Defining purpose in one’s life
  • Cultural movements
  • Joseph Campbell
  • Justin and Yoshino’s childhood
  • The film, “The Florida Project” by director Sean Baker
  • “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi
  • “Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid” by Douglas Hofstadter
  • Robert Rodriguez and resourcefulness
  • The tower metaphor
  • Vasyl Lomachenko

www.artistdecoded.com

Jul 2, 2018

Aja Daashuur is a Los Angeles based Certified Intuitive & Transformational Life Coach (LPI), Spirit Guide Medium, Clairvoyant, Akashic Records Reader, Sound Bath Practitioner, Altar Consultant and founder of Spirit House Collective, an all women-identifying community group.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Growing up encountering spirits
  • Depression
  • Opening yourself up to creating more flow in your life
  • Witnessing possessions
  • Shifting your perspective of failures into lessons
  • Protecting your energy
  • Empaths
  • Connecting with your spirit guides

www.artistdecoded.com

May 30, 2018

Alexandre Souêtre, originally from Paris, is a LA-based creative director & visual artist.

Jesse Draxler is a multidisciplinary artist.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Souêtre Growing up in Paris
  • Souêtre's beginnings in film which lead him to creative direction, design, and photography
  • Souêtre moving to America for college
  • How Draxler and Souêtre met and became collaborators
  • Draxler’s process with working with photographers
  • Skateboarding as an art form
  • Setting up creative constraints to create artwork
  • French cinema
  • Filmmaker Gaspar Noé
  • Gaspar Noé films, “Irreversible” and “Enter The Void”
  • VR
  • “The Book of Joan” by author Lidia Yuknavitch
  • Alexandre’s book he’s writing
  • Icelandic pop music including Samaris

www.artistdecoded.com

May 8, 2018

VOWWS is an Australian Death-Pop duo based out of Los Angeles.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Creating and attaining goals
  • Financial burdens of going to college
  • Education in Australia
  • Pitfalls of the American educational system
  • Old school video games
  • The story of how they met in college
  • Celebrating death and western culture’s view on death
  • Deathpop
  • Genres being subjective
  • Over conceptualizing art
  • Touring
  • Depression

Photos by Olivia Shove

www.artistdecoded.com

May 1, 2018

In this podcast, we interview actor Martin Starr from the hit tv HBO comedy Silicon Valley.

We take a deep dive into topics such as: being recognized at hipster parties, seasonal depression, being a child of an actress, the future of pornography, bitcoin and human connection.

This episode was produced and co-hosted by Saman Kesh.

www.artistdecoded.com

Apr 21, 2018

Ania Catherine is an artist and choreographer based in Los Angeles. Her work merges movement, film, and performance art and has been shown internationally at the British Film Institute, Art Basel Hong Kong, Peacock Theatre (London), LA Center for Digital Art, Agora Collective (Berlin), Forum des images (Paris), Dansmuseet (Stockholm), International Meeting on Screendance (Valencia, Spain), among others. She holds a master's degree from the London School of Economics, and through bodies explores the intersections of performance and her academic research in gender, sexuality, representation, and politics. In addition to her personal practice, she works internationally performing, choreographing, speaking, directing, and teaching. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Growing up in Orange County in California
  • Gender and sexuality
  • How “slow cinema” has influenced her work
  • Films by Roy Anderson and Chantal Akerman
  • Creating work that’s personal
  • Misrepresentations of sexuality
  • How she met her wife
  • Surrounding yourself with people who project positive energy

www.artistdecoded.com

@artistdecoded

Mar 24, 2018

"How do we understand, connect with and react to traces of the metaphysical? My work is about becoming, a process that encompasses both doing and undoing; energy goes into my materials and then there is a natural or simulated process of destruction. Transformation is central to my practice: a metamorphosis that reveals the ruin and beauty of both the body and the psyche. With the intention of revealing layers and residual deterioration, I unravel, scratch, burn and peel parts of the work. I use many natural materials in my practice—particularly linen, sisal rope and dye—which exude a distinct smell and permeate the senses before the demanding visuality commands attention. This address to the olfactory helps to create an active environment rather than a static installation. My works, unlike the products of conventional fiber practices, bear traces of my hand—bits of imperfect or unfinished warp and weft—and the inexact results of hand-dyeing. Parts of the work are undone, unmade and unraveled, lending credence to their indeterminate nature. While the process of weaving, in its demanding repetition and methodical rhythm, is a contemplative endeavor typically exact in execution, the ruinous state of these works points to my interest in the limits of the physical and preoccupation with the ethereal.

I am fascinated by the connection between the physical and metaphysical, and, in this vein, I take ancient mythology, metamorphosis, ruination and entropy as inspirations in my work. Like ruins, my works are remnants of what was once whole; they are inscribed with traces of their previous life, death endured and the hereafter. My works embody these remnants that prefigure thought and feeling." - Mary Grisey

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Kindred spirits
  • Her trajectory as an artist
  • Finding her voice
  • How a traumatic experience created a shift in the way she created art
  • The relationship between creating artwork and meditating
  • Breaking down mental systems
  • Her spiritual journey
  • Clairvoyance
  • Her encounters with ghosts
  • Working in the metaphysical realm
  • How she got into tarot card reading

www.artistdecoded.com

Feb 28, 2018

Originally from Ottawa, Elly Smallwood graduated from OCAD University in 2011 and now works as an artist in Toronto. Her paintings are intensely personal, a visual exploration of her mind and body, and those of the people around her.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Her workflow
  • The business of art
  • Getting paid as an artist
  • “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
  • “Nocturnal Animals”
  • The importance of failure
  • Her transition leaving Toronto to move to Ottawa
  • Having a solid art community
  • Understanding human anatomy for your art practice
  • Conspiracy theories

www.artistdecoded.com

Jan 5, 2018

Nicole Miglis is the singer / songwriter of the band Hundred Waters.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The origin story of Hundred Waters
  • OWSLA
  • The power of introverts and listening
  • Language
  • The feeling behind captivating artworks
  • Their new album “Communicating”
  • Nicole’s journey as a musician
  • Choosing art as a career
  • Turning your weaknesses into strengths
  • Ideas surrounding femininity and masculinity
  • Power in vulnerability
  • The idea of self and others
  • Standing the test of time

www.artistdecoded.com

Dec 20, 2017

Dado Valentic is the CTO of Acute Art, based in London and Los Angeles. Alongside Acute Art's co-founder, Jacob De Geer, Dado worked on the launch of the 'VR Museum,’ an app that exhibits subscription-based, interactive, multiuser fine-art artworks. The "VR Museum" is now available on the HTC Vive from the Acute Art website and HTC Vive store

Dado Valentic is also an award winning colour grading artist and one of the leading developers in the area of colour science for digital film cameras. Dado is the founder of Mytherapy, a creative studio for digital colour correction and motion picture retouching. He is known for his unique approach to the processing of digital images and his film stock emulation technology.

Dado Valentic has worked on over 30 feature films and numerous commercials. His latest work was creating a colour science for Netflix HDR production of 'Marco Polo -Season II', which was awarded Best TV Picture, ASC 2016.

As a colour scientist, he was involved in 'Exodus' by Riddle Scott, as well as 'Game of Thrones', 'Total Recall', 'Mr Nice', and 'Sherlock Holmes' by Guy Richie. Dado's colourist credits include: 'Absolutely Anything' directed by Terry Jones, starring Simon Pegg, 'A Hundred Streets' starring Idris Elba, 'Dough' starring Jonathan Pryce, and 'Blackwood' by Adam Wimpenny.

Mytherapy is based at Warner Bros. De Lane Lea offering High-End Motion Picture Post Production Services.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • The start of Acute Art
  • Working with artists Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Marina Abramovic, Anish Kapoor for VR Museum
  • VR and art working together
  • Adaptability within VR environments
  • His career as a color scientist for feature films
  • Using neuroscience to understand human behavior in the VR world
  • Implications of the Technological Revolution
  • Ed Atkins work

www.artistdecoded.com

Nov 30, 2017

Born + raised in Miami by Cuban immigrants, Norberto Rodriguez began his career at 18 as a multi-disciplinary conceptual artist known for his continuously disruptive + innovative practice. He works in all media + genre including installation, performance, photography, sculpture, digital, music, film, text + tenderness. Currently, Rodriguez is developing A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: a center for exploring how ideas give life meaning, IP DIVISION: A company providing creative solutions + services to consumers everywhere, + The Waiting Room: an experimental, collaborative space for private reflection + public exchange.  He also shares his journey documenting various other projects + his ongoing evolution as an artist + friend on social media @norbertoinc.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Using commercial platforms to your advantage as an artist
  • Alternative ideas to bypass and subvert the traditional art gallery model
  • Slash from Guns and Roses making an appearance on the episode
  • Exploring deep philosophical ideas about the ramifications of the art market
  • Questioning your legacy as an artist
  • “The pre-career retrospective”
  • Steve Jobs and Apple
  • When Bert got married to a stranger for a year
  • The Bert Rodriguez Museum
  • When he killed Bert Rodriguez
  • Pitfalls of galleries
  • Artists as a commodity
  • Art evolving culture
  • Kanye West
  • The sale of his will
  • Shamans
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky
Nov 28, 2017

It’s impossible not to become infatuated with soulful pop princess Gavin Turek. The LA Native is always clad in a hand-made 70s fringe dress (designed herself in every color) and armed with the best dance moves you’ve ever seen. It’s easy to draw comparisons anywhere from Tina Turner to Beyoncé but really, Gavin is her own force to be reckoned with. Performing always came natural: she grew up with a father who played piano and tagging alongside her mother, who toured coffeeshops singing gospel. Her origin story goes like this: at age three, a teeny tiny Gavin interrupted her mother mid performance, took over the mic and to the astonishment of the audience, finished the song for her. She knew every single lyric, word for word, and whoa, that girl could sing. Suffice to say, a star was born.

Growing up, Gavin obsessively studied two things: music (the likes of Donna Summer, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Diana Ross. Michael Jackson, Giorgio Moroder) and all forms of dance. Originally aspiring to be a professional dancer, she spent months at a time in India and Africa, immersing herself in different cultures. Ghana was where Gavin first discovered her love for fringe and learned that the popular disco-era fad had much deeper origins. Everyday while in Ghana, Gavin learned and performed the traditional dances of the northern region, with falling in love with their massive fringe belts that moved with the music and drums as an extension of body and spirit. As Gavin jokingly told Nylon Magazine, “fringe really makes your hips look good and accentuates the movements.” Another great discovery for her was that in other cultures, dance is much more than a form entertainment, it is a way of life. It is used to celebrate births, weddings, religious worships, achievements and even deaths and afterlife. Upon returning to the United States, Gavin eventually returned to singing and songwriting as her main medium of expression, but when the time came to perform her own music, dance and fringe costumes naturally became a vital component for her live shows.

Two special artists in particular became champions early on for Gavin. Brainfeeder genius TOKiMONSTA has been a longtime friend and collaborator. Early on in both their careers, she asked Gavin to contribute vocals to her productions, which lead to the fan favorite track “Darkest Dim.” Mayer Hawthorne was next, not only inviting Gavin to open his sold out tours but recruiting her as the female counterpart in his retro funk act Tuxedo with producer Jake Uno. (You may recognize her as the golden disco goddess gracing the stage with them everywhere from the legendary Hollywood Bowl to Japan).

In 2015, word of mouth about Gavin’s music and electric live shows spread with the release of her electro R&B infused mini-album “You’re Invited” produced by TOKiMONSTA. The girl power duo followed the release with a sold out tour and received accolades from Billboard, NPR, The Fader, Apple / Beats 1, KCRW, etc. That year,Spin named Gavin as the summer’s Top Artist to Watch and her disco funk-tinged single "Don’t Fight It” as one of the best tracks of 2015.

By 2016, Gavin’s star quality was undeniable. She dominated the stage with guest performances at legendary festivals such as Outside Lands and Coachella and late night performances on Jimmy Kimmel with Mayer Hawthorne and Cee Lo. Her crowning achievement this past year began with the release of her single “On the Line” (produced by Chris Hartz of Passion Pit) last May. In support of the release, she played a beyond sold-out month long residency in Los Angeles. The long time venue promoter said he had never seen anything like it in LA, with lines wrapped around the block in hopes of catching Gavin perform what would soon become her new EP Good Look for You.  “On the Line”  premiered #1 on HypeMachine very organically thanks to dedicated love from the hippest underground blogs and airplay from six of KCRW’s top tastemakers. KCRW DJ Anne Lit proclaimed it the “song of the summer.”   

Gavin preps now to release her EP “Good Look for You” February 17 via her own label Madame Gold Records. A self starter and entrepreneur whose mission is to inspire women of all ages and ethnicities, Madame Gold continues the tradition of female greats taking the reigns of their own success. Gavin considers it an homage to the artists she admires most: Solange, Janelle Monae and TOKiMONSTA. The EP’s single “Good Look for You” (November, 2016) already has  garnered attention from Stereogum, Nylon, Okayplayer, etc and the EP release will be celebrated with a live KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic in-studio session and release parties in both Los Angeles and New York this February.

www.artistdecoded.com

Nov 20, 2017

"Making pictures is one of the earliest memories I recall. Before learning to write the alphabet I was drawing from my imagination in crayons. And over all the years that followed, there has never been a period where I didn’t continue the practice. I remember for example just after graduating high school and living on my own as a dishwasher with no ambitions in life but to get drunk and high. But when the party was over I would be in the kitchen of a house I didn’t live in, drawing past dawn. Or even when I was a student at the University of California Berkeley, on my way towards a corporate life, having never conceived even the possibility where art could be a profession, I filled my notebooks not with words from lectures, but with sketches of teachers and classmates. And though later I would become a ‘professional artist’, I sometimes look back at such moments if confused with the roots of my creativity. It started purely as an act of autonomy, where nothing outside myself influenced or affected it. I simply drew because I enjoyed it above all else. Sure, like anyone I’ve had plenty of typical life experiences that have brought their own joy, but nothing compares in consistency and meaningfulness that making art has provided. Even during those unavoidable periods with living that challenges us most, drastic life change/loss/death, art has functioned as a medium with giving meaning to suffering, transforming it into an experience with healing. This I hope, begins to describe the art I make. The drawings and paintings you see on this site, are similar to snapshots with the lens pointed in Life's direction with penetrating force. I hope you enjoy any of what's reflected back. Thanks for visiting." - Akira Beard

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Identity
  • His Japanese American heritage
  • Akira’s self portraiture work where he addressed the theme of identity
  • The idea of “self, culture, nature”
  • Self-realization
  • The Buddhist concept of impermanence
  • The difference between a technician and a fine artist
  • “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”
  • The enigma of love
  • His body of artwork called “Love In Spite of Everything”
  • His 4 year path of discovery
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Stoicism
  • Daily rituals
  • Anais Nin

www.artistdecoded.com

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