Watdajel: Art, Music & Extravagance [Event Review]

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Watdajel..” If you pronounce it with the Spanish ‘jota’, it becomes Spanglish for “what the hell..!” Because where on the planet do you find giant, moving eyeballs, psychedelic grafitti, a virtual reality bike and vintage cumbia together in one place? Flabbergasted already? Welcome to the most innovative, most extravagant celebration of creativity in Utrecht, Amsterdam and surroundings!

The former edition in July had the Peruvian global bass heavywheights Dengue Dengue Dengue!, right after I blogged their ‘Serpiente Dorada EP’, and I missed it.. So I promised myself that I would attend next time, no matter what.

This time, it was in an industrial hall not too far from my house. When I entered, I stepped into a magical world, in a dim light with spots that drew the attention to the different artworks that were positioned around the hall in such way that they created little corners, microclimates with their own characters. The bar, foodcorner, the chill-container and the DJ booth from where jumpy techno grooves filled the hall, were pieces of art by themselves.

The concept of fusing of art and music into a whole experience of creativity comes from Peru and is, according to organiser Jesús, much more common in Latin America. “When I came to Holland, there was nothing quite like what I knew from there, so I thought, let’s create it myself.”

All the contributing artists are young pioneers from the surroundings of Utrecht and Amsterdam in the personal network of the organiser. In one corner, the collective Creative Transformation offered a combination of bodypainting, shisha, massages and energetic stones. In another corner, there was a hometrainer-like bike with a virtual reality mask next to it, where you could take a hyper-realistic bike-ride through a grim cyberpunk city where you were followed and observed by enormous eyeballs floating through the air.

I walked towards one of the benches in the middle of the hall, where people flocked together to chill, chat and eat their food and ran into two familiar faces I happened to have met only two days earlier in a random snackbar after which we went for a beer. They encouraged me to climb the virtual reality bike myself and enter this impressive world, wandering through dark deserted alleys with in the background still the techno grooves, which overpowered the murmur of voices and made the experience even more immersive. And when I put off the virtual reality glasses, I couldn’t help but wonder what you would see if you removed the glasses of our own world…

But the best surprise of all was that they were friends of the DJ collective behind what appears to be the most thriving global bass party in Utrecht: Safari in het Bos (Safari in the Woods), who would spin tropical grooves all night in the upstairs area, featuring guest sets of Scarab Soundsystem, Edgar Nevermoo and The Rockers Domtown!

I got the opportunity to have a beer together and ask a couple of questions about this wonderfully successful concept. That interview will appear on the blog soon!

Shortly after the interview, Edgar opened with an all-vinyl set of delicious, nostalgic Colombian vintage cumbia to fill the place with tropical happiness and warm up the area for the more bassful work that would follow later.

I asked organiser Jesús if he has any more surprises in store for us and the readers of Generation Bass in the upcoming editions.

He smiled. “Extending the network, involving more varied forms of art, especially performing arts like theatre and dance.”

And when I asked a visitor how she would describe your overall impression of this festival in one sentence, she did it in one word:

“Extravagant!”

We’ll keep you updated about the next edition!

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Check out a little photo report here that I made with my phone!

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The proyections on the spheres moved, and winked

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Glow-in-the-dark grafitti in the chill-container

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Me in virtual reality

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Upstairs area, turned into a rainforest

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Dj Edgar Nevermoo behind the turntables

Racrufi’s Breathtaking Prehispanic Futurism

Whoever knows me well, knows that there are few things I love more than science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been a hobby artist and writer for about as long as I can remember and my favourite themes were almost invariably futurism, space, or rather mythical fantasy. Somehow, for me, my passion for Latin-American culture has been kindof a separate thing from all this. But imagine how mindblowing it would be to bring these worlds together…

That is exactly what Raúl Cruz Figueroa, a.k.a. RACRUFI, does. I found out about him when preparing for my 3ball post, featured by one of his works. More than time to give this amazing visual artist from Mexico City the full credits he deserves!

“Partly cyberpunk, partly epic-fantasty and always inspired by Mexico’s prehispanic culture and aesthetics,” that would be a most appropriate description of his style. Many of his breathtaking works, strongly reminiscent of the amazing art adorning my all-time favourite cardgame Magic the Gathering, depict a fascinating, post-apocalyptic world inhabited by mechanical and ‘cyborganic’ descendants of a resurrected prehispanic empire.

As a kid, Raúl developed an early passion for both art and science fiction which has stayed with him ever since. He has always wanted to develope a sci-fi/fantasy style that is distinctly Mexican. His wildly creative and innovative works have featured in many important international fantasy magazines and blogs.  As a freelancer, the lack of a full-blown sci-fi or fantasy industry in Mexico has been a struggle sometimes. Yet, over the years, he has built an impressive personal portfolio, culminating in a book that came out last year.

Generation Bass made this mouthwatering selection:

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Mikistli’ (2011)

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‘Recuperación arqueológica’ (2008)

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‘Esperando la batalla’ (2005)

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‘Neo maya’ (2009)

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‘Rey maya’ (2010)

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‘Cibercrisálida’ (2005)

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‘Intervención’ (2002)

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‘Tricentenario’ (2010) 

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‘Hallazgo’ (1995)

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‘La última jugada’ (2008)

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‘Guardián del Sol’ (2005)

FOLLOW RACRUFI:

RACRUFI.COM

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

YOUTUBE

BLOGSPOT

 

 

Reincarnated Bums – Art, Music and Inner Peace

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As a passionate lover of music and art as well as a dreamer, coming across more and more like-minded people is inevitable at some point. Like being on a travel, having a short chat somebody and suddenly realising that you’ve got something very particular in common. A certain destination, a certain place you’ve both visited and both had a particular emotional experience that turns out to connect you on some deeper level.

That happened to me when I was almost literally traveling, out in the cyberspace of Soundcloud, on the lookout for new cumbia and other transnational and genre-crossing music. And on that travel I ran into this collective of loosely coupled music and art projects that revolve around the synergy between music, art and spirituality, called ‘Reincarnated Bums’.

In this case, we discovered a particular, shared desire to connect opposites, to broaden minds, and to use music and art as a medium for that!

When it comes to their art, it are different spiritual and inspirational figures, religious symbolism, manga cartoons and mathematical-mystical designs that are blended into a psychedelic, almost mind-altering whole..

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Music wise, their DJ collective The Gurus are sharing the same vision of dimension-transcending unity with a style they have dubbed ‘Guru House’: a fusion between deephouse, techhouse and subtle bit of trap..

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I interviewed JoeMcFly to find out more!

GB: Please tell us, what is or who are Reincarnated Bums? How did you come up with this name and what does it tell about you?

RB: Reincarnated Bums is a spiritual movement. Our main goal is to get people to become conscious of their true potential and come in contact with the spiritual energy that is within us all. A Reincarnated Bum is a person who aims to become reborn and aims to leave the past behind to create a better future. I came up with it by just combing two words that I felt connected with my life at the moment. I spent a lot of time studying the science of Reincarnation and I often got called a Bum by my friends and family. RB tells everything about me, I am a Reincarnated Bum, however I knew I was not the only one so I created Reincarnated Bums. Anyone can be a Reincarnated Bum.

GB: Is there anything we have missed out on from your project so far?

RB: I would say the videos we have put up on YouTube from our interviews to our video montages. We have a Spiritual Public Announcement video montage and also a Political one. These videos are really symbolic and have deep meaning. Other than that I would say the music that is being released under Reincarnated Bums in collaboration with a group of Producers/ DJ’s, which I am also a part of called Beyond Normal.

GB: A bit cliche perhaps, but who or what are your main sources of inspiration for this project?

RB: It’s a bit hard to explain who my main source of inspiration is. I feel like my inspiration comes from a little bit of everyone who has ever inspired me. What keeps me going is my belief that God gives all of us a purpose in this life and within this purpose there are universal energies that guide us and help us with our journey.  I feel like my purpose in this life is to help others discover theirs. I feel that with my movement I will be able to help others discover things that society has hid from them.

GB: your website talks about art, music, film ant literature, how do you regard the connection between them?

RB: The way I am creating the connection between Art, Music, Film, and Literature is by creating a site where you will discover; Art that holds deep meaning, Music that moves your soul, Film’s that teach you something new, and Literature that will teach you how to think.

GB: Are there any important lessons you have learned since you started RB?

RB: The most important lesson I’ve learned since starting RB is to always plan for the future, do as much as you can in the present and in time your plans of the future will become reality in your present.

FOLLOW REINCARNATED BUMS:

REINCARNATEDBUMS.COM

YOUTUBE

FACEBOOK

TUMBLR

INSTAGRAM

DEVIANT ART

Creatures

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My first ART post here, on Generation Bass 🙂 As a huge art fan and designer, I gravitate towards imagery first and foremost and the obscure and bizarre (BizArt) styles seem to draw the most attention. As a musician for 75% of my life, my main passion is in the realms of sound but sound itself is a vision captured by the ears. I am somewhat synesthetic in that sense, all sound has a color to my mind and often it even forms scenes and landscapes. For this reason, I consider what I do in the studio as painting with a palette of sound in the canvas of my mind’s eye. It’s hard to say whether literary arts or visual arts are my second-most favorite forms of expression…or if the culinary arts take the cake.

Below are some pieces I came across in my travels through Google images and/or my Facebook feed. The first being Adam Hughes. After some research, I found that he is a comic book artist and that I’m not really into most of his work aside from this lovely Crocodilian sex-goddess…

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^ Above Artwork by Adam Hughes

 

 

The Art of Ken Barthelmey:

These are some fantastic creatures from another planet…a bit of science and art intertwined but mostly fantasy. Science Fiction is a favorite topic of mine in both film and visual art.

Here’s a bit of background on this  Ken Barthelmey, in his own words:

Born 1989 in Luxembourg I started drawing and sculpturing at an early age. I have always been passionate about art and all creative things in general.

My focus is on creating Creatures and Characters for the entertainment industry but I also have a passion for environments.

I always push myself to create authentic and unique designs. To reach that goal I invested a lot of time in studying the anatomy of animals and humans. Quality is very important to me. Whether traditional or digital media, I constantly try to advance my techniques and skills.

In 2013 I was honored with the Chesley Award for Best Magazine Cover Illustration, announced and presented by ASFA at the 71th World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio. My work has also won several other awards, such as the 3DTotal Excellence Award, CGArena Excellence Award, CG Gallerie Award, The Golden Eye, The Golden Topia Award and Infected by Art Gold Award.”

 

The Art of Ken Barthelmey

 

The Art of Ken Barthelmey

 

The Art of Ken Barthelmey

 

The Art of Ken Barthelmey

 

The Art of Ken Barthelmey

 

Beautiful Mandalas : Kathy Klein

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VIA: My Modern Met

Arizona-based artist Kathy Klein uses a variety of organic materials to produce a series of eye-catching mandalas referred to as Danmalas—a portmanteau of the Vedic Sanskrit words “dān” and “mālā” which respectively mean “the giver” and “garland of flowers.” Each piece in her ongoing collection boasts a brilliant sense of geometric symmetry and energetic life.

Taking inspiration from traditional Buddhist mandalas, Klein’s danmala’s use shells, seeds, pine cones, rocks, vegetation, and a diverse supply of flowers (including carnations, daisies, goldenrods, hydrangeas, junipers, marigolds, and tulips) to present a circle of symmetry. After assembling each visually enriching combination, she leaves it out for anyone to come across. There’s a meditative repetitiveness to each creation that is both awakening and relaxing for those who discover her work in person. For the rest of us, Klein offers prints and a calendar featuring her beautiful work.

Kathy Klein website

Tip O’ hat 2 Lara Lara.

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Packard Jennings : the art of subversion

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Packard Jennings is an artist, an activist, an artivist.

Like the French Nouvelle Vague a new wave washed against our dull established values. And suggested to perceive art in an other way or maybe to give it back the place it has once. PHJ is part of this movement.

History fact : In France Art got its ministry in 1959. Before it was part of the Ministry of Education or Ministry of Public Instruction. André Malraux, a famous French writer got the lead of The Ministère des Affaires Culturelles and developed a policy of “artistic shock”; the belief that the inner qualities of an artwork should create emotions and catch attention without the need to be explained to viewers. A beautiful idea indeed but which actually came up with another intention : cutting Art off the popular culture. Deprived from its root Art would become abstract, etheral, emptied of political messages. Art stopped being the media of political concerns it stopped pissing off politicians for a while. The idea was so great that many countries around the world adopted it. And most of you know the results as we now have been formatted to discuss the shapes, the colours, the brightness of execution, the talent of the hand that painted but rarely we can come up with the feeling that the piece of art we see sends us a strong criticism of established values.

I’m not saying there are no artists criticizing their government, the society they live in. I’m just saying they are heavily counterbalanced by a mass of public funded artists ready “to sell available human brain time” (to quote the former chairman of the first French private TV channel)

So maybe street art, urban hacking will change that. Other arts as well, but the first two have an advantage, they are popular in their essence. People can see, grab, copy them, and finally create them themselves.

Browsing the net in search of artists who initiated and worked on street projects i found Packard Jennings. And wow… He was the guy i was looking for.

We, at Generation Bass were very curious to know a bit more about Packard Jennings. So we sent a few questions and very kindly he answered them. Enjoy the interview and Packard Jennings’ work.

GENERATION BASS : Do you consider yourself as an artist or a militant ?

PACKARD JENNINGS : I consider myself an artist and an activist. Sometimes as an assertive activist and sometimes I’m a lazy activist. I’m in awe of the risks that I see many activists take on behalf of others, putting their lives on the line. I don’t conflate what I do with that.

I don’t see myself as a militant, which suggests rigidity. As an artist I’m always questioning. Many of my works are experiments on our relationships with political and social structures and not coming from a place of certainty or statement of ‘fact’, even though they may seem that way. Let’s just say my political views are extremely liberal.

GB : Your art is characteristic in the way that it strongly interacts with modern society, do you think you would have done something else if society was different ?

PHJ : It would be a great relief if the world was suddenly a fair, just and peaceful place. A place where people’s needs were all met. In that case, I would still be an artist and filmmaker, but not a political one. I love creating and making things. Maybe I’d try my hand at cat videos.

GB : Do you see yourself as a urban hacker ?

PHJ : Sure, you could say that phrase suits many of my projects.

GB : As La trahison des Images (« ceci n’est pas une pipe ») from Magritte you yourself make your artwork exists through the questioning people will have when they see « these worlds hold no power over you ». Am i wrong ?

PHJ : I came up with the phrase “These Words Hold No Power Over You” (as seen on The Last Billboard in Pittsburgh, PA curated by Jon Rubin) to experiment with whether or not power was able to relinquish its own power. If this piece is working, it hopefully reveals something of the depth of the power of advertising. I think the example of the Magritte one is a good one, but I think my art is still a pipe.

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GB : You also willingly or not question again the concept of « art », is it the object itself or the « action related to it » ?

PHJ : I’ve always been more interested in the concept and action/interaction than the means of delivery (object). This leaves me often having to learn new processes. I’ve always been into making things, but in my art the concept is the driver.

GB : There is also an aspect of life-span that appears in your art, placing an anarchist action toy in a famous supermarket will only prevail as long as the toy stays on the shelf.

PHJ : I create some works for a small primary audience of just a few people or one person. This ephemeral moment is where the art happens – where the interaction of people, situation and objects collide. The secondary audience is engaged through documentation, which is how you reach a larger audience, but the art happens and lives in those first moments of engagement.

GB : Is art ephemeral ? To exist does it need to be recreated again and again ? We’re very far from what was done in years, decades, centuries before, it’s a total twist in Art History.

PHJ : I guess everything is ephemeral except energy / matter. Whoa, we are floating away here. I’m no art historian, but from my view the only definition of art is that it continually expands and defies its own definition. Duchamp saw to that. It is an interesting time to be an artist. Everything is fair game. As I see it, there are no rules. The Art Market may not always agree, but I think freedom to move between disciplines is a key component to being a progressive artist in the 21st century. That said, there are still plenty of painters. You can’t kill painting or irony, nor would I want to. There is definitely something to say for people who pick a discipline and follow it their whole lives and go deep. You have to respect it.

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 On November twelfth, 2008, over 80,000 copies of a replica of the New York Times were distributed in several cities around the United States. The paper included 14 pages of “best case scenario” news set nine months in the future.

In collaboration with Steve Lambert, Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men, along with 30 writers, 50 advisors, around 1000 volunteer distributors.

GB : What do you think of the fact that « street art » as it is called nowadays is now exhibited in galleries ?

PHJ : There is a benefit to viewing this type of work in a gallery if the overall project was complicated. Seeing a multifaceted project in a gallery or book allows people to understand the big picture and put together all the pieces. There is a value to this. Showing street art in a gallery is also a way for the artists to make money from the work. I think they should be able to. It does become problematic if the sales begin to dictate the type of work that the artist makes. Then the street art is a vehicle for gallery sales. It makes the street work a form of marketing for a gallery artist. Bummer. One big problem is that street art is often dead or has a much smaller percentage of the life that it had on the street. It is not as interesting in a gallery context. If people like to see it there and buy it to support the artist’s work, I think that’s fine. Just don’t confuse it for the real thing. The art happened on the street, you are buying a representation of an artwork.

GB : What are the new projects you’re working on at the moment ?

PHJ : I’m working on a large-scale, social practice/filmmaking public project that looks at how can we balance privacy with the desire to share our personal lives online. I can’t say much more, but it will have a mid-sized iteration this fall at a residency in Miami called LegalArt/Cannonball.

Free education advice:

Be an artist, but don’t spend much money on an art degree (undergrad or MFA). There is epic competition for resources and little money. The experience can be great, but the debt is not worth it. You can be an artist without the degree, or go to a state school that is affordable.

Thank you very much Packard Jennings for this interview !

And that is not finished. It you feel the need to urban hack your surroundings, Packard Jennings greatly contributed to the creation of a website called Destructables.org.

“Destructables.org is an advertising free Do It Yourself website for projects of protest and creative dissent. The site features user generated step-by-step video and photo/text based instructions for a wide range of dissenting actions, including (but not limited to): art actions, billboard alterations, shop-dropping, protest strategies, knit-bombing, making protest props, interventions, methods of civil disobedience, stencil work, performative actions, and many other forms of public dissent – from the practical and tactical to the creative and illegal. It is a living archive and resource for the art and activist communities.”

From the wesite presentation.

See more Packard Jennings’ work on his website.

Like the famous Business Reply

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“This small, sixteen-page instructional pamphlet is produced to put inside the postage-paid, business-reply envelopes that come with junk mail offers and mailed back to the company of origin.”

Jee Young Lee : Surreal Dreamscapes [Photoshop-Free Photography]

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[FOOD CHAIN]

Saw this on my FB newsfeed and was knocked out.

Young Korean artist Jee Young Lee recently presented her beautiful, surrealistic and Photoshop-free photography exhibition named “Stage of Mind”. The magic happens in the artist’s small 3,6 x 4,1 x 2,4-meter studio in Seoul. The artist builds these highly dramatic, psychedelic and visually intense scenes herself, ensuring that every teeny tiny detail is hauntingly perfect and leaves the viewer in awe.

Jee Young Lee works with such precision that the creation of a set often takes weeks or even months of work. As soon as the otherworldly sets are done, the artist incorporates herself in them in various different ways and takes these stunning self-portraits.

According to the artist herself, all of the photography sets and her specific roles in them tell a particular story about her personal life experiences or resurrect traditional Korean fables or other cultural heritage from around the world. Her work is a deep self-reflection for the artist and a means to explore her psychological identity.

Jee Young’s amazing work will be on display at the OPIOM Gallery in Opio France from Feb. 7 to March 7, 2014.

Take a look at Jee Young Lee‘s photos and embrace her enchanting world!

Via BORED PANDA

[FLU]

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[TREASURE HUNT]

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[RESSURECTION]

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[NIGHTMARE]

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[NIGHTSPACE]

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[LAST SUPPER]

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[CHILDHOOD]

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[THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL]

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[I’LL BE BACK]

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[MAIDEN VOYAGE]

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[BROKEN HEART]

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[PANIC ROOM]

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[MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE]

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[BIRTHDAY]

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[BLACK BIRDS]

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eL Seed : Calligraffiti

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Calligraffiti is a mix of Arabic Calligraphy and Graffiti and the dude behind it is a great Tunisian (French-born) artist called eL Seed.

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eL Seed’s art adorns walls across every continent. Weaving together traditions from differing artistic spheres, eL Seed is known for his symphonies of colours and shapes. Classic wild style graffiti techniques spell out letters from the Arabic alphabet, which eL Seed skillfully sculpts into breathtaking artistic creations. Difficult to decipher, each composition calls not only on the words and their meaning, but also on their movement, to lure the viewer into a different state of mind. Working primarily with subjects that seem contradictory, eL Seed’s art reflects the reality of our human condition.

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[My Name Is Palestine]

His art is a mixture of street art and Arabic Calligraphy. It is the product of a double marginality, that of an oriental art seeking a voice in the occidental world, and that of street art struggling to legitimize its presence on the contemporary art scene. This duality enables the reconciling of two supposedly opposing worlds and two supposedly clashing cultures.

eL Seed no longer tags his name on walls. He has decided to adopt a proverbial tradition in which the name disappears and only the message remains. Therefore, rather than searching for what distinguishes him from others, eL Seed searches for what unites him and others. His art is a link, an arm outstretched, a bridge towards those who are open to his message.

El-Seed finds what unites him with other artists through his work. This thought complements how Nuqat believes in connecting and collaborating. His principals go hand in hand with Nuqat values to create change.

[nuqatblog]

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Kairouan: a new ‘Revolution’

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The mural project in Kairouan, Tunisia was mobilized and organized by a group called El Khaldounia, based out of the capital Tunis. The project entailed the painting of a 40m x 7m wall positioned just beyond the turrets of the old Medina in Kairouan (place of cultural and artistic innovation since the first Islamic Empires.)

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The participants had spontaneously asked to take part in the project taking place in their town. Local Government and administrative entities, along with various community leaders, along with the Tunisian public, worked cooperatively hand-in-hand to realize this innovative idea. Itself a mini cultural revolution, the art project was the first of its kind in Tunisia, in both scale and style, in its effort to democratize art and cultural events. Rooted within the philosophy of participatory democracy, the mural creation – the logistics, art work, and physical labour – offered an outlet for local residents and provided a window into what could possibly be the future of Tunisia as a cultural and artistic hotspot.

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eL Seed’s Eid gift to his hometown Gabes – Minaret of Jara Mosque

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LINKS:

eL Seed Art

eL Seed Facebook

eL Seed Twitter

eL Seed Instagram

A Brief & Exclusive Q&A With John Lurie But He's So Cool He Couldn't Say Much Because He Was Too Busy Creating These Magnificent Paintings & Thinking of Weird Captions To Write Next To Them!

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[Tuesday] 

Buy Prints of John’s Art atJohn Lurie Art

Follow John Lurie on Twitter

John Lurie! One of the coolest dudes on the planet!

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Here’s a short Bio plucked from John’s forthcoming album:

John Lurie first became known for his work in the late ’70s leading the band The Lounge Lizards, which went on to make music for 20 years. During this time, Lurie recorded 22 albums and composed scores for over 20 movies, including Stranger than Paradise, Down by Law, Mystery Train, Clay Pigeons, Animal Factory and Get Shorty, which earned him a Grammy nomination.

Lurie also starred in three films directed by Jim Jarmusch, as well as a host of other films. He wrote, directed and starred in the aforementioned cult classic Fishing with John, which featured film director Jim Jarmusch, actor Matt Dillon, musician Tom Waits, actor Willem Dafoe and actor-director Dennis Hopper. The series is now part of The Criterion Collection. Lurie is also responsible for the incredible music of Marvin Pontiac.

Lurie emerged onto the art scene in the spring of 2004, when he had his first painting exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery. Since then Lurie’s work has been exhibited in esteemed galleries throughout the world. His solo museum exhibits include P.S.1. Contemporary Arts Center in New York, Musee Des Beaux-Arts De Montreal, the Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg and the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, who gave their entire museum over to the presentation of Lurie’s work. Both the Wadsorth Athenaeum in Connecticut and The Museum of Modern Art in New York have acquired his work for their permanent collections.

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[The Skeleton In My Closet Has Moved Back Out To The Garden]

What John Lurie Means To Me!

Well, what can I say about John Lurie, to some of us he’s one of the coolest dudes who ever lived on this planet. He first came to my attention in a movie called “Down By Law”, one of my all time favourite movies.

There was just something about John in that movie that made me want to explore all his other work too because he had such a strong, mysterious and ultra-cool screen presence.  So I got into his music, Lounge Lizards and Marvin Pontiac, and his other movies and his brilliant “Fishing with John” series.

So I grew up with John Lurie in my life as the dude who represented the “epitome of cool”.

I came across his paintings and totally dig their appearance, weird subject matter and also the captions he uses to describe them.  To me, some of the captions are an integral part of his work and maybe just as important as the work itself.

So it really is a huge honour for me and indeed, our blog, that John agreed to a brief Q&A and here’s what transpired.

John was pretty damn cool, as per usual!

there_is_caveman_my_apartment_fur

[There Is A Caveman In My Apartment Examining The Fur. I Wish He Would Leave.]

Q&A with John Lurie:

GB:

Many of us would like to think that we relate to you because we’re outsiders. For many you epitomize that “outsider” characteristic. Would that be a fair assessment of you or is it wide off the mark?

John Lurie:

I am not sure what you mean by “outsider” here.  I try to stay as close as I can to what I feel is real, ignoring whatever the popular trends are.  I am not sure what I am outside of.  I think that anyone following the trail of babble and unaware of what’s really real is actually the outsider, even if there are a lot of them.

GB:

You said that your painting “The Spirits Are Trying To Tell Me Something But It’s Really Fucking Vague” is somewhat autobiographical. Can you expand upon that?

I mean can you tell us what the spirits were/are trying to tell you, even if it’s really fucking vague?

2010-07-08-TheSpiritsAreTryingToTellMeSomething

[The Spirits Are Trying To Tell Me Something But It’s Really Fucking Vague]

John Lurie:

Well that is kind of private but mostly very difficult to explain. It does seem that for a long while there, things had gone so perfectly, inexplicably wrong that it had to mean something. But was kind of a joke because you can’t really blame the spirits, has to be the receptor that isn’t working so well.

GB:

How did you feel when your painting “Bear Surprise” went viral in Russia in 2006 as an internet meme?

BEAR SURPRISE

[Bear Surprise]

John Lurie:

I don’t know. Some of the silly paintings are bad on purpose. That being one of them. So that it went viral was a little odd. I mostly just thought – What the fuck…?  And then I thought – There are no copyright laws in Russia?

GB:

Which of your own work is your most favourite painting or holds most significance for you and why?

Wednesday_sm

[Wednesday]

John Lurie:

oh I don’t know, I probably have 20 favorites.  “Wednesday”, I guess has the most significance

buffalo

[Buffalo aka Bison]

GB:

Do you have any upcoming public exhibitions? If so, where?

John Lurie:

No, nothing. Isn’t that kind of amazing?  The art world and I don’t seem to be on speaking terms.

abundance

[Abundance]

GB:

John, you’re notorious as a bad boy but you’re still here. Even though you can’t do films and music anymore since the onset of chronic Lyme disease, you’re still being an artist, you’re painting. You’re still in the public eye, being funny and at times, bad. Don’t you think that’s ironic?

In some strange but beautiful and twisted way, you’ve become a kind of “positive” role model to people. You’re dealing with huge health issues but that hasn’t deterred your artistry. Everyday you’re battling on, still being honest and still creating beauty! You’re still an inspiration to many the world over no matter how beat up and broken you might be or feel you are.

What would you say to this, above?

John Lurie:

I don’t know, what’s a bad boy?

I am in a situation that is very isolated and not so easy for that reason. Then we get an email from Romania or Argentina saying how much the paintings mean to them and how they helped them through a really hard time.  In turn that helps me back through a really hard time.  Is pretty cool that.

I wonder if Tilda Swinton got letters like that after sleeping at MOMA.

manunicorn

[I Love A Man In A Unicorn]

GB:

If you could live your life all over again, is there anything you would change?

John Lurie:

I don’t think like that. At all.

When I was set on fire, a certain group of people stepped back and said, Oh that screaming is so unpleasant.

[When I was set on fire a certain group of people stepped back and said Oh that screaming is so unpleasant]

GB:

If Marvin Pontiac were still alive today, what do you think is the most important lesson he would have learned in his life and what particular advice do you think he’d be kind enough to impart to the people of the world?

John Lurie:

Watch out for buses.

my-trip1

[My Trip to the Country. Birds Fly Up]

you don't listen

[You Just Don’t Listen Do You]

A man planted a tree and put his head to the ground. Then the tree grew through his brain. There is no moral to this story._n

[“A man planted a tree and put his head to the ground. Then the tree grew through his brain. There is no moral to this story.]

monkey

[Monkey has ruined this painting]

Dear God_n

[Dear God,
I asked you a direct question. Just once, I would like a direct answer.
Yours truly,
Vern]

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loungelizards

In addition to the above interview and all these beautiful paintings, it’s quite timely that I decided to do this feature as John Lurie has a new album coming out too.  Well, it’s not an album of new material as he has been unable to make music since the onset of chronic lyme disease.

Details about the album are below but for now stream this awesome track:

Billy Martin’s Amulet Records have announced the January 21, 2014 release of The Invention of Animals by The John Lurie National Orchestra. The archival compilation assembles seven previously unreleased live and out-of-print studio recordings by the acclaimed musician, actor and visual artist John Lurie leading his early 1990s’ trio with percussionists Billy Martin and G. Calvin Weston.

“The three of us got together to try and write stuff for my band The Lounge Lizards, but what happened between Billy, Calvin and I was magical. After about a year of playing live it really came together,” says John Lurie. “There is something so unique and beautiful about this music. I don’t think there is anything else like it.”

Billy Martin adds: “John and I share the idea that this is like someone discovered a field recording of a lost civilization. Some strange and beautiful tribe unlike any other known to man.”

The Invention of Animals opens with “Flutter,” one of four National Orchestra performances culled from the soundtrack of John Lurie’s 1991 television series, Fishing With John. Also drawn from that same soundtrack are “The Beast,” “Little”and ”Ignore The Giant.” The additional studio recording included here is the title track to the only official John Lurie National Orchestra album Men With Sticks released in 1993. Rounding out the collection are two previously unreleased live recordings. “I Came To Visit Here For Awhile” was preserved at the Threadwaxing Space in New York City on May 7, 1993. The album’s centerpiece and title track, “The Invention of Animals,” running at 19-minutes-plus, was captured by highly regarded sound engineer Claudia Engelhart from a performance on February 12, 1994 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The Invention of Animals by The John Lurie National Orchestra features a John Lurie painting as cover art. It will be released on digital formats, as well as limited pressing, collector’s edition 180 gram vinyl.

ignorance

[Ignorance Is Not Only Not Knowing, It Includes Not Wanting To Know]

pursuit

[You Have The Right To The Pursuit Of Happiness.  Good Luck With That]

heroin-leads

[Heroin Leads To Harder Drugs]

lastthoughtofwhatshisname

[The Last Thoughts Of What’s His Name]

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