Jeremy Fish and Walter Benjamin

Jeremy Fish - Photo: John Trippe

Jeremy Fish - Photo: John Trippe

Unless this is your first visit to the site, you know we currently have Jeremy Fish’s “Yesterdays and Tomorrows” here at FFDG. 100 drawings, 4 paintings, 4 laser etchings, and 4 prints celebrate Fish’s last 20 years in San Francisco through a dedicated and painstaking love for this city. But get lost in the humorous, metamorphic imagery and you might miss their historical significance.

While the earliest work in the show only dates back to 2002, these drawings encapsulate a history of SF during one of its most volatile and expansive epochs. The long days at EMB, cheap rents, and illcommunication may have been brushed away by the tech boom, its collapse, and subsequent rebirth, but the images here never lose a sense of genuine love for this city.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Fish loves this city – and it loves him back. Walk down a main street and you’ll see his graphics on t shirts, skateboard decks, menus, statues and even embedded in skin as tattoos. While it’s therefore easy to see his work just about anywhere, these drawings, paintings, and etchings can’t be missed.

There are sharpie lines stacked like bricks, light pencil markings that lead the way, and incredibly smooth lines created by a guy who drinks a lot of espresso. In the age of mechanical reproduction (and profuse digital images) these are works of art you just can’t miss.

Consider the graphic versus these drawings this way:

One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced. These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition which is the obverse of the contemporary crisis and the renewal of mankind.
— Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936

So, wear your SuperFishal t shirt, reactivate the magic of these drawings in person, and shatter some traditions. It doesn’t get much more “San Francisco” than that. 

- by Rachel Ralph - rachel(at)fecalface.com

Jeremy Fish's installation at FFDG in San Francisco

Jeremy Fish's installation at FFDG in San Francisco

The Juant w/ David Shillinglaw

Our friend, English artist, David Shillinglaw recently returned from "The Jaunt" a travel/ print project by Netherland's based thejaunt.net that produces prints by artists after flying them to new destinations and letting them create an image inspired by their travels. Below are  Shillinglaw's words and photographs of his experiences in the Dutch countryside.

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“The Jaunt” is an amazing project. The idea is simple; send an artist from one place to another and ask them to make work that responds to that experience. Of course I jumped at the chance. I was given two options and initially chose Serbia, a completely random decision. The curator or as he prefers, travel planner, accepted my decision, but then explained that the 2nd door led to his family home in the Danish countryside. Five minutes from an empty beach, where he and his family would host me, barbecue fine meats and wash my brushes. It was a no brainer. It has been an incredibly full-on year so far and the prospect of spending time in the countryside and being cooked for seemed like the perfect remedy to my recent experiences in London and Amsterdam, which were far from peaceful. 

I am writing this now on the last night of the trip. Time seems to have slowed down, even stopped at points.  A complete contrast to the neon, never-ending buzz of cities I am accustomed to. Last night I recall sitting alone, slightly drunk on Danish beer, resting on the steps of the traditional Danish wooden house. I could hear so little and so much. The noise of traffic and beeps of electronics had been replaced by tree top breezes and the soft crashing of the ocean half a mile away. My busy city brain is not used to this and it moved me. The whole trip has moved me. The hospitality and love has been humbling, spending time with the couples 9month old baby and even celebrating the hosts 30th birthday. 

I can’t remember being so relaxed, especially while at work, a new experience for me indeed. A calmer force has guided the work I made. Watercolours and painted pebbles have replaced the recent explosions of spray paint and bright white spaces of contemporary art galleries. Mother nature has been making eyes at me, offering hints and traces of a much softer approach to rendering an experience. There have been many insights into nature and in a way I did not expect, both in my work and in myself. Even this evening presented the gift of a mother deer and her two fawns grazing on the path we took back from the beach. Maybe there is something in the Danish water, or the beer? But I have re-familiarised myself with the natural world. Only using my phone to play music, not that the area has any reception or Internet even if I wanted it. A true reminder of the basic things, an economy of tools and materials and a look into nature, to feel and see the richness in the plants, animals, weather and landscapes around. I hope this attitude continues, after all London has a lot of nature, but perhaps I needed to detach myself from the bright and shiny distractions to help me focus on it again.    

For more on David Shillinglaw, be sure to check his site: http://www.davidshillinglaw.co.uk

Dennis McNett @Fifty24SF

Dennis McNett opened WOLFBAT, a collection of prints and small works last Saturday at Fifty24SF, here in San Francisco. A personal favorite, McNett always produces gnarly images through immaculate prints, and this show certainly fit that bill. Complete with prints, masks, sculptures, and enamel silk screens, this show is a printmaker’s (and skateboarder’s) fantasy. I read an interview with McNett a few years ago where he talked about the energy of a print versus that of a drawing and said that the lines within his prints contain energy because they took energy to create them. This is readily apparent in WOLFBAT, which oozes the creative power by which it was made.

I got to and left the gallery early on Saturday, so I missed an evening which I’m sure was full of cigarette smoking, beer drinking and other shenanigans, but I know visitors probably enjoyed themselves. The work was even priced affordably, so hopefully a few people went home to start their own collections. If you missed the opening, don’t fret, just be sure to stop by and check it out. It’ll definitely be an energy boost at the very least.

Words & Photos: Rachel Ralph - rachel(at)fecalface.com

Update w/ David V. Young

SAN FRANCISCO --- I walked by the old Heist Gallery on Geary recently, which has been defunct for some time yet still carries the banner proudly above its doorway, to suddenly see it filled up with new work by D Young V.  One can imagine my confusion and sudden optimism.  I had spoken with him sometime before about how he was taking a break from art in the Bay and was kind of tired of it. So to see these epic new pieces I was, well, stoked.  I called him immediately and soon heard him say "Yeah man, I am using Heist as a studio and I am flying to Hong Kong in September.  I just need to see something new and get out of here for a while!"

Words: John Felix Arnold III 

So, D Young V is flying to Hong Kong on a journey of personal exploration and of course is bringing some amazing pieces of art to paste into the public sphere, leaving his iconic stamp.  The man has been getting in peoples faces, wheat pasting and showing art all over the Bay Area, the Nation, as well as the World for many years now.  An artist that arose from the days of Babylon Falling where he was suddenly in a channel with the likes with Robert Bowen, David Choong Lee, Emory Douglas, Christopher Burch, C3 and more, D Young V has taken life by the horns and carved out his own path with tenacity, devotion, and follow-through.  He is a force of nature.  A no holds barred, talented, extremely hard working, wildly obsessive, driven, hard drinking, sometimes relentless, sometimes compassionate, chain smoking, hard Sci-Fi loving, shit talking machine of creation and destruction.  He is a true artist and a truly unique, honest, and genuine human being.

We entered into a great conversation about why he is going, what he hopes to do, how he feels about being an artist in the Bay Area, the conversations going on here, and much more.  Here is what he had to say about it all...

D Young V- My reasons for traveling to Hong Kong / China is simply to get out of the comfort zone I've built up in San Francisco over the last few years. I generally like to visit a foreign place and put up work once to twice a year, it breaks up the tedium and allows for new challenges, as well as new ideas to flourish. Every place I visit has a different type of mentality, art culture and way of perceiving the world.

 I spent a lot of time the last year and a half researching new places to live/work, and even thought of stopping my pursuit of art all together and going abroad... I'm not even sure if I actually really wanted to leave SF, or just simply change my perception on things (drastically). After my last show at 111 Minna Gallery (with Eddie Colla / Hugh Leeman) last February I decided to take an art hiatus.  I was too frustrated, burnt out, disappointed, angry and severely uninspired to continue... I made a 'bucket list' of all the things I wanted to do in my life and haven't yet. Things I have not done either due to lack of money/time, procrastination, fear, etc. Visiting Hong Kong was one of the things on that list. I took all that energy I was putting into art and transferred it to making money to pursue these goals. Art handling, carpentry, bouncing at a local bar, property management and more was what I engaged in. This way every single day I had a different place to go and as well as a new skill to learn. The only issue was that I when I was done with my work days/nights I was going home and not doing art. Overtime this left me empty. I was lacking the purpose and direction that has fueled me and the majority of my decisions for well over a decade now. Every time I attempted to do my art it looked like shit, nothing new was coming in. 

 I woke up one morning in July super depressed about this... again. So I simply went online researched ticket prices to Hong Kong, called up my several employers to take time off, then bought the ticket. I bought a three week round trip ticket for September. I had no intention yet to do any art on this trip, I just needed to see and experience a new culture. From that morning on my attitude changed drastically, I started to feel that anything was possible again. I started making new large scale colorful paper pieces to wheat paste on my trip, took over the (former) Heist gallery as an art studio, had a collector of mine buy a piece to help fund the trip. Then I hit up everyone I know who may have contacts in HK/ China to make contacts there. Spencer Keeton Cunningham, Eddie Colla, Meggs and Ken Harman all help me on that end... THANKS! After all that, I got a couple mural commissions through Amelia Hyde Gallery here in SF. So....I guess I'm now an artist again. Things started to fall back into place. I got two weeks until I depart and loads and loads of work to finish. I haven't lined up a place to stay yet, I'll figure that out soon. 

So as September begins D Young V will be off to Hong Kong.  We are excited to be following this prolific art maker's trek through it all and are looking forward ourselves to seeing his exploits and his updates along the way... stay tuned.

You can also find D Young V at http://www.dyoungv.com/

Cross My Heart Hope To Die @Subliminal Projects

I recently got down to L.A. and happened upon an exciting show at Subliminal Projects, titled Vita E Morte, the latest creation from the collective powerhouse known as Cross My Heart Hope To Die.  CMHHTD, which consists of Sean Bonner, Brevi, Andrew Kline (Strife) and DJ Muggs (Soul Assassins, Cypress Hill), was formed out of conversations about the excitement that comes from discovering new music tangibly. Back in the day, music was experienced through having a record, tape, or CD in one's hands, opening up the package and blasting it as you poured through the album art and personalized liner notes. Unfortunately, this kind of experience has been lost in this high speed, downloadable, digital age.  

Words & Photos: John Felix Arnold

Vita E Morte (Latin for life from death) dives into the relationship of the discovery of music and art, and the depth of meaning that exists within. The collective hopes to bring a sense of renewal and freshness back into the relationship of art and music by exploring the physical, the virtual, and the experiential.  As I wandered through the exhibition, I was very much immersed in a world where the sonic and the visual collided and conversed to create multiple ways of guiding one through the experience, allowing me to see life outside the gallery with new eyes.  From the recordings of the CMHHTD's band, to the actual pieces installed in the gallery, and the exploration of cross over between the sonic and the visual elements totally reworked and explored with ground breaking methods, I was in for a treat.  I was also fortunate enough to be there on a day when Andrew Kline was at the gallery and got a personal guided tour of the exhibition, as well as opened up a great conversation.

JFAIII: Tell me a bit about your background and who/what is CMHHTD, how exactly the collective came together and how you guys have evolved to operate and exist in the present.

Andrew: I was the catalyst that brought everyone together. I have worked with Sean, Muggs, and Brevi in different capacities and on different projects throughout the years… CMHHTD initially started as a music project, but quickly grew into something bigger. I think that is what is interesting and exciting about this project, it is constantly evolving and breaking new ground.

Sean: A few years ago we started casually talking about how everyone is doing the same thing over and over again and a lot of the excitement about doing new things has been lost, and the classification of art and why one set of activities might land you in an art gallery yet another set of similarly inspired activities would land you on a stage. We talked about context and division and those conversations morphed into what has become CMHHTD.

What sort of past projects on this scale or larger have you done?

Andrew: Music wise, Muggs and I have been involved in a number of projects throughout the years. I have played in a hardcore band called Strife over the last 20 plus years, and produced for a number of artists from different genres. Muggs’ resume covers work with Cypress Hill, Tricky, Ice Cube, Etc…

As far as the art side is concerned, Sean was the owner of Sixspace gallery in both Chicago and Los Angeles which represented such artists as Glen E. Friedman, Shepard Fairey, and Richard Coleman.

I used to own a retail space as well, and curated shows there with artists such as Alex Pardee, Marco Zamora, Eyeone, Mear, Patrick Martinez, and others.

Sean: Everyone in the band has had an eclectic mix of previous projects, as CMHHTD is still fairly new in the public eye I think most of our previous endeavors are all still bigger - but those are in the past and we’re working to build something new so who knows where that will lead at this point.

How through collaboration does CMHHTD realize such an incredibly extensive collective vision? Is it a fine tuned technical, perfectly mapped organism, is it an intuitive sort of madness that comes to light organically?

Sean: Everyone brings something different to the project, something they are incredible at and know inside and out. While there’s much shared interest and experience, there’s different expertise and that allows us to all contribute something we’re proud of and confident in and have those pieces snap together into something even better. There’s hardly any “toe stepping” so to speak. It would be silly to suggest that any creative endeavor is perfectly mapped out - we have shared goals and we trust each other to work towards those, but part of the magic is trusting what will happen and diving in head first.

Andrew: Like I said before, everything we do is continuously evolving. We had an initial idea for a motion activated installation in the gallery that, at the very last minute, we realized was not right for the gallery setting… This quickly evolved into the television installation that you see at the entrance of the gallery. I think everyone has trust in the other members that things will get done, and they will be done right.

The exhibition is a really incredible multi sensory experience and really spoke to me on a lot of intellectual, emotional, and even tactile/experiential levels. Can you please tell us what your personal motivations and intentions were for realizing such a complex exhibition with so many dots to connect and so many ways to have it be viewed, thought over, and felt?

Sean: This goes back to what I mentioned about context, this is the overlying theme throughout the exhibition that I hope people walk away thinking about - how context shapes perception and how a singular thing - be it a song, a photo, a sculpture, a band, etc can be, and appear to be different things when observed from different contexts, and how in truth those definitions are much more flexible than people might imagine. Just because it seems that something fits nicely in a single classification box doesn’t mean that it really does, it could mean it just looks that way from someones current angle. Personally, I like challenging commonly held positions and rethinking generally accepted theories, so I hope this exhibition encourages others to do a little of that.

The international street art audio box project which seems to have been inspired at root by your band to begin with is an integral aspect of the show. Tell us about how that project came to fruition and then informed that further work in the show.

Sean: The music boxes stemmed from the discussions about how people used to discover music to how they do now - not that one is better or worse, but that they are very different and previously having a gap between hearing about a band and actually hearing that band created some memory markers and some excitement that isn’t common today. We thought about how we might force people to have some wonder and curiosity about music again. And again, context - why does street art always end up being visually based - maybe it could be audio based as well.

Andrew: We really wanted to come up with a unique way to present our music to people that didn't seem like a marketing object… These music boxes came to life after long talks about music discovery… At the time, the technology did not exist, so we actually needed to create a circuit so that these boxes would function in the way that they do. For a year or so, the songs only lived on these boxes which made their way around the world to places like Los Angeles, New York, Vienna, Japan, France, Germany, etc.

Where were your favorite spots that held the audio street art boxes and why?

Sean: It’s hard to pick a favorite, any place with high traffic that resulted in people really experiencing the boxes with a group of others is always fascinating.

Andrew: I couldn’t pick a specific place, but it is interesting to see different people’s reaction to the box once they discover that it plays music. You tend to see one person discovering it at a time, and bystanders get curious as to why this person has their headphones plugged in to this random box, and then they all wait in line to take their turn.

We have seen people trying to google lyrics, or try to image search the logo to find out what music is playing on the boxes.

What was the impetus for the cross over of audio to visual and visual to audio filtering or processing within the abstract sound and audio works?

Sean: Context again, what separates one from the other - especially in 2014 when everything is a digital file at it’s source, it’s just 1s and 0s to your computer but some piece of software is saying “this data is a song” and “this data is a photo” so I thought about mixing those up and forcing the software to look at that data differently.

Being that you are actually working with machines and developing relationships them while creating this work, what sort of emotional and psychological states did you experience while immersing your self in a sense of "process" in the digital world as opposed to working with paint or hands on materials?

Andrew: I think that the way that we manipulated these photos digitally, we definitely had a lot more room for error and relied heavily upon randomness and chaos to get a result that we liked.

Sean: Well, for me anyway it’s very hands on. I’m soldering circuits and building boxes and designing things all day, so the art is very hands on to that extent. I have less direct involvement with the music at writing and creation stages but again this goes back to each of us bringing something unique and valuable to the group.

The photo abstractions are really beautiful and really dynamic.  Did you have any favorite moments or pieces during the creation of the show that made you go "Hell Yes That's It!”?

Sean: Of course any artist has favorites but it’s like a parent, you don’t want to single out your children or rank them. I think the thing worth noting is that for every image that ended up on the gallery walls there are easily 50 that didn’t make it because the file just fell apart completely or the results were garbage. The ones that you see in the gallery were the “hell yes!” ones.

Andrew: I agree with Sean, although there were definitely things that turned out a lot better than I expected as well. I think there is a big difference between seeing an image on a computer screen to seeing a large framed 42” X 42” image on a gallery wall.

That being said, I do have artist proofs of “And I’ve Dealt With Fire” and “Someone Should Have Warned Me”.

How was working with Subliminal Projects?  Looking at this years programming do you feel like your exhibition creates any specific conversations with other exhibitions that you would like to continue or make you see things in a new way?

Sean: Early on we thought that Subliminal would be a good fit because much of their art has a music connection on some level so while we’re doing something entirely out of left field, we hoped that the audience at Subliminal would be open to it - more so than a more traditional gallery might be. The other exhibitions this year bounce from heavy music influence to straight forward fine art so I think it fits and the conversation makes sense.

Andrew: Subliminal Projects has always been one of my favorite galleries in Los Angeles. Shepard and crew have been super supportive and helpful, and they were great to work with.

Lastly, what is next for CMHHTD?

Sean: In many ways this is just the start, we’ve been working on this idea for years and finally unveiling parts of it to the public here, but there’s many other aspects that we haven’t shown off yet and we’ve got more plans in motion. Very literally the album and another showing of the Vita E Morte work in a different city, different context are being planned, less literally this is just the start of a conversation we hope goes much deeper.

Vita E Morte runs through August 23rd.  

Subliminal Projects is located at 1331 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026 http://sublimanlprojects.com

You can follow CMHHTD at http://cmhhtd.com and https://soundcloud.com/cmhhtd

Intro Text, Interview, and Exhibition Photos by John Felix Arnold III http://felixthethirdrock.com

Photographs of the public music box street art project provided by CMHHTD

9/11 - James Reka & Hiroyasu Tsuri @Stolen Space (London)

Loving on Melbourne-born, Berlin-based artist James Reka's newest works which will be on display at London's Stolen Space on Sept 11th alongside Japanese Hiroyasu Tsuri aka TWOONE.

James Reka working on new work for his 9/11 Stolen Space show, London

James Reka working on new work for his 9/11 Stolen Space show, London

Work by James Reka

Work by James Reka

Beautiful painting by Hiroyasu Tsuri

Beautiful painting by Hiroyasu Tsuri