JEREMY FISH IS CITY HALL’S VERY FIRST ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

by Ariadna Zierold

To commemorate City Hall’s 100th anniversary, the San Francisco Arts Commission has selected Jeremy Fish as City Hall’s first ever artist in residence.

jeremy fish, city hall, residency, the citrus report, upper playground

The internationally renowned local artist started his residency on July 8th, 2015, and is currently working to create 100 pieces of art celebrating San Francisco and City Hall. This large body of work entitled O Glorious City will be exhibited at City Hall from November 4, 2015 to February 12, 2016.

“As San Francisco City Hall celebrates its centenary birthday I want to document 100 things all San Franciscans should love about their city. I love City Hall and feel it is often overlooked as a local architectural treasure.”

jeremy fish, city hall, residency, the citrus report, upper playground

Fish is interested in how people interact with City Hall, and throughout his residency he will be observing the day-to-day activity in the building, meeting with City Hall historians, and attending public meetings.

Why Saving Banksy Means Saving Yourself — by David Choe

Who is Banksy?

Banksy is Batman he is not Robin.

The more important question I want to know is who are you?

When you look in the mirror are you a hero, a villain, an asshole — or just a casual observer?

Super heroes as well as super villains exist in this world we live in today, although it’s not always clear who is who. About two decades ago in a small community in the city of Los Angeles called Silver Lake, a tiny gallery / bookstore was having an art show of a few thrift store paintings hung on display with army choppers and primates stenciled over them. I thought they were hilarious, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to pay the asking price of $200; I would rather just make my own (and I did). Time went on, none of the pieces had sold and the shop owner seemed a little desperate, so I used my Korean negotiation skills to talk him down to $50; although, even at $50I felt a little cheated buying stencil art, but back then, as a starving artist myself, I was always open to supporting other starving artists so I felt good about that part. I asked who the artist was, and he said it was a fellow from across the pond in the UK who goes by the name Bank-Ski, and he was across the street. I said oh cool and went across the street and met a delightful young dark skinned chap with a slight Arabic accent, that was excited about his first art show in America, but also didn’t care much that he hadn’t sold anything and cared more about changing the environment and waking people the fuck up. The shop owner had mispronounced his name, it wasn’t Bank-ski — it was Banksy, and that would be the last time I would meet him until 10 years later with a red elephant but that’s a whole different story; He gave me a cardboard cutout stencil of a rat with a bazooka , I loved it so much I spray painted it all over koreatown until the stencil fell apart, as I looked back and realized, oh shit I’m a Banksy! the stenciled thrift store painting which I purchased for $50 still hangs in my bathroom and is estimated at $500,000 today.

As years went by I witnessed from afar Banksy setting the world on fire. I continued to cheer him on, supporting everything he did- this fucker showed people how to live a full life, making me laugh and think the whole time. He is not a villain, he is a hero, and the world needs more heroes. We already have too many fucking villains, too many zombies and sheep, especially in times like these with the blind leading the blind. The world needs more Supermen, the world needs Spidermen- it doesn’t need more Clark Kents or Peter Parkers. Writers will call upon terms to describe things, often times confusing simple ideas. What is an alter ego, but a side game where one builds an altar to the ego most dominate or the one they’re trying to hide or shield from others. To adjust the ego of our selves and souls- afterward, what are we left with but the bits that have been broken down and chewed up. True artists, great artists, use lies to tell the truth and vice versa. It takes more than grit to make something, it takes a combination of stupidity to think you can actually create, as well as a resilience and a knowing understanding that you can’t understand or know anything- you just need to do. You have to do. You have to create and continue and never stop for some section or season. And why stupidity? Did I just call all creatives stupid? Probably, for it’s in the ways their wisdom works that makes them special.Who in their right mind would spend hours unending staring at a canvas, throwing splotches of paint on its surface to hopefully reach a stranger whom they’ve never met, thinking they can communicate a message that’s infinite in a moment of one’s gaze? Break any creative activity down and you’ll realize it sounds mad- writing, sculpting, acting, filmmaking, photographing, singing- all of it. One of the few that doesn’t sound crazy is that of the work of a scientist- a noble one. Spending a lifetime to cure and create new life is a noble profession, think of Buckminster Fuller who did everything he could to devote his life to making others better through research, science, architecture, sculpture and living spaces. History is filled with figures such as him who took it upon themselves to enrich others: Da Vinci, Bohm, Salgado, even the modern day mythos of scientists such as Pete Coffey and Lyndon da Cruz whose The London Project works to cure blindness, they dedicate themselves daily to literally give people a vision of life. And these are just the few names that are coming to mind while I write this sitting on the toilet staring at my $50 Banksy painting .

My name is David Choe , in white peoples terms , that’s like being named John Smith, there are thousands of David Choe’s on the planet right now , who fucking cares what my name is , Who the fuck cares what Banksy’s real name is. You should care about his art instead, what he’s given you, and stop trying to take more than what’s to be had. Don’t deny yourself great artistic creativity simply to satisfy the curiosity of some blip of an itch that will deny him his anonymity to create. Doing that will make you less than the worst, you wouldn’t even be a super villain scientist, but a spectator searching for a sport to watch that you’re too inept to participate in.

It really does come down to that- heroes and villains and the choice each person makes to get on whatever path marked for them. Most people don’t know of the choice and instead follow whatever current they’re on to a caricature of their contentment. It’s this curiosity that leads people astray.How to fight it? Restraint.

Whenever writers try to boost comic sales and create shocking plot lines like Spiderman unmasked, I don’t read them- why? Because that’s pretty much the end of his secret identity, it puts his life and family at risk- it’s the end of Spiderman. When there’s an internet leak like the fappening and all these Hollywood celebrities are exposed, I don’t click on it. Why? Because I want these people to keep working, so I can watch their movies that entertain me, I don’t want their families to be embarrassed. Do I want to see all those voluptuous tits and tan asses? Would I want to know who Spiderman is if I didn’t already? Fuck yes. But I hold back. Restraint– you don’t have to jerk off every single day, you can hold back. Because the good that they bring is worth more to me then the scandal and gossip which is fast and fleeting and mostly bullshit.

In the Spiderman movie his mask fell off on the subway from risking his life to save the people of New York City; everyone on the subway could see it was Peter Parker, just an average teenage white boy, and they put his mask back on for him and said “your secret’s safe with us,” and yeah I know that’s a movie but why can’t that be in real life too? I cried during that scene even though I knew that part was bullshit and that would never happen in real life. I cried because it made me feel hope in my heart. Because I know we have the potential to be that good.

Why is it necessary for people to ruin things that bring us joy, wonder, inspiration and challenge us? Why do we need to bring everything down to its lowest common denominator? I know the answer for myself, what is the answer for you? Does it really help me to know everything all the time just because I want to know? Does it really help me to know how many cocks my wife has had and all the in-depth details about the size and girth of those veiny cocks?

You can leave a person, but you can’t leave the past. So what is my past? I was a vandal, and I made a conscious choice to never hide behind a secret identity because I’m incredibly stupid and ignorant; at times I’ve been a martyr, extremely gluttonous for self destruction- I liked the pain, I liked the misery. Because of my choices to not don a secret identity I brought a lot of suffering and torture to myself and my family- death threats, prison time, heavy fines, all of it. And while I was laying in my prison cell staring at the penis shaft which was trying to enter my holes did I think to myself, hmmm maybe I should’ve stuck with my original secret identity graffiti tag “billy the kim”? Probably, but then I never would have enjoyed my gay for the stay-cation.

Every art historian knows that to unlock true artistic genius at least one hard penis must make its way into you and hit that magic button in the back of your throat or prostate that unlocks all that expressive, experimental energy that would otherwise go untapped, allowing you to avoid the pitfalls of mediocrity in the annals of art history. It’s basically performance art, or at least that’s what I need to tell myself before I cry to sleep every night. All artists use lies to tell a truth, or use the truth to tell lies depending on how many cocks, wheatpastes or stencils they’ve taken.

If you haven’t heard of these names before, what comes to mind when you hear them for the first time: Eazy-E, Skin Diamond, Rocki Roads, Saber, Retna, Asa Akira, Mister Cartoon, Spiderman, Adrenalynn, Punisher, Jade, Critter, Slick, Revok, Bonnie Rotten, Hex, Batman, Neckface, Axl, Axis, Slash, Crash, Doze, El Mac and Duff?

I don’t know about you, but I think, no way are those their real names!Those are like cartoon super hero secret identity names. But why would anyone do that?

First of all, because its fucking cool, but second, so that they can create art, or give you something to look at while you play with yourself, or are bored out of your mind. Basically to make your world a little less miserable and give you something to look and think about, while protecting and keeping their mild mannered identity so that they can have some sense of a normal life, without destroying their family and everything good in their lives.Think of how much free art and pornography you’ve enjoyed in your life, you’ve done nothing to deserve it, but there is an actual human being putting their entire life and reputation at stake to make these things for you.

If it is revealed that Banksy’s identity is some suburban middle class white boy from the UK, how un-interesting is that? So, ok, you find out he’s just some dude, the police and the whole world find out and he goes to jail or whatever and now guess what- the world doesn’t get anymore Banksy. It’s like when some boring nowhere USA Jane Doe decides to don a secret identity porn name and gives me hours of countless free material to jerk off to and then assholes go digging for her identity. Her children and family find out, it shames and hurts her into quitting the adult entertainment business, and now I no longer get to create new memories with someone who I’ve developed a one sided emotional virtual relationship with.

I’m not making excuses for anyone, but there was a time when Martin Luther King would visit John F. Kennedy at the White House, and they would have orgies and let all the secret service guys have sloppy seconds, and in rare cases let them go first, and the reporters and journalists back then weren’t stupid, they saw the women coming in and out of the back door of the White House and would snap pics, but you know what they did with them? They threw them away. Why? Because they respected the president, because they measured the value of what good or evil would come from it, who cares if they were slutty man whores. Just look, look at the things JFK and MLK did with their lives and careers and think what would’ve happened if TMZ existed back then and the media had put them on blast. One of the greatest presidents of my generation never got to reach his full potential because he got caught getting bjs from a fat chick. Who fucking gives a fuck, he’s the president of the United States, the most powerful alpha male in the universe, I want my president to get his dick sucked by a harem of fat chicks every night to release the poison so he can think very very clearly when making decisions that affect the entire world.But that’s just me. You know Hillary doesn’t give a fuck, but she had to pretend like she did. What, you don’t think Hillary is going to get eaten out by the secret service every night if she makes it to the top? You know Bill doesn’t want that job.

Banksy has created some of the most exciting and interesting art the world has seen and is one of the most important artists of our generation and you want to ruin that because you want to find out who he is? I’d rather not know and get more art. Right now expert scientists think they have uncovered the secret identity of the world’s most elusive exterior decorator Banksy, but with my expert knowledge from a lifetime of reading comic books, the hero is usually a bit cleverer and a few steps ahead of the evil super villain scientists. Banksy is in fact a very clever lad and he is most definitely a super hero. In my world, if you pit Banksy against evil scientists, as a gambling man I would pick Banksy every time. Accusing people of shit when you don’t have all the facts only propels the gossip / click bait societywe’re living in today; it can ruin a perfectly innocent man’s life and reputation. So exercise restraint, ask yourself: does it really help us to know his identity? How does this serve humanity? To be anonymous so that you can affect change is a gift, it’s a choice- it’s so fuckin amazing! You’d only want to disrupt that if you were an asshole. Are you an asshole? Even though you have an asshole, being an asshole is a choice- being an asshole is an affliction that is reversible. In the end, you make the choice; you need to stop picking your asshole and pick whether or not you are an asshole. And if you realize the sad truth, that you are what you eat (an asshole), know that you can still change your ways.

If you’re not swayed by a thing I said and have instead decided to stay or become an asshole, I at least have to nod my head at you for possessing the attention span to read this far. You really are lost. But you’re still an asshole for wanting to know who Banksy is. All I can say is let it rest, he basically gave you a roadmap to his identity, he’s in the first 15 minutes of the Academy Award nominated documentary film “Exit Through The Gift Shop”.

I want to end this eloquently, with a personal message to all the evil expert scientists: you went to school and got all that education and were born with this giant brain; you could be helping to solve cancer and/or real crimes and this is how you choose to spend your time? Fucking with artists? Leave artists alone to create. The only people you should ever want to unmask are villains.

If you want to do the world some good, find out who fucking shot Biggie and Tupac.

Leave Britney alone

Leave Banksy alone

A person will always run longer in search for an answer. Curiosity doesn’t kill a person; it corrodes the mind. Hold on to what matters, and let go of what doesn’t.” — Bobby Trivia

banksy-batman-david-choe-robin

“NUESTRA GENTE”, NEWEST MURAL BY EL MAC IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA

by Ariadna Zierold

El Mac recently stopped by Phoenix in Arizona a few monthas ago where he created this large-scale mural entitled “Nuestra Gente” (Our People).

el mac, nuestra gente, phoenix, arizona, mural, the citrus report, upper playground

The background designs around the face were painted by Mando Rascón, and the outer images on the ends of the mural were painted by Pablo Luna.

Mando and Pablo were known in the 90s as pioneers of graffiti in Phoenix. Pablo began painting graffiti in the early 80s and became one of Phoenix’s most prolific painters, while Mando perfected a style of intricate lettering that was unique and influential.

el mac, nuestra gente, phoenix, arizona, mural, the citrus report, upper playground

The American artist painted the center-part which is featuring a beautiful portrait painted with his signature striation technique.

WILL BARRAS NEW SERIES

by Ariadna Zierold

will barras, painting, series, the citrus report, upper playground

Will Barras grew up in Birmingham and moved to Bristol to study graphic design. He became one of a new crop of young artists working in Bristol’s renowned street-art scene. He was a founding member of the Scrawl collective, alongside Steff Plaetz and Mr. Jago, thanks to his representations of fluid movement, unique narrative-driven composition, and line work. Scrawl published a seminal book in 1999 to document the new movement.

As such, Barras traveled extensively, live-painting and exhibiting pieces throughout Europe, the U.S., and Asia. Though Scrawl slowed down, he continued to paint and furthered his technique, collaborating with Stolen Space and the Brussels-based HLP. He currently takes on commercial projects of interest and directs animation at Th1ng studio in central London.

Check out his new series.

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“MONOCHROME” GROUP EXHIBITION CURATED BY USUGROW

by Ariadna Zierold

hhh gallery, monochrome, exhibition, tokyo, usugrow, mike giant

This past month the HHH Gallery in Tokyo showed Monochrome, a group exhibition curated by Japanese artist Usugrow.

“Today, the world is brimming with information and a wide variety of techniques, painting tools, and art styles are introduced, but I wanted to think about this in a simple way and let people know that [they] can still show wonderful expression using only simple tools like normal paper, pencil, and ink. Most of the artists participating in Monochrome are originally my friends, except Kyotaro and Ozabu, who I’ve been a fan of for a while. Each artist thoroughly mastered one writing instrument such as a marker, pencil, ballpoint pen, or ink pen. What’s interesting is that all of them use [tools] that are usually categorized as ordinary stationary, not a special writing tool. That means you don’t have to buy lots of paints or brushes to start your art.”

hhh gallery, monochrome, usugrow, tokyo, the citrus report, upper playground

The tools these artists used are simple: pencils, mechanical pencils, black markers, ink pens, ink brushes, and everyday ballpoint pens. However, by carefully utilizing white space not as “blank,” but rather as information to describe space and color, the artists transform pure, untouched white canvases and paper into detailed and complex monochrome landscapes. To achieve this, the artists must enter a fierce yet meditative state of resolve as they add lines to slowly weave their worlds.

 

The exhibition featured the work from Aaron Horkey, Mike Giant, Shohei, Kyotaro, Toshikazu Nozaka, Ozabu, Sadam and Usugrow.

mike giant, monochrome, hhh gallery, tokyo, upper playground, the citrus report

This was the first-ever Japan exhibition for artists Aaron Horkey and Mike Giant.

 

Ariadna Zierold

EL MAC: A MODERN SPIN ON THE CONVENTIONALITY OF THE HUMAN PORTRAIT

by Ariadna Zierold

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Miles “Mac” MacGregor is an artistic historian in his own right, capturing the influence of his culture within his works of art. The influence of El Mac’s Mexican and Chicano culture is written all throughout his creations.

He uses the streets as a way to continue the tradition of portraiture. Born in Los Angeles, the self-trained artist focuses on subjects that celebrate and reflect the cultural history of the southwest. Introduced to graffiti as a teenager, it was the materials and process involved in spray painting that captivated the artist more than writing letters.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Collaboration is a part of graffiti and it’s a practice that Mac embraces, since the city is essentially a large shared space where his work lives. Set against the work of noted artists Nuke and Kofie, the layered mural honors indigenous peoples and invisible histories that are often forgotten.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Mac like many artists learning their trade began by painting portraits of friends and family members but this output eventually progressed to conceptually heavier material. Choosing to paint a series of anonymous Mexican laborers, these paintings honored those that would not be typically featured in the history of portraiture.

His finished murals are so well regarded they are sometimes seen as unofficial monuments throughout the city. The artist knows these temporary contributions have a much more powerful impact during their life than traditional studio work. Collectively as a body, they celebrate, honor, and speak into human nature and the importance of truth and beauty.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

Mac utilizes an application of spray paint that appears to vibrate and ripple on the wall. Furthermore, precise shading gives life to his subjects, ultimately transmitting an palpable energy through his work that is unlike no other. While each portrait is typically soft from a distance, the crosshatching and line work bursts outward with exuberance.

The history of Mexican and Chicano culture is a constant in Mac’s work. A student of art history, his use of Catholic iconography is unmistakable. While he portrays everyday people, the juxtaposition of a mother and child, the use of blue cloak, or an implied halo around the head of one his sitters signifies the importance of the divine and the role of the church.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

“It’s a visual language that extends back to classical times.” Although not overtly religious himself, Mac sees himself as a spiritual person. He does not seek to teach biblical narratives or virtues but instead references this symbology and imparts its significance to his sitters, making the commonplace extraordinary.

After finishing his “Juarense y Poderosa” mural in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, El Mac moved up north to El Paso where he created another strong and meaningful piece. Titled “Ánimo Sin Fronteras” (Spirit Without Borders) it is another homage to the people that experienced the injustice and violence occurring regularly in the areas on the US/Mexican border. Through this series of murals, he is trying to get pay respect to these people and help them with their fights.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

“This is the mural I painted in El Paso, Texas, titled “Ánimo Sin Fronteras” (spirit without borders). All aerosol and fatcapsIt’s based on photos I shot in 2012 of a man named Melchor Flores, who’s been fighting to get answers and justice for his son who was picked up and disappeared by police in Nuevo León in 2009. This mural is located in the heart of downtown El Paso, and complements the fighting spirit of the classic boxing mural next to it. This is an important mural for me, something I’ve been trying to make happen for a while. It is for all those who fight for justice.”

Mac’s El Paso and Juárez murals are excellent examples of this energy applied to a political framework. The murals feature a different image on each side of the U.S./Mexican border and are a manifestation of Mac’s soft yet powerful voice. Each portrait addresses the violence and corruption with border politics and crime. The first portrait features a young woman whose mother was kidnapped and killed while the other is a man whose son was murdered by the police. The proud and dignified images exude hope and resilience yet simultaneously raise awareness to the awful conditions for those living on the border and the struggles these families have undergone. Mac’s ability to address difficult issues is shrouded in beauty and it makes the harsh truth palpable.

Miles MacGregor, el mac, mural, portrait, chicano, mexican, border, religious, spiritual, human, los angeles, the citrus report, upper playground

What makes El Mac’s works so memorable is his ability to put a modern spin on the conventionality of the human portrait by incorporating his detailed line work. This brings an almost distorted, fragmented accompaniment to his creations, opening the doors for varying interpretation. Challenged by creating difficult images, Mac succeeds by making more than a technically executed portrait. They instead are social and spiritual reminders of our humanity, the small details of what makes someone an individual become giant gestures to be admired.

 

 

GREG CRAOLA SIMKINS NEW ART POSTER FOR FOO FIGHTERS

by Ariadna Zierold

Check out the new poster Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins did for the Foo Fighters for their show on August 25 on foofighters.com.

greg craola simkins, poster, foo fighters, the citrus report, upper playground

He grew up with a menagerie of animals including a number of rabbits, which often emerge in his paintings. He began drawing at the early age of three and was inspired by various cartoons and books.

It is his careful weaving of pop culture, the old masters, nature, carnival kitsch, and his warped imagination, that makes Greg Simkins a sought-after surrealist painter today.