Hemingway canoeing as a young man in Northern Michigan. He looks like the best dressed man in an issue of Free & Easy. We want his whole get-up.
From The Citrus Report
Youth Lagoon is 22-year-old Trevor Powers. The youngster is making some great music and this video directed by Tyler T. Williams is breathtaking. Many of our friends are becoming fans of this band. Maybe you’re next?
From The Citrus Report
Benjamin Laading is creating interesting ways to bring a strong graffiti influence into the intimacy of a gallery space. His work reflects an strong emotional burst of energy that confronts you directly. These silhouettes of shattered glass and splatters of remnants of a scribbled history allow the viewer to have a taste of the emotion only drawn from the flare of a fat cap or the crash of a window pane.
Laading has found a way to bring parts of a noisy, busy, bustling world and successfully arrange them in the clean, quiet, serene environment of the gallery. Benjamin Laading is part of a new generation of artists that are finding ways to “inject” the outside into their fine art while maintaining a clear distinction between what is made to be indoors and what is not. —Ronnie Wrest/The Citrus Report
Where are you from? Where is home?
I’m a Norwegian living in Paris. I was born in Norway, but I grew up in Africa and then France until the age of fourteen. School-time made me early discover I was dyslexic, but this handicap unconsciously made me concentrate myself thoroughly on image. In fact, the alphabet represents for me totally abstract forms.
When I was in France, from the age of seven, I had the chance to go in a Steiner school, which one of their pedagogy is to educate from the personality of the children and not to format. This helped me to have confidence in my ability to communicate plastically. Then, at the age of fourteen, when I went back to Norway, I began to make important artistic choices. I spent my youth in Norway, than came back to France, at 21, to study fine art at La Villa Arson, the Beaux-arts de Nice.
Your work is obviously influenced by graffiti. Did you start out doing illegal work?
Haha ! That is an interesting actual question. There is so many writers who use their street credibility to have a name in the gallery. It’s essential for me to distinct these 2 very different places, street and gallery. It’s important that the streets and its expressions stay free. If you choose to express yourself illegally in the streets you do it for free, it is a gift, a finality in itself.
That is one of the main reason I am using my real name and not a pen-name, concerning my academic works. And above all, I consider myself as a fine art artist. Therefore, I choose not to communicate or use any forms I could have done outside the gallery walls. That is also why I have collaborated with many writers, not in order to imitate, but to treat the real thing, so there really is a shifting from the exterior to the interior, as an ‘injection’. This shifting implies an interpretation, through a process, the result of my own questions on street expressions, as a contemporary artist, treating illegal expression from an academic point of view.
You describe your work as a kind bridge between separate portions of the art world. What do you think it is that has academia and a “more established economic frame” so interested in this form?
I think it intrigues them because it is their contrary, it is the classical vice to want what you can’t have. As much as the lower class dream about establishment, knowledge end wealth, the higher class dream about getting loose, instincts and something to rebel against. It’s kind of a romantic melancholy of the social status.
Does this mean you feel all of the popularity and commercialization is positive for the movement?
Yes, and no, it is a good thing that people are getting interested in this type of expression but at the same time it has a tendency to increases the misunderstandings. It is not because there’s colourful typography with aerodynamics on a wall that it’s graffiti. What’s bad with this misunderstanding is that it gives people the false idea that it’s interesting and acceptable if it’s done with permission, but this idea make it becomes something else that misses the real meanings : danger, action, instinct, repetition, rebellion, life in a system, existence…
The first piece I saw of yours was the work you did with Babou. Do you like working with other artists?
As I said, I take forms and ideas from this lawless streets expressions and inject them into the system of the gallery. In order to do that, I need to use some authentic forms, (I mean authentic by being meaningful in the streets). I try to put forward certain specific elements in the most simple, understandable way. In this case, vandal FAT cap calligraphy.
What are you working on lately?
Nowadays, I am working on a project for an event on urban ecology that takes place in Nanterre, France. I am engraving on a perfect industrial plastic plate, the portrait of a polar bear roaring, enhanced by pollution dust found in freeway tunnels.
What is one artist or musician that has inspired you recently.
I would like to answer this question with an artist’s list that I consider cannot be ignored!
Any shows or projects coming up to talk about?
First of all, I’m preparing my solo exhibition on the 10th of may, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Than, I will participate at Perfusion 2011, an experimental reinvestment of public place, an event taking place in Strasbourg from the 19th to the 25th of September 2011. And coming up soon, a project with Skalitzers gallery in Berlin…
From The Citrus Report
Where do you live?
Santa Ana, California
What do you take pictures of?
anything and everything… organic moments.
What kind of camera do you use?
Canon AE-1 or random point-and-shoots. I just found an Olympus Stylus Epic at a thrift store for 8 bucks.
What are your influences?
As far as photographers go… Boogie, Larry Clark, Peter Sutherland, Ed Templeton, and my friend Ross Farrar. I am also influenced by punk and hardcore, youthfullness, zines, ghettos, gang tagging/graffiti in general, buffed walls, hand made signs….urban areas.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still taking pictures, putting out zines, doing lots of photo shit.
What makes you happy?
I don’t know… good times, shoplifting, and enjoying my youth.
Posted from Battle at 3 A.M.
On hiatus for a week while preparing for his Noise Pop performance, Jason Jaworski’s Notes From A Quiet Crucifixion series is back with a new installment of images, text and songs.
* * *
It was the same in this moment as it had been the night previous. I wrapped my forearm in the blanket I had been using these several nights to keep myself warm and with my hand shielded with fabric I shattered the pane of glass in front of me, easing my right forearm into the the square space of fractured glass, releasing the latch and hook from its place and with careful footing, began to enter the room.
I knock and call out for awhile. There is no one here. I am alone. A farmhouse in West Germany- laying down on what is, for the first time, a comfortable surface for me to sleep on. I take my shoes off for a brief moment and see in them things that would have made me shudder a week ago but now seem normal to my situation- large gashes from my feet’s flesh rubbing up against the wall of my shoes at a constant forming blisters and those blisters having been broken and that flesh having run together with the lining of my socks to form a strange consistency of part lint, part dead skin and part coagulated blood. I clean my feet the best I can and sit down once more, my hands running on continuously and continuously running through. I can see my breath in this space. I lay down on the floor, bag underneath my head acting as a pillow but resembling much more the harder surfaces of a sea animal’s carapace. I stare for a moment, studying the undulation of my breath and the immutable space which separates myself from the ceiling and the sky shimmering starless beyond me.
It is not long before images and dreams start to swim within me.
* * *
I see the people around me see themselves and I see them as if they were here but know that they are not. They are staring at me and staring at me they begin to come into the room that I am occupying. I see other things, distant things and distant memories once far from myself but now encroaching towards my inner self and coming inside myself. It is a curious thing to be alone for so long and to have no interaction whatsoever with the world around you in a verbal realm and instead experiencing everything through the lens of your eyes. Everything that I saw today was burned into my memory- things wild, boring, banal and mundane, beautiful things and lonely things- from the crowd of trees that I see above me as I fall asleep shivering, to the moments of inarguable grandeur of a sky converging downward with hands of cloud dripping and gripping through the rays of a morning sun’s chatter, to those distant stars and their imagery blinking back at me through thousand’s of years’ late light- a silver trigonometry shaping algorithms and equations that I cannot read coherently or decipher, but whose words and conversation I hear and experience fully.
The night is one of those things that makes one think of the world outside of themselves. The sun is gone, having traveled to some other hemisphere and as the earth turns, one’s thoughts gravitate to those plains of persons and people that have affected oneself. I think of my mother a great deal, the parting conversations we had and how long ago it all seemed. Those days were a different life and everything that I’d experienced then was from then and everything I was seeing was being sought out and kept from me. I think of my sister, arms flailing and running around with veins impure and filled with a poison that would later provide the means and basis for a schism between her character and herself. There is no heroine to heroin and this truth is something I will learn later but is a sentence that fits in now with this paragraph and this sentence closing out said paragraph.
The moon high and distant with incalculable light and shimmer. On golden days in my youth I used to run across the street and travel down the border, crossing over to Mexico and collecting forgotten items while running through a random conjecture of errands both asked of me and thought up from me. As a child my leg was split open when my age had yet to reach two digits. I remember looking down and seeing a red stream dripping crimson with rivulets bold in both color and movement. The sharpening pain that comes immediately upon recognizing a wound, my hands reaching for it and finding a metal nail dug into my joint. We were skating at a construction site a mile out from our house. It seemed like the right thing to do: I pulled out the nail and in agony began to scream. I don’t remember much after that, woke up in the hospital, a mother beside me half-angry / half-hopeful and a father smiling and supporting anything and everyone around him.
I see my father in visions in Germany now. I am under the trees, thoughts of a mother and sister having ran through my head previously. Now: a man so perfect for the woman he met and so distant. The family he has and had raised and his children, one a future junkie and the other a future vagrant, both smiling back at him through the glass of a frame he holds in his hand before sleeping, the photograph we are in having been taken more than a decade ago. What is the womb and why is it that we are constantly chasing it? I see it, the walls of flesh surrounding me; they seem to be less agreeable to me than anything else. With a blade fashioned from a festooned memory, I cut around and free myself, a liquid from my mother washing my body out and the light bouncing onto my eyes being the first I see before blinking. A slap and another and then I come to-
A man over me, hands by his waist, screaming something in German.
I am in the real world now.
A blurred image upon awakening then and a blurred image now upon trying to remember.
He is screaming to me in German while I slowly sift through a rolodex of dream imagery I’d just catalogued and experienced- mother, sister, childhood, father. Light moving quicker now and shadows talking louder. We move in and I come back: gashes on my feet, glass around my torso and a stranger whose house I’ve broken into for shelter and warmth standing over me screaming in a language I cannot comprehend.
I look back at him, still screaming and the light behind him from an afternoon sun perfectly outlining in shadow the flakes of spit frothing and tossing their way outside his mouth and onto and around my person.
I reach for the list of German phrases in my pocket from Frank and as my hand makes its way into the cave of fabric around my waist, his foot, covered in shoe and shoe covered in mud, lands itself promptly upon the portions of my wrist left outside my pocket.
He is screaming louder now and further particles of spit fly from his mouth down onto the spaces around me, their portions and running around resembling the vivisections of atoms with their unique nuclei and electrons and so on spinning continuously and constantly but never on or along the same plane.
He reaches into the pocket I was going for and pulls out the list of phrases gentle in their wording, lines of monologue such as:
“It is cold, is there a place for me to stay here?”
“Can I work for you?”
“I am hungry, I have no food and no money, but I can work an honest job to the best of my ability.”
Phrases similar, about a dozen in that same vein on the paper in ink which now rests in his hand.
The man, realizing that I am not a thief, lifts his shoe off of my wrist and extends a hand.
“English,” he says, “that is all that you speak?”
I nod, wiping fragments of earth and mud off of my palm from his foot.
“Don’t have money, little work. Molly, my wife, is cooking. Can have food, need to fix glass though. Glass you broke, right?”
I confirm that I broke the window through a conversation and dialect much slower and less syllabic than my normal speech, thinking it easier for him to understand me.
He nods and blinks his eyes while I do the same.
Leaving for a moment, he comes back with a blanket.
“Sleep. Food, when ready, I let you know, then you wake up, fix glass and then we eat.”
A thousand words run through my head and I choose two, “thank you.”
* * *
From The Citrus Report
I am heading up to Portland, Oregon again and I will reveal my reasons in a later post but in this post I will talk about 2 people I met along the trip.
I hate talking to people on Amtrak mostly because they are usually old and/or boring, so this time I made a pact with myself to avoid conversations at all costs. The above picture was taken 8 hours into my trip right before I broke this pact.
This is Nikki. Amtrak has Assigned Seating and when I finally got to lie down to sleep across the two seats that were available where I was sitting she woke me up to sit next to me. I laid my head against the window and avoided talking to her until the next morning. She actually turned out to have a very interesting story. This 19 year old girl comes from Martinez. It is a the Crystal Meth Capital of the Bay Area and most of my conversations with her dealt with that issue and how it has been around her all her life. Both of her sisters are meth heads and many of her friends are as well. If that wasnt jarring enough she dropped the bomb that she is pregnant and was recently kicked out of her boyfriend (the father’s) house. Anyway I tried to explain to her that she needs to get an abortion soon or it will be too late. She was very sick from this on the train and was constanly puking and getting hot and then cold.
This was John. He just got out of rehab in Klamath falls where we picked him up. He is 21 and had been there for 4 years. He had the hots for Nikki and kept trying to hit on her. It was really awkward. I wonder what he would have thought if he knew what she was going through.
I think he was pissed at me because she was hanging out with me instead of him. I wasn’t trying anything though because I’M TAKEN (sorry ladies) and she is like 19 which is way to young for me. But he became more aggressive as the trip progressed. This picture is of him giving me dirty looks.
Sorry I am being so short in this post but my computer is low on batteries and I’m on the move. But more adventures from Portland and the reason I am here coming up soon, so stay tuned.
Posted from Battle at 3 A.M.