Monday, May 28, 2012

Hit 'em in the Rooftop Chakra

Rooftop Chakra (watercolour, india ink, chalk, digital, 2012)

( some of the process behind the piece)

What's crackin?? This piece was inspired by the idea of a paradigm shift — an intense moment of enlightenment through which we radically change our outlook on the world. The city at the top of his head, at his crown chakra, is a metaphor for the world of thought borne within. This city of thought is being dramatically restructured by a blast from above as homie gets his mind blown, energy being routed through his crown chakra on into his third eye. The city is demolished, only to be rebuilt to the standards of a new perspective, a fresh world view. 

A reworking of a project for a class I took earlier this year, this was a foray into a style of digital collage that is still relatively new to me, so a lot of time was spent fiddling with the colour saturation and image definition in Photoshop — the time spent on the execution of this piece was probably about 50/50 between traditional and digital media, but I learned a ton of things that streamlined my workflow, and will likely lead to more exploring of this kind for my illustrations in the future. The buildings that weren't drawn were cut out of magazines, scanned in, and then altered and imported using Photoshop, and the face is composed of elements of my own, along with my homie Colton Ponto's rad, thuggy beard. Also, shoutout to my man Sam Williams, the illustrator behind The Sky Press, for providing me with a few simple but key tricks last time we linked up. Word. Thanks for rolling through and checking this out, and may your future be full of profoundly beneficial paradigm shifts! Peace, homies!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hip Hop in the Park 2012: Battling with the Elements

Hip Hop Loves You (8x4ft, aerosol on board, 2012)

Good day! What's new? Hip Hop appreciation week was last week - I was lucky enough to be a big part of a few of the events leading up to the fifth annual Hip Hop in the Park, and last week was sooo dope!! I painted live at an art and fashion show two saturdays ago (see my last post), judged a freestyle battle as well as a production battle on tuesday, painted live at a Turntable Choir on thursday (see the piece above), and again at Hip Hop in the Dark on friday night.  Every element of Hip Hop culture was on display throughout the whole week, but the weather ended up being a huge element too! Luckily, Hip Hop (and Bruce Lee movies! Jeah!) can teach a lot about how to play it by ear and how to freestyle, finding resilience in flexibility and the ability to adapt. The piece above was painted for the Turntable Choir presented by Hip Hop in the Park, which was a really fresh event that involved several local DJs and producers kicking beats collaboratively. This piece was a huge challenge to paint due to the wind and the temperature - at the beginning, it was all good, but as the night wore on the wind picked up and started blowing the board along with the heavy metal easel right to the ground! Using aerosol paint in wind like that is definitely no cakewalk either... Luckily, for a few stretches my homie Mo as well as my man DJ Budakron, who organized and MC'd the event, hooked a brother up and held the board steady against the cold winds (Thanks homies!). This piece was auctioned off at the show, and after a fair bit of back and forth, it went to my dude KazMega, an ill local MC and beatmaker - check out his video by clicking right here

 (photo credit: the fisheye of my man nutly from

Hip Hop in the Park 5 was blessed with a beautiful, sunny day, but the wind definitely threw down a little as well. The piece you see being created above was a banner for Rellik, a musician from around the way, who saw me painting another piece earlier in the day (which sold at the festival - I'll probably feature it in another post if I can get some quality photos of the final piece) and commissioned me to quickly paint his show banner. He had it tied to the fence, and it seemed fairly taut, but when I started painting it the wind rolled through and made things mad tricky. Basically, I ended up having to paint a moving target, as this banner was billowing in and out at least a foot almost constantly. I really wish I had it on video, because it would probably be hilarious to watch me dodging back and forth trying to paint this thing as it whipped around in the wind. Somehow, I managed to make the paint stick mostly where I wanted it to, and Rellik was stoked with his new show banner.

I'm pumped that making both of these pieces work amidst unfavourable circumstances ended up being possible - there are a few little details I'd loved to have been able to touch up, but for the most part I'm happy with the results. This year's Hip Hop in the Park was easily one of the best yet, and the graffiti section pulled out some serious heat!! I'm proud to say I helped organize it. Until next time!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

HHITP: Passion for Fashion

Passion For Fashion (8x4ft, aerosol on board, 2012)
 (Photo credit: the fisheye'd Iphone camera of my man Nutly from, and Deep Blue Photography for the other two)

(my initial sketch)

Greetings! I'm back with a quick update after the Hip Hop in the Park Art and Fashion show last Saturday at the Remedy Cafe. The event was a hella good time, and the house was packed! I showed a few pieces alongside Jenn Kovachik, who kills it on the regular with her portraits of Hip Hop's legends, and Lorien Maheu, whom I've shown with on several occasions before, and who's laying down an ill impressionistic surrealism of sorts at the moment. Big respect! There was superfly fashion all on display from the multi-talented Lady Venz, Solidaritees, and many others. We were also lucky enough to have DJ Baggy Lean on the wheels of steel, mashing the place up with classic and new tunes. I also painted a piece live during the event, which took about 4.5 hours. I'm happy to say that the piece was sold at the event, with 100% of the proceeds going to support Hip Hop in the Park, and since this year is shaping up to be the biggest, baddest-ass HHITP ever, a few hundred extra dollars in the bank definitely helped out! Shoutout to Melissa La Bishop and the rest of the HHITP crew for putting together a dope event, and nuff love to the folks at the new Remedy Cafe for their hospitality!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Back from the timewarp!

Malcom X and MLK Armwrestling as Observed by C. Delores Tucker, Tupac Shakur, Fred Hampton and Marcus Garvey (12x12in, acrylic on canvas, 2012) 

Yo!! Where have I been for the past like 3 months, you ask!? Obviously I was stuck in an epic time warp. Don't worry, I stayed busy painting while I was in there, and came back with some work to show. This first piece (above) was my submission for the group wall at the 5 Artists 1 Love show at the Alberta Gallery of Art in February. The phrase we were inspired by this year was 'Civil Rights Movements'. I chose to depict the dialectic creation of a collective black identity. The show was a smashing success, and the work was shown on Global and Breakfast TV, along with myself and a couple of the other artists fielding questions about our work.

Hammertime: Prototype (8x10in, acrylic on canvas, 2012)

If you've been checking out this blog for a while, you know I'm super down with robots. This is a hammer slammer robot I made up and painted a little while ago after seeing at a bunch of Warhammer stuff. He's slightly malfunctional, as evidenced by the bent nails all around him. Step your game up, robot homie!! It's cool though man, you're just a prototype, we'll get that worked out back at the lab. I did a couple other instalments in this series, but this has been my favourite so far. 

Tariq (60x48in, aerosol, 2012)

Here's a commission I completed a few weeks ago - this photo was taken just before I finished. I've since added a few tweaks and cut into the bright green with some photo-luminescent paint, meaning this piece has some serious pop with the lights out! 

Lastly, a couple more yet untitled additions to the Singularities series - I'm not sure if I'll be adding to these two or leaving them alone, but I like where they're at and figured I'd share them. Thanks for checking in! If you're in the Edmonton area, I'm painting live tonight at a Fashion and Art show put on by the fine folks behind Hip Hop in the Park, come check me out at 10279 Jasper ave starting at 7and going till 11pm. Word!