Pardon the tardiness. We chose to end off our summer season with a bang, as we did some traveling over the border on the left coast of the continent. We tried to chase the sun as far as we could, but as is the cycle of all good things, that hunt came to a temporary halt. Brooding skies and rainy flashes have caught up to our sun-filled, marathon-like stride. Thankfully for you, in exchange for our extended semi-holiday we were able to
gather up a few extra special features that will be occupying our digital pages in a conjoined September-October 2013 issue. That along with some new pieces by our writers and creators as well as some leftovers that we had waiting in the vaults.
Please direct your cursor to exhibit A at the bottom right of your screen. Hover over the long bar and click to the next story!
Co-Founder & Chief Editor
The work of visual artist Patrick Martinez is a manifestation of his immediate contact with the city streets of Los Angeles. Martinez operates on an intuitive level, balancing the familiar nuances of the city with his own novel ideas of expression. So whether communicating through painting, sculpture or signage, Martinez’s artwork is not a hackneyed representation of LA, nor any crime-riddled, gang-infested inner city of America for that matter. Rather his depiction is a refraction of what he encounters visually in LA. The urban struggles of Los Angeles have been well documented, at times ridiculed and other times even glorified (insert hood movie here), but Martinez sees his hometown through a different prism. One that is informed by the phenomenology
within his urban settings. Patrick seems to have the keen ability to transform the quaint subtleties of the people, places and objects that he faces on a daily basis into pieces of art that are as equally recognizable to the average viewer as they are captivating. Parodical in a sense, but not in the overly nonsensical way that a Shawn/Marlon Wayans flick might play out (see Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood). There is a certain intellectual finesse acquired when you are able to insert a message that is equal parts political, sardonic and comedic in a single painting. Traditional techniques in new, progressive forms. New mixed mediums with a detectable kind of slang, or visual vernacular.
This preliminary explanation of the artist leads us to one hot, sunny day in California. A day we were granted access to view and visit the man at work in his 1,700 square foot studio on the outskirts of Downtown. His space was adorned with many of the notable pieces that you have likely come across along your journeys through internet webpages or the many photographic moodboards of online creatives. We were lucky to interrupt Martinez mid-painting to discuss some of his notorious artwork, his acquired ethics in graffiti and some of the old and current methods that he is re-mixing, tinkering & experimenting with today.
Let’s start with the formalities – can you state your name and what you do?
My name is Patrick Martinez and I am a visual artist from Los Angeles, California.
Attitudes and language even – I take those things and use them as ammo.
All your work is so immersed in street signs and street culture. So much so, that an average onlooker may not even blink an eye to it. Describe your emotional and creative connection to the city.
The connection between the art and the inspiration from Los Angeles is more direct. I take inspiration from objects in the city, driving, walking through LA or different parts of it. I take objects that are oftentimes overlooked and really analyze them for what they’re worth. Attitudes and language even – I take those things and use them as ammo. Taking these visuals and then flipping or remixing them as something familiar while making it new again.
When was that first moment that you decided to use that ammo that you’ve accumulated and execute it into a piece?
The first time I knew that I wanted to take on this Los Angeles visual language was pretty early on when I was in art school. I always wanted to take something that wasn’t farfetched or out of reach. It was something close at hand, something that I grew up with or was familiar to me, and tried to create something new. I think the first thing that kind of happened where people read it and understood it was the “Westcoast Palm Readers” piece in 2008 and also “Selling Out Is The New Keeping It Real”. Before then I was just doing paintings and showing in galleries since 2003 when I was still in school. That’s ten years ago, but the natural progression was always about seeing the city in different lights and painting the people within the city. All the while taking objects and different cues, remixing them and putting them back out there. This (points to current piece in progress on his work desk) is just the natural evolution of it; this is where I am now.
What was the first type of artistic medium you were playing with in your formative years? Is it safe to assume that it came from graffiti? What was your tag?
I started in graffiti when I was 12 years old. I was a toy or whatever, I was never really too good at it. I mean, I was good at it enough so that people respected me in the city I grew up in but some of the guys now are just destroying it. Nevertheless, that start in graffiti taught me a lot of discipline. To be able to assemble your art supplies, steal some of them and go out and do graffiti. Not so much bombing but just going to the yard with your friends, assembling them and painting for hours and hours. That’s a lot of discipline. You have your reasons that you do it, but for me mostly it was more creative.
My tag was Pats, but my name before that was Pattern. That was too long to write so it became Pats. I stopped in 2000 because I was more painting on canvases. Graffiti taught me how to do large productions and not to think small. It also taught me how to look at the city because when you’re doing graffiti you are looking at different parts of architecture. You’re dealing with people too that you don’t necessarily see on the daily – going through dark tunnels and meeting homeless people who aren’t out in the light. It gives you another perspective of the city and it really opens your eyes to everything.
You recently did a few pieces with Playboy – how did that come about and play out?
I did a magazine spread with Black Rainbow in Paris. The photographer Jared Ryder saw that spread, liked the look and the concept so they wanted to do four set-ups. A series of four pieces and then a playmate would be immersed within the different elements of the piece. Paint, lighting, objects, the set. I came up with the concepts and influence. It lived online mostly because that’s what they were trying to achieve.
Explain how you take an idea for a piece from your head to actually producing and ultimately manufacturing something.
For example, this one on my table currently is still in the works. It starts off usually as a loose sketch on a scrap piece of paper. For me, I get a flash of something. Either the idea comes up more intellectual where I can type it out on my iPhone or it’s more visual where I’ll get a flash while I’m driving. Then I take markers real quick when I get to the studio, 10 minutes worth of drawing and you get kind of the idea of what you want. So then you don’t forget it.
Is that undertone of street culture in your pieces a conscious decision for you to always tie into your work?
Yea I think so. I guess my interest came from that at an early age. You know, it’s not so much dramatic, like Boyz ‘N Tha Hood or Menace 2 Society. It’s not like that for me; it’s more the subtleties and everybody in the city. Objects, people, places, things like that. Those are immediate for me – my surroundings. I can only express or give you my experience. If I grew up countryside then I would reflect that, I think. That’s just my personality. I can get deep with it but I want to communicate with people in a certain language.
I find that there is also a sarcastic tone in your work as well – is that intentional or just what comes with the subject matter?
Where I grew up, my brother was in and out of prison. You’ve got these archetypes in LA – baldheaded guys in tanktops, gangsters dealing drugs, etc. That stuff is part of the city but it’s not the only part of it, right? There’s movies based on them but it’s not the only thing, so I try to humanize that aspect of the archetype. Not making fun of it but saying, “Hey, these dudes are human. They eat ice cream or they need hugs just like all of us”. It’s not so photojournalist gritty, it’s more in the sensitive light that I see it in. I’m not trying to be redundant and say what everyone else is saying about certain Los Angeles neighbourhoods being rough and whatnot. We all know that, but there are also people in the streets trying to get out of a gang, trying to do good, trying to evolve rather than being stagnant.
It’s so easy to put focus on – not even the negative – but the drama. But what happens when these guys just go to the mall or hang with their families, you know what I mean?
How has the response been from the people of LA or California for that matter?
I think that it’s been positive. I get emails from teachers thanking me for the things that I’m doing. They ask me to come speak to their art class. They’ll tell me about a piece in detail that they’ve looked at. It’s cool. It’s cool to touch those teachers, kids and people my age and have that response. That’s what art is I guess, you put something out there and someone has a reaction to it. It’s not all about having to buy a piece because anyone can go to a museum and experience art. Someone like Van Gogh or Picasso, you can still go visit them in they way they want you to see them. It’s cool that people can look at my stuff and experience something or feel something.
Did you grow up visiting museums and looking at things like Van Goghs?
Yes, I was lucky enough to see that. At an early age our teachers would try to get us out of the school and bus us to this museum in our city. I didn’t know that I wanted to do art. I was drawing at 5 or 6 years old, but to look at that stuff at an early age helped me out a lot. It was like a silent sense of content. I remember being young and knowing that these guys are good. Not knowing how good they were in a technical sense, but just thinking “wow”, they really made their mark. That was always my attraction to art, being able to express ideas but also being able to live when you’re already gone.
I’ll go ahead and state the obvious. Your work has a lot of references to music. Rap music is inherent in it.
Yea, I mean those things pop up because they are in my toolbox. Rap was the soundtrack to when I was doing graffiti, driving around with my brother in the city or walking home from school, wherever. I listen to a lot of other stuff now but it’s still there. I listen to rap a lot, I’ve done some CD covers and things. That stuff is in my toolbox, so I use it. To get the point across in a familiar way, I’ll use that language.
Are you currently work with any new mediums?
It’s about the concept for me so it could be anything. You can come here in two weeks and it’ll be something totally different that I’m working on. It’s about the concept first and execution second. I’ve done statues made out of bronze or even melted guns. I do plastic toys, neon, painting, drawings on paper. It’s all open.
What does it mean to you to have a voice that people from around the world are listening to – from getting nods in national and international magazine publications to having your billboards overlooking LA.
If you go to my place I don’t have any of my artwork hung up. I don’t get caught up with those types of things. I know it sounds cliché but that’s not going to fuel me to create. I’ve been creating since long before I got any mention and that’s not going to necessarily fuel the next 10 years. I’m going to continue to do what I do, but I know that people are listening now so that’s really great. That makes me happy.
The billboard stuff too – you’ll get photos or tagged on Instagram or people you know text you about it. That’s great too because again, now people see it and people are listening. It’s great to have that opportunity to actually do stuff like that.
To end us off, one question we like to finish our interviews with – do you have any mottos, philosophies or words that you are currently living by right now?
“It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” – Helen Keller
photographs by Mario Soriano
We like product. Whether we can afford to purchase them or not. Welcome to our materialistic obsessions as sempiternal window shoppers and on-occasion consumers. Clothes, footwear, accessories, print, gadgets, stationery – if it’s attainable, someone’s likely on the hunt for it and we’re just here to help.
Quoddy Boat Moccasin
Skookum Varsity Jacket
A Vontade Corduroy Jeans
Dana Lee Easy Shirt Navy
Puff Puff Pass Ashtray
Supreme Inflatable Raft
Shuron Sidewinder Fade
Steven Alan Single Needle Shirt
Carhartt Vans Syndicate Era (3M Tab Pack)
Viberg Latigo Roughout Navy
J Press Money Clip
Freeman Grey Pocket Tee
Faribault Mills Box Weave Throw Navy
Plants and greenery styled just like a fashion magazine!
Crisp and classic 501 done in white
A good alternative to Common Projects, they work well with any cut of pants and the all white color adds the perfect cleanliness to any summer outfit.
The perfect summer tee, a different approach to the classic white cotton crew neck; Polished, casual all in one. Made from Italian cotton.
This standard frame shape compliments any face and comes in black and tortoise.
The album of the summer in my opinion, a combination of moods in one great CD from one of the best duo’s in nu disco and smooth electro.
My favorite silhouette for a pant, done in a shade of gray which is not so typical for women’s denim.
My new favorite shade for this season. The powder blue is done in a tailored tee, easy to dress up or down.
An easy bra with an asymmetrical accent. Comes in a comfortable micro modal, wear it to the gym or to a nice dinner!
I love accessorizing my apartment with details as small as salt and pepper shakers. Matches most kitchen finishes
and contrasts well with wooden cabinets!
The balance of traditional home goods such as this Japanese pottery mixed with modern touches creates a nice aesthetic of timelessness.
It’s harder than you think to find the perfect desk lamp. This one is simple yet stylish and will add a personal touch to any plain desk.
A cute and fun mattress for nap or reading time!
One of my favorite up and
coming Designers, Yara from Nomia NYC created her own rendition of a basketball short, done in a Japanese polyester and made in NY. I love the all white ones for myself!
The perfect leather tote with unique raw edge detail along the top. Great if you are carrying around books and a laptop everyday!
Boy oh boy, it’s been pretty hasn’t it? We hope it’s been just as pretty on your side of the world. For us, August arrived and proceeded on the strength of how July ended – pure summer and irie vibes. We have been consuming all that the season has had to offer, enjoying the brighter side of things, relishing each other’s company and taking trips out of the city away from the general chaos of urban life. Unless you’re a machine, I don’t think there’s anyone out here that can truly say they like living by that “no days off” mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for work but there’s a point where “never not working” becomes completely unproductive and uninspired.
With that said, let’s get into our August issue. When in doubt, meld work and pleasure together. We’re covering some of the new (and old) spaces, places and faces that we have been meaning to properly visit and bring to the foreground. Field trips within the city, some abroad and of course we’ve gone out to see some noteworthy individuals who will serve as our Feature pieces this month. I won’t spill beans, but it’s all showing up on your screen throughout the rest of August so be sure to keep it locked. Then after that it’s on to the next. Our (and hopefully your) next trip is just right around the corner, don’t forget to take the window seat on the way there.
Co-Founder & Chief Editor
P.S. Don’t forget to follow our daily circulation of content, EDITOR’S DAILY, for the stream of stories, images and miscellaneous items that we see, hear and read everyday.
Public School is on a defiant roll right now. We spoke with designers Dao-Yi and Maxwell Osborne at the beginning of April and since then they’ve come from being on the cusp of something great with their men’s collection to being at the forefront of Best New Contemporary Menswear Brands. The brand itself is a touch over the heads of the kids who are still stuck in streetwear limbo but it’s ahead of that young curve with appeal from bottom to top consumers. As a certain Philly rapper would say, “there’s levels to this ****” and Public School is silently mastering each one.
Diehard New Yorkers, so much so that despite sourcing fabric and textiles from overseas, Public School decided the only way to hone their brand was to design, produce and manufacture everything in their borough’s backyard. Very rare will you find a brand who’s got a finger on the pulse of American-pop deities like ASAP Rocky or Carmelo Anthony, even rarer and maybe more important is their recent nod from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, subjectively equivalent to an Oscar or Grammy in the fashion industry. So to put it in perspective, they just won the “Fashion Grammy” for “Best New Artists” – a massive achievement from an industry that can be so impenetrably highfalutin. Hot in the streets and haute on the runways, that’s the imperfect perfection they quote in any conversation they get into.
The clothing design impresarios thrive on their ‘one foot in the everyday city hustle, other foot in high fashion showroom’ modus operandi. If you look at the collection it’s impeccably sharp, but tip toeing off the common ledge. It’s thoughtful materials with an aesthetic rooted firmly in a New Yorker’s sensibilities – intelligent, spirited, double edged. Their Spring-Summer ‘13 collection saw a mélange of luxurious materials with highly wearable cuts. Quilted lambskin, electric waxed coats, jacquard tees, silk finished henleys, tropical wools. Being a season ahead, we’re now getting a detailed glimpse at Autumn 2013 in which you’ll find wool bombers, pigment sprayed flannel oxfords, lamb leather blousons, hybrid French terry cotton/nylon crewnecks. There’s fun, experimentation, keen attention to fabric choice – which are all nicely packaged into fashionably digestible silhouettes.
We got on the horn with the duo to discuss their brand from a holistic standpoint. We spoke on their humbling participation in the CFDA Incubator Program for new designers, their younger brother company in Black Apple and some of the gems of wisdom that Dao and Maxwell chose to impart.
You guys took a short hiatus from Public School a few years back, what is it about your city that made you remain based in New York? Additionally, what do you hope the phrase, “Made in NY” signifies to your customer base?
Dao-Yi: We’re both from New York, somewhat raised here so our blood is New York all the way through. With Public School and our other brand it’s New York-inspired. Our other brand is Black Apple, so even during our Public School hiatus; we were working on that brand at the time. Then we refocused and made Public School officially New York where we make everything in New York so that it feels all the way true.
Other than that, there’s this restless energy and the idea of New York being this imperfect/perfect city. That’s what we really try to communicate through our brand. Imperfect perfection. Looking for perfection in imperfection and having that whole sentiment ties back to the city.
In 2010, you both dedicated your time to the CFDA incubator program, one that allowed industry mentors to tweak and modify the outlook of your brand. How important would you say was this program to your successes in 2012/2013 and how important is it to keep a student’s frame of mind – humble enough to be mentored despite being in the industry for decades?
D: That wasn’t too hard. We had always been students. We were happy there to learn from anyone and everyone around us. We don’t consider ourselves as being veterans in the industry and the incubator was such a wonderful opportunity to meet so many different people, real veterans, people who had been doing this for such a long time. It was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. So much of the incubator is what you make of it and how much you bring to it, so the more you put in, the more you get out. We were pretty good examples of taking full advantage of the program and all the things it had to offer.
Were there any epiphanic or “A-HA” moments during your time in the program?
Maxwell: Me personally, I
didn’t. We just ran with it and did pretty much everything we wanted to do and then the things they would request from us, we were happy to do. I knew the future was coming with the relationships and everything that we made, but I didn’t see it at the time and how great the incubator was. We were maybe too close to it to realize, even up to the Fall 2012 show. It was just happening a little fast, it was all work and we never took a step back. Now that we’re out of the program we can see and say “Wow that happened…” It was just a big ball that kept rolling.
Working together for such a long time now, can you explain the dynamic you two share. Who wears which hats and who puts what on the table?
D: We pretty much do it all as a small brand. Being entrepreneurs you have to wear every single hat so from design to production to taking out the garbage. We split it down the middle, the design, spec’ing. The team is pretty small, we have a part-time production manager, a full time guy who works on denim and we handle sales a lot ourselves. And you got to love the interns too, interns they make the world go round.
As a private school kid growing up, the first thing that runs through my mind when I read the name Public School is the concept of ‘no uniforms’ – or perhaps more deeply, no conformity. What’s the real connection between the name and the collection?
D: We wanted to create something that represents our experiences growing up in New York City, That was the most important thing. When you go to New York or really any big city you have to get by, fight your way through to stand out. You have to be original, you have to be authentic – all those things that we hope resonate in our brand. It does have a sort of younger connotation sometimes and we’ve gone through periods where we thought the name was limiting in some sense. But over the seasons we’ve been able to transcend that with our collections.
What is the greatest thing that has come from your Black Apple and New York Knick collaborative project at Madison Square Garden?
M: Meeting Carmelo, haha. I think us being New Yorkers and also having a die-hard love for the Knicks, it was more than amazing. Growing up in New York, playing basketball as young as six years old, everyone says, “I want to play for the Knicks or in the NBA”. A lot of people’s dreams don’t come true, but instead of your jersey hanging in the store we took another route having a clothing line fit inside Madison Square Garden. Having the players wear it, it’s maybe just as great of a feeling.
D: We have a funny story the night of the launch at the Garden. The marketing people from the Knicks invited us to go to the game, so it was going to be this thing where we would walk the shops and see how the line was merchandised. We were really excited, we got our tickets, finally got there and find out that our seats were pretty much last row. It was a funny moment, but thankfully we have a buddy who works for the Knicks who was able to switch our tickets out and put us on the floor. But that thing really speaks to the whole process of it; we were die-hard Knicks fans before the project and even after the project. So that last experience was just icing on the cake, for that one night we were walking from shop to shop and getting positive feedback from people. In a sea of blue and orange, we did a whole black collection that people reacted to positively and for maybe five minutes we felt like players or something. But of course, even if we couldn’t switch our tickets we would’ve still been sitting there with binoculars and tissues for nose bleeds. It was one of those surreal moments, where you take it in, say to ourselves “we did that” and be prideful if just for a moment.
It seems as though a lot of personalities, athletes and musicians have flocked to your collections so readily. Who’s the most intelligent of this bunch that you’ve come across when it comes to their knowledge of fashion?
D: Probably ASAP. We had never met him before but he came to our last presentation. By that time he was already sort of this fashion darling. We didn’t really know what to expect but he spent a while at the presentation, and really was quite interested in the whole process. He asked all sorts of questions about fabric, the development process, trim and even trying to break down the aesthetics. It was quite impressive because we had spent a similar amount of time with Melo (of the NY Knicks) who was also really interested in the process but he wasn’t as inquisitive as ASAP perhaps. But I think that just comes from the parallels of music, the creative process is more similar to what we go through in putting a collection together.
Dao-Yi has an old background in music journalism and it seems you both dabble as DJs – what type of music, particular album or even song (past or present) best shares the essence of Public School?
D: Good question. We’ve really been exposed to different sorts of music;
of course hip-hop is the foundation, what we grew up on. It’s broadened from that though and it’s really about mood, a certain style than it is a favourite song. We can go from LCD Sound System to XX to Twin Shadow to Jay-Z. It’s all about capturing a mood, because we believe with our clothes that they should change the way you feel. Like if you put one of our leather jackets on, it should make you feel maybe tougher and make you walk with a little more confidence. That’s what music does for us. The music that we’re really attracted to has, for lack of a better word – swagger. We’ve got to invent a better word for that.
How important is this recent CFDA Award nomination to you both?
M: Oh that was for real? I thought we were still dreaming, haha.
It’s been one hell of a couple weeks I would say. It really took us by surprise. For all the hard work that goes into it, having the collections being recognized on a broader level has been amazing.
D: In the same vein, we don’t want it to be such a big deal but it really is such a big deal – for us. Just to be nominated and considered is already huge. On one hand, it really is this awesome thing but on the other, we’re still working 12 hours a day, struggling to pay the rent. The awards don’t stop the rent.
Every day can’t be 80 degrees and sunny. That’s why New York is such an important foundation because you never know what to expect.
One thing we like to end off our interviews with – do you have any mottos, philosophies or words that you are currently living by right now?
D: Every day can’t be 80 degrees and sunny. That’s why New York is such an important foundation because you never know what to expect. That’s what makes life worth living going from day to day.
I actually just finished a friend of mine’s memoir, Eddie Huang. He’s a chef here in NYC and he has a quote in there – it relates to cooking obviously – so for him his whole thing is that style is such a big part of how he cooks and what he does. There’s a line, “style is not an excuse to cook without restraint”. From our standpoint it would be to design without restraint. For us, our point of view is everything to us and without it you’re nothing, but still to have a “point of view” doesn’t mean you can design recklessly and do whatever you want in the name of style. A lot of what we do, there is a lot of restraint built into it. Like we can make everything with leather and put 50 zippers on it and call it our point of view, but there’s no beauty in that right?
M: For me, I’m going by “less is more”. Like less food, I’ve been on a juice cleanse for the past 7 days. Having a uniform and wearing the same outfit everyday. Less is more.
Well, here we are. I hope we didn’t keep you waiting for too long. If you look at the handsome new space around you, you might notice that our digital navigation has been downsized to only a few key sectors. Categories intact, we are now operating on two styles of platforms – our main focus has shaped up to be our monthly issue comprised of several features, stories, spreads, mixes and think pieces, while our daily format enjoys a simpler makeover solely run (for the most part) by yours truly.
So is this our last phase in developing? Never say never. Perhaps you’ll see transformations tomorrow, next week, next month or none of the above, but rest assured our quality of intent is always steered towards creating an experience for our reader that is pleasant in all possible forms. Our ongoing challenge on a day to day basis is the pace we set for ourselves. Despite being the close-knit team that we are, there is no universal pace to keep up with as much as we’d like to hope so.
But as I said, here we are – together sharing our latest body of work with you who wish to be entertained, inspired, enticed and enlightened. We hope you like our slightly new direction and the renovations that our extraordinary team have built from the ground up. Questions, comments and two-way communication are always welcome.
Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Alas, apologies for the lack of content lately. We’re not slipping, oh no! We’ve just been behind the scenes, going through meetings, racking our brains and pouring new concrete over our old foundation. There are downsides to being stubborn perfectionists, the major cons being dissatisfaction and nitpicking. Those two things can be your worst enemy when there are boatloads of things lined up to do, with a lurking hourglass full of sand on your shoulders. Thankfully, we are still in control, creatively and mentally, and we just need some elbow grease as
well as your cooperative patience to give you what you expect. So while we take some time to slow our digital game down a gear to stress over the minor stuff – please sit back, relax, hang out and hang tight. Quality over quantity and never the opposite. Back in a jiff, faster than you can say Divided Attention Media Group Incorporated…!
All the best,
Co-Founder & Chief Editor
They’re back, Ale et Ange that is, with a few new headpieces for this Spring-Summer. The little shop from the Lower Eastside in New York launched their online platform last year and it’s been fairly quiet thus far, besides these great looking deadstock fabric boat hats for your warm weather expeditions. Fold up or down as you please.