Dre Day in the USA

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You’ve definitely seen the stickers and maybe been to the parties, but do you know about the history of Dre Day? On the occasion of the 13th annual Dre Day, we talk with Mike Davis of Burlesque of North America about turning Dr. Dre’s birthday into a national celebration.
 
What is Dre Day? When is Dre Day? and How did it begin?

Dre Day is an annual celebration of one of the most prolific and influential hip hop artists of all time: Dr. Dre. Like a lot of our best ideas, the idea for the party started with just some shit-talking and goofing off around the studio. Around late 2002, the crew from Life Sucks Die magazine was transitioning out of working on the magazine and into building a design studio known as Burlesque of North America. LSD alum Andrew Broder was in the office talking with Wes Winship and George Thompson about his upcoming single “What a Day Day” by his band Fog. I was living in St. Louis at the time. The three guys were just randomly blurting out other “Day’s” and Andrew said something about “What a Dre Day.” He left the office to go about the rest of his day. A light bulb went off in Wes’s head and he ran downstairs, stopped Andrew in the lobby and started brainstorming ideas for Dre Day. What and when would it be? How would we celebrate this icon of rap music and how could we turn his birthday into a national holiday?

The first party was February 18th (Dr. Dre’s birthday), 2003 at 7th Street Entry in downtown Minneapolis. Local DJs spun Dre-related classics from World Class Wrecking Cru to The Chronic to “Straight Outta Compton” to Get Rich Or Die Tryin. Twin cities punk icons Dillinger Four performed, we played the $20 Sack Pyramid live on stage, there was cake, fake Dre memorabilia, and the first ever Dr. Dre sticker pack featuring lyrics from The Chronic and faces of Dre / Snoop / Steven Tyler / etc all served up in a dimebag.
 
Life Sucks Die was a great mag. So how did the sticker packs come together? Was there a committee approach to selecting the best lyrics from ‘Chronic’? Also, can you talk about the experimental format years in 2004 & 2005?

The LSD crew had been doing packs of screenprinted stickers for years. The most recent packs leading up to the advent of Dre Day featured phrases like “I like the Whopper. Fuck the Big Mac,” “Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?” and “Honk if you eat dead babies,” so the jump to doing something text-based with rap lyrics was pretty logical. For the first year, the idea was to make the pack look like a dimebag and feature lyrics just from “The Chronic.” In 2004, we wanted to try something different, so we changed the shape to square and used lyrics just from “The Chronic 2001.” Same thing in 2005 – just try something different with larger sized stickers. In 2006 and beyond, we went back to the dimebag sized stickers – a tried and true format. We’re almost 300 different stickers deep into it, so Dre better drop “The Detox” or we’ll run out of lyrics to use!

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California Nights

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The RVCA Helm Crew with a chest patch by Barry McGee

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HOLLYWEED, USA

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On January 1, 1976, an art student at Cal State Northridge named Danny Finegood used some curtains to change the HOLLYWOOD sign to read “HOLLYWEED” for a school project involving scale. He earned an ‘A’ in his art class for the stunt. Later that month, the rebellious feat inspired a folk song.

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Life Inside Jabba the Hutt

Puppeteer Toby Philpott and his work on Jabba the Hutt during Return of the Jedi.

What Starts as Your Average Mural Timelapse Video…

Turns into something outstanding.

SOFLES “Graffiti Mapped”, directed by Selina Miles

Oscar makes his play for “Best Line” at the Academy Awards

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Hollywood’s Best Party by Plastic Jesus

Sharpie King

A look through some of the super clean drawings in Mike Giant’s new show ‘Colorado’ at FFDG in San Francisco.

Corals of Opportunity

Coral City is a fascinating documentary directed by John McSwain about the Miami-based scientific art collective Coral Morphologic, who create living artworks out of the tiny polyps.

Art Openings Across America

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A look at what’s popping this weekend in New York and Los Angeles.

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Broken Cage

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A new 12 color screenprint by Victor Reyes to add some fire to your walls.

Blue-Chip Boombox

A look at some of the functional sculptures in Tom Sachs’ Boombox Retrospective 1999 – 2015 at The Contemporary Austin

50 Shades of Paint: An Interview with Sam Friedman

Tomorrow (2/14) is the last day to see artist Sam Friedman’s ambitious solo show “Happy Places” at Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC. We caught up with him last night over text message to talk about all things enjoyable.
 
Beaches, sunsets, lobsters, bongs, legs. These are your happy places?

Pretty much. They’re some of the things in life to enjoy.

They all go hand in hand. Can you tell me about the Great Wall of Happy. There’s 50 pieces there. What was the process like to create them?

I worked on all of them at one time. They were all laid out on a wall of my studio, while I was painting them, in a way similar to the way they were hung in the gallery. I liked the way they look on the wall hanging as one unit, but each piece is definitely its own painting.

How many jars of paint do you think you used?

Ha ha Ha ha ha… Honestly, I don’t even have a ballpark idea.

Do you ever see a difference in your subject matter depending on the season?

Nope.

Yeah. I guess a happy place is an all the time thing.

Maybe that’s the goal?

Definitely, it’s my goal in life. Can you talk briefly about the composition of your work? With the exception of the large painting in the back, the subjects are cropped. Is there a way you plan this or is it spontaneous?

Yeah, they are loosely planned out by doing small compositional drawings on file cards. The drawings are usually nothing more than a few lines and a circle.

So what’s next for you? More happy places?

I’ve got some new painting themes that I am working on, but they are top secret.
 

Art This Weekend in California

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A look at some shows opening up on Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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When Artists Get Bitten By Music Video Directors

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An image from Asger Carlsen’s Wrong series (2010) vs. Christopher Sweeney’s new video for Jessie Ware.

The Sea Rambler

Director Greg Hunt goes into the studio of Geoff McFetridge as he creates his installation for the Patagonia store in Cardiff-by-the-sea.

A True Partner in Crime

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Curve’s “Love Is…” prints are perfect for the modern day Bonnie and Clyde’s.

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ArtFits (vol. 4)

A look at people and the outfits they wear to art openings in New York City.

Photographs by Christos Katsiaouni

Location: Petra Cortright at Foxy Productions (2/06/2015)

7 Years of Painting: An Interview With Taylor McKimens

Brooklyn-based artist Taylor McKimens currently has a show up in Chelsea that focuses solely on artwork that has been commissioned since 2008 by Canadian super-collector Paul Bright. Here we talk with Taylor about his relationship with Paul, the work itself, and what’s been going on the past 7 years.

How did you and Paul Bright meet?

We met at an art opening in Chelsea maybe around 2005 or so. I think we may have talked by email before but after that opening was the first time we ever really started hanging out. He ended up opening a gallery in his hometown of London, Ontario and I used to show there along with Ben Jones, Barry McGee, Misaki Kawai, Matt Leines, Dearraindrop and a lot of other really great artists. I moved up there for a year too around 2007. It was a really interesting place and time.

What was your first commission?

I can’t exactly remember the first but one of the first was a group of plant sculptures that he had me make for some of his furniture friends in Toronto in exchange for a year’s rent on a house in London. That was during the time that the economy tanked and my NY gallery at that time (Clementine Gallery) closed for good.

How many pieces have made so far? Is there any process or do you have free reign?

I was surprised getting this show together how many pieces have been commissioned or bought by Paul. I can’t exactly say what a number would be. It’s all been very unofficial. He’s really believed in the work and has been a constant supporter through this time when the popularity of slacker abstraction or whatever it’s being called has been booming. A lot of boring artists who normally struggle with the process of making art found it easy to crank out “conceptual” process based artwork to supply the hungry art market for an easy payoff and some sense of quick success. All the while galleries’ art fair booths and show calendars have pandered to all the easy money leaving a lot of genuinely exceptional artists struggling financially. I can’t blame them for doing what they have to do to keep the lights on, but few people like Paul have held steadfast in their support for artists they believe in without regard for temporary trends. I’ve been lucky to have his support really. He’s never pushed to alter or restrict what I make. He requested that the two large paintings in this show be a type of diptych or pair with some sort of connection. I think it’s a loose reference for him to the pair of Dance paintings commissioned of his favorite artist Matisse by Sergei Shchukin.

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Art Openings Across America

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A look through what’s popping this weekend in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

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