Search This Blog

We On (2007)

I still remember when this song first came out, at this point I'd consider it a cult classic. You might still catch it mid day on BET during that syndication of videos they've had replaying for the past decade. This was still during the era of the long white tee, so there was nothing quite like it since Jadakiss and Styles P traded raps on We Gonna Make It. I miss Lupe Fiasco. I think rap owes him a lot. He was—in the truest sense of the word—an early adapter, intricate writer, a Chicago alternative pre Chance The Rapper, and the perfect balance of substance and brag rap. In the song 'We On' (above) Lupe says, and I quote,

"Well I'm all like no chrome, low tints fo' phones
Just in case, E.T. wanna go home
Never chase, cause of me there is no Jones
Levitate from the sea floor to the ozone"

Sidebar, I strongly recommend listening to 'Food & Liquor' and 'The Cool' if you haven't already. Classic albums, dont @ me.

Utah, Arizona, Las Vegas

The American Southwest, literally a land before time that makes my top 5 most beautiful places list. Someone recently told me the earth's continents are moving back together inch by inch—according to scientists. Meaning, in hundreds of millions of years from now, this entire planet will return to Pangea. Is this true? Can you imagine? If that's really the case, how ironic is it that we're here we are doing all this dividing for nothing—pun intended.

Above: I was told the rock on this land is over 160 million years old. At one point, most of it was under water. Yo, I honestly can't even quantify 160 million years.

Below: A remote hideaway in Canyon Point. More on this later.

Long story short, I've got a friend of a friend, Aron, who sings. His EP is coming out this Spring, and we chose Salt Lake City, Arizona, and Vegas for shoot locations. This year, I'm pretty much making a case for iPhone music videos, I think they're the future, if they're not already. I found a Canon 514XL Super 8 before the trip so I may mix the formats for the video if all goes well.

I've been wondering if I would've appreciated travel in my teens like I do now? Whatever, I feel like it's better it's happening now... I'm fully in it. I'm about to board a flight to Bulgaria for a few days, and then making my way to Japan via Beijing. I'm bringing one bag, and like 1..2.. four cameras. I'm here at the airport typing this looking like I'm heading to Vancouver to go kayaking lol. That out-of-office reply is on for the next three weeks. The man about town becomes man of the world. Talk soon.

Jimmy Prime: Bleeding Bull

I was probably in the sixth grade when Busta Rhymes' 'When Disaster Strikes' came out, and when I bought it on CD at HMV, one of the first things I did was flip through the liner notes to see the credits. No one told me to, and I didn't understand much about Art Direction at that age, but I assumed it involved conceptualizing the project's imagery and I wanted to do that once I grew up—in my mind, it was still a form of design. For the record, 'When Disaster Strikes' is still one of my favourite rap album covers of all time! Beyond just the artwork, the entire aesthetic of that album, (made possible by the god Alli Truch) from the videos to the live performances, made me understand—I'd even say programmed me—to value the importance of a cohesive presentation at a young age.

Jimmy Prime's 'Bleeding Bull' EP was still without any visual reference when it was first sent to me. *Shout out Jermane an'nem* The lead single Gucci Denim stood out to me immediately and I thought, here's another opportunity to cross reference the ever changing sub-genres within music and fashion, in which, the lines between high end and hood rich have ultimately blurred. The now familiar aesthetic of high street is not uncommon, like, do we even call it hip-hop anymore? Is it Trap-Pop? Pop-Hop? I couldn't categorize it, I won't try to. At this point, genres and cultures will continue to blend, and need to be accepting of one another. After all, this is why you have rappers in Dior (ads) post 2015.

Prime's aesthetic (as a collective) has been positioned as high end hood before this project, which made narrowing in on this direction easier. Never forget, Jay Whiss said that a girl called his shoe a Balee-en-see-yaga. You could just see that as a play on words, but I think it illustrates just how ironic the relationship between rap and the runway really is. One is culture and the other is industry, and for the longest time industry would often disregard or appropriate culture until culture drove industry. I'm glad the pendulum swung, and is still swinging.

We did the editorial (below) at the same we were filming the video. A lot was happening simultaneously, but that was also an advantage in making everything cohesive that one day. I had an idea a few days before the shoot to pass my phone around to everyone on set in one continuous shot—an alternate mobile version of the official video—that would give multiple perspectives of the space since behind the scenes coverage is usually left up to one person. Plus, I feel content sharing is becoming more candid, and less of a production. That doesn't mean high quality visuals aren't neccessary, its moreso a balance, one I call Lo End Hi Res. I just made that up lol

I appreciate artists both mainstream and independent who have and still put energy into the music and the imagery. Sometimes I feel like we're in this post-tumblr era where visuals don't matter if you can go viral or live at the top of the charts. Trust me, the audience remembers the visuals. Mike couldn't just rely on Thriller as a hit single, and what if he did? I'm rambling, but my point is, the imagery is crucial, its inspiring. Next to words, it is the fibre of storytelling.

Project Year: 2017
Director (Gucci Denim): Rob Pilichowski
Creative Direction: Sean Brown
Artwork/Design: Sean Brown, Mihailo Andic
Photography: Neva Wireko (Editorial), Dale Wilcox (bts)
Styling/Casting: Sarah Vee
Hair/Makeup: Mila Victoria
Special Thanks: Jermane Prime, Wes Dors, Michael Rousseau

Man About Town: Pack Light

I brought one bag with me to Miami Design week and it wasn't even luggage, it was a small knapsack smaller than a duffle bag. There's no real reason I'm being this specific other than the fact that I'm proud to have finally mastered the art of packing light. I'm a collector but not a hoarder, does that make sense? So maybe, I've mastered the art of living light? Nah, almost almost. At this point, I'm just more excited to travel and see things than to buy things, know what I mean?

Above: My mentor Chris' isolated fortress about three hours outside of Toronto. It kinda feels like Nathan's lab from Ex Machina. All I did the entire weekend was drink espresso, white wine, and listen to Teebs. Oh, that was also the weekend Chris put me onto the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Koyaanisqatsi. Crazy.

Above: Go see 'A wall is just a wall' by Kapwani Kiwanga until May 14 at The Power Plant if you're in Toronto. They've got some other cool shit there, too.

Above: A kinetic installation outside of Pérez Art Museum by Jesús Rafael Soto · The School of Architecture at the University of Miami · The Happy Room for Fendi, a collection designed by Cristina Celestino at Design Miami.

Below: Fall/Winter hand tags made using iPhone images from Paris and Amsterdam.

Above: I had to order spare parts for my vintage Bang & Olufsen speakers directly from their showroom. I love that brand, they've given me a new appreciation for sound design.

I loved the PlayStation mini design more than the PS1 when it first came out. I found one online that's almost brand new. I grew out of gaming just after highschool but I admire the development and design of video games nonetheless. I got the PS1 mini for my 'Curves' exhibition (a tentative title) that will include a collection of electronic and analog objects.

NEEDS&WANTS Paper Issue 04

Redesigning NEEDS&WANTS Paper into large format felt like the next natural step in independent publishing. It was rarely called a paper by anyone seeing it for the first time and it was usually described as a fold out poster for the first three issues, which I hated tbh. But at that time, I think our initial approach to starting a publication had more to do with being economic than it had to do with content or design.

I was traveling and constantly seeing really strong design, inspiring design, in so many forms from magazines to museum info pamphlets, enough to make the treasure map type thing we were doing feel amateur. Being challenged by what I was seeing was a good thing, it set a new bar for us, it meant we had more work to do, and that this thing is still growing.

Our new approach is less photos, larger text, better writing, all resulting in what has set the tone for the paper going forward. The marketing of this issue was one of best parts of this rollout, not only because Chi Modu gave us a cover story and let us put his images of Pac into print, but also bringing back newspaper boxes as a form of distribution; especially in an age where things are becoming increasingly paperless.

Issue five is almost done and should be out in April. I know the newspaper boxes are cleaned out but you can still get a copy of the current issue here.