Art

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If you ever find yourself able to attend an exhibit for Tokio Aoyama, I would do everything possible to see his art in person. In the spring of 2012, I was lucky enough to stumble into the Hoxton Gallery in Shoreditch on the way to get my groceries at the Organic Grocer on Kingsland Road. My old London neighborhood at that intersection and the general area near the Shoreditch Triangle can be magical in the art and culture it bestows to everyone on a daily and whimsical basis. Passing by the gallery, I saw glimpses of mega cool in his paintings set in a great vibe, and it pulled me inside. I glided into a procession around the bricked arch Hoxton Gallery soaking in the great art.

Tokio’s paintings have musical themes to them and have rich exacting styles. They feel like surrealist expressions in vivid fantasy settings with jazz, soul, hip-hop, rock, funk, all sorts of musical grooves. Some are mellow, others are adventurous, and when looking close at each painting you can get a strong sense of Tokio’s genius, skillz, depth, and values. His work is truly awe inspiring, and I would welcome a chance to bring him to California as I feel many in the US and especially California would appreciate. I had a chance to talk to him, and he was nothing but gracious, humble, and a genuine bad-ass human being. If there was anyone I would give a proper #madrespect salute to, it would be Tokio Aoyama.

Tokio Aoyama

 

Tokio returned to the Hoxton Gallery for another exhibit called Loop in August 2013. They describe him well:

World-acclaimed, Japanese-born painter Tokio Aoyama creates beautiful, dizzyingly surreal paintings marrying pop culture with the symbolism of modern and traditional Japan. Music is always at the heart of Aoyama’s paintings. Although not a musician himself, Tokio has engaged in various collaborations and friendships with the members of the world-wide music scene, including the ‘Live Painting’ series. The ‘LooP’ exhibits feature numerous heads of the icons of the music world embodied in the psychedelic, mythological landscape of his mystifying paintings.

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11593939454_2f5be14b04Those were the best my iPhone 4 at the time could do. Here are some more from across the web.

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Those above pics are from Sam Woolfes post about Tokio’s art and exhibit. Go check out his post for a great montage of Tokio’s art. If you could see his paintings up close, you’ll immediately appreciate the precision of his touch, and then stepping back you’ll soak in all the great grooves and the incredible spirit of his imagination. 

 

 

 

 

Nazlee and I have been taking photos of

street art around our neighborhood in Shoreditch London, and I uploaded them into Flickr. I will look back fondly at my time in Shoreditch. It’s certainly one of the most creative places I’ve ever lived in, and I bet one of the more vibrant, colorful, electric, and interesting neighborhoods in the world. London represent.

Enjoy the street art of Shoreditch from Banksy, David WalkerROAInvader, Citizen Kane, James CochranStink Fish, and others. Also check out this Huffington Post article on London street art for more perspective. If you want to see what the streets of London around that area looked like 100 years ago look at the images in this article.

 

Last weekend I went to the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, CA, and it was a blast. Fun in the sun, soaking in cool tunes, great food, colorful friendly people, and lots of fooling around and laughter. Thanks so much to Claire and Darin for making it happen for us. I wish we had the chance to hang out on Sunday, but we will make up for it. I was impressed by how well the festival was run given how many people and vendors in attendance. It was a high quality production so I wasn’t surprised when I learned it was their 30th anniversary. They’ve had some practice in making it a well oiled machine. Makes me happy to think about how far Topspin can go one day as we’re now approaching our one-year anniversary celebration in Venice, CA.

I was largely at the Harmony Festival because Giveback is powering an album download to raise money for the World Family, an Ethiopian health services center, to construct an irrigation tunnel to better sustain one of the more remote villages. More info on the Water of Life campaign is here.

I must say I love FreQ Nasty‘s new Super Mario Remix with Heavy Weight Dub Champion’s Snared on the Water of Life album. I’m listening to it on our office sound system, and if I turned up the bass it would disintegrate the cinder-block walls. If we needed music to serve as an interstellar weapon, I nominate this track turned up to 11.

Damian Marley and David Starfire‘s tracks rocked me out as well. They will be on my iPhone soon. I would post a link to the music but don’t want to defeat the purpose of the artists who gave their music for this great cause. You can get the tunes here.

One thing that really resonated with me was FreQ Nasty’s reason why this campaign is exciting from a macro perspective. I excerpted it from the Water of Life campaign site:

The idea that artists can use their music and art to help create positive change in the world is one that I feel really strongly about right now. At this point in time music is selling less than it ever has, yet remains a powerful cultural force and reaches a wider and more diverse spectrum of people than it ever has. As the means of digital distribution are essentially free, and the monetary worth of any given track moves toward zero, the idea of bringing music’s powerful cultural force to bear on the lives of real peoples to help them in a tangible way is little short of a miracle. To help the people of Gara Dima in Ethiopia by creating music in a studio in California brings down barriers for the artist, the fans, and the community itself, benefiting us all.

FreQ’s point is particularly salient in my pursuit of Topspin‘s mission to help artists build their businesses. Particularly, in a world of free music with P2P, what other ways are there to manifest value in art? I think the point is that we shouldn’t take the current devaluation of music as a given and work to find new methods to move people into action and towards their checkbook or credit card.

Although I’m advising Giveback‘s organizational efforts, as a regular citizen I was motivated to give more than I normally would for the Water of Life album because it was for a good cause, and I wanted the music specifically from some of these artists. My after the fact ROI for giving is large since I’m really digging the music. So much so that I had to blog about it.

As a warrior for the advancement of music and especially in trying to figure out how to generate meaningful revenue for artists, I feel even more inspired and excited to know that the future of how we are all exposed to new music and causes has yet to truly unfold.

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Antony Micallef

Last Tuesday we went purchase viagra in mexico to the opening event of Antony Micallef’s “Impure Idols” art exhibit in Hollywood with our good friends Leena and Ameet. Thanks to Simone who got the special invites from Claire Joseph. I was quite moved, and the strong impressions I have of his art are still lingering in my mind. I appreciate the way he weaves in images of pop culture, random artillery, and children with his messages on the ills of consumerism. Leena has an interesting post with more on Antony’s art and the impact it has had on her own personal creativity. Definitely a very special night as we left with a renewed sense of expression and a committed intention to experience more of the contemporary art emerging out of the UK.

Antony Micallef

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Maiden Props

Long-live the creators. Inspired and inspiring beings who bless us with better ways, their art, and overall goodness.

Creature Coats on the Prowl in San Francisco

A favorite example is this piece from Simone Schulz (Creature Coats on the Prowl in San Francisco).  An effort in memory of a dear lost friend Jay Muchhala, a beautiful, colorful man who motivated others by his example.

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