David Choe and Mexican Surrealist, Pedro Friedeberg's Exquisite Corpse Session

Our Long time Upper Playground friend and Fifty24SF  artist, David Choe is currently in Mexico City in preparation for his large scale exhibition, SNOWMAN MONKEY BBQ at the Museo Universitario del Chopo, opening this Saturday. Despite his busy schedule, Choe made his way to visit the Mexican Surrealist painter, Pedro Friedeberg at his studio to spend some time collecting ideas and collaborating in an exquisite corpse session.

The Final 'You Can't Win' blog post from Josh and Pez

Maria brought PEZ and I to a hidden fortress on top of a mountain. It was probably the best part of the trip.  We walked for like an hour in each direction in total darkness, through the woods the get to a stone house where we chilled and listened to sick Dub music and smoked cigarettes. I actually got like 20 minutes of sleep there, as well. Honestly, to go there at night like that was something out of a dream.

Read the rest on  here.

Upper Playground releases 10yr Anniversary book.

10 years of the best.

We are taking a short break from our "Move #19 up close tour"  to bring you news about Upper Playground's ten year anniversary book.  Simply put: it's bad ass.

Weighing in at 3 pounds and 10" thick with 612 pages of graphics and artist commentary, this is a better investment than most college text books. Seriously.  A straight up catalog that tracks the evolution of both the company and the work of the artists involved.

Here are some between the sheets shots.


Available at  and for only $40. Congratulations and thanks to Upper playground for bringing us over ten years of  the best artists and graphic tees on the planet.

Sam Flores, recap: live painting in Golden Gate Park


Awoken by some seriously, ominous sounding thunder claps at 5am on Saturday morning,  a single thought was shared by most  ( if not all) participants for this years Power to The Peaceful event in Golden Gate park; what  happened to the sunshine?! Well, we all forged ahead, braved the rain and lightening to bring the Sam Flores live painting experience to the people.

And for those of you who stayed in your beds on that rainy,  gloomy Saturday you missed out. But as always, we won't leave you hanging...


After, rocking out on canvas, Sam sat down for a few to sign autographs and doodle in some black books. He was probably approached over a hundred times for an autograph while painting and being the gracious guy he is, he greeted each person and was happy to indulge.


Thanks to everyone who came out. and An enormous thanks to Sam who, like a rock star, braved the rain to paint for us.

Bay area Graffiti Legend 'Vogue' stops by for a visit.

Sitting in the gallery with one of my interns working out our plan for the day, a familiar face made an appearance in our doorway.  Vogue, one of the forefathers of Bay area graffiti, stepped in to get a better look at Mac's new show. Shrugging his shoulders sheepishly he says, " Well it was a bit difficult to get a really good look at the show during the opening so I thought I'd swing by when it was less crowded."  Now residing outside of the city, he doesn't often make the trek over the bridge. As with all artists, their humble beginnings are (to me) the most fascinating. So, of course, I asked Vogue how and why he began painting graffiti...

He simply responded, " PBS. Style Wars man."

You could see on his face that he was immediately transported back to a time when hitting up walls was very underground, very exhilarating, and a unifying endeavor. In the very beginning the concepts of turf and crews were more innocent. He described it more like boys joining  a secret tree-house club in a neighbors backyard...just less legal.

Curious as to how someone became involved in a crew, if it was only a budding movement back then in SF, I asked him what a crew consisted of.

" Well, back then (1983-84) it was more of a secret would have your secret spots, you would eyeball other guys and wonder if they too were hitting up walls around the city. Since there weren't many of us out there we naturally gravitated towards each other."  He describes that time period as the "golden age", a time when supplies were scarce and he and his friends would wander into hardware stores to ehm... 'borrow' the necessary tools.

Laughingly, he recounts a time when he and his friend needed caps and had no money. His friend, who was planning on becoming a pilot (at the time), refused to help him ' borrow' supplies for fear of consequence so Vogue went in for a solo mission. With a sparkle in his eye he tells us how he used to un-cap the can, bite off the cap, and store the tips in his cheeks. Like a chipmunk ready for winter he would walk out a happy man.

Not being very well versed in the art of 'borrowing' supplies I asked him why he would bite the tips off and keep them in his mouth? Laughing he says, " Well, it's the fastest way- pop the top, bite and store- pop the cap back on and you move on to the next can. It's not like now when you can walk into a store and ask for whichever tip you need. We had to learn it all on our own.We had to learn which tips could produce what and how to find and acquire those tips."

Now running a successful company out in San Leandro, Vogue doesn't paint as often as he would like, "too much at risk..." he says, "... and besides, my lady can't stand it when I go out to paint." (he shrugs charmingly).

"So, does that mean you no longer paint , apart from your job?" I asked, astonished that after 25 years on the scene someone could get that out of their blood.

He laughed and shook his head. " Naw, I still get up."