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.
FIFTY24SF Gallery presents "Lush Sells His Soul in San Francisco" a solo exhibition and installation by Melbourne, Australia's LUSH opening August 5th at 7pm.
LUSH is a graffiti writer who likes porn, kittens, and making people angry. His work features male and female genitalia juxtaposed with comedic messages and comic book illustrative style. He sometimes makes people, especially other members of the graffiti community, upset with his pornography graffiti, tongue-in-cheek videos, and unfiltered twitter and interview statements. When he is at his most theatrical, LUSH makes artwork inspired by other graffiti writers, created in an absurdist style demanding a call and response. Some see the work as equally offensive, equally humorous. His recent photo shoots require naked female models/strippers/porn stars to interact with his graffiti. In a recent conversation, LUSH has called Larry David an idol. Is he serious? Who the fuck does this guy LUSH think he is?
Known as both a controversial talent and grand shit talker, LUSH comes to FIFTY24SF Gallery as a much-talked about artist who has invigorated the Flickr and Twitter community over the past 24 months with the spread of his graffiti. For his first solo show in San Francisco, LUSH explores the idea that gallery shows should be events more than a place to see art. Example: If you like women naked in front of your graffiti, bring the nudity to the gallery. LUSH and team have created a real-life installation peep show, featuring models from San Francisco's iconic nude revue, the Lusty Lady. The exhibition will also feature a new series of works on canvas. Mostly, LUSH plans on keeping up on some contemporary shit-talk.
LUSH asks that you remember to bring your $1 bills to the show and 50 hand made t-shirt from LUSH will be given out during the show.
Noise Pop x FIFTY24sf present PEZ “Louder Than Bombs”. The title “Louder Than Bombs” is in direct reference to The Smiths compilation album released in 1987, the band, and Morrissey, being a personal favorite of the artist. As a long time Bay Area staple PEZ’s hand style and graffiti has been seen most places you’ve looked—but his record covers and limited edition zines have reached cult status over the last few years and this exhibition reveals what makes the underground music, art and culture of the Bay Area so special.
About the Artist: PEZ is widely recognized around the world as one of the earliest sticker taggers in the history of graffiti, following in the footsteps of the legendary and infamous graffiti artists, Cost and Revs. He documented his experiences in with his Nikon FM2 35mm camera, and continued to post his stickers and other printed work around NYC. Today, Pez continues to make stickers and publish photography zines. Pez has exhibited in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Tokyo.
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.
Last night, on a platform in Emeryville, California, Upper Playground said goodbye to PEZ and Joshua Blank as they embarked on a train and bicycle trip to Portland, Oregon, ending in a new “You Can’t Win” show at FIFTY24PDX Gallery opening September 2nd. So the show is going on a tour, with the FIFTY24SF Gallery in SF show coming down tomorrow.
PEZ and Josh are on the train now headed to the south or Oregon, and then on their bikes for the rest of the excursion. (They fly home, hence the “Planes” reference in the title).
If you live in Oregon and want to say hi, get on the side of the road and wave as they bike by… don’t scare them, they are on a mission. Or maybe just said a hello via Facebook?
Stay tuned to UpperPlayground.com for daily updates from the PEZ and Joshua Blank “You Can’t Win” SF to PDX tour…
Photos by Joshua Blank
The End of the World
7Eleven Hot Dog outside of Mollusk surf shop
The Outer Richmond
The Citrus Report Office
Jason Jaworski, Pez, Amanda, Charlotte, Andrew, Andrew's friend from NYC and Evan
Matt Gonzalez, Evan Pricco, Jason Jaworski
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 UpperPlayground.com 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.
If you need some convincing.. which you shouldn't.... please watch the following time lapse video. And for those of us who already know why we love David Choe. Wow, just another reason.
check out more pics from Choe at the Nuart Festival in Norway, here
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.
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 thing...you 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."
As promised, some progress shots of the mural...