Wow, what a whirlwind, Usugrow and his crew were some of the most entertaining artists that have hit FIFTY24SF. If you stopped in the gallery after the opening reception, you were surely greeted by one or five of the participating members of the show. The sidewalk was temporarily converted into a skateboard parking lot, and the boys spent the week sitting on the neighbors' stoop enjoying the sunshine and signing autographs. Usugrow brought his hand crafted incense holder as an added detail for the show and Bene supplied the i-pod to ensure the the ambience was just right in the gallery. These boys are immensely talented and know how to hold their own in the world of art. As I walked through the crowd during the opening, it was clear to me that these men were one of a kind. Awe inspired praise fell from the mouths of the spectators without pause. I felt like we had brought gods to earth and we mortals were were only beginning to grasp their greatness.
Right before the show opened, I sat down with Usugrow to ask him a few questions about his work process. I asked him what he thought about while he was drawing and he said, " Well, nothing really. No, that's not true...sometimes I am thinking...hmmm I have to pay my rent...must work harder!" Ususgrow is a really genuine, funny and down to earth guy who is happy to be living the life he wants to live. He continued,"Even though I thinking about paying rent sometimes; I am mostly thinking nothing. Drawing is my time to relax, I just draw." When I asked him about what type of music he listens to while he draws he said he enjoyed listening to everything, but that he preferred punk rock. He threw up a punk rock sign and said, " I am the lead singer of a punk rock band back in Japan!" Seriously, this guy had me in stitches most of the time we were together.
His decision to include his friends in his new book and on his international tour with :SHINGANIST: is based on his own passion for art, he looked at me seriously for a moment and he said, " You know...i want to tell you one thing... i love art. I love all art. Good art is good and well, bad art is bad, my friends are good. I respect them very much."
SF and Hollywood legends alike seem to agree that Usugrow, Toshikazu, Mozyskey, Bene and Jun are extremely talented young men. Their work ethic and dedication to their craft is uncanny. If you ever have the great fortune of meeting them, don't be shy, walk up and say hello. As Usugrow says, "We are here for the public, we make art for them, this is who we are."