Archive for January, 2014

3 Great Artists That Work in Black & White

“There’s something very special about keeping it black and white. It’s very common, and you can’t hide.”1 When I first laid eyes on Shantell Martin’s illustrations, that visual part of my brain that’s really good at playing Memory immediately jumped to Yuka Choco Moo and Kesh.

All three are young female artists that have earned their own in the art world. You might’ve caught one of their solo shows in New York or L.A., London or Paris.


Yuka Choco Moo via Quiet Lunch Magazine

All three have found inspiration abroad. Shantell from London lived and worked as an illustrator and performance artist in Tokyo for some time and now lives in Brooklyn. Kesh also began in the UK and now makes her living in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Yuka Choco Moo is from Kyoto, now based in Tokyo, but often finding herself traveling far and wide for exhibitions, collaborations, and performances. She mentions in an interview, “There are so many things that influenced me in the U.S. When I went there, something inside of me opened up.”2

The overlap that caught my attention the most (maybe because I’m a fan of both) is the place each of the artists has made for themselves in music and fashion. Yuka Choco Moo performs elaborate live drawings at concerts and in high fashion store-fronts. Kesh has served muse to and been influenced by designers and musicians like Jeremy Scott, Kanye West, and Azealia Banks. (She also recently released a line of clothing for American Apparel.) Shantell Martin has collaborated with design brand Suno featured in Vogue just this past summer, among LaneCrawford of Hong Kong and dozens of others. She has also performed live drawings on music stages.


Kesh via Instagram

I’ve wondered what it is about working in black and white that makes these artists not only stand out, but also what makes them in such high demand for fashion and music collaborations. Clean lines, minimalism — maybe it’s as easy an answer as the simplicity of black and white working similar to a blank canvas. Like Shantell says, black and white is like “common” ground — something we can all relate to and jump off from.

Explore the work of all three: Shantell MartinYuka Choco MooKesh.

P.S. They each have pretty awesome Instagram accounts, which you can find here: ShantellChoco MooKesh.

Shantell Martin: Follow the Pen from NewYorker on Vimeo.

1. Shantell Martin: Follow the Pen 
2. Choco Moo “Art is My Life” Interview & Live Painting

Sometimes you just gotta say…

You might sport this pennant when you’re lazy and can’t be bothered doing something, but I also like to think of it as essential for all the times in life that call for being bold and going after what you want. I’m sure I can think of other ways to say it, but it wouldn’t make quite the statement now, would it? You can find these pennants and other rad vagabond/adventure gear over at Explorer’s Press. Hi-fives to Kaylah from The Dainty Squid for tipping us off to this Toronto-based shop on her Instagram.




Our January 2014 Mixtape

Sick of all the New Year’s small talk that has weaseled its way this late into the month? If so, you’ll dig the cynicism on this first track. But even if that song’s not your thing there’s plenty of other jams from Painted Palms, Blood Orange, James Vincent McMorrow and more. Put those headphones on, kick back and tell us what song you’re feeling most.


The Best Part of Having Chucks

It’s been a while since we introduced a new item to the shop, but we’re finally ready to end the drought with a new street-inspired tee. Chucks have been inseparable from indie rock for as long as we can remember, so we wanted to give the beloved kicks some love. This one’s for all the miles traveled, backstage partying and cold ones thrown back on nights we never wanted to end. All the dirt, scuffs and frayed laces just mean we were doing things right because the best part of having Chucks is ruining them.

All shirts are 100% cotton and printed in San Diego while listening to Ice Cube’s “It Was A Good Day”. They’re now available in our new shop.




I wouldn’t mind more Porous Walkers in this world

I’m not sure why I’ve never given Napa artist Jimmy DiMarcellis, (aka Porous Walker) a shout out before, but let’s put an end to that. See, a few years ago I stumbled upon a drawing he made and emailed him asking if it was for available for sale as a print. Much to my surprise, I not only got a response, but a request for my address so he could put a poster and collection of stickers in the mail for me, just because. Acts of generosity like that stay with you and sure enough, when I came across one of those stickers recently I ended up following his Instagram where he posts many of his funny sketches. What I like about his art is that it’s playful and he’s not afraid to be a little edgy or crude in a world where everyone is trying to be cute to make a buck.




Reading up on him some more, I found a excellent video by The Creative Lives that shows what Porous is all about. It’s the kind of story that restores your faith in humanity so I highly recommend checking it out.

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