ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: LUCENT DREAMS

Art, artist of the month, Lifestyle, music, Words

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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SUCKER: Who is Lucent Dreams?

LUCENT DREAMS: Lucent Dreams is me, Caleb, and a few of my friends taking my songs and giving them life. It’s the latest incarnation of a lifelong pursuit of making songs that I would want to listen to in my car.

SUCKER: Is there an implied narrative within the song order on The Honest EP? How does this relate to the overarching theme of honesty?

LUCENT DREAMS: There is not really an implied narrative regarding the song ordering. I was mostly ordering them to reconcile the fact that none of the songs really sound like they should come from the same person or be on the same album. Thats the honest answer! Honesty, or the illusion thereof, is important in art but its different from telling the truth. You can manufacture honesty in music. The EP is honest in the sort of way a drunk phone call to an ex girlfriend is, its just kind of all on the table, vulnerable. I rarely checked myself or listened to the voice in the back of my head saying, “You can’t talk about sex and death on the same album!” or “You can’t just have drums on all the songs and then tap on your acoustic guitar for the intro, and why do you INSIST on ACOUSTIC GUITAR!!!!!?” I just kind of did things the way I did because all of these disparate styles, approaches, and sounds exist within me and I didn’t want to build this album based on what would make someone else comfortable.

SUCKER: What was your first experience with music? How has your process grown since?

LUCENT DREAMS: I used to learn a lot of songs on guitar, I took lessons, I got pretty good at finger picking. But I really wanted to sing, probably because I was so bad at it. I really liked writing. Anything. Stories, song lyrics, research papers, poetry, raps(lol), long winded AIM messages… I figured if I started putting guitar behind my lyrics eventually the singing would get better and I could share my passion for writing AND music. I started getting serious about writing music and performing when I was 17 or so. My process was very much: write the chords, write the words as they come, and then play it to people. You could argue that my process is the same now but now I understand it better. I still write the instrumental first and lyrics later, but I have a better understanding of what I want to say and how it will come across over the bed of music.

SUCKER: Is it difficult sharing the creative process on a project to personal to you?

LUCENT DREAMS: There’s two sides to that.

I write the songs by myself. Acoustic guitar, mechanical pencil, paper. Same way every time. Rarely on that end am I willing to compromise.

The other side is when I bring my songs to my band, I rarely give any direction and if I do its the feel I’m going for. The band writes their parts, and I pretty much never touch them.

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SUCKER: What is your favorite aspect of songwriting?

LUCENT DREAMS: Writing lyrics. I tend to write in a fairly stream of consciousness way, and sometimes it takes me weeks to understand what the hell I just wrote and what it means. A lot of it is very metaphorical and it takes a lot of examining the context of when I wrote it to understand what my subconscious mind was trying to say. The feeling of finally understanding and being able to explain each line is always a sort of eureka moment where you realize like “Hey, there is a lot going on here.”

SUCKER: Because you were involved in all the creative and productive aspects of the project, is it difficult separating the two processes?

LUCENT DREAMS: Yes. Especially this album. I record while I write, often by the time the band hears my idea its already final takes of guitar and vocals. Like I said before the album is a hodgepodge of styles so when I look at it as a mixing engineer, my training says level it out. Make the mixes be the thing that ties it together. I found myself turning down the distortion on Planting Season because it was the only lo-fi song and it stuck out. Then I realized thats took away from the song. Each song is like a child, they want different things. You can’t just try to force your kids to all play baseball so they fit in when Ronnie wants to smoke pot and Jimbo wants to be a dancer.

SUCKER: FILL IN THE BLANK: If you like ________, you will like Lucent Dreams.

LUCENT DREAMS: Lyrics.

SUCKER: How should the audience feel when listening to this EP?

LUCENT DREAMS: Hopefully pretty cool and thoughtful.

For me, spaces and places play a pivotal role in the creative process. Does your process/artistic style vary between (rural?) Vermont and urban New York?

My sound changed a lot when I hit New York. In Vermont, theres really two big scenes. There’s jammy funk stoner stuff everywhere and bluegrass. I was making weird electronic indie stuff for a while and then weird folk music and it was all very private, people here don’t really like that. Then I got to Purchase and was like… wait people here are playing the music I like to listen to and other people like it too. I felt less pressured to be accepted and felt confident in my process and sounds because New Yorkers get a great cultural education. In Vermont, there is Vermont culture. Maple Creemees, craft IPA’s, Phish, Bernie, and weed. New Yorkers have been exposed to all sorts of art and there are tons of scenes and tons of people. I can’t even walk to anywhere from my childhood house in Vermont. The closest venue is a restaurant that has bluegrass some nights. I will always love Vermont, the people in it, and the nature. I will continue to speak with an accent and write about swimming holes, firewood, and gardening in my songs. That won’t ever change.

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SUCKER: Can you speak on the visual choices used on The Honest EP?

LUCENT DREAMS: I said I was looking for some work on my Facebook which is full of amazing artists, because of Purchase, and I got a good response. I was going through peoples Instagram pages to see which style would best fit my music. I was going to commission something but then I saw a piece that I absolutely fell in love with by Casey McCarthy. I wanted it so bad. The muted colors, the dreaminess of it, the obfuscation. I contacted them and they generously said I could use it! As to the choices regarding the creation of it that’s best left to Casey. I’ll link their Insta at the end of this interview.

SUCKER: How has being exposed to all the different creative energies at SUNY Purchase College influenced your progression within your music?

LUCENT DREAMS: Purchase is so sick. Being surrounded by artists that are so motivated and do not compromise is extremely inspiring. It’s such a safe place to pursue art in your own way. It’s a daily dose of greatness. You’re surrounded. I imagine it would be intimidating for some people but when I got here I was like “this is my place, start writing NOW.” Plus you see people doing what they want and succeeding at it. I never felt that in any other music program at any other school.

SUCKER: Do you consider yourself more of a recording or a performing artist?

LUCENT DREAMS: I do a lot more recording these days although I’m planning on playing a lot more shows around the city when the album comes out.

SUCKER: If The Honest EP came with “exercises for listening”, what would that entail?

LUCENT DREAMS: What a great question. Treat each song as a vignette, a little story, without context. Listen like you were looking at a painting as someone who doesn’t know the first thing about painting and doesn’t need to extract meaning from the work. Then take a pass figuring out what it means to you. Then try to figure out what it means to the artist.

honest album cover

SUCKER: Who are you hoping to reach with your music?

LUCENT DREAMS: People who are into it. If it’s what you like, listen to it and support the artist! If you don’t like it that’s fine, I don’t dislike you for it. Like I’m pretty sure my mom won’t be listening to Planting Season in her car more than once. If my Gramma was still around she wouldn’t want to hear me swearing in my lyrics. I’m pretty sure none of the people I’ve ever dated listened to my music on their own time. You can’t force people to change their tastes. I want to reach people that like my music and gain some sort of pleasure from it, the way so many other artists have given me pleasure, courage, and stimulation.

SUCKER: Because your music is ultimately meant to be shared, does that influence your creative/songwriting process?

LUCENT DREAMS: Yes, I can’t help it. I want people to like my music and get something from it. I still write whatever the hell I feel like though. Its more of a subconscious effect on the songwriting end. It’s more measurable on the technical side, mixing and recording. You just can’t put out something that sounds like it was recorded over-saturated to tape and expect to gain much more than a small cult following. It still happens but people expect to hear the kick drum on a rock song.

SUCKER: What is your relationship with social media, and do you feel it is important as an artist in the 21st century to utilize it?

LUCENT DREAMS: I’m a social media fiend. I grew up on AIM and Myspace. I think it’s so important and beneficial to artists to utilize it if they want to reach people. I think that people who play obscure and don’t utilize it are expecting things to work out for them the way that lo-fi did for The Mountain Goats. John Darnielle has 1000s of songs. He got struck by lightning. You aren’t going to. If you desire exposure and reaching people you need to use all of the tools. Technology is evolving humanity and without it we just aren’t enough anymore. I believe that on a practical level, spiritually its problematic.

SUCKER: Where can we listen, buy and follow your music for future updates?

LUCENT DREAMS: The album will be available on Bandcamp and all the streaming services. Follow me on Facebook and Insta. You can add my personal page as well if you want. Also follow Casey McCarthy’s art page on Instagram! Thanks!

https://www.facebook.com/lucentdreamsvt

https://www.facebook.com/caleb.boardman

https://www.instagram.com/lucent_dreams_vt/

https://www.instagram.com/pthalo.goth/

 

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Artist of the Month: January 2017 – Josh Thacher

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

josh-thacherChinese Restaurant, Josh Thacher

SUCKER: Who is Joshua Thacher?

JOSH THACHER: I don’t really know how to answer this question. I guess I am some sort of lost, spirit-like being. Just wandering around trying to pass the time…

SUCKER: Where do you get your inspiration from? How do you make decisions on what is important enough to paint/depict?

JOSH THACHER: I’ve been around for over a thousand years, existing on somewhat of a middle ground between a multitude of different dimensions and universes. I’ve been to many strange and surreal places, met a lot of awesome people, and seen a lot of crazy things. I also have voices in my head. So, all of that is where I get my inspiration. Sometimes there are things that I just want to share, or things that I want to take from other worlds and bring them into this one. Those are the things that I try to depict in my artwork.

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SUCKER: Considered a sort of artistic renaissance man of our time, you draw, paint, make sculptures, do digital drawings, have a few musical projects and piece together stuffed animals. How does your imagery translate through all these different mediums? Does one medium fit better than others?

JOSH THACHER: It all depends on how I see it first. If it is just an image, I’ll draw it. If it is something more three dimensional, I’ll make a sculpture or stuffed animal. If it comes to me in the form of sound, I’ll attempt (poorly) to recreate it somehow. Sometimes it’s nothing but words, and that’s when I write. Most of the time it is just images and words so I mainly draw and write, but it all just depends on a feeling. Sometime’s I’ll want to create something and I’ll think, “That needs to be painted, I can’t just draw it, It needs to exist in the form of a painting.” The same goes with sculptures, and so on.

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SUCKER: You work with a lot of imagery with cats, can you expand on that?

JOSH THACHER: I love cats.

SUCKER: In your opinion, does college help or hinder the artist? If it’s of no help, what are some suggestions to young artists that could aid them in showing/selling their work?

JOSH THACHER: College is great for art. You learn new things and expand your artistic horizons. I never would have touched oil paints if it weren’t for college, and I turned out to be really good with them and like them a lot. I had a creative writing class with my favorite professor, Dr. Chirico, where he had us write 7 pieces a week (which is also something I never would have tried to do on my own time) and I produced some of my favorite poems in that class. The professors and classmates are nothing but helpful and encouraging. You’re surrounded by good ideas and advice, and it’s just a great environment to be in. I think one of the best ways to make it in the art world these days is to go to college. People are much more likely to recognize an artist, if they have a degree.

SUCKER: What was your first art making experience?

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Dogboy, Josh Thacher

JOSH THACHER: I remember drawing a picture of a dog going down a slide. I had this weird way of drawing where I pressed really hard with my pencil and everything looked hairy for some reason. I know I was drawing before that, but this is my first memory of drawing. I think the dog was wearing sunglasses.

SUCKER: Do you believe anyone can be an artist? Or that the artist has a special gift?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, anyone can be artist. It doesn’t matter what you produce, how it looks or sounds. It doesn’t matter if you can’t perfectly recreate on paper what you saw in your mind. Whatever comes out is art, and it is unique to you as an individual. Everybody should make art and contribute their own individual style to the rest of the art in the world.

jt4 Tower, Josh Thacher

SUCKER: Have you ever thought about animating your work?

JOSH THACHER: Yes, I would love to make cartoons, but I don’t have the resources. I always have characters and stories in my head that a drawing or even a comic would not be enough for it. I made some cool things in an animation class but it doesn’t compare to what I would like to do if I had the resources. One of my dreams is to work for Adult Swim.

SUCKER: Often times words or poetry is incorporated within drawings you have done. How do you make these careful choices when pairing a drawing with words? How does that help what you want to get across to the viewer?

JOSH THACHER: Either words will come to me while I’m drawing, or an image will come to me while I’m writing. It’s not planned in any way. Making art, for me, is like vomiting from my mind. Most of the time, my mind is full of strange, broken stories.

SUCKER: What would you do if you weren’t making artwork?

JOSH THACHER: It’s hard to imagine that. I don’t know. I think my whole life would be different if I never made art, but if I just suddenly stopped today? I’d probably spend the rest of my life doing hard physical labor, and sit by a fire every night. I’d be somewhat of a cowboy, and I think I’d get angry easily.

SUCKER: Have you ever had an art show in a gallery? Or performed your music live?

JOSH THACHER: No I’ve never had my art in a gallery. That’d be cool though. I have played music live. My brother and I used to do open mic’s, but I wouldn’t call that my music; that’s really our music.


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Apricot, Josh Thacher


SUCKER: Would you say that your work is autobiographical? Why or why not?

JOSH THACHER: No because none of it is about me. It’s all just stories about other people and places that do not exist in this universe.

SUCKER: Because you live in rural Upstate NY, do you have any comments or advice for people who believe/are worried that the only way to establish yourself as an artist is to leave home for a big city?

JOSH THACHER: It doesn’t matter where you are. Just make good art, and put it out there for people to see. What is anyone in the city going to do differently?

SUCKER: Why is it important to share your artwork online as a contemporary artist?

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JOSH THACHER: I don’t think anyone but my close friends and family would know about my artwork if I didn’t have it online. So that’s saying something. I’m not well known at all. My facebook page only has 148 likes, but only about 40 of those people know me in real life, the rest are strangers from all over the place who discovered me through the internet. I also sell my artwork online. I probably wouldn’t be making any money from my art if it weren’t for the internet.

SUCKER: What are your future plans for your artwork and self?

JOSH THACHER: I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing. I have no plans for way into the future. I want to paint more.

SUCKER: Where can we follow you, and purchase your work?

JOSH THACHER:

My facebook page and my Etsy shop
https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaThachersArt/ https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShoppeofTheUniverse?ref=hdr_shop_menu

My Tumblr where I post my poetry, among other things
http://woolharvest.tumblr.com/

And this is where you can find music
https://soundcloud.com/cosmicdogslaughter
https://www.facebook.com/perfectnoise/
https://www.facebook.com/Bersinsuits-177282455759102/
https://www.facebook.com/jennyandthewitch/


NoDAPL and NoAOTM

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

By Jess Petrylak

In light of the recent events in North Dakota, Artist of the Month does not seem applicable in my eyes unless it features the work, feelings and livelihood of the Native American artist. With this in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to compile a small list that merely scratches the surface of historically significant artwork being produced by generations of Native artists.

If you are, or know of anyone that creates autobiographical work (visual art, music, writings, etc.) that is also of Indigenous heritage (no, not if you’re 1/26th), please email me at jess@suckermagazine.com. We would be more than honored to feature you and give your voice a platform.

And please, help support the Standing Rock Sioux by participating in one or more of the following:

  1. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200. When leaving a message stating your thoughts about this subject please be professional.

  2. Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/stop-construction…

  3. Donate to support the Standing Rock Sioux at http://standingrock.org/…/standing-rock-sioux-tribe…/

  4. Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/
  1. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  1. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf
  2. Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account: https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp
  1. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit: (202) 761-5903
  2. Sign other petitions asking President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s the latest to cross my desk – https://act.credoaction.com/sign/NoDAPL
  1. Call the executives of the companies that are building the pipeline:
    a. Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6455 Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
    b. Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 800 E Sonterra Blvd #400 San Antonio, Texas 78258 Telephone: (210) 403-6762 Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
    c. Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. 1300 Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Telephone: (713) 989-2404 Michael.Waters@energytransfer.com– Jess Petrylak, Sucker Magazine’s Art Editor

 

 

Edmonia Lewis
(July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907)

Edmonia Lewis was the first woman of African American and Native American (Mississauga Ojibwe) heritage to be recognized to achieve recognition and fame in the fine arts world. Through the stylization of neoclassical sculpture, Lewis incorporated themes relating to being a double minority in America. Lewis’ career began to emerge during the Civil War era.

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Edmonia Lewis

 

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Edmonia Lewis. Forever Free

 

Mavis Doering

(August 31, 1929 – 2007)

An esteemed basket weaver, Doering incorporated elements of traditional Cherokee basket techniques with her own personal flair. She had once stated, “Basket weaving offers many things to me and, as a third generation weaver. I strive to do the best job I can so that my people would be proud”. Doering made her baskets from scratch, collecting her own natural dyes, hulls and leaves in her home state of Oklahoma.

mavis-doering

Mavis Doering, Keeper of the Flame

 

Kenojuak Ashevak

(October 3, 1927 – January 8, 2013

Ashevak, a Native Canadian, is considered the most notable pioneer in modern Inuit art. After her father’s tragic death, Ashevak was taught traditional crafts by her mother and grandmother as a young child. Kenojuak Ashevak became one of the first Inuit women in Cape Dorset to begin drawing.

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Kenojuak Ashevak

 

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Kenojuak Ashevak, Timmiaruqsimajuq (Bird Woman Transformation)

 

Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty

(1969 – present)

Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty was born in Castro Valley, California, however, her family comes from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, where Juanita spent much of her childhood. Juanita was taught the art of bead and quillwork by her mother, who is also an acclaimed artist and often collaborates with her daughter. Juanita’s work is very labor intensive, gathering nearly everything she utilizes.

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Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty

 

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Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty, Give Away Horses

 

Helen Cordero

(June 15, 1915 – July 24, 1994)

Cordero was a lifelong resident and traditional potter of Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. She was renowned for her storyteller pottery figurines which were based upon the traditional “singing mother” motif. Cordero “followed a traditional way of life including digging her own clay and preparing her own pigments.” She used three types of clay, all sourced near her home of Cochiti Pueblo. Cordero’s work can be found in the Museum of International Folk Art and the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and the Brooklyn Museum.

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Helen Cordero

 

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Helen Cordero, Cochiti Pueblo Storyteller with 14 Children

Artist Of The Month – OCTOBER 2016: BLACKBLONDEIMAGES

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

bbi4BLACKBLONDEIMAGES

I MET TREVON LAST SPRING AT A BERNIE SANDERS RALLY IN THE BRONX; IT WAS A VERY QUICK INTERACTION, HE HAD ASKED MY BOYFRIEND IF HE COULD TAKE A PORTRAIT OF HIM IN THE CROWD. THIS WAS A VERY DEFINITIVE MOMENT FOR ME AS A PERSON, AND AN ARTIST. I WAS VERY INSPIRED BY TREVON’S FEARLESSNESS, GRACEFULLY MARCHING THROUGH THE CROWD ASKING STRANGERS FOR THEIR PORTRAITS, WHICH I COULD ONLY IMAGINE WAS A DIFFICULT TASK IN ITSELF; I WAS ALSO WARMED BY THE FACT THAT HE SAW SOMETHING SPECIAL AND BEAUTIFUL IN PEOPLE HE DIDN’T KNOW. I AM HONORED TO HAVE INTERVIEWED AND SUPPORT  SOMEONE WHO HAD SHOWN ME SUCH CONFIDENCE IN THEIR ARTISTRY. THANK YOU TREVON!

– Jess

SUCKER: Who is Black Blonde Images?

BLACKBLONDEIMAGES: My name is Trevon Blondet, I was born and raised and educated in the Bronx. And BlackBlondeImages is the name of the gallery on Instagram where I share my photographs and my message.

SUCKER: What was your first experience with a camera? Did your artistic career start with photography?

BBI: My first experience with a camera is when dad always took photos and I always play with the film container. He had tons of slides. I was the kid who used to bring my disposable camera, and photograph class trips. I took 3 credits of photography in undergrad as an elective. That wasn’t enough to be fluent in the dark room.  I few years ago I bought my first digital camera. A Canon Rebel.  I was off and running. As a kid, I was always interested in the music.

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SUCKER: Almost all of your images are monochromatic, what is the reasoning behind this? How do you decide if a photograph should be in color or black and white?

BBI: The first exhibits I went to that left an impact on me, most of the photographs were black and white. Mainly those photographers were too poor to spend the extra money to buy and process color film. When I started to figure out what subject matter I wanted to capture, I stripped away the colors to focus on the message.  If there is something very dynamic about the color in the photo I will leave it in color. Usually I convert it to monochrome to my liking. I mainly shoot street photography, sports, concerts and portrait not in that order.

SUCKER: Who are some of your favorite visual artists?

BBI: That’s a tough question…I’ve meet a lot of  muralist and painters in recent years and I’ve become friends of a few of them, So my favorite visual artists are my friends.

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SUCKER: How did you transition from taking photographs to making a career out of it?

BBI: I still have a 9 – 5, but I starting taking my camera every where and I began to hone my craft. Once I joined the Bronx Photo League, my photography got better exponentially. Being around a group of people who genuinely want to see you become a better shooter; they nurtured the environment that different types of photographers where you get inspired.  The BPL forced me to become better at my craft all around. It made me more aware about my community. That was showcased at Photoville with the Bronx Documentary Center container, where we highlighted a 2 mile stretch on Jerome Ave. in the Bronx. Photo book: Jerome Avenue Workers Project. From that work, I got published in the NYTimes and Metro News. I have had a few assignments for the Riverdale Press, Bronx Times and Crain’s 5Boros. It’s a start for other projects coming up.

SUCKER: What is the most challenging thing about working with an urban landscape and portraiture photography? What’s the easiest?

bbi2BLACKBLONDEIMAGES


BBI: I guess the tough  part is approaching people and asking someone to take your portrait.  It’s also it’s challenging being rejected. I doesn’t bother me too much, but at first I would completely shut down and stop taking pictures for the day.  The easiest part is when people walk up to you and ask for a picture. Some people want their story told and picture taking.

SUCKER: What kind of camera(s) and editing software do you use?

BBI: I have a: Canon 60D w/ Tamron Lens 24mm-70mm, canon telephoto lens 70mm-200mm, and canon 50mm, Fuji X-Pro 1  35mm, and Canonet QL17RF 35mm (film camera). Lightroom software, Snapseed (Google based app)

SUCKER: What is your go-to art making song?

BBI: The music really depends on my mood. There was a period time when I only listened to jazz while I was shooting  because I gave me peace to let my mind wander a bit and see things differently.

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SUCKER: Your work gives narrative behind the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, and coincides with living in the Bronx. What does your process look like in terms of your theme? Has it changed at all over the years?

BBI: I started to photograph the Bronx; and her residents and neighborhoods and the culture that lives there. When Black Lives Matter movement kicked off I felt I had to use my images to show, individually, each person matters. I started to finding people and started using the #TheyMatter,  or her or she matter. (I didn’t create the #) I take portraits of men, women, transgender, LGBTQ, kids, or senior citizens because they all matter. I went to a few Black Lives Matter movement events in the Bronx, but most of the marches and rallies are in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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SUCKER: Did you get a higher education in art? How did this decision help you?

BBI: I graduated with a Fine Arts – Communication Degree, but I wouldn’t call myself a Art Major. I learned most everything I know from the Bronx Documentary Center and that was the best decision I ever made.

SUCKER: Have you had any bad experiences when asking strangers to take their photograph? Any good experiences?

BBI: When I actively shooting the “NO” was the worse thing. No one has every threatened me or anything. If they agree to take a portrait, I consider a gift and it always pleasant to receive a gift. Also, it’s nice when people recognized the person if I post it to Instagram. That’s why I photograph the Bronx.

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SUCKER: Why is it important in the 21st century to be active online as an artist?

BBI: Photography provides immediacy depending on year gear. It tells you a whole without words, or a few photos with poignant text is like a novel. Photography can sell the recent trends of fashion. Everything is more visual these days and with a camera you tell a story and upload it within seconds.

SUCKER: What is the best advice you could give to aspiring young photographers?

BBI: It’s import to keep up with what everyone one is doing; it should spark ideas. I think also finding mentors and mentees is important to be active online. Criticisms can be complementary, and online you can get some good constructive criticisms.

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SUCKER: What are your plans for your future art and future self?

BBI: I will continue to get better as a photojournalist and try to show the Bronx in a positive light.


SUCKER: Where can we buy your art and contact you?

BBI: I have a friend working on my website it should be complete in October, but you can DM me on Instagram (@BLACKBLONDEIMAGES) and we’ll figure it out from there. I have 8 x 10’s and 11 x 14’s prints of my favorite photographs.

bbi BLACKBLONDEIMAGES

Father John Misty Loves Me and I Have Proof

music, Uncategorized

Sucker Magazine’s Exclusive “Highs and Lows” of Day 1 at Governor’s Ball NYC 2016

By Jess Petrylak

IMG_1043

Photo by Justin Leonti

Walking onto Randall’s Island on the morning of Friday June 3rd, brought forth an overwhelming sense of comfort and excitement; this would be my home for three days. Here I will experience and share countless of  memories of seeing my favorite artists and bands, with some of my favorite people on the planet. And although cut short due to extreme weather conditions, GovBallNYC 2016 holds some of my most cherished memories of my 21 years of existence.

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Photo by Nigel Deakin

 

We had planned for weeks what we were to bring, how to get there and back, how to survive in heat or rain, which shows we absolutely could not miss. Walking up to the gates that read “Governor’s Ball” in bold, happy letters, we promptly got into line around noon to get our bags checked and wristbands scanned. Scattered amongst the crowd were some of the coolest girls I’ve ever seen, adorned in Strokes shirts and jackets bought directly from the Strokes “Pop-Up Shop” that was open until the last day of GovBall, June 5th. Holy shit, I thought to myself, today the Strokes are playing.

Suddenly, the gates open and I see people begin to frantically rush towards the GovBallNYC Stage, where nonetheless, the Strokes were to play that night at 9:15pm. I smiled for the girls that pummeled past security, I smiled for their excitement and their eagerness, I smiled because they would be barrier for the Strokes.

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The London Souls at Gov Ball NYC, Photo by Matt Ebbers

 

After scanning our super cool and efficient GovBall 2016 wristbands, we marched onto the festival grounds and were greeted by volunteer workers handing out emoji decorated pins, all while wishing us a safe and happy time. We headed directly to the GovBallNYC stage to groove to The London Souls and kick off our GovBall experience. The London Souls, a two man band established in 2008, reinterpret and modernize classic rock music while still holding close to the roots and beloved stylization. With drum beats that re-pattern the beat of your heart and guitar riffs that would make Hendrix proud, there is no denying that The London Souls are the future of classic rock in the 21st century, totally bad-ass and the nicest, most gracious guys. Not a head in the crowd wasn’t bopping along to their structurally sound, seductive anthems.

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Bully at Gov Ball NYC, Photo by Matt Ebbers

Some time had passed, and we had scurried around the festival grounds checking out each stage, merch table and food stand. We decided to take a break after watching Black Pistol Fire and sit under a tree while having some food and beers. We unenthusiastically hear Elle King from across the field, we were not planning on seeing her set, because well, we just aren’t into her. Being subjected to hear her Elle King would have been fine if she sang her own songs, but instead she had only belted out merely a few originals and the rest of her 45 minute set to sing covers.

We quickly ate, checked the line-up schedule and headed over to the Big Apple stage to watch BULLY’s set, which we were all very excited to see. Bully, a grunge punk band formed in Nashville in 2013, has a distinguishable raw and realness, that translates smoothly not only with Alicia Bognanno’s rough vocals, but with their overall attitude. Within their set, after finishing a song, Bognanno exclaimed while smirking, “so the next few songs are covers.” How shady, I love it.

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Father John Misty at Gov Ball NYC, Photo by Jess Petrylak

 

We stayed at the Big Apple Stage because a few people in our group were interested in seeing Action Bronson, who was the least of my concern. Only a few hours until Father John Misty graces the Big Apple Stage. Once Action Bronson finished his blunt and his set, my friend took me and slingshotted me to barrier, where I was to stay for two hours until J Tillman’s set.  I did not even speak to anyone at barrier, a lot of people were talking amongst themselves, trying to make friends while waiting packed together in the sun. I just stood there, facing forward, occasionally looking back at my boyfriend who was a few people behind me, but mostly staring at the stage, waiting.

Two hours had felt like month, when suddenly the lights went out and band members (that suspiciously all looked like J. Tillman) piled on stage. My heart started racing as J. Tillman sauntered on stage, appropriately bowing and nodding and pointing. This idiot man, this stupid fucking idiot! He looks so good! With a single hit of the drum, I knew they were starting with a classic, and one of my favorite Father John Misty Songs: “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings.” The entire crowd started dancing, and I almost started crying because how out-of-body this song has always been for me. With tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat I screamed, with the entire crowd the opening lines “Jesus Christ, Girl.” Let me tell you, the song is more magical live, more out of body and more floaty (more floaty? whatever) I was floating, and I wasn’t alone. I could not take my eyes off J. Tillman, his movements and gyrations were hypnotic, it’s as if he had summoned Elvis and was casting a love spell on the entire crowd.

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Father John Misty at Gov Ball NYC, Photo by Jess Petrylak

I just stood in awe most of the time, in awe of him and in my somewhat pathetic fan-girl mentality, but I did not care, not now, it was my time. A few songs in, I notice him looking in my direction while smugly raising his eyebrows. Taken aback I just smile back at him, while he proceeds to smile, point and wink. What the fuck, that was not towards me, was it? I have forgot to make it clear, we have had history, J. Tillman and I. No, not real history, but there are a collection of tweets we have exchanged back and forth between us, mostly involving him being my father, dog gifs and asking him if he would give me some money. Could he have recognized me? Shut the fuck up, Jess. He eases into playing “Nothing Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow,” and when belting out the lyric “why the long face blondie, I’m already taken, sorry,” he swiftly replaces “sorry” with “sort of” and winks at me again. At this point I am well aware I am part of the act, I’m participating in the world of Father John Misty, I am the prop, I am willing to be the prop. And I am sure he swooned many people that day, I am sure many people felt singled out and special, which is what a great performer does.

Nonetheless, mid song J. Tillman hopped down from the 6 foot stage and came directly for me. The weight of the entire crowd was placed on my back and pushed my body tightly to the barrier, but I did not mind. He’s right in front of me. I looked up at my favorite artist, entertainer, musician, person; I could barely see his face in an all consuming wave of arms and hands grabbing, touching, and I touched what I could (a small section of his bare stomach, sorry J.). Father John Misty’s set, by far, was my favorite experience of GovBall, truly unforgettable and left me shaking with happiness and amazement.

 

 

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A few hours of relaxation, food and drink was necessary and much needed after Father John Misty’s set, not only for me but for my boyfriend and friends. We were all losing steam and needed to rest before the Strokes set later in the day. I truly have never seen a band bring so many passionate people together like the Strokes have, their fans are loyal, aggressive, real. My sister, who was one of the girls that bolted to barrier early in the day, had described being barrier at a Strokes concert as being part of a hysteria. She stated in a discussion we had afterwards, “It’s so intense, you can feel it everywhere, and you can’t breathe because everyone is trying to get as close as possible. You have no room to move or breathe or anything, and towards the second half of the set you’re like, why did I do this to myself? But you have to do it, It’s all part of the experience.” The energy began to feel thick and electric as we approached the time of the Strokes set, it was to be the icing on the cake of my fulfilling day, but the entire cake for so many. Fashionably late as always, the Strokes began their set 15 after their expected time, opening with the humble classic “The Modern Age.” Fuck yeah.

The first half of their set included songs from their newly released EP, as well as many older songs that only the truest of the Strokes fans would know and be able to sing along to. I was surprised to see many people march away from the stage during this time, as if they were expecting only the typical hits such as “Reptilia” or “Someday.” During the middle of the set, Julian Casablancas broke away from his usual dad joke trope to speak about a serious and tragic issue that is currently devastating the Strokes family.

Brett Kilroe, whom Julian had described as “the greatest visual artist who we have ever gotten the chance to work with,” has been creating award-winning design in music, publishing, and branding for over 20 years, and had served as Vice President of RCA Music Group, had unexpectedly passed away. Julian explained that Kilroe had followed them through their entire professional career, creating some of their most iconic visuals, and was a man that he was intimidated of as a young man, but later realized he had the most “wonderful and sweet heart.” “My wife, whom he was very close with, I thought said something awesome about him,” Julian stated, “he knew everyone better than they knew themselves.” Following the heartfelt message, the band dedicated “Electricityscape” to the late Brett Kilroe. The rest of the show was brimming with the classic’s all the basics inevitably ran away from, and the night ended on a really fucking great note. The Strokes are still the coolest band in the world.

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The Strokes at Gov Ball NYC, Photo by Kristen Knight

 

Photo Contributions: Matt Ebbers,Kristen Knight, Justin Leonti, Nigel Deakin

Quote by: Brianna Petrisko

Thank you to GovBall, my boyfriend for making this all possible, my group for putting everyone’s safety first, everyone that helped me execute this article, and all my friends that attended.

Selena Ruiz: Artist of the Month – June 2016

Art, artist of the month, Uncategorized

Interview by Jess Petrylak

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Who is Selena Ruiz?


Selena Ruiz is a 20 year girl born and raised in Riverside, California.

What was your first experience with makeup?

I would say when I was about 11 years old I would apply NYX black pencil liner all over my waterline and smudge it out. I wouldn’t dare try liquid liner back then, I thought winged liner would never happen for me.

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Where did your inspiration first stem from?

When my mom died in 2012, I started wearing makeup way more than I ever had before. I felt it was a way of coping.

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Your makeup style showcases and argues the theory that makeup truly is art. How do you believe makeup factors into the art world?

I don’t understand people who do not think makeup is art. How is it not? It takes inspiration, vision, structure, blending shades, product placement, etc. My face is a canvas.

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Who are some of your favorite makeup artists?

I love many, but Roshar (@rosharofficial) is the only makeup artist I aspire to be.

How do you decide which design to create on a daily basis? Does color choice play into that as well?

I usually go based off the look I did the previous day. At the end of the day, I’ll look at my makeup in a mirror and think of other ways I could’ve done it, like what other lines/shapes I could’ve connected or drawn. I just keep building off what I do.

What are some of your favorite products?

Sephora’s Liquid Liner, Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder, anything Sugarpill Cosmetics, and NARS Makeup Removing Water.

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What makeup style do you feel most comfortable in? Empowered? Vulnerable?

I feel most empowered when I have sharp thick wings, over sized top/bottom eye lashes, some glitter highlight, and wearing my favorite brown lip gloss. I feel most vulnerable when I’m not wearing eyelashes, to be honest.

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Do you think makeup companies look down on you or avoid you because of your lifestyle?

I honestly feel they do, I feel a lot of makeup artists and brands avoid me because I’m not strictly a makeup account, and because I post photos of marijuana. If they look down on me for it, that’s unfortunate but I know myself and what I am capable of despite what my Instagram portrays.

You’ve recently been experimenting with adding textures such as gem stones, taped brows, and spiked paper eyelashes. How do these products further your exploration with makeup and art?

Yes! I’ve been experimenting with different objects to apply to makeup because I get bored. Adding these objects to my makeup looks have really given me a lot of inspiration to find out how far I could take it and what could become.

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What is the worst comment you have received on your makeup style? What is the best?

I don’t even consider the negativity I get. There’s a lot of people who think my makeup is trash, but not compared to how many people think my makeup is great. I think the best comment I’ve received was from @shrinkle (owner of Sugarpill Cosmetics); She told me how much her and her friends admire me, and how much she loves my creativity. Also, I have to add, when I went to IMATS this year, Kim Chi came up to me and complimented the hell out of my makeup. I nearly fainted. And, oh wait, once, Kat Von D liked a makeup photo of mine. I cried.

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What does your makeup process look like?

Well after I smoke, I get started with my skin, brows, shadow, liner, lashes, highlight, contour/blush, lips, and then, whatever I feel like gluing on my face that day.

What is your go-to song to listen to when getting ready?
Bam Bam – Sister Nancy

Which decade of makeup do you take the most inspiration from? Why?

I take a lot of inspiration from 90’s editorial makeup. I admire the rawness. They would include props on already very intense looks. Very fearless. I find it badass.

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What is your response to people inferring that women wear makeup to please men?

LOL

What is your experience with education and makeup artistry?

I’m a high school graduate and am currently attending My Beauty Mark Makeup Academy. The only makeup artistry experiences I have are from the courses I take at school, so far: prince inspired makeup, a full face makeup course, and a moodboard makeup course.

You are undoubtedly a pioneer of pushing graphic liner into another realm, changing how people view makeup itself, and truly creating a style unique to you. Have you noticed your influence on makeup artists on the internet and in real life?

Wow thank you. People do looks inspired by me often and will tag me in them on Instagram. I think it’s cool that people actually feel inspired enough to go out of their comfort zones and do some unusual makeup. I do notice other artists switch it up a bit and try something I would do, but I don’t blame them, I just get kind of irritated when I don’t receive credit.

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What is next for you? What are your plans and your plans for your future makeup looks?

As of now, I’m just waiting to finish makeup school, and see what happens from there. Due to experience, I find it hard to plan ahead of time. Nothing is certain, but of course it would be my dream to pursue an actual career in makeup. I want to succeed. And as for makeup looks… stay tuned️.

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Where can we follow you, stay updated and contact you?

I’m pretty active on Instagram: @anythingforselenaaas, and I also have a tumblr! Follow me at  spock-ho.tumblr.com.

Calm Down, Witch

music, talk, Uncategorized

The Ultimate Guide to Self-Love Through Enchantments & Witch Tips

By Jess Petrylak

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Life comes at you fast (surprise, bitch) and sometimes you need a little something extra that will remedy the seemingly uncontrollable bad vibes. The following are easy, totally do-able, totally safe, and affordable spells/enchantments/tips that can get you through even the toughest of times, while still embracing the supreme witch that you are:

 

1. Go Crystal Shopping at your Local Occult Shop

There is truly nothing more spiritual and magical than letting a crystal choose you. Upon walking into your local occult shop, gaze over the crystals, pick them up and experience them. Crystals have a unique way of knowing what you need and call out to you (try not to be biased based on color and shape!). For example, selenite, which is a personal favorite,aids with mental clarity, and is often used to help with anxiety. Once you have picked out your crystal, research it and make sure you know when and how it is charged for full healing properties. Just having a little crystal companion to keep on you wherever you go will definitely give you a feeling of protection and safety.

 2. Burn Away the Bad Vibes with Incense and Candles
Much like crystals, burning certain colored candles and specific incense can emit a healing energy with a few simple steps. Choosing a candle color is essential to releasing the correct vibes you wish to obtain; for example, if you were seeking change, you would choose a turquoise colored candle. To prepare your candle, you must cleanse it by rubbing lite olive oil upwards towards the wick. This process strengthens the candles abilities. The spiritual meanings of incense fragrances bring forth clarity of mind as well as other magical properties. Burning  frankincense can purify negativity and bring forth courage. (Remember to never let your guard down when experimenting with fire!)

3. Brew Up a Tea Potion
Teas are yummy and easy potions for beginners on a budget. You simply mix the ingredients, let them steep in hot water, and experience the potion as it emits throughout your being. Make sure your atmosphere reflects the qualities you are looking for and is protected. You can find Sucker’s Beginners Guide to Tea Potions here

 4. Have a Bewitching Night Out with your Coven
Although indulging in solitude is totally necessary when feeling overwhelmed, it can add gloom to your already stressed out vibes. Ring up some of your closest friends, dress in all black, fly over to your favorite haunt, drink a couple brews and relax. If going out isn’t your scene, inviting friends over for a cozy night in is a fun, serine experience for everyone. Watching a Sucker recommended movie gathered around a glowing crystal salt lamp will definitely heal your aura.  

5. Cleanse your Being in the Bath or Shower
Showering or bathing seems like too much work and a waste of time when you have so many other things to do. We’ve all had those days (..or few days) where we have gone without showering, but it will calm you down and make you feel even better if you do. Just using natural shampoos and soaps in the shower can sometimes leave you and your being feeling entirely refreshed. If you opt to bathe, soaking in a homemade bath spell, accompanied with crystals and candles most definitely do the trick as well. The following is a fairly simple, vegan friendly, bath spell that can be used to heal one’s spirit (specifically those who have experienced trauma):

• 1-2 cup(s) Milk (Powdered or Liquid, Dairy or Non-Dairy) for Nurturing
• ¼ cup Honey (Protection) and/or Maple Syrup (Rebirth, Healing)
• 5 Drops Lavender Oil (Tranquility, Peace of Mind, Eased Sleep)
• [Optional] 5 Drops Clary Sage (Protection, Related to the Reproductive System)
• ¼ Cup Himalayan Pink (Cleansing, Self Love) or Sea Salt (Cleansing, Purification)
• Lemon Slices (Cleansing– Avoid sun exposure for 6 hours after using lemon in bath; do not use if having a dairy milk bath, as it can curdle. And that would be yucky).
• Oatmeal (Soothing)
• Rosemary (Protection)
• Rose Quartz (Self love)
• Amethyst (Healing and Restful Sleep)
• Rhodonite (Recovery of Trauma– Do not put in water as it might dissolve, leave on edge of tub)
• Pink, White, and Light Blue Candles (Healing, Self Love, and Purification)

 

6. Channel the White Witch and twirl like Stevie Nicks
Getting out of bed is sometimes the hardest part of day, let alone getting up the energy to do any physical activity.  If you’re not in the mindset to jog or go to the gym, at least get on your feet and do some signature Stevie Nicks twirls (but do it responsibly), and when you do it, do it cool.

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7. Listening to our “Calm Down, Witch” Playlist
When practicing any form of self love, it’s important to have a soundtrack that calms your spirit and makes you feel invincible. This playlist is specifically made for practicing self love through enchantments and witch tips, enjoy!: