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.

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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
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Not Our President

Art, Uncategorized

Art by Molly Allen

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” -Elie Wiesel

“In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none, has none.” -Stokely Carmichael

In Limbo

poetry, Uncategorized, Words
YOU ARE IN LIMBO, WILLING YOURSELF TO PULL ANSWERS OUT OF THE AETHER.
 cw34lukusaarxly
Cuts and bruises are a hazard of living with a human body. The skin can be cut or pierced or braised. It’s simultaneously a delicate and resilient organ – think of the viruses and bacteria your skin fends off every minute. Think of how your skin produces sweat to cool you down but bleeds easily, too.
What I’m saying is that you are porous and your walls are imperfect, and that is part of being human. When you woke up this morning, your first instinct was – but how ? You could debate that, numerically, the other candidate won, but our system is more complicated than this. You try to pull up some long- forgotten memory of high school, government class – the Electoral College was put in place to (attempt to) equalize representation. You remember discussing the difference between democracy and federal republic. You overlooked the truth that your country is still separated by segregation, that communities live in homogeneous spaces that lack diversity.
This race distorted and obscured reality with emotion and prejudice and was facilitated by people who aren’t forced to confront their insensitivity on a regular basis. In limbo somewhere, you will yourself to pull answers out of the aether. The truth is that a simple resolution doesn’t exist. Uncertainty weighs on you because you desperately want to know what will happen next.
The real injustice of this election is the blatant exploitation that allowed such a man to win. He tapped into the anger and frustration many working-class citizens feel – the inability to find fair work that will provide a decent quality of life for their families. He appealed to their fear of the unknown. In hard economic times, the promises of ruthless men are likely to be heard. You struggle with feeling angry at the people you know who voted for the antagonist. Some of them raised you. They heard a promise, and
they so desperately wished it were true. They are frustrated about bills despite the long hours they put in and the banks that are fat cats nobody can do anything about. They’re embarrassed and confused and ashamed. For you, reading this, you knew this man wasn’t going to help.
You have a right to hold friends and family accountable but please do talk to them. Tell the why they voted wrong. Talk about institutions that work in nuanced, barely perceptible ways to oppress people. Don’t forget that people who are struggling to put food on the table and work 60-hour weeks are exhausted. They don’t have the energy to be up-to-date with the current dialogues about sexual assault, race and sustainability. Many have never had someone encourage them to ask these questions before.
In some countries, a radical politician might be quickly and quietly “silenced.” Governments are run with a military dictator sitting in the high chair after a coup left the last president dead. The only programming on television is state-sanctioned, and journalists taking photos or writing articles about forbidden subjects face imprisonment and execution. I don’t say these things to say, look at all these other places that have it so much worse. I’m saying this because in these places live breathing people, and some of them are still doing incredible things. They refuse to let big business or corrupt politicians take their power away from them.
You are at work later this afternoon, and a coworkers’ voice cuts through the somber atmosphere and lonely din of shuffling papers, “if you’re not white, straight and male, you woke up today told that you don’t matter.”
Survival instinct is, however, another side-effect of being human. Taking back your own power, by no means, is easy but still necessary at the same time. This disaster of an election leaves you traumatized or lost. Uncertainty is an eerie emotion, a directionless posture where you stand with a gaping mouth trying in vain to articulate your thoughts. You think about rolling up the pride flag displayed in your window. Logically, this should’ve never happened. This man should not be leading a country, but you underestimate emotion and false promises. These thoughts are valid – allow yourself to feel them. Allow your friends to navigate their emotions, check-in with them, and when you’re ready, get back into the studio or practice space or your desk. Write, play music and paint. What I’m saying is – please don’t let this man take your power away from you.
-Jenn Endless

A New World Nightmare

Misc., Uncategorized, Words

A post-apocalyptic short story by Alyssa Campbell

Waking up in my bed has felt strange so many times, especially when I’ve forgotten that is where I was all along. I have fallen into these deep sleeps before, going through my day unaware of what was real and what was just a dream. When I have these awful nightmares, I try to keep them to myself, but this is one I had to share.

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No one knew things would turn out this way; everyone was sure she was going to be better than the other candidate, who many had said would be like another Hitler. But they were wrong. Everything changed once she got into office, but no one was paying attention. It was the age of the “selfie;” technology shifted in a new direction, and sooner or later, everyone jumped ship. There were selfie sticks, filters that completely changed your appearance; no one wanted to look like their natural self anymore. Women and men were spending all of their money on makeup, making sure their contour was “lit” and their eyebrows were on “fleek.” 

There was a family that changed fashion forever, and soon, young girls were getting full-on plastic surgery to look a specific way, before they even started middle school. Vegans tried to make a difference, they tried to warn people to shop organic and stay away from GMO’s, but soon it didn’t matter, because everything was being labeled organic in the United States, even if it came from human DNA. Unfortunately, other countries fell into the same illusions. No one cared about the good of the planet; no one realized other forces were trying to get through and help us. Earth was constantly going through shifts, things were being revealed across the globe, people were coming together and standing up for what they believed in. 

Creatives were making art, music, literature, films, photography, and pornography, to capture these feelings and shifts they were experiencing. The bible described this period as the end of times, and the zombie stories became true, beginning with an app called “Pokemon Go.” People from all generations were playing, meeting up, walking to catch pokemon, staring at their phones. All while she was getting away with murder, a race war was taking place, police were targeting people of color, the government was trying to take away people’s rights to bear arms and enforce martial law. And that was only in America. 

People were dying all around the globe because of hate, greed, lust, and vanity. A generation war was also taking place around the world between millennials and everyone else, but mainly the baby boomers. As the earth’s energy continued to shift into a higher vibration, lower energy vibrations began to die out. Celebrities began to drop like wriggling, dying flies. One after another, people began calling them angels, saying they had served their purpose of helping the earth; a cleanse was happening and they couldn’t stay while it happened. One day, the only ones left on earth were the millennials, creatives, and empaths. 

They were the only ones who could withstand this new energy, left to bring in a new world. But along with this cleanse, everyone became renewed, meaning they had no knowledge of what happened or who they were. In preparation, a group called the Saeri, who were half alien, half human, were abducted by a group of aliens called the Oir until the cleanse on earth was complete. The Oir explained to the Saeri what was happening and why. They began by informing the Saeri that it had been the Oir all along, sending messages throughout time on Earth

They told them in order to help guide humans they had to create a story we could interpret, which is where religion came from, but that we began to focus on these things more than our actual experience on life, and the wellbeing of earth. Everything that was happening on earth was affecting the rest of the universe, which is why they had to step in. They explained that the former American presidential candidates were actually evil; they were from a different planet, trying to destroy the earth and create chaos. They wanted to steal the souls of human beings, keeping them trapped in this three-dimensional state of existence. There were celebrities who were angels, and celebrities who were fallen angels, but they were each placed on earth for a purpose, said the Oir. 

The celebrities were vessels, communicating messages from other worlds, but humans began to worship them, once again becoming more distracted from the bigger picture. The Saeri asked why they let Earth go on like this for so long, why the Oir hadn’t come sooner. That’s when it was explained how the Saeri came into being. 

They were a part of the Oir, but since Saeris were bound in a higher vibration; on earth they wouldn’t be recognized. This is why they were a hybrid, living a human experience. What went wrong? Well, when the Saeri were born they had gotten amnesia, therefore, they had to go through experiences others couldn’t relate to, they constantly felt abandoned, and alone. But they were the prophets; they were created with strong empathy and a flame that burned in them. Their mission was to break down the old ways. 

The Oir explained the true form of humans, with the earth in a higher dimension, humans would be able to access parts of their brain they never had before. They’d also be able to communicate through telepathy, they didn’t need to eat anymore, and there was no more hate or greed. There would be no God, the Oir explained. There was indeed a divine intelligence, but it was something that could not be perceived by human intellect. They didn’t want to make that mistake again, and humans would be able to understand more about this intelligence, because they would all feel a connection. 

People would be encouraged to continue to build this connection with the divine through deep meditation and eating a sacred mushroom. This would be the only time humans would need to eat. These mushrooms would constantly be supplied as a gift from the divine, so people wouldn’t have to worry about them ever running out. They would have an instant gateway; it would be there and they would realize their soul is eternal. These new times were what were once described as heaven on earth. 

There would be no more chaos and corruption. In the old world people weren’t in control of their desires; they weren’t taught to train their instincts, and therefore, they thought it was natural. In fact, it was the furthest thing from natural, and it was only a small part of the human experience, but not where other life was, in other worlds. This is why in the past it was considered a sin to lust; the Saeri would teach the humans how to be in control of their desires, how to feel light. After eating the mushroom and meeting with the higher intelligence, humans would feel the highest form of pleasure and would no longer desire pleasure from their physical bodies. 

Everyone would have an understanding that there was more to life, and there would be no promise of life in a kingdom after death. But there would be promise of fulfillment and purpose. The Oir also explained that fate was very real, and so was free will. Free will was given to all on earth, to see if humans would be able to figure things out as a collective; or if they would continue to remain asleep and let the world around them fall apart. Because of their failure, the Oir knew that humans needed a better understanding of how both free will and fate are necessary to the human experience. The divine intelligence knows no good or bad, but it was created to help teach humans right from wrong. 

The Saeri would also bring new technology to earth and humans would no longer work as slaves to a system that kept them blinded from their true purpose. There were different beings in the universe that wanted to experience life on Earth. They wanted to show themselves, but they were afraid. Now they would able to make their way onto to the planet, Earth would become a school for all lives in the universe. The goal would be to find ways to keep a supermassive black hole from swallowing the Earth. In order to do this, they would all need to work together and humans would be able to travel to different planets whenever they wanted. 

There was a lot that needed to be explained, and the Saeri were very patient; they too were upgraded, so they couldn’t feel any anger, even know they had just found out everything that had ever known was a lie. The Oir also told the Saeri the truth of the soul. That there was another half to each soul, living in a different realm. After this new transition was complete on earth, souls would be allowed to finally come together as one on earth, after this, no one would ever need to eat a magic mushroom, because they would become immortal. Once immortal, they would be able to visit the divine intelligence by simply hoping for it to happen. They would be able to manifest things like magic. 

Earth would become like it had never been. Before the Oir let the Saeri go back to earth to begin their new life, they told them they were sorry. They knew a lot had to be done in order to bring in change, but “it was all a part of the process,” they said. In the past they had to respect people’s free will and couldn’t communicate at all, and it wasn’t until they created the Saeri that they were able to find a way to help earth. They told the Saeri not be upset with the divine intelligence, but Saeri had no anger in them at all. They felt at ease knowing they hadn’t been crazy this entire time: they were actually the ones who were sane all along.

Louise Chantal is in Control

Uncategorized

Interview by Kayla Gutierrez

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Sucker: Who is Louise Chantal?

Louise Chantal: I’m a singer, songwriter, creative director, and entrepreneur from London, living in the NYC area.

Sucker:  Who or what are some of your musical inspirations?

LC: I’m inspired by so many people in different genres for different reasons. One person that inspired me vocally to grow and push myself, and accomplish as much as I can is Whitney Houston. Beyonce also continues to inspire me as an outstanding boss of her brand and talent as well. Her work ethic is unmatched in my eyes and I would like to strive to be the same way with an uncompromising devotion to my craft.

Sucker: What is your creative process?

LC: Each song has a very different story. Some of the songs on my project, I wrote without hearing instrumentation first and other songs I wrote to instrumentation. The biggest evolution in my creative process from the time I started writing and recording my EP to now is that I am much more involved in the musical production. I really wasn’t an executive producer outside of funding my project when I first began recording songs, but by the end of the project I was heavily involved in music production, not just the songwriting, vocal production, and arrangements of the voice. A big portion of that growth I think I can credit to working with producers that were far more experienced in the industry than me. Syience, who executive produced the project with me, always encouraged me to think and speak for myself. Once I began doing that wholeheartedly, I gained a lot more confidence in myself.

Sucker: What kind of messages do you want to convey through your music?

LC: I would like to convey honest messages. Many of my songs promote feminism and anti-patriarchal concepts because that’s who I am, but then I also have a few songs in which I’m hopeless romantic. All of the emotions I have written about are things that I’ve experienced and battled with. I have experienced men who made me feel like shit, made me feel absolutely horrible about myself, and it’s bigger than intimacy or relationships for me, it goes way back to my childhood up to now and witnessing how society isn’t structured to uplift or celebrate the woman of color. And in this album I’m talking about how I had to find myself, and find out what I loved about me, and why I was special, and why I didn’t need a man to define my worth. My life stories I haven’t share in the Welcome to Aranbi EP. I shared stories of the many women in me.

The emotions are really what I care about. Cry, cry, cry but then you have to move the fuck on. That’s my music. There’s a lot of sadness behind it, I feel that’s the core. There’s other happier songs, but for the most part I wrote about men that didn’t want me to know my worth or think that I was smart enough to be excellent, outstanding, or powerful alone. It was more to their advantage and ego to make me feel small. In this project, I said fuck that.

Sucker: At what age did you start singing?

LC: I was 12 years old, a point in my life where the world I thought I belonged to shifted drastically. I went from a very diverse public school to an all white private school. The way I viewed myself and my value flipped completely. But in the midst of all the sadness that came that year, I fought for a music career, and joined a production company. I wrote and recorded two EP’s, and a mixtape with them, and we created really great things. Years later I’m here, with my own company, having fun and doing it my way.

 

Sucker: Where do you see yourself in five years?

LC: I get that question quite a bit. Hopefully in five years – I’ve done three albums. If it doesn’t work out that way, it’s okay. But hopefully, I’ve done a few albums and I’ve become the creative director of a fashion brand. Maybe I’ll have had a role in a move or guest starred in a TV show. Hopefully my charity has expanded its outreach globally. That would be most amazing. And I’ve toured the world a few times.

Sucker: How do you want your fans to perceive you?

LC: As a business woman that is passionate about what I do. I love my supporters because they understand that about me. They understand that I’m here to change the world through art. I want them to know that I have an uncompromising attitude and devotion when it comes to my work. There is a lot of negative stereotypes about women in the industry, obviously bred by misogyny. They want to promote these messages that women aren’t intelligent enough, aren’t powerful enough to be successful without selling their bodies to a man in power. I hate that shit. I want my fans to know that I’m in control of my shit. No one in the ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ music video told me, ‘Oh I want you to wear this or I want you to pretend to be that’, everything you see in my content is what I wanted. I’m very much involved, I’m very much in control. There is no one telling me what to do and I’m proud of that and I think it’s important that my supporters know this isn’t been repackaged by a man.

In the PYMWMYI music video I made some people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to the point where they felt the need to write in the comments ‘oh I wonder who she fucked to get to the top,’ or ‘go back to the strip club’ or ‘slut slut slut.’ If a man puts 100 strippers in his music video, he’s the man. He’s a God. It’s never going to be oh I wonder how many women he had sex with to get where he is because they have all the power and they keep it in their circle. But if embrace my sexuality or look a little too confident in my sex appeal, I get 3,000 comments reducing me down to object. Stripper or no stripper, I’m made out to be an object. I’ll take the backlash in a heartbeat and just do what the fuck I want to do. That’s who I am. That’s who I am going to remain throughout my career, a woman that is unapologetic and willing to make people uncomfortable.

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Sucker: How have you ever experienced sexism first-hand? What changes need to happen to end sexism?

LC: I don’t know how I could be alive in this world as a woman as color, and not have experienced sexism. I could rant on and on about how people undermine on my capabilities or what I can achieve because I’m a woman. But at this point for me it’s about changing the program and what is promoted through the media. The idea that women have to have sex with men in order to achieve career success. The messages that say being in control as woman isn’t sexy. The messages that are promoted through the media must change.

Sucker: Is there anyone you want to collaborate with?

LC: Princess Nokia, I really like her a lot, and I really like what she has stands for in and outside of her music; the messages she promotes. Her entire life story is really inspirational. I’d also like to work with Drake one day.

Sucker: Do you believe personal relationships go with professional business?

LC: Business is always first priority for me, but I tend to become very close to the people I work with continuously. Some of my best friends are people I work with regularly. For that reason I’ve learned about the importance of knowing and respecting boundaries. I once had a friendship in past that became too multi-dimensional. There were no boundaries or moments alone, too much became intertwined. I learned a lot from that relationship and the outcome was sad. But with time and experience I’ve learned how to navigate my business life and my personal life and how to always keep them separate to a certain extent.

Sucker: Many artists claim that motherhood is not a good combination with their life’s work, do you see yourself being maternal in the near future along with balancing your career or solely dedicated to the music?

LC: I’m so in love with me and what I do professionally. All of my siblings have kids. I have so much work I have to get done, and I don’t think a kid would make that any easier for me due to first hand experience babysitting. You need time to be a parent, I don’t have the time or wisdom at this stage in my life to become one for sure.

Sucker: Who has been the most supportive to you through your journey as an artist?

LC: Probably my dad, I’ll give my dad that one.

Sucker: Is there more in life you want to accomplish than music?

LC: Absolutely. I already see myself and my brand as being bigger than music. I want to change the world and I think it will take multiple mediums in order for me to change how kids learn, how the world thinks and I’ll start with music, but I will definitely be branching out. I have a passion for business, branding and market. , I feel there’s so many ways for me to grow as mogul, as an entrepreneur. I love music, but I will definitely be taking advantage of every opportunity to do so much more.

Sucker: With growing movements such as Black Lives Matter, will fans see you spreading activism, will it be in your music?

LC: I definitely feel as though I am an activist through my music and my words, but I am planning to really take things to the next level by launching the Aranbi Foundation in November. At this point in my life, actions are really speaking even louder than words for me and that’s why I’ve begun taking initiatives to become active in the inner city communities that are being targeted the most by a flawed criminal justice system.

Sucker: What is music to you?

LC: Music is the one place where I can say whatever the fuck I want. I can just say what I feel, and I can just cry on a song, and I speak my mind with no dialogue, and no conversation, just me and the world that I created in pain and isolation. Aranbi is me in my head.

Sucker: What is one place you know for certain that you can go for peace and quiet?

LC: My dad’s place. He’s so calm, relaxed, and open minded. I love that about him. I feel so loved in the presence of my father, and enjoy spending all of my time with him. Another place I love going is to the beach.

Sucker: What advice to you have for young aspiring artists?

LC: Don’t underestimate your value, don’t allow anyone other than you to determine what you can or cannot do. Don’t underestimate your ability to think for yourself. Finding yourself and then believing in who you are is key.

Hey MTV, Welcome to Our Cribs

Lifestyle, Misc., music, Playlists, Uncategorized

Inside Sucker Magazine’s Staff Rooms All Over The World + Personal Playlists

Words by Yvonne Villasenor

 

“You can make whatever you want when you’re alone in your room.” – Kathleen Hanna

 

…Although some would be surprised to discover I am introverted, it is no secret that I enjoy solitude and need a place to recharge after busy days that are often filled with a number of social interactions and anticipation to go home. That place is known as my room…

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Madison Killian – Editor in Chief & Founder of Sucker Magazine

Seattle, WA

…This is where the magic happens.
And by magic, I mean scribbling down words until I hit writer’s block, watching Buzzfeed videos or science/philosophy/paranormal/conspiracy Youtube channels, adding clothes I can’t afford into my shopping cart, singing along to my favorite jams and of course, swooning over animals on the internet….

Jenn Endless – Sucker Staffer

Chicago, IL

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Kayla Gutierrez – Sucker Staffer

Bronx, NY

 

…In a loud, chaotic world, I find peace within these four walls. Never “peace and quiet” though – there is not a moment in time when I’m in my room and not listening to music with the exception of sleeping. Even still, I have to use my noise machine in order to fall asleep…

 

Jess Petrylak – Art Editor

Upstate NY

…In my room, I have different components that keep me relaxed: my laptop, music via Spotify or record player, books, candles, plants and flowers. I wish I could say my cats too, but most of time, they wake me up with their fighting or try to eat my plants. One thing I especially cherish is the very thing my cats are invading in the picture above. For someone who’s only 4’11, I constantly hog the bed and absolutely love being able to wake up sideways, diagonally, upside down…you name it. I also have a huge window to the right of my bed that allows me to get some fresh air and natural sunlight in my room, which is refreshing. To the left of my shelves, I have built in storage space that has pictures, stuffed animals, more books and candles, as well as miscellaneous items I should probably throw away but won’t…

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Yvonne Villasenor – Sucker Staffer

Orange, CA

 

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Tracie Wilkerson –  Sucker Staffer

Salem, OR

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?

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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.

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Welcome to Afropunk

music, Uncategorized

Words and Photos by Kayla Gutierrez

Attending the AfroPunk Festival was beyond anything I could’ve dreamed. On my way to the venue, I befriended three women at the bus stop, who were also attending the festival. I tagged along with them, and they were very kind to me.

I felt right at home, it felt it was meant for me to come here. I said to myself, “These are my people.” I befriended, and socialized with a few people during the journey to AfroPunk, and during the festival.

Here are the photos I had the privilege of taking at AfroPunk Fest:

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The entrance of the festival

 

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The Joyful Trio

 

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The Singer and The Filmmaker

 

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The Bright Star

 

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The Sweet Pact

 

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“What Makes You A Crafty Betch?”

 

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Kettle Brand, Art Hoe Collective, Girl Mob, Loud Speaker, Bitch Craft

 

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Bitch Craft: For Traditional African Tribal Facial Art

 

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Where Artists Come To Roam

 

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AfroPunk Swans

I wasn’t able to get everybody’s names, the names given to these photos were created names by me, names I created due to my interpretation, my social interactions, and observations of the people I snapped pictures of.

The festival was a blast, and unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to stay longer or go to the festival on the next day. The event was for two days, and I want to go back. I vow to go to AfroPunk annually till the day I die. I met new friends, had a blast, and got to see some great music. I thank, on behalf of Sucker Magazine, the people of Afropunk for this amazing experience and opportunity.