#90: Norberto Rodriguez X Justin Hopkins - “The Reality Distortion Field”

Born + raised in Miami by Cuban immigrants, Norberto Rodriguez began his career at 18 as a multi-disciplinary conceptual artist known for his continuously disruptive + innovative practice. He works in all media + genre including installation, performance, photography, sculpture, digital, music, film, text + tenderness. Currently, Rodriguez is developing A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: a center for exploring how ideas give life meaning, IP DIVISION: A company providing creative solutions + services to consumers everywhere, + The Waiting Room: an experimental, collaborative space for private reflection + public exchange.  He also shares his journey documenting various other projects + his ongoing evolution as an artist + friend on social media @norbertoinc.

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Using commercial platforms to your advantage as an artist
  • Alternative ideas to bypass and subvert the traditional art gallery model
  • Slash from Guns and Roses making an appearance on the episode
  • Exploring deep philosophical ideas about the ramifications of the art market
  • Questioning your legacy as an artist
  • “The pre-career retrospective”
  • Steve Jobs and Apple
  • When Bert got married to a stranger for a year
  • The Bert Rodriguez Museum
  • When he killed Bert Rodriguez
  • Pitfalls of galleries
  • Artists as a commodity
  • Art evolving culture
  • Kanye West
  • The sale of his will
  • Shamans
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky

#89: Gavin Turek X Jarell Perry X Yoshino - "On The Line"

Gavin Turek3.jpeg

It’s impossible not to become infatuated with soulful pop princess Gavin Turek. The LA Native is always clad in a hand-made 70s fringe dress (designed herself in every color) and armed with the best dance moves you’ve ever seen. It’s easy to draw comparisons anywhere from Tina Turner to Beyoncé but really, Gavin is her own force to be reckoned with. Performing always came natural: she grew up with a father who played piano and tagging alongside her mother, who toured coffeeshops singing gospel. Her origin story goes like this: at age three, a teeny tiny Gavin interrupted her mother mid performance, took over the mic and to the astonishment of the audience, finished the song for her. She knew every single lyric, word for word, and whoa, that girl could sing. Suffice to say, a star was born.

Growing up, Gavin obsessively studied two things: music (the likes of Donna Summer, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Diana Ross. Michael Jackson, Giorgio Moroder) and all forms of dance. Originally aspiring to be a professional dancer, she spent months at a time in India and Africa, immersing herself in different cultures. Ghana was where Gavin first discovered her love for fringe and learned that the popular disco-era fad had much deeper origins. Everyday while in Ghana, Gavin learned and performed the traditional dances of the northern region, with falling in love with their massive fringe belts that moved with the music and drums as an extension of body and spirit. As Gavin jokingly told Nylon Magazine, “fringe really makes your hips look good and accentuates the movements.” Another great discovery for her was that in other cultures, dance is much more than a form entertainment, it is a way of life. It is used to celebrate births, weddings, religious worships, achievements and even deaths and afterlife. Upon returning to the United States, Gavin eventually returned to singing and songwriting as her main medium of expression, but when the time came to perform her own music, dance and fringe costumes naturally became a vital component for her live shows.

Two special artists in particular became champions early on for Gavin. Brainfeeder genius TOKiMONSTA has been a longtime friend and collaborator. Early on in both their careers, she asked Gavin to contribute vocals to her productions, which lead to the fan favorite track “Darkest Dim.” Mayer Hawthorne was next, not only inviting Gavin to open his sold out tours but recruiting her as the female counterpart in his retro funk act Tuxedo with producer Jake Uno. (You may recognize her as the golden disco goddess gracing the stage with them everywhere from the legendary Hollywood Bowl to Japan).

In 2015, word of mouth about Gavin’s music and electric live shows spread with the release of her electro R&B infused mini-album “You’re Invited” produced by TOKiMONSTA. The girl power duo followed the release with a sold out tour and received accolades from Billboard, NPR, The Fader, Apple / Beats 1, KCRW, etc. That year,Spin named Gavin as the summer’s Top Artist to Watch and her disco funk-tinged single "Don’t Fight It” as one of the best tracks of 2015.

By 2016, Gavin’s star quality was undeniable. She dominated the stage with guest performances at legendary festivals such as Outside Lands and Coachella and late night performances on Jimmy Kimmel with Mayer Hawthorne and Cee Lo. Her crowning achievement this past year began with the release of her single “On the Line” (produced by Chris Hartz of Passion Pit) last May. In support of the release, she played a beyond sold-out month long residency in Los Angeles. The long time venue promoter said he had never seen anything like it in LA, with lines wrapped around the block in hopes of catching Gavin perform what would soon become her new EP Good Look for You.  “On the Line”  premiered #1 on HypeMachine very organically thanks to dedicated love from the hippest underground blogs and airplay from six of KCRW’s top tastemakers. KCRW DJ Anne Lit proclaimed it the “song of the summer.”   

Gavin preps now to release her EP “Good Look for You” February 17 via her own label Madame Gold Records. A self starter and entrepreneur whose mission is to inspire women of all ages and ethnicities, Madame Gold continues the tradition of female greats taking the reigns of their own success. Gavin considers it an homage to the artists she admires most: Solange, Janelle Monae and TOKiMONSTA. The EP’s single “Good Look for You” (November, 2016) already has  garnered attention from Stereogum, Nylon, Okayplayer, etc and the EP release will be celebrated with a live KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic in-studio session and release parties in both Los Angeles and New York this February.

www.gavinturek.com

#88: Akira Beard - "Love In Spite of Everything”

“Making pictures is one of the earliest memories I recall. Before learning to write the alphabet I was drawing from my imagination in crayons. And over all the years that followed, there has never been a period where I didn’t continue the practice. I remember for example just after graduating high school and living on my own as a dishwasher with no ambitions in life but to get drunk and high. But when the party was over I would be in the kitchen of a house I didn’t live in, drawing past dawn. Or even when I was a student at the University of California Berkeley, on my way towards a corporate life, having never conceived even the possibility where art could be a profession, I filled my notebooks not with words from lectures, but with sketches of teachers and classmates. And though later I would become a ‘professional artist’, I sometimes look back at such moments if confused with the roots of my creativity. It started purely as an act of autonomy, where nothing outside myself influenced or affected it. I simply drew because I enjoyed it above all else. Sure, like anyone I’ve had plenty of typical life experiences that have brought their own joy, but nothing compares in consistency and meaningfulness that making art has provided. Even during those unavoidable periods with living that challenges us most, drastic life change/loss/death, art has functioned as a medium with giving meaning to suffering, transforming it into an experience with healing. This I hope, begins to describe the art I make. The drawings and paintings you see on this site, are similar to snapshots with the lens pointed in Life's direction with penetrating force. I hope you enjoy any of what's reflected back. Thanks for visiting." - Akira Beard

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Identity
  • His Japanese American heritage
  • Akira’s self portraiture work where he addressed the theme of identity
  • The idea of “self, culture, nature”
  • Self-realization
  • The Buddhist concept of impermanence
  • The difference between a technician and a fine artist
  • “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”
  • The enigma of love
  • His body of artwork called “Love In Spite of Everything”
  • His 4 year path of discovery
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Stoicism
  • Daily rituals
  • Anais Nin

Akira Beard's Website

Akira Beard's Instagram

#87: Steve Kim - "The Nebulous, A Beautiful Abstraction"

Steve Kim is an artist and illustrator. Born in Seoul, Korea, he immigrated to the states at the age of two and currently resides in Oxford, Mississippi. He received his undergraduate degree from Art Center College of Design in 2006 and his masters from Claremont Graduate University in 2010. He has shown in Korea, Italy, London, Amsterdam, Krakow and throughout the United States and clients include The Outline, FRAMƎ, Matter/Medium, Adobe, Hohe Luft, The New Republic, Arc/New Scientist, and The Verge. His work has been featured in print in Quiet Lunch, New American Paintings, Computer Arts, Beautiful Decay, PRINT Magazine, and American Illustration and online on Hi-Fructose, Juxtapoz, BOOOOOOOM!, The Fox Is Black, Supersonic Art, and Tumblr's Radar. Most recently he completed a 3 month residency at the Red Bull House of Art in Detroit.

Steve Kim's Website

Steve Kim's Instagram