Archive for the ‘Street Art’ Category


Clare V Leather Card Case. Photo Credit: Clare Vivier

My love for handbags and hip hop have been mutually exclusive up until this moment, but now these two worlds have collided in a collaboration that I had to shine a spotlight on.  As part of the release of their next issue, the Australian lifestyle magazine Monster Children has enlisted the editorial styling of Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys.  Issue #43, which was released this week, showcases content culled by Mike D featuring surf, skate, hip hop and art luminaries.

Perhaps the coolest part of his guest editorial gig was that Diamond curated a limited edition box set of designed items that will be sold alongside the new issue of the mag.  The unique set includes items created by featured artists and designers that collaborated with Mike D.  If that isn’t enough for you, Clare V, Mike D and Monster Children are selling limited edition bags and leather card cases to commemorate this design equivalent of a cipher!


I am obsessed with the artwork designed by Mike D that lines this Clare V’s Cartable.  The slim canvas tote has tan leather handles and is screenprinted with MDMCCV; as cool as it looks on the outside, I’d totally rock this bag inside out.  It’s an awesome piece that I may just buy for my husband and then steal from him immediately…

Clare V Cartable. Photo Credit: Clare Vivier

Clare V Cartable. Photo Credit: Clare Vivier

Back to the box set.  I really love the photography of Josh Cheuse that’s also featured in the limited edition set.  If you are not familiar with the artist’s work, check out this video.

Stussy – Josh Cheuse from Stussy on Vimeo.

The box set is available for sale on June 16th, but Monster Children is accepting pre-orders now.







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Image Credit: HOC on Pinterest

I think the most interesting developments in Hip Hop are taking place off the commercial radio dial and buried deep in the underground.  Let’s go mining.

I sat down with the reclusive underground producer/artist RenRok in his L.A. studio.  We talked about the state of hip hop, musical influences, and his most recent project called “Sixty Studies” whose title was inspired by an unlikely source.



CSA:  Where did you get the title “Sixty Studies” from?
RenRok:  The title came from Etude books I played as a kid.  Etude books are typically short compositions designed or prepared for violin and piano to serve as a training or teaching mechanism to learn a specific skill.  You practice the etudes over and over and they are designed to help students learn or master a technique of that instrument that they will use for larger pieces or concertos.  I play the violin. Actually, my first introduction to music was through formal training in classical music, specifically violin.

CSA:  Why create this album?
RenRok:  I created this album because what seems to be lacking in a lot of music are joints that go to the essence and emotion of a particular piece of music.

CSA:  What do you mean by that?
RenRok:  In a lot of music today that I would consider good or interesting hip hop, producers tend to want to show off every little technique in their bag of tricks.  Whether that be excessive use of stutter techniques, filtering, plug-in effects, weird samples, etc

The purpose of this album was to get to the point of specific old school techniques used in hip hop namely in MPC style productions.

CSA:  Who is your audience for this album?
RenRok:  My audience for this album is anyone who loves honest, underground hip-hop.  But the more I think about it, I believe this album is a dedication to underground producers who do it for the love of music.

CSA:  What do you mean by honest hip hop?
RenRok:  That’s a complicated and loaded question, but I’ll try to answer it. Hip hop which I would consider to be not ” honest” seems to fall in 2 broad categories:
1.  Music produced, written, and created simply or primarily to sell the largest number of records whose creativity is driven solely by the tastes of the masses at that time.
2.  Production that is primarily focused on mimicking or copying the works of prior esteemed producers without any originality or creativity of their own.

CSA:  So do you have some examples?  I’m not gonna have you put anyone on blast though! How about giving us some examples of honest hip hop.  
RenRok:  Haha.  Yes, as to the first category, there are albums that have a great deal of commercial success that I would consider honest b/c the artist created the music from their heart or life experience and didn’t give a damn about whether the listener would “get it” or understand. Some albums that come to mind in this category would be Wu Tang’s “Enter the 36 Chambers”, Cypress Hill’s first album (the 1991 self-titled debut, “Cypress Hill”), or “Critical Breakdown” by Ultramagnetic MC’s.

Those are albums that when first heard them, you’ve never heard anything quite like them and you know the artist had no assurance that the style would work, but they did it anyway.

As to the second category there’s a school of thought in production that I don’t consider to be “honest” that’s solely aimed to replicate the sound of a revered producer whether that be Dilla-esque, Primo-esque, Pete Rock-esque… Everyone utilizes elements of these great producers because they’ve listened to them over the years so much, but you should always try to add or develop your own individual and unique style.

CSA:  Let’s talk a bit more about the style and technique that you used in this album.  
RenRok:  Someone listening to this album and each of the tracks will find many similarities b/c they were produced in the same, what I would call “MPC Style,” but within each of these songs there were subtle differences in the techniques that were used. Some involved heavily chopped vinyl samples, some tracks involve live instrumentation sampled into an MPC and some tracks involve synthesizers, keyboards and other modules MIDI-ed up and sequenced through an MPC.  I’ve also intentionally included tracks that are interludes, beats for vocalists to spit on later, one joint is a re-mix, and others are MPC abstractions.

Taken as a whole the tracks on this album are intended to mimic the classic Etude books that I studied while growing up which exemplify distinct musical techniques that can be used when playing a specific instrument. (in this case an Akai MPC)

CSA:  Wow that sounds pretty heavy and conceptual.  Will non-producers get it?
RenRok:  Absolutely!  This isn’t a high brow, avant-garde, art house type of joint. Just bump it in your car on your way to the house party, the beach, or picking up some fresh new kicks and just enjoy it!

Thanks RenRok, you brought us some classic beats and taught us all something new too!

You can listen to Sixty Studies on Soundcloud by clicking below.

From there you can download the entire album for FREE on Bandcamp.com!

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New Yorkers are turning their cell phones into Easter Baskets while collecting massive Easter Eggs during the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt this month.  The event brings artists, charitable foundations, and other sponsors together for a virtual Easter Egg Hunt around the City.  The Big Egg Hunt first started in London in 2012 and has since been held in Dublin and New Zealand.


Curtis Kulig, Photo Credit: jtenag, Instagram

Here’s how it works:  you download the Big Egg Hunt App, check out the map and go!  Winners finding the most Eggs get Instagram bragging rights and some lucky folks will come away with some swag. The swaggiest (yes, I know) being a Fabergé Egg necklace.

The Artists and Designers donating their creative talents include Curtis Kulig, Retna, Marchesa, William Wegman, D*Face, Cynthia Rowley and many others.  You can view all the Eggs and Artists on Paddle 8’s site where the one of a kind works will be auctioned off for charity.  If you aren’t in NY check out snap happy Instagrammers using #TheBigEggHunt. You’ve gotta love eager egg hunters!


Shantell Martin, Photo Credit: Shantell Martin, Instagram



Faig Ahmed, Photo Credit: enti_tea, Instagram


Benjamin Shine, Photo Credit: The Big Egg Hunt, NY

For more info check out their playful website here:

The Big Egg Hunt

Paddle 8

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JR and the NYCB Art Series- Photo Credit, Instagram, JR

JR and the NYCB Art Series- Photo Credit, Instagram, JR

The New York City Ballet has teamed up with French artist JR to present a collaborative performance/large-scale art installation on January 23, February 7, and February 13. JR is a well-known underground street artist who has taken his message globally via large-scale installations featuring the voices and untold stories of people via their wheat pasted photographic portraits.  JR’s work is a juxtaposition of seemingly familiar faces presented in an unfamiliar context. The visual disconnect forces viewers to challenge their perceptions of what they think they know (or assume they know) about the subject.

Tickets for these special performances are only $29.00 and are available now at the NYC Ballet (heads up they are going fast).  I have been watching some of this work unfold very slowly through JR’s Instagram feed and it promises to be a phenomenal collaboration.

The New York City Ballet Art series highlights unique works of art commissioned by the ballet company in collaboration with emerging and established artists. The chosen artists represent a diverse artistic spectrum including art, music and design.  For more information on the performances and to purchase tickets, please go to:


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IMG_5165Whew!  Before I look forward to 2014 (and I must say, it cannot come soon enough), I thought I’d take a quick look back on my digital footprints and share my favorite CultureShockArt moments of 2013.  So I picked 5 posts from Twitter, Instagram, WordPress and Pinterest that were either popular, or made me squeal, “Eep eep! Such and so acknowledged my existence!”  Yes, I find that these situations render me as a 12 year old girl wearing 3 Swatch watches and L.A. Gears but hey, such is the magic that is the internet.

#5- HuffPo and my MOCA musings

For the most part on Twitter I feel like that one crazy aunt or uncle who sits in the corner at family gatherings shouting bizarre non-sequiturs to nobody in particular.  Once in a while a random post will illicit a response from someone, and I go completely starstruck when it is a celebrity, museum or a blogger I admire (yes, I get starstruck over museums and bloggers too).  So back in March when I wrote this post about some Los Angeles MOCA drama (and we had our fair share of it this year), little did I know HuffPo Arts would post it in their “Twitter reactions” gallery at the end of one of their articles.  The Art Girl geek in me came out when I saw my snark displayed amongst some of my favorite arts writers.



#4  Orange Crush

I was extremely late to the Instagram party, but once I dove in I took to it like a fish to water.  Strange enough, IG has taught me to keep my eyes open, not for photo ops, but to be more observant of my surroundings.  I now find my head in the clouds…appreciating them more than daydreaming.  At one point I had color phases when I would be obsessed with certain hues that would dominate my wardrobe, nail polish, handbag selection, you name it.  First orange, then lilac, then red… On this particular day in April I was laughing at the budding collection of all things “Orange” on my desk and snapped a pic of it.  Well, when Caroline Issa, editor of Tank magazine (and one of my style ICONS), emoji’ed her reactions to some of my pics, I was thrilled beyond belief!  I still really love this photo, but not as much as the oodles of shots I take of my napping dogs who deserve their own Instagram account.



#3  My 15 Minutes Seconds of Fame


The Warhol Museum is responsible for driving the most traffic on a single day to my humble little blog.  In August when I posted a reaction to an op ed piece about how a writer hates museums, the Warhol Museum noticed and linked my article to their website and Tweeted it to their followers.  I was forever grateful for pub and encouragement.  There are so many museums out there that are using social media to engage with their audiences in smart ways and the Warhol is near the top of the list.  THANK YOU Warhol Museum for taking the time to notice and show some blogger love.


#2 “What’s Your Bag?”

If I had a nickel for every time I got this question this year, I’d be able to afford 3 more of her bags!  This by far was the most talked about handbag in my collection this year.  It started many a random conversation in stores, restaurants, airport security screening lines, meetings, and an awkardly funny encounter with actor, writer and producer Issa Rae (we have the same bag).  So I wrote a post about bag obsession–not necessarily the bag itself, but what’s inside it.

When the designer pinned this picture on their Pinterest site, it drove crazy amounts of traffic to my blog.  Nice!  It’s also one of the most pinned photos on their site. (Really nice). Everybody wins, right?!


#1 The Sphinx and the Cronut


Of all my posts this year, this one cracks me up the most!  The Banksy mania that overtook NYC in August was slightly outdone by the city’s obsession with the Cronut.  I had to find a way to mash these two phenomena together.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one who got the connection.


Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold sent me a message on Twitter saying he loved my Banksy post!  I have to say it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Despite all this name dropping and validation seeking, what I find most rewarding are the new experiences this blog has shown me.  I saw some wonderful exhibits and met some amazing artists, writers, designers and bloggers this year who took me on an inspirational journey beyond the keyboard.  For that I am truly grateful, and I am especially thankful for all of my readers who have shown their support and encouragement to me in 2013.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I wish you all the best in the New Year.

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You know you’re a procrastinator when you procrastinate on your “Last Minute Gifts” post… I cleaned my house, washed my dogs, cooked, worked out and generally engaged in nonsense instead of writing today.  I’ll tell you what though, these gifts are so good, I wouldn’t mind getting them after Christmas (and right about now I am hoping my husband isn’t reading this). Just in case…

Disclaimer: CultureShockArt cannot be held responsible for looks of confusion, side eye, sighs, “withholding”, frying pans upside the head or other symptoms of disappointment induced behavior resulting from sending any of these gifts LATE… but trust me, these are really good. If you haven’t shopped for the music lover, art enthusiast, fashionista or foodie in your life, find a way to score one of these little gems.


For the music lover who also loves style, I adore “Frends With Benefits,” a new line of interchangeable caps. The Rebecca Minkoff designs are my particular favorite.


I’m not sure what I love more, Hedley & Bennett’s amazing line of chef’s aprons, or their energetic and adorable blog/ Instagram page. Either way, these aprons are coveted by Los Angeles’ culinary set and they are stylish, ultra functional, and fun.


Speaking of Instagram, you need to follow Humans of New York (HONY). Brandon Stanton’s captivating pictures are almost eclipsed by the poignant vignettes offered by his subjects. He has an amazing gift of drawing out some amazing stories.  I am giving this book as a gift this year and I had to pick one up for myself.


A coloring book for the budding artist or child (or adult) who just can’t be bothered with pop culture/mainstream characters, Outside the Lines is a collection of street artists, animators and graphic artists who all contribute something to inspire creativity in all of us.


I went completely nuts over the amazing  Avedon show at the Gagosian in Beverly Hills. The catalog from “Women” is an incredible collection of Avedon’s portraits. They are simply stunning and the catalog is presented beautifully.


If you are like me, currently lamenting the cookies, brownies, cheese trays, spiked egg nog and hot chocolate consumed during the holiday season, you may want to jump-start your 2014 New Year’s Resolutions with the Jawbone Up (24). The wristband syncs up wirelessly to your iPhone and will monitor your activity and sleep. It will even buzz you if you have been sitting still too long.

And with that I hope that the Holiday Season is filled with good cheer, new memories and best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year! Thanks to all of my readers who have made this blog an utter joy! Cheers!

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We have Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip for bringing us an early Christmas present this week. Busta and Tip are giving fans a taste of something new to whet our appetite in anticipation of new albums expected by both artists in 2014.  On Thursday when the rest of the world was fawning over Beyoncé’s release, the two unleashed an exclusive mix-tape for FREE download.

Many thanks to Daff Piff and Pitchfork for making this album available on their sites. For the ATCQ fan this mixtape will bring back memories of the powerhouse years of A Tribe Called Quest and the formidable synergy they built with Busta Rhymes.  The 28 track album is choc full of remixes, collabos, new verses, repurposed samples (“Gettin’ Up”) and a nod to the genius of Dilla.

I could say more, but if you are a fan of A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes, you’ve probably already downloaded your copy.  If not, Merry Christmas and tell a friend!



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I am forever on the lookout for new graphic artists and animators to follow, so we headed to DesigerCon at the Pasadena Convention Center on Sunday. DCON has been around for 8 years, and is a convention that fuses urban, underground, pop art with animation, vinyl collectible toys, and clothing. The result was a mass gathering of manufacturers, retailers, artists, fan boys and fan girls alike who all share a passion for collectibles.  What I loved about this convention was its energy and accessibility. With over 150 vendors there’s bound to be something that resonates with you whether it’s pop surrealism, anime, plush toys, sculpture, or street art.

Since it was my first time at DesigerCon, I have to admit I was overwhelmed, especially since I didn’t know what to expect.  Luckily one of our first stops was the booth one of my favorite bloggers, Supahcute. She partnered with graphic artist and designer Vanessa Ramirez to present a collection of resin collectibles alongside artwork by Jared Andrew Schorr and Jerrod Maruyama.


Supahcute’s resin Millypus figures by Vanessa Ramirez. The prototypes were a hit! Adorable!

This collage was a collaboration between Schorr and Maruyama featuring characters from Hayo Miyazaki films.  Supahcute gave us some DesignerCon newbie tips and suggestions on booths to visit.


First up was Martin Hsu’s booth.  My husband is a big Miyazaki fan and Hsu’s work is heavily influenced by the film director.  Hsu has some amazing character animation work and his Dragon Boy character was prominently on display along with some custom painted pieces by Mark Nagata.


Martin Hsu’s Dragon Boy

There were some fantastic clothing designers, and one of my favorites were the t-shirts designed and screenprinted by Rogue Angel’s Angel Mendoza.

Angel Mendoza of Rogue Angel Design

Angel Mendoza of Rogue Angel Design

I really, really wanted this bottle of Rooster Sauce designed by an artist and fabricated by the folks from Mana Studios.

Mana Studios

Mana Studios

Next up was a unique collaboration between Montreal street artists 123 Klan, OG Slick and his clothing company Dissizit. Slick’s LA Hands are everywhere and it was great to see their clothing and the LA Hands vinyls. We were lucky to meet them on Sunday and talk about collaborating and participating in this event.  Fans of street art gathered to get signatures from the artists and it was nice that they were all so accessible and eager to talk about their work.


There’s one theme that resonated with me at this conference.  Collaboration.  Everyone participating in this event was supportive of each other and it was so great to see artists inspired by each others’ work.

I am not a ComiCon person, but if I had to guess, 2013’s DesignerCon is what Comic-Con was 8-9 years ago before the massive crowds and studios got hold of it. There was a positive energy among hobbyists joined by their shared affection for each other’s work, it was palpable.

We didn’t leave the Convention center with a collection of vinyls (we did get some t-shirts), but I left with a better appreciation for Low Brow as a uniquely Los Angeles movement while being encouraged by the positive collaborative environment.

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Photo Credit: @banksynyc, Instagram

In music, fashion, food and art there’s pop cultural phenomena so ubiquitous and so pervasive that I feel duty bound to write about them.  Or hate on ‘em..

Like roaches and bad heartburn these things just keep on returning eliciting both our collective ire and fascination.  Really, they’re train wrecks and we can’t look away. Examples:

In music, it’s Kanye West.  He’s everywhere… Why?  Make it stop, please!  I’m tired.  Doesn’t he get tired of himself? Megalomaniacs rarely do.  Sadly, the more we hate on him, the harder he comes back at us.

In fashion it’s currently Birkenstocks.  Frankly, I thought this one was going to die out with the summer but now I’m seeing Birkenstocks with socks, just in time for fall.  Don’t ask me where this came from, but it’s a THING….and people love to hate on it (for good reason).

Oh food, the food!  Where do I begin?  Cupcakes?  No, they are so over.  Macarons?  Who really hates on Macarons?  Anyone? (actually, my husband does, he calls them “air cookies”).  Bacon? Kale? Avocado toast? (specifically Avocado toast from Gitane, for the record no hate from me on Gitane) Green juice? Take your pick! We can all spot a food cliche quicker than we can order a quinoa beet salad from the “farm to the table”… I’m guilty of perpetuating all of these.  But if I had to pick, one?  It’s gotta be the Cronut.

And then there’s art.  There are some train wrecks you see coming that are so obvious they don’t need warning let alone commentary.  This is why I resisted talking about Banksy…until today. We are now officially at the point where the train wreck occurred and now someone’s looting the crash site.  It’s such a mess I can’t leave it alone.



For those of you living under a rock or outside New York City, the infamous British street artist Banksy has taken up residence in NYC for a month, and his presence has caused quite a stir in the 5 Burroughs (though I don’t think he’s hit up Long Island yet).  Since I’m in L.A. and can’t traipse NYC to snap pics of his recent works, I’ve been quietly following him for 3 weeks on Instagram.  Since day one I’ve seen and heard a lot of on-line angst over his “residency”. Hating on Banksy quickly became as clichéd as the swarming crowds taking pictures of his work.


Photo Credit: @socialstreger and the Gotamist.com

And herein lies the problem I have with this whole phenomenon.  The “fans” and the “haters”.  Most fans have been lining up to take pictures, while others are determined to claim “firsties” to vandalize his work, and many a hater has taken to social media to complain about Banksy at every possible opportunity.  Each new piece turns into a picture snapping, vandalizing, plexiglass protecting circus.  Meanwhile, lurking in the near distance are the profit mongers-the building owners and other random parasites looking to cash in on their fortuitous predicament of being vandalized by one of the greats of street art.

Yesterday’s piece (a pretty cool Sphinx like rock formation located in a sketchy biohazard-riddled street puddle in Queens) was at the center of another greed-filled controversy.  The internet was abuzz when a random individual claimed squatters rights on the piece and allegedly began to offer up pieces of the sculpture for sale at $100 each.

The minute I heard this story it became clear to me that as much as we want to think of Banksy’s NYC residency as a self-aggrandizing, promotional media stunt, it’s too easy to dismiss it as such.  The sad byproduct of all of this is how reactions quickly went from curious to opportunistic.

Yet, just when I’m resolved to view this current Banksy phenomenon through my misanthropic lens, I can’t help but think about what Banksy’s work has done to engage the city.  People are “talking.”  Whether you love Banksy or hate him, defend street art or rail against it, there’s a conversation.  Even critics like Jerry Saltz are getting into it and getting the dialog going.  Perhaps this isn’t so bad after all?

Tell that to the NYPD.


Photo Credit: @banksynyc, Instagram

So maybe this phenomenon isn’t truly hater worthy, but I admittedly shudder at the thought of what would happen if Banksy took up residency in Los Angeles.  In the meantime let’s just marvel at this Instagrammer’s ability to capture that seminal moment when clichés collide…(a train wreck of the best kind)

The Sphinx and the Cronut…


Photo Credit: @notexactlyblue, Instagram

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Photo, Ed Ruscha

It’s not every day that you can celebrate Paris in New York and LA at the same time, but thanks to the Paramount Studios NY backlot, you can!  Paris Photo Los Angeles made its debut this weekend.  For 17 years Paris Photo has cemented a strong presence in the photographic art fair market and it has taken the show worldwide with its debut U.S. show in Los Angeles.  Over 60 galleries will be presenting their works alongside book publishers and  food trucks.  The majority of the works are staged in pavilions (studios), while some of the New York brownstones lining the streets of New (Faux) York house some of the galleries.

It’s a fun two-for one to see some beautiful photography while strolling the streets of New York, without taxi horns, fast walkers and the smell of garbage.. Here are some pics:



JR at Perrotin Gallery, Paris

JR at Perrotin Gallery, Paris


Man Ray X JR, Vevey, Switzerland.  Perrotin Booth @ Paris Photo LA

Man Ray X JR, Vevey, Switzerland. Perrotin Booth @ Paris Photo LA

Andy Warhol designed BMW M1 Art Car #4 circa 1979

Andy Warhol designed BMW M1 Art Car #4 circa 1979

The fair closes today, if you’re in LA, go check it out!

Paramount Studios

5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles


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