Friday, August 22, 2014

Antemasque.

Quitate las chancalas, hijos. It's gonna be a long read. Earlier this month I attended a show at the historical music venue, The White Rabbit. The band in play was the new (and revived if you've been watching) Antemasque, with Les Butcherettes in tow. Touted by many as "if At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta had a baby", this new musical endeavor reunites Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez after a heated departure from (and the break up of) The Mars Volta. But that was months behind us and this new group has we ATDI and TMV fans excited for something fresh from the duo. Apparently the duo pulled long-time friend and honorary TMV member, Flea, to complete the record. If you have yet to hear the new concoction, I urge you surf the interwebs and take a listen. The record was available on the new Nadie Sound website for a month before the tour but has since been taken down for some reason. However enough poking around and you'll find it. Antemasque is what so many of us have been waiting for: it's raw, it's energetic, it's matured. It shows us that really talented individuals are capable of damn near reinventing the wheel. The record is fast-paced and the show is a tandem expression of that same energy.

The show had only one opening act and that made me pretty happy. It's so common to have multiple acts on tour as well as a local opener for musicians today and although I appreciate the support national acts give to other bands and local talent, I gotta say it was a refreshing to show up and just get right into it. To my surprise, the White Rabbit was packed like they were giving away tickets and beer for free. It was exciting but also proposed a slight problem--how am I gonna get to the front to snag some great shots? Far be it for me to sound like the old man on the porch, but I've noticed a decline in crowds' energy and increase in saltiness over the past say ten years of concert-going. When I was younger, shows I would attend would be packed ass to ass and you would fight tough for your spot. You would squeeze, push, wedge, and inch your way through anyone that was in your way to gain a better vantage point. If you made it through, you made it through. End of story. You just wanted it more. This was rap shows, metal shows, hip hop, rock--whatever. Today, crowds have gotten soft. It could be a sold out Deftones show filled to the brim ready to give in to the hellish energy that is their live performance and if so much as lean on another person when your near the stage, you're often met with mean mugs, sarcastic remarks, and whining. Lots of whining. This is adults too, not just the teeny boppers (who I imagine didn't sneak out of the house or lie to be there lol). Today, people throw fits, whine, bitch, and moan. And the others around them join in. Nobody pushes forward to a dope spot. Nobody waits outside the venue at 10am to be against the barricade. Nobody moshes anymore. I just don't get it.

Fuccit.

At the time, I hadn't heard any music from Les Butcherettes, but I've seen their name a lot. I'll admit, I didn't "do my job" and research this group, but sometimes I just like going in fresh and just experience the music too. Regardless, I find a decent spot and wait for their entrance. Two ladies came out to greet a small set up of a keyboard-guitar combo and a stage right-facing drum kit. A male bass player made his way to the dark corner and the madness began.





The ladies wore aprons and dresses covered in blood. I knew immediately that this was gonna be special. The group played some amazing music and performed with fantastic energy. Lots of erratic movements and faces that made it all the more maniacal draped in blood. Fucking awesome. I got a few good images of Teri Gender Bender but none of the drummer as the crowd was far too tight at this point. Needless to say, I loved every minute of their set and they succeeded at their purpose as an opener--they got me and everyone else hype as fuck for the main act.


Antemasque at this point had only been around for merely months. I had heard the first tracks they released on the Nadie site and was immediately hooked on the new marriage of their older sounds. I have been waiting to see some form of these two [Cedric and Omar] for many years now and this was no let down. This was to be Antemasque's first stop on the tour and more importantly, their first live performance as this new band. They brought along Omar's brother and Zechs Marquise member Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez on bass and former TMV drummer David Elitch. Performing in such a small space as the White Rabbit made the event so much more fantastic. NOTHING beats watching a really good musician or group of musicians quite like a watching them perform in a hot, close-quarters space amidst a sea of a tight-knit bunch of die-hard people hungry for great music. The folks in attendance ranged from fresh-eared teens thankful this wasn't a school night to long-standing adults lurking for ATDI vibes. During Les Butcherettes' set, I made my way to center stage about three rows back. I imagined how dope my images would be until the trademark fro hit the stage and all hell broke loose. So used to shooting with my old compact, this would my first show shooting with my new (and bulkier) DSLR and it certainly came with it's challenges as the crowd went nuts for damn near every song making it difficult to hold steady. Crowd surfers made their way overhead and some to the stage. It seems those that made it on-stage felt compelled to pat Cedric on the back or wave a big thumbs up in his face mid-song. Mas divertido.






Antemasque plays with that fervor I've seen in all the ATDI videos I've watched. Hard, fast, and loud. Punk rock shit. Cedric was all over the place with his signature dance moves and his voice carried throughout the entire space with extreme presence as the band beat out some of the most amazing music I've heard in this place. David Elitch wrecked shop on those drums as he struggled to catch his breath. This venue is no joke, I've seen performers pass out on-stage. Props, Dave. I certainly learned something that night as well--I definitely need to upgrade this 3.5 for better low-light performance. However if you know me, then you know I make the best of any tool and situation and make it work for me. Adaptation, adaptation, adaptation. Adaptation is one of the most useful skills you can learn and continue to develop throughout your life. I had to pick my shots and watch the people next to me for any and all openings as well as watch my head for any stray surfing feet. I exposed any weaknesses of the crowd to get these shots and had a blast during it all. Seeing a band or musician live is the best as it really shows you how much of what they do is over-polished in the studio and how much of it is just pure soul.



Thank you Cedric and Omar for keeping it real and allowing me to document a straight up piece of your history...the first live performance of Antemasque, ese. Bang.


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Street Meet NY.

A couple weeks ago I came across a post on Instagram from one of the illest brands out now, The Hundreds. The post was promoting another Street Meet with Van Styles. For those who don't know, The Hundreds along with Van Styles host Street Meets where anyone with any kind of camera is invited out to roam the streets together for the love and passion of photography. The first happened in LA followed by another in San Francisco with street photographer Travis Jensen. This latest Street Meet though was to be met with surprise--a new guest photographer, one of my favorites. The one and only 13th Witness would be joining the fun, this time in New York. It was posted a week before it was to go down and I wasn't sure whether to make it out to this rare occasion or not. I had to ask myself one simple question: "In five years, am I gonna be kicking myself for not going to this?". And with that, I booked a room and rental the Sunday night prior from the same tiny, cornered Starbucks table that I'm typing this post. My girlfriend and I packed up and with our puppy boy Ollie, we hit the open road Monday morning. Flying is always fun and a much faster way to travel. However, driving cross-country has it's benefits too. The biggest being that you can stop and see whatever you want, anytime. I have been through Tennessee plenty of times and it is still one of my favorite states to drive through when heading east. It's state highways are lush with beautiful green trees much taller than the Pecans I'm used to here.

If you're from Texas or live in Texas or have driven through here, then you know it's a fucking journey in itself just to get out of the state. Coming from San Antonio headed in any direction will literally take one HOURS to get out to a neighboring state (or country; S/O to all mine south of the Rio!). So I've grown such an appreciation for interstate road trips. This one was much more exciting though as I was with my girlfriend, our puppy, and a thirst for a photographic adventure in the city of New York to shoot alongside two favorites. Dope.

After our long journey, we landed in Brooklyn at about 3 a.m. and checked in, fucking exhausted. Ollie wouldn't sleep the entire ride and it hit him hard when we finally got into the bed. We all woke up the next morning and were all recharged and excited to be in NY. We ate breakfast and headed out to the city. I'll save the headaches I experienced that is driving through NY and get straight to the good stuff lol. After parking our car and getting Ollie some wet food, we headed North a few blocks in the heat. New York gets hot for sure, but I think SATX still got em beat with Phoenix still remaining the solar champs. Rabbit treated us to Baohaus which not only has great food, but a dope staff too. Thanks to all who prepared our food and accepted our gifts. We headed out to GRND soon after to meet up with what turned out to be damn near 100 people of varying backgrounds and tools. We walked through THNY and after a brief wait for 13th Witness, we began to shut shit down. Literally, we stopped traffic. MULTIPLE times.

Fuccit, keep it movin'.

We were joined by a good homie and our NY guide, Levi Dopeness, as walked through Chinatown, down by the river, and ending at the Brooklyn Bridge. I've always held a huge appreciation and fascination with bridges. When I first came out to NY at 18, I took a few photos of the many bridges from a great distance away. This time though, I got to shoot on the bridge which made my fucking day. We ended the meet shortly after and we headed out back to Brooklyn. Just in time too, as it started to rain. I drove out after dropping my loved ones off at the room to get a huge ass Sicilian pie that was damn near the best pizza I've ever had. Yes, I could've eaten so many other foods while out there but I'm a Ninja Turtle at heart and I love trying new pizza. Plus, at 11pm and tired as fuck with your family feeling the same, it's the best option. J & V is the TRUTH, yo. S/O to VICE and Frank Pinello for the heads up (I couldn't make it in time to the spot you told me Tim, so it's on me next time I'm in town). We slept it off and hit the road back to SA the next morning. It was a short trip, but we do have our obligations back home and had to make it happen. We experienced some staleness in New Jersey at the Secret Stash, but let's not sully the amazing time that was had overall.

The trip was so amazing and one that lives with me as if I went last week. I learned so much about myself, my relationship, my family, and my skillset & techniques. Below you'll find a few images from the Street Meet, hit the rest (along with a few more stories) right here, here, here, and here. I know it seems a bit odd with these back and forth posts between sites, please bear with me; sometimes I just need to get the stuff out. I'm still playing catch up with my photos and personal work all together as well. I have photos to edit and share from the actual road trip itself as well as some more in New York, before and after the Street Meet. For those that don't mind, I see you and thank you for sticking with me through it all, hope you enjoy what I share as much as I enjoy creating it all!


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

PS. Big thanks to The Hundreds, The Hundreds NY, Van, Levi, 13th, my girlfriend, our dog Ollie, all the photographers that we met and shot with, and lastly the citizens of New York for providing some great images and experiences. THANK YOU.








Thursday, August 14, 2014

Woozy K-60.

I haven't been able to get to drawing as much as I'd like this year. It's been a bit of a roller coaster getting my life in order but I'm happy to have knocked this one out the other night in time for the Krink contest being held over at TPY Urban. This is my rendition of my favorite marker, the phat K-60. I used the K-70 and K-60 to create it. I hope to get some colors on this some time soon, it was a lot of fun to create. Join in on the fun and submit your entry! :D


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Second Saturday - August 2014.



Late post, but I wanted to share the work with you all anyway. Promotional flyer I created for yesterday's event at TPY Urban. Personal photos to follow. Read in-depth at my Behance located up top there. Cheers! :D


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So Long and Safe Travels My Friends.

Today is one of those days you see in movies. You watch the story of a blissful couple on-screen for about an hour, becoming engrossed in their lives until you reach a point where you feel as if you know them personally. You see all the good times: the laughs, the smiles, the morning moments in bed under the sheets, softly holding one another. You get so wrapped up in their story that you get to know these characters. Relate to them. Feel them on their journey.

You take their side when the world is against them. Cheer for them, anxiously awaiting their rise from it all. Then the second act hits the climax and the story shifts. The couple begins to fall on hardship and eventually separate. You see it unfolding before your very eyes but you can't believe it's happening. You don't want to. You went for the ride because it all looked so beautiful. You didn't see this turn coming.

And it hurts.

It all seems like a dream sequence because none of it makes any sense and you're too caught up in the increased pace of the story to react. The story is reaching the end and it hits you...this is happening. You see the characters packing it all up. One character leaving to the airport. The other too hurt to follow. To hurt to see them go. You feel the pain, you wait for that last glimmer to completely overexpose everything in frame and shine so beautifully that the histogram completely shatters...

But it doesn't happen. The character boards their flight, the other stays behind, and a new journey for both begins. The credits roll, Wholesale Piracy plays through the 7.1, your heart aches, and you sit there in disbelief. 

Today that movie comes to life for a lot of us. Whether you know them or not, these characters are beginning anew. As we watch and wait for the sequel. For many of us, this means finding a new outlet. ArtSlam! is [was?] the biggest live art show in San Antonio and bigger than many other shows in other cities. I've watched it grow from a handful of artists in smaller venues to the comiccon-esque show that it is today. For many of us, painting at ArtSlam! meant you made it. At least as far as this city goes. It was a true launching point to even greater opportunities. Many artists strive to be a part of it. To share in it's creative spark. To paint alongside not only local greats like Saint Jahn or Craig Patterson, but also international heroes like Dave Crosland and Jim Mahfood.

We collected ArtSlam! shirts, ate tons of delicious cupcakes, and partied with some of San Antonio's best musicians as well for over eight solid-as-fuck years. Many of us moved on to other projects and shows, many of us returned to every single show. Either way, ArtSlam! was an amazing thing to be a part of--as a patron or as an artist/musician. It's easy to get caught up in the sadness that is unfolding. And it takes strength to push through and turn the page to the next chapter. But the next pages may be even better then this entire book so far.

Rob, a few years ago I met you at what was easily the best gallery here in town, Gallery 11. There I learned a bit more about this mysterious ArtSlam! I saw so many dope flyers for. I eventually made it out to see it first hand, taking part in the next event soon after. I fell in love with live painting even more and at what was maybe my second ArtSlam!, I really felt I connected with my now love Rabbit Rye.

ArtSlam!: Toys of Christmas Past was the night Rabbit and I hung out and played. Laughed. Joked. That is the night she got her name Rabbit. That was the night I met my best friend. That was the night I painted My Pet Monster next to your awesome punk rock Ruxpin (and felt super honored and privileged to be in that spot). That was the night I met Cris Licea. That night was and is so dear and special to me. As I hold back the tears from my co-workers to type this and avoid my work for the morning, I have only good thoughts. As sad as this may be, again, we push through to see the light in it all.

Liz, I know all that Rob has done with ArtSlam! was so much easier to manage with you at his side. I'm sure you were a much bigger part of it all other than the awesome themed-cupcakes you used to fill our bellies with. Having been in a solid relationship for two years, I know how much it means to have someone so close to you constantly have your back and help you build your dreams. It just makes it so much easier. I have so many good memories seeing you at ArtSlam! whether through selling treats or tees. You two invited us into your home numerous times and I am so grateful for it all. For so long I saw you two work and share together; it's what many of us held to be the ideal relationship. You always have a smile on your face Liz, and that means a lot.


Life.

Life happens. Every single day. We all have our ups, downs, and all arounds. Although we may see this departure as just that, let's take a moment to see it as a venture forward. For both of them. Let us rejoice in all the creations we've shared, all the laughs and cupcakes and music notes and beers and cheers and sales and giveaways and success and falls and rises and all the wonderful things we all learned and loved from Rob and Liz. Let us always rejoice in ArtSlam!. The experience that gave birth to so many things including our cherished Art Vibes, whose many artists went on to do ArtSlam! numerous times and kick so much ass at it!

Liz, may you continue to live up to the name "Sweet Lizzy" and stay as sweet as the treats you make.

Rob, may you one day drop the Deadbeat and just be "The Hero".

I love you both so much and wish only great and wondrous things for you as you push forward. You know I am here for you two and will continue to spread the love you two inspired within me. Thank you both for EVERYTHING, even all that you cannot see. I only wish Liz were there for the last hurrah....

...but, perhaps, she was there, somewhere, in this photo.



I am sure she is.


Long Live ARTSLAM!
#makeitcount


Stay Grindin',
BLUE731.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

River City Rockfest 2014.

A late post but I got a spot going at River City Rockfest in the AT&T Center. It's a great day out and there are tons of awesome people here. Other artists and vendors are set up too so if you got tickets already, come out to the show! Five Finger Death Punch, Hellyeah, fucking DEFTONES are here yo. Bangin'. You can't go wrong other than missing out. Fellas grab your cutoff sleeves tee, ladies grab your cowboy boots and come enjoi the dope atmosphere.

Stay Creative,
BLUE731

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ever Expanding.


Here's my [animated] finished piece from the Clogged Caps Spillover at TPY Urban last month. I had a blast painting alongside some great artists. The humidity was dense, but we still had a great time and crushed it, swept away the dust, and built something awesome in it's place. To read more of the process, check it on in my portfolio section.

Cheers.


Stay Creative,
BLUE731.