Inspired, Commissioned, Calculated

As I arrive to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Vacaville, CA, Brian Moore is leaving. I wave him down and his maroon Cadillac pulls up to mine.
“I forgot my wallet, I’ll be back,” he says.
img958928.jpgThe interview took several weeks to book. The drive was an hour and a half. I could wait another ten minutes.
Country music is blasting as soon as I walk in the establishment. My disinterest in the genre allows me to get a quick refresher of Moore’s work. Scrolling through his Instagram feed, I’m given an instant reminder of why I wanted this interview so much. Every line calculated. Every shade inspired. In less than two years, Brian Moore has gone from Airman to artist. Through commissions, he’s been able to transform his escape to img958932.jpgprofession.
Moore enters as my research decides to become mindless scrolling. Decked in a Pittsburg Pirates fitted cap and ‘Wu-Tang’ Wakanda shirt, he immediately apologizes for being late and asks where I want to sit. We’re on his ‘home’ territory, so I have him lead the way.
Once we get to the bar area and sit at the pub-style table, Moore offers me a drink. Anything. It’s on him. I respectfully decline. I want to know more about Moore and I’m still early in finding my interview process. We talk about the state of hip-hop, Atlanta, and our weekends while the Warriors and Rockets warm up for game 7. Being in Warrior country, we’re surrounded by royal blue and gold. Moore’s Blue Moon arrives as we begin talking about our time in the Air Force.
“I was going to go ‘four and done’,” he says.
Moore’s four years turned into twenty, all of which were in the air transportation. Initially, Moore was able to keep his ‘escape’ but as deployments and responsibilities increased, so did his depression. After five years of not creating, Moore’s friend insisted he return to his passion in 2012. Completing his service in September 2016. Moore immediately enrolled into art school the next month.
Not knowing what to expect, Moore saw that majority of studies were focused on the digital side of art as opposed the analog style he was used to.
“I had a bit of Photoshop.”
Although Moore’s platform can be dated back centuries, his method of promoting it is 21st century.
“IG is the shit. I get my work to fans that I would never have been able to. I can get inspired by artists around the world,” Moore says.
The crowd roars as the Warriors finally take the lead matching Moore’s energy.img958930
“I drew this picture of a Brazilian woman and a fan messaged me. The fan said that woman in the picture was a famous Brazilian model. My following grew by like 5k overnight.”
Due to ‘The City’ die-hards, I must ask him several times how he approaches the balance between promotion on social media and his actual artwork. Once the crowd finally dies down, he gathers himself.
“There’s three types of work that I do: inspired, commissioned, and calculated. Thatimg958934.jpg Childish Gambino piece I just did, that was inspired because I love the video. It was calculated as well due to the video being so viral. My Mistah Fab piece, that was calculated due to our location.”
With Golden State securely holding the lead, everyone in ‘B-Dubs’ celebrate the team reaching its fourth straight NBA Final. Moore continues ordering Blue Moons. Him offering. Me declining.
“Why haven’t you asked more about my family?” He asks.
“I’m not trying to push any limits, this was a hard interview to get. I figured you didn’t want to talk about it.”
“I’m an open book,” Moore says.
We speak at length about Moore’s family including his niece which he tries to speak to as often as possible. Moore’s artistic talents came from directly from his parents. Both he and his father use realism as their weapon of choice. Side by side, you can see the same DNA in their works.fullsizer
“We haven’t spoke but maybe 3 or 4 times in the last 25 years, but we know exactly how we each other are doing through our work and social media.”
The perfect sadness in their relationship is instantly washed away the ‘Dubs’ run of the clock and win the game. Like Golden State, Moore is optimistic for his future.
“Your art should be your motivation to do more art.”
We discuss his recent commission of NFL player, Todd Gurley. Moore’s addition of a second subject in the piece came from advice of one his mentor’s, Gary Accord.img958933
“He said I grossly undercharged.” He admitted.
Moore tells me about other artists that inspire him. Raheem Milton and Heather Rooney. Moore shows me a video Rooney drawing Steph Curry that was indistinguishable from a photo. As I watch the video, he jokes with patrons at the table next to us. After a minute or so, he turns back to me.
“Hey check this out”
He hands me his phone. He has a Facebook post reading ‘Doing an interview I didn’t want to and this interviewer has me pouring out my heart.’ We both laugh.
“This was the easiest interview I have had and I almost cancelled.”
Moore knows that his path will not be the easiest. He still doesn’t feel pigeonholed. His next progression will be into painting and hyperrealism.img958931.jpg Not afraid to admit his weaknesses in his craft, Moore willingly moves towards improving while gaining new skills in the digital realm. I ask him what’s his end game.
“Just being a dope artist. A dope fucking artist.”

 

I T Y K A M E™


On March 16th and 17th, The Art Trap House will be hosting the first ever all-black exhibition at SXSW in Austin, TX.  This event is being headed by Aja Cobbs will feature African-American artists from across the United States.IMG_1182.jpg

One artist that was invited by Cobbs to attend this inaugural event is Anthony Mace.  I met Mace back in December and not only has work continued to grow but his brand and confidence have done the same.  The Anthony Mace I met at Kingpin Disco 2017 was a lot more reserved.  The Anthony that I spoke to this past Sunday was not only having his first solo show but was gearing up for the next step in his career.  Beyond SXSW.

SXSW didn’t just happen for Mace, he “hustled his ass off” and “manifested” everything that has happened thus far.  “I want it and I’m gonna get it”, he said during our phone conversation.

I could feel his confidence over the phone.  Mace’s work-rate is insane for a creator.  Especially one that has decided to shy away from digital for the time being.
Being chosen to exhibit in Austin was just one of many accolades he’s accomplished and plans on accomplishing this year.  “I’m focused on everything.  I’m everything.  Now, I’m getting IMG_20180309_212203.jpgpaid to be myself.  I’m dope and I know it.  Being the on the first show is an honor but I expected it.  I’m the only one from Cali, so I have to represent.  I am just secure with myself and I want to inspire others to do the same.”

Whenever I’m around Anthony’s work, I rarely make eye contact with him because his work grabs me by the throat and demands my attention.  The Art Trap House is only the beginning of the wave.  Salute.

If you’re in Austin for SXSW 2018, Anthony Mace and 19 other up and coming African-American artists will be showing at The Art Trap House show on the 16th and 17th at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard.

You can follow Mace on IG @imjustmace and Aja Cobbs and the Art Trap House @ajacobbs and @thearttraphouse.

Kendra Morris and Here Lies Man

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As I walked in, I could hear the chill sounds of world percussions coming through the speakers.  Brick & Mortar, tonight’s venue, was sparsely filled but the night was still early.  DJ heyLove was tonight’s DJ as the room slowly filled with people from all walks to see Kendra Morris and Here Lies Man.

First, shout out to DJ heyLove.  Her song selections were eclectic and actually fit the evening beautifully.  NO TOP 40.  NO SOUNDCLOUD.  This wasn’t the fucking crowd for that and she knew it.  Keep doing your thing.   Salute.

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First things first.  Chico Mann is that dude.  This INSANELY fucking talented dude has been doing it legit since ’03.  If you don’t know who he is that’s cool.  I didn’t like you anyways.  If you are awake and have a pulse, you know that this man is a legit monster.  His music is that of legend in my opinion. A champion of Afro-beat, Cuban, Spanish, Hip-Hop, and rock, his music knows no bounds and refuses to be labeled.

In tonight’s capacity, he’s under the guise of Here Lies Man.  Now, I always have these weird mash-ups in my head for music like classical Hip-Hop. or EDM backed blues and I wasn’t fully versed in HLM but HOLY SHIT!  I was immediately sucked into an alternate reality in which Black Sabbath was raised in Spanish Harlem.  Here Lies Man melted my fucking face!  An experience unlike I ever had, I was blown away by the wall of sounds.  I could feel his vocals wailing at my soul while taking my mind on a journey through cosmos pulling me towards the Funk.  It felt like a big bang.  Like my understanding of what music is, has been, and will be has been changed.  It was lit.  If you like music and want to hear something that I feel should be heard to completely be comprehended, I highly recommend checking out Here Lies Man’s self-titled debut.

IMG_20180131_220057Thank you, Marcos.  It was a pleasure to meet you and a humbling experience watching you perform.

DJ Premier is how I was introduced to the highly underrated voice of one, Kendra Morris.  Now, I am a huge fuckin’ fan of Preemo.  I think he’s the greatest of all time.  I’m a Hip-Hop head first and foremost and his sound epitomizes the very essence of Hip-Hop.  A pioneer.  Legend.  Fuckin’ purveyor of Hip-Hop, Soul, R&B, Jazz, etc.  He remixed her debut single “Concrete Waves” in 2011.  Now, I only heard it a year or so ago through the magic of Spotify.  Sitting on my workout playlist, year-end most played, and several others, I never thought to listen to the original until about three months ago…


…fuck.

You know it’s nothing but love and respect for ‘Preme but I was missing out.  The original was this explosion in my brain.  In fact, I remember that morning.  It was a Saturday and I had just finished up a song.  I was listening to Spotify when DJ Premier’s remix came on.  I asked myself, what’s the original sound like?  A few hours later, after listening to a lot of her work, I saw she had a show in SF at the Brick & Mortar.  I was on it quick.

Morris was on fire the whole night.  Belting from parts of the soul most only dream of.  Her voice was pulled directly from the 70s and given to us over music that could be played in any era.  She ran through her catalog of music with sounds ranging from soul, rock, and Hip-Hop.

Like watching a fire burn, I was amazed and in awe at the sounds coming from Morris’ lungs and soul.  She killed it.  Her set was tight and full of energy.  Her voice is powerful.  You could feel it.  Like she was singing for you. I loved it.


No, you dial it back, Ms. Morris. You majestic banshee.

Look out for Morris’ new song, “Nothing”, out next week.

Here Lies Man will continue to tour the US and Europe through March in support of Here Lies Man.

698A507F-Peace.

The Ornament

My grandmother, Veronica “Bonnie” Farkas, is my big bang.  I believe we are a combination of the people we allow to influence us.  Some are positive, some are negative.  My existence, my being, the person I am, started with Bonnie.

I decided to call Grandma and thank her for the recent birthday gingersnaps.  They have always been my favorite cookie from one of the strongest, funniest women I have ever been able to be in the presence of.  She’s been in remission from Mucosal Melanoma and although she was given six months to live nine months ago, she’s just a fiery and full of life as I could remember.

In the early stages of my life’s journey, my mother was in the Army.  As a single mother, this made it difficult for her to be there for the day to day stuff when she was called into field training.  This would last for some time, so I would go to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, and stay with Grandma.  She’d tend the bar in Winton and I would play pool or pinball.  If I got bored, I could always hang out with my second cousins who were the closest in age to me since I had no other cousins to speak of.  When she was off or Jack(family friend) was around, I would ride my pint-size snowmobile.  Times were simpler and I have always felt loved.

Along with the delicious gingersnaps that did not last a week, she sent a small ornament.  A little snowman with a sign that says “MN”.  As soon as I saw it, I was taken back to those amazing visits.  For Bonnie, it was much different.

We were able to get most of the family together for my sister’s wedding this past August.  The wedding and reception were amazing as expected(thanks, ma).  Another unexpected highlight was the day at the cabin.  Nearly everyone from the Farkas clan was there and I couldn’t even begin to describe the smile on Bonnie’s face.  My aunt and uncles were there.  Their kids as well.  This was the first time that we were able to get that many of us together in a long time.  To be able to share that experience with my grandmother was easily the highlight of my year.  She said that little snowman reminded her of that day.  It’s amazing that I was worried about having her there that weekend six months ago.  She’s always been there in my life.  With memories like these and this little ornament, she always will.

Love you, Bonnie.

 

 

4/13 Minus Me

I wrote a suicide note on April 12th, 2017.  It was the culmination of 48 hours of continuous life altering events that led me to think that the universe was trying to have me pull my own plug.  You’re reading this, so I’m still breathing.  Still being an asshole.  A positive one, though. 

I didn’t read the note until recently and decided that I would look at what life would be if I decided to massage my brain with a .38.  I’m not going to “butterfly effect” this and completely alter the world.  There’s too many variables in trying to tie current world events to my life, so I’m going to only focus on people and events that I have directly affected.  Sound fun with zero morbidity?  Let’s start. 

Firstly, I wouldn’t be here so every single person that I have met since April would not have known of my existence or would have gotten to know me.  That second half of the sentence seems redundant, right?  Well, this past summer, my beautiful baby sister had a wedding.  I am the oldest grandchild by 11 years.  Many of my cousins have known of me but few have actual met their mulatto cousin.  I was, by age, an adult when most were barely being born.  Off to play war with other well-adjusted individuals.  I would have missed an opportunity to meet some of the most gifted, talented and funny people in the world.  Seeing so many people you are related to that you get to experience for the first time was worth fighting through depression. 

As previously mentioned, I would have missed my sister’s wedding.  I wouldn’t have been able to meet her new husband and his wonderful family.  I’m pretty sure the mood of the wedding weekend would have been slightly different if I wasn’t there.  I wouldn’t have seen my beautiful grandmother after her cancer went into remission.  I wouldn’t have been able to witness and thank my mother for putting on the best weekend I have experienced in Minnesota ever.  I wouldn’t have been able to thank my mother for everything she and my dad did for my sisters and I.  I was able to hand Chris, my future brother-in-law, his engagement ring.  Ashley’s, my other awesome sister, engagement would have been filmed by some other shmuck who lacks the steady hand of war torn veteran.

My roommate moved in around mid-July.  That wouldn’t have happened.  So, the numerous experiences we have shared since his arrival would not happen.  There would have been no Outside Lands.  So, all the bands taken off of Arron’s bucket list would still be sitting there.  There would have been no 80s boat party on the East Bay.  He would have moved back to Ohio and never gotten to experience the Bay Area.

Honestly, I could list a bunch of people and events that have happened since then but I will do an obvious one.  There wouldn’t be this blog.  A small extension of myself to the world that I was afraid to show.  Not that it’s read by many but those close to me know it’s really how I view the world.

It was hard to read something written by what seems someone else.  I read it and read it, wondering whether I would delete it.  I won’t.  Not yet.  I still have bad days but reading it made me realize that even a bad day still gives life to a new one. 

Tequila Today, Menudo Tomorrow

I remember every Sunday, going to Abuela’s.  All my cousins would be there.  We’d have a BBQ in the afternoon but the true star was the menudo.  No, I’m not talking about Ricky Martin’s old boy band.  I’m talking a savory Mexican soup that could convince Trump to shut up about building a wall.  Made with hominy, cow tongue and a spicy broth that I would dip my Abuela’s handmade tortillas in, this was truly a meal in itself.  My mouth’s watering now but I wasn’t always a fan of this soup that could raise the dead.

Growing up with my mom primarily in my younger years left my palate…very Caucasian.  Sorry, Mom, shit was bland.  Your lasagna still kills though.  I wasn’t used to spices or any seasoning really.  So, when she married my Mexican dad, my mouth had a bit of culture shock.  One of the first things that I had to get used to was citrus and spice in everything.  Every Sunday, we’d go eat as previously mentioned, after church, and there would always be this huge pot of menudo.  Every week, I’d say no.  Finally, my cousin, Tony told me to dip a tortilla in there and try that.

So, I dipped…and dipped.  This was amazing.  Is this what brown people food tastes like?!  Mom, have you been hiding seasonings?  I kid but the flavors that bombarded me were amazing.  I can still taste the lemon juice hold hands with the broth and run down the yellow brick road into my stomach.  As long we went to Abuela’s on Sunday, there would be menudo.

As I grew older, I’d go to church less and less.  My Saturday nights would grow longer and bleed into my Sundays.  There is one thing I know, if I felt under the weather, hungover or just wanted a great Sunday morning, I’d go to my Abuela’s house and have some menudo.

Scotty and Me

Day 1:

BEST DAY EVER!  Scotty hadn’t been to the dog park since moving to the States with Arron his owner and now that I have been bestowed the responsibility of this majestic creature, I figured I’d take him.  Scotty needs attention, he’s young and that’s understandable.  The magnitude of his excitement was immeasurable.  I’m positive there has never been a dog this happy or a dog park trip this exciting.  Probably the greatest dog park day known to man.

Day 14:

I haven’t taken Scotty out to the dog park since the first day.  I don’t have to remind you but that was the best day any dog has seen in his life.  I also don’t walk him as much as I should.  I feel that amount walking that I have been doing is good enough and I can still focus on my other interests.  He’s still loyal and that’s all that matters.  I will get to properly taking care of him when I can.

Day 30:

What the fuck is wrong with this dog?!  He constantly asks for attention and has done nothing to deserve it.  I took him out to the dog park for Christ’s sake!  He doesn’t know how good he has it.  This mutt is ungrateful for the life that I have provided him.  If he thinks sitting and pouting is going to make me listen to his wants, he’s sadly mistaken.  He sits when I say he sits.  I know he doesn’t have to pee because I haven’t given him water today.  This is completely unacceptable.  There are dogs in other countries that only get a fraction of what I give Scotty.  If he doesn’t like it here, he can leave.

This short journal is in no way true other than my roommate left his dog with me.  I have not harmed Scotty in any way and have grown very fond of the little goofball.  What I want you to do is replace Scotty with America and myself with our current administration.  The big difference is Scotty has no choice in who his owner is.  You do.  Fucking vote.

He Had A Dream, I Live This Nightmare

“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”

Such an odd question, really.  Why do you want to be treated as an equal?  Is that a question anyone would ever ask another person with any type of seriousness?  Do I have to ask people to not spit on me as well?  I have always been fascinated with the fondness that people look at the “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Most people seem to focus on the equality part but Dr. King points out social and economic problems stacked against people of color.  Things that are unfortunately still true today.

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”

13 years.  13 years in the military and I’m still afraid of the police.  Let that sink in.  I have done tours and been trained beyond any civilian need, but I’m still afraid of the police.  Here’s the biggest issue I have is that I was trained and had to follow the Genova Conventions, Laws of Armed Combat and other local laws they had.  We had to get approval for going red or shooting on site.  The police do not have to adhere to these same types of laws(they really don’t) yet they still have military level weapons and gear.

“We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.”

Have you ever been in a situation where you were being treated differently and no one noticed?  Do you know why most people don’t notice?  It doesn’t affect them.  I recently had an experience with a boat captain.  A female friend and I were both doing the same thing and got two very different reactions.  Getting caught in my own bullshit didn’t allow me to realize that not only was the “captain” being racist but sexist as well.

“We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.”

I cannot ever get past this line.  Now more than ever.  Not only are minorities forced to live in lower income areas but once they move to nicer areas and more follow, those areas are slowly drained of their resources.  Funding slowly gets cut, then jobs and then crime rises.  It’s systematic.  Some places like Watts are torn to shreds and never recover.  Dr. King had a dream and that dream died with him.  People are finally waking up to see the nightmare has only really started and it’s too late.