Shop UO UO Blog

Near and Far: Victory Press x UO


Victory Press is designer Jessica Humphrey and artist Jonathan Cammisa, collaborating to create a collection of men’s clothing inspired by post modern art, prints and silhouettes of ‘80s skate and surf culture, and the functionality, integrity and ideology of ‘90s outdoors wear.

En route to launch a Victory Press pop-up event at our Los Angeles-based concept store Space 15 Twenty, Jess and Jonathan drove across the country, visiting American factories and getting up close and personal with the country’s great outdoors. Here, the design duo lets us in on every adventure of their nationwide trek.







How did you two come together and launch Victory Press?
Jess: Jonathan grew up in South Philadelphia skating. He was heavy into grafitti and hip hop, and he spent his summers at the Jersey Shore. I grew up in Virginia Beach surrounded by surfing and skateboarding, and as a teenager photographed every punk and hardcore band that came through my town. We met about five years ago in Vinegar Hill, a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. We both were obsessed with 1980s and ‘90s vintage clothing and we had the same taste in art and music, so we became best friends. We decided to start a clothing line out of a shared realization that outdoors wear just wasn't cool. We wanted to make outdoors wear that like-minded people want to wear.

Tell us about the Victory Press pop-up that brought you across the country!
Our friend Kyle came to our studio one day and proposed we set up shop at Space 15 Twenty for the summer of 2014. As a new brand, we were stoked on the opportunity to build out a space with our creative vision and spread our ideas to the West Coast. So, we though it was only appropriate to see the country on our way here so we can tell our story to you.







What was your favorite city or pit-stop along the way?
Mystic Hot Springs, Utah was by far the most interesting destination. We spent a few hours soaking in old claw foot tubs filed in with mineral rich hot springs with epic views of the Utah Mountains. Mystic Mike, who hosts the property, has an extensive collection of posters and stickers he's illustrated for touring bands, including the Grateful Dead. He also has a YouTube channel where he hosts live music and does an awesome job recording. There is also a collection of buses previously owned by Deadheads, for which you can rent and sleep over, if you want. It was truly a mystical moment. And then there was Yellowstone National Park—there are no words for how beautiful it is there.

Any travel mishaps?
Not really. We had good vibes on our side!

What was your day-to-day life like on the road?
We woke up. I'd heat us up some Grady's Coffee we cold brewed the night before. I might have some time to make breakfast while the boys break down the camp. If not, it was Early Bird Granola and yogurt and then we were on the road. Some days were long drives—almost 14 hours. We literally drove until it was time to sleep. Our meals that day would be "Jon's Back Seat Turkey Sandwiches" and the good old gas station special. The other days we'd drive for six hours or so and set up camp. We'd cook chili or hamburgers, relax, shoot our BB gun, then go to sleep extra early, wake up, maybe do a hike and then hit the road again. We were lucky enough to spend a good stint in Yellowstone and Utah where we could meander a little more and soak up the environment. We drove through 15 states in seven days, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to stay idle.







What were some of the best and worst meals you had while traveling?
The best meal was the chili we cooked over campfire the first night in Yellowstone. We brought our cast iron dutch oven and made a slow cooked chili and cornbread. We set up camp with the Grand Teton mountains as our backdrop, with no other human in site. It was magical. We actually ruled on the food tip. Even the sixth time we had turkey sandwiches, they were delicious!

What are your top five travel essentials?
Our trusty Birkenstocks, Oberto Beef Jerky, Snowpeak Titanium Stove, our dog, Jasper, and Santa Maria Novella Potpourri (for the stinky truck).

What advice would you give to someone about to embark on a cross-country trip?
Give yourself a good month because there is too much awesomeness to see.





The Victory Press x Ours Gallery summer pop-up shop at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahunega Blvd) is open now and runs through July 27, 2014.


UPDATE: Now you can watch the video Victory Press made with the help of Nathan Caswell about their cross country trip!

UO Video Series: Spoon


Playtime for one group of beings can be angst-riddled Armageddon for another. If that sounds way too close to some kind of intense Bruce Willis film, just think about the difference in perspective between ants and humans at a picnic, and you’ll get the gist of music video director Hiro Murai’s not-that-serious thought process when creating the video for “Do You” by Spoon, off their forthcoming They Want My Soul on Loma Vista.







We’re hanging out beneath a windswept tent in the abandoned parking lot of a shop long out of business that, in its heyday, was amazingly named “Travel Around the World with Bertrand Smith’s Acres of Books.” (Yes, that was the whole name of one single business.) A pyro crew’s on deck, prepping a trashed-out Mercedes and some rubber tires with industry secret sauce to sustain some serious flames. The art department is littering all kinds of detritus on the grounds, right in front of the police. Hey, it wouldn’t be the end of existence without at least a little rubble.

“Not to get super heady about a music video concept,” Hiro says, “but I’m really interested in a pocket moment that takes place in a doomsday world.” In the case of this video, that means Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Spoon, is cruising in a vintage Plymouth wagon through a very lackadaisical Sunset Drive kind of vibe, and it just so happens that the buildings are on fire behind him. Which is actually kind of what Los Angeles feels like sometimes anyway, metaphorically, Hiro concedes. “Hey, once you own the chaos of the apocalypse,” he says, “there’s a certain kind of calmness to it.”

Just then Britt walks up, head to toe in black, before he hits makeup for some bandages and bruises. “We’ve never really made a video where I totally understood the concept,” he says. “But this one, I get it.”







Though they’d had several conversations over the phone about the video, Hiro and Britt are meeting for the first time on set. (The rest of the band was back home in Austin, enjoying the day off.) “This is one of those videos we have to rehearse 800 times and then do it once correctly,” says Hiro, explaining why we’ve been watching them do laps around the parking lot for hours. The video is to be shot almost entirely in one take.

“I like really deliberate filmmaking,” Hiro says. “I like things that are very in control—the pace of the storytelling, what you show the audience, and when. Although I don’t know why I haven’t learned my lesson from the one-shot thing, because every time I do it, it’s such a pain in the ass.”







Britt isn’t worried in the slightest. “I looked at Hiro’s videos and it seemed like he really knew what he was doing. Like he had a flair for the bizarre and the unique.” It’s part of an aesthetic his band’s been mining for two decades and eight full-length albums.

Sometimes music videos “can be one of those things that you ‘have’ to do for a record,” says Britt, “but I’m enjoying this one because I have a good feeling about it.” The way he sees it, he explains, “is that we’re seeing the last scene of a movie, right? And you as the viewer is dropped into this last scene without understanding the full context. I’ve been battered around, and I’m driving down the street and you don’t really understand what’s going on. You see a few reveals of who I’ve got in the car, you see there’s all this destruction going on. The car’s on fire, people are running, you don’t really understand why. And the last bit of video…”

Well, if we continued with the explanation, what would be the point in watching? No spoiler alerts here: check it out and find out how it ends yourself. Photography by Mike Selsky

Pre-order They Want My Soul on vinyl

Studio Visit: Level Naturals, BYRD, and Poppy And Someday

For this installment of Local Beauty, we're heading to sunny Southern California to visit three favorite apothecary lines from the golden coast. Below, three behind-the-scenes glimpses inside the studios of Level Naturals, BYRD, and Poppy and Someday



Level Naturals is a natural soap line founded in 2009 by Jonathan Dubuque and Sabrina Robertson from their organic farm in Hawaii. Now housed in the old PBR brewery in downtown Los Angeles, we talked with Jonathan and Sabrina about loving Los Angeles, drawing inspiration from Thai spice markets, and fueling a business on "elbow grease and coffee." Photos by Chantal Anderson


Why L.A.? What was it that drew you to the city and why have you stayed? 
Jonathan: Why? Because Los Angeles is awesome. Yeah the traffic sucks, and there are no seasons, and every waiter is an actor trying desperately to get a walk-on role on some NBC show and we have the whole boulevard of broken dreams, etc. But, even with all of that going against us, L.A. has an incredible art scene that’s becoming more and more supportive of younger artists, we have the Dodgers and the Kings, you can ride your bike anywhere, and the city is pretty much a giant canvas. Dream it, print it, wheat paste it—you have a city-wide gallery show of your very own. Also, even with all the downside perspective of how many people move here with high hopes of becoming the next big thing and never making it, it’s still a city that has hope and is full of people dreaming. There is something pretty amazing about being in a place with so many people doing everything they can to get what they want. For all of these reasons, I stay here. 

Above: Level's Coffee Almond Salt Soak, made from coffee, four varieties kinds of salt, coffee extract, coffee butter, and almond essential oil.

Can you catch me up to speed on the history of Level Naturals?  
Jonathan: After a ton of wine in a hammock in Hawaii, waiting out what everyone was saying was going to be the storm of the century, we decided soap was how we would make our mark. A couple months later, I left my farm and moved to L.A. to start working with my bestie Sabrina in her garage and started studying plant chemistry. We had a blast doing it; it's a lot like being pastry chef and getting to play alchemy. Within a year we had our first store and six months after that we got to open a manufacturing plant in DTLA at the old Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery. What started out with just the two of us then quickly grew to the 12 people we have on staff now. 

Above: The process of making a Level Naturals bath bomb. The brand scoops 10,000 a week! 

How do you describe the brand?
Sabrina: Delicious. No, really: We want everything to be a sensual experience where you can have luxury without compromising your values, the environment, or your health. Everything we make is made with food-grade products because we discovered that you absorb more of what you put on your skin that what you put in your mouth. So we made everything food-safe (though the only really tasty thing is our body polish… mmmm sugar). 

What’s your production process like? 
Jonathan: Elbow grease and coffee. How it's evolved is definitely more hands, more elbow grease, and a ton more coffee. We still make everything by hand. We used to buy essential oils by the ounce and we would get these orders of 16 ounces of essential oils. We would just stare at these “GIANT” bottles and have no clue how we could ever possibly use that much. Now we are ordering 100 pounds of each essential oil and 55 gallon drums of all of our plant oils. We definitely still have our 'WTF' moments when we receive four pallets of ingredients and can’t believe how we are ever gonna get through all of that material. A week later we are laughing when we are doubling our order. 

Above: stacks of soap ready for packaging. 

It seems like you're well-traveled! Tell us more about travel as an inspiration source. 
Jonathan: Travel has definitely been a huge part of it. We spent a ton of time in Costa Rica just taking deep breaths and smelling all these different rich aromas. Or the spice markets in Thailand and the farmers' markets in Germany selling fresh herbs. In Costa Rica the first thing you do is find a Ylang Ylang tree and pick some blossoms and throw them on your dashboard. The sun cooks them there and fills your car with the greatest scent.  

What three products are in your Level Naturals starter kit? 
The starter kit would definitely be the Shower Bombs, Active Charcoal Soap, and the Room and Body Mist—the essential set for any day!


Above: production scenes at Level Naturals HQ

Give us your quick-hits city guide: what are some of your favorite local spots?  
Jonathan: The L.A. food scene is blowing up right now, always some new incredible place opening up. Amazing sushi like Sugarfish. Some of my favorite spots are The Gorbals in DTLA, Bacaro LA, and Bestia. [Editor's Note: check out The Gorbals' new NYC outpost at UO's Brooklyn concept store Space Ninety 8

Sabrina: The complex we work in, The Brewery, is the the world's largest artist-in-residence community, [including] over 300 lofts and lots of creative and interesting people. We have our own bar and restaurant and now a climbing gym. I live on campus and love it. The whole downtown area is really becoming a great place to be. I've been here off and on since 2000 and have watched it develop into a really fun and vital neighborhood.






How did a professional surfer become the founder of a haircare company? Ask Quiksilver surfer Chase Wilson, the 23-year-old owner of BYRD, a line offering top-of-the line pomades and styling products with a surfer's lifestyle in mind. Chase talked to us about his style icons, "looking slick," and his five-year plan to abolish bad hair days. Photos provided by BYRD. 



Hi Chase! So how did this all begin? 
Being from Newport, the hub of surf culture, I grew up surfing as an amateur and then professionally. You could presume that a surfer starting a men’s hair care line with nothing to do in the cosmetics industry is obscure, [but] having your own look and style and paying attention to your appearance were traits bred in me. I look up to style icon Steve McQueen a lot; even surf legends Robert August and Mike Hynson of The Endless Summer era. There was a greater appreciation for grooming back then that I feel is coming around full circle. Guys are starting to give a shit about how they look and making a first impression. 

In the early stages of high school my friend introduced me to my first "fade" and I was hooked ever since. I feel like things just fell into place after that. There was never a styling pomade I loved that catered to my everyday surfing lifestyle being in and out of the ocean—I wanted a great all-around pomade that I could throw in, go surf, and come out with the same salty slick. I started making home batches of pomade with melted-down beeswax and essential oils in crock pot. After all those failed, I researched a team of chemists to work with on the first BYRD pomade samples. After some months of testing, the idea realized and BYRD Products was born.  

Are you still surfing professionally? How do you find balance there between these two responsibilities? 
Yes, I'm still surfing professionally with Quicksilver. I travel around the world doing the World Qualifying Series (WQS), which is a series of professional surf competitions. Between my surfing career and business, I keep myself busy. It’s a pretty rad thing when work doesn’t really feel like work. 


Tell us something we do not know about surfing.  
All it takes is one session and you're hooked for life. 

Tell us something we do not know about haircare.  
We've commissioned "scientific studies" that showed looking slick = getting babes. 


Tell us more about the BYRD headquarters. 
Our space, The Byrd's Nest is in Culver City. I don't know how to articulate it other than being our office, home, barbershop and event venue all in one creative space. It's one of those things you just have to see for yourself. Within the property's existing building, we installed recycled shipping containers that make up the living quarters and Byrd's Barber Shop.  


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in L.A. right now? 
One of my favorite happenings going on in the L.A. social scene is this bar, The Bungalow. It's right on Ocean in Santa Monica and it has the setting of a '60s beach house party. If you haven't already, I would suggest checking it out.  

What's next? 
Right now the focus is launching our new collection of styling pomades that we've done an exclusive run of with Urban Outfitters. These will be released within the next month and we're really excited about how the final product has manifested. Talking long term, you can bet to see the brand conquering hair care then expanding into other markets and categories while always tying back to our roots. It's all a huge learning curve for me so I'm just doing my best to steer it in the right direction. Say in five years, I want people to know me as the kid who abolished bad hair days! 






Poppy And Someday is a natural apothecary line started by Kari Jansen, an Ayurvedic practitioner and herbalist with a background in nutrition. The brand combines, as she explains, "a passion for plants with a love of gardening, wildcrafting, and herbal medicine." We spoke with Kari about the process of creating products by hand, natural stress remedies, and what L.A. musicians she's into right now.  Photos by Magda Wosinska 


Hi Kari! How would you describe Poppy and Someday? 
Poppy and Someday was inspired by plants and their remarkable ability to heal and teach. This product line features an evolving collection of organic body care products, each of which is comprised of a unique blend of constitutional ingredients. The product design process is rooted in the study of Ayurveda and Western Herbalism and focuses on native plant ingredients. 

Tell me about the ingredients you use. 
The ingredients that are used in all of my products are organic and plant-based with no fillers or synthetic additives. Any ingredient not homegrown is sourced from a highly reputable farm in Eugene, Oregon called Mountain Rose Herbs


Tell us something we do not know about Ayurveda as it relates to apothecary products.  
With an extensive study of Ayurvedic medicine, I can rely on my dosha knowledge to help bring balance to everyone who tries my products—the doshas are Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (earth and water). 

You can bring balance within yourself by healing with the opposite qualities or attributes. For example: If you are dry and ungrounded, the salves would be beneficial to your everyday routine. Dry is a characteristic of Vata and the salve represents the earth element of Kapha. So, if you are feeling anxiety or insomnia then try a self massage with salve and oils on your body to help calm your mind and soothe your nerves.   


Why LA?  
On my first visit, I was drawn and captivated by the overall magic of Laurel Canyon. This canyon is well-renowned as a bohemian neighborhood noted for its music and artisan history and culture. Laurel Canyon provides me with creative inspiration within its breathtaking canyons and serene surroundings.  


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in L.A. right now?
Some of my favorite Los Angeles pastimes are hiking in Topanga Canyon, where I can enjoy amazing ocean views. On my way to the hike I love to stop at Heyoka Hideout, where some amazing women who hand make beautiful leather bags manage one of my favorite vintage shops. The Filth Mart in West Hollywood is also a regular stopover of mine. 

For dining, Pace serves up delicious pizza and outstanding wine in the heart of Laurel Canyon. However, nothing beats a great margarita at El Condor in Silverlake then on to the Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd for some live music. I love to see Allah-Las, Tift Merritt, Jonathan Wilson, and Dawes there. 


SHOP POPPY & SOMEDAY ON UO BEAUTY

Shop Local Beauty in Los Angeles

For more UO Studio Visits posts:
Portland, OR  /  Brooklyn, NY

Studio Visit: Alia Penner


Alia Penner is a modern-day pop artist based in Los Angeles. Penner lives in a quiet, colorful home atop a hill in the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles that overlooks Downtown. Inside her home you'll also find her studio, where she works her magic. Penner's home is a place of absolute wonder; the rooms are filled with her own work, found objects, and of course, her furry grey cat, Edie. Aside from traditional mediums, Alia also works with fashion and film. Currently she works largely with Cinespia, and recently worked with Anna Sui. I had a quick chat with Alia to learn a bit more about her work, and how much she loves balloons and Miss Piggy.
Interview by Maddie Sensibile

Alia Penner wearing Romance Was Born's 'Dream On' collection.



Hi Alia! Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be an artist.
I grew up in Topanga Canyon, which is a really special place to grow up in. I’m actually third generation; my grandfather lived there and then my dad grew up there too, right next door to where I grew up. Now I live in Mount Washington which is kind of like Topanga-ish, close to Downtown L.A. I always wanted to be an artist. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a cartoonist, I wanted to be a fashion designer, and I wanted to be anything that had to do with art. I just drew all the time, since before I can remember. I went to art school at Otis, and I’ve just been a freelance artist since I graduated.

Your work is definitely reminiscent of the 1960s and '70s. What about that time period stands out to you?
I guess just the color and freedom. I feel like the '60s and '70s were also pretty inspired by other time periods as well. So it’s kind of like when people say that my art is inspired by '60s and '70s, I feel like there’s so many different places that I’m taking inspiration from, like art nouveau, or deco. There’s just so many points are jumping off points. I love psychedelic artwork.



Other than those decades, what primarily inspires your work?
I’m a big collector of books. I think books are really important, and I think you should have as many as you can fit in your house. I love having things in my hands. I love searching for things, I love treasure hunting, I love going to flea markets and finding crazy things. I just found this insane wheel of fortune from this old carnival. I’m super into movies and I watch them all the time. My boyfriend started the movies at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, so I help program movies there, which is so inspiring. It's fun to curate and create a whole experience. I’m really excited about Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on June 21. But just being able to pick something like that…Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!  The photobooth is going to be amazing!


"DVF Pop Wrap Animation for the Warhol Foundation made by me"

You do a lot of collaborative work as well. What do you enjoy most about pairing fashion with art?
I love working in fashion. I think you should dress as silly and crazy as you want every day. I love dressing up and playing a role which goes back to movies, and being inspired by fashion and movies. Making clothes on my own was really exciting and hopefully I get to do more of that in the future, selling my dresses at Colette. I only made like ten of them or something. I really love working with Anna Sui, and I think we will be working together again soon. I did her backdrop for her fashion show a couple seasons ago, and she’s such a hero and so cool. I got to visit her in her studio and she had books everywhere stacked high as the ceiling.

What are your go to films that have impeccable fashion and art direction?
My favorite, favorite ones…I love Smile with Bruce Dern. That movie is one of my favorites. I love pageants and over the top fashions for that, the ‘70s rad teenage girls in that are really funny. I love musicals, all kinds of musicals. I could watch Esther Williams and all those amazing Ziegfeld Follies all day long. I just watched Witches of Eastwick again, and there’s this one scene in it that blew my mind. I’m obsessed with balloons and re-watching the scene where they’re holding thousands of pink balloons in the ballroom and then they dance through them... I mean, what beats that?


Alia Penner's Balloon Girl Performance starring Labanna Babalon.



Who would you call your style icon?
Miss Piggy, definitely, is a style icon for me. I love Miss Piggy, I love the Muppets. I have a book called Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life and there are some really important lessons.
Zandra Rhodes, another designer that I’ve met and interviewed before, she is just insanely cool. Pink hair. Like, I love how rad you can be when you’re old. You don’t have to be an insane plastic surgery lady. You can be a badass with pink hair and tons of black eyeliner and wear whatever you want. I almost can’t wait to be that.

What has been your favorite project to date?
I directed my first music video for Jena Malone this year, which was a really special experience to work with her. We covered her in flowers and glitter and nothing else. Another favorite project I did last year was painting Katy Perry’s piano. That’s probably the best. It's so special because it’s this object that you know is gonna be around forever. It's covered in red roses and ice cream colors. It was great to work on it over the course of a couple months. I feel like everything has to happen so fast nowadays, so to be able to even spend time painting something is just a pleasure. I wouldn’t mind doing that all the time.


"Katy Perry's piano in my studio"



Who is your dream artistic collaboration?
My dream artistic collaboration would be to create a DREAM Theme Park with Niki de Saint Phalle & Yayoi Kusama.

Alia Penner is represented by Weiss Artists. Check out Alia Penner's website and Instagram.

Off The Grid: California Dreaming

We took a California road trip with young artists, entrepreneurs and DIY guys Blake Washington and Morgan Gales. Here's a few shots from their favorite stops and their recommended playlists for cruisin' around out in the desert.







Morgan's Top Five Road Trip Songs
America — Simon & Garfunkel
Clay Pigeons — Blaze Foley
Going to California — Led Zeppelin
Stranger in a Strange Land — Leon Russell
Tuesday's Gone — Lynyrd Skynyrd







Blake's Cali Roadtrip Playlist
Scholarship — Juicy J Ft. ASAP ROCKY
Heaven — DJ Sammy & Yanou Ft. DO
Russian Privjet — Basshunter
Midnight Sprite — Riff Raff
Enjoy the Silence — Depeche Mode





Read Off The Grid: California Dreaming Feature

About a Band: Summer Twins


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: Summer Twins.

Summer Twins are my ideal girl group. Their music is perfect for swaying in the wind with your gal pals during the summer (or any time of year, really). This Burger Records band is made up of two sisters, Chelsea and Justine Brown, who have been playing music together for at least ten years now. These Southern California natives love good old rock 'n roll, warm summer evenings, and are dying to go to Hawaii. I caught up with Chelsea Brown to learn a little bit more about the band.
Maddie
Photograph by Joy Newell

Hi Chelsea! Tell me a little bit about Summer Twins and how you started the band. Have you always wanted to be in a band together since you're sisters?
We started our first all-girl band when we were 13 and 14. We didn't know how to play our instruments yet, but we just liked the idea of being in a band! We learned by playing covers of bands like The Ramones and The Donnas, then started writing our own songs. Years later, around 2008, we started Summer Twins. Now that we've been playing together for over 10 years, we can't image not being in a band together!

Who or what inspires your music most?
Our music is inspired by lots of old rock 'n roll: everything from '50s doo-wop to '60s garage/girl group to '70s punk.

Do you have plans to release a follow-up to your self-titled album soon?
We released an EP last year titled Forget Me. We're now working on new songs and hoping to record another full-length later this year.

Your band's name is pretty much the epitome of summertime. What is your favorite part about being in California in the summer that you can't get anywhere else?
Well, it gets really hot, especially in Riverside since we're farther from the coast, but summer nights are always great. When the sun goes down it starts to cool down, yet it's warm enough for shorts; it's perfect weather for hanging out on the porch or skating around downtown.

What songs are on your summer playlist?
"Sit Down I Think I Love You" by Buffalo Springfield has always been part of our summer soundtrack for years. Right now we're also into "Hawaii" by Naive Thieves, "Holiday" by Albert Hammond Jr., "How Long Do I Have to Wait for You" by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (our favorite song to listen to on tour), and "Tropical Birds" by Miniature Tigers.

What's your ideal vacation location?
As typical as it sounds, Hawaii! We've never been there before!

About a Band: Vision


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: VISION.

Christopher Valer, Benjamin Nastase, and Phillip Dominick make up Burger Records outfit Vision. The LA-based band have been influenced by everything from Brit Pop to Nirvana's classic Nevermind, yet they have a sound all their own. Vision are a band that are truly loyal to the craft, working and sweating until the best product is done. Get to know Christopher Valer and the guys of Vision below.
Maddie

Hi guys! Tell me a little bit about how you guys formed.
All:
Christopher has always been in and out of bands in the LA music scene and he was just tired of playing other peoples' songs and he wanted to create his sound and form his own band.
Christopher: I couldn't find anybody who fit the band so I looked to my brother Phillip and our childhood friend Ben to fill in the slots and that's how it's been since.

As a band, who do you feel your ultimate influences are that carry through all of your material?
Christopher:
We all grew up together listening to The Doors and a lot of Nirvana. We feel we take the dark and serious part of The Doors with the aggressiveness and heaviness of Nirvana. Those two are our main influences but we take a lot of inspirations from a lot of Brit Pop bands like The Stone Roses, Blur, and Oasis.

What's the best part about performing live?
Christopher:
The fact that we're able to block out the world and our problems and be only in that moment.



Best summer memory ever?
Christopher:
Being in the garage, sweating, practicing drenched in sweat while everyone we know is at a pool party or a beach.

Who is your end all, be all favorite band or album to listen to in the summer?
Christopher:
Nirvana Nevermind. ALWAYS.

What's next for the band?
Christopher:
We just spent two years working on our first full-length album Inertia due to be released by Burger Records in January 2015. Aside from our new album, we're planning an east coast tour and traveling more up north and just wherever they'll have us. We just want to keep playing and sharing our music as long as we can.

About a Band: The Aquadolls

All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: The Aquadolls.

Just last year, The Aquadolls released Stoked On You with Burger Records. Lead singer Melissa Brooks, Ryan Frailich, and Josh Crawford make up the band, providing us with excellent Beach-Boys-esque riffs and vocals worthy of some of the best girl groups from the '60s. Below, get to know a little bit more about one of our favorite bands you should be listening to this summer.
Maddie

Hi Melissa! Tell me a little bit about yourself and your band, The Aquadolls.
I started this band in the summer of 2012. We released our debut album "Stoked On You" in November of last year, and now I'm working on my solo album!

As a musician, who would you say your biggest role model is and why?
My ultimate musical crush is Gwen Stefani. Her voice is so pure and she's a great lyricist. I can't tell you how many times I've screamed along to No Doubt's song "Don't Speak" at the top of my lungs while sobbing as a kid. Gwen is a powerhouse.

You have excellent on-stage style. What is your favorite thing to wear while performing?
My lucky leather jacket and a mini skirt.

Since summertime is near, what are three of your summer essentials?
Jelly sandals, sunglasses, and my tattoo chokers.

What song or album would you say is the epitome of summer?
“Summertime” by GIRLS.

What do you guys like doing when you're not playing music?
Ride skateboards by the beach!

Read our Summer Party with Burger Records feature

About a Band: together PANGEA


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up today: together PANGEA.

Together PANGEA just released their latest album Badillac this year.  Along with their friends at Burger Records, together PANGEA are currently on a mission to bring the era of garage rock back. William Keegan, Danny Bengston and Erik Jimenez are the guys behind the band.  I talked to bassist Danny about the band, how they started, why they love working with Burger Records and the bands they say we should be keeping our ears open for.
Maddie
Photograph by Alice Baxley

Hey Danny! So tell me a little bit about together PANGEA and how you guys came to be.
Well, me and William started playing music together probably like ten years ago, then we met our drummer Eric when I was going to Cal Arts, and yeah, it just took shape from there.

You just released your full-length, Badillac, which has a definite California feel. What about the state influenced the record?
Maybe nothing directly; I think just sort of living here in general and having this sort of artistic community and Burger Records and bands like that. Your friends influence you a lot, I think, sort of by default.

What do you like most about being able to work with a label like Burger Records?
They’ve always been really supportive of us and they hit us up pretty early within the first year of Burger starting. We didn’t have a label or anything, but we had friends who were with Burger and we were figuring out how to become part of the thing. They reached out to us and they’ve always been super supportive and they’re down to help us out any way they can, whether it was like in the early days getting us on bigger shows and things like that, whatever we needed. We signed with a major label and they were nothing but supportive, and we’ve made it work so we can continue to release things with them. We even have some new plans to release some cool new things in the future together.

What's your idea of an ideal show? I know your shows get pretty rowdy..
Yeah, I don’t know. Any all ages show, I’d say. Usually a lot of our fans tend to be younger, a lot of them tend to not be 21, or a lot of times not even be 18. I think that’s the biggest thing - an affordable all ages show, that’s the ideal thing for us. They definitely do get rowdy.

What's your favorite thing to do in LA during the summer?
Just swimming! Usually my favorite thing to do is go swimming in rivers, swimming holes and stuff. There are a couple that are within like an hour of here that me and my friends frequently hit up. You can’t drive around every day to go swimming, so we end up going to a friend’s pool if someone’s around. If all else fails we end up swimming on the roof of The Standard in Downtown. It’s close to our house and there’s good drinks.

What's your go-to summer album?
Various, we’re on tour pretty consistently, like most of the summer we’re going to be in Europe, and when you’re on tour you kind of end up listening to whatever the person who’s driving plays. I don’t know, Beach Boys are always good. I’m a huge Beach Boys fan. The album Surf’s Up is really amazing, Pet Sounds is great, the really early Beach Boys.

Speaking of what music you listen to, what are some bands you've had your eye on lately?
Meat Market is incredible. We did a tour with them about a year ago, and that was one of the most fun tours ever. I don’t think they have released on Burger yet, but they definitely have played a lot of Burger shows, like at South By they played and stuff. I know everyone in the band totally loves those guys. We just had The Garden open up for us a couple times, like at our Troubadour show, and those guys are really rad. I really like the hip-hop stuff they’ve been doing. Those are the big ones for me lately. Audacity, those guys are like our best buddies from way back, everything they do is awesome. They just released a new 10”. It’s not new, it’s like their lost album which they did when they were teenagers before their first album, which was Burger Records’ first proper LP release. So that just came out, and that’s really cool.

About a Band: Tomorrow's Tulips


All week long we'll be learning a little bit more about each of the bands in our Burger Records lookbook and feature. Up first: Tomorrow's Tulips.

If you could dream of the ultimate band to describe summer in California, who would it be? In my opinion, it would be Tomorrow's Tulips. Alex Knost and Ford Archbold, the duo that makes up the band, created some of the most perfectly "lo-fi"jams on their latest record Experimental Jelly that was just released on Burger Records last year. Knost and Archbold are just as sun-soaked as their music, both with bleach blonde hair and tan skin. Below, Alex tells me about why he started the band, his favorite spots to surf, and his top summer tunes.
Maddie
Photographs by Dominic Santos

Hi Alex! Tell me a little bit about how Tomorrow's Tulips formed.
I started Tomorrow's Tulips as a sort of refuge from the band I was currently in at the time. I needed a release from the frustration that was trying to make a "group work" and to play without over-analyzation or any premonition of what was needed to succeed. It was a fresh start to accept failure from a listener or onlooker, and simply create. I originally started the group with an ex-girlfriend playing drums.

You released Experimental Jelly just last year. Who or what were your main influences when recording the record?
Being in the open, having an exposed fragility; that is what binds humanity and emotion. Our world is masked by media, fashions, trends, and technology. The end result has been isolation, and that isolation stems insecurity and jealousy amongst a community. I wanted to write songs, or at least take a step towards being naked.



Do you feel living in California has a large influence on your music?
A person's environment is always a role in what they are producing. I think there's a mix of embracing that and also an effort to alienate it. It's the uncomfortable situation of staying where you know what's going on, much like living at your parents' house.

Aside from music, I know you are an avid surfer as well. What's your favorite place in California to surf?
I enjoy the beach breaks in between the track homes and parking meters.

What tunes are at the top of your summer playlist?
Television Personalities "Do You Know What They're Saying About Me Now" and Conspiracy of Owls "A Silver Song."

What's your favorite thing to do during the summer besides surfing and playing music?
Visit OCMA, ride a bicycle, and go to openings.

About a Girl: Langley Fox

Langley Fox is a seasoned model and sought after illustrator, and she also happens to be one of our favorite girls to draw inspiration from when it comes to style. She's currently the star of our Bare Minimal lookbook, so we sat down to chat with Langley about her artwork, the influences she's drawn from her home state of Idaho, and her favorite L.A. haunts.

Click here to read our full feature with Langley Fox!






UO Music: Nguzunguzu


NGUZUNGUZU is Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, DJ duo, producers and M.I.A. collaborators who live in Los Angeles. The music they mix and make is eclectic, esoteric and energetic or "the fusion of contemporary top 40 R&B and the direct-source international sounds of Latin America, the West Indies and Africa—which, in turn, had been both refracted in and inspired by that top 40 R&B in the first place," to quote Pitchfork's description of their latest mix, "The Perfect Lullaby." Think R. Kelly crossed with traditional African Zouk music and you'll get the idea. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's pronounced EN-GOO-ZOO EN-GOO-ZOO.

Check out the "2014 Spring Mix" they made exclusively for UO and make sure to read their full interview here.

Photo Diary: California Dreamin'

This month we're all about the easy, laid-back vibes of California. The carefree attitude, artsy atmosphere, desert landscape and bright blue waters: we'll take it all, please. Here's some of our favorite Cali inspiration to give us all that west coast feeling, no matter where we may actually be.

Movies to watch: Clueless (1995), Gidget (1959), Chinatown (1974), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), American Graffiti (1973), Valley Girl (1983), Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

Books to read: Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, Cannery Row, Big Sur, Sweet Valley High series, Less Than Zero, Weetzie Bat, The White Album, Valley of the Dolls.

Music to listen to: The Beach Boys, Dum Dum Girls, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Eels, Local Natives, Rilo Kiley, The Germs, Weezer, Love, The Bangles, Best Coast, Haim, The Byrds, Phantom Planet "California" (because of course).





















Fine Print: Stephen Shore


Stephen Shore has been a known name in photography since the 1960s. Since the age of six, he's been working and experimenting with photography, specifically color, and has become an inspiration for photographers around the world. His early work depicts America at more than just face value, full of rich colors and culture. His latest project took him to Israel for a collaborative project which came to be his new book, From Galilee to the Negev, out in early May from Phaidon. We met up with Stephen before his book signing at Space 15 Twenty to talk about the book, his early days, and the Mickey Mouse-shaped camera and darkroom kit that really kicked things off for him. Interview by Maddie Sensibile

Tell us about your new book, From Galilee to the Negev, and what you wanted to accomplish with it.

It grew out of a project. 12 photographers were commissioned to go to Israel and the West Bank and we were given pretty much free reign to do whatever we wanted. Because it was a large group of photographers, I didn’t feel like I had to do something definitive. In fact, I’m not sure anyone can do something definitive in a country as complex as Israel and the West Bank, so that freed me up to explore what I was interested in. I wanted to explore a lot of the rest of life in Israel, of what daily life is like; it doesn’t avoid the conflict because that’s part of daily life, but life is much more than that.



Your book almost has the feel of multiple series put together; there are landscape shots, portraits, and lots of detail shots. Is this how you wanted the book to feel?

Exactly. There are conflicts in Israel that exist outside of the Arab/Israeli conflict. There’s a lot of contention in the country. There’s contention between Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox, there’s contention between ultra Orthodox Jews and reform Jews. There are all kinds of tensions. I wanted to not express the conflict but the idea that there are multiple voices that often talk past each other. In a way, I used multiple voices in the book which I think is what you’re picking up on.

What made you want to travel to this region of the world and make this collection of photographs over several years?
Well, I didn’t seek it out. The project was offered to me. Starting in the '90s, I began to photographically explore cultures other than North American culture. It was something that interested me, to bring what I’ve learned about getting a sense of a place and see if I can do that in a foreign place. So, I jumped at the chance when it was offered.



The book combines both digital and film photography. Do you feel that people will continue to use film even when digital photography has become so advanced?

I teach at Bard College and we still use film for the first two years. Students don’t use digital until they’ve spent two years working in a dark room; they spend at least a semester doing color processing and printing, and a semester with a 4x5 view camera. I love digital. All the prints I make are digital, all the photography I do now... I haven’t shot film since the Israel and West Bank book. I have absolutely nothing against digital. I think it’s allowing photographers to make a kind of picture that simply couldn’t have been made ten years ago. However, I think there is a tremendous amount that can only be learned through film.

You shot many photos of the Factory in black and white in the '60s. What made you want to shoot in color, as we see in American Surfaces and Uncommon Places?
There were a couple of events, one was in 1971. I started on two projects that both involved vernacular uses of photography. One was a series of postcards of Amarillo, TX, where I photographed the ten highlights of Amarillo and had the largest postcard printer in America make real postcards of them. Of course they were in color, because all postcards were in color then.

And the second?
The other series was a series of snapshots. Again, I wanted to bring a cultural reference of the style of the photograph to the meaning of it, so the image gained some meaning by being seen as a snapshot or as a postcard. This was a series called the Mick-A-Matics. They were taken with a camera, the Mick-A-Matic, which is a big plastic-headed Mickey Mouse with a lens in its nose. I had the pictures printed by Kodak, and they were also in color, and the Mick-A-Matic work led to American Surfaces. I wanted to continue something like the Mick-A-Matic, but with a camera that had finer optics than the plastic lens in Mickey’s nose. The one advantage of it, though, was every time I took a photo of a person, there was a genuine smile on their face. The other thing I really learned from doing the Mick-A-Matics was that part of the information that a picture can convey about a particular age in which it was taken is the palette of that age, which is out of the range of black and white.

What was your experience with color photography like prior to that point?
There was just one of these dumb events that could lead someone to think deep thoughts. I met a young composer at a party and he expressed an interest in seeing my photographs although he didn’t know much about photography. We went back to my apartment and I opened up a box, and his first reaction was “Oh, they’re black and white!” He had only seen snapshots, not art photographs, and he didn’t understand why they weren’t in color. He expected in that box would be color photographs. That led me to think about the snapshot and the postcard and why did this guy expect…I mean, I knew the art photography tradition. I knew color was light years from it; we didn’t see color in it. When I handed him the box, he thought it was going to be color. That, I found fascinating. I wanted to explore why he thought that. That’s when I started doing the postcards and the snapshots.

When you began taking photographs, who or what inspired you to do so?
I started because a relative of mine gave me a darkroom set for my sixth birthday. At first I wasn’t interested in taking pictures, I was only interested in taking my family’s snapshots and developing them and printing them. I did that for a couple of years. It wasn’t until I was eight and got a 35mm camera that I started photographing seriously. Before that, my real interest was darkroom work.



When you were 14, MOMA acquired your work, specifically Edward Steichen. Do you remember how you felt when that happened?
I don’t.

Would you say that was a pivotal moment in your career?
No. It wasn’t a pivotal event because I didn’t know enough for it be a pivotal event. On the other hand, if I knew more, I would’ve thought it was inappropriate to call up Steichen and ask to show him my work. So, my childish and naiveté led me to do that, but on the other hand it led me not to see it as a pivotal moment.

If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to get into photography and make it a career, what would it be?
Read my book published by Phaidon called The Nature of Photographs.

I'm With the Band: Cage the Elephant


It's no secret that Cage the Elephant are one of rock and roll's biggest names right now; they just released their third album, Melophobia, this past October, and have been on the move ever since. Melophobia is their strongest record yet, with ten solid tracks that will keep you listening over and over. I caught up with rhythm guitarist Brad Shultz last Friday in Ventura, CA just before the band hit the road to play Coachella's second weekend. Maddie

What were your primary influences when recording Melophobia?
I think, if there was any influence for me, it would be the local scene in Nashville. There’s a ton of awesome bands that are coming out of Nashville: Jeff the Brotherhood, Bad Cop, Plastic Visions, Ranch Ghost. There’s a really cool music scene in Nashville. I had some time off and I live in Nashville, so I really got into going to local shows and stuff.

What do you feel is different about this record from your previous records?
I think it's more in-depth, if that makes sense. It's the closest interpretation of what we envisioned in our minds, what we wanted to achieve musically of the three albums.


Left, Nick Bockrath and Matt Shultz during the band's encore. Right, Matt Shultz and Brad Shultz backtsage.

What made you guys want to call it something that means "fear of music"?
It’s not really a literal use of the word, it's just based on being afraid of creating music under any kind of false pretense.

What are your three tour essentials?
Internet [laughs], that’s for sure. And clean socks and underwear.

What do you guys do to prepare for a gig?
There’s no kind of ritual that we do, we kind of just hang out and create a good environment as far as just chilling and vibing out and listening to music, just being as relaxed as we can.

Okay, now tell me three songs you recommend listening to right now:
Yeah, Broken Bells “Holding on for Life,” Bad Cop “Light On,” and Plastic Visions “Little String.”

Okay, now choose! East Coast or West Coast?
I’m going to say central. No coast! Middle of the country, Nashville, TN!

Crushed or cubed?
Oh, Sonic ice. The sphere ice, that’s the best.

Old or new, in terms of music?
I’ll say new because new is influenced by old, but still pushing forward.

Clean or dirty?
What are we talking about?

Anything!
Clean. I’m gonna go with clean. I like to be showered and fresh.

Morning or night?
Late evening, I like the late evening.

UO DIY: Plant Hanger


During our outdoor potted plant DIY at our Malibu store, we had one of our talented associates give us her (easy) step-by-step guide on how to make our very own plant hangers. Read on for full instructions, then go make your own! (And we promise, even if you don't have a single Martha Stewart bone in your body, you'll be able to make this.)

DIY Plant Hanger Instructions

Needed:
Spool of cord
(something durable, can be found in jewelry aisle of craft stores)
Key ring
Small potted plant



1) Cut 4 lengths of cord, about 10 inches longer than you want the planter to be when finished.



2) Fold the 4 cords in half at their midpoint. Slide the key ring up to the midpoint and tie a knot to keep it in place.



3) Separate the 8 cords into groups of two. About 8 inches down from the key ring, you are going to tie a basic square knot with the first two cords.



4) To tie the square knot, loop the two cords over each other, as if you're about to tie your shoelaces. Then loop the cords around each other a second time, leading with the opposite cord you started with.

5) Follow this step for the remaining groups of 2 cords. You should be left with 4 knotted strands. 



6) Grab a friend to hold your plant hanger up, or hook the key ring to something. Take the right cord from the first set, and the left cord from the second set about 10 inches down from the knots you've already tied. Tie another square knot.

7) Repeat this with the right cord from the 2nd set, and the left cord from the 3rd set. Continue with the remaining cords.



8) Gather all the cords together and tie in a big knot.



9) Fit your potted plant inside the hanger and enjoy!

Read full Get Outside feature

Happenings: The Impossible Tour


Impossible made a stop this week at Urban Outfitters Costa Mesa to set up their unbelievably cool portable pop-up shop in the form of a silver Airstream trailer. Impossible USA is traveling around the country until October 2014 to share the power of the Polaroid. I met up with two of the guys from Impossible, Kyle and Mitch, to learn a little bit more about what's going on inside the trailer, nicknamed "Silver Shade."

Inside Silver Shade you'll find tons of film, cameras, and an even cooler photo booth. Mitch and Kyle also lead workshops in the little nook on the left side of the trailer (which looks like it came straight out of the 1960s). Curious individuals can step inside and try out the various films and cameras as well as learn all about what Impossible is doing. While there, Mitch taught me how to use the brand's new iLab, which allows you to take a photo on your iPhone, attach it to a Polaroid camera and then print a true Polaroid. It's totally cool, so definitely give it a try if you find the tour stopping in your town.

Silver Shade just got back from Coachella and will be stopping at various UO locations throughout the year. Visit Silver Shade when it comes to your town and give analog film life again! Maddie




I'm With the Band: Drowners

Drowners are currently making their way around the West Coast in support of their debut self-titled record. In their downtime between Coachella weekends, they made a stop in Los Angeles to bring their melodic, jumpy jams to The Roxy. Drowners are made up of Matt Hitt, Jack Ridley, Erik Lee Snyder, and Joe Brodie. I had a chat with Matt and Jack to talk about where the band is at right now, their favorite songs to play while DJing, and more. Maddie

Since we last talked you had your debut record come out. How was the recording process and putting it out?
Matt: We finished it about nine months before we actually released it, like a human pregnancy, so when it came out, we were ready for it to come out. It was kinda sitting on the shelf a bit. We did it over three weeks last May in a basement under a bar and Gus Oberg and Johnny T produced it. My 25th birthday passed as we were recording it, and that’s pretty much all I remember about it.

Matt, you've been part of other projects in the past. What's different about Drowners as opposed to your previous projects?
Matt: Literally only that I sing in this one. I do Threats with Jack. I kinda stopped doing all the other shit before Drowners started, so it's really just Threats and Drowners. The only differences are that I sing in one and Jack sings in the other, and he writes all Threats and I write all Drowners. Basically the only thing that switches between the two is who stands in the middle of the stage.

Tell us a little bit about the influences that went into your self-titled.
Matt:
The things we were influenced by to record were like, The Vapors, Gun Club, and we were inspired vocally by like, when you listen to '50s and '60s shit, like when they scream and the mic blanks out. That was kind of a main point of it. Slickness of Vapors, energy of Buzzcocks, yeah.
Jack:
I would say for me, since he obviously wrote the thing in his bedroom, I think it was done with a lot of pain and fun and late nights and such. You play in a different way when all that is going on around. Depending on how you feel you play a bit different. I feel like a lot of long nights and mild suffering in different ways led itself to a nice product.
Matt:
There’s like twenty different versions of the same song, depending on how we feel. Particularly live, it completely changes. Like how hard you want to play or how much you want to scream or how much you want to move, that’s just night to night. When we were doing the record, it was like Jack said, fun and pain; basically two sides of the same coin, where you’re like one or the other.

How would you describe Drowners in three words to someone who has never heard you before?

Matt: “I’d hit it.”
Jack: “Totally fucking awesome.”
Matt: Yeah, do that one.

What is your dream venue or city to play in?
Matt:
I’m gonna sound biased in L.A., but this is only the second time in L.A. and I’ve fucking had a right laugh both times I’ve come here. There’s not like ideal size or whatever. I like playing in front of people who give a shit, because that’s not always the case. That’s my favorite thing. When people give a shit it makes us get hyped on it.



If you could have a tour with anyone, who would it be? Dead or alive.
Matt:
On the top of my head, we did four gigs with Cage the Elephant and I’d want to do another tour with them that was longer. I only had four days of ultimate bliss and I’d like to have like, a month with it.

When you're not playing music, what are you usually up to?
Matt: Sleeping.
Jack: Drawing or skating and walking around. Cuddling with puppies. Cuddling with puppies and watching Law and Order SVU.

What are your go-to tracks when DJing?
Matt: I want to preface this with like, we DJ a lot because we’re absolutely broke and we all need to make money. It’s a job and shit. I started DJing after I moved to New York because I'd sit and listen to Jack and some other people DJ. My favorite three to play I stole completely off Jack. Gun Club "Sex Beat," "Red Hot" by Billy Lee Riley, and "Train Kept A Rollin'" by the Johnny Burnette Trio.
Jack: I would agree with that as well.
Matt: ‘Cause I stole it off you!
Jack: “Love and Desperation" is creeping up on me. That’s a sexy song.
Matt: That is my new absolute favorite song! It’s the singer of Gun Club.
Jack: Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
Matt: It’s the best shit I’ve heard since “Stoned and Starving” by Parquet Courts.

Interview: Abbey Watkins for Morning Warrior


Tobacco & Leather's Abbey Watkins is an London-based illustrator and print designer with a penchant for skulls, women and a bit of warping. When Los Angeles clothing company Morning Warrior asked Abbey to work on a few summer tank tops for them, she conjured up the energetic warrior spirit of the brand and brought her earth-inspired designs to a whole new world. Here we talk to the 25-year-old beauty to get a glimpse inside her life, workspace and a sneak peek at the look book for the collection.
Interview by Ally Mullen


Introduce yourself!
I'm Abbey Watkins of Tobacco & Leather. I'm 25, living in London and working as an illustrator and print designer.

Where did you go to school?
I went to Manchester Metroplitan Universirty and studied textile design for fashion. I chose Manchester because it's a vibrant city, but it's not too overwhelming. At the time I struggled a lot with my confidence so this played a big part in my decision. 

I always wanted to study fashion in London, but this was the best I could do with the tools and finances I had. It worked out well in the end as I ended up with the best tutor, Alex Russell, and I got a career out of it which I'm very grateful for. I'm from a very small town in the middle of nowhere so university was my way out and my first experience of a real city.




How did you get involved with Morning Warrior and when and how did this collaboration come together?
I was already aware of Morning Warrior when they got in touch about working together; it was obvious we shared some interests and creative visions so we got together and created these three designs.

Tell us about the influences behind your art! 
There are many, many influences but it's really hard to name them! I'm influenced by mythology and ancient gods, strange creatures—especially the mixture of animal and human. I'm interested in things like the occult and witchcraft, shamanism, and hallucingenic visions. I have this deep-rooted love for tribes and people that live closely to the earth, treating nature like a language that can be interpreted and returned. I guess all of that mixed with some '60s pychedelia and old metal album covers is somehwere near my vision. I've still got a lot of work to do to bring it all together though.



What was the driving inspiration behind your collaboration?
There was a loose brief for the collaboration, but with themes like "Mystical", "Animal" and "Bad Girl Biker", Morning Warrior and I were already pretty much on the same page, so it flowed nicely.

How would you describe your style of art to someone who hasn't seen it yet?
I still can't find an answer that satisfies, but the basis of my work is set in pencil realism, with subjects of naked women, skulls, animals, mythic elements and hints of surrealism.

What is your favorite medium to use when creating your illustrations?
Pencil. It's the only one that comforts. If there's color, it's done digitally.


Of the shirts you designed, which is your personal favorite?


I haven't seen them in the flesh yet! But my favorite is the grey Eagles Tank Top. That was my favorite one because I remember learning from it. You are always learning every time you draw but sometimes you can feel it, and I enjoyed that time.

What are your favorite things to draw?
Naked women, skulls, anything where I can play with its form and mold it into something else. That's my new favorite thing to do!



Are you going to wear your own designs?
I never wear my own designs. I hope nobody takes that personally! I just feel weird wearing something that I drew. Like it's somehow saying, "Look what I did!” And that makes me uncomfortable.

What was the… 
Last song or album you listened to: "Desert Ceremony" by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats 
Last movie you watched: Iron Monkey
Last purchase you made: A black, leather, bondage thigh-harness from Etsy that clips onto your belt loops and wraps around your thigh.
Best part about doing this collaboration: That I got to draw and create and was given artistic freedom. Morning Warrior were an absolute pleasure to work for. It's not always that way with commissions.




Look Book Information: 
Photography by Emman Montalvan
Hair and Makeup by Brittany Sullivan
Model: Courtney Money at PhotoGenics L.A.
Styling by Julie Swinford & Renee Garcia
Clothing by Morning Warrior: Twitter | Instagram

Happenings: Spring Kickoff & Plant DIY Workshop

This Saturday, March 29, from 2pm-5pm, we'll be hosting an outdoor Spring kickoff gathering at our Malibu store (3806 Cross Creek Road). There will be snacks for everyone in attendance, as well as a stocked DIY station for painting, decorating and potting planters. The best part? It's all free, so everyone will be able to go home with a brand new houseplant. (Ready for a timely Oprah reference from 2004? "EVERY-BO-DY GETS A PLANTER!")

During the event, photographer Ryan Brabazon will be shooting for a blog feature, so bust out that dry shampoo because there's a chance you may see your beautiful self pop up on our site in the weeks to come. Since our Malibu store hosts one of the cutest outdoor spaces around (with WiFi - perfect for Instagrammin'), we can't think of a better place to chill and craft in the sunshine. See ya soon, Malibu!