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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!

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.

Our World: Urban Renewal at Space 15 Twenty

Last week, Urban Outfitters opened a permanent Urban Renewal shop inside of Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles. Bringing to life the Urban Renewal concept (a line of one-of-a-kind pieces crafted from vintage, deadstock and surplus materials from around the world), here you'll find anything and everything vintage-lovers could possibly want. Unique pieces made from denim, leather, and beautiful printed fabrics mingle with antique treasures and the perfect selection of pre-worn denim. From the candles and crystals by Spellbound Sky to the succulents hanging from the ceiling, this is a shop you'll want to take a few hours to explore. Maddie

Happenings: Urban Renewal at Space 15 Twenty

Opening this Sunday at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd) in Los Angeles is Urban Outfitters' Urban Renewal shop. The shop, called "Crystals, Candles, & Champagne," will be having an opening party from 12PM-3PM. There will be tunes by DJ Lord Prince, crystal talk with Spellbound Sky, and nail art by KLEUR. You won't want to miss this, because you're definitely going to find some incredible vintage treasures inside. RSVP here. Maddie

Happenings: Miista Shoes Pop-Up Shop at Space 15 Twenty

Attention shoe lovers! For one night only, Friday December 13th, at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd), UK shoe brand Miista are hosting their very own pop-up shop. Recently, Miista has collaborated with Urban Outfitters on a few pairs of totally rad shoes, like the Miista x UO Metallic Lace Up Boot, and the Miista x UO Georgie Heeled Oxford. From 6PM - 9PM this Friday, you'll be able to meet the Miista crew, plus see all of their wonderful sartorial creations. Enjoy drinks by Tequila de la Riva, and tunes by DJ Amy Pham. Plus, there's an Instagram contest you should totally enter: just post a photo of your favorite pair of Miista shoes, using the hashtag #URBANLOVESMIISTA, and you might just win a new pair of kicks from them! Maddie

Happenings: Globe Pop-Up Shop at Space 15 Twenty

This weekend at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd), Australian clothing, skate, and surf brand Globe are opening up a pop-up shop that will open officially on November 17, and will run until November 24. Globe's shop will feature the brand's Holiday 2013 collection, plus accessories for men and women by Bing Bang NYC jewelry, bags by Summer Bummer and more.

For the pop-up shop, Globe also created an excellent short film entitled "Ice Cream", starring Stazia Lindes and Dion Agius. (Watch it below!) Stills from the short film will also be on display at the shop, bringing the retail-meets-gallery space to life. RSVP for the opening party, which will be happening on Saturday November 16, from 7PM - 10PM at Space 15 Twenty. Since the shop will only be there for a week, you won't want to miss it! Maddie

Str#ct#re 001 at Space 15 Twenty

This Thursday, September 26th, at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd) St#ct#re, a new music and art event based out Los Angeles, will be hosting their first ever event. From 6pm to 10pm, enjoy live music and fashion from various artists and vendors. Performances will be provided by Moses Sumney, Kissey, DJ Smiles Davis, and Neijah Lenae. Also on hand during the evening will be MVT, Refindefined, BlackxSheep, and Kleur for all of your vintage and nail art needs! Stop by to discover some new music, and RSVP here. Maddie

Hand-Eye Supply Closing Party with Burger Records

If you're in Los Angeles this Saturday night, head over to Space 15 Twenty to catch the closing party for the Hand-Eye Supply Pop-Up Institute for Craft & Ingenuity featuring a Burger Records showcase! Running from 6pm - 9pm, come out for sets by Pookie and the Poodlez, The Garden, plus DJ sets by the guys of Burger Records themselves. You don't want to miss this! Both bands are California-based, and play some of the most unique DIY rock and roll out there. Check out both bands here and here, and you may want to learn The Garden's "Vada Vada" beforehand. Maddie

UO x Rookie Presents: Rashida Jones

We recently got together with Rookie to host Rookie Fest at Space 15 Twenty in L.A. and had some very special guests drop by. Check out our exclusive video of Tavi Tulle from Rookie interviewing beautiful, naive, sophisticated, newborn baby, Rashida Jones.

The Pop-Up Institute for Craft and Ingenuity at Space 15 Twenty

In the pop-up space at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd) this month, you'll find a whole new creative experience, presented by Hand-Eye Supply. During the rest of August through the first few weeks of September, Hand-Eye Supply, a retail store from Portland, Oregon that focuses on helping communities design and work together creatively, will be taking over the space to open The Pop-Up Institute for Craft & Ingenuity.

This new shop will be stocked with crafting and DIY supplies and tools, plus throughout the month there will be educational opportunities and events that Hand-Eye calls "a physical manifestation of our aspirations." Sounds pretty cool, right? If you're ready to get your DIY on and let those creative juices go wild, attend the opening party this Friday, August 16th at Space 15 Twenty from 6pm to 9pm! There will be live letterpress printing by Tabletop Made, and music by Neil Schield of Origami Vinyl. RSVP here. Maddie

UO x Rookie Present Rookie Fest

If you like Rookie Mag, you're going to want to get ready for their Rookie Fest that's happening this Sunday at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd.) in L.A. The event runs from 4-8PM and will feature some very special guests, including Tavi herself. (In Tavi's words: "Do you like Parks and Recreation? Saturday Night Live? Feminist punk supergroups? Then please, do join us!") Make sure you RSVP for this event, though. Capacity is limited! First 75 people to RSVP are guaranteed admission and then it's first-come, first-served. Hope to see you there!

RSVP here

Blood is the New Black's Artist Book and Zine Fair

Although this week may be the last week of the Blood is the New Black pop-up shop at Space 15 Twenty, (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd) there's still a rad event you can totally attend on Saturday, August 3rd. Stop by the space for the Artist Book and Zine Fair, with live performances by Sadwich and Moses Campbell, plus more special guests. There will be lots of prints, zines, and books available from various artists, like Sara Lyons, Penelope Gazin, Dan Monick, and lots more! The event will run from 1PM - 5PM, and is hosted by a gal who makes way cool art, Penelope Meatloaf! Maddie

Recap: "Life's A Beach...And Then You Die"

Last Friday in Hollywood, the new pop-up shop, "Life's A Beach...And Then You Die" by Blood Is The New Black opened up for the month of July! The shop is located inside Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd), complete with a creaking boardwalk and every essential you need for summertime. We also enjoyed a hot dog eating contest, an essential hot weather activity, plus a live performance by The Blank Tapes. Check out photos from the evening below, taken by Felisha Tolentino! Maddie

Interview: The Blank Tapes

(Photo: Karen Knoller)

The Blank Tapes are a three piece band from the West Coast that call their genre "Beach Party." Awesome, right? Now, Matt Adams, Pearl Charles, and DA Humphrey bring you their first full length record, Vacation on Antenna Farm Records, from sun drenched California. Recorded in Oakland, CA, Vacation has influences from all over the map, but mainly the psychedelic '60s. The Blank Tapes will also be performing tonight at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles to celebrate the opening of the new pop-up shop put on by Blood Is The New Black. Check out my interview with the band's front man, Matt Adams, below! Maddie

So, first things first, introduce yourselves!
Matt Adams here! I started The Blank Tapes back in 2003 and played most of all the instruments on 99% of my recordings up until last year's 7" release and this year's Vacation release. I'm sitting with my bandmates DA Humphrey (bass) and Pearl Charles (drums, also my girlfriend). We've been playing together as a trio for about a year.

Since you guys are west coast based, how has the state of California influenced the music you make?
So much great music has come out of this state and continues to come, but other than being immersed in Southern California's surf and skate scene and the Bay Area's psychedelic scene I imagine I take little bits here and there without being too conscious of it. Some of my favorite cosmic California spots are Joshua Tree, Big Sur, Bolinas and Silverado Canyon.

(Photo: Joey Tobin)

Between your band's name, sound, and cassette releases, it seems that The Blank Tapes are pro-analogue. What is your favorite part about being able to produce music that way?
My favorite part about recording analog is that you get a lot random tape noise and unpredictability that digital recordings don't offer. That, and you can physically see the tape spin around and you can manipulate the tape speed. I guess all this is possible with digital recordings too, but it doesn't sound the same.  Analog is a dying medium and is the only alternative to digital recording.  Another thing I like about recording analog is that you approach the recording process differently. With analog recording, you usually have a limited amount of tracks to work with so you have to be a little more confident and dedicated with your performances and what you decide to commit to tape. I grew up with both, and continue to use both. The bottom line is that tapes have more "vibe," whatever that may be.

The Blank Tapes have toured all over the place. What has been your favorite place the band has been so far?
Brazil! We have a ton of fans and friends down there and have played some amazing shows! I've spent a total of two and a half months in Brazil and hope to return soon. The title track from Vacation was actually written on our first Brazilian tour and the song "Brazilia" references our travels down there too.

(Photo: Deidre Schoo)

Your debut record, Vacation, has a clear psychedelic 1960s influence. What records or artists were most important to you when growing up or growing as musicians?

It's funny that to many Vacation is considered my "debut" album since the band has been around for ten years and we've released over a dozen albums in various formats and mediums.  That said, it is our first official studio full length album release and a lot of peoples' first impression of the band. Most of my albums have a '60s vibe, because that was the music I fell in love with when I became obsessed with listening to and playing music. I was heavily influenced by all the '60s staples: The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, CCR, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, The Grateful Dead, Leonard Cohen, etc. I always like to reference The Beatles' White Album when trying to explain the variety of styles on my own albums. I just love how different all the songs and styles are.

So, now that we've got a taste of The Blank Tapes with the new record, what's next for the band?

More tours and more albums! Tonight, July 12, we're playing the Blood Is The New Black party at Space 15 Twenty and we have tours planned with Mystic Braves and The Hindu Pirates for August, and Sean Hayes for September and October! As for the albums, it's hard to say which will be coming out next, but there's at least three home recorded albums in the can and two studio albums almost finished! That's not even counting the new songs I have yet to record...

"Life's A Beach...And Then You Die"

Coming to Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd Los Angeles, CA) this Friday, July 12th, is the exciting and quite ironic pop-up from Blood Is The New Black. Appropriately titled "Life's A Beach...And Then You Die" for this time of year, the shop will feature tees from Blood Is The New Black, plus rad items from friends of the brand, like Bandit Brand, Cha Cha Nail Covers, Chromat Swimwear and plenty more to help you enjoy your summertime. Also at the party will be Coolhaus' tasty ice cream truck, and a hot dog eating contest where you can win a very nice prize! We'll be having a DJ set by D Rad and a live performance by California-based band The Blank Tapes! Come out for a rockin' summer night! The shop will be open from July 12th until August 4th. RSVP on Facebook. —Maddie

AGENDA WMNS Launch at Space 15 Twenty

Head over to Space 15 Twenty in LA this Friday, June 21st, to celebrate the launch of AGENDA WMNS, the women's division of the Agenda Tradeshow you may have heard of. The party will be hosted by Jayne Min of the super rad blog Stop It Right Now and is being curated by Yasi & Jane of Cultist Zine. The fun does not stop there though, guys. You'll also get to see a showcase from Silke of clothing brand Shown to Scale. Lastly, there will be a live performance by Colleen Greene and a DJ set from one of my personal favorite ladies, Jen Clavin of Bleached! The party goes from 7pm-10pm, so make sure you RSVP at Maddie

Summertime Social at Space 15 Twenty

If you find yourself not doing anything on Tuesday nights this month, head to Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles (1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd) and hang out with Alexi Wasser of IMBOYCRAZY for the new 'Summertime Social' series! There will be live music each week, plus super fun things like tarot readings, shopping, and meeting new friends! Also, I suggest you attend because you can try Clara Cakes' "inception" cookies. Can you say Oreo inside of a chocolate chip cookie? It's a must. Maddie

69 + Assembly New York Pop-Up at Space 15 Twenty

It's finally June which means it's time for a brand new pop-up shop to hit Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles! This month, the boutique Assembly New York and label 69 will be traveling across the country for a very cool pop-up shop that will feature some incredible designers from New York and L.A. Work from designers and artisans Hansel from Basel, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, and Rachel Craven, plus many more, will be available in this gallery meets retail environment. Aside from the shop itself, the pop-up shop will be hosting events throughout the month of June, including movie nights and artistic workshops! RSVP for the opening party on Facebook, which will be held from 6pm-9pm, this Friday June 7th with music by Pharaohs and Lovefingers. Maddie

Della x Faarrow Closing Event

All good things must come to an end, even if we really, really don't want them to! Our Bazaaaaar Pop-Up Shops in NYC and L.A. ended this weekend and we hosted a closing party at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Chauenga Blvd.) on May 24 to give one last gesture of love to the Della x UO Collection and had a live performance by the adorably fun band Faarrow. Way to go out with a bang, team!

Della x Faarrow at Space 15 Twenty

Not doing anything this Friday, May 24th? Come hang at Space 15 Twenty with Della, DJ Amy Pham, and see a performance by Faarrow! This week is the last week that our mega cool Zamrock-inspired pop-up shop, BAZAAAAAR, will be open in Los Angeles, so don't miss out! Plus I suggest you check out the exclusive collaboration Urban Outfitters currently has with Della. There are some pretty beautiful pieces in the collection. Stop by from 7pm - 10pm! Maddie