1994-1997 were significant years in my life. I was stuck in the suburbs rotting away at a high school where nothing of interest ever happened. I spent my weekends riding the metro into D.C. to paint graffiti, go to hardcore shows, skateboard and generally cause mischief. (Remember that the internet was in its early stages, so finding a cool magazine that covered my interests was a rare feat.) 12 oz. Prophet was one of my main sources of inspiration. Primarily covering graffiti and what would eventually be called “street art,” 12 oz. was ahead of the curve. 12 oz. is still around, so if you need a graffiti fix check out their site. The issue pictured above featured a great interview with Twist (Barry Mcgee). Only a few of you know about this, but the name “Beautiful/Decay” actually comes from the last question in the interview: “Raven – You’re really into shit that’s all rundown and decaying, huh?” And Twist responded: “I love stuff that’s rundown, rusted, beautiful decay, a state of decay.” I didn’t start B/D immediately after reading the interview, but the phrase “Beautiful Decay” stuck in my head for weeks. Finally, after reading several ‘zines at shows and trying to find something meaningful to do with my time I decided to put the phrase to good use and start our humble lil ‘zine.
Before Downtown LA was cleaned up and made habitable for non-crackheads, The Brewery was one of the only places worth visiting. Sitting next to the LA River, The Brewery is a collection of industrial buildings and warehouses turned into artist live/work spaces. Pretty sure some of the people at The Brewery can be categorized as “Burning Man” types waiting for the mothership to pick them up…. or rich Sunday painters living the “artist” lifestyle. But, all jokes aside, there are actually a handful of artists living and working here who contribute to LA’s thriving art community. One of those individual’s is longtime friend, artist, and curator Max Presneill who was gracious enough to open up his studio to us right before he moved everything to his new space. But, before we get to Max’s studio lets poke around The Brewery…..
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Beautiful/Decay, then this is for you! A Day In Decay is a new ongoing column that will be appearing on the site penned by yours truly. I’ll be documenting our day to day shenanigans, daily life in the arts district of downtown LA, the ups and downs of running an indie publishing and apparel line and other things of interest both in and out of our office. Some posts will be related directly to what we do ( like photos of our office/neighborhood) and some posts will have nothing to do with art or design (like photos of my scuba diving instructor after the jump). ADID will answer all your long time questions about the who, whats, whys, and hows of living, breathing, eating, and sleeping B/D 24-7. So without further ado i give you A Day In Decay……
One of the best things about publishing a magazine is having packages from distant lands (Canada) show up in our PO Box. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes we get complete junk…. but once in a while, we hit the jackpot with something that you want to hang on to. Case in point: this cool mini ‘zine by T. Reilly Hodgson called C inical Depression. Not only is this a great example of what a few bucks and some time at your local copy center can create, but I also love getting packages with hand written notes. Even our address is tricked out on the envelope! Reminds me of B/D’s humble beginnings when we hand wrote notes to subscribers. Maybe we should go back to that?
We sent off Book 4 to the printers the other day, so we thought we’d give you a sneak peak of what we have in store for you. The above is a screen cap from an amazing collaboration between 26 artists from around the world. I don’t want to give away all the details for this project, but think of it as a Y2K version of one of the most classic art-based games. Confused? Good! Read on to see more behind-the-scenes tidbits….
This is for all fans of graffiti who have always wondered what boxer Mike Tyson thought about writing your name all over city walls. Some of you will surely be amazed by Tyson’s eloquent musings on the subject matter…”I’m Surely was.”
A while back we posted a great studio visit with NYC painter Brendan Cass. While combing vimeo I stumbled across these 2 videos of Brendan both in the studio and giving a walk through of his show at Lars Bohman gallery in Stockholm. Both videos give an insiders look into Brendan’s techniques, references, and thought process. I appreciated Brendan’s openness and sincerity about his work.
I’ve always loved hearing artists speak about how the create their work. There is so much thought that goes into making a painting that the viewer doesn’t see with a quick glance. This made me think about my own studio practice and all the dots that I try to connect in my head as I’m making work. There are many times when i try out new things in my paintings not knowing if viewers will pick up on it. I guess that’s just how it goes. You’ll never know what the outcome will be if you don’t take that first step and try.