This seminal volume on the indigenous African Dinka group is a landmark documentation of a vanishing people in war-torn Sudan. World-renowned photographers Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith have devoted their lives to documenting the rapidly disappearing ceremonies and cultures of the indigenous people of Africa. In breathtakingly poignant images, they present a story that started with their first visit to the Dinka thirty years ago. Living in harmony with their cattle, the Dinka have survived years of war only to find their culture on the brink of vanishing forever. Where the White Nile River reaches Dinka country, it spills over 11,000 square miles of flood plain to form the Sudd, the largest swamp in the world. In the dry season, it provides abundant pasture for cattle, and this is where the Dinka set up their camps. The men dust their bodies and faces with gray ash—protection against flies and lethal malarial mosquitoes, but also considered a mark of beauty. Covered with this ash and up to 7’ 6″ tall, the Dinka were referred to as “gentle” or “ghostly” giants by the early explorers. The Dinka call themselves “jieng” and “mony-jang,” which means “men of men.”
Angela Fisher and Carol Beckwith have spent a lifetime studying the peoples of the Horn of Africa, and have published their photography in a series of acclaimed books as well as major magazine features in Time, Life, Vogue, Marie Claire, and Elle. They exhibit and lecture widely at prestigious venues such as the American Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian Institution, and the Royal Geographical Society in London.
When I think of Julian Schnabel I think of many things but inspiring artist mentor is not what comes to mind. However after watching this half hour documentary I just may have changed my mind. Created by HBO and non-profit YoungArts, this video documents a day of intimate mentorship with the notorious painter and filmmaker where he discusses his working process, various bodies of work, and how his flims and paintings inform one another. One of the most memorable parts of the documentary comes towards the end when Schnabel tells the teenage artists “If you’re scared, You’re fucked.” This piece of advice may seem a bit harsh but I have to admit that I’ve warmed up to Schnabel after seeing how generous he is with his advice and time without sugarcoating the harsh realities of being an artist. The students walked away from the experience excited about creating and experimenting and I think I may have as well. Watch the full documentary posted above and remember whatever you do… don’t be scared!
We’re happy to present the second installment of Hennessy’s mini documentary featuring Elliott Wilson, Founder of Rap Radar and Editor-in-Chief of Respect. Follow Elliott through Brooklyn as he discusses how he became a prominent voice in hip-hop music and how he discovered his creative voice. Wilson advises that the only way for a young writer to find his voice is to keep writing; eventually you’re going to reach real opinions on a topic that’s important to you. Take a trip down the rabbit hole. Watch more Hennessy videos and learn more about this movement at neverstopneversettle.com.
The Good folks at Hennessy bring you a three part mini documentary featuring Elliott Wilson, Founder of Rap Radar and Editor-in-Chief of Respect. In this first video Wilson heads to the barbershop where, he explains, the voice of the street is heard. The man with endless talking points reminds us that, “your opinion is nothing unless you can back it up.” Join Wilson and Hennessy on a trip down the rabbit hole and watch more Hennessy videos with some of the worlds leading pop culture creatives at neverstopneversettle.com.
On the heels of his current solo show at Joshua Liner Gallery, Steve “ESPO” Powers came through the Tribeca Grand Hotel with Joey Garfield for a screening of A Love Letter for You, their documentary/narrative film about the much-celebrated Love Letter mural project that went down in Philly about two years ago. The film brings ESPO and the Love Letter squad into a semi-fictional narrative surrounding a young writer’s quest to reach a special someone, and is a huge treat for any graffiti/mural/underdog fan. Put together with some archive ESPO footage, an original script co-written by Powers, and a killer shoegazey soundtrack, LL4U will hit you right in the heartstrings. No use even trying to fight it.
Until the film finds a much-deserved wider release, you can catch the trailer after the jump.
Beauty is Embarrassing is a newly released documentary film chronicling the life and work of California artist/designer/madman Wayne White. Last weekend, I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the doc and a Q&A with White and the film’s director, Neil Berkeley. White, who’s worked on countless design projects including Pee-wee’s Playhouse, spends a large portion of his time these days making “Word Paintings”- humorous text-based works done on recycled thrift store landscapes.
White’s had quite the career, and it’s great to see him getting some much-deserved recognition. The film takes you through his childhood all the way up to the present day. A pretty epic life. He’s spent time as a struggling cartoonist living in Lower Manhattan, done a stint working on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, burned out trying to make it in Hollywood, and raised a family. But he’s still just a Southern-bred outsider compulsively making art to deal with the crazy world we live in.
A really great watch. Check out a trailer for the film and some of the artist’s paintings after the jump.
The Queen of lush and juicy paint Allison Schulnik opened up her studio to Beautiful/Decay and Visual Creatures to give our readers insight into the world of sad hobo clowns and her painting and animation process. Allison discusses how her paintings inform her animations and vice versa, the long history of artists in her family, and how Los Angeles allows artists to have quiet time in the studio yet have a community.
“If I didn’t go to art school, my mother would send me to a military academy.” A week or so ago, we featured the work of Brooklyn based artist Mu Pan. Here’s a brief interview with the artist in his studio from Kristen Holmes in which he expounds on some of his influences, inspirations, and process. Video after the jump.