Youth Culture

UK MASHUP 2016

In January 2016 I had an exhibition at the Punctum Gallery in London – the show was called Punk Hip Hop MashUp.  In honor of London’s 40th Anniversary of Punk and being back in my home town I decided to do a Punk MashUp. I asked my artist friends from back in those days, who were connected with British music and culture from 1976 to 1982, to reinterpret my photographs. Here are a few of them with their comments about why they chose to work on those particular images:

FAN-IN-MUD_CHRISTOS-TOLERA

CHRISTOS TOLERA “My immediate response to this image was the recognition of the similarity between this and Sir John Everett Millais’ ‘Ophelia’ and the ecstasy so closely associated with death. I was inspired to make more of this and at the same time draw attention to the futility of peaceful protest in the times we live in. The man playing air guitar in the original image is re-imagined dying, dropping the white Poppies which had symbolised peace in his hands for us to be reminded that war continues unabated. The title ‘I Feel Ya’ is a play on words referring to the original inspiration whilst at the same time describing both the old and new images. 

The artist Christos Tolera was born, lives and works in London. After a short lived pop career as a member of 80’s latin funk jazz outfit Blue Rondo A La Turk he eventually settled into the career of an artist as a painter and occasional actor. He has never quite managed to avoid the spotlight nor does it seem he wants to. www.christostolera.com

BOY-GEORGE_SUE-TILLEY

SUE TILLEY: “I have always been a huge fan of Boy George and think that his influence on the world and his song writing abilities are very underestimated. I was thrilled to be one of the main characters in his musical ‘Taboo’ which was performed in the West End and on Broadway. I wanted to make the photo painterly so used thick red paint to cover up the background. In the picture I sprayed the gold paint to mimic the drips on Leigh Bowery’s head as George played him in ‘Taboo’. I used the cut up letters to spell out the lyrics of one of my favourite songs and to answer some of the horrible treatment he has received from newspapers. They are also a nod to the punk sensibility of Jamie Reid.”

When Sue Tilley left college she went to sign on and they enlisted her to work in the dole office, finally leaving last year after 37 years. While working there she embraced the London night life scene, working on the door at Taboo and The Wag Club and regularly crawling into work with appalling hangovers. She met Leigh Bowery in a night club who was to become her best friend and a huge influence in her life. After he died in 1993 she wrote his biography which has become a bit of a cult classic. Bowery introduced her to Lucian Freud who painted her 4 times.
SPECIALS_HORACE-PANTER

HORACE PANTER “Why did you choose this image?  Easy … I’m the guy first from the right in the photo!

Horace Panter graduated from Lanchester Polytechnic (Coventry) in 1975 with a BAHons in Fine Art and a basic knowledge of the bass guitar. Joined fellow Coventry alumni Jerry Dammers in The Specials until the bands demise in 1982. Taught art in Coventry from 1998-2008, played bass when The Specials reformed (to the present day). “The band, although an incredible live unit, was fragmented and unhappy at the time the photograph was taken. I’ve tried to accentuate that – seven individuals as opposed to a group.”

ISLINGTON-TWINS_KOSMO-VINYL

KOSMO: I’ve loved both pictures of the twins forever – I think the parka one was in the first issue of The Face wasn’t it? Anyway I think one of the greatest things about British Punk Rock was the Punk/Dread Alliance, both scenes could see kindred spirits in each other and how their enemies were common to both. I always felt that the Two Tone Explosion was a product of this and that it had produced a brand new species. I remember Ranking Roger of The Beat getting up on stage with The Clash and singing “White Riot” – he was so into it- afterwards he told me “I’d always wanted to do that song on stage”. I’ve just tried to capture some of that lightning.”

The former Londoner turned New Yorker, Kosmo Vinyl, is perhaps best known for his work with Ian Dury & The Blockheads and The Clash. Starting out at Stiff Records in 1976, he became a key figure in the London-based music scene. These days Kosmo’s artistic blow-by-blow account of his existence as a long distance fan of West Ham United soccer team is documented in the blog “Is Saitch Yer Daddy,” The title comes from some cryptic East London graffiti from his youth. “You could see it just past Bromley By Bow station, when taking the District Line Underground train east, en route to Upton Park, home of The Hammers.”

JOE-STRUMMER_MARCO

MARCO : “I choose Joe Strummer  because is a wonderful singer with guts and brain. When I was doing the painting of the photo I put a union jack ripped, because Joe represent his country like no one and at the same time was critic towards it, so he destroy what is wack in England and at the same time put the english music to a huge level, the one that this country deserved for all the incredible tracks it brought to the world, cause the crown sucks, but his people kill !!!! It’s the only country that can step against the huge US music machine, like the Beatles or the Stones they fuckin did it. ” This is England!!”I also wrote some of my favorite title of the band, like a medley written all around him, cause all this came out of this man. I never been a fan in my life, but I’m a big time Clash supporter!!! Revolution Rock!!!”

I was a graffiti vandal, I did architecture studies, I’m now making films, and still keep on writing graffiti ( Not street art), and sometimes I even tattoo…. Art is the expression of emotion, and if people can feel it, then it is. My name is Marc-Aurèle Vecchione, people call me Marco, I write Orel -you choose!!

SIOUXEE_PAM-HOGG

PAM HOGG ” Knowing I was good friends with Siouxee, Janette suggested i worked on her image, so of course it was a great choice for me, I loved the photo. I’ve been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil, it seemed the most natural thing to do, and I’ve been doing it all my life.”

DEE-DEE_IAN-WRIGHT

IAN WRIGHTONETWOTHREEFOUR, innit?”

I’m interested in what could be. I especially enjoy making portraits and I’m excited by the process of collaboration. I love conversation. I’m obsessed by music. I’m looking forward to what happens next.” Ian Wright is an artist, he worked for The Face & NME back in the day. He has also been supplying me with the best compilation mix tapes, CD’s and MP3’s since 1979.

AND MORE great pieces were created by: Lorraine Kinman (Costume Designer,worked with Vivien Westwood and Boy), Ian’Swifty’ (Graphic Designer, Straight No Chaser, Talkin’ Loud), Hattie Stewart (Illustrator), Dan Holiday (Artist), Chris Sullivan (Journalist, DJ, artist, Blue Rondo A La Turk, the Wag), Princess Julia (Writer, painter, ID Magazine Blitz, PX). Kash (Graffiti artist and painter). Soon to be seen on my website …

PHOTOVILLE 2015

 

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“Back then it was down to earth photographs taken in scruffy clubs or backstage changing rooms. Today everything is so ‘thought about’ image-concious, marketed and packaged. I know which I prefer. ” Sir Paul Smith Menswear Designer and British Style Icon

Three months ago the United Photo Industries crew Dave, Laura and Sam came by my studio – they asked me to curate a show for the opening night of Photoville: the best music photographs from the last 4 decades, we called it ‘Down & Dirty’. They were also drawn to the ‘MashUp’ project that I had hanging on the wall (legends from the graffiti world painting on my old school hip hop photos).

I’ve spent the last three months combing through rock n roll music images and the result is ‘Down & Dirty’ on display in a shipping container at Photoville, there is a free limited edition newspaper and of course the slide show which will be shown on Thursday during the opening night party. Plus extra bonus is a mega ‘MashUp’ created by artists Cey Adams and Queen Andrea on the side of our container (visible to the folk stuck in traffic on the BQE)

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This show endeavors to highlight some of the great photographers that have documented music over the last four decades. These photographers followed bands capturing whatever they could, from intimate moments at home to fans crowd surfing at concerts, to gritty backstage scenes. The images were mostly created without the help of hair and makeup, stylists, no management in sight, just the photographer and the musician(s). Photographers, some you’ll have heard of and some not but you will know their images – such as Roberta Bayley, Godlis and Bob Gruen who captured the East Coast punk scene, Mick Rock who hung out with Bowie and Iggy and shot the glam rock scene, Chalkie Davis who shot the 2 Tone scene in the UK, David Corio and Adrian Boot who shot UK punk and reggae in Jamaica, Glen E Freidman who shot West coast punk, hip hop and skateboard culture, Danny Clinch ‘s photographs of so many genres from Tupac to Johnny Cash, Lawrence Watson’s post punk Brit pop, Jonathan Mannion, Michael Lavine’s 90’s hip hop, Michael Putland’s classic rock, Mel D Cole’s modern hip hop classics and the list goes on.

None of this would have been possible without the help of Julie Grahame (for those that don’t know Julie ran one of the world’s biggest music photo agencies), AmandaGorence fabulous photo editor and producer, and the Photoville posse who were crazy enough to ask me to do this.

And the beat goes on! Hope to see you at the opening this Thursday

PHOTOVILLE_JB_INVITE

 

Black Panther Film Festival

Sad to hear about the passing of the brilliant director Albert Maysles (above) who I photographed at the 3rd Annual Black Panther Film festival. He directed ‘Gimme Shelter’ and ‘Grey Gardens’ amongst so many great documentaries.

A huge fan of his work, I asked if I could take a portrait of him after the screening of a documentary about the Angola 3 at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem. I took a couple of shots’ he asked to see them and declared I needed to get in closer and reshoot them. The final shot (above) got his approval. Thank you Mr Maysles.

Neneh Cherry

Last night Neneh Cherry played an amazing concert at the Highline in NYC – it was stronger, wilder, more soul than ever. I had not seen her perform since 1981 in Scotland when I photographed her post punk band Rip Rig and Panic (below) for Melody Maker.

HIP HOP MASHUP


In July, on a hot summer night ,over 400 people converged on my studio to see the JB_HIP HOP MASHUP. From an idea curated by artist Cey Adams,  a list of his artist friends were sent a selection of my hip hop photos, they each chose an image to re-interpret in their own distinct styles. In true hip hop spirit the idea of re mixing and making something new from something old  – the MashUp came together.

We collaborated with the wonderful Juliet Silva Yee from Pop Up Art Event (PUAE) to make the event happen

Original artworks were created on archival prints by  Chino (Stetsasonic), Claw Money (Salt ‘n Pepa), Eric Adams (Flavor Flav), Faust (Afrika Bambaataa), Jester (EPMD), Morning Breath (Slick Rick), Revolt (Ultramagnetic MC’s), Trike (Dr Dre), Alice Mizrachi(Beastie Boys), T Kid (Fab 5 Freddy), Greg Lamarche (Big Daddy Kane),and Sharp (Donald D & Grandmixer DST)

I shot portraits of all the artists and each one gave a short description of why they chose the image and how they got their start in the world of graffiti.  Each one has a story, T Kid tells me ” I started writing graffiti at 12 years old when I was drafted into the neighborhood gang my first tag was king13 at 16 years of age (1977) after getting shot due to gang violence I changed my name to Tkid170 and became a king of subway graffiti I tagged the park I played in it was on Morrison Ave and Watson Ave South Bronx then it was nothing but subway cars”

‘BarStarzz’ Coney Island 4th July weekend

HVW8 Rebel Cultures: Punks Rap Gangs

My show at HVW8 Gallery for Art & Design in LA opened last Thursday, big thanks to Tyler, Nikolai, and Addison for throwing a great party, as well as my girl Jen from Art Duet for kicking it up and getting press from the likes of Jay ZComplexLA Weekly (Jake you rule) and Brent Rollins for the photo above. The show is called ‘Rebel Cultures.Punks, Rap, Gangs’ : images from British punk era, LA punk scene, Old School Hip Hop, and the East LA Hoyo Maravilla gang series.

HVW8 Gallery  is at 661 N Spaulding below Melrose Open Tues-Sun 1-6pm until May 18 2014

Ultimate B-Boy Championship 2014

One night in January at a gym in midtown Manhattan five chosen ‘Grand Masters’ battled for the title of Ultimate B-Boy and the bragging rights of being #1 in the world. The Ultimate B-Boy Championship was organized by the one and only Mr Freeze, veteran b-boy from back in the day. The inventor of scratching,DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, played while the five Grand Masters showed off their moves in front of the judges and a critical b-boy audience who jumped in during breaks to show off their own styles . The judges eventually awarded the title and $5,000 cash prize to Gravity who hails from NY.

Graffiti Artists

I first became aware of graffiti in London in 1982 – taking photos of the first hip hop tour to come to Europe for Melody Maker I met Futura and Dondi White who tagged the dumpster outside the hotel for my photo (see above), or maybe just because that was what they did. Earlier that month I had photographed American rapper J Walter Negro painting a mural of New York trains for the Christmas cover of the magazine. I loved this new art

Moving to New York later that year the art was everywhere. Commissioned by style magazine ‘The Face’ to photograph the Rock Steady Crew I went to Harlem to shoot them break dancing on a piece of cardboard in front of a huge mural of a tiger’s head. I photographed BDP aka Boogie Down Productions in the Bronx in front of a graffiti covered wall, Salt & Pepa on the Lower East Side, Bambaata and members of the Zulu Nation in the Bronx,Eric B and Rakim in NYC with graffiti behind them, Stetsasonic in Brooklyn posing with the Stetson sign covered in tags and stickers.I wondered who these unknown artists were that painted the backdrops for so many of my photographs.

In 1983 I was in Los Angeles documenting the East LA gang El Hoyo Maravilla – their turf was centered around the Hoyo Maravilla park and clearly marked by the local artists. East LA was covered in paintings too I shot punk band The Undertakers (below) at their rehearsal space in the barrio.

And today I am still thanking amazing artists like Cope2 for giving so much ‘Flava; to my photographs, and providing a time line for these images in the future.

GoHardBoyz The Bronx 2013

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The Go Hard Boyz

In 1999 Shea Evans and Don Villnueva, both Harlem dirt bike ‘warriors’, decided to form the movement they called the Go Hard Boyz (GHB). The GHB quickly grew and now has members all over the world – dirt bike and ATV riders and extreme sports specialists  – living a lifestyle in urban communities and rural suburbs Their unique riding style and attitude has spread far and wide The logo a mask with a backward baseball cap represents ‘their mantra “Do It With Style’ which is how they ride. Dirt bike riding is illegal in NYC and riders often get harassed and chased by the NYPD,

One summer afternoon I met Shea in Harlem – he introduced me to some of the GHB posse – they seemed like a family (above GHB on the stoop in Harlem).  Shea took me me to the Bronx to take photos of the GHB, we rode in the flat bed  of his cousin’s F150 pick up truck on the Bruckner expressway shooting the Go Hard Boyz doing wheelies, showing their skills through Harlem and the Bronx on a hot summers day. Shea tells me “It’s Bigger than Bikes”.

GHB riding on the Bruckner Expressway, the Bronx

Bike Life

Riding in the Bronx

Youngster riding in the Bronx in front of Cope mural

GHB posse on 158th Street Harlem