Fresh Friday Finds (Rerun): Angry Tiki God aka Allan Cruz

“We gotta get out while we’re young
`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run” 

image2The Boss, spray paint on plywood, 2016. © Angry Tiki God

Those of you who know me, know that I adore my family and am super close to them despite living 3,000 miles away. So it’s moments like when my brother, Fresh Friday Finds alum Angry Tiki God (Allan Cruz), recently painted and gifted this Bruce Springsteen painting to my brother-in-law and huge Boss fan, Henry, that makes me miss spending time with them even more. So for this week’s Fresh Friday Finds, I’m rerunning an old post about an amazingly talented artist (yes, I’m biased!), my big brother Angry Tiki God. Enjoy and have a rad weekend everyone! Spend it with people you love! ❤

GonzGonz, spray paint on plywood. © Angry Tiki God

New Jersey-based Angry Tiki God (Allan Cruz) is not only an awesome stencil spray paint artist, but he’s also my big brother. It’s his raw, unapologetic style that prompted me to share his work in this week’s Fresh Friday Finds. Inspired by his lifelong love of skateboarding and music, and artists like Logan Hicks, Shepard Fairey, Mark Gonzales, and Jason Adams, Angry Tiki God has been cranking out some really rad art featuring some of the most iconic figures of our lifetime.

BlondieBlondie, spray paint on plywood. © Angry Tiki God

JoeyJoey Ramone, spray paint on plywood. © Angry Tiki God

Growing up, I can’t remember a time when Allan wasn’t creating in some way. He built a mini ramp with our dad and uncles in the backyard, skated it day and night with his friends, spray painted logos, cut out grip tape designs, played Bouncing Souls and The Misfits songs on drums, wrote songs for the various incarnations of his band, and worked on his motorcycles. His need to express himself was loud and clear. So after decades of creating mostly for himself, it was no surprise that Allan kicked it into high gear in 2008, when the ladies of Sic Chix Productions and Subculture Skateshop asked him to be part of their first of many group art parties called The Movement.

Since then, under the moniker Angry Tiki God, Allan’s fresh talent and technique continues to evolve. He focuses now on his stencil spray paint art continuing to showcase his work in solo shows and with The Movement. He is also available for commission work so hit him up with your concepts and ideas. You can keep up with Angry Tiki God on his blog and Etsy shop, where he’ll be adding works for sale soon, like those posted above.

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In my personal collection. Thanks, bro! ❤

Joe Strummer, spray paint on plywood. © Angry Tiki God

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Monday Funday: Signs by Chris Ballas

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Sign maker Chris Ballas‘ art show during First Friday Santa Cruz earlier this month reminded me of two things – all the signage I saw cruising around town on my bike as a kid and a list of my adult vices including beer and tattoos. Adorning the walls of Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub & Restaurant were hand painted signs from the young artist who values traditional hand lettering technique and exudes old school style.

Merging art and function, Ballas’ work is clean, simple, and approachable. His art showcases an attention to detail and honors classic craftsmanship. Not overworked nor complicated, his pieces are much more literal and still playful. With such a clear and creative point of view, Ballas is definitely an artist to keep an eye on!

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Hump Day Hot Seat: Marlana Tollaksen

My super cool and talented friend, Marlana Tollaksen, jumps into this week’s Hump Day Hot Seat. She’s an amazing illustrator and textile designer who is full of wanderlust, can’t help but be a badass babe, and totally appreciates a mostly black wardrobe like myself. Learn more about Marlana, her work, and how she hopes to expand her creativity below. Check out her ridiculously magical doodles on Tumblr too. You won’t regret it!

Marlana, thank YOU for stopping by today and letting strangers get to know you! “You don’t know me!” 😛 Go ahead & get yours, Milengie!!! I’m so proud of you! Love and miss you mucho, my lovely!!! xoxo ❤

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1. Who are you?

Marlana T.  Artist and maker of things.  Wanderer and procrastinator.

2.  What do you do?

Professionally, I’m a freelance textile artist and illustrator.  Otherwise I have this ongoing art journal project I pour my heart into. I have three now!   In it I make intricate drawings depicting my thoughts and feelings and hand letter the entire text. It’s also a way to keep a record of my travels and all the interesting people I meet along the way.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

As far back as I can remember I’ve been making artwork.  As a child this was always my main focus so it was a no-brainer to go to art school.  I studied textile/surface design at FIT with a concentration in decorative arts.  My professional foot in the door was ten years ago at a small textile studio my friend and I called “The Rat Den” for shit pay where my artwork made someone else rich.

4.  How long have you been at it?

My entire life!  I’ve always been working toward something even when it felt while I was working toward nothing.

5.  What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I’m direct.

6.  Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

My good friend Joanna Mulder.  She’s a shockingly versatile artist and is endlessly talented.  She can literally do/make anything.

7. What other types of art are you into?

I really love screenprinting and printmaking.  Though I don’t have too much experience in either, I’d like to maybe someday get some.

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8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

My new fave hobby is making handmade clothing out of scrap fabric while on the road.  I was just in Mexico for three months, where I made two bikinis and a shirt out of my jeans and some leather and t-shirt scraps.  Now I have this dream where I travel with, like, no clothes in my backpack and I just make my wardrobe as I go along.

9.  What’s your favorite vice?

Weed, baby!

image110. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I make it a point to put myself in interesting new settings and situations.  The only time I feel creative interruption is when my life is stagnant.

11. If someone was to write a Craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

We met in _______ a couple years back.  You looked really upset and told me you had to take a shit and I never saw you again.

12.  What is your most prized possession?

My resilience.

13. Truth or Dare?  Elaborate.
 
Dare.  I like to be challenged.

Thursday Three: Mainly MidMod

 

I’m thrilled for another Thursday Three with friends from Mainly MidMod Furniture & More. Good friends, Becca and Karim, are a couple living in Santa Cruz and started collecting furniture for themselves. They quickly discovered their passion, impeccable taste, and talent for salvaging, restoring, and reselling midcentury modern furniture. Check out three things that are inspiring them these days!

Thanks to Mainly MidMod for stopping by .stART here. today! You’re THE BEST! ;P xoxo

Santa Cruz Photographer Meg Venter
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Photo Credit Meg Venter/Artisans Gallery

If there’s a way to bottle up the colorful rides and salty air of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, it’s found in local photographer Meg Venter‘s “Summer of ’67.” We love the tones, composition, and vintage vibe of this piece and the rest of her boardwalk-themed collection. We’re leaving Santa Cruz for the Pacific Northwest this month, and Venter’s prints will be coming along to brighten up those rainy days.

Food Blogger Molly Yeh  (and her upcoming cookbook!)

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Photo Credit Meg Venter/Artisans Gallery
North Dakota-based food blogger and photographer Molly Yeh transports us back to the time we spent living in fun and funky Fargo. Yeh grabs your attention with gorgeous, moody photos and keeps you hooked with colorful anecdotes and mouthwatering recipes. (And her cakes couldn’t be any damn cuter.) Plus, her first cookbook, Molly on the Range, comes out this October. We’re preparing for major Midwest nostalgia.
Bend Goods 
Bend Goods
Everything we love about midcentury modern design comes to life in Bend Goods’ colorful, sculptural wire furniture. We’re particularly obsessed with the Los Angeles company’s bomb drum table (orange is where it’s at) and glorious chairs. Picture yourself lounging on these bad boys in some tropical courtyard  — it’s what dreams are made of.

Monday Funday: Screaming Hand 30th Anniversary

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Acrylic on wood by (L-R) Jim Phillips, son Jimbo Phillips, and grandson Colby Phillips

I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Screaming Hand 30th Anniversary Show during the VIP preview event on Thursday night at Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH). Artists featured in the show, MAH members, and the who’s who of Santa Cruz skateboarding came together for an awesome night. Honoring one of the most iconic images in skateboard culture and its creator Jim Phillips, the MAH was screaming with so much energy and excitement, and so was I. It was my first night volunteering at the museum, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

The Screaming Hand 30th Anniversary Show has been traveling around the world for the past year, showcasing Jim Phillips’ original logo interpreted by 50+ artists from all over the world. The final stop is where it all began (Santa Cruz circa 1985), and opened to the general public during First Friday Santa Cruz festivities. The celebration will continue as the show remains at the MAH for the next eight months.

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In addition to hearing words from MAH Executive Director Nina Simon and Jim Phillips himself, I mingled with some of the artists in the show who were so incredibly stoked to be included. A MAH member was equally excited that the event was bringing together a variety of different people for a common interest and spectacular show. What an exciting event for the Santa Cruz community, the MAH and their mission, “To ignite shared experiences and unexpected connections.”

Seeing how different artists portray the Screaming Hand in their own format and style really gives the show its exuberance. It’s an epic collection of inspired works. From a fun and bright mixed media on panel by Mark Gonzalez, a stencil spray paint on panel by Jason Adams, a hand lettering acrylic on wood by Thomas Campbell, an ink/pencil on paper by Eric Dressen, to photographs of screaming  Jason Adams by Jai Tanju, a modern Bauhaus-like spray paint on panel by Ben Raney, a neoclassic inspired oil on canvas by Jason C. Arnold, and so many more. These pieces are bound to transcend expectations of skate art for museum goers.

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So much fun both Thursday and Friday nights. I bumped into and caught up with friends, some people I haven’t seen in awhile like Jai Tanju and Jimbo Phillips. I met artists I’ve admired for awhile like Jeremy Fish and Caia Koopman, and then legends like Jason Jesse. He is genuinely one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful to call Santa Cruz home and stoked that “my life is dope, and I do dope sh*t!” (- K. West)

Stay tuned for more art, culture, and design I think is rad! Thanks for stopping by! xo ❤

Fresh Friday Finds: Caia Koopman

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“Grease Monkey” Painting © Caia Koopman

I first discovered Santa Cruz artist Caia Koopman a few weeks after moving here in fall 2013. She was showing and selling some pieces at Rachael & Steve Caballero’s old Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery in Campbell. I even featured that “Gear Up” show in an old blog post on .stART here. Little did I know I’d become such a huge fan after seeing Koopman’s surrealistic masterpieces in person that night.

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“Dream Escape” Painting © Caia Koopman

What I find so rad about Koopman’s work are the rich dreamscapes and activist themes. She even refers to herself as being an “artivist” on her Instagram (super clever!). The majority of her art features women exuding femininity juxtaposed with being badass, ready to kick ass and take names. Gorgeously woven into the portraits are animals, like hummingbirds, owls, dragons, and unicorns. I love the ethereal approach she takes on realistic issues, and I basically want to be or be friends with every woman she paints! All inspired by her enthusiasm for skate culture, punk rock roots, and love of animals – I feel like we’re kindred spirits.

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“Let Me Out” Painting © Caia Koopman
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“Moonrise Owl” Painting © Caia Koopman

I often see Koopman’s work displayed at restaurants and galleries all over town. I’d be stoked every time I could spot her art, recognizing the symbolic look and feel. The same unreal style seen in collections of Caia Koopman products, like shirts, leggings, jewelry, and more.

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❤ my new watch!

I always regretted not buying a print that night in Campbell. I must have gone back and forth, in and out of the shop, trying to decide which print and what size about five times. In the end, I walked away with nil. It’s now three years since I first saw those original Koopman’s, and I finally own one as of earlier this week. It’s not a painting but rather a more functional, wearable piece of Koopman art – a Bubo the Wise Owl Sport from Modify Watches. It’s so sick, and I’ve already gotten tons of compliments the few times I’ve rocked it. Can’t wait to add to my collection with a painting one of these days!

Caia Koopman has work featured in some upcoming group shows here in California. First, at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles opening on August 27 for their 10th Anniversary Exhibition and Femme to Femme Fatale: The Feminine in Contemporary Art show at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco opening September 17. Do yourself a favor, and visit caiakoopman.com to check out this Fresh Friday Finds!

Thursday Three: Lilyette Estanislao

I’m stoked to have family stopping by and contributing to .stART here. today! My cousin, Lilyette Estanislao, has totally colorful taste in true fellow Sagittarius form, and I love her for it. She is unapologetic for her scintillating style for miles and manages to constantly have her finger on the pulse. She’s always been an inspiration to me, and so I had to ask what she’s inspired by these days. Check out Lily’s Thursday Three below – all about remembering and embracing the simpler times.

Thanks for hanging out, Lily! You rock!!! ❤ ❤ ❤  #arrowed #heathers #familyalways

Alabama Shakes

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I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Alabama Shakes perform live at Panorama Music Festival on Randall’s Island recently. I had no idea who they were or what they were about. Arriving late on Friday evening, they were the first band I got to see and one of the few that left a really lasting impression. Their blues rock sound was a throwback to simpler times. Brittney Howard’s voice ringing out over the crowd was enthralling! I may have been feeling “some kind of way” already being at a music festival in NY in the middle of summer, but watching and listening to her made me feel all the more: that the tension and politics in the air as of late could easily be wiped away when you’re surrounded by people with one goal in mind: be present and ENJOY this moment (no matter how hard you’re sweating).

Stranger Things

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There seems to be a recurring theme in the things that are interesting me lately … they are all reminiscent of a simpler time — perhaps because the NYC grind can be so exhausting. Stranger Things on Netflix is no different. A real nod to everything we loved about the 80s, it reminds us of the innocence, passion, and vigor of childhood. Anyone that grew up in the 80s will love this; it is like stepping into a time machine and watching something you would have back in the day and remembering how KICK ASS “back in the day” really was! The soundtrack and score are also effing amazing! The Duffer Brothers killed this – thank you for making something NEW with a feeling of the old. Hoping for a second season!

Raystown Lake

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My summer is never complete without a trip to Raystown Lake in Hesston, PA. In fact, if I can’t take the trip, my summer feels like a huge fail. This trip is also about the simpler things: fun with friends on summer vacation – floating, day drinking, playing silly games, TALKING … Remember just hanging out with each other minus all the distractions? It’s a weekend about unplugging, being present, and LAUGHING your ass off. Go a few days without primping, “shower” with a jump in the lake, lay on the top deck, and see more stars than you ever will in your life. This year, we dubbed it #Rays20FIXteen and that it did.

Lilyette Estanislao was born in Queens, raised in Jersey, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. An aspiring actress with an award-winning, one woman comedy short film under her belt, she is also a boss in the restaurant industry. She recently helped launch a new restaurant lounge on the Lower East Side where she is now the reservations manager. Lily is young at heart, loves a themed party, and adores her family and friends. You can always find her donning a colorful and totally fly, head to toe outfit, heavy on the accessories. She is always red!

 

Hump Day Hot Seat: Jessica Natal

Chillin’ in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat is an awesome friend and one of Jersey City’s finest! No matter how much time has passed, we always find ourselves having a blast together. She’s a rad chick – as wild as her hair – who can’t stop, won’t stop. An experienced graphic artist for hire, Jessica Natal, is someone to keep an eye on, both literally and figuratively. You just never know what she’ll get into next. Thanks for hanging out with me on .stART here., Jessy! And I got mad love to give…

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

1. Who are you?

A 35 yr old graphic/web designer with artistic tendencies from the mean streets of Newark, NJ.

2. What do you do?

I web, I art, and I coffee. I coffee a lot.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

I was about 4 or 5 when my sperm donor told me that the world was a huge painting. Thus began my love affair with texture, typography, and color.

4. How long have you been at it? 

I took a hiatus when I was 20 (had to go to work), but I found my way back at 31 after a soul sucking position working for a government contractor.
 
5. What is the most important thing we should know about you? 

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As Vampire Queen Merceline, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I’m a work in progress. I fuck up. I over-design. I make jokes. We wake up the next day and life goes on.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I really love Jessica Hische. She’s managed to bridge the gap between illustration and typography and it’s amazing to watch. Jessica Walsh is another fave – check her out. She’s incredible. Mind you, the “Jessica’s” is not lost on me.

7. What other types of art are you in to? 

I’m really into collage these days. It sounds corny, but you can make some cool shit using old letters, newspapers, and mod podge.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents? 
 
I’m really good at pissing off meatheads, cursing, and karaoke. That last one always surprises people.
 
9. What’s your favorite vice? 

Good ol’ fashioned whiskey.
 
10. How do you make it over the creative hump? 

Walk away. I shut down my computer, I put the brush down, and I answer the call from
within me for “drankin’.”

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook? 
 
Total foodie. Anything with cheese and sauce tickles my fancy.  The good sauce though,with more salt than anything.

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Selfie  © Bernadette Cruz

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate. 

Truth. Mostly because there’s nothing you can ask of me that I haven’t already done.

13. What is your most prized possession?

Probably my ability to adapt. You can shoot anything at me, and I’ll adapt. And I have to say, those are my proudest moments.

 

Monday Funday: stART something new

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Santa Cruz MAH, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Let’s stART this week off enjoying another installment of Monday Funday.

DUDE! I’m so stoked to start volunteering at Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH). I attended a volunteer orientation on Saturday and learned that their mission totally aligns with my personal goals right now. “To ignite shared experiences and unexpected connection.” Right on!

In my current state of funemployment, I’ve been really opening up to endless possibilities. I am feeling rejuvenated and even more determined to make the most of this crazy journey we call life. It’s been awhile since I felt this inspired. Luckily, I’ve had such awesome continued support coming from a variety of sources. From my ever-loving family, unwavering friends, to new bonds and connections made locally, I am extremely thankful! I am super grateful for a couple of recent experiences that are motivating me into a powerful trajectory.

I started working temporarily for a chiropractic wellness office in June a handful of hours a week. I totally enjoyed getting treatment there so when an opportunity to help out came along, I had to say YES! It’s such a wonderful place of healing and feels really great to be part of it.

I am also helping out a friend get certified to be a law of attraction coach. She’s helping me focus on what I want and how to get it while she hones in on her practice and coaching skills. It’s been a totally gratifying experience and is reminding me to live the life I love through the power of positive thinking.

All this to say that I’m so stoked for all that is now and up next. Some of it will be brand new and some of it may still be far off in the distance, but it feels awesome, and I’m totally happy. Go out and get yours!

“There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.” – Diana Vreeland

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Santa Cruz MAH, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Thursday Three: Lydia Finn

Today’s inspiration comes from former colleague and now dear friend, Lydia Finn. She relocated to Portland, Maine from NYC during the spring of 2015 and continues to settle into her new life and home with bae, Dave. Along with being Pokémon Go obsessed, Lydia’s finding motivation from a variety of influences. Below are her Thursday Three – a few things she’s digging these days. Gotta check ’em all!

Thanks for kicking it with me, Lyds! Just like ole times. Really miss you boo! xoxo ❤

The Great British Baking Show 

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I have been an avid reality TV show watcher since The Osbournes and The Great British Baking Show is a nice change of pace from the current overproduced, hyper dramatic reality shows. Basically it doesn’t make you feel like you should read a big book with lots of long words after watching it. The contestants are earnest and excited about each challenge in a way that makes you feel just honestly good about the world and the people in it. Its a great celebration of pure creativity and is full of hilarious lines like “The wobble should be like me backside” and “Right bakers, time to reveal your cracks” (all said in a British accent of course).

NPR Science Friday

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I love anything that gets different parts of my brain fired up. Friday’s are generally the worst and drag on forever but I also find that email is pretty quiet, leaving room for getting bigger projects done. NPR’s Science Friday comes on after lunch every Friday with the craziest episode themes, like how orchids use deception to trap bees or how female coders helped make the first moon landing happen. Listening to host Ira Flatow makes me instantly focused and curious and excited about the world, as opposed to my usual cynical and “when is it 5pm” Friday mindset.

Maine 

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Wow the summer is Maine is really incredible. Everything is a feast for the eyes, the water, the skies, the beaches, really everything just becomes alive once its warm. It is my second summer as a Maine resident and its been my #1 priority to have one Maine adventure after another. I want to invest myself as much as I can in Maine and in the summer, every day is an opportunity to experience something new and awesome and to feed off of that energy.

Lydia Finn is a PR professional who works for a publishing house in Massachusetts. She loves pop culture and fro-yo, is a ride or die friend, and despite living in NYC for awhile, New England is where her heart is. Her favorite color is stripes.