Hump Day Hot Seat: Christine Soner

Coming in hot with this brand new Hump Day Hot Seat featuring one of my homies, Christine Soner! Hailing from Jersey, Christine grew up in a creative family where music, painting, and sewing were celebrated.  She graduated with a degree in clothing construction and design and quickly became a visual merchandiser for major clothing retailers, like Benetton and Macy’s. Check out what she’s into these days, at play and while working for IKEA, as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada. Big thanks to Christine for hanging out on .stART here. MUAH!

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1. Who are you?

A curious, creative, Jersey girl with a good heart.

2. What do you do?

I do corporate PR for a major home furnishing retailer, IKEA.

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

I started off as a decorator in the Elizabeth store in ’93, and about six years in, a position opened for a product placement person with corporate. So I went for it, got it and was able to remain at the store, since it’s so close to all the media offices in NYC. My main function is to help media outlets get the products or images they need. I’ve also been a stylist for photoshoots if someone needs one, be it a television show, publication or online outlet, I help with corporate events, I was a founding member of our Pinterest account, I blog for our design blog TheShare-Space. I’ve even created original content for our Instagram account, in my office, with my iPhone. So I’ve had my hands here, there and everywhere.

4. How long have you been at it?

This November it will be 17 years total in PR, 23 years total with the company.

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

I’m a fiercely loyal friend as any Leo.

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

I absolutely know nothing about anyone in the PR field.

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

13620113_10154339424262053_3597889990066158415_nI began getting heavily into street art about 10 years ago, and yes I had a Banksy and Shepard Fairey phase (lost interest in them at least 5 years ago). I was at galleries, museums and warehouse shows every week and weekend, throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 5 years ago I inherited a house, so that became the focus of my spare time and money. Then 3 years ago my free time got focused on becoming caretaker of my mom, so all my social activities and working on my house, has had to take a back seat. Ironically the last thing my living and dining rooms need, is art. This summer I am taking random days off from work, just with the intention of seeing some exhibits and installations. I recently went to Grounds for Sculpture in south Jersey for the first time, and it was great. Storm King Art Center in upstate NY has a special exhibit of Dennis Oppenheim’s going on. Govenors Island was just overhauled with the installment of The Hills and the longest slide in NYC. In Rockaway Queens there is an installation by Katharina Gross I want to see, and lastly, a retrospect of the late, great fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, at El museo del Barrio in Spanish Harlem. He was one of my 80’s idols and we attended the same designing school in NYC.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Pinterest has been my only hobby the last 5 or 6 years. I’m a virtual scrap-booker. I use to save lots of magazine pages of fashion and interiors, and when Pinterest came along, I freaked out. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve purged a lot of physical stuff. I also love that with technology, you can go smaller and lighter. Albums to tapes, tapes to CDs, CDs to audio files. I nearly wanted to kill myself when Apple stopped production of the iPod. At least now with the 6s+, I bought the 128 gig so I can store the current 80 gigs of music that I have.   This year my goal was to take all those magazines pages, some dating back as far as the early 1980s, photograph them with my phone, then upload them to Pinterest. I’m also tackling a lot of my photos by uploading them into albums on Facebook. I also think it would be cool to put certain photos into Chatbooks, actually hard cover bound books.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

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Unique cocktails with things in them like cucumbers, rosemary, lavender, fresh ginger, etc. Relaxing and drinking with friends is the best. And Pinterest. I’m obsessed with Pinterest.

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

Take a break and go on social sites, Instagram and Pinterest. Then I just dive right back in.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

Yes, a bit of everything, except I don’t really like fruit, nuts or too much spice in what I’m eating. And tofu freaks me the f*ck out. I absolutely hate cooking. I like cleaning and organizing.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

I can’t recall a project completely blowing up, but when you’re in PR, there can be a lot of set backs as you move along through a project. Things are very reactive, so sometimes you have to put out little fires along the way. You can be dealing with many different personalities and working styles. Not everyone is good with deadlines, which is disrespectful. When that happens, your whole project get’s thrown off balance, and usually means scrambling at the 11th hour.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My Pinterest account.

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Monday Funday: #santacruzlife

Fiddler on the Roof at Cabrillo Stage

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My neighbor plays violin in the orchestra and hooked me up with some preview tickets last Thursday. (Thanks, SD!) I have to admit that I had no clue what this award-winning musical was about whatsoever. So I was pleasantly surprised when not only was the story pretty solid but so were all the performances. I even knew some of the songs never realizing before that they were from this piece.

I have to say it was pretty crazy to see how some of the same themes like racism, sexism, and discrimination being depicted in 1905 Easter Europe are still so prominent in today’s modern society. Despite the somber and abrupt ending, I highly recommend checking it out before it closes on August 14. Mazel Tov! Cabrillo Stage Summer Music Festival’s Fiddler on the Roof.

Kimbap at Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH)

I was stoked to see this event on the MAH Instagram. It’s not everyday in Santa Cruz that an Asian themed event pops up right downtown. Let alone, a food related one. I knew I had to go even though I was still on the cleanse and couldn’t actually eat any of it.

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Current MAH Artist in Residence Abigail Han invited friend and Los Angeles-based Korean American artist Hannah Naomi Varamini to show us how to make Kimbap, a Korean seaweed rice roll.

As we collectively assembled the rolls, both artists shared their appreciation for food, especially as it relates to art, politics, and culture. We discussed the adage, “you are what you eat”, and examined how powerful food can really be. The strength to break barriers and borders, bring people together to build communities, and teach us about our pasts in order to create our futures. This concept was portrayed in the nori, or seaweed, we used to wrap the Kimbap that was laser cut with excerpts from a Korean poem about the end of the Korean War.

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I later chatted more with Artist in Residence Abigail Han, originally from Singapore and currently living in Los Angeles. She is at the MAH until the end of August and interested in creating community recipes in her museum installed kitchen. How do we take the food of the past and modernize it to create something new? By the end of her residency, Han hopes to have enough footage of the community making food together and create a motion picture. Feel free to visit her at the museum during their regular hours. She’d be psyched to “break bread” with you. I told her I’d come back when I could eat again so we could cook Filipino pancit (noodles) and lumpia (eggrolls) with a modern twist. Yummy!

Refreshed and Renewed

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I’m baaaack! You know you missed me.

After more than a two year hiatus, it’s time to share more up and coming art, culture, and design I think is rad. I love writing about the arts, supporting artists and creatives whose passion for their crafts are undeniable, and inspiring people to be more creative. What prompted this resurrection you may ask? Well, I felt inspired!

I’ve been on The Master Cleanse for the past two weeks. (Today’s my last day! YAY!) It’s a super intense yet rewarding detox. A way to refresh and renew – body, mind, and soul. This year’s cleanse, my third year in a row, was even more necessary since I left my job in April and needed to clear my head from all that was. Out with the old, in with the new if you will. Not only was this experience an awesome boost for me physically, but the cleanse really helped me focus and totally envision where I see myself in the foreseeable future. So I thought, what better place than to .stART here.

I’m so stoked to cultivate more art, culture, and design through my lens with you. With an improved look, I’ll be bringing back all of your favorite features starting tomorrow with a brand spanking new Monday Funday, then more later in the week with some Hump Day Hot Seat, Thursday Three, and Fresh Friday Finds. Big kudos to all my awesome guests who have participated in the past and those still to come! Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

Hump Day Hot Seat: Anthony “weird*eye*one”

AnthonyWeirdEyeOne_HumpDayHotSeatPhoto © Jason Vasquez, Hump Day Hot Seat Alum

1. Who are you?

I’m Anthony “weird*eye*one” and I currently live at the beach in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. I’m originally from Newark & Roselle Park.

2. What do you do?

I’m an artist, muralist, illustrator.. and A street ninja (aka, street artist). For years, I painted my characters & art everywhere I could, and I made small panels with my art on them, then glued them up everywhere, high up on buildings, signs, trees, vans, trucks, wherever. I’m semi-retired from that now, but I still paint my art on walls at abandoned buildings, and I still put up panels every once in awhile too. It’s cool to know that people will put the effort in to collecting those little street panels.

These days, well, the last four years actually, I’ve been putting more focus on my studio work and painting murals, showing my work in galleries and doing commissions for my collectors/fans. Recently my art work has made it to galleries in Australia and Japan for a few upcoming group shows.

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

Oops, I covered some of that in the last answer.. Well anyway, I was always drawing when I was a kid and making stuff. I went to Seton Hall for college, learned some stuff there, managed to keep my own style & vision through it all. Also, for years I filled up tons of sketchbooks, most of which I gave away, either the whole book or just individual pages. I stuck to this one character, which was kinda box shaped, sometimes he would look fun and friendly, and other times he looked downright evil. This character is what I started painting everywhere, on walls, trucks, abandoned buildings, freight trains. Eventually, the characters were joined by abstract patterns and this carried over to my studio work that I showed in galleries.

Now, over the last two years in my murals, I’ve been slowly dropping my famous characters and keeping the abstract patterns, and arranging them in some sort of shape and motion. My studio work has evolved into something different, but I still keep the style & patterns that I’ve always used over the years. It’s just more detailed now and I’m using the negative space more around the main images in my paintings. Another thing most people will notice and have noticed with my work in the galleries is there are the illustrated works that I do and larger abstract “mash-up” paintings, which are smaller versions of my giant murals that I do outside.

4. How long have you been at it?

Since 1999, doing stuff pretty much “under the radar” by staying anonymous whenever I would paint my characters on walls. The little wood panels I was putting up all over the place, I would write my name on them and they were pretty consistent with the art I was putting on walls, so people were starting to make the connection. So, when I started showing my work in group shows and eventually solo shows, I already had a pretty good following that came from my street art. I have taken breaks here and there from my work, and last year I took about 9 months off after Hurricane Sandy because I needed to get my house back in order. It was a good break for me though, probably one I needed at the time.

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

Besides being an artist & a muralist, I’m also a commercial artist too. I paint and design for the home fashion textiles industry, it’s something I do on the side throughout the week. It’s actually pretty fun and it allows me to change things up during the week so I’m not only working on my own art.

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

Too many to mention… Well, I’ll start with the artists whose art work I’m lucky to own.. Alex Pardee (who I’ve actually become friends with. He’s one crazy talented guy, but super down to earth). I also admire Jeff Soto, Sylvia Ji, Nychos The Weird, ROID, Dan Witz, AMUSE, Meres, RIME (aka, Jersey Joe), ASKEW.. and The list goes on.. Oh yea, Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo.

 7. What other types of work are you into?

I like everything from graffiti, low brow, surreal to the classics and some sculpture type work. I also like comic book art and some anime.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Well, hobbies, I guess photography and no that doesn’t only cover me taking pictures of my murals, haha.. I do on occasion go out and just take pictures of stuff.

Unique talents.. I’m an expert at roasting vegetables, all kinds and somehow they remain firm and crunchy! I make some amazing hummus and falafel from scratch, and probably the hottest salsa on the planet. I use ghost peppers and habaneros!! So yea, it’s pretty hot.

 9. What’s your favorite vice?

I would have to say art is my vice and painting my art on walls. That’s why I’m glad I got some abandoned buildings that are my “secret” spots where I go paint whenever and whatever I feel like painting, plus experimenting with some different ideas and techniques. I like having my secret spots to use when I’m in between the “legal” mural projects I get.. Or else I’m pretty sure I would be doing plenty of illegal painting elsewhere!

I’m also addicted to collecting vinyl toys from Kid Robot and I like all things dark chocolate!!

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

When I hit a “block”, I just relax, maybe do a little sketching. I’ll go do some gallery hopping, look around the internet at other artists, blogs and sometimes wander around Queens or Brooklyn looking at graffiti and street art.

I’m sad that 5 Pointz is gone, that place was so inspiring to me!

Luckily, I’ve been on a roll and full of ideas now for the past 14 months.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

Yes, I eat food, haha!! I’m a vegan.. When I’m painting at a wall for an entire day or an entire weekend, I usually have bananas, a container of peanut butter and some granola. Just some easy snacking food to eat when I take short breaks from painting. I do like to cook food, but I suck at baking! My diet is plant based, healthy, yada yada, but I like my junk vegan food like the awesome vegan donuts I get most Sundays from Cinnamon Snail in Red Bank. They’re so good!! I even like to make tofu scrambles with chipotle peppers and seitan.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

Every single time I’ve tried to bake a cake, haha! For real, I’ve had a few paintings that I was simply not happy with and this happened when I’m about 90% done with them. The re-do ends up being significantly better, way better! However, I can count on just one hand how many times this has happened, so it’s a rare occurrence.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My parents, my sister, her new husband and my niece, so basically my family.

My camera. My two external hard drives that hold photos of every single piece of art and mural I’ve ever created. My Windsor & Newton paint brushes that I’ve had forever.

Fresh Friday Finds: Seeing Things Gallery

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“Eat With Your Eyes,” says photographer Jai Tanju, co-owner of Seeing Things Gallery located in downtown San Jose with wife, Blanche Gonzalez. Oftentimes, that’s totally what happens there – a sense of visual nutrition, filled with inspiration and collective ideas. The gallery exhibits monthly solo and group shows, sells art, photo books, zines, tees, and totes.

Deadbeat Club: Field Trip

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I’ve been lucky enough to check out some really rad art these past few months now that I live and work nearby. From Lance Cyril Mountain’s “Multiple Personalities” mixed media show to Deadbeat Club’s “Field Trip” group photography show, and I recently stopped by the gallery to check out “It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore,” a Morrissey group show currently on display.

Morrissey Group Show – Current Exhibition

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Frida – Resident Dog

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All Photos © Bernadette Cruz

Follow Seeing Things Gallery on Instagram and Facebook for more information and upcoming events. If you find yourself in the South Bay this weekend, Friday 6/6 & Saturday 6/7, stop by  their booth at the SubZERO festival in downtown San Jose and say hi. They will be selling some books, zines, and other merch.

 

Thursday Three by Lisa Coppola

NJ-based jewelry designer and Hump Day Hot Seat alum Lisa Coppola lists her Thursday Three, where different curators share three things they are stoked on. Receive 10% off beautiful Bevastyles jewelry when you enter ‘hotseat10‘ at her Etsy shop.

Photographer Alain Laboile

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Alain Laboile is a father of six from France who takes amazing, fantasy-like portraits of his children.  Many of his photos depict his children running around naked and dirty through the wilderness, interacting with wildlife, and exploring all the magical gifts the world has to offer.  It’s refreshing to see children having fun in the absence of an iPad, an iPhone and a TV!

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Painting and Wine classes are popping up everywhere, and they have finally come to my hometown. These are great social events for you to reconnect with your friends and neighbors while creating a respectable piece of art in the process.  And there’s wine!  For a small fee, all you need to do is bring yourself, a nice vintage, and everything else is provided for you.

3-D Printed Osteoid Cast

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The 3-D Printed Osteoid Cast is an example of the fantastic blending of science and art utilizing cutting edge technology. The sleek, futuristic design looks like something borrowed from the movie Minority Report! Not only does it look cool, but it utilizes ultrasound waves to promote bone healing and reduce healing times by 38%.

Stay at home mom Lisa Coppola is the owner and creator of Bevastyles jewelry found online at Etsy, while part of her collection is on display at Art & Soul Galleries in Roselle Park, NJ.  She will have a booth set up at the Ocean Grove Giant Craft Show on June 21st in Ocean Grove, NJ. 

 

Hump Day Hot Seat: Ali Smith

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© Ali Smith

Today is a bit of a Wednesday Rewind too! You might remember NYC-based photographer, Ali Smith, when she was previously featured on .stART here. in Fresh Friday Finds and a Hump Day Hot Seat in 2013. Find out what she’s been up to lately as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada once more here. Be sure to check out Ali Smith’s MOMMA LOVE photo book and follow her on Twitter and Instagram too!

1. Who are you?

That is deep, my friend. Still not sure. Thus far, I am a photographer. Musician. I stand around 5’9″. I have started moisturizing because I’m noticing fine lines. I’m happy to be a mom and a wife.

2. What do you do?

Take pictures and try to make a statement.

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

I started as a touring,  recording musician.  I took pictures of everything and everyone around me which involved a lot of craziness and black clothing. After years of touring, I craved more female connection because touring and playing music is largely about vans, sweat and men everywhere. Once I decided I wanted more female connections in my life, I reached out to artists who’d inspired me- Alice Walker, Exene Cervenka, Sandra Bernhard, Mary Karr, 35 in total- photographed and interviewed them, and that became my first book, Laws of the Bandit Queens.

4. How long have you been at it?

I’ve been at it since college and since I was touring, so early 20’s, but I haven’t had to do any other type of work besides photography for 15 years or so.

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

That I was never a drug addict ( my least favorite public myth about me from my music days). In fact, I never did any drugs. Not preaching, just setting the record straight.

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

Donna Ferrato, Amy Arbus, Diane Arbus, Martin Parr, William Egglesteen, Paolo Roversi, Alec Soth, Joshua Bright, Bob Carey, Cig Harvey, Cristina De Middel, and Jennifer McClure.

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

I recently saw some paintings from students who were really into and adept at photo realism. After years of being surrounded by high concept and modern art, I was taken aback at how incredible realism can be in painting. How stunning. Right now, I’m into that. But I appreciate all manner of art, as long as I feel I’m not being conned by someone with a budget and no ideas. Ideas are queen.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Talk to me in ten years when my son is 14, and I have time for hobbies again. That said, I like to get crafty with my bad self and make all sorts of things- chocolate, soft toys, models of volcanoes that work.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Whiskey is my favorite vice. Also crap TV.

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

Forge ahead. Like a Sherpa. Up that hill. With breaks built in to catch your breath. (the breaks are a new idea for me, but definitely smart)

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I do. Anything that has the letter “r” in its name. I like my husband to cook.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

Thank GOD that hasn’t happened often at all, but now that you’ve made me say it out loud, it will. THANKS A LOT, BERNADETTE! But really, honestly, it has only happened when I have compromised too much and let peoples’ worry and micromanaging win out. Then the product turns out lame. 

13. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

Truth. Because I am not the type to run naked to the mailbox and back on a dare.

14. What is your most prized possession?

Can my child be a possession? If not, then my husband.

Monday Funday: San Francisco & Santa Cruz

Today’s mellow Monday Funday is actually all about my Sunday Funday yesterday. My friend, Heather, was in town from the east coast so I met up with her in San Francisco. We spent the afternoon people watching at Dolores Park in the Mission, and here’s what I saw.

 IMG_6982 Heather with a turtle on a leash. The owner brought TWO turtles to the park!

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Then, I came back to Santa Cruz for an evening walk up West Cliff Dr. only to stumble upon a silent disco party at Lighthouse Point Park called Silent Santa Cruz, where guests listen and dance to music through headphones. Here’s what I saw.

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“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran

 

 

Thursday Three by Sooji Kim

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new feature on .stART here. called Thursday Three (inspired by Very Short List) where different curators will share three things they are stoked on. First up is friend and former colleague, Sooji Kim. Check out what she thinks is popping this week!

The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop by Matt Daniels

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It’s said that Shakespeare is the quintessential wordsmith because of his use of over 28,000 words across his entire work. Based on this, Matt Daniels decided to take a look at the first 35,000 lyrics of rappers (both new & old) to figure out who has the largest vocabulary. The result? Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.

Humans of New York at The Met Gala

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Brandon Staton, the human behind Humans of New York, was invited to this year’s Met Gala. He used his popular Humans of New York approach to photograph celebrities like John Legend, Neil Patrick Harris & Anna Kendrick at one of fashion’s biggest nights, and it’s all just so lovely.

Boots releases WinterSpringSummerFall

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Musician & producer Boots, known for his work on Beyoncé‘s self-titled album that broke the internet last year, released his debut mixtape WinterSpringSummerFall on Buzzfeed. You need to immediately start listening to the album in its entirety. Like right now!

Sooji Kim works in marketing for children’s books in NYC. She’s a sensitive TV junkie obsessed with unicorns, dinos, and hip hop!

Fresh Friday Finds: Angry Tiki God A.K.A. Allan Cruz

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