The Infamous Archives: Cosigned

Chris Grenier: Can’t Knock the Hustle

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Snowboarder Chris Grenier brings his mean powder game from the mountains to the streets, where he is redefining what’s possible.

Text by Dan Christiansen/[2 one 5] Creative

“If you were to tell me when I was a kid that I was gonna be a pro snowboarder, I would have told you to fuck off.”

Luckily, Chris Grenier didn’t tell himself to fuck off.

Staking his claim on the hills of Massachusetts, Chris Grenier has worked his ass off to get to where he’s at now. Believe it. Those hills in New England may be tiny, but they pack a punch that hits as hard as ice – literally. They’re as slick as a greased palm and can crack bones like a brick wall.
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K.C. Ortiz: Stop Bullshitting

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K.C. Ortiz uses photography as a tool to educate people about just how bad it is out there and about what “need” really means.

I was locked up for a while and I had a lot of time on my hands, time to think. It was a slow buildup from there that got me into photography. A number of factors all kind of came together at the same time. Where I was, people used their time to bitch and complain about everything and I would point out to them how good we had it. Since I was young I have always paid attention to the world, always read a newspaper, so I knew how bad some people really have it. Their bitching, my own curiosity and the ignorance of the general public on how fortunate they are all kind of just morphed into my head and came out as photography. I wanted to tell other peoples’ stories, to try to help the people who actually need it. I mean “need” in the real sense of the word – not as grammatical emphasis. So I studied all the photos I could get my hands on, had people send me books and magazines, read every paper from front to back, you name it.
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Azma: A New Flavor

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New Jersey graffiti artist Azma has found a new dimension to his art… off the walls.

Text by Filadel Castro

Fine lines and seamless blends and shading have taken New Jersey-based artist Azma and his art to a new, unbuffable place.

Azma is well known in the state of New Jersey for the three-dimensional style of his burners. He’s a member of the Trenton-based VS Crew, Philly’s SCK and the first all-American, all 3-D crew, ATC. Although he is fairly new to the tattoo game, he says he’s always been into the ink. “I have been tattooed all my life, and always saw the creative freedom and the dedication that came with it.”

Having mastered the futuristic, European-styled, three-dimensional burners mixed with traditional American-style letters, Azma says that his transition into ink is a “Style mixed from what I’m told. I tend to get very detailed with my shading and colors and can do realism but in a new-school way. I’m about progression. If you’re doing something, pull a new trick out, do something out of the norm. Keep it moving on a next-level mindstate with tattooing, shit, all my art!”
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Quisp: True Connoisseur

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Joey Deadstock profiles the sneaker collection of Quisp.

Text and Photography by Joey Deadstock

There is no denying that being a “sneaker head” is the cool thing nowadays. Thanks to certain sneaker reps, rappers get their hands on shoes months in advance. Kids camp out in front of stores for Internet-hyped releases, while others (thanks to eBay and other websites) will at times drop double the box price just to get a shoe early.

Then there are the true connoisseurs, like Quisp, whose love for shoes goes as far back as 1985, when he grabbed the original Air Jordan 1s for $65 out of a store in North Philadelphia. They were a size too small, but as he told me, “I didn’t give a shit, as long as I got those Mikes.” Ever since, Quisp has amassed an unprecedented amount of shoes through years of working at some of the best mom-and-pop sneaker shops that Philly has ever had. And, like all true heads, he has been going out on sneaker hunts in and out of his city so as to keep adding to his 400-plus-pair collection.
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Japanther: Untouchable Act

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Japanther (noun)– A two-man punk band with a van and a list of asses to kick.

Interview by Skip Class

Photography by Kid with a Camera

Are you guys aware that there is another art-project group from RISD called Panjanther?
Japanther:
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, I suppose. Didn’t that Shepard Fairey guy go to RISD, too? That being said, we are cool with almost all creative types. Do your thing, I’ma damn sure do mine.

How do you feel about the label “tagger band?” For example, “Oh, yeah, I heard of Japanther, dawg, them dudes is a hella sick tagger band.”
Japanther:
It’s true, I’ve dedicated an exorbitant amount of hours to walking tracks, hiding and huffing. We’ve commissioned art from UFO 907, Relm KSN, Veks KYT, Rain KYT, Krink, Faro ADHD, Reas RIS and Read More Books OYE. I don’t feel any which way about labels – really, hopefully we’re busy staying focused on the task at hand.
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FlyKickz: Sole Art

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Driven by a passion for the flyest, FlyKickz customizes sneakers with her art skills.

Interview by Joseph “NeX” Tchume

Photography by Yusuf Muhammad

How’d you get into the sneaker scene?
FlyKickz:
I had a love for kicks ever since I was little and going sneaker shopping with my dad, and I have a love for art in general. When I moved to New York I decided that I was good at designing sneakers, so I worked at it and stuck with it.
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Dustin Charlton: Lifetime Vacation

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“I’m in a band called Remmy Blackwell,” says skateboarder Dustin Charlton. “ It’s blues punk – the best way to describe it is, ‘You break my heart and I’ll break all your shit.’”

Top photo by Eric Nelson

Skate style?
Dustin Charlton:
My skating style is fast and drunk.

How long have you been skating?
Charlton:
I’ve been skating for about 20 years; I got my first sponsor when I was 16.
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Justin Rizzio: Tradition

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To most people, owning over 150 pairs of sneakers is ridiculous. But to Justin Rizzio, it’s a small, humble collection.

Photography by Dominic DiGiorgio

“Having a kid will instantly alter your spending habits. Less sneakers for me, more for her. I hope I don’t create a monster. (She’s wearing Jordan 8′s with a matching Jordan/AF1 hat.)”

The one thing all sneaker heads have in common is that they’re all totally different. Some buy only Jordans, some buy only Air Max. They all have their own ways of shopping, of how to clean their sneakers. Some wear all of their sneakers, while others keep them on ice. The rich kid that can buy every new release can be just as much a sneaker head as the kid who works and can only afford two or three pairs a year. It’s a subculture that most people will never understand. And if you tried to explain it, they’d think you were crazy. But I guess that adds to the appeal.

Normal people don’t care about release dates. Normal people don’t know colors like University Blue or know what elephant print is. What these people don’t realize is that there aren’t enough runners or basketball players in the world to keep shoe companies making billions. So, whatever reasons you have for buying sneakers, in the end it comes down to one thing… fashion or function.

Where do I fit in to all of this? I’m not a sneaker head. I’m just a guy who likes sneakers.


Sneaker Collecting as an art form. Literally.

The Air Max 90 “Infrared”
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Twenty-one years later and still one of Nike’s most well known sneakers, shown here in it’s most classic colorway. (Acrylic and Krylon on canvas)


Nike Dunk
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Originally released in 1985, the Nike Dunk has proven to be a well respected staple in Nike history. (Acrylic on wood)


Slave
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You’ll notice the word SLAVE on the bottom right corner of the shoe. Most people think I’m making a statement about sweatshop labor. It’s actually a comment about the consumer. (Acrylic and Krylon on canvas)

Tom Taylor: The Lawnmower Man

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While a lot of us spend our teenage years drinking cheap beers, listening to heavy metal and watching horror movies, not many of us translate those experiences into being high-quality tattoo artists. Tom Taylor did.

Text by Tyson Mitman

Photograph by Michael Francis

Tom is a talented tattoo artist working at Deep Six Laboratory Tattoo in Northeast Philadelphia. Deep Six is a great shop full of gifted artists. And even though the shop isn’t that far from where Tom grew up, he didn’t start there. Not by a long shot. He had to work in shitty shops in crappy neighborhoods and less than ideal conditions to acquire the skills he now has. He’s definitely paid his dues to be where
he is now.

He’s a local kid who grew up in the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia, and has spent most of his 26 years in the area. He caught the tattooing itch at 17 after watching some of his friends get tattooed in a living room. He practiced on those friends and by 19 he landed an apprenticeship. “It was pretty much him hiring me and throwing me to the wolves,” Tom says. But with tough times often come good stories, and this is no exception. He says, “One of the first tattoos I ever did was at this shop in the ‘hood. This big lesbian comes in and says ‘I want a little dude pushing a lawn mower across the top of my bush.’ It was like my first week tattooing at the shop, and she comes in and drops her pants, and I’m sweating bullets, but I’m going at it, and the stencil is rubbing off. It took a while, but I got through it. It was ridiculous. Wild… I still have the pictures of it, too.”

Growing up in Bridesburg, Tom was surrounded by graffiti and he had a bunch of friends that used to go out and write. He says that while he likes graffiti a lot, he never got into it himself. While friends were bombing, Tom was practicing his craft, drawing and painting canvases. Once he started tattooing it didn’t take long for him to master the art and move on to better, more reputable shops. He’s been at Deep Six for about a year and is now doing the work that he is the most proud of and has the most fun doing. “What are some of your favorite tattoos that you’ve done?” I asked him. Without missing a beat he says, “I just did a werewolf on a girl’s arm that came out really cool. I did a zombie Kim Jong Il that came out really nice.” And best of all, “there’s a zombie Wolverine that I did and love.” Horror movies and comic books strike again.

Being a tattoo artist, you see a lot of people make mistakes in how they go about deciding what’s going to adorn their bodies, and spend a lot of time covering it up. Tom’s advice is to avoid these issues. “Don’t get names,” he says. “That tattoo is going to last a lot longer than the relationship. Also, don’t rush into it head first. A lot of times people are just too spontaneous about it. I think people should put more thought and research into what they’re going to get done, and they also need to put a lot of research into the artist that’s going to do it and the shop, too. You gotta weed through the bullshit. There are so many great artists and shops out there, there should be no reason why you go and pay $30 to get a tattoo in someone’s basement.” Damn right, those things are permanent.
If you want to know Tom’s favorite metal bands, stop in to Deep Six Laboratory and ask him yourself. Make an appointment and get some ink while you’re there, too – unless it’s tribal. Tom’s sick of that shit. But at this point, who isn’t?


Influenced by Classic Horror Movies – Tom’s top three horror flicks:
1.) “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”
2.) “Evil Dead” (Not “Evil Dead 2,” where they had enough money to actually finish the thing.)
3.) “The Shining” (“One of the only movies ever to scare the shit out of me as a kid.”)

Moombahton

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What is Moombahton? If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will soon, says Michael Fichman, aka DJ Apt One.

Music by Mat Pat

What began as a weird experiment – a record played at the wrong speed by the right DJ – has rapidly grown into a global movement of Latin-inflected electronic dance music that has piqued the interest of the BBC and NPR. But before we get into the weird and amazing rise of the genre, let’s say one thing: Moombahton is a hell of a lot of fun. Every crowd I’ve played it for, from true-blue dance music fans to casual weekend party-goers, goes totally and completely apeshit when they hear it, whether they know what they’re hearing or not.
I’ve been DJing and producing music for a long time, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any style of music or movement that really embodies its era like Moombahton. It stands at the intersection of some of the emergent phenomena of our age – the Internet and Latin culture. Take those two kinetic forces and fuse them with global electronic dance music and there you go. And it is all the product of a serendipitous moment that happened to the right person.

In 2009, Dave Nada, one of D.C.’s finest DJs and producers, and half of Nadastrom, was DJing a party for his young cousin. All of the kids were playing reggaeton, and Dave, being more of a ravey electonic DJ, put a Dutch house record called Moombah by Chuckie from 45 down to 33. Everybody went ballistic. It had the same snare patterning as reggaeton but it was raved out with huge breakdowns and builds and car-alarm synths.

Fortunately, Dave was exactly the right guy to have this experience. He made up a name for this new experiment and made some bootleg edits. They got passed around to DJs in the know. We at Young Robots started making a few bootlegs and originals ourselves, as did a number of other producers and before long, I was strolling through the streets of Austin at SXSW hearing the strains of a Skinny Friedman Moombahton track wafting out of a club, only to poke my head inside and see Dave turning out a crowd to the new sound.
About a year and a half ago, I had Neil Armstrong, Jay-Z’s DJ, out to play with me at Silk City in Philly. I dropped a bunch of my Moombahton tracks and predictably, the roof blew off. He wanted to know what on earth I was playing and I explained. “Just wait,” we told him. No more than a few months later he dropped me a tweet from Berlin saying, “Holy shit they’re playing your Moombahton stuff over here.”
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Through Dave’s force of personality and amazing DJing and production chops, the sound started spreading and far-flung producers started experimenting. The Internet was crucial to the spread of the genre. It was really defiant of geography. Rotterdam’s Munchi found the sound and started making tunes that defied the imagination. Diplo and Mad Decent camp, the long-time pioneers of polyglot global rhythm in U.S. dance music, started getting involved.
Moombahton went from simple, slowed-down remixes to elaborate new productions. Subgenres like Moombahcore and Moombahsoul emerged. Before long there were stories on BBC, NPR and in Spin about the movement. Nadastrom, Dillon Francis, myself and others started getting tapped to do Moombahton remixes for high profile releases.

A lot of Latino producers in the States and around the world found that they really related to the sound’s percussive
Afro-Latin take on modern electronic music and all of a sudden you had what seemed an interesting wave of identity expression from first-generation Latinos. Maybe we’ll see more of that in the future as Latinos become more firmly established as part of the American popular musical fabric. In L.A. and Chicago, if you ask somebody “Where is the craziest party going on in town?” you’ll hear that it’s a packed warehouse rave in East L.A. or South Side full of first-generation Latin-American kids dancing to Dutch House, Dubstep and, now, Moombahton, a genre that isn’t yet two years old.