Kindred Journey Tag

Kindred Journey 44 – Jeanyee Wong

 

This was really fun for me to research because Jeanyee Wong was a type based artist and I love typography. Jeanyee was born in San Francisco in 1920 to Cantonese parents who then moved to the Bronx in NY when she was a child. She is said to have started drawing on any and everything when she was just 3. She studied Chinese calligraphy at a young age. Then she studied painting and sculpture at The cooper Union  from 1938-1941. There she studied woodcut with Fritz Kredel and calligraphy with George Salter.  
Jeanyee started as an apprentice of Kredel’s and began working on her own in 1941. The bulk of her work work has been in book publishing as she worked for Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Random House, Little Brown, Crown, Viking, Atheneum, Knopf, so many. She created type treatment, calligraphy, design, and illustration for many there. She also worked in advertising, created certificates, business cards, invitations, letter heads, etc. For many years she worked as a teacher at The New School, Pratt, and others I’m sure. 
She is known for her design of the “Seventeen magazine, NY Public library, and Mad Magazine logos and her awards from AIGA and UNICEF. But she was also highly regarded among the Society of Scribes as a generous teacher of students. She worked from her early 20s up until her 80s I believe and her calligraphy and artwork is incredible. Excellent! 
“You’re never perfect. You can always do something more and improve” – Jeanyee Wong (1920-2017)
Sources: JeanyeeWong.blogspot.com ( Alex Jay), Society of Scribes, Librarything.com
Did you catch the last one this month? Its Spie of the TDK, FC, and TMC crew!!

Kindred Journey 43 – Spie

 

Spie is a OG of the Bay Area Graf scene. A king in my opinion. Born and raised in San Francisco during the early 70s, he is from the second generation of writers is Frisco. He began writing on his own first, then he began joining crews. He’s one of the illest local style technicians of letters and has always tried new things whether painting wild style pieces, throw ups, or even just his handstyles. He is a representative of several well known Bay crews; TMC, TDK, and Irie Posse. He’s also reps FC, a NYC crew. Something that connects him to a long legacy of artists both in and beyond Graf is his use of art to speak truth to power.  Being the child of an organizer/activists instilled him with a DIY spirit and awareness that he always shared with the Graff community. In fact, in his career he is known as much for his unique letter styles as he is for speaking out against police terrorism, racism, imperialism, colonialism, and the system that uses these tools to get more money and power. Something I learned is that he was a mediator between writers who had beef. A peacekeeper. He is a citizen of the world traveling to Jamaica, Cuba, Costa Rica, NYC, even Palestine. He’s a father, husband, activist, credentialed teacher, and a hilarious guy if you get to hang with him. If you have been impacted or inspired by Spie or his work please comment w/ a big up, fire emoji, or a memory so he knows how much we all love him. Thank you big brother.

Sources: One Track Mind magazine, My Life In Letters podcast,  Life, My Mom

More: The first time I met Spie he was already a legend to me. As a kid obsessed with Graffiti I loved taking flics of his pieces both solo and with Mike Dream. His style leaps off the wall, often using two outlines to accentuate movement. My family has a connection to his, as my grandmother knew his parents and worked with them on some labor activism. My mom who knew him since he was a kid proudly introduced me to him at a huge show he did in Oakland around the anniversary of the Hiroshima Nagasaki bombing. I could not believe she knew him and was floored by his humbleness and skill. Since the mid 90s I’ve been fortunate enough to get to watch him work, to hang, to speak to his students, to ask questions, and to be inspired by him. To watch him show solidarity with Palestine, Puerto Ricans, Filipinxs, and Black struggles such as Black August and Black Liberation figures such as Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, and more. I think his choice to put more up on the wall than just his name spoke to me as a kid. I was and am inspired so much by him and consider him a big brother and a mentor. Its great to hear him talk about his experiences coming up in the Graff world. I highly encourage you to listen to his episodes on the My Life in Letters podcast. Much Love dude!

Did you see the last piece of Pardon My Hindi?

Also, here’s a piece I did of Mike Dream.

Kindred Journey 41 – Doug Chiang

 

Doug Chiang is the vice president and creative director of Star Wars. He’s been working in the film industry for over 30 years and is one hell of an illustrator. You’ve seen his work. And I was super inspired to see him in the extras or behind the scenes of Star Wars films. Originally from Taiwan (Born in 1962) he grew up in Michigan and made his way to California. He started on “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” a show I watched as a kid. His first film as a concept artist was “Back to the Future 2″ and he has worked on Ghost, Terminator 2, Forrest Gump, Jumanji, and so many other films. In 1995 when I was just beginning high school he went to work for George Lucas who was developing the prequel Star Wars films. He designed ships, spacecraft, sets, costumes, and characters for the first three films along with Star Wars 7,8,9, Rogue One, Solo, and most recently The Mandalorian. In between SW projects Doug founded his own studio called Ice Blink” which would become Image Movers Digital. He became a published author and has won Aacademy, Bafta, Clio, and now Oscar award. As I mentioned he’s now the creative head of all new Star Wars projects from films, amusement park rides, games, etc. And the thing I love most about him besides his ridiculous skill as a painter and illustrator is his ability to keep pushing for the best idea. You can tell he iterates and tries as many directions as possible to get the most out of an idea. It’s incredible to watch. And the dude is humble. Hats off to Doug. Follow him here.
Sources: Lucasfilm, Imdb, Wikipedia, Robota
Dig this? Check out the last post about Bay Area Graf writer ASIA
Did you see this one about Special FX artist and model maker Fon Davis?

Kindred Journey 40 – Asia

 

As a teen obsessed with graffiti I dragged my parents to go snap pics of pieces and throw ups. Asia is one of the artists I’d see. She inspired me not only to be proud but to be stylish. 20 years later I spoke with her thx to DJ Willie Maze.
Born in Japan in the early 70s, she grew up in San Francisco and started writing in 1991. One of her early influences was a young woman who wrote like NME who gave her the name “Asia”. Later it was King 157, Spie, Giant, and a guy named “Orfn” who was up everywhere in the 90s who inspired her. Crew wise, she was down with VC which included Muet and Duer. She’s still down with TDK (Teach Dem Knowledge) and had a crew of sisters called HMP- “Her Mighty Presence”. 
Asia was most active in the Bay between 91-95 before moving to NYC in the late 90s. Although she bombed out there she told me New York was on a whole other level. When I asked her about some of her proudest moments she quickly mentioned the “Tax Dollars Kill” production TDK did with every damn body in the crew. It was in magazines and it got a lot of attention! She also mentioned a mission her and Muet went on to bomb a tank!! A Tank! 
When asked about advice for young women getting into Graff/art she said “It’s hard to do, but be free of judgement by others. Don’t be concerned about how they see your work. As long as you enjoy it, that’s what matters. Do it for yourself, your soul”.
Although she doesn’t write anymore, she still makes art for herself.  She said she was motivated to piece  by TDK, but she really loved was to hop buses and go bomb! She didn’t document most of her stuff and wasn’t thinking of legacy, but she really loved it and had so much fun doing it. If you’re reading this and remember “Asia” PLEASE share a word or photo for her to see! Respect to OG Asia!
Sources: Interview w/ Asia
The last asrtist I painted is Hung Liu! And check out this drawing of Lady Pink

Kindred Journey 38 – Priya Handa

Bay Area born and bred I can tell Priya Handa is one of those life long artists, a scorpio, lover of good music, ice cream, and justice. As a muralist she has worked with Precita Eyes in SF, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP), Twin Walls Crew, the Zapatistas, Trust Your Struggle Collective, and the Bay Area Mural Festival. She has painted nationally and internationally traveling as far as Mexico and Palestine. She is a tattoo artist and an illustrator who works both big and small, aerosol, ink, acrylic, watercolor, and needle. She is an activist making work supporting Black Lives, Sex workers, Farmers in India, the Navajo nation, the military complex, and police brutality. And she is a child of South Asian immigrants (Punjab in India).

The first time I met Priya she had paint/gear in her hands and she came through as we (TYS) were working on a wall for Reem’s California in Oakland in 2017 just to help. The last time I saw her she brought a painting she knocked out for elder Emory Douglas of his art for the “Love and Protect: Chinatown Black & Asian solidarity mural project”. Both times her skill, humbleness, and generosity spoke for itself. Although I’m still getting to know her I implore you to follow and support her work now. She’s a hard working rising star and deserves all the shine.  Follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/eightbirdz/

Sources: https://crpbayarea.org/meet-the-muralist-priya-handa/, http://www.puttpunjabi.com, Asian American Women Artists Association

Did you catch the piece of Maya Lin?

Last year I focused on Aapi musicians and this year I’m focusing on artists. If you’re new to this, “Kindred Journey” is a serious of paintings I’ve done of prominent and lesser known Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since 2016. You can find a gallery of all past paintings here.

Fellow artists! May is #asianamericanheritagemonth and I invite you to paint, collage, or draw amazing folks for the month of May. Well known folks of course, but def the lesser known people, places, movements, organizations, etc. I limit my color palette to ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’š, I use watercolor, do 12-24 posts, and I try to share a short bio of ea subject. I Use the hashtag #apahm #asianamericanheritagemonth and I call my series #kindredjourney but get down for yours, name it whatever u like, and share so errybody can learn more abt our folks-especially NOW!
๐Ÿ’šTo my everyday folks -feel free to join by sharing photos or art abt folks too, just make sure to credit the creators of the images and ask permission wherever possible before posting.
๐Ÿ’œLast yr my focus was on musicians. This yr it will be on artists. What specific area of #aapi history do u love? Djs, South Asians, activists, special fx artists, blasians, entrepreneurs, actors, wrestlers? Get busy!

Kindred Journey 37 – A4BL

I remember beaming with happiness and pride when I saw a group of young Asian Americans chain themselves to a building( Police Dept)  to protest. They were bold and I remember thinking “that’s what I’m talking about”. Showing up and showing out with direct action. That group was A4BL or Asians 4 Black Lives, in support of Black activists and Black folks being murdered by cops. This was shortly after Mike Brown was killed. After Oscar, Rekia, Tamir, Tyisha, and Trayvon. Anyway, I won’t get into the history. I’ve pasted their statement below. To all my young Aapi’s this month I just wanted to share this with you if you didn’t know. Solidarity exists. Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month. Fuck the police. 
We stand on the doorstep of the Oakland Police Department today as a group of Asians putting our bodies on the line in response to a national call to shut down institutions that perpetrate the war on Black people.  It is unacceptable that every 28 hours a Black person is killed by the police, security or vigilantes.
As Asians, we recognize the ways in which weโ€™ve been used historically to prop up the anti-Black racism that allows this violence to occur. We are an extremely diverse community.  Some of us have been targeted, profiled, and killed by U.S. government institutions.  Many of us came to the U.S. as a result of the devastation and displacement caused by the US military and its โ€œpartnersโ€ in Asia, only to find a country uses police to devastate and displace black communities.  However, we also recognize the relative privilege that many of us carry as Asians living in the US. 
Many of our Asian brothers and sisters around the country have made powerful statements in support of ending the war on Black people and shown up to protests.  We hope that Asian communities will join us in reflecting on and continuing to practice an intentional Black-Asian solidarity, as we work toward the vision offered by organizers in Ferguson:
Source: https://a4bl.tumblr.com/

Did you catch the last one of Rocky Rivera?
Did you see this one of Bambu?

Kindred Journey 36 – Rocky Rivera

The majority of my community knows this phenomenal artist, but let me give you a little backstory if you’re unfamiliar. Rocky started her music career officially in the mid 2000’s as one fourth of the group “Rhapsodistas”, then the release of her mixtape “Married to the Hustle”. Since 2008 she’s released a consistent catalogue of EPs, features, mixtapes with DJ Roza, and three full length albums; most recently “Rocky’s Revenge”. Born in the Philippines she came to the US as a child. She and her two sisters gravitated heavily to hip hop. She grew up in the San Francisco, specifically the Excelsior district. A student of journalism Rock has written for publications such as XXL, The Source, Ruckus, and was featured as part of MTV’s “I’m From Rolling Stone” show where she wrote and covered hip hop stories for the magazine. Always a sharp thinker you can hear subjects ranging from religion, colorism, Pinay pride, Filipin@ history, guerilla warfare, revolutionary politics, and feminism to mob music, gold grills, knocking sound systems, and motherhood. Besides being a fierce MC that will rip any rapper and write a rhyme from multiple vantages of a story, she is a super down to earth person who lives what she spits. On any given day you could catch her rocking a show, working with youth, writing a book, attending a protest, organizing, rocking some fly fashion, or just raising her kids with her partner. As someone who always uplifts other women you’ll often see her praising other women too. She is a pioneer that is paving a way and giving other young artists a voice to truly believe in and be inspired by. Ok, please go bump her music, follow, and be a part of new music and writing as a Patreon supporter.
Fav Song: GRLGNG
Sources: Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner, HypeBae, East Bay Express, El Tecolote, Beatrock Music
Did you catch the last one of Deb Never?


Kindred Journey 35 – Deb Never

This is Deb Never, a young musician from LA, by way of Spokane Washington. Just down the block from the Cour d’ Alene Indian reservation. Deb is fresh and I’m not really sure what music category to put her in yet. She sings, can rhyme a little bit, plays guitar, piano, and probably some other shit. She’s a Korean American church kid who started working on music in her teens. Self described as hella awkward and nervous, she’s come out of her shell to drop her first EP called House On Wheels. She lead into that with the singles “Swimming” (How I found her) and “Ugly”. She just released a new project dedicated to frontline workers for covid 19 called “Intermission” and she started releasing music on Soundcloud in 2017. She dipped to LA, started releasing music, and got signed with some friends, the cats who run “We Did It” records ( Shlomo, RL Grime). Style wise, besides the moody and whatever vibes she gives off you can tell she has a sense of humor and I urge you to check her out.

Fav Song: Swimming
Sources: Complex, Red Bull, Fader, NME

Did you catch the last one of Blue Scholars?

Kindred Journey 34 – Blue Scholars

Blue Scholars (play on Blue Collar) is a pioneering hip hop group from Seattle Washington and met at the University of Washington in 2002. They’ve had a prolific career as a group, solo artists, and as  founders of other groups. Their self titled first project dropped in 2004 and they’ve released three LP’s and four EPs. Geo (Pinoy) brings a deep voice, incredible delivery, lived and studied experience to the mic as a rapper, educator, and former poet. Sabzi ( Iranian) is a versatile musician/ producer whose beats bring a cinematic storytelling element to each song; spanning many genres. Geo started rapping in high school and worked as a community organizer in addition to the Wing Luke Museum. Sabzi is a trained pianist who also was a punk music drummer. These cats have performed all over sharing stages with big names and hitting the on stages at Rock The Bells, Bumbershoot, SXSW, and the Sasquatch fest. Some of the projects were released with labels but most has been done independently. Good old bars, hip hop culture, race, class, imperialism, cultural heritage, and their native Seattle are common topics.

Sabzi has produced for many artists. He co-founded “Common Market” with rapper RA Scion and “Made in The Heights” with singer Kelsey Bulkin. He’s got his project called Town Folk (Because both Seattle and Oakland call themself “The Town”), and has put out a bunch of instrumental albums.

Geo (Prometheus Brown ) is now a Dad and co runs a bakery called “Hood Famous” with his partner, chef Cherla Amlag. Besides that he started a group with LA native Bambu called “The Bar”, signed to Beatrock Music, and has a project called “Rappers with Cameras”. 

Although I know Seattle for its indie rock scene. I have to remind myself about how big the hip hop scene there is with cats like The Physics, Macklemore, Canary Sing, Good Medicine, Jake One, Mario & Malice Sweet, Thee Satisfaction, and the OGs Sir Mix-a-lot and Ishmael Butler (Shabazz Palaces/Digable Planets). Please listen to Blue Scholars and support their respective projects. Fellas, visited last year and I love your city. Respect.

Sources: KEXP, Seattle Times, Hip Hop DX, Okay Player, Chris Jespersen, The Word, Wikipedia
Fav Song: 50 Thousand Deep

Did you see the last one I did of Raveena?
What about the painting of The Mountain Brothers?

Kindred Journey 33 – Raveena

This artist is one of my favorite soul musicians beginning to get her just due. Raveena is a singer songwriter from NYC via Connecticut. She grew up hearing her family members sing old Bollywood songs and its hopeful to hear about some of her early influences from D’Angelo, Sade, to Taylor Swift. She started writing music in her early teens and later attended school for music at New York’s famous Tisch school of the Arts. She released her first EP “Where We Wander” in 2013 while still a student there. She would go on to release other projects such as “Shanti”, the LP “Lucid”, and the new EP “Moonstone”. The song that caught my attention first was “sweet time” and I can remember my friends Franklin and Lara playing her music in a long car ride.

Raveena’s music to me is super soulful, beautifully produced (shout out to Everett Orr), very original in its lyrics, and sonically colorful with all its beautiful melodies and chords. She is very smooth, gentle, and soft spoken but I don’t imagine she’ll always be that way. With a strong fashion sense, a keen eye for directing videos that feel fresh I look forward to seeing a long career for Raveena Aurora who has already been working at it for almost a decade. What else? She is from a supportive Sikh, northern Indian family. She is queer. She sings about spirituality, pleasure, love, abuse, and definitely gives a fuck about justice. Give her music a listen. And when this pandemic is over go see her live! Oh and she was featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk, go watch that.

Sources: NPR, Wesleyan Argus, Jai-pur.com, Aerogram
Fav Song: Temptation

Did you see the last ptg of MC Seti-X?
Check out composer/producer KAT Ouano