White Marble Duvet Set by SAFE HOUSE USA
Keehnan Konyha is the founder and creator behind SAFE HOUSE USA, a bedding and home goods brand created around concept of street wear.
Konyha has recently been interviewed by a wide ranging selection of media all focusing on his collaborations with artists, affordable but cutting edge bedsheets and monochromatic prints.
However what seems most fascinating about SAFE HOUSE is why is no one else is doing this? And if there are others, why do we not know about it? The vast majority of contemporary interior designers seem to cater for a market over the age of 35 in a family orientated way. Konyha merges his Brooklyn lifestyle into his practice to great effect. In our recession fuelled times the prospect of investing in furniture or other areas of interior design is not always so realistic, especially for people under the age of 30. Most young people now share houses, or live with their parents, meaning that the bedroom is their only personal space. SAFE HOUSE caters to a perfect market, creating bedding sets and throws with impeccably fresh prints in a manner that can transcend any bedroom and be transported as frequently as your lifestyle pleases.
For Sang Bleu we have decided to focus on what Konyha’s inspirations have been so far in his life in regards to interiors and other areas of influence such as fashion, art, music and architecture.
Black Marble Duvet Set
FW13 Extension Collection, Drawn by Richard Haines
Where and what is your favourite bedroom?
I actually have to say mine right now, which is probably horribly vain, but primarily because I spend so much time here. It’s the one featured in the instant shots on the SAFE HOUSE site.
While we were apartment hunting last year, my boyfriend and I, really more as a joke, cast a spell to narrow down what we were looking for, and through curiously suspicious circumstance found it almost immediately and exactly. Call it luck, but if you’re looking for an apartment I say go with the spell, just in case.
What are some of your favourite sets from films?
Eiko Ishioka’s Closet Land and Mishima: a Life in Four Chapters
Eugenio Zanetti’s Flatliners
Scorsese’s After Hours
Stigmata, Production Design by Waldemar Kalinowski, Art Direction by Anthony Stabley, Set Decoration by Florence Fellman and Marco Niro. Patricia Arquette’s warehouse loft is an insane, over the top, one-hundred-percent-fictitious mix of 30s deco, industrial (musically and architecturally), yoga-cum-rave culture and inflatable furniture.
What is your favourite design movement?
Memphis, which is probably pretty obvious, especially Shiro Kuramata, though influences shift. Nostalgia cycles more rapidly. I might be less of a “movement” person, and more drawn to specific designers and visionaries; Tibor Kalman, Michel Graves, Terence Conran, Andrea Branzi, Joe Holtzman, Kelly Wearstler, William Morris, Ward Bennett, Gaetano Pesce, Billy Baldwin, Laurie Anderson.
I’m attracted to cohesion; to comprehensive themes and ideas; to extremes (simplicity can be it’s own extreme) followed to their logical conclusions. I try to stay open. What I find off-putting is typically what qualifies as “good taste.” There’s nothing compelling about good taste.
I think you have to be careful about what you allow in, about what you allow to influence you. It’s a constant, ongoing process of checking in with yourself creatively. Clearly I work with reference, with reappropriation and recontextualization, but I worry that we’ve outsourced our imaginations to an endless stream of reblogged, repinned content in an effort to easily aggregate, brand, and identify who we think we are, or who we dream we could be. My hope is that it’s entirely possible my favorite design movement has yet to happen.
What is your favourite art movement?
I’d be lazy and remiss to fall back on the past here. I love my friends and contemporaries, and New York is too full of preposterous talent right now not to list of them as many as I can:
Sam McKinniss, Ben Schumacher, Erica Bech, Colin Self, Alexis Penney, Landon Metz, Borna Sammak, Amos Mac, Alex De Corte, Kari Altmann, Richard Giglio,Richard Haines, Cody Critcheloe, Jaimie Warren, Travess Smalley, Boychild, Shayne Oliver, Desi Santiago, Scott Hug, BCALLA, Charlie Morris, Barrett Emke, Cyril Duval, Patrick Dyer, House of Ladosha, Juliana Huxtable.
I’m going to forget way too many names here and will absolutely regret it immediately.
Favourite movie from the 1980s?
Terrible and sublime at best, trashy and obvious at worst. This could probably be applied to my taste in almost everything. Anything John Carpenter, Adrian Lyne or Paul Schrader touched, unfortunately.
Favourite set/art direction from a music video?
Mark Romanek’s video for “Scream,” production design by Tom Foden, who also did Madonna’s “Bedtime Stories” and NIN’s ”Closer.” Flawless, untouchable song; flawless, untouchable visuals; still holds the title for the most expensive music video ever made.
Missy’s “She’s A Bitch.” Four years after the “Scream” video, it’s either an homage, the zeitgeist (I think zeitgeist moved slower in the late 90s), or just a straight lift (down to the opening, glossy-type’d shot), but what starts as typical Hype Williams (though w/ a gorgeous and atypical, monochromatic palette) fish-eye-in-a-box video becomes something completely alien and otherworldly around 1:50. Hype in top form, maybe his peak.
And again, Romanek’s video for Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” A dead-on shot at Steven Meisel’s banned spots for Calvin Klein; unfinished, shag-carpeted and wood-paneled basement rec rooms, plus over-saturated, red-eyed, morning-after polaroid filters. I could live in this video. I may have tried?
I’m originally from Seattle, so the first building that comes to mind is St. Mark’s Cathedral, along with the adjacent rectory and (what once served as) the Cornish campus. Though some improvements were made in ’97 by Olson Sundberg, it was never entirely finished or built to the original specs from the late 20s and early ’30s, so the interior is very utilitarian and box-like in its incompleteness, more basilica than cathedral; no transept, no ribbed vaults or pendentives. I’ve got a soft spot for the underdog. And Episcopalians, maybe.
And Jesuits?. Steven Holl’s Chapel of St. Ignatius, also Seattle. The interior light is as much a part of the building as its materials, and shifts dramatically and beautifully throughout the day, designed around the schedule of Jesuit worship. It has a silence, both architecturally and literally, almost impossible to find in New York.
NYC’s modernist Church of the Nativity in the East Village, redone by Genovese & Maddalene in 1968. According to Wikipedia, it’s been described as ”starkly institutional” and “a modern architectural cartoon exhibiting a gross idea with no detail,” but I find something elegant and honest about it’s brutality.
More NYC: Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi; literally what is there not to love? Any building capable of outraging the West Village while avoiding both the leaking starchitecture of Frank Gehry and the cardboard-and-glass Monocle-approved hideousness of new money loft conversion gets tens across the board.
Louis Kahn’s Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban building. I think it’s the only structure that’s ever made me weep hysterically, and I’ve never actually been there.
More from past blog entires:
Favourite interiors in a restaurant or cafe?
This is a rough one, considering the Roman & Williams, Brooklyn-via-Portland, be-edison bulb’d faux rustica prison of the last decade. I’m at a point where the fluorescent, blobject-y Karim Rashid feels of Pink Berry, Rice to Riches interiors have started to feel welcoming, though I’m probably just be jumping the gun on early ‘00s nostalgia.
Since I don’t eat out much, and have totally succumbed to the sad cliche of rarely leaving Brooklyn, I’m going to fold this into nightlife and general mood, rather than strictly decor.
I miss The Beatrice, though technically she was a bar, and sadly, actual documentation is slim. It somehow managed a perfect balance of exclusivity and warmly welcoming once inside, offering both a simple, you-should-be-at-home-here elegance and nightly house party. To the best of my knowledge, that feeling has yet to be recreated. Certain spaces come imbued with a special kind of magic that needs only to be coaxed and tended to, something like what I imagine Michèle Lamy’s Les Deux Cafés felt like.
Output in Williamsburg is incredible, maybe as close to The Hacienda as I’ll get in my lifetime; unreal sound. Bossa Nova Civic Club is also brilliant, hidden away under the elevated train in Bushwick; perfect dance floor, consistently interesting booking, and I’ll always go weak for any amount of Don Loper, Martinique Banana Leaf wallpaper.
Passion Lounge; if you know, you know.
Favourite description of a room from literature?
I think I bond more with, or maybe the passages or novels that resonate with me the most, are ones where rooms themselves become characters, or where the lines between the human metaphorical interior and the interior of physical space are blurred; Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled; Sylvia Molloy’s Certificate of Absence; Emma Donoghue’s Room; Adam Lehner’s The Rearrangement; James Purdy’s Narrow Rooms.
If I have to actually choose a passage though, this is taken from “Examples of Confusion,” from Lydia Davis’ Almost No Memory:
“The ceiling is so high the light fades up under the peak of the roof. It takes a long time to walk through. Dust is everywhere, an even coating of blond dust; around every corner, a rolling table with a drawing board on it, a paper pinned to the board. Around the next corner, and the next, a painting on the wall, half finished, and before it, on the floor, cans of paint, brushes across the cans, and pails of soapy water colored red or blue. Not all the cans of paint are dusty. Not all parts of the floor are dusty.At first it seems clear that this place is not part of a dream, but a place one moves through in waking life. But rounding the last corner into the remotest part, where the dust lies thickest over the boxes of charcoal sticks from Paris, and a yellowed sheet of muslin over the window is torn symmetrically in two spots, showing a white sky through two small panes of dusty glass, a part of this place that seems to have been forgotten or abandoned, or at least lain undisturbed longer than the rest, one is not sure that this place is not a place in a dream, though whether it lies entirely in that dream or not is hard to say, and if only partly, how it lies at once in that dream and in this waking–whether one stands in this waking and looks through a doorway into that more dusty part, into that dream, or whether one walks from this waking around a corner into the part more thickly covered with dust, into the more filtered light of the dream, the light that comes in through the yellowed sheet.”
What has been your favourite set design for a catwalk?
This is the dream job; a marriage of clothes and physical space, of sound and music and light. Twelve minutes in which you have the opportunity to transport an audience completely.
Daniel Buren‘s work for Louis Vuitton SS13 is total alchemy; a perfect example of every element working together to create an experience so much larger than its individual parts, though the individual parts themselves remain stunning. The stark, two-color palette; the checkered white-and-yellow floor, referencing the collection, Vuitton’s “Damir” print and Buren’s previous body of work simultaneously; the pure spectacle and anticipation of the models descending via escalator onto the runway; Einstein on the Beach. I wish “gesamtkunstwerk” had an english counterpart that didn’t sound as ridiculous.
That said, AMO‘s work for Prada menswear AW13/14 sent me into a jealous, raging tailspin for like, days, literally pacing around my apartment screaming, gesticulating wildly at nothing like a crazy person, questioning my life, my choices, my purpose. If good art is contagious, maybe great art produces temporary insanity.
The pastel scheme of the set, punctuated with primaries, framing the gentle, almost neutral palette of the clothes, also offset by an electric turquoise piece here or a subtle, checkered coral shirt there; the collars styled half-tucked and askew; the shifting views from the projected “windows;” THE CAT! The show is a living editorial, the definition of an aspirational If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now. For me, the seamless integration and introduction of OMA’s line for Knoll via domestic tableaus is as much of the presentation as the actual clothing. I think AMO’s devotion to concept, research and detail are always evident, but they totally outdid themselves here.
If you want to get in further inside of Keehnan’s head, SAFE HOUSE USA also commission regular mixtapes; you can listen to them here
Visit the SAFE HOUSE USA website here to find out more about their interiors.
Walking Mural, 1972
Currently being exhibited at Nottingham Contemporary is the exciting new exhibition about Asco, a group of performance artists based in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.
Asco (1972–1987) began as a tight-knit core group of artists from East Los Angeles composed of Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón, and Patssi Valdez. Taking their name from the forceful Spanish word for disgust and nausea, Asco used performance, public art, and multimedia to respond to social and political turbulence in Los Angeles and beyond.
They emerged from the Chicano civil rights movement of the late 60s and early 70s, which fought labour exploitation, the Vietnam draft, police brutality, and other forms of discrimination and deprivation.
Their work had a low budget look reflecting their circumstances – Gronk called it aesthetics of poverty. In the 70s, a Chicano artist was expected to paint murals – the Chicano Movement borrowed from the Mexican political mural tradition of the early 20th century. While sharing the Movement’s opposition to racial discrimination, Asco were also determined to free themselves from the straightjacket of muralism. They sometimes did this by parodying it. Examples of this include the pieces Walking Mural and Instant Mural which were outrageous street performances rather than paintings on walls.
Asco’s performances in and around East LA resembled scenes from movies that were never made – or fashion shoots, or promotional images of rock bands. They called some of these No Movies. Made in the shadow of Hollywood, yet in a community ghettoised from the wider metropolis, Harry Gamboa Jr’s photographs of Asco’s performances anticipate the staged photography of Cindy Sherman, Jeff Walls and other major figures in postmodern art working with photography. The imagery they used was linked to fantasy and fiction, Asco retained a dangerous political edge. Their actions were made without notice or permission in a public sphere fraught with political tension and police curfews. Some were made at sites where a violent incident had taken place the previous day – the site of a gang conflict or the fatal shooting of demonstrators by the Los Angeles Police Department.
This exhibition builds on Asco’s acclaimed retrospective, Elite of the Obscure, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Williams College Museum of Art in 2011-12, curated by Rita Gonzalez and Ondine Chavoya. It will later travel to de Appel in Amsterdam and CAPC in Bordeaux.
The exhibition will run until the 5th of January. Find out more here
Regeneración 2, no. 4, 1974 – 75, p.31, drawing by Patssi Valdez. Courtesy of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Library
A fascinating two day symposium to accompany the exhibition discussing the meaning of disgust across a range of practices, including art, literature, film and popular culture, activism, spatial practice and performance, from the twentieth century to the present day took place in November which can be watched on Youtube below. Taking part in the exhibition included Sang Bleu 6 contributor Dominic Johnson, Elizabeth Boa; Wayne Burrows; C. Ondine Chavoya; Harriet Curtis; Kirsten Forkert; Craig Fisher; Andrés David Montenegro Rosero; Marie Thompson and Myfanwyn Ryan.
You can join the Facebook event here
Today marks the passing since ManWoman’s death a year ago. To commemorate this November the 13th has been declared ‘Reclaim the Swastika Day’. A Facebook event for this occasion has described today as:
‘A worldwide event on the first anniversary of ManWoman’s passing – the 13th of November 2013 – to spread knowledge and appreciation of the gentle swastika.
Open shops and give away tattoos, scars and/or brandings of Swastikas for free and use this opportunity to educate people about the origins and true meaning of the Swastika.
For artist and people who like to join this event please confirm here in which way you want to participate
Please note that “Learn to love the Swastika” is a group compiled of tattooists, body modifiers, designers, writers and Swastika educators. There is absolutely no religion or worship involved – only cultural awareness. ‘
Alex Binnie will be hand poking swastika’s in memory of ManWoman from 12pm at Into You in London tomorrow where you can find out more information here.
All images have been taken from the Facebook event page which have been added by various Facebook members from about the world. You can join the event here where you can find out about other events to commemorate this day from all around the world.
Yann Brenyak is a body modification artist, he pierces peoples skin, brands it, removes skin for the sake of scarification, splits peoples tongues and inlays implants and micro dermal piercings under the surface of the skin. Recently he has been perfecting the craft of graphic skin removal, which involves carving off thin slices of skin over the top of flesh blacked out by tattooing to create the effect of an image of a silhouetted face. Originating from Lausanne in Switzerland he has lived in London for the last two years but trained at Tribehole in Geneva originally working as a body piercer but gradually he has learnt more ways to manipulate the skin. Meeting Yann in a cafe in Hackney Wick last week where he lives and works with his girlfriend the tattooer Delphine Noiztoy we spoke about his identity, training and love for body modification.
Yann’s appearance is certainly unforgettable, his devotion to altering his body has spread all over the surface of his body. The angles of his face have been highlighted by tattooing and scarification layering on top of one another, his eyebrows have been exaggerated and geometrically aligned spaces on his face have been inlayed with piercings. What Yann does for a living is as brutal as his appearance, however for someone whose identity has had so much painstaking dedication played into it there is nothing fashionable about him. There is an air of absolute dedication to his whole life, in how he looks and his craft.
Our conversation starts by asking Yann why he never learnt to tattoo and prefers to modify the body, ‘I’m not the most sociable person, I sometimes felt that the tattooers job is similar to that of a hairdresser. You have to know all about the customer and build this relationship. But with body modification you’re usually using something like a scalpel; that intensity means that the customer doesn’t feel like talking too much, I also was never that interested in learning how to tattoo because I never drew when I was young but I liked the immediacy of piercing and the impact that it could make so quickly.’
Yann went on to explain the various types of modification that he performs; he does perform branding on the skin and that it looks very beautiful but prefers not to because the smell of burning flesh is so overwhelming. His favourite modification to create is tongue splitting which he likes because it can be hidden and its results are so satisfying; ‘My own mother doesn’t even know that I have my tongue split!’ However he did elaborate on the similarities that exist between the two practices ‘you have to have an understanding of the skin, especially with skin removal between understanding the difference between the epidermal and dermal layers’.
Besides from an understanding of the fragility and strengths of different parts of the skin what really stands out is the fact that unlike a tattooer Yann is directly working with the upheaval of flesh, cutting, slicing and splitting living skin to reveal the under layer of bloodied matter in the aim to create something visually incomparable. A tattooer of course deals with blood but in a far less excessive way. Looking at Yann’s work its difficult to detach a reaction from thinking about anything other than the process of pain in most of these procedures rather than the skill and healed outcome because so much blood is involved in his exercise. On top of that the healing process is far more prolonged than that of tattooing ‘it can take weeks or even months until the final result can be clearly seem with scarification.’
We talk about the popularity of body modification, we can all see how tattooing has escalated so dramatically over the last few years, but has the modification scene changed at all? ‘No, there always seems to be the same steady amount of people who aren’t effected by this fashion part of it. No one kind of modification is that much more popular than the next. I’m usually mostly in demand for stitching peoples lobes up. Ear stretching was really popular a few years ago but people don’t really want them anymore, a lot of people go to the doctors to have their ears sewn up but they don’t always do such a good job. That’s why they come to me’.
The practice of sewing up ear lobes certainly seems like a removal of a fashion which was once so prominent, a body modification which is permanent being reversed for the sake of fashions going out of date seems so utterly futile. There’s something strangely outdated about seeing men is their late twenties wearing suits or Americana inspired vintage with shrivelled earlobes that look so out of place and uncomfortable in the new context of many peoples lives. This comes down to the evolution of how sub-culturally inspired fashions gravitate, there’s a desire to look dedicated to your fashion, but body modifications are harder to justify as fashionable and this kind of notion of removing modifications couldn’t seem further away when speaking to the ultra committed Yann. Like how the Modern Primitive movement in the 1990s started there is something about the body modification scene which appears almost timeless since its inception, from the way in which people interested in the BM scene dress to the imagery that they inlay on their bodies feels likes this tight knit group of people all read from the same rigorous rule book. It’s a lifestyle that hasn’t changed for anyone, it feels no need to impress anything or develop for anyone else.
Expanding on the status of change in the Body Modification scene we speak more about who Yann’s customers are, ‘I’ve started to travel more because working on guest spots works better as a body modifier, having scarification is the kind of thing that you really need to organise, its not like tattooing where you can get lots of little ones and just walk into a shop. A lot of planning needs to go into it, that’s why if a modifier does a guest spot, someone knows that you’re coming and has time to plan what they want. It’s a huge commitment. I’m going to San Francisco next week and often go to France and back to Switzerland. It’s also not like tattooing in the sense that there are thousands of tattooer’s catering for every different need, there are so few modifiers in comparison to tattooers. So the client is so much more specialised’
How has the Internet affected the body modification scene? Are there any similarities between how people perceive modification like they are tattooing? ‘I use all the different social media outlets because it really is the best way to spread your work around, it also helps you find out all the people in the Modification scene who can be harder to find. It’s definitely a way to bring together like minded people but I don’t think that modification is becoming more popular, it always seems to go at a steady pace however there are people interested and practicing modi faction all over the world.’
There is such a direct strength to tattooing which varies from what Yann does, the tattoo has endless ways of being translated on to the body. Modification can’t always be as direct or intricate as tattooing in its message, but Yann has created something of his own with Delphine which almost meets in the middle of the two crafts. The graphic portraits created through skin removal on blacked out tattooed skin some how harmonize the space of fully covered skin with an intricacy of thin slices of skin removed to give the effect of a silhouetted face.
‘It started to be an obsession as everybody said it was impossible to do and as Ilive with my girlfriend who got told dot work portraits where impossible to do – she proved it was do-able, I learned from her that nothing is impossible. And so followed my obsession to prove that thing in my head could be achieved. Thus the obsession of overcoming difficulties and crossing the boundaries, showing that there are no limits.’
‘I initially started it on myself on some tattoos that I’d covered on my thigh and I’ve also tried the same technique on non tattooed skin but it just didn’t work in the same way. Its becoming more popular but its about finding people who have areas of skin covered up in the first place to be able to create this technique.’ It seems like this particular method only involves the heavily indebted individual, it’s a procedure that can only be developed onto someone with years if not decades worth of modification on the body.
While speaking to Yann this notion of dedication and un-fashionabilty was so prominent. His perseverance to his art and own identity is completely incomparable to many people who are dedicated to their careers, it seems to seep from his every pore and imagining him existing in another world seems impossible. Where notions of ear stretching or parts of tattooing may exist as an adolescent stage to many peoples lives Yann exists as one of those rare people who honestly doesn’t care about what others perceive of him. Whether that is people in the industry or the society that he lives in, there are few people who now live so far away from others expectations like in the way in which Yann does. It’s almost like Yann’s identity and his work could never live separately, they complete one other.’
Yann will start working at the Sang Bleu London shop in the coming months where you can book an appointment with him here.
All photographs were taken by Jean-Francois Le Minh, Interview by Reba Maybury
A MESSAGE FROM FUZI:
In the last two months, FUZI has traveled to New York, Los Angeles, Taiwan and Paris,
where he has tattooed Diplo, Kavinsky and Os Gemeos, among others.
On Saturday, November 9th, FUZI UVTPK will be tattooing in Bern.
You can choose from one of FUZI’s flash tattoos at the appointment, which are now
conveniently scanned and available to view on an iPad.
Or you can request a custom design in advance. FUZI’s flash tattoos and his custom designs
are both unique pieces of art, and FUZI will only tattoo each design one time.
we require a 50% deposit to be paid up front via Paypal.
Appointment times will be confirmed as soon as the deposit is paid.
Appointments will go fast, so we suggest booking ASAP.
No walk ins!
For appointment please write to email@example.com
First come, first served!
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