An interview with Akasha Rabut her exhibition 504 Boyz

 

To celebrate Akasha Rabut’s photo series at the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Practice Space opening on Friday night we’ve spoken to her about the origins of this fascinating project. On Friday evening curator Hope Plescia will also be holing a discussion about the photos starting at 7pm.

How did you find out about this subculture and then go on to document it?

When I first moved to New Orleans I would always see well dressed men, holding a bottle of beer in one hand and riding a horse as fast as they could down the neutral ground. I would see these men all around the city. I started seeing them at second lines and took a few photos of them. I tried to track them down to give them the photos but failed.  I moved to New York for a few months and decided to move back to New Orleans. The first night I was back in town I was riding my bike through the city at 11pm at night and I randomly bumped into the 504 Boyz on horses in the Central Business District. We chatted and I told them that I wanted to hang out with them and takes some photos. We became friends immediately and I started documenting them.

What does 504 Boyz mean?

504 Boyz is a horse riding organization based out of the 504 area code (New Orleans area)

 How long would you spend at these gatherings?

I’ve been to one trail ride and have been shooting the 504 boyz for about 8 months.

 What was the diversity like between these people in regards to age and background?

Almost everyone is African American and between the ages of 18 – 60

 Where do you think the routes of [...]


Iain McKell’s An American Prayer

Tomorrow evening in London, iconic subcultural photographer Iain McKell will be showing a selection his new new worked named ‘An American Prayer’. Taken over a three week period last year, with a focus on a 72 hour coach journey from New York to LA, Iain McKell’s photographs of his trip are raw, honest and tarred with melancholy.

McKell embarks on a pilgrimage to what has been described as ‘the entrance to the underworld’ that is Los Angeles, revealing the underbelly that revolves underneath its blue skied surface.

The photos posses a kind of brutal human honesty exploring the essences of outsiderness and the individual which have existed simultaneously throughout McKells career which has spanned three decades.

Earlier this year we spoke to Steve Terry of Wild Life Press about the re emergence of McKell’s book Sub Culture which documented the Two Tone and Suede Head scene in Britain during the late 70s which you can read here.

Over 100 photos will be shown at this Salon evening starting at 7pm and ending at 11pm.

Curated by Roisin McQueirns.

More Information can be found here.

Iain McKell : An American Prayer.

7-11pm

The Wanstead Tap

Arch 352 Winchelsea Road Forest Gate, e7 0aq London

 

 


An interview with GRACE NEUTRAL

Grace Neutral is the social networking phenomenon and tattooer whose popularity has escalated at an accelerated speed over the last year.

She is perhaps best known for having her eyeballs tattooed a light lilac colour, her belly button removed, nose stretched, face tattooed, the shape of moons carved out of her cheeks  and ears turned into pixie shapes as well as having 90% of her body tattooed with manga and disney characters.

With almost seventy thousand followers on Instagram, Grace shares with us images of her hand poked tattoos of cartoon characters and mandala designs created at Good Times Tattoo in London and her own body modifications.

So what is it about Grace that people are finding so fascinating? Tattooing has become so common place within youth culture and body modification isn’t that far behind this current trend , so what is it that Grace has created within this culture to have accumulated all this attention? Working as a tattooer is increasingly becoming more and more popular so what does it take to grab the attention of so many in the way in which Grace has?

Is Grace Neutral presenting us with a new format where she has sabotaged a conventional form of female sexuality and our expectations of womanhood or is she creating a new one? And if she is creating a new one is this something that she is doing with an aim to actively challenge our expectations? The tattoo world still exists as a predominately masculine world so having this new young girl accumulate so much attention so quickly has certainly challenged what we expect of a female tattooer.

What does it mean in our contemporary culture that girls want to inlay their bodies with cartoon characters? This of course is nothing new, tattooed images of cartoon characters are completely intertwined with notions of flash design dating back [...]


Tonya Harding – Dark Days

Tonya Maxene Harding is an American figure skating champion, a two-time Olympian, and a two-time Skate America Champion. In 1991, she won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed second in the World Championships.

I think that she’s a powerhouse and her talent made her the Olympic medal winner and at one time the best women’s figure skater in the world. She has a taste for competition and a fighting spirit. However I think this gumption was fuelled by her sad upbringing with her abusive mother. She went from an abusive mother to an abusive marriage – a man whose actions would lead to her complete demise within the career she had spent nearly her entire life working towards.

“Her mother was married six times; she grew up in a trailer home, was called trailer trash, called a white nigger. Abused child, abused wife. Her insides must look like a broken glass. But she keeps smiling and keeps skating.” — Jesse Jackson

She’s kind of amazing, despite having had the most harsh and abstract life and carries on fighting and believing in herself all the way. After it was found out that her then husband Jeff Gillooly had indeed arranged for her bodyguard to smash the knee of her rival Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 Olympics with a metal bat, Harding was banned from skating either as a skater or a coach forever. There is no definite way of knowing if she was involved prior to the attack, as Gillooly states that she was but whether she would risk everything on such an outlandish plan is debatable. After the Olympics and under much pressure she signed a plea bargain which included her 1994 title to be revoked and all of her [...]


Sex Shop at Transition Gallery

 

Sex Shop is the titilating exhibition currently on show at Hackney’s Transition Gallery and it showcases the work of 50 artists and designers surrounding the theme of ‘sex’. Originally on display at Folkestone Fringe last year (think of the seedy seaside town sex shops), each participating practitioner has created a prototype of their desired sexual or fetish object; the responses are all profoundly personal and one experiences a sense of voyeurism with the intrusion into their (usually private) desires.

Sex Shop is indeed a shop, all of the objects involved are for sale, though the exhibition reads more like a cabinet of perverse and perverted curiosities than a standardised retail practice due to the subverted nature of the sex objects on display. We spoke to one of the curators, Jack Stokoe about the exhibition and its objects within.

Where did the idea for Sex Shop come from?

A few years ago, Sarah Gillham, Darren Narin and myself all worked together as art lectures at a college on the outskirts of London. We used to discuss each other’s practice during spare moments as respite from the coalface of teaching. We quickly realised that, if you were to draw a Venn diagram of our interests as artists, ‘sex’ would be the central overlapping area of concern. But we each approached it from a different perspective: Sarah was interested in the psychoanalytical and feminist discourse around female sexuality and desire, Darren had a background in queer theory, and I was interested in the Sadean territory of perversion and nihilism. So between us we had most of our bases covered.

 

Initially, the idea of doing a sex-based exhibition, as part of the Folkestone Fringe at the next Triennial, was Sarah’s. She had grown up in Folkestone and had wanted to [...]


Celebrating 2015’s International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve asked some of our favourite people to choose a piece of culture which celebrates women in whatever way they seem fit. From songs, famed pieces of art, films,pieces of history and even peoples own creations, the variety of ideas and people chosen for this piece come from the backgrounds of photographers, fashion designers, stylists, tattooers, writers, artists, film makers and publishers.

Claire Barrow

I would ilike to dedicate the invention of the Vibrator to celebrate International Women’s day.

 

 

 

Tyrone Lebon –

Nina Simone – Do What You Gotta Do cover and photograph of my Mum’s fridge.

The lyrics to this song have always felt heartbreaking to me, I enjoy wallowing in it. There’s a live performance of Nina Simone singing it on youtube that I absolutely love. I’ve definitely sobbed to it a few times. I was just looking for the link to send to you and fate took its course and suggested instead this ukulele version sung by this nice beardy man. Somehow this version seems to make more sense for this. Also here is a scan from a contact sheet of a photo I’m yet to print properly. Its of my mum’s fridge with a sticker which says “MY MUM IS NICE”. So I would like to play this song and look at this photo and give those moments to recognise both my mother and the other women I have loved – for this International Women’s day.

Reba Maybury Amrita Sher-Gil Self Portrait as Tahitian 1934 Amrita Sher Gil was a painter of Indian and Hungarian decent working from India and Europe during the first half of the 20th century. Often labeled as the Indian equivalent of Frida Kahlo, there were many blatant [...]

An editorial and conversation about Vejas with the designer and their stylist.

VEJAS is a new young designer who recently showed their F/W15 collection at New York fashion week. Vejas’s stylist Marcus Cuffie alongside photographer Benjamin Bibriesca have created this editorial exclusively exhibited on Sang Bleu using this particular collection. And to go alongside this Vejas and Marcus have had a conversation about the morals behind this progressive and optimistic fashion brand which you can read below.

Marcus Cuffie

well the first question is

how did we meet?

Vejas Kruszewski

that’s easy

tumblr

but lets just say “online:”

Marcus Cuffie

ugh I have to start making up a lie for this answer

we met….in the Mykonos I was with my ex husband then

tho the first first time we met irl was I think when u gave me that um…wool top

Vejas Kruszewski

.. we don’t speak of that “wool top”

Marcus Cuffie

in your retrospective in 20 years I will

wear it and tell everyone this is the first thing u made

Vejas Kruszewski

u betta not!

we met…

Marcus Cuffie

lets see next question

why is it important to cast people you care about

Vejas Kruszewski

at the fall of the Berlin wall, you spray painted the margiela number label on the wall and then I showed you my margiela number tattoo on the back of my neck

lmao

uh,

Marcus Cuffie

ugh you messed up the order!!!!

ill let you answer first cuz I was talking to myself all day so I have my answer anyway

Vejas Kruszewski

its important for me to cast people I care about because I want to see my friends beauty represented and legitimized and also to ground the clothes in the idea of their wearability in terms of being placed on “regular” people I guess

but the first part more so

Marcus Cuffie

right also I think at this point in like

our career

I hate saying career [...]