Posts tagged surf
Native Brand
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If your music taste skew to heavier side of spectrum then the name Joel Birch should be familiar if you have been exposed to local success story turned international juggernaut, The Amity Affliction. It is projects outside of music though which give Joel the opportunity to flex his creativity without the bounds of a microphone and stadium lights.

WORDS: ANTHONY THOMAS


Native Brand is one of those projects. The name may ring a bell from our feature on Milan Chagoury in Issue 8, who was a partner in the business at that point in time. Since that article Milan has moved on to other projects while Joel stayed aboard and now steers the ship under a new vision and renewed vigour the make it work.

Under the slogan, “Dream Forever”, Native Brand’s new direction is single minded in tangibly articulating Joel’s view that there is beauty to be found everywhere, everyday. And if you think about it, operating under that guiding principle implies that, really, anything is possible. All you need is a dash of everyone’s favourite secret sauce, imagination, to uncover it. The label’s latest range is the most literal distilment of this to date.

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Under the slogan, “Dream Forever”, Native Brand’s new direction is single minded in tangibly articulating Joel’s view that there is beauty to be found everywhere, everyday.

This fondness for the little things seems to stems from Joel’s innate affinity with nature and, aesthetically, this is where the label leans heavily on as a source of inspiration. Yet while nature is part of the label’s DNA, the designs themselves are actually intended as visual nods to the romanticism of travel and surf photography and the feverish excitement that comes with discovering new places.

Native’s newfound sense of purpose and self-confidence has come off the back of a number of significant learnings though. Notably, the need for simplification and localisation of the supply chain (Grand Scheme are close collaborators) and also unsatisfactory results from experimentation with street culture influences two collections ago. The latter was a particularly important reality check for Joel to reset and bring things more in-line with his feelings about nature and living near the ocean.

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Perhaps most interesting though is the opportunity Native Brand has to further enrich its proposition by start leveraging Joel’s global perspectives from touring into future iterations. And from his point of view, the sky really is the limit when you’re dreaming forever so what that looks like is really anybody’s guess.

www.wearenativebrand.com/shop/

 

KENTARO YOSHIDA X BEN BROWN // RUMBLE

Sea-side Sydney natives, Ben Brown and Kentaro Yoshida, are set to bring the ruckus on Wendesday night at Goodspace Gallery, Chippendale. We spoke to the lads and gained some insight into the skull infused collaboration that is ‘RUMBLE’.

INTERVIEW: RUBY AVERY-DE-WAAL / PHOTOGRAPHY: ROB BIRCHALL

Tell us about your art style!
Kentaro: I have been drawing and reading manga since I was a kid. I grew up in Japan and moved to Sydney when I was 18. Since then, I have been living in Manly and have been influenced by the coastal culture here and the experience of living overseas by myself. The way I draw hasn’t changed much since I was a kid, I have always created clean line drawings as it is a basic technique in Japanese comics.

Ben: I have been doing art since I was a little kid, I am quite an old bastard - I grew up through the 70’s and 80’s and have been influenced by punk rock, skateboarding, surfing and all the goodness and art that accompanies those culturally rich underground lifestyles… basically - I like drawing skulls ’n stuff.

Give us a run down of how this collaboration came about…
Kentaro: One night we had few beers together at our local pub and we started talking about a collaboration and having show together. I also thought it could be a good opportunity to show how different our styles are as we both draw lots of skulls and are surrounded by similar cultures and environments. Ben has been one of my favourite artists since I was a uni student and I have respected him for a long time. I still remember my first task for my internship at O’Neill wetsuits - making something like Ben does! This collaboration means a lot to me.

What has the process been like working collaboratively with one another in the lead up to the show?
Ben: It has been really fun - we get on quite well and whenever we meet to discuss or work on the RUMBLE project, we end up drinking a lot of beer. It is really quite funny how the whole thing has pulled itself together considering we purposely had no concept or theme.


"We would email ideas back and forth to each other so we could both open our photoshop file and work directly on to the same piece using tablets. We later painted these designs on large canvases. We have truly collaborated in a very cruisey, Stress-free manner, it has been a lot of fun."

-Ben Brown


How did the name ‘Rumble’ come about?
Kentaro: We originally planed to make artworks separately, we got stuck on coming up with a concept for the show. One day, I was listening to one of my favourite Japanese bands, Dry and Heavy, and their song ‘Rumble’. I didn’t know the meaning of “Rumble” so I randomly found a meaning from dictionary. One of the definitions stated ‘rumble’ as ‘a street fight between gangs or large groups’ which made me realise it’d be really cool and fresh if we fight in the artwork! We came up with the idea of painting on the same canvases to create series of purely collaborative artworks together.  Fortunately we both live around Manly so it made the whole process way easier.

You’re exhibiting at Goodspace in Chippendale. Both of you are from the Northern Beaches and your work reflects that lifestyle and surf culture in general - has this had an influence on the works in ‘RUMBLE’?

Ben: We both do commercial work within that world and are keen surfers - but the work we have put together for this show reflects our individual styles crashing into each other. We made a conscious effort to steer clear of what people might expect and concentrate on the two of us essentially having a visual painting rumble that makes no sense and has no obvious references.


"RUMBLE is all about collaboration and visual experiment."

-Kentara Yoshida


What can people expect to see from the show?
Kentaro: RUMBLE is all about collaboration and visual experiment. Even I had no idea how final artwork would look until we finished them. We are both excited about how all the artworks turned out and they look really fresh too. Like Ben mentioned, there is no such theme or concept throughout the exhibition, but we did use limited colours and both of our characteristic and motifs to create the consistency across the show - that’s what I love about whole project. Our audience can expect to see our art crush and, of course, see lots of skulls. Come have couple of beers with us!

Ben: You can expect to see a tangled yet clean expression of our ideas clashing on canvas. We have stuck to a nice and simple colour palette and kept the themes and concepts completely meaningless and fun. We will have something for everyone. Original canvases, a limited number of t-shirts and sticker packs - and prints for sale online after the show…. all affordable art … all for the people!


Catch 'Rumble' tomorrow night 6-9pm, 31st May @good.space - 115 regent street, Chippendale, Sydney.
www.benbrown.com.au / Kentaro Yoshida

Mambo - ACID TROPIC Collection

“Mambo’s designs have always told a story through art and characters, this year will be no different.”

-Lee McConnell


One of Australia’s most iconic surf and art brand Mambo,  launches new season with LEE MCCONNELL at the helm.

Officially taking the role of Art Director at the start of the year, Lee is keeping the business focused on real artworks and bringing it back to its true heritage of art and music. Celebrating more than 30 years of artistic history and satirical designs, the brand shows no signs of slowing down with a number of creative collaborations in the pipeline. 

Announced for the second year in a row, Mambo returns as Splendour in the Grass’ major fashion sponsor, with plans to activate bigger, better and more immersive art installations. Lee will be leading the art direction, which will be based on the collection Paradise Psych in the prime position of the top of the amphitheatre. 

Above images: Life Without Andy

Last year McConnell, alongside other Mambo artists, designed the Screaming Guitar, which was a completely interactive five-metre-tall guitar with a 2m giant tongue for festival goers to slide down on. At night, the guitar’s eyes lit up as well as the neck flashing and flickering.  

These art installations represent the strong sense of creativity, artistic heritage and daring sense of humour Mambo is known and loved for. 

“Mambo’s designs have always told a story through art and characters, this year will be no different.” Lee explains. 

 
 

The fusion of music and art is a natural combination for Lee, and his style is a natural fit for the Mambo. All the art is hand drawn with a focus on line work and new art is created every season.

Alongside working with Mambo, Lee is also involved with a number of other creative endeavours, including his recent collaborative work with the Dune Rats album cover and tour posters as well as co directing a music festival, Grow Your Own, in partnership with friend and musician Holly Rankin (Jack River).

www.mambo-world.com