found objects

Background Noise, Episode 32: Lucien Shapiro by Matt Bomarr

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 32 the focus is on Lucien Shapiro.

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 32 the focus is on Lucien Shapiro.

San Francisco-based artist Lucien Shapiro's work is like none I've ever seen. I was impressed with his painstakingly created masks the first time I saw them, but even MORE impressed once I looked a little bit closer and saw what they were made from. Using found objects, Lucien pieces together these ancient warrior-looking masks using modern day found objects.

His work is always open to interpretation by the viewer, but often has a personal connection or meaning to him. He incorporates bottle caps into a lot of his pieces, which appeal to Lucien because they are circles, and to him they symbolize his belief that everything comes full circle. A recent piece from his show at San Francisco's 111 Minna Gallery, which features a large number of condoms strung together, represents a "protection mask." One of his pieces even consists of different colored skateboard wheels tied together with twine and draped over a skull. It's all very fascinating stuff.

He's made a few videos as well. These videos are usually like mini art films that document some of the "rituals" that get performed by people wearing Lucien's masks. They are always beautifully shot, and usually soundtracked by fellow San Franciscan and beatmaker extraordinaire, Edison.

At the moment, I'm unaware of any upcoming gallery shows of his, but you can check out his website, his Twitter or his Instagram for updates.

photo via lucienshapiro.com

photo via lucienshapiro.com

What was your first concert?
I'm sure this wasn’t the first concert I went to but definitely the first one I remember was MC Hammer .

Last concert/show?
Haven’t been keeping up with my shows watching or concerts lately I am a bad fan I guess. Last one I remember was the Gaslamp Killer and DJ Shadow or Thee Oh Sees. About to go see Babelfishh , Swordplay, Pierre the motionless, James Reindeer, and Home on Friday.

First album, tape or cd you bought?
Shit not quite sure what was first but I did get Talking Heads tape Little Creatures pretty young. That was a good one.

Last album you bought?
Heavier Percussion tape from Egadz

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Soo many to chose from. But the Beastie Boys License to Ill may have flipped the whole thing for me.

Who is your musical hero?
Shit, man so many on this question too, I would have to say Mike Patton. but so many more as well.

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Very very very very very important. Without it I couldn’t get into my flow in the studio, I don’t need it always but it keeps me in it.

Check out Lucien's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here. And stay tuned for next week's episode, featuring the UK artist Paul Insect.

Background Noise, Episode 9: RAE by Matt Bomarr

My new "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 9 the focus is on Brooklyn artist  RAE

My new "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 9 the focus is on Brooklyn artist RAE

Brooklyn artist RAE is another artist who doesn't limit his creations to just one particular medium. His work ranges from small stickers to large paintings to sculptures made from anything he can get his hands on. He's said that sometimes he will even walk the shoulder of the highway looking for parts that have fallen off of cars so he can incorporate them into his art. No matter what medium he's working in, his work is always colorful, and more often than not, contains elements of his trademark characters like the ones you see above.

photo by Bomarr

photo by Bomarr

He's also pretty ballsy. He has told the story of how he was almost busted by the cops when installing his first street sculpture. The cops rolled up on him mid-installation and asked what he was doing. He stopped and told them that he loved the piece of art and just had to have it, before he suggested to the cops that maybe he should leave it up, to which they agreed and let him "put it back", not realizing that they were allowing him to install it right under their noses. And then there's the sculpture that he installed in the middle of the day in an undisclosed subway stop in New York. It's been up for quite some time, and it looks so professional and fitting that nobody has ever questioned it. Every single time I use this train station, I smirk to myself at how awesome it was that he pulled that off.

photo by Bomarr

photo by Bomarr

This past fall, RAE took over an East Village bodega for a month. He transformed the mostly-empty bodega into a makeshift art gallery where his various works (again, sculptures, paintings, stickers + more) were the main attraction, with a few bagels and what not tossed in to make you remember that you were still in a bodega. It was a very impressive display of his work. It's things like this that make you realize that RAE is the type of artist that is always pushing himself to try something new.

Music is very important to RAE, and I'm very thankful for the kind words and enthusiasm he's had for this Background Noise project. He even asked to design his own image for the podcast (seen at the top).

Read a few words from RAE, and listen to his excellent mix below.

photo by Bomarr

photo by Bomarr


What was your first concert/show? 

Lisa Lisa and The Cult Jam.  I was about 11 years old, it was at the Knights of Columbus a few blocks from my house in Brooklyn.  My friends and I were there trying to meet girls and writing on the walls.

Last concert/show?

The National in Brooklyn.


First album, tape or cd? 

Doug E Fresh - "The Original Human Beatbox" I still have the record but it has lost it's grooves in one area from me scratching with it so much.
 

Was there any one album that made a significant impression on you?

photo by Bomarr

photo by Bomarr

Rage Against The Machine's "Battle Of Los Angeles". Of course it started with their first album and the song "Killing In the Name" but the entire "Battle Of Los Angeles" Album has a laser beam focused angst that points directly at the injustices of big corporations, the denial of dark events that took place in US history and the "screw the people" attitude of government in general.

Who is your musical hero? 

Lee Scratch Perry.  Eclectic innovator.

If you have anything to add about why you chose the songs you did, go for it....

For this mix I choose songs that are good to listen to in the rain.  It was raining when I chose the track list.  If it was hailing I would have went in a different direction.

 

Listen to Rae's very eclectic mix below, on the Mixcloud site, or subscribe on iTunes