sculpture

Background Noise, Episode 84: Mark Jenkins by Matt Valerio

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 84, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST MARK JENKINS

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 84, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST MARK JENKINS

Mark Jenkins' sculptures are a sight to behold. Witnessing them in all their glory in person is absolutely fascinating. Using a combination of saran wrap and tape, he makes life-size replicas of humans and various other objects that seem real until you're right up close. 

His work has been perceived to be SO realistic, that people often call the police, concerned that someone is actually in one of the predicaments that Mark has staged his sculpture. Somehow, I think Mark relishes this, as part of the reason he places his work in the street is to see how people interact with it. 

You can see many more of Mark's impressive creations here.

What was your first concert?
The Fixx

Last concert/show?
Glastonbury Festival

First album, tape or cd you bought?
AC/DC - If You Want Blood (You Got It) 

Last album you bought?
Rolling Stones -  Tattoo You

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Rustie - Glass Swords

Who is your musical hero?
Beethoven, Ennio Morricone

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Instrumental music a lot, but I just need it in bursts. Reflecting on music for me is as important as listening to it.

Death Mountain -- Rustie
Unrequited--Cylob
Quest -- Nosaj Thing
Slow Spines -- Clark
IOIO -- Nosaj Thing
Coke Sniffah -- Bong Ra
Dark Steering -- Squarepusher
Her Tears Taste Like Pears -- Dorian Concept
Horizontal Figuration -- Take
Imagination -- DJ Hidden & Switch Technique
German Clap -- Modeselektor
Ruk -- Dark Sk

Check out Mark'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

Background Noise, Episode 75: Adam Wallacavage by Matt Valerio

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 75, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST ADAM WALLACAVAGE

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 75, THE FOCUS IS ON ARTIST ADAM WALLACAVAGE

Adam Wallacavage's South Philly residence is most people's dream home. Outfitted with the kitschiest of the kitschy, he's surrounded himself with exactly what he likes, things that stimulate and inspire him. It's here in this home that he started creating his now well-known chandeliers, which range from various octopi to dragons and snakes. Hand-sculpting them with epoxy clay, he then paints them and covers them with resin to presents a glass or ceramic look.

They're all both terrifying and beautiful, frequently snagged up by art and kitsch collectors alike for a slightly hefty price. Adam is a photographer as well (he's has shot in the past for magazines like Thrasher). The playlist he put together for this series features a great mix of modern skate garage/trash (Thee Oh Sees, King Khan, Cramps) and some classic goth-y tracks (Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Tones on Tail). I love it.


First album you bought?
DEVO: Are We Not Men

Last album you bought?
Thee Oh Sees: Drop

First concert?
It was in 1985 at the Atlantic City Elks Club for The Electric Love Muffin, Die Kruzen and Articles of Faith opening for The Faction but The Faction didn't show up.

Last concert?
Electric Wizard at Union Transfer in Philly.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
It was a tape my friend made me with Bauhaus on one side and Siouxsie and the Banshees on the other. I listened to it constantly when I was 14 or 15. It totally influenced a lot in my life.  

Who is your musical hero?
Lux Interior

How important is music to your creative process?
I got my whole house/studio hooked up with SONOS speaker system and it's pretty much on all day and night. My studio is in my house and sometimes I won't leave at all during the day so I tend to go to a lot of shows whenever I can at night to be somewhat social. Philly is a great city to see music. There's a ton of venues and great bands come through here. I try to stay current so that there's more shows I want to see and with the online streaming, it's so easy to find new music without leaving the house but I make up for getting free music online by buying lots of records at the shows.

Watch Adam give a tour of his fascinating house above, and see a great article about his home here.


DEVO - Gut Feeling
Crocodiles - All my Hate and Hexes Are For You
Monster Magnet - All Friends and Kingdom Come
Slowdive - When the Sun Hits
Dead Skeletons - When the Sun Comes Up For the Last Time
Kate Bush - Moving
Roxy Music - In Every Dreamhome A Heartache
Blonde Redhead - Spring and By Summer Fall
Siouxsie and the Banshees - The Rapture
Sisters Of Mercy - Marian
Tones on Tail - Rain
Bauhaus - Exquisite Corpse
The Dark Horses - Radio
The Asteroid #4 - Windmills of the Autumn Sky
Thee Oh Sees - Corprophagist (A Bath Perhaps)
The Altered Hours - Sweet Jelly Roll
Queens of the Stone Age - Hanging Tree
The Gun Club - Breaking Hands
The Cramps - Voodoo Idol
King Khan and the BBQ Show - I wanna Be a Girl
Creepoid - Yellow Wallpaper
The Tough Shits - Try Not to Laugh
Melody's Echo Chamber - I Follow You
Pearls Before Swine - Surrealist Waltz


Check out Adam'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.  Check out Adam's website here.

Background Noise, Episode 62: Mike Leavitt by Matt Valerio

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 62, the focus is on artist mike leavitt

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 62, the focus is on artist mike leavitt

Mike Leavitt has a plethora of things under his belt. Based near Seattle, WA, the man who now also refers to himself as ReMike (ReMike remakes things), has been going strong for quite some time.

I'd seen some of his work online in passing over the years. It may have been his Banksy action figure that caught my attention. Needless to say, I jumped on the chance to go see his Empire Peaks exhibit at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Manhattan a couple of years back. The exhibit showed off Mike's sculptural mash-ups of political icons, pop culture figures and Star Wars characters, all presented as large scale, hand-carved, ARTICULATING wood statues. Each piece was amazing, and each one was incredibly hard not to touch. There was Steve Jobs as C3PO, Donald Trump as Darth Vader, Che Guevara as Boba Fett, among many others.

His Art Army toy series, his largest series of work, has gotten him a lot of attention since he created his first piece in 2002. Aside from his Banksy toy, which is the only creation of his to have been mass-produced, every other Art Army figure is one of a kind. He covers so much ground in this series, creating amazingly unique figurines of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Matthew Barney, Chuck Close, Ai Weiwei, and Barbara Kruger. All artists who most definitely would never have been in toy form if it weren't for Mr. Leavitt.

He has a whole series of shoes and accoutrements replicated to exact specs with cardboard. Cardboard Crocs, Chuck Taylors, a Keytar, etc.....He has Kurt Cobain towels, an Elton John toilet seat, an Ahmadinejad teapot (a collaboration with Seattle ceramacist Charles Krafft), and his work is in the permanent collections of Morgan Spurlock, KAWS, Ron English and Eddie Vedder (the latter of whom bought a piece of Leavitt's work and accidentally broke it when he got home). As far as I know though, Leavitt fixed it for him, and went on to make Eddie and his wife a custom wedding cake topper.

I'd highly recommend blocking off a good hour of your time and heading over to Mike's site to check out just a fraction of his body of work. It's absolutely insane what this guy has made.

First album you bought?
Michael Jackson Thriller. The cassette was my birthday present to myself when I was 8. I freaked out on the dance floor of a friend's birthday party when I first heard it. I had to have the album after that.

Last album you bought?
Future Islands, On the Water. I'm a total sucker for regurgitated new wave- M83, Hot Chip, Cut Copy & them. I love Future Islands' twist on it. It's like Tom Waits fronting New Order in their prime.

First concert?
MC Hammer, hot off the Can't Touch This tour. Back then I think even transcribed all of the lyrics from that song from a recording I made off the radio. I guess every answer to your questions requires me revealing one guilty pleasure or another.

Last concert?
Just saw The War on Drugs at a place called Pappy & Harriet's near Joshua Tree between their Coachella sets.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
Besides Thriller? U2 Joshua Tree, funny enough. It was a comfort in middle school during those awkward adolescent days. It still plays really well for me. Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA was another big childhood favorite. Great memories of roadtrips with my Dad. It also still plays well for me. I know The Boss isn't the best one to idolize as a hard-working blue collar hero. He gets the job done for me. Sometimes I need my studio to take on the foul air of a Jersey construction site, alright? We all have our own motivations.

Who is your musical hero?
I used to answer this question "Beck" without hesitation. Bjork, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson have all held this slot for me for long periods of time. My answer today: David Byrne. Talking Heads were a huge influence in my life from about age 12 to 18, especially as I learned and studied the downtown scene, Reed, Warhol, CBGB, Haring etc. As an adult I've discovered a whole new appreciation for the Heads & Byrne himself. That he's both a creator & facilitator, a great author of music and great assembler of talent.

How important is music to your creative process?
It's instrumental :). Literally. It's not as important during early stages of conceptualizing and brainstorming. Music will definitely trigger new ideas and inspirations. It also triggers affirmation. It's a product of recorded music, especially anything with history. I hear a song even just a year or two old and I recall memories of the first time I fell in love with it, what was happening around that time. I should try to act aloof and perpetually confident but the honest truth is that I need affirmation to continue taking risks and experimenting. Music takes on another level of importance to my process after I've started a project, anywhere in the middle, and definitely towards the finish line. Good music is the chugging train that keeps my wheels turning and hands moving. If I'm ever in doubt, ever in need of a dose of energy or emotion it never fails.

"Chuch", Shabazz Palaces
"Don't Sweat the Technique", Eric B & Rakim
"Skills", Gang Starr
"Sweat", Theesatisfaction
"Queens", Theesatisfaction
"Human Nature", Michael Jackson
"Double Dutch", Malcom McLaren
"It Was Written Down", Toots & the Maytals
"Mama Africa", Peter Tosh
"Shuffle a Dream", Little Dragon
"Back in the Tall Grass", Future Islands
"Vireo's Eye", Future Islands
"Sax and Violins", Talking Heads
"Running to Stand Still", U2
"I'm Going Down", Bruce Springsteen

Check out Mike'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.

Background Noise, Episode 16: Don Pablo Pedro 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 15,  the focus is on Brooklyn-based artist  Don Pablo Pedro    .

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 15,  the focus is on Brooklyn-based artist Don Pablo Pedro.

I'll be honest, it's been pretty hard to find any information about Brooklyn's Don Pablo Pedro anywhere. The only thing I really found was a mysterious bio that reads:

There once was a beautiful nymph, an amazing creature with five heads and three vaginas. She was seduced by a magnificent satyr, a satyr who was revered as the greatest painter in the small port town in which both beings hid. The nymph bore two sons from this union, although both were extremely unusual. The first son was born with a lavish beard that reached down to the tips of his toes, and had a mysterious eye which resided on his single testicle. The second son was born with a pussy for a face, and had an arm in place of his penis. In an epic battle not long after birth, the long bearded boy killed and raped his mutilated brother. This bearded son lives on today, as Don Pablo Pedro.

After you've seen Don Pablo's art, it seems that this bio is fairly fitting, considering the imagery he comes up with for his pieces.

Don Pablo is sort of in a style all his own. The only artist I could remotely compare him to is Alan Aldridge, the artist responsible for Elton John's Captain Fantastic LP cover, an album that I studied frequently when I would steal the record from my dad when I was younger. That may have even been what drew me to Don Pablo's work in the first place. I'm a sucker for the weird, so when I saw his colorful, grotesque, and sexually-charged artwork, I was drawn in.

He often displays his painted work on muslin scrolls, and is often selling miniature versions of these scrolls, printed from an inkjet printer onto muslin for only $20 via his website. He does some digital illustration (pictured above in the main podcast image), and he's a talented sculptor as well. He's displayed his work at many galleries, from Pandemic Gallery to English Kills Gallery. His work is absolutely fascinating, and you should keep an eye on this guy.

The music he sent me for this podcast was perfect for the day I was piecing it together. An early spring day when the sun was just starting to finally peek out of the clouds here in New York after a long, cold winter. His musical choices, from The Beach Boys to Elvis, David Bowie to The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" were successful in bringing a smile to my face and they really put me in a good mood. It's fascinating to me that such happy music yields such twisted visual results, but in a way, it sort of makes sense.

Transient

What was your first concert?

Jimmy Buffett 

Last concert/show you went to?

Snow Wite and No Parents 

First album/tape or cd?

Bone Thugs and Harmony 

Last album you bought?

Beach Boys

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

Joni Mitchel's Blue

Who is your musical hero?

Jimmy Buffett

 

Listen to Don Pablo's podcast below, or download it directly here.

Check out previous Background Noise episodes on iTunes or Mixcloud, and be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes.