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GOLDEN STATE OF MIND

GOLDEN STATE OF MIND

The year of the Rooster has beckoned many jubilant blessings, but celebrating my gallery debut has to be the crowning moment. The last weekend of May marked the gallery launch of December 9th at Organic Modernism.  Curator Molly Waseka transformed the space from a high end furniture store to a charming art gallery, showcasing the expressive imagery of a handful of LA artists. 

Reigning as the only photographer, I had the privilege to present my canvases (as well as sell limited edition square prints) among other artists such as Black Brain, Jesse Draxler, Brian Ostroff, Antonio Pelayo and Jimmy Warhol.

(From left to right, top to bottom) Pay Off, Chase More, Bear Frost, Big Basin, Occasion, Fuegz, Expired, Rooster, Half Full, Backcountry. 

All images were printed with fine art giclee ink on archival canvases with Moby Arts Studio.

Artist’s Statement:

My introduction to photography was through filmmaking. I was intrigued in recording moments that were still instead of moving. The curiosity in capturing my adventures and advancing in the realm of storytelling grew into a passion & lifestyle. I’m grateful to have experienced all the places photography & filmmaking have taken me, as well as feel the flame of desire to push it further and continue evolving.

With the ten year anniversary of my migration to the West on the horizon, I thought ten selects were appropriate to express my love & appreciation to the territory that’s blessed me with so many triumphant moments. From San Diego to Big Basin Redwood Forest and a few places in-between, this California Captures collection feature some of my favorite stills snapped in the Golden State.

I featured the pictures with the aim of enhancing one’s home or workspace. I hope by seeing these captures, the viewer feels an impulse to detach from their normal routine and enjoy Mother Nature, maybe even give back and try to be more sustainable. Whether they serve as portals of a daydream escape, spark philosophical conversations, encourage sustainability or travel, the intent is to induce one’s golden state of mind. 

(Featured Artist Adam Stanzak with Curator Molly Waseka)

Thank you to all the supporters and collaborators that have made this journey possible. Special thanks to everyone that came out to support on this magical night. The capsule will remain up through the upcoming months, feel free to check it out! Also read Dec. 9th’s recap of the night here

Organic Modernism

315 N La Brea Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Below is a video showing the process of fine art giclee canvas printing, framing and wrapping with Moby Arts. 

 

Lords of Leimert Park | NoCanDo & Myka 9

Lords of Leimert Park | NoCanDo & Myka 9

When I first moved to Los Angeles in August ’07, I was lucky enough (really fuckin’ lucky) to be brought in by two of the most talented, hilarious, astute bruhs the city had to offer – Alpha MC and VerBS. Outside of lacing the homies with crisp fits from their gig at American Apparel, hosting the westside’s most crackin’ friday night function The Spliff, and all around killing the game of good times, dudes happened to also be proficient members of the hip hop collective Swim Team, a fledgling squadron delivering some of the nicest bars and cadences out of Leimert Park’s open-mic workshop – Project Blowed.

Although James (Nocando) wasn’t in Swim Team, he was prolly the most commended crony the crew conspired with. I had heard praises of “the man who served the world,” winner of 2007 Scribble Jam (freestyle-battle competition), and sagacious rap prodigy Nocando since my arrival, but didn’t actually meet bro until Alph brought me to Leimert (circa ’08) to experience the prowess & sorcery alchemizing in those late Thursday night cyphers.

Since I started collaborating with these legends of Leimert, Nocan has always been mad cool & hospitable. One time I was almost stranded in San Bernardino. My ride ditched me to chase a skeezer he met at Paid Dues, I didn’t even know I was about to get left until James reached out and offered a ride, pretty sure we ate at Denny’s halfway back. From plugging the + 1’s at Low End Theory throughout the years, to providing encouragement at times of difficulty, dude continues to be a bona fide Lawd.

For those unfamiliar with Project Blowed and Kaos Network, do your research and buy This is the Life documentary, debut film of Oscar nominated director Ava DuVernay (13th, Selma, Scandal). To go into detail about its importance chronicling Project Blowed’s predecessor The Good Life Cafe, an early 90’s open-mic that spawned masterminds Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract Rude, Ellay Khule (among many others), as well as drawing household names such as Eminem to Common, would be a dissertation in itself. Please do yourself a favor and educate yourself with the film, it’s hella informative and done really well. 

One crucial piece of enlightenment to take from the film is the profound virtuosity and influence Myka 9 (formerly known as Microphone Mike) and his crew Freestyle Fellowship had on the times. Myka is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. OG definitely communicates on a higher frequency and operates in another dimension. Diving into his brilliance and dexterity would be another disquisition. The closest analogy I can think of is an oracle unicorn illuminating the world with poems and music, simultaneously freestyling and beatboxing as a cloud of DMT dissipates in the air.

Nocando’s Mykraphone Myk pays homage to Myka 9, even borrows a couple bars from Myka’s song Life or Death. I’m honored to contribute and participate in the legacy of these Leimert Park Lords. Shout out to Tamara Wofford for bringing this together. Be sure to cop Nocando’s “Severed” LP on iTunes or Bandcamp, for those on a budget slap it on Soundcloud or Spotify. Peep the video & stills below.

 

Story & Visuals by Adam Stanzak

DRASTIC ESCAPADES: AMSTERDAM

DRASTIC ESCAPADES: AMSTERDAM

The Hippies, Cameron (their primo) and I just finished the spring USA tour and decided to hit Amsterdam for vacation.  We deserved it right? Jeff calls me Wednesday afternoon (day before we’re suppose to leave), to let me know that he just bought tickets and our flight departs LAX in 2 hours!  I happen to be in Culver City picking up my camera and lens from a repair shop.  Couldn’t of been cutting it any closer.  For some reason this is basically how all our trips are – last minute, no fucks given.

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Upon arrival, we had no hotel booked and it was Easter weekend.  Luckily we were able to find a spot not too far from the coffee shops.

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Day 1:  Figuring out the lay of the land, on shrooms.

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I led the pack on bikes (being the only one sober) riding in circles, searching for the infamous Red-light district. 

Day 2:  Waking up to the realization that we didn’t have a hotel booked for the rest of our stay.  We ended up schlepping our bags around the city for a few hours, eventually booking the last telly in all of Amsterdam.  Thank God.

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We crewed up and took a boat trip through the canals.

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With sunset an hour away, I mobbed solo around the city to find the dopest spot for a photo.  The I Amsterdam sign felt like a proper stopping place.  Very cool place to chill and see all the people hop on the sign for photos.

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The evening in Dam Square hosted this awesome Carnival set up adjacent to this huge cathedral.  I hoped Jeff and Kevin would join me on the ride for a photo, but Kevin was a wimp and Jeff was shrooming again, so I continued my solo mission to the top.

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 Once we were able to put our bags down in the room, we couldn’t believe how tiny the space was.  Three mattresses and a floor space the size of me!  Somehow I ended up getting the short end of the stick and stuck on the floor.  As expected, I didn’t sleep much.  

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Day 3:  Woke before sunrise to chase that beautiful 15 minute window of time, on a bicycle. Which turned into a day journey around the city.

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Day 4:  Everybody got new fits.

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Had to smoke out the coffee shop one last time before returning to the States.

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Thanks Amsterdam for the calm vibes.

-Picture Perfect

 

Pizzanista! x G Pen

Pizzanista! x G Pen

To say 2017 has been a year of milestones, would be hella accurate.  But before I write a dissertation about my roots in skateboarding (leading me to pick up a video camera), how cool Salman Aaah is and how fucking rad documenting this collaboration has been, Ima let you find out for yourself with the video below.

Special thanks to G Pen, Pizzanista! & Salman for making this come to fruition. 

– Steezak

 

Cassidy Howell LP

Cassidy Howell LP

We’re pleased to have collaborated on another album cover for someone who has been a Drastic ambassador before we even amalgamated.  One of our favorite musicians & artists, Cassidy Howell, who’s known round these parts as Steezlawd. Executively produced by Chase Moore & SahtyreCassidy Howell is Saht’s third “official” LP. Other than a couple tracks produced by Derek Pope and the Steezlawd himself, the project was produced, mixed & mastered by Chase Moore.  Fortunately our roots with Cass go all the way back to High Saht, so we’ve had the pleasure to not only witness the rise and evolution, but conspire & voyage with the mystical wizard for damn near a decade. 

In just a week of the release, it’s featured on the top 20 hiphop/rap albums, be sure to cop on iTunes!

Original portrait shot at Union by Adam Stanzak.

Be sure to blap Cassidy Howell for everyone you know, and stay on the lookout for more Steezlawd Drastic visuals.

For those of you that can’t afford an iTunes purchase or happen to be stingy af, slap it on Soundcloud.

DRASTIC ESCAPADES: SHINJUKU NIGHTS

DRASTIC ESCAPADES: SHINJUKU NIGHTS

Just weeks before Christmas 16′ the Hippies and I made a last minute mission to Tokyo, Japan.  With only 2 days notice, we packed our bags and jetted over to fulfill a quest.  Shooting over a span of 72 hours, we captured the flyer & billboard image for the upcoming Chasing The Wild tour

Arriving in Shinjuku we spent all of our nights walking the neon streets scouting for locations to shoot.

We ordered ramen from an atm & we sipped drinks in Golden Gai.  Golden Gai was awesome.  The location was the size of one block with alleyways full of tiny bars.  We shot whiskey in one bar, downed asahi in another, and so on.  Bartenders were always nice and would hook us up with spots to check out.  Kan pai (Cheers)!

Trying to figure out arcade games was a common situation. 

Conversing (signing) with locals was spotty, leaving us to end everything with arigatou (thank you).

24/7 people fill the streets of Shinjuku .

We finally found the gold mine of locations.  Here we got what we came for!

Classic Japanese photo.

Our last night in the city it started to rain so we bought umbrellas.

Weed was no where to be found.

We took the metro to Shibuya just to say we did it.  Ended up finding out no one talks and barely makes eye contact on the train.

Tokyo overall was unexpected, different, bright, drunk and wild.  I’ll never forget it.  Thanks to the hippies for a trip of a lifetime.

Full circle  Sunset Blvd.

Below is the Chasing The Wild Anthem/mini doc of my year with Hippie Sabotage featuring 2 headline tours, a few festivals, and the trip to Tokyo. Full Photo recap from Japan below!

Listen to the new tunes and buy your tickets to the Chasing The Wild Tour before its too late!

By Michael Paredes

Badwood x G Pen Release Party

Badwood x G Pen Release Party

Badwood and G Pen released their ‘Feels Good To Be Bad’ collection on December 2nd. at The Seventh Letter. This marked a milestone for 

Badwood founder Natalie Wood, debuting her first art gallery of all original paintings and sketches. Check out the collection here.

Visuals by Adam Stanzak & Michael Paredes

Rare Rainy Night In LA | Diplo @ Brownies & Lemonade

Rare Rainy Night In LA | Diplo @ Brownies & Lemonade

Last week I made a mission to catch Diplo’s secret set on the Brownies and Lemonade stage @ Union. People turned out for IHEARTCOMIX’s sold-out benefit show for LA’s HOMELESS.  Featured stages alongside B&L included Space Yacht, Ham On Everything, Emo Nite & more.  Obstacles included rain, lack of press pass & failed contact. Luckily the music gods allowed me passage past security and the night was underway.

Packed joint to say the least, girls & photographers engulfed Ekali mid-set, leaving him to DJ with his backside to the crowd.

The crowd went ham as secret surprise guest Diplo blessed the stage.

Fans were psyched to show support for LA’S HOMELESS.

 

Party Favor, Swizzy Mack, & Valentino Khan join Diplo at the DJ booth to “get low.”

Girls banged the stage away to end the night.

By Michael Paredes

 

 

NYC with G Pen & Burton

NYC with G Pen & Burton

A few weeks ago I had the honor of journeying to the Big Apple with G Pen to cover the Phil Frost x Burton X G Pen release party.

Arriving a couple extra days before the festivities allowed us time to roam the city & connect with wonderful humans.

The first night I pulled up to a Macallan tasting party to indulge in some Scotch, gourmet eats & VRX at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Shout out to an unparalleled wizard, James Chatman for extending the invite & always ensuring good times anytime we’re in the same city.

Not a bad way to start an already exceptional trip.

The next day we linked with art maestro Stash to check out his studio & recent designs. 

Here’s his pup Eva & him posing in front of a piece he did with the legendary writer Crash.

The next day visionary Chris Folkers (founder of G Pen) arrived, an early morning photo sesh with the featured luggage was necessary.

The Phil Frost x Burton x G Pen collaboration encapsulates Burton’s top quality luggage, jacket & G Pen Elite – all hit with Phil Frost’s original art.

 To say the release party was lit would be an understatement. It was INFERNO lit. 

Special thanks to G Pen, James, Burton & all the legends that blessed me with a capture. More moments of the expedition below.

 By Adam Stanzak

Hella Good Times at Hieroday

Hella Good Times at Hieroday

Last weekend I mobbed up to Northern California’s Bay Area for a breath of fresh air & Hiero Day. A mission to see my extended SF family was long overdue, and with my man Sahtyre on the bill for Oakland’s renowned Hiero Day, I had the perfect occasion.

Sahtyre, Chase Moore, Xavier & Socalhoun wouldn’t arrive until Sunday, so I had a couple days to cruise around the city and shoot.

Views from the Randall Museum

Beautiful sunsets in the Marin Headlands

I linked with Drastic collaborator & ambassador Farid late Sunday evening.

As I was minutes away from getting some shut-eye, the squadron pulled up. A late night arrival flick was necessary.

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Rare polaroid of Farid & Xavier before we cruised to Oakland.

Saht set the bar hella high early in the day with an enraptured energy level & captivating presence to get the crowd prepped for the rest of the day.

He and X rocked their latest hit with Derek Pope (sadly Pope was not in attendance) “Mona Lisa.”

Socalhoun held it down on the 1’s & 2’s as Chase Moore smashed on keys.

Sadly this ended with someone falling through a skylight and Dilated People’s set getting cut short.

Another successful getaway for the books. Shout out Farid, Fabes, Tim House & all my SF family for all the love. more Hiero Day pics & video below.

By Adam Stanzak

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CHASE MOORE – COFFEE CUPS & ASHTRAYS (MUSIC VIDEO)

CHASE MOORE – COFFEE CUPS & ASHTRAYS (MUSIC VIDEO)

Chase Moore has been family ever since I mobbed up to his Sacramento studio with Sahtyre summer 2012. The music recorded in those initial LSD Sessions w/ Saht, Chase and the Hippies would eventually be heard on the crew’s LSD (Prelude)but more importantly planted seeds for lasting collaboration and fellowship.

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Chase moved to San Diego in 2013 to continue creating music with the Hips, while also making LSD Sessions an easier commute. As he fine tuned and bounced LSD (Saga), Chase showed me some joints off his Real Estate LP and said he wanted to do a video.

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You wouldn’t guess bruv can rap due to the high caliber of his production & engineering, but he can. And pretty damn well. Euphonious production behind  rhapsodic storytelling, wit and conscience wordplay resonates throughout Real Estate from start to finish. Chase made all the beats aside from “Polo Jacket,” shout out Furtado Yuen. Although any track off the project was a fair contender for a Drastic visual, we decided “Coffee Cups & Ashtrays” would be a fun and simple venture.

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The project was shot over two excursions. I made the first one dolo, and the second with glidecam extraordinaire & my patna in Drastic, Picture Perfect Paredes, aka Michael Paredes.

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Visuals were shot in Chase’s old neighborhood of Hillcrest, La Jolla beach & surrounding Daygo area. Shout out to Wicho and Dags of Logic Clothing for the assistance.

Chase Moore – “Coffee Cups & Ashtrays” (Official Music Video)

By Adam Stanzak

 

LOS ANGELES HARDCORE | SOUND AND FURY FESTIVAL

LOS ANGELES HARDCORE | SOUND AND FURY FESTIVAL

Last month I had the privilege of shooting renowned hardcore festival, Sound and Fury. Words cannot justly depict the energy, vehemence or camaraderie this gathering infused. Hosted at the historic Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles, bands and enthusiasts traveled far and wide to be part of this revered experience.  For someone unfamiliar with the hardcore scene like myself, this was a thrilling introduction. Not only are assemblies like Sound and Fury good for the sake of music, but they’re good for humanity. The connections I witnessed were unparalleled to any other music festival or concert. Right after a band rocked their set, they’d jump in the pit and start close-lining and cheering each other on. It may look like a violent happening, but other than one concussion, the aggression and stage diving was celebrated and encouraged. Surprisingly, no one was on their phone! A circumstance that’s damn near extinct. Upon reception of frequencies and vibrations, attendees were present and active. For better or worse, no matter how epic a future show gets, nothing will compare to Sound and Fury. Thank you to Martin and Riley for having me.

Story & Photography by Adam Stanzak