Tuesday, 6 December 2011

COMUNE // Alexis Gross Visit

Last week New Yorker, photographer, and COMUNE/Drop City contributor Alexis Gross stopped by our office for a visit.
Alexis was in town covering the Shake Junt premier for Color Magazine. We picked her up at the airport and immediately brought her to In-and-Out Burger for lunch. Once we got back to the office we gave her a tour and got her laced up with some new COMUNE clothes. We allowed her to have some Personal Pyramid time and then we brought her to our neighbor the LA GUN CLUB. Alexis had never shot a gun before and like a trooper she stepped up and fired an AK-47 and a .357. She was a little shaken at first but quickly got a hang of it and was hitting the paper target with ease.
Alexis Gross is a photographer, artist, and curator. She has identified with a natural passion for taking pictures and an artful future has become apparent. Her pictures are a true extension of her everyday existence, and it’s obvious to those who know her, that what you see is what you get. Feisty, private, eccentric, and amused by records, marijuana, motorcycles, skateboarding and older men, Alexis is a rare bird. Her connection to the skate industry has provided fodder for a portfolio of unique and absorbing imagery. Lifestyle and portraits showcase a fresh and exciting perspective, and Gross has garnered a great amount of respect from all those she’s worked with, both subjects and colleagues alike. Alexis has been featured in and contributed to high profile publications including: Color (Canada), Wow (France), Thrasher (America), Foam (America), Urban Outfitters (America), Complex (America), and Monster Children (Australia). Recently, Alexis debuted her art at a show that she also curated at KCDC in Brooklyn. She has appeared in art shows all over America and Canada, solo and group. Collaborating with retailers, art collectives, and other creatives, Alexis is continuously inspirited by her friends and surrounds.
See more at:


Corey Smith // Become a Better You // Art Show recap

A few weeks ago COMUNE/Drop City artist Corey Smith had his solo show titled “Become a Better You” at the AR4T gallery in Laguna Beach.
Here’s some photos and recap story. Thanks to everyone who came out!
Two days of installation, several months of cultivating, and a lifetime of people watching, Corey Smith’s “Become a Better You” exhibition opened last Thursday. The solo show was held at AR4T gallery and premiered during the Laguna Beach Art Walk.
The office shut down early that day and the unassuming COMUNE van took all of us hoodlums to the beautiful Laguna Beach. With some 32 ounce Coors and enough beef jerky to put us into cardiac arrest, our party had begun. Even with the blacked out windows and the blaring music coming from the speakers, we couldn’t help but notice how rad it is to live in Southern California.
When the doors opened to the AR4T Gallery almost immediately two very happy collectors snagged two of Corey’s pieces up. Over the course of the evening, the space got filled to the brim and the art provoked bountiful conversations. Outside the gallery, our very own Ben Rice and crew posted up in an RV and got harassed by cops for causing what else but general ruckus.
Inspired by get-rich-quick ponsi schemes, exercise equipment, absurdity of extreme sports, weight-loss plans, and modern strategies for success, wealth, and happiness, Smith’s collection exhibits his signature minimalist techniques. Included are twelve new paintings, the revolutionary life changing and healing device Personal Pyramid, and new video installation “Digital Detritus”.
Corey’s new age healing device “The Personal Pyramids”, as advertised, did in fact make dreams come true for young and old.
Check out AR4T Gallery’s Recap of the opening here: ar4t.com

Sam Avery // COMUNE/Drop City Artist-In-Residence

Recently Sam went and stayed with the crew at COMUNE as part of our Artist-In-Residence program. It was his first time in Los Angeles so we felt obliged to give him a whirl-wind tour. On his first night we picked him up at the airport and whisked him off for a live performance by The Entrance Band and a debaucherous evening with some COMUNE affiliates.
Once the weekend came we took him to the Perth Museum to check out the La Brea tar pits. Sam love’s natural history museums so he was very pleased with the extensive collections of prehistoric remains as well as the Saber Tooth Tiger vs. Giant Sloth full-size animatronic diorama. Later that day we explored Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Los Feliz. We ventured up the Griffith Observatory so same could see the smoggy LA skyline and the Hollywood sign.
The next day we traveled south to San Onofre state beach where we camped for the day and relaxed by the shore. Once back in LA Sam met up with COMUNE/Drop City contributor Noel Sinclair Boyt for some extensive skate talk. Once the jaw-wagging (British term I learned) commenced we headed over to the LA Gun club so Sam could get a real slice of Americana via high powered assault weapons. He was a bit shaken at first but quickly gained command of his weapons, firing off a 9mm, a .357, and an AK-47. He stated that it was “the most non-British thing he’s ever done”.
After the Gun Club excitement Noel took Sam for a quick skate tour. Later that day we took Sam to legendary skateboarder Salman Agah’s pizza spot “Pizzanista”. We devoured some delicious pie and Sam got to meet Sal and get hooked up with an awesome Skate or Pie tee shirt. The next day we took him to the airport and sent him on his way. It was a pleasure having Sam visit and we hope he can come back for a longer stay.
Sam Avery bio:
Sam Avery was born the day after Elvis died in what is now a mental health care hospital in Great Yarmouth, England. He studied BA (hons) fine art (painting) at Norwich School of Art and Design and now owns a skate shop called DRUG STORE, located in Norwich, where He lives with his wife Lynne and their 3 cats.
His work can be seen on records and flyers for numerous garage rock/punk bands (including his former band Slim Limbs) and on DRUG STORE branded goods.
He is believed to be descended from the pirate Henry Avery, who’s capture of the ganj-i-sawai in 1695 has been cited as the greatest ever act of piracy and was possibly the first pirate to use the skull and crossbones on his flag.
Like the Drug Store here:                www.facebook.com/pages/DRUG-STORE/
See more about the Drug Store here:  www.drugstoreskateboarding.com
See Sam’s COMUNE/Drop City profile: www.thecomune.com/team/drop-city/contributors/sam-avery/

Sam Avery Interview:
CS: Sam, you limey bastard. I had a fantastic time showing you around L.A. Did you have fun visiting COMUNE?
SA: I had an absolute blast man, thanks for having me
CS: What where some of the highlights?
SA: The Los Angeles Gun Club might well be the most fun place I’ve ever been. There is a reason why gun rhymes with fun! It was kind of sketchy too which I think makes it better somehow. Shooting guns is the least British thing I’ve ever done.
The Entrance Band were great, proper doomy psyche, just the way I like it.
CS: Did L.A. live up to all of the stereotypes you expected?
SA: Err kind of, there was constantly perfect weather and famous skate spots everywhere I looked so that was expected. But some stuff was not what I thought at all, like Hollywood. I never saw any fake boobs or celebrities. Plenty of 90′s looking rocker dudes and chicks that looked like they were on smack though, just like home ha-ha!
CS: Do you think you got a bit of a sun tan while you where here?
SA: Not too much but I was wearing children’s 50+ sun block the whole time, so I guess that’s no surprise. I burn really easily so I just stay pasty.
CS: You own a skate shop called Drug Store. What made you decide to open a shop?
SA: I already worked in the shop that was there before and the owners wanted to retire. I took the place on, renamed it and made it my own I guess. I’m still trying to figure it out and get the place the way I want it but it’s coming along.

CS: You have a pretty rad skate scene developing around Drug Store. The shop could also be viewed as a bit of an art project and social experiment. What are your plans for the future of the shop?
SA: Yeah man, the scene in Norwich has really gotten good the last couple of years. It was a bit dead for a while after the old indoor park closed, but now we have a new concrete park and a shop, which means we can have events and stuff. The plan for the shop is to carry on as we are but keep tweaking things as we see fit. We have an online shop almost ready to go which should help us to join the 21st century; it should be ready in a week or 2. We just finished our first shop video, which I’m really stoked about; it’s called “Dreams That Money Can Buy” and was made by Lewis Ross for DRUG STORE. It features the whole shop team and loads of locals too which I think is important, I don’t want anyone to feel left out.
CS: Where do you get your inspiration for your artwork and graphic design?
SA: All over the place really, but I do particularly like Natural History Museums for some reason. The La Brea Tar Pits museum you guys took me too was cool; I love those sorts of places. Maybe its because my Wife works as a designer for Norfolk Museums?
CS: Who do you think knows more about skateboarding you or Noel Sinclair Boyt?
SA: Ha-ha Noel Sinclair Boyt IS skateboarding! If you sawed him in half you’d see he has 7-plies! Ha-ha NSB is the best!
CS: You recently did a signature artist tee shirt for COMUNE/Drop City. What’s the story behind the graphic?
SA: A photo I saw of a Hells Angel wearing a jacket with this really badly drawn Mickey Mouse on it. It just made me laugh, this gnarly looking dude with a crappy mouse drawing, so I made one of my own.

CS: What the hell is spotted dick?
SA: Either a pudding with raisins, which you eat with custard, or some kind of STD…
CS: What the hell is toad in the hole?
SA: Its sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding (that’s like a savory pancake mix) basically. You eat it with gravy and some vegetables. It’s classic British stodge.
CS: What the hell are bangers and mash?
SA: Bangers and mash is sausages with mashed (I think Americans call it creamed?) potatoes, again eaten with gravy and veg. I have some pretty cutting edge variations of that actually ha-ha!
CS: Where you excited about the royal wedding a few months back? Did you take the day off?
SA: Nah, Lynne and I went to Paris for a week to avoid it ha-ha. We did make a special DRUG STORE shirt for the occasion though!
CS: You’re wife has a pretty interesting job. Tell me about it.
SA: Yeah she works as a designer for the Norfolk Museum Service. She designs everything from the cases and mounts for the objects to the layout of the gallery. It’s a pretty intense job, but she’s a super-nerd so she gets it done!
CS: What’s your favorite spot to skate in your town?
SA: Err, there’s a really good curb that satisfies my slappy requirements, asides from that we have Eaton skate park and Wymondham skate park is nearby. Those are both fun, plus we have a good waste ground spot which is a good place to take the flat bar or build some stuff. We don’t have the best street spots so people are pretty DIY around here.
CS: What’s the best thing that can be done on a skateboard?
SA: The best thing you can do on a skateboard is make sparks from the trucks. Doesn’t matter what the trick is but I reckon slappies are your best bet. I’ve been using those titanium Theeve trucks and that helps for sure. Chopper made some good ones in the Heroin video. Oh and those tail devils don’t count, it’s got to be from the trucks!
CS: Who are some of your favorite artists?
SA: I could write a list of artists but to be honest I don’t really care. I always got loads of grief at art school for not talking about which artists I was into, it really irritated them for some reason. I do really like Cy Twombly though. RIP.
CS: One last question. Tell us a little bit about the UK tradition known as “Dogging”?
SA: Dogging is basically people having creepy sex in cars (amomaxia) while strangers watch and maybe get involved. It’s supposedly called Dogging cos’ people would take their dog for a walk as an excuse to spy on people doing it in cars. It started in the UK but it’s all over the world now apparently including the US, so there could be a new hobby there for you guys! Especially with that RV dude, you could be king of the Doggers!
CS: Lovely, thanks Sam.
SA: Thank you sir, that was my first interview.