By the way, as some of our savviest readers have discovered, we’re on Instagram. In fact we’ve been there for a while now. Insta is where we share stuff that often doesn’t get posted to the blog due to time, and stuff that’s more random, immediate and personal.
Artist Gustavo Viselner is a so-called “pixel artist,” and he’s brilliant. The artist has made a name for himself by creating retro videogame-style 8-bit images of memorable scenes from some of the most popular television programs of the U.S. peak-TV era, a.k.a., the current “golden age” of more quality TV shows than a person has time to watch. These include images from shows like “Breaking Bad” and “Stranger Things.” More images on his website.
There’s graffiti art in Santa Barbara, California. Pictured here is evidence in the form of a large graffiti throw-up in the wealthy California coastal town. The graffiti artwork is in the now gentrified warehouse district known as the Funk Zone.
Richard Haase Photo. All rights reserved.
“Shaka” or “Shaka, brah!” Maybe you’ve heard this expression. Maybe you’ve uttered those words in earnest salutation or ironically. Maybe you’re a core surfer living on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, and these words are your go-to, standard form of salutation. You use it all time without even really thinking about it. (For example, when you stride into Ono’s in Haleiwa for a pork sandwich, you offer a shaka to staff at the counter.)
In any case, the word “shaka” and its utterance are but only part of the communications protocol here. Those words are said with an accompanying hand gesture that might be more familiar to many readers than the words.
The shaka hand gesture, sometimes referred to as the “hang loose” sign, is similar to the “devil horns” gesture associated with heavy metal music. But with the shaka, the pinky finger and thumb are extended outward from the palm while the index, middle and ring fingers are bent down into the palm.
With fingers configured as such, the hand is then raised or extended and often given a little back and forth wiggle or shake, a motion functioning like a wave of the hand, to emphasize and visibly highlight the message to its intended audience.
The gesture is one of positivity. It’s loved by most surfers but also loathed by some surfers, hence the use of the “ironic shaka.” The shaka is undeniably a part of surf culture and has its modern usage and cultural origins in the birthplace of surfing: Hawaii.
But culture and its symbols evolve. The shaka in the pic above is part of a two-page graphical spread in the zine Can’t Steal Our Vibe that show the gesture altered as a mash-up with the standard “f*ck you!” middle finger gesture.
In this new versions, the extended pinky of the shaka is pulled in, and the middle finger is extended. On first try, it’s not an easy gesture to make with natural fluidity, compared to the shaka.
But no matter. It’s what the gesture means that’s important here. And what does it mean? That’s the beauty of it: For now it’s subject to interpretation. And if the creators have a denotation for it, its esoteric.
We love that the “F-You-Shaka” hybrid brings together the insouciance, anger and insult of the middle finger with the friendly, laidback “everyone’s a bro” vibe of the trad surfer shaka. These are opposing sentiments and may confuse.
The mashup, we think, is more ironic and captures even more accurately the contemporary core of surf culture: Its rebel semiotics and its knowing cues and tribal codes.
Can’t Steal Our Vibe, BTW, is a zine published occasionally by Lone Wolfs (sic), a surf brand and shop and music studio in Venice, Los Angeles, that uses the new “F-You-Shaka” as a kind of logo on stickers. The title of the zine is taken from a graffiti-like, spray-painted message written on a panel that covered a door that had been shattered in an attempted burglary at Lone Wolfs in 2016. The shop has also spray painted the phrase as a tagline on the side of the store.
It’s not news that a pair or two or three or 50 of fresh sneakers is an essential part of the contemporary wardrobe of the working creative-professional (WCP). These can run the gamut of old-school classic Adidas Gazelles or New Balance 574 running shoes ( that — God forbid — you’d actually go running in) to luxxy $700 Rick Owens / Givenchy / Gucci / Dior leather kicks to $50 checkerboard Van’s Slip-Ons to, as pictured here, Nike cross-training kicks (that — God forbid — you’d actually go cross-training in). These Nikes belong to colleague at an agency we work for. The pair are beautifully designed, and, aside from the red swoosh, understated at a glance. On closer scrutiny, there are few details that make these shoes sing: The red pull tabs, beige suede accents, and rounded laces.
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In light of recent news events in the United States and yet another deadly and senseless mass-shooting at a school, there’s this retro arcade-style video game on the web called Thoughts & Prayers, which makes a sobering and obvious point. Play it now for free.
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One of our current projects here at Global Graphic is a music collaboration turned band called Aloha Death. We’ve just released our second tune! It’s called “Shibuya” (Yay!!!) and you can find it now on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc.
The official portraits of former U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama we’re unveiled Monday at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. It’s a tradition for outgoing presidents to have their portraits painted and hung in the museum for posterity. For official portraits, the paintings of the Obamas are remarkable, formidable works of art on their own, visually arresting and groundbreaking in style and provenance for the genre.
President Obama’s portrait was painted by a Brooklyn-based African-American artist from Los Angeles, Kehinde Wiley, whose work we’re fans of and we’ve posted here before. The First Lady’s portrait was also painted by an African-American artist, the Baltimore-based painter Amy Sherald. Continue reading