Motorcycle Crush Monday #MCM

Ducati has been thriving in today's motorcycle market. With the release of the X-Diavel cruiser (around $20k) and the throwback classic styled Scrambler (around $7k), the brand has something for everyone with a desire to ride/own a premium motorcycle. Of course they still have the Monster, Multistrada, Hypermotard, and Superbike line ups, but the entry into the new and the past have cemented Ducati in mulitple demographics of buyers. With the release of the Scramblers however, the Italian brand has tapped into the millennial heart beat..... social media. Cool promo and contest have introduced the bike's Cafe Rider appeal and affordability to the younger crowd and it is flourished. Instragram dedicated Scambler pages are popping up rapidly and Ducati quickly took notice and opened builder CUSTOM-MADE contest for the retro styled bike.

Above are the five finalist in the contest. Some are heavily modified, others only changed a few aspects of the bike. Below is my favorite in contest. Sadly it didn't make the finals. I thought the shortened handle bar and rich leather seat were perfect, but hey.. to each their own.

which is your favorite?

 

 -Blaq

"Drink your own Kool-Aid" - John Westenberg

Believe your hype. Nobody else is going to.

Why you’ve got to drink your own Kool Aid.

This isn’t me saying that if you just believe in yourself, you can do anything. Because statistically speaking, that is patently untrue. Believing in yourself isn’t the positive secret that you’ve been waiting for, and it’s no guarantee that you’ll wind up happy as a clam with everything you want.

Believing in yourself doesn’t make dreams come true.

But the reverse is absolutely true. Because not believing in yourself is a sure way to fail, not believing yourself is like making an absolute promise that there’s no way you’ll ever succeed.

Drinking your own Kool Aid is about having absolute confidence and commitment in the face of any odds.

Confidence is something that people think you’re either born with or you’re raised with, and if you didn’t luck in enough to be in either of those categories, you’ll never be lucky enough to command a room with your own belief in whatever you’re doing.

I don’t believe that’s true. I think confidence can be taught, it can be learned, and it can grow organically. I think that because when I was a kid I had zero self confidence, as a result of struggling with a speech impediment and being bullied, mocked and derided for not being able to open my mouth and speak coherently.

15 years later, I can get up and talk to couple of hundred people without freezing or freaking out, and I can push and pull them towards every point I want to make, and it’s not perfect, and sometimes I stammer and sometimes my speech problems resurface, but I get it done. And I help people, and they find value in what I do. That’s confidence that I’ve hammered into myself through years of working and trying and building.

Through years of drinking my own Kool Aid by insisting that I had what it took to get up, over and over again, and speak. Insisting I had what it took to write, and start a business, and scream into a mic in a shitty punk rock club. I’ve been drinking my own since I was a teenager, and it’s given me the drive I need to get out there, get mean, and get shit done.

I know there’s a popular idea that arrogance and pride are a bad thing. We’ve pretty broadly shoved them all into the category of Hubris, as if believing in your work and its power is somehow akin to mounting the walls of your enemy’s Fortress and shouting that not even Zeus can stop you. The thinking being, sooner or later you’ll be struck down by a lightning bolt…

But I don’t think we should hide from our work, hide from the way it makes us feel, hide from our own belief in ourselves.

I wrote about this for the first time yesterday, and I think it deserves being explored more. I think there’s too many people out there who never muster up the courage to believe wholly in themselves and their work.

They don’t advocate for themselves, they don’t cheer for themselves and when the chips are down they look in the mirror and they look their own reflection in the eye and say, “I knew it wouldn’t work.”

And I don’t know about you, but I can’t see that as being a positive way to do fucking anything. If you’re trying to create something, you’ve got to be drinking your own Kool Aid. You’ve got to be your own true believer, an absolutely dedicated fan of your own work who will stand by its worth and strength and value.

 We make fun of Kanye West for his tweets about himself, but I admire the fact that he drinks his own more than any other artist, celebrity or entrepreneur that I’ve ever come across. He does take it too far — he veers into arrogance more than I’d ever be comfortable with — still, there’s a few things you can learn from him.

Is he the best role model for frugality or management techniques? Probably not. But his confidence and self belief are contagious. There’s very little doubt in my mind that Kanye can do almost anything he really wants to. He’s that focused, that driven, and that buoyed by his own self worth. I admire that in a hustler. So do a lot of other people.

Right now, you’re probably still thinking that I’m advocating for arrogance, that I’m a big fan of being a massive prick, reeking of hubris. But let’s flip the concept a little.

Imagine you’re a investor with a few million bucks and you want to invest in a startup. Let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to two companies, and you’re trying to decide between ’em. Let’s say they’re both roughly equal in their value, their market fit, and their capabilities.

Who are you more likely to invest in, the guy who shuffles his feet and says “I guess” instead of “I know”, who’ll tell you that he ~thinks he has a good shot?

Or the woman who says she’s going to make it. She’s got what it takes. She’s 110% sure about what she’s doing and why. She believes in her product, her company and herself.

There are people out there who are always going to call that arrogance. And they’ll say that humility is always a better path than having tickets on yourself. But I’m not one of those people. I believe in people who believe in themselves. Those people can inspire, they can lead, they can build.

This doesn’t apply solely to startup founders. It’s the same advice if you’re a musician or a writer. I mean hell, it’s probably going to apply if you’re working in an office job and you want a raise, you’re not going to get it if you don’t back yourself.

Life is about rolling the dice, and it’s all a gamble. I don’t have the knowledge that I’m going to win at anything. But I have the belief that I’m good enough to win, that I’ve worked hard enough to win, and if anyone asks, that’s what I’ll tell them. You can call me proud, and you can call me a tool, but you’ve got to admit that I’m not scared to put myself out there.

Take this quote out for a spin and see how it feels:

Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong. — Peter T. McIntyre

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I’m a writer, a speaker, and a social media entrepreneur. Appeared and published in Business Insider, Inc.com, TIME & others. Read more

Email: jon@jonwestenberg.com

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Levitate. Levitate. Levitate.

Art is created to make us feel. Feeling helps us cope, heal, protect, grieve, accept, and love. So when a pure artist transforms to just consciousness and memories of ours, it hits us hard. 

I've seen several people say "yall act like Prince was a family member..." My response to that is..for lack of better words/phrases.. Fuck you.. 

Art may have helped someone through a struggle that family couldn't or didn't care to help with.

Art is Omnipotent. Artist are sometimes your help. So when your help leaves the physical form, yes.. As a human you mourn in some form, hopefully it's in a loving, appreciative manner. Let people have their moment in love. 

So yeah..

Therapy.

As artist we sometimes lock ourselves away and work, losing track or the world outside of the workspace.  Personally I cram everything into the figurative box, that space gets stuffy. The one place I can go to empty the clutter is the museum. 

The DMA is perfect. It's filled with everything I love, it's clean, spacious, and free. It's literally the place I can go exhale.  

Here's my two favorite pieces from toasts quick therapy visit.

  'Hanging Neon'.  Stephen Antonakos. n  eon & black paint on metal   .

 'Hanging Neon'. Stephen Antonakos. neon & black paint on metal .

 Paraj, 1965.  Victor Vasarely- t  empera on panel.

Paraj, 1965. Victor Vasarely- tempera on panel.

Just realized they're both green and red. Hmmmmm.. Inspiration maybe.

Vantablaq - The Darkest Material ever created.

Scientist have found a way to make black even blacker. This carbon nano material is being called Vantablack. It absorbs 99.9% of all light, which to the human eye is like 103.67% I guess. Especially my eyes because I am legally blind, I cannot see. The company created it to coat/calibrate imaging telescopes but now her come government war machines wanting it for weapons. Assholes.

I'd love to do a painting on a vantablack canvas. Colors would be so much brighter over it. I bet it would give the illusion of colors floating toward you. 

Check out the website for it here.

Also, use the discount code 'SPRNGCLN' to save 30%  on everything I craft with my two hands.

Kaws. The millennial's pop art icon.

aws is hands down one of my favorite artist. He's an artist who's work gets everywhere, FAST. No matter what he releases, the masses flock to buy it up. Many were introduced to Kaws from his album cover work on the Kanye West's 808 and Heartbreak album. For others it was the remix of the Simpson's character with the signature cross bone skull heads.

No matter how you got your first dose of the artist, nothing was bigger than The Macy's day parade Companion and The MTV Awards Kaws Moonman. Artist born Brian Donnelly start his art career on the streets of New York in the graffiti world. After some schooling he went on to coloring in cartoon animation. During this time he would unlock advertising displays and paint his crossbones over ads from huge companies. Well some of those companies took notice and begin hiring the artist to make their shit cooler. This was what lit the fuse. These opportunities created a pop culture icon out of Kaws. Clothing, toys, pillows, rugs, collectible key chains, paintings, prints, figurines, album covers, bigger ad collaborations, books, and knock offs flooded the art market. 

Kaws is one of the examples of the art grind paying off big time. The most remarkable thing is. Mr. Donnelly remains this quiet power house that loves his work to be enjoyed. No ego, no flashy life, just work. So artist, Just keep fucking creating!

The NFL x Twitter collab.

BOOM!

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Today the NFL and Twitter announced that Twitter now has rights to Thursday Night Football! Everyone watched TV as a big Twitter family anyway, the move only made sense to grow the NFL viewership while also bringing more users to the Twitter platform. Twitter's lack of growth has been a topic that needed to be addressed, streaming TV only makes sense. Hopefully we see more events streamed live via the app.

Ian Strange's (@kidzoom) perspective of Home, Suburbia, & Displacement.

There are artist as we all know artist, then there's those who are working on a grand scale that stuns and makes you wonder "how the fuck?"

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I've followed the work of Kid Zoom aka Ian Strange since about 2010.  Social networks got ridiculously useful and made accessing new things even faster. I followed Kid Zoom every where via tumblr. Coolest thing is, he's accessible. Often open to brief discussion about projects.  What struck me in 2010 was the size of his art work. I was breaking out 16x20 inch canvasses and he was working on taxidermy bears and huge wall sized canvas. My tiny studio efficiency was no where near large enough to work large, but didn't stop me from dreaming about larger work.

Soon after the large canvas and taxidermy works, Strange built a replica of his childhood home from memory in the exhibition "HOME" and spray painted one of the dopest skulls I'd seen on it. This is the exhibition that Ian also beat up and set fire to 3 sedans in the short film "The Destruction of Three Holden Commodores"

Of course after doing work on a grand scale you have to do it now on a grander scale. The Home exhibition was followed by "Suburban". This was a personal " investigation " of the "icon" status of the home and suburbia as many know it. The project was photographed and recorded in amazing quality but the exhibition was held in Australia. 

 "Final Act" was the continuation of the Home & Suburban projects. It was executed in the town Christchurch, New Zealand that suffered major damage from an earthquake. 180 people were killed in the quake that buckled the earth's crust and liquefied sections of soil. The town of Christchurch was evacuated due to structural instability. The abandoned town was a showcase of nature's power and how humans are displaced by it. The home were cut, dissected, and lit to highlight the framework. The project showed the homes in a more spirited manner before being demolished. 

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After seeing & speaking to Kid Zoom via his Instagram, I learned that this project is continuing in Japan's Nuclear exclusion zones that were abandoned in the tsunami disaster that was also caused by an earthquake. The force of the quake no only caused a massive tsunami the killed almost 20,000 individuals but it also displaced many more from structural damage to homes and Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Power plant. Interested to see how this body of work will be executed by Strange. I would like to also see how the work is received by the residents that once occupied the exclusion zone.

All pictures and video is courtesy of Ian.

Oh Ashley Graham....... I love you.

Yasssssssssssssssssss Ashley Graham! She's killing it this year and I love everything about it. The lovely lady is made it to Maxim Mag. This is craaaazy considering that most of the models on the cover of the magazine are like ....all boob, nk hips and no ass lol.

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Any.. Women are gorgeous. Ashley... Baby.... I love you forever!

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photos by: Gilles Bensimon 

Fucking hearing me... Feel what I'm saying B.

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On Saturday night, the renowned and mysterious Italian street artist Blu went on an art-destroying spree through the streets of Bologna. The work he erased was his own — with the help of activist groups XM24 and Crash, Blu covered 20 years’ worth of massive, colorful murals with gray paint.

The gesture was an act of protest against an upcoming exhibition, Street Art: Banksy & Co.,which opens Friday in Bologna’s historic Palazzo Pepoli. The exhibition, co-organized by the privately funded cultural institution Genus Bononiae and the Arthemisia Group, features 250 works of street art, some of which were removed from their original public locations without the artists’ consent. The show was curated by one of the city’s wealthiest patrons, Fabio Roversi Monaco, president of both the Academy of Fine Arts and the powerful Banca Imi.

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When Blu learned that the exhibition will include some of his own work, Genus Bononiae’s attempt to “[salvage street art] from demolition and [preserve it] from the injuries of time,” as they put it, dramatically backfired. 

Blu’s destruction of his remaining murals in Bologna, as the leftist artist collective Wu Mingexplained on its blog (per the artist’s request), keeps it away from private institutions. The gesture is intended to expose the hypocrisy of a city that “on the one hand criminalizes graffiti, puts 16-year-old writers on trial, praises ‘urban decorum,’ and on the other celebrates herself as the cradle of street art and wants to retrieve it for valorization on the market.” Just last month, another globetrotting Italian street artist, Alice Pasquini, was fined €800 (~$889) for a graffiti-related offense. In this context, the collective wrote, “the only thing left to do is [to make] these paintings disappear, to snatch them from those claws, to make hoarding impossible.”

We reached out to Blu and the Wu Ming Foundation for more commentary, but as the Wu Ming Foundation made clear in a blunt email, Blu never does interviews:

Blu never talks to journalists, he never gives interviews, he doesn’t even write about the meaning of his work or his actions or “how it feels,” nothing like that. He only draws murals or, in this case, he erases them. Silently. That’s why he asked us to write a statement about his latest action, which we did. However, the agreement we have with Blu is: no interviews, and we respect that. Sorry, we cannot help you.

Blu and his comrades taped up said statement at the sites of the destroyed murals, and also posted it online. “Seeing street art exhibited in a museum is paradoxical and grotesque,” they wrote ofBanksy and Co. “This ‘street art’ exhibition is representative of a model of urban space that we must fight, a model based on private accumulation which commodifies life and creativity for the profits of the usual few people.”

This isn’t Blu’s first brush with censorship, self-inflicted or otherwise. In 2012, a mural he created as part of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s Art in the Streetsexhibition was whitewashed (prompting him torepeatedly break his own “never talks to journalists” rule). In 2014, he and artist Lutz Henke (with some help) painted over an iconic, collaborative mural in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood to protest the area’s gentrification.

Blu’s desire to retain control of what uses his street art is put toward — and keep it out of the hands of those seeking to profit from it — echoes Banksy’s reaction to the Sincura Art Club‘s 2014 auction of his “sensitively salvaged” works of street art. “This show has got nothing to do with me and I think it’s disgusting people are allowed to go around displaying art on walls without getting permission,” Banksy wrote at the time in a statement on his website.

 (Story pulled directly from Hyperallergic. Written by: Carey Dunne. Photo by:  Michele Lapini). Check out more of Blu's work here.

 

 

 STOP PISSING OFF THE ARTIST!