I'm back bitch!

So. If you click my link within the last year and some change you got a "website expired". I'm aware. Many of you let me know.. 


"Your website's down" ."Sup with the site" "Why your website not working?"

Honest answer, I didn't feel like doing shit. I lost a lot in 2015. I was empty, pissed, hurt, uninspired, frustrated, and probably depressed. I also was spending money monthly on a website people weren't buying anything from. There's always people that are asking for a website but will DM you asking where to buy shit.  

  "Well, there's a link in my damn bio.........Bruh"


At the time I felt it was pointless and it was. I know in right and I know because it's my shit. Anywho. I'm in a better place mentally, creatively, physically, etc. So I turned the site back on. I will be updating the blog with cool shit that I like or find inspiration in daily. I will also be adding new products and art as it's created & photographed.  May drop a new backpack and duffle bag combo soon. MAY. 


If you read this and got to this part of the reading, I fucks with you and you're clearly with the shits. Hit me on whatever social network platform we're friends/followers on and I got a discount code for you.  




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.

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!

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?"


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. 


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.

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


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.


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.




Rick Kitagawa's 3 Reasons Artist Don't Make A Living off of their art.


There are really only three core reasons why an artist fails to make a living off of their craft. You might think there are more, but all of them all boil down to three things, and chances are, if you’re unhappy with your career as an artist (or don’t have one yet), you can probably blame one of these three reasons.

1. Not enough practice.

The hard truth is that maybe you just haven’t put in the mileage yet. Most “successful” artists (and I put that in scare quotes because success is really in the eye of the beholder) have put in that time and effort. It may not seem like it, but remember the volcanic island — it takes a while to form anything that solid.

Good art usually takes time. And if it doesn’t take time now (like an artist who can paint very quickly), it took an investment of time. When I do a demo for a company and paint a full portrait in maybe 40–50 minutes, while that looks easy, the hard part was the years I spent practicing before I could get my speed up like that. And that’s not to say that all good art is representational.

Good art, whether it’s due to technical finesse or color theory or composition or any of the above, comes from an investment of love and time and practice. If you’re not happy selling enough art, you may have to look hard into the mirror and figure out if you really have the skills to execute professional level work. Unless you’re going into modern art (preserved sharks and the like), there’s no amount of business savvy that’ll save an artist who hasn’t spent the time to fully develop their skills.

That said, remember that you don’t need to be a superstar to get work. A mom and pop sandwich shop doesn’t hire Oglivy and Mather for their advertising — they probably can’t afford the advertising giant for one, and plus they don’t need a world-class ad agency. They probably need some advertising student who can build them a website and run a local promotional campaign to bring in more foot traffic.

As long as you can provide value, you can work. If you’re not a 9 or 10, but a 4, you still have more skill than a 1. So while I know that myself and everyone else will tell you that you have to master your craft, that’s really if you want to work for the biggest in the industry. You have to be a 10 to work for another 10. You’ll get to be a 10 eventually, but you need to put in all that time and effort working for 4’s, and 5’s, etc., etc. before you get that 10.

2. Lack of knowledge

This one is what most artists think they suffer from. Ignorance of the art world, business basics, and how to present and sell oneself and one’s artwork can be a huge barrier to commercial success. There is such a plethora of information that is available online, in books, and in free workshops and seminars and events all over — there really is no good excuse for not learning this stuff.

Okay, so this part comes a bit easier to me, as I really enjoy learning about psychology and sociology and marketing and all that sort of thing. But even if you don’t enjoy it (and even I don’t enjoy ALL of it..cost-benefit analysis…shudder), you have to realize that it’s crucial to really standing out from the crowd.

There are so many artists out there who are talented and have put in the mileage to really hone their craft, you need something to stand out. Whether that’s knowing your niche and understanding how to speak to it, whether it’s creating a snazzy look book and price sheet for wholesalers, or whether it’s as simple as knowing how to do your research before applying for a job, learning the business skills can help you make a living off of your art.

This is why I teach business and entrepreneurship at the Academy of Art. As an alumnus, I know how amazing the art instructors can be. They took this smart-ass 22 year-old who hadn’t drawn for 10+ years, and turned me into a painter, printmaker, illustrator, and draftsman who gets paid to fly around the country and talk about making art. That said, a lot of the really skilled classmates I had aren’t really working in their field.

There are super talented artists, but their complete ignorance of how to present themselves shoots them in the foot again and again. And this kills me, because I know they have a unique gift to share with the world, and it’s being stifled because of a lack of knowledge of how they should showcase their art.

That said, this is also a relatively easy problem to solve. There are a lot of online resources, and learning to take some time on the weekend or in the evening or whenever to read a new book or watch some videos online can do wonders. Ask your friends who you look up to what resources they recommend.

Don’t forget, however, that you could just be overly critical of yourself. Maybe you already know what you need to know, and don’t let yourself sink into a self-improvement spiral, where you’re constantly chasing new information just to chase it.

3. FEAR.

Yes, Fear even got itself written in all-caps. I would argue that this is the reason why upwards of 75% of artists give up or never pursue their passion. This is the reason why artists don’t get the opportunities they deserve, or the rates they need, or the clients they want.

Are you an artist who procrastinates? Either that’s actually your internal compass telling you that whatever it is you’re doing isn’t what you NEED to be doing, or it’s fear. If you’re looking at your blank canvas and you think, “Ugh, I should paint,” but then you go play video games? That’s fear. If you’re procrastinating writing that paper, it could be you should just be doing something else, but it could be fear also — fear of having to go outside of your comfort zone, of having to write in academic English that you never were really taught, of potentially “looking dumb.”

Conveniently forget about that deadline for the Call for Entry? You made yourself too busy to focus on the application, and then you figured “well, the application isn’t strong so I won’t get in anyway?” That’s probably fear of going after what it is you really want.

Fear is the bane of all artists everywhere. It’s the voice in our head telling us that we’re not good enough, or that other people are better, or that we’ll never be able to make it as a successful artist. Fear is what keeps us hobbling along, too scared to ask for help, or find a mentor, or even from making art.

Rejection is scary. I get it. As an artist, I know that every piece you put out is personal. When you upload that new painting to Instagram or Facebook or Tumblr, you’re just DYING to get more likes. We don’t stop to think about the nuances of social media, or how likes and hearts and upvotes and whatever don’t correspond to good art — they correspond to popular art. No one wants to feel like the misunderstood artist. We all want love and affection and for people to like our art. It’s okay to want people to like your art — art is such a personal creation that we can’t (nor shouldn’t) disconnect our art from who we are. That said, we have to remember that while it’s always okay to sell your art, it’s also okay to create art that doesn’t sell.

The tricky thing about creating art is that even though we’re scared, we have to keep putting ourselves out there if we want to make a living off of our art. We have to keep selling, to keep creating, to keep posting, and after time, you will find that audience that cares about your work.

In sales, it’s often talked about that you have to get at least five “no’s” before you get a sales prospect to say “yes.” However, 80% of sales people give up after four “no’s.” This is why resilience to rejection is so important. It’s artists applying more than ten times at an animation studio before they get hired. It’s artists applying to a juried, annual show every year regardless if they ever get in. It’s artists who are willing to go the distance, work really hard, and never give up, even if they have to work two retail jobs to pay the bills in the meantime.

So the trick with fear is that even if it’s scary, you just have to push through it. You can try and acclimate yourself slowly — if you’re scared of talking to new people, just try to strike up conversation with a cashier when you go grocery shopping. They are supposed to talk to you, and there’s a time limit on the conversation so if it doesn’t go well, you just pay and leave. If you’re scared of submitting to the biggest illustration contest in the country, maybe try submitting in a local art contest. Baby steps, everyone, baby steps.

What about circumstances outside of my control?

Well, that’s just it. They’re circumstances outside of your control! You can’t force a book publisher to publish you, or a studio to hire you. No one can guarantee you’re going to win an Oscar, or have a sold-out gallery show at a certain gallery. But what you CAN do is take hold of what you DO control. Make good work and share it with the world. Be open to learning things that are foreign to you. Read books. Watch tutorials online. Never disqualify yourself before entering the race. Try new things. Put yourself in scary (not dangerous) situations that push the boundaries of your comfort zone.

Before I take on any coaching clients, I always ask them one question. “If I told you that you wouldn’t be successful for the next ten years, would you still make art?” If they love their craft enough, they’ll say yes. And it’s the people who say yes that I know are the ones who are NOT going to want for success — because if you love your craft enough to keep doing it regardless of the external motivators, then that resilience is what is going to keep you going year after year, through the ups and downs that every career has.

So just keep on working. Keep on putting yourself out there and dare to challenge the world and learn and play and make some cool-ass shit. I can’t wait to see it.

Rick Kitagawa is an award-winning visual artist, storyteller, and arts educator. He has taught hundreds of students how to break into the industry, land their dream jobs, and make a living off of their art and is the creator of Lift Off Art


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I met Desmond Blair about five years ago via Facebook. Being an artist of course other artist introduce you to more artist and so on. Always  loved Desmond's work. The day came when I met the man behind the work and I found out he was painting these incredible portraits without hands as most of us know hands.. Desmond was born with limb deficiencies. He was born without fully developed hands. At that moment I felt like a complete asshole because I had paintings I hadn't finished and made excuses for them not being complete.... And this guy shows up with masterpieces. Desmond is an inspiration, he lets absolutely nothing get in his way. He work ethic is a Mack Truck and it steam rolls every challenge in its way. 



Desmond's attitude and drive make you literally put up or shut up without words. So as I slow poked around this morning, I saw Desmond the Rihanna painting and thought.....

You should be in the garage painting... So here I am. Finishing this blog post while I kick my tarp across the floor. While typing. Have a great Saturday. Get Shit Done!

Check out Desmond's work here. 



The newest project from Australian Artist Juddy Roller. Art on a grand scale that is giving a sense if hope to a small community. Check out the vid.

Pichi & Avo

Pichi & Avo

Pichi & Avo

The explore page of Instagram has GEMS!  Often I click it to see what artist abroad are doing. What's styles seem to be overly used, under used, or being used in different ways. Then I stumbled upon PichiAvo . They're a Spanish art duo who are able to merge centuries of style in to an epic art compilation with each mural/piece of art. It's literally classic Italian Renaissance mixed with Contemporary, over and under graffiti. It's insane work, most of which is on a huge scale. I not sure often graffiti artist and muralist are able to keep such accurate proportions when transferring the art from sketch to wall but whatever.


Learning to ink..

TheGf: as Black Panther

TheGf: as Black Panther

One of my goals for 2016 was to create a comic book. I honestly didn't grow up a comic book guy. I always had a football or basketball in hand. My comic book interest wasn't sparked until I started going to all of the Marvel movies and found myself lost in the back stories and origins of some of these characters. This required me to go back and read a few comic books. I fell in love with the art work instantly. I started by copying a few covers but felt I was missing something. Asked a friend who is basically a Marvel expert and he told me I was missing the inking process. So I purchased fancy pens. Attempting to learn the art of inking has taught me:

  1. Don't sketch so heavy
  2. Buy better erasers
  3. Re-learn light sources
  4. Re-learn perspective
  5. Don't sketch so heavy
  6. Re-learn shading techniques
  7. Practice more

Help Cultivate Local Talent!

*taps mic* this thing on?

So 2013. I was given the chance to learn/help in THE GALLERY at The Fairmont. I fell in love with a dream. The dream was to use the knowledge I gained from a great mentor to help my art friends get where they wanted to be career wise. I scrubbed floors, sanded and spackled gallery walls. High walls, on a shaky ladder. To be given the chance to have a show. MY first art show was June 21, 2013. I had zero pieces of art work in the show. I used my relationship with the gallery to help others. The first Random Art show had $5000 in art sold and 300 guest.

Random Art 2. Was planned just 4 months later on November 22, 2013. We had about $4000 in art sold 500+ guest. Random Art Three. November 1, 2014. 657 guest, $2,000 in art sold, with 3 big sponsors.

 Jason Sanders & I have dedicated hours, days, weeks, months, hell an entire year into FOOT WORK, shaking hands, networking to craft this. We have out grown being just a pop up art show. We have been given the opportunity to own a physical gallery. I have swallowed 110% of my pride and launch a gofundme campaign.

Support our dreams here! 

I need y'all to overly support it. We have built a brand friendly to local artist. THIS IS NEEDED. We need your love and support to make this work. We CANNOT let this chance pass us by. I've put everything I have into helping other artist get where they want to go. We want to grow that idea by 1,000,000.