Hustle and Bustle- Keith Roland

Super excited to announce a partnership with writer and photographer Keith Roland. His work will be featured on ALSO THAT on a semi-regular basis. This first series is from his visit to New York City.

Driver

Keith Roland is a visual artist and writer searching to encapsulate in art what ideas roil in his mind. His creations are a paradox between desire to tame and desire to set free those thoughts that rumble forth through the camera or onto the page.
— KR

Picking Favorites: Greenpoint Open Studios

On the weekend of April 29-May 1 artists across Greenpoint, Brooklyn threw open the doors to their studios and allowed the public to get a glimpse of their workspaces.

I had the pleasure of speaking with some of the kindest and smartest people I've met in recent memory. There is an insane amount of talent in Greenpoint and I barely got to scratch the surface.

As I visited with these artists, I asked them to choose their favorite piece of work they had on display and to give a brief statement explaining why it was their favorite. Click on the photos below to go to each artist's personal web page to see more of their work!

Ordinary Subjects - Elizabeth Howard

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth through the Coastal Arts Guild of Connecticut. She's a hell of poet and an all-around awesome person. I'm honored to share her poetry on ALSO THAT.

Check out her website.

Follow her on Twitter. 

I’ve been writing poetry since I was old enough to write. When I was 8, the poems were all written in rhyming, four-lined stanzas. Now I write primarily in free verse. I write about mundane, ordinary subjects, but I find the themes of my poetry often reflect my frustration with the oppression and violence that on which our culture seems to feed. I've lived in London, Kansas City, Colorado, Iowa. I worked at Disney World, selling popcorn. We traveled to Egypt, Amsterdam, Paris, Wales and beyond. Place deeply impacts my writing. I studied poetry under award-winning poet Michelle Boisseau. Every poem I write, I am still in her class, in that circle of desks, holding my breath. In 2008, I started writing Demand Poetry: custom poetry that I usually write at live events on my manual, Italian-made Olivetti typewriter. The part of this work I love most is hearing people's stories and translating them into a piece of art. I am a journalist and a marketer, so I am always writing something. I am a member of the Coastal Arts Guild of CT and the American Society of Poets.

Old Dog You Are

Old Dog you are
Electric blue sunrise streaked with amber.
You are single leaf drifting to blacktop. You are
One blood red Japanese maple in
Bone yard row of oaks. You are
Still beauty of one
Perfectly kept lawn in
Scattered season. You are
Questions rolling like
Dryers balls in my mind and
You are
One cold, still answer.
Old dog, you are
Tow headed boy held in sepia, now
Stretched long and darker.
You are grocery list and
Drying laundry and fish scales
On stones. Old dog you
Are.

The second person reveals herself

First, take note: the zucchini is a metaphor.
In all your self-help, writer’s way, dream journal busywork
The zucchini remained.

The zucchini remained, unperturbed
In your patterings, like the possum
You absently called Beatrice.

You. Remaining absent, as if stillness
Equates to nothingness. You, in all your
EST-you-not-me patterings.

Beatrice, you are not. You skulk not pine boughs in
Darkness (as if skulking equates proceeding). You
Proceed more like a metaphor, tethered to its vine.

Beatrice sleeps. The garden bed resolves unto itself. You
Skulk in the artist’s dream along decomposing vines. Proceed on:
As if busywork remains 

And shall remain and you — the absent you belonging—
Unscrolls with the stranger’s composted dreams,
An EST-you-not-me baton to drop and run. 

Drop. Run, you -- dredged in self-help stories, you,
Along the writer’s way, along the cracking bough,
Along this hypothetical fence rail. And shall in sleep, take note: 

The second person reveals herself. In compost, its withered
Processions, as a copyeditor possum frozen.
equates nothingness, 
that  metaphor passing, from
you to me.

Plain

Out here it’s all mostly nothing.
It’s a line of scrub trees;
A chain link fence to divide that
Patch of yard from this.

Out here the horizon is a friend:
She doesn’t have much to say,
Her mind filled with a run-on, tension
Wire conversation that never ends.

Out here an oak tree is true love;
And a water tower stands sentinel
To all the children’s dreams of
Falling, and flying away.

Out here, the overpass goes to
The softball fields, and the Casey’s,
And the driving range and to
Plain spoken hellos at an amble
Speed.           

Here along the sidewalk
The bike path the road the drive
That heads out
Home.

NTWON: Look Who's Back

nothing-to-watch1.jpg

Adolf is back at his old tricks again. After inexplicably time traveling to 2014, Hitler struggles to acclimates himself to our topsy-turvy modern ways in Look Who's Back.

I don't even know where to begin with this movie. I was hooked straight out the gate, as Hitler attends finishing school and laments that nobody greets him with a proper Nazi salute. It's hilarious in a subtle, surreal kind of way. Look Who's Back is sort of like a toned-down (and scripted) version of Borat. Both are movies about outsiders shining a light on modern absurdities, but Borat has a more limited scope as it strictly focuses on highlighting actual xenophobia in America. Hitler, being displaced in both time and politics, (in addition to...you know, being Hitler) offers a unique perspective on a slew of topics including racism, populism, democracy, and the media's role in all of it.

Much of the comedy comes from the fact that nobody thinks our protagonist is the real Hitler. Why would they? It wouldn't be possible for Hitler to visit unless time travel were possible. (Spoiler Alert: It is, but don't think about it too much because it's not that important in the movie.) All they see when Hitler gives his trademark salute is a brilliant comedian/method actor really committing to his role.  Of course, the internet falls in love with him and Hitler becomes an overnight celebrity and comedy ensues.

From a cinematographic perspective, Look Who's Back  is a well-crafted film. The director experiments with different perspectives and lighting, including several shots from Hitler's POV, which for some reason is in a fish-eye lens. The craziest thing about this script is about halfway through Hitler decides to make a movie about getting acclimated to modern times, of course with some slight alterations to the events we saw leading up to that point. 

On the whole, this was a remarkable film and I can't recommend it highly enough. It will make you laugh, but it will also make you think about the state of modern politics and the media's role in it. After I watched, I had a better understanding of how people can latch onto magnetic personalities with the hopes of making their country great again. Even if you're not the type of person who normally watches movies with subtitles, give this one a shot. You won't regret it. 

Saturday Afternoon- Keith Roland & Mick Theebs

Keith Roland and I grabbed our cameras and went out to snap pictures one Saturday afternoon. We ended up in the middle of a college rager. Everyone there was very excited to have their photos taken. It was a completely surreal experience and left me feeling strange for the rest of the day. It was interesting to see the front people put on when there are cameras present. Of course, because drunk people take everything up to 11, this was hyperbolized as well. Since there were two of us moving through the crowd of 70-80 people, we got some great candid shots in addition to pictures where the subjects posed. It was strange capturing moments for people that might not necessarily remember them in the future, or might not be proud of them. Regardless, Keith and I were both happy to share the experience. 

 

Dave Carender: An Impermanent Thing

Dave Carender's crazy comic-book style made me stop dead in my tracks. I fell in love with it immediately and insisted he share his work on ALSO THAT. He was kind enough to answer some questions about his style and process as well.

Check Out His Website

Like his Facebook Page

 and follow him on Instagram

 

MT: When did you first start making art?


DC: I’ve always been artistic, but really nothing more than sketching and doodling. It wasn’t until later in life that I started messing around with stenciling, which lead to street art, stickering. wheat-paste, all that. Eventually someone left some acrylic paint at my house, and I started messing around with incorporating it into my stencils, and that led to where I am now. Stencils still play an important roll in my artwork, many of my pieces incorporate them. But as far as when did I start making the art that I am now, the more kind of defining art, I would say within the last 3 or 4 years. 

MT: How did you develop your distinct visual style? Can you name some influences?


DC: I think my style is a result of a stencil-centric background, being a stencil artist first helped me to visualize art in layers. I like the idea of layering and how it can be used to create, or hide, depth in a painting. Some of my more obvious influences are Dan Paladin who is the artist for The Behemoth, the studio that made the video games Castle Crashers and Battleblock Theater – his work is great, and mine’s very similar to it. Same with Jhonen Vasquez, I’d been a fan of his for a very long time and there’s no doubt he’s been a huge influence. Derek Hess, and Ashley Wood are also major influences.
The idea of expedition in my artwork is a major factor as well. I typically paint 3 to 5 paintings simultaneously, and they usually take no longer than an hour to create. The idea of fast art is interesting to me, that I can create large volumes of artwork quickly I think challenges me to refine my style as well as and technique. I do a lot of “live” painting, at clubs, street fairs, public events etc – I’m intrigued by the idea of the making of art being part of the art, that in-process public spectacle can be part of it. I think that’s probably a result of a street art background – with street art it’s like once you complete the piece, it doesn’t belong to you anymore, it belongs to whoever is seeing it, consuming it – and it’s, by its nature, an impermanent thing, right? It’ll get buffed, or tagged over, or fade with time. So I like the idea of being inclusive to the creation of the artwork because witnessing the act is also impermanent, once the art is made, the viewing of the process is complete - but that viewing aspect can be just as fun, or thought provoking, and personal as the completed work itself. 

MT: I love how you've created this cast of characters within your body of work. Have you ever considered making a webcomic or video featuring them?


DC: Thank you, and, no, I hadn’t, really – though you aren’t the first to mention it. Animation isn’t in my wheelhouse or skillset – I’d love to see some of my characters animated though, that would be cool. If anyone would like to collaborate on that I’d be down!

MT: Based on your website, I see you've done some stickering. Would you ever branch out and put up some wheat paste posters or spray some stencils?


DC: Yep, like I said, I very much come from a vandal street artist background, I’m not operating “unsanctioned” in the streets as much anymore though. Mostly I keep to stickering in that regard. The majority of my art-proper is on canvas for private sale or art shows. Stickers are fun though, I think that stickers are a neat kind of “popcorn” art, easy to make, easy to distribute, they can be a kind of currency to trade with other artists, you can put them up quickly and they can be a real enhancer to an area, which I think is very cool. 
I think as a street artist you should own some of the responsibility that comes with that – if you have this inherent capacity to create artwork, and you choose to move that artwork into the public space then you should be aware of how that’ll affect the area, or the people who may see and consume it – you could just put whatever up wherever and have it just be that, and certainly plenty of people do. But I think that’s seriously negligent - I'm pretty cognizant of where I place my stickers, I try to place them on things like utility boxes or light poles etc, and ones which aren't close to or on mom-and-pop type establishments - I try to keep to places like back alleys or parking structures etc. Don't get me wrong, it's still vandalism, and I'm certain plenty of people would find it disagreeable but I try to place them in a place where they're at least a reasonable enhancement. I like to think that someone might glance up by chance and see one of my characters hanging out and that would make them smile.

MT: I saw that Edgar Allen Poe stencil tutorial you posted recently. Would you consider creating more tutorials in the future? How do you feel knowing that other people could potentially creating your designs?


DC: I love the idea of artists making tutorials and walkthroughs, it’s always neat to see how someone made something. You could learn something new or it might click in your head to try something you hadn’t previously considered. I’m certainly considering making more tutorials, especially for the r/sticker community on reddit, that is a community that seems like it’s on the come up, and I like the positivity and encouragement I see on there.  
I’ve actually had my designs “borrowed” before. Recently I found a guy on tumblr randomly who had art very similar to mine, and the more I looked into it I realized it wasn’t just similar it was pretty blatant, and as I looked back through the history of his tumblr there was a very obvious, very clear, shift in the design on the art that he had been making; about three months prior he had suddenly started basically ripping off my work. It was then that I realized that it was a same person who had started following me on Instagram three months before then. So it was obvious that he found my IG and start ripping off my work. So I wrote him, and was very civil, and told him his art was cool, I liked it, and that it almost looked like something I had come up with – I was very facetious. I thought to myself “I’ll never hear from that guy, he’ll probably just block me”, but to my surprise he actually wrote back and fessed up. He basically said “yeah you caught me, I really love your artwork and what you were doing is what I’ve been trying to do for so long and haven’t quite been able to make it work, so I thought I’d copy you and see if I could get my own thing started”, which I thought was cool. It was cool that he owned up to it and it was flattering that someone would thinking highly enough of my art to try to use it as a catalyst to ignite their own. He’s since shifted away from my stuff, and I hope he continues to refine his stuff. 

MT: What words of advice do you have for aspiring artists?

 
DC: Always be sketching, always be doodling, look at (but don’t rip off) other artist’s work for inspiration – and don’t be afraid to throw your stuff out there online or wherever and ask for some input, use your fellow artists, ask them what they think, ask them what materials and techniques they use. 

NTWON: Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil

It's the showdown everyone has been waiting for: two Appalachian hillbillies are the only ones who can save the world from a force of violence and evil known only as Chad. 

Normally, I don't go for blood and guts slasher flicks because I have the constitution of a twelve year old girl and have no desire to be reminded of the pointlessness of life by watching college kids get dismembered in increasingly creative ways. However, I was pleased to find that Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is actually a sharp-witted black comedy dressed up as slasher.

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is unique in its self-awareness as the characters ask the same questions audiences often ask themselves: "Why is everyone dying?", "Why can't we call the police?", "Why don't they just leave?". All of these are addressed in believable and hilarious ways.

The thing that's particularly amusing about Tucker and Dale's characters is that they are almost completely oblivious of the fear and havoc happening all around them. They're just two guys trying to spruce up their new cabin while college kids suffer from what has to be the worst case of bad luck ever encountered by another human.

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil can aptly described as a genre-busting film as it takes the horror format and adds a comedic twist on things. Remarkably, elements from rom-coms make their way into the movie as well, as Dale struggles with his inability to get a date among all the bloodshed.

Overall, Tucker and Dale made very effective use of its tight 88 minute runtime. Definitely a great movie to throw on if you could use a laugh but also want to see people die. 

Willie Scaife: No Boundaries

I was immediately struck by Willie's work when I met him a few short weeks ago. The longer you stare at one of his paintings, the more things you see. He's an immensely talented artist and I'm thrilled to be able to share his art today. 

My name is Willie Scaife. I am a visual artist based in beautiful Bridgeport, CT. I primarily paint and design lighting and furniture. Currently my work is focused on abstract painting, using acrylics on canvas, also alcohol inks on synthetic paper. I see no boundaries in what ever I am creating. I am always exploring new and fresh methods and ideas. My love of art and design is the dominant force behind most of my work. When I'm not at my part-time job helping people look their best, you can find me creating art in my studio loft.