AeroSoul members Duane Deterville and Refa 1 do work teaching art to incarcerated youth. One of the many projects recently completed by them is this series of comic book covers wherein they enabled the youth to imagine superheroes that eradicate social toxins in their respective communities. Each superhero was conceived of by predominantly Black and Brown incarcerated youth. Both girls and boys were asked to think about what problems exist in their community and to create superpowers that will address them. Our goal was to nourish, spark and free the imaginations of our youth because we firmly believe that in our creative mode of thinking we are in our most radical, liberatory and revolutionary Afrikan minds. These are the practical uses of science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction as a tool for liberation.
The African centered ideas of Negritude and Afri-Futurism have historically tapped into the imaginative and revolutionary notions of Black/African people. In keeping with those notions we teach youth how to envision their environment as a place wherein they have autonomy to express themselves and choose their own destinies in culturally safe spaces. Our youth envisioned superheroes with supernatural and telepathic healing powers, heroes who protect their communities from drugs and police terrorism. One particularly impressive superhero battles against the stealing of natural resources from the continent of Africa. All of these images and the potential narratives that stem from them are a testimony to the power and resilience of our youth’s imaginations. With proper stimulation they maintain imaginations for liberation in the face of the status quo’s toxic and dehumanizing media propaganda.
As director of the AeroSoul organization I've been afforded the opportunity to serve in a leadership capacity that has international influence amongst spray can Artists of African descent. It is an honor paired with great responsibility meant to inspire creativity that transforms community visual landscapes. Here is a short documentary highlighting some of the work AeroSoul Artists do in struggling neighborhoods where we promote LOVE through Art.
Yes Yes Y'all it's November,HipHop history month and it's also the 40th anniversary of the Universal Zulu Nation. This week Hard Knock Radio host Davey D explores the history of HipHop's eldest element, Style Writing (also known as HipHop Hieroglyphics). On hand to discuss the topic were seasoned veterans in the field, Refa One & Toons One of the TCB crew and the North Star Zulus. Both of them go in on this interview discussing the cultural youth phenomena that exploded onto the inner city streets of the Bay and LA in the early 80's. Such legendary artist and crews as Dream TDK, Soon1, PJ WCA, Charlie DTK, Paser KTD, Stare BSK, Bam TWS and ladies like ShenShen were the topic of discussion. Both artist also build on the cultural and political ins and outs of the movement. Toons speaks to the diversity of styles that came out of LA before the impact of the NYC flavor and how the two coastal styles blended together to form a unique look that would later become reputable around the globe. Refa One kicks the science of how the Bay Area carved it's own brand of style through various style masters who would also impose their raw creativity onto the mass transit lines of BART and Muni. So much history in so little time, but it is a great snap shot at a Golden Age in HipHop on the West Side. Expect more from the Bay Area Aerosol Heritage Society and AeroSoul on this subject.
Tune into Hard Knock Radio week days on KPFA 94.1 FM.
Click link below for the full interview.
Tuesday Morning gearing up for the 2nd Opening of "Electric Kingdom", Shirt King Phade and Refa1 join Davey D on Hard Knock Radio. The two Style Veterans Speak on Phade's new book "Shirt Kings, Pioneers of HipHop Fashion", the Gallery Exhibit,community murals and the Universal Zulu Nation. Be sure to listen and give us some feedback.
click link for Radio Archive
A trip down memory lane to when customization and art reigned supreme in New York City. Jamaica, Queens, New York in the mid 1980s. Rappers and hip hop fans came from all over the city to get their own customized T-shirt by The Mighty Shirt Kings. The style traveled all over the world through record covers, magazines and music videos and the Shirt Kings designs soon became synonymous with Hip Hop and the culture of making something out of nothing. Shirt Kings - Pioneers Of Hip Hop Fashion looks at the early days of urban fashion through the lens of the pioneering group of artists known as the Shirt Kings. By adapting the graffiti skills from the trains and spray cans to shirts and airbrush they created a new look for a new generation. Edwin PHADE Sacasa is a founding artist of the group and it is through his archives that we are transported to the 1980s in New York City where the fashion of the day was loud, colorful, and filled with cartoon imagery on clothes; but not just any cartoon imagery for the cartoons were urbanized. Mickey Mouse with a Fila suit, Casper the Friendly Ghost with gold teeth, Roger Rabbit with a flat top hair do and Pink Panther with gold chains and guns - it was the reinterpretation of American classics but with an urban and gangster lean. The Shirt Kings were the inventors of this style and everyone across the city was well aware and made there way to Jamaica, Queens, to a small shopping mall known as the Coliseum where you could easily bump into the biggest names in Hip Hop of the day placing orders. HipHop Artist like DJ Red Alert, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane and Mike Tyson - they all had to have their Shirt Kings designs. Shirt Kings - Pioneers of Hip Hop Fashion chronicles the art, the styles, and the people who were loyal supporters of the Shirt Kings style and takes us on a trip down memory lane to when customization and art reigned supreme in New York City.
"Shirt Kings brought the Hip Hop element into the clothes for real and integrated it, and it was the first time I saw Hip Hop culture completely merged with clothing."
- LL Cool J
"The Shirt Kings network was fashion TV of the times, and advertising and promotion way before it became trendy."
- Chuck D, Public Enemy
"The first shirt I ever threw on that had anything on it that represented my heart was Shirt Kings."
- KRS One
About the Author
Born in East New York, Brooklyn, Edwin PHADE Sacasa studied photography at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and graduated from Savannah Collage of Art and Design with major in video production. PHADE has been airbrushing for the entertainment industry for more than two decades and founded the Shirt Kings store in the mid 1980s, where he serviced many of todays Hip Hop stars and pioneers, such as Jay Z and Run DMC. PHADE is working with youth in the inner city and have developed a program that teaches urban fashion through airbrushing, art therapy and entrepreneur skills.
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Dokument Press (April 15, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11 inches
Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
It was just a hop, skip and a jump from Oaklandish toSolespace, for the opening of “Electric Kingdom,” a group show by the bicoastal TMT crew, curated by Oakland aerosol legend Refa One. The show, which runs until the end of September, features works by Refa, Chain 3, Tean 5, Kade, Sak, Skeme, Shame 125, Web, Stem, Cre8, Mad, Kufu, and Enk 1, plus guest artist Soon 1. It’s a notable exhibit in that it connects West Coast aerosol artists to their Bronx, NY counterparts.
On Friday night, Drasar Monumental and Planet Rocker, of the Northstar Zulus, spun old-school hip-hop, as heads mingled amidst the exposition of the culture’s first element. That was followed by an artist talk featuring Skeme, Refa, and Kufu the next evening, moderated by artist and author Duane Deterville.
Some interesting things came out of that conversation, such as Skeme revealing that the controversial word “graffiti” – which has been eschewed by aerosol practitioners of late – is actually his preferred term. “I ain’t no aerosol muralist, I’m a graffiti writer,” declared Skeme, who noted that the original Italian word graffiti is derived from, graffito, is a technique which involves making a drawing by covering a surface, then etching away at it, revealing the undersurface.
Skeme also ran down the storied history of the original TMT crew, whose moniker stands variously for The Magnificent Team, and Ten Million Tags, among other acronyms. The veteran writer encouraged younger artists to learn about the artform’s history, and also decried the cultural appropriation of graffiti by Caucasian writers whose efforts, he opined, tended to be more linear and less “funky” then black and Latino artists.
Refa explained the show’s inspiration came from Twilight 22’s classic 1983 electro-hop song as well as the energy conducted through the process of making art, which he said had “flow, vibration, rhythm.” There’s a connection, added Kufu, between present-day urban hieroglyphics and “ancient Egyptian electro-magneticism” reflected in color patterns which remain similar through “spans of eons and millenniums.”
-Eric K Arnold
For the full Article click the link
The “Aerosoul” exhibit was frankly, huge, with 140 pieces occupying the better part of two whole floors at the AACC. One floor was entirely dedicated to art drawn by youth; the other contained a treasure-trove of mostly graffiti-style inscriptions, canvases, burners, and portraits painted or written by a prolific list of legendary artists from the Bay Area, L.A., New York, even Europe and Africa. Emphasizing aerosol art’s identification with urban hieroglyphics, a Kemetic (Egyptian) theme ran throughout. Curator Refa 1 broke down the science behind this year’s show: “Aesosoul 3 is a testament to us continuously doing this work in the community, to represent the African narrative in spraycan art, as well as bringing our cultural craft back into the community and building with our youth.” The show, he continued, was representative of work done all year round, through classes, workshops, and community murals—“especially in some of the communities that are struggling with youth violence.”
What’s different about the show from last year, Refa added, was the addition of “seasoned veterans from the brown community,” in addition to African and African American artists. Their inclusion, he emphasized, recognizes “that we both come from the same cultural root, that we both share in the same struggles.”
-Eric K Arnold
For the full Article click the link
AeroSoul's Director Refa One goes on Air with HipHop Journalist Davey D and also gives an in-depth interview with Minister of Information JR.
Tune in,Turn On and Get Hip.
KPFA (Morning Mix/Hard Knock Radio)
San Francisco Bayview Paper
Join the Pan African Diaspora Spray Can Arts movement in their effort to end youth Violence. See the masterpieces of some of the Best HipHop Calligraphers in the world. AeroSoul3 Features some the early Legendary New York Subway Writers as well as artists from the Bay Area,LA, Senegal West Africa and Europe. This Closing Reception event is designed to promote Unity and Community Solidarity through HipHop Culture.
Music,Art,Dance,The Word and Love
Family Friendly and FREE!
February 22,2013 6pm-12Mid
African American Art and Culture Complex 762 Fulton St. San Francisco CA
AeroSoul is a community institution and Cultural resource developed to promote the legacy and rich history of the African Diaspora's contribution to Writing Culture. AeroSoul is also a Movement built to seed struggling communities of color with public Art created through the HipHop medium. This site is designed to promote youth advocacy through HipHop's first element. Passing on Writing's rich traditions to youth insures that our Cultural Rituals have the Power to Free our collective Minds & Spirits.