Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Old Horned Deity: New Works by Dennis McNett

Vans artist Dennis McNett has a show up at the Canal Chapter Gallery on the LES, NYC. It's gone exceptionally well so far and has been extended until October 31st, 2008. If you're in the area, it would be well worth your time to check out this installation. Moreover, some of the graphics from his Vans series are collaged into the work.

For more info go to CANAL CHAPTER NYC. See the show Monday to Friday from 11am-7pm & Saturday from 1pm-5pm. Thanks to Dennis for the photos.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Postcard from the Road

Hey guys. I'm on a road trip for the next few days. I'm updating as much as I can, (on Twitter) but there really are places where no phones go. Enjoy the clouds of somewhere in Utah or Colorado, my sneakers, and the bugs on the windshield.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Punker Than You Punk: Tartan History.

In general "history of punk" books, it seems like the origin of plaid gets overlooked. In fabric history books, at least the correlation gets a nod. A few quick searches and you have the makings of a great article for someone else to elaborate on. Write it and send me the link.

Scene one. Start off in Scotland. Everyone knows those dudes got dogged forever by their neighbors. Tartan is a symbol of Scotland. So, duh. You gotta get that outta there if you're going to dominate them.

"Of all the symbols associated with Scotland, tartan is undoubtedly the most evocative. When the Hanoverian government in Britain banned the wearing of Highland dress in 1746, after the 1745 Jacobite Rising, it was not just a bid to ban a superb campaigning garment, it was also a direct attempt to deal a mortal blow to a people's morale. The intention behind the ban was to force the Highlanders to adopt Lowland culture, thus wrecking their martial spirit. The ban applied to all men and boys in Scotland, other than those serving in the Hanoverian forces. Those infringing it received six months' imprisonment for a first offense and seven years' transportation overseas for a second." - from TARTAN HISTORY SITE.

Is there any wonder that this pattern was adopted by the punk movement? Here are a couple of links to find out more on the history of the pattern & fabric. MORE TARTAN HISTORY and TRENDS.

Photos by MAFLEEN and LO REZ SKY

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

DIY Shoebox Speakers. Get Crafty, Y'all.

I have to learn to build something. Why not start with shoe box speakers? Philyt is a high schooler with a superior aptitude for the world of DIY. He posted this quick short on stereo speakers he made with Vans shoe boxes. Resourceful. Nice craft. (Eh, he'll learn to edit the video better later.) Um, why don't we make these?

Oh yeah, I said that I'm trying to learn to build stuff. If I propose that Vans makes these, then what I am I really learning? It's time to take some responsibility. Jeez, I am blowing it. Someone send me a Home Depot gift card.

Monday, September 22, 2008

101 Sneaker Facts

I ran across a pretty cool list of obscure sneaker knowledge on the GeekMinded Blog. I'm not going to bother ya'll with the whole thing, but here are a couple samples:

#1. One of the earliest references to “sneaks” appears in James Greenwood’s 1873 account of London life, ’In Strange Company.’

#18. Customization is all the rage today, but it’s nothing new to vans. For those who believe Nike i.d. is the best thing since shelltoes, peep game. Before sneaker customization went from niche hobby to overpriced mainstream trend, Vans was on it...the company started customizing sneakers in March 1966.

#33. Nike employed Hunter S. Thompson collaborator Ralph Steadman for the launch of its 180 Air line.

#74. Reebok is named after an African gazelle called a rhebok.


Seriously. Cobrasnake Posted Something Outstanding.

I mean, you can't always be on a roll so give the guy a break. I like him. Anyway, I'm backing his coverage of the NOCTURNAL MUSIC FESTIVAL in San Bernardino. He came away from that crazy little kid rave with what reads as an honest portrait from that scene. It's a little reminder of what it's like to be 15 & absolutely, positively going to be murdered by your parents the next day...so you better have made that party count.

Nuggets like these make me a fan of dude's photography, for sure. I highly recommend thumbing through the few dozen moments he's posted on his site. Now, I'm just going to get my bottle of water and my glitter and go nuts.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Professional Snowboarders Do When It's Hot...

They set things on fire. Skateboards. Phones. Shoes. Themselves. Whatever. Here are Diamond, Fern, and Johannes proving that they are so cold all the time that their skin won't even burn. Freaks, I'd say. Call the law man.

Evan L. from Snowboarder Magazine shot these photos on the last day of Camp of Champions at Whistler, BC. That's the other thing about snowboarders. They get to go to summer camp forever. Well, shoot me with a BB Gun. That ain't fair.

See more of the life and times of Evan the Fever HERE.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I am in Actual Pain, Here.

I ran across Seattle's Actual Pain after photos of his work (and rumors of his custom Vans) popped up on the site of Seattle shop Winner's Circle. He's on the come up working with folks including New Era and Mishka. However, DIY aint' a four-letter word in his book (ha…so bad I know). Actual Pain not only sells his wares in boutiques. You can buy his work right from his site. Also, I would venture to say that he's having a particularly novel/he-man week since one of his tees made it into this month's VICE Magazine fashion section.

Congrats, bro! Someone in Seattle go buy this guy a beer, and then smash the bottle on his head while he listens to death metal. I am pretty sure he'd be stoked on it the next day. He'd have a scab to pick so he could paint in blood. Yes!

More fun here: ACTUAL PAIN and

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Note from The Killer Gerbil

Artist Luthfi Mustafah aka The Killer Gerbil dropped me a line with a quick sketch attached. (Thanks, fella!) He had a write up this week on Hypebeast because he was recently picked up by Adidas and had a big show in Singapore. Mustafah's background originates from street art. He first picked up a spray can around 2003. Garnering support and inspiration from his pet gerbils, the next thing you know… kid is working for Volkswagen.

What lesson have we learned from Mustafah? Gerbils=Success. Check this out. Here goes about 57 muses sounding your clarion call to create the next best most gorgeous thing in the universe.


Monday, September 15, 2008

15 Minutes with Alternative Apparel and Matt Sohl at Fred Segal

Alternative Apparel has recently launched a new "store within a store" collaboration series with Fred Segal in Santa Monica, CA featuring artist Matt Sohl. To tell you exactly what's going on here I'll just skip to an explanation from people who sat at their desks for a long time thinking about how to best unfurl the story of this art/fashion/retail project:

"15 minutes at Fred Segal Flair in Los Angeles is a revolving installation of well-known and emerging designers and artists. Fusing the worlds of fashion, art, music, and design, 15 Minutes at Fred Segal Flair offers the opportunity to look, touch, smell, hear, and wear all aspects of each designer’s core concept."

As intimated by the above quote, I don't know if I'm going to go to Fred Segal and smell Matt’s shirts, but they sure do look nice so I would snatch one off the rack. Matt works a lot in watercolor, and after rooting around on his blog I found a pair of old Vans that he'd painted. They are on sale at Fred Segal for $275 bucks (just kidding).

You can find out more info on 15 Minutes with Alternative Apparel x Matt Sohl x Fred Segal HERE.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Metal Unicorn Spotted in San Diego

I found San Diego artist Metal Unicorn through an associate of mine. She doesn't only paint Vans for adults, she does kids' sizes as well. I emailed her to see what her deal is and conveniently enough she explained her work much better than I can. (really? ha) Here's what she had to say:

"I have a BLASTED LAZY EYE... which I use to pirate my way thru the universe & draw cartoons. My first pair of Vans was a tribute to Marc Bolan from T.Rex. I was looking for a way to interest people, in order to publish my children's books. This assortment (at Milo) could be called "Fairytale" or " Whimsy." Just childhood images I enjoy, old and new. Each shoe is detailed, sides, back, taking many long hours, illustrated by hand... using acrylics, waterproof micron ink, flexible protective varnish. I collect classic children's literature, and hope to do more on kid's shoes such as; The Wind in the Willows, Dr. Seuss, Alice in Wonderland, E.Gorey, Wizard of Oz, Pippi Longstocking, ect. Reading books... is the most important way to learn in this lifetime, I believe this wholeheartedly."

Way to go with that eye patch, miss! Score one for somewhat necessary medical accessories. See more of her work HERE.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Go to College, Looooooooser: Ian Mackaye at UC Irvine for Q&A.

If you're so pissed that you have to do some serious floor punching about how much you have to pay to go to school at UC Irvine then here's your best day coming up soon. Mister Minor Threat himself will be speaking on campus at that there school in Orange County, CA. Reportedly, the Q & A, scheduled for October 21, 2008 will be open to the public and will cost a whopping 5 bones if you ain't enrolled. I have this information from a source rrrreeeeallly close to the quick, WHERE EAGLES DARE'S little brother who goes to school at UC Irvine. So there. Golden. If I'm wrong...then I know where he lives. We can all go beat him up. Fine.

Take a note here: if you go, make sure to ask Ian about "staying punk/selling out" and subsequently, "if punk is dead and how he killed it." He will love that just as much as when I asked Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley about the make-up.

Pee Ess. The brains behind this operation are Acrobatics Everyday- a student group that puts on rad shows at that campus. More info on them here: HERE.

*Revision: It was pointed out that the spelling of "loser" like "looser" was too subtle, and I'm sick of getting emails about it. FINE! I've added a million o's for you jack butts. FINE! THEIR!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Like a Letter but Smells Worse.

Last month I received a Nike (yes, a Nike) box from Philadelphia delivered to me at work. It was from my friend Lia Brennen, an artist back east. Inside the Nike box were two pairs of beat up Vans covered in detailed drawings.

There was also a note. It said something like, "hello. i put these in the washing machine and now they don't fit me so you lucked out and hershel made them they are old. i made some and hershel has them i have to go bye. love, lia."

Of course, I had to get to the bottom of this so I called our friend Hershel Baltrotsky (also a maker of things in LA) to find out the back story. Hershel told me that he & Lia started drawing on shoes for each other back in college. They continued the swap after Hershel and Sarah (Lia's BFF & Hershel's GFF) moved to the west coast. They'd snag shoes in each other's size, draw stuff all over them & send the finished shoes through the mail. They have a few more pairs floating around. I'll keep you informed, in the know, up on it, updated, and FYI'd on the next round of shoe letters they send each other.

And now the links to more art: ARTRAFFLE and LIAROCK.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

True Story: The Vans Shoe Series

Here at Vans, we've been following the work of photographer Amanda Lopez for going on a year. For much longer than that she's been documenting her travels...the twist is that it's from her Vans' point of view. She's got her own solo show opening this month featuring this series called "True Story: The Vans Series." If you're around Santa Ana, CA the opening reception is September 20th from 7-10pm at Galeria Tufino.

Look for the girl wearing the sneakers in the photos, run up to her and kick her really hard while screaming, "Where's your camera now???!!!" She'll totally get it. (I mean, it's not an inside joke between Amanda and me, and I haven't told her about it yet, but..um...it will be hilarious!)

Get yourselves more info at GALERIA TUFINO and AMANDA LOPEZ.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Amanda McQuade Looks like Trouble.

She's twenty years old. She's ambitious and talented. She's totally adorable, and you can't date her. I'll just get that out of the way right now. I'm telling ya....status says "in a relationship." Meet Amanda McQuade. Currently enrolled in the graphic design program at Laguna College of Art & Design, Amanda is definitely using her solid drawing skills paired with a budding illustrative talent to shell out her collection of custom Vans. There are a whole bunch of them on her myspace page, all of them presenting a wide range of styles. I'm definitely backing the ads she's come up with, too. She makes the shoes, then conceptualizes the ad/models to reflect the theme of the shoe. Simple and effective. Annnnnnnnd cute! Love it.

She's got a website, but like I mentioned before...more pics are on AMANDA'S MYSPACE.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Duh, Max Shaaf's Blog. Duh.

Somehow, I missed this perfect Vans-on-a-chopper pic from Max Shaaf's blog. Jeeeeex. DANIEL pointed this out. I'm loosing it. It's a slippery slope to Bummersville. Back to the matter at hand: this photo from 1976 and how badass it is.

Our primary subject in the photo has got himself a well groomed moustache. His handlebars are are out there so he can look all steezy, but seem practical enough for fairly long rides. When he arrives at the obviously amazing and dangerous destination unknown he will be sporting his clever navy blue Authentics. However, I wouldn't want to be that girl on the back. Her knees are up around his butt. She looks like she could leap frog right off 'a that thing and go sailing off into the brush...possibly in search of her brassiere and definitely singing, "Rhiannon." Ah, yes. Look at her with her little eyes closed, "Rhiaaaaaaaaanon!" She is a woman taken by the wind. Now for the props: MAX SHAAF'S BLOG.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Anna Fleischer's Custom Vans Series

Magali from the Milo shop in San Diego just sent me a photo this morning of the first series (serieses? serai? yep, probably serai) of customs I've seen. Anna did a few of these sets, but my favorites are these two. The shoe collections are in multiple size runs (each size has a different graphic element) however, she really paid attention to the composition of the individual pairs.

Anna's got a bunch of new work up on her site. She's getting the bills paid with her customs work so she can continue recording music. Here's Anna in a club in Missouri back in June...

Oh, Ka-damb! BEYONCE! All tha women thas independaaaa! To tha lef to tha lef! Something-something-something-box to tha lef! Whatever. Anna doing her own thing. You feel me? Here are her links: ANNA FLEISCHER'S CUSTOM PAINTED VANS & ALSO HER SINGING WAY BETTER THAN YOU.