Starting today through the end of this month, every night at precisely 11:57PM, JR's current "Inside Out Project NYC" takes over the digital billboards of Times Square, illuminating the artwork now covering the ground below on the city's most prime advertising real estate in a show of solidarity for the artist's cause. Don't miss it... Read More
Anyone who's read a newspaper this year knows that the economy is in the toilet and the MEXICAN DRUG WARS being waged just across the border in direct relation to the massive consumptive habits of American drug users are every bit as deadly as a real war. THE BOSTON GLOBE recently ran an amazing photo essay chronicling the impact of the drug wars from both sides of the border fence featuring eerily beautiful images that could easily be printed and installed in an art museum. Click HERE to have a look...
This weekend in NYC saw the return of one of the city's most elusive artists to the formal gallery scene when Supertouch's own PHIL FROST premiered his new solo show "Paperweight" at JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY. Creating over 65 works on paper—the majority of which clocked in at a comfy and affordable 22" x 30"—the show was an explosion of color (and white out) from the so-called "street artist", who, despite gaining notoriety for first plying his trade on city walls, has strived to elude the misnomer in his professional career. A show of this kind has never before been mounted for Phil, whose imagery usually begins on canvases before spilling over onto all matter of physical ephemera, from baseball bats and footballs, to old mattresses, glass bottles, BMX bikes, and even suitcases, and proved to be an amazing spectacle in its well contained uniformity. Of course, Frost's fanbase was out in numbers to greet their art hero and art collector and onetime funnyman MIKE MEYERS even patiently waited his turn in line for a photo with Philly Phil followed by chants of "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy," obviously not in reference to his performance in "The Love Guru." HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Supertouch homies PHARRELL and RICARDO CAMPA teamed up to blow kid's minds in Mexico City last weekend when Skateboard P made a lengthy meet-and-greet appearance at Campa's legendary streetwear hotspot HEADQUARTERS. At a time when most American stars won't even set foot on the streets of D.F. for fear of being kidnapped, hats off to the hitmaking art collector for bucking the trend and going big. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Love it or hate it the iconic (and iconoclastic) streetwear brand SUPREME is consistently one of the most innovative and on-point brands on the planet. Its reclusive founder, Supertouch buddy JAMES JEBBIA is the driving force behind this underground powerhouse and an extended interview with the NYC resident in this month's issue of newly-relaunched (and much improved) INTERVIEW MAGAZINE provides the most revealing look to date at the man behind the machine:
JAMES JEBBIA IS SUPREME
By Glenn O'Brien, Interview Magazine
Supreme is a different sort of fashion company. Some people would call Supreme street fashion, some would call it skater fashion, but really it’s beyond classification. They make clothes and accessories, but they also make skateboards, and the skateboards are collected like art. In fact, they’ve put out skateboard decks by artists such as Larry Clark, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Christopher Wool, Nate Lowman, and most recently, Damien Hirst. Their shoes and other products are collected as fanatically as art. Sometimes when a new item comes in, customers line up on the sidewalk for 24 hours, sleeping on the street to be among the lucky few who are able to buy it—there’s a big secondary market for Supreme stuff, in part because it is produced in only very small quantities, but also because Supreme has just two shops in the U.S. (one in New York and one in L.A.), five in Japan, and they sell to a very limited number of other stores, like Hide Out in London and Colette in Paris.
Supreme’s founder James Jebbia was in on the first wave of skater fashion, partnering with Sean Stüssy. When Stüssy left the business, Jebbia opened up Supreme in 1994 in a small storefront on Lafayette Street in downtown New York. Fifteen years later, Supreme is at the pinnacle of populist youth fashion. It’s as big as it wants to be in New York and L.A. and huge in Japan. It’s got a renegade eye, outlaw good taste, and a sort of cult following that lives on the razor’s edge of fashion, art, and sport.
GLENN O’BRIEN: So how is the recession treating you?
JAMES JEBBIA: Our business is really good. We didn’t plan for a financial crisis, but we were
already working hard, trying to make really good product, and we’ve always tried to keep our prices as reasonable as we can.
GO: We’re seeing an interesting moment in the marketplace. I think it’s a time for new values. I think some of these empty luxury brands are going to disappear.
JJ: I agree. I don’t wish for anybody to go out of business, but I think there are far too many things in New York that really shouldn’t be here. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for more than 20 years, so three or four times I’ve been through things where it’s like, “Wow, it’s a tough time.” Ever since September 11, I’ve been quite conservative in what we’ve ordered. We’ve never really been supply-demand anyway. It’s not like when we’re making something, we make only six of them. But if we can sell 600, I make 400. We’ve always been like that—at least for the past seven or eight years. For every season, we put in a lot of work to try to create exciting stuff. So it’s not like in these difficult times we’re going to suddenly pull up our socks—we’ve always been busting our asses every single day to try to get it right.
GO: Was it like that in the beginning?
JJ: Not really. We opened in 1994—
GO: That was during an economic downturn, right?
JJ: Yeah, but we did good in that environment . . . It was really a different time. I had the Stüssy store right here on Prince Street, but Sean Stüssy, the designer, didn’t know whether he was going to do it for that long. He’d made a ton of money, and then I think he decided to retire. So I thought, Shit, I’d better be doing something else, too, because I don’t want to count on this. I’d always loved what went on in skateboarding. I’d never skated myself, but I loved the graphics—I really liked the rebelliousness of it. And a lot of kids who worked for me skated, but it seemed to me that there were no skate shops around. So I was like, “Okay, cool, maybe I’ll do a skate shop.” It cost me, like, $12,000 to open the store. Rent was two grand. It was like, “Hey, if we do five grand a week, then great!” We didn’t really do any business at first, but we did okay. I really liked all of the hard goods—the decks, the wheels, the trucks. But all of the clothing that the skate companies put out was crap. These companies had to sell to a wide range of people, and a lot of them were very young. When people think of skaters, they think of, like, the 12- or 13- or 14-year-old kid. But in New York, it was the 18-to-24-year-old hardcore kid who wasn’t wearing any skate stuff. They’d wear a hat or whatever, but they wouldn’t wear the clothing,because it would fit badly and was bad quality, and skaters want to look good and pick up girls. So we slowly started making our own stuff. It was a time when it was a lot easier to do that kind of thing. It was easier to make a sweatshirt in Brooklyn, or do these hats locally, because you could get nice things made fairly easily. And because we didn’t have to worry about appeasing a 14-year-old kid in a mall, we spent a lot of time trying to make the right stuff. We didn’t dumb it down—we only made things that we really liked. I feel like kids in New York appreciated that, and after a while we got a bit of a following in Japan and in Europe, and we’ve just kind of done it the same ever since. We’ve kept on that same mission of just being a small company, but really trying to make our product as good as anybody else’s and concentrating on what we can do well. That’s why I’ve appreciated you as a customer. A lot of people dismiss what we do. They think, Well, it’s skate, so it’s got to be, like, big baggy pants, cap backwards, big chain . . . They don’t understand that just because skating is the culture we’re working in, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make good things. Click HERE to continue reading…
BAKSY's back in 2009 with a couple fresh hits in Fogtown. Unsurprisingly, his sense of humor remains undaunted by these dark days...
KAWS' street hits were the freshest on the block back in '97 when an incredibly young-looking Brian Donnelley was getting busy on the billboards and bus stops of NYC and Tokyo on the regular. Here we see some rare footage of the youthful media manipulator on the go with commentary by fellow bomber RON ENGLISH...
All the bombs, guns, and tanks in the world can't change AFGHANISTAN, but maybe skateboarding can. In war-torn KABUL, where women wear burkhas, and school age children roam the streets instead of studying in classrooms (less than 1% of Afghanis attend college) the first skateboarding school, SKATEISTAN has just opened its doors and is teaching more girls than boys how to ollie. It's also educating young rippers on the finer points of bowl skating in an abandoned swimming pool formerly used by the Taliban for public executions. Take that, Mullah Omar!
THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE:
SHEPARD FAIREY AND THE ART OF APPROPRIATIONAs underground art phenomenon SHEPARD FAIREY’s first major museum retrospective prepares to open at the INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON on February 6th, we feel the need to address some of the vicious and unfounded rumors surrounding the originality of Shepard’s artwork that have been floated online in recent years. Though written by a variety of different detractors for a questionable array of reasons, the common thread binding them all—aside from a thinly masked veneer of obvious envy in most cases—is a nearly ubiquitous lack of understanding of the artist’s use of appropriated imagery in his work and the longstanding historical precedent for this mode of creative expression. Read More
Last nite, graffiti gremlin NECK FACE took advantage of some down time between billboard postings on the front wall of Hollywood fashion hotspot BARRACUDA to leave a note for freshly-inaugurated President OBAMA. Representing "la gente" to the fullest, Nasty Neck lets the Big O know his economic reform package should indeed be the first order of business this week: "we don't need change, we need dollars, homie!" In other news, Barracuda is expanding to include an art gallery component this summer. Stay tuned to Supertouch for details coming soon. HAVE A LOOK: Read More