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Vikki Tobak shares her Journey to Creating the Coffee Table Book, Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop

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Vikki Tobak
Photography by Lisa Leone

 
 

We’re back in Brooklyn, DUMBO to be exact and this time we are kicking it with Vikki Tobak. Vikki is a journalist, producer and the author of Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop. In this episode we talk about growing up in Detroit, her photography moment, working with Gang Starr, working at Paper Magazine, interviewing Diddy when he was on the come up and her journey to Contact High.

About Vikki

  1. Purchase Contact High: A Visual
    History of Hip-Hop
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram

VIKKI TOBAK is a journalist whose writing has appeared in The Fader, Complex, Mass Appeal, Paper, i-D, the Detroit News, Vibe, and many others. She is a former producer and columnist for CBS MarketWatch, CNN, Bloomberg News, TechTV, and other leading media organizations. Vikki is also the founding curator of FotoDC’s film program and served as the art commissioner/curator for the Palo Alto Public Art Commission in Silicon Valley. She has lectured about music photography at American University, VOLTA New York, Photoville, the Library of Congress, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

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Contact High

(excerpted from Vikki Tobak’s introduction)

Photographs, like music, are imprinted onto our collective consciousness. Both define our individual and cultural identities and help shape how we view the world and ourselves. In the case of hip-hop, a medium that encompasses so many transformative moments from politics to race to style, both the visuals and the music become a part of us. It’s not just that one powerful song that has a way of getting under your skin, it’s also the visuals that equally captivate, and stick with us for years to come. It’s the union of hip-hop visuals and music that we honor in this book.

Contact High spotlights the photographers who have played critical roles in bringing these visuals onto a global stage. By tracing a timeline of almost forty plus years of hip-hop culture through contact sheets, one gets a rare glimpse into the creative process. Organized chronologically, Contact High stands as a visual archive of hip-hop-an intimate look at the making of the imagery that shaped the sound.

 

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Show Notes

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Photography by Janette Beckman

Salt-N-Pepa // Photography by Janette Beckman

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Show Notes Continued…

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This episode is sponsored by Gorilla Coffee.

Art

Solving for X with The Mazeking

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The Mazeking

 

 

 

Listen to New York Said wherever you get your podcasts:
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In this episode The Mazeking and Amon talk meditation, Marcel Duchamp, Buddhism, film, physics, the big bang theory, being bullied, the process of living and the purpose of art.

 

More About The Mazeking

 

Official Website

Saatchi Art

Instagram

American artist The Mazeking 飛龍 (Gabriel Asoka) is known for creating colorful, bold, and provocative artworks. He officially began making art in 1998 and started painting, creating various works, ranging from oil on canvas to acrylic on paper. The majority of his work is done in themed series, sometimes taking months or even a year to complete.

In 2002, Asoka had his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles at the O’Melveny Gallery. His love of life, and passion for exploration springs forth in his works of art. His works are about the Unseen (esoteric), Balance (duality), and Energy; what Asoka calls the “three keys”. When asked about his subject matter “I have always been deeply drawn to the esoteric (spirit), science and philosophy. Which are all, one and the same to me”. Inspired by everything from daily encounters to dreams, he explores various themes, including consciousness, sexuality, and the mystical, offering us a richer and more engaging perspective.

Asoka utilizes colors, contrast and forms as symbols. “I’ve used symbols in almost all my work, sometimes it’s just the color of something, or a shape or form, to represent an aspect of something, states of mind or experiences. It’s something that arose in my life and work over time and became part of my process”. Asoka places no labels or categories upon his work. He does not see art in classifications or categories, such as abstract or representational, stating “Everything is abstract in a way and representational in another way, it’s all perception”.

Over the years, his artworks have been collected by private collectors and can be seen in exhibitions around the world. The Mazeking currently lives and works in New York City.

 

Happiness Here Street Art 64NYC

Art by Artist The Mazeking, Happiness Here Street Art.

Show Notes

The Formula Painting

The Formula Painting by Artist The Mazeking

Fashion Maze Carine Roitfeld

Fashion Maze Carine Roitfeld by Artist The Mazeking

 

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The Story of KRINK with Craig Costello

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Krink ® New York City, Courtesy Craig Costello

Krink ® New York City, Courtesy of Craig Costello

 

Listen to New York Said wherever you get your podcasts:
Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

 

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention should have been the title of this week’s podcast episode but it’s already the title of Craig Costello’s new book that just dropped with Rizzoli.

In this episode Craig and Amon talk about growing up in Queens, life in San Francisco, the birth of Krink, Alife, minimizing risk, field testing, racking and the challenges of growing a small business.

 

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention By Craig Costello, Published by Rizzoli

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention By Craig Costello, Published by Rizzoli

More About Craig

Craig Costello, aka KR, grew up in Queens, New York, where graffiti was part of the landscape and a symbol of the city. While living in San Francisco, he quickly garnered attention when his signature “KR” tag popped up throughout the city. As he became one of the more prominent figures on the streets of NYC and SF, he began to hone his craft by creating better tools launching his own line of homemade markers and mops, combining his moniker KR with the word INK. In Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention, Costello has compiled a visual memoir: from his early days of the ’80s and ’90s and launch with the hip New York City retailer Alife, which put his brand on the map, to his evolution as an artist and high-fashion collaborator.

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention By Craig Costello, Published by Rizzoli

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention By Craig Costello, Published by Rizzoli

More about the Book

The book showcases Costello’s seminal style and his extensive body of work, including site-specific installations around the world. It also chronicles his myriad collaborations with Alife, Nike, Coach, Moncler, Modernica, Marc Jacobs, Levi Strauss & Co., Mini (BMW), Carhartt, Casio G-Shock, Kidrobot, Medicom Toy, Stance, agnès b., and colette, among many others. Today, Costello’s reach and influence goes far beyond urban street culture. Krink has grown exponentially into a global artist materials brand with expanding collections of apparel, tools, and accessories; while Costello’s unique aesthetic can be seen on objects from sneakers to luxury goods to cars.

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention is both stylish and informative, capturing the ethos of punk and hip-hop culture, and is sure to appeal to the fans of high/low cultural crossovers, as well as die-hard fans of street art and fashion.

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention By Craig Costello, Published by Rizzoli

Krink: Graffiti, Art, and Invention By Craig Costello, Published by Rizzoli

 

Show Notes

  • Craig Costello
  • KRINK
  • Taking Risks
  • Conservative on the risk tip
  • Minimized Risk
  • Keeping KRINK a Secret 
  • Drippy Tags
  • Didn’t write graffiti on trains in the 80s
  • Ink tags
  • Ditto machine
  • Mimeograph
  • Supermarket ink
  • Grew up in New York
  • Graffiti traditions
  • Making ink
  • Being resourceful
  • Graffiti zines
  • Skills Magazine #7
  • TAKI 183
  • Cornbread
  • Silver KRINK
  • The early process of making KRINK
  • Field testing the product
  • Stop racking 
  • ESPO
  • The Art of Getting Over
  • Alife
  • Futura and Stash Recon Store
  • Getting press
  • The Fader
  • Keeping costs down
  • Learning things the hard way
  • No plan 
  • Pigment in solvent 
  • Graffiti carries a lot of baggage
  • Minimal actions
  • The Red Door
  • Sculptural piece
  • Beyond the Streets
  • Scaling up using color 
  • Using fire extinguishers
  • Skating banks at JFK
  • Infamy (Film)
  • Kunle Martins “Earsnot”
  • IRAK
  • Dash Snow
  • Giant silver drippy tags
  • Controlling the narrative 
  • Keep things extremely simple
  • Canon G7
  • Curious Artist 
  • Ricardo Gonzalez – It’s A Living
  • Shantell Martin
  • Built in aesthetic 
  • “Don’t Blame the Tool, Blame the Fool”
  • Hand made in small batches
  • Keeping the standard
  • Quality Control 
  • Trust yourself
  • Self-doubt

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Inside the Mind of Jim Tozzi

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Jim Tozzi

 

 

Jim and Amon sort of go off the rails talking about Wonder Showzen, PFFR, Bert’s Tit, Underground Comics, almost drowning, the Mystery of Picasso, food fights, Federico Fellini, Chuck Jones, puppets, sharpening your eye, sewing machines, Chewties and a bunch of other stuff.

More About Jim Tozzi

Instagram
Threadless

Jim Tozzi grew up in Everett, a city to the north of Boston. The most distinctive thing about this town was the smell of freshly roasted peanuts due to the Teddie Peanut Butter factory. The factory’s emblem, a grinning cartoon bear with a bucket, would be one of the first influences of advertising on Jim. He went to Everett public school: always an outsider, he preferred drawing weird cartoons and watching monster movies to playing sports.

Jim Tozzi

Jim Tozzi

In his early teens, Jim borrowed a super 8 camera from his Aunt and began experimenting. Lacking a tripod, he would tape the camera down onto the kitchen table and animate various toys, Star Wars figures and clay monsters. He also created a live action series starring his little sister as “Chico” the heavily mustachioed drug dealer who would meet an unlikely demise in every episode. Jim went on to study film and illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. He continued doing both animated and live action films creating a short film parody of an after school special called “Sunday School Girls” which tackled the subject of what Jesus really looked like.

Jim Tozzi

Jim Tozzi

Jim moved to New York and started working at Broadcast Arts inking and painting animation cels. He also started directing music videos for obscure alternative bands. One of the first was for Mercury Rev and featured Ron Jeremy as a floating space traveler. Jim approached Nick at Nite with his reel and some promo ideas; he was brought on to TV Land to come up with a new promo campaign. This campaign conceived, written and directed with his wife Vezna, developed into the award winning “Twip” series. “Twip” was an imaginary product in which it’s evolution was traced in commercial parodies from the early 1950′s through the 90′s. Now as a directing team, the “Tozzi’s” signed on to Bob Giraldi’s company and began directing spots for Miller Lite, Sprite and Florida’s anti-tobacco campaign. The “Tozzi’s” split up and Jim went solo; joining M-80 he directed an award winning campaign for Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats for Leo Burnett. He went on to direct comedy spots for Sony Playstation, Nick at Nite and Miller. In his free time Jim likes to draw, paint, take long quiet walks and is a member of the art collective PFFR. Jim is now signed with THEM and living in New York.

Jim Tozzi

Jim Tozzi

Part One Show Notes

Jim Tozzi

Part Two Show Notes

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