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AK the Savior and Sagun on Bridging the Gap

Throughout time, humans have used dissent to bring ourselves closer despite our differences. By understanding and finding out we have more in common than we think, a beautiful thing called culture arises. Culture is the nexus of certain communities that are striving for something bigger than themselves. It isn't something that should be tainted by a selfish need for preservation, but something to be shared with the world. Because of that, for better or for worse, society has evolved thanks to culture.

 

AKTHESAVIOR and Sagun photographed by Rosie Matheson

 

Arts, fashion, and politics deviate from the classification of race and finances because there's an intrinsic yearning for unity. In that regard, it's quite superficial to use one's culture as a guideline for one's personality. That's how arguments about co-opting and a lack of respect for purity are in our day-to-day feeds. This observation becomes more accurate in modern times, where everyone wants to make a statement but isn't saying anything at all. Presently, we can communicate with whoever and whenever, however, we still feel alone.

Despite that, AK the Savior, a New York-born and now Los Angeles-based rapper and Nepal-based lo-fi producer Sagun, pulls you a seat at their table in their recent album titled "U R Not Alone." On this album, the duo navigates through musical genres while rapping about topics involving cultural politics and discovering where you belong, no matter where you're from. Comparable to the opposite ends they came from to create this album, the two also have a mutual understanding and respect for one another that is non-sequitur to music. They are building a model of self-confidence and staying true to what they believe in because culturally, that's what people want to be a part of.

 

AKTHESAVIOR and Sagun photographed by Jordan Smith

1. Do you think someone’s appearance is as important as their actual skill set when it comes to music?

Sagun: Personally, it does not matter, but like you said, it does play a big factor these days. But at the same time, if the music is good, no matter how good you look or dress, people will love you no matter what.

Ak: I agree with Sagun too. I think it's important, but not as important as it once was. It was way more important back in the day to look the part and to be a superstar. But nowadays some people are just super talented; uploading their videos or music where it speaks for itself in a sense.

2. One is from Nepal and one is from New York. How'd you guys meet and how'd this project come about?

AK: Sa, you want to tell him?

Sagun: Yeah, so I always wanted to make this kind of rap album, and I was talking to my manager about it to search for a rapper who could collaborate with me. My manager came up with the idea of having AK on this album and told me to send him beats and just see what happens. I just sent him beats one by one and it started from there through email.

AK: I just finished dropping an album called "Almost Home" and I was still in the zone creating music. I'm hands-on with my shit. After that, COVID hit and nothing was popping, but I love music, so I continued pursuing it through it. I dropped an album even though there weren't going to be any tours and I checked my email to see who's hitting me up. I kept networking, and Sagun's manager hit me up with this proposal about a lo-fi producer that would be a good match for me. He then sent me beat after beat and once I got the beats, I heard them and then instantly wrote the beats. It was an instant connection through Zoom calls and getting to know each other. Sagun then came to America for the first time; we met in person and that's when we started working on shit.

3. Do you think the most radical thing nowadays is just to be normal?

AK: Yeah. I agree with that. In today's world, music matters, but it's more about content. It's king right now. People are focused on ways to go viral. Within the fashion world, to go viral is to have shock value, so people might buy certain things that they may not necessarily like the Mario boots. They'll just wear that shit to go viral, but not like it.

Sagun: I agree. Some people just do anything and everything to go viral. I'm not mad at that though.

AK: Yeah, fuck it.

4. Talking about anime has been sort of taboo for minorities to talk about in recent years. Do you like that this conversation is more on the forefront or does it feel like just another opportunity to exploit another subculture?

AK: I think anime is for the world. Just because someone doesn't bring anime into the forefront of a conversation doesn't mean they're not about anime. I think what people are worried about now is that anime is getting super popular. It's becoming larger and larger and when things get big, more people just jump on the trend to be cool. Anime people are real gatekeepers and if someone's repping something that they know wasn't in it in the first place. Then it becomes "Nigga, you never liked that kind of shit before...". I think you just couldn't tell someone was into anime based on their music and image. You don't have to promote something to like it.

Sagun: Everyone around used to watch it, so I could never think or see people say they don't like anime.

AK: For instance, I always said I loved anime and made references in my music, but I feel like if those same people saw me out in New York with my homies looking like goons; they would think there's no way this guy watches anime. I got many anime tattoos and they're part of my life because they changed my life, so you can't judge someone based on how they look.

5. I know of the recent loss of the creator of Dragon Ball Z, Akira Toriyama. How did you feel about the sudden loss and how did his work influence you as an artist?

Ak: That shit fucked me up. Dragon Ball Z changed my entire life. As I grew up on it, I realized there were a lot of subliminal messages within the show. Some people may just see it as a cartoon, but Ki is a real thing. It's not just energy blasts and shit. Ki is the real energy we all have. Akira took that concept and made it playful, but we all have energy within us.

Sagun: I feel the same when I watch the Vineland Saga. It teaches you how to control yourself, your people, and the environment around you. You guys should check it out. I love that one.

AK: In the anime, there are so many gems that are dropping that apply to real-life men. People sleep on it! I encourage anyone reading this to watch anime because it'll change your life. And if you don't like fighting or energy balls and shit, watch Death Note (laughs). That's a great warm-up.

 

AKTHESAVIOR and Sagun photographed by Brayton Bowers

 

AKTHESAVIOR and Sagun photographed by Rosie Matheson

 

6. I know fashion and music go hand in hand, but it can sometimes be an obviously desperate opportunity for an artist to capitalize on it as a "business venture". What other ventures do you think we need more of from our current and future artists?

AK: For me, I'm one of those artists who are already venturing into different things. I'm into fashion, so that's not farfetched as something I could get into. I have friends in the fashion world too and I see how hard that shit is. It's some shit that's easy to tap into unless you're the type of artist who'll drop anything and people are going to follow it. I don't think I would get into it like that, but I don't want to cap myself either.

IR: You're also an actual artist.

AK: Yeah, so a couple of business ventures that I do include a jewelry company called "Florescent Treasures" and I even wrote my own manga called Nakaomiru, which means look inside. I also do paintings now and then because I'm the type of person who, whatever resonates with me at the moment; I'm going to tap into.

Sagun: I'm getting more into videography and photographing. I like how videos are done and if I'm not into that, I would get into coding. I love coding.

7. How much does your art correlate to your music, and vice versa?

AK: After I linked up with Sagun after recording "You Are Not Alone" almost 2 and a half years ago. I started painting a lot during our time recording it. I wanted to make new shit and thought, "How do I make this shit correlate to my music?" because niggas is not going to just accept a painting, so I had to make it make sense. All the cover art and single art was me painting. I had a project called "Tracing Patterns" where I wanted to connect my paintings with my music. I wanted to make something for what it is and I hope people don't get too judgmental about it.

 

 

 

8. Given your start in the rap group Underachievers and being part of this psychedelic rap that rappers such as the Flatbush Zombies, Asap Rocky, Danny Brown, and yourselves brought to the generation. Do you think drugs were the bigger inspiration or what role did psychedelic drugs play in this exploration for you?

AK: I think psychedelics played a huge role like you said, and people were connected to us through psychedelics. But I feel like I was speaking on more experiences I had when I was younger. The Underachievers were taking psychedelics when we were younger when we created "Indigoism" and things like that, but people got the misconception that we were tripping every single day. We weren't tripping every single day. Four times a year I would trip, but I can only speak for myself. Now I only take psychedelics once or twice a year when I need that spiritual push or boost of inspiration. Psychedelics is something you shouldn't abuse because if you do, that's how you lose yourself.

IR: I mean, that's how people become Deadheads into their 70's.

AK: Yeah(laughs). There's nothing wrong with being a fan and taking psychedelics. But if you let that shit just take over your life, you remove the balance and become lost. I love psychedelics because they changed my life, but you don't need them. I think I never needed it. It's here on earth for us to use and work together, but you don't need that for the spiritual growth that I've gotten. You just need to work to be the best version of yourself by reading books and enhancing your knowledge to bring enlightenment to your life. Drugs don't enlighten your life. That doesn't work and it doesn't fix your problems. It's just you and the journey you choose to go on.

 

AKTHESAVIOR and Sagun photographed by Brayten Bowers

 

AKTHESAVIOR and Sagun photographed by Rosie Matheson

 

9. You come from a multicultural background, which is one of the themes of your upcoming project. You are not alone. Growing up, did you feel out of place as someone who's multicultural and what helped you feel more included?

Sagun: I would never be who I am if I didn't grow up in my environment, so no. I never felt that I was in the wrong place or at the wrong time. That's totally who I am and I've always accepted it.

AK: I feel you 100 percent. I'm thankful to be from the Caribbean Islands and get the influences from the music to the food. It makes us who we are. When I was a kid, I went to school in Harlem from elementary to junior high school, bro. At that time, growing up, Spanish and black people were being. Oh, my god. As a kid, I was like, Why, and kids would try to fight me? It was just so weird because even other black people were fucking with me because they thought I was Spanish.

IR: Given how you look, I was going to say that! Was it a Dominican trying to fight you even though you guys are the same color? (laughs)

AK: BROOOOOO!!! I always questioned it. Why, why, why? Then I went to school from Manhattan to Brooklyn as I got older with more black people and Caribbean culture. In Harlem, niggas used to make fun of me and shit. Saying, "You got big ass lips, bro!". They said mad funny shit that made me feel like I'm not shit. But when I got to Brooklyn, I was the most popular dude in the school. I was just confused during that time, but all that shit happened for a reason and I'm grateful for it.

 

 

10. How do you think racial and cultural issues will change in the future as society continues to blend?

AK: I have high hopes for the future. The issue we have today is that the people who created these ways of thinking and ways of life through racism, etc. are still in power. If they're not directly connected to it, their sons and daughters are now in power. As we grow older and new generations come, there's going to be an understanding that we're all together as a human race. This skin color sh*t is stupid now.

Sagun: Totally.

AK: They've even shown now on certain websites what the future people are going to look like if we blend.

IR: Yeah, everyone's going to look like The Rock.

AK and Sagun: (laughs).

AK: I don't want everyone to look the same. That's boring, but if we all look the same, how are you going to judge me? Like on this album, "You Are Not Alone" ,we want you to feel like we're different from you. We are all humans with similar and different experiences, but the bottom line is that this is life. These are things that we go through and we're just sharing life as you are too.

 

AKTHESAVIOR and Sagun photographed by Rosie Matheson

11. What would you say to someone dealing with these types of issues when trying to find their voice?

AK: Follow your heart and whatever resonates with you. Do what matters and if you feel a certain way, express yourself. Don't bottle it up. When someone says no one understands me, it's like, of course, no one understands you because you didn't express yourself. If no one is truly listening; go out and find the person who's going to listen. You are not alone.

Sagun: If you think you're going to fail, keep trying.

   

       

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A Triumph of Feast & Festivity: LA Wine & Food 2024

Stomach grumbling. Must. Save. Appetite!

After a quick tour of Frieze Art Fair at the Santa Monica Airport, it was time to focus on the most anticipated event of the day — the Los Angeles Wine and Food Festival. Finding our way in was a bit of a treasure hunt, but once we discovered the entrance, it felt like we'd hit the jackpot. My team and I, armed with appetites ready for destruction, were eager to dive into the gourmet goodies that awaited us.


This gesture underscored the festival's ability to blend the culinary with the artistic, creating an immersive experience that appealed to all our senses.


First impression: The production was impeccable. It was clear from the get-go that meticulous planning had gone into ensuring a seamless experience for all attendees. The layout was thoughtfully designed, eliminating any dreaded long lines and making every delicious dish within easy reach. The spacious setup was great for comfortable mingling (although, it's hard to chat with people when you're stuffing your face with wagyu meatballs), creating a perfect backdrop for indulging in the seemingly endless assortment of bites offered by the wide variety of talented chefs. The staff and vendors were all in great spirits (a major shift from the uptight Frieze staff) which made our experience that much better.

A central, circular bar, staffed by an efficient and friendly team, served as an oasis for those looking to quench their thirst between the sweet and savory offerings. This well-oiled station ensured that we were never parched, granting us more time to explore the festival's appetizing activities. We even ran into the rising star food critic Luca Servodio of The LA Countdown (See his review here). 



After we snacked around a bit, our attention turned to the Artist Plate Project booth by Artware Editions. This unique presentation featured an impressive display of 40 plate editions, each crafted by a high-caliber group of visual artists. The booth was not only a feast for the eyes but also a testament to the incredible talent and creativity of the artists involved. The team behind the booth was exceptional, providing insights into the artworks and sharing stories that enriched our appreciation for each piece. Learning that this project has raised close to $6 million to provide food, crisis services, housing, and other critical aid to thousands of people was impressive. It even inspired my friend Collin Sommers to buy me a plate as a gift to celebrate my newborn son. It was a hard decision as there were so many good options. I ended up choosing the stunning 2021 edition by Lisa Yuskavage. This gesture underscored the festival's ability to blend the culinary with the artistic, creating an immersive experience that appealed to all our senses.

Lisa Yuskavage, 2021 Artist Plate Edition



Once the bites were bitten and the drinks were drunk, it was clear that the Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival was a masterclass in event production, culinary excellence, and artistic innovation. The Artist Plate booth, in particular, stood out as a brilliant showcase of creativity and collaboration, leaving us inspired and eagerly anticipating next year's edition.

Thank you to LAWFF for the invitation and I'm eagerly awaiting the next edition. 

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Measures of a Man – Julian Pace Cuts Ego Down to Size with his Larger Than Life Paintings.

Success is defined as achieving the desired goal. A goal to be rich and famous or simply just to wake up another day depending on the individual. But so often we compare the lives and things of others to equate our happiness without realizing they are no more people than the things they have. It's not what you acquire that makes you great and successful. It's what you bring and who you truly are. So if celebrity and luxury are the apexes of success, does that mean our dreams are invalid if we don't want that? No. Truth is, what defines success is a testament to one's values. 

What we value differs from person to person, but with social media being one of the dictating factors of how view the world, some value the opinions of others more than ever. Image is the biggest influence to the point of likes and comments manipulate your whole existence. One can view the lives of others showing a perfect lifestyle, not knowing they worked hard to create this illusion. So if you can look successful, why work hard to be successful? Because much like our heroes or idols, it's the journey and struggles we persevered that define and inspire us.

Julian Pace, a self-taught painter whose ambitions led him from Seattle to New York and now Los Angeles utilizes famous figures and things that attract us to reshape how we view them. His precision in oddly detailing his subjects stands out as a form of alienation in his paintings. The abnormal use of portion, roughness, and stale coloring illustrates that what we are attracted to isn't as perfect as it looks. It's a full embrace of one's character and imperfections assuring us that we all want to achieve something; so appreciate the process more than the product.

Interlude and interview by Ian Randolph

1. In all mediums of art, social media has been a tool to promote an artist's work without the hassle of getting shown in a gallery. It can be lucrative, of course, but when one does it opens them up to a market where there's more competition for exposure, let alone discovering other artists who may have a similar aesthetic. Does that worry you?

JP: No. Not at this point. I think my mindset in terms of social media was never to be "discovered". For me, if I have something to share with the world without knowing about getting into galleries. I used to draw in my sketchbook and just put it out for people to see and to keep myself focused. I drew my whole life and stopped for a moment, so when I got back to it, I used my sketches and posts as a personal quota to keep me going. It kept me more focused. It kept me honest, so if you just put something out into the world, maybe someone will see it. Maybe someone will like it or not.  Luckily someone reached out to me through Instagram to do a residency and this whole new world opened up.

IR: So you're not swayed by any of this? You're self-motivated.

JP: No. I'm inspired by other artists and I'm definitely on social media heavier than I should, but I'm not swayed. I love to see people doing well and see new art because I never went to art school. My art school is just to see the people around me. It's cool to me.

2. The idea of what a celebrity is and how to become one has taken a big shift in recent years due to social media influencers. Do you think art now is more about your personality rather than skill?

JP: Maybe with social media the idea is "They don't buy into your product. They buy into you." Maybe that's true. I'm sure there are plenty of assholes that are successful because of it, but I don't think you can really know someone through social media even if it seems like you can. If you meet someone in person, it's usually different. One time I met someone who came to my studio and said "Wow. I thought you were a serious and stern kind of guy, but you're not that or who I thought you were." I guess because I don't smile in pictures. If you see that, you would think "This guy is a serious something, something," but I don't take myself too seriously.

IR: You just seem more focused. Like "I could be working on some shit right now...Did I leave the oven on?..."

JP: Yeah(laughs)! I mean, I use social media as a tool because it is a powerful tool, so I try to use it and it's a place where you can see what I'm doing.

IR: You're also very particular in what you're doing. You use certain influential icons in some of your works and every artist, athlete, etc. they have their influences.

JP: Somewhat. My work touches on celebrity worship or cult of personality that we build and a lot of times you might see somebody and have one idea, but the reality is they're not that person.

IR: Never meet your heroes.

JP: Yeah. Never meet your heroes(laughs). And maybe there's no such thing and you shouldn't have heroes. I can love a person's work and then you meet that person and find out they suck. 

3. For purist sake, is it possible for an artist to be unique by creating something substantial without any influence?

JP: I don't think so, but it depends. There are always new ways of doing things for sure. People can have fresh ideas on how to do something, but everything comes from somewhere. Nothing is new under the sun and I think that as a species we are definitely cyclical. We repeat things, touch on things and appropriate them. I think an arrogant thing is that we're supposed to be a melting pot with our entire culture coming from certain things, but I don't know what's truly original at this point in history. It's not a bad thing. I do a lot of derivative work. I borrow or steal just to use the resources that work and if it doesn't work, whatever, but if it does work, I keep using it.

IR: We are essentially a product of our environment?

JP: Yeah.

4. Do you think you can be just as much influenced by your environment rather than another person?

JP: I think it's both, for sure. I don't think it's more one or the other, but it depends on what you're choosing to make. I'm doing a lot of person in my work and these are images that I've seen or people saw throughout my life. At least what I do is a reflection of what I see and put out when working within. Other people see the world in different ways and so the art comes out differently. You might be using techniques or tools, but maybe that's the thing that is unique if you're being honest and true to what you're doing in that sense.

IR: It's subjective on what is important to us. You can look at a NASCAR, a color, or a person for inspiration.

JP: Exactly. My friend Taylor did a painting with an Evian bottle on it and it's interesting because he never really uses branding in his paintings, but it's interesting to see how he does it from a different point of view than me. I do a lot of brand stuff and someone else doing the brand thing is different because if I painted an Evian bottle, it would be totally different from his because we're all looking at it from a different perspective. 

5. Speaking of perspective, I feel we live in an age where likes are at a higher value than money. Which, if played right, can lead to something profitable for an artist. From a marketing point of view, how do you as an artist find that balance as an artist while navigating to success without antics and solely good work?

JP: Yeah, some people can get lost in the sauce(laughs). Either way, I try to be more of the latter and things like social media kind of might give you a false sense of superiority or inferiority in a sense. Maybe if you didn't get enough likes on a post it doesn't mean it's bad or good. It is what is it. It doesn't dictate or judge the quality of your work, but people definitely might get caught up in shit like that or caught in their own hype, so they believe the bullshit and let it go to their heads. At the end of the day as an artist or whoever you're you in the end and not to say art isn't important, but you should be very grateful for what you have because very few people can actually sell their work. It's a tiny percent that makes a living off their work. Out of all the artists in the world, that's so rare. How could you not see that and think "Wow! That's a humbling thing.". The fact that someone is coming into my studio and interviewing me for this magazine is insane to me. It's cool and I'm grateful.

IR: I mean, you put in the work to get here.

JP: Maybe, but a lot of people put in work. Humility is something that's not shown a lot on social media or necessarily encouraged. A lot of people think you have to have this certain bravado that's genuinely false.

IR: That's fair. It's some people want to be bigger than their creations.

JP: There's a lot of that. It's hard to say because you can't believe much of what you see on social media... I hope I don't have that presence. 

IR: Not at all. You walk softly and carry a big stick.

JP: Cool(laughs)! Thinking you're the shit is just very unnecessary and there are a lot of things on social media that encourage that. I mean, do your thing, but also be grateful for what you have.

6. In regards to inflated egos, I've noticed that most of your paintings involve famous public figures with big bodies and abnormally small heads in comparison to their stature. Is it intentional or is it simply your aesthetic as an artist?

JP: At first it was just a thing I was playing with by distorting proportions. The story on how I got into that was I did a drawing and a painting of Dennis Rodman and my friend John in New York who's kind of like a meathead, who's the best, but he's a bro from Long Island and he was like "Look at those baby bird shoulders!". And he was so right, so I made one with inflated shoulders.

IR: The NLF Blitz create-a-player version!

JP: Yeah, exactly(laughs)! After that I was like "Damn, I kind of like that one." and just started playing with the proportions. Sometimes they're a little more extreme. Sometimes less. It's just with these guys the portraits give the perspective of something grandiose. Someone said that it makes them feel like "a kid looking at their hero".

IR: The physical manifestation of a "Legend".

JP: Ah shit! I'm going to steal that one(laugh)! Yeah, that is a part of it. These are also my play of very traditional portraits. It's a stylistic thing but it also kind of works with what I'm doing.

IR: Yeah, dude. There's a Greek or Roman mythology element to it. You use shading like how a sculpture chisels to define one's strong features.

JP: I think of them like a titan or hero figure that you would see these big statues of. Definitely.

7. Many artists use public figures in their work as means of a poetic message or simply used as mockery and entertainment. What are you conveying when using these figures?

JP: It's a little of both. It depends. One could be someone that has inspired me or some of these guys are just sort of a vessel to play with color or abstract colors. When I paint I sort of use the figures as a vessel for that and working with scale. I'm able to play within the forms, loosen up, and still maintain boundaries.

8. What attracts you to these specific figures when creating your art?

JP: You're not going to catch me doing somebody or something contemporary. Not likely. I genuinely kind of prefer doing these sports figures or side figures. It doesn't necessarily have to be a legend in the sport. For example, Larry Bird just had a cool mustache and a funny haircut.

IR: He was also a legend for being one of the best shit-talkers.

JP: Totally(laughs). And I like that, but really I like his mullet and the mustache. I like that kind of attitude and that was a factor in it, but I don't know him.

IR: Apparently Larry was just a good ol' blue-collar boy from rural Indiana. There was no basketball culture where he was from. He was a garbage man up until he got into the league. Besides his skills, those midwest values got him to the top.

JP: Totally and I do appreciate him for that. That aspect shows you he's not your typical or traditional star. Everyone wants to be a star and even with artists, we see on social media, it seems that people what to be a star.

IR: Well, they have camps now where people train all their lives to become one. Basketball. Acting. Even Tik-Tok.

JP: It's crazy cause even mediocre or low-level people have millions of followers and it's like "who the hell is this person?!". It's like they have these PR machines that are pumping them into stars because it's...I don't know. People just want to be stars or want to be famous and I'd be careful with that(laughs).

9. What would you like to be known for the most artistically?

JP: I just kind of do what I do and if people connect with it, it's cool. I don't have any goals of "I want to be this or want to be that.". There are so many good artists that I've been surrounded by since coming to LA. So many inspiring artists that it's just not the point to living like that for me. I have goals to continue to make a living with my art and help my mom retire, but not to be somebody.

IR: You mean you don't want to make a clothing brand, a sneaker brand, and possibly run for president?

JP: I mean I would do that. That'd be cool(laughs). It's just I feel more fortunate to be able to have a space and to be able to do this full-time. I've done so many different jobs. My first job was as a camp counselor and from there I worked many other jobs like at a market in Italy with my father, preschool teacher, tour guide, and bar-back/bartender, but it wasn't until this it became clear to me that was driven in this. With jobs, I just moved in between and if it didn't serve me anymore, I'm not doing it anymore. I never put my full self into anything but this. This is what I'm supposed to be doing and luckily I'm very fortunate to be doing this full-time. Everything I've done has led me to this, so I always keep that in mind. I wouldn't change anything because it was beneficial for me to choose that path. It made me more grounded and appreciate what you do and have.

IR: It sounds like you know how to preserve and appreciate the good things in your life. Sounds like you're a working-class artist because you have the background and the backbone for it. Self-taught without a trust fund.

JP: Have you heard that saying "It's easy to be a starving artist when your parents are rich."

IR: But of course.

JP: And it's true. It's funny, but I'm not going to be the one to shit on somebody who comes from money.

IR: Naw, they're lucky. It's just what you do with these privileges and opportunities.

JP: Right. If you're doing your thing and working hard on doing stuff. More power to you as long as you're not an asshole or pretentious dick about things. That's more important. People just have different starting lines. 

10. Which comes to my next question would you rather be loved for what you've created and hated for who you are or loved for who you are and hated for what you've created?

JP: Ah dude(laughs). That's a tricky question.

IR: Well, you said people assumed you're serious or pretentious before they met you.

JP: Right. I'm not concerned with people loving me for anything. You can't control what other people think or feel about you and in this world of social media, people might see me as one thing and another person the other. Maybe they're right, but I'm more concerned with the people around me like friends and family. I have more concerns about how they see me. Obviously you might hear someone like "I don't care about what other people think of me!". Of course, we do. We're all sensitive. We all have egos, but I don't get caught up in what the broader public thinks of me. I'm pretty solid and confident about who I am. I know who I am and if someone thinks I'm something. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not. That's fine.

IR: All work. No politics.  

JP: Kind of. I don't think people would like that answer if I said I'm not concerned with politics(laughs). It is what it is.

IR: Dude, you're just trying to work.

JP: Yeah and I do think there's this "Art world politics" that goes on. Me and the people that I'm around, we're just working and don't get into the weird scene or whatever it is.

IR: It's hard not to in LA. You can get swept up.

JP: Yeah. I've been here for almost 2 years, but it's easier because I came here not knowing anybody and I slowly started to build relationships, so I was able to be picky about it. Also, I'm old enough that I don't need this big "GO OUT IN THE SCENE AND HANG OUT". I got an early night. I'm trying to go home and see my girlfriend. Shoutouts(laugh). I just chill and maybe if I was in the scene at like 21, I would've been more out there. Luckily that didn't happen.

IR: Maybe that was the universe showing you that things happen for a reason.

JP: Exactly. Now I know who I am and what I want. I never planned anything in my life and sort of went with what felt right at the time. Now I have a focus and passion that has found me able to do what I do. My main concern now is doing what I love to do and doing it the best I can.



11. Now let's go back in time. If social media was around during some of your figure's eras, do you think it would be beneficial or detrimental for them?

JP: It would've just accelerated. Social media does more harm than good. Whether it would be good for them, just depends on how you look at it. Would it help them make more money or be famous? Absolutely. It does that. It can do that, but I don't think it's good now for us. It's a useful tool if you use it right, but it's also very harmful. We're the same humans we've always been. This technology has corrupted us, but for me, it's done well. There are benefits, but everyday it can cause me unnecessary stress, so it would be the same for them. They're the same kind of people as us even though we like to seem like we're advanced.

 

Photos courtesy the artist and @alexandrakern.