Some say it was a balmy afternoon. It could’ve been a Tuesday if it wasn’t already the end of the week. But, it WAS September. An unassuming, ethically-themed skarfing establishment and seminal OG skateboard magazine writer/artist/musician/photographer, Mofo collided with Cindi Ferreira Busenhart— long-time, low-profile, NorCal action-sports’ MAVENtrepreneur. Discussion intermingled, thoughts about newer technologies, todays broader spectrum of visual presentation capabilities, day-dreams of vintage action images, graphics, art and athletes of many kinds. The wheels of creativity begin to churn, as an idea began to take shape. Cindi got to thinking. One thought blended with another; Mo’s images, some more ideas, some technology, the jalapeños - BIFF-BANG-BOOM! she synthesizes a potent business concept swiftly into action. She enlists OG skateboard-legend Keith Meek—master artist, digital graphics/pool ripper. She incorporates hard-rockin’ Las Vegas restauranteur Gigli Locatelli. Completing the quartet is 80s Professional skateboarding icon/half-pipe crusher/mountain-bike pioneer/businessman, Rob Roskopp, forming MERGE4—a sock company.
- A band of Long Beach rag-tag punks goes from playing backyard parties and selling cassettes out of the trunks of their cars to creating an entirely new and revolutionary blend of music. They brought together a community of reggae, tattooed-punks, Rastafarians, surfers, Chicanos, hip-hoppers and others, defining an entire era and lifestyle that lives on - over 25 years later - and stronger than ever!
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- Defining an artist is a big no-no. Mentioning his distinguished pedigree, is almost just as bad. So, no defining and no name-dropping to be seen here. Don’t need to. With highly recognizable work saturating the skate, surf and rock and roll worlds, Jimbo Phillips’ intense imagery, and wild graphical nature invade your eyeballs like a stampede of line-art. Hours and hours and hours can be taken absorbing his numerous pieces, and still new discoveries can be made, hidden amidst the delicately screaming lines, of leering-screaming-oozing monster-faces, Pin-Up babes, ‘sploding and yelling skulls, pizza-face slices, hot-rods, bulging-eyes, dripping brains, detailed gore-laden barfy-vomit, tongues for miles and more, all gushing from a creatively and horribly depraved imagination. Gotta love Jimbo’s art! The planet needs it.
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- Steve practically teethed on grip-tape. Woven from the gnarly fabric of San Jose’s outer Eastside, deeply established and in the groove of skateboarding’s fledgling puberty during the mid to late ‘70s. He was a hard-core super-athlete about ready to burst the paradigm of skateboarding wide open. He was/is a trend-setting machine, with a keen eye for what has soul, what is cool and what is absolutely crap. His inner creativity is overwhelmingly powerful - music, painting, illustration, motorcycles, hot rods, and a furious dedication to constant personal and spiritual growth. Caballero holds many distinctions, from being the first to have his own signature brand shoe, the “Half Cab” to the longest continually selling signature model skateboard deck with Powell Peralta, a company he started with and remains with since 1979. His contributions and inspirations to musicians/skaters the world over are found in his numerous musical efforts with bands that include Faction, Odd Man Out, Shovelhead, Soda and peppered with a little Agent Orange during their 2012 tour.
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- Skateboarding has it power-house legends, all known for their varied and unique degrees of 4-wheeled prowess— from mega-ramp riders in the X-Games to the professional street-skaters buying up mansions just for throwing parties. Each has their “thing” they’re famous for. How they’d developed and adapted their proportion, size, scale and skills to the terrain, or chosen discipline, into world-wide recognition are each unique stories of their own. All of that changes, and the physics involved take on an entirely new meaning when it comes to Wee Man, and vast, new perspectives in skateboarding open up to a level unobtainable by most all other skaters. Watch him ride. You’ll see what we mean. Unless you’ve lived under some dang rock the past 2 decades, you know who WeeMan, who will ONLY cash checks made out to Jason Acuna. We KNOW you’ve seen him, from playing a convincing antagonist in the popular movie and episodes we can’t mention, to insane stunts, gags, film-bits, video-bits and bacon-bits.
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- Eric Dressen; Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee from Venice CA, is best known for his smooth yet aggressive style while ripping the streets, local schools yards and backyard pools. He is world renown in all these disciplines of this culture we call Skateboarding. Eric has adorned the pages of Skateboarder Magazine in the mid to late 70’s, Thrasher, Transworld, Slap, Poweredge and other publications in the 80’s and 90’s. He has been featured in books and too many videos to even mention. He has been a huge part of the Skate Movement since the early years and still travels the globe, four wheels down. When not skating or creating art, he keeps his creative juices flowing in the world of tattoos. Eric has been tattooing and doing art collabs for major skate brands for the last 15 years. If there were 5 words to describe Eric Dressen, they would have to be, Creative, Quiet, Humble, Fast, and Powerful.
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- Punk Rock Art is Bad Otis’ game. He’s played it long, and plays it well. So well, he’s inspired censorship. Crazy. Right? Like a lot of you tatted, scarred ‘n begrizzled punkers Bad Otis arose from beyond the suburban-ooze churned and boiled beneath the bandana’d engineer boots of legions of kids during those SoCal nights, when creativity and inspiration became highly aggressive. This new kind of counter- culture exploded in California—with it came new, exciting, assaulting music and graphic visuals. Practically since day one, Bad became a highly recognized artist, alternating scratchy-edginess, moody colors, stark fine lines—simultaneously stylistic, yet discomforting. Aggressive, harsh. The consummate absolute artist from beyond the fringe, Bad Otis Link is by all accounts “Lowbrow-Art” extraordinaire —before it was ever a thing, and long before it’s 15 minutes of cool had even begun. You’re already familiar with Bad Otis’ art from hundreds of bands he’s created for, or from his art and custom shirts at Coachella.
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- Artist, aerialist, adventurer, anarchist and pioneering member of the Santa Cruz “vermin” crew of the 1990s, Shawn “Barney” Barron was a classic Santa Cruz guy, versatile from two-foot off the Point at Steamer Lane, to 20-foot-plus at Mavericks. His wetsuits were colorful and flamboyant, his surfing was colorful and flamboyant, his artwork was colorful and flamboyant. At 18 Barney won the first aerials-only contest held in Santa Cruz in 1996, and through the 1990s he was one of the most innovative surfers in Santa Cruz and the world. His surfing was featured in videos like The Kill 4 and Westsiders. Barney lived for helping others. He gifted countless personalized paintings, and volunteered for years with the Mauli Ola Fountation and Operation Surf. Barney was all heart, but his family had a history of heart problems and in May of 2015, Barney died of a heart attack. The mayor of Santa Cruz proclaimed May 5 as Shawn “Barney” Barron day, or "Cinco de Barney."
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- Taylor Reinhold: MFC color-mix-illustration-mural master!! Talk about one of the most talented, well-rounded artists alive!! You've chosen his sock design for a reason, this kid's got style!! But that's not enough to explain Taylor's true character. Sure, he can ROPE out the most insane animal/lettering creations (and has the spray can control most graff writers can only dream about); but, essentially, it's his love for art and love for people that's most impressive. Tay is all-in and FULL BLAST when it comes to sharing his enthusiasm. He paints some of the most inspiring murals (taylorreinhold.com) and naturally people can't help but hang out and watch. Taylor is so good at sharing the positive, cultural and community side of what a pure muralist/artist represents. He's confident in his craft and is always innovating. We're constantly amazed by his talent and BEYOND proud that he's a part of the merge4 line-up!!
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- Life doesn’t exactly suck when you live in Las Vegas, play in a long-running kick-ass punk band, make your living at your own tattoo studio, parlay a cause célèbre from a reality show into creative artistic visual and liquid opportunities, tending to a variety of business endeavors, while juggling the balancing act and priorities of fatherhood. Some say ‘tsunami’, others say Dirk Vermins’ world. A life like a hot-rod V8 engine, always rumbling, and when he’s wide open, all heads turn. With a pedigree like this, and the hard miles exposed to the best visuals punk rock, hot rods and the tattoo worlds have to offer, add decades of art and life experiences, he’s developed a wide range of styles, from traditional to portrait, and he’s the go-to guy for your cover-up work. Unique Las Vegas OG’s don’t come much more stalwart than a cat like this. If ya gonna get marked, and get marked up really good by the best tatt-cats in the biz’, you gotta have a Dirk Vermin piece. You just gotta.
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- Scotty Greathouse is a Santa Cruz surf/skate rat who spent countless hours staring at art & graphics as a kid, unaware he'd join the art ranks the way he has. Inspired, yet far from a duplicator, he likes colliding varying mediums, free from all rules. Creation through experimentation is the ideal process for him and his work is different because he needs it to be: Xanadu Surfboards, Consolidated Skateboards, Skateworks, Sessions and now, Merge4 have run his graphics worldwide. His words have graced the pages of Thrasher, Heckler and Juice. While his murals have blasted the walls of LinkedIn, AnnieGlass and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. He's showed work in numerous venues including California's Seeing Things, Cukui, empire 7, and Gund Galleries. He runs his business ideasforwalls.com, peddles gear thru his ideasforwalls.bigcartel and spends every moment he possibly can with his two sons, Branden and Lee.
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- Santa Cruz painter, Maia Negre, is honored to be Merge4's first female artist. A first generation American, her mother from Hong Kong and father from France, Maia's artistry flourished in her diverse cultural foundations from a very young age. Most renowned for her dreamy surfscapes, mermaids, abstract florals, and coastal landscapes, Maia's work is both captivating and inspiring, and she has become one of Santa Cruz's most beloved and popular artists.When not in her studio painting, this gentle powerhouse of an artist and athlete can be found on the tennis court, in the yoga studio, or surfing in the sea. Stay tuned for more to come from Maia.
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- Small town east coast scribbler of skulls, raised on white rice, comic books, ninja movies and heavy metal. After studying album covers and becoming hypnotized by skulls and fire, he was introduced to skateboarding and his mind was blown! The music was faster and the skulls were gnarlier!!! First skate rock to fuel his fire was Agent Orange taped off a VHS tape with a boom box. Later defying all teachers and continuing to draw skulls he made his way into the skateboard industry and loves to create skateboard deck graphics! There's always a light on and a skull being drawn in his house! Blessed to have so many influences that he grew up admiring, become his friends like Steve Caballero, Jimbo Phillips, etc ...
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- Hungover days and sleepless nights. The smell of gasoline and fast food. The heater burning your shins while staring through dirty glass. Asking yourself, “I really hope I grabbed my backpack.” It’s funny that all of that would add up to years of inspiration for artwork. Traveling with a group of friends back and forth across the country would be the fuel of so much creativity and opportunity for Shaun Logan. A former tour manager and guitar technician for a few bands would help launch his career into the art world. Drawing on walls and occasional friends, would help develop his humor through his concepts and illustrations. Slightly trained in the fine arts, comic books and skateboarding with a pinch of punk rock would be the base to his creative style. The name “Slogan” was a mishap on a run of printed shirts for a band. The period between the S and Logan didn’t print and from that day forward he has been called Slogan.
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- Jay Moriarity became famous to the world when he was launched with the lip on this giant, 35 foot, offshore, top to bottom Mavericks monster - which was captured by surf photographer Bob Barbour and made the cover of Surfer Magazine in December 1994. At 14 years old, Jay began a grueling, five-year apprenticeship of swimming, paddling and writing essays before he took on the challenge of Mavericks. Jay Moriarity continued evolving into one of the best big-wave surfers in the world thru the 1990’s. He lived heroically, with passion and has been immortalized as an inspiration to young water athletes from around the world to live their dreams, face their fears. Jay left this earth too young, and the surfing world mourned. His life was made into the movie Chasing Mavericks in 2012, inspiring a new generation...
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- “Koa” is a kind of Hawaiian hardwood, but also the Hawaiian word for "warrior," and Koa Rothman is living up to his name and his genetics by surfing hard around the globe, and hucking himself into the world's most dangerous waves like a Hawaiian water warrior should. Born on the North Shore, Koa Rothman grew up with the surf pumping in his veins and his ears. The son of Da Hui founder Eddie Rothman and brother of Makua Rothman, Koa upheld the family tradition and grew into a talented North Shore surfer who extended his talents from Pipeline to Teahupoo and beyond. In 2014, Koa Rothman won both the Tube and Wipeout of the Year at the Billabong XXL Event. More recently, Koa did his family and the family brand proud in January of 2017, when he got the wave of the contest then won Da Hui Backdoor Shoot Out - taking off super deep at Pipeline, disappearing behind a closing out curtain and getting blown out with the spit. There’s more to come from Koa – stay tuned.
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- Third-generation watermen and a strong branch of the Hoffman/Fletcher family, Nathan Fletcher is a polysport snowboard/motocross/skateboarding surfer, who has become one of the most dedicated extreme surfers in the 21st Century. Born and raised in San Clemente CA, in 2011 Nathan Fletcher pulled into a Godzilla barrel during the Teahupoo “Code Red” swell. Considered “the heaviest wave ever ridden” at that time, the wave made the cover of seven surf magazines around the world and won the 2012 Billabong XXL Ride of the Year. What didn’t kill Nathan made him stronger and now Nathan is always on hand when the surf is giant - from Mavericks to Jaws to Teahupoo.
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- A Huntington Beach surfer from the womb to the tomb, Timmy Reyes began surfing age 12 in 1994 - and took to it. He was featured in Surfer Magazine one year later, showing promise as a young competitor. Reyes graduated from Huntington’s Edison High in 2000 and blazed a trail through the NSSA and other amateur events around California and the world,. Reyes made the ASP Elite Tour in 2005, and stayed on it for four years. His best finish was an 11th in 2006, the same year he won Best Maneuver at the X Games and posted the highest score at the competition. No longer a full-time competitive surfer, Reyes is a full-time surfer, going on trips from the Antarctic to Polynesia and ripping.
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- The North Shore is almost as fertile for musicians as it is for surfers, now that Landon McNamara’s Dollar Short And A Minute Late bulleted to #1 on the reggae billboard charts and Hawaiian radio following its release in December. McNamara is a native son of the North Shore, son of Pipeline surfer Liam and nephew of big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara, Landon grew up with the surf in one ear and music in the other. Inspired by North Shore resident surfer/musicians Jack Johnson, McNamara evolved a musical style that is “his own brand of reggae, rock n’ roll and blues to create a musical combo platter of positive and relatable music.” McNamara writes all his own songs and plays guitar. And he still surfs, as much as possible, from busting airs at Pupukea to bombs at Second Reef Pipe - to keep the music flowing from his head to his fingers.
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- In 1996, Matt Rockhold began competing in the Air Show Series and made the top 10 in all five years he competed on the tour - busting skateboard moves above the lip and moving aerial surfing forward into the 21st Century. Matt’s success is a combination of nature and nurture. He comes from an athletic family that includes his basketball-playing father, and his brother Luke, who became the UFC Middleweight champion in December of 2015. The Rockholds are the product of a NorCal culture known for producing innovative, tough athletes - from the ocean to the octagon. The aerial surfing that is now changing pro surfing in the 21st Century was laid down by Matt Rockhold and a handful of others. Matt’s still flying from Santa Cruz to the world.
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- Swept away from the shady turf of a cattle ranch to the sunny surf of the California coast - Skyler the Surfing Dog is a badass Queensland Heeler who rides waves with Homer Henard. Skyler was a present to Homer at five weeks old, and Homer was stoked to have a loyal friend who became a surfing buddy. Homer took Skyler down to a break, and she jumped onto his standup paddleboard. “Next adventure, I took her out surfing on a small day and she just loved it! After that there was no turning back!” Homer and Skyler have been riding waves together for years now, and they have it dialed. They’ve shot with Dave “Nelly” Nelson and they have been featured in magazines and have a growing following on social media. Skyler would have won the XXL Big Wave Awards Best Performance - Dog category - if there was such a thing, for a wave they rode together at Middle Peak, Santa Cruz. Their next goal is to get barreled.
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- From the 80s into the 21st Century, 26th Avenue to Chopes, Mavericks to the Mentawai, Sewer Peak to Super Tubes, Dave Nelson has evolved into one of the world’s best surf photographers. Whether in the water or on the concrete his fluid yet powerful surf skate style transcends over to his photography. Arriving in the 80s, Nelly fell into an evolving surf scene that was on the rise, as surfers with funny nicknames like Flea, Skindog, Ratboy, Barney and Condor were pushing the limits of performance surf at Steamer Lane and along the Westside, and hurtling into giant surf at the monster up Highway 1: Mavericks. As Santa Cruz surfers moved and rose, so did Nelly. Mentored by one of the most innovative surf photographers, Tony Roberts, Nelly is the man with the right talents, shooting locally and globally, and expanding his focus from East Side/West Side to all hemispheres and the seven oceans, shooting the best surfers in the best surf, around the world.
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- Out of NorCal, world ditty-bopping, urban-street-guerrilla photog, who has been shootin skateboarding since he was a pup. Shooting Musicians, DJ’s & their crowds behind gritty eyelids, Grady Brannan remains estranged from the echoes of reality. Scrumptious visuals that he’s sucked into his apertures from G Eazy to visuals on billboards at Times Square, taste oddly like a spoonful of honey under each arm, huge dabs of mischief behind each ear, capturing noiselessly loud images that are stilled in the strobes fragmented moment.
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- If you were around in the mid 70’s to early 80’s and had anything to do with the skate-punk revolution, odds are you knew of this classic character that goes by many names. The Orange Bowl, Bombora, Winchester Skatepark, Campbell Skatepark, Milpitas Skatepark, The Temple Beautiful, Mabuhay Gardens, Deaf Club, Elite Club, Sound of Music, Tool and Die, and 10th Street Hall, these are some of the places he called home. Mofo has been part of the Nor Cal scene since day one. He has sung in a few of the best underground bands the bay Area had to offer, has shot photos of some of the most classic, legendary skaters of all time and has probably slept on more couches in his travels than most humans could bare. He is one of a handful of skaters that had the vision and resolve that made Thrasher Skate Magazine a reality and was recently inducted into Skateboardings Hall of Fame.
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- Our witness from the eye of the storm. The lens-pirate responsible for shooting the actual birthing pains of LA PUNK ROCK! His body of work encompasses not just the music, but the fashion, the art, the lifestyle —ALL THE RIGHT STUFF from the most critical juncture. After the skateboarders brought slam- dancing down from Nor-Cal in the late ‘70s, the first slam-pits began to take shape, were refined, perfected, then developed into varying styles, like ’The HB STRUT’, ‘The SWIVEL’, etc. Always on the spot, when and where the action was, Ed captured history at the feet of, and in the midst of TSOL, Bad Religion, Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Social Distortion, Circle Jerks, Fear, Social Distortion, X, Adolescents, Christian Death, and too many more bands to count. If you can ever catch a showing of Ed Colvers’ work, do so. They are the loudest, most action-pact, screaming black and white photos you’ve ever seen.
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- The Circle Jerks formed in Los Angeles in 1979. Founding Black Flag member Keith Morris brought the group together with guitarist Greg Hetson, bassist Roger Rogerson and drummer Lucky Lehrer. The band released their debut album Group Sex in 1980, the same year appearing in Penelope Spheeris infamous documentary The Decline of Western Civilization. In the early 80s Rogerson and Lehrer would be out of the band, replaced by bassist Zander Schloss and drummer Keith Clark. The band called it quits by 1990. The group reunited in 1995 to pursue a major label deal with Mercury Records resulting in the album Oddities, Abnormalities, and Curiosities. Three weeks into the supporting tour the group imploded, with Clark leaving the act for good. The Circle Jerks have continued to sporadically tour in the years since.
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- Pro Snowboarder Mike Basich has a unique style of photography – he shoots snowboard action self-portraits that predates selfies. Basich began documenting his life by shooting his own snowboard selfies using a 35mm film camera and tripod complete with special effects like fireworks. His DIY methods of crafting portraitures have everything from furious flurries of fabulously-fancy fluffy-snow sprays to slicing and churning down the slopes of the frigid mountain sides. He’s a wild spirit - like that of an albino-Gremlin with white batwings, lasting thru white-chocolate mud-puddles.
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- Devastating demonstrations of downhill demolition fly from the furiously flailing cycle-tires—trees, boulders and wood-peckers blurring in the peripheral edges of Greg Minnaar’s highly complex eye site. His motor-senses, centered-gravity and laser-focus on the quickest line down the mountain are good things to have for a South African World Champion racer who’s has been on a podium more times than any other mountain biker.
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- Cedric Gracia is one of the world’s best competitive mountain bikers, racing in the downhill and four-cross (4X) on the UCI World Circuit. Cédric started his biking career as a BMX rider at age 6 years old. He later moved on to become a freestyle skiing pro, before entering the professional mountain biking scene in 2001. Cédric's famous for competing in all the gravity disciplines, from downhill to four-cross (4X), freeride to enduro. Cédric had a major crash during practice at the World Cup in Val Di Sole World Cup in 2012, breaking his femur and pelvis. Despite a strong comeback, he decided to retire from World Cup DH racing a year later, preferring instead to focus on video parts and enduro racing. He always looks like he's having more fun than everyone else, both on and off the bike, and somehow it's infectious.
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- Spidey started out as a sponsored amateur skateboarder and turned pro at The Capitola Street Style contest in 1985. The companies and corporations he represented are top companies in the action sports field such as Quicksilver, Pocket Pistols Skateboards, Rector Safety Equipment and Converse. He also consulted these companies on marketing, public relations, advertising, talent acquisition and product development. He's been a contributing writer for Thrasher Magazine and Freestylin BMX; doing interviews, music & concert reviews, personality profiles along with contributing photo journalism. Spidey left it all behind in1989 and chose to go to college; while he was in college he was signed to Capitol Records to a record deal highlighting his own songs and was awarded an opportunity to record and perform his own material. Spidey has always been fashion forward often leaning towards eccentric preferences in everything he does of his own personal style. " I am sucker for a good looking sock. I LOVE SOCKS!!"
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- Word smithing a description for Richard Kirby should be so damn easy, considering his collection of insane qualities; however, his style and energy ricochet with such uncontainable abandon they render any and all descriptive attempts impossible at best. His existence is sure-handed contagious wildfire setting so many different scenes ablaze!! The artwork you'll see from him is a culmination of fast life and precarious situations. The rough and the diamond cloaked in colorful black. His ink is unique, his outlook the same. Richard Kirby is unshakably, undeniably, and with absolute undying certainty one of a kind. The flare igniting his creativity burns eternally.
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- Growing up in California, Caia is considerably drawn to the surf and skate culture; these lowbrow influences, combined with her love of nature result in a visually striking style, full of eccentric illustrative touches. The female subjects that grace her paintings are forceful in their feminist gaze yet remain fluid and organic akin to the nature that surrounds them. Surreal and whimsical all at once, Caia’s figures are intentionally situated in colorful dreamlike worlds of their own making. A staunch devotee to environmentalism, and second-generation conservationist, loving the environment and acutely aware that humanity is dangling our planet over a dangerous flame of pollution, nature is often woven into the haunting fabric of her images. Caia is currently working on an ocean conservation book project called Umijoo.
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