Los Angeles-based artist Rob Sato is more than a painter of fantastical watercolor dreamscapes. Challenging his own magnificent talent as a masterful visual creator, Sato is also a prolific consumer of culture. Profoundly influenced by historical events, dynamic music, and piles of life-changing books, he is able to channel many diverse creative explorations into colorfully horrific and disarmingly beautiful works of art; his work is an intriguing amalgam of childhood fantasies and literary consequence, adeptly bridging the gap between fantasy and reality.
"Writing feels like it comes from a separate part of the brain than where imagery generates from, so when I'm having trouble on a painting, I can turn to the writing to think about things from a different angle." -- Rob Sato

 

Dead Oceans' Sun Airway, comprised of Philadelphia's Jon Barthmus and Patrick Marsceill, is are not only indie pop extraordinaires, but are musicians with an understanding of aural-visual relationships. The choices they make in selecting collaborators result in visuals richly sympathetic to their musical output and evoke the same sense of wonder and romance that their music does. The album cover for Sun Airway's 2012 release, Soft Fall, is adorned with a beautiful woman caught beneath a stringed web of falling flowers, porcelain china, and fine silver. It was painstakingly crafted by Japanese art collective NAM. In the bi-lingual Japanese and English interview and feature below, Barthmus and NAM's art director and designer Takayuki Nakazawa offer their perspectives on the creative process, as we further explore the work of both parties.
JAPANESE TO ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS BY MORGAN HARKNESS Takayuki Nakazawa (NAM): Our aim was to perfectly match the world of Sun Airway's music and take that world of sound and enlarge its image visually. I believe that the music and the cover visuals that go with the creation of an album have an extremely intimate relationship. Music and visuals have the power to overcome country and language to convey a message. Creating something so intimate between the US and Japan was an incredible experience, and most of all it was fun! We would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to Jon Barthmus for inviting us to this wonderful project. 私達が今回目指したのはSun Airwayの音楽の世界と完全にマッチし、さらに音の世界をビジュアルによってイメージの視覚的拡大をする事でした。アルバム制作における音楽とカバービジュアルは本来とても密接な関係性をもっているものだと思います。音楽やビジュアルは言語や国境を超えて伝達していく力があり、今回、日本とアメリカの間で密な相互関係をもって制作が行われた事は、私達にとって大変良い経験で、なによりも楽しかった!このような素敵なプロジェクトに私達を誘ってくれたJon Barthmusさんに、この場をお借りして感謝をしたいと思います。

 

Everything the rainbow light touches in this music video for Onuinu's "Ice Palace" turns to psychedelic flourish and ethereal whimsy. A lack of contrast and many a post-production effect create a piece that is half sensual and half digitized, a well-paired visual aid for Onuinu's music, which possesses those same qualities. Director Andrew Sloan and choreographer Jin Camou discuss the visual decisions and the mentality that led to the final creation of "Ice Palace", in the following Q&A. Onuinu's "Ice Palace" will also be featured at REDEFINE magazine's Motion & Movement In Music Video panel at Bumbershoot and MusicfestNW 2012. SEE FULL DETAILS
"This is a very sexy song. The images are meant to combine to create a visual aphrodisiac for the viewer; alone, an orange might not be that sexy, but when you bounce it around next to a pomegranate, a flaming house, and some nice looking women, suddenly the meaning of the orange changes." -- Andrew Sloan, Director of Onuinu's "Ice Palace"

 

It is no secret that the economic depression that has commanded the nation for the past four years has taken its toll on everyone. School districts nationwide are especially feeling the budget crisis, as falling tax revenues has forced some to get creative. Be it via hacking a month off of the school year or forcing teachers to take furlough days, it is, in the end, students who lose out most from these funding struggles. Portland's favorite beard metal band Red Fang are more known for their PBR-swilling music videos and heavy riffs than they are their level of social engagement. But when the Grant High School art department needed some funds to keep the art flowing, Red Fang did what all good metal bands would do: threw a benefit show. Like a carwash fundraiser, only with less bikinis, more beer, and more beards. In this interview, Red Fang's vocalist and bassist Aaron Beam talks about why the band got involved, and Maliq Rogers, a Sophomore at Grant High School, explains what impact the budget cuts have on his band, Hell's Parish, and the other students at the school.
"I think we need to re-program society to put a bigger emphasis on the arts, so that it would be inexcusable to cut an arts programs funding in the public schools." -- Aaron Beam