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Thursday, October 2, 2014

We recently partnered with installation artist and friend of the brand, David Ellis, for the production of "Black & Blue Fantasy" inside our retail / creative space Our Favorite Shop in Los Angeles.

Known for his motion paintings, which interpret music and sounds and remixing a variety of cultures into his compositions, Ellis incorporates what he feels, what he sees and what he hears, utilizing the spontaneity of the creative process.

In the early 1990s, Ellis, then an art student at Cooper Union and CLAE's Founder and Creative Director, Sung Choi, then a young designer/entrepreneur at PNB Nation were roommates who shared similar interests. Shared passions for music, art & design brought the two together and continually influenced their growing careers as creatives. Using vinyl record inner sleeves damaged from a basement flood of their New York apartment, "Black & Blue Fantasy" displays an intricate pattern at the inner circles and diamonds formed by the intersections in the arrangement, reminiscent of what Ellis had seen in Morocco earlier year in iron and tile.

A representation of what both he and Choi experienced throughout the development of their careers and heavily influenced by music and the constantly changing beat of life, Ellis' "Black & Blue Fantasy" depicts the beautiful struggle of the creative process we must endure to realize a certain vision or dream and is a result of a long awaited collaboration.

David further explains the inspiration behind "Black & Blue Fantasy"

Sung and I began speaking about doing a mural for Our Favorite Shop a couple of years ago after a mixtape cover I did for CLAE's Five by Five mixtape series. When the opportunity arose to come to LA for an opening at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects Gallery, I came to Sung with a proposal for a piece that would start on the main entry facing wall and flow out of the building onto reflective vinyl against the storefront windows facing Pico and Carmona. At first I was hoping to use a combination of materials in collage form using a tobacco stained paper background with vinyl and paint layered on top.

As I was staying in Sung's backyard studio, I noticed thousands of records in crates and shelves against the wall and it immediately reminded me of our first conversation 25 years ago on Hope Street in Brooklyn. They were about many things. Among them Ellington, Coltrane, Monk, Sun Ra, Minnie Ripperton, BDP, Public Enemy, Saul Bass, Charles and Ray Eames, Romare Beardon, Picasso, Futura, Kase2, Seen, Doze Green and Dondiā€¦etc.

ON THE ART -

Sung and I are both DJ's of the culture that makes us wake up each day happy to be alive. We both spent time working at radio stations in our youth and that shared passion for music is what initially led us to becoming the close friends we are today. There was a love of the blues, jazz, soul, hip hop and mix tapes - in those days we made cassettes.

Several of the crates in the studio contained records that had been damaged in a basement flood in NY but were shipped to LA in hopes of salvaging some of the music. We began digging through the crates and as we pulled out records, the water damaged inner sleeves reminded me a lot of the North Carolina tobacco stained paper I have been working with for years. We decided to wallpaper the walls with these and a magical thing happened with the grid of the covers - the inner circles and diamonds formed by the intersections in the arrangement started to remind me of the intricate patterns I had seen in Morocco earlier this year in iron and tile.

During the creation of "Black & Blue Fantasy," we listened to a lot of jazz, especially Monk and Train. A John Coltrane birthday broadcast was on steady. Some hip-hop and Blues was played - BDP's live record, 70's and 80's Jamaican Dance Hall mixes, OutKast and Blind Willie Mctell were on heavy rotation. We broke out a projector and Sung began to screen a refined selection of rare music, dance, history and cultural awaking documentaries as he does often when he spins. It officially became a session, a conjuring jam of our collective influences...

It felt like old times. The speakers, the flow, the wood grain, the pattern of vintage LP Sleeves - these forgotten sheaths for swords of vinyl pressed with analogue messages in music from other spaces and times all aligned the planets for one of the juiciest weeks of appreciating and making art I've had in a long time.

"Black & Blue Fantasy" is the result of a long awaited collaboration...
THANK YOU TO -

Sung Choi, Susan, Titan and Talisa Choi, Everyone at Clae, Shepard and Amanda Fairey, The Line, Commissary, Pot, Roy Choi, Subliminal Projects, Joshua Liner, Marsea Goldberg, New Image Art, Darren Romanelli, Eric Blackwell, Jackie Morris, Jalaa'a Brinsley, Anthony Celenza, Big Frank, and Young Lee "Suitman" (The Wolf) Kim

I couldn't have done it without you... And the whole thing made me stop drinking just to let myself feel how good it can be pure...
Love, David Ellis