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Local Toronto Artist: Mark O

Local Toronto Artist: Mark O

Being a local artist in Toronto can be difficult. The amount of designers and artists we have on Queen St. West, shows there is much competition being in the art world. Many want attention, but I feel one must be aware. Local Toronto Artist, Mark O attends OCAD University for Advertising. His work is very abstract and shows much character towards them. When being a young local artist, it takes much pressure being in the business, thriving to get attention, and being known. Friday July 10th, 2009 I attended one of his shows held at Earth and Fire on Queen St. West. His work inspired me, since I myself attend OCAD, his art reflected on something I would create as well. Check out Mark’s work at: http://marko.thisguy.ca and his photography: http://marko.thisguy.ca/ovseyously

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Interview With Mark O:

Q. Friday July 10th, you had a show with a girl from Ryerson. Why have a show now?

A. Shauna and I felt as though there are so many artists/designers and creative people around us. They are our friends, they live in our neighbourhoods and we go to school together. However, we both noticed a lack of collaborative effort. We need to learn from those who do different things than us.

Q. Why the name “The Royal We”?

A. The Royal We is the way royalty speak of themselves, the queen and such. Not only are we emphasizing the importance of art and design in the world but contrasting the term with our own lifestyles that of students with limited funds making art in the search for happiness. Happiness can be replaced with many different words. We are just searching.

Q. Do you always plan on working with other artists? Or would you like to do a show by yourself someday?

A. Of course! I will have a solo show at some point in time. I look forward to the day. Whether or not I have my own show, I feel as though collaboration will always remain in the process of creating art because one is constantly being influenced by external forces (people, art, music, the city, etc).

Q. Your work is very abstract and colourful? Do any of your paintings have meaning towards them?

A. They all have meaning. What they mean to me is different from what they mean to you, or the person standing next to you. Whether it’s purely aesthetic or it evokes an emotion, take from it what you will. Each one is specific to a place, a memory, and a time in my life.

Q. Do any artists influence you? If so, why?

A. I would be lying if I said no. I think that it is not the end result of their work that influences me but the creative process, their methods in other words. Like certain Surrealists who explored automatism and attempted to unconsciously tap into their subconscious through exquisite corpses.

Q. Besides paintings, is there any other type of art you do?

A. I started a photography blog a year after I got back into it and since than I can’t choose between the two mediums. It started with a black and white 35 mm camera and a darkroom when I was 16. Painting is raw, but so is capturing someone unposed and unexpectedly.

Q. Being an OCAD student, do you believe it will open doors for you as an artist towards the future?

A. I find something unsettling about any educational institution, but OCAD is different. It’s smaller and more intimate. It is easier to develop relationships with the people you go to school with. This is important because once we graduate we are all going to be working in the same field, collaborating.

Q. There are many local Toronto artist, what do you find in yourself that makes you creative and unique, different from all the other artists?

A. Wow, I would feel really pretentious answering that question. :)

Keep up the amazing work Mark!

xoxo



Happy Birthday.

It’s the best Don in the business’ birthday today. And no it isn’t Tony’s.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE DON OF ALL DONS. ANNA VON FRANCES.

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MY DON COULD KICK YOU DON’S ASS, ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.

An Interview with Scott McFayden and Sam Dunn of Banger Productions.

An Interview with Scott McFayden and Sam Dunn of Banger Productions.

B:  How and when did Banger Productions your film company come to be?

Sam: Scott and I are old friends, Scott’s worked in film and tv for a number of years and my background’s in Anthropology. We were initially talking about how I was interested in writing a book about heavy metal. Scott and I were going to metal shows together and he said what about a documentary on heavy metal? And we did some research into it and realized that no one had done an in depth film about heavy metal music and culture and that turned into our first film Metal Headbanger’s Journey and that’s when we started our film company.

B:  Why did you choose Iron Maiden for this film, are they your favourtite band?

Scott: They were in our other film and we have a good relationship with them. They’re also a band that sold 70 million records with not a lot of critical recognition so we thought that we were the people to do it,  it seemed to make sense.

B: How did you secure such great access, during the film it was mentioned that they’ve never let a documentary crew follow them around. How did you convince them to let you in?

Scott: Really it was just that we had a good relationship with the manager and for some reason they trusted us, that we were coming from a good place in terms of our perspective on the band that we were fans and that we weren’t gonna make some kind of Spinal Tap parody of them. That was really what it came down to, then once we got on the plane we just had to get to know the guys and take it slowly. They eventually came around and opened up to us, they liked us, that was important.

B: How did you decide on the concept, and not just make a concert film but rather this bigger story about the band and their amazing fans?

Sam: We knew that Iron Maiden made great music and that was part of the goal to capture their concerts and to try and make people feel like they’re there rather then kind of like a sterile typical concert film. I think that we’ve always kind of approached our work with the idea that we want to interest more people than just Iron Maiden fans, one way to do that was to show the personalities of the guys and how juxtaposed they are. They’re pretty regular guys, they have wives and families and yet they play this bombastic epic loud music. So I think that contrast was something we had an idea that could work for the film and interest not just Iron Maiden films.

B: How did you decide what to shoot?

Scott: It’s sort of like panning for gold, you just have to go through a lot of rocks before you hit gold. When you get back to the edit suite, the worst feeling is that you wish that you got something and didn’t. But we knew that we got so much that, that we had something there. But it took a long time to go through it once we got it, that was the kinda downside, sometimes its better to plan in advance rather just go because it takes ten weeks just to watch the footage that you have.

B: How was being on the plane with all that cargo?

Scott: We were a little concerned that the plane wasn’t gonna take off, we had pretty strict limitations on what we could carry and even as a film crew we had a lot of stuff. You know its just an impressive operation. There was a lot of planning and engineering.

B: What was your film crew like?

Sam: We had seven people on the plane, Scott and myself, our DOP, a couple of additional camera people, and our line producer who helped take car of all the on the ground stuff, and Deedee (the dog). So we had seven seats at the back of the plane with the crew and the support band so we had to kinda earn our place on the plane and by the end of the tour Scott and I were sitting up at the front with the band so I think we were doing something right

Scott: We earned our way!

B: Who did you make this film for?

Sam: Its for Maiden fans first and foremost and then it’s for people who love music and like to watch films about music I guess is the simplest way you can put it. And for non Maiden fans we tried to show the band in a light they wouldn’t expect. I think because we were getting more access to the band than anybody had had before that we knew that all those moments with the band backstage and in the pub could potentially be golden moments because no one had ever been there before. You really just have to shoot and then edit later. You have to go in there with the attitude that you never know when something golden might happen so you have to be there to capture it. You loose sleep at night too because you’re worried that you might have missed something. It’s sort of shoot now and worry about it later.

B: What was the craziest place for fan reception?

Scott: I think it was pretty tight between Brazil and Columbia. Costa Rica was pretty crazy, they were really friendly there too.

B:  What is it about the Heavy Metal community that inspires you to devote yourself to it?

Sam: I think that Metal is fascinating. It’s a form of music that has survived for a long time and yet it sort of bubbles underneath the radar. Rob Zombie said in our film it’s so fucking huge yet no one knows it exists. I think that’s part of what makes it interesting for us. It’s a cultural phenomenon that has lasted for a long time and has caused a lot of controversy too so when it comes to making documentary films its always nice to have two sides. Its always good to have a debate, that’s certainly part of what’s interesting about metal for documentary.

by: Bryn Weibe

I Lose Track Of My Mind Sometimes ‘Kill’ed it at The Gordon Daniel.

I Lose Track Of My Mind Sometimes ‘Kill’ed it at The Gordon Daniel.

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We Kill You: I Lose Track Of My Mind Sometimes opened its very first Toronto exhibit, I know, right?, at The Gordon Daniel Gallery (460 Parliament St. Toronto) and it is b-a-n-a-n-a-s. The gallery overflowed with excited onlookers all vying to take a closer look at all the goodies displayed. It was like being Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory…which has always been a fantasy of mine. Justin showcased a bunch of his hand crafted toys as well as psychedelic paintings.

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The show buzzed with high energy from the second we walked in. WKY’s explosive, bold, colourful and chaotic statements take your peepers on a rollercoaster ride -o- hysteria. It’s evident that the artist spent hours passionately perfecting the exhibit before its open and we think Justin’s underlying obsession with detail and hard work definitely paid off.

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Take a look at the mural just outside the gallery. Justin’s design on the concrete slab near the alley entrance is proof that We Kill You’s invigorating art is already cementing itself as a fixture in our community. The exhibit is open for only a couple of weeks so check it out…or else.

We Kill You: I Lose Track Of My Mind Sometimes

460 Parliament St., Toronto

April 23rd – MAy 7th, 209 @ 7pm

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Shadowribbon Opens at Keep Six.

Shadowribbon Opens at Keep Six.

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Keep Six Contemporary Gallery launched their Spring series of exhibitions with SHADOWRIBBON featuring emerging artist and fashionista Juliann Wilding. The performance art installation focuses on Wilding’s examination of biology vs. control. She seamlessly ties spectacle and controlled chaos to investigate the constructs of our reality.

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SHADOWRIBBON is conceived, designed and scripted by Wilding, a Toronto-based designer and builder experimenting with 3-dimensional beasts and creature pieces that can be worn and operated. With a background in costume and fashion design as well as journalism, acting and philosophy, she is self-taught and relies on the rules of geometry to build in 3-dimensions.

stp834141-300x225newThe opening was warmly received by friends and fellow artists alike. The newly renovated gallery quickly filled just enough to create an intimacy, perfect for the space. The exhibit is interesting, impactful and impressive. Juliann really captures the essence of repression and finds a compelling way to translate that to an audience through narration and song. Both Henry Fletcher, who narrates, and Drew Smith, who composed and performs the music, were brilliant.

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So what’s next for Juliann? Well, she mentions that her next project will be a vintage fashion line called ‘Vintelligence’ which will incorporate pieces of armor and vintage furs as accessories.

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SHADOWRIBBON @ Keep Six Contemporary Gallery and Project Space, 938 Bathurst St.

April 3rd-19th (7PM -11PM).

1st performance is at 8:30 pm and the 2nd performance is at 10:00pm. The performances are ten minutes in length so try to get there early.

Curated by: Rafi Ghanaghounian

JR

What is an E CIGARETTE?

My first experience with an e cigarette. The “Classic Mini” it looks like a pen but it isn’t.

It’s simple. The E cigarette has two parts. A rechargeable battery, and a cartridge with nicotine gas, flavour and  propylene glycol. Breathe in from the cartridge, get your nicotine hit. And out puffs “vapor.” A luxurious tasty “smoke.” It’s the propylene glycol that creates this vapor which is triggered by the battery. It also “lights” when you inhale, duplicating the look and feel of a “real” cigarette.

There is no bylaw against using this product in any indoor space in Toronto. 99% of the bars/clubs/coffee shops I haunt don’t have a problem when I “light up.” This product has been  legally sold in Canada for many years running.

I deal exclusively with  epuffer.com as they have the best variety  of e smoking products. They have e cigars, e pipes and a wide variety of e cigs. Belgian Chocolate is my favourite flavour. Cartridges range in nicotine strength from zero to extra strong, 16 mg.

The MAGNUM gives you TONS of vapor. It’s insane really to sit back and watch your “vape” float around. A friend of mine can do “smoke rings.”  I also offer this to people to give a try to see what they think. Most people are just surprised that it does what it does and so easily. I offered this to a karaoke host friend of mine. His remark? He “was buzzing off that toke” all night.

This is the product that I enjoy the most

The MAGNUM!


by: Jeoh Zhere

Mickey Rourke is My Valentine

Mickey Rourke is My Valentine

Today is the day that all the boyfriends in the world drop their shitty attitudes, tighten up their game, and head towards their ladies doors. And with the help of Hallmark, and some other cheesy cliche’s, they try and make your heart flutter. PUKE. We say drop your shitty boyfriends and go on your own dream date. YEAH EVEN IF ITS IN YOUR MIND. It’s better than putting up with a fake boyfriend. So feel free to use my dream date if you aren’t creative enough to come up with your own.
Mickey Rourke. A real man. And in this case, the definition of a real man is: a man who’s balls have shrunk due to the fact that he’s on steroids but he stills walks around like ‘grrrrrrrrrrr, my balls’. You know that attitude? Well i enjoy it. And Mickey Rourke basically invented it. Have you seen The Wrestler? Come on, dream-boat. On our date, Mickey would take me down to  the candy store and he’d buy me as many sour candies as I wanted. And then we’d swing by the LCBO and buy a liter of vodka. Yeah not a 26, Mickey only drinks liters. We’d stick two straws in the bottle and let the alcohol take us to our next date destination: naked wrestling. And then we’d both get each others names tattooed on our bodies and live happily every after.

HAPPY VALENTINES.
call me if you’re interested Mickey

The Wackness: I’m a drug dealer. Hear my cry.

The Wackness: I’m a drug dealer. Hear my cry.

Was there a better year than 1994? No. Biggie changed my world, and he changed Luke Shapiros’ too. The film, The Wackness is set in New York City in 1994. The year Luke Shapiro is graduating from high school. The film follows Luke and his summer of freedom.

He sells drugs from an ice cream cart.

He makes a middle aged best friend.

And falls in love with a popular girl from school.

The film may be cheesy at times but this cheesiness is like gouda. But this is not a movie review. No ma’am. This is a life lesson. Straight from the mouth of Luke’s main squeeze, Stephanie. One summer night Stephanie tells Luke the problem with his attitude, “ I just look at the DOPENESS. But you, it’s like you just look at the wackness.” So attention all readers The Wackness is a cool film. But the wackness in real life is not as cool. So focus on your own personal DOPENESS. And have a nice day.

By Lindsey Peterson

I Heart Lomo Cameras

I Heart Lomo Cameras

I wish I had endless amounts of film for my lomo camera so I could carry it with me at all times. I think I lost enough shots already and can’t let that happen anymore. In fact I wish I had more lomographic cameras. I think I’ll stop by Urban Outfitters sometime this week and buy a new one. I wanna hit the streets of Toronto to capture the interesting characters full of small insignificant untold stories.. Or maybe not. Its frikken cold out and I still don’t have a proper winter jacket.

Lomography Gallery Store

Oh! So tomorrow the dudes from The Lomographic Society will open a Lomography Gallery Store in New York City. It’s like the biggest and most exciting spot for all your Lomographic needs. It’s located in Greenwich Village area it’s the newest addition to other worldwide Lomography stores in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Beijing, Seoul, Madrid, Barcelona, Sydney, Santiago de Chile and Vienna. The new spot will also be known as the New York Lomography Embassy, as well as place for people to go to weekly workshops about cameras, analog photographic techniques, guest speakers, and neighborhood LomoJourneys where people can check out loaner cameras to experience the fun of Lomography first hand.

Lomography Gallery Store
41 W. 8th Street
Manhattan, New York 10003

Open 7 days a week: Monday through Saturday from 10:30am to 9pm; Sunday from 11am to 7pm.

Pretty cool, eh? I definitely need to check this out. A trip to New York is needed plus my closet needs some Uniqlo love too.

2009 Prediction

2009 Prediction

2008 is behind us. Almost.

This is the part where we predict the trends coming up in the new year, the new decade, the new economy, this new life. Around these parts, we’re excited to say goodbye to the bloated, over the top, mashed up 00′s. We know it’s not quite done, this decade, but we’re kissing it goodbye anyway.

FASHION

What’s Out?

Supras. You were nice for a minute, but you’re starting to make me feel more like a geeky teenager who hasn’t hit his growth spurt yet. When I think of a 13 year old boy, I think of scrawny narrow shoulders and big-assed feet. The feet tell of the height to come. And Supra, you only draw attention to that.

80s throwbacks went along nicely with these flipper shoes and we were all about fades, door knocker earrings and oversized shirts paired with tight knee-length jean shorts. Oh god, and acid washed. But it’s over. Seriously. We’re done here.

Similarly anything neon and oversized with cartoon characters on it just has to go. Like go forever ever. Personally, I’ve hated this shit for a while now, it’ a little candy raver without the soother no? What were we thinking?


Beards. It’s the death of the beard boys. Real men have real haircuts and shave their damn faces.

What’s In?

In these harsh economic times, we have to get tough, pair it down, clean it up overall. Clean lines, black and white photos, harsh shapes, little colour and that “goth” word that’s on everyone’s lips.


For men we predict there will be a resurgence of the man’s man alongside a clan cut 50s throwback. It’s real simple to dress hot if you’re a man: Plain white tee. Good pair of jeans. Chuck Taylors or loafers. No earrings, bracelets or rings. Watch, wedding ring and a plain chain are fine.

What to throw away honourable mentions: V-necks for boys, patterns, visible name brands, chunky bracelets or earrings, spandex, metallics, tanning and anything from American Apparel. In 2009 it’s going to be about classic quality pieces that lean towards a clean cut vampiric punk. You’ve gone too far when you hit skin head or heroine addict, everything in between is a go. Also on our list: uniforms, especially military and decent, narrow-shouldered suit or tux jacket; that’s here to stay.

MUSIC

What’s Out?

Mashups. Emo. Celebrity DJs. If it’s two original songs mixed together or if it requires boys straightening their hair, it’s out. Also, any form of pop-something unless it is in fact pop. Pop-punk, hip-pop and that Miley Cyrus crap that sounds like musical music. No mercy, that shit it out like baby nap sacks.

What’s In?

Anything original. Bass. Optimism alongside doom. In the clubs, we’re gonna go back to big beefy beats that float on infinitely. Big parties, with big DJs who blow our heads out the back like a shot gun. Harder harder harder. Just like fashion, we’re gonna hear clean lines in music. I wanna stand in front of a sub and have the base literally blow my hair back. For rock, we’re gonna have a Strokes or Nirvana moment, where bands have to start getting really good at their anti-image and their instruments. Anything that sounds like The Faint, The Cure or Interpol will make a heavy comeback.

Other stuff that’s got to go: apathy, cocaine, bottle service, plastic tits, multi-coloured streaks, hair extensions, Paris Hilton, supply, and dog’s in purses.

We’re looking forward to: natural beauty, the resurrection of D.I.Y, good art, viscera, hope, house cats, ecstasy and demand.

Book Review: I Live Here

Book Review: I Live Here

An orphan goes to jail for stealing leftovers. A teenage girl falls in love in a city of disappeared women. A child soldier escapes his army only to be saved by the people he was taught to kill.

These are the lives and experiences of real people being brought to reality in I Live Here, a “paper-documentary” by Mia Kirshner.

Mia, a Toronto-native and actress (who you may know from The Black Dahlia or The L Word), spent a year travelling to “out of the media” war-torn countries, embedding herself inside the lives of refugees and displaced persons, and really bringing their stories to life.

I Live Here focuses on war in Chechnya, ethnic cleansing in Burma, globalization in Mexico, and AIDS in Malawi. It is an incredible and visually captivating documentation comprised of photographs, poems, comics, and artwork, amongst Mia’s own intimate journal entries.

I feel that the way this book is put together (as 4 separate journal-like books for each country, in a fold-out cover), along with the composition of the pages, is a creative and unique way of telling these stories and really communicating each theme honestly. Throughout the pages, you will be taken on a heart-warming journey that is already getting recognition and praise from magazines such as Elle and Glamour, and many other publications.

It took Mia 7 years to research and put together this project, exhausting her own finances to fund these trips with the help and contributions from various writers, artists, and journalists.

I had the opportunity of meeting Mia and hearing her speak about her travels during her book tour this past October. I think that it is important for us to be conscious of these issues, to be aware of what is happening in places that seem so far away from us. Things that may be hidden or considered unimportant, what we might not see on the news or hear about very frequently, these are the things that have to be brought to the surface.

Along with all royalties from I Live Here going to Amnesty International, Mia has also set up the I Live Here Foundation, which establishes creative writing programs, giving the unheard a voice that would otherwise remain silenced.

Check out the book at Chapters, Indigo, or your local book store.

“Stories can change the world”.


Words by Melania Fedyna

Nuit Blanche 2008 Struggling to Get There

Nuit Blanche 2008 Struggling to Get There

I’ve been bitching about the PR on this thing for weeks.

First, i hear nothing about the damn thing till the week off. Then, both EYE and NOW Magazine shit the bed on their “guides” to Nuit Blanche. I didn’t get a pocket guide till I was at an exhibit hours later.

Here’s a guide to the good and bad of Nuit Blanche.

Good:

The streets were filled with people. That was so gorgeous. Toronto can be so beautiful when we are ourselves. And i mean just lined with people. Old, young, fat, thin, teenage. Drunk, sober. Everyone taking pictures.

Exhibits worth checking out:

Katherine L. Lannin’s House of Leaves.

Which was basically a hallway with torn out sheets of paper littering the whole joint that made it look soft and breathy.

The Horridor at Union Station was my favourite. The longer I stood there surrounded by screams, the more impact it had. One side, all men, the other all women. The artist, Kelly Mark, in an interview mentioned that the men had much more range of emotion in their shrieks, whereas women almost always convey sadness and fear. I thought about that a lot while I stood there. You think it’s because men associate a wider range of emotions with screaming or because women are only ever written as victims? Ponder.

GIRLS

Other cool stuff: City Hall playing light ping pong and the general feel of the city as an art backdrop. Suddenly you look around at the whole city like it’s one big exhibit.

City Hall Ping Pong

Ryerson Fountain Duck Display

Shit:

Everything was a bit far apart and there wasn’t one good map that worked well enough. They shoudl have had signage on the streets and maybe a plaque or two that stated what the exhibit was, OR even a page number in the guide where you could find it.

Here’s some exhibits that sucked ass:

This is a balloon bell in the Eaton Centre. It is nothing more than that. It’s a long trek to look at a bell balloon no? I would have rather seen the whole centre filled with single balloons. The water fountain at the centre every day is more exciting than this thing.

Biggest Let Down of the night was this Talking Yogurt thing.

Maple Leaf Gardens was ten million times more exciting than watching two screens of robotic voices (that no one could understand) talking through milk to each other. Everyone stood around feeling nostalgic for the old seats. Know what would have impressed me in this space? Recreating the fan reaction when the Laughs won the Stanley Cup back in the 60s. Now, THAT would have been dope!

Honourable mentions in the Shit department: Security guards not knowing anything about anything at all to do with any exhibit, exit or any questions really at all around any exhibit. You couldn’t have given them a guide with a red circle around the exhibit they were near? The lack of bathrooms open tot he public, and drunk teenagers kinda everywhere ruining it for us respectable 30-year old drunks. Oh, and Boystown–seriously, that’s all you got? You are responsible for PRIDE!!!!! All you could come up with was a show that occurred once every ten hours (felt like it) and a few trees with green lights and smoke? Shameful.

***All Photos Except the Horridor and Bubbling Milk taken by Natalie Lisa Johnson***

I Painted My Own Reality

I Painted My Own Reality

It’s late to get this post up but I think this was probably one of the best cultural events that happened in June, so I couldn’t resist letting you all know about it. I’m talking about the Luminato Streetscape’s “Housepaint”. Housepaint was a live painting installation at Parliament Street that happened the weekend of June 13th.

A few years ago there was a group of organized squatters living downtown on free land but they were kicked off of it. The area they lived in was called Tent City and Streetscape decided to re-create the environment of it with “Housepaint” (At the Regent Park Slip). They made ten canvas houses (fake obviously) and got the city’s dopest artists to paint them. The subject of the piece itself was left up to the artist and they were able to be creative and create some of the hottest shit seen this year.

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Housepaint included work by various artists of different ethnic backgrounds and that lead to an ace installation. It reflected on the history of Regent Park and repped the future of it as well.

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If you went to it you know that on the last night they gave away the smaller works which had been mounted on the surrounding fences. That’s right…FREE ART. There’s nothing better than a free shit. And when it has a deeper meaning, thats the cherry on top.

*special thanks to devon ostrom for the pics

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