Artist Spotlight with Zet Gold

Zet Gold’s art is playful, childlike, and occasionally backed by clever puns. She calls the process of creating art “birdwatching” which expresses stories made from daily observations.

Born in Saudi Arabia, Gold grew up praying in underground churches with styrofoam windows. Her father moved from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia for work, where he was also a missionary pastor. Concealing her Christian faith in a Muslim country gave Gold an interesting perspective to view the world from. After burying their Bibles in the ground, Gold and her family left Saudi Arabia for San Diego, then eventually to Las Vegas.

Gold recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a BFA in graphic design and has exhibited countless art shows.  The Bakery, is where you can find her creating most of her work—she shares the studio with her brother, Miah (fashion designer), and Jasmin (fashion photographer). She credits street graffiti as her doorway into the art world. “It kinda started off just hitting up trains with my brother, then a year after I started to take art more serious,” Gold said.

Besides “birdwatching” Gold has collaborated with various local artists, musicians and businesses—Flora Pop, Echo Stains and Chase R. McCurdy to name a few. Her next show will be a The Bakery on November 12th with musician, Sonia.

How Bad Moon Booking is changing the Las Vegas music scene

 

Tsvetelina Stefanova (Tsvet, for short) has a heap of titles under her belt and is impressive, to say the least. First, she’s a badass musician and has played with a slew of bands. Same Sex Mary is her main project which she started six years ago with her boyfriend, James Howard Adams. Furthermore, she is the entertainment director at The Dillinger, the sponsorship manager for the Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City,  the director for the Life is Shit Music Festival and the founder of Bad Moon Booking.

Most major cities have thriving music scenes ingrained in their culture, but Las Vegas has been out-of-the-loop since the days of the Rat Pack and Sinatra. Five or six years ago, you couldn’t find many local or independent bands playing in Las Vegas—let alone playing for free. Maybe you could catch a few bands at The Huntridge Theatre or The Sanctuary, but those days are long gone.

As of recent, Las Vegas has cultivated solid musical talent and venues, like The Griffin and The Bunkhouse. For the past year and a half, Bad Moon Booking has organized free shows with a ton of amazing local and touring bands. From years of touring, Tsvet made countless connections throughout the South Western states and found herself frequently setting up bands with gigs in Las Vegas. Booking acts became a passion for her which led to the birth of Bad Moon Booking. This October, Bad Moon Booking is showcasing an exciting mini-series at the Plaza Casino & Hotel’s outdoor venue—equipped  with a beer garden. The shows are during the first, four Saturdays of October. So be sure to mark your calendars.

bmbflyer


Life is Shit Music Festival is another project Tsvet became a part of during the fest’s second year. Founder Jack Johnson created Life is Shit as a direct counter-music festival to contrast with the mainstream, Life is Beautiful Music Festival. According to Johnson, Life is Beautiful “displac[ed] another local-run festival and rubb[ed] a lot of people the wrong way.” To repair that loss, the one-day fest was created for the Las Vegas locals to enjoy for free during Life is Beautiful. “I just wanted Life is Shit to be something inclusive and organically created by locals, for locals…Life is Shit has become a product of not just a few people and a cool bar with a ridiculous festival name, but a community,” Johnson said. The fest consists of local bands with a few astounding established touring acts on the bill.

During our interview, Tsvet talks about what to expect at the festival hosted at The Dive Bar on September 23rd.

lifeisshit2016finalposterV2.png

 

Love at First Listen: Hidden Levels

04040009

About Hidden Levels
The influx of amazing local bands is on the rise in Las Vegas. But the band that just recently stole my eardrums is Hidden Levels. In the Fall of 2014,  Jason Aragon (bass), Adam Grill (lead vocals and guitar), and Brian Scanlan (drums) started producing music together.  The trio decided on their band name, after going through a dozen others, when they came to realize that they shared a connection with playing old school videogames, like the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. “Hidden levels in a videogame hearken back to a nostalgic time. Our childhood and simplicity. Before the advent of social media and the internet. When you had to call a friend on your home phone and if they weren’t there you just rode your bike to their house,”Grill said.  These lads have been in the local music scene for some time, being part of various bands, including Twin Brother and Same Sex Mary.

About their sound
What would you describe their sound as? At first listen, I thought of it as a dreamy shoegaze sound, with an alternative rock presence. But after listening to their live demos over and over it became harder for me to pinpoint, which was exactly the point according to lead vocalist Adam Grill. “I try and write music that is unique. That is why I make music. So I mostly just write what I want to hear with as little influence as possible,” Grill said.

Their moody jams put you in a trance, with long distorted guitar riffs continually fading out over steady syncopated beats and melodic baselines.

Grill did say, if placed in a genre, they would fit most into the post-rock-pop genre- claiming Arcade fire, early Modest Mouse, Fugazi, Blur, and Tortoise as definite influences.

What’s up next?
The band last performed at the Griffin with Tiger Breaks and at the Bunkhouse Saloon for the We Are Love benefit, which raised money for the victims in Orlando. While the band doesn’t have any upcoming performances lined up, they are currently working on their debut album.

Listen to their live recordings on Bandcamp!

Song on rotation: Everyone Knows How

Performance @ The Griffin
Big thanks to Bad Moon Booking for introducing me to Hidden Levels. I caught one of their latest performances at the Griffin and snagged some footage of their performance. *SWOOON*

Artist Spotlight with Eric Vozzola

 

Vozzola1.jpg

Meet Eric Vozzola! An accomplished artist, graphic designer, muralist and human being trying to find his own language through his art. After a year of preparation, Vozzola exhibited his second solo art show “A Visual Language” at the Winchester Gallery in Las Vegas.

Vozzola began developing his exhibit by fusing the ideas of vast landscapes he’s traveled and cryptic language inspired by hieroglyphs, petroglyphs, and cave wall drawings. “I wanted to fill a space with images that were somewhat cryptic and ornamental on the surface, but held deeper meaning underneath, allowing the viewer to interpret it as they wish” said Vozzola.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Vozzola graduated UNLV with a BFA in graphic design and studio art. He has worked on murals for the Life is Beautiful Music Festival as well as other miscellaneous projects Downtown. He is a part of the design team at The Venetian Las Vegas and a freelance graphic designer.

I interviewed Eric before the opening reception to find out a little more about “A Visual Language.”

Femme Friday in DTLV

 

A growing community of female artists
Femme Friday is a radical event showcasing art, fashion, and music by women. Raw Femme originated as a blog by founder Amanda “Rawky” Lozano, to created a platform for emerging female artists to share their talent. “Raw Femme is not just a blog, but also a society that unites ambitious and innovative women from around the world. A collaborative of music, fashion, film, art and design. Women finally have a place where their artistic voices can be heard,” said Lozano. Raw Femme expanded its reaches this past First Friday by bringing together female artists, fashionistas, and musicians from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to showcase their work at their inaugural event.

The event
Femme Friday took place at a furniture store turned art space known as “the corner building”–now Metroplex Arts-located on Main Street and California Avenue. Walking in, you could hear the bass vibrating from the groovy tunes played by DJ Skye in the backroom. Fashion and jewelry vendors displayed swanky jewelry, jean jackets with custom embroidery, and sweet vintage clothing. Drinks flowed from the bar conveniently placed in the center of the room. In the warehouse-like backroom, live music was showcased and the exhibiting artists displayed photographs, paintings and digital prints. In the mist of an incoming rainstorm, many supports still came swelling through to show their love to the ladies. A portion of the proceeds were donated to the Dreaming Zebra Foundation-an organization that provides art and music supplies to under privileged children throughout the world.

What to expect next from Raw Femme
While Lozano plans to throw the Femme Friday event twice a year, she also plans to set up smaller events in between. “I’m planning to showcase fashion shows, individual art exhibits, and more” said Lozano.

For more about Raw Femme check out the website:
http://www.rawfemme.com/

A day with the inspirational DJ Crykit

crykit13Who has ever made a living doing everything they love? Local DJ, breakdancer, and online clothing shop owner, Crykit (Cricket) is one of them. Her story began on a dairy farm in a humble city in Wisconsin and continues to flourish in Las Vegas.

Getting to know DJ Crykit
Meeting Dj Crykit is something like an infectious boost in spirits. Her lively personality resonates in her animated movements and all-around positive vibes. That positivity is exactly what has driven her to the be the successful DJ and entrepreneur she is today. Born Michelle Kolnik of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Crykit first found her passion of dance through ice skating. “It was my life from 6 to 12 years old” said Crykit. Her love for floating on the ice was the foundation for the talented woman she would become.

Beginning her DJ career
Moving to San Francisco, Crykit was inspired by the underground rave scene and began her DJ career playing drum & bass. She continued broadening her musical tastes when breakdancing became another passion she began to master. Integrating her experience with playing drum & bass, hip-hop and later EDM helped develop her unique multi-genre sound. She was name “Best Local DJ 2013” by the Las Vegas Weekly Magazine shortly after she broke into the DJ scene in Las Vegas.

Passion for fashion
Always having a deep love for fashion and thrift shopping, Crykit recently opened Crykit’s Playhouse. Her unique pieces directly reflects her own colorful and quirky sense of style. “My main goal is to find and circulate pieces that make people smile” said Crykit. She is also an advocate for reducing waste by recycling second hand clothes. One day she hopes to build a celebrity clientele and is also currently working on launching a fashion app call Parallel Hive.

What’s next?
Join Crykit for July’s First Friday where she’ll be vending clothes at Femme Friday inside of The Metroplex. The event will include artist exhibitions, performance installations, live music, and local fashion vendors. Crykit will also be playing a DJ set for Bruno Mars at the T-Mobile Arena on August 24.

Our photoshoot

See Crykit dance

See Crykit spin

See Crykit style on you
Las Vegas Review-Journal – Full-time DJ moonlight fashion

UNLV students & alumni bring live painting to Life is Beautiful


Top row, from left to right: Devin Duitsman, Ruzo Logic, Reina Dalton, Eric Vozzola.
Bottom row, from left to right: Ian Racoma, Holly Vaughn, Kim Johnson, K.D. Matheson.

A Surreal Opportunity
UNLV students and alumni are collaborating with local artists on an interactive mural, called Life Is Beautiful & Surreal, at the upcoming Life Is Beautiful festival. Ruzo Logic and Kim Johnson are the artists responsible for organizing the collaboration. Their vision with the project is to incorporate people with art, and allow them to actively see the work done in real time.

The pair is also known for co-founding Guerrilla ARTZ Factory, a coalition of street artists, about a year ago for downtown’s monthly First Friday events. The mission of Guerrilla ARTZ is to show “Artist in Public! Not Public Art.”

About the mural and artists
Life Is Beautiful & Surreal involves a shared mural that is divided between UNLV students and alumni, Las Vegas Academy students and ZAP artists – that is, artists commissioned by the Clark County Parks and Recreation to beautify electrical boxes around the Las Vegas Valley.

“The nature of this project is actually to do the largest three-dimensional mural ever done in Nevada,” said Ruzo.

The murals are painted on what Ruzo calls guerrilla cages, which are three-sided walls in the shape of a triangle with a canvas on each side. He came up with the idea for the guerrilla cages after his experiences with street art.

“So my idea was to go ahead and build our own walls and set them up in a way that they’ll be free standing and you could see them from all directions and we could put these anywhere and nobody could tell us what to do with them,” Ruzo said. The theme of the mural is surreal pop-art – described as taking something real and making it into a fantasy or imaginary character. “For example taking a bird and putting a human head on it,” Ruzo said.

Artists finished outlining the 40-foot wide murals in time to display it at September’s First Friday held every month in the Arts District. The mobile mural will be completed at Life is Beautiful as an interactive experience, available for viewing on all three days of the music festival.

The piece will have another First Friday in October to celebrate the efforts of all the artists. The collaborative mural will be set up at 18b Arts District.

“As an artist I look for projects that bring artist together, showcasing the talent we possess in ways we and others can enjoy. The vision of Life Is Beautiful & Surreal is to paint where others can join us and interact by having a conversation about and watching the progression of a major work of art,” Ruzo said.

K.D. MathesonK.D. Matheson outlining one of six guerrilla kages.

Upcoming Guerrilla ARTZ projects
Guerrilla ARTZ is also getting ready to work on their newest project, called Guerilla Crossings. The project will involve 21 artists from various states, including California, Arizona, Oregon and Idaho. The idea of the project is to connect different states with shared murals that will be set up on their state lines.

While Guerrilla ARTZ plans for many projects to come, Life is Beautiful & Surreal is their most anticipated project of the moment.

“It’s simple – build something to paint on, get people to support the artists doing it! Let the rest happen in the most organic of ways,” Ruzo said.


11947751_485270608313335_2612738265089276892_o
Artist Chat
I pulled aside four of the artists working on the mural to talk about their inspirations, thoughts and their contribution for  Life Is Beautiful & Surreal.

Artist: Devin Duitsman
Major: Bachelor of Fine Arts
UNLV alumna 2015

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Devin: I drew a character I developed through my own self-conscious named Slime. She is a light being living in a dark world exploring her consciousness.

What was your inspiration?
Devin: My own personal experiences living in Las Vegas.

What does this collaborative mural mean to you?
Devin: It means a lot. I’m excited to work with a lot of the artists. I’ve seen work they’ve done on their own. So I’m excited to see what our art will look like cohesively.

Who is your biggest art influence?
Devin: Japanese contemporary artists like Yoshi Tomo Nara.


Artist: Eric Vozzola
Major: Graphic design
UNLV 2011 alumnus

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Eric: I drew a cube pattern for the background that would be consistent for the entire UNLV piece.

What was your inspiration?
Eric: There was a lot of organic elements in the murals, so I wanted something more geometric and flat to balance everything out.

What does this collaborative mural mean to you?
Eric: It’s a chance to work with friends and an opportunity for artist to work with a large scale who have not before. This is also an opportunity to work with artist with a range of experiences.

Who is your biggest art influence?
Eric: Zio Ziegler who works with patterns and has a piece downtown from the first year of Life is Beautiful.


Artist: Holly Vaughn
Major: Sculpture
UNLV 2014 alumna

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Holly: I drew up a floating island with whimsically architectural elements that has a secret UN meeting that went wrong (it’s called “the meeting”).

What was your inspiration?
Holly: Socioeconomic advancement/class advancement as well as ghosts, Katy Perry and Halloween.

What does this collaborative mural mean to you?
Holly: It’s a huge opportunity to work with other artists I’ve admired and exposure for local artists in Las Vegas–which is desperately needed.

Who is your biggest art influence?
James Turrell who has an art installation at the Louis Vuitton store at the Crystals Mall.


Artist: Reina Dalton
Major: Fine Arts
UNLV Freshman

Describe what you drew for this mural?
Reina: I drew a scantily clad motorcycle lady with aquatic limbs.

What was your inspiration?
Reina: Surrealism and Dalism.

Who is your biggest art influence?
Reina: Kaspian Shore and Agnes Cecile