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June 24, 2014

JR & José Parlá: Wrinkles of the City

The Freewheeling Artists On How They Transformed the Streets of Havana

Artists and longtime collaborators José Parlá and JR traveled to Havana, Cuba for Wrinkles of the City, a global series of public art installations and expressionistic murals centered around enigmatic portraits of the residents in each metropolis, from Berlin to Shanghai. This leg acted as a homecoming for Brooklyn-based Parlá, whose own parents emigrated from Cuba to Miami where he was born. Commissioned by the 2012 Havana Biennale, today’s self-directed film captures the duo’s citywide project that ran from Old Havana to Vedado, offering both artists the opportunity to engage with a city that has profound personal resonance. “Using any kind of media to express myself has always been key to my work,” says the Paris-born, NYC-based JR. “I’m glad we made the film to better understand our journey through this fascinating place that is La Havana.”

You’re both multilingual expatriates with similar backgrounds—what impact does that have on your art?
José Parlá: JR’s work is a commentary that is sharing something positive with the present or with history. Working together as we have has been organic because we both think alike. If I can't make something happen, JR steps in, and if he can’t, then I communicate it. In Cuba we spoke Spanish, Portuguese, French and Japanese, inventing ways to share.

JR: José and I have that in common, we always feel language is not a barrier. I guess it’s because we speak with our own hands a lot. 

How does your work in one discipline inform the other?
JP: The stories of walls are the memories of society. If I use photography it is to document places and people that later inform my paintings as well, with regards to colors and the mood or history of a painting’s direction. When I paint very layered and large-scale calligraphic paintings, the language is informed by gestural, free-associative movements, which I think of as a dance that envelopes the work.

What’s your favorite highlight from the trip?
JP:
When we were making the largest wall work of the whole project, JR guided me from across a field while I was suspended on a crane. It was hard to see with the sun glaring in my eyes. We finished the whole thing and celebrated the whole night.

JR: The people we met, especially the couple who we photographed and pasted up. We stayed in touch with them and they have been such an inspiration to both of us.—Timothée Verrecchia

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Spotlight

Your Secret Cities: Vancouver

Inventory Magazine Chief Ryan Willms Shares His List of the Seaport's Sights and Bites

To mark public voting for our travel photography competition, Your Secret Cities, photographer Jennilee Marigomen tours Vancouver, British Columbia, with Inventory founder and Editor-in-Chief Ryan Willms. With its dedicated team headquartered in the Canadian city’s historic Gastown district, Inventory has in recent years emerged as the last word on contemporary craftsmanship and understated chic. Championing heritage-focused brands such as Visvim, Margaret Howell, Engineered Garments and Yuketen with behind-the-scenes exclusives and interviews, the magazine highlights the authentic workmanship that goes into today’s classic menswear. “What really separates Inventory is the depth and integrity of the brand, to remain true to our tastes, aesthetic and beliefs,” explains Willms. “We've always just tried to make the magazine we would want to read. The same general rule applies to our retail.” After the success of his traditional and online publishing platforms, Willms established the Stockroom just a few meters from the Inventory office. Defined by industrial lighting, exposed brick and minimal décor—no hunting-cabin Americana in sight—the store offers a carefully selected range of outdoorsman-inspired brands alongside Inventory’s own collaborations with the likes of designer Mark McNairy, Viberg boots and Mt. Rainier Design. Here Willms shares his tips on where to find the Inventory attitude in Vancouver.

Nelson the Seagull
Since landing in May 2010, Nelson the Seagull has literally been fueling Inventory. Everyday we go here for coffee, lunch and tea. The people are friendly, the food is fresh and the atmosphere is just right. 
315 Carrall Street, Gastown, Vancouver, BC; Tel: 604-681-5776

Finch’s Tea House
Because it's a bit of a walk from our office, Finch's is often a special treat. With a great selection of sandwiches and homemade soups, it's definitely worth the trip from any part of town.
353 West Pender, at the corner of Homer, Vancouver, BC

Lee’s Donuts
Lee's has been making delicious donuts daily for nearly 30 years. It's a great place because they keep it classic and don't try to do new things for the sake of it. The old fashioned plain donut is always a good choice.
Granville Island Public Market, 1689 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3R9; Tel: 604-666-5784

6 Acres
Six Acres is easy to miss during the day but when the curtain gets pulled up in the evening, the perfect sanctuary is revealed. Their selection of beers is complimented by a simple but interesting menu, making it the ideal place to retire after a long day at work.
203 Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 2J2; Rel: 604-488-0110

The Sea Wall
The Sea Wall is arguably the most beautiful 10km run in the world. It's only minutes from downtown Vancouver and the trail around Stanley Park showcases almost all of the city's natural beauty. Perfect to walk, ride or run at any time of year.

The Belmont Barber Shop
The only place I get my hair cut. Owner and master barber Dustin Fishbone does a great job and runs a tight ship.
111 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V5T 1W1; Tel: 604-568-6238

Macleod’s Books
Described as "the last great bookshop," Macleod's have been in their current location since 1982 and have sold books for as little as a $1, and as much as $40,000. Visiting for the first time, you won't quite know where to start, so we'd recommend going with a few hours to spare.
455 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1V2; Tel: 604-681-7654

Zulu Records
Zulu Records might be a little further afield, but their wide selection of new and used vinyl, and range of vintage stereo equipment, always make the trip a worthwhile one.
1972 West 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V6J 1M5; Tel: 604-738-3232

Super Champion
This bicycle shop opened around the same time I moved to Vancouver. From the beginning, I visited them for tune-ups, vintage parts and advice. The staff is extremely knowledgable and they usually have a good selection of vintage Italian components.
245 Main Street, Vancouver, BC; Tel: 604-689-3610

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Spotlight

Kook Paradise

Veteran Surfers Danny DiMauro and Tin Ojeda Parody Montauk’s New Long Boarding Craze

From breath-taking beach yoga warm-ups to artistic board decorations and wipe-outs on mammoth 2ft swells, Danny DiMauro and Tin Ojeda show up the hype surrounding New York’s version of Malibu in their new film Kook Paradise. Shot on an old camcorder on Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk, the short plays on the aesthetics of 1960’s surfploitation films and pokes fun at a modern beachtown with surf fever. “Both of us are pranksters always playing jokes on one another down at the beach,” explains DiMauro. Known for its bohemian and unpretentious atmosphere, Montauk has been the choice destination for artists escaping the city since Andy Warhol, photographer Peter Beard and The Rolling Stones discovered the spot in the sixties. Recently, the town has become the epicenter of the East Coast’s surfing boom, with ‘kooks’—poor surfers who don’t really know what they’re doing, especially those new to the sport—descending on the area in droves. DiMauro teamed up with artist Tin Ojeda, known for his Drugmoneyart T-shirt line, to capture the ensuing comedy in a photo ‘zine. “We kept getting caught taking photos of people, so Tin decided to remedy the problem by using an old camcorder he had,” explains DiMauro. “When we watched the tape, there was so much hilarity that we decided to make a film to document everything we see on a daily basis.”

Kook Paradise premieres at the New York Surf Film Festival on September 19 and 20.

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