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Contrast Magazine

Esao Andrews
esao andrews

Words / Mark Kushimi

Esao Andrews grew up in East Mesa, Arizona. As a kid, his neighborhood was at the edge of the desert so he spent a huge chunk of his childhood riding a bike exploring it. He’d collect toads, lizards, scorpions, and find nudie magazines and other typical desert litter. When they started paving the streets Esao got a skateboard. That was his life for a while, skating, doing homework and drawing late at night. During his senior year in high school he received a scholarship to The School of Visual Arts in New York. He got a summer job working the graveyard shift, six days a week at a chemical plant to save money for expenses, then moved to NYC during the fall of 1996 to complete a BFA in illustration. After graduating in 2000, Andrews wore a few hats working as a designer (both web and graphic), illustrator, and of course a painter, exhibiting his work at countless gallery shows. Esao currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Read more

Sean Yoro (Hula)
Sean Yoro - Hula
Words / Megan Tomino

Sean Yoro aka Hula hit the street art scene with a bang with murals of larger-than-life-sized women painted in oils that seem to float just above the water line on the walls of a flooded abandoned building. To achieve these portraits, Sean used a stand-up paddle board, an anchor, and a lot of balance—some pieces took upwards of nine hours to complete. Sean’s murals may seem like the stunt of a seasoned street artist, but that isn’t the case. Read more

Sam Muller

Sam Muller
Words / Travis Hancock

If you ask Sam Muller how, over the course of his teenage years, he went from a kid filming amateur skate videos with his friends to a respected photographer in the skate industry, he says it’s sheer luck, a right place right time kinda thing. But, unlike Sam, luck doesn’t sit in the California sun for six hours straight shooting sequences of a nearly impossible trick. Luck doesn’t often haul a hundred pounds of lighting gear over an eight-foot chain link fence. And luck doesn’t go very far when shooting intimate portraits of skate legends, musicians and Oscar-winning directors. At the ripe, hairy age of 24, Sam has the work ethic of a seasoned vet, matched by a knack for precision on the order of German engineering. But for all this, he’s humble about his success, and less interested these days in exploiting skating’s mainstream than in branching out, exploring new subjects and terrain—from ballet to his Hollywood Hills hometown. Read more

Kanoa Zimmerman

Words / Daniel Ikaika Ito

The summer of 2012 was a dismal season for waves on the South Shore of O‘ahu. Old-timers and the local news called it the “worst summer of surf in history.” From Memorial Day to the end of August there were only two substantial swells in Town. Photographer Kanoa Zimmerman, 30, happened to score one of the brief windows of waves while in Honolulu for an exhibition of his work put on by Interisland Terminal. Kanoa showcased black and white images captured with Nikonos, Contax and Mamiya 35 mm film cameras. The San Francisco-based, Native Hawaiian prefers the tangible aspect of shooting film and having something physical in the end over DSLRs with images stored on a hard drive. Read more

James Jean

JAMES JEAN
Words / Carolyn Mirante
Photography / Brandon Shigeta

James Jean is an enigmatic figure. Trained as an illustrator, Jean acquired a cult following with his unique and meticulous style. In 2008, he surprised the world by leaving the realm of commercial illustration for the more structured world of fine art. His first foray into this realm—a solo exhibition at the Martha Otero Gallery in LA—was met with great success. Today, nearly two years after the opening of a much-speculated-on exhibition at the Tilton Gallery in NYC (Parallel Lives), Jean opens up about his life, creative inspirations, and what the future has in store for him. Read more
 

Contrast Magazine

Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell
Words / Race Skelton

Wind swept coastlines, silhouttes at dusk, gradient wave tones and indigenous Berber portraits. These images spill off the pages of Thomas Campbell’s book, “Seeing Fatima’s Eyes” a photograph heavy and literary interlude through Morocco. On closer inspection you’ll realize Campbell didn’t breeze through the coastline on a puffed-up surf brand sponsored photo shoot, but has spent years there—decades even—and has traveled along with some of the World’s best and most stylish surfers such as Dan Malloy, Alex Knost, Craig Anderson, Dave Rastovich, Lauren Hill, Trevor Gordon and Ryan Burch. Read more

Quinn Matthews

Quinn Matthews
Words / Zen Yoshifuku

In the saturated market of surf photography the work of Quinn Matthews stands out from the others. For the past couple of years whenever I would be flipping through a surf mag and a photo caught my eye I would see Quinn’s name credited. With a different sense of composition from other photographers, the 19-year-old Californian is becoming the go-to shooter for all the best surf publications. We’re looking forward to seeing this young, industrious photographer’s work evolve in the coming years… Read more

Augustine Kofie

kofie
Words / Jasper Wong

Augustine Kofie is a self-taught artist living and working in Los Angeles. His art has been shown extensively worldwide with highlighted shows in New York, California, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. With a deep interest in process and structure, Kofie creates works of intense detail centered on the order of balance. The precision of his “drafted” art is strongly inspired by modern architecture as well as the form and shape of typography. In his quest for balance, Kofie harmonizes opposing and contradictory dynamics in his work by setting futuristic compositions against vintage earth-toned palettes, and creates organically complex formations through meticulously structured line-work and layering. Read more

Matthew Tapia
Matthew Tapia
Words / Jenny de Jesus
Portrait / Mark Kushimi

Matthew Tapia will tell you he got lucky. The self-taught artist was working odd jobs and drawing in his free time when the owner of clothing giant Ecko Unltd. happened to spot Tapia’s work in his first and only art show in a small skate shop on the Windward side of O‘ahu. Impressed with what he saw, he left his card with the store and asked that Tapia call him before he left the island in two days time. Tapia made that call not knowing it would change his professional life forever. Just a couple of months later, he accepted a full-time job with Ecko in New York City. Read more