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Contrast Magazine

Devin Troy Strother
devin-troy-strother

Words / Lila Lee
Images courtest of Artist and Richard Heller Gallery

My earliest memory of Devin Troy Strother is hot boxing his truck in the back of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena’s parking lot. He kept a bong in his front seat and would pack the fattest snappers. And, of course, afterwards we had to go to Church’s Chicken to get those bomb ass honey biscuits, even if that meant being late for printmaking (sorry Tony). When you see Devin’s current work—sculptures, paintings, installations—and read their titles, you can see that same sense of humor that he’s always had, something I hope he never loses. Read more

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

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

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

 

Contrast Magazine

The Pacific Project
thepacificproject
Words / Race Skelton
Photography / Mark Kushimi

Gabriel “G-Bo” Tennberg and Kyle Spencer are sitting next to each other on a wooden bench on the deck of a 1960s built North Shore home. The surf is rumbling outside, a new northwest swell is filling into Ke Iki Beach across the street, churned from an El Nino weather pattern storm that formed thousands of miles away. Kyle, from Maui, is explaining how he first started working with G-Bo, who’s from Kauai, at surf brand Hurley in Costa Mesa. “I was at Etnies, designing wovens, and G was doing boardshorts at Billabong…no, wait, he’d left Billabong and was at Element. But that was after G-Bo was at Quiksilver.” recalls Kyle. G-Bo’s resume reads as a who’s who of international surf brands. He started at Quiksilver, then moved to Billabong, then Element, then Hurley—where he recruited Spencer to his team—and then on to DC, designing everything from boardshorts to denim to snow gear, holding titles of Design Director and VP of Design. The two clicked together as two outer island Hawai‘i kids would, putting their design stamp on the surf industry. The unique thing about Hawai‘i kids when it comes to surf design is that they grow up in surf wear, specifically boardshorts. It’s literally half your wardrobe, year around. Coming up as groms in the shorebreak then grabbing a plate lunch after, they know what works and what doesn’t. Only later in life would they realize that their adolescent years would be viewed as research and development. Read more

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

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

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