36 years

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The life of this kid has been interesting. This is me, when I was about 6, 30 years ago. I went to 10 different schools in 8 cities from K-college. Been the new kid countless times, reinvented myself a few of them because I could. I Lived with my parents in Southern California (La Verne, San Dimas, Fontana) til I was 11 years old, when my mother, who was a dance teacher and beautiful woman, passed away of Cancer. My dad became unfit to take care of me, or himself. He wasn’t addicted to anything, he was just heartbroken, and lost, unfocused. Much like his entire family is unfocused and lost, they lack something and have a hard time Loving and understanding. A call was made to my grandparents when I walked across the city of Fontana by myself in 1989 to a family friends house after being alone for a couple days, Its the height of the crips and bloods gang period, and myself being a minority there to the Hispanic race, which dominated my school, and neighbourhood. Imagine hearing about your Jr. Highschool being held up by an Uzi, your friends dog being shot in the street, seeing fights on ball courts every day (This is why I love low riders, hip hop, and Mexican food). A couple hours after I showed up at my friends house I was on a flight to Toronto, with nothing but the Jimmy-Z  t-shirt on my back. I went to Scarborough to grandparents who lived in Empringham. It was shitty as well, but in a different way. I then went to various aunts and uncles houses in Milton, Ajax and Port Perry, new friends would take me in, and I was on student welfare, then after I graduated high school in Port Perry (I was prom king in my first year there because I marketed to the grade 10 girls to vote, reinvention remember?) I went to San Francisco with promises of college from you know who. That never came. I lived with him for 1 year, then in a crappy roach infested hotel, and shit apartments. I put myself through college (academy of art uni, SF) I didn’t graduate but have no debt. I was given a new computer and taught myself adobe design programs. I started writing graffiti, I was horrible, but it was amazing. I landed a retail job with Recon SF (Owned by Stash, Futura & Colin Miller), I learned a ton about street wear, art, graffiti, trends, forecasting, etc and met everyone I know in the arts. I struggled in SF, and felt empty, so after a vacation to Toronto to gauge the street wear scene, I decided to moved to in 2003 to bring the street wear culture to Toronto and throw art shows. Ive thrown a few, I hope you’ve been to them, and feel somewhat accomplished but worried about the longevity of anything I do. 

 

This is just a snippet of my life, I have memories, but my childhood feels like it was a dream. Theres nobody to sit at the dinner table with and say “no, this is how that happened” or “I remember that, you were…”. Its all been in my head, as a one sided memory. Recently, I was contacted by an old friend from the 80’s who lived around the corner from me in Fontana. He remembered everything, and it was the first time Ive heard someone tell me how I looked when my mom passed away. He was in my class the day I came back to school, he said I was vacant, not there. I don’t remember that, I only remember being outside the class with my dad, about to go in. It blew me away, and was the FIRST time somebody gave me a 3rd person view of my childhood. I lost it, and broke down. 

 

With my childhood, and the scenarios Ive been in, I could have taken a much different path. I’ve never done hard drugs more than once, I’m not addicted to anything other than biting my nails, I never hung around with the “ wrong crowd”, I try my hardest, take risks and make mistakes. Huge fucking mistakes sometimes. But with every infliction, self or not, I come back stronger. I was promised the world as a kid and I was loved unconditionally only once in my life, for a span of 10 years, it was the best years of my life, hands down. I received the woes instead of the promises, and the people around me lost sight of why I was in their home and thought they could “ teach me a lesson” with the various forms of discipline they gave me. I just needed to be grounded and supported, and accepted as a part of the family, not moulded.  The fire was always in me, but nobody understood it. Needless to say this has given me trust issues to an extent, but it also has allowed me to understand people, and see intent. I can break down peoples actions like a therapist, because I am an experienced one. I never gave up on myself, and never lost sight on the prize (I don’t know what the prize is yet), I still don’t give up, I still fight everyday. You shouldn’t give up on what you want, or what you don’t think you can control. Ever. 

 

The kid in this picture was full of hope and had the world ahead of him. 4 years later everything would change. I feel lucky its worked out as good as it has, but I know its not over. Lots of work to do still, and my little ones look EXACTLY like this kid. My job will be to make sure their story is a lot shorter but more exciting than this one. 

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La Carnita Presents: DOS

Im curating a fantastic art/music/food event in July entitled DOS, along side La Carnita: Toronto’s best Taco Restaurant and One Method: A killer design house. This is the follow up to last year’s UNO.

The kicker this year is that La Carnita will be sharing the food stage with BIG STAR CHICAGO. Who else brings whole restaurants over the border for Toronto to experience? Nooooooobody! The theme behind DOS is -VS-, so we’ll have two restaurants going all out serving the best tacos imaginable. We’ll also have DJ Platurn -vs- Grandtheft on 4 turntables going track for track, and 40 of my favorite artists and friends sharing a theme of their choice, to create individual works that cohere within their idea. Some will collaborate, some will compete…It’s going to be amazing.

More info HERE.

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Back to Back Toronto Exhibitions 4/19 & 4/20.

Kicking off the 2013 exhibition lineup with two solo exhibitions, starting Friday April 19th at Hotel Ocho featuring one of my adolescent hero’s.

Joshua Davis – The Forty Thieves is A fine art exhibit (Part I) comprised of 20 pieces from NY-based artist, Joshua Davis, showcases his latest project; a collection of 24×60” hand-drawn compositions based on Davis’s internationally-renown algorithmic patterns and digital illustrations. Curated by Clay Rochemont (MI CHICA SABROSA, BTKDP, UNO), the event on April 19 kicks off on the much-anticipated FITC 2013 Toronto weekend; at OCHO (195 Spadina).

Opening Night doors are at 7PM; A Special Buyer Preview is by-invitation only via pr@spokeagency.com

THEN, we get it into party mode at Hashtag Gallery with HYDRO74.

Saturday, April 20, 2013, La Carnita presents HYDRO74: OUT TO STUD @ Hashtag Gallery.

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Curated by Clay Rochemont, This fine art exhibit will showcase recent works by Internationally acclaimed designer, and FITC Toronto speaker Hydro74.

Shown at #Hashtag Gallery (801 Dundas Street West), the exhibition opening begins at 7PM and runs LATE.

La Carnita, the presenting sponsor will have some delicious surprises, so show early to avoid disappointment.

Gun Crime Solution Steps Start with Bullet Control

*Update: Ive been re-sending this out with the news of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, CT. Something has to happen here, and this concept is easy and could work. Lets make change.

I currently live in Toronto. I have for nearly 10 years, and if I can agree with one thing our mayor has said, its I think my city is safe. Safer than most, at least. I have never felt unsafe, or in harms way at any given hour walking through any neighbourhood here.

Thats untrue for some, they feel we’re in trouble, and I can agree with that as well. I think the city is headed in the wrong direction, and also politically being lead in the wrong direction.

Our Mayor, Rob FORD believes we need to cut back on social programs (Which my wife is employed in) and gear up on more police (Which my cousin is employed in). I couldn’t disagree more with him, as I feel the police should go through the Social Work college programs before police academy, but thats another post.

Heres my pitch:

Bullet Control. 

“Ammunition sales are going gangbusters in 2012, with bullet manufacturer Olin Corp. reporting a 13 percent increase in civilian sales this year so far”

We’ve all seen Chris Rock’s take on bullets, and I dont believe he’s too far off. But I have a different approach than this one.

Making a bullet extremely expensive would definitely halt gun use in general, but there are hunters, police, and people who feel they deserve to have firearms, and bullets, etc. I dont support hunting or owning a firearm, but its a variable in my analysis and Im trying to make everyone happy. Plus the theft of bullets, buying in underground rings, etc would come into play and you’d still have problems.

My solution is to alter the sale and MANUFACTURING  process of the bullet, and its similar to Mobile phone manufacturing, tracking and sale.

Think about your mobile phone, and how hard it is to steal one, or alter an account that isnt yours. They all have serial numbers, and are tracked by manufacturing plant, store, right to your door.

Each bullet sold should be similar. They should have a serial number, stamped into the inside of the rear casing so it cannot be rubbed off, and only used in forensic activity. That serial number, corresponds to the box it came from. If a box of bullets is 1000 bullets, then those 1000 bullets hold the same serial number, and that serial is also printed and tracked on the box, which is linked to the case, which is linked to the store it was sold to, which is linked to the manufacturing plant.

When a case is purchased by a retail outlet, These serials are tracked to that store, and in return when a customer buys a box of bullets, that serial number is assigned to that person, with ID and credit card. Just like your iPhone or Blackberry.

In the event that bullets are stolen, tracking will know which location they were taken from, or if they were unregistered and stolen from the manufacturer. Just like your iPhone, android or Blackberry.

This eliminates or hinders the re-sale of bullets, as all names are tracked through your ID. If a person commits a crime and fires a gun, the bullet is found, dismantled at the rear casing, and you have where it came from, which Country, state, city and store, time of purchase, type of payment and… Name/ID of purchaser. A great start for police questioning.

This is especially effective in gang shootings, or inner city crime as the ammunition is now attached to a buyer. Nobody wants to be responsible for death.

*Update: In the case of Adam Lanza and the Newtown Shooting, the guns were registered to his mother, Nancy Lanza legally. This scenario brought up a good point, especially since the gunman made himself apparent at the crime, and had the exit strategy of suicide. This Sandy Hook senario could only have been stopped by my concept if the over 100 rounds of bullets fired were purchased by Adam Himself. Showing a gun license (which should obtain all your gun registry information) when purchasing bullets  should only allow you to purchase bullets for guns you have registered to you. In this case and with my concept, Nancy Lanza would have been be the only one able to purchase ammunition for her fire arms, and she is responsible for these fire arms AND these bullets. In the mobile device world, I would not be able to call Verizon, or Bell and add on anything to anyones mobile account unless I either proved I was them, or was a secondary user on their account. This is similar, and based on this, Adam Lanza would not have been able to purchase ammunition for the guns used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

Its a simple alteration to the process of manufacturing bullets and purchasing them, and a great marketing plan to hinder the resale of bullets in all communities. A nice scare tactic that brings ownership to a very dangerous purchase, while still allowing Americans who feel its their right to own ammunition, and guns to do so.

I urge our  Canadian/US politicians to entertain this idea, and I hope Michael Moore sees this.

It can work.

We have a great little contest with RDIO.

The folks at La Carnita and Rdio have a great contest going on for our art show entitled UNO on April 13th in Toronto.

Whats up for grabs? A painting worth $4000.00 by Montreal based artist Johnny Bergeron aka Johnny Crap.

All you have to do is:

1. go to www.rdio.com and set up an account. (The trial is free for 7 days and requires no credit card) Sorry guys, this is Canada Only (Excluding Quebec)

2. Collaborate with the La Carnita UNO Playlist by adding a track or 2, which is HERE.  (Be sure to link your Facebook Or Twitter to Rdio when you sign up, so we know how to find you when you win)

The painting will be at UNO, so you can see it in person. The contest ends Sunday April 15th and the winner is announced Monday April 16th on the La Carnita twitter page. Follow @la_carnita

Now for the best part, here’s a picture of Johnny Crap with your painting. Good luck ladies and gents!