Marriage of music and art is not a ground breaking news. Yet to deliver the sense of community, connection, and profound nostalgia all in one behind these pleasantly bulky record sleeves, are most definitely unique to Los Angeles based web radio and DJ collective dublab.com's 'Up Our Sleeve'. What they represent, goes beyond the pile that these 200 some one-of-a-kind sleeves would visually suggest. 12" x 12" surface was scribbled, painted, silkscreened, embroidered, collaged, stained with drink of choice...you name it. Curated by Dublab frontsman Mark McNeill (a.k.a. frosty) and artist Brandy Flower (whom always is behind dublab's flyer creations), the sleeves were neatly put into plastic outer coverings (with exceptions of those who made their sleeves furry and poofy- "nah, it looks forced," as Flower puts it) and displayed one by one on pegboards.
With the selections of spacious venues like LA's Inshallah Gallery & SF's Punch Gallery, they manage to convert the space into an one night only record store...where audience will be rewarded with quality music selection by dublab's own turntablists. Nobody, Jimmy Tambarello of Dntel & Postal Service, Allen of Mannequin Lung & Headset, frosty, Carlos Nino, Daedelus and more have spun in LA & SF, and its cohabitance with art (of all the artists that are part of extended dublab community) is just a sweet way of putting a face...faces in this case... to what they are and what they represent. Dublab's blood, pumping behind the organic computer screen interface is indeed warm. Frosty's everyday linguist notation via e-newsletter & hollar behind the microphone reminds you that life is good. Or on any given day, dublab crew could be spotted on the street corner handing National Geographics' world map out to kids (Sprouts Project). Knowledge is a gem, and with the caliber of internet as their means to deliver the message "positive.music.driven.lifestyle", dublab crew's living it, and proving it strong to the local community and world wide audience.
In such times where there's plenty of uniquely themed group shows being announced oh so often, the attitude seen at 'Up Our Sleeve' was just honest and humble. It is about their love to the music. Love to the hundreds or more records they flip through every week with nothing but a joyous grin. Love to the artists they dig (and all of them dig back too). Love to the community they cater to and belong. McNeill & Flower, whom with such a passion and their hands on production made all this possible. Artists from all over the world have well responded. Frosty and Flower recall that it was possibly February of this year that the first sets of blank sleeves were sent out to the artists. Then the extra sleeves given to artists spontaneously got passed on from one to another, forming this intersecting link of community amongst the participating artists. At the night of the event, various new projects were probably born from conversation on the floor. Joint of music and art scene brought in different channels of audience, and the party went deep into the night. Sleeves were displayed on the wall in the manner so that people can pick it up and flip over to study them closely. That situation created the interaction with the could be stale installation and even after the light dimmed and gallery turned into a dance floor, art was not left alone. Another clever installation trick was the assigned serial number on each work, which perhaps encouraged people to appreciate the artwork itself than seeing the artist name first. Wall consisted of the unique mix of known artist, to musician, and young creators all blended in. Mike Mills whose works are full of calm surprises in style and a well respected creator presented fragile and full of emotion pencil drawings. L.A.'s young couple artist Kozyndan also whipped out their pencils, and got into details of dublab's office/studio. Artists like Ara Mgrdichian and Scott Richards presented their visual homage to California. Andrew Neuhues played his spell and send the viewers into storm of laughter listing up fictitious discarded band names. Some creative minds could not contain themselves in the 2D surface and took initiative to create skate board ramp, bird house and a train track that went through the sleeve's hole in the middle.
All the dublab family & supporters had their part to contribute to this project. Be it the art work or physical labor of putting up the pegboards, the energy created from the collective is intwine. 'Up Our Sleeve' will travel to NYC this fall, and hop the ocean to greet Tokyo and London...and possibly more. All the sleeves will be auctioned off on 'Up Our Sleeve' website late this year and proceeds will be a soil to dublab's online effort. Spread the word. I guarantee you they would "put a smile or two on your face" (-frosty).
Press info & sleeve photos: Please contact Emily Bradley.
Date : 12th July 2003
Place : 155 Tenth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA