In the beginning, ’streetwear’ used to be a lot harder to pin down. Attempts at bringing the feel of exclusivity to the alterna-raver-skater-graffiti-hip-hop-surfer community via limited edition t-shirts were messy and weird, and through my rose-tinted Oakleys, legitimately cool; but just like Panera eventually nailed the ‘fast-casual’ restaurant dichotomy, it didn’t take long for Stussy, Supreme and FreshJive to find a similar sweet-spot of counter-cultural authenticity branding. Regardless, I’ll never turn down a Chipotle burrito.
When I was making this work, I was thinking in part about fashion. In haute couture, exclusive, one-off garments are handmade from non-traditional materials; consider a dress made from woven grass or a sun hat that looks more like a wicker basket. In contrast, ready-to-wear clothing uses standards of size and pattern and utilizes modern technology for mass production. The works in this show have canvases made in part from one-off, bleach-dyed denim. The works in this show have canvases made in another part from laser-etched denim. Laser-etching artificially fades denim in whatever reproducible pattern or image you want. Some companies make pre-faded jeans this way.
The process of transition may not be the prettiest, but it may be the most fertile. At any point in the hurtling ascent towards the Initial Public Offering, the potential lays dormant to freeze, crystalize and perpetuate the unrefined energy of a thing in flux. Alternative universes are hinted at in the brief, swirling moment when the cream hits the coffee. However, it’s the shareable latte art at the end that drives the economy.
Chaos isn’t scaleable.
What happens when an image is pulled out of time? What happens when dinosaurs are cloned from blood preserved in amber? Rebooting is a time-honored tradition and mixologists serve revisionist history at a premium price. The gallery is my blender. The words in these works, cut from industrial rubber in graffiti fonts, simultaneously connote the names of upscale pet hotels, artisinal farm-to-table eateries and limited batch seasonal craft beers. The images form a subcultural fantasy scrapbook, a DIY fan fiction in the hour of soft-launch Burning Man Maker-Bots and Hi-Fi Twee.
Spencer Longo (b. 1986, Exeter, NH) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Recent solo exhibitions include Gated Community at Levy.Delval, Brussels, Belgium and All Access at Smart Objects, Los Angeles, CA. His work has recently been included in group shows at Chez Valentin, Paris, France; Future Gallery, Berlin, Germany; Carl Kostyal, London, UK; Del Vaz Projects, Los Angeles, CA; Chin’s Push, Los Angeles, CA; Perry Rubenstein, Los Angeles, CA and Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong. Recent projects include a video series commissioned for MOCA TV.