The body as a canvas; the t-shirt as art
Thursday night I stopped by the launch party for the American brand Miskeen. Originally from Philadelphia, Miskeen has grown into a collective of over thirty artists who hand paint t-shirts. The style of the artwork is a cross between graffiti and the street art you could find in N.Y.’s Soho in the 1980’s.
The majority of Miskeen’s t-shirts feature a texture based on rough brush strokes and different angles of applying the paint. It’s a deliberately hand-painted look, rather than the clean print you’d get from screen printing (the most common form of decorating t-shirts.)
Recently there seems to be a resurgence of conceptualizing the t-shirt as art, rather than simply a platform for a brand or message. One needs to look no further than than the new video by French music sensation JUSTICE, who created a sort of homage to t-shirts as living art in their music video below.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/34bOWh1DfZffQd3J4" width="425" height="335" wmode="transparent" /]
The Miskeen launch was held at J.J.’s, a somewhat forgotten venue attached to the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wanchai. The two-floor, wood-paneled space is a cross between an old gentleman’s club and the bar from the sitcom Cheers.[photopress:Miskeen_JJs_Grand_Hyatt_HK_.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Miskeen_JJs_bar_Grand_Hyatt.jpg,full,pp_image]
Juice, an upstart lifestyle magazine published in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and recently Hong Kong, was the co-presenter of the night.
The event took place on the top floor of the club with a small V.I.P. area set up on the dance-floor. The action was directly in front of the V.I.P. section. Grey Goose, an M.C. and graffiti writer originally from New York, introduced the featured acts and moved things along smoothly.[photopress:Miskeen_Painters.jpg,full,pp_image]
First up was the live body art, where two veteran Miskeen artists, Donn and Jon Jon, showcased their skills on a live, human form.
It’s a good thing she wasn’t ticklish!
Musical performances took up the second half of the night. These included sets by local M.C.s Ghost Style and Kwokkin (pictured rapping,) who performed in English and Cantonese, followed by the beatboxer MCG.[photopress:Miskeen_Kwokin_Ghost_Style_.jpg,full,pp_image]
Next up was Pras Michel formerly of The Fugees, who started off with a medley of Fugees hits, before breaking into his newest song. The crowd gave Pras a warm welcome and, perhaps lubricated by the free drinks, danced and sang along! The climax (and finale) of Pras’ short performance was a re-hash of his part in the Top 40 hit “Ghetto Superstar,” which rocked the enthusiastic crowd in the V.I.P. section.[photopress:Miskeen_Pras_Fugees.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Miskeen_Pras_Dancefloor_JJs.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Miskeen_Crowd_shot.jpg,full,pp_image]
D.J. Yeodie (aka Gordon) kept the momentum going afterwards with a set of contemporary Hip Hop and R&B.[photopress:Miskeen_DJ_Yeodie_Gordon.jpg,full,pp_image]