Smoke and Mirrors is back guise!

Welp, it's taken quite a bit of doing and stressing but such is the nature of creating art. We've seen the youtube comments, IG posts, what to watch lists and so on and we appreciate the hell out of it all. Aside from the fact we had more story to tell and we love what we do, one of the determining factors in us deciding to give this a go one mo gin has genuinely been the response we get from people in real life. Let me tell it, don't nobody really know what I'm doing or making; we see the views and comments, but I don't go outside expecting people to actually talk to me about it. But, that's what I get for thinking.

Smoke and Mirrors really became something that made me realize the power of shared experiences when people in real life, in the street, from state to state would randomly come up and do things exactly like in the video above. This is not a dramatization, people kinda sorta be recognizing me and it started out kinda weird. However, once it kept happening, it became easier to get good feedback from people in realtime and truly understand the impact of what we do. It was never a thought in my mind when we created the series, but it is a very nice side effect. I'm not at all concerned about being any type of internet famous just to be seen, the thing I like the most about people's willingness to share their experiences and what they took from the series is the creation of dialogue and expanding people's view on life. THAT is one of the main reasons we do what we do and we want to keep doing that.

So yeah, here is the first piece in what will be a nice summer of content from the folks over at Christmas in July 1982. We appreciate your support for our work and are gonna keep fighting the good fight, being dope and such. Stay tuned guise, peace.

Bird Brains

Bird Brains

“Friends, bow wowmp, wowmp, wa wowmp, womp how many of us have them…” that’s how I imagine those sounds in the beat would be spelled out, don’t judge me. Seriously tho, how many of us really do? I’m a definite believer in the birds of a feather flock together ideology. Not so much from the standpoint of, if you see a group of 5 guys on the block, all dressed in a very traptastic way, you just assume they all sell drugs, but more from the standpoint of how people think. You see birds are simple; peacocks won’t kick it with pigeons and eagles ain’t fuckin with either one of them. Human’s have a bit more choice in the matter, hopefully you’ve ceased associating with people just because ya’ll both really like Tru Religion Jeans and really began wondering if how your mind works, coincides with the people you give your quality time to.

For example, sometimes or most of the time when we see a celebrity or public figure constantly making bad decisions, their circle of influence comes into question because there has to be a few people who can talk some logic into this nincompoop right? Why is this person so hell bent on repeating the sins of the past when there must be people possessing a sliver of sense around? Well it’s no different with your own friends and in the case of Smoke and Mirror’s Dixon and his friends. Phil and Geof didn’t want to see Dixon suffer through this breakup, so they offer their takes, more than once, on very similar behaviors Dixon repeats with nothing positive to show for it.  Now by no means was he obligated to follow all of the advice because his friends also have things to figure out, but at what point do you acknowledge your serial committment of fuckery and try a different method? Especially when you keep hearing “You might be going about this the wrong way” fifty-leven times. On the flip side, as the surprisingly insightful friend and advice giver, when do you just toss your hands up and say “You know what I love yo stupid ass, but you stupid sometimes and you don’t listen, figure it out your damn self and hopefully come back smarter…still love you tho!”

I’m not sure if there is a season for conversations such as these, but I’m pretty certain many of them are happening right now. After all, Valentines Day has passed, spring is coming up, some of you dipped into the recycling bin for V-Day and remembered why that one person was so cool, but the thought of why ya’ll stopped fucking with each other in the first place currently escapes you. Possibly because ya’ll are too busy ravaging each other with “Papi Pacify” playing in the background and pizza on the way, but that’s yo business. You know who does remember why you broke up tho? Your friends, the people who you share something in common with, although hindsight doesn’t appear to be one of them and because you have some sense, you don’t plan on telling them about this because you’re more interested in pleasure not side eyes.

What old habits are you trying to break free of? Do you have a support system that is interested in getting you to that level of understanding that doesn’t involve making the same mistakes twice? Are the birds you flock with capable of helping you fly higher? I want to hear from you down below in the comments section, stay tuned!


"So Many Skeletons...."

words by KarynRose

A creative friend of mine Marcelle Anastasia recently posed the question, “What happens when the skeletons in your closet are brave enough to lay in bed with you? My answer? Tell their story.

We were coming off of the success of P.O.P. and had been tossing around ideas for what the next project would be. I knew I want to diversify and go the narrative route for the next project but had no idea of what the story would be. Meanwhile Artemus is going through a break up and pitched me a few ideas that we workshopped until we agreed on what would go on to become the first episode of SMOKE AND MIRRORS. I sat down to write and before I knew it, I had written the first 4 episodes without thinking too hard about it. How’d that happen? I had surprised my damn self but apparently I had some shit to say.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS  became my take on all of the faux pas  of relationships, those of my friends ( you wouldn’t believe how many “ is this about me” phone calls I got) and those of myself. There’s even a character in the series that I wrote specifically to share my personal voice. I’ve found as an artist, the best way to work out all of your stuff is to simply give it space to just be. Skeletons never stay stuffed away so it’s best to skip that step all together and see what it is they have to say to you. What lesson are they carrying around in those bones? In our case a dope series and a chance to examine our own behavior came out of it.

Check out episode 5 of SMOKE AND MIRRORS and see what Dixon does when faced with the skeleton he thought was safely tucked any.


Chocolate Desire

If I had to have a vote for a new thing to call "Black Love" I'd throw that name in the hat, but as you can see it also makes for a good album cover or blaxploitation flick cover. The photo above is from a shoot I did on a whim with one of my favoriter couples, Sean and Karen. Both are artists with Sean being a renaissance man of sorts thru his painting, illustration, writing and event hosting and Karen as a singer and musician. Like a lot of my ideas it culminated in a sudden eureka moment that went something like "what if I took the aesthetic from old soul and jazz album covers and shot a couple?" So then I called these guys and their response was can we wear furs? "OF COURSE" says I!

But aside from just doing this because it was fun, it was an example to me of the kind of things in a relationship that keep strong partnerships going. The way these two interact in front of the camera and just in general is very unique to them and I think it's easy to see in these photos. A lot of people get stuck in comparing their relationships with what they see in photos or on TV and try to strive for someone else's awesome.If there is anything to take from another couple you see looking all wonderful and shit, it's that you should spend more time finding your own personal expression of lovey dovey, randomness to latch onto. Make others aspire to get like ya'll when they see you, I promise it's way more gratifying than sweating someone else's steez.

This certainly won't be my last shoot like this, it was too damn fun! I want to hear from more of you wonderful love birds out there, so let me know what you think of the photos. What's the most atypical thing you've done on a date or for Valentime's?(not a typo btw)

Anniversary

I have developed an interesting, habit I suppose. Relationships of mine tend to end close to holidays. My first breakup was the day after Thanksgiving. It seemed more appropriate to do that after the holiday because we can both eat away the pain. Another was a few days after 4th of July and it's always some shit happening with a woman around that time. Then there's the special one, my longest relationship was about 2 years. More 2 years than 1.5 anyway. We broke up 3 days before Valentine's Day, which made planning that weekend a lot easier. However, I don't really count the breakup so much with the holiday ( I'm anti VD), I associate it more with what happened on Feb 12th. On that day, I came up with the idea for Smoke and Mirrors.

This day is indeed bittersweet; the woman I lost was and is wonderful and being that breakups give you allllll the hindsight, there are things I would've like to have handled differently. At the same time, this situation was the direct catalyst for this series I speak of. This project exposed my partner in art and friend, KarynRose and I to a set of new experiences. Experiences as creators, I'm certain wouldn't exist if the break up doesn't happen.  I learned things about myself as an adult that I don't think I'd learn otherwise. Important shit like my handling of relationships moving forward, being real with my own wants and desires, defining my path, deciding what and who is really necessary and what this all has to do with me as an artist. Also deciding if those are even two separate things, being and adult and an artist. It's been alot these past two years, but I'm absolutely certain it was all for the better, the greater good and shit. One thing I learned that was awesome going into and exiting that relationship is that you can't be scared to make decisions with conviction, even if they are a bit scary. Overall I have grown from my breakups in ways I couldn't have expected. To lament what could've been is honestly disrespectful to my future, the thing that currently excites me the most, undefined as it may be. 

So, what's the best thing to happen to you post breakup? Don't just have me be the one sharing, emoting and shit! Leave something in the comments!