Creative Expression, Symbolism and Culture: Exploring the Art of Kamanchi

KM10Born in 1974 into a multicultural heritage of Japanese, German, Irish and American Indian; Kamanchi was crafted for creativity. As a child growing up his beloved grandmother Yoko, who was full Japanese, became his conduit into the world of understanding. She attached him —in a unique way— to the cultural sensibilities of Japan; through American eyes. His grandfather, (who died before he was born) was a Naval Airplane Mechanic who met his grandmother right after the end of World War II. During that time, his grandfather had asked his grandmother out and been denied, for four months straight (without missing a day); until finally, she said “Yes”. These two people have greatly inspired him, not only as an artist but as a person of pride; character and strength. They have shaped him to this day and motivate him to work hard.

We delved into the “Art of Kamanchi” and explored the depths and meanings behind this L.A. based artist’s creative expressions, check it out below:

Tell us how you were first introduced to Art; is there a moment that stands out in your mind? 

K: When I was three years old, I was in New York for a year and its memory, sounds and visuals imprinted me.

My father pushed me into art at a very early age and film was the best value I got out of our relationship. Initially, I didn’t want a career in art due to him. I simply moved onto being an athlete and from 1991 to 2000 that is what I was committed to. The creativity pushed its way out in the form of Industrial Design and I’ve been doing that for the last 14 years. I realized how slow and defeating product design became and a year ago I decided to get stuff out of my system by posting on Instagram, only as a start; just to practice and have fun. But it has been the best thing simply because of who you get to meet, inspire or get inspired by.

Explain the significance of your name (Kamanchi) and the # sign. 

K: Kamanchi is the amalgamation of my heritage. The hashtag (or pound sign) is beautiful and I love that it’s our modern symbol. It is quite the tool these days to connect with but what many people do not know is that it is also a common pattern design in old Japanese textiles.

In your work, we predominantly see the use of skull and bones imagery, what influences this?  

K: They are very beautiful to me and probably the best subjects to practice with but they’ve run their course and I’m ready to move onto everything else. 

You infuse a lot of layers into your work to create captivating optical illusions, do you ever find it challenging when creating these illusions?

K: It’s so much fun to me that the word “challenge” loses its meaning. It is more time based as a “challenge” because of how much work irrationally needs to get out. In examining my art, there isn’t a medium I don’t want to learn and do for the rest of my life. I enjoy the process of connecting with people whom I may never meet, in trade for the blood, sweat and execution of the second best version of what’s in my head.

 

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| Artist Bonus Piece |

These are a few ballpoint drawings the artist did as a teen. They were his first and last drawings he ever did and are mostly unfinished. He had never drawn surrealism before that point and has never drawn since, up until about a year ago.

Kamanchi’s Street Intell:

“These are kind of a message in a bottle now and it has been super fun to create like that again, especially after 20+ years. Two of the drawings were ripped up because of an argument with my pops. He ended up keeping them, putting them back together and taking pictures of them. The two yellow paper drawings are my personal favorites. The fisheye elevator one (with the fly on the light) was my second surreal drawing I ever did and the first time I’d ever used a ballpoint.”

Make sure you support this artist’s creativity and view more of his work on Instagram: @Kamanchi

October Style Feature

First ran into Lotus at the DC house party series Sanaa. Dressed in all black like an omen he instantly drew me in with his allure. Upon finding out more about him, discovered that he is an aspiring artist who writes and performs in and around DC. He’s hosting a show coming up on October 3rd as apart of the “Jungle Fever” party series at Tropicalia DC. Go check him out!

Name or Alias: Lotus Malone

INSTAGRAM (OR TWITTER): @LotusNation (IG)
@Bookoflotus(Twitter)

ZODIAC SIGN: The guardian of balance… Libra

ASPIRATIONS: To be one of the best storytellers/performers in the world; whether music, film or Television.

HOBBIES: Words [love the power of words], whiskey, and shoes.

STYLE INSPIRATION: My floor, Homeless people, Keith Richards, Slash, Daphne Guinness, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Grace Jones, Johnny Depp, Jared Leto, and Solange Knowles.

FAVORITE ACCESSORY: Rings, Hats, Boots …gotta have my Boots!

WHAT’S YOUR STREET INTELL:
My Street Intell is life and people. Watching how we tick, how we move and feel. How we are all connected. And showing that connection through my art. I am performance artist. I have such a passion for my Art. So whether theatre, film or music (rapping/singing), that’s my voice. I am in this world to speak loud, speak my truth and if others can relate possibly speak for them too. My generation has so many stories. I want to tell them all. Like wanting to ball out but you know you have to work a double in the am and rent is due. Performing from the people for the people. Right now, I’m writing music, perfecting this form of story telling. I am working on my first Mixtape and the working title is “Conversations” . Out of all the art that I’ve done to date; I’m so excited about this project. It’s personal; these are my stories, my friends stories, what we go through and how they are all so cohesive even though we are from different walks of life. Basically, it’s a story of how we do the shit we do.
I’ve been in the theatre and acting since I was the 3, my mom says since the womb. So I’d like to get back into it once my “Conversations” project is released… So stay tuned!

DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE:
Honestly, I don’t have a description for my style. I just do what feels natural. So that everyday tells a story.

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July Style Feature: @BnessYesMEness

Name or Alias: B. Jamelle

INSTAGRAM (OR TWITTER): IG- @BnessToSEEness

Twitter- @BnessYesMEness

ZODIAC SIGN: Very, VERY Pisces

ASPIRATIONS: My goal is to be an asset to my generation. More specifically, I want to offer healing, support, kinship, and inspiration via my music.

HOBBIES: I’m a lover of all things artsy, my hobbies all tie into one another. Writing is my passion, I do it often and it often spawns my other “creativities”. I’ll write down a thought and it’ll often times inspire a melody and become a song, or sometimes evoke an image in my head that I’ll use to create a visual piece.

STYLE INSPIRATION: Phyllis Hyman, Sylvester James, my mother. These were all style ICONS in my book. I look to them often for reminders of how doin’ it is done! I borrow often from Phyllis’s use of accessories that teeter the line of being breathtakingly regal…and absolutely obnoxious lol. A lot of my style choices in terms of hair and make-up are in tribute to my mom. Sylvester was an absolute trendsetter. He was a style pioneer and I borrow his fearlessness in terms of dressing like whatever the hell he chose to, lol. Although they’ve all transitioned, I still pull a lot from images of each of them in their prime. Huge sources of style inspiration.

FAVORITE ACCESSORY: My favorite accessory…accessories really, are anything by Venus Visuals. Their jewelry is absolutely unique and I love the brand’s use of bold/culturally significant prints and unique shapes. Check them out at venusvisualsonline.com. I rock their stuff OFTEN.

WHAT’S YOUR STREET INTELL: My thing is to be useful, impactful, and contribute as a part, to the whole of things. As I mentioned earlier it’s my goal to use my gifts to promote ideas that are beneficial to my generation. I want to inspire others to inspire others to inspire others and so on. I feel like art is a really pure and effective means of connecting people, right at the core. I want to use my art to connect people’s hearts and minds. It’s an excellent tool to have, and I intend to learn it well and use it effectively.

DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE: I’d say my style is… rugged regal. I love to shape my looks around the fact that I’m the queen of everything (that belongs to me, lol ), but I’m not at all afraid to do laymen’s work. I command respect. I give excellent care. I’m deliberate and fair, and I work HARD. I like to capture these elements of my persona in my style choices. In short, my style is ME! 🙂