mystical shit

03May10


Shit has been getting mystical in the creative ether. I’ve been drawing wolves and rabbits in fucking wizard hoods, and I couldn’t tell you why. I think it’s just an appealing aesthetic that can afford to be opaque. Because it’s mystical. Conjuring up images of pentagrams and numerology and stuff that I find really interesting but don’t have the patience or time for, because I’m too busy cutting up paper to make into wizard cloaks.


The image above is from this guy, Aakash, has been getting HUGE in NYC. Freshman year at NYU, I had science class with him. We had to dissect cow eyeballs in our lab group. A couple years later I saw him on the street, doing his tape thing. I’d seen some of his geometric stuff around but I didn’t know it was him before that. He’s been pretty prolific and it’s simple, but original. As far as street art goes, it’s clean, beautiful stuff, with no ego attached. And as he’s gone down the rabbit hole of geometry, I’m pretty sure that he has gotten mystical as hell. It just happens.

On the fashion end of things, there are witchy wizard undercurrents galore, with basic hippy business on one end and total cultural appropriation on the other end. Culture vultures! This is an ambivalent label, to me. I am basically a person who wears pants and shirts, usually that someone owned before me. I am interested in cultures, those besides my own, even, and those which I maybe participate in. Anyway, this is a thoughtful response to culture vulture-ism in fashion…i.e. vaguely mystical fashions that often appropriate, say, American Indian gear.

the exact same piece of clothing can mean very different things to different people (take any politically charged piece of clothing: the hijab, high-heel shoes, doc martens, the keffiyeh, etc) and acknowledging this fact is a very important first step. the very basis of cultural appropriation gets people thinking about questions like, can one piece of clothing “belong” to one culture? what do certain pieces of clothing signify? it moves us away from basic discussions of colour palettes and cuts and styles and trends and moves us towards a more complex theorizing of fashion.

I would like to emphasize that I find the previously quoted blog post exceptional. All I can say, critically, is that history is important. History, ergo, RESPONSIBILITY. Not ignorance. Basically: Know your shit. Tipis are cool, and I would like to hang out in one, but I have not earned the right to even consider wearing a feather headdress. I did not make up the feather headdress, and therefore it is not mine to wear, out of respect.

Many who care more than I do believe in the power of clothing, and that wearing whatever appeals to you is important and transformative, and is also inherently aesthetic. Culture vulture fashion then being like a buffet approach to religion, I guess? A positive approach, for example, may be found in Florence and the Machine, as written up on Coilhouse.

I don’t know if it’s appropriate to call her “Shamanistic,” but that song makes me feel pretty good. In that vein, and going back to the basically weirdly mystical, there is Yeasayer’s Ambling Alp video, which I fucking love. It’s visually mystical, and my understanding is that they are engaging in musical mysticism that I do not actually understand as a non-musician. As in, they’re not just doing it to be weird.

How about some pictures??! I really like the work of Phyllis Galembo, and I think of her as mystical. She takes very objective photos of people in countries that are not the USA in ceremonial dress and they are stunning and occasionally weird. Check her work out here.

Look at the woman. She is the real thing. Surrender!

I can’t find a reproduction of my very favorite image of hers, but aren’t the costumes bonkers? So gorgeous. She has serious respect for these traditions and you can bet her subjects trust her. Her interest in costumes and traditions makes her a halloween fan, of course, and she’s got a rad collection of old American costumes. A digression, but so rad!!!

Ok, I’m done.

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One Response to “mystical shit”

  1. Great find… I’m not sure where I started… doesn’t matter. I was tired before my quest began, I’m charged…Must be mystical.


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