Closer Look at Art Features in HYPEBEAST Magazine 30: The Frontiers IssueWe spotlight the work of Alfonso Gonzalez Jr., Ben Ganz and Olaolu Slawn.
HYPEBEAST Magazine is back and to celebrate 30 issues, we go on a deep dive into cultural mainstays, such as Nike and Nigo, along with spotlighting the next frontier of creative talent shaking up the status quo.
This Thursday, October 20, there will be a special launch party and accompanying exhibition at our newly opened HBX flagship in New York City. In lieu of the event, we take a closer look at the artists featured within this new issue — from the avant-garde typefaces of Ben Ganz, Alfonso Gonzalez Jr.’s intimate portraits of Los Angeles, to the bold and unapologetic visions of Olaolu Slawn.
Alfonso Gonzalez Jr.
Just like all major cities, there are many clichés about Los Angeles. Sure, celebrity sightings are plentiful and yes it is sunny for nearly 75-percent of the year. But the beaches are a lot colder you may think and the gang culture romanticized in music and film, fails to capture the venerable and ambitious citizens from many immigrant communities who represent the pulse of the city.
Alfonso Gonzalez Jr. is a proud son of the city and his mixed-media artworks seek to shift the perception around LA, along with many cultural enclaves around the world. “I’m just giving the L.A. experience that I don’t see in art or even on T.V.,” Gonzalez Jr. told Hypebeast. Whether through paintings or installations, the artist magnifies visual iconography that is often ignored in areas, such as East Los Angeles — from barbershop illustrations, to references of ancient Maya and Aztec civilizations. In each, he highlights the daily nuances and imperfections of this lived reality.
Ben Ganz is a Swiss-born, New York-based designer known for creating bespoke visual identities for the world’s biggest brands and independent publishers. Although his aesthetic is influenced by his home nation’s rich design history, his approach aims to redefine conventional modes of communication — be it through jewelry, installations, furniture and beyond.
“I always like to consider an object first and think about the layout second rather than the other way around. It lets me start from a macro level and work my way down,” Ganz told Hypebeast. “Typography becomes the nucleus that ties everything together.”
For The Frontiers Issue, we spoke with Ganz on how he worked with Chandelier Creative in reimagining Nike’s iconic Swoosh logo, along with his ongoing collaboration with Frank Ocean and his luxury brand Homer.
Olaolu Slawn creates on a whim. “Whatever I have around me or whatever I can reach with my hands is what I’ll use to create,” he told Hypebeast for Issue 30. This has translated into endless graffitied portraits, collaborations with Off-White™, Awake NY and Supreme, along with creating his very own brand, Motherlan.
The Nigerian skater-turned-artist is on a meteoric trajectory that few experience at such a young age — if ever at all. Like the late-Virgil Abloh, who was an early champion of Slawn’s work, the young artist carries a penchant for curiosity that has him wanting to achieve any and everything. ““I want to have a number one song on Billboard. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to find a way to do it. I want to make a play and have it performed on Broadway. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to do it,” he added.
Printed on premium stocks, HYPEBEAST Magazine Issue 30: The Frontiers Issue is packed with content and is now available on HBX.
In related news, CARICOM’s third magazine “The Island” is an ode to Black excellence.