Chris Burger: Bay Area Emcee

photo by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? CB: Yes I am a Bay Area Native. I was born in Oakland California.. my father was a black marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam, my mother, a Mexican telephone operator living in Oakland who decided to give me up for adoption when I was born. I was picked up and raised by a wonderfully loving family in beautiful Berkeley California.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? CB: My first performance was literally in diapers (it’s funny cuz I remember them sagging) but being the youngest of 10 children (as if my adoptive family didn’t have enough already) and the only non-biological, I was always striving for attention. I started playing trumpet around age 9 or 10, and I started with the lyrics around age 13. My first song was a reggae song about love and peace. I just do it with a lot more style and meditation now; many of my lyrics are introspective as a way to change my environment from the inside out. Like Gandhi said, “we must be the change we want to see in the world.”

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? CB: My inspiration is from life. Meditating, trying to slow all the clutter that whirls around our lives, and the best way for me to make sense of it all is through word, power, and sound. But usually the producers or live musicians I work with – their sound is motivation enough.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? CB: the first piece of vinyl I bought was “fantasy” by Earth Wind and Fire… man that was everything to me.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? CB: yeah, I was listening to spoken word artist, Kamau Daaood, and he was talking about the artist as a healer and an agent for change.. he talked about our responsibility to the sound (or idea as inspiration) and it reminded me of what the producer IronMonk once said concerning the human voice, in regards to speaking and the recorded word. He said the individual human voice is the one thing we all have that is original-it sounds like no other-so we should develop that, so striving to be a healer and an agent for change with regards to being original, as an artist, that is key. Bless up, and one love.

Mariafatima Urbi: Visual Artist

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Mariafatima: I emigrated to US when I was 10, moved around alot but I grew up in SF.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Mariafatima: I’ve been drawing most of my life, but professionally pursued it about 10 years ago.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Mariafatima: I’m very visual person so I like to people watch…creativity and innovation drives to inspire me, as well as traveling.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Mariafatima: Beastie Boys “license to ill” album.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Mariafatima: I love this quote by Audre Lorde and it sums up who I am… “if i didn’t define myself for myself i would be crunched into other people’s fantasies of me and eaten alive…”

Sandor Moss: Drummer, Surfer

photo by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Sandor: Born and raised with surfing@ Kelly’s cove, going to public school and a 2~14 49er team!! Or was it 1~15? Grandma’s house on Capp Street in the Mission with her 18 inch round tortillas every Sunday!!! (no lie!) AND my dad dragging the family down to Shenson’s Deli to get our Kosher on!!! hell yes, I have been spoiled!!!

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Sandor: My creative path started @ 11 yrs old. I saw my cousin playing drums in a rock band back in ’82 and that was it. I knew I wanted to be a drummer. My first drum set came the very next year. This path has led me to some incredible places in the world and to some of the finest people one can come into contact with. It has also led me to believe that art, music and performance is about healing. It’s really something when you can enter someone’s mind and non-verbally influence them within… literally within minutes, and by the end of the story, you’ve made a new friend. This path has no end. You just keep shedding layers and layers trying to reach the truth and come closer to it. You know you’re getting closer when the faces of the people radiate love. LOVE IS THE KEY!!!

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Sandor: My inspiration comes from sincerely beautiful folk such as yourself, Malia Connor. When I first met you, you were on such a mission… with a” take no prisoners” attitude. There was more creativity coming out of you than one can shake a stick at!! After so much time has passed, you haven’t changed a bit!! ON FIRE!! That’s what constitutes inspiration for me.
Surfing has a been everything, too. Yemaya. The natural connection has always been there. Another mama’s boy, that’s for sure!! ha. Exercise and being active are crucial to keep creativity flowing. Surfing in another country is where it’s at!! Cuba, Nicaragua, Israel. take a pick!!

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Sandor: My 1st piece of vinyl actually may have been a cassette. I do seem to remember buying ”OFF THE WALL”” by Michael Jackson. Trying to imitate those moves on TV!!!
My dad was always blasting Celia Cruz for hours then he would switch gears and listen to OPERA. My mom always liked Patsy Cline and Elvis (remember she’s Nicoya). By the time I was buying records, I knew what I liked but not what was hip! quite different now!!

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Sandor: sorry that it took so long to get back to you… Besos.

Erin Yoshi: Muralist, Activist

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Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Yoshi: I am a L.A. native but I have lived in the Bay for 12 years.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Yoshi: I started taking my creative path seriously in about 2002. My mom was an artist and she taught me to draw, paint and shoot photography when I was a kid. We used to make comic scrolls, make up a story and illustrate them. I used to get into trouble as a kid, because I drew on the walls in my room, so my pops lined one wall in my room with huge erasable boards. I used to stand on my desk chair to reach the high parts I couldn’t touch. I still drew on the furniture…

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration?
Yoshi: I find my inspiration from life, nature, creative weirdoes and comrades, and from stories of resilience, struggle and victories.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Yoshi: The first piece of Vinyl I ever purchased was Thriller. I used to practice moonwalking in my room. But the first piece of vinyl I remember playing with was the Little Old Lady (from Pasadena) by Jan and Dean. It was a 45 and I would play it on my hand-me down plastic briefcase turntable… I think it was the only record I had at that time…

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Yoshi: Why is it, as Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network has said, “So much easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism?” (Big thanks to Movement Generations for sharing this gem with me.)

http://www.erinyoshi.com

Crayone: Graff Writer

photo by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Crayone: I was born in NYC and was raised in Korea till I was 7. I moved to SF and I’ve been living there ever since. I lived in the East Bay for about 10 years from 1998 to 2008.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Crayone: I started by break dancing and one of the early SF writers by the name of Fury brought in a sketch that said “Omega” in graffiti style on paper and said, “This what they do in NY”… woooooowwwwww! I think I might have been 16, and I was sprung!

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Crayone: Sometimes its walking in comic book stores, or book stores looking at a collection of art books. Now I get it from my life. I get it from hearing from people with my open ears. I see. I look around. The human struggles are still continuing… so picking a content is my next biggest challenge.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Crayone: I think it was either rappers delight or Kurtis Blow’s “These are the breaks”… it was a 45. My sister and I remembered the whole damn rap! haha.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Crayone: Art is for life. you might take a break trying to get that living status under control but whenever you can you try to express yourself through music, dance and art. And always record your process, because your never gonna know if you ever get famous cause they will want a detailed documentation of your experiences.

http://www.crayone.com/

Karen Seneferu: Visual Artist

Karen
photo by Tuffgyal808

Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Karen: Yes, I was born and raised in Oakland. I was raised in Oakland during a time when it wasn’t cool to say you were from Oakland. Now, there is such a wide range of people with different interests for Oakland that the once thriving African and African American Community that shaped identity has now an exodus of over 30,000 people who have left for Oakland because they can no longer afford to live in Oakland. This lost is not just people but the culture associated with that lost.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Karen: Consistently, I would say my artwork has been shown in gallery and museum spaces for about 5 years. I have been very fortunate. I understand that there are those before me that did the work necessary for me not to struggle getting my work in the world.

I have not always known that I was an artist. It was my husband, Malik Seneferu, a well-established artist and one who has put in the work, who first told me I was an artist by the way I decorated my space. Prior to meeting Malik, people would ask if I was an artist because of the way I dressed, but it was Malik who declared I was an artist and has been my most important teacher in guiding my direction both in my art and the business of art.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? Karen: Initially, my inspiration comes from ancient and ancestral forms. I then incorporate found and recycled objects that I get at local reused stores to advance the imagery in some way. Additionally, it can be from music, reading, and images I see around me. However, I am most interested in ways the African presence in the world becomes dualistic, paradoxical, and truncated. I focus on how the male and female presence appears static and yet fluid, how the global society shapes African identity, and then how that identity informs the world.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? Karen: Ah, I remember this like today, lol. It was Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, you know the one with the big, red lips on it. I bought it at Eastmont Mall when the Mall had a record store; I go way back in Oakland. I was 12 years old, and brought her album home, and stared at the album cover, it felt like, for hours. Yes, the artistry during that period in music was creative, but for me, a 12-year girl who was constantly teased because boys viciously said my lips were too big, that cover was transformational. It was the first time I understood I was beautiful because of my lips, and not freakish, or ugly. Of course, like most young girls who were listening to Chaka Khan, I would dance in the living, trying desperately, to imitate Chaka Khan’s dance moves while mimicking her lyrics. It is funny stuff when I look back on it.

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? Karen: Yes. I teach in the community colleges and at CSU, Eastbay, and this is the way I open my classes because I believe in transgressing. The quote I created is “Space dictates meaning. What enters that space is dictated to by the meaning of the space or can change the meaning of the space.” Also, Malia, I appreciate you giving me an opportunity to reveal myself to the community.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC5pOlEqfi4

Malik Seneferu: Painter

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Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? Malik: I was born and raised in San Francisco April 7th 1971 the first of my family to be born outside of the south. My grand mother was allowed to come to the west-coast due to an inheritance from her father John Westley Arnold of the West indies, Jamaica.

Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? Malik: Memories of my childhood play a tremendous role in my approach to creating art today. In my early years my mother a single parent lived in fear for my health due to the environmental hazards of San Francisco’s Hunters Point district. I suffered with asthma. Therefore, my innate interest to drawing and painting became that of a marriage over sports modeling my pursuit for constant spiritual mental and physical elevation. Having siblings among others as viewers of my work challenged me to go beyond my limitations. I remember my late grandmother a Barber and tailor sewing for hours at her machine after coming home from work. I would sit at her feet and draw on a paper bag with a pen, marker, crayon or a number two pencil.

Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration?
Malik: Everyday life along with music. Kenya and Haiti are places for instance that influence the bold and dramatic colors in my works. Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, John T Biggers and Jean-Michel Basquiat (to name a few) has inspired my artistic direction. Being an artist growing up in low-income housing projects, immersed into the start of Hip-Hop, had an immense impact on my ability to create freely. Although this bold life style of music, poetry, art, dance, and intense research today sometimes seems barbaric. It nevertheless has influenced me to be boundless in my creative efforts to deliver messages of empowerment to the indigenous peoples of the world.

Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased?
Malik: X-CLAN “Raise the flag.”

Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote?
Malik: REMAIN CREATIVE

http://www.maliksart.com