G-CHECK #15

STEVEN VOGEL

Founder of Black Lodges

© @Sebastian

The G-Check series are our lighthearted conversations with friends from the industry. Original thinkers who share their passions and views with us. Next up is Steven Vogel, a man with a strong voice, former editor of Streetwear Today and writer for KERRANG and founder of Black Lodges.

“My name is Steven, I am 42 and currently live in Hamburg, Germany. I am a half-breed English / German that was socialized and grew up in Eastern Europe, England, the US and now ultimately Germany.

I have an awesome 12 year old son and split my work between writing my PhD on post-capitalist, post-modern Marxism, occasionally teach at my University, writing for my substack (blacklodges.substack.com) newsletter and making t-shirts for my merch brand Black Lodges. My professional background in academia is History and Philosophy and in work, I’ve done a little of everything. From curating art shows, writing books, working for brands such as Burton, Edwin, Sonos as well a plethora of smaller indie brands in design, art direction and marketing. I also spent a good part of my youth in retail, bars and restaurants."

© @Sebastian

The G-Check series are our lighthearted conversations with friends from the industry. Original thinkers who share their passions and views with us. Next up is Steven Vogel, a man with a strong voice, former editor of Streetwear Today and writer for KERRANG and founder of Black Lodges.

“My name is Steven, I am 42 and currently live in Hamburg, Germany. I am a half-breed English / German that was socialized and grew up in Eastern Europe, England, the US and now ultimately Germany.

I have an awesome 12 year old son and split my work between writing my PhD on post-capitalist, post-modern Marxism, occasionally teach at my University, writing for my substack (blacklodges.substack.com) newsletter and making t-shirts for my merch brand Black Lodges. My professional background in academia is History and Philosophy and in work, I’ve done a little of everything. From curating art shows, writing books, working for brands such as Burton, Edwin, Sonos as well a plethora of smaller indie brands in design, art direction and marketing. I also spent a good part of my youth in retail, bars and restaurants."

We’re kicking off with a retrospective exhibition about design heavyweights Anthony ‘Bones’ Harrison (adidas & Arista Records) and Masta Lee (Patta & GOWTU). Both grew up with strong passions for a wide range of countercultures, and a resulting ethos to create in their own individual manners. A curated collection of works and personal artifacts such as sneaker models, ad designs and album covers shed light on a shared belief to create through personal perspectives and intuïtion. Springing from both individual contexts, two bodies of work emerge that deliver unique aesthetics as they truly stand out and break with the regular. Discover how Lee mastered sneaker design through Patta’s collaborative projects, and how Anthony would go on to produce projects for Whitney Houston, Patti Smith, The Notorious BIG, Graham Parker and many more.

Masta Lee (NL)
Coming from a background in skateboarding, DJing, fashion and photography, Lee is a self-taught polymath who’s expertise spans a significant number of creative fields. Born in the 70s, he first handedly experienced the emergence of several countercultural styles and music genres. The indebted attitude to stay true and unique to one’s own stylistic choices still serves as a blueprint and source of inspiration for his creative endeavors. Following his own path of passions would lead Lee to working on some of Patta's most celebrated designs and directing the brand’s media outputs, to now being GOWTU’s Art Director.

Anthony ‘Bones’ Harrison (UK)
From an early age Anthony’s wide ranging taste in musical styles and fashions next to his interests in product packaging, football jerseys and album covers were early predictions towards a career in design. Having started his career through internships at Jive Records and The Source magazine, Anthony landed his first design role at Arista Records rising to Art Director at age 24. Fast forward and he would take on senior roles for global sportswear corporations such as Nike and adidas. As Senior Director of Design Culture at adidas, Anthony’s current role is about inspiring and nurturing the design community.

Commemorative BYBORRE Pouch
In celebration of the occasion, Lee, Anthony and GOWTU turned to their friends at BYBORRE to create a commemorative pouch and fabric. As the design duo ventured into a new medium through BYBORRE’s Create™ textile design software, the resulting knit reads “Do it to death, Do it to do it” in the ever bold Cooper black typeface. J Dilla’s invigorating line in unison with the serif typeface aptly echoes the duo’s shared stance on culturally indebted design that unapologetically follows its own narrative. Free from corporate KPI’s and democratic market conformity, and always from a strong cultural vision and a passion for distinctive aesthetics. The commemorative pouch, produced in a limited run, will be available for purchase at the event.

Who or what inspires you right now and why?

Being allowed to work with the organized, so-called radical youth across various countries, be it in academia, politics, art - I am constantly in awe in how far the 18-30 year olds have pushed the narrative through their work in matters that are vitally important to a betterment of everyone. The fact that I have the privilege to learn from them and participate in their exploration of new realities is hugely inspiring. I feel that they are fully grasping matters we were taught as abstracts and are applying and furthering these in tangible realties. It’s incredibly inspiring to watch and participate in.

What should we watch?

Admittedly, I don’t watch any inspiring movies etc - I usually engage in that medium for relaxation when time allows, but two Youtube channels that are an absolute must are Philosophy Tube and Contra Points. Both present critical philosophical constructs by applying them to very pressing modern issues and both Abigail and Natalie, respectively, do so in a way that is hugely original, entertaining and quite frankly, brilliant. ( let me know if you need the links to these).

What should we listen to?

My playlists on spotify will make you happy. ( https://open.spotify.com/user/steven-572 )

What new skill would you like to pick up?

After a slew of injuries that have stopped me from boxing these last few years, I am eager to pick up BJJ - once the gyms can re-open here obviously.

How has 2021 been so far?

You mean aside from the complete psychotic reality of trying to survive a global pandemic and witnessing the rapid decline of our so-called democracies? Yikes, I am not even sure what psychological long term effects that will have - but on a microcosmic level - as chaotic as one would expect. I’m just trying to stay healthy, mentally and physically, provide for the boy and remain motivated to do what I do every day.

Describe your favorite (off-screen) activity.

Riding my bicycle, hanging out with my boy, cooking, drinking, eating, reading and writing.

Which artist should we keep an eye on?

Villy Villian, Ernesto Yerena Montejano , Grano & Dan Fisha on the Illustration / Painting Tip. Musically: BSI from Iceland, Billy No Mates, Little Simz, always Ghostpoet  - just some of the newer acts I like recently. Writers: Eva von Redecker, once her work is translated into English, it’ll change the world and JJ Bola. Never misses a beat.

What is your absolute favorite place in the world?

There are still heaps of places I want to go, Tbilisi / Georgia, Buenos Aires, travel around Kazakhstan & Kyrgyztan, do the Trans-Siberia Railway, but so far, the best place I have been to has been Oaxaca City and some of the more remote regions in Chiapas, Mexico.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Be ruthless with systems, be kind to people. from the much missed Michael Brooks.