Faces & Laces Moscow 2009.
I had a really great time in Moscow. I was invited by Faces & Laces to lecture, paint, show products and photography. Everyone was super cool and very interested in hearing and seeing about Krink and NYC.
Faces & Laces is an exhibition to show young Russians what’s happening with certain brands and “Streetwear” culture. It’s about exposure and education.
According to a lot of the people I spoke with, many Russians are totally unfamiliar with what many westerners often take for granted. The history of skating, graffiti, punk rock, hip-hop, etc is very new to them.
Many Russians speak limited English, they explore things on the internet but don’t always fully understand them, and it can be difficult for them to travel outside of Russia. I was told that it’s very hard for a Russian girl to get a visa to the US, because they think they will come here and try to marry an American and stay here.
Every Russian I met was very interested in the world and really hungry for information about everything from fashion to politics. I think after years and years of Soviet rule the young generation is really optimistic and open minded.
According to them, Russia is still trying to find itself and it’s collective voice and direction, because in Soviet times the government gave them the direction.
They were hit by very hard economic times in the 90’s after the fall of the Soviet Union and then by an ever widening gap between rich and poor.
Many of them also feel a sense of instability, that the government could change things on them overnight. So while they are optimistic, they have this sense of caution and to not go too far too fast.
The organizers of the event had to pay off the cops, the security, the fire dept, it was really crazy, it’s all about bribes and paying a “Vig”.
I had to pay to go to the bathroom, the lady was talking to me in Russian and I didn’t know what she wanted, a young kid was like, “10 Rubles. You must pay for everything. This is Russia. Sorry.”
If the government stays stable, Moscow is going to be a very cool place for creativity. Russia has to open up a bit more to make business and importing goods and ideas easier, the people want it, and there is endless potential there.
I highly recommend a trip there. More and more western cities are becoming the same, local flavor is on it’s way out. Global trends are growing faster via the internet. Moscow still has local flavor and an edgy feeling. Get it while it lasts.
I gave a small talk at a local school.
Sasha helped organize.
Painting for the people.
Anna helped hang photos.
Getting blurry on vodka shots.
Big up to Oleg and Dimitry who were my main contacts and brought me out to Moscow, these dudes and their crew worked super hard to make things happen, much respect.