Creative Triathlon: Meeting of Styles 2016

When Jim and Matilda from Endoftheline offered me to get involved into the creative frenzy that is the annual Meeting of Styles festival I couldn’t say no: I grabbed my camera, dj bag and paints and headed down to the Nomadic Garden in Bricklane to see what’s going on!

What is Meeting Of Styles you ask? In short: It’s a yearly paint jam that’s organised by people all over the globe! Want to know more? Well, why don’t you check out this educational video curtesy of UK #mos16 organizers Endoftheline:

Bricklane has been a Streetart and Graffiti spot for ages so picking the creative space of the Nomadic Garden and the surrounding area felt like the perfect spot to host this massive event.

When I arrived for the second day of the festival, things were already in full swing: Artists were hitting walls, musicians were jamming and people were enjoying the sunshine, wandering from artists to artist to see what’s happening! Of cause there was food and drink as well…

I really enjoyed the mellow and inclusive vibe that was all around me. As London can be pretty snobbish and hectic this was a welcome change from the norm. It reminded me more of the Hip Hop Jams of old than the polished exhibitions that are everywhere in London these days.

Of cause the centrepiece, like every year, was the massive main wall painted during all three days of the festival. It’s still mind blowing to me how a squad of artists manages to work together so perfectly on such a massive scale! I can’t give enough props to everyone involved in bringing the tentacled London bus to life!

For more pictures of this piece and much more please check out my Flickr!

The one thing that get’s lost these day when it comes to HipHop IMHO is the culture aspect of it: It’s not all about the BlingBling but expressing yourself truthfully via art, dance and music! MOS had an impressive list of DJs, Beatboxers, Musicians, Graff Writers and MC’s all getting down together and I loved every minute of it! Big up!

The creative spirit wasn’t limited to the garden itself but spilled over to nearby walls in Allen Gardens, Pedley Street, Grimsby Street & Scalter Street. The tunnel behind the Normadic Gardens had been made accessible too so there was no shortage of walls to be hit. Glad everyone had an official permission so when the friendly neighbourhood police turned up everything was cool!

Now enough of talking the talk… time for walking the walk myself! With so much amazing talent involved I felt very intimidated putting my canvasses up but it was time to man up and put that paint down! 

I am by no stretch a Graffiti artists but I do love painting and recently got more involved creating artworks with pens and cans so why the hell not get those dried up paints out! First challenge: As my foundation was screamingly yellow I was instantly attacked by a variety of insects ganging up on me in the gardenso I had to leave and find a spot more removed from the local fauna!

As there was no shortage of space soon I was hitting the canvas. My brain was buzzing, switching from “Oh my god I am so crap” to “Hey… this just might turn out alright…” in 5 second intervals. But hey, everybody has to start somewhere, right?

Painting open air drinking beers was way more enjoyable than watching the paint dry ( literally ) at home so although I didn’t manage to finish my two canvasses ( go two or go home ) in time for my dj set, I was quite happy with the outcome and had a great time. I am a beautiful Art Butterfly, no matter what they say… and I am sure you can check out the finished pieces soon on my Instagram!

When the sun was setting it was time to ditch the paints and get out the record bag: Time for the third part of my creative triathlon consisting of taking snaps, painting pictures and spinning beats all in one day! 

As my slot was quite late a nice big crowd was already grooving to the sounds of the previous DJ crews and beat boxers. Easy!

Although I have been djing for over 20 years now, each new gig is still giving me a bit of stage fright. It’s about connecting with some hundred people and getting the party moving… not an easy task! Hence my serious face: Dj Solaris100 in deep meditation!

I am happy to report that the vinyl only selection of tunes I packed didn’t fall on deaf ears! I especially want to give a big shout out to Paz Dean who dug my vintage HipHop selection so much he basically became my hype man, inspiring all kinds of hardcore breakdance moves as can be witnessed below:

Like any good DJ I ran over time and even sneaked in a cheeky German Hip Hop track in there! The facial expressions of the few Germans dotted around who didn’t expect to hear some Eimsbush Beats in London were priceless!

So all in all it was an amazing event and I need to give again a massive shout out to Matilda and Jim from Endoftheline for organizing all this and all the artists involved blessing the event with their creativity!

Till next year! | | Nomadic

And to wrap things up, here are my Top 5 party smashers from my set at #mos16…

1) “Wicked Funk” – Kwanzaa Posse ( 1999 )

Absolute killer Funk track that has been in my record bag since 1999! Always gets me into the mood and is the perfect jump off point for any set mashing different funky flavours together. 10/10

2) “Represent” – Nas ( 1994 )

Stone cold classic that takes me back to when I was hanging out in my local Hip Hop joint in Hamburg/Geramany called “The Powerhouse” on the legendary Reeperbahn! It was known for playing mostly Eastcoast tracks on an insanely crisp soundsystem… ahhh the golden days! 

3) “Wie jetzt” – Dynamite Deluxe ( 2000 )

The aforementioned German HipHop track! I have been living in London now for 15 years so after adapting to Sunday Roasts and the Monarchy it’s only fair that I import a bit of my German HipHop heritage onto this island! Part of the legendary Eimsbush Crew hailing straight outta Hamburg Ciddy, their MC Samy Deluxe still rates as one of the best German emcees doing it. And the beats? Banging! 

4) “Tricka Technology” – A.Skillz & Krafty Kuts ( 2002 )

I do love all kinds of funky beats so being into Breaks comes natural to me. This banger from the two heavyweights of this musical genre still delivers the goods and works in any context. It’s one of these tracks that sets the mood and gets people grooving…

5) “Sabotage” – Beastie Boys ( 1994 )

What can I say… LEGENDARY! Sometimes you have to give the crowd what they need. The Beasties are the one band that had the biggest influence on me period! Being it their style, music, humor and other creative endeavours. Unhatable and untouchable. Check out their amazing live DVD “Awesome… I shot that” to revisit them at their absolute top game! #ripmca…

Solaris 100 at Meet The Artists

As a Designer, having personal projects can really help to keep the creativity bubbling. For me that’s DJing, writing this blog and doing a bit of painting and drawing. But what to do with all the physical output?

As I am very happy with my customized record covers I was just waiting for a chance to get involved with an exhibition to show the fruits of my work. When a friend of mine pointed at a call for submissions for a group show in East London I jumped at the chance to get my work seen live and direct on a wall in a gallery.

When I got the notification from the curator that I was in, my mind instantly started spinning how to present my work. As I am a big fan of the cross over of product and art I thought it might be fun to offer more things at the show than just my paintings. I always wanted to try out a bit of shoe customization so I thought that would be fun item to add.

After getting some white canvas shoes I was off to applying a dash of colour to them whilst still trying to keep them look crisp and not messy. On top of that did I wonder how to package them as the original shoes didn’t come with boxes. Some amazing leopard patterned tote bags I came across solved that issue, especially as I was able to print my logo onto them which I designed earlier.

To quote Hannibal from the A-Team: I love it when a plan comes together!

As my work was so heavily about records I threw another thing into the mix: Some limited 10″ records I designed for the British band Akasha awhile ago. The bold colourway and the orange clear vinyl inside really worked with the rest of my art and I hand customised them on top of that. Pure fire!

Some mini artwork rounded off the Solaris100 offering and I suddenly had my own little art store going! 

I just really enjoy getting inspired and running with it. Thanks to Athena Anastasiou for running MTA & Ryan Godwin for curating the event who was happy accepting all this extra artwork!

The show itself was great: A packed house, fresh artists on display, cold beers and amazing music provided by Tj Owusu. And when a designer like Peter Crnokrak is happy to model your new logo full on Zoolander style you know you did some good work! #bluesteel

Thanks again to the whole Meet The Artists team. Follow them on Facebook to be notified of the next shows in London! It was great to be part of this and I can’t wait for the next one. Until then: Keep on keeping on…