PROFILE: Chris Hund of PAXICO RECORDS.

Words and photos by Alexandra Blair

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Above: Chris Hund with his tape duplicator, the Kingdom One Touch, from the early days of PAXICO RECORDS

This week, The Living Gallery caught up with Chris Hund, the enigma behind Bushwick-based Paxico Records. The label currently includes an eclectic roster of international artists and collaborators who engage in multimedia explorations of art and sound. 

Despite an imposing catalog of nearly 30 releases, the label has humble beginnings–Paxico Records actually grew out of a multimedia thesis project Hund undertook while studying photography at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009.

“I decided I wanted to do a project about a fake musician, so I started making an archive about this person’s life and wrote a little backstory,” says Hund, now 28.  “I started making different pieces of memorabilia and folklore and as I was making the story I decided the character, Sicil, needed a label to be on. I just decided on a whim I’d call it Paxico, which is the town i’m from in Kansas. It’s super small–population 200–but it meant home to me.”

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ABOVE: Early artifacts from the life of Sicil Vibration aka Sic Vibe, the musician Hund brought to life for his thesis project at RISD.

Hund was responsible for creating an origin myth for the mysterious musician and fleshing it out with both physical artifacts, like those pictured above, and digital content. “Part of [the project] was propagating the folklore online about this artist and having other personalities come into the conversation and say ‘I heard about this guy!’” Hund posted his own music in Sicilian Vibration Youtube videos and on the artist’s MySpace page and even created fake accounts and blogs to leave feedback and instigate a conversation. Eventually, Hund says, people began to take notice.

“Friends of mine started approaching me and saying ‘Dude, you have a record label and you’re not going to let me be on it?’ So,” Hund says, “I just started building up those same stories about my friends.” Paxico has since grown to be an eclectic label known for producing, above all else, authentic music.

Since relocating to Brooklyn after graduation, Hund has approached every endeavor with a similar process to that which birthed the now-legendary Sicil Vibration and describes each release as “a blend of reality [and] mythology around the music and the artists.” Take PAXICO’s first official release, KVZE‘s ..The Smudge Specialist.. whose mythology includes a radical cosmic journey: “This 16 track collection was recently excavated by a Mars rover and after being brought back to earth and inspected, the tape was found to be harvesting a rich variety of new and exotic Smudges. The Smudges and tape soon were given by an anonymous space explorer to Paxico Records’ shaky hands.”

Back in the days of those first releases, Hund undertook every part of the production process, from dubbing the tapes on his TELEX ACC-2000 XL and printing the j-card inserts to distributing the finished product.

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ABOVE: Hund in his production studio-cum-bedroom in his Bushwick abode (BELOW).

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Paxico’s latest releases have involved a mix of outsourced and in house production with each choice depending on what will best suit each artist’s myth and vision. After nearly five years of heading Paxico, Hund says things have gotten much easier. “I’ve hit, kind of, a groove now,” he says, which has allowed him to expand the scope of the label’s mythology and folklore to include clothing, zines, and more elaborate packaging. “With each release, I try to figure out something new to do so it doesn’t get boring.”

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ABOVE: Paxico’s latest release “Cave Art” by the DJM Trio comes packaged with a ritual candle to help guide listeners into the cave. The tape and its liner notes feature Hund’s original pixel folk art. Releases from this year also included such thoughtful oddities as a custom designed handkerchief and a temporary tattoo of an artist’s grade school photograph (all available through the Paxico website). 

“I enjoyed making the stuff all by hand in the beginning. Then I started to try new production techniques by sending it out, printing on thicker board with fold out J-cards, and stuff like that,” says Hund. “Now that I’ve figured out that process I’m ready to use that knowledge to go back and do it all myself again.”

Above everything, Hund maintains that Paxico is a labor of love. Unlike most other labels, profits are split evenly with the artists and much of Hund’s take is put back into the next release. “I just try to take care of the artists and put out cool stuff,” he says.

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Although running the label has cut down the amount of time he can dedicate to his own music, Paxico has given Hund the opportunity to further his efforts in the visual arts.  “I’ve always been really interested in folk art both visually and with music,” says Hund. “I think a lot of what I do stems from there.”

Using a pixel art app on his iPhone, Hund draws from an eclectic melange of visual influences to create works like those pictured below.

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ABOVE: Hund’s pixel art. “I’ve always really like quilts, folk art, and geometric art. It kind of turned out to be that pixel art was a really nice meld of those things because I could get a lot of primitive forms and focus a lot more on color.” Artwork courtesy of the artist, see more on Hund’s Instagram

“When I first started doing the music for the Paxico project, I was making around 5 beats a day. That’s all I really wanted to do. Then, through working on the label and putting out other friends of mine that I thought were more deserving, music took the backburner. I could make time to do that,” Hund says, “but I’m just having more fun focusing on the visual and production side.”

Hund has been using his designs for Paxico ever since. “I think it makes a lot of sense with our philosophy of futurism and folklore.“

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ABOVE: Hund at his Bushwick home.

Between his responsibilities with the label, his job as an app developer, and his own art practice, Hund keeps busy, getting help from his roommates with whom he often collaborates. The house frequently hosts Paxico gatherings, including their raucous POWWAWs—gatherings that center around live streams of recording artists performing from behind lush visual projections.

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ABOVE: Suzi Analogue performing at Paxico’s most recent internationally-streamed POWWAW for which Hund creates projections.  Photo courtesy of Chris Hund.

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The label’s next release, a SIGMUND Washington tape, will be out sometime early next year and will premiere at a release party in Philadelphia on January 30. While the majority of the releases to date have been on cassette tape–which Hund considers to be a folk medium for its accessibility–with intermittent digital features, the label will be aiming for vinyl releases in the near future.

Also in the works is a 24 hour powwaw livestream that will leap frog all over the world, showcasing Paxico artists playing live in their respective cities. “It will potentially start in Japan, go to Paris, possibly London, then New Zealand, then New York, and then to the West Coast,” says Hund. “We’ve built up a pretty great network of artists.”

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Anything and everything PAXICO can be found at the Paxico Records website and on the label’s Facebook page.

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Living Gallery and CAMBA’s December Coat Drive

 

In lieu of the plummeting temperatures this winter season, The Living Gallery partnered with CAMBA to host a coat drive to bring cold weather clothing to those in need. Here are some highlights from our coat drive earlier this month and ways you can continue to help throughout the winter season.

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Living Gallery owner Nyssa Frank (center) with CAMBA’s Dara Crowder (left) and Christina Hoodho (right).

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CAMBA’s Art Therapist and Recreation Supervisor, Christina Hoodho (pictured above) organized a group outing for the women of the shelter. At the event, women were able to sort through donations and get suited up for the cold winter weather.

The coat drive marked the second collaboration between the gallery and CAMBA. As Hoodho noted, many of the women present at the coat drive had also participated in BYO Art, held earlier this year, which gave participants in the shelter’s art program the opportunity to display work in a gallery setting.

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Despite the overwhelming success of the coat drive, Hoodho noted that the shelter is still in need of all heavy winter clothing, especially larger coats–sizes Extra Large and up. Due to limited storage space, the shelter will only be able to accept donations that are most needed and those interested in donating should contact Hoodho via the contact info listed below:

Christina Hoodho, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT

Recreation Supervisor/ Art Therapist

CAMBA Broadway House
718-453-4870 X24237
christinah@camba.org

Holiday Flea at Saint Vitus!

Written and photographed by Alexandra Blair

Last night was the holiday flea market at Saint Vitus in Greenpoint featuring a thorough roster of local artisans and vendors across a smattering of mediums. Support locally made and curated goods this season and check out some of the highlights below in case you missed it!

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Courtney Gamble of MessQueen

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Dana Glover, Illustrator

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Handmade ornaments by Siren Sewing

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Genavieve White of Candy Drip

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Amazing hand thrown ceramics by Garrett DeLooze of DeLooze Pottery

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Nathaniel Shannon, photographer.

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Some delicious offerings by Dualiteas

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Embroidered pillows, handmade by Meagan Colby of Pillow Baby

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Melissa Litwin of A Limitless Win getting crafty.

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The next installment of the flea will be sometime near Valentine’s Day with details to follow. In the meantime, you can find more information about the vendors at this year’s holiday flea on the Saint Vitus Facebook page.

Response to “Integument” at Wayfarers Gallery

Written by, Conor O’Brien

Images taken from “Integument” by Scott Saunders at Wayfarers Gallery, 1109 Dekalb. The term “integument” is defined in the press release as ” something that covers or encloses; especially :  an enveloping layer (as a skin, membrane, or cuticle) of an organism or one of its parts.”

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See the object. Peck through stiff yet fragile walls and discover within a vital and vulnerable embryo, a universe of potential forms. Intricate labels frame our perception, a translucent skin of microscopic width separating, categorizing, and keeping every individual thing self-contained, to overripen with associations. These associations extend deeper than the psyche, engraining themselves physiologically, producing pleasure from the harmonious and repulsion at the contradictory. Preventing interactions between incompatible forms is perhaps less neurotic than hygienic, and descends from a fundamental phobia of disease and physical corruption that creates the need to classify certain things as clean and others as unclean or untouchable: a projection onto the object world the sanctity of separateness we desire to preserve of ourselves. Contact with an object increases the potential for bacterial invasion and violation, parasitic growth, and decomposition of sanctity. Thus everything is kept divided and ordered, classified by genre, style, era, family, kingdom, feathers, scales, fur. The minutest transitional stage in the metamorphosis of each being is tracked and tagged to prevent the existence of undocumented intermediary stages.The reality of one object is secluded from that of another object, and cases permitting transgression or crosscontamination (i.e. food preparation and consumption) are monitored and ritualized.

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Encountering an object that is unclassified, unrecognizable, or intermediary is a call to either reel the object under a broad umbrella or else invent another term and begin the growth of a new chain of associations. There is pressure to closely monitor one’s own development, to rein the shifting spectrum of one’s personality into a predetermined identity, aligned with one group and disassociated from another, and if need be, resituate oneself once shifted too far outside an identity previously established. Despite such efforts, everything sits uncomfortably at the edge of its every classification, whether externally or self imposed. No matter how complex the definition, everything is only half-defined; some aspect always falls beyond the frame. In these unaccountable margins all things seep into each other without oversight. Here, where things mix and intermingle is it possible to pick at the contextual skin and peel it off, at least partially, and reveal the object returned to embryonic form, unobscured by the walls that make it separate, sterile, static.

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Short Response to “Traffic” at Pseudo Empire

Written by Conor O’Brien

Pictures are of the video installation “Traffic” by Elizabeth Orr, on display at Pseudo Empire (467 Troutman St.) until Oct. 5th. 

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The gasoline powered procession, wrinkled land starched by pavement, the sun stifling white. A daily spectacle: long automotive limbs unravel in yawning exodus; steel  in carbon exhaust and billowing sunheat; an awakening, a resurrection. Organic material broken down into excremental chaos, siphoned from the earth’s stomach and injected into engines, reanimated in the agitation of pistons, a mechanical necromancy. Air-conditioned chambers fed on primordial foam, digested and redigested, spew fumes that flower into a hazywhite and metallic sky. A dull guiding light sits above them during their transmigration. They file into the city, fill its hollows with quivering activity, bring its stone-body from sleep into being. They feel excitedly the pressure of flat surface from every side. They offer themselves pregnant with energy, expanding and bursting in hot yellow clouds, sending smoke to scale the length of skyscrapers. It is a delirious expenditure, a harvest. Their language is purely mathematical: it is an anti-language: the language of tongues to which everything tastes of metal: a language that delights in its own desecration. Where among them is an unapologetic imagination? In steam and steelheat a dough rises; it lifts its shape above dark thighs of river and, tilting toward night, freezes into a glacier of salt. This is their offering.  And at evening as the immediacy of experience thins to wave and mist, still droning in  red ears, they descend and sleepily shelve themselves back into traffic.

 

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ALLEY ART completes nationwide tour at THE LIVING GALLERY

 

This article originally appeared in full on BostonMagazine.com on Aug 25 2014: http://goo.gl/xowQK9

This summer, friends Jen Charboneau and Bernie McNerney have been touring the country coast to coast, setting up pop-up art events in 14 major cities as part of their community arts project titled “Alley Art.” On Sunday Aug 24th, they made their 13th stop in Boston, where they set up shop near SoWa along Albany Street and encouraged passersby to paint on a pair of blank canvases.

“We stop people and tell them to paint with us for five minutes and take a break from their usual routine. Most of the time people really value that—getting a break from their day-to-day life to get a creative outlet,” says McNerney, who handles public relations, photography, and videography for the project. “They leave really happy and smiling. They leave recharged.”

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Following a stop in each city, Charboneau, an artist who met McNerney a few years ago while they were teaching English in South Korea, touches up the community-created paintings to turn them into more cohesive pieces. When the pair reaches their final destination in New York City, the paintings will go on display at The Living Gallery in Bushwick. Eventually, one painting from each city will be donated to the venue that hosted an “Alley Art” pop-up, while the other will go up for auction. Following the tour, Charboneau and McNerney also plan to create an art book filled with images of the paintings and photographs they took along the way of people they approached and asked to pose with an empty painted frame—”the ultimate icebreaker,” as they call it.

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The tour started in Charboneau’s hometown of Minneapolis in mid-May, funded by $10,000 raised from a Kickstarter campaign. They travel aboard a green Subaru dubbed “Scooby Doo,” packed with art supplies and their mascot “Frank,” an animal skull that Charboneau had found on previous travels in a desert in the West. Along the way, they’ve met strangers, local artists, and musicians, including Grouplove in Las Vegas and Portugal The Man in Portland, Oregon. Pop-ups usually take place in community spaces, coffee shops, or bookstores in the major cities, and Charboneau and McNerney were excited about setting up alongside the SoWa Open Market.

“It all stems from getting the community involved with the arts instead of standing back,” says Charboneau. “We try to find neighborhoods that are artistic or neighborhoods that may be lacking that community connection.”

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Charboneau and McNerney were especially pleased with setting up shop under the I93 Expressway after speaking to Elizabeth Cahill, the director of social media for SoWa Boston, about plans to turn the space into a full-blown art park.

“The potential to be involved with something that I could see growing to be a core community spot where people can go appreciate art is great,” says Charboneau. “Even if it is a little slow today, it’s a good way to be a part of something that’s growing as we’re growing as well—two newborn projects working together.”

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Friday September 12th 7-10pm [Opening Reception]

Saturday September 13th 3-9pm

Sunday September 14th 12-3pm

Full event details: http://bit.ly/alleyfinal

 

Meet Brigette Blood

Interview by Mike Garcia

Hello Brigette, Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from Jeffersonville, Vermont, grew up above my hardworking/hippie/catholic parents’ log cabin restaurant. Besides serving food, the restaurant hosted Art and weirdos and musicians, along with tourists and locals. I graduated from Bard College with a degree in Experimental 16mm film. I moved to my Bushwick Home in 2003.

I worked the 7am breakfast shift, 6 days a week in a diner on broadway for 2 and 1/2 years when I first moved here. I loved getting to know my neighbors and my community over hard work and breakfast specials every morning. I still know many neighbors coffee preferences. For a few years after I built electronics (synthesizers and effects pedals) locally in the neighborhood. For the past 5 years I’ve worked as a nanny with a variety of other creative and domestic works in my past. Bushwick remains a big part of my life and my daily routines.

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How did the North West Bushwick Community Group start? What were the circumstances and how did it gain momentum so quickly?

NWB formed out of the Bushwick Communities’ opposition to the proposed re-zoning and development at the former Rheingold Brewery Site (specifically the Read properties ULURP application).  We have continued as a group engaged in housing justice, land use, and local community needs.

I think we were able to gain momentum quickly for a number of reasons. We were a diverse group of residents and locally active individuals who were able to clearly and cohesively voice our opposition and our goals. Social media helped for sure.

 Individual residents’ efforts were incredible in bringing the group forward and galvanizing the Community. Individuals engaging in outreach and sharing news with their neighbors and bodega clerks was a big part of what kept new energy coming and group momentum going. But I think we owe a lot to the many groups and organizations that core founding contributors were able to engage in our early formation. These groups were able to spread awareness, share resources, and skills that allowed the group to grow capacity and continue our efforts.

Some of the groups that were part of building our NWB momentum in the early Rheingold ULURP outreach and Advisory Panel Formation days were: The Silent Barn, Rheingold Homeowners Association, BEAN, The Living Gallery, The New School, and COHSTRA.

 Also I’ll go there- I think the truth the group was calling out resonated with residents, local groups, nonprofits, city agencies, and elected officials. The truth we spoke and the justice and accountability we called for kept the group focused and determined to keep engaging and doing the hard work.

Brooklyn Brief -TaubMeeting in Express Yourself Barista Bar, The Brooklyn Brief, M. Taub

 

How do you think the NWB and the community changed the outcome of the Rheingold re-zoning?

That’s hard to say exactly. I can say post-Rheingold, Bushwick is a Community much richer in housing and land use knowledge. And this will ideally serve community interests well in our current Community Based Rezoning by CM Reynoso. I also feel the level of clarity and dissatisfaction we communicated in our Panelist meetings with the developer ultimately contributed to the increase in affordable housing at Rheingold and the final negotiations to transfer 7 lots of land from the developer to the Community (to be developed into Low Income Senior Housing). These are major mitigations from the developer and Bushwick will benefit from these increases. As well as other community funding for schools and anti displacement legal services.

 bmb and bkrotsBrigette and BKROT (photo by R. Peperone)

Has it been challenging making sure that the developers come through on their promises from negotiations with the community? Is this a constant ongoing thing?

 This is difficult and a constant on going thing. With the Read development at Rheingold, CM Reynoso formed a Community Construction Committee to monitor the project and the timeline for mitigations to be implemented.  Without binding legal commitments, an informed and engaged Community is what ultimately holds developers to their promises.

 What, if any, are some organizations that NWB have linked up with? 

 Early in our formation NWB was supported with Educational Workshops and Urban Planning/Housing Expertise from Students & Faculty from The New School, Masters Program in design & urban Ecologies and members of COHSTRA. I participated in a COHSTRA documentary for an upcoming Fall ’14 MOMA Exhibition.

Ongoing, and during our a Rheingold Campaign, NWB worked with local non profits (Make the Road NY, CUFFH, Los Sures, St. Nicks Alliance, EWVDCO), Community Board 4, CM Reyna & CM Reynoso, Urban Justice Center,  and Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. A. We have done a few events with the symbiotic support of Educated Little Monsters, youth group. We are hoping to form a local coalition with NAG.

What are some current and future projects the NWB is working on?

We are gearing up for the Beta Launch on 8/19 of our Mapping Project, a NWB collaboration with Michael Ziggy Mintz. It’s an exciting tool for communities, organizations, and tenants. I’m really interested in the potential of participatory data sets to track changes not successfully measured by city and public data as well as to humanize the data that holds Communities’ stories of change and displacement.

Housing Justice is complex and NWB is excited to help share opportunities to learn and engage! On 9/28 we are co-presenting an exciting educational opportunity from COHSTRA & The New School with local hosts Saint Joseph’s Church and the Silent Barn. I’m excited to learn with my neighbors about NYC housing history, climates, and possible solutions. Presented by some rad academic friends. Come learn too!

We have other long term projects in the works but I tend to ramble and I’m trying to keep everything here concise as I can…

NWB Logologo by Sarah Quinter

 

What ways can local activists become involved with NWB?  What’s the best way to keep up to date and find out information on NWB?

Check out our website www.NWBcommunity.org, it has links to our calendar, and google group so you can stay in touch. Come to an Every-other-Monday NWB Community Meeting and join our conversations. NWB Monday Meetings are also a great forum to meet other Community members interested in learning and being active engaged neighbors. Feel free to bring initiatives to the group as well as join ongoing NWB work. All skills welcome.