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  • Teruo Make a New Groove for Fashion

    Mon, 29 Aug 2011 12:23:52

    Teruo Make a New Groove for Fashion - Teruo speaks to ARTISTdirect.com contributor Mary Gonzalez in this exclusive interview...

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    Fashion, music, and art all feed off of each other. In our social network-centric society, all of these entities converge more than ever before. Left and right, musicians are starting clothing lines, while fashion designers are drawing influence from music. This synergy burns brightest in Los Angeles. America's mecca of all things entertainment definitely exerts a deep effect on fashion trends. Meet Los Angeles trendsetters Teruo Artistry [web site here].

    Teruo encapsulates a street hustler state of mind inside of a psychedelic delivery, fusing urban culture and high art for a clothing line that's as edgy as it is elegant. The brand truly stands alone as it's tailored for both the hood and the high rises. That's why we're so excited about it here at ARTISTdirect.com.

    In this exclusive interview with contributor Mary Gonzalez, founder Timothy "Teruo" Watters spoke about the brand and so much more…

    When did you first discover your knack for music, fashion, and art?

    As a kid, I was always drawing in sketch books or watching my Grandpa paint in his studio; my brother, DEEP H2OZ, was either taking piano lessons, listening to my Grandma play or experimenting with his own sound; Prophet was running around San Francisco tagging and doing graffiti or spitting verses in a cipher at school; and on, and so forth. I believe I can speak for all of us, by saying we always did art from the very beginning, so there never was a discovery.

    What’s part of the Teruo lifestyle?

    Being a creative lifestyle brand, the Teruo lifestyle is very simple, but intrinsically complex: creating something from nothing. Our network includes some impressive individuals in film, music, fashion, art and expression. So that lifestyle can include the clothes you wear to the music you dance to to the movies you watch to the art you hang on your wall. Art is king and all of us create art because we love to, not because we have to, and the lifestyle reflects this passion and truth.

    Do you feel like there’s a rhythm to art?

    Anything living has a heartbeat, maybe not technically like plants, but an order and cycle of changing one gas into another, one chemical into another. This rhythm finds a harmonic balance to maximize life and stability. Anything we create finds a rhythm or a breathing of sorts, and like everything else, it can be unbalanced at times. Art has its ups and downs, ins and outs, but when everything comes together and sings, that beat can really capture your soul. And right now, Teruo is beginning to tap into that rhythm.

    Are there any other musicians, designers, or artists that inspire you?

    Art inspires art. On a fine art level, I have been influenced by the Impressionists like Van Gogh and Maurice Denis, the Japanese Ukiyo-e artists like Hokusai and Kuniyoshi, and modern artists like Bua, Shepard Fairey and Banksy, Their varying styles, organization, colors and subject matter all influence my work greatly. Musically, artists like Jay-Z, 2Pac, Red Hot Chili Peppers inspire Teruo Artistry. Designers like Marc Ecko, LRG and Obey are who we look up to.

    Do you feel like you’re blending different styles—psychedelic and urban?

    Blending styles comes naturally to us as we are all mixed culturally. None of us really belong to a certain group, but rather tip-toe the lines racially, socially and economically. Thus, our style will always inherently be mixed, especially when you mix all of the unique members together to come up with inspiration and direction. We are the verge culture and proud of it. It is pretty exciting to be able to grab psychedelic color schemes and subject matter and put with urban themes, or grab surfer sensibilities and pair with a Japanese aesthetic.

    Who’s usually on your playlist when you create?

    With Teruo being comprised of every culture from Japanese to Creole to Salvadorian, the music playlist definitely reflects that diversity. You can hear everything from Daft Punk to Michael Jackson to Six Reasons to Beethoven to The Black Keys to Mac Dre to Earth, Wind and Fire. Music soothes the soul and helps channel your energy, so mixing and matching music can create a multitude of feelings and ultimately, varied products.

    What inspired the stained glass of Tupac?

    When I first heard Tupac, I was instantly a fan. His emotion, poetry, passion and presence were unlike anyone’s in music. I chose one of his most iconic poses and the Tupac piece was my very first portrait that succeeded in capturing the likeness, the look and the soul of the subject. My style evolved naturally from 1997 and the stained glass style was born; the style perfectly complements Tupac. The lines separate and emphasize each individual piece, and on the other hand, tie everything together; Tupac was very fragmented in his short life, but everything always came together as art through his expression. Not a day goes by, that I do not bump a few tracks from one of the game’s legends. I love it, and at the same time, hate it, because it reminds of how far hip-hop and rap has fallen since his death.

    There’s an old video game vibe I get to some shirts, are you a big gamers?

    We all grew up at the very beginning of the video game era and were able to experience the humble beginnings of Atari to the amazing Nintendo and all the way to the ridiculous graphics and gaming of PS3 and Xbox 360. We have the very unique privilege of appreciating those simple games like Donkey Kong as well as complex games like COD. We have all had those lock yourself in the room moments rocking Zelda to Final Fantasy to Killer Instinct to Gears of War. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to play as much as we like, but gaming is a huge part of our culture and influence.

    What’s next for your clothing line?

    I hate to use the cliché, but the sky is the limit. Currently, we are working on expanding the line into more cut and sew products, conceptualizing woman’s clothing and home products featuring the art, and working on collaborations. But, in the current economic climate, we are going to keep pushing new art on stable media like shirts, hoodies and hats.

    —Mary Gonzalez

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