The Unknown Hipster

Peter Smith in a Paul Smith ad

Posted in Whereabouts by unknownhipster on October 27, 2011

Peter Smith in a Paul Smith ad

It seems that autumn magazine ads these days are all about S&M widows, or models in fake artists studios (the painter’s palette reworked by the make-up artist), when they don’t simply mimic, at the photographer’s command, a violent orgasm produced by a new perfume or hand-bag.

That’s why I was stunned the other day to see my friend Peter Smith in a Paul Smith ad, staring out with reasonable and limited excitement at the viewer from the pages of Wallpaper magazine.

Peter lives in London, and with Andrew Hale does the music for the Paul Smith shows. In the ad Peter looks normal. You can trace on his face all the music he has been listening to, and he is not trying to have the crazy wild actor look of some young dudes in the same situation.

We share a common interest for sad songs, and sometimes for fun Peter would email me one, and I try to email him back a sadder one, but he always win. Of course, what is really sad is not to know the girl who stands modestly in the back of the ad. I believe her name is Valerija Kelava. She looks less futile and more thoughtful than most models, but may be it’s at Sir Paul Smith’s command.

London Women’s Show Music Listing (Music production by Peter Smith and Andrew Hale):

1. Nico – All Tomorrow’s Parties

2. Vitamin String Quartet – All Tomorrow’s Parties

3. Yawn – candle

4. The Kills – Heart is a Beating Drum

5. Lykke Li – Youth Knows No Pain

6. Little Dragon – Nightlight.

7. Yawn – Magician

Finale: Rolling stones – She’s a Rainbow

New York Stroll

Posted in Whereabouts by unknownhipster on June 24, 2010

I saw a man, with a dog, making his bed in a brand new condo on Flatbush Avenue.

On a yacht moored in Battery Park, a man with a red turban was presiding to an intimate dinner, exposed to the Saturday passersby.

I was painting watercolours of the New Jersey sunset, and saw a solitary man catching a small fish from the pier.

And I walked to 23rd Street and 8th Avenue, to see if the Automat where (as told in Just Kids)  Allen Ginsberg  once bought a sandwich for Patty Smith, thinking she was a boy, still exists.

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In Conversation with the Central Park Coyote

Posted in Whereabouts by unknownhipster on March 18, 2010

A few nights ago, I was crossing the Central Park. There was a school party at the ice skating rink, and in the distance you could hear the booming music. It was on a lonely path just by the pond that I saw the coyote, standing very still, and looking straight at me. I had read about the coyote in the park in New York Magazine, but thought it was an hoax aimed at making their readers believe in urban magic while they’re in line at Whole Foods.

–       Hi, said the coyote.

–       Man, I thought you were an hoax ! But now I can see you’re for real, and you even speak !

–       Dude, do you like Indian music ?

–       … ?

–       I mean, do you believe in reincarnation and all that shit?

I always thought reincaranation was an hoax as well, but I didn’t tell the coyote, not to hurt his feelings and beliefs.

–       The last time I was born, he went on, was in the middle of Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field. Until I was a grown up I thought it was genuine Nature, and then somebody told me it was Art. From that moment on, the landscape lost all its mysteries. I thought about moving to L.A., but finally decided to walk all the way back to NYC. I first went to the Bowery, where I was a cool cat in the Fifties, renting a studio next to de Kooning, and advising Robert Frank on « Pull my Daisy ». I was on and off through the sixties, and became a regular at the CBGB where I replaced the Ramones drummer for a set once when he was too drunk to play. But in 2009, the Bowery was no more a place for me. And I took the 6 train – which in the early eighties, I had tagged entirely –  up to Central Park. Here I can hide in the bushes  and get Smart Water from the pond. I also study Uptown people, since I was more familiar with the Downtown crowd. Of course, there are loads of tourists, but the whole town became touristy anyway. Well, NY is no more what it used to be. It’s all fake and loud,  a big shopping mall mainly populated by self-obsessed dogs. Only the architecture remains.

Seeing him becoming bitter, I asked him if the Joseph Beuys coyote in « I Like America and America Likes Me » was a relative.

–       No, but I knew him, he replied. He was such an asshole (meaning the coyote, not the famous artist). He certainly was not qualified for the job, totally illiterate with Art, and besides that a real wimp. But he had a strong drive for celebrities, and schemed to be cast for the role. In fact, another coyote, a true wild one, had been selected, but he went on the loose a few days before the performance started, and had to be replaced by this phony at the last minute. I’m glad he got hit by the cane a few times. See, being locked in a cage with Beuys was not like being in an hotel room with Jeff Koons.

–       Have you seen the Abramovic show at MoMA ? I heard it’s really impressive.

–       Not yet, I hope they’ll let me in. I was refused at the Whitney Biennial.

I wondered if he ever gets bored with monotonous days in the park ?

–       I have lots of activities. Escaping from the cops. Stealing sandwiches  from uptown kids while their crews of nannies gossip together. Aboriginal art with dirt and stones. African wood carvings. And on Wednesday nights, I perform Native American dance, right by this oak. Free admission, no photos.

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Sunday in Dumbo

Posted in Whereabouts by unknownhipster on October 27, 2009

Dogs, too, like to dress as hipsters

On my way to the Flea Market in Dumbo, I came across a little Halloween dog parade on the Promenade of Brooklyn Heights.

Costumed dogs parades are to Fashion what Outsider Art is to Art sold at Gagosian.


Graphic black & white


Pumpkin all-over


A studious jury


Banal entries


A poodle doesn't need a lot to look gorgeous


These nervous greyhounds remind me of young, timid Fashion editors

But outsiders are no less committed than professionals. They believe so much in their creations that they proudly walk next to their models instead of hiding backstage to only appear at the very end.


Rottweiller in satin cape

There were several photographers documenting the event, dangerously crouching at a pit bull jaw’s height. You might check for photos and a full report on Style dog com (skip this ad).


The Alice Cooper wig gives this pit bull a sweet look

I then skated down to the Flea market. There was a beautiful autumn light, which made the vintage cars in the parking lot looked even more like Stephen Shores. If you can’t own a print,  maybe you can drive an original.

I was in search of a vintage peacoat for the winter when I saw a great horse theater mask. It had a patient, melancholic expression, with a hint of craziness, just like a real horse.


Maria and Mark at the Flea market

I was contemplating the avant-garde productions in which the horse mask had been used  70 years ago, when I bumped into Maria Cornejo and Mark Borthwick. They have the free spirit, illuminated faces of real artists, and outshined everybody else around them with natural fantasy.  Mark was carrying a small, carved dark wood canoe he has just bought. It seems just like the right accessory for his pictures, or music.


Maria and Mark