Artists trying to make it helping others artists trying to make it – that’s what this is all about, OK.
Look, all I ever wanted to do was to come to this country and write (and I did and I did…and I am). I never wanted to do anything else.
Now, the only thing more boring than hearing a writer talk about their writings is reading a writer’s writings on why they write (do not get me going). So…without further ado, already, meet Giles Kelsch, my friend from Watsonville, Calif.
I met Giles at Trader Joe’s, when we both were crew at the same store here in San Francisco; he is now based in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s a young artist, a talented illustrator, who grew up admiring album-cover art and living skateboarding culture in “a very small farming town, with not a lot going on” in Santa Cruz County, as well as connecting with nature in Big Sur, whose preferred medium of expression is black ink on paper. “I just really enjoy what a brand new Sharpie marker can do for me,” he says.
I was happy to discover a couple of weeks ago, that Giles had launched an online store featuring his original Chuy tote bag, the first of a planned series of four initial products bearing his art. (Make sure to stay tuned for a T-shirt drop and a duo of stickers, too – and more.) Of course, I had to ask: Who is Chuy? What is Chuy? And where did Chuy come from, anyway?
“Whenever I hear ‘Chuy,’ I just think of a neighborhood nickname,” Giles says. “He’s just like, the local homeboy, kickin’ it and getting into shit from time to time. He’s mysterious. He appears at random, in different scenarios. On the tote bag, it looks like he’s found himself in some trouble, and is under questioning.”
I can’t wait to see what’s next – for Chuy (what…a character, huh), and especially for Giles. He tells me he’s been collaborating with a screen-printing studio out in Brooklyn to get his totes ready and looking sharp; learning how to navigate the USPS and how to ship items in a savvy, cost-efficient way; and, y’ know, pushing himself as an artist and as an entrepreneur. This is 2020, after all.
“My art now is branching out into different media that I am less comfortable with. I’ve recently started to try my hand at air brushing and stick and poke tattoos. I’m also diving back into playing around with watercolor once again. Colors are intimidating for me, so I’m trying to push myself to dive into that realm.”
Well, color me ready for it.