Jeremy Townsend always thought his last name was cursed. Call him superstitious, but Townsend blames his paranoia on the family history.
“We have a bunch of crazy people and terrible stories, so I decided to go with ‘Jert,'” he says.
We first ran into Jert at ICE, and were immediately caught off guard and in awe at his “absurdist pop art.” I mean how often does one see insanely well-illustrated and painted images of Clark Kent dropping acid, “Breaking Bad’s” Walter White dubbed, “The Cook,” (seen after the jump) and R2-D2 realized as Star Trek’s USS Enterprise? After buying three of his pieces, we never saw him again.
Onisha “Oni” Román has always been good with her hands. Oni’s telling us stories of her childhood on a quiet Saturday afternoon at the studio and living space that serves as the +FRESH.i.AM+ headquarters. Yet instead of marveling at the style wonders her fingers have created over the years, our conversation carries over to the pain they have endured.
“Do you see my hands now?! This is from the iron, I burned myself really bad,” Oni says pointing at some newer battle wounds. “You just build the callous’ and just hope that they don’t look too crazy.”
True story: I was once paid $80 for a snapback.
Before you get to thinking, let me tell you a little something about this purchase. For starters, the hat itself is pretty plain, black, simple. From there, things get pretty interesting. Six white stars, hand-stitched onto the cap go around in a circle and on either side of the adjustable clasp are “+” signs.
This modern style marvel was created by +FRESH.i.AM+, and as the production leader, Oni has literally bled (and been burned) in helping build their wearable art movement. Before we give you her story, Oni was kind enough to do 10 the Hard Way with us.
Childhood hero: My mom.
Worst job ever had: I don’t think I’ve had a “worst job.” When I have a job I appreciate that I have it. It could be worse. The worst job I’ve ever had is not having a job.
Favorite book: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.”
Dream vacation: Space.
Biggest pet peeve: When people say, “I could care less,” because it’s the opposite of what they mean and they don’t get it.
Artist you look up to: M.I.A.
Spirit animal: Unicorn.
Scares you most: I’m working on not having phobias, because when you give something fear, when you give something negative energy, you’re giving it powers. When I do find a phobia it’s my goal to just face it.
Favorite leisure activity: I like to be outside in nature, chilling, maybe reading a book.
The best part about life is: You can do anything if you set your mind to it. As long as you know the rules and you know how to break them, there’s nothing that’s really stopping you except for yourself. Once you realize that, the sky is the limit.
Photography by Kelsey Ryan