Preview: Spring 2021 with Yusuke Hanai, Amoako Boafo, Ania Hobson, Hernan Bas, Ryan Travis Christian and more
"Shots of the scotch from out of square shot glasses // And he won't stop 'til he got the masses // And show 'em what they know not through flows of hot molasses.." —MF Doom, "All Caps," Madvillainy, 2004
Like many people my age, I spent the past New Year’s Eve in a state of grief. It was fascinating to watch the tributes for Daniel Dumile come forth that night; the loss of such a lyrical hip hop genius known to the world as MF Doom obviously struck a chord with a generation of artists and cultural savants. Doom was different in his avant-garde approach to storytelling, his mask rendering him identifiably non-identifiable, the superhero/supervillain persona cloaking his craft with artistic presentation. Artists gravitated to his ability to fashion the rules to create a fantasy world of new possibilities, expanding the horizons of his mastery. He gave creatives hope. That’s what made him a legend. That’s why my peers were, and are, in mourning.
This is a new year, and in so many ways, it feels like a fresh start. We didn’t really get a 2020, at least in the ways we thought we would. It got us thinking about the ones we lean on, those we look to for inspiration, and that is why our cover by Yusuke Hanai offers reason for hope and support. It is so clear; friends supporting each other in times of trouble. Such directness guides us in leaving the last year (or four) behind. Yusuke is a rare, humble talent who can convey truth for a collective consciousness. This Spring, our quarterly focuses on forthright honesty and a sense of possibility, from Yusuke to Chris Martin, Tiffany Alfonseca to Ryan Travis Christian.
I remember the last music review I wrote for my college newspaper. It was Madvillainy, MF Doom and Madlib’s magnum opus, and I gave it a perfect five stars, pronouncing that everything had changed in the world of hip hop. It changed my life. It made me look at an art form that I loved in a new way, injecting hope for a better future for the art that so engrossed me. I want to remember that feeling—today, now—about the potential of art for both the makers and the viewers. We seem to be on the precipice of a new era, a new “Roaring ’20s” is what I heard from a friend, and now like to say to anyone who will listen, confident that this monumentally difficult period of time will usher in a wave of experimentation and creative freedom; a collective sharing of experience and ideas will wash through fine art, music and literature. I’d like to think Juxtapoz is helping to usher in a new era. Our Spring issue has a group of artists from around the world, each reminding me of those feelings I had back in 2004, from Yusuke’s cover image and the portraits of Shannon T. Lewis, to Amoako Boafo’s incredible textures and Cathrin Hoffmann’s reimagination of paint through a digital lens. The Roaring ’20s of a century ago was a time of technological and artistic change, a decade we think of as a monumental shift in the arts. May the 2020s be perceived in the same way. A legend crossed over and helped put the future into focus. —Evan Pricco