Venice

Fall 2020

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"I'll never forget my first pair of Air Jordan 4 sneakers. They were the coolest shoes I have ever seen." What are your most prized possessions? Music, sneakers and art—in that order. What's the story behind your interest in these pieces? When I was a kid, a neighbor got me into hip-hop and rap music. At first it was the bad boys like NWA, Slick Rick, Ice-T and 2 Live Crew. What originally struck me was the shock value of these groups swearing on cassette tapes. Then I started listening to artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Run DMC, LL Cool J and Eric B & Rakim. I started paying attention to the words they were saying, the struggles they had faced in their community. It didn't hurt that they looked fly with fresh kicks. Around the same time, Michael Jordan was on top of the world. His shoes were legendary. I'll never forget my first pair of Air Jordan 4 sneakers. They were the coolest shoes I had ever seen. The design was so different from the monotony of every other brand. I remember going to Miami in the mid-'90s. The vibe was electric. Everywhere you went, you heard old- school hip-hop and electronic music, all the songs I grew up listening to, plus you learned about new music. I started building a music collection. I also came across artists like KAWS. I thought his "Companion" figurine was the coolest thing. It was a riff on Mickey Mouse but with X's over the eyes. Then I was introduced to Shepard Fairey's art. That led to my interest in other graffiti artists like Basquiat, Futura, José Parlá, Barry McGee and Banksy. It wasn't until 2000 or 2001 that I started buying Obey prints, which had this cool propaganda look. I was always interested in finding stuff no one else in my circle had at the time. All these worlds—music, sneakers and art—began colliding. I started getting serious with collecting art around 2004. I wanted every wall in my house to be filled with it. I think it was around then that I picked up my original KAWS Krusty the Clown. It was raw, much like hip-hop from back in the day. How did these pieces earn a special place in your heart and home? KAWS is my favorite artist. The first "Companion" sculpture I saw had me from the beginning. It was like seeing punk rock defacing a national treasure like Mickey Mouse. For the Bast artwork, there's mayhem and fuckery but order. It reminds me of Basquiat. Jordan sneakers were tied to my childhood. Everyone wanted to be like Mike. The way he flew... As a skateboarder, snowboarder and BMX rider, this was all I thought about back in the day: catching air. Brian Freed Managing partner at Damn Good Hospitality Clockwise from top: Brian Freed with Bast's Old Spice; KAWS' "Companion" figurines; Freed's sneaker collection. Fall 2020 venicemagftl.com 83

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