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THE W ‘BAKIBAKI’

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WIP is proud to showcase Kohei ‘Bakibaki’ Yamao‘s distinct style through the aesthetics of the repetition called “BAKIBAKI”. Arahabaki is an art movement that began with Kohei’s signature patterns, inspired by natural elements and traditional Japanese textiles similar to Asanoha: patterned fabric of interlocking hemp leaves which was widely used in Japan.
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His modernized, urban aesthetics fused with his love for the organic and natural aspects of our surroundings create thought-provoking imagery, open to everyone’s interpretations. Whether in digital form or made with more traditional mediums, all his pieces retain the same level of consciousness and space. Gradually, his canvases have transcended boundaries: now found on walls, furniture, clothing, vehicles and many more–showing the continuous flow of life and art in many ways and forms.

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Geometrical patterns symbolize the inter-connectivity needed for everything to take their shape in the world. They portray wisdom and insight into the complexities found in our simple experiences, and vice versa. Patterns allow us to recognize the underlying interdependence of all that exists–they are maps of our understanding of life, nature and our selves.

Kohei, who had his first one-man exhibition in 2007–is also part of an art-duo called Doppel. Back in 2001, he grouped together with friend and fellow artist Koutaro ‘Mon’ Oyama in Kyoto, Japan. They have since worked with various well-renowned companies, but have always kept it alive and real in the underground scene. Their yin and yang painting styles come together beautifully in every piece they collaborate on. Bakibaki’s geometrical lines merged with Mon’s fluid colors and strokes are two seemingly contradictory methods made whole, representing the coincidence of opposites: two polarities forming one harmonious, cohesive work of art.

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Last year, they came to Manila and painted a portrait of Andres Bonifacio on a wall in Bonifacio Global city and brought their psychedelic blacklight visions to the second floor of Black Market as well.

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Greatly inspired by these artists, the WIP team flew to Japan to chill with Kohei, experience the scene and cover Doppel’s live art performance at the LIVE PAINT ZOJO 2015 at the Zojo-ji (Buddhist temple) in Minato City in Tokyo. The area is special for its historic links to Japanese warrior Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa clan during the Edo period. The mesmerizing event was a spin-off of Live Paint DOJO, an annual live paint battle the started in 2012 with the objective of elevating the social standing of Japan’s street culture. It was great to witness the lifestyle and culture first hand.

WIP wishes to bring the same artistic Zen vibes from Japan to the Philippines through these complex yet simple caps. Let’s tune ourselves to the universal everyday wisdom and inspiration found within and around us, the same way true artists do.

You can get yours now at WIP HQ, our webstore and Gold Digger Records for P1800.

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The MNL ‘Sta. Ana’

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We’ve explored Tondo, Sta. Cruz, Binondo, Ermita & Quiapo, and now Sta. Ana. This is the culmination of our MNL District Series, where WIP has aspired to re-tell stories of our past that are closer to home than we think. The present day Manila is a melting pot of cultures, steeped in modernity, filled with first-world structures placed in stark contrast with third-world living: familiar images of our country’s history are all around us.

Once known as the Kingdom of Namayan, Santa Ana was renamed and became a place for the wealthy Manileños of the time, adorned with beautifully built abodes and ancestral houses, most of them found along the once bustling but now polluted Pasig River. Sta. Ana was declared a heritage zone only last year, and sadly, most of these houses have given way to modern commercial developments, though few still remain.

Considered to be one of the wealthiest places in old Manila, Sta. Ana became home to land owners and businessmen as well as the famous Santa Ana Park, where horseraces have been held since 1937. The famous Santa Ana church was built from 1720 to 1725 and was dedicated to its present patron, the Our Lady of the Abandoned. The revered image of its patron came from Spain and arrived in the Philippines in 1717, strengthening the influence of Christianity in the Philippines. However, in the 1960’s it was uncovered that ancient artifacts were dug up during an excavation within the church’s vicinity, proving that Manila and the land of the Philippines is quite old on its own merits.

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Although the colonization of the Philippines has been the main focus of education and discussion, our indigenous culture during pre-colonial times is another story. Even our National hero, Jose Rizal, made it clear in his works that our history be re-told from the Filipino perspective. Rizal was dedicated to confronting the colonial ideology and developing a system of thought that aimed at the liberation of the nation. In a sense, Santa Ana was the image of a flourishing district, but through a different perspective, it was also a symptom of corruption and power-struggles between classes. Jose Rizal understood and wrote about the cycles, archetypes and sicknesses of society, believing in our nation to his untimely death.

Nowadays, Sta. Ana is feeling the change and trappings of modernity, where locals are fighting for their rights to preserve structures that are unique to their district: physical reminders of our past that we hold with much sentiment. Although Hispanic ancestral homes and old structures invoke memories of a time we were colonized, after the war fought alongside America, we have been swayed towards other directions and visions–and we have retained them to this day. There’s no denying that Manila has been heavily influenced to keep up with the rest of our rapidly developing neighbors, even if it means leaving others behind. Filipinos are now conquering other Filipinos under the influence of Westernized culture and ideologies, divided up by social structures.

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The MNL Sta. Ana is a crown for every Filipino, reminding us that our spirit as people has not been stifled by others in the past, and there is no reason for us to allow society’s self-destruction to overwhelm our ideals and aspirations for the future. Two interlocking golden horseshoes symbolize good luck and form the image of an eye to keep watch behind the scenes. Our country and its people are priceless, and we must always make informed and compassionate decisions that benefit the masses instead of only a selected few. Nothing will change if we continue to perpetuate the treatment we have endured as a nation in the past.

This fitted cap may look luxurious, but that’s all on the surface. After all, the most valuable thing you will find in a cap is the mind that wears it.

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?” ― José Rizal, El Filibusterismo

THE CORRUPTION ‘DYNASTY’

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They’ve been keepin’ it in the family for as long as we can remember.

A political dynasty is defined by “a family in which several members are involved in politics, particularly electoral politics. Members may be related by blood or marriage; often several generations or multiple siblings may be involved.” These folks have been placed in positions of power and influence to make important decisions for the progress and improvement of our country and its people, not because they’re selfless or compassionate leaders who happen to be from the same family tree, but because corruption in the Philippines actually makes for a very profitable (and sustainable) business.

The cycle continues even when it states in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Article II Section 26, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

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If you flip through the news, TV shows or your social media feeds, there’s been a lot of talk about politicians–especially with elections just around the corner. It’ll soon be peak season for bribery, horrible jingles, tacky promos, posters, and a shit ton of awkward interviews where you think to yourself: “how the fuck did they get this job in the first place?“.

Good news is, the internet has been a great tool in providing us with the space and freedom to share our thoughts and opinions regarding countless subjects, including that of the seemingly overplayed game of politics. It’s fun and insightful to play the role of commentator and observer. It allows us to step back from all the bullshit and see the bigger picture. We’re no longer afraid to use our voice to complete the narrative. We’re so bored with our predictable politicians that we make political memes just for comfort.

Although the term ‘political dynasty‘ is more commonly used here in the Philippines, similar types of corruption exist and endure in many places the world over. You can call it whatever you like depending on the situation, but the set-up remains the same: a select few have more access to ‘power’, ‘wealth’ and opportunity–while the rest are turned into spectators and participants, whose worth counts only in the form of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote. Others are so disillusioned by the system of politics and government that they choose not to participate at all.

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The government and its officials maintain a power structure that relies on public obedience and oppression to exist–and it will continue this way only if we keep allowing it to happen. Corruption begins from within and spreads outwards to manifest in your actions. Corruption is not based on your profession, your class or your business; it is a question of character and morals. What you do is a reflection of who you are. Greed is a selfish, defensive response to the fear of losing something or everything; it is used to overcompensate for the insecurity of never having enough–which is a hard reality many people deal with bravely on a daily basis.

Political dynasties seem to encourage self-benefiting motives for politicians, whose minds are distracted and heavily fogged by their desire for money, thirst for power and attachment to tradition, in denial of the possibility that other people outside of their large network of overlapping political circles could probably do a better job at genuinely serving the public. Even if some families claim to have made improvements, most remain questionable. Political families keep each other around because they need each other. Together, they seem legitimate and accepted. Competition between political parties is an illusion, taking attention away from the fact that it’s always about them and rarely about us.

On the other side, we’re yearning for new paths and improved ways, yet we still have a long way to go. Instead of impatiently waiting for those blinded by power to open their eyes, we need to realize within us what it means to be a servant and representative of the people. We don’t have to settle for corrupt choices. Together, our voices are more powerful than any funded campaign out there. The truth is more prominent in movements like reggaehip hop and political art, but mostly within ourselves. You won’t find it where they keep telling you to look. Power to the people. Power to equal opportunity.

We’re more conscious now, shedding light where it’s needed most. It’s time for everyone to wake up from routine, passivity and the ‘business-as-usual’ attitude to life. Let’s not perpetuate the same pattern of corruption and empty promises that we observe all around us. We’re hungry and ready for change. How about you, Mr. Politician?

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The ‘Dynasty’ is the fourth off the Corruption series, following the O.G., the Paisley, and last year’s Bambu collab. This 2015 edition speaks volumes and will be available for PHP 1548 tomorrow, July 3 at our webstore and partner stores. We dropped this early for the true heads at the WIPheads: Since Day One party, and now it’s ready to be shipped to you both locally and internationally. It’ll also be available at zalora marketplace on July 12.

Take us with you to a protest, a rally or on your commute to and from work. WIP is right behind you in the struggle to balance the scale of justice one honest step at a time.

WIP X RZL CLOTHING: ‘UTAK TALANGKA’

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We’re stoked to announce that our second collab with RZL clothing is up for grabs now at our webstore, and soon at Gold Digger! ‘Utak Talangka’ is a Tagalog term that roughly translates to ‘Crab Mentality‘. If you put a bunch of crabs in a bucket, the crabs at the bottom pull those near the top back down to their level. This way, none of ’em get out to save themselves. This video sums it up pretty good.

The crown is a light chambre fabric, accented with a Nubuck square brim. In front is a detailed embroidered patch of the Utak Talangka logo, designed by RZL clothing. On either side of the cap are cream-toned embroideries of the RZL logo and the classic WIP logo. One special feature: the inside of this cap is lined with a Satin fabric with a brain on it.

This crown is insane in the brain, reminding us to be supportive of those around us who are following their passions, instead of pulling them down. It’s a reminder to be less envious of others; to work as a team instead of always working alone–to be more human instead of being shellfish.

PAPA U-Gee X WIP: THE LION – 25TH ANNIVERSARY

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PAPA U-Gee is one of the most respected reggae artists from Japan, and WIP is proud to bring this collab to you!

He has more been performing Roots, Reggae, Dancehall and Dub for over 25 years, and is a prominent artist on the reggae scene in Japan, as well as having been a key figure in building the Japanese reggae scene and making it the most developed reggae scene to this day in Asia. PAPA U-Gee can also be credited as one of the people who gave Sami T of Mighty Crown his first shot in Jamaica.

PAPA U-Gee began his career with his first Roots band “ASB” –”in 1985 and later joined Yokohama based Reggae/Dancehall Sound System Banana Size Hi-Fi” in 1988. To get a taste of the reggae scenes overseas PAPA U-Gee He traveled to New York and Jamaica during the early 90’s, and in 1992 he released his first vinyl record, “Wicked Japanese” and under V.I.P. International JPN label.

The following year, PAPA U-Gee moved to the rough neighbourhood of Cockburn Pen, Kingston, Jamaica –to further immerse himself in reggae culture –where notable artists such as Super Cat, Josey Wales, U-Roy and Early B originated from.

During his stint as a resident of Cockburn Pen, PAPA U-Gee, alongside close Jamaican friend Emperor Star, frequented the local studios such as Record Factory, Tuff Gong, and King Jammy’s Studio where fellow musicians congregated. –And it was at Dub Store where PAPA U-Gee connected with the world famous sound system “Killamanjaro”. The 2 years spent in Jamaica proved to be an invaluable time for PAPA U- Gee, as the exposure to such greats such as Sugar Minott, Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, Major Mackerel, and Leggo Studio’s Bravo undoubtedly shaped his character and sound as a reggae artist.

After his return to Japan, PAPA U-Gee released many records that covered conscious themes such as Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. Tracks such as Oh Mama, A Walk, Try, and Connection have gained commercial recognition, and his hugely popular song Yaizu Ko has become a gateway track into reggae music for many Japanese reggae fans.

To further his already respected reputation in Japan, PAPA U- Gee began working with legendary Japanese Roots band “ZION HIGH PLAYAZ”, and set up his own production/label “KITEKI MUZIK” and on which he has since released 4 albums independently, including his last release in 2011, Connection.

Furthermore, PAPA U-Gee is no stranger to the international stage. Performing at reggae festivals all over the world, such as The ” Tribute to the Reggae Legends Festival”, formerly known as Bob Marley Day (U.S.A.), Jubilee Jam,BIG MOUNTAIN FES,PAI REGGAE FES (Thailand) and MALASIMBO MUSIC FES.
(Philippines) Taitung Music Festival (Taiwan) and as well as making more than 4 appearances at Mighty Crown’s Yokohama Reggae Sai (Japan) where more than 40,000 Japanese reggae fans descend annually to this event in Yokohama. Since 2007, PAPA U-Gee has built a significant fan base in both Taiwan and the Philippines, where he continues to help build the respective local reggae scenes by collaborating with local artists. He has also been awarded the honour of “Town Planning Goodwill Ambassador” in his home town of Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan. In the future, PAPA U-Gee plans to carry on as a reggae ambassador spreading peace and unity across Asia and the globe through the culture of reggae music.

PAPA U-Gee frequents Irie Sunday, where he toasts up the mic and nices up the crowd alongside the selecta or the band. It’s always an inspiring experience to watch him perform, knowing his story and how he continues to contribute to the culture through his music.

The ‘LION’ snapback is a contrast of bright colors: green, yellow and red–highlighted against the simplicity of black. True to the Roots. This rasta crown is available at our webstore and WIP HQ, and will be available at zalora marketplace on June 12. You can also purchase it from Japan! Get in touch with KITEKI MUZIK: kitekistudio@yahoo.co.jp for your orders.

BLESS UP PAPA U-Gee! 25 YEARS STRONG!

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