The GYZA³ is Life

プリガイド_GYZA2

I have a new favorite Purikura booth (sorry Candy Carnival). Gyza³ is the vanity purikura machine of Japanese fashion designer Alisa Ueno. To put it in perspective, if the GYZA³ was made in the west it would feature Kylie Jenner or Tavi Gevinson. You can see Ueno’s presentation of the booth at her blog here: http://ameblo.jp/ueno-arisa/entry-12015007803.html It’s kind of fascinating to see how she presents her self-portraits using her own designs and aesthetics.

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The Gyza³ represents a lot of the current trends with modern purikura machines. Gone are the gaudy sparkles, starbursts, and wacky character stamps that were used to create campy garish portraits. You don’t even pick your backgrounds until you decorate your photos. Gyza³ and its generation of purikura booths aim for a transformative glam experience that smooths your skin, enlarges your eyes, and reshapes your body. Instead of wacky characters your decorative options are mostly text and phrases, instead of flashy sparkles we get hearts and photorealistic jeweled objects, the results are magical realism throwbacks to the 80’s.

In the past month I’ve visited San Francisco’s local Gyza³ booth at Pika Pika with several artists. Below are portraits of myself and Rob Fatal, J. Leimone, Margarita Azucar, and Sarah Guerra.

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I haven’t looked that young and skinny in a decade. For a mere $12, Gyza³ will give you images of yourself that rival the photoshopped gloss of most magazine covers while a Japanese cover of Ariana Grande’s Break Free plays in the background. I’m all about it!

Margarita Azucar in the Gyza³

More Gyza³ portraits coming soon!

Peace,

 

Rio

Purikura Scavenger Hunt Blitz!

This past weekend I ventured to Pika Pika in Japantown to compete in their very first scavenger hunt. Joining me were the Calitexican, poet Abraham Velazquez, and theater masterminds Sarah Guerra, Melinna Bobadilla, and Dorothy Martinez. Sarah and I joined together as a team under the name Tokyo Sucka Punch and hit the ground running.

After the scavenger hunt we had a marathon purikura party lasting for several hours.One of my favorites was the gory scene to the left below conceived and executed by Melinna.

And here’s a video of how it was made:

Of course I couldn’t resist taking some animated gifs so here are a few of the crew in action at Pika Pika.

Last but not least I compiled a video of all of our in-booth hijinks below.

Peace,

Rio

Purikura Party!

Whew! This past Sunday I spent a whole day at Pika Pika in Japantown on a purikura marathon. I arrived at 1:00pm and stayed for six hours while artists, academics, and activists came in to create purikura portraits with me. It was an exciting and exhausting day of starbursts, cartoon cacas, jeweled flowers, and cute skulls.

I’m feeling very confident in my abilities to teach purikura techniques after this weekend. Not guiding aesthetics but navigating the Japanese menus, deciphering the decoration screens, and managing the pressure of the countdown clocks shadowing every decision. Like my other recent purikura sessions I soaked in as much as I could about how each collaborator approached their decoration aesthetic. Below are the spoils of the day and you can really see the spectrum of what is possible in purikura portraits.

Katynka Martinez
Tania Figueroa
Tania Figueroa
Audra Ponce
Audra Ponce
Jessica Martinez
Jessica Martinez & Katynka Martinez
Armand Emamdjomeh
Ana Teresa Fernandez

You can see a bunch of hi-res images from the day at my flickr album HERE. Below is my video documentation of the day set to M-flo’s Dopamine.

Peace,

Rio

Support System

These past few days have been intense and busy. I’ve been promoting My Mission, planning my yearly Day of the Dead exhibit, and balancing other creative projects. Chief among them is my full blown committal to purikura as an art form. Today I spent the early afternoon with Ms. Margarita (AKA Margarita Azucar) for another round of purikura art making. We met up following her radio show on radiovalencia.fm. On our way to Pikapika in Japantown we stopped off at her apartment and I saw something that made me smile so much.

Seeing these two cans propping up a window in Margarita Azucar’s apartment instantly brought me back to my childhood and warmed my heart. Growing up in an old San Francisco Victorian apartment my parents used all sorts of object to prop open our windows. We used books, old toys, Lincoln Logs, and other random things to keep our windows open on a hot day. I’m hella nostalgic right now.

Our purikura session went great! Ms. Margarita rocked an awesome pink wig and busted out with some great poses for the photos, she was truly like a Chicana superhero. I’ll be scanning the photos and posting them in the new couple of days. Stay tuned!

Peace,

Rio

Behind the Scenes and Mischief in the Mission

This past Sunday I got together with the infamous Mayra Ramirez for another session of Homegirl Purikura. For this special session we were joined by guest artist and chola Evil Rose. Mayra and I met Evil Rose in Japantown and together we ventured into Pikapika to take some photos.

During our first session of Homegirl Purikura Mayra turned all sorts of heads in Japantown while she was decked out in her chola gear and persona. With Evil Rose in the mix we were a walking spectacle. Tourists who were in the area for the Nihonmachi Street Fair didn’t know what to make of us. Our presence was unavoidable.

Evil Rose was a natural Purikura artist, Mayra and I showed her the basics and she just took off with it.  Mayra also continued her unique and intense approach to her Purikura practice. I decorated a couple of images but for the most part I stood back as a facilitator for this session. It was a thrill to see this powerful pair of cholas team up and work as artists together.

Lastly, I finally got to try out The Cube, the newest Purikura booth at Pikapika. I can’t wait to share the images that came from it. It was definitely the most sophisticated and technically advanced Purikura booth I’ve ever been in.

Following our Purikura adventure we all decided to head to the Mission District for a shoot in Balmy Alley. Evil Rose is not only a model/performer but a professional photographer herself. We turned our cameras on Mayra who lived up to her reputation as the ultimate Chola muse. Below are some photos, to see the full gallery of images check out my flickr page.

I also managed to record a little behind the scenes video while we were shooting. Here’s two videos of Mayra playing around. When she focuses on her chola persona she disappears into it but when she breaks character she’s equally charismatic. Check it out!

Peace,

Rio

La Pura Cura Purikura

This past weekend I embarked on my second collaboration with the brilliant and loco por sure Guillermo Gomez-Peña (along with members of his performance troupe La Pocho Nostra). Our project is La Pura Cura Purikura. It’s an ongoing project of purikura photos costumed, performed, and decorated by Gomez-Pena, facilitated and decorated by myself.

For this first shoot we were joined by La Pocha member Kika Olsen (below).

Gomez-Peña had the idea to dress himself as a post-apocalyptic border-shaman. With that in mind we all packed up our costumes and props and traveled to Pikapika in Japantown for a purikura adventure. Suffice to say we turned a few heads while we took photos and as Guillermo and Kika got into their characters amongst confused Japanese teenagers.

Below is a sampling of the images we created together. There are more planned Purikura sessions on the way with La Pocha Nostra so stay tuned! For a full gallery of La Pura Cura Purikura CLICK HERE.

Peace,

Rio

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