Kinfolk’s Jey Perie recently sat down with long-time Kinfolk collaborator and friend, Justin Hager, to discuss his upcoming Boyz N the Hood-inspired collaboration, the origins of his connection to Kinfolk and his plans for the rest 2016.
Where is Justin Hager from?
I’m from Bakersfield, California. I lived there until my mid twenties then moved to San Francisco to pursue my art. First I moved there because I was really into The Mission School, I was inspired by art that was originating from the griminess of the city and turned into something beautiful. After almost a decade in the Bay, I moved to New York about a year and half ago.
How did you end up part of the Kinfolk family?
Ryan Carney (one of Kinfolk’s founders) and I are both from Bakersfield and we hung out when I was a teenager, and even if he is from a slightly older generation, when he moved out of town we always remained in contact. When I moved to NY he naturally opened the doors of the Kinfolk house for me and it has been really the best thing that has happened to me. It made the transition so much easier.
A family affair, huh?
Absolutely! Funny enough my friend Tim Diet also introduced me to his NY friend Jeremiah Mandel (Kinfolk Brand Director) before I moved here.
Give us some insight into your design process?
I wanted to find the right balance between my signature work and what Kinfolk is about. My name is attached to every single thing I do so I made sure it was consistent with my body of work. Boyz N the Hood is a movie that I must have watched a million times and had a huge influence on me when I was younger. I thought it matched the Kinfolk DNA quite well and it was the right time to play around with these 3 elements and see what I could come up with.
Is this the first time you've worked on an ashtray?
Definitely the first time but it was super refreshing to work on a different format and take a brief break from more traditional art canvas.
What can we expect from you in 2016?
I have 5 paintings in a group show in Denmark later this month at Galerie Wolfsen where I’ve exhibited in the past with one of my idols, Daniel Johnston. The scene in Denmark and Scandinavia in general have been very supportive, so it’s always a pleasure for me to participate in new shows out there. In addition, I will be showing this month at Slow Culture in Los Angeles. This time it’s very special because the theme of the show is Social Injustice. I usually work with complete creative freedom with Slow Culture and on top of that I tend to avoid political issues or more serious topics when it comes to my art, but because of current events in America it felt right to try a new direction and take more risk in partnership with Slow Culture. So I’m looking forward to sharing these new pieces with my audience in a couple of weeks.