I CAN’T FEEL MY FACE: SOCIAL MEDIA WONDERBOY KRIS KIDD LETS US FURTHER INTO HIS HEAD

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If social media only gives us an illusion of transparency and a false sense of open vulnerability through short spurts of tweets, carefully selected instagram photos, and countless re-blogged images, then wunderkind writer Kris Kidd may be one of the few millenials who has gone a step further to personally explore and express himself  by penning insightful, self-deprecating, autobiographical stories and essays. They’re written in a manic, disjointed style of writing – a result perhaps from a combination of the modern way of communicating through fractured, emoji sprinkled text messages and from Kris’s own fast-pace life of parties, drugs, eating disorders, and the coping of a tragic family death.

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The 20-year-old is the outcome of the ultra cartoonish pop culture of the 90s and is now a turn-of-the-century wi-fi obsessed wild child – always on the hunt for his next fix. With a heightened sense of self-awareness, Kris shares personal moments and emotions, open full to judgment, in comedic but always raw brutal honesty. His new book, “I Can’t Feel My Face”, a collection of essays presented by The Altar Collective (founded by Katie Hogan), is now available for sale at createspace. Aside from writing, Kris is also an ambitious model, actor, and photographer. The young, tall, and very stylish writer chatted with LAC to tell us more about his new book, online over-sharing, and what to expect from him this year.

LA CANVAS: What’s your morning internet routine?

KRIS KIDD: You know, I don’t really have one— or at least not one that’s super specific. I honestly don’t remember the last time I sat in front of a computer for anything other than work. Everything I do in terms of social media is done through my iPhone, so I just sort of check it constantly.

LAC: How do you decide what and how much to publicly share about yourself – either on your essays, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram?

KD: I feel like I’ve put so much out there already. I’ve been documenting every unsavory aspect of my life online since I was fourteen. My O.G. readers already know more about me than I probably know about myself— and that’s actually kind of weirdly comforting.  So really, it’s not so much about deciding what to share as it is about just me posting it. I also think that’s kind of the allure of my writing. I’m the least mysterious person ever. It’s all out there. I think that at this point in the game, for me to start holding things back would be hypocritical.

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LAC: When you look back at your work, do you worry that you have shared too much?

KD: No, not at all! I mean, there have been a few times throughout the years where I have looked back on it all and sort of wondered whether or not I should have said certain things. I’ve had experiences where people in my life have gotten their feelings hurt, or have gotten embarrassed, and that always bums me out. I’ve never gone out of my way to hurt anyone with my writing, that’s the main reason I try to steer clear of using any names, but the fact of the matter is that I’m all about telling the story as it is and how it happened— no holds barred, pull no punches. That’s kind of my thing.

LAC: You’re only 20 and even though you have personally gone through so much, do you ever wonder if the life events that you write about happened so recently that you haven’t developed a further maybe better hindsight perspective to dissect exactly what happened?

KD: Oh, totally. I don’t even wonder about it, it’s just a fact. The really heavy shit with my dad only happened about five years ago— 2009, so whenever the fuck that was— and I mean, there’s no way that in a period of time that short I could have come far enough, or grown enough as a person to fully understand my situation. I’m still a kid, you know? But I think that is exactly what makes pieces of work like “I Can’t Feel My Face” so special. It’s not a fucking self-help book. I’m not trying to tell anybody how I got better, or how I “found the light.” I don’t really think I’ve come that far, or grown that much as a person since 2009 at all. And I think that’s what’s cool about it. I’m not dissecting anything. My perspective is authentic because it’s real, and current. It’s still going on. I don’t want to be forty years old and still writing about being a trainwreck. This is the time to do it.

LAC: You cover heavy topics with humor, why?

KD: I’d love to say that there’s some sort of artistic merit to this, or that it’s a part of my “unique writing technique,” or whatever— but the fact of the matter is that it’s just how I deal with everything. If something is hurting me or making me uncomfortable, it’s my gut reaction to detach myself from whatever it is, and immediately begin joking about it. Obviously, this is a super healthy and mature way to deal with life, and I recommend that everyone take note. It worked out great for me. Obviously.

LAC: Your favorite form of therapy?

KD: The kind where I don’t show up.

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LAC: URL friends or IRL friends?

KD: IRL, duh. I mean, I wholeheartedly appreciate the feedback from everyone online, and I love being able to communicate with people all over the world, but there’s something really special about the few people in my life that I consider to be actual friends. They’ve all been through a lot (and put up with a lot) with me, so I know they’re in it for the long haul. Like, they all clean up after me and take care of me, and the older ones buy me alcohol because I can’t because I’ve lost all of my fake I.D.’s, and even when I had them I still got really anxious at the checkout line… so yeah. My IRL friends are pretty great.

LAC: What’s the one thing that automatically makes you happy?

KD: I love to hear from my readers. I know that sounds really cheesy, but it’s true. Especially at times like these when I’m just releasing something, and they’re all so excited, and messaging me, telling me what they thought of the essays. I love that. I know that I’m super shallow and self-absorbed, but it really does bring a smile to my face to know that people are taking something away from the things I write.

LAC: Your spirit animal?

KD: Big Ang from Mob Wives.

LAC: Best drug?

KD: Honestly? Adderall. It’s like coke (mostly because I’m super into snorting it,) but it’s legal, and you don’t have to deal with any sketchy dealers to get ahold of it. You’ve just got to bullshit your way through a session with a psychiatrist, or find a friend who has a younger sibling with ADHD. I’d say Vyvanse, because I mean, it’s super chic, and it’s basically like designer Adderall, but that shit will make you chew through your lip if you’re not ready for it. It happened to my best friend and it was really gross.

LAC: Best time to write?

KD: When I’m drinking. I take Hemingway’s advice super seriously.

LAC: What are you listening to?

KD: I don’t know, really. It ranges from Joy Division’s “Hellbent” to anything on Diplo & Friends on BBC1. I need music to dance to and music to cry to. I’m kind of all over the place like that.

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LAC: What do you want people to get out of your new book that you might think some readers might overlook?

KD: I don’t think there’s really anything to overlook. It’s definitely one of those things where you get from it what you take. I completely understand that some people will enjoy it for its face value— the partying and the drugs or whatever. Other people might find some deep connection with it, and I know for a fact that others will choose to disregard it entirely. That’s kind of the beauty of it.

LAC: Out of everything you do, from writing, modeling, acting, photography, etc – what one thing would you like to be best known for?

KD: Writing, absolutely. I feel like I’ve tried a bunch of different outlets, tested them all out, but nothing feels as rewarding as writing. I think it’s because writing is something that requires my whole self. I really need to be present to accomplish it, and I’m never present for anything. So when I finally achieve a goal with my writing, or finish a certain piece of work, I get really excited.

LAC: Plans for 2014?

KD: Well I’ll be hustling this new book for a while, and that will definitely be my main focus. I have a few film projects lined up with DAZED Digital that I’m really excited about as well. I’m also lined up for a really rad collaborative effort with another author, and I’m really stoked on that. I’d also love to keep working with The Altar Collective, (www.thealtarcollective.com) who helped me publish “I Can’t Feel My Face.” They’re such a rad company and I know they have a lot planned for 2014 as well. That’s about it for now— I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! It will definitely be an interesting year. But hey, it always is, right?

 

Photo credits: Ari Abramcyzk, Katie Hogan, Aimee Nicolas

THE WEEKLY: ARTWALK X VAPES, POP-UPS, CRAZY LA + MORE

A rundown of the best events in our city this week. 

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ARTWALK LA PRESENTS: STREET / SAINT, A SOLO EXHIBIT BY STEVE PINEDA

WHEN: Thursday, January 9, 7pm-11pm
WHERE: Vape Supply Co. | 129 East Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
WHAT: The boys at Vape Supply Co. are getting their feet wet for their first Artwalk LA exhibit, Street / Saint,  featuring Nike designer-slash-artist Steven Pineda, otherwise known as ESPY. Pop in during your first of many  2014 Artwalks and indulge in complimentary drinks from Monaco, tunes from guest DJ Wendy City and check out some of the shop’s top-choice vape pens and juices. Oh, and did we mention there’s a rooftop lounge? |  more info

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YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

WHEN: Friday, January 10, 5:30pm
WHERE: 900 Expositoin Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007
WHAT: Poppy, funky and all things reminiscent of summertime and swimming pools, Youngblood Hawke was born out of late night musings between friends turned bandmates, Sam Martin and Simon Katz. The two had previous stints with another band, but out of yearning for a creative outlet sans commercial pressures, Youngblood Hawke was born. Bringing on songwriter Alice Katz, drummer Nik Hughes and Tasso Smith, the five friends have come to encompass what it’s like to be young and unsure of what life has in store — but not without a few dance parties along the way. | more info

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CHAMPION X TRIED & TRUE POP-UP / LAUNCH PARTY

WHEN: Friday, January 10th, 7pm-10pm
WHERE: 507 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
WHAT: Champion USA is set to debut their Fall 2014 collection during a week long pop-up shop at Tried + True boutique on Fairfax. Celebrate the launch this Friday where exclusive garments from Champion’s Street Active Collection will be available to purchase for both industry folk and civilians alike. | more info

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WILLIAM EGGLESTON OPENING RECEPTION

WHEN: Saturday, January 11th, 6pm-8pm
WHERE: Gagosian Gallery | 456 North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
WHAT: Pioneer of color film and member of the prestigious permanent collection at MoMA,  photographer William Eggleston presents his collection At Zenith XI for the Gagosian Gallery through February 20th. Catch the exhibit’s opening reception this Saturday in Beverly Hills. | more info

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KCRW PRESENTS: UNFICTIONAL LIVE 

WHEN: Sunday, January 12, 5pm
WHERE: The Smell | 247 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
WHAT: As we Angelenos know all too well, you can’t live in this town for long before you rack up a few strange stories.  This Sunday, the local gods over at KCRW will partner up RIOT LA to present Unfictional Live —  an in-real-time installment of the Independent Producer Project, from the station that showcases odd, funny, and compelling tales indigenous to LA. | more info

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DWNTWN RESIDENCY AT THE SATELLITE

WHEN:  Monday, January 13th, 8:00pm
WHERE: 1717 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
WHAT: Everybody knows Monday is the new Thursday. Next week,  twinkle electro-pop kids DWNTWN kick off their monthly residence at The Satellite. All of January, our favorite live-music destination in Silverlake will play host to the alt-pop quartet, whose debut EP “Red Room” has already received notable praise by the prophets over at Spotify. | more info

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ROBERT GRAHAM EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION AT KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN

WHEN: Tuesday, January 14, 7pm-9pm
WHERE: 1201 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90010
WHAT: Robert Graham has long been known for his affinity for the human form in bronze. And as the first exhibit for the Kayne Griffin Corcoran, visitors will experience such, but on a miniscule scale and made of wax, which was the focus of Graham’s early work. The minute figures — complete with perfectly sculpted appendages and detail — twist and distort themselves in plexiglass boxes that leave context up to the viewers’ imaginations. |  more info

SMART DESIGNS: DEVIN CARLSON OF CHAPTER TALKS DYEING LOS ANGELES BLACK

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Chapter, a new sophisticated menswear line based out of Costa Mesa, creates items for the wandering man who is set on exploring new limits, closely describing the creative director behind the line, Devin Carlson. An extensive traveler, Devin’s new fashion venture is inspired by grand architecture and vast open landscapes, developing clothing that emit an allure of discovery. The items are dark and minimally sleek, allowing for the man wearing them to overlook the hidden “smart designs” in the pieces and focus on the overall modern, sharp appeal of the garment.

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Devin is set to release his SS14 collection (featured in this entry) to retailers this February, and he will premiere his AW14 collection later this month in New York. He spoke with LAC tell us more about Chapter, his travels, and to give us a list of must-haves for guys.

LA CANVAS: Where are you from?

DEVIN CARLSON: I’ve lived in LA for eight years, I consider it my home.  I grew up in Alta Loma.

LAC: What has kept you in Los Angeles after a few successful lines?

DC: I have a great group of friends here.  There are also so many options of things to do and get inspired by in LA.  I don’ think much could tear me away from it, I would have to be able to be bi-costal to make any type of move.

LAC: Chapter is much darker than the previous lines you’ve worked for. What sent you on the path this time to working on sleek black clothing for men?

DC: It’s actually very similar to the aesthetic that I started my previous line with, but as I progressed I started to experiment with more color.  I realized that I was most content when I was working with a darker palette so when we started Chapter, this was a natural progression.  There is a quiet and sometimes menacing confidence that goes along with a dark collection.

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LAC: Black has always been thought of as more New York’ish, but lately there’s been a lot of menswear designers in LA creating darker items. Do you see that as a trend for Angelenos or menswear in general?

DC: I think that a darker pallete is extremely relevant to the market at the moment.  I think we have entered into a time of menswear in which the consumer is starting to take chances and pay much more attention to the details that go into constructing a garment.  That being said, I think they are not looking for bright colors, but rather smart design.

LAC: How often do you travel?

DC: I think I was on a plane around 48 times last year. Travel keeps me inspired in a way that you can only get from seeing and experiencing other cultures.

LAC: You recently visited the Nagakin Capsule Tower. Your editorials tend to use large structures as their backdrop. How much does architecture inspire your new line?

DC: We aim to capture a feeling of vastness and immensity with our editorial photo shoots. Nagakin Tower is a rare look into the movement of ‘Metabolism’ architecture.  This movement along with Brutalism and Soviet Modernism had a large influence on the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection that will debut in New York later this month.  However the general theme that directly carries over to the collection is honesty in design – meaning that I let the functionality of the garment serve as the stand out design detail.

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LAC: What can we expect in the SS14 collection? When will it be released?

DC: Spring/Summer 2014 will be released in February to our retailers.  You can expect to see proportional balance between casual relaxed and fitted silhouettes including several oversized drop shoulder silhouettes.  In terms of fabric you will see dark, lightweight cotton blends that allow for breathability and comfort in the coming summer months.  A few other fabrics in the collection include metallic lambskin, linen and rayon blends.

LAC: Chapter seems to be a collaborative effort. How many people are in your team?

DC: It absolutely is, there are eight of us and a handful of talented people that we collaborate with.

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LAC: What soundtrack do you feel accompanies Chapter?

DC: The KVB – ‘Dayzed.’ This is the song we just used on our latest video and fits the current mood at Chapter for Autumn/Winter 2014.

LAC: Do you have in mind a specific person when working on a collection for Chapter, and if so what kind of person is he?

DC: No one person in particular, I tend to just go with my gut feeling when conceptualizing the next season’s mood.

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LAC: What are a guys must-haves?

DC:

1.  Overcoat – This makes anything you are wearing look better.

2.  Oversized leather bag – I like to have the option of throwing a lot of things in my bag as you never know where the day will take me.

3.  Moleskin – You should always give yourself the option to sketch out or write down an idea when it comes to you.

4.  Chapter Baron pant – I live in these.

LAC: Your favorite decade?

DC: 1960’s Eastern Europe