Pencil Fingerz first caught our attention with his renderings of celebrated rappers and influential figures of our time. He’s been working hard, building up a roster of rapper clients, who are fans of his drawings, done by Wacom tablet. He put on his exhibit “All My Creations” at Fortune Sound Club, and we were treated to an up close look at his art over the past few years.


Yelawolf is one of PENCIL FINGERZ longest collaborators. The pair have worked on the Slumadian and Slumerican Made your posters, and merchandise. A drawing of Yelawolf, his middle finger prominently on display during Pencil Fingerz art show in Vancouver.


It’s been less than a year since Pencil Fingerz moved from rural Chilliwack, to Vancouver, and he’s been busy making moves since. His first art show in the city, marked his presence as a Vancouver artist, and it was touchingly well attended by friends and family who came out to show love for their hometown boy.




Check out review of his debut Vancouver show on Episode 36 of TSG:OA



Day 1 at Osheaga Music and arts Festival

Osheaga Music and Arts Festival is Canada’s most sophisticated music festival. It takes place around the sweltering last weekend of July each year, and delivers a cool lineup of local, Canadian and international talent. Fodor’s Travel voted Osheaga as one of the top 15 music festivals in the world, and it attracts over 140,000 people annually. Each year, Parc Jean-Drapeau, an expansive park on St. Helene island in Montreal, is transformed into a music and arts haven, for festival goers of all ages. The location of the festival is unique in that it’s provides an outdoor, nature heavy space, but is just one metro stop away from the core of Montreal and all it’s amenities.

Now in it’s 11th year, Osheaga has over 100 acts performing over three long, hot days. This year, local talent included bands like The Damn Truth, The Barr Brothers, Kaytranada and Grimes. The marquee headliners this year were history making, with Radiohead taking the stage on the last night, a conquest that Evenko Nick Farkas had been eyeing since the festival began. Other headliners included singer Lana Del Rey and ’90s rockers, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.



The River and Mountain Stages, where the headliner’s played nightly, was always filled to the brim with people.


A gaggle of people sit underneath one of the many colourful art installations.


A hallmark of Parc-Jean Drapeau, and a lookout from the water onto the city centre.


Art melted seamlessly into nature at Osheaga.


Lots of interesting lines and textures to be seen at Parc Jean Drapeau.


The park is very expansive and the concerts are spread out across the park.


Some installations shone brighter at night.


Osheaga feels like a grown up Disneyland, like there’s magic in the air.

Canadian illustrator Pencil Fingerz is making his mark on hip hop

Pencil Fingerz Davis Graham

(Pencil Fingerz)

The hip hop core community has changed significantly from what it was, during its sudden birth in the ‘70s.  As with all great cultural movements, hip hop evolved as it made it’s way from a niche – a few men beat boxing and emceeing in the streets of South Bronx – to finding a global audience through radio play giving a popular voice to black artists and changing the landscape of music in a way that still resonates today. As Kanye West declares he’s the biggest rockstar on the planet, rap has replaced pop music, brands are shelling big dollars for product placements in songs, and every pop starlet from Ariana Grande to Selena Gomez has sought out a rapper for a feature to edge up their sound.

Hip hop and rap’s ability to connect people through little more than bass and lyrics has attracted lifelong fans (and brands) from different environments and all corners of the planet. Everyone’s trying to cash in on the culture, whether it’s Hillary Clinton dabbing to Fetty Wap on the Ellen show or fast food chains tweeting about rappers feuding online. Social media has made it possible for anybody from all over the world to participate in the culture but true fans of the genre are now able to connect and actually influence their favourite artists. 


(Andre 3000 drawn by Pencil Fingerz)

One of these lifelong fans is Pencil Fingerz, a digital artist, illustrator and painter who resides in the rural Canadian town of Chilliwack. While his environment is more suited for country music than rap, his portfolio includes: a music video for CJ Fly, tour posters for Yelawolf and Mick Jenkins, and album covers and more for Rittz. One of Pencil Fingerz longest ongoing collaborations is with The Underachievers and was sparked after Issa Gold spotted Pencil’s portrait of Andre 3000, with roses sprouting from his mind. 

Pencil’s exposure to rap began by chance when he first found a stray Eminem CD on the ground. It was that serendipitous moment that ignited a respect for the culture. After Eminem, he fully immersed himself into early 00’s hip hop, and often reflects on this era, with portraits of artists, like Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Since then, he’s honed both his artistry as well as his appreciation for hip hop and has injected himself into the culture, by producing art for some of his favourite artists.

Since meeting Issa online, Pencil has collaborated with The Underachievers to produce covers for their Cellar Door, Evermore: The Art of Duality albums and their latest mixtape, It Happened in Flatbush. Under Issa’s instruction, he’s even drawn himself into the artwork for the latter, shown smiling and laughing, amongst the rest of Issa and AK’s inner circle. Not bad for a young kid working from a small town in Canada.

pencilfingerz, underachievers

(It Happened in Flatbush cover art by Pencil Fingerz)

He’s amassed quite a following on his Instagram, where he posts lifelike portraits of public figures like Chance the Rapper, Will Ferrell, Audrey Hepburn and Pickachu, replete with a blunt in his hand.  With talent, a Wacom tablet, a bit of Photoshop, and a rich portfolio of  illustrations of all the rap gods from the golden era and beyond, Pencil Fingerz has since become quickly sought after, for up and coming artists looking to incorporate his signature pencil drawings into their brand. 

We spoke with Pencil Fingerz, on our radio show and discussed his favourite works, his creative problem solving with Chance the Rapper’s management and his collaboration with Complex magazine.

Pencil Fingerz Underachievers cover

(Evermore: The Art of Duality cover art by Pencil Fingerz)


Nep Sidhu brings his vision to the West Coast


We recently received an email from the Surrey Art Gallery, inviting us to check out Toronto based artist, Nep Sidhu’s first solo exhibit, Shadows in the Major Seventh.

It was our first visit to the gallery and we were warmly greeted by Jordan Strom, the curator of exhibitions at the gallery. He introduced us to Nep, who was setting up, and getting the final preparations ready for Saturday’s opening reception. Nep’s exhibit features mixed large scale work in mixed media, sculpture and textile design.

Nep describes himself as an artist linking the ancient with the here and now. When viewing his work, the ancient part stands out immediately – for example: Confirmation, a 3-piece work, created with ink on paper, brass and sheet veneer marble, features Kufic script. Kufic, the oldest calligraphic form of Arabic scripts, was developed around the end of the 8th century in Kufa, Iraq. As Nep gave us a narrated tour of his work, he explained how the ancient Kufic script also serves as the here and now. In Confirmation, the translated script is actually the lyrics of frequent collaborator Ishmael Butler, of hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces. Nep sees timelessness as an important quality of art, so it’s not surprising that his work, overall, doesn’t have too many obvious pop culture references present.



His work is chock-full of global influences. Nep draws from his own Northern Indian heritage, as well as invoking elements of several African and Middle Eastern cultures. It’s a worldly take on the various social justice issues he covers in his work. One work in particular, a series of elaborate textile designs titled Pigs in Paradise, is a collaborative effort with Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin. The garments advocate for the protection of aboriginal women, who’ve been largely marginalized in society. Thematically, Nep’s art is largely tied to social justice issues, and the divine feminine.


Pigs in Paradise

When we were first exploring Nep’s work, we were interested in the concept of Paradise Sportif, a non-commercial clothing line. We noticed Nep doesn’t seem to references collections or seasons when explaining Paradise Sportif, but rather describes his work in chapters. Because Paradise Sportif isn’t a commercial clothing line, it doesn’t operate within seasons or collections. This unique approach to a clothing line is intriguing, in the sense that it’s not inundated with the demands of the fashion industry. Paradise Sportif is made up of materials and processes like embroidered silk, embossed leather, and wool chenille, and are worn by members of Black Constellation and other friends. The modern elements in his clothing – the leather sleeves, silk bombers and vibrant red jerseys would fit in well at major luxury retailers, so it’s surprising that he’s chosen to avoid commercialization. When broaching Nep about this, he explained, “It’s one thing to create pieces in the numbers I do, it’s another thing to be answerable for a large quantity that needs then constant touching base with purveyors of the work. There’s a lot that becomes involved in which, I sort of fall back from, I’m not too interested in.”

For now, it seems that Nep is focusing on his artistry, and communicating his thoughts on issues that are affecting both his community and human consciousness overall. With social media, and the communities that exist online, it’s easy to forget about the physical communities around us, but for Nep, it’s a strong point of reference and inspiration, stemming from his Sikh upbringing.

After looking at his pieces, we sat down with him for a quick chat, about process, timelessness, and his non-commercial clothing line, Paradise Sportif.

Check out the full interview below, after the pictures.

Nep’s first solo show is taking place at the Surrey Art Gallery from April 9th to June 12th

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FUSE: Disruption


FUSE night is a quarterly art event put on by the Vancouver Art Gallery. This summer’s event was titled Disruption, and was a collaborative effort with the ISEA 2015 festival and the New Forms Society. It was an extravaganza which utilized indoor and outdoor stations, creating a sort of adult playground for art lovers in the city.

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