Mishka and JK5 Collaborate
- Words: Tyra Bangs
Many people’s childhood action figures ended up broken and discarded in dusty thrift-store bins, but for 36 years, Joseph Ari Aloi has kept his plasticine best friends close to his heart–and his art. Much of the work of this bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and sometimes blunted Brooklyn artist (also known as JK5) is inspired by toys and TV, erasing the lines between personal and spiritual mythology and pop culture. Fellow Brooklynites Greg Rivera and Mikhail Bortnik–the duo behind the Mishka brand–became kindred spirits with Aloi when they shared a warehouse building in Williamsburg with Saved Tattoo, where JK5 spends days grafting fantastical images onto bare skin. Bonding over a shared obsession with Star Wars, toys, and satire, they embarked on a collaboration to turn Aloi’s 1999 book Subconsiothesaurusnex into a clothing collection. The three tore apart the book’s 432 pages to create two giant collages, which form the basis of a color-saturated all-over print that adorns a sweatshirt, shorts, a New Era hat, and the lining of several cut ‘n’ sew items (such as a hoodie embroidered with a hot-pink brain). Bucking the trend of streetwear that’s bereft of meaning, the print is rife with veiled references, doodled parodies, and even a photo of Joseph’s dad. Part of Mishka’s Spring ’08 line-up, JK5’s collection will be in stores in mid-February, around the time the clothing line opens their flagship on Broadway and Keap Streets in Brooklyn. Prepare to bug out.
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