043 – Sonya Sombreuil Cohen (Artist/Come Tees) / 7th Year Anniversary Show

#043 – Wednesday, January 18, 2017: Turntabby / 7th Year Anniversary Show – with guest: Sonya Sombreuil Cohen (Come Tees)

Sonya Sombreuil Cohen, is an artist and designer currently living and working in Los Angeles, California.
Since 2009, Cohen has operated the unparalleled Come Tees, a screen-printing press and platform that creates conceptual and narrative garments. Much like her paintings, she draws from a wide range of influences such as comic art, erotica, and consciousness exploration to produce her own unique vision, infused with equal parts humor and depth.
For our 7th Year Anniversary show, Cease to Exist is delighted to welcome Sonya to the program with a Q&A, followed by a heady 90 minute mix of sublime reggae cuts.

Let’s dive right in – Music, film, and philosophy are all consistently incorporated and referenced in your work. I can appreciate how narrative and personal it feels. In addition, you’re re-contextualizing these preexisting ideas into something fresh. Can you expand on this?
I come from a background in painting, a medium which is bound self-reflexivity, constantly referring to its own history and conventions. At the time I started making clothes, the issue of subject matter felt really arbitrary in my practice. The language of painting felt like a bunch of winks and nods. I found myself wanting to be totally explicit about my influences, to call out names and to include my great love of other music and movies. I decided to be as specific as possible about my life in the world: the experience that culture and aesthetics is an expression of consciousness, and ultimately about consciousness itself. The sense of direct communion with other people dead or living through art has been with me since I was a small child. I love the convention of band t-shirts and pictorial clothing, like Nudie Suits or the Seditionaries line. In hindsight, I was keeping my painting practice afloat by making something as personal and functional as possible.

I can deeply relate to this mode of working, because you’re also broadening the scope to something the world can appreciate and resonate with, that perhaps, they wouldn’t have found sooner or otherwise. It’s a beautiful thing for people to connect to different artists and messages this way.
Yes, totally. Being a studio artist, I have a huge appetite and need for music and I’m constantly going through phases of listening to different stuff–I find that I want to connect to people about whatever I’m into at the time–so it’s kind of a self-gratifying project and I’m really blown away how directly I’m able to level with other people, with strangers, through this process. It’s just like Stevie says in “Sir Duke”: Music is a world within itself/With a language we all understand.

It’s funny to think I’ve never asked this, but what does the name ‘Come Tees’ mean?
I started printing clothes for myself years ago, and occasionally I would get asked to print or design for local bands. At the time, it was literally a joke to name my “business” since I financed it myself by waiting tables. I knew I wanted a four-letter word with innuendo (also a joke) and I came up with a bunch of names. I asked my brother for input and his only real preference was that I not use “Come Tees.”

Walk us through an intimate day in your life….
Tough question! I’m pretty erratic but I spend the bulk of my time puttering around my studio. I drink tons of black tea and am always on the move….I work out, I bum around my studio, if I’m lucky I catch a movie.

Favorite memory as a kid?
I grew up with a lot of pets and they all slept in my bed. Sometimes we would raise a couple dozen baby chicks in a cage in my room with a big heat lamp and I would lay awake at night sweating from the heat with my dog and three cats and the rest of the menagerie (turtle, birds) with their little shuffling and ruffling noises, and listen to the chicks intermittently wake up and peep.

A record you never tire of?
I never get tired of this one 60’s garage rock mixtape called Psychotic Reaction my dad made. It’s basically Nuggets, and I’ve been listening to it consistently since I was little.

What are you listening to?
Duke Ellington’s “Unknown Sessions”, E-40, and this week I’m back on Jimi Hendrix!

What are you reading?
George Clinton and P-Funk: An Oral History and Charles Mingus’ Beneath the Underdog

Last movie you watched?
Renoir’s, The Grand Illusion… WOW…drop everything…

Why do you like the movie ‘Slacker’ so much? 🙂
So many reasons. Partially the gripping nostalgia, but mostly because it’s a movie about the mind, about thinking and the exchange of insights. It’s a universe where time is suspended and people are just engaged in a commerce of ideas with no particular motivation or place to be.

What inspires you?
I have amazing friends who are constantly bringing it to the table.

Any exciting projects or endeavors lined up for 2017?
I’m excited to roll out a small line of workwear, and also to get back to painting. Canvases. Straight up.

Are there any causes or charities you want to shout-out or raise awareness for?
I have been donating money to the Lakota People’s Law Project for the past few years and they rock, but I want to shout-out causes and charities in general! Everyone should find one they resonate with and contribute somehow. It’s an amazing feeling unlike anything else!!

Lastly, what can you tell us about this mix you’ve made us:
This mix is sampler of some of my fave reggae slates. My whole family is really into reggae, I was raised since infancy listening to roots reggae, specifically anything produced by Studio One or Black Ark, so this mix feels a little like origin music to me. Its said that one of my big brother’s first words was “Lee Perry…”

Have you ever been to Jamaica?
No, but let’s go! !!!!

*For more information please visit Sonya on — Website | Instagram | Tumblr

Tracklist:
01. Burru Banton – Live on Stereo Mars 1985 ……………….
02. Desmond Dekker and the Aces – Israelites ……………….
03. The Mighty Diamonds – Right Time (live) at Randy’s Record Store 1977 ……………….
04. Jennifer Lara – I’m in Love ……………….
05. Barrington Levy – Black Roses ……………….
06. The Wailers – Mr. Brown ……………….
07. Horace Ferguson – Sensi Addict ……………….
08. Tenor Saw – Pumkin Belly ……………….
09. Junior Bytes – Curly Locks ……………….
10. Alton Ellis – I Can’t Stand It ……………….
11. Lee Scratch Perry – Bick Neck Police ……………….
12. The Wailing Souls – Without You ……………….
13. Junior Murvin – Easy Task ……………….
14. Susan Cadogan – Congratulations ……………….
15. Horace Andy – I’ll Be Gone ……………….
16. Cutty Ranks – Live on Stereo Mars 1985 ……………….
17. The Wailers – Black Progress ……………….
18. Stranger and Patsy – Down the Train Line ……………….
19. Alton Ellis – The Fool ……………….
20. The Techniques – You Don’t Care ……………….
21. Daz Dillinger – Flat Foot Hustling ……………….
22. Dr. Alimantado – Poison Flour ……………….
23. The Congos – The Wrong Thing ……………….
24. Bunny Wailer – Blackheart Man ……………….
25. Gregory Isaacs – Rock On ……………….
26. Bob Andy – You Don’t Know ……………….
27. The Gladiators – Down Town Rebel ……………….
28. Junior Murvin – Rasta Get Ready ……………….

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