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Paper Friends at the Cycle Club SF
There is a little bit of everything going into Steven Nereo's show at the San Francisco Cycle Club this weekend. The focus of the show, Paper Friends, is on illustrations Steven has continued to develop over the years. However, his drawings will not be the only thing on display. Nereo's extensive work helping fill out the Los Angeles Survey section of the Rapha Blog will play a part to helping paint a picture of the man himself. After a brief chat with Mr. Nereo we were a bit closer to defining the show, but its multi-faceted approach leaves much to interpretation. Make sure to stop by this Saturday, February 16th for the opening reception at 7pm.
RAPHA: Who are these characters that you are drawing? Are they real people in your life?
STEVEN: Well, I have been drawing them since high school but they aren't real people. Though, there is one girl that I draw over and over. They are more like small self-portraits, with each one of them representing a different personality or thought. I just keep working on them over and over again and refining the thoughts, though I’ve never really put it into words like that before.
Are we also going to get to see some of your bicycle-related photography?
Yes, mostly because I have been taking pictures of my friends for years now, and they are always present. There are a good number of the Survey photos that will be a part of it as well.
Aside from your friends, how do you choose the people that you shoot for Survey?
Well, they have to be interesting, but in a way that doesn't necessarily fit in entirely. I don't usually look at someone and think, "Wow, that person looks so cool, I should shoot them". It’s more like, "Wow, that looks like someone totally interesting. Looking back ten years from now I'd love to have a photo of that person."
And what are people's reaction to being asked to be shot? Like the Mapei guy, what did he have to say about it?
Well, he was pretty stoked and definitely appreciated the attention. I mean, check out that kit, he has it all there. He didn't even really want to hear what it was about, he wanted to get his picture taken and then get out of there.
Do you have a favorite Survey photo that you have taken so far?
Well, there was one guy on the rusted out beach cruiser with the surfboard (Life's a Beach). He was an interesting one. I sort of laughed a little inside at his Hollywood-dude-in-Venice-on-a-Sunday style. Off course, by the end of the conversation I realized he was a lot like any of my friends and I could see hanging out and drinking a beer or three. I like the idea that I’m completely judging someone on their looks, but by the end of shooting I have a totally different perception and respect for who they are.
Why San Francisco? Why does this make for a great venue for you? What history do you have with SF?
Actually, I went to school really close to the Cycle Club at the San Francisco Art Institute, which is interesting because I didn't really fit in with the whole contemporary art scene that was happening there. That was difficult at the time because I was young, impressionable, and a bit insecure over what I wanted to do artistically. So it’s funny to me to have a show so close to the school that was completely uninterested in what I was doing with my time there.
There were only two or three professors I felt were helpful for me, the most being filmmaker George Kuchar. He was the antithesis of everything that was happening at the school, believing that if you wanted to make something, you just made it, without concern of what other’s thought. He once told me, "…anything you make, you're going to offend someone, so, you might as well offend them all."
From working with him I knew he didn’t mean you go out of your way to offend, but instead go out of your way to not worry what other’s think, which has served as great advice for me in dealing with our hyper-critical world.
Aside from drawings and photography Steven Nero will have a few other pieces on display at the Rapha Cycle Club. One will be a bicycle that he has hand painted to co-ordinate with the show and the other is a limited water bottle that includes a selection of Steven's illustrations.
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