Location: Manhattan, NY | Active: Jan 2012 – Nov 2012
JINN began exactly the night of new years eve 2011-12. The name was supposed to represent Magic and a place to make the impossible possible. After having done E-Lure and Intervenue which were both music related ventures I stumbled too deep into Art last year to make a step backward I thought. Art is the king of all after all. It’s the top discipline in the Olympics of Swag.
I remember walking down the big metal steps for the first time and that it was really cold outside. As soon as you were down there what was initially a bar basement for storage and cooling under 119 Ludlow St. turned into a dry and warm underground spot with endless space all empty waiting ready for the taking.
It was almost like a miracle that we were able to take it on without a down payment or security deposit. The leaseholder before us happened to be an artist himself moving his operations to a bigger spot while still retaining the basement. I said great, in a matter of a month or two, you won’t get the people out of here anymore. Everyone started bringing furniture, couches dope clothing all in one pile like shared with everyone whatever is clean. It began smooth.
I decided to break my rules and move on to the next project with the old crew. Towards the last month of Pennington, there were two cats from 111th Street and Central Park N by the triangle. Its a section right above central park which is between pretty much every culture that you can imagine. It’s like the Bermuda triangle. People from there are different.
Thinkers, makers, splinters. That triangle mini park brought many names to this day. Almost everyone covered in Illuminati tattoos and messages left and right. It was 2012. People on YouTube just caught up on the triangle myth. My decision on working closer with Dreemz and Kid from the Bronx was because they knew about the first rule of any cult. To keep quiet about it. Make it your own.
No one who worked here spoke a word about the Illuminati once. We spoke about new levels of no levels and no measures. Of be here and our way and just did our own thing but the symbol standards were set to triangular as it was the magnet of the time. We had two rooms that shifted their furniture every day. No setup would be the same the next day.
It made sense to feel out everything until we knew what the perfect work environment feels like. Nothing should take up too much space and everything should be accessible on the go without having to sit down or adjust a chair etc.
It was supposed to be like this. 1. capture an idea or spark. 2. fly by your notepad and take notes or scribbles 3. take a 10 minute break and if its still cool, work on it., make it talk. We developed procedures of psychology I brought in from my time in college for print and media engineering and having loved and admired all work of the early Bauhaus movement I knew what it means to say a sentence with a word.
It mashed with Dreemz’s lifelong study on aesthetic in fashion and culture. Combined we developed a serious ability to create a mindblowing design that speaks and shocks.
I opened up all naming rights for the location. Companies started being branded inside like in a factory. Dreemz made Dreemz & Co. the host for all the sales events and agency work. He had contracts and had been selling art before in his life so what was there to lose. I was active as Intervenue as music event host.
My personal goal, to get the big funding cash for conceptualizing and jumpstarting an app platform with low cost of running it and user numbers aiming to be in the 3 digit millions. Cameras were set and ready on every corner. People willing to operate them on hand. Never was i closer to reach this goal.
The picture I imagined way back in E-Lure was back in front of me. Super Nerds that know node.js were missing tho but whatever, we got the other side with the dope people more than covered. No one in JINN needed to be told how to talk what to do to be dope. Everyone performed like a clock and consistent.
I did my best to cover for all the missing rest nerds and stood in between worlds learning and expanding in both every second. The network was kicking I saw my expected numbers and everything was running now through Jinn Network. We had chats, messaging, people exchanging images. We had “in-app happiness” my new favorite and never before experienced form of happiness.
It made me feel assured in my decisions and forgetting the fact that I had no good meal or a real bed under my back since around 3 months and lost weight just looking pale all the time and like overnighted. However, Intervenue still had no app or tech that could live stream. It was basically running in disguise as JINN Network website and being coded while it was live.
We were open 24 hours and there were people 24 hours. If you wanted to sleep you had to sleep right in the middle of a conversation between people and music and the best smelling pot in the LES.
Rase became sort of like the 3rd wheel in this tight space. Many fights broke out between him and the new fam. I watched the whole thing behind my desk quietly and took mental notes and counts. It was mostly about his dogs that would just kill the gallery vibe. The day came when we had art buyers walk down the stairs and Zoe the white German shepherd lady laying in the middle of the gallery eating Chinese food in a torn up container all messy.
People got pissed dogs + Rase had to go. There was no space for so many creatures in one cramped spot and his mom had a huge apartment on 5th ave by upper east 70ish something. Never went there but it was supposed to be dope. No on felt bad to vote him out.
I was so pissed about the dogs myself that all the amazing memories and bond we built up were flushed between the anger of losing out on business. No friendship can survive that unless your insane or just have enough money to rent a gallery space in Manhattan to play around. The last time it was not on our bill to pay rent. This time it was. I was not going to make the old mistakes again that we just made and saw how they hurt us a few month before.
The new tigers had taken charge of the front end of the gallery no doubt. Everyone brought their friends and loved ones to see the new underground speakeasy central of New York. Promoting on all social platforms with great content and our way of marketing it. After a short while of being in the LES we were like magnets to madness. People came and they brought people who brought people…
ASAP stopping in during the setup phase things seemed unreal. He grew up on the same triangle block and knew Dreemz. He be planning the dopest Instagram wall with his crew transmitting so much inspo that everyone and their mother all got on Instagram. I seen it first in ’11 with an artist called Nobody taking selfies all day on the stairs in front of Soho355 and I went like damn this is really happening huh.
But by ’12 Instagram was the dopest shit at the time. You know the only photographers and artist’s “diet” Instagram without any Zucker added and no one’s mom and grandma holding dogs on it. It was the moment when I knew this thing is going to become hot and cause its magnitude no matter what we do.
I learned from past mistakes. Wouldnt let it get out of hand like that ever again. We all gonna make dat big money this year right? We had apps we had art we had art city right outside the door looking at us asking, so what’s next?
I didn’t believe in the need for degrees and status. I loved it the way it vibed after “it.” ideals. We had no boss and leader in any of the movements I was part of or influenced. The learning was at any time that as an artist you are an individual untouchable person that has all the rights and freedom to do, say, make or act anything that you felt like. It was paradise and I made sure to defuse any sign of bossism at its roots to not ruin the garden. We were an army of Generals. I love it this way.
In the second month, I had a fit over the work environment becoming a big cockifesto of the immortal schlang everywhere. Kid from the Bronx made an emergency call bringing in his ex-gf Tie. She showed up at like 4am one night and began working without a job interview or a need to be told what to do. I was calmed down and we now had balance on the genderness. You know for equalism and shit.
Tie added massively to the team spirit. She knew how to set up events and kill it with event marketing on socials before meeting us already, had a car and always showed up organized. She would want to tell you something, then listen to you till your done, and then say no, it won’t work we should do it this way.
I love when people who work with me, care to bring up better ideas than the regular predictable. I love a good surprise and I love when everyone works together and feels like they build something for themselves, not my brand. This place has something for everyone. You just had to know how to take it.
One day I went to Starbucks next door with a client to discuss making a social network practically for marketers. It was about logging moods of people and measuring the mood of the world with all the data in real time. It sounded super interesting and he had contracts on him. I sat down right by the window next to a blonde girl I saw upon walking in and like had the meeting with the dude while being back to back with her.
No clue why but her energy was present and I had a much easier time selling this dude on being able to make this social network for him just the way he imagined in his dreams. The meeting went perfect and upon finishing up with the dude signing contracts, Peanut starts talking to us about how she just walked out of high school like mid march and arrived from Cincinnati Ohio today. She had some clothes and her Ukulele ready to take over the city as a singer, model or anything.
The meeting turned a full success and I invited her to a tour through the gallery along with the dude to show them how we operate. We were a full-blown agency art gallery sort of hybrid thing right next door. I remember telling them that here in this particular space in the city, one can be anything he wants if he or she can imagine being that. It’s that easy really.
Peanut was super low key but had that semi-hidden smirk happening all the time, you know the kind of tiny inconspicuous girl that would light her parents house on fire and be running out both arms up with a hysterical laugh trying to hi-five firemen and shocked neighbors. I felt like at any moment she’d pull out a knife and stab me just for fun. Peanut had the trouble starter, punkin’ instigator thing going on.
Every one of the creatures at JINN instantly loved her and felt protective of her so she became fam. Peanut began learning about Graphics, Design and the psychology behind fame and being famous etc. asked me about every app I had on my screen and how it works. Like trying to learn one in 5 minutes or less with her mom’s white Macbook. I saw the look that I only knew from myself. You know, the “your ready to take over everything and just win, not stopping for nothing and hey f*ck you, who are you anyway look”.
We took photos of her and helped her to some small modeling jobs to start a portfolio. Peanut became out little mascot with her Ukulele, the Red Coat and her long blonde hair waving behind her walking the streets of the LES. Like a big one while 1000 miles away from home. In May she finished graduating high school with an online test sitting in the middle of a noisy party out of control directly around her. I looked at her and knew Peanut’s a rockstar that equally added to this takeover vibe like everyone in the bunch.
Lots of things have improved at jinn compared to Pennington where we would conduct event planning all through word of mouth and in the online artist social network. We had now enough people who knew how to use a laptop to be able to help making event flyers and more and more time opened up for me to worry about other things as the social network for artists were about to be redone entirely with massive swag upgrades.
We were now facing daily walk-ins and I had a station in mind where you can sign up on an iPad and be a part of this madness with updates on all events coming etc. I moved out of facebook entirely and lived on our small but awesome platform. We created custom buttons for everything now.
It was perfect, I brought back Intervenue which had a platform ready and live with DJ shows in a new CMS from Germany that just started out. They sold an insane fast video platform that with its architecture seemed better built as even YouTube at that time. I had it I downloaded off the web it was worth $5000 it cost me nothing.
It was the fact that this like straight out of a movie looking location happened inside the heart of the lower east side movie that is happening on Ludlow street every night. Ppl started saying you can go up the stairs and walk back down in 2 minutes with a girl. Like you didn’t have to walk more than 1 ft. You walked up the stairs talked to anyone around and brought her back down. Everyone wanted to see what is up down there. It was unreal.
So this picture in picture real-life movie scene was something special something worth fighting for. I started calling myself Zero and woke up ready to hack the planet. Like, Milo who? At this point, I wanted “Tim Robbins” to make my coffee in the morning and say thank you. We had it, we put such a big word out there that we forced the momentum, the black hole that opens up only for a very short period of time.
In this time you get your 5 minutes of City Wide attention. Not international or even national. Just that we had forced down New York in terms of New Rebel Art and we fired a plaque into the sky for everyone to see, flipped it and smashed it back upside down onto the concrete. Our way. No one knew how long this would least. Every day mattered.
It’s the surprise factor that you get when working with pirates like we were. We had a super important event that was with announced guests ranking from art curators to Magazine writers and lower east side Social Celebrities and their famous drug dealers. Everyone was lined up we spent a whole day cleaning the place and getting it ready.
I looked around and everything was spotless so me’s at the decks trying music for the night. I have the stairs in sight at all times right so I look up and see white paint coming down the stairs like not a drip or a small spill a flood. I am talking like imagine the shining and then imagine the blood is white. A full bucket. At least it seemed like that to me. I tried to figure out what the hell I am looking at and if its real. Is that our paint from the back oh my god but wait…. stop.
Kid from the Bronx spilled paint all over the stairs. Right after that walking around in his shoes dripped in paint making footsteps all across Ludlow street at already 730pm when people would pile up in lines in front of places and the night was on. Then he’d direct our big spotlight aiming from the floor of the gallery at the door through the opening and out into the passing crowd.
The kid was so proud of his what you could call at this point Art Installation he is jumping around and we do a short moshpit with cranked up slipknot. The light went all the way to the other side of the building. A Block away it would look like a skylight fell over somewhere. Like the scene of an accident.
It was perfect. Of course, the white fresh paint could impossibly dry in 30 minutes. But the talk and the hype of some insane nonsense like this would create something that you can then ask anyone who was there in 50 years and they would remember. Priceless.
It was the most brilliant thing humanly possible that he could have done at that time, that day, with two buckets of white paint while waiting for the guests. I understood that this moment was something very very special for my internal thinking development. It was what actually split my atom for what I am today.
Getting over the organized nerd person in me, which would have freaked, and increasing the kid person in me, that always loved shocking people with things that are surreal and abstract. If those were moments and memories you can give others along with their lives, then it is always worthy to put as much time and effort behind that surprised state as it needs. You are causing a powerful memory. Think of a Hollywood film and those cats that work their asses off for weeks for your 1 1/2 hours of joy. I live for this…
The event was a full success. We had a full house all night, the paint stuck to everything you can imagine. I remember someone from us running towards me like waving head cut head cut. It was cause one of the more famous guests slipped and fell on the stairs got covered in white paint on her expensive pants. It was a ranked person from Burberry. She took it with a laugh thank god.
The stairs regularly made people trip cause of their steepness. It was a bar basement with a whole you could open to the streets and where the barback jumps up and down 30 times a night to replenish. It wasn’t meant as a red carpet entrance but that was the big secret on Ludlow that year.
Then all of sudden, famous visitors. The Social Network just screened the year before and people still think this one guy in the movie is the guy that made facebook. Anyway, so I just saw the movie not so long before that night, when I sit at my desk and see two bodyguard type people come down the stairs. They walk in checking out the place and then right after that, this kid shows up in the gallery. It was the kid from The Social Network.
The whole thing felt weird he had an odd vibe talking to his people like a Hexer or Magician. I asked his guard to take a photo with me to raise credit for the gallery. He didn’t buy anything just walked around checking things out and left. I calmed down and lit up once again to this shocker all smiling when just 3 mins later again bodyguards and feet on the stairs. I think ok he’s coming back but then it was the other dude from Zombie Land.
I went like shit yo nooo one will believe me this one!! I was so into that flick and then the flick like comes into my room unannounced. It was frying my brain. I looked at him like wtf is going on here. The dude is super nice and started talking. When we took photos it turned out they didn’t know us or heard about us but were filming a chase scene right across our backyard for some magician movie or some shit.
I figured thanks for checking us out and letting me take photos of it because let’s be serious, you think anyone would have believed this story afterward with me telling it all overnighted and high? High-definitely not.
We were a magnet for dopeism and fame. Ppls started coming to us with their concerns and we played success psychologist telling people you just have to call your dreams into reality. We had 2-3 month into this and an ongoing momentum going on while the word spread around now in other galleries. Better Artists started showing up leaving them and the events we threw now outside of JINN as just became more sophisticated.[photo of 423 Broadway show]
I was asked to assist with outside shows so it happened that JINN curated large 3 story exhibits like the one on 624 Broadway which turned out into a mega art blast possibly at the peak of this “art sexy NYC re-run” chapter in lower Manhattan that at this point went way past our little gallery. Events would happen every week we were bombed with fliers and the quality of art and creativity of where and how it was presented reached new levels if you ask me. I was impressed to be a part of it.
Art now sold like crazy and we counted money. I talked to an experienced Art dealer on location who would tell me whenever he talks to a client about art he is selling he refers to it as “paper”. He also said that Art only sells if you are able to explain to someone the story behind why it was painted. Without a story no one buys nothing. This cat made over $24k in commission on his 3 to 4 sold walls of his client’s art that night. I was massively inspired and took his advice seriously.[boradway 423 show video cut – 1min or less]
Intervenue could still not go live. It was the 5th month into this Joint venture in this amazing basement where the noise was no factor and parties would now commence every day. How can this be? How could no one pop out who can help me code it? Am I the only person in all of New York who understands platforms and how fly this would be to build.
Nada, Jinn Network remained the “network” and had to be cared for every day improving usability with Artists wishes which I tested and improved with them. Every new implementation was coded right into the main live platform at full risk. There was no time for version control at no time and did I mention no time. The risk level was in the deep (did you lose your mind) red. The website and all the users in it could break and we would lose all data. It would have fallen offline in a second if I can’t keep it together and save things wrong by accident etc. We would have looked like idiots.
I stopped sleeping entirely. It was the concern to miss the incredible opportunity around me to implement it and stream the events etc. It matters how you start out. If Artists share their streams coming out of this place? Intervenue would have banged a wall in a matter of weeks and would have been in mashable etc. If I finally had the tech to live stream everything would change.
One night on some serious weed and booze Kid from the Bronx and me decided to write a letter to Mark Zuckerberg and like to put extra efforts to ensure he really gets it. Not to say we hacked shit ever even tho I sometimes made it look and sound like that to keep things interesting. But he got the message.
In it, we asked for help and like explained how our platform was way doper then facebook and he should invest and support us. It was hilarious. I deleted it the next day banging my head into the wall. Me asking for help. Get the F*cK out. What did we doooo. All the secrets about live streaming spilled and no reply of course. When I read it again before deleting I imagined what I would do getting a message like that.
Had to laugh cause in no word was there any mention of Facebook or how Facebook would profit from this. We ran into his house like carpet salesmen with snakeskin boots and leather portfolio and didn’t include him in any of our proposals lol. (a Few months later I think he bought Instagram and that was a long time forgotten.)
I have no time to keep writing right now. It’s hell. Can’t wait to be back there are hundreds of photos videos work and memories left to tell….. Im starving I have no time for this shit now tho….. peace