Kuya George walks up two flights of steps, up to True's office, where he sits down and exhales deeply. There is a smile on his face, like this is his first chance to sit in a while, like he's been grinding as long as he remembers.
This Saturday, the "George Anzaldo for True" collection drops at our flagship location. It's, by all accounts, a labor of love, a natural union between one of the most talented artists in the Bay and the clothing brand that helped drive his art at a young age.
The logo set it off for me, True spoke to me as a kid. I remember finding this Aesop Rock Labor day shirt here... My first memories of True were walking and hearing A Tribe Called Quest, I remember seeing all of the polaroid photos and seeing people I was a fan of - Mos Def, Dave Chappelle - and thinking 'wow these people shop here.'
He stops to check his phone and I remember to ask about his online presence, namely his Instagram where his art has garnered a large following.
Honestly, I'm pretty new to all of this. I like to think my posts can be the artistic break in people's feeds, which I think people appreciate given all of the selfies, the food pics, the shoes. I try to do 1 post a day, my art for that day.
Behind George, I see the spec artwork for his pieces. Most are examples of his writing, a style he describes as "urban callligraphy."
That first one, "The Journey Is the Reward," my thinking was, the journey is all part of where you're at now, your destination never feels like the end... I was in South America not too long ago for my art we had get through Colombia and Ecuador to get to Peru, and we're in someone's minivan. I'm dead asleep holding my shit and we're stopped by cops.. It just gave me.. perspective.
The artwork below is more script, "You Rule Your Own Destiny."
Being an artist, I wanted to take control of my life, to be my own boss and feel in control - my destiny. I lost a friend, he got shot breaking up a fight, and it was reaffirmation that life is so, so fragile and it empowered me to rule that part of your life.
He pauses for a second and looks up at another piece. He smiles.
The Ice Cap letters, it's like saying "so cool," like "we're cooler without even trying." That's how I always felt about True and the people who work here. It's always about the subtle details.
Downstairs, the thumping 808s are still bumping. Soon the music transitions into another Tribe Called Quest song.
Full circle, indeed.