“One Big Moving Artistic Machine,” NDSLA
Cousins Rob Hill and Slim Jeff of NDSLA, which stands for iNDependent Stars of Los Angeles, just got back from Art Basel in Miami, where they set up shop at the Brisky Gallery hawking the latest of their custom hand-painted apparel, everything from high-end passport cases to skateboards. If you’re not familiar, NDSLA has been rocked by trendsetters such as Wiz Khalifa.
More than just a clothing brand, NDSLA encompasses all of the arts, including creative manager Jeff’s musical endeavors.
“It’s kind of just like one big moving artistic machine and that’s how we want to make it move,” says Jeff, who performed alongside James Fauntleroy during the REVOLT TV x Green Label party at Art Basel, and just dropped the mixtape, Better Late Than Never.
Inspired by a combination of ancient Egyptian themes, Native American colors and abstract artists such as Frank Stella, fine artist Hill paints every clothing item by hand, similar to how hip-hop artists sample and remix. He first started doing this in high school, after seeing brands like Miskeen displayed at malls in the South Bay area of L.A.
“I always knew he had a bunch of talent since we were kids,” says Jeff. “I don’t think he even realized his potential. He was painting on clothes and bringing them to school and making really great money for a teenage kid. He took it all around L.A.”
After high school Hill joined the Coast Guard and stayed there for an impressive eight years, during which time he developed the precision and clean-cut aesthetics that distinguish NDSLA’s style.
“I enjoyed doing that, being in the Coast Guard and helping people out,” says Hill. “But basically I just want to go out on my own and do something, I’m more of an entrepreneur-type of person, I like the grind, putting the work in."
Which is exactly the spirit you need to thrive in “hectic” atmospheres such as Art Basel, according to Jeff.