AMFFSC — Hypebeast
Posted by Celes Mang on
Atlanta-born Jonathan Simmons, widely known as Gunner Stahl, was working at a Dick’s Sporting Goods three years ago. Now the 27-year-old photographer is a phenom in the industry, widely-recognized for his raw portraits of famous rappers including the late icons Nipsey Hussle, Mac Miller, and Juice Wrld.
Stahl recently compiled an intimate selection of captures for his new book titled Portraits: I have So Much to Tell You. The book features archival images alongside recent, spur-of-the-moment snaps of Lil Yachty, The Weekend, Playboi Carti, Gunna and more. To celebrate the publication, the artist teamed up with Red Bull Music Festival Atlanta to launch a solo exhibition on November 1 featuring large-scale displays of the portraits in his new book.
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LA-based artist Matt McCormick, who designed the cover artwork for the issue, evokes this struggle to reconnect through his paintings of American heroes and cowboys. “It’s kind of like painting the world that I want to live in,” says McCormick. “It’s all based around getting to this place of mental freedom; it’s a series of so many pieces to get to that feeling of the quietness which for several years I took the shortcut with the drugs to do that…This is my way to feel at peace.”
When his career progressed beyond being a celebrity tattoo artist, McCormick’s style reflected his interest in classic American icons and the environments they inhabited. Far from a surface-level portrayal of these Old West figures, the artist’s personal experiences with substance abuse constantly impact his work. “I’m sober for a reason. I was a heroin addict for several years and the thing with heroin, and you know opiates and all that, in general, is that the state quiets everything … the reason I bring that up is because of the feeling that I’m chasing with all these different pieces,” he says.
We connected with McCormick at his studio in Downtown Los Angeles for the latest installment of HYPEBEAST Impressions. Watch the video above to see the entire visit with the artist.