Personal Style: Cainnon Gregg
TFN: Where are you from and how did you end up in Charleston?
Cainnon: Well I was born in Virginia Beach and my father was in the Navy so I traveled around a lot mostly in the South. I am from Jacksonville and that’s were I grew up most of my life. I ended up in Charleston because I was on tour with a band a we were doing a tour around the South. I had worked for Urban Outfitters for about a week previously and I got fired because I guess they just didn’t like me for some reason!
TFN: As a Sales Associate?
Cainnon: Yes. So when we were touring through Charleston we stopped at Urban. I saw one of the ladies that were in charge of the opening and she hired me on the spot. When the tour wrapped I moved to Charleston and I have been hear for two years now. So I left music all together.
TFN: What inspires you… You’re the Display Artist at Urban Outfitters (Charleston) right?
Cainnon: Yeah I do all the display for Urban Outfitters
TFN: So how much of what we see in the store is you and how much of it is actually what you want it to be? Because, Urban is a huge corporation.
Cainnon: Well the way Urban Outfitters does it is they rarely tell us that something is none negotiable meaning “This has to be in the store” and I would say its 50/50 my ideas and there ideas because everything is open to adaptation. They want each store to have its own personality, which is why each store has its own artist. So they might say that the concept for the men’s department is black flag and sometimes they will give us something just as vague as black flag and we can translate it literally in to putting black flags allover the area or black accents everywhere and uhhh a lot of it is my interpretation of what they ask for. Making the art that they want to see the art that is hip, adapted to your city and your customer and the environment that your in.
TFN: How do you feel about tattoos?
Cainnon: Well I love tattoos, I am obsessed with tattoos I have half of my body planned out and I have from my knee to my armpit started and I am starting my arm next month. I have my entire body planned out I want it to be the Old Testament bible stories.
TFN: Are you serious?
TFN: Are you one of those people who say they are religious or spiritual?
Cainnon: Umm… I am very religious I don’t consider myself having a certain denomination.
TFN: But do you read the Bible and the Qur'an?
Cainnon: No I don’t read the bible on a regular basis, but umm I would like to be more religious. I want to be an old man and tell my grand children bible stories and point out the pictures on my body. Ha Ha…
TFN: On your old wrinkled body? Ha Ha and there not going to be weirded out by that?
Cainnon: No No they’re going to be into it. Yeah so my arms going to be a dark depiction of Noah’s Ark like all the people drowning and all the animals rushing onto the ark and A more realistic version of the story.
TFN: That makes me think of Hieronymus Bosch his most famous work “The Garden of Earthly Delights” It depicts images of the afterlife, which in some cases can be quite nightmarish.
TFN: So who are some of your favorite designers? Or do you even wear labels like are you that person?
Cainnon: Ummm I don’t really were labels so much but I love Levis. I pretty much won’t wear jeans unless they are Levis. I love basics. I am into cool cottons, clean, a modern subtle shirt. I am not a fan of plaid or even stripes really. I can’t stand wearing graphic t-shirt!
TFN: Why don’t you like graphics, everyone likes graphics!
Cainnon: I feel like I look like a little kid when I am wearing graphics because I’m short. I used to only wear black graphic tees.
TFN: But that’s the rock influence…
Cainnon: Yeah that is definitely the rock influence and as a result I only wear black, grey and white and blue jeans.
TFN: But no designers, there are several designers that do black like Rick Owens and Helmut Lang.
Cainnon: But I do like Zara it’s the European cut.
TFN: That European fit is something else, it’s the reason I don’t own anything from H&M. What about the idea of trendy clothes is that something that ever appealed to you?
Cainnon: I have never looked in a magazine and said “I’m going to start dressing like that.”
I have always dressed out of necessity. I don’t really like the idea of H&M and these stores where they come out whit what ever is trendy and they make it as fast as they can. To me it is throwaway clothing because it lacks the quality of for instance my Levis. I wear them everyday and they never go out of style although the cuts change-
TFN: You know what you like and what works.
Cainnon: Yeah, I never wear old denim “out” I have to wear fresh dark denim. I probably by a new pair of jeans every other month.
TFN: That has to be the easiest way look polished. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten complements on the jeans I was wearing not because it was really fancy but because the had a fresh quality.
Cainnon: Like even if you just get a shirt that still has the creases in it from being folded at the store a certain way its just something crisp about that.
RVAFIXED! SOUL GLO from Mike Schmitt on Vimeo.
TFN: You’re kind of an avid cyclist but I feel like when I use that term you get an image of Lance Armstrong or some one with a 6500-dollar bike. But your collection of bikes must be worth quite a bit I would say?
Cainnon: Sure I might have a 1500-dollar bike ha ha.
TFN: What about biking appeals to you? Or being a hipster biker?
Cainnon: Well I would definitely not like to call myself any type of hipster-
TFN: Because then your suddenly not hip.
Cainnon: -Exactly-I had never even heard the term “ hipster” until I came to Charleston but that’s another story. I am an advocate of bicycling, I like the idea of being totally self-sufficient and relent on myself. Being rid of modern conveniences of a car. I guess the price in the long term is appealing. I am going to use it everyday and they allow to become healthier and as a result live longer. I have had really bad luck with cars.
TFN: Well there is something very liberating about riding a bike. Do you ride “with brakes” or “no brakes” ?
Cainnon: I ride “no brakes”-
TFN: Isn’t that quite dangerous.
Cainnon: Its dangerous for an inexperienced rider, I would certainly recommend newcomers to try brakes out first. I actually found my first fixed gear bike so I just learned how to use it without them. If you’re strong enough- it’s just like having a bike with coaster brakes.
TFN: Exactly I learned how to ride mine without brakes and you have a real sense of control. You become one with the bike.
Cainnon: Yeah it sounds so tacky but you do the drive train of the bike becomes apart of your legs and your literally moving in sync with the bike. When you get tired and slow down you feel that in your stride. It’s a pretty crazy feeling, riding fixed geared is not like riding a regular bicycle because you do feel at one and free like you sailing almost.
TFN: Well because you’re a biker do you feel like you’re apart of that culture of skateboarding and Vans and such.
Cainnon: I would not say that I am apart of that local scene. I don’t really hangout with them, not that I have anything against them, I definitely fall in to the categories of wearing Vans and having a sweet color scheme bike.
TFN: But its something interesting about that, you don’t understand certain things until you do it. With the bike riding, why do they all wear skinny jeans? If you wear boot-cut jeans then the pant legs are going to get caught in the gears-
Cainnon: I fall in to that categories of dressing out of necessity.
TFN: Do you allow biking ever dictate the way you dress? Or because it’s Wednesday and you’re walking to work you’re going to wear boot-cut jeans?
Cainnon: I actually had to get new pedals just so I could wear boots during the winter. I had to get new pedal straps that would fit my boots because my boots make me like an inch taller. I never walk to work! HaHaHaHa.
TFN: So what kind of music do you listen to or like what did you listen to in High School?
Cainnon: Well when I was in high school I listen to a lot of hardcore metal music, I think I did that just because I was so angry and violent. But now all I listen to is like seventies R&B and Soul, and I think its because like I… I can relate to that music like whenever they talk about “Ain’t no other like the one I got.” Like I can say “Yeah” or “I know what you mean” and “I can relate to that.”
TFN: Yeah because you “Got” one
Cainnon: Yeah I Finally “Got” one.
TFN: I know its weird that kind of music only speaks to people in love. But then it speaks to me somehow because I like listening to that kind of music ha ha.
Cainnon: Well maybe it could be something you feel or something you want to feel.
TFN: Yeah, that’s it.
Cainnon: I was actually having this discussion today where we were talking about how my best friend is always going for girls that are identical to him and it took me like this long to realize that I don’t want somebody who’s like me. I want somebody who’s totally different than me…and all my character flaws are like the best things about her you know.
TFN: Yeah, that’s how it has to work you want someone who is going to bring out the best in you.
Cainnon: I am like quick to judge and very impulsive and she wants to examine the situation and weigh out the pros and cons… and uhhh I think that’s kind of working out.
TFN: How do you feel about Luxury items?
Cainnon: They kind of weird me out…just this last weekend my girlfriend was showing me some things her grandmother had passed down to her. It was a sugar dish and a set of salt and peppershakers made by Tiffany& Co. She has been wanting the classic place settings and I have been looking at these different rings. Seeing how much that little piece of metal is and then seeing this big ol’ sugar dish and saltshakers that are totally ornate it makes me wonder what kind of salt or pepper to fill that with.
TFN: I mean there really is only one kind of salt and pepper and that is the refreshing thing about it.
Cainnon: I feel like I would have to buy Moroccan pepper and Kosher sea salt.
TFN: Or go to the salt flat yourself and scrape the salt into the shaker.
Cainnon: Yeah. I am hardcore like that I would totally go to that length just to say that I went all the way. I feel like if your going to do something like that you should go all out.
TFN: Do you get to sit down and read a good book?
Cainnon: I never get to finish a book but I can however get into short stories.
TFN: What’s your favorite short story?
Cainnon: This one called “The Tower” by Steven Millhauser it’s apart of the McSweeny’s 25th volume, and it’s about this tower that this town has been building for so long that they are trying to get to heaven. They have been building it so long that they don’t remember what the bottom of the tower is like, or what they are even looking for at the top. It transcends generations-
TFN: So they are living in the tower as they are building higher-
Cainnon: Yeah, Some people travel up the tower and some travel down the tower but it takes several generations to make the trip in either direction. Its just so big, I think it's trying to say that heaven is just that far away that it takes a lifetime to achieve or not achieve a goal.
TFN: So do you like symbolism?
Cainnon: Yeah, I like it if its no too ridiculously deep. It should be something you could grasp and someone does not have to explain the symbolism.
TFN: There is something a bit pretentious about that sort of thing. Minimalist and Contemporary Art in general is too intimidating to people for that same reason. Some just can’t wrap their brains around something that you can’t obviously see as being beautiful.
Cainnon: Back in Florida on the art show circuit and they would have 100 artist in a club with music an everyone would have their own area to display there art. When you’re in the exhibition space everyone approaches you to ask you to interpret your work and I never wanted to. I have my reasons for taking the photograph but I wanted the viewer to find their own reason.
TFN: Like art should be personal in the sense that you have your reasons for making it, but not in the sense that people should like it for your reason. No one has the same viewpoint.
TFN: If for example you did an opening in New York and one in Tennessee.
Cainnon: MmmHa ha ha ahhh
TFN: The kind of people that are going to see these photographs are so different and their references will be different. I almost feel like the person in Tennessee would get more from it because their view would more narrow.
Cainnon: Well I have family from Tennessee and I can speak from experience when saying, their view is very narrow when it comes to art!!
TFN: Is there any person in your family that influenced your personal style?
Cainnon: Well I think my Grandmother, she is a country wife.
TFN: Did she ever make any clothes for you to wear as a kid?
Cainnon: No, but she would take my siblings and I to Goodwill on Saturdays to let us pick out anything we wanted because it was a dollar for a garbage full of clothes. I would walk out of there wearing the craziest clothes. She just let me wear what ever I wanted. That was when I fell in love with Converse. There was always a pair of red Chucks at Goodwill for some reason. I remember going to school and now I that they were making fun of me but back then I thought everybody thought I was really cool. I would wear red Chuck Taylor’s and bicycle shorts. That was back in Tennessee and that state has a strange style in of itself.
TFN: What is the typical Tennessean uniform?
Cainnon: Well specifically in East Tennessee MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) style clothes are big.
TFN: MmmHa ha ha ahhh, so Tapout…
Cainnon: Yeah and bold front graphic tees or Ed Hardy shirts with the metallic graphics, Affliction. Crazy embroidered True Religion jeans but, its never really True Religion its something that they sell at Ross!!
TFN: Oh NOOOOOO!!
Cainnon: Not to hate on people from Tennessee but, just like my cousins and stuff they come up to me and their like “man what are wearing?” and I am like “man what are you wearing?”.
TFN: Where would they have gotten that? OH YEAH perhaps John Gosselin guy from TLC or whatever they watch on TV.
Cainnon: It’s crazy how whatever is available to you has on your style. I don’t know that if they had options would they use them.
Posted by najee at 10:03 PM