GET FAMILIAR: HOOD MID-CENTURY MODERN
Hood Century is an Instagram account posting the very best of mid-century modern architecture and interior design in hoods from Los Angeles to London, ran by Jerald Cooper, who took the time to speak with us over a video call direct from Indianapolis. We had the chance to cover some great conversation talking about some of his travels and his passion for culture.
Jay, 2020 has been a turbulent year to say the least, how have you navigated through these times?
In December 2019 I came to Cincinnati, back to my crib just to chill and be with my family and then this thing happened, so I just stayed around. I usually base myself in LA and was like "man, I need to be at the crib". Something was just calling me to be home. And so this was one of the greatest years of my life, just being able to reflect, I usually travel like 75%-85% of the time, so being able to just not travel, be still, and like work on the art, was some fucking wild shit. I never thought I'd have the opportunity to have a year like this, where I didn't even need to care about cash or anything like that. so it was an amazing year, I really believe in the sense that our bodies and our spirits are very delicate so I never really assume that we're ever gonna be here the whole time, so you know, any of that, so like the lives that were lost too, you know, you know God bless everybody that is not here in physical form but I really believe in a spiritual realm where everything has a meaning, and so this year has been really transcendent for me, obviously I started my account like a year ago, since like the 9th of December 2019, so this year has been a very effective year, its also the first year of my professional life where I'm not managing, cos I started off on the first ten years out of college managing talent and this is like the first year I'm managing myself as the talent. It's been transcending to say the least.
I mean, you got time you know, I've always been teetering on entertainment.. it's all social enterprise you know, what I just told you about social enterprise stuff right where it's like, socially, we can enterprise because a lot of times, for some reason, social enterprise or like, the enterprises is the devil. The business is the devil, the business aspect is a lot of the time where we lack, the social aspect is what we have, and so its been a good year man, thinking about my practice and also to continue purpose, like everybody has done, you know, working through this purpose. So a lot of the things that I thought I needed I no longer need. This year really put that in perspective, so right now I get to exist in a lighter form because I don't even have a cell phone, well I have a cell phone but it's not ON type of shit. Right now I just don't need that, because I've had that my whole life.
Tell us a little about your earliest experience with Patta..
Wow! This is before the internet, this is before you could get a Patta T-shirt from the internet you know, you couldn't do that, so in order for me to really really, really flex from Cincinnati, not New York not Chicago, from Cincinnati! I had to go grab the T!! I gotta send the pictures to you after this from my Holland trip but like you know, with my experience in Hague, that was a spacial place, to the Woei store in Rotterdam. Like... My first shop.. My first European shopping experience was going to Patta, I think it was 2004 or five or some shit like that, I was a big fan of the brand in the formation, what I saw from the end you know this is coming from a time when I thought Parra was Patta. I didn't even know how to separate Parra over Patta, because again from like this American sort of sense I always seen Parra as artwork, but Patta you know the only thing replacing is these R's & T's... I'm thinking that Parra is Patta and vice versa, the same thing when I heard OutKast with Cee-Lo, but it was like my first rap CD! I was like, "Oh, Cee-Lo's a part of OutKast??!" I didn't understand the features you know what I mean, So.. yeah man it's deep rooted, my love and respect for what you guys have done over there and really just what the community has been able to birth over the last 20-25 years, I think it's time for a retrospect of the design and influence of Parra and Patta! And, You know all those kids from the sound systems and all that shit because I was watching that shit early on.
How did how did you first go about exploring your Passion for design and architecture?
I mean really just like everybody, I got the luxury to travel so even going up to Holland and going to Rotterdam and seeing Central train station some shit, because I would go up to the train station and be like “Yoo! why the fuck is this so sick! Like who did this?!" And one of my favourite stories was going to Rotterdam, to link up with my home girl, having to remember cos I was there earlier in the year, the buildings and shit to get to her lot, like her spot, because for some reason, I didn't have a phone plan there, so when I left Amsterdam, I'm like "yoo ima be there at this time, give me your address," so I knew that when I get to the train station, I at least would have the internet, so she gave me the address so I had to go from the train station in Rotterdam to her ends earlier that year, four or five months before and it was all based on like buildings and my awareness, my social awareness which I'm obsessed with, I'm from the streets, you know what I mean, I'm from neighbourhoods where you have to know who's around you, and you have to know what building is what, and if the doors open or shut, you know just like the stupidest little nuances in the streets you have to know.
How would you describe the engagement from different generations towards your work?
It’s crazy man, to see so many people, and you see it online now, where kids are posting about buildings, they just posting in front of them right?! And you just see the building behind them. So they been fucking with it, and you got the 18-24 year olds, then there’s the 24 and up you know, who are thinking about buying or owning a crib or even vacations, so all these people really engage with it as-well. So it’s crazy to think of it, from the age of 18-65 people are fucking with the shit. And then the thing about engagement, one of the things that makes the account unique is that like the posts that I just posted, where like, you got this house sideways, kinda like how we used to wear our hats, you know what I’m saying.. and that’s how I see it and think of it, so when I write that, some people never really seen that kind of engagement before, but then they see it too, and then they take that, and one of my favourite things, cos like, once you’ve seen that shit, the design... you can’t un-see it. Once somebody introduces you to something that’s in your world and lives in your world everyday, and your conscience mind.. you’re gonna see that everyday, and now that opens up part of your world.
What does the meaning of preservation look like to you?
Yeahh... It’s big G, it’s big! You know, you talking bout Visions… Visions club you know in Dalston!… like think about the feeling that that gives you, you know wherever you are in your life, if you described that to a person, they’ll prob be able to feel you, but they probably won’t be able to feel you like if you had voice recordings, if you had pictures, if you had videos, little slips of the ticket, if you had a picture outside of the dude that used to look at you crazy... like those things need to be preserved, and culture is preservable, because the more confident you are about yourself and your culture, the more you’d be like, man, I gotta save that for later. But if we don’t have confidence about culture then maybe we be like, nah that’s nothing, you know what I mean, but then like we’ll wait till like the BBC be like; oh this was important, then we be like, damn that was important, but it’s like now we actually need to do the work ourselves with our own shit.
So I don’t just think of it as preservation in a building, I don’t, I think about preserving the culture. But In order to really start understanding the identity of a person or a culture or movement, I think that’s what we really need to start doing. And I love what Virgil is doing, I love black archives on Instagram, I love British black archives, and these things are helping us figure out who we are in this place where we were enslaved fashionably, no gaslight, no lie, like we were enslaved and then ripped from our identity and our culture, so then we didn’t know that, yo my grandfather was like this, like we didn’t know none of that, like my great grandfather what skills he had all those years ago, so being able to tell a kid about Visions because they don’t see that in Dalston right now, so they’re thinking Dalston is one thing, but yo actually that shit means a whole-nother thing to a whole-nother culture, and then being able to take all the great people that came out, outta that club, and show people, then maybe people outside of our culture can actually value and understand our culture.
Is there a role in turning visual encounters into visual experiences within preservation?
Damn that sounds like a college question… Yeah man, that's part of the law of my account, like you know, my type of people are like… I'll Come up on something and I'll see it and usually, I don't know if you peeped it but the way I take pictures... because the pictures on my account, there's like my pictures and then there's people's pictures I find, all of my pictures are like POV (point of view) proper you what what I'm saying, and I think a lotta people who try to take the best pictures wind up, like I don't want no car in it… but I'm thinking like, I want to take a picture the way you see it! But you might get out the car and the first time you seen one of the most important buildings that you may have travelled for a while for, you basically are seeing it through a door, you can't help that, so then boom I wanna shoot that, I wanna take that shot!
My home girl last night was telling me about this design/art thing called un-skilling and if you think about historic preservation It has been doused in this whole pretentious world, so that actually has been connecting, so that like people have actually been getting into this thing including me, so I'm thinking, well alright, what if I start shooting shit like I see it, then that de-skilling actually takes off that like pretentiousness, then people feel like they can get into it, and it was a subconscious, conscious decision to do that, so then that experience now resonates quicker, so now, when you see it from opening your door, you think of it as high ground now.
Do you have any other products or publications in the works?
Yeah, so we definitely gonna do a bunch more education on gaming tools around architecture & design, errm definitely gonna work on a historical preservation magazine or journal which we gonna mock sometime next year. We working on a collection of items connected to historical preservation in America and UK. And just many more other things that continue to engage people around themselves to their environment. So next year like its gonna be all educational, so even if I’m dropping a Tee or a sock, mat or a puzzle, you know whatever it is there’s gonna be some learnings in there and I’m really excited about that, its gonna be unique and its gonna be jumping off the pages, and like I said you not gonna be able to un-see it.
Follow Hood Mid-Century Modern on IG and get the Flashcards via https://hoodcentury.com/