Sublime and Artist Darin Vartanian Share Origins of New “Pawn Shop” Video: Exclusive

The post Sublime and Artist Darin Vartanian Share Origins of New “Pawn Shop” Video: Exclusive appeared first on Consequence.

Our new music feature Origins offers artists the chance to give unique insights into their latest release. Today, Sublime’s Bud Gaugh and artist Darin Vartanian break down the new video for the band’s 1996 song “Pawn Shop.”

Throughout this year, Sublime have been celebrating the 25th anniversary of their seminal self-titled album. One component of the celebration has been releasing new official music videos, and today (November 12th) Consequence is exclusively premiering a visual for “Pawn Shop” animated by Darin Vartanian, aka Pix3lface.

Combining Sublime’s signature blend of ska and reggae rock with an organ playing throughout, the fan favorite cut is late frontman Bradley Nowell’s ode to pawn shops. It’s also an homage to “War Deh Round A John Shop” by the Wailing Souls.

Pix3lface tells Consequence his approach to revisiting the classic song was embracing the “influences [that] were so monumental in my development as an animator.” This includes the work of Mike Judge, Nowell’s tattoos, the animation for Pink Floyd — The Wall, flyers from Sublime’s first shows, and the band’s classic sun symbol.

For Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh, the clip reminds him of how happy “Brad was when we got his amp out of hock so we could play shows.” He adds that the van in the video prompts memories of riding “from show to show, looking out the window at every new town we played,” while the bars on the door bring to mind The Fake Nightclub, where they would “jam into the wee hours of the morning.”

Another recollection inspired by the visual is the group’s adventures in the California city of Arcata with “Bobo, Bad Billy, and Heavy Metal Pat and all the girls.”

sublime $5 dollar at the door comic book graphic novel z2 comics
sublime $5 dollar at the door comic book graphic novel z2 comics

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Watch Sublime’s psychedelic “Pawn Shop” video below and read on for Pix3lface’s Origins breakdown.

For more on the Sublime 25th anniversary, revisit our Peer 2 Peer video interview in which Gaugh sat down with Sublime superfan, comedian/podcaster/late night comedy writer Ian Karmel.

Sick and Twisted Animation:

sublime pawn shop video origins mike judge beavis butthead
sublime pawn shop video origins mike judge beavis butthead

Beavis and Butthead (MTV)

“Spike and Mike had these VHS tapes of the festival they showcased all sorts of weird and wild art, I definitely saw it really early on in my childhood and fell in love with smut art and low brow, which led me to Zap Comix and all the greats. I wanted to make weird, crazy, funny stuff. I started animating in middle school frame by frame on paper and drawing comics, and going to hot rod Route 66 car shows with my dad, and checking out airbrush art. But definitely, Mike Judge’s work obliterated any self-censorship I might have had before, nothing was off-limits for me to draw and imagine.”

West Coast Surfer Tattoo Art:

sublime pawn shop video origins bradley nowell tattoo
sublime pawn shop video origins bradley nowell tattoo

Bradley Nowell’s Sublime tattoo

“Most importantly, Bradley’s tattoos from Opie Ortiz were everything and growing up with a grandpa that was fully covered even on his neck, I had an affinity for the styles. Though I didn’t grow up by the beach, we’d often take family trips to uncles houses who lived in Culver City and Venice, so that ’90s childhood memories are still very potent, skate culture, rasta/hippie homeless people, surfers, babes, bonfires were things I only got glimpses of. So hearing Sublime on my dad’s radio I’d always perk up and imagine someday I’d be an artist that drew on the beach all day every day.

“My parents told me every time I’d just run off, they’d find me an hour later talking to some ‘colorful’ folk. I was just drawn to crazy-looking artist types asking them questions and showing them my sketchbook. The art always had a naïveté to it that attracted me the most, imagining the artist was wasted and the mistakes were a part of the appeal. And then there were masters that ‘society’ looked down upon simply for the medium of tattoos, much like graffiti, that always humbled me knowing I’d never be as good as them, they were just too real and dope and I’d have to devote my life to catch up.”

Pink Floyd — The Wall Movie:

“[It] was the first movie album [animated music video] that I can remember forever changing how I viewed animation. Just treating every frame like a piece of art. The guitar at the beginning falling from the sky was an homage to that feeling, the great gods blessing you with the talent for an instrument or medium. The social issues and overarching themes as well I saw in the song, the idea of the ‘Pawn Shop’ being a place where repetitive predatory vices are being exchanged, it’s not like a thrift store right, it’s a much more serious establishment where seedy things happen. So at first glance, the video feels fun and trippy, but each image has a deeper cautionary story and commentary, much like the motifs in The Wall, and much like the seemingly mundane things you’d see at a pawn shop.”

Old Flyers From Sublime’s First Shows:

sublime pawn shop video origins flyer
sublime pawn shop video origins flyer

Photo via Eric Shipley/Sublime Wiki

“The team sent me the old flyers from Sublime’s first shows, and as an art nerd, I immediately geeked out and needed to use them in the piece; breathe new life in the iconic imagery, and share the piece of history to new young crowds. I know what it’s like to be an artist for a band, and you go print the flyers, and you stick em up everywhere, and people years later tell you they still got it in a frame somewhere. It’s such an understated art form of the independent band era, so those flyers are a relic of a golden age of party flyers. Forever, as an artist I’ve always mimicked other artists drawing styles, this was like a treasure trove.”

The Classic Art of Sublime:

sublime pawn shop video origins sun symbol
sublime pawn shop video origins sun symbol

“The Sublime sun itself is such a monumental cultural symbol. There’s a handful of drawings that were burned into my brain, like the Badfish, Lou Dog, the drunken clown, etc. similar to the archival flyers, I just wanted to do Opie Ortiz’s drawings justice, I grew up with those iconic images, and I was always drawing characters in my old high school sketchbooks. When I was a teenager it was considered stoner art and very taboo, and just having long hair all my life, people always thought I had to be super high to draw such trippy things. I knew rasta culture, my uncle, whose entire head is one massive dreadlock all the way down to the ground, was my role model.”

Sublime and Artist Darin Vartanian Share Origins of New “Pawn Shop” Video: Exclusive
Eddie Fu

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