Style, Substance + Sonics - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Style, Substance + Sonics

By Datwon Thomas


Because the way you express yourself through your headphones says a lot about your musical tastes. Show off that extra bass in your style.

The way to show your cool factor is no longer boasting about your exclusive sneakers or a super expensive watch, but by what you rock as headphones. It’s not about the music so much anymore, and more about your headset, which should be stylish and custom designed.  

Sylvester’s creations are permeated by the appearence of round-edged lighting bolts and positive and negative pods of energy…

Enter a young upstart in the world of visual entertainment that’s taking a road frequently traveled, but with a twist. Oakland-born artist Reginald Sylvester who goes by the handle “Slvstr” is looking to be the next Takashi Murakami (the famed Japanese contemporary artist/sculptor) or Kaws (the legendary graffiti writer turned visual artist). Sylvester doesn’t sweat the many comparisons of his own work with his idols, he actually embraces it.

“I view my style being similar to theirs by giving people the feeling that I get when I view their work. It’s positivity passed on,” says the San Francisco Academy of Art alum. Where Murakami and Kaws grab your senses in an out-of-this-galaxy way with their vivid paintings, Slvstr accents the same sentiment with over-the-top space ’scapes. In his pieces, his own character, Sly, a smurf-colored panther cub, runs wild through the trippy universe Sylvester creates. Many of Sylvester’s creations are permeated by the appearence of round-edged lighting bolts and positive and negative pods of energy, which Sylvester says represent the “good and the bad that enters one’s life at any moment.”

Now the twenty-something artist is transfering his works to more mass market brands. Music producer/entrepreneur Swizz Beatz flew Sylvester to Miami, Florida for his son’s birthday party and had Sylvester paint a royal piece with Swizz’s son sitting on a throne. The relationship with the hit-making superstar led to Sylvester taking his skills to one of the hottest products you can have nowadays…headphones.

And we should take that relationship seriously: Swizz Beatz is an authority on contemporary art and is the creative advisor at various companies including sneaker brand Reebok, Lotus cars and art legend Jean-Michel Basquiat’s estate, and he’s got an ownership stake in the innovator in portable sound, Monster Headphones. Beatz, noticing Slvstr’s design aesthetic, had him make 50 limited-edition Monster DNA PRO headphones for this last fall’s Art Basel festival in Miami.

The high-end sound producers are usually a single color or come matched with one base primary tone (with a neon splash of color for shock effect). But with his latest version, Sylvester made his mark by incorporating thunderbolts and wild imagery, calling it the “Sly vs. Slick” piece. It represents slices of a larger piece of the same name.  Originally for sale at the SCOPE Art Show in Miami a few weeks ago, those $350 headphones came with a 15”x15”-sized print of the whole original scene, and were also autographed and numbered by Slvstr.

If you are into art and sound, you can also buy them direct for $300, a perfect way to appreciate both while enjoying your favorite tunes.

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