If you have seen a tiger ripping the intestines of a young villager to shreds or an 8-foot cobra slithering around a severed mythical sultan head, chances are high our latest Friday favorite had something to do with it. When he’s not hustling dice games on sidewalks, getting mistaken for Denzel Washington (true story!), or on an impromptu weekend road trip, you can find him cooking dinner for friends or reading Damien Hirst and Oscar Wilde transcripts at Brew&Brew. For his next solo art show opening September 18th at our east side crush, Charm School Vintage, he will be building a tropical jungle with ancient ruins looking to the past to examine relationships with nature and our own dreams and paranoia. He also recently put out his first streetwear capsule collection with Arizona based label, AmanKouture, and is doing perfume bottle design for SISTER at Feliz. Meet Austin based artist, Manik Raj Nakra.
USHER ”MANIK” RAYMOND
When Feliz asked me how I would spend a day in Austin I thought….Umm, ok?
My morning begins stumbling out of bed and sleepwalking to my stereo and putting on some Chris Brown or Usher. No one gets me motivated to seize the day (and dancefloor) like Chris Brown. And Usher, well, what can I say that hasn’t already been said…..it’s Ursha, baby. If you want to know where I would go eat breakfast, I have to admit, I’m not much of a breakfast person. I make a couple eggs and hopefully I have some of my mom’s spicy mint chutney in the fridge. Pair that with a mango, a big a$$ glass of water, a cup of Irish breakfast tea and I’m done, onto the next activity. I like to take no more than 15 minutes, including cooking and eating, for breakfast. But if she’s cute, I can get talked into going out for breakfast sometimes. I like Pacha and Amayas Taco Village. Just don’t look at me funny when I order chicken enchiladas and a margarita at 10am.
Hmmm…what should I do next? Oh yeah. I have to pick up some pants from Dress Smart Tailoring. I get a lot of my clothes tailored after buying. The key to dressing well is not wearing designer or trendy clothes, but to wear clothes that really really fit your body. If the garments you are wearing look like they were designed for your shape only, you will most likely look nice. Dress Smart Tailoring is dope because Erin (the owner) is so easy and humble to talk to about what you want. She’s also got great ideas of her own and doesn’t make me feel like a f#$kface for asking my inseam to be taken in a second time on the same pants. I like going here too because it’s attached to Farewell Books and Las Cruxes. This place is my clubhouse. I get to hang with two of Austin’s most charming, Mikaylah and Travis, at Farewell Books and one of Austin’s secret weapons, Veronica, at Las Cruxes. I hang out here and look at Drake memes with them, talk movies, go over last night’s illicit activities, or geek on the new Julian Schnabel book and zines. I am likely leaving this place with a zine of paintings of Chinese food or something else rare and way cool.
GOATS ARE FOR CURRY
F#$k, it is 100 degrees outside. What’s a boy to do? Swing by one of my two favorite food trailers, Cazamance or Loveballs, for some lunch to-go and head to my art studio and spend the hottest part of a Texas day doing what I do best. I wish I could say it was playing in the NBA, or being a scientist, or one of Usher’s back up dancers but alas it is making paintings in oil paint and watercolor and adding silver leaf and gold leaf to this and that. Chef Iba’s French/African cuisine from Cazamance is an inspiration though. Both in my own kitchen and the studio.
After a whole bunch of African curry and kimchi octopus, I like to ball outdoors on basketball courts that aren’t maintained well. I like all the variables that come with hood courts. Go to Alamo Park for some serious full court team games, Pan Am Park to just shoot around with my friends, or Patterson Park if I wanna get dunked on, talk a bunch of s%*t, gamble, maybe get into an altercation. Fun!
There are a bunch of cool bars in town but I wanna shout out The Elephant Room because no one else does. It’s in the brick basement of a 90 year old building downtown. I have been going there off and on for 8 years and it hasn’t changed at all really. The weekends are a mess and loud and draw a crowd that sucks, so I only go on the chill weekdays. Some of the best jazz musicians play their famous Monday night open mic. Also a secret, everyone looks f#$k-able in this bar. No joke. The lighting is very minimal and the shadow play on the brick walls from all the candles is sexy. The night ends one of two ways, lighting fireworks in my backyard under highly unsafe conditions (because otherwise, what’s the point) or falling asleep to Seinfeld, Conan O’Brien, or a Pedro Almodóvar movie. My all-time favorites are What Have I Done to Deserve This? and The Skin I Live In.
Photos// 1 Manik's own// 2 Dress Smart Tailoring// 3 Manik's own