NefrFRESHR (Never Fresher)


Born on September 25, 1977, Jonathan ‘Chaka Mpeanaji' Mahone is an artist that uses arts as a tool for social change.  As one-half of the husband-wife hip hop duo (RAS) Riders Against the Storm, he serves up a powerful lyrical gumbo that spices up the bland flavor of mainstream hip hop today.  

As a visual artist, Chaka gets his influence from artists like:

First and foremost, however, his style and work is influenced by the most powerful art form of the twentieth century: Graffiti.  As a young child, Mahone was captivated by the bold letter styles, colors, and imagery of Graff writers in his hometown of Pittsburgh.  Surrounded by the sounds of hip hop, the Graffiti murals were like cinema to the imaginative youth.

Although Mahone never ventured into painting ‘burners’ on buildings or trains, he did get into ‘tagging’ the name Bés (pronounced BASS) all around the city as a teen.  Skills as a cartoonist/illustrator gradually developed into screenprinting and graphic design.  In the summer of 2004, Chaka and the legendary Angel Garcia (aka VASE ONE) co-founded TRUSKOOL STUDIOS, an after-school arts program that focused on Providence-area Black, Latino and Asian youth.  Mahone and Garcia taught youth screenprinting, mural painting, sign painting, graphic design, and entrepreneurship.  More than 400 students came through TRUSKOOL’s doors from 2004-2007.

Today, Mahone is launching a new venture called NEFRFRESHR (pronounced Never Fresher) – a clothing line from his heart and soul.  The name, NefrFreshr, derives itself from the historic queen of Egypt, Nefertiti. Egyptians did not separate art from religion or science.  Hieroglyphics were a complex code of symbols that contained layers of meaning. As an artist, Chaka's work always has some spiritual, social, and/or political coding to it. But, as a designer, he also want his work to be fly and attractive - something familiar, but with a twist that represents a combination of the native/indigenous and the modern/urban energy.



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