JULY 15th, 1983
I was born in San Jose, California to Olga and Michael Galbshtein; an outspoken, artistic, comedic duo from Saint Petersburg, Russia. My doctor was rushing to leave for a weekend golf tournament, thus pressuring my Mom to either let me out or wait the following week for his return. I was eager to create, so she let me out.
My parents were given the choice to leave everything and everyone they knew behind and move to the United States of America. Note that this was when the Soviet Union was extremely communist and leaving meant maybe never being able to come back or see any of your loved one again. At a young age my parents were already living comfortably with all the goals met every soviet era Russian strives to achieve. They had a flat, a summer house, a nice care and enough incoming cash to keep them worry free for a while. Their comfort did not hold them back from deciding that the USA would be a better place to raise their children, so they packed up my sister and left.
QUALITY ENGRAVING & AWARDS CO.
Fast forward to the same year I was born. After living in Italy, Ohio, Canada and now San Jose my Dad saved enough more to start a company of his own. Back in Russia he was an Engraver so naturally he opened an Engraving and awards shop in Downtown Mountain View, CA simply called “Quality Engraving and Awards Co. He was the only Hand Engraver in the Bay Area. His customers even included the Grateful Dead and the San Jose Sharks. His business lasted for 30 years.
Art was always in my nature. As long as I could remember I was always completely infatuated and obsessed with all forms of art. After seeing the completion of my first school art project my Kindergarten Teacher Mrs. Flanegan took my parents aside and said “I think your child is going to be an artist”. Was Mrs. Flanagan a modern day Nostradamus? For most of my Elementary School career my art always depicted some kind of storyline. It was never just here is a picture of a ladybug. It was here is a picture of Rambo guarding a castle from a treehouse while bad guys in futuristic armed cars try to invade it. In the meantime the princess sits int he castle worried about her well being and of course for Rambo because she has a secret crush on him.
1989 THE RETURN TO RUSSIA
In the late 1980’s Russian Leader Mikhael Grobachev advocated a political and social reform called “PERESTROYKA” (reconstruction) and “GLASNOST” (openness) this reform makes tourism into Russia possible for the first time since 1917. In June of 1989 my parents, my sister and I were able to go to Russia for the first time since they left 11 years prior. From then on (with exclusion of my older years) I spent all of my summers in Saint Petersburg, Russia at our old flat and at our run down summer house in a little beach village on the gulf of Finland Narva-Jõesuu. A little fact about Narva-Jõesuu is for the first 5 or so years it was Russia and then one summer when we were there there was a revolution and now we were in Estonia. This is when I met all of my relatives for the first time including two heroes of mine. My aunt who I called Anna Eagle (This is a whole story of it’s own” and my Grandma Lydia Elinishna Orlova whom at the time was my only surviving grandparent (R.I.P. Grandpa Boris and Grandma Fiona. Grandpa Dimitri went missing and his whereabout are unknown. He suffered from memory loss, but my mom sometimes thinks he was abducted by aliens). I must add that three generations of men on my moms side had gone missing first my Great Great Grandfather Nikolai Zinovich Orloff had gone missing after running away from the Bolsheviks who were raiding the town, killing notable people and stealing their riches including ours. Next to go missing was my Great Grandfather Vladimir Nikoliavoch Orloff followed by my Grandpa.
A little about my aunt
Luckily my Aunt was born once World War II finished its whirlwind of terror. She did not have to suffer through the Nazis brutal blockades as my Grandma did nor did she have to live off of breadcrumbs for every meal as my Mom did. For this reason her childhood was a little happier than my Moms and that is in no way her fault. Since she was a child she muddled her way into as many artist ventures as she could. Starting with being a child actress. At this time child stars did not get paid, it was pretty much volunteer work. If an actor did get paid it was about the same amount as a cashier at a run down fish stand. Marxism included even wages for everyone. Sadly everything that was filmed went straight to broadcast television without any known physical recordings in existence. Along with acting my Aunt was obsessed with fashion. She had taught herself to sew at an early age and throughout the years developed techniques that only extremely experienced seamstresses had mastered. As everything seemed to be moving in right direction my Grandma suffered a stroke leaving her severely disabled. My aunt vowed to give up hear dreams and fully take care of my Grandma.
A LITTLE ABOUT MY GRANDMA
My Grandma was a strong inspirational lady. Kind of like the stereotypical vision of a Russian lady during the Communist era. Someone that could pick you up and throw you across the room if you were out of line. She was a brilliant Artist, an English Teacher and a kind surviving soul. She looked death in the eyes 3 times in her life and said “not yet”.
As she was walking down the streets of Leningrad she was suddenly tackled to the ground. A soldier then picks her back up and says “I’m sorry I had to push you on the ground that missile would have taken off your head”.
A bomb hits my Grandmas flat (apartment) turning it into a pile of rubbish all but the table she was hiding under.
The war had just ended, but the war for survival did not end for my grandma. After the blockade was over all apartment were to remain unlocked, so they could be checked for survivors and take out the dead bodies. When they checked my grandmas apartment they found her on her deathbed dying of starvation. They quickly rushed her to a nearby town which was ailing to the sick and sounded. She was so thin that the towns people would come look at her like she was a sideshow attraction.
FLASH FORWARD! Shortly after my parents left for the USA my Grandpa put his hat on and left on his daily walk only this time he never came back, months later my Grandma suffered a stroke leaving the right side of her body paralyzed. Her paralysis included her tongue, meaning for the most part she could not talk. Since she was right handed it also meant she could not write or draw. Instead of sulking over her disablity my Grandma taught herself how to write and draw with her left hand even better than she did with her right hand. The drawings she created were almost as amazing as she was. I got to see her for about 15 summers before she passed away. We would draw together, play checkers (I think she let me win) and drink tea.
I have since been to many amazing places around the world and Saint Petersburg, Russia and Narva-Jõesuu, Estonia are still my favorite places in the world when I need to refresh my mind. I must mention my quaint summer house in Narva-Jõesuu does not have running water, a shower or a toilet inside the house and I like it that way.
TROUBLING SIGNS OF MY ADDICTION TO FILM
For years I begged my Mom to let me use the family video camera. I looked at it as such an extravagant and sacred privilege. The idea of being able to capture moving life and replay it over and over again was astonishing to me. My Mom finally made me a deal that when I turn twelve she would let me use the video camera. Staying true to her promise on my twelfth birthday she handed me the video camera, instantly it became my new best friend… Sorry Andrew. For my first film project I would document my summers in Russia, spend fall and winter editing the footage and then premier my creation the following summer. All my friends and family would gather to relieve the previous summer through my eyes. Seeing the joy on everyones faces gave me a euphoric feeling that I have only been able to feel though film. Even through my long fashion career I never felt the intense earthquake of emotions I would get from editing together a self proclaimed masterpiece. Since I was always very deep into the music scene my next film making endeavor involved filming musical acts. I started with a variety of local bands and moved my way up to film notable acts such as: Head Automatica and Hoobustank. (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
a SEVEN year olds first venture into entrepreneurship
At the age of seven I opened up a tattoo shop in my garage. For the low price of 25 cents I offered a variety of tattoos, my favorite being a Ying Yang with wings. I was only open for one day and had zero customers, but that never killed my entrepreneurial spirit. My tool of the trade was a Bic Pen, so it’s not like they were permanent. GIVE A KID A QUARTER!
MODERN MISCHIEF: The story of my first clothing company (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
When I was about 19 years old I started going to an “indie” dance night called “Popscene” at little club in San Francisco named The Rickshaw Stop. It was held every Thursday night and usually a musical act would perform before it erupted into a full blown dance party. What was extra cool about Popscene is for a pretty small space it would book very well known acts, making them extremely accessible. The accessibility was great both from a fans stand point and from a business stand point. The more I frequented Popscene the more I felt that everyone looked like a carbon copy of one another. With my constant need to stand out in a crowd I started spray painting my artwork onto blank T-shirts. Every time I would wear one of my designs I would have a slew of attendees asking me where I had purchased my shirt. Right away a light bulb (at the time a neon light bulb) went off in my head and I decided to take things a bit further and create a line of T-shirts.
Popscene was not the only place people were asking me for my shirts, I was also constantly questioned on both Friendster and Myspace every time I posted a new picture. The more I thought about it the more I realized that through fashion I could combine all of my favorite art forms into one. When you have a brand you need design, draw, take photos, make videos it pretty much involves every art form that there is. Even if you are an interpretive dancer you can incorporate that into a clothing brand. The possibilities are endless. From a marketing perspective I already had an advantage to put my brand into the publics eye a lot faster. See I had already been filming a number of notable bands for years , so right away it clicked that I could give them my T-shirts to wear. Their loyal fans who strive to be like them would see my designs and want one as well. My plan ended up working extremely well. There was only one problem I was getting feedback that customers designs were washing off of their shirts after one wash. The guy in Sacramento who I was recommenced to because he was cheap and the only person I could afford had cured the ink incorrectly causing it not to fully set on the shirt. Right away that reminded me of my dads favorite quote that he had on a plaque at his shop “Good work ain’t cheap, cheap work ain’t good”. (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
my magical parents (under construction)
I was lucky to be blessed with parents that believed that their child should be anything that makes them the happiest. Of course they wanted my sister and I to become a lawyer or a doctor, but more than anything they wanted us to follow our dreams. They did everything in their power to help us. When it came to my clothing companies for years my Mom packed orders for customers and my Dad would sit and make thousands of pins that I would send for free with every order. They both also stared in many of my homemade movies. My Mom and Dad first met working together at a gift shop in Leningrad. My mom was the Manager and my Dad was the shops engraver. They quickly hit it off and my Mom became pregnant with my sister. At the time them being a couple was very controversial because my Dad was Jewish and my Mom an Orthodox Christian. This was very unusual for a lot of Russians in that era, but that did not stop them.
My Mom: OLGA ORLOVA
My mom was born in Leningrad shortly after WWII. The country had just gone through a blockade, so there was a massive shortage of food. My Mom was so malnourished that her doctor told my Grandma to be prepared to bury her. Right away my Grandma wrote a letter home to her Mom telling her of the horrible news (this letter still exists). My Great Grandmother jumped on the next rain and together they were able to nourish my Mom back to life. My Mom was always known as the girl always smiling and always laughing. She could talk to anyone about anything. She was also extremely giving and warm. If anything ever went missing in my room it was my Mom giving it to the less fortunate. I still miss my Kurt Cobain shirt, but it’s okay. She is also the type of Mom that you can go to when you are worried about anything and she will tell you everything will be okay and you calm down right away because she is so believable. She was always 100% devoted to her children and would drop everything to make sure we were okay. She never showed signs of fear even when were flying over Frankfurt, Germany and lightning hit the plane. I was terrified and my mom told me it was no big deal at all. She actually just told me recently that when the lighting hit the plane it was one of the most horrific experiences of her life, but there was no way you could have ever known. (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
MY POPS: MiCHAEL GALBSHTEIN
My Dad was born only a Day after my Mom to a WWII hero and an ex-KGB employee. In his younger years he was always getting into mischief, creating art and. Two of his best friends whom were brothers died in a fiery car crash, which was rumered to be set up by the KGB.
We have a running theme of kindness in my family and my dad is beyond kind and extremely selfless. He worked six days a week to make sure we never had to struggle. Anything we needed he we get for us and weirdly because of that we didn’t want much. My dad should have not been an engraver though he should have been an actor. His humor, his facial expression and his creativity was reminiscent of a young Charlie Chaplin. There was only always one question for my Dad that I have not asked him… How did he get a telephone into the Photo Booth? (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
GLAMOSAURUS: The story of my SECOND clothing company (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
Instead of releasing a high in demand second season for Modern Mischief I felt the need to start another company that involved my extreme infatuation with Japanese Culture. Modern Mischief’s first season was still constantly selling out so I figured I could hold out a bit longer. I also felt that Modern Mischief customers would potentially float over to the new brand treating it as a second season of Modern Mischief.
YEAH SHE’S MY SISTER! (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
Technically she is ten years older than me, but I have been known to take on the role of the older brother. I have thrown an abundant amount of school boy crushing skateboards in our swimming pool. As a kid I thought my sister was the coolest human alive. I looked up to her more than the sky. She shaped a vast majority of my musical tastes with the exception of metal and hip-hop. Even though she is currently friends with Beyonce and Jay-Z’s chauffeur she still thinks “Jay-Z” is spelled “JZ”. We would drive around in her constantly overheating Fiat X1/9 looking for aliens and singing along at the top of our lungs to the Cranberries. A strange fact is 20 years later we spent New Years with the singer of The Cranberries. By being older my sister paved the road before I walked on it. Seeing her path helped me figure out what I wanted to do in life. She had various positions in the film industry, owned a liquid latex company and is currently a top ranking stylist for the likes of Jessica Beal, Arianna Grande and many other celebrities in New York. Her work has also been praised by the late and great Alexander McQueen. On top of that she also teaches online fashion classes at Academy of Art.
MASKED: The story of my THIRD clothing company (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
I was sketching a new design for Modern Mischief and my hand involuntarily drew the Masked logo. I felt the need to start a revolution.
SChool WAS cool, but i learned A LOT more in the real world (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
Before and while running my clothing companies I was juggling school. Sometimes less classes sometimes more. I wasn’t in a huge hurry, so I wasn’t going at full speed. One of the biggest things I learned from school is that without building connections during schooling and afterwords it is extremely difficult to wiggle your way into your field. Luckily for me I had been building my career castle way before I even fully knew what I wanted to do.
Film projects (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
Through my clothing brands I was able to make a lot of connections in the music industry. I was given the opportunity to work on a number of music videos. Some of my roles included: Camera Operation, Grip, Styling and Assistant Direction.
SOBER IS SEXY: The story of my FOURTH clothing company (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
I was doing a photoshoot with social media influencer Hanna Beth for my clothing brand Masked. After we were done Hanna said that her Mom would like to meet me and talk about a project she had in mind. I was more than happy to do so, so we went to the Hello Kitty cafe in Culver City, Los Angeles. She said that she was thinking of printing some sober sayings on a T-shirt and I said well why don’t we start a full blown brand out of it. Some members in my family had a dark passed with Alcoholism, so fighting addiction was very close to home for me.
“We kept peoples spirits high to help keep them from get high”.
WARPED TOUR 2015 (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
They say if you can last two full months on Warped Tour, you can do anything. WELL I DID TWO MONTHS! It was the most I’ve ever proven to myself that I really could do anything that I engulf myself in. The human brain is more powerful than I could ever imagine. As seen below whenever possible I tried to edit together quick little 15 second videos ON MY PHONE to post on our Instagram. At the time 15 seconds was the maximum time allowance, now it is 60 seconds. The problem was because of the amount of people in one spot the cell phone signal was not a friend of mine and editing videos on a phone is not as easy as I make it look.
WARPED TOUR 2015: DATES & LOCATIONS
6/19 Pomona, CA
6/20 Mountain View, CA
6/21 Ventura, CA
6/23 Mesa, AZ
6/24 Albuquerque, NM
6/25 Oklahoma City, OK
6/26 Houston, TX
6/27 Dallas, TX
6/28 San Antonio, TX
7/01 Nashville, TN
7/02 Atlanta, GA
7/03 St. Petersburg, FL
7/04 West Palm Beach, FL
7/05 Orlando, FL
7/07 Charlotte, NC
7/08 Virginia Beach, VA
7/09 Pittsburgh, PA
7/10 Camden, NJ
7/11 Wantagh, NY
7/12 Hartford, CT
7/14 Mansfield, MS
7/15 Darien, NY
7/16 Cincinnati, OH
7/17 Toronto, ON
7/18 Columbia, MD
7/19 Holmdel, NJ
7/21 Scranton, PA
7/23 Cuyahoga Falls, OH
7/24 Detroit, MI
7/25 Tinley Park, IL
7/26 Shakopee, MN
7/27 Maryland Heights, MO
7/28 Milwaukee, WI
7/29 Noblesville, IN
7/30 Bonner Springs, KS
8/01 Salt Lake City, UT
8/02 Denver, CO
8/05 San Diego, CA
8/07 Portland, OR
8/08 Auburn, WA
ADVENTURES (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
This one is going to take me a while to write.
Where I have been? Where I’d like to go next? My favorites.
(Make map with my head all over it)
MICKY THE CAT (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
Is it weird to have a cat as your best friend? One Summer when I came back from Russia my Sister picked my Mom and I up from the airport and said “I have a suprise for you in the car”. Right away I screamed “A PUPPY?” she said “nope” I sceamed “A KITTY?” and that time I was right. I had been dreaming of a kitten or a puppy for all of my wise 7 years on planet earth. Me and Micky ended up bonding to a point where it felt like he really understood everything. He would run out to me when I’d come home and he would sit on my desk and watch me draw. He would put his forehead on my head when I was sad. He would scratch anyone that tried to touch him except for me. Maybe I’m just a crazy cat man?
A DIFFERENT KIND OF BEAST
I was hired by Sony Records to rebrand a clothing line for a very notable British Rock Singer. When I mean notable I mean I could release a shirt with a smiley face drawn in mustard on it and it would sell out over night. I did all of the photography, video work, website re-design, social media marketing and when it came to apparel designs we agreed that I would design half and they would design the other half. Fan feedback confirmed that this was the best they had ever seen the brand. My designs were outselling all of the singers designs by a large number, so much so that his were discontinued. To be continued…
PRESENTLY AND PLEASANTLY
After Warped Tour and after almost being a one man army running a number of brands my brain needed a well deserved break. Now I’m back and ready for action. My talents are recharged and ready to bring smiles to as many people as possible.