Blackie Pagano Erasing borders, Categories, and Limitations

by: Teena Kang

September 16, 2012

Name: Blackie Pagano
Occupation: Vacuum Tube Audio Repair and Bespoke Audio Builder
Where he lives now: Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Blackie Pagano profile for The WILD magazine

What’s on his mind today:
Today… that’s a huge time frame in my mind when I’m not actually working on something with my hands. My mind seems to run in two predominant modes. There’s a very focused and intuitive mindzone when I’m building, repairing a piece of audio gear, playing music or writing where an entire day can fly by in a moment, but my hands have to be in on that game. When I’m done there’s something really concrete and satisfying at the other end, something that feels like it might last forever. In the other mode, I’m gathering, social, drifting through very tangential topics in long conversations, making odd connections while staring into space walking down the street, looking at everything and seeking details, art, music, people, materials, places, Facebook; finding maximum stimulation everywhere. It’s more like, “What’s on your mind this moment?”

What he is currently working on:
A really over-the-top ukelele amplifier build named “Lolitacore.” Initially inspired by a former girlfriend in Los Angeles, Heidi Core, this build was brought into focus by a chance meeting and conversation in a Brooklyn DIY venue with a New York musician, Rachel Trachtenburg, who has a band named SUPERCUTE!. Design elements include candy apple pink paint, candy wrappers, jewels, gold lame’, plexiglas, and a one-off screen printed fabric by a brilliant new fabric designer, Ashley Strout. My favorite builds all embody a tension of stark opposites.

Beneath the style it’s form-follows-function as all good industrial design must be. I don’t make things for attics or landfills. There are also a number of vintage amps and hi-fis in my repair queue.

What he thinks there is too much of, and too little of:
There isn’t too much or too little of anything. That’s a foolproof law of nature, no matter what I think.

With whom he would like most to go on a ” tête à tête”:
Trick question! With social networks, I have access to almost anyone alive. I’ll pick a dead person… J.G. Ballard.

His most striking moment:
That’s a hell of a thing to try to answer. I’ve been a street junkie, father, touring rock musician, mechanic, adored, villianized, electrocuted, wooed. Hopefully my most striking moment hasn’t happened yet and won’t result in death.

What he considers a fashion “faux-pas”:
Letting your clothes wear you. Everything else works. Style is one of the deepest and most accessible personal expressions. Don’t waste it, say something real!

What kind of movement he would like to start:
A movement that has no rules, that allows complete personal freedom. An anarchy of expression. Everyone’s a genius at something.

Blackie Pagano’s WILD Wish:
To erase borders, categories, and limitations.

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