When Forces Unite: co·lab at Athen B Gallery

Artwork by brettflanigan_jeannagai

Work by Brett Flanigan and Jean Nagai

In a fun game of artist exquisite skeleton (the Surrealists’ favorite pastime where you would draw something, fold the paper over and have a friend unwittingly add to a drawing they couldn’t see), Athen B. Gallery has filled its walls with work from 17 pairs of artists. The artists in the show work in different mediums, sizes and styles. And what they create together on a canvas carries traces of their signature style but also the process of a unique collaboration.

co·lab features the collaborative work of Lauren YS and Meryl Pataky, Gaia and Nanook, Brett Flanigan and Jean Nagai, Martina Merlini and Derek Bruno, and much more. What I find really interesting about the show is that some collaborations feature public and street artists working with primarily fine artists. Each piece — each result of the exquisite skeleton game, you could say — showcases a new side of each artist involved.

If you’re in San Francisco, the opening reception for co·lab is taking place this Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7pm. The show is up until Nov. 6.

Check out some more photos below:

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Work by Lauren YS and Meryl Pataky

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Work by Bunny Reiss and David Marc Grant

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Work by Moneyless and Sten Lex

Preview: OUTSIDEIN Explores Street Art’s Journey

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Art by David Flores; photos courtesy of James Daichendt. 

This past weekend, I stumbled across a familiar Banksy piece — but it looked different this time. There was a protective layer over the girl on the swing, shielding the piece from any outside forces much in the same way that a frame protects a piece of fine art. When I first saw the piece four years ago, the phenomenon of selling and acquiring Banksy pieces wasn’t at its full fever yet. People weren’t yet carving out pieces of walls to get a Banksy piece — but they would be soon.

Over the course of just a few years, street art has become commodified. A hot trend in the art world, it is now more welcome in gallery spaces and a more familiar sight at auctions.

OUTSIDEIN — curated by James Daichendt, Ann Field and Stephen Nowlin — explores the negotiations that street art makes when working in an outdoor space versus an interior one. It also reignites the conversation surrounding the place of street art within the gallery or museum setting. The show will be up until January 10, 2016 at multiple locations. Organized by the ArtCenter College of Design in Los Angeles, it includes work from artists like RISK, Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf, Cryptik and more.

The opening reception for OUTSIDEIN is happening Thursday, Oct. 8 from 6pm to 8pm at the Hillside Campus in the Williamson Gallery with an afterparty (!) from 8pm to 10pm at the South Campus in the Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall at 870 South Raymond Ave.

Check out some more preview photos below:

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Work by CHASE

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Work by Kenny Scharf

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Work by RISK

Kaleidoscope Vision: Hueman’s Just One Moment

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Photo by Brock Brake for Mirus Gallery

Artists get asked a lot about inspiration, about source material. And then they get asked about process, about all those little steps in between prepping the paint and declaring a work the finished product.

But there’s nothing quite like walking into a gallery without this information to get a little lost (and maybe a little dizzy) by jumping head-first into an artist’s unique vision.

Hueman, aka Allison Torneros, is a street and fine artist working out of San Francisco. Her recent solo show, “Just One Moment,” includes more than 15 new pieces. Much of Hueman’s work features vibrant colors, flowing lines and mysterious faces.

The works in the show are described as “a look into a singular moment in time, spliced, dissected, and manipulated through intersecting lines and planes.” Hueman often plays with perspective, asking that the viewer put together the pieces — or surrender to the work’s intertwined parts and get lost in their ordered chaos.

For this show, Hueman pushes that concept further by also manipulating the canvas. No longer a square surface, it also alters the expectations of the viewer. In some instances, the canvas echoes the movement of the work’s content; an edge mirrors the curve of a woman’s neck and back while sharp angles echo the angularity of strong lines.

At this point, Hueman has already gained the viewers’ trust – and will continue to break it into gorgeous, dizzying pieces.

“Just One Moment” is on view at Mirus Gallery until October 10.

Check out some more photos from the show:

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Photos courtesy of Mirus gallery; final photo by Brock Brake for Mirus Gallery. 

What Life is Like in San Francisco

It’s been a year since I moved to San Francisco! Compared to LA, this city is colder (duh). It’s much easier to get around without a car. Everyone on the street seems to walk faster, at least in Downtown.

Oh, that’s the other thing – each neighborhood has it’s own personality. This city often feels like a crayon box – all the crayons might be right next to each other but they are definitely not the same color.

Speaking of color, I recently got to check out “A Declaration of Color” at 1AMSF. It’s a fantastic solo show by the street artist Sen2. The artist is originally from Puerto Rico and he got to see NY during the glory days of the ’80s. That exposure to the graffiti world led him to the success he’s found today. Besides being an awesome artist, he’s worked with famous people like Missy Elliot and Nas.

Check the show out for yourself:

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Street Art at “The Clock”

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This past weekend, I got up bright and early to help ForYourArt with their show and event centering around “The Clock.” Basically, for twenty-four hours (yup, a whole day from noon to noon) The Los Angeles County Museum of Art screened Christian Marclary’s film “The Clock” and ForYourArt added free donuts and a cool show.

Any artist that wanted to participate could pick up a snazzy clock from ForYourArt and then give it their own spin for inclusion in the show. The clock then went on sale for $99. That means anyone could show their work and possibly have someone take it home.

The amount of different takes on the clock made the show worth seeing. Some completely gutted their clock, leaving only plastic and un-ticking hands while one participant kept the clock complete with its box and only added text (talk about ready made). Some clocks referenced pop culture/current events but a lot just sprang from the imagination of these talented artists.

Some of which – drum roll – were well-known street artists. I caught photos of the works from street artists still up on the walls. It’s a different sort of canvas for these street art mavens usually posting around the city but their style stayed distinct. Check out work from Louis Cannizzaro2wentyAnnie Preece and Gregory Siff.

Louis’ piece above is easily recognizable because of the text and signature handwriting. It’s interest that he just layers the paint on with thick brushstrokes so as to obstruct most of the clock. You shouldn’t be thinking of time. You should be thinking about that mystery lover.

I admired the works that took only parts of the clock because that meant really tearing into the material to come up with something new. The artists’ personality really shines through but we still get a small hint of a clock with the hands. I’ve never taken apart a clock before but I’m glad the result is so beautiful.

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Preece’s work had a title that was something like ‘old man’ which you can tell from the large face covering the clock. It’s light-hearted like Preece’s art tends to be but still separates her clock from the other ones in the room. For one, the face is only a few lines but it’s somehow a face that intrigues. Who is this old man? Why is his face on a clock?

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Siff also only had to use a few lines to give away his style with this glitzy clock. It’s an LA piece on the surface but  could be a deeper commentary at its core. How much of our time does Hollywood take up in one form or another? We can’t tell because the face and hands of the clock are gone. All we see now is gold.

Make Your Heart Melt — Buff Monster @ Corey Helford Gallery

It’s not every day you see pink ice cream scoops with one big eye involved in all types of war-like scenes.

But that’s exactly what greeted me when I went to check out the work of street artist Buff Monster. Merging his love for Japanese culture and the color pink while taking inspiration from Renaissance paintings, Buff created some interesting and unique pieces for his solo show “Legend of the Pink Cherry.”

This guy covers almost an entire wall and is pretty much the character you see throughout the whole show. The pieces on the first floor are acrylic on wood done with airbrush – a first for the artist – and center around a common theme war and gore sprinkled with humor. I’ve never seen such adorable creatures in such dangerous situations. “Birth of a Zombie” was an especially interesting piece. There’s a lot going on in small amount of space and Buff has a great attention to detail – both the ice cream scoops and the flying creatures seem to be dripping, the cloud has plenty of shades of pink and there are even small shadows on the ground.

Same goes for “Triumph of Death.”

Look at that poor guy lying dead in on the floor with an arrow through him! So sad and funny and adorable. And violent. Pleasantly confusing.

One of my other favorites was “The Demon Tamer” because it looks very much like a Renaissance portrait.

Here are a few more shots of some of the works downstairs.

Upstairs you can see Buff’s series “Melty Misfits” which is inspired by Garbage Pail Kid trading cards.

There were also some studies of the works in the show. You can also buy a pack of the trading cards!

Who knew you could create such cute yet violent art?

This little guy just  makes me melt. I’d love to have him as my bodyguard…

Victor Reyes @ Known Gallery

It’s fun to look for street art around your neighborhood so imagine looking for twenty-six letters throughout a portion of the city.

Street artist Victor Reyes was able to provide that for the residents of Mission District in San Francisco. In swirling, beautiful colors he covered certain parts of the streets with letters – one was a giant ‘M’ on the wall of a liquor store. Reyes began his career in the 1990s and now has a second solo show at Known Gallery. “The Jungle,” which runs until the 7th, shows off both Reyes’ skill with typography and his ability to work with colors.

When you first walk in, two opposing pieces greet you. What I liked about these were that they were so different yet so similar. “Diamond” was a strictly black-and-white piece with an amazing amount of detail.

Across from this piece was “The Jungle” which was an explosion of color that contrasted this piece. But it also had a good amount of detail and some of the same swirling shapes.

What helped show off the art even more were some cool artistic and curatorial choices. In any given show, the curator works with the artist to decide placement of pieces and in this particular show both the curator and artist’s vision came through.

For example, the gallery chose to dedicate an entire wall to a group of piece which Reyes entitled “Quilt” followed by the piece’s respective number.

Reyes also chose to pair some pieces together, with one triangular canvas on top of a rectangular one.

Some pieces also showed off his typography skills, while still keeping to the themes of the other pieces (i.e. the swirling colors).

The show was focused on showing the “savage nature of humanity in context of modern day America while simultaneously exploring the primal, mammalian inclinations that pulse just under the facade of contemporary culture.”

My favorite piece was “Lions” because from far away I couldn’t tell that there were in fact two animals fighting. The color are spectacular here and it’s one of those pieces that you can’t just glance at and walk away from.

Check out the other pieces in the show. I definitely recommend seeing it in person. There’s something about these colors that is transifixing.

Audio Canvas 3 @ Crewest Gallery

Despite the fact that a lot of graffiti and street art is made with mostly the same medium, the style out there are probably more varied than any artist’s given spray paint can palette.

Crewest Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles is yet another gallery showcasing some memorable, exciting pieces from street and graffiti artists. One of their current shows called “Audio Canvas 3” revolved around live music and art. The opening night featured DJs spinning while artists did their stuff.

When you first venture forth into the exhibition, the first thing you’ll probably see is this piece…

The piece is by artists SER @ USE. It’s quite large and is mixed media – the smaller LA square are actually smaller individual pieces of paper. I especially like how a lot of the pieces liked to show off the fluidity of the spray paint, letting it drip in certain places for more effect.

In fact a lot of the pieces were about going beyond just the canvas, something street and graffiti art is definitely good at.

Take this untitled piece by Vyal, for instance. It’s on a canvas but the piece comes to life and extends onto the walls next to the canvas. So basically, it’s so artistically complex that it can’t simply be confined onto a canvas’ surface.

I’m not sure if those are meant to be bubbles or just bubble-like figures but check out those details! Vyal obviously knows where to put shadows and whites to create a realistic look.

The best part of the show was how different the styles of all the artists were. The owner of Crewest, Man One, actually had a piece in the show called “Reaching Up.”

I asked him to tell me about his piece and he basically explained that the figure is part of a series where he paints graffiti spirits. The background of the piece is made up of tags, which represent the negativity of the city. Basically, the spirit is rising out of this negativity.

The figure is reaching (thus the title!) for the cap of a spray paint can; Man One explained that he did this in order to say that graffiti art can be an escape from the negativity of the city.

Neutra’s work was also visually interesting though more playful.

This piece is interesting because it also plays with the way that canvases are set up. Some of them are on canvases even though the majority of the piece is painted directly on the wall. In “Ice Cream,” Neutra sets it up so that there is a pedestal on the wall and a canvas mounted on top in a clever mesh between the wall and the canvas.

The way in which the colors were blended in this piece was quite captivating, even when Neutra chose to use common, everyday subjects.

Another interesting part of the exhibit were the works of Black Light Kings, a duo made up of street artists Axa and Pops. Basically, a black light is shone on the piece at night for a cool viewing experience. But the piece are visually captivating even during the day.

There were also works from artists AISE Born and Robert Vargas, who also had their own distinct styles. AISE’s work used a dark background and contrasted it with brighter colors.

Vargas’ work on the other hand, used lighter colors. I liked the way that he created shadows and let the lines of his work show.

Overall, the show was quite diverse and exemplifies the versatility of street and graffiti art. It’s also a sure sign that street/graffiti will only keep developing. “Audio Canvas 3” is up until Jan. 29 so check it out if you can! Sound off in the comments about the artists, street art, galleries and anything and everything in between!

Getting Cryptik

If you’ve ever been to Little Tokyo, you know how bumping it is on any given weekend. But the one place you should definitely check out, that won’t require you spending tons of money, is Hold Up Art. It’s a fairly new gallery that shows some awesome, intriguing contemporary art. The people there are super friendly and every show is different.

This past Friday there was a closing reception for the work of a painter and street artist named Cryptik and his show “Sacred Syllables.” He’s got a very recognizable style and I’ve seen his stuff on the street, too.  The show’s unfortunately over now but make sure to check out his site and swing by Hold Up to see some awesome stuff. I snapped some pictures of the show – not only was the art itself mesmerizing but the set-up was ambitious and made the show all the more memorable. The calligraphy you see everywhere is his own creation, influenced by everything from cholo writing to Sanksrit texts. The best part was that this writing was on plenty of surfaces, from candles to leaves. You might not be able to read it per se but it’s visually complex and only more captivating because of its mysterious quality. Check it out!