L.A. the Blog: ‘bright lights & fist fights’ Gallery Show; Next Stop ‘The Art of Coop’

Annie Preece

Annie Preece frames her own painting during the exhibition opening of ‘bright lights & fist fights’ group show at the Rebecca Molayem Gallery in West Hollywood – June 14, 2012

Is Los Angeles essential to the art world at large?  L.A. the Blog can’t answer that question but the scale of art happening in this city on a daily basis makes art essential to understanding Los Angeles.  A city dreamed up from behind a camera with an identity inextricably enmeshed with visual arts making it a tide pool of artists birthing pictures, stories, scenes, music, canvases, books, tunes, compositions, scripts, reality and fantasy; where often as not the creativity becomes harnessed in an art department for film, a stage setting for theater, or a gallery full of stunning visual art.

Better late than never the pictures have arrived!  Arrived for what (as the statement goes?), arrived for another round of art happening in the city of Angeles.

A three-person gallery show opened a few weeks back that spotlighted a diverse young group composed of a street artist, a tattoo wizard and a graphic artist who stepped into roles respectively as a painter, a caricaturist and a furniture sculptor.  At this point some analogy to the Wizard Of Oz keeps trying to escape but that would make this writer either Dorothy or Toto, and the only yellow brick road somewhere hidden along Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard.

The highlight of the show Annie Preece displayed her most recent paintings done in vivid, bright colors of contorted faces, haunted imagery and taboo subjects.  Her art is best described in the statement ‘having too much fun,’ with a mixture of recognizable and iconic images and symbols re-purposed with confrontation, dripping paint and intensity.  Yet as stated all of them rebalanced with the light atmosphere that reds, yellows and bright blues elicit emotionally.  Almost like the perpetual Los Angeles sunshine even makes suffering look happy.  The one painting in the show that is the exception to the bright colors comes from an early series of Annie’s work to a project of paintings, photographs and public art installations entitled ‘Persecution Takes A Holiday In L.A‘, that takes a critical look at the oppression of women in the Middle East.  This exception to the rule simply puts eyes staring from a black surrounding.  By the way Annie do you have any free artwork for us to decorate our headquarters?

Candice Molayem

A series of portrait caricatures by Candice Molayem from the show ‘bright lights and fist fights’ – June 14, 2012

Tattoo artist and painter Candice Molayem showcased a series of portraits keeping with the bright-color motif in classic caricature style.  With 1950’s hair-dos, thick rimmed glasses and jewelry-to-match the words ‘hip and cool’ rise from the dark recess of the subconscious and immediately yearnings for indie rock take over.  L.A. the Blog is curious if any persons posed for the paintings or if the inspiration came from classic comic books.

Jad Dovey

A naked lamp by artist Jad Dovey from the ‘bright lights and fist fights’ show – July 14, 2012

The final artist presenting at the show Jad Dovey subtly created lamps in a style you might expect to find at The Factory during the 1970’s and 80’s.  A wonderful use of color and the nude form, or maybe just ‘found’ mannequins and some electrical ingenuity Dovey created a post-pop art presentation that seemed so natural in the gallery they belonged more to the entire space and less to the name tag that marked them for display.

A fun event basking in the glow of a hot summer ahead, and art definitely worth visiting.  Please see a slideshow below of pictures from the show.  Included in the photos are other artists’ work showing and hanging in the gallery including artists Rebecca Molayem, Lynden St Victor and sculptures by Leon Leigh.  ‘bright lights and fist fights’ is now showing at Rebecca Molayem Gallery, 306 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048 for another few weeks, please check online for the current and future shows.

Portion of a painting done by Coop showing at his book release party – June 16, 2012

Moving right along into the week and arriving at our next stop where well-established artist and instigator Coop partied and celebrated in high fashion for the release of his new artbook entitled, ‘Idle Hands: The Art of Coop.’  So much has been said of Coop (click this link here), so to avoid mundane repetition, and pointless conjecture it is enough to say that even if you haven’t heard his name before you definitely have seen his art.  His images of devils, dames, drugs and cars make pop culture an afterthought and fine art an everyday accessible experience.  Mickey mouse gloves on a drug anyone?  If you can’t relate I am sure Walt Disney and Salvador Dali hanging out making pink elephants would.

Coop’s show took place at a great location in downtown Los Angeles hidden away in a produce distribution factory/building.  Industrial-scale loading elevator and all with a great view of a seedy downtown strip club made the entire experience some strange descent into Coop’s world.  Did we mention naked devil girls cruised the party?  Included in the slideshow below please find pictures from the event held at Studio Servitu, a downtown venue that the L.A. Weekly names the #4 essential location of 2011.

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L.A. the Blog: Catching up with Project Runway-fame Viktor Luna at PAR-LA

Viktor Luna and friends

May 12, 2012 – (Left to Right) Joshua Christensen, Viktor Luna and their friend Josh pose together for a photograph inside the clothing store PAR-LA during an intimate fashion celebration showcasing some of Viktor’s and Joshua’s latest designs.

If anything our friend Viktor Luna has been busy these last few years since we last saw him in 2010 putting on DIY fashion shows in Manhattan during NYC Fashion Week.  For starters Project Runway Season 9 saw him as a finalist in the last episode of the season designing neck-to-neck with the season’s winner.

That was so 2011 though, what about this year?  A trip to Mexico City to start, where he headlined a fashion event with his own show.  Speaking engagements at various schools and universities within the United States.  The 2012 Project Runway RTW Collection show during this years NYC Fashion Week, where his work from the show was featured.  A visit to the L.A. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising campus with fellow Runway star Joshua Christensen (seen above with Viktor).

And most recently in West Hollywood at the clothing store PAR-LA for a Spring / Summer exclusive release of his clothing.  Not to be outdone in the least Viktor surprised with graphic print shorts and t-shirts that foretell a warm summer awaiting us in beautiful, sunny Los Angeles.

Viktor Luna shorts

Viktor Luna designed shorts with graphic print design, can you recognize the print?

This classic knee-length and slim fit short combined with the bright colors will make any summer pool party or BBq bash hipper then the next hipster going with their standard cut-off jean shorts, or Hawaiian floral print.

Can you tell what the design is?  We will let you guess on the featured image to the left, but we will tell you that one print is of a chandelier in Grand Central Station, of course the graphic design is manipulated making each piece of the collection fabulous.

Combined with the shorts you can find graphic print t-shirts and Viktor’s signature bow ties to match, along with another Viktor Luna t-shirt simple with his label design on black.  The last for those withing to remain out of the spotlight.

L.A. the blog would also like to compliment Joshua Christensen on his wonderful contribution to the event.  Most notably Joshua’s work with leather makes a perfect match for any cold nights left this Spring.

Joshua Christensen jacket

Jacket by Joshua Christensen

Joshua is a graduate from FIDM in their advanced degree program and was also a contestant on Project Runway.  We got the low-down on Joshua from the cougar at Left Coast Fashion, and you can see some of his work from his recent FIDM show during L.A. Fashion Week here.  We salute Joshua as an L.A. designer with an eye for what’s classy.  At PAR-LA he is predicting a hot summer too with a collection of light materials making up shorts, shirts and for those lazy Sundays and Yoga classes – sweat suits.

We wish Viktor and Joshua the best and we loved the clothing.  We are hoping that next time we will get a gift certificate when we show up at the event so we can walk off with some fancy items from both their collections.

PAR-LA is located at 8250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046.  Does PAR remind anyone else of golf, this writer loves golf so maybe it is just me …  Check some photos of the shop and more photos of Viktor’s and Joshua’s work below.

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L.A. the Blog: Crazy Art Cars, 2nd Installment

Adding to the previous and earlier blog about crazy art cars in Los Angeles, we have a few more to add.  You can  check out the original post here.

Back view of graffiti busFront graffiti bus

Side View of Graffiti Bus

We needed to throw in a graffiti bus found down in Venice, for what is an art car posting without the a cool-ass bus in it?

A Peace car, not a pa-lease car.

What do you to with that old police interceptor? You turn it into the Peace car, at least that’s what these guys did. Hey, it’s the peace car, not the pa-lease car.

Pirates in the rape van

Heck we know who these guys are, but in all fun we want to leave it up to the viewer to guess what this picture is all about. An anarchy van, a strip club, masks and a pirate flag? All we can say is they are up to no good …

Wedding

How did this end up here? Oh, well happy marriage you two – Gabe and Bridget get married!!!

UPDATE (5/12/12):

Turbo Lover Van

We needed to add one more crazy art car pick, this van is seen lurking around Hollywood, and we love it for its tribute to those things dead and satanic. Go Turbo Lover we love you!

Turbo Lover Van

L.A. the Blog: Time Cover of Julian Assange, Gagged

“The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Oh yeah didn’t we assassinate that guy?  The Time Magazine cover of Julian Assange that makes a strong statement about the state of our country (if you are interested in reading what Time wrote click here and here).

With Time the only news magazine on the shelf at the checkout counters of Pavilions Grocery store in West Hollywood, tucked in the bottom shelf hiding and the tabloids taking center stage at top, its placement makes a stronger statement about what type of information our nation values.

Sadly we prefer the lies of tabloids to the truth of news.

Time_Assange

The Time Magazine cover of Julian Assange. The only news magazine at the grocery store checkout stand, hiding almost unseen on the bottom shelf with the tabloids and fashions magazines dominating the display.