The Non-Definitive Guide To Life

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Posts for ART Category

Julio Torres is the David Bowie of Comedy

ART

Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him.

Julio Torres is the David Bowie of comedy. I have no idea if someone of actual critical merit has already made this comparison or not. I’ve been actively avoiding reviews of his new HBO special My Favorite Shapes because I want my opinion of it to remain pure and strictly my own. I didn’t want my thoughts tainted or made biased by the perceptions of people with respected views.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to an unofficial David Bowie autobiography titled Hero by Lesley-Ann Jones, watched the documentary Finding Fame on Showtime that highlights Bowie’s formative years in music, and played track by track of every album from David Bowie to Diamond Dogs. It’s a lot of Bowie, but could there ever be too much Bowie – that’s a negative.

A few friends had been posting about the special, and I’d seen trailers on Julio’s Instagram feed. Neither spoiled the magic nor artistic brilliance, which is My Favorite Shapes. We’ve been presented with comedy specials that break the format, Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming King for example. But from the set design to the glitter on Julio’s well-manicured hands sharing his favorite shapes with us all, Torres didn’t just break the mold of comedy – he shattered it and then reassembled the pieces into a gorgeous fountain mosaic at the center of his alternative zoo.

I sat there watching the special, for a second time around, and exclaimed, “this must be how people who saw David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust on Top of the Pops must have felt.” Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him. When I was a kid, Earth just happened to be close enough to Saturn that through a telescope I could see the rings around the planet. It was so special, and not something I could replicate a week later. It was the fact that at that moment, on that night, I could see Saturn’s rings. And at this moment in time, on that particular network, Julio Torres’s My Favorite Shapes was contracted into existence without needing the comedian to convince anyone of the concept.

Torres’s past performances can be seen on YouTube. A scavenger hunt of the puzzle pieces that would become his special. In 2016 at a Risk! Live show he discusses that job interview where he blurts out “I love corporations” in more detail. At Paste Studios he goes through impersonations that demonstrates his style which would lead to that bitchy little curtain between first and second class. It was also in 2016 that he had yet to have crafted his sign off, “if there are no further questions,” struggling for a way to end a set. But Julio from the past, you will figure out how to end a set, and it will be perfection. In April of 2017, Daisy Duck makes an appearance in his performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and a year later Cinderella’s glass shoe on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonMy Favorite Shapes isn’t an overnight success, like all great art; it has taken years to craft and refine.

David Bowie’s Space Oddity brought Bowie attention, but not the fame and notoriety that would be his legacy. Bowie put out The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory after Space Oddity, and the albums have excellent songs on them, but it wasn’t till The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust was released that Bowie ripped the veil between fame and icon. Julio Torres ripped through that veil with his special; its uniqueness makes it iconic. And not in the way the word is overused today, but in the most real sense of the word – Julio Torres is worthy of adoration, great respect, and reverence. I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next. My only prayer is that the pressure of the artistic success and achievement of My Favorite Shapes doesn’t get into his head and that he will continue to be fiercely true to himself. Write what makes him laugh because his audience will find him. And as he continues to navigate life, he takes influences from wherever he may roam. I can’t wait to see the Julio Torres spin on all of it.

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EXPLORE SPARROW MART WITH ME

The handmade art installation of 31,000 felt pieces by the artist Lucy Sparrow.

Unfortunately, Sparrow Mart closed it’s doors this past Saturday, but if you weren’t able to enjoy the felt made mecca in real life, you can come explore with me!

I found out about Sparrow Mart like most people did, through social media. But fortunately, because I follow a handful of arty farty people, I saw a peak of it during its exclusive opening night. Two days later I took a half day from work and met Dan in Downtown LA to go and visit Sparrow Mart. The handmade art installation included 31,000 pieces that took 4 people and 1 year to create, the creative vision lead by artist Lucy Sparrow.

The store was mini-mart sized but more like a miniature Gelsons, as it was stocked with produce and meats, a sushi counter and fresh fish. The shelves had brand names that invoked childhood memories, and Sparrow was clever in her selection of products to reproduce. Nostalgia mixed with a bit of novelty is what made Sparrow Market so special.

It was important to me to check out the store while it was fully stocked. All the items were available for purchase, and I knew as the buzz grew, the markets visual impact would dwindle. I’ve always been fascinated with the quantity versus quality aspect of art and life. My ice princess attitude towards Andy Warhol has melted over the years, but for a long time, I hated him because of his use of quantity to create an artistic statement – the use of repetition. And as I’m at Sparrow Mart thoroughly enjoying myself, looking at the felt Brillo Boxes, I’m hit with the quantity over quality constant again.  A principle I once protested, I now acknowledge the merit of because when it’s done well there is nothing to dispute.

when art imitates art

more photos if you continue reading

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29 Rooms Los Angeles

ART, FUN

29 Rooms is an interactive art experience curated by Refinery 29 where artists and brands come together to create 29 Instagramable backdrops for your content creating enjoyment. I was really excited about 29 rooms, and super thankful my friend was able to get me in – but I’d be lying if I said that the “do it for the gram” attitude of the place didn’t leave a sour taste in my mouth.

The grammable art experiences seem to be popping up a lot these days, and my natural contrarian attitude wants to rebel against the museum of ice cream and happy place and say – no I won’t just go for the gram. I want to go for not only the visual stimulation but the intellectual stimulation. And not to say you can’t just go to something cause it’s just fun, cause I’m sure the museum of ice cream and happy place are fun for people. Maybe if I was better at posing in front of a camera I’d drink less of the haterade and be all about those fun and funky backdrops. But with 29 Rooms, we couldn’t even see all of the rooms because of limited time, mismanaged logistics, and the full-on photoshoots taking place in front of us.

I love getting that great Instagram moment as much as the next person, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of cultural enrichment. I’d like to know the who, what, and why behind what I experience. And sure, maybe some of the 29 Rooms were just sponsored pop-ups made by a collection of set designers who have no emotional investment in the mini-environment they created, but I know for a fact some of the rooms / installations were more than that and to not provide proper information educating people places the LGBTQ install on the same level of importance as the pink sand Shea Moisture install.

To give them some credit, there were small placards affixed to the wall next to the door of some of these rooms, but they were hard to read and considering the entire experience was just more of a mad dash to see what room you could get in, one ended up being more focused on trying to have an experience than finding the information on the room. I really wish they would have the info someplace online (I’ve yet to find it).

In my ideal world, 29 rooms would have time slots, and you’d walk through each room with about a minute or two to enjoy each space. Hell, make it 30 seconds, Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Rooms was 30 seconds and worth every moment. But I’m not the curator of 29 Rooms, and I just have to accept that our world is moving into a place where smart people can make money off those that want to enjoy an interactive highly Instagramable art experience.  I just hate it when I become a pawn, and totally know I’m a pawn – and am a little ok with being a pawn.

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Artist Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez Honey Baked Ham Adventure & Interview

Artist Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez went to Honey Baked Ham this morning and managed to hold on to his sanity by posting live updates. Johnny is a talented artist and extremely friendly person, but holiday lines are a whole other beast and Mr. Rodriguez is not to be messed with. I found his updates amusing, so I reached out to see if I could share them here and send a few follow-up questions.  Please excuse any typo’s in the Facebook posts, we’ve all been there.

Artist Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez Honey Baked Ham

Here is my follow-up interview with Johnny ‘KMNDZ’ Rodriguez to find out what happened next!

Q) How long was the official wait time?
A) Not proud to say but I believe I was in line for three hours. Gross right?

Q) How many hams did you order?
A) As I finally made it into the store I picked up a big bag of Hawaiian rolls. Got to the register and the lady asked how she can help me. I replied “Just the bag of rolls please”, she looked shocked. Thought about it and let out a big laugh. I ended up with a single ham that fed seven people. Love left overs!

Q) Where are you spending Thanksgiving and with you, where is this ham going?
A) Well, the hams going into my belly! I’ll be staying home this year, breaking bread with my lady and my kiddo.

Q) What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
A) I’m thankful I can stand in a three hour line and afford to buy… No finance a seven pound ham. We got it good here in the states and I’m thankful for that.

Q) Will you be practicing your resting bitch face more?
A) Hell Yes! I found a resting bitch face workshop. Heard the line was around the block to get in.

Resting Bitch Face Academy

Doodle by artist, Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez, post Honey Baked Ham experience.

Thank you to Johnny for this fun quick interview and I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving!

Lastly, my holiday PSA. As we are now officially in the crazy holiday season, I encourage everyone to all keep your head on straight and some humor in your hearts. Also, be kind to sales people, working in customer service sucks, but someone has to do it.

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Camille Rose Garcia & Other Awesome Artists

ART

10 years ago when I was first getting into the new contemporary art movement, which at that time was referred to as Low Brow art, Camille Rose Garcia was one of the first artists I was introduced to. I was working at Urban Outfitters and one of my co-workers had an arm piece that included one of Camille’s signature goth like caricatures. I loved my co-worker’s tattoo and from there researched Camille’s work and spent many late nights scrolling the internet for different ‘low brow’ artists. Now today we call the movement New Contemporary Art and Camille Rose Garcia has stood the test of time as one of our greats. With her glossy drippy mixed media work, she creates a neon gothic, surreal, and sometimes nightmarish world where you can’t trust the candy but curiosity beckons you to dive deeper.

I went to her latest exhibition at Corey Helford Gallery without any intention of vlogging the show, but last minute decided to capture a few of my favorite pieces editing together a highlight reel of “Phantasmacabre”. I wondered about how I could continue the conversation past just sharing Camille’s work, and thought about the people who might watch this video and have never heard of Camille Rose Garcia.

In music, it’s pretty easy to find new bands to listen to based on the music you already like. Plus there are dozens of sites and services with algorithms set up to figure out that very thing.  I find in art it’s a little more difficult. I tried to select a few artist I think other people should check out if they like Camille Rose Garcia’s work, the selection was determined based on color palette, medium, subject matter, and style. I don’t want to share work that feels derivative or copy cat, but possess something that I feel a Camille Rose Garcia fan would connect with. I’m excited to start this series and help other art newbies to discover other artists like. 

Other artists like Camille Rose Garcia : Casey Weldon, Kate Shaw, Liz McGrath, Natalia Fabia

 

other artists like

If you’re an art nerd too, leave a comment with what other artists people should check out if they like Camille Rose Garcia’s work! 

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5 Fab Questions with Craig “Skibs” Barker

Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker creates colorful retro pieces that encapsulate the charm of postwar era style and signs in his paintings and installations. I’ve seen three different art installations filled with whim and wonderment by Skibs, and I love how he plays with lights and tv screens to manipulate an environment. A  fantastic new art installation is now on view at the Long Beach Museum of Art for “Vitality & Verve: In The Third Dimension” and should be seen by all fans of vintage & art.

Here are 5 Fab questions with Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker!

Q: Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?

A: I think everyone should visit Fiji once in their life. The people are some of the most happy, kind, generous, amazing humans I have had the pleasure to spend time with. The islands are some of the most scenic, and stunningly beautiful places I have been. And, if you surf it is some of the best surfing in the world.

The top of my travel bucket list right now is Western Australia…I hear it’s rugged, open spaces are amazing.

Q:  Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)

A:  Best hole in the wall for me, is Factory Records on 17th St. in Costa Mesa, CA….The place is literally a tiny “hole in the wall” space packed with records old and new…stacked in bins, on the floor, everywhere…there’s barely room to move if there’s more than 5 people in there. Dave the owner knows his shit and can help you find it if he doesn’t have it in stock.

Craig Skibs Barker - Bowl

Q: Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?

A: My wife Kristen makes homemade vegetable soups that are by far my favorite comfort food….homemade soup and a grilled cheese….mmmmmm!!!!

Q: Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?

A: I’ve been on a Steinbeck kick for the past year or so…I’m reading Travels with Charley right now…highly recommended!

I also highly recommend Filmage the documentary on the LA punk band The Descendents…you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll pass gas…watch it!

Q: Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?

A: I have 2 shout outs…artist/graphic designer/doodle hero Nick Simich…check him out! And….Ross Morgan at Morgans Woodshop….custom furniture and design guru…find him if you can!!!

Craig Skibs Barker Dear To Me

 

Funny Story:  I had met Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker through the art world, and it wasn’t until a few years after having become familiar with his art that I found out his used to be a part of a punk band called The Stitches.  About ten years ago, when I was 18, my friends and I drove up to Hollywood to see The Stitches play. Unfortunately by the time we got up there, the band had canceled and we didn’t want to drive back home. So my friend and I decided to get tattoos! Yes, my first tattoo, which is a darling four leaf clover on my hiney,  was all because Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker’s band decided to cancel their show. It’s funny how our lives are connected, paths will cross, and the memories we create along the way.

Craig Skibs Barker

Scope out more of Craig “Skibs” Barker’s work here!

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Flashback Friday | Interview with Kevin Peterson “Artful Chunky Monkey”

Kevin Peterson’s “The Thaw” from 2015

In 2010 I interviewed artist Kevin Peterson for my blog, My Favorite MAOI (music art or inspiration). I had seen his work on an art site I would frequent to view the artists of the day. This was a few years before he was picked up by my art family at Thinkspace Gallery. Now his work is selling out at every show and his work is gracing the cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers latest album, “The Getaway”. Peterson’s grown tremendously as an artist over the last six years and I’ll be interviewing him later this year for his exhibition this August with Thinkspace. In a toot my own horn fashion and hipster inclinations of “I heard about it first” here is my interview with Kevin Peterson from 2010.

Originally Published on www.myfavoritemaoi.com August 23, 2010

circa 2010

Name: Kevin Peterson
Nickname: K. Peterman, Kelvin, Uptown, K. Pumpernickle, Roger Pudactor, Kpeezy
Sign: Taurus

Favorite:
Breakfast food– Donuts!
Scent– Donuts!
Flower– Donuts! I mean Lilies.

Q1. How many times have you been pulled over? And why?
A1.Like ever?? I dont know -several. Expired registration, inspection, driving without headlights, tail light out. Littering (i know thats bad but i was just a stupid kid). Curfew violation (also a stupid kid). Im not a speeder though!

Q2. What animal is your spirit guide?
A2.Liger

Q3. What’s your vice?
A3.Peanut butter cups. Donuts! Oh and nicorette.

Q4.If you could live in a movie for a day, which movie would it be? Would you be yourself or another character?
A4.The Departed. I’d be Marky- Mark, I think hes the only one who makes it out alive.

Q5.If your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
A5.Chunky Monkey – cuz I like things that rhyme.

Q6.Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
A6.I dont think so.

Q7. Personal Quote?
A7.”Be the change you want to see in the world” I dont usually get the credit for it – but yeah- that was all me.

Q8.Do you believe in horoscopes and zodiac signs?
A8.Maybe- but I dont pay much attention. I had to look up how to spell Taurus.

Q9.Do you drink coffee? If so how many cups a day?
A9.For sure- 3 or 4

Q10. Best show you have ever been too?
A10.I really loved Will Cotton’s show at Mary Boone last year with the big gingerbread houses.

I fell in love with Kevin Peterson’s work the moment I saw the juxtaposition of innocent children in a graffiti filled playground. They are as at home as they would be running across lush green fields. He captures their expressions with his talent for realism. From the texture of the walls that colorful writing is drawn to the strands of hair that fall down the child’s face; Kevin draws you in and dares you to see if it’s a painting or photograph.

check out his website

To view additional pieces from Kevin Peterson visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.

2014

Kevin Peterson 2014

2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

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Dabs Myla’s BEFORE & FURTHER Installation

ART

Before we left on our road trip of the Pacific North West, I had the chance to preview Dabs Myla’s Before & Further installation over at the Modernica Factory. As the preview was before the public opening and our ten-day trip, the photos and footage I took sat dormant on my computer until today! I’ve been wanting to share the colorful and mid-century cartoon dreamland Dabs Myla created for months.

Dabs Myla is an artist duo/ married couple who are originally from Melbourne, Australia and are as kind as their art is colorful. Seven years ago I met this duo when they walked into Thinkspace Gallery’s previous Silver Lake location for a portfolio review. We were excited by what the two of them were creating, so excited we almost forget to take their information, so as the intern I chased the two of them down the street to get their email. Fast forward and Dabs Myla’s fun illustrations and street art style can be seen in advertisements, music videos, and last year they transformed the set of the MTV Movie Awards. It’s so cool to see how these Aussies have taken the states by storm!

Here are a few detail shots from Before & Further in collaboration with Modernica. You can view a full house tour in the video below.

Dabs Myla Before and Further Flower Still Lifes

Dabs Myla Before and Further Hanging Lamps
Dabs Myla Before and Further Meditation Tent
Dabs Myla Modernica Room Divider and Chairs

Dabs Myla Before and Further book shelf

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VA : Red Dot Richmond

andrew hem richmond VA

Andrew Hem’s Mural

OCTOBER 16, 2014 | DAY 15 of #ONTHEROAD1014

In the gallery world when a piece of artwork is sold it is marked with a red dot. Knowing I would be visiting some major murals in Richmond, I had to bring a red dot with me! Our time in Richmond was short due to the reservation at Husk that night, a 6-hour drive from Richmond, VA to Charleston, SC. So Bowerbird and I woke up early, showered, grabbed a cup of coffee from a vending machine in our couch surfer’s apartment building and went mural hunting. Luckily, a handful of the murals from the Richmond Mural Project curated by Art Whino were right around the apartment. So we didn’t even have to move our car to find murals. We walked the streets of Richmond, putting the address of the ROA’s turtle tower in my gps as our initial destination. On the way to ROA we found the Angry Woebots mural. And the rest of the mural hunting was very similar, just stumbling on them while walking down this street and the next. It was really fun just discovering the murals. I was super excited to find Andrew Hem’s mural!

Time was ticking and our stomachs were grumbling. So after about an hour of searching for murals we looked on Yelp for a breakfast spot next to my bank. I had to finally get a cashiers check for the speeding ticket I received back in Colorado. We found a delicious spot in the downtown/business area of Richmond and fortunately a mail person was right in front of the building! I didn’t even have to look for a mailbox to send out the speeding ticket. I really appreciate the little things that make life magical.

Here are the murals I red dotted in Richmond, Virginia.

richmond (2)
Pixel Pancho Mural

Pixel Pancho Richamon VA
Pixel Pancho Mural

Roa Turtles Richamond VA
ROA Mural

Angry Woebots Richmond VA
Angry Woebots Mural

richmond (6)
I’m not sure who this is…but i love the mural! 

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JANM Hello Kitty Exhibit

HK exhibit

From October to May the Japanese American National Museum had a Hello Kitty Exhibit. The history of Sanrio’s famed kitty with all her merchandised wonder was on display and a Hello Kitty inspired art exhibit.  A friend of mine and I went a few weeks before its closing and had every intention of posting this blog post in a timely manner. Pause for dramatic effect – looks at date of post –crickets – let’s move on. When I was growing up, Little Tokyo in Los Angeles was the equivalent of a ghost town. My Bachan (Japanese for Grandma) and Jichan (Japanese for Grandpa) would take me to Little Tokyo, I don’t even recall what we would do there, but I remember no one but the shop keepers and a few other Japanese people would be walking around.

Now Little Tokyo is a hip part of downtown LA. I credit Little Tokyo’s hipster interest to The Geffen MOCA Contemporary, ramen, and the onset of Japanese cultural obsession ever since Gwen Stefenai’s Love Angel Music Baby album. I’m still surprised how hard it is to find parking around there.  Even for the non-Hello Kitty obsessed the exhibit was fascinating. Every Hello Kitty merchandised object (practically) ever created was on display, including the HK personal massager. Here are my favorite finds from the show.

hk tomb

 

Hello Kitty has a life cycle and it includes a gravestone / urn / tombstone.

oil change hello kitty

Does you car need an oil change? Well you can do it with premieum Hello Kitty oil.

HK skates

I dream of adorable knee high socks with these gorgeous skates and a roller disco that will play
Anita Ward and Alicia Bridges all night long.

japan hello kitty

 

Apparently different parts of Japan have different Hello Kitty charms and it’s wonderful. Got to catch them all!!

Japan Charms

Japanese charms hot air balloon

apple height

Look how tall I am compared to Hello Kitty – what a shorty!

Hello Kitty Nosego

Hello Kitty piece by Nosego – who is currently showing at Thinkspace Gallery!

hello kitty art work

Seriously obessed with this piece by Michael Courville, all the vintage brooches and jewlery -its stunning.

alex and i

There was SO MUCH at the Hello Kitty exhibit, I just shared my favorite bits. I’m sorry for posting this now, instead of a week before the exhibit closed, incase my blog coverage really tipped the scales towards inspiring a person to see the show. I was at the first Hello Kitty art show  in 2009, helping to coordinate art sells. I’m just in awe and overwhelmed with joy at seeing how the Hello Kitty art show has grown and I’m so excited/proud to see what Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of JapanLA, has created and developed over the last 6 years.  My best friend used to work at Japan LA and introduced me to Jamie. Can’t lie when I say I feel a little cooler being on a first name basis with such a dynamic person.  Here is a shot of us a the first exhibit, you can see a piece by Colin Christian in the background.

hello kitty art show

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