redefining wanderlust

a life blog by Bekka

Posts for ART Category

29 Rooms Los Angeles


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


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 August 23, 2010

circa 2010

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

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?

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.


Kevin Peterson 2014


Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

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Dabs Myla’s BEFORE & FURTHER Installation


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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Festival of Arts & Pageant of the Masters

Festival of Arts Laguna Beach

A summer staple for Laguna Beach is the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters festivities. Being a Southern California native, I’ve known about this beachside art event for years, but was never motivated enough to see what they were doing down in Orange County. I’m coming clean because my Los Angeles snobbery got the best of me, I’ve been missing out. I was invited to the Festival of the Arts/ Pageant of the Master media night in the beginning of June and both events officially open this Sunday, July 5th. I apologize for my delay is posting my thoughts, but it runs till August 29th.

First, let me clarify the difference between ‘Festival of Arts’ and ‘Pageant of the Masters’ because they aren’t the same thing. A ticket to the festival will not grant you access to the pageant. I was seriously confused by this, never being able to get the name straight, thinking these two separate events were one thing. Butchering this ridiculously long name into various configurations, Festival of Masters Art Pageant or Festival Pageants of the Masters Art.

Festival of Arts is a display of art from 140 Orange County based artists, along with various curated special events throughout the summer to celebrate the arts. Family oriented, there are youth art workshops, concerts on the green, and a family art day. For those without kids or who have hired a babysitter, every Thursday night there will be an Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate event from 5:30 – 7:30pm; three wines paired with three chocolates. The perfect setting to embrace a summer love.

studio shot from Pageant of the Masters
Pageant of the Masters is a theatrical production of tableaux vivants (living pictures). Volunteers are dressed and made up to re-create great artistic masterpieces on a grand stage; it’s quite the site to behold. On media night you get an all access pass. We peaked inside the workshops of where artists create the massive sets that act as a backdrop to the actors. Sculpting elements of the master pieces out of Styrofoam and playing with perspective on a life size scale. The makeup department is located beneath the stage with a room filled with wigs and a closet of well-organized stage cosmetics.

wall of makeup

pageant of the masters volunteer in makeup room


Artist create representations of people in their art work. At ‘Pageant of the Master’ now real life people were creating representations of those people. Heavy face paint exaggerated shadows and defined brow lines to convey the emotion the artist wanted to portray in their work. Makeup applied with sponges, on stage looks like brush strokes or a skillful palate knife. In the casting processes every inch of the volunteers are measured to see if they fit the part of a particular piece. Suddenly being a representation of a person is more important than being real, all in the name of art! We were treated to 3 tableaux vivants, I was astonished at how remarkable it is, the feeling you get watching a work of art become life-size and knowing that what you are seeing is real people frozen in place for ninety-seconds. Imagine having to sneeze.

betsy ross pageant of the masters

pageant of the masters coming home

The full ‘Pageant of Masters’ show is ninety minutes of living pictures, which if they are all 90 seconds a piece, means there are around 60 or so pieces shown. It’s probably closer to 40 pieces considering set up time between each piece, but I’m seriously curious to see the rest of the show. Especially with its fun them, The Pursuit of Happiness!

Even if you are a post-contemporary art fan like myself and are more familiar with the work of Mark Ryden versus Monet, Pageant of the Masters will impress and excite you. It’s real people dressed up as fine art master pieces! Get into it.

Please visit the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters website for all pricing and admission info.

two statues chilling

You can see more pictures from this night by searching #BBLagunaAdventure on Instagram and there is a bit of the show in my Laguna Adventure Vlog.

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Littletopia at Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater


bob bakers marionette theater

Saturday night I faced my irrational fear of puppets in order to be a part of one of the greatest art parties thus far in 2015. A gathering of the best artist and gallery owners in the post-contemporary low brow art movement (aka Littletopia at the LA Art Show), coordinated by Greg Escalante, we gathered at Bob Baker Marionette Theater. My invite came from Thinkspace Gallery of course, and at first I turned down the invite because I had another party to go to that night. Using my other RSVP as a nice way to get out of seeing marionettes. It’s not that I think marionettes are lame or not a good form of entertainment, I actually get physically uncomfortable in the presence of animated dolls. Andrew from Thinkspace told me I’d really be missing out and to attend my other party late, and being one that actively avoids FOMO – I made myself go. Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater is on the outskirts of Downtown LA and a stone’s throw away from Echo Park. It had a string of Christmas lights and a garland tree set up out front, still strong in the holiday spirit. Walking in, the ‘party room’ was already packed with gallery owners from Roq La Rue, Red Truck Gallery, Gauntlet, Spoke Art,  and Copro. There was a lot of familiar faces, and those I didn’t know. A few of the artists I recognized included; Natalia Fabia, Lola, Adam Wallacavage, Travis Louis, Brian Viveros, and Casey Weldon. There was a handful of other artist there to, who if they wore a sticker of their work instead of a ‘hello my name is…’ I’d know them too.  Oh yeah Chet Zar was there as well, and everyone was merrily enjoying Two Boots pizza. I might just sound like a total name dropper right now, and that’s ok cause it’s exactly what I’m doing. Saving the best for last, the most honored guest, in a burgundy velvet suit – Mark Ryden was in attendance. The show that was put on was Bob Baker’s Nutcracker. It started with rainbow marionettes, who’s eyes blinked and when they started dancing in a circle I was thoroughly creeped out. I sat safely in the second row, with people protecting me from puppet interaction. The marionettes played with the audience, and Clara the puppet even jumped on Mark Ryden. A queen of candies and cake happily sat upon the lap of Casey Wheldon. They weren’t all nightmare inducing, sparkly sugar plum fairies and pretty flowers who danced the waltz provided a break from my constant humming anxiety. It was a fantastic night to be a part of, and the old 1950’s record with the voices, narration, and music of the show provided another level of delight. When the ‘Tea’ portion of the Nutcracker came on, and the oriental puppets with their incredibly non-pc costumes danced the floor, complete with “ching chong” dialogue; its offensiveness and nostalgia for another time added to the shows unique flavor.

rainbow marionettes

I never thought I’d say I was happy to have gone to a marionette show, but I’m absolutely thrilled to have seen this performance. I have this philosophy that if you’re not uncomfortable you aren’t growing. Facing fears, and pushing your boundaries are not easy. Sure it might just be an irrational fear of dolls and puppets. But I was about to let my fear keep me from experiencing a night surrounded by such creative and artistic talent. I would have really let myself down. I’m just thankful to Andrew for not letting me say no, it’s another reminder to keep saying yes to life!

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