POP SURREALISM WINTER 2012
2012 reception with the artists:
aturday, March 3rd from 5-8PM on view March 3rd - March 24th featuring
Adam Caldwell Anthony Clarkson Brooke Grucella Caitlin Hackett Christina Mrozik Craig “Skibs” Barker Dabs Myla DALeast Dan Lydersen Darla Jackson David Cooley David MacDowell David Walker Drew Young Elliot Brown Emma Tooth Erik Siador Euth Frank Gonzales Glenn Arthur Hugh Leeman Jason Thielke Jason Yarmosky Jeff Ramirez Jeni Yang Jeremy Enicio Jeremy Hush Jessamyn Patterson Jesse Hotchkiss Jessica Hess Joey Leung Ka-Yin
John Malloy Jolene Lai Julie West Katherine Brannock La Pandilla Laura Bifano Linnea Strid Liqen Luke Kopycinski Mari Inukai Mary Iverson Matt Doust Megan Wolfe Meggs Michael Ramstead Michael Shapcott Mike Egan Nathan DeYoung Nicholas Bohac N.S. David Pedro Matos Rodrigo Luff Sarah Muirhead Scott Listfield Sean Mahan Serge Gay Jr. Soey Milk Stephanie Buer The Yok Tony Philippou White Cocoa Winnie Truong
*Image: Matt Doust “Untitled Exposure #1” – oil on canvas – 48x60 inches (2012)
6009 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 • Wed-Fri 1-6pm and Sat 1-8pm • #310.558.3375
Max Neutra 12
18 Angelina Christina
Lydia Emily 26
P O P
30 Mark Pennel-Howell
COVER ARTIST Lena Sayadian 32
Blake Flynn 24
36 Miranda Maxwell
COVER STORY 26
POP SURREALISM magazine
Publisher Richard Kalisher Designer Eric Kalisher Contributors Kimberly Kite, Tracy Tomko, Sebastian Leal, Lee Joseph
Alex Chavez Wild, Wonderful, Wicked, & Warped Works of Art.
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STARRY BY GINA MARTYNOVA SURREAL, BOLD, WHIMSICAL AND EERIE WORLD On show during Miami Art Basel at The Hangar Gallery Nov 12, 2011 to Feb 12, 2012 The Hangar Arts Initiative | 2235 NW 2nd ave Miami FL | 305.571.0970 For exhibition and artist info please visit www.ginamartynova.com
MAX NEUTRA Max Neutra is a household name amongst the Los Angeles art scene, with multiple titles under his belt ranging from live painter, fine artist, to musician. Over the last few years, he has gained a lot of international and media attention through twice competing in the international Art Battles and a sponsored live painting tour in India with the Monsoon project. He has also received commissions from companies like Toyota and Warner Brothers. Recently Max has been spending less time traveling and painting live, and more time in the studio while he gears up for his solo art show at the C.A.V.E gallery opening January 14 and runsning through February 4th. Max talks with Pop Surrealism’s Kimberly Kite about his upcoming show, the evolution of his painting style and how he is just not that angry anymore. KK: Max, tell me a little bit about your upcoming solo show at the C.A.V.E gallery. MAX: The show is called “Mutations” and it is inspired by my past year of traveling. Going to all of these new, interesting places has served as a catalyst of change for me. Traveling has made me change mentally and physically, giving me a new perspective and a new point of reference. I am not just seeing myself change, but everyone change, the world change. I have been a part of the Los Angeles art scene long enough now to where I have seen the evolution of myself, the LA art scene, and just the art scene in general; it’s been a real treat. The show focuses on some of the subjects I commonly explore, like the faint line between man and machine and man, animals and how bitchin’ they are. I almost consider animals like strange little people that don’t speak English. They are just as important as we are; they have their
own little societies and emotions. I like to explore them. It’s a meditation on change. It’s an exploration of new subjects and new techniques also celebrating subjects that I have grown to love and to master. KK: So what’s up with these “Bunnies” that we are seeing in your new series? MAX: One night when I was live painting, I had brought two canvasses with me and I had already finished one, I was on stage and I kept on thinking “What am I going to do?” and then I looked out at the crowd and thought, look here, we are human beings partying. I don’t see myself as a pessimist, but sometimes I kind of like to dwell on the negative, like the whole idea that the world could end any minute: global warming whatever, war whatev-
er, and here we are in a room full of human beings partying. Then I thought as people, we will be partying up to the last minute. People are always going to strive to be individuals and strive to enjoy life and seek pleasure, so I was inspired to paint a bunch of white bunnies and one multi-colored bunny that stands out from the crowd. Here we are in this overpopulated world and we all strive to stand out. And how many individuals could there really be? I mean we are all individuals, so that’s where the bunny paintings came to be. The bunnies kind of represent us in a way. Even though you can paint a zillion white bunnies, each one has its own personality and each one is unique. KK: Most of your past work has a darkness and edginess to it that we don’t see
too much in this new series. You new work has a softness to it and seems much less chaotic. Is this something we can expect to see from you from now on? MAX: Over the past few months, I have had a love affair with curves. With sensuous kind of curves, I usually like more jagged aggressive stuff, stuff that’s usually a little more agro and grotesque. Painting these rabbits has turned into an exercise of balance and composition: if I do this curve here, what kind of curve would compliment it here. It has softened me. it’s a new exploration of the softer more harmonious side of painting. I didn’t expect it to happen; it just happened. It started as one thing and became something else. But that’s okay because this is
ARTIST SPOTLIGHT what it’s all about: evolving. When I first started painting it was a decision I made. I decided, I am going to be a painter because this is the most natural thing whether I am getting paid or not. Why not strive to get paid to be me? So, initially, what I was doing was using it as an outlet, an emotional outlet. As a kid I was pissed about things such as my parents divorce, so I would draw these really angry grotesque drawings. You would have thought, “that kid needs therapy!” but the funny thing is it was my therapy. But what is changed
now is that I am getting older, I am 33 now, no longer 25, and I just don’t feel as angry. I am not as mad as I was in the past. So its created this question for me: Well, if I am not mad, then what do I paint about? If the angst no longer spills out naturally, then what else? I had to begin to reevaluate myself and tune into again to what I want to paint about, what emotions, what vibe, what do I want to express. It was a little bit of a, well not a problem, but a little bit of an artistic reevaluation. It wasn’t a specific decision to paint nicer
things; it was just a natural progression. It is just how I feel. But, honestly, I would rather be less upset about stuff. I would rather feel groovy and be generally happy. To learn more info about Max Neutra, and where to shop for prints and apprel, visit his website: www.maxneutra. com You can find him on Facebook. For more info about his painting process, check out his YouTube channel, which includes time lapse videos of his work: http://www.youtube.com/user/maxfneutra
CHRISTINA ANGELINA by Sebastian Leal
I have been experiencing many of Christina Angelina's creations since we first met in New York City, almost 14 years ago. As fate would have it, the stunningly beautiful, Los Angeles-born Angelina was cast in a Ricky Martin music video that was to be shot in Manhattan. I was in drama school
and in the midst of rehearsals for a play I had written, when one of my actress' introduced us. I’ve embarked on countless journeys with Angelina; we spent many Friday nights at her first gallery on Abbot Kinney, in Venice. While everyone else our age was out, drinking and partying, Angelina and
I would be in the gallery, making art, until we fell asleep on the cold concrete floor. Our shared artistic dreams bonded us together, but Angelina is no longer dreaming; her tenacity about her craft and its higher purpose always leaves those around her more inspired than she probably knows. Angelina's unique talent lies with every image she constructs, with every single stroke of her brush, with every color she mixes, and with every mystical story behind her work. Her education varies from a BFA in Art from the University of California, to the Art Center College of Design, and NYU. Just after graduating from UCLA, Angelina came in second place at the national Gen Art/Biore Fresh Face in Art competition in 2008. She is currently represented by; the Renegade Art Gallery (Palm Springs), Create: Fixate (LA), Chalk Gallery (Venice, Ca), Lightning in a Paintcan (LA) and Cannibal Flower (LA). Angelina has also appeared as herself in several documentaries, films and most recently the music video for Van Hunt's latest single, "Eyes Like Pearls," which debuted on Rolling Stone on Dec 8th, 2011. In September of 2011, she created the cover art for Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s latest album, “Area 52”, to be released on the 23rd of January of 2012. Angelina is a process-oriented artist and extremely focused. Her favorite medium is oil but in her new Antico Astronauta series she's developing her newfound love for wheat-pasting combined with spray-paint. She's a true Gemini and quite shy about her personal life, but once you get her talking about her work and her future projects you better be prepared for a delicious shower of driven inspiration.
Sebastian: When did you start painting? And who is your muse? Any favorites? Angelina: I’ve been painting since I could pick up a brush (laughs) and I’ve had many muses. My current favorite is my friend Pasha, because he looks like a cherub that grew up. Sebastian: You are always evolving and each series is singular. Tell us about The Veritas Series. Angelina: It is a series of mixed media, monochromatic paintings that use efficient and focused figurative imagery to talk about mythologies, truths, untruth, life, death, and justice. I intended them to be straightforward and mysterious simultaneously. These pieces won Best in Show at the Create: Fixate “Stop: Pause: Now” show in July of 2011. Sebastian: You have been live painting quite often. How many events do you do a week? And what's the experience like? Angelina: I live paint at several days a week, sometimes collaboratively (with other artists), but mostly solo. The 20’x8’ mural that John Park, Mimi Yoon, Stephen Williams, and Michael Pukac, and I painted in one night for the opening of “Crash Canvas” at New puppy Gallery, is an excellent example of a very successful collaborative live painting. Live painting allows me participate in exciting events and be social while working. It’s also nice to communicate with an audience throughout the painting process. Viewers give their immediate response and are usually excited and inspired by my work. Sebastian: I've watched several of the short time-lapse films that you've been in- they document your live painting process. I really enjoy them. How do you feel about being filmed while painting? Angelina: These time-lapses are great in that they present an accelerated multi-
media version of the full process of a painting, giving the viewer a quick and exciting account of an entire event and a full course painting. I loved being
filmed while painting. Live painting has made me accustomed to being observed while working and being filmed is akin to being observed by a live audience.
ARTIST SPOTLIGHT .Sebastian: Tell us about the series called Antico Astronauta, one of my very favorites by the way... What direction this new work is headed? Angelina: I’ve been doing a lot of street art and wheat-pasting lately and I’m incorporating these methods of working into my live painting and my studio work. It’s temporal and raw and really exciting. I’ve placed pieces in Italy, Brazil, Burning Man and all around Los Angeles. The Antico Astronauta theme came into play because I started putting this ‘future-ancient astronaut helmet’ on all of my subjects, thereby making them, nude or semi-nude but anonymous and hopefully feeling free in new and exciting ways, because their astronaut masks hid their identity. It’s been an interesting direction and I’m looking forward to exploring it more in 2012. Sebastian: It is hard to keep up with you. You are producing an awe-inspiring amount of work; I believe is safe to say you could be the equivalent of a female painter version of Shakespeare or Chekhov or Voltaire. (Laughs.) So, tell us about your unpcoming events.. Angelina: Those are big shoes to fill!
(laughs) For now, I will be featured in the Create: Fixate “10 Year Anniversary Show” happening on Feb. 11th, 2012, and I will also be live painting at the event. I will be participating in Cannibal Flower’s first show for 2012 on Saturday, January 28th. Additionally, I’ll be preforming with Zen Arts in 2012 and they have produced a short documentary about my work to be released at the end of January 2012. It’s on ZenArtsLA.com. Few creative professions convey more mystery, solitude and romance than that of a painter. Their vision is so palpable and inspiring to a painter's sentience that it makes their universe a beautiful place to visit and experience. Angelina owns and operates her own gallery and production studio, StarFighter Studios, in Venice, Ca. where she resides with her husky James Dean. For more info visit: ChristinaAngelina.com | Follow Sebastian Leal on Twitter: @TheVirginWriter
EMIL NELSON GALLERY 2862 COLORADO AVE SANTA MONICA, CA 90404 310-266-9904 INFO@NELSONGALLERY.COM
BLAKE FLYNN ALTHOUGH art has been a part of my life since I could first grasp a crayon, I didn’t start to pursue it as a full-time career until after I had spent several years sitting in a cubicle in an engineering office. I don’t regret my engineering days; In addition to paying the bills, they gave me a chance to develop both my analytical and design skills, thus honing both sides of my brain. I think this is evident in my artwork. I work within the basic framework of realism, with (mostly) recognizable subject matter and the fundamental goal of making a two-dimensional surface look three-dimensional in a convincing way. For this I employ what I understand about geometry, perspective and the physics of light. But at the same time I feel compelled to transcend the limitations of realism, letting my imagination run rampant. I bend physical laws. I distort shapes and sizes. I combine disparate elements. I create improbable juxtapositions. This gives me greater capacity to articulate a particular idea and to create the desired visual and emotional atmosphere. This freedom to bend “reality” to suit my tastes is when I feel the full intoxicating power of being an artist. My work appears surrealistic however it is neither dream-based nor lacking in conscious control. And although the germ of the idea for a given painting might have a subconscious component — potentially even a substantial
one — I’m actually quite analytical in the development and execution of the piece as I utilize reference material, detailed sketches, and small-scale value and/or color studies. This reliance on my rational mind combined with the narrative quality of the work suggests the term “Magic Realism” would be a more accurate characterization. Like most artists I paint what interests me, which can lead to a broad array of subjects. As a result my works portray humans and other animals, myths and religions, social and cultural boundaries, even the occasional autobiographical allusion. The tone may range from serious to quirky, but I always try to engage the subjects from an atypical perspective that finds both beauty and absurdity in our struggle to find our place — as individuals, as a society, as a species — in both the natural world and our so-called “civilized” world. C u r r e n t l y, I’m working on a series of “Madonna” paintings (see next page) depicting a benevolent human female interacting in a nurturing, compassionate way with various groups of plants and animals. The concept is to portray a sort of subclass of Mother Nature. I see these works as a celebration of both biodiversity and the creative power of the female, as well as a bid for a more motherly, nurturing relationship with the natural world, as opposed to the more destructive paternalistic approach which emphasizes dominion and consumption.
Blake Flynn: (opposite page) Empty Chair; (this page, clockwise from top left) Renaissance, oil on board, 12”x12”; Local Warming, oil on board, 12”x12”, Madonna of the Butterflies, oil on board, 40”x30”; Shade, 8”x8”.
I continue to draw inspiration from all that surrounds me: from books, films, conversations, current events, personal experiences and travel. The latter has been especially important as my wife, and I have taken extended trips abroad in recent years. This has led inevitably to paintings full of all manner of exotic (to me) flora and fauna, and artifacts and ideas from the broad sweep of human history. To learn more about the artist, visit blakeflynn.com. Blake Flynn’s work is represented by the Georgia Amar Gallery in Denver.
LYDIA EMILY Photos by BIRDMAN
ARMED with canvas, paint brush, oils and the Sunday New York Times in her kitchen studio, Lydia Emily’s immediately identifiable painterly photo-realist images have been catching the eyes of an ever growing group of fans, bloggers, curators and many other street artists who want to collaborate with her. Asked about her creative process, Lydia Emily explains: “when I decide I’m going to paint someone, I study them for a week – I will stay up all night watching videos of them, watching the way their eyes squint, their lips move, and the way they touch their face when they are talking. Then, after a week or so of these observations, I can paint them without any reference other than what is in my head.” Recently, Lydia Emily choreographed a daytime takeover of the Sunset Junction Junkyard Wall – and curated an 80 foot long, eight foot tall collaboration (see above) with street artists Scepter Hed,
Text by Lee Joseph
Leba, 20, Lucky Bunny, Contra, Meer One and John Carr. Lydia Emily invited some street art fans to come out, put up fake signs on the street and direct traffic in vests and blue gloves. At one point, the LAPD drove by but continued on their way once waved through by one of the fans. There were at least 30 people across the street snapping photographs of the installation in process. Lydia Emily’s original idea for the wall (where she has been pasting posters of her works for over a year) was to create a “letter” to the LAPD featuring her “Hope Bombs” with the statement “you can arrest me, but non-violent political protest will not be silenced and I can mail my posters out for others to post” though she decided let go of her personal drama and put her energy into to a collaboration with some of the artists that she would be showing with at the “LA vs. The War” group show. Further
background on the story: in July of this year, Lydia Emily was “allegedly” disassembling a bus bench light-box when she was detained by the authorities. She sat on the pavement for an hour and a half on cuffed hands while the authorities confiscated all her posters and wheat paste. Lydia Emily now has a court date pending for felony vandalism. On the subject of her involvement in the street art scene, Lydia Emily states: “I do not deface private property. I engage in biodegradable, non-violent, political protest on government and corporate real-estate.” Lydia Emily was recently in the all-female street art show “Miss Danger on the Loose” group show at Lab Art, the “Inner Walls” pop-up show in Milan, Italy, which also featured a group of world-wide female street art-
ists, and the “LA vs. The War” group show at Versus in Downtown Los Angeles, which will soon travel the country. She will be doing a solo exhibition at Lab Art in March 2012.
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MARK PENNER-HOWELL by Tracy Tomko
MARK PENNER-HOWELL recently unveiled a small grouping of paintings at Walker Fine Art, his new representation in Denver. This body of work focuses on desire and our attitudes to manipulate “the universe” to any extent that we can on our behalf. Referencing attempts toward pleasure through things such as wealth, sex, drugs, and tranquillity, he comments on human recklessness and naiveté, hinting at temptations that we are faced with along the way in our efforts to rise to the top or attain our goals. “Whether we’re looking to relationships or some new app, we try to find shortcuts to getting what we want”, said Penner-Howell. Recognizing a strong tradition of this in human nature, he’s investigated methods such as Tarot, Astrology, and alchemy. “In this series of paintings, I'm exploring the darker aspects of desire and attachment via the four classical "root" elements: earth, air, fire and water,” says the artist. “The choice to use an arcane and outmoded thought-construct as a thematic overlay seemed a natural fit with the murky psychological territory of human desire. These paintings are an exercise in free-associating familiar but unexpected images in an attempt to illuminate enigmatic matters of the heart. The noir overtones are meant to heighten a sense of uncertainty. Themes of longing, vulnerability, and entanglement pervade.” In Lotus Soup (see opposite page) there is an obvious carryover from his
last body of work that commented on the economy. Juxtaposing cultural references with symbolism that can lead to conflicting conclusions is some of what keeps the viewer so intrigued to continue to look through the layers with which Penner-Howell is known for presenting us. Take the lotus, being such a
strong Eastern image; mix with literary allusions and overlay something heavily laden with meanings in the Western world, like the Great Seal; then charge it all up with electric color compositions. You will still only have pieces of the recipe for what Mark served up so deliciously at the Walker Fine Art exhibition. Those who enjoyed his past work will find themselves being teased into a new frenzy over possible outcomes to
the narratives he proposes. While he has started with some of the same types of signature elements — open mouths, eyes or faces that are cropped out of the images, or iconic symbols put to new use — these paintings feel like they are filled with the loaded sense of the potential of youth. They seem more openended (like our desires) in that, as they unfold, we are unaware as to whether outcomes will lead us to heavenly bliss or pandemonium. His works are layered in a way that takes you on a journey as you’re peeling them. Like a visual pied piper, he leads us with large doses of ambiguity and irony. We are looking in before there is an aftermath or wake to be considered, and the only fear is in the form of anticipation. Are the subjects of the paintings even aware of the dangers? Penner-Howell says, “I’ve always had more questions than answers. I’m really interested in ‘memes’ — ideas that have the ability to replicate themselves in different forms and have a life of their own. But they get mutated and transformed as they move away from their source. That’s what the ‘mash-up’ creative approach is all about, and I like how rich it can be. I want to try to achieve a kind of conversational quality in my work.” Mark Penner-Howell’s latest exhibition was featured at Walker Fine Art from Sept 16 through Nov 5. For more information, please visit walkerfineart. com and pennerhowell.com
Mark Penner-Howell: (opposite page) Diver, acrylic and ink on canvas, 48” X 60”; (above) The Gift of Fire, acrylic and ink on canvas, 50” X 36”; (below) Lotus Soup, acrylic and ink on canvas, 60” X 30”.
SYMBOLIC images of creatures are used in my work to express and represent emotions, conflicts, and relationships. I use animals and other natural symbols to create a narrative about the hypocrisy and challenges of human society. These creatures represent the raw responses, animalistic behaviors and emotions that are common to all human beings. I am focusing on using animals and other natural symbols to create a story about the modern sexual and love relationships humans have. Some topics that I touch upon include social networking, online dating and the effects they have on our everyday lives. My pieces frequently use the predator/prey theme, creating a stage for the viewer where the animals set the scene. Some of the paintings can seem humorous while others may have a
more serious approach. I stylistically render animals in mostly dynamic poses with abstract elements to create a narrative of their relationship to one another. The process can be meticulous, using layers of acrylic paint from dark to light to form the textures and elements in the work. The abstract elements of the pieces express action, spirituality, and a connection of the characters within the image. Some images abstractly represent blood, while others appear to be action lines. Along with the abstract elements and animals, colors are also very important in my work because they set the tone for the piece. They express the feelings of the characters instead of just simply their gender. These colors, although bright and vibrant, show
the powerful emotions that are taking place within the environment and story. The flows of the strokes support the significance of what is happening; they are dripping, exploding, streaming. I try to add an uneasy feeling with the combination of saturated colors. I am currently working on my Masters degree in art at Cal State University Northridge. My goal in pursuing graduate study is to further challenge myself to create new ways to represent the narrative of a flawed human existence. I want to be able to explore new ideas and will continually strive to advance my work both technically and conceptually. For more information, please visit: www.lenasayadian.com
Lena Sayadian (clockwise from top left of opposite page): Need to be Free; 25/F/CA Looking for Love; Squid; Cara and Paco All images, 2011, acrylics.
MIRANDA MAXWELL (also known as Mirandom) has been active in the New York City art scene for the last decade. In 2008 Ms. Maxwell had her first solo painting exhibit "Welcome to Mirandom" in New York City. Nearly all 30 paintings sold, and her following solo exhibit "Lyrics for Show" in 2009 was similarly successful. Maxwell recently moved to Los Angeles for a change of pace; she's hard at work on her new solo painting series called "Chicks and Kicks". This series of 20 paintings, will highlight the edgy yet feminine style of women in sneakers. Maxwell’s goal is to place women on a pedestal, through the often male-dominated sneaker culture, and continue to rep-
resent women with a strong voice. Growing up on an island in Rhode Island gave this small town girl large dreams of living in the big apple. City life inspires all her work; the colors and commotion of it all. She used to find inspiration by bringing her sketchbook on the NYC subway, riding throughout the Big Apple. Now the LA change has brought Mirandom to a different place. “Riding my bike and driving my car is cool, but there isn’t as much random interaction. LA needs more random interaction.” Hence, the name Mirandom. Maxwell likes to paint at home, turn the music way up and get lost in her craft. The flip side of this is painting live, which she also does occasion-
ally. The rush one gets from painting in front of a crowd surprises her. A street artist is something new for Maxwell, but an easy transition to expressive style and late night prowling. So heads up to everyone in LA and NY, you might be seeing some of this lady’s work up in the streets. Most likely you wont know it’s her, but (Maxwell thinks) that’s the best part of being a street artist. A world filled with heavy bass and hi hats, she also likes Prince, Redman, Little Dragon, Flying Lotus, bold color, Toulouse Lautrec lines, ocean, fixies, her cat Lloyd, friends and family are what Mirandom dreams and lives everyday. Mirandom is an active member of Art Battles, you can check her artist page: www.artbattles.com/artists/ miranda-maxwell | For more info, go to her website: www.mirandom.com
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