Pop Surrealism - Spring 2014

Page 1





Pop Surrealism

La Luz de Jesus Gallery

4633 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323)666-7667 laluzdejesus.com

June 6 - June 29, 2014 Artist Reception: June 6, 2014 8-11 pm

Chris B Murray

Joel Nakamura

William Zdan

Jasmine Worth

JULY 4 – 27, 2014 artist reception: july 4, 2014 8–11 pm

La Luz de Jesus Gallery

4633 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323)666-7667 laluzdejesus.com


Richard Kalisher

ediTor-in-Chief Margaux Galli


Jillian Hammer

ConTribuTinG wriTers

DJ McDonald Jose Ricardo Bondoc Daniel Anderson Oscar FN Wilde Caroline Lepman Matt Kennedy Rob Snow

Pop Surrealism the reviews 06 08

All Around Town: An overview of new York PoP GAlleries By DJ McDonald

08 16

sAndmAn And seCreT AGenT mosCow By Jose Ricardo Bondoc

11 13

PoP surreAlism: A Genre overview By Daniel Anderson

the profiles 23 14

sTArrY eYed AmbiTion: GinA mArTYnovA And The revivAl of fAshion illusTrATion by Margaux Galli

16 20

The PursuiT of The GAze by Oscar FN Wilde

18 14

Andrew sChoulTz: An ArTisT in TrAnsiTion by Caroline Lepman

AdverTisinG sAles rkpublisher@ gmail.com ediToriAl popsurrmag@ gmail.com


22 18

the enterprises 24 23

CreATive PeT ProjeCT By Rob Snow

ChrisToPher ulriCh: A mYTholoGiCAl exPlorATion by Matt Kennedy



Mark Hanauer: “Charles Bukowski”

Miri Chais: “Rabbit Hole” plexi and L.E.D. light

Mike Christy: "Prehistoric Scene Number 22 ”

Artists Featured at Gabba Alisa Yang, Allie Pohl, Andrew Myers, Allison Isenberg, Andrea LaHue, Amy Smith, CANTSTOPGOODBOY, Chris James, Cody Lusby, Cody Bayne, Essi Zimm, George Rivera, Henry Niller, Isabelle Alford-Lago, J.A.W. Cooper, Jaime Becker, Jennifer Korsen, John Park, John Measures, Karin Frieda, Kevin Mills, L. Croskey, Mark Hanauer, Max Neutra, MDMN, Mike Christy, Miri Chais, Mary Hanson, Nagisa Kamae, Noah Emhurt, N.S. David, Nick Ni Fadely, Nicole Bruckman, Patrick Haemmerlein, Plastic Jesus, Peter Greco, Phobik, Rene Gagnon, Septerhed, Shark Toof, Steven Wolfkoff, Teacher, Thrashbird, The Bleepbloop, Toshee, Tatiana Tensen, 2wenty, Vance DeGeneres, Will Deutsch

Essi Zimm: “The Stag with One Eye”

the reviews Five pm, Saturday, march 1: On the cusp of one of the busiest and most prestigious annual art opening and market weeks in New york city, Joseph Gross and his artistic associate Mateo Mize have begun the final hour of their Smith Street print project exhibition at artNowNy gallery with a dialogue about the vagaries of food delivery in the chelsea art district. Gross has not eaten all day, and his “brunch-dinner” sandwich, having arrived cold, leaves much to be desired. artNowNy owner Gross noshes as he entertains a guest in the spacious back office/storage room of his brightly lit space, while mize tends to a couple browsing the 3,000 sq, ft. exhibition space. the open layout, high ceilings, and rough-hewn exposed wood columns and beams of artNowNy ‘s site on the second floor of this 1899 6-story block-through former printing house, together with the blond wood floor added after the building’s 1999 conversion, lend the entire space an unusual warmth. unusual, one hastens to add, among the galleries that have overrun this loft neighborhood, even

all around town

those in the West chelsea historic district that hugs the instantly famous, now four-year-old, high Line Linear park. On display at artNowNy within spitting distance of the high Line: stages of the process of the Smith St. artists, culminating in finished prints. the four Smith St. men hold day jobs in a tattoo parlor that cries out the name of its street location in Brooklyn, a street made famous mostly among foodies. their parlor stands on a block where middle class carroll Gardens slides down into the gritty industrial Gowanus with its toxic canal lapping at the lot of a newly opened Whole Foods, while just beyond the noisy subway and expressway overhead the renaissance of red hook re-gathers momentum following the floods of Super Storm San-

aN OvervieW OF NeW yOrK pOp GaLLerieS By dJ mcdonald dy. Given the sketchy hood they hail from, Smith St. boys have cleaned up rather nicely for their chic manhattan temporary address: the installation rewards a visit even while its medium represents an odd choice for artNowNy. Gross recalls his initial reaction when approached about mounting the show, “I don’t do prints.” Now Gross chews things over, animated even while sitting. his relaxed energy takes up the entire expanse of the stylish black leather open work couch from which he holds forth. this setting, half a world away from the afghanistan and South Korea in which he served as part of the u.S. army, remains only 10 miles from the Brownsville, Brooklyn, neighborhood in which the boy Joey Gross grew up until age thirteen. he has had to go around the world to land just across the east river, in the center of what has become perhaps the most vital district in the most lucrative, influential, and competitive art market in the world. his journey has not been totally unique. In significant ways, it tracks the journey of Lowbrow art into the center of the Western art universe. the labels surrounding pop Surrealism have their roots in an outsider sensibility, even within the al-

ready iconoclastic late 60’s Los Angeles art community that gave them birth. this echoes across the scene as it has developed over the last dozen years in New york. in the city of Wall St. and Occupy, however, a rebel attitude or point of view mixes with a business savvy shared by artists and gallery owners alike. Given that the latter have mostly been men, all white, and arising from some part of the middle class, a more or less outré stance serves each of them in navigating the city’s tumultuously trendy, who-do-you-know market. the migration of a Pop Surrealism/lowbrow sensibility from the West coast to the east may provide an instructive instance in the forging of a 21st century, globally connected art ecosystem. Just out of the service, Gross returned to his teenage stomping ground in the San Francisco Bay area, only to find that that city’s art mavens had no interest in the talented but unknown and untried artists he brought to their attention. he struck out on his own in the space at 111 minna Street in South market, before opening artNow in the mission district. realizing that a large and growing segment of his clientele hung their hats in Nyc, it became merely a matter of time before his gallery materialized in his native city. in some ways this story recalls that of Jonathan Levine, a trenton, NJ, kid who crossed the delaware to open his first gallery in New Hope, pa, before hopscotching to philadelphia and finally Manhattan. When

the Jonathan Levine Gallery celebrated its fifth anniversary in Chelsea in 2010, an article in the New york times opined that the work of the 35 artists Levine presented in the show pop pluralism “is the skateboarding, graffititagging, sometimes bratty and rebellious younger sibling of the art shown in most of the neighborhood’s locations. Stiil, [it] seems at home in chelsea in a way it did not five years ago.” LeVine’s arrival in Manhattan came in the first year of Joseph Gross’s career as a San Francisco gallerist,,and today, four years after pop pluralism, the latter’s presence as the younger “bro” eight blocks uptown in the same historic district tends to corroborate LeVine’s 2010 statement that, “The mainstream is embracing this work.” today, Levine simultaneously has three separate one man shows deployed in various spaces of his own chelsea gallery, with a fourth featured as part of the volta Ny international art Fair, one of the several Fairs currently crowding manhattan. and Gross has only been the latest gallerist to follow in LeVine’s considerable wake. paul Booth, along with founding director Genevive Zacconi, opened Last Rites Gallery in 2008, just across the hudson yards from the northern end of what would become the high Line park. displaced by development in their original location, the gallery has just been reborn as a triple-level storefront on West 38th St. in an area long associated with theater and dance spaces. On March 8, with Art Fairies lining the waterfront just to the west,

Booth and erica Berkowitz, whose eye and skill have directed the gallery through its transition, commemorated Last rites new lease on life by opening a month-long show on all 3 levels in which 40 artists explore and interpret their own associations with the ritual conjured by the space’s name. meanwhile, not to be outdone by the opening of the 2014 Whitney museum biennial the same day, prolific artist, curator and gallerist Tara mcpherson, alongside her cotton candy machine Gallery co-owner and partner Sean Leonard, presided at their own event. their party opened a 3 week long exhibition by Junko mizuno and david m. cook, artists now working out of San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively. McPherson’s and Leonard’s April, 2011, opening of their cotton candy machine gallery and store, now expanded in its original location in the hipster heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, followed repeated showings of her work in New york at Last rites and Levine, among other city venues, over the previous decade. It also solidified McPherson’s relocation from coast to coast, one that cook, ironically, has now reprised in reverse. mcpherson now counts herself as a global artist “based out of New york city.” if the coming of cotton candy machine to Williamsburg three years ago seemed to capture a moment in a shifting global art scene, pop Surrealism and Lowbrow art in general have now been emerging for at least a dozen years into a broader New york City universe; one which finds a continuing presence of artists representing these aesthetics in manhattan and Williamsburg gallery venues as diverse as aFa Gallery, Gristle tattoo, and Opera/NY. This seems to signal a New york minute whose time has come. --- dJ mcdonald

the reviews

sandman and secret agent moscow By Jose Ricardo Bondoc

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - After 25 years, the British character of the Sandman is still making headlines and turning heads. For those who don’t know, Sandman (DC Comics) was 75 issue series launched in 1989 that chronicled the misadventures, struggles and complex relationships among seven mystical siblings. The main story centers on the title character (who is known by many names, including Dream and Morpheus), an anthropomorphic manifestation of dreams. Held prisoner for 70s years, who escapes into the modern world to seek vengeance on his captors and set about rebuilding his crumbling kingdom. Much as the character himself changes from a cruel being to more of a tragic hero, the story itself evolves from a dark horror comic to an elaborate fantasy story. The series was released by DC Comics, becoming the flagship title for DC’s Vertigo line. The series earned nine Eisner awards, three Harvey awards, and it was the first graphic novel to win a literary award,

the 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. Since its release as a comic book, the series has experienced ongoing popularity in the graphic novel format, including the oversized and recolored Absolute edition. The comic series and graphic novel have been challenged and banned in libraries since its publication. Gaiman’s graphic novel has been challenged and removed from some libraries because of “anti-family themes,” “offensive language,” and for being “unsuited for age group.” Most often, opposition to the series has arisen when it has been shelved in the young adult section of the library. In a press release by Leef Smith of Mission Comics,”Mission Comics and Art is pleased to present “Sandman: 25th Anniversary”, a group art show celebrating one of the most critically acclaimed comic book series of all time, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. The show, curated by Daisy Church, will feature new art and illustrations from over two dozen New Contemporary and LowBrow/Pop artists from across the

United States as they interpret and pay homage to the seminal DC/Vertigo series. Mission Comics is a fantastic retail and gallery space run by SF local Leef Smith, who combined a comic book shop with an art gallery in a fresh, exciting way while

“‘Sandman: 25th Anniversary,’ a group art show celebrating one of the most critically acclaimed comic book series of all time” drawing on the unique strengths of the Mission District. The gallery and retail space also helps facilitate a greater crosspollination between the worlds of fine art and commercially produced sequential art. Hours of operation are Tuesday thru Sunday, 12pm-8pm, or anytime online at www.missioncomicsandart.com.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Local artist Jenny Jigour has recently published a new graphic novel that shatters the image of Cold War, with a story that takes place in post-war San Francisco. The graphic novel is described as,”Natasha, a former WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot) of WW2, is afraid to forget her past. While walking down memory lane, trying to find the one she loved and lost in the secret underworld of sexual deviants in 1949 San Francisco, she becomes intricately entwined in a “Secret Mission” that sets her off to find Sidney, an agent gone missing in Moscow. What she uncovers are the secrets to a forbidden past laced in strands of barbed wire. Can she keep her sanity as she witnesses visions of the past, present, and future, or will she become the victim of a tortured mind?..” SFNewsfeed.us had a few minutes with the author, and were able to discuss the story, which involves issues of race, LGBT themes, and espionage in San Francisco. JB: First off, what inspired you to write and illustrate the story in a unique fashion. What inspired you to write this story? JJ: The story of Secret Agent Moscow was originally a black and white photography project I created back in college at Santa Clara University during the summer of 2004. The assignment was to do a self-portrait. I thought it would be fun to jazz up the assignment by illustrating who I was theatrically. I photographed myself fully costumed and situated in a set I made with the St. basil’s Cathedral in the background to tell this fantastic story about a Russian secret agent named Natasha, who was a lesbian. Now, my name is not Natasha and I am not from Russia, nor am I a secret agent, but my heritage is Russian and at the time I identified as a lesbian. Secret agents reminded me of what it was like being queer. Not everyone is free to be who they are as they are. Sometimes disguises, at times simply cloaked with safe words to introduce your girlfriend as simply “a friend”, are

necessary depending on how friendly the environment is that you happen to be in. Coming out is not an easy experience for everyone. Furthermore, It’s not like you come out once and that’s it. It seems like you are continuously coming out, and the reactions are always different. The elaborate effort that I put into the photography project was not just to fulfill an assignment. It also became a useful tool to come out to friends, family, and acquaintances when it was personally difficult for me to just say it with words. That was the first incarnation of the story. The second incarnation came when I realized that I needed Natasha’s help again. Life changed for me in a way I didn’t expect. Sexuality is more complex then simply identifying as LGBT. As I began to understand what it was to be transgenderd I came to realize I could love not just women, but transpeople as well. Furthermore, it made sense to me that if I could extend my heart to

“Secret agents reminded me of what it was like being queer. Not everyone is free to be who they are as they are. “ women and transpeople (including males to females, or females to males), then technically the idea of falling in love with a man didn’t sound as crazy as it used to. No sooner did I extend my heart to the world at large I found myself falling in love with a man who later became my husband. Of course not everyone was happy about the change. I had difficulty accepting it myself at times. Some people see sexuality as perfectly defined by neat and comfortable little boxes. Believe me, I used to believe in them. Coming from a lesbian box and ending up being married to a man is sometimes seen as a betrayal and this was something I had internalized. It wasn’t a very good feeling. I felt lost, left out, and sometimes alone in my experience. At the time I thought, “how do I express how much my own queer past, the LGBT community and LGBT world history still means to me?” Well, I found the answer in turning the photography proj-

ect of Secret Agent Moscow into a graphic novel. It was a work of love that came out of a desire to always remember the importance of my queer past, as well as our collective queer past. Although the process took almost six years to finish, the time it took was well worth it. Regarding the unique fashion of the story, I’ve always seen the graphic novel as a film, only that it is silent and motionless on paper. It’s more like one gigantic storyboard for me. As a fine artist I wanted every page to be a work of art and stand on its own, which is one of the reasons I chose to painstakingly illustrate all 228 pages in as much detail and color as possible. The style of illustration is simply my own style that I have been using and developing since I started drawing and painting many years ago.

atmosphere I grew up in. It also inspired my interest in Gladys Bentley. Gladys Bentley is a fictional character in my book, but she was also a real person in U.S. queer history during the Harlem Renaissance who used to play the piano and “queerify” popular tunes in the 1940s in such places as Mona’s in San Francisco.

JB: Second, what would you say are some of the inspirations for the graphic novel, in terms of the story and the characters?

JJ: You can find it at “Amazing Fantasy” in San Francisco 650 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122, “Petit Galleria” Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112, and at Amazon.com beginning February 14th - Valentine’s Day.

JJ: Most of the inspiration was personal. Sometimes I still see the story as a self-portrait in disguise. Natasha is the closest to who I used to be as a teenager and in my early twenties. Music is also a big part of my family. I play the piano by ear and grew up listening to my dad, Robin Jigour, playing jazz, blues, and rock on the piano and my grandfather playing Russian music on the accordion. The appreciation of music that is interwoven thought Secret Agent Moscow was influenced by the

--- Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc

“It was a work of love that came out of a desire to always remember the importance of my queer past, as well as our collective queer past.” Other inspirations include a combination of Nicola Tesla, Andy Warhol, and Elton John for the character Ad Infinitum. The character Valentina, a Russian Lesbian, was inspired by the relationship between two real Russian lesbians, Sophia Parnok and Marina Tsveteava from the turn of last century. Many Russians love poetry and Valentina is inspired by Sophia and Marina’s poetic and dramatic relationship. I was also inspired by the many places I traveled including Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Manzanar Japanese Internment camp. JB: Finally, where can readers go to get a copy of “Secret Agent Moscow”?

For more information please visit: www.secretagentmoscow.com https://www.facebook.com/SecretAgentMoscow Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc, is the Chief Editor and Founder of the news website “SFNewsfeed.us” since its inception and creation in 2008. Bondoc has worked as a political consultant, journalist, and writer. He currently resides in San Francisco, California and has been an active fan of the San Francisco Giants.

the reviews

PoP SurrealiSm A ge nre O vervi ew By Daniel Anderson if such A thing As pOp-surreAlism exists, it must be worthwhile to define its genre. Pop surrealism is not surrealism strictly, nor even broadly; pop surrealism utilizes the methods of pop art, but with goals similar to surrealism. Its goals are to externalize internal mythological and psychological imagery, and it does this through illustrative, printed, and graffiti-like media. It has only a little in common with 20th-century surrealism and its modernist concerns. Essentially, pop-surrealism is the concerns of the surrealists gone popular—popular in the sense of populist, as the case is in street art, and popular in the sense that it is base, or unconcerned with the higher notions that “fine” art seeks to address. Analyzing real artists who might fit the description of pop“[Pop Surrealism’s] goals are to externalize internal mythological and psychological imagery” surrealist will help us in defining this genre. marc mercado (bottom right) is a Bay Area artist, recently relocated to New Orleans, whose illustrative work is inevitably base, but seems to convey this base-ness with a fervor for detail and depth that brings to mind the over-coated works of Jamie Hewlett and Tank Girl. Of his work, Mercado says: “If some people see my work as either pop or surrealism, that’s fine. But I would say my style is the developmental progression of drawing penis vikings in the back of class for 15 years.” An archetypical deconstruction of Mercado’s work will reveal more than just gross aesthetic, which is a quality indicative of most pop surrealism. In Mercado’s work, anthropomorphic

characters appear with many arms and empty thirdeyes, drinking alcohol or smoking menthols; they bear tattoos, weapons, and Mexican wrestling masks. there is an undeniable street art quality to mercado’s work. Of that influence, he says: “I kept a fanny pack full of spray-paint and goggles for my diabolical altar ego. When life would get too heavy, Dr. Frankencake would strap on the goggles and deface any wall in his path, leaving nothing behind but juice boxes and candy wrappers. Twelve years later, ain’t [no] shit changed but the goggles.” If one can get beyond the surface quality of Mercado’s work, which seems to thrust at the viewer with jagged lines, haphazard

motions and bulging perspective, one might notice a similarity in his urban characters to mythological forms like the goddess Kali, many-armed, carrying weapons and talismans. his characters seem to spring from mythological depths while demonstrating the baseness of urban life as it is in-process, challenging the viewer with their unrepenting flaws. Pop surrealism’s popular aspect springs from social concern that reveals its divergence from fine art. It is not necessarily bound to the white box of the museum or gallery space. In fact, like many land installation works that came in the 1970s, it utilizes the landscape as its surreal playspace. Unlike those installation works, however, this playspace is an urban playspace, and it is influenced by the social concerns springing from gentrification, economic stratification, and classism. Graffiti is the herald of pop-surrealism, and like it, the “mark” is conventional in pop-surrealism. The mark is a means to an end here, rather than an end to itself as it is in abstract surrealism or expressionism. The mark may come from industrial tools such as spray paint cans, stencils, and markers. It may be entirely digital. This lends pop-surrealism an illustrative quality while also breaking out of the concerns that are typical of fine art surrealism. Another artist worth analyzing is Daniel ray everett (right), based in LA. Unlike Mercado, Everett’s work is subdued, even subtle, but his work shares many of the same ar“This playspace is an urban playspace, and it is influenced by the social concerns springing from gentrification, economic stratification, and classism” chetypal themes and illustrative concerns that Mercado’s does. He is “inspired by myths, religion, and science from different cultures and time periods… mainly Egyptian, African, and Indian myths.” Whereas 20th century surrealism addressed psychological issues in a passive, painterly way, such as in automatic writing or in dream imagery, pop-surrealism draws these archetypes to the surface, cartooning them as it goes. Everett’s work shows common individuals

standing next to their idealized spirit animals, consisting of sphynx and peacocks. Other works of his show anthropomorphized figures in flattened, over-saturated landscapes. Wrinkled faces appear attached to flattened bodies, disappearing into stylized skies and landscapes that are reminiscent of Tibetan thangka painting. Despite the illustrative quality, Everett’s work still includes street art, saying “a lot of street art influences me… I’m not inspired by graffiti as much as I am by murals, or more creative street art.” He cites the street artist Blu in particular as inspiration. A final artist worth consider is Joshua Nissen King (right) based in San Francisco. King’s work is closest of these three artists to “fine” art primarily because it is painterly and not always illustrative. However, he says he is “absolutely informed by street art,” explaining: “…before I was showing in galleries I used [street art] as a way to get recognition and to propel myself into the art scene in the city. I always practiced it alone… and was very picky about the space I was defacing, ensuring my work would actually add to the facade.” His undoubtedly dreamlike and memory-filled landscapes utilize rich colors and perspective tricks. They are built up with masking tape, drips, and sprayed paints, lending his painterly and often figurative works a flattened quality that bely their actual perspective. He thinks of this layering of techniques as an “artistic palimpsest… a many layered cultural artifact.” Many of his landscapes are drawn from memory and seem to evoke that memory in the viewer. Though he works on canvas, his work often spills onto walls and even engages installation qualities that are reflected back into the painted images. His goal is to “re-infuse the mainstream art scene with work that… reference[s] the figure and classical work… to encourage the combination of all we have learned from the history of art.” He believes “we don’t have to fall into the latest school of art… we can consolidate the marks from all of it into one piece. That is what makes my work surreal; it is as if I haven’t decided what type of painter I want to be.” His tape-masked surfaces and sprayed textures insist on the canvas’s flatness, but this flatness is elsewhere broken by receding vistas, hallways, and standing figures. Through the menagerie of style, his work maintains its voice and draws the viewer into a consistent whole, mending the broken pieces of a story that begs to be told, or already has been told. In pop surrealism, the concerns of classical surrealism are alive and well, but seem revived in the guise of pop-art-like media. Its connection to the urban landscape is undeniable, and this quality makes it hard to commodify. While street art, even high street art, abhors commodification by the simple fact of being integrated with the urban landscape, pop-surrealism borrows from illustration more and, as such, is easier to commodify; it incarnates on paper or canvas, and as such can be more easily sold. However, its interests are not obliquely in commercialization nor its effects, as is traditional pop art. It takes advantage of pop-art’s media and pre-empts it for the goals of surrealism, redefining what pop and surrealism mean to us as it goes. It rides both the high and low-brow, flirting with “fine” art and its white boxes: the museum, the gallery, and the pedestal. It does not fully give in, reasserting its roots at the last and least opportune moments. This dis-

tinct tension reveals its strengths and potential weaknesses. If it is here to stay, it is by virtue of sheer appeal. As traditional fine arts continue to mull over longstanding historical issues, pop-surrealism spends its time appealing to socially affected themes, begging for deeper interior reflection on the issues from which these visual themes spring. --- Daniel Anderson

Daniel Anderson is an artist and writer based out of San Francisco, California. Also known by the pseudonym blondknaut, Daniel is currently working on interactive visual installation projects involving live visuals, projection mapping, and ritual movement. For further inquiry, check out Daniel’s work at www.blond.knaut.net

artist profile

Starry Eyed Fashion

The Work of

Gina MarTynova and The revival of

fashion illusTraTion

By Margaux Galli afTer Many GeneraTions of a presumably dying genre of the fashion industry, fashion illustration is now making a comeback in the vein of wearable fine art. In our times of advanced technology in the world of digital printing and photography, traditional techniques are again rising in popularity to contrast the shiny and predictable world of mainstream fashion. With improved techniques for printing on clothing, fashion illustration is developing beyond the confines of concept art and commercial use to be deeply ingrained in the aesthetic of clothing itself. despite some overlaps and various collaborations, fashion and fine art have, for the most part, remained respectfully distant cousins, “frenemies” in some cases. However, there is a need for accessibility in art as well as fashion. as much as many would love to keep art and fashion in the their proverbial places, watching one another tentatively, the rest of us are unimpressed. Gina Martynova, a new york based surrealist fashion illustrator and designer, believes in the accessibility of both fine art and fashion. In an industry that favors digital painting over traditional, Martynova leans more towards the traditional, preferring the use of watercolor, pencil, and ink for original creations. she does, however, utilize design technology to translate, enhance, and repeat her original works onto clothing, deriving her skills from her educational background in textiles. she is also a designer for ozone socks and is working on their newest project for the Metropolitan Museum’s first sock collection. Gina intends to ride the wave of swelling interest for her one-of-a-kind pieces featuring the “Starry aesthetic”; a character the artist uses to personify her style. Martynova’s starry Collective is a grassroots fashion operation co-run by business partner Bjorn delaCruz and fashion designer/seamstress Melissa farra. The collective has participated in pop-up shops and art exhibitions but they have dreams of runway shows, a legitimized brand, and a store. Currently, they are sampling scarves and designing a kimono featuring starry. Martynova discusses the im-

portance of local product and community to further her projects: “We’re trying to keep it local because there’s a lot of issues in the world where people are being overworked. [i want to] create a creative community because that’s slowly getting lost in new york and i think it’s important to keep it because that’s what new york is about. it’s about fresh ideas and open-mindedness. We don’t want [starry] to be a cheap article. We want it to be beautiful, very thought provoking.” Gina describes “Starry” on her website as a “vagabond alien botanist who travels the universe exploring nature and specimens of life.” A bit of a vagabond herself, the artist gleams her style from a variety of cultural influences and life experiences. Describing herself as a “third culture kid”, her work visually embodies her sixteen years living in Thailand (her father

it is frightening or beautiful and Gina is not interested in just one or the other. her simple conclusion is balance, a calling she associates with Taoist philosophies of harmony and Japanese ukiyo-e prints. The existential distance of the arts is what keeps it whimsical and mysterious in the eyes of the viewers. however, it could also be the death of it and it’s important to keep it accessible to all communities. “i think the next step is to get one-of-a-kind fashion where you customize it for yourself and it doesn’t matter the size or what gender you are. Most people can’t afford art, especially original art but wear it on your shoes, wear it on your shirt, as a gown…usually fashion illustration is very straightforward. It’s not very deep; it’s not really considered fine art. Now I think the gaps are closing and fashion illustration can be fine art,” says Martynova.

“i think the gaps are closing and fashion illustration can be fine art”

was a un translator), her russian heritage, and an americanbased education through an international school in Thailand. Before coming to new york to attend the coveted fashion institute of Technology, she spent a year in the uk studying at the london College of fashion. Martynova’s Multi-cultural consciousness is especially noticeable in her of f & f Tales Collection. These whimsical pieces display portraits of women in a euro-asian aesthetic and wearing headdresses featuring culture infused pattern. Martynova nostalgically associates this imagery with russian folklore and its connection with nature, as well as fruits and fauna of Thailand. The incorporation of clothing itself is also a factor in the way of distinguishing culture. “When you go to a russian church, like russian orthodox, you actually see women covering their hair with the kokoshnik (headdress). in the northern hill tribes in China, they also wear headdresses as a daily part of life... The whole thing about the headdresses is this sort of contained opulence or contained detail,” says Martynova. Gina also describes her work as “eerie yet inviting” and it undoubtedly can be seen in the starry forest and of f & f Tales collections where she combines charming and stylized imagery with darker, juxtaposing images such as flies and skeletons in color palettes of blues, purples, pinks, and reds. The creatures she composes are decidedly feminine but also hold a sort of “otherworldliness” that is haunting and fiercely lovely. One cannot decide if

Whether we would like to admit it or not, fashion is often an intricate part of how we choose to visually represent ourselves. in some ways, clothing is more personal than a paintion the wall because it has many different personal uses. it is weaved into the everyday. it is something like a second skin, a material that can induce comfort and personal expression. despite reservations, fashion can serve as a viable agent in building bridges because of the personal and massively attainable nature of clothing. don’t miss an opening exhibition party on april 10 for Gina Martynova at Bristle + Crème in Manhattan featuring her spring fashion Tales collection in celebration of spring’s arrival. The exhibition will last a month. for more information, check out www.bristleandcreme.com. for further inquiry on Gina Martynova, check out www.ginamartynova.com --- Margaux Galli

Margaux Galli is currently based out of new york and is the editor-in-Chief at Pop surrealism Magazine. she is also a freelance writer and artist. for more of Margaux’s writing, check out her blog at www.urbanartistsblog.wordpress.com. her artwork is located at www.margauxgalli.com.

WheN lOOkiNg at the depiction of women in art, we’re challenged by the question of whether the art is duplicating the effects of the male gaze or challenging it. When seeing an audrey kawasaki piece, it’s easy to assume the former. You have depictions of a fae-like, impish young girl who often appears naked staring at you with a deep, meaningful gaze that seems impossibly adult. the muse girl is often waif-thin or has no body at all. The most important figure on these images is the focus on the face and eyes. Sometimes the body isn’t present at all, like in the image “Make Believe.” this does bring into question whether the muse girl uses the same anorex-

“We’re challenged by the question of whether the art is duplicating the effects of the male gaze or challenging it” ic ideal female figure that has created an epidemic of eating disorders for young women in the United States. With images such as this, audrey kawasaki has been accused of pandering to pedophilia, or creating an impossible version of femininity that celebrates anorexia and drug use. i had similar prejudices when I first heard about her work. But I think there is validity in challenging this assumption. to do this, we need to dive into the gaze. the gaze of audrey’s muse. First, we need to examine the art that kawasaki creates itself. the muse or girl works that audrey kawasaki creates are the de-

The PursuiT of The


By Oscar FN Wilde

piction of young women in a beautiful blending of mediums utilizing oil and graphite on wood blocks. they are scenes of different versions of the girl who appear in various forms, including geisha and mythical creatures. the connection to geisha is an important one. the artwork of audrey kawasaki has remarkable similarities to the Japanese wood block art style, particularly in the 18th century. according to the history of Japanese Woodblock (http://japaneseprinting.wordpress. com), this style first developed in black and white prints in wood block around 1660 with the artist hishikawa

Mornobu. towards the end of the 17th century, color was introduced to the wood-cut art style. an artist named Suzuki horonobu introduced fullcolor prints to the wood block style Most importantly, horonobu started producing stylized depictions of Japanese women of the “willow world.” horonobu created erotic images of these women as well. The style of Horonobu is a visible influence in kawasaki’s work. i think that the erotic undertones and ethereal figures in her muse girls echo the tradition of the wood block art of Japan. What are the muse girls? What makes these figures so important? While the images appear to be a series of unique young women, according to an interview with gendy alimurung at l.a. Weekly, all the images that kawasaki creates this way are her expression of one female figure. “’It’s all the same girl’ [audrey kawasaki] says, ‘it’s one per-

“the look in the eyes is always inquisitive, challenging the male gaze that attempts to define it” son.’” (http://www.laweekly.com/2011-05-19/la-life/ audrey-kawasaki-girl-chaser/). the girl depicted is an idea of feminine power, not a real person. One of the most deeply compelling elements of kawasaki’s muse girl is the gaze of the female figure. In every image she creates, the gaze is in the immediate sight line, and it powerfully challenges the gaze of the viewer. the look in the eyes is always inquisitive, challenging the male gaze that attempts to define it. The shape of the eyes changes from deeply set almond eyes to more rounded candy shapes, whatever the size or shape, they do not lose any of their intensity. even when the eyes are not in the focus the gaze is powerful, compelling the viewer to wonder what the girl is experiencing and seeing. the sometimes erotic images challenge a culture that constantly produces images of naked women and naked adult women posing as girls. audrey kawasaki’s chase of her ideal female figure is based almost exclusively on the face and, most importantly, the eyes. For the visual culture that we live in, the focus of a woman’s body is so much on breasts, hips, and lips for women. audrey kawasaki’s girl is an exclusive creation of audrey kawasaki’s gaze, a not quite being that morphs and transforms as kawasaki seeks to recreate the girl muse on her own woodcut images. --- Oscar FN Wilde Wilde received his Bachelor of arts in Feminist Studies at the University of California in Santa Cruz and writes about depiction of gender in art and modern culture.

artist profile

Andrew Shoultz: Andrew schoultz is quintessentiAlly san Francisco. Andrew moved to the san Francisco Bay Area in 1997 for art school during the rise of skateboarding counterculture and a revolutionary social environment. he is a highly engaged artist who has created murals and shown art across san Francisco and the world. An embedded feature on the walls of san Francisco, this artist provokes thoughtful discussions with emotionally charged, fantastical works of art in galleries and on the streets. regarding the value of art Andrew says, “Art should be valued for the way it improves peoples lives that get to experience it. living amongst art makes a better quality of life. enriching, inspiring, and interesting, good art fuels dialogue and change. i cannot imagine living a life that is not surrounded by expression through art.” speaking with Andrew about his recent departure from san Francisco to los Angeles provided interesting insight into the current social and political tensions in play for the san Francisco Bay Area. As an artist who does street installations, multimedia exhibitions, and international gallery art, Andrew has the rare perspective of being engaged with every niche of the public. After seventeen years in san Francisco, he felt it was time to move. Andrew explained he has a, “deep respect and love for the city of san Francisco that will never go away. SF is a city in constant flux but this new wave of tech start -ups and affluent transplants appears to be changing the city into something unfamiliar.” the current stresses of the bay can be traced back to the questionable politics of willy Brown but it wasn’t until Gavin newsom’s introduction of a 10 year tax break to new tech companies, that the flood gates opened pulling out a strong

“rePetition, rePetition....” 2013. 7 Feet By 7 Feet. Acrylic And collAGe on linen. iMAGe courtesy oF the Artist And MArk Moore GAllery los AnGeles. Photo: rAndy dodson

An Artist in trAnsition by caroline lepman

“tree” (Four shAMAns) 2013. 24 inches By 18 inches. Acrylic And collAge on cAnVAS. IMAge courTeSy oF The ArTIST And hoSFelT GAllery sAn FrAncisco. Photo: rAndy dodson

undertow of gentrification and displacement for a historically diverse and eclectic city. Families and artists were the first to go out of areas like soMa (south of Market st.) and the outer Mission, previously havens for cheaper living. Artists like Andrew are impacted by rising rent prices and closing galleries, these obstacles disassociate artists from the cities they are creating from, as it becomes more challenging to maintain a work and living space, the art suffers and in turn, creative commu-

nities scatter and galleries, no longer frequented by locals get bought by the recent flavor of online development. The ceiling to floor windows that used to flood galleries with natural light, now are covered with blinds “Good art fuels dialogue and change. i cannot imagine living a life that is not surrounded by expression through art” in order to shield monitor screens. Although Andrew was not to forced out of his home or studio, he chose to leave after seeing the dissemination of Guerrero Gallery and other community art hubs. imagining a city devoid of art that he has

MurAl- "deconSTrucTed WAll" 2013. AcrylIc on WAll. Aprox. 100 FeeT by 30 FeeT dIMenSIonS VArIAble. IMAge courTeSy oF The ArTIST. Photo: rAndy dodson.

grown to love, the artist has recently left to put roots in los Angeles. A city that still has raw, sprawling warehouse districts and galleries eager to stay open; showing transformative and surreal work. Andrew conveys themes of history, war, globalization, and the environment. his pieces often foreshadow dystopian scenes; a warning of replicating the same mistakes made through history. Andrew’s work draws on techniques influenced by mapmakers and much of his work in galleries is rich with me-

"sPinninG eye" 2013. Acrylic And collAGe on wood PAnel. 24 inches circle. iMAGe courtesy oF the Artist And MArk Moore GAllery los AnGeles. Photo: rAndy dodson.

ticulously fine lined details and geometry that coveys directional or radiating forces. Andrew’s murals are powerful surreal landscapes that warn and inspire, tiny houses with uncertain foundations and violent forces. the murals elicit conversations and ideas about global and local problems. “sites for murals in the Mission are offered more often than chosen…. It is hard to find open walls, and the Mission with high foot traffic is ideal. Since many of the walls are not ideal to paint on, they often pose strange challenges,” explains schoultz. San Francisco is filled with worn yet charming Victorian and edwardian style homes. though these sites are harder to work with, the results are fantastic; imperfections create dimensions and textures. “they created compositional challenges pressing me to work in new ways and the results are more interesting than they would have been if i had painted on smooth blank white canvases. i imagine these walls as largescale found objects and do paintings on them. it’s more interesting to preserve them in some ways as they are. there is history there, and it is better to work with it rather than make it disappear,” says schoultz. this sentiment echoes the problem that is at the heart of the crisis for artists in san Francisco. Much tension is due to homogenizing forces that aren’t interested in the unique history, flair and diversity the city has always offered. instead of Painting with the imperfections and faults there is a sterilizing wrecking ball. local struggles are marked in our streets and rebuilding everything will only further alienate us from history and the future. there is hope for the city if new companies take a cue from

artists like Andrew. san Francisco’s eclectic buildings and communities must be treated as bizarre, textured found objects instead of sites for repurposing the city into a giant cloud storage facility. the murals that remain are surreal, tragic landscapes and painted textures that reflect an increasingly turbulent environment. Murals offer a unique glance at the social and environmental health of a neighborhood. “on the street, there isn’t the pretense of the art world. People tell you exactly what they think. every person has the right to question what it is occupying their public space, the ultimate challenge as a public artist is to place something there that will serve a purpose. this can come in many forms, and if it resonates and connects with the community it will likely remain to inspire,” says schoultz. “the murals that remain are surreal, tragic landscapes and painted textures that reflect an increasingly turbulent environment.” irrespective of the trajectory of the Bay Area art scene, Andrew’s impressive body of work and dynamic voice will continue to resonant in the Bay Area, many murals remain and new pieces will continue to be shown in well established galleries such as hosfelt Gallery (san Francisco) and Morgan lehman Gallery (new york). Andrew’s work is rich in fantasy, war, social political dialogue, illusion, and unexpected details. these themes are characteristically san Francisco and i look forward to the conversations Andrew chooses to begin and what stories will flow out of his work from his new home in los Angeles.

“gold drIppIng eye” 2013. AcrylIc, collAge And gold leAF on cAnVAS STreTched oVer Wood pAnel. 48 IncheS by 48 IncheS. phoTo- rAndy dodSon. courTeSy oF The Artist And MArk Moore GAlley los AnGeles.

--- caroline lepman

caroline lepman is a designer, writer, and inventor living in oakland, cA. raised in london, uk; caroline moved to california in 2006 to study, work, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. she studied Philosophy and Physics and has been developing new presentations of wearable technology for medical and recreational applications. caroline loves to provoke wonder and lively discussion, every day a new opportunity to probe the universe.

“SlAVe ShIp In chAoS” 2013. AcrylIc And collAge on pAnel. 6FeeT by 6 FeeT. phoTorAndy dodson courtesy oF the Artist And MArk Moore GAllery los AnGeles.

The 3rd Biennial

La Luz de Jesus

Taxidermy Show e

This is not your Granddaddy’s taxidermy show!

May 2 - June 1, 2014 Opening Reception: May 2, 2014 8 -11 pm

La Luz de Jesus Gallery

4633 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323)666-7667 laluzdejesus.com

the profiles

christopher ulrich: A MythologicAl ExplorAtion By Matt Kennedy

CHrIStOPHEr ULrICH IS NOt of these times. His discomfort with modern technology, fascination with alchemy, and most noticeably his technical skill level would all seem more at home in the Baroque era than in 21st century Los Angeles where he was born. His training is grounded in mannerist methodology and his dedication to craft, which in the last seven years has consisted of eighteen-hour-day marathon sessions exuding work ethic without peer critique. there is a truth inherent in his neoclassical brushwork that adds perspective to the historical realism of his otherwise religious allegory paintings. His themes are far deeper and his ability more advanced than most critics would be comfortable classifying as “pop art,” and yet his dissection of contemporary society through a rococo tableau is fully rooted in the popular culture, though revealing much more affinity for Joseph Campbell’s pop mythology than for Andy Warhol’s factory. Christopher’s natural artistic abilities from a young age were inspired and encouraged by the museums and cathedrals of his European parents’ homeland. Studies at Loyola Marymount lead to a mentorship with revered illustrator Burne Hogarth, and a scholarship at Pasadena’s Art Center School of Design. Forced to forgo these opportunities, Christopher traveled instead to Asia, where he worked and studied for several years. Upon his return, he began work on a massive endeavor called the Christ Chronocrator Project. Broken down into three cycles of large format oil paintings on wood and canvas, the first cycle, Demoneater, was devised in 2005 via a singular prototype for Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, then expanded to a full exhibition in 2007 at the Lang Design Group Gallery in Bergamot Station. Demoneater fea-

tures fifteen “keys” (measuring two-by-two feet) to fifteen “doors” (measuring four-by-eight feet) represented in each oil-on-wood piece by a single character. An exhibition at Billy Shire Fine Arts in Culver City preceded an encore presentation at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, and a limited edition catalog produced for the exhibition is now a highly sought collector’s item. Ulrich unleashed the second cycle of his Christ Chronocrator series, Illuminator, in 2010 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery. Charged by the number 8 (referring to Ulrich’s August 8th birthday), and composed of 16 paintings and 16 illustrated studies, the metamorphic process continued, focusing on the light rather than the darkness of his previous oeuvre. Each three-by-four foot oil-on-canvas painting is housed in a custom built wooden temple, and the studies were made available either as original drawings or as proof edition lithographs. Ulrich spent the better part of a year in isolation, working around the clock to create what he termed “the final exorcism of the low-brow influence” on his work. When the show opened two days before his birthday, he found a new crowd of supporters that had previously eluded him: art critics and serious collectors. Legendary critic Molly Barnes arranged to have some of his older pieces displayed in New York City, and Nike CEO Mark Parker acquired one of the Illuminator paintings and several of Ulrich’s large scale drawings for his private collection of pop surrealist works. An encore presentation of Illuminator was hosted in the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park, giving Christopher his second gallery exhibition before his fortieth birthday. Despite such encouragement, Ulrich was completely spent after unveiling the second part of his trilogy. His sacrifices, both physical and emotional, were many and his self-im-

fortunately, the first quarter of the first year was spent acquiring the funds for materials. A return to wood from canvas would be necessary to replicate the look of the great masterworks he had seen as a child in France. It would cost over fourteen thousand dollars before he painted a single dot, and he was more than willing to trade work to accomplish his goal. Ulrich initiated a Kick-Start program that placed pieces from his early group show period in the collections of his supporters in exchange for the cost of the surfaces and framing devices for his upcoming show. the campaign was a success and with four months of discovery under his belt, he was ready to begin painting. In the past two years, Ulrich has taken only two weeks away from painting. It was to work on a film with his boyhood friend, director Nimród Antal, for the band Metallica. Initially expected to work only a couple of days, his enthusiasm (and that of his employers) led to a longer stint for a 3D film scheduled for release in 2013. Upon his return, he experienced an incredible wave of productivity that may have advanced his completion of the series rather than hinder it. Having seen the works in progress, I can attest that I have never seen such magnificent work hang in a non-museum setting. the reckoning is a perfect exhibition for the rumored end of the world, embracing the pivotal events of Christianity and older mythologies into the framework of twelve celestial coordinates. the centerpiece is a sixteen-by-eight foot painting of the Last Supper in which various deities of Egyptian, Greco-roman and Hindu dogma are seated at Christ’s table. the amount of allegory to be found in this one painting could fill a book single-handed. Ulrich intimated, “I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a meal as a meeting place, and I wrestled many times with whether or not I wanted there to be any food on this table. I finally realized these zodiacal beings required no sustenance–their sheer existence is nourishment enough.” ---- Matt Kennedy posed exile in the desert of Lancaster required a term of decompression. However, following the success of his show and a new exhibition date of December 2012, Ulrich took a cue from the Mayan calendar and dove without hesitation into the final cycle of the Christ Chroncrator Project. And thus, the reckoning was born. the reckoning signifies the first time that Ulrich has ever had the luxury of two years to deliver an exhibition of new work. Un-

Matt Kennedy is a writer, producer and curator. He recently presided over a career retrospective for Myron Conan Dyal at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. He is the author “Pop-Sequentialism” and “the Panik Diaries.” He lives in Pasadena and works in Los Angeles.

the enterprises

CREATIVE PET PROJECT By Rob Snow MAKING DREAMS INTO REALITY is always the aim of artists, to turn their imagination into an emotive work of beauty and desire. In my work as an illustrator, many times this inspiration has come from the best designer on Earth: Mother Nature. After saving my rescue dog, the passion and love for animals was heightened and one day I thought how can I help animals with my work? This is when the Creative Pet Project was born. Over the past two years, I have been working to gain the collaboration of many artists from the Pop Surrealist movement to well-known illustrators. What has come together is a collaboration of 111 artists and illustrators. Many collaborators are top in their field, celebrated worldwide through exhibition, and have a great fan following. However, this was not the only motivation for the project. The idea I had was to make an impact in the way the artists would be selected and be motivated. As the project was about animal charity support, the idea was to gain the interest from artists who all had companion animals and included them as inspiration animals in their artwork. The response has been immense. More artists ask to take part, even though the layout and book is ready to print. For this reason the project will continue. More volumes will be printed as interest rises. Artists have a strong connection with animals and even more with their companion animals. We have managed to gather the help and support of many top Pop Surrealist artists and it wasn’t hard to convince them to take part. Just to name a few, John Brophy has a cat; Martin Wittfooth has a dog and snake; Tara McPherson has a rabbit; Sas Christian has a couple of dogs and three tortoises. Anita Kunz especially jumped onboard the instant I mentioned animals. Anita Kunz, from Canada has been awarded a Medal of Merit and was the first woman to be allowed to have a solo exhibition in the Library of Congress. These are just some of the points from the book, but each page is full of artist biographies as well as touching stories of how they have become connected with their pets. It is all around a beautiful volume to have and treasure. All together the book project has twenty-four Pop Surrealist artists from around the world. Nature provides the colors; we put them into pictures. --- Rob Snow CHESIRE. HEIDI TAILLEFER, 2009

Currently, The Creative Pet Project is at a stage where funding is needed to support the endeavor. The proceeds for the art book will go towards animal charities such as IFAW, Born Free USA, and hopefully Wildlife Alliance in the coming weeks. For more information about the campaign, you can visit the campaign site at Indiegogo (http://bit.ly/1oxvidY) or the main website at http:// bit.ly/LdUeYE. You can also join the Facebook page at http:// on.fb.me/1iU47ZS or find Creative Pet on Twitter at http://bit. ly/1jzHJSO. If you’d like to contribute to future editions, then contact Creative Pet at info@creative-pet-project.com. AKITSUSHIM. LOLA GIL, 2010