Pop Surrealism (Spring 2011)

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APRIL 1 st – MAY 1 st 2011


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Publisher Richard Kalisher Designer Eric Kalisher Contributing Editors Ana Kim, Tracy Tomko






ince The Congregation Gallery opened it's doors, they've been hosting some of the most exciting group art shows in the country. The shows feature emerging and established, outsider and lowbrow, dark, and even unknown artists, allowing both new talent and professionals, local and international, to feature their work to new audiences. Hundreds of attendees from all walks of life attend their art show events. It's become not just the “art” crowd — or the “rock” crowd — but the everyone crowd. In Fall 2008, The Congregation Gallery hosted Los Angeles County's first ever “Metal” Art Show. The show was so successful that an event that was supposed to run one time snowballed into a new type of gallery, one that's owned and operated by artists, for artists. Programming primarily themed group shows, the Congregation Gallery strives


to be an intersection between accomplished professionals and the new blood. In 2010, they started throwing solo art shows and now The Congregation Galley is becoming the finger on the pulse of realism and surrealism on the West coast. The Congregation Gallery is located inside Forgotten Saints, which operates as a rockn-roll designer boutique and tattoo studio. The Congregation Gallery is the crossroads of fashion, music, and art in Hollywood and us curated by artist Cam Rackam and owner Cody Varona. The gallery is open every day from 11am to 8pm.

Art Selections From The Congregation Gallery


From Left: Cam Rackam, The Culprit, oil on masonite, custom assemblage frame; Dean Fleming, Desire, oil on panel, custom frame; Larkin, Year of the Rabbit, oil on board, custom hand-woven frame.

photos by Evi T’Bolt

artists, curators, musicians, dancers, designers, writers, creative inquiries: proposal@newpuppyLA.com

Gary Baseman & Andy Kehoe Jonathan LeVine New York City [Through Apr 2]


Walking through Walls is a show of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Gary Baseman. As the title suggests, works in Walking through Walls convey the concept of breaking through imposed limitations and boundaries, in society as well as the art world. Visually, Baseman emphasizes “the wall” through a floral wallpaper motif, compositional divisions of space and the transcendence of his subjects between mediums. While his previous exhibitions have been festive and celebratory in nature, Baseman’s work takes a more reflective, somber tone in this show. With the recent passing of his father, the artist’s deep sense of loss has resulted in darker, subdued colors, adding shades of gray to his previously bright palette. In the new series of work, Baseman introduces a figure named Lil Miss Boo, a young girl wearing a homemade ghost costume. The character is based on a child in an old black and white photograph, one of over 2000 vintage photographs of masked subjects in the artist’s personal collection, garnered over the last 20 years. The collection has often been a source of creative inspiration. This exhibition marks the first time Baseman incorporates imagery from his photo collection into his paintings, through elements of collage and silkscreen. In this exhibition, Baseman explores the maturation of objective childlike naivety into the subjective adult understanding of absolute beliefs in ideals such as truth, love, hope, faith, fate and responsibility. His ghost and skeleton children evoke nostalgia of childhood memories, and support the overarching theme of mortality in relation to growth, identity, personal development and transformation. Among several archetypes, the artist makes references to Golem—a Jewish folktale of anthropomorphic beings made of mud which can be animated by inscribing the word emet (Hebrew for truth) on their forehead, and killed by removing the first letter of the

Gary Baseman

word, to become met (meaning death). Gary Baseman was born in 1960 in Los Angeles, CA, where he currently resides. A pervasive artist who works in fine art, illustration, toy design and film/ television, his strong iconic images are at once playful and dark, childlike and thought provoking. Works by Baseman have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Rome, Taipei, Bristol, Barcelona, Berlin and São Paulo, including an installation at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, a two-man show at Laguna Art Museum and a performance at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). He is the creator and executive producer of Teacher’s Pet, a critically acclaimed animated series and film, win-

ner of multiple Emmy awards. Baseman’s work can be seen in The New Yorker, TIME, New York Times, Rolling Stone, and on the best-selling board game Cranium. Strange Wanderings, new works by Andy Kehoe, features a series of oil and acrylic paintings on wood panel, expanding upon Kehoe’s allegorical compositions, painted in his signature low-key palette of rich earth tones and autumnal colors, accented by fine, black line-work. Most of the artist’s subjects are animal-human hybrids, dressed in fine suits, sometimes smoking cigarettes or pipes, often horned, hoofed, or beaked and covered with fur or feathers. In this fantastical world, frolicking foxes and cats walk on hind legs, forest spir-

Andy Kehoe

its linger behind tree trunks, creatures peer from above the forest canopy and silhouetted shadows fade into the mist. Kehoe’s aesthetic is largely inspired by traditional folktales and mythological art. His narratives contain primordial themes of love, fear, mortality, alienation, greed, deception and betrayal. Nostalgic for a time before the age of science and reason, Kehoe’s work rekindles a childlike sense of wonder, recalling an era when fables and legends were believed as truths to explain each and every mystery of the unknown. The majestic grandeur of nature has also had a strong influence on the artist and is present throughout his work. Colorful foliage and bare branches rep-

resent the seasonal passing of time. In this exhibition, Kehoe’s figures are isolated within desolate wooded landscapes, yet they are rendered with a greater contrast in scale than his previous work and, as a result, take on new dynamics in relationship to one another. During the course of working on this show, the artist embarked on an adventurous crosscountry move from Portland, Oregon, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Along his journey, he stopped to explore National Parks in Wyoming such as Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Devils Tower, and Badlands in South Dakota. As he says, “It was equally inspiring and intimidating seeing nature in that grand of scale. A lot of my work for this

show has a sense of scale to it... mostly with creatures that are larger than life. Many of the new paintings have characters that are on journeys, and meet something new and unexpected, some comforting and others frightening. Some of the pieces also deal with finding home and where your heart lies.” Andy Kehoe was born in 1978 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2003, he received a BFA in Illustration from Parsons School of Design in New York City. In the years that followed, his paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country. After recently living and working in Portland, Oregon, Kehoe re-located again in 2010, returning to his home town of Pittsburgh, PA.


Yosuke Ueno TOY ART GALLERY Los Angeles [ongoing] This gallery presents their first bronze sculpture: Hapiko by Yosuke Ueno. Hapiko, as described by its sculptor, is a Lucky God, common in Japanese folklore since ancient times. She is a quintessential Yosuke Ueno character: a smooth, innocent figure, nose-less and without eyebrows. She is often featured in Yosuke’s paintings and represents the Happy Girl. Born in Japan, Yosuke Ueno has been creating and drawing original characters since early childhood. He is a self-taught painter with his first solo show held in 1994 in Yamaguchi when he was sixteen. He also paints under the name Spaceegg77, and

shows works in Asia, the U.S, and Europe while living in Tokyo. Yosuke is known as a specialist of symbolism and innocence. Red, green, yellow, and blue often appear in his works. These colors represent the four bases of DNA: adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine, that is, A, T, G and C-molecular elements that all animate beings share. Yosukepaints these colors and A, T, G and C with a message that all animate beings should have equal worth. The theme of Yosuke Ueno’s art is “Love, Space, and Positive Energy.” The Hapiko bronze statue stands nine inches tall and is limited to an edition of ten.

EINE White Walls San Francisco [Mar 12 - Apr 2]

glitter will be on display at White Walls gallery. In an effort to engage the community through the creation of public artwork, EINE will be painting the entire alphabet throughout the city of San Francisco over the course of several weeks on walls and shutters. This public execution of street art aims to offer viewers a more participatory role in the observation and evaluation of artistic creation. All members of the community from collectors and appreciators to first-time viewers are invited to partake in the dynamic program of events that surround this ambitious undertaking. White Walls gallery will be producing a schedule of live installations, a continually updated map of works as they appear around the city, a public artist talk, and an evening of film screenings related to EINE'S art. Rooted in the subcultural practice of graffiti, EINE moved into the more socially acceptable expression of street art in the early 2000s as a way to become a full time artist creating public works that were perceived as more legitimate. However, his fundamental art practice has essentially remained the same--he continues to paint words and letters on walls on the street. Letters either appear alone, on shutter fronts, or as words on walls such as 'scary', 'vandalism', and 'monsters' rendered in bright and amiable colors. In this way he turns negative words into positive ones. The contrast of

GREATEST is a new exhibition by artist Ben EINE. It will utilize both gallery and public space as a two-tiered platform for the artist’s visual expression. EINE'S work is a large-scale study of the shape and structure of the 26 letters found in the modern English alphabet in varied typefaces, color configurations and word arrangements. In the public spaces of San Francisco, EINE will be painting each letter of the alphabet on various walls around the city. A further ten canvases of his work using spray paint, acrylic, and


jovial shapes and colors with dark sentiment is also a tongue-and cheek nod to the artist’s furtive and taboo origins as a graffiti writer. The street art component of GREATEST is complimented by a selection of works to be displayed inside the gallery. These works are part of EINE’s continual exploration of letters and words as his quintessential format for aesthetic inquiry. EINE’s studio process involves a layering of stencils onto the primed and painted canvas. Re-envisioning basic Victorian typographical structure, he begins with vintage handprinted wood block fonts, reworking and refining them until he is inspired to cut the final stencil. This working methodology marks the continual evolution of the font by the artist’s hand. In the early 2000s, EINE began a symbiotic collaboration with the street artist, Banksy. The artists worked and exhibited together for several years traveling to Australia, Berlin, Vienna and Denmark where Gallery V1 held the Banksy vs. EINE show in 2003. EINE also collaborated with Banksy on the famous Palestinian Wall project. In 2010, the Prime Minister David Cameron presented President Barack Obama with a piece of EINE’s work as a gift. This diplomatic exchange between the world powers catapulted EINE’s work into the limelight on both sides of the Atlantic. GREATEST will be EINE’s first show in the US since his work was given to Obama.

Yumiko Kayukawa Shooting Gallery San Francisco [Mar 12 - Apr 2]

Rock You in a Tatami Room is a solo exhibition by Seattle-based Japanese artist, Yumiko Kayukawa. This new collection of works will continue the artist’s affinity for fusing pop culture iconography such as western fashion and rock and roll with varying aspects of traditional Japanese culture. The exhibition’s comprised of her signature acrylic and ink on canvas works. Filled with conflicting realities of pop culture, traditional Japanese aesthetics and cultural traditions, the exhibition presents a varied collection of themes representing a confluence of personal narrative, whimsical imagination and contemporary life. The acrylic and ink-based works are explosions of dynamic color and surrealist narratives where empowered females navigate the intricacies of modern life. Kayukawa’s subjects are youthful Japanese heroines in contemporary settings often surrounded by an entourage of displaced wildlife such as bears, wolves, bunnies and deer. By coalescing polar binaries such as nature/urbanity and the primal/the refined, her work intertwines and extends the relationship of femininity, nature, and modernity. The show’s eponymous painting, Rock You in a Tatami Room, exhibits Kayukawa’s trademark style, a collision of seemingly disparate elements: young girls, rock and roll, and wild animals. An amalgamation of cultural references such as the animist aspects of Shinto and Japanese folklore, the tones and pallet of Ukiyo-e, the defined lines of Manga, and the topical content of Anime. Nostalgia for Japanese culture is further explored in a piece entitled New World, where a girl stands at the ruins of a post-apocalyptic scene. Inspired by Japan’s suffering after World War II and its successful recovery from devastation, Kayukawa creates a symbolic message of hope--that the world will recover from the current worldwide economic devastation as Japan did when it successfully rebuilt the country’s economy and infrastructure in the postWorld War II era.


Four Artists LA LUZ DE JESUS Los Angeles [Apr 1 - May 1]

Fawn Fruits — aka Daniel Hyun Lim — relishes the spontaneity of the art and moves things as he goes with colored pencils and acrylics. His works are somewhat timeless with a striking juxtaposition of muted versus vibrant hues. The colors are an anchor to reality and are a huge factor to the symbolic message that he is telling: “Somewhere over the colors of the rainbow there lies a significantly beautiful truth, a truth that can only be realized with an intimate encounter.” Sweet IMperfections is an artistic interpretation of a promise between the creation and his/her creator” states the artist. Rather than forcefully preaching to the viewer with religious imagery and symbolism, Lim brings new life to the genre by producing work that is based on his personal views on religion. “Although we see ourselves as imperfect souls, in the eyes of a loved one, we are perfect” states Lim who feels that there are enough serious paintings in the world that shout and make big statements. He wants his work to be more subtle and speak peacefully to the viewer, to bring a moment of tranquility. His dream is to show the world some love,

Daniel Lim


Mark Gleason

one Fawn Fruits at a time. Lim is an illustration instructor at Otis college of Art and Design, Santa Monica College and Red Engine Studios. In Mannerism, Mark Gleason continues to use Mannerist techniques with oil on canvas to explore existential themes via absurdist situations. Animals are often included to define aspects of the relationship of a central character’s orientation or connection to the world via communion or costume in psychologically fraught, private environments. Gleason’s subjects are shown in moments of preparation and conflict -- his figures have roles to assume, and in doing so, a form of inner self is revealed. His metaphoric images may seem cryptic but represent the underdog and the disenfranchised deriving fearsome capability from the mask of the powerful; figures communing with animals, or donning the guise of animals, holding knives out like some kind of animal self-protection stance or the Sisyphean struggle of attempting to lift books when you’re standing on them. “Hopefully, my wit comes through in each painting. I would feel successful if I could convey the same kind of absurd humor found in Samuel Beckett’s writing. The imagery is a construct that has multiple meanings and layers and I leave blanks for the viewers to fill in. I’ve come to see that others bring their own stories and feelings to the work. I’ve intentionally fostered that kind of response with recent work, and I’m honored and challenged in creating something that may spark others to open their own responses to the work. I resonate to a statement by Degas to the effect that art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” states Gleason, whose work is also inspired by novelist Cormac McCarthy and silent film star Buster Keaton. In addition to painting, Mark teaches high school art in Palo Alto, California and writes a music blog. Suffused with pessimistic shadows and redemptive illumination, Canadian pop-surrealist painter Heather Watts’ intricate paintings harness the pageantry of anthropomorphic heroes and martyrs to tell the story of individuals grappling with forces larger than themselves. “Some of the pieces for this show are quite dark thematically, but I’m not interested on focusing on the darkness for its own sake in my work, I’m interested in using it to show light, to paint dark-

ness as something that reveals light, to see the darkness as a canvas for light, an opportunity for light to shine” states the artist. Watts is well-known for her past tiki-inspired paintings and has exhibited in galleries across the US and overseas. Danni Shinya Luo’s female forms breathe with a sensuality and intuition that will shatter your preconceptions about her chosen medium, the watercolor painting. Shinya’s fluid and organic figures are full of feminine mystery and romance. Her colorful animals are magnificently fierce, emanating a primal magnetism that is practically pheremonic. In Chaotic Harmony, using whimsical and subtly erotic figures, the interactions of human beings with their avatars from the animal kingdom convey modern psychological truths while relating ageold mythologies. The concept of this new collection is birthed from the artist’s own internal world; her past experiences are transformed into physical creatures, textures and color palettes. The subtextural inclusion of archetypal symbolism is never forced nor heavy-handed, but further enriches the central, “surface” view with allegorical depth — a reward for those willing to investigate. Originally from Shanghai, China, Danni Shinya Luo moved to California in 1995. She fell in love with art in grade school and after a few years of private study (and an apprenticeship with Chinese watercolor master, Ding Ha) was accepted into Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where she majored in illustration and graduated with honor in 2006. Shinya participated in key group shows, select solo exhibitions, and saw her work published in periodicals like Bust and Initiativa, books like Eye Candy and Sugar & Spice, as well as design projects like Nickelodeon’s Neopets and a line of toy dolls for Hasbro. In the year that has passed since her last featured exhibition, Spiritual Deficiencies, Shinya has published a now sold-out collected volume of her gallery exhibited work, Breaking the Ice. She also helped develop the re-branding of Marvel Comics’ signature female mutant “X-23” (providing the cover art for the first three issues). Later this year, her second book, Soft Candy: The Art of Danni Shinya Luo, will be released through seminal art publisher Last Gasp Books, featuring a collection of 200 full color pages of brand-new drawings and paintings.

Heather Watts

Danni Shinya Luo


Henry Lewis & Adam Wallacavage Corey Helford Culver City [Mar 19 - Apt 6]


San Francisco-based artist Henry Lewis features a dramatic new series of figurative oil paintings. Combining classical painting techniques with tattoo-influenced imagery, Lewis infuses his portraiture with loose expressive strokes and raw depth. The Absence of Light, Lewis’ new collection of works, represents a catharsis for extraction and reflection based on his fixations from adolescence and family. A mirror of human emotions tied to memories of the present and past, Lewis draws from his personal experiences creating timeless narratives and mythological environments filled with heros, icons of beauty and historical artifacts. Lewis adds, “These self-made fantasy scenes, though dark at first glance, react with humor towards the past, free of apathy, and curiosity of the future.” Lewis was born in Pasadena, California, and moved to San Francisco in 2000 to pursue a career in tattooing, illustration, and painting. Lewis has worked as a tattooist for the past 14 years and is a featured artist at the world-renowned tattoo studio, Skull & Sword. Adam Wallacavage first Los Angeles solo exhibition, Dreamhome Heartaches, has the Philadelphia-based sculptor and photographer bringing his magical wonderland of sculptural works to the city, unveiling a new collection inspired by the decorative interiors in his Victorian Brownstone. For the exhibition, Wallacavage returns to his living space as the source of his creativity, drawing from his personal experiences and memories. A new collection of octopus chandeliers, extravagant wall sconces, and elk skull lighting pieces will be showcased throughout the gallery along-

side the debut of delightful additions, including table lamps and smaller handcrafted items. Works on display will be a combination of hand-sculpted pieces created in epoxy clay as well as larger cast plaster sculptures. To achieve his signature look, Wallacavage adds a thick glaze of secret sauce, producing a vibrant shimmering finish. Self-taught in the ancient art of ornamental plastering, Wallacavage evolved his newfound skills into making octopus-shaped chandeliers and continued his experimentation by making more and more. Wallacavage changed the shapes and colors and themes, moving on to bats, snakes, elk skulls, wall sconces and some rather silly castings from his old collection of rubber squeaky toys. Wallacavage’s chandeliers have been exhibited all over the world.

“Arcane Seasons” C.A.V.E. Venice [Mar 11 - Apr 2]

"Arcane Seasons” features new works by Bryan Pickens of Visalia, CA; Codak of Los Angeles; Josh Hart of Los Angeles, and Skount from Amsterdam. This exhibition showcases a diversity of styles characterized by dynamic imagery created by abstract fluctuations and sharp lines, and expressive visual narratives capturing a moment in time. The introspection by the artists used to create each piece exudes an inescapable subjectivity that holds the essence to the piece, while at the same time bestowing the viewer with a catalyst for self-reflection. Skount and Codak, both prolific and respected street artists, have transferred the spontaneity used to create their large scale urban installations into their new canvas paintings - expressing the same freedom as their iconic street work. Josh Hart and Bryan Pickens work with the smooth natural surface of wood for their introspective pieces, allowing the organic material to envelope their colorful imagery in a comforting but raw balance. Collectively the exhibition is an impressive series of fresh, eye-catching styles, inspired by an observation of the things external to one-self and personal encounters that influence our thoughts and constitute the changing seasons of time.


“Emergence” Galerie Myrtis Baltimore [Mar 11 - Apr 30]

“Emergence: Contemporary Artists to Watch” highlights artists who are making an indelible mark on the contemporary art movement. Galerie Myrtis is exhibiting a number of artists from across the country, including many with ties to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Emergence explores the renaissance of artistic expression and creativity in contemporary art, and highlights Baltimore’s position as an up-and-coming arts scene while raising questions about where art is going, both geographically and intellectually. Forty artists present a variety of compelling and technically skilled artworks. Baltimore native Loring Cornish who makes mosaics “out of what the city has to offer”, while Jennifer Tam’s paintings draw “on the ancient art of Peking Opera for inspiration” and rely “on visual artistry, masks and makeup, as well as a rich vocabulary of symbolic gestures, props, and colors that are unique to Chinese culture. Daniel Everett uses an “eclectic aesthetic for religion and art in the juxtaposition of patterns, iconic poses, mythological creatures, gods and goddesses, and entwines these elements with the portraits of” his loved ones in whimsical and highly-skilled painting and drawings. For his works, James Williams II has used the “bright color palettes and stylized figures” of popular culture to create “a story set in the United States during the 1930s” and “centered on the protagonist Little Rooster.”


“LYRIC” 323East Royal Oak, MI [Mar 19 - Apr 19] “It's got a good beat and you can paint to it,” says Gary Barr. “Forgive the pun, paraphrase, or whatever else you deign to call that opening sentence. “ Barr is not making light of Lyric, a forthcoming show at 323East that he curated. “I’m just happy to see that, in an art world filled with far too many ambiguously-themed exhibits that this show will feature two-dozen or so works by an impressive list of artists. It’s a group shows that don't require a refresher course “ The common denominator at the very heart of Lyric is — as the title so obviously suggests — music. As Barr notes, “What is heard, what comes from or is fashioned by the musical scale of notes, is often the immediate prelude to what is felt on the emotional roster of our feelings. Everyone has a favorite song or (conversely) a song they wish they could banish from thought because the latter carries a baggage of bittersweet memories.” Likewise a line from a particular song may prompt a multitude of images in the mind of the listener. And if the listener is prone to pick up a pen or a brush on occasion.’” That was the starting point for every piece in this exhibit. Barr asked each participant to “transcribe" a musical motif and its words onto canvas. The result is an impressive show, one lacking in discordant notes. As Barr lays it out, "Music and its lyrics can always stimulate our emotions and it can have us contemplating a visional narrative. Lyrics have been known to be the fodder of some of the greatest works in the world.” This exhibition demonstrates the artists’ personal transcription from a songs lyric to canvas.





Ana Kim

Profiles the CBS Crew

"A.K.A" on La Brea and Melrose behind Jetrag, 2009; painted for show "Dress My Nest"

A Los Angeles-based graffiti writer for over 25 years, Anger has traveled through the nation painting his graffiti art as well as curating for graffiti art shows. He wrote different monikers before Anger and was heavily influenced by best friends Axis and Rob One. In ’86 Anger and his friends formed a small crew. Essentially like a clique or small group of friends who would skate, tag, and just hang out after school. He got his name one night while out with Rob One. “One night we were catching tags, and Rob at the time wrote the name “Ager”. “He caught a tag on a truck

that I really liked,” says Anger. Coincidentally Anger’s mom often called him “Angry”. Right then, he realized that all he needed to do was to add the “n”. From that point forward, he started to write the name “Anger”. It wasn’t until 1988 that his close friend Danny, who tagged the name “Tren”, got expelled from Hamilton High for macing the classroom. Tren soon got transferred to Fairfax High where there he meet another graffiti writer “Crook”, who was a part of another graffiti crew called CBS (CAN’T BE STOPPED). Crook introduced Tren to SK8 (skate) one, the

leader of the CBS crew. At that time, SK8 one was scouting to for new recruits. From that point, Tren made a strong bond with the CBS crew and soon introduced all of his old friends to his new friends. That’s how Anger, Tren, Bias, Xink, Axis, Lynk, and Exer became apart of CBS graffiti crew; all seven were recruited at that time. SK8 wanted his new recruits to not just “tag” their names, he wanted to inspire them to develop new artistic letter styles and to paint more “graffiti style murals” consisting of background themes with characters and letters. Anger — along with the rest of the

(clockwise from top right:) Anger with his two sons; as part of CBS production on Melrose behind Golden Apple Comics, 2008; Anger (long hair) with Sk8 and Krasher in 1989; Anger; “old school” photo taken by Nace.

CBS crew — roamed the alleys of Melrose Ave from Fairfax High to La Brea Blvd where they painted in the alleys establishing the area making it “their” CBS territory. In 1992-93, SK8 and Mear, another CBS member, were asked by shop owners of Beat Non Stop to paint their record store. Due to the over-saturation of tags, the shop owners allowed the CBS crew to paint graffiti style murals on the front and back of the building. These murals brought them such positive feedback from the neighborhood that CBS crew became the local artists on Melrose. In 1993, though, SK8 one passed away. Nevertheless, Anger wanted to keep CBS crew going and from there on took over SK8’s roll as leader. He continued organizing crew meetings in order to keep everyone focused. This leadership kept the crew going. In ’98 he moved with friend and fellow CBS member Tyer. to a warehouse spot on to Washington and Hauser, which had a basketball court and walls to paint on. He started to throw local art events — more of an intimate close friends hanging out such as CBS, MTA, and Westcoast Crews . The warehouse became a place where they would all socialize and collaborate artis-

tically. Later on in 1998, Anger started to travel up north to the bay area with Rob One to visit Posh, a CBS member who established a strong relationship with another Bay area graffiti crew, the “Lord’s Crew” aka TFL (The Fuckin’ Lords). It wasn’t too long at the end of ‘98 Anger and Rob one got recruited in Lord’s. From there a brotherhood was formed between CBS and Lord’s. In 1999, the events at Anger’s warehouse got bigger than he came up with Chicken Scratch, another way of describing term graffiti. Anger had gotten a taste of being a promoter and he saw an opportunity to become a curator. In 2001, though, the law caught him. Although this was not the first time, this time was worse. He had to serve jail time due to an incident that took place in Venice Beach. In fact, he was gunned down by the LAPD. Fortunately, he survived the injuries and served his jail time. After he got out, he got right back on track of pursuing his career as a curator. Later on in 2003, he curated one of his the biggest graffiti events in Los Angeles called Grafflosangeles. Held at Quotpia (now called Vanguard), he organized and promoted along with his close

friend Jimmy. Grafflosangeles is still the largest graffiti event ever to take place in Los Angeles. For it, Anger utilized all of his resources that he had built up since the days of throwing events such as Chicken Scratch. Anger’s main priority today is being a curator,designer, and most importantly a family man raising two lovely sons, Landon and Logan, with “Mrs. Anger”, aka Lisa. Anger is painting at or curating at the following events. From March 10-13, 2011, he will be live-painting throughout out the city of San Antonio. CBS crew members, along with many other graffiti writer and crews nation wide, will participate in San Antonio, TX-based, annual graffiti show Clogged Caps. On April 22, 2011 in San Francisco, cobra(cbs) vs lords:10 CBS and 10 Lord’s Crew members will participate. Some of the artist showcasing are Alex Pardee, Axis, Xpres, Defy, Greg “Crayola” Simkins, Haste, Chip 7, Dment, Atlas, Hex, Worm, Pastime, Vows, Robert Bowen, Naote, Dj LA JAE (will also be performing live), Rebuke and many more to be determined. For more info, visit www.p1sf.com




Ana Kim Profiles the CBS Crew


Xpres is self-taught, multifaceted artist from Los Angeles. He is the son of Richard Taylor, Sr., a 60’s poster artist for The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin who dropped out of the military academy in 1973 to fulfill his dream as an artist. Taylor, Sr., got his foot in door at Robert Abel’s studio in Hollywood, working as a special effects artist. He was best known for working on the special effects in the 1982 movie Tron and later video games. Xpres himself was raised in a heav-

ily-influenced, psychedelic, and artistic environment has opened his mind to various types of animations, such as The Secret of Nimh and The Black Cauldron. Living in Venice beach and Highland Park for most of his youth had a big impact on his eclectic outlook on life. In the beginning of his graffiti career, Richard, Jr., went through several monikers before settling on the name “Xpres” in 1988. In ‘92 Xpres started working for Conart clothing apparel owner Ash Hud-

son. At the age of 17, this was the beginning of his art career. Although he got accepted to UC-Santa Cruz, he decided not enroll in college, putting school on hold. Later in that same year, he got recruited by SK8 One, leader of the graffiti crew CBS at Fairfax High School. In the next year the head designer for Conart studios, Mear One left the company to pursue his own apparel line Hoodlum. From there on, Ash decided to make Xpress and Phever his head designers.

At the end of 1993, due to vandalism charges, he received up to 600 hours of community service. From that point he realized, it was time to move out of Los Angeles for a change in scenery. He moved to San Francisco, attending state college in the Bay Area working at Jamba Juice. In 1994, he did his first aerosol on canvas for graffiti art show, curated by Stash M for I.C.U. art. The art show was called Graffiti Verte and featured other artist like Chaz, Spy and Twist One. In 1995, Xpres came to visit Los Angeles and got caught tagging the 110 Freeway tunnel near Dodger Stadium, earning him more community service and some time in jail. With the help from a close friend, Phever, he moved back to Highland Park Los Angeles in December 1996. In ’99, he enrolled in Art Center College of Design in Pasadena for two years. While attending Art Center, he learned how to use different mediums and varying techniques. He graduated with a degree in fine arts and illustration. At that time, Photoshop designers were in high demand and tra-

ditional illustrators were becoming a lost art form. For the next two years, he got a job at a print shop doing color corrective work. Wanting to keep up with current illustrators, he also enrolled in computer classes at Pasadena City College. Armed with his new computer skills, he started working back into the apparel industry in 2002 . It wasn’t until 2007 that he came back strong, designing for a junior’s line for Hybrid apparel. Hybrid allowed him to be free with his ideas, enabling him to use some of own his graffiti work on T-shirt designs. His animal series designs for Hybrid featured his moniker “Xpres CBS” . They were sold in brand name department stores like Sears. A few years later working at Hybrid became less fulfilling. The company had him concentrating more on layouts and less on design, stifling his creativity. In 2008, he had the opportunity to curate an annual art show held at the Bo Bridges Gallery in Hermosa Beach called Surfside Artillery. This allowed him to express his creative side once again. Vans sponsored the event, donating

over thirty pairs of shoes stickers and apparel. This annual art show gave him the creative power to introduce other crew members and artists that were not apart of Hybrid apparel. He also got the honor of painting on Santa Monica’s famous shaper and owner of “Fluid Dry Surfboards” Tim Ferris. The surfboard Tim shaped became a collaboration of Xpress and Esel, another artist and close friend and crew member, contributed the pin-stripping detail. Surfing, in fact, happens to be another of Xpres’s passions. He relates it to how he paints: “not to second-guess things, to go right in and just do it”. In turn, many of his paintings are influenced by vintage surf art as well as LA street culture. Another strong influence is multifaceted artist, Ed Roth, well known for working with different mediums, surfaces, and designs for apparels, print (silk screening), and canvas work. Xpres currently uses more allegory or symbolism in his conceptual paintings allowing viewers to make out their own interpretation of the storytelling of his work. He takes on strong political view less than he previous has. Working with tangible mediums and designing graphics for apparel (slightly less so) is the present focus of his art career. Finding that presentation and designing apparel in itself is extremely time consuming. It’s important for him to find a balance between commerce and artistry. As he says, “Commercial work can drain your passion to create conceptual canvas works.” It’s been along time coming, Richard “Xpres” Taylor will be hosting his first solo show “Bar Flies & Snake Eyes” on March 5, 2011 at the Solid One Gallery on 334 N. Fairfax Ave. in Los Angeles CA. The show will go on until April 24th come check it out! For more info, visit www.urbanartillery.net and www.solidgalleryone.net/exhibitions_availableXPRES.html





DJ L.A. Jae is best known as a DJ and for producing underground sensation The Shape Shifters for the past 14 years. LA JAE has been a DJ in clubs since the age 13. LA JAE has also been a graffiti writer since the 1980s and is known for his throw-ups and stencils. He begun in LA, then eventually worked throughout the nation and Europe. He was involved in the Finland underground hip hop scene. Over the years, he has produced and remixed hits for performers like Tony-Toni Tone and Vanessa Williams. Right now, DJ La Jae is finishing a new Shape Shifter album as well as working on Radioinactive’s album. He has recently begun working on canvas in mix media and collaborating in part with Mama CBS. His first show of this work premiered in January 2011 at New Puppy Gallery in Los Angeles. On March 24, he will be performing a live music set at the Echoplex in Echo Park, L.A.

“My life in general, I break at least three laws a day -- a pusher man, run with people that do bad things, tour the world, get treated like a king, then sleep on some dirt bag’s floor, write on anything I can, and so on and so forth. “My favorite way of getting up all of them from bombing big letters, tags, stencils, slap tags, scribes — which ever way I can get away with, at the time I’m at any given place. I’m always looking to get a spot doesn’t matter how or what style just as long as my name or my crew gets up. It’s like a fun game you can play anywhere at anytime. Gra-fe-tay and my life are as one. Where’s ever’s me’s goes graffiti goes too. It’s in my contract. “I write for the thrill of it, I like the way it feels when I see my name up. And I can’t lie. I like it more when other people

In His Own Words

see it that feels goooooood. From getting chased by gangs to hunting fools down in the train yards, climbing huge hills to get to a wall, ducking from cops, rolling with my sicko partners on missions to get up...” “Writing is like the gift that keeps on giving. The whole thing is a big rush you can’t really explain cause every time it’s a different experience. Man if I haven’t stopped by now I don’t ever see myself stopping. I Can’t Be Stopped! Once you stop its over your name is dead. At least that’s how I see it.” From March 10-13, LA Jae will DJ and paint live (on wall) with fellow CBS crew members in San Antonio for the annual graffiti show Clogged Caps. In April, he will live DJ and showcase his canvas work at “COBRA vs. LORDS” in San Francisco. www.p1sf.com

Charles Swenson

Showing at The Hive, Los Angeles and Marji Gallery, Santa Fe 8835 Crescent Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90046 323 656-9733 charlesgswenson.com unklbob@mac.com

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