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minimalism along The 5 A JOURNEY THROUGH LA found object sculptures BOTANICAL PLANT PORTRAITS local music meets local art


VOLUME 01 // SUMMER 2015

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Help us tell LA’s story. contribute at //


o nn tt ee n n tt ss cc o Photographer SAMANTHA REBUYACO’s unique pairing // page 36

INSPIRATION Asymmetric moodboard

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THE 5 by Curtis Stage

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SCOWL by Chris Tarello

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LA BUDHA by Donald Gialanella

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BOTANICAL HAIR by Mieko Anekawa

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LAST WORD with Shan Shaikh

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a letter from the founder Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved flipping through the glossy pages of a magazine and admiring the beautiful pictures. I’d line my bedroom walls with collages of ripped out pages and artwork (actually, I still do), and as I grew older, my love for magazines never faded. I went on to study visual journalism and graphic design in college and developed a strong passion for journalism, while my interest in art and design further evolved. Forming a hybrid of these two loves, the idea of Asymmetric sparked years ago. However, when my vision truly ignited can be traced back to one specific night in Los Angeles at a party where I met several designers, artists, musicians, etc. As we all shared our projects and passions, I became extremely overwhelmed by the large amount of talented and driven people that were in one room. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the room was just a small sample of what Los Angeles is–a city full of a variety of people constantly creating everyday simply out of love for what they do. I wanted to take all of these people and put them in one place to recognize their work and celebrate the incredible city we live in. I was so motivated and inspired by the city and its people, and thus, Asymmetric Magazine was born. I like to think of it as a project rather than a magazine–an open gallery where artists share their perspective and tell a story in their own words and through their work. Asymmetric isn’t


mine; it’s ours. Together, Asymmetric is a collection of art sharing our city’s always-changing story. In these pages, I hope readers will discover new artists, new things about LA, and be encouraged to take on their own project like I was. Here’s to us, Los Angeles!

Leah Perrino Founder & Designer



Samantha Rebuyaco

Mieko Anekawa



Curtis Stage Karlo Francisco Samantha Rebuyaco

Chris Tarello Shan Shaikh

SCULPTOR Donald Gialanella


To share your story, visit


Artists from left to right: Kumi Yamashita, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mary Ellen Mark, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Irving Penn, Andy Warhol All photos curtesy of Google Images //




photo story by CURTIS STAGE


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or the last few years, I have been interested in photographing landscape and architecture in hidden urban pockets around the Los Angeles and Orange County area. For the series, The 5 (Between Washington & Valley View), I have been roaming an eight-mile stretch that hugs the east side of the Interstate 5 Freeway in the transit between LA and Orange counties. Thousands of travelers use this route daily, but few know or care what happens off the eleven main exits that feed into these zones. These are mostly industrial non-places where we don’t see ourselves. They are transitional in that they are areas to manufacture products and ship them out. When you drive or walk in these spaces, you literally feel lost and disoriented–streets and landmarks don’t function the way they do in the neighborhoods sometimes just a few blocks away. These are deliberately uninteresting, bland places–maybe to conceal what happens inside. The companies that occupy the buildings are not at all interested in beautifying the surroundings, and mostly everything feels like a dreamy wasteland… Not close to the image of Southern California that dominates our vision. Every once in a while, there is a revolt. People need little moments of beauty in their human-shaped landscapes. So, mixed in with the desolation, trash and decay are odd monuments of aesthetic style. Most of the time these are collisions of highly manicured plants and racing stripe style wall paintings that are clearly inspired by the need to upend the overwhelming ugliness. In this series, [there are] a few photographic selections that capture the spirit of “New Topographics” photographers of the 1970’s, whose themes explored the beautiful in the banal of newly formed communities in the western US, while railing against norms of traditional landscape photography. I am inspired by ways in which photography can structurally reference principles of design and painting. I like how a frame of a picture can organize information. //


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Curtis Stage is a Los Angeles based artist, photographer, designer, and director of a multimedia arts program at one of the Los Angeles City Colleges. //


ss oo m m ee dd aa yy you you will will f f i i nn dd m m ee

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photo story by KARLO FRANCISCO //


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Inspiration occurs to me in brief moments of mental clarity with sparks of wonder. I’m inspired by people and the human condition. I’m inspired by people’s ability to love and show great compassion for one another. It’s interesting how human life can exude power beyond measure, and yet life is considered fragile since death is inevitable. As a creative, having an open mindset in dealing with people and their complexities helped expand my perspective and cultivated my imagination. Instead of denying my humanity, I chose to embrace it.” //


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Karlo Fuertes Francisco is a multimedia artist and designer based in Los Angeles from the Philippine islands. He is currently studying graphic design in Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.

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Help us tell LA’s story.

contribute at




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A Buddha is a series of foundobject assemblage sculptures representing the spiritual wabi-sabi of a materialistic lifestyle. The theme links reincarnation and recycling. The pieces are made of objects that lived their initial lives and are now returning in a new context. Some of the works contain signs charged with graffiti and bullet holes. Some contain poignant personal objects and toys embedded in a new matrix of paint and steel. The series explores the problematic juxtaposition of planned obsolescence versus


modernity, substance over spirituality, and transience contrasted with perfection. It looks at materialism and probes how we look at permanence. The work is loaded with references to environmental responsibility and our cultural relationship to waste and sustainability. All nine sculptures are mounted on pallets made from recycled plastic soda bottles. The pallets create an eightinch space between the wall and the surface of the work to produce sculptural dimension. They appear to be floating. The pallets themselves continue the metaphorical reincarnation–pallets that once carried other loads, now carry art. The work relies on visceral impact and physicality–the inherent beauty of elemental materials and the emotional connection to the spiritual human face. It incorporates abandoned and forgotten objects, imbued with the dignified presence they possess. Collecting discarded objects from around the city streets lends the work native roots, infused with the energy of the city and subsequent re-purposing as art. I envision myself an artistic paleontologist, looking for traces of life in the rubble of society and reassembling these artifacts into something reflective of the culture. I believe the work can serve as part of a vital artistic touchstone that serves as a catalyst for social and cultural growth. It is part of an important transformative process where art comments about and reflects the culture we live in.

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ON INSPIRATION: Inspiration is overrated. Edison said, “Success is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.” I happen to agree. Although I do experience the rush of inspiration when I hit on a new idea or start a new commission, this initial “falling in love” stage is replaced by planning and hard work if it is to reach fruition. Sculpture is hard work. You must put energy into the material to change it. The harder and more resistant the material, the more energy it requires to change. Louise Bourgeois used to say that creating sculpture is aggressive. The sculptor doesn’t want something the way it exists, he wants it his own way.

ON UPCOMING PROJECTS: My recent assemblage art making practice is a shift from being something I’m passionate about to something other people are participating in and that lives outside of the studio, in a larger and more public community. With the conviction that it’s possible to have positive impact on the world of images, I’m excited about the opportunity of further transformation. It’s a greater goal than mere object making, more closely akin to belief making through the intention and soul of art. //


I’m currently working on a major commission for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. It’s a life-size Cow assemblage sculpture covered with actual children’s toys. I first designed and built a supporting armature made of a welded steel frame sheathed with fire-retardant wood. Imagine staves around a barrel. I have begun the task of covering this wooden sub-structure with plastic toys of every description which will hide the armature completely. A process I call populating the surface. This summer I am going to be an artist-in-residence at Arthub in Kingman, AZ. My goal for the residency is to create assemblage sculptures using natural and manmade materials found in and around Kingman. The techniques I will employ to create the sculptures are basic; using simple tools, screws, wire and glue to join together a myriad of objects. The finished artwork will be magical, folkloric and mystical–powerful expressions that express our complex relationship with objects. Forks, spoons, plates, car parts, hubcaps, signage, sticks, rocks, and discarded man-made objects will be transformed into temporal visual stories that provide different impressions at every stage of creation. I began to work outside ten years ago, finding a renewed meaning of life walking and drawing in the high desert of Taos, New Mexico. It made me feel the vulnerability of the earth and I began to focus my work on peace and environmental awareness. My concern for the earth remains strong, but most enduring is the deep satisfaction I feel simply by being and working in wild, natural places. Donald Gialanella, originally from Maplewood, NJ, now works out of his studio in Los Angeles. After earning a BFA from The Cooper Union, Donald apprenticed with Louise Bourgeois, an influential figure in modern and contemporary art. He worked as a graphics producer at ABC-TV in New York in the 1980’s and received an Emmy for his work on Monday Night Football in 1990. Donald taught art and design at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey and has completed a host of public and private commissions. He is going to be artist-in-residence this summer in Kingman, AZ.


From left to right (page 28): Siddhartha, (page 30): Bardo, Samsara, (page 31): Near Nirvana, (page 32): Shards of Consciousness, Sun of Enlightenment, (page 33): The 4 Noble Truths, The Chakras, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo //



Black Rose, 2015

Check out Mieko’s early hair paintings + a look at her body painting work at

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ll the paintings in my career have an overarching theme of hair, but there has been a wide variety. My earliest works were based in surrealism, and they had components of computer graphic design themes such as twodimensional, flat images like when one creates digital artwork. This was influenced from when I used to work as a graphic designer in NYC. I then started to shift away from surreal and into abstract themes. I started working more in “Nihonga” style, which is a Japanese art style with similar 2-D concepts but more like the famous manga comics of Japan. Living in NYC also inspired me to utilize more fluorescent colors in my art. By using these approaches in various combinations, I began to experiment more with my artwork. Once I moved to Southern California, I decided to just let things happen and wanted to see where my art would naturally flow as a true expression of myself. By doing this I found out I returned to my original style, with my preference of more surreal works. I also liked using natural shapes and colors, without forcing other styles if it didn’t fit in the

artwork. To expand upon painting natural objects using natural colors, last year I also painted on a natural surface: bodypainting. Painting on the human body is such a unique, dynamic experience and is very exciting. It was part of a dance performance, and I liked how painting on the human body can remarkably change the way the painting looks with light changes and body movement. I’ve been fascinated with the human body and human hair ever since I moved to NYC, when I was inspired by the wild hairstyles of New Yorkers. Nature’s beauty also inspires me. Often I see a piece of nature that to me looks like it should be a hairstyle. I enjoy painting hair transformed by natural objects and thereby creating my own hairstyles. I feel this combination style is truly limitless and very satisfying. Whenever I move to a new place, I find new nature that I never grew up with or experienced. These new shapes and forms of nature are so inspiring and invigorating, and I love to paint them. Now that I am living on the west coast, my goal is to experience all of Southern California’s wide variety of flora that I come across in my life and include them in my work. I’m calling this new series “Botanical hair.” I’m hoping to do more bodypainting in California, too. Mieko Anekawa studied graphic design in Kyoto Japan, worked in NYC for 10 years, and then moved to San Diego. Her art has been in NYC galleries in Chelsea, Tribeca, Queens, and Brooklyn, and she has had international exhibitions in Amsterdam, Belgium, England, Canada, Osaka, and Tokyo.

nicalhair Bird of Paradise, 2015




When Whenyou youtake take aamodel modelto toaa skate skatepark... park... 36 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E

photo story by SAMANTHA REBUYACO



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I’ve I’ve always always been been fascinated fascinated w and and even even more more so,so, pairing pairing tw worlds worlds together. together. Born Born and and ra clear clear that that I’mI’m a product a product of of my The The fashion fashion and and skate skate culture cultu characteristics characteristics that that compose compos It was It was from from this this one one photosh photo two two worlds worlds spontaneously spontaneously co

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with d with duality; duality; wo two unlikely unlikely aised raised in in LA,LA, it’sit’s ymy environment. environment. e ure areare two two major major se Los Los Angeles. Angeles. hoot oshoot that that those those ollided." collided."


Samantha Rebuyaco is a LA-based photographer from the San Fernando Valley. She is best known for her portrait and fashion photography. //

a collection ILLUSTRATIONS


of album art


his is a series of album covers done for various Long Beach and LA psych rock bands, one psych band from Scotland, and oddly Les Claypool, who discovered the piece from a random art show I had in Humboldt. He happened to be touring through and liked it. I love associating my art with music, and especially a scene that I fully support and am inspired by. The west coast garage psych rock scene is becoming the most exciting scene in modern music, and it’s great to be the visual face of it. I always attempt to make my album covers epic with the goal that some people will buy the album just for the art alone then be pleasantly surprised by the music inside.

ON INSPIRATION: I am most deeply inspired by stories, humor, and ethics. I feel like I cannot enjoy an art piece unless there is a story shown within it. I’m influenced by artists who create their own universes of reoccurring characters and places like the world in the Simpsons or Southpark. I tend to infuse my own crop of reoccurring characters in my work. Lately, there has been a lot of Abe Lincoln and Bigfoot cameos. Humor inspires my work because laughter is my favorite feeling–better than sex and basically everything. The occasion where I can make myself laugh from looking at a character in my work is the highlight of my day. I really like //


gross, pathetic looking characters and have a truly difficult and boring time whenever I have to draw someone good looking. Lastly, I’m inspired by “ethics” in the sense that I do hope for positive change. Obviously, the world is a packed-to-the-brim, shit-filled diaper, but I think making changes on the microcosm level is better than nothing. Thus, if a drawing of mine can comfort a bummed out person, inspire the imagination of a boring person, or whip 46 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E

in the ass a person who is a complacent pig, then there’s good coming from it, rather than adding to the shit-pile. Dave Van Patten is a Long Beach based artist with a focus on acrylic paint, paper cut outs, and ink illustration.

or full series + artist interviews, go to //




POUR ONE OUT FOR HUMANITY Never was it only for women, they simply held it too dear -followed the fervor of the Black Panthers (said some) and scared the mice. Don’t fret, fearful ones; an owl sat with me on my favorite bench and laid it out plain: “It’s just a movement for a moral obligation like those of the past and the inevitable ones of the future. There’s nothing new in your substrate, little mice -the cheese is out here and your cage door has been open for some time now.

SCOWL I watched the world crumble and be rebuilt again by monsters, cursing castles to the ground in accordance with gnawing jabberjaws in elected seats, forests branded as the eternal unemployed got typecast as leeches bums uncooperative sores, lined up to be sodomized by flannel-wearing cavemen. Waves obeyed orders from the pocked boss in the sky who courts the polka dots that dance on the hazy abyss-mal projection screen, but the water’s thick with cum and shit from the mainland husks and sludges against the shore like curdled milk leaving the waves thick and heavy cracking origami on the surface and shredding civilizations underneath. I heard voices that shattered the liberation movement annihilators, but they were wrapped up clapped up destined to dabble with the real devils who are predisposed to penitentiary life, voices that rang out from the Northern Lights to the sweaty tip of Florida, that rang and rang, until they couldn’t help being ignored any longer and imploded into their own enlightenment at the stub of a joint needle bottle cliff, took flight like Icarus, but burned up from common sense. //



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#asymmetricmag @asymmetricmagazine

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@ s ix t h c it y fi



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AN INTERVIEW WITH FILMMAKER SHAN SHAIKH ASYMMETRIC MAGAZINE: Tell us about your recently released feature film Balloon Girl. SHAN SHAIKH: The original idea was a one-liner that popped into my head one day: “Girl buys birthday balloons to make herself feel better.” What evolved from that idea was something I would have never imagined then. AM: What is the story? SS: The story follows the naïve, fresh outta high school, Red, as he adjusts to his new life. His assumption that the bonds he created—and the ones that were burnt—during his four years would remain the same is what sends him spiraling down a deep hole full of confusion and teenage angst. Although there appears to be no resolve, it is the mysterious “Balloon Girl”, who serves as the catalyst to his reinvention, that helps him answer the questions that restrict him from becoming the new person he is meant to be. AM: What challenges did you face? SS: Credibility was a huge factor in the making of this film. I was 17 when I wrote this thing and turned 18 during the filming process, so it’s not like I could really say I had been doing this for a long time. That’s most likely a huge reason I didn’t get a lot of people to audition—I ended up hunting down people and trying to convince them to join me. But, I would have to say the independent films I had done, my acting accolades, and the fact that I had my own production company backing me up sold me enough to those who had bits of doubt—the business cards helped, too. I had to smooth talk a lot, and I mean a lot, during the making of this film. Whether that was with parents to get them to let me film just a bit longer or with owners of restaurants and good friends to let me use their space to film. But sometimes, owners of certain places just won’t budge, so you’ve got to figure out an alternate right there on the spot.

AM: What role does Los Angeles play in the making of your films? SS: I was born in DTLA and raised in K-Town. I owe it to the city for teaching me so much—much more than school has. LA makes a beautiful foundation for any piece. Including it in my films is just another way to pay homage. But, as a giant city, it’s ever-changing. If I’m lucky, the city is changing with the film, and that’s beautiful to watch on screen. AM: How does this feature film compare to your other work? SS: Balloon Girl is the compilation of everything I’ve learned about making a film. Other than my two independent films, when I first started my production company, we made three short films. Five films later, we’ve learned plenty from our mistakes and what it takes to make a quality script, prepare a quality schedule, and shoot a quality film. You can think of Balloon Girl as a final project at the end of a two year film course—bullshit included. AM: What inspires you most? SS: The simple things. Small conversations with the people in the street, time with friends and family, heartbreaks and heart-throbs alike. Much like Herman Hesse, I like to think everything that happens in this word has some significance. AM: What else can we expect to see from you? SS: This is just the beginning for Retrospective Cinema. We’ll let Balloon Girl act as the sneak peak into the kinds films we’ll be producing. We’re already writing our next script. Shan Shaikh is a writer and director. He is best known for his personal film work and his work with Retrospective Cinema. //


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Asymmetric // Volume 01  

Summer 2015