What sets Adam Roth apart from other illustrators is that you can actually go beyond the initial surface-level awesomeness of his pieces. For example, the burger warrior above is rad as hell, right? However, it’s not just that. It’s also got Adam’s pain, joy, and personal nature infused into it, making it more of a fine artwork then just a cartoon rendering of a cheeseburger gladiator. To most of us, action figures were toys we played with as children just for fun. Yet, to Adam Roth, they mean so much more, as you’ll find out in the interview below. They’re his muses. They’re his models. And they’re part of the reason Adam is one of the most unique artists I’ve come across in Los Angeles. So, in order to give you a full spectrum of his world, I’ve carefully curated the following images so you’re not just seeing Adam’s paintings, but you’re also getting a glimpse at the toys in his collection that inspire many of his works. Adam will be featured in the upcoming exhibit VOID: In the Nether Regions, which opens on April 12th  at Homeroom Gallery in Los Angeles.
XVALA is the artist behind the #FearGoogle campaign, which caused him to be rife with controversy when he put up wheat pastes featuring nude photos of Scarlett Johansson. However, for the past year, he’s been working on a much larger project, in which he went digging through celebrity’s trashcans to re-purpose their discarded objects into art. Early on in his gatherings though, Forbes Magazine received leaked information that he had been to both Steve Jobs’ and Mark Zuckerberg’s residences – where he discovered one of Zuckerberg’s coat hangers and had it fabricated into an almost indestructible phallic sculpture.
Austin Irving’s current exhibit, Portals, at Curio by AFN truly lives up to its name. Her pictures taken on medium and large format cameras seem like entranceways to secret headquarters or the opening images to an epic film. And no piece emitted that cinematic feeling more, then one taken right in the middle of a natural cave formation that was mounted onto a light-box. The color and shading of the rocks, which was amplified by the backlight, made the work seem 3 dimensional. It was almost like you could walk inside of the piece and hear the water actually dripping from the stalactites onto the floor. My advice is to start collecting Austin’s work now, before it’s totally out of reach.
Rebecca Manson, one of the current sculptors in residence at Cal State University Long Bech [CSULB], told me I had to drive out to the campus to see what Christopher Miller was working on in his studio. So, with my full trust in her hands, I took the hour long and then some drive from Los Angeles to Long Beach to scope it out. And when I got to Miller’s studio I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. It was a painting machine, but one made out of organic materials like bamboo instead of steel, with markers hanging from strings stretched 5 ft high. The whole thing was powered by several fans that would cause the pens to sway back and forth across a massive sheet of paper, which was taped to the ground. Christopher then had various obstacles placed around his painting surface that the pen could work around. For instance, there was one sculpture composed of about 50 triangles that restricted the motion of the pen as well as one of Rebecca’s ceramic pieces that blocked out certain areas of the paper to create an ever -evolving, uniquely beautiful, and chaotic masterpiece. I especially love how you can really feel the heart of Christopher’s piece when you see it in person, since every single element is either hand painted or constructed. Even the strings that are holding the pens have little paper accessories attached to them, which remind me of tie-died Mondrian mobiles. Christopher is still working on this particular sculpture and can always use donations of various painting supplies like inks and markers to help progress the work. If you’re interested in helping him out, you can send him a direct email at Chrismmiller[at]hotmail[dot]com. Watch a video of the piece in action after the jump.
Salão Coboi is not a singular artist like you’d assume from the sound of the name, but rather a collective of individuals based in Portugal. They hit major attention on the blogosphere in 2011 when they did a project named Generation H, in which they sculpted figures wearing clothes modeled after actual items by haute couture houses like Prada, Alexander Wang, and Junya Watanabe. And there’s just something charmingly unique and European about the characters Salão Coboi create, which really makes me feel the same positive energy I get whenever I look at the wonderful designs of The Yellow Submarine and Wallace & Gromit. However, Salão Coboi have taken that kind of work to the next level by making it not just for children, but also adults as well. Beautiful/Decay featured the work of Salão Coboi a lift bit ago HERE.
Li Jikai is a Chinese artist who makes wonderfully melancholy sculptures and paintings. And even though he is well known in Asia, I had never seen his work before visiting Dialogue Space Gallery’s booth at the LA Art Show – a massive art exhibition being held in the convention center downtown. His piece “Daydream” of a young boy laying on his back and holding his legs against his chest drew me straight towards it, so I battled the waves of artwork at the convention center to get a closer look. And after inspecting the piece and meeting the gallery’s director, I turned the corner and became totally entrenched in Jikai’s world full of lonely characters and heavy symbolism. Especially one piece that I found most interesting of a boy sitting underneath a giant mushroom, because it existed as both a sculpture as well as a painting. According to some online sources Li Jikai is a member of the Ego Generation – a group of Chinese artists born after 1970 who deal with personal matters in their work as opposed to cultural ones. However, it doesn’t really matter if he belongs to that movement or not, since his work is so powerful at expressing its intentions that it doesn’t need to be lumped into a group.
The Site Unscene is one of only a handful of new businesses radically changing the landscape of the art world for the better. JB Jones and Wil Atkinson, who founded The Site Unscene [TSUS], are two of the greatest people around – so it’s no wonder that artists as diverse as Gregory Siff and XVALA treat them like family and often drop in to their headquarters from time to time just to say hello. However, one of the most unique aspects to their HQ, besides the art and artists themselves, is that TSUS have a massive garage space where the artists they represent, as well as their friends, are able to come in and paint for however long they need to – which is crucially important, especially to those who work with spray paint and don’t have the space to do so where they live. They even have lockers for all the artists to store their supplies in! I guess you’re wondering what exactly TSUS does and the only way I can explain it is to repeat their mantra of “We help make art happen” – since they really do it all, from putting on pop-up shows to helping an artists realize an ambitious project. In fact, I love TSUS so much that I frequently ask JB and Wil if I can do many of my interviews with artists at their space because everyone instantly feels right at home with the vibe they’ve set up for it. In the future I hope that we will begin to see the downfall of snooty gallerists who are rude to young collectors and the rise of organizations like The Site Unscene who open their arms welcomely to anyone who loves art – whether or not they have a Phd or a zillion bucks.
David Ball creates the kind of art you need to see in person, so you can get right up close to every piece and fully immerse yourself into the fine details of his fantastic fantasy worlds. I’m forever in awe of his mixed-media collages and I’m always trying to figure out how he makes all his works look like paintings, even though I thoroughly know that they’re assembled from thousands of magazine clippings. At least some of the photos below by Shaun Roberts give a rare glimpse into David’s unique and beautiful process, that makes my brain simply explode with joy. And right now, I’m just super jealous of every art fiend living San Francisco, since David will be featured in the group exhibit “Harum Scarum” at 111 Minna Gallery that opens on February 2nd and runs until February 25th.