I first met Robbie Conal back in 2001 when B/D was just a part time hobby run out of my bedroom. He was one of the first LA artists that I met, and we immediately hit it off. Fast forward a decade, now Robbie is a great friend of mine, and a loyal Cult Of Decay supporter. He is the type of artist that gives his time, energy, and sharp wit to anyone and everyone without thinking about what they can do for him. Over the years we’ve featured Robbie on our cover (you can get a copy here), included him in shows we’ve curated, released videos about his work, and had him write an amazing article about his painting mentor and hero Leon Golub (You can get a copy of that issue here). Needless to say we back him 200%.
Robbie is having a much deserved show opening this week in LA at Country Club. If you’re a fan of what we do at Beautiful/Decay then you must go to this show to support the original King of Postering, and the ultimate Mad Man of Paint. If you’ve only seen his work on the street then this show will be a true eye opener, as all of Robbie’s posters are actually prints of paintings with hundreds of layers of rich paint. So join me, the rest of the B/D team, and help celebrate one of LA’s great artistic treasures.
Robbie Conal:The Missing Link
November 20th-December 22nd 2010
Opening Reception: November 20th 6-9pm
@ The Buck House
805 South Genesse Avenue
LA, CA 90036
Night Stroll is a new digital short from Japanese filmmaker Tao Tajima. In the film, quick moving abstract light patterns pulse through otherwise quiet Tokyo streets. The light patterns are impressively realistic and almost resemble the light painting of still photography. Bright bursts of shapes are reflected in wet streets and cast shadows from behind trees and street corners. Though there is little information regarding the film’s production, Tajima seems to have skillfully created the light patterns digitally. He executes a simple idea very well – simple but realistic light dances as if it were alive and alone in the city. Check out the video to see what the GIFs only preview.
Leland Bobbé, a New York based photographer, has compiled a series of stunning and complex images that further examine the drag queen persona, what it consist of, its controversies, and multifaceted physical aspects.His ongoing project, ‘Half-Drag . . . A Different Kind of Beauty’, has made a huge impact. Consequently, landing the photographer several awards and features in international art fairs.
The collection provides the viewer with an interesting perspective. These photographs, composed and stylized through the power of hair and makeup, are captured in one snap, and are not digitally composed- which is a lot to take on, knowing that the process could have been much easier having used Photoshop or other editing programs.
I think that Bobbé artistic choices say a lot about the points he is trying to convey with this collection of images. Moreover, there would only be this much vulnerability and honesty if the images were captured this way, and in this way only. Having his sitters pose with their two identities up-front and exposed is one hell of a statement. The sincerity, humble approach of the photographer and sitter alike, lets us in on the queens’ little secret and questions gender constructs, current law, human right initiatives and the possible lack-there-of.
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In a dark series of sculptures titled Broken Dreams, Brooklyn-based artist Sandra Osip captures the decline and decay of suburban Detroit. The works are inspired by Osip’s memories of the city: the streets she roamed as a child, the corner stores she visited, and the neighbourhood—now destroyed—that surrounded her former high school. She sculpts the skeletal husks of houses that are burnt down, collapsed, and decaying, evacuated of all life and purpose. In more abstract renderings, Osip has created “junk heaps” of urban ruin, crushed-up buildings that represent entire neighbourhoods left to the cruel forces of time and neglect. In the following statement, Osip explains the deeply personal inspiration for the series:
“Recently I visited my childhood neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, and to my disbelief my house was no longer standing; neither was the corner store where I bought my penny candy, nor my friend’s house down the street, nor the empty lot I used to ice skate on. This is now an empty wasteland and overgrown by nature. The day after my visit the news reported that a block away from where I lived they found two decomposing bodies. The news stated at least a dozen bodies in twelve months have been found in this abandoned and neglected part of the city.” (Source)
Nostalgia is a painful concept in these sculptures; instead of comforting childhood origins, Osip is left with rootless memories, and a sense of “home” that’s deteriorating and forever changed—haunted, even, by literal images of death in the form of human bodies. “Many of my fond memories have now vanished,” she goes on to write, explaining the pain of having part of one’s personal history obliterated. She approaches the series with a profound awareness tinged with irony; one work, titled “Beautiful Homes and Gardens,” incongruously depicts a stack of cadaver-like houses. However, by consciously reworking her attachments to the now-ruined streets of her youth, Osip’s work demonstrates a courageous exercise of healing through the release of the past.
Towering over visitors at a height of almost seven stories, New Cornucopia and The Big IOU by John Salvest is comprised of 105 multi-colored steel shipping containers, stacked seven high and fifteen across. The containers will be used as mosaic tesserae, with “I O U” spelled out on one side of the massive structure, and “U S A” on the other. Developed over the course of the past year, this striking installation is unfolding in Kansas Cities Grand Arts at a moment of exceptionally divisive national politics and public discourse.
Says Salvest of IOU/USA:
“The placement of the project near a regional branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, one of the main components of national economic policy, comes at a time when concern about the United States’ ballooning federal budget and foreign trade deficits is a major part of the national conversation. Its location between the Fed and the Pioneer Mother Memorial is also fitting in that, whereas the permanent public monument rightfully celebrates America’s and Kansas City’s triumphant past, the temporary public sculpture may generate meaningful discussion about where we, as a nation, are heading.”
Classic typography with a twist, slick illustrations, and just the right amount of humor go into all the works in the portfolio of Parisian designer and illustrator Mike Stefanini A.K.A Atomike Studio.
A. Dola Baroni is a photographer and dancer who represents the West Coast and bleeds Laker Purple. Having grown up in the valley, her photographs leave us with the colorful in between moments that make-up a life in southern California.