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.