Dumb Starbucks, a parody store located in a Los Angeles strip mall, opened its doors on February 7th, 2014. From the sign up front, to the cd’s next to the cash register, everything had original Starbucks branding except for the fact that the word dumb was printed in front of each and every SB logo.
The author of DS was unknown until earlier this week, when comedian Nathan Fielder held a press conference at the parody store revealing that he was responsible. Until then, Conceptual artist Marc Horowitz was taking credit for it on Twitter:
“Would love to do interviews about #dumbstarbucks — just waiting for @TODAYshow or @jimmykimmel” as well as “my project is causing quite a stir – lol.”
After the mystery was solved, Nathan Fielder released a video in the Dumb Starbucks youtube channel that assured his newfound ‘customers’ that DS was “no joke, this is a real business,” a business, he says,”from which I plan to get rich from.” The serious sounding Fielder, assures that he can keep it going, however, yesterday (February 10th, 2014) the city of Los Angeles closed the place down due to a lack of health permits. It is hard to believe that that was the only reason for the shutdown , as the real Starbucks was not happy with the parody coffee shop calling itself Dumb Starbucks.
“We appreciate the humor but they can’t use our name,” Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson told CNNMoney. “It’s a protected trademark. It’s our trademark.”
From burning Birkin bags to Barbies in Bondage or a clad Lindsay Lohan playing with guns, Tyler Shields’ subjects are as Hollywood as the photographer himself. Even his Tate Modern acquisition was documented on Mrs. Eastwood And Company, an E! reality television show.
Like Andy Warhol, Shields’ famous connections and brazen use of them, make his work ripe for the picking, for better or worse.
His most captivating imagery, to us, however, has less obvious celebrity shock value, depicting instead more theatrical situations where subjects are posed, mid-action, falling from rooftops or engaged in colorful night fights.
Lauren Randolph is a creative portrait photographer based out of Los Angeles, she is also known by her nick-name, “Lauren Lemon.” Using props and scenery, she highlights and emphasizes the features of her subjects, creating more than just a portrait but a story. Check out more of her images after the jump.
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Alexandra Grant. See the full studio visit and interview with Alexandra and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Alexandra’s studio is in the historic West Adams district of Los Angeles, just a short distance from Koreatown and Downtown. From the outside her building looks like a non-descript, kind of funky commercial space that in no way expresses how big her studio actually is. The place is huge with a cavernous feel to it— cold, shadowy, and resounding with echoes, it heightened every one of my senses. Everything I took in seemed exaggerated: the damp air, the bright fluorescent lights, the vibrant colors of Alexandra’s paintings, and the steady rhythm of her voice. Long after our visit those impressions continued to linger, as did much of my conversation with Alexandra. She is a force to be reckoned with— her brain is agog with ideas that she expresses in a continuous flow of conversation, often jumping from one thought to the next as they wildly run through her mind. Her energy is infectious and inspiring, and makes you feel like the world is in fact full of promise, insight and adventure. Many of Alexandra’s paintings are collaborations with writers and their ideas, which makes sense because she appreciates the complex nature of dialogue: the exchange of both concepts and language, the act of deciphering and interpreting, the twists of subtext, and the inevitable losses in translation and how we make up for them. By borrowing writers’ poetic language she utilizes the format of dialogue to create “conversation” between image and text. In engaging text and image this way, the work then becomes a liminal space that challenges the viewer’s ability to perceive and hold both elements at once.
Chris Butler is an autobiographical street photographer based in Los Angeles. He shoots mainly in black and white and was selected as a Leica Explorer in 2011. I recently had the chance to ask him about his process:
“I prefer photographing everyday life. My work is largely autobiographical and about extracting photographic opportunities from the day-to-day. It’s the opposite of studio work, set-building, etc. I don’t like to invent and manufacture; I prefer to seek out what is happening around me, to be improvisational and compel an image out of the moment.”
Next month, Jay Howell is having a solo show of 25 new works on paper at FFDG in San Francisco (“Enthusiastic Person”, opening February 1st, 6-9pm). Always excited to see what this guy is cooking up. Every new series he does seems to improve on the last without abandoning the sense of freedom and experimentation that makes his work so appealing. This will be Howell’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, and if you’re in the area, I definitely encourage you to check it out. Click past the jump to see more new character-filled work, and keep a look out for the artist’s upcoming animated series with Nickelodeon, “Sanjay and Craig”.
Eric Johnson is a brilliant carpenter who designs and builds furniture out of completely salvaged materials. Armchairs from boat masts, rocking chairs from milk crates, lamps from moped scraps. A lot of “recycled” product design can end up looking not too different from the garbage it started out as, but Johnson does an incredible job of using clean, shrewd designs to make objects that stand on their own regardless of their history. The combination of his intelligent designs and recycled materials is inspiring in its own right too, quietly encouraging us all to see the potential in the mountains of discarded objects that overwhelm our modern lives. So kudos on three levels, Eric. Keep your eyes on Mr. Johnson, I smell a bright future.
Due to the horrifying amount of time it takes, stop motion animation is something of a dying art these days. Luckily, though, Kirsten Lepore is out there keeping it alive and keeping it real. I’ve been a huge fan of her work for a while now. If you enjoy animation, colors, laughter, or can at least appreciate someone spending thousands and thousands of sweat and tear filled hours to make something five to ten minutes long for an uncertain audience, then you might just be a fan too. Watch some of Kirsten’s greatest hits after the jump!