Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heroes & Villains Book Release

As some of you may recall, I have spent the past two years working with photographers Tatiana Wills and Roman Cho on a photographic survey of our art scene entitled Heroes & Villains. I'm thrilled to say that the book is now a reality, and is available to order! It's a lovingly produced, gorgeous coffee-table book designed by the talented Blaine Fontana, in a very limited edition of 1,000.


Heroes & Villains contains portraits of more than 100 artists, from painters and sculptors to cartoonists and graf writers, as well as an essay and 15 interviews that I wrote. Over the course of the project, I was fortunate enough to interview some fascinating people, including Mark Ryden, David Choe, Audrey Kawasaki, Saber, Blek le Rat, Marion Peck, Liz McGrath, James Jean, Tiffany Bozic, Ron English, Chaz Bojórquez, Molly Crabapple, Seonna Hong, and cartoonists Anders Nilsen and Kim Deitch. You can see their faces and read our in-depth conversations by ordering Heroes & Villains directly from Zero+ Publishing.









Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dabs Myla's Graffiti Wonderland

Next month, I'm going to treat you all to an interview with the amazing Dabs Myla, in anticipation of their upcoming solo at Thinkspace, "The Best of Times," which opens on August 13th. Before that, I thought I'd give you a little insight into how it happened that Dabs and Myla suddenly appeared on our western shores, wielding a pair of spraycans and some overpowering awesomeness.


Dabs Myla are a collaborative art duo from Melbourne, Australia who met and started working together in 2004. Prior to their wondrous meeting, Dabs had been busy since 1995 painting graffiti in the suburbs of Melbourne with other SDM (Size Does Matter/Sleep Deprived Maniacs) crew members, and Myla was pursuing her passion for travel, spending years trekking around Europe, Asia and Australia. About seven years ago, they enrolled in art school, where they met and became good friends.

"Happiness Is 10 Yen"


By the time they graduated, they had fallen in love, and Dabs was starting to teach Myla the ins and outs of graffiti. Soon afterward, they got together with a couple of their friends to open a gallery called Per Square Metre. During the next three and a half years, they painted side-by-side in a studio behind the gallery. At first, they mostly focused on their own individual projects, but after a couple of years, they decided they liked their collaborative pieces better. From that point onward, they worked together as Dabs Myla, taking inspiration from their travels and the wonderful chaos of their life as a couple, with Myla’s photorealistic cityscapes providing counterpoint to Dabs’ mischievous and sometimes ribald characters.

"Milk and Honey"

But the fun didn’t stop in the studio. Painting alongside Dabs and the other SDM crew members, Myla was forced to rapidly improve her can control and evolve her own style. After she put in many years working on her pieces and lettering, one of the original SDM members asked Myla to join the crew.




When stencil artist Logan Hicks showed with their gallery in 2008, they became fast friends, and he invited Dabs and Myla to visit him in Los Angeles. They flew to California six months later, where they were very impressed by the warm weather and the quality of the donuts. After driving cross-country from San Diego to New York, painting walls wherever they went, they headed back to their life in Australia. On their second trip to Los Angeles the following year, they fell in love with the city, and decided to move. They went back home one last time to launch their first collaborative solo show, “Like That,” which was their farewell to Melbourne and their gallery Per Square Metre, then packed up and headed to the States in the summer of 2009.

"Attack at 2861 West Sunset"


Shortly after they arrived, Dabs Myla launched their debut Los Angeles show, “Golden Age,” in which they transformed the interior of the gallery into their trademark “super smooth” graffiti wonderland, and invited a bunch of their new American friends, including Craola, Persue and Rime, to show with them. Before long, they were getting up all over the city alongside some of the world’s greatest writers, and their schedule was booked solid with murals and gallery shows. After five years together, they took a short break to road-trip to Vegas with their families and get married — but true to form, they spent their honeymoon back home in Hollywood, painting a wall with their friends on the hottest day in 100 years. In 2011, Dabs Myla became part of the legendary Seventh Letter graffiti collective. 



Since their move to Los Angeles, Dabs and Myla have never spent more than a couple of hours apart, and they say they’re living the dream. “I guess we are pretty lucky... two peas in a pod! Two crazy, workaholic, mad dorks in a pod! After years of living, painting walls and working together, we have only become closer, stronger and even more in sync. Every day we wake up, paint all day, and keep each other entertained with constant chatter and stupid jokes. Who could ask for more out of life?”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Unbearable Light of Edwin Ushiro

When Edwin Ushiro unveils his latest paintings, they are always a revelation in atmosphere, so unearthly and poignant that they threaten to wrench the spirit from your body. His most recent piece, a haunting childhood memory entitled "Well It Goes On," was a highlight of the Culver City Artwalk. You'll encounter more of Edwin's evocative dreamscapes in Jonathan LeVine's annual summer invitational, which opens on August 10th. To find out more about Edwin and his work, check out this entertaining conversation we had a while back.

"Well It Goes On"