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Jeff Soto: LA Dreamin'

Written by Jeff Soto   
Saturday, 07 July 2007 07:46
Chris Ryniak's in town from Ohio and I'm his LA art tour guide. We stopped through Gary Baseman’s house and hit up some shows around town.

This might be a long entry- be warned...

Chris Ryniak was in town from Ohio to take part in a show at Scion Art Space called “Life Size”. Thought it’d be fun to get out of the studio for a day and be his tour guide. Our goal was to see as much as we could in the way of galleries in Los Angeles so my pal Jon and I headed out from Riverside. We picked up Chris and Dave Chung (AKA The Chung!!) in Culver City and headed out for adventure.

First stop was Gary Baseman’s house where he was working to put the final touches on his show that goes up next week. Opens July 14th at Billy Shire Fine Arts. He had this amazing wall of drawings on tracing paper. Pretty interesting to see how he works. Crazy seeing his awards just chillin’ on his hearth.

Next we came by Gallery 1988 where there’s a group show called Packed and Loaded. Really nice seeing this stuff in person, especially the painterly brush strokes of Brandt Peters. Jensen tried to take us out for gellato but the flavor chemist had his shop closed much to his dismay.

On a side note, there are some awesome trannies in L.A. Wow.... okay back to the story...

Next we went to check out La Luz de Jesus and peeked in on the Daniel Peacock show, unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the opening that night. Looked good from what I could see. I bought all too many art books. La Luz is awesome for books but hard on the wallet.

We headed to Thinkspace next where they have the ArtDorks exhibit going on. Chris and Dave are part of the Artdorks collective, it was nice to see their work in the show. The show was really good overall, once again, nice to see work in person that I’ve only seen online. I really liked the Robert Hardgrave stuff, Brendan Danielsson (killer bush), Heiko Muller, and Gregory Jacobsen.

Who are these guys? Artdorks, that's who!

Backtracked over to Merry Karnowsky Gallery. Awesome 10th anniversary show. This place never disappoints. Shepard Fairey, Junko Mizuno, Eric White, Kent Williams, wow what a show! Here’s some stand outs for me:

Jim Houser

Camille Rose Garcia

Rich Colman No L.A. gallery trip is complete without swinging by the infamous New Image Art. Marsea Goldberg has been doing her thing and has consistently shown artists that are doing big things (Barry McGee, Faile, Swoon, Ed Templeton, the list goes on...) There’s always a special place in my heart for New Image Art- Marsea was one of the first to show my work and give me support. I forgot my camera but I pulled some of my favorite work off their site. There was a great Eric White piece but I can’t find an image of it.

David Ellis

Date Farmers

Kelsey Brooks Next we headed west to eat at Giant Robot's restaurant GR/eats..... but they were closed (they shut down for a couple hours between lunch and dinner). Always next time...

At the GR store I bought too many books again and Chris, Dave and I drew with crayons in their guestbook. At GR2 they had a pretty good comics art show. And I bought more artbooks there too. Damn.

Please do not steal the drawing!

Into the early evening L.A. traffic and back to Culver City to catch the last 10 minutes of Tim Biskup’s show at Billy Shire Fine Art. We barely made it, the door was actually locked but the nice lady let us in luckily. This was my favorite show of the day (Date Farmers being a close second). It really felt like Biskup’s work has matured at this point, it was less humorous, more raw, more emotional and more beautiful than previous work I’ve seen. The work has a lot of feeling. I was impressed. And the giant sized realization of his painting was spectacular.

Next we went to a 3 person show at The Lab 101 featuring Andy Jenkins, Andrew Pommier, and Andy Mueller. Three Andy’s. Damn, left my camera in the car. It was nice talking to owner and artist Freddi C, she’s really cool and we go pretty far back (she curated me in a show up in SF in 2002). I was really excited to see Andy Jenkin’s work. I remember it vividly from when I was 10 and reading Freestylin’ magazine. I think he wrote and did artwork for the mag. He’s still got a nice style, a lot of movement in his strokes. Good stuff.

We missed Sixspace, Corey Helford, and a bunch of others. Never made it to Bergamot Station either. But you can only see so much in a day. L.A. is huge and galleries are open 1-6pm (lame).

Our last stop was Scion’s art space in Culver City to get a behind the scenes look at “Life Size” a group show curated by Francesco LoCastro. Chris had been setting up with the other artists the day before and was finishing up. Looks to be a killer show from what was already on the walls. Opening is Saturday July 7th, 7-10pm. I can’t make it because we have a wedding to go to (Go Lisa and Rick!), but if you’re in the area swing by and say hi to Chris Ryniak.

When we were there Esao Andrews was working on his wall, nice talking to him. I was reminded that Tomer Hanuka, Mu Pan, and Regino Gonzales were all classmates of his at SVA in NYC. Crazy.

Ronald Kurniawan has work in the show but wasn’t around. We have a similar aesthetic- probably why I like his work so much. Never met him, but would like to.

Jen Stark (I just realized the only woman in the show), has some interesting work consisting of layered colored paper. They were really amazing actually, she is young, should be interesting to see where she takes it.

Seeing her setup her wall with all the other guys got me thinking about how much a “boy’s club” this art scene is. I’m not trying to single out the Scion show, in fact all the galleries we checked out had more men showing their work (except Gallery 1988, and Merry Karnowsky was also pretty even). Why is that? Are there more men artists out there? I know when I curated a show 5 years ago, I knew many more male artists than female that fit into the show’s theme. Is this genre of art more male oriented? Is it sexism? I don’t know and don’t have the answers. I know the Guerilla Girls have been addressing this for decades.

Sorry for the little side-rant. So Jon and I dropped off Chris and Dave and left Los Angeles, our heads whirling with imagery, tired, worn out, feeling like we packed two days into one. Chris and Dave will have their report up too.. check their blogs at: Eat the Future The Chung Fortune Cookie

A quick note- there is a gallery called LowBrow Fine Art that is having a "show" of my prints next week with an "opening" and everything. I don't know anything about this gallery, they never told me about it and I won't be there. Sorry if there's any confusion. This sort of thing chaps my hide, and I sent them an email asking what they're trying to do. Anyways just wanted to let people know I have nothing to do with that gallery.

Finally- I'll be taking a break from blogging for a while. Probably after September I'll drop another long entry but for now it's time to close up shop and finish all the artwork for my next show. Good thing I have a helper...

Jeff signing off till September!!!

for more on Jeff, check his site: jeffsoto.com {moscomment}

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