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Wednesday, 26 September 2018 14:25


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“Wacko!” in neon lights ushers passers-by into a store of kitsch, books, avocado gift wrap, and La Luz de Jesus gallery. 

Barbara and Hank Shire started Soap Plant + Wacko, this counter-culture empire in Los Feliz Village, where La Luz de Jesus gallery exists today. Soap Plant + Wacko is the mothership that bears the child gallery, La Luz de Jesus. Nestled in the Northeast corner of this pop-culture trinket shop is the gallery that gave rise to the “Lowbrow” art movement in Los Angeles.


Lowbrow art is a Populist, visual art movement rooted in underground comics, punk, tiki, and California hot-rod culture. Lowbrow gets its name from its perceived content, rather, its lack of intellectual or ‘highbrow’ content. Since artists of the 1970s spawning of Lowbrow didn’t (and don’t) care about mainstream recognition, Lowbrow became known as a Populist movement. More commonly, we recognize Lowbrow art as Pop-surrealism.


Highly stylized and frequently cartoonish, Lowbrow works of art manifest in a variety of mediums. For example, La Luz de Jesus gallery inside Soap Plant + Wacko featured celebrity portraits made from cigarette butts.

In true, Populist fashion, La Luz de Jesus takes submissions from all artists, but keeps best selling artists on rotation. Every first Friday of the month, Soap Plant + Wacko hosts an exhibition opening of a new group show.


The store which houses the art gallery that started Lowbrow offers 6,000 square feet of equally eclectic items that Lowbrow art draws from. From rubber chicken keyrings to alien socks and cactus ring holders, Soap Plant + Wacko is a treat in itself.


4633 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Tues Sat    11am – 9pm
Sun   12pm – 6pm

Current exhibition:        
Lonesome Town                   

September 7th – 30th


Read 1035 times Last modified on Thursday, 27 September 2018 09:17
Raleigh Barrett

Raleigh Barrett is a vegan Angeleno transplant who has lived in the NoHo Arts District for five years. She certainly won’t be leaving California in the next four years. Raleigh recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a Master of Arts specializing in Linguistic Anthropology. While in Chicago, she worked as the Gallery Assistant at the Renaissance Society. Raleigh is thrilled to be back and blogging for the NoHo Arts District.

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