LA Art Shows

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.

An increasing number of galleries are showcasing tattoo art and graffiti art. In this show at Cella Gallery, Timothy Garrett and Samir Evol bring tattoo art, photography, and wall-size spray paint art together to give a wink to the tradition of retro pinup art. My husband and I are big fans of the art of Alberto Vargas, Gil Elvgren, and George Petty and photography featuring models like Bettie Page. This show gives street cred to that tradition.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:49

Art >> “Conjoined III” at Copro Gallery

Written by

“Conjoined III” was probably the most mobbed art opening I’ve ever attended. There were two steady flows of spectator traffic: one moving past the gallery walls, and one closer to the center of the room heading out. The two lanes of traffic were so close that they were always touching each other slightly, with a constant murmur of “excuse me” and “sorry” in the air. And outdoors a food truck was doing brisk business with the sea of people that had collected for chatting (since it was too crowded to talk inside).

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 09:16

Art >> “Creepy Cute” at WWA Gallery

Written by

An Apt Name for a Solid Pop-Surrealist Tradition: “Creepy Cute” at WWA Gallery

deechavez.jpg - 671.94 Kb
Dee Chavez, “Buttercup Farm,” acrylic on wood.

My first pop-surrealist “creepy cute” experience occurred when I moved to LA in 2000 and first saw Mark Ryden’s portrait of Christina Ricci in a poster shop. Like everyone else on the planet, I immediately fell in love with the oversized head; the enormous, shimmering eyes; the soft edges in the painting; and with all of that the implication of darkness underneath, since Ricci is so well known for playing dark or off-beat characters. (I fell especially hard for Ryden because he was really my introduction to pop surrealism.

larkin.jpg - 1.05 Mb

Larkin, “Saint Gus and Pilot,” acrylic on panel with crochet frame.

When I lived in New York I mainly kept my nose in underground comics and didn’t look up long enough to notice posters or gallery walls.) Eager for more, I became acquainted with galleries like Cannibal Flower, Copro Nason, and La Luz de Jesus. There I was introduced to the disturbing circus-sideshow creatures of Liz McGrath, Anthony Ausgang’s stretched cartoon characters, Luke Chueh’s white bears with bloody eyes and extremities, Ron English’s bloated but jolly images of Ronald McDonald, and the work of many more artists who compellingly joined sinister and sweet in various ways: by combining the two characteristics in one twisted subject, making an angel and a devil appear to be in cahoots, making a dark figure a sore thumb in a cute setting, sullying a cute thing with disfigurement or evil, or implying darkness by showing that cuteness can be nauseatingly overdone or commercial.

kellyhutchison.jpg - 1.31 Mb
Kelly Hutchison, “The Bone Shaker,” oil on canvas.

Since we all have our own feelings about what’s creepy and what’s cute, it’s a broad theme, and the seven artists featured in WWA Gallery’s current show all take approaches that are very different and give the show great variety. For example, Dee Chavez’s paintings are colorful fantasies in which live things appear bewildered in their unexpected settings (such as a whale that can’t successfully dive in peanut-butter cups, or hills with faces that look very sad—maybe because they’re stuck in one place). Meanwhile, Peter Adamyan brings in politics, making Papa Smurf into Karl Marx and Ronald Reagan into Gargamel, the smurf-eating villain. Even when there aren’t ironies or struggles in the works in this show, we see eeriness in very pink habitats for very darling animals and in the mingling of beings and objects that don’t look like they could coexist safely for very long.

peteradamyan.jpg - 873.58 Kb
Peter Adamyan, “A Smurfy Coldwar,” oil and acrylic on wood relief.

“Creepy Cute” is on view through Feb. 9 at WWA Gallery, 9517 Culver Blvd, Culver City 90232. For more details, visit

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 12:45

Art >> Art Research Is Easier Than I Used to Think

Written by

When I was in college and grad school, research was for papers, and papers had to be carefully defended. I had to read all or part of several books and/or articles for each paper and provide a bibliography.

Don’t products that are “handmade” or “made by artists” sound like people should pay more for them? But, too often, people don’t. In fact, a lot of the time the pricing bar for artists is set dangerously low…by artists. It’s one thing for an artist to make something lower-priced than an oil painting, so that more people can afford it. It’s another to sell it at a bargain price. Let me tell you about what I’ve been seeing lately.

Thursday, 06 December 2012 09:10

Art Blog >> The Craftsmanship of Fantasy

Written by

The Craftsmanship of Fantasy: Little Stars at Cella Gallery, Classic Monsters at Halloween Town, and Odditorium Detroit at District VII

After a haitus of a couple of weeks to prepare for two gallery shows, I’m very happy to be back here to write about those shows (which just opened in North Hollywood, CA, and Detroit, MI) and also about a third exciting show in Burbank that opened at the same time.

Thursday, 15 November 2012 10:57

Art >> The La Dubla Show at Cella Gallery

Written by

I had a two-week bout of the flu and two trade shows that kept me from concentrating on this blog the way I normally do. I apologize for my haitus and for writing so late about this particular show, because I really think people should go see it while there’s still time!

If you grew up in the 1960s and 70s, you probably remember the Rankin/Bass “Animagic” holiday specials (featuring stop-motion animation with figurines).

Anyone who went to La Luz de Jesus Gallery on October 5 for the opening night of a pre-Halloween art thriller certainly got some of what they came for—skulls and skeletons, a little blood, black lacquer here and there—and I admit that was one of the reasons I went myself.

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 21:49

Art >> My Weekend on “The Lot” at Riot LA

Written by

The Fleeting Rustic Charm of the Gypsy Shopping Mall: My Weekend on “The Lot” at Riot LA

Riot LA was a comedy festival in downtown LA September 21-23. “The Lot” at Riot LA, set up in a parking lot at 253 South Main Street, was open that Saturday and Sunday.

Blurring the Line Between Fine Art and Illustration: The BLAB Show (BLAB World 2012 Art Exhibition) at Copro Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica

The night the latest annual BLAB Show opened at Copro Gallery, Bergamot Station was having its 18th anniversary, and the place was insanely mobbed, with live rock music pouring out of wide-open doors and throngs of people winding their way around food trucks and parked cars to get from one gallery to the next. There was plenty of intriguing stuff to see at every gallery, but as soon as I arrived I made a beeline for the BLAB Show because I love it every single year.

Comikaze, held at the LA Convention Center September 15 and 16, was outrageously mobbed beyond anyone’s expectations.

On September 1, I went to the opening reception for two concurrent shows at Thinkspace Art Gallery in Culver City. Both shows introduced me to lots of engaging personalities—human, animal, storybook, cartoon, fantasy, historical, religious, and more-—in settings influenced by urban culture. And both shows were apparently made possible by friendship among artists.

I’m a passionate lover of line art; my favorites range from the medieval etchings and drypoints of Albrecht Durer to pages from contemporary comics. So I was really excited to see Color Ink Book’s 4th Anniversary Show at WWA Gallery in Culver City, which opened the night of August 18th.

Page 5 of 7

Do you have an event, video or news to share?  Drop us an email and you may see it on