Tag Archives: Los Angeles

  1. 09.16.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    “Another Cats Show” at 356 Mission

    “Another Cats Show” may have started as a one-liner, but that doesn’t mean it fails to land the joke. The exhibition, which closed this week at the Los Angeles gallery 356 Mission, included feline-themed pieces from 301 artists and proved that what they say about die-hard cat lovers is pretty much true: They may be crazy, but they also totally mean it. “People assume cats will be funny,” says Ooga Booga founder Wendy Yao, a partner in the space. “It is casual and inclusive, and gives artists a chance to do something not quite as monumental.”

  2. 09.05.14
    Q&A
    Ricky Swallow vs. Matt Paweski, for Herald St London

    As much fun as it is, as journalists, to the pick the brains of the artists and designers who inspire us every day, there’s something we enjoy even more: being a fly on the wall as two of our favorite creatives spar back and forth about their craft. It’s something we’ll never understand as intimately as those who are makers themselves, and when those makers are as thoughtful about their work as Los Angeles artists Ricky Swallow and Matt Paweski are, it makes for a most excellent Friday read. Swallow interviewed Paweski in advance of the latter’s solo exhibition, opening tomorrow at Herald St gallery in London, and we were lucky enough to nab a transcription of that Q&A. Read on to find out what makes a Matt Paweski, which direction his work is going in, and what the heck a “kerf” actually is.

  3. 08.11.14
    Excerpt: Book
    Strange Plants by Zio Baritaux

    We’ve all been thinking it, but the Los Angeles writer and publisher Zio Baritaux finally did it — put together a project capturing the prevalence of plants in contemporary art these days. Her new book Strange Plants contains interviews with ten artists of varying mediums who focus on flora in their work — three of which we’ve excerpted below — plus selections from the portfolios of 15 more, including an interlude featuring tattoo artists. Baritaux says she was inspired to create the book not necessarily by the trend she was witnessing in the art world, but by the elaborate gardens full of koi ponds and topiaries that her mother grew when she was a child. “I didn’t really appreciate these gardens until I was an adult, living in an apartment in L.A. with no outdoor space or plants to call my own,” Baritaux says. “There were plants throughout the neighborhood, like night-blooming jasmine and overgrown bougainvillea, but it wasn’t the same. I wanted to experience them. So I brought plants inside my apartment — a hanging terrarium, a potted cactus, and so on. These plants brought back memories and inspired me, just like the art I had hanging on the walls. So it seemed natural to create a book that combined the two.”

  4. 08.05.14
    Sighted
    New Work by Matt Merkel-Hess

    In our Saturday Selects column last week, we made mention of “More Material,” the now-closed exhibition at Salon 94 Bowery in New York, curated by the London-based fashion designer Duro Olowu. What we didn’t mention was the bonkers amount of new work Los Angeles–based ceramicist Matt Merkel Hess created for the show and shop (not all of which was included in the exhibition). Merkel Hess is best known for the ceramic copies he makes of everyday objects; for his 2013 show at Salon 94 Freemans, the designer rendered vintage Dust Busters, Super Soakers, stand mixers and the like in glazed porcelain. Here, he focuses on three distinct forms: porcelain novelty ears, flip-flops and West African water kettles.

  5. 07.22.14
    From the Library Of
    Joanna Williams of Kneeland Co

    Last summer, we ran one of our favorite stories to date: a glimpse inside an 1980s-era Scandinavian design book that Seattle designers Ladies & Gentlemen Studio had unearthed while cleaning house. We’d intended to keep going with the column — ostensibly a place where people could show off the strange, beautiful, and mostly out-of-print volumes that populated their libraries — but somehow it fizzled out. We’d been talking this summer about resurrecting it, when at the same time we found out that Joanna Williams, the LA-based owner of the Kneeland textile studio and online marketplace was opening a third branch of her multi-faceted business: a research library, where clients could comb through the curated images Williams has amassed over the years or search through books or magazines focused on graphics, textiles, decorating, and more. We’d found our first subject.

  6. 07.21.14
    Eye Candy
    Ben Sanders, Artist

    L.A. artist Ben Sanders was already making paintings, drawings, illustrations, and sculptures when he co-founded a collaborative art direction and photography studio, Those People, not too long ago. As if all those mediums weren’t enough, though, the 25-year-old Art Center College of Design graduate recently started making objects, too, in the form of ceramic pots that he finds and uses as 3-D canvases, for paintings of wildly colorful air-brushed faces compiled from playful ’80s-style shapes.

  7. 07.16.14
    Studio Visit
    Otaat / Myers Collective

    If the best reason to know the rules is to be smarter about breaking them, then consider the year-old collaboration between designers Albert Chu and Jennifer Myers not so much a violent upheaval but an exercise in playfully tweaking the system. Chu and Myers met while studying at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design — an institution they say reinforced their respect for constraints — and each worked in architecture and launched an accessories line before combining their shared pedagogy into a series of leather and brass pouches. “I think working within, and rebelling against, a set of parameters is actually the ultimate in design fun,” Myers says. Chu agrees: “We love working with fundamentals and trying to introduce a slight deviation,” says the designer of Otaat, which stands for “one thing at a time.” “Harvard was about being restrained in the conceptual and design intervention, that sometimes the most effective and thorough result could arise from a minimal, subtle act.”

  8. 07.12.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of July 7, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: ceramics from a graphic designer, paintings from a lighting designer, and the coolest $300 rock you’ve ever seen.

  9. 07.10.14
    Studio Visit
    Kate Miss

    The fact that Los Angeles designer Kate Miss has, since we shot her Koreatown workspace last fall, chopped off her hair, adopted a dog, and moved studios not once but twice — the second time abandoning her freelance graphic design life altogether for a full-time position at Karen Kimmel — may tell you just how busy we’ve been around these parts. But it could just as easily be a reflection of how much Miss craves change. She’s the only person we’ve ever heard utter the words: “I love moving.” And yet that peculiarly peripatetic quality is what defines Miss — it’s what brought her from Seattle to New York and finally to LA, and why she’s equal parts known as a blogger, a photographer, a jewelry maker, and a graphic designer.

  10. 06.30.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Morgan Peck at Jancar Jones Gallery

    When we first took notice of Los Angeles ceramicist Morgan Peck in 2012, it was because she had suddenly become ubiquitous in the concept-shop scene, with her vessels and abstract mini-sculptures popping up at all of our favorite places (Mociun, Totokaelo, Iko Iko). Now that she’s moved into an entirely new territory — the art world — with the opening of her solo show at LA’s Jancar Jones Gallery last week, we figured it was the perfect time to revisit her work. We asked Peck for her thoughts on her change of scenery, and how her sculptures have made the transition from shelf to plinth. “When Ava and Eric offered me the opportunity to have a show at Jancar Jones last February the first thing I thought was: Are you sure?” she says.

  11. 06.11.14
    Eye Candy
    Osei-Duro, fashion designers

    Molly Keogh and Maryanne Mathias are Osei-Duro, two high-school friends who rekindled their relationship at a 10-year reunion and soon after began the so-named clothing line, which is headquartered in L.A. and designed and produced in Accra, Ghana. Partnering with garment workers in Ghana and using such native West African techniques as hand-dying, wax prints, hand-weaving, screen printing and mud paint, Osei-Duro’s clothes reference such disparate themes as ’90s fly girls and the hieroglyphics of early man. The label has also made it a priority to be a socially conscious and sustainable venture: The employees of Osei-Duro are paid a fair wage (much higher than Ghana’s minimum wage), and are taught transferable skills so they can remain competitive in their emerging market economy. First Lady Michelle Obama herself has worn an Osei-Duro skirt during a panel on education and technology in Johannesburg. See the well-loved looks here, then go to Osei-Duro’s site to find out more.

  12. 06.06.14
    Eye Candy
    Kieley Kimmel

    Color is Heat, Kieley Kimmel’s third official collection, found its initial inspiration in an overexposed landscape photo taken by the designer’s mother in the 1980s. Kimmel, a textile and clothing designer based in Los Angeles, works a very organic design process for each of her seasons, allowing evolution from start to finish. This approach, combined with a background in painting and philosophy, results in the most softly poetic of collections.

  13. 03.04.14
    Eye Candy
    Lucas Blalock, Artist

    New York based artist Lucas Blalock transforms all manner of random things into powerful images. He isolates, adapts, and manipulates, playing with the conventions of photography by exploring its limits and inherent contradictions. All this makes for a lot of very nice collisions and clashings of objects, color, and pattern. His naive use of Photoshop is jarring, forcing us to look freshly and see more. And whether this leads us to question the conflicting realities before us — and, in turn, the contemporary condition of photography itself — or purely to enjoy the compositions of color and abstracted subject matter, the end result is intriguing and hugely inspiring.

  14. 01.27.14
    At Home With
    Laure Joliet, photographer

    You could say that photographer Laure Joliet is in the image business, but her work is about depth as much as surface. She has a way with spaces, rendering them intimate and mysterious at the same time, capturing the revealing detail you notice out of the corner of your eye. Though her subject is often interiors, a large part of her job involves getting to know people. “I spend the day with them and find out things I don’t know that you would normally get to find out, what they’re passionate about. It feels really satisfying to have that experience.”

  15. 01.20.14
    Sighted
    Joanna Williams of Kneeland Mercado on Sous Style

    There are a lot of reasons we’ve been reading Sous Style since former Elle photo director Pippa Lord first launched it in 2011: the casual, contemporary feel of the food photography, the glimpses into the homes and private lives of some amazingly cool women, and of course, all those incredibly gorgeous men(!). But we also love when Lord surprises us with different types of approaches to mixing food with fashion, design, and culture, including a post she did recently on textile-sourcing maven Joanna Williams of Kneeland Co. Mercado — in it, Williams reveals both the stories behind some of the items she’s brought back from various cities to sell in her Los Angeles shop, as well as all of her favorite things to eat while visiting those places. Check out an excerpt from the story after the jump!

  16. 11.20.13
    Studio Visit
    Adi Goodrich, Set Designer

    Instead of making things as a way to survive obsolescence, the physical remainders that will outlast us all, Adi Goodrich’s work lives for only a few days before being broken back down into pieces. “I’m not really into all that ego of trying make stuff that stays forever,” the Los Angeles-based designer admits. “I’m much more interested in the cycle of creativity, in making things happen, and surrounding myself with everyone who wants to come with.” Which means that Goodrich, who was just honored with an Art Directors Club “Young Guns” award, might have willed herself into a perfect job: set design.

  17. 11.11.13
    What We Saw
    Hammer Museum’s Arts ReSTORE

    For all of the handwringing about art being inaccessible, there’s no city planning theory that has gained more traction in this century than the idea of creative people driving neighborhood revitalization. Which means that the descriptively titled “Arts ReSTORE: LA” project isn’t just loftily ambitious. The month-long residency program, which began last week, might actually work at creating a less sterile West Los Angeles, not least because it is supported by the powerhouse Hammer Museum, whose three-story compound anchors one end of the street. On a stretch of Westwood Ave., better known for chain sandwich shops and fluorescent interiors, the Hammer offered a half-dozen empty storefronts to local artists and makers, with the idea that even a temporary infusion would upend the retail mood of the area. If the packed opening night was any indication, this time the theory holds. Here’s what we saw.

  18. 11.08.13
    Studio Visit
    Jake Longstreth, artist

    If you’re familiar with the work of Jake Longstreth (which we weren’t until it was brought to our attention by our newest contributor, Laure Joliet!) you probably know him from a series of paintings that made the blog rounds a few years back. Hyper-realistic depictions of empty suburban landscapes and architecture — think tennis courts, drive-thru pharmacies, and red-roofed Pizza Huts — the paintings were unsettling, both in their flat anonymity and in their technique, which rendered them eerily photographic. But a few years ago, Longstreth’s focus shifted.

  19. 10.23.13
    Eye Candy
    Claire Nereim’s Plant Planet

    Claire Nereim’s illustrations of house plants and fruit life are bursting with sweetness. Nerium, a trained sculptor (see her beautiful works here), screenprints fruits and foliage with rich colors. She recently unveiled “MELONS” a 26×40″ 11-color screenprint of 7 life-sized melons, available along with calendars and other posters at her Etsy shop Plant Planet. Nereim lives and works in Los Angeles.

  20. 10.09.13
    Sighted
    Jonathan Zawada

    We don’t typically use the phrase “so good I wanna puke” to describe our latest product finds. For one, we fear this is not the sort of syntax that would be looked upon too favorably by former journalism professors. For two, there isn’t much that totally knocks us off our feet these days. But that was exactly my reaction when I saw these flat-pack marble tables by Australian designer Jonathan Zawada, first on I’m Revolting and then on Arkitip. Called Affordances #1 (Y.O.R.I. — “You Only Reincarnate Indefinitely”), the tables are made from pieces of marble, granite, and synthetic stone, require no fixtures to assemble, and are infinitely recombinable. They also capitalize on one of our favorite new trends — terrazzo — without seeming at all trendy, and represent one of the first forays into design for someone known more as an art director and artist. Consider us officially obsessed.

  21. 08.22.13
    Excerpt: Book
    Pattern Box

    We were already pretty sold on the idea of Pattern Box — a new postcard box set curated by New York’s Textile Arts Center — which gathers together 100 different prints by 10 of our favorite illustrators and textile designers. We imagined sending off thank yous backed by Eskayel’s dreamy, washed-out blues or get well soons accompanied by Leah Goren’s graphic black cats. (With 100 cards to blow through, even our garage guy might get a holiday bonus paper clipped to Helen Dealtry’s abstract florals.) But then we found the little booklet tucked inside, which contains wonderful, Sight Unseen–like Q&As that delve into the inspiration and process behind each designer and we knew we had to share.

  22. 08.05.13
    Studio Visit
    Christy Matson, textiles artist

    In the parallel universe of false starts, where every cabinet is filled with tools you’ll never use again and every heart with ideas that didn’t stick, artist Christy Matson is a welcome presence, a reminder that sometimes lost things have a way of finding you again. Matson bought her first loom before she’d ever woven, certain that she would take immediately to the repetition and logic of it: “I was, like, I’m going to love weaving, I just know it! I had never met a textile-related process I didn’t like,” Matson says. “And then I took a weaving class the next semester and hated it. I thought, this is it? This is boring.”

  23. 07.30.13
    Sighted
    Ben Medansky Studio Visit on Los Angeles, I’m Yours

    It’s a quiet summer week here at Sight Unseen HQ. August is approaching, we’re spending more and more weekends out of the city, and the time in between them is becoming increasingly shorter and less productive. But that doesn’t mean we don’t know from hard work — we’ve spent the last four years pouring inordinate amounts of time and effort into the stories on this site, and so we’re all the more sympathetic when we see other blogs doing the same. Case in point: the ridiculously extensive, print mag–worthy interview with ceramicist Ben Medansky we spotted recently on the blog Los Angeles, I’m Yours, a city-centric cultural resource founded in 2011 by The Fox Is Black’s Bobby Solomon with editor Kyle Fitzpatrick. We’ve excerpted part of it here, along with a selection of the accompanying studio photos.

  24. 07.03.13
    Eye Candy
    Al Que Quiere, Furniture Design

    Al Que Quiere (aka. AQQ) is a furniture design “firm” or “collective” or maybe just Matthew Sullivan based in Los Angeles. AQQ’s handsome furnishings are graphic and sturdy, standing strong with column-like grooves, rounded legs, rich wood and marble. What’s more is their objects—symmetric, silhouetted shapes sit proud and powerful on top a table. Founder Matthew Sullivan explains, AQQ is an acronym for the Latin phrase, “al que quiere,” roughly translated, “for he who wants it.”

  25. 04.16.13
    Studio Visit
    Heather Levine, ceramic artist

    If designers are especially complicit in adding things to the world — and for stoking our desire for more and more stuff — they also get first dibs on the act of destruction. “I smash my own pieces all the time,” says Los Angeles-based ceramic artist Heather Levine. “You have to make quite a bit to get what you like, and I don’t keep all the tests. I’ll destroy them or try to make them into something else. I don’t want to see things in the world that I’m not happy about.”

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