Our dear friend Tofer Chin celebrates the opening of Ar at Lu Magnus in NYC. If you can’t up and jet to the Big Apple, read our conversation with the artist, and see a glimpse of his new work here. Ar is on display until June 29.
Tag Archives: art
Spring has sprung in New York (minus the fact that it’s currently pouring rain…) and one of the first warm beautiful days of the year also marked the first day Tofer Chin began installing his new works at Lu Magnus gallery in the Lower East Side. Maybe he brought his hometown Los Angeles weather with him… but the dude travels so much, he could’ve brought it from São Paulo or Barcelona or somewhere equally warm and exotic. Chin is prepping for Ar, his latest solo show containing an all new series of works, opening this Friday, May 10th.
Those who are familiar with Chin’s aesthetic know it to be somewhat mathematical, incorporating patterns and geometry throughout. In his newest works, he breaks it down even further – self-described as a little more manmade (evidence of brushstrokes on handmade paper-type radness, etc.)
As each piece was being unwrapped and hung for the big day, I had the pleasure of checking out a little sneak peek, and chatting with Chin about his work, his travels, music, and food (of course). Between the t-shirt weather after a long winter, and all the unwrapping that was going on, it kind of felt like my own personal Christmas!
Your upcoming show at Lu Magnus is entitled “Ar,” which is “air” in Portuguese. What is the relevance behind the name in connection with the work you’ll be showing?
I’m learning Portuguese right now, and it’s such a beautiful language. This show, and my work in general, has a lot to do with my travels. Travel is an overarching theme within everything I do – I take tons of photos of architecture, patterns, and my work consists of my reinterpretation of what I’m seeing.
My past work is super, super slick – almost looked like a machine made it. And while my work is consistently being broken down into number, color, and form, this series continues to explore that while simultaneously breaking open the form to create space. This time around you can also see more of a mark of the hand. It’s just a little more stripped down, for example showing the raw canvas. I wanted to expose everything and give it more air.
I’ve seen the phrase “keyhole perspective” used to describe this particular series…
That’s something that’s present in all of my work: the idea of looking through a hole and just seeing a portion of what’s there. With a painting, for example, it’s structured in a square or rectangle… but that’s not it – it’s a glimpse into that world. It doesn’t end – all my work bleeds off. I’m just giving you a glimpse.
You split your time between LA and Brazil. What drew you to Brazil in the first place?
São Paolo is the most inspiring city I’ve been to for architecture and patterns. One of my closest friends got married and moved from Barcelona, where he was living at the time, and ended up in Brazil where he began curating. So he would bring me out there for jobs and these crazy installations. It’s also where I met my wife!
Is there any type of music that you like to listen to when you’re working?
When I’m working, I listen to straight up electronic music.
Really? Would you say that it comes through in your work?
It’s meditative for me because there aren’t really lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sigur Ros and rock ‘n roll. It just depends on my mood, but more often than not I find myself listening to electronic music!
It’s wild; I feel like with this series it was Araab Muzik over and over again.
I watched a video about you and your favorite places to grub in LA. What do you like to eat when you’re in New York?
Ipuddo, hands down. Those pork buns? They’re ridiculous.
What’s up next for your once the show is over?
I’m heading back to LA and painting a massive mural in Hollywood. I’ve been working consistently on this show for the past seven months so I want to enjoy it and then see what’s up next.
words by Chelsea Green
photos by Switch
We’re not bragging (except for maybe a little bit), but The Hundreds’ HomeBase is really coming together. It’s surreal to admire an artist from afar, and then to watch that very same person throw up a custom piece on one of our naked warehouse walls. In this case, we’re talking about Meggs, creator of the latest addition to our office art museum, which we hope one day can rival the permanent collection at the MOCA. You may remember the Aussie artist from his appearance on our blog just a few weeks ago, when we paid him a visit to chat about his latest exhibition entitled “Heavenly Creatures.” Meggs is one of the biggest talents to emerge from Australia, and we feel very privileged to unveil this massive piece he just recently completed for us. It features a giant fiery/galactic skull, which makes sense, because Bobby has a morbid fasciation with all things skeletal. If you’ve been slacking on your contemporary art history, you can check out our write-up and video on Meggs here.
Photos by Zach Marshall
Steven Harrington is a California-based artist and painter, The Hundreds is a California-based brand, and Palm Trees are synonymous with California culture (even though only one species of palm, the Washingtonia filifera, is native to the state, and the rest have all been imported). The mere site of a palm tree is like a botanical beacon of hope. It’s enough to make us whip out our shades and smear on the sunblock (skincare is important). Thanks to friend Steven Harrington’s cool-as-can-be mural shading our skate ramp, we get to feel laid back summer vibes every time we visit the warehouse. Check out this time lapse video of the massive wall takeover.
video by Zach Marshall
Last night we attended the opening soiree for Marion Peck’s “Animals” at Michael Kohn Projects in Los Angeles. The spankin’ new space is the baby sibling of the prestigious Michael Kohn Gallery, which has housed the works of world-class artists such as Camille Rose Garcia, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring. Just in time for Easter festivities (and peeps!), there were plenty of cuddly creatures in attendance, both hanging on the walls, and dancing in front of us, evoking the demonic figments of Donnie Darko’s nightmares. Peck’s pop surrealist paintings are as whimsical as they are eerie, depicting bed-ridden-forest-dwelling fauna, despondent livestock, sedated bunnies, and bellied-up birds that have certainly seen better days. Peck, who is married to genre-bending artist Mark Ryden (talk about an art power couple), is known for her fantastical scenes of anthropomorphized figures, and her imaginative fusion of the mischievous, polite, pretty, and twisted. Here are a few photos from the opening celebration. I still can’t decide if these life-size plushies are cute or creepy.
The artist, Marion Peck
Marion with her work
This pig breaks my heart
Happy Easter! This bunny might be back to haunt your nightmares.
The husband of the hour, Mark Ryden (in the middle)
And the winner of the staring contest is… this owl
What’s wrong kitty?
This bird is just sleeping, right mommy?
photos by Zach Marshall
by Jane Helpern
Have we mentioned how hard we fan out on Travis Millard? What I really mean is, have we mentioned it since yesterday? Though the LA-based artist will tell you in his humble (and not #humblebrag) opinion that he just makes drawings, what he actually does is create clever cartoons and comical illustrations that are both fun and poignant, and put into pictures every weird and twisted teenage fantasy of rebellion and freaking out and slacking off and fighting back that we’ve ever had. (Your jerk-face teacher kissing his own butt anyone?) So without further adieu, we debut the The Hundreds by Travis Millard collaboration… Well, almost. You still have to wait a few more days to actually buy it. In the meantime, here’s a look inside the fascinating mind of a Van-fan/son-of-a-Wrangler-salesman, who also just happens to be an unfairly gifted artist. Available online real soon.
photo/video by Zach Marshall
words by Jane Helpern
Let me preface this by saying that these photos don’t do Barry McGee’s show at the Berkeley Art Musem justice. This blog doesn’t come close to capturing a sliver of the experience, nor can my words cover the breadth of the majesty of this collection. If you have the means to fly into Northern California to witness this exhibition, I strongly urge you to do so. It’ll be worth the trip. If you already live in the Bay Area and haven’t checked it out, then you have no excuse, shame on you.
Every so often, there comes an art show that speaks to, and of, the young art community, and perfectly frames that portrait of our contemporary existence. Like Art in the Streets last year, Murakami at the MOCA, KAWS at Honor Fraser, that Banksy show with the elephant, the Street Market show with Twist, Reas, and Espo, and so on. This is that show for 2012.
Barry McGee is a midcareer retrospective of the artist’s prolific repertoire – from the streets of San Francisco to confined gallery work. The exhibition shuffles episodes throughout McGee’s diverse career, blurring the line between urban degradation and studio offerings. From his painted bottles (that first spurned my interest in art beyond Twist) to the sign-painted style reminiscent of the Mission District, to the flipped vans and geometric surfboard patterns, you can see Barry McGee move and grow and multiply – brown, tomato reds later evolve into fluorescent orange tones – loose character curves tighten and constrict into repetitive, perfect angles.
Anyways, I can go on, but like I said, this blog can do the show no justice. Let alone the life’s work of Barry McGee.
On Friday night, Benjie held a dessert-themed group art exhibition entitled “Sweet Tooth” at Backside in Echo Park, featuring friends and inspiration alike : Sophia Chang, Eric Dressen, Clark Orr, and Sprfkr, to name a few. Most importantly, desserts were provided by Ice Cream Social, Little Sweeties Cupcakes, and the Cheesecake Dude amongst others. Zachy Horndog was onhand to document:
photography by Zach Marshall
I’ve never been out in this neck of the woods. I mean, virtually, woods. Up above Los Angeles, I drive further and farther, down winding roads, over rubbled dirt paths and between trees, and when the dust finally settles, I’m at Tim Biskup’s house.
Tim Biskup, the well-known and widely reputed artist.
I can’t believe Tim is 44 years old because he looks a hair shy of his thirties and has the zeal and enthusiasm to confirm it. This is where he lives and, from what I can tell, does the majority of his work. He is a painter, an illustrator, he is an all-around artist. Wikipedia would tell you he’s “lowbrow” or “pop surrealist” and of the Robert Williams school of early Juxtapoz, but I hear nothing of that during my afternoon with Tim. Instead I find that Tim is in a class of his own, a true artist as an expressive individual, beating to his own drum, defining his own personal genre.
His house is a manifestation of his style and aesthetic predisposition. The vintage furniture and contrasting tones only further highlight the radiant artwork, most of his own hand, but many by friends and fellow fans.
I completely forgot to ask Tim about his drumset, but music is evidently just as much a driving force in his life as art. There he was at Coachella and then subsequently afterwards at Radiohead’s appearance in Mexico City. There he was early in his career owning a record shop, and recently, having done the video for Mastodon’s “Dry Bone Valley.”
Tim Biskup is a serious artist, but he also has the personality of an old, charming friend. Without pretense, minus the attitude and image, he is already inviting me over for backyard barbecues. His youthful nature is contagious; it’s hard not to be inspired or explorative within these walls.
And that contagion has spread, across legions of fans and collectors and admirers. Tim also has plenty of friends within the arts community, he trades toys with Kaws, he collaborates with Dave Choe…
his buddy Mark Ryden drew Tim’s daughter Tiger for her baby shower. Done before she was born, somehow Ryden nailed what she’d look like when she entered the world.
And Tiger is another thematic bell that resonates throughout Tim’s life. We can’t go 5 minutes in conversation without a Tiger anecdote or reference point. Tim is clearly a proud and dedicated father, and that love disperses throughout his current work. About five years ago, “The Executioner” was a depiction of his own father as an unsure disciplinarian, and perhaps Tim himself in that newfound dad role.
This is probably how you’d best remember Tim Biskup’s work if you were more attentive to his art in the 2000s. But he hasn’t really worked with these characters and what he refers to as “friendlier art” since. Even “The Executioner” was a slow turn from his poppier, smiley stuff.
Soon after, he began working within these geometric shapes. This, in fact, was the first of it’s kind. You can see a skull off to the side, and layers of eyes and teeth that splinter off into shards of colored solids. For the past five years, this is where Tim Biskup’s head, and art, have been at.
The polygons have unfolded and flourished into new figures and subjects. I love looking at these paintings for their signature color palettes and dimension, layered around flat, unforgiving surfaces.
See that crate on the floor?
That’s how much tape goes into accomplishing these pieces. It’s a painstaking process, without the pain. Tim considers these paintings to be meditative, freeing him from having to think, on a guided path predestined by adhesive borders.
Meanwhile, the rest of Tim’s artwork exists beyond borders. Coloring outside the lines. He’s like 20 artists in 1; he just did these two a couple weeks back. They remind me of John K. and rightfully so, Tim having worked closely with the Ren & Stimply creator earlier in his career.
Kelsey Brookes was over earlier today working on a trade. He wanted to leave with this one by Tim:
And these are Tim’s Lladro porcelains. Talk about ultimate collaborations. Kinduva big deal…
There’s an old Picasso fable that a patron once asked him for an autograph. The artist graciously obliged, scribbled his signature down on a napkin, and was about to hand it over before asking for $10,000. ”$10,000?!,” the man cried, “but that took you 2 seconds.” To which Pablo Picasso replied, “No, that took me a lifetime.”
Tim’s starting the next chapter of his artistic saga, and it comes as a response to the heavily detailed and time-intensive paintings he’s poured himself to over the past several years. As an artist, like most artists, critics, and buyers, he has traditionally justified the price of his paintings with the labor invested…
…but now he is pulling apart, and away; he is deconstructing and unraveling. And these works are meditative in an entirely different state, they require more deliberate and conscious choices.
Although they are looser and quicker in production, they still sell for the same bids as his prior work. Why? Because although the piece itself isn’t saturated with time, Tim has already paid his dues. This took 44 years to make.
Here’s an even better example of what Tim is going through right now. He doesn’t have the piece in front of us, so he pulls up a photograph in his iPhoto. But there it is, his lifelong obsession with skulls, his free-flowing handwork that recites the lines and contours from muscle memory; a very emotive and powerful communication, but done in a dramatically shorter period of time.
Tim winds it up with a demonstration. He has been really into these graphites as of late, extracting the signature pop colors out of his work and just going straight to paper with these crude, blunt sticks.
But he applies them in his own way, sideways, and has mastered the unrefined tool. He does so with conviction, he owns it, and lets the art essentially draw itself.
Within seconds, maybe minutes, we have this.
Tim has a couple shows lined up, one at HVW8 in July, which will most likely consist of his graphite drawings.
For more information on the artist, please visit Tim Biskup.