Show me more, Avenue des Arts
Because that’s how we do things around here.
The other thing Clara showed me was the Avenue Des Arts Gallery. It’s downtown on Los Angeles Street at the southeast fringes of the monthly art walk. It just opened earlier this summer; owner Dmitri Lorin and manager Diana Hernandez have put together a collection that includes a stylish pop/street art aesthetic with giant, colorful works.
Case and point: Spanish street artist Pez. Let’s discuss! First, here’s Spinach Boy.
As cartoon characters go, Popeye’s not my favorite. “Spinach Boy” is Popeye, with his skin peeling away to reveal metallic sinews.
It’s got dizzying levels of texture with an intriguing interplay between greyscale and color. There’s an obsessive level of detail in the texturing. The skin is made to look like concrete, crumbling, and the flecks of material falling make this figure seem almost like a statue is coming to life.
I love how with the skin rendered as though it was concrete, Pez takes it a step further and pretends the skin is like a concrete wall, and adds graffiti to it.
The only colors here are blue and then a hundred million different shades of grey. The figure in its entirety is the focal point. Within that, the sense of depth and layers in the figure give you a thousand reasons to look around. It’s set against a background of grey mist. I’ve never seen a painting that used grey with such vividness.
Hey pal, eyes up here! This painting features Betty Boop, much sexier than you’ve ever seen her before because she’s kind of a cyborg. This website is ultimately about showing off sexy things, which makes ‘Pretty Boobs’ the most appropriate thing I have blogged about to date. Here’s some ass:
Having said that, the face is the focal point. There’s not really any background to speak of. It’s just more grey, and it doesn’t matter. Pez has mastered grey, from the looks of things. Like, the colors here are The colors are red and pink, with grey and black, and it’s honestly mostly grey no matter how you define that. We can debate for two, even three minutes about where grey ends and black begins, and the same with the red and pink. There’s no disputing that depth and texture are kicking major ass here. This figure drawing has a zillion degrees of texture.
The same things that drew me in to Spinach Boy also drew me in to Pretty Boobs. The attention Pez lavishes on the texture of the figure’s skin and surfaces is dazzling. Look at the way the shoulder is cracking to reveal bricks. And even more fun: the face, the way the eyelashes crack, and the graffiti cast on it.
Last but not least: it’s Mickey Mouse! Except he’s all fucked up. If there’s one thing pop surrealists love doing, it’s fucking up Mickey Mouse. And we should go ahead and fuck up Mickey some more! It can only make Disney feel more pissed off every day. And by pissed off I mean really, really rich.
Once again, not much in the way of background. There’s just vague fields of color that echo the foreground. In the foreground, the prominent colors are red, grey, and black. We already had the grey/black discussion with Pretty Boobs, right? Good.
The figure in the foreground is rendered in inorganic materials again, steel and concrete. You can see Pez’s signature cracking of the material, as well as the graffiti tossed on to make surfaces look more like concrete.
What mine eyes are especially drawn to here are the couple of areas where it feels like you’re unintentionally getting sucked inside of Mickey; his eyes, and the buttons on his trousers. Those grey elements (I know, everything’s grey) popping out of holes invite you to peer deeper into the holes, don’t they?
The sheer amount of grey gives this a dour solemnity, and yet I can’t help but feel like Mickey really likes being painted this way. Even his eyes seem to be smiling. And why wouldn’t he? Being memorialized this way is awesome. When I sit down for a self-portrait to hang in the dining hall of my manse, I think I’ll have it done in this style.
Next, there were are a few items by a French street artist named Hopare. It’s faces, all jazzified with angles, which give them extra surfaces, which give them extra texture. The subjects look amazing and glorious.
An artist was on hand doing live painting during the Art Walk. His name was Moses Alexander and he does vivid abstracts.
The thing Diana, the manager, showed me was actually out back in the alley. When the gallery opened, they commissioned some street art. And so now I’m showing you, because that’s how we do things around here. Everyone needs to know about this!
I love this girl in her lavender skirt, the way that a trick of color and a masterful understanding of spray paint makes her look like she’s all aflutter all over, all the time, everywhere. I feel like I could burn 50 calories just by looking at this thing for a couple of minutes.
It’s less like she’s painted onto a wall and more like she’s been etched here, manically, in color, and all the atoms that are basically her are constantly zipping around the space of her body to and fro, here to there. It’s a remarkable way to represent a human being.
Here’s the rest of what was in the alleyway des arts: