Archive | Studio Visits

Mikal Winn A Desert Home Companion studio visit


Mikal Winn A Desert Home Companion studio visit and interview

LaLuzWinn33cropMikal Winn – A Desert Home Companion
showing with Dave Lebow – Prime Time

May 6 – 29, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, May 6th, 8-11PM

La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.laluzdejesus.com

Mikal Winn’s jewelry has appeared in the pages of fashion rags such Elle, Lucky, and Teen Vogue, Country star Keith Urban even wore his work on the cover of Playgirl. His commercial creations are collected the likes of Halle Berry, Britney Spears, and many others in the mainstream universe.

On the opposite end of Mikal’s commercial work, he has been creating giant jeweled animals; boars, deer, coyotes and snakes. Using real and faux gemstones, crystals, fossils, vintage chains, buttons and frames, he concocts bizarre, funny, over-the-top beasts.

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A former resident of Columbus Ohio where he attended art school, Mikal moved to LA to be with his now husband. At the time, he was designing beltbuckes, which were picked up by a local LA showroom during the “beltbuckle craze” of 2000. He then became interested in making jewelry. Mikal stayed in LA a year and a half then then decided to make the move to the hi-desert.

Mikal originally hooked up with La Luz de Jesus owner Billy Shire a few years back when they met in Joshua Tree. Shire came to Mikal’s studio, was impressed by his giant jeweled animal assemblage pieces, and asked him to be in the Rouge Taxidermy Show. Other than a piece in the Taxidermy show, and a small 29 Palms show attended by locals, this is Mikal’s first proper gallery exhibition.

At the beginning of this year, Mikal Winn and his husband purchased a beautiful spread in the barren, homesteader dotted area of 29 Palms, in between Joshua Tree and the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base. It is a lush, green oasis in the middle of the dusty desert, with grass and trees, remnants of a horse stable, a vegetable garden, a roofed outdoor area where Mikal states he wants to hold hoedowns for his friends, and of course living quarters, one of which now houses Mikal’s studio. Their spread is fix-up project which they are busily working on, but even in its’ current state, is a beautiful paradise!


This interview with Mikal took place in his studio in April of 2016.

 

What’s the difference in your approach in making jewelry for commercial sale, and creating your assemblage art?

With art you can do whatever you want. With jewelry, I have to stay within the limits of what sells. Throughout the years I’ve learned what sells, if I were to do something really crazy it wouldn’t sell as far as jewelry goes, with art, I can do whatever I want.

Where do you find the objects you put in your pieces?

Thrift stores, antique stores, everywhere. I go through the desert on hikes; I collect all kinds of stuff. Everyone says I’m a hoarder but I’m not a hoarder, everything you see (in his well-organized studio) is going to go into something. You see stuff and know you can do something with it, you just put it in a pile and it eventually comes together.

When you are looking at a pile of junk, what is it that attracts you to the things you pick out?

Anything stupid and silly, I love that stuff, could be scary too, a little off. You see things that are supposed to be cute but are actually scary.

What inspired you to do these assemblage pieces?

When I was a kid, watching Goonies and Indiana Jones. I always liked the gems and jewels and all those flashy things. I’ve always had skulls and bones in my stuff, then gems and Swarovski’s and crystals and jewels. I like to mix them together and bring the dead back to life.

In regards to your jewelry business, do you keep a stock of items, or do you custom make your pieces to order?

I do two seasons, the holiday and then spring summer – I’ll do 30 necklaces, 50 bracelets and 10 earrings for each season – for those I keep it basic as I reproduce them, but in-between (jewelry) shows I do a lot of one of a kind pieces which I’ll take to the shows and sell on hand, something a little more outrageous.

Mikal Winn’s A Desert Home Companion
shows with Dave Lebow’s Prime Time
Opening reception: Friday, May 6th, 8-11PM
and runs through May 29
La Luz de Jesus Gallery
View full show at this link

Interview: Dave Lebow “Prime Time”


Interview with Dave Lebow “Prime Time”
Showing with Mikal Winn – A Desert Home Companion
May 6 – 29, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, May 6th, 8-11 PM

La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.laluzdejesus.com

Dave Lebow is a representational painter and illustrator. He has created illustrations and animations for the entertainment industry including Showtime’s Dexter, The Food Network’s The Secret Life Of… and illustrations for Paramount Television’s Medium, ABC’s October Road and the History Channel’s Strange Rituals. He was awarded in the California Open Juried Exhibition for his painting “Mad Love” and he recently completed a portrait commission for Tanya Haden and Jack Black.

Lebow is an educator, instructor, and life drawing teacher at California Institute Of The Arts. He lives with his wife, daughter and two cats in Venice, CA.

This interview was conducted in April of 2016 as Lebow was preparing his new show, Prime Time.

What have you been up to since your last show (Weird Tales Feb 2013 at La Luz de Jesus )

I have been busy trying to make better compositions and working to improve my painting technique.

How is this show different from your last exhibition?

I tried to make some of the new pictures have an otherworldly or uncanny feeling.

Briefly outline your process when creating a piece, from idea to execution.

These days I write down any ideas that come to me when I’m walking, exercising , daydreaming , grocery shopping or meditating. I then take the most interesting of these and draw small compositional thumbnails , lots of them, exploring my ideas in pencil. Only after the little thumbnails are interesting do I then go researching props, locations and find models to realize the vision in the sketch.

Has being an art teacher had any effect on your own creations?

Teaching has forced me to become clearer with myself in how I work so I can impart that knowledge to young painters. It’s really amazing how much I’ve learned teaching drawing from the figure and painting portraits from the live model. I get the opportunity to practice and paint in class in between my walking around and critiquing the students. It’s made my work stronger.

I studied with some fantastic artists when I was young and realism was totally vilified and even ridiculed in much of the media, this was in the early 1970’s. Back then I studied with Burton Silverman at his home studio and some painters teaching at the Art Students League in Manhattan, like David Leffel and Robert Brackman. After my studies in New York, I spent a number of years painting just still life and figure studies in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Later I moved to Los Angeles and went into animation, then in 2009, when I returned to painting full time, I refreshed my skills by studying with Ignat Ignatov and the incredibly skilled painter the late Glen Orbik, and his wife Laurel Blechman. I also studied the last few years with Greg Manchess and have been influenced by his direct painterly approach. There are many other contemporary realist painters who I find are very inspirational, and James Gurney’s books and blog have helped my imaginative work a lot.

What do you feel is the most valuable advice to impart to your students

That it is important to get a handle on one’s craft first when learning to paint. Paint a still-life or a portrait from life, alla prima and get good at that before attempting a large storytelling composition. The analogy I give my students that I teach up at Cal Arts in my portrait painting class is; a composer composing for a symphony has to write for all the musicians in the orchestra, but the painter has to paint all the parts as well as creating the composition and story, so being in shape in terms of technique by painting and drawing from the model from life as much as possible really helps to stay in shape art wise.

 

 

Sex, Death, Science and Religion with Bruce Eichelberger


Bruce Eichelberger – The Anatomy Lesson – studio visit March 2016

BruceEichleburger_2016 (9)Tell us about the show’s concept and influences.
BE:  It’s about death, sex, science, religion – a lot of science and religion. Matt Kennedy (La Luz de Jesus gallery director) named the show. My art is inspired by my views on religion. I’m an atheist myself (says Bruce’s wife Bebe “I’m Catholic, we’re one with and one without religion… We tell each other our views and thoughts… I love it !!) and it’s bumming me out seeing how much religion is affecting our politics. That influences a lot of my stuff, how religion and government has affected all of us and we go along with it, we’re happy with everything. I’m trying not to be duped. I’ve always had this passion about science being in a battle with religion for thousands of years. Science was starting to prevail a little bit now I’m watching it being shoved back. That’s really where I’m at is that war with science and religion.

Tell us about this (assemblage) piece:
BE: That’s called “In the Beginning”, it’s a little play on Adam and Eve – that was more for my entertainment – I was inspired by Tilman Riemenschneider’s inlay work.
What inspired you to use a human hand?
BE: This may sound boring but, It fits there.

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What sort of items are you using in this show? Give an example of what you use, and your process.
BE: The inlays contain some golden hearts, purple hearts, some mahogany, silver, bones. I’ll start with the figure, and I”ll draw it out on a piece of throwaway wood – a piece of wood I don’t care about. I’ll draw it out then I’ll section it with a pencil – draw where I want the cuts, will make the cuts then I”ll line up the cuts on the throwaway wood I’ll line it up on good hardwood, and slowly put the picture together.

And the Camel skull?
BE: I will do an outline in pencil, then ink the skull with the tiny brushes. Once I have my outline I just flow. A week later it may change. I can’t keep focusing on one theme, by the time I to the lower part of the piece, something else is happening (note – in Bruce’s personal life or in the news) and that gets incorporated into the piece. Once the piece is finished I’ll sprays it with a sealant – that stuff is amazing. This (points to another piece) was painted years ago and there’s no damage

Tell us more about “72 Reasons”, the Camel skull piece.
BE: This started out 72 Reasons out of Raisins. I was listening to an Arabic scholar -not a biblical scholar but a scholar on the Arabic Language, he was giving this lecture and was talking about the 72 virgins thing – the promise of 72 virgins after a suicide bomber blows himself up. This guy said, it can be read several ways – it can be twisted and most likely translate to “you can receive 72 grapes”… somebody got virgins out of it…. They are probably going to get grapes.

How do you know when you are finished with a piece
BE: Once it’s covered and I’m happy with everything, once I get to my last bit of outline it’s over – I know not to go any further – I used to be able to spend a lot of time obsessing but not anymore. Once I have my outline I just flow. (Note: Bruce works on a sort of improvisational level – his themes may change while working on a piece.)

Tell us about these femurs -How do you keep your figures consistent around the curves?
BE: The Femurs are inspired by one of one of my favorite authors, George Orwell – that one is based on “1984” . Once I saw the femurs i thought I could fit a lot of stuff on there. Once I hit the apex on the curve, I have to do a lot of corrections with a razor blade

What did you use to create “Decay”?
BE: Abalone – Preciosa, silver, ironwood, mahogany, rosewood, petrified mammoth

Does “Decay” have a particular theme or inspiration?
She (note: his wife Bebe) was trying to get me to quit smoking.

Bruce Eichelberger’s The Anatomy Lesson opens at La Luz de Jesus Gallery on April 1 8-11 PM with Krystopher Sapp’s The Great American Horror Show and remains up through May 1. Preview both shows at this link.

J.A.W. Cooper “Viscera” Interview


J.A.W. Cooper lives in a downtown LA studio apartment bordering the garment, jewelry, and gallery districts with her pet chinchilla Rupert. Her “Viscera” show opens at La Luz de Jesus on August 8.

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Tell us about your upcoming show

The theme of this show is Viscera – the theme is not only for content but also for the execution of the pieces – for this particular show I was pushing myself to be more spontaneous and intuitive in how I worked and how I completed the pieces. With each piece I had a rough idea starting out what I wanted but I let the painting go where it wanted in the process.

How is the theme of this show different than your previous shows?

In previous shows, I mapped out exactly how the pieces would look individually and relate as a series. I wanted this show to be a bit more abstractly connected. The previous shows have had such a strong narrative running throughout, but for this show I wanted to be a little more free in how the pieces connected. “Viscera” are guts and intestines, but a “visceral experience” is an instinctual reaction to something and I wanted to bring a little bit more of that rawness, the beauty that I see in the initial works, the rough stuff in sketches, into the finished work . That’s the difference between my previous work and this series.

What inspired you to go in a more improvisational route?

I have had this iron grip over my work in previous years. I felt like I’ve exhausted that – I was pushing myself to give up a little bit of control.

The show is three weeks away and it’s complete?

It’s all done.

Are you usually this efficient?

No! In the past I was very bad at time management.

What made this one different?

I destroyed myself working on my previous show “Laid Bare” – very little sleep and food and social interaction – I’m glad I did it so that I know my limits but on this show I planned ahead to preserve my physical and mental health.

How did you re-discipline yourself?

I had most of it the work done a month ago. The looser theme was beneficial as I could work on pieces when I had the time without the burden of strategizing ahead to how each piece fit into the larger narrative. I started developing the concept a year ago, started creating the actual work nine months, and worked intensively on it for the last three months. I started early, kept a calendar, stuck to a schedule and got it done!

I have a super flexible work schedule. I usually freelance commercially five to ten days a month max so that I don’t burn out and when I have a show like this I’ll usually work a little extra early in the year then I’m free to take months off when I need it.

Let’s talk about the process in creating this show. Did you work on more than one piece at a time?

Not generally, I’ll usually have sketches for a bunch of pieces going at once but once I’m in the painting phase I usually work all the way through. Sometimes I don’t have that luxury, I’ve been doing more oil paintings and then I’ll work on a few at once so that I’m not sitting around uselessly waiting for one to dry. Conceptually I start with word lists and concepts and from there I’ll build sketches and then transfer them to the final surface with a light box or projector. This show has been more experimental in terms of execution – a lot more oil paint and a lot of mixed media.

What kind of mixed media?

I’ve started using a fun process where I’ll transfer the drawing to a paper such as Fabriano or Stonehenge, mount it to a rigid board with matte medium, and I’ll do the first half of the painting in India ink and acrylic washes. Then I seal the surface completely with GAC100 then do oil varnishes and details on top. That allows you to get speed of working with acrylics and India inks and beautiful gradients and washes, but then you get that rich depth and color of working with oils as well.
I did a lot if work directly into sketchbooks which were framed whole, open to that spread. I wanted to have that connection to sketchbooks and sketching, the rough intuitive stuff, the initial spark.

To view the online preview of J.A.W. Cooper’s upcoming August 2015 solo show at La Luz De Jesus gallery in Hollywood click here 

To follow J.A.W. Cooper’s work online:
https://instagram.com/jawcooper/
https://jawcooper.com

Jessica Dalva “Hapax Legomena” Studio Visit


Many of Jessica Dalva’s multidimensional, mixed media works are self-referential in concept, some based on nightmares, internal and external struggles, and even an overheard conversation on a walk where she heard the frightening line “yeah, and everything around her was on fire.”  However, in the darkness of these situations, the artist manages to find light, stating, “As much as things can fall apart there’s always something you can find – a positive experience”

Hapax Legomena” is Dalva’s second solo show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery

The term “Hapax Legomena” is used to describe words that only appear once in a text or language, often rendering them untranslatable. Each piece in this series revolves around an individual word, a facet, a unique expression of a part of the complex variety of personal battles we fight. These experiences can be difficult to convey due to the lack of a context to anchor them as well as the inherent gap between understanding and expression. The pieces are singular expressions of an idea, hapax legomena, in that they are representing distinctive concepts, as well as attempting to communicate the untranslatable through the imperfect language of art. The show focuses on one’s relationship with oneself, internal wars, and the entanglements of love. The sculptures are a navigation through fears, moments of clarity and joy, and nightmares – Jessica Dalva

Dalva’s works start with loose ideas and take shape as they progress – As her pieces come together the concept becomes more clear – the artist places importance on the specific wording of her titles, though these titles are not set in stone until the piece has reached completion.
Dalva, who often works in the stop-motion animation industry, had originally planned to study fashion design in school, but switched to a major in illustration, with additional study in sculpting and design. Her wide variety of interests, as well as encouragement in school to experiment with as many mediums as possible, has had a major influence on her creative process.
Among the materials neatly organized in her home studio, Dalva works with acrylic paint, aluminum armature wire, aluminum foil, mohair or alpaca hair, glass beads (for eyes), fake & real flower parts, feathers, wood, gold leaf, resin, silver, metal, brass, fabric including silk, flocking and Super Sculpey (polymer clay) to create her incredibly detailed pieces.

“Hapax Legmena” opens on Friday, May 1 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery with Annie Murphy-Robinson’s “Roles and Poses” and remains up through May 31.

4/3: Scott Hove “Pussy Jihad” Studio Visit and Preview

Studio Visit and Preview
Scott Hove – “Pussy Jihad”
Also showing – Dr. Paul Koudonaris “Memento Mori”
April 3 – 26, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, April 3rd, 8-11 PM

La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.laluzdejesus.com

840Scott Hove moved to Los Angeles from Oakland in August. “I came to LA to make my biggest art dreams happen” says the artist – he currently resides and works out of a very large warehouse space on the edge of Downtown Los Angeles with his dog Kona, his bunny Bugsy, and cat, Lil’ Squeak.

Scott Hove is a primarily self-taught artist. His ‘Cakeland’ sculptures integrate dualistic themes in a highly theatrical manner, using traditional cake decorating techniques in sculptures and installations to describe a world of implied comfort and threat. His work has been featured on the Food Network and on several travel and gourmet programs.

Scott’s works encompasses a broad variety of media, from sculptural installations to painting, but the cakes are formed using carvable polyurethane foam and plywood. They are frosted with a variety of acrylic media and accessorized with fake fruit and other objects found in stores or on the street. The materials and techniques borrow from traditional and decorative arts and craft to render the oftentimes jarring objects and fantasy installations.

Hove’s co-opting of kitsch is elevated through satire, allowing him to integrate topical political and social issues as textual messages in a thought-provoking rather than offensive manner.

 

“Pussy Jihad” statement
In popular straight male culture, to be labeled with the misogynist term ‘Pussy’ is one of the ultimate emasculating insults a man can receive. In religious fundamentalist culture, Pussy must be marginalized, shamed, circumcised, hidden, and minimalized under the threat of death. The term ‘Pussy’ in the title of this show is used both literally and as metaphor. ‘Pussy’ in this context will represent the peak positive expressions of the feminine… kindness, lush beauty, intimate pleasure, the promise of the everlasting.

The title of the show ‘Pussy Jihad’ points out the ultimately cowardly ethos behind the religious fundamentalist position, using Pussy as an explosive weapon. Those who destroy lives, culture, and nature behind the moral facade of religion are pussies. This unforgiving and sad morality must be destroyed via Pussy Jihad.

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A visit with Hudson Marquez – Rhythm and Shoes


In his mid-Wilshire adjacent 1917 Los Angeles apartment surrounded by art, vintage tin and metal toys, 78 RPM records and books, Hudson Marquez eats lunch, makes drawings, then paints. He paints stories of revered and obscure R&B legends, high hair and high heels, using a mixture of facts and myths throwing in a helping of artistic license. If you are lucky enough to be in the same room with him, he delivers a string of very detailed and spirited verbal history lessons on these subjects. Hudson knows his stuff; he was there for much of it!


Music is what drives Hudson’s creations, he listens to music while painting but also states

“I don’t listen to much music outside of painting, my attention span is so short now, it makes me anxious to listen to a record, I want it to be over so I can hear the next one!”

On a recent studio visit in preparation for his upcoming show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery titled “Rhythm and Shoes” which runs through January 9-February 1, 2015, Hudson gave background on some of the paintings which will be included in the show including a piece which depicts legendary burlesque queens Lily St. Cyr, Lilly Christine, a.k.a. “The Cat Girl,” Blaze Starr, and Ronnie Spector. Wait… Ronnie Spector? Yes – the piece is titled “High Hair & Higher Heels”.

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I have another one, R&B guys, with matching shoes. I love painting shoes, I love mules, I think they are sexy. All strippers wore mules because they could take ‘em off and put ‘em back on, slide them off and slide them back on in their act. When they took their clothes off, they could walk around in stockings in their mules. I grew up in New Orleans. We used to get to go into to the black clubs and the strip clubs when we were really young. The bar was eye level, the music was incredible it was live and it was behind the bar. The eye-level view for a small, young person was the stage floor and the woman’s shoes. They had the best bands in the world. When the strip clubs closed down for a little while the local music business went down too, that’s how a lot of these guys made their living. Fats Domino’s band was one of ‘em. The crème of the crème. They all moved to Los Angeles and became session musicians. When I grew up, every woman wore high heels, my mom, every adult woman, wore heels so that’s what you see when you are little, high heels.

In 1960, I was 13 years old going to clubs, if you were local they would let you slide through, black clubs too, white people weren’t allowed in but we hustled our way in. The only white people that were there were Mac Rebbenack A/K/A Dr John, and a couple of others.

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Incident at the Dew Drop Inn
There’s a painting in the show about this guy who ran this place, the Dew Drop Inn, he was a light skinned black guy who got this great club and hotel, all started from his barber shop. He had this great fucking place it was the best, everybody played there, every black performer, and they weren’t supposed to let white people in because there was a law against it, it was called “race mixing” and he, Mr. Frank, the guy who owned it, got arrested a bunch for race mixing because he thought it was the right thing to do, most of the times someone would inform him that the cops were coming.

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Was This Freddy King’s Last Meal?
Freddy King was a huge man – there were four Kings, BB King, Albert King and a guy named Earl King. And my favorite is Albert King but Freddy was my second favorite, he was an incredible guitar player known as the Texas Cannonball, and he was a monster, and he died and the myth was that Freddie, he liked to eat, and he loved chili, and he went to his favorite chili place, he would play there, but the story was, the way he died, was that he had ate a whole bunch of this lady’s chili and died in the booth, keeled over, before the show. That was the story – he had a giant heart attack after eating a bowl of chili, that’s what his family said. The true story is different, but I didn’t know what to do –I knew what the real story was and yet I loved the myth but I didn’t want to paint the myth, so stuff was true – so I asked a friend of mine and he said, you know what , make it “was this Freddy’s last meal? Then you can paint whatever you want. So that’s what I did and I also included images of Dave Alvin, and a woman named Barbara Lynn – she’s amazing, a left handed guitar player she’s still around, and of course Freddie, and the woman, Miss Dot, she’s the lady who owned the place where they did eat this chili, which was his favorite in Dallas, (pointing to an image of a pair of shoes in the painting) this is what Barbara Lynn was wearing on her feet. Freddie did a lot of blow (the painting also includes a small pile of cocaine on the dining table), that’s what really killed him, That’s what really killed him so that’s the story on this, Dave is my friend and I’m a Barbara Lynn fan – and here are drawings of photographs of strippers because Dot was really big on that. I panted the myth but did put a little bit of reality in the there.

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Robert Pete Williams Sees the Devil and Bites an Architect
Now this one, I was there when this happened. This man here is Robert Pete Williams who was kind of an obscure bluesman, he was in Angola which was the worst prison in the United States, it’s a hellhole in Louisiana, it was all black, because that’s who they put in jail. Robert Pete was in there for killing somebody, and he killed a bunch of people actually, but they got him on one. He played the guitar and was a blues singer. Some folklorist guys I knew actually got him out of prison, they went to the prison and recorded prison work songs, pretty amazing beautiful stuff and they found Robert Pete in there. His music is very singular and scary as shit, it’s frightening stuff, it’s really good. This was in the early 70s when I was back, visiting New Orleans. I went up to a friend’s place, in the French Quarter, to speak to him about music stuff, about Longhair (Professor Longhair.) I had a Japanese girlfriend (note: depicted in the painting). As I’m walking in to my friends place I ran into this guy, Doug, who was one of the whitest people I’ve ever known, he later became a partner of mine. Anyway, he was an architect, a Yale graduate, and he did a lot of pop architecture; he was a bit of a wild young man architect in the US and Britain. I was going to cook, so I invited him to dinner at my friend’s place and Robert Pete comes walking in to the room. I didn’t know this but my friend was letting him stay there while he was recording. Robert Pete had passed out earlier in the day from drinking. He woke up, still drunk, still had an ass-pocket full of whiskey, and he drank some more, heard people talking and smelled food so he came into the room, and I’m like holy shit I’ve seen pictures of Robert Pete but this was scary and he was dark I mean real dark – in a dark room he’d be nothing but teeth and eyes. So he is drinking and telling stories and I’m just mesmerized. So Pete decides that he’s telling us about the first time he met the devil, in a cornfield, he was really scared. He was young and knew he did some bad things. So when he met the devil he knew things were going to get worse. The bottom line was the devil was this huge dog and Robert Pete got down on his hands and knees and started barking and howling like the devil. He ran across the door and bit Doug, he actually bit him right on the fucking ankle, drew blood, tore up his shoe, (makes growling noise ) ararararar… my friend fled, and we were laughing! This (another figure in the painting) is Bobby Marchan who was a drag queen. He was an R&B singer, and later in the evening he’d put on an evening gown. He had really big R&B hits, I saw him at The Drew Drop Inn, and he was an amazing performer, he had a song called “Booty Green” so I just put “Booty Green” on his shirt. Bobby was there he was probably the most afraid of Robert Pete and said Oh my gawd there’s a wild -savage negro in the room! He was a funny guy… they are all dead. This (an insert in the painting) is the death house at Angola, Robert Pete was on death row. There was no air conditioning at this prison it would get to 120 degrees in there with 100% humidity year round, it was a farm, a prison farm, and they’d have the guys with shotguns on horses, and all the convicts had the ball and chain with black and white striped prison clothing, all the prisoners was black, for some reason. It kept me from being a criminal. I would have loved to been a criminal. The thought of having to go to Angola if you got caught, it scared a lot of people. In Mississippi there was a place called Parchment Farm it was a country club compared to Angola…

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Our discussion then went to the Mose Allison song “Parchment Farm” which led us to the Blue Cheer cover version, which led to a great story about Blue Cheer at the Whisky, and then his travels with Canned Heat. Hudson has an endless supply of stories to tell of an amazing time in pop culture. I could listen all day! Tune in to the “Over Under Sideways Down” show on  LuxuriaMusic on Wednesday, January 7 at 3-5 PM PST to hear Hudson tell more stories and play some of his favorite records. If you are in Southern California, come to his opening on January 9 or his artist discussion on January 18 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery!

Sean Stepanoff’s Folk Art Poke at Silver Lake


As part of La Luz de Jesus’ five-person Laluzapalooza Jury Winners show, Sean Stepanoff’s first featured exhibition at the gallery, “Entitled Hair Cut”, is inspired by the colorful folk art of African barber shop signs and the local “culture” of his Silver Lake neighborhood. Stepanoff , a skilled animator, has a sharp, clean and dark psychedelic style, and is the creator of the large format, beautifully printed compilation art zine “Gristle” featuring contributors such as David Choe, Camille Rose Garcia, Tara McPherson and others, as well as publishing limited digest size publications such as “Freaks and Geeks” and “Eyesore” which contain his instantly identifiable drawings. Stepanoff provided the complete character design for Eminem’s ‘The Slim Shady Show’ & served as designer for a video project of Erykah Badu.

I paid a visit to Stepanoff’s Silver Lake home while he was working on the show in his living-room / art studio surrounded by records and art, snapped some photos and asked about his show.

Stepanoff, also a Wacko / La Luz de Jesus employee who creates in-store graphics for the shop, was guided to the concept for his show by La Luz de Jesus Gallery director Matt Kennedy.

I did a sign at Wacko for these African barbershop signs which are brought in by guy in full African garb, sold to the shop, displayed and resold to the public.

Inspired by Stepanoff’s graphic, Kennedy came up with an idea for a show, featuring “privileged hipsters” on African barbershop signs. Stepanoff took the concept of “hipsterdom” and rolled with it.

The African barbershop signs are created  in what Stepanoff calls a “naive style, which has a charm.” Stepanoff wanted to keep that charm; appropriating the concept by keeping it simple and displaying common trends. “In Africa they’ll do a Two Pac sign or an Obama cut” sates Stepanoff.

Stepanoff’s show is as local as you can get, featuring La Luz de Jesus neighboring Siver Lake icons like the Happy / Sad foot sign (a sign for a podiatrist’s office on Sunset which is a Silver Lake landmark; a rotating cartoon foot, smiling on one side and frowning, holding a crutch on the other. Some “hipsters’ belive that whichever side the sign is on when you pass by, will determine what kind of day you will have), Intelligentsia Coffee, Black Flag tattoos (displayed by people who weren’t even born when the band broke up), sacred geometry, headbands, etc.

“I’m trying to make it look specifically LA, not trying to make it look San Francisco or New York – though I’d love to go city by city, Portland, Seattle! I’d like to do Hall and Oats, looking at each other with their haircuts.

Stepanoff paints on found local wood, sourced from neighborhood streets and alleyways. Using acrylic paint on very porous uneven board presents a challenge to Stepanoff

“sometimes it’s so bumpy that you have to go over several times but it adds a lot of character and after I’ve painted, I age it; I take it outside and slide corners on the concrete, then bring it inside, put it on the hardwood floor face down, stand on it and slide it around. I want them to look just like the ones we sell, which have been outside of the barber shop exposed to the elements.”

Wacko / La Luz de Jesus owner Billy Shire suggested he run them over with a car.

At this time, Stepanoff has sold all but one of the pieces and his show will be up through August 31 along with José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros’ “Profanity Pop” and works by the other four group show jury winners Allison ‘Hueman’ Torneros, JINX, Katherine Brannock and Frank Forte. Pick up that last piece before someone else does! Click here to check out his show as well as all the others!

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