Greg Escalante has been an important figure and catalyst of new contemporary art for the past twenty years. Through his work as Copro Gallery director, co-founder of Juxtapoz magazine, and avid art collector, he’s helped catapult some of the scene’s most well known artists to prominence. On Saturday night, he began a new venture with the grand opening of the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. The gallery’s first exhibition showcases some of the most notable and interesting pieces in Escalante’s collection, aptly titled “The Collection.”
Argentinian artist Lucas Lasnier, aka “Parbo”, creates colorful works spanning graphic design, painting, and large scale installations, but he began his career painting street art in Buenos Aires. Parbo is also a founding member of the Kid Gaucho artist collective, previously covered here. His recent works take influence from his roots in letter-based graffiti and stenciling combined with comics and Pop Surrealism.
Jeff Soto (HF Vol. 18) celebrated his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles since 2009 on Saturday night with “Nightgardens” at KP Projects/MKG. We recently discussed the exhibition with Soto in our studio visit here, where Soto shared his continued interest in landscapes: “Nightgardens” is an exploration of the magic and mystery in life coupled very loosely with the tradition of landscape painting. For this show I am using the concept of “nighttime” as a symbol of the unknown. I’m working on creating an imaginary world of magic, monsters and daydreams that exists in a different time and place, yet alludes to issues in our chaotic modern world.”
On Saturday night, Tokyo based artist Yosuke Ueno celebrated his fourth solo exhibition at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles with “Beautiful Noise.” Over his career, Ueno has built a fantastic, vibrant universe inhabited by characters like “Hapiko” and “Efil” (“Life”), inspired by Japanese spirits. Here, they find themselves joined by those familiar to Western audiences such as Charlie Brown and Mickey Mouse, decorated with elements of contemporary culture including glittery, graffiti motifs, and Pop iconography. Take a look at our photos from opening night after the jump.
Greg ‘Craola’ Simkin’s childhood memories have long played an important role and inspiration for his artwork. The playfulness of being a child comes together with creatures of the natural world in his mythical landscapes. He calls this world “the Outside”, a place where the impossible becomes possible, and a cast of anthropomorphized animals set out on bizarre adventures. Simkins expands on this world in his upcoming solo exhibition, “Where Am I?” at KP Project/MKG, opening Saturday.
Last weekend, Pictoplasma (previously covered here) returned to Berlin for their 11th annual showcase of Contemporary art and design trends. Pictoplasma is well known across the globe for its character design annuals, but the festival also highlights fine art, street art, illustration, toy design, animation, and graphic design. This year saw a continued interest in character-driven Pop surrealism, which addressed modern societal issues through kitsch and cute characters by an eclectic roster. Over 40 international artists took center stage with an extensive program of workshops, lectures at Babylon theater, and two major exhibitions- Pictoplasma’s main exhibition “Form Follows Empathy” at Silent Greene and the Pictoplasma Academy Group Show at Urban Spree.