Thank you to all those who came to the opening reception of Brian Viveros’s “Tougher Than Leather” and Ken Flewellyn’s “SHINE” last weekend. The gallery was packed to the brim with art lovers, and Viveros had a never-ending line of fans waiting to share their love of his work with him. He was signing books, posters, and taking pictures – overjoyed by the response to the work. Flewellyn’s second solo with the gallery, “SHINE” was a great pairing to Viversos’s “Tougher Than Leather” with a collaborative piece by the artists acting as the cherry on an already great show.
Anaheim Convention Center 800 W. Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802
For 14 years, DesignerCon has been a destination for designer toy brands, collectible artists and the people who love them, hosting world-renowned brands like MEDICOM, KidRobot, Mighty Jaxx, and Giant Robot. Now, for the first time ever, the convention will have a traditional art space dedicated to the lowbrow, pop surrealist and outsider art movements that flourished in Southern California. On the heels of Littletopia that drew crowds at the LA Art Show, Beyond Eden is spearheaded by Thinkspace Projects founder Andrew Hosner, as a way to connect DesignerCon attendees directly to the larger art world. Many artists who are prominent in the designer toy realm also have thriving fine art careers. Most notable at the moment is KAWS, who is best known for his OriginalFake series of vinyl toys, but recently made a $14 million sale of one of his museum-quality artworks.
The addition of Beyond Eden to Designercon is perfect for the evolution the convention has been undergoing for the past several years. Many avid fine art collectors actually get their start collecting designer toys—something that Designercon founder Ben Goretksy can attest to, personally.
Picking up where Greg Escalante’s Littletopia left off, Hosner’s Beyond Eden will be exhibiting many of the artists DCON attendees already know and love, plus the galleries who rep them, and other artists in their repertoire.
The inaugural archway welcoming attendees into the new section will be designed by Carlos Ramirez, formerly of The Date Farmers artist collective. The Date Farmers were a collaboration of artists Carlos Ramirez and Armando Lerma, best known for paintings and assemblages steeped in California’s Mexican-American experience, referencing street art, posters of the Mexican Revolution, and popular tropes of Hollywood and the media.
Galleries that will be part of this year’s programming include:
Founded in 2005, Thinkspace has garnered an international reputation as one of the most active and productive exponents of the New Contemporary Art Movement. Maintaining its founding commitment to the promotion and support of its artists, Thinkspace has steadily expanded its roster and diversified its projects, creating collaborative and institutional opportunities all over the world. Founded in the spirit of forging recognition for young, emerging, and lesser-known talents, the gallery is now home to artists from all over the world, ranging from the emerging, mid-career, and established.
La Luz De Jesus
Established in 1986 La Luz de Jesus Gallery is the brainchild of entrepreneur and art collector Billy Shire, considered primarily responsible for fostering a new school of California art and prompting JUXTAPOZ Magazine to dub him “the Peggy Guggenheim of Lowbrow.” Showcasing mainly figurative, narrative paintings and unusual sculpture, the exhibitions are post-pop with content ranging from folk to outsider to religious to sexually deviant. The gallery’s objective is to bring underground art and counter-culture to the masses. Past shows have been groundbreaking, exhibiting artists, such as Manuel Ocampo, Joe Coleman, and Robert Williams.
One of Los Angeles’ premier art galleries specializing in contemporary pop surrealism, new contemporary, and street art. KP Projects is home to several of the most significant artists working today. The gallery’s focus is to continually champion emerging and mid-career artists who push beyond the boundaries of formal definition.
Dark Art Emporium
The Dark Art Emporium is located in Long Beach, CA close to Los Angeles and Orange County in Southern California.The Dark Art Emporium is host to a variety of unique art pieces which would not normally be seen in an art gallery including taxidermy, oddities, strange photography, etc.
Modern Eden Gallery
Modern Eden is located in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood. Established in June 2010 by local artists Bradley Platz and Kim Larson, the gallery regularly exhibits new works of representational painting and sculpture. Our aesthetic ranges from realism to surrealism, with a program that focuses on elevating Bay-Area artists in the global art market through the sophisticated use of digital channels and the organization of groundbreaking exhibitions.
Tierra Del Sol Foundation
A strong and vibrant community is one in which all of its members contribute to the strengths and assets for the common good. Tierra’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to fulfill their potential and desire to become productive citizens who are accepted, included and valued for the contributions they make to the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the community. We are actively working towards the day when people with any type of disability are fully recognized as an integral part of our community – as neighbors, co-workers, and contributors.
The 2019 DesignerCon will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 22 – 24, 2019. The
convention center is located at 800 W. Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802.
More will be announced as details are confirmed.
Founded in 2005 by Ben Goretsky, DesignerCon brings together artists, manufacturers, distributors, and
retailers in the designer toy / vinyl collectibles market and has grown to incorporate everything in the
design world including apparel, plush, printing, sculpture, designer toys, and both fine and urban art. The
steady growth DesignerCon has enjoyed correlates with its popularity in today’s art nerd, geek culture;
collectors and designer toy lovers alike wait through the night for new releases, pre-orders for new artist
collaboration apparel are sold out within minutes, and artists use the convention as an opportunity to
announce exclusive releases and collaborations. www.designercon.com
Galleries that will be part of this year’s programming include:
On view concurrently in the Thinkspace project
room is Shine, featuring new works
by Los Angeles based artist, and Thinkspace family veteran, Ken Flewellyn. A
realist painter fascinated by the intersection of diverse cultures, personal
histories, and Hip Hop, Flewellyn creates portraits of women that challenge our
assumptions about identity and cultural homogeneity.
Inspired by his lifelong love of Hip Hop and
his coming of age as a boy during its golden age in the 80s, Flewellyn’s work
has always been about music and its impact on his personal vantage point and
outlook on the world. As a cultural form, Hip Hop emerged from a localized
cultural moment only to evolve into a variegated and international form that
would systemically embrace the freedom of appropriation, and the complexity of
multiple voices. This idea of cultural heterogeneity has influenced recurring
themes in his imagery and has shaped his belief in the positive power of
Borrowing motifs and inspiration from Japanese
culture and aesthetics, a visual influence in his home since childhood,
Flewellyn often depicts women in traditional Japanese garb, silks, and kimonos.
The subjects, however, remain anonymous, visible only by hands, body, and
gestures, seldom, if ever, are faces or individuals revealed in their entirety.
The subject’s identity, as a result, is relayed by the presence of revelatory
objects, tattoos, and accessories – external clues that point to something
beyond the seen and allow for the aesthetic to prevail over individuation or
the distraction of specificity. That being said, however, Flewellyn depicts
real women based on actual people – friends, and strangers – anchoring his
imagery in reality rather than unrealistic idealizations.
The juxtaposition of formal cultural garb and pop-cultural accouterments keeps the work fascinating. These tightly cropped compositions are always informed by the presence of Hip Hop imagery, whether in the form of boom boxes, tapes, gold chains or typography. Playful and energized with tactility and detail, they’re both sensual and contemporary – solemn and light. Each painting featured in Shine is adorned with the sumptuousness of gold and includes hidden Hip Hop references to its golden age throughout, all as an ode to the genre that has never lost its shine.
Thinkspace is honored to present Tougher
Than Leather, our fifth solo exhibition with Brian M. Viveros. This
highly anticipated solo show, opening October 12, is the first comprehensive
presentation of all new work by the artist in almost four years in the Los
Angeles area, and will feature some of Viveros’ largest and most accomplished
paintings to date. The epic gallery takeover will showcase 15 new paintings,
new pastel works, charcoal on paper, collaborative works with Sandra Chevrier
and Ken Flewellyn, a new print edition, a free poster for the 1st
200 patrons to visit the opening reception, a new limited edition enamel pin
(the artist’s first), a site-specific installation, a new sculpture, and we
will be publishing a 60-page exhibition catalog in support of the show. Tougher Than Leather promises something
magical for all of his Dirty Troops, new and old.
The artist’s well-known “bad-girls” emerge stronger
than ever in Tougher Than Leather,
embodying the tenacity and fight that it has taken Viveros to get through the
past few years that have been wrought with personal struggles. Having recently
lost many prominent members of his close-knit family, the resolve it took the
artist to weather this storm pulses through his new body of work with a power
that is palpable.
Known for his phenomenally detailed and hyper-realistic
paintings, Viveros’ world is a complete universe unto itself. The “Dirtyland,”
well-known by Viveros fans and collectors, plays host to a long cast of
recurring female characters; part vixen, part superhero and all bad-ass. These
unapologetic survivors, often bloodied and bandaged, smoking and defiant, have
the battle scars to boast their warrior worth.
Viveros has pushed his execution of detail to
new extremes while continuing to expand his palette Incorporating stark tonal
contrasts between warm and cool hues, crimson reds, lush pastels and brilliant blues
and shimmering golds, to bring minute textural details to life. Tougher Than Leather also delivers Viveros’s most complex work
to date, ‘Tame The Beast’, showcasing one of his iconic Matadors captured for
the first time ever in her full glory, in the midst of battle with a raging bull.
Filled with firsts, this special showcase also includes ‘EviLAst!’, the
artist’s largest and most complex sculpture to date and serves as the
exhibition’s showstopper. This exciting new piece perfectly captures the
ferocity and beauty of the Dirtyland, incorporating signature elements from several
of the artist’s past iconic paintings.
dedicated to the fighter in all of us. All that are fighting for their lives,
fighting their inner demons and fighting the evil that is cancer. The artist’s iconic warrior women are emblematic of their
refusal to submit; tough but sensual, they embody the courage of the feminine
as empowered Victor. These heroes cannot be broken. They bleed, they
fight, they are Tougher Than Leather.
Please join us for the opening reception this
October 12 and be sure to wear your dirty best. All those attending in a
costume that celebrates one of Brian’s iconic characters will have a strong
chance of being included in the opening night recap featured within the
exhibition catalog for Tougher Than
Leather that will follow shortly after the exhibition has come to an end.
Viveros will be in attendance and the opening is free and open to all. Come
celebrate with us.
What musician/band would you love to collaborate with on an album cover?
I would say Bon Iver or the Hamilton soundtrack.
Was there a moment or catalyst that inspired you to pursue the arts?
Not really a single moment but a slow and gradual process. But the earliest I could remember was probably seeing Barry McGee on the cover of 12 oz prophet magazine. I still have that issue and it’s still a gem to me now.
Best advice you’ve received in regards to art or life?
Be the best you can be.
What is your favorite color? What is your zodiac sign?
Favorite color is blue and I’m a Virgo
A new body of work by Andrew Hem is currently on view at Moniker International Art Fair in the UK now through October 6th. To view available pieces from Andrew Hem please visit the Thinkspace Projects website here.