Upper Playground Volume II: 10 Years of Artistic Endeavors

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, November 25, 2008
To commemorate its upcoming 10-Year Anniversary, Upper Playground has released Upper Playground Volume II, a catalog detailing projects, artists and behind the scenes shots from 10 Years of Upper Playground’s artistic endeavors.  From vinyl toys to custom-made furniture, Upper Playground’s extensive product offerings are highlighted in Volume II.  And, because of its relationship with FIFTY24SF Gallery, Upper Playground Volume II also features many of the artists that have showed at the FIFTY24SF Gallery including:  David Choe, Alex Pardee, David Ellis, Doze Green (pages shown below) Ben Eine, Basco, Usugrow, Saber, Retna, Date Farmers, Estevan Oriol, Craola, Slick, Armsrock, Anthony Lister, Lucy McLauchlan, Ben Tour, Herbert Baglione, D*Face, Sam Flores, Jeremy Fish, and cameos by Too $hort and Fillmore Slim. Yeah, just a few, slightly important artists.   If you weren’t able to come to any of the shows, or see any of their dope products, this is a great way to catch a glimpse and grab a small slice of Upper Playground history. Upper Playground Volume II is available for purchase at Upper Playground stores or online here.

Jeff Soto is "Turning In Circles" at the Riverside Art Museum

Juxtapoz // Thursday, November 20, 2008
Jeff Soto will soon have you Turning In Circles at the Riverside Art Museum. In his first museum exhibition, on display December 2, 2008 - February 21, 2009, Soto will show off his paintings from the last 12 months. With approximately 20 new paintings and a large 50-foot wall installation, this promises to be an exhibit that will rock the Southern California town of Riverside. Learn more on Turning In Circles at riversideartmuseum.org More on Jeff Soto at jeffsoto.com

Greg "Craola" Simkins: "It Wanders West, Part Two"

Juxtapoz // Monday, October 27, 2008
The ridiculously talented and imaginative  Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins (Juxtapoz #74) is bringing his work back to California! It Wanders West, Part Two of the It Wanders collection from Simkins will be revealed on Thursday, November 6, 2008 at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight in Los Angeles. Here, Simkins will also release another limited edition print on canvas from this amazing collection.  More details will be announced soon, but in the meantime, hit up imscared.com to see more of Simkins’ dope work.

Greg 'Craola' Simkins & David Choong Lee at Joshua Liner

Juxtapoz // Friday, September 19, 2008
If you haven’t yet gotten the chance to check out Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins’ (Juxtapoz #74) It Wanders East and David Choong Lee's (Juxtapoz #86) Village of Wind exhibits now on display at New York City’s Joshua Liner Gallery, that’s really too bad because both these artists truly stepped it up a notch in both their respective shows. We recently got a chance to see both shows, and Simkins’ meticulously detail-oriented work makes us feel like we’re in a magical world filled with mysterious old friends, while Lee’s 3D boxes are truly a sight to behold- he basically had to paint five paintings for each piece! Needless to say, if you’re in the NYC area, make sure to stop by Chelsea and check it all out before it ends on October 4th, 2008- or cheat and take a peek at these two great videos (Simkins' above, Lee below) on both artists.  

Jeff Soto

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Jeff Soto’s new book is finally available, and it’s safe to say this hardbound beauty was worth the wait. Soto's second installment, Storm Clouds, features paintings that evolve beyond the robotic characters featured in the sold out Potato Stamp Dreams. Storm Clouds captures new painted territory that record the artist’s concerns for the well-being of his family, the fragile condition of politics, the changing forces of nature, and moments for personal exploration and experimentation. Featured commentary provided by artist David Choe (X-rated of course,) Peter Frank (Senior Curator of Riverside Art Museum,) Jeff Soto (the dude who created the artwork,) and Mark Murphy (who put out the book.) The Riverside Art Museum and the James Irvine Foundation provided initial support, as they will be featuring Jeff Soto in his first museum show in December of 2008! There will be a Storm Clouds book signing with Soto at the Laguna Fine Art Museum this Sunday, September 14th. Grab a copy at the Museum or at murphydesign.com but first check out a couple pages from the inside of the book…

Greg

Juxtapoz // Thursday, September 04, 2008
Joshua Liner Gallery presents It Wanders East, an exhibition of new paintings by the Los Angeles-based artist Greg “Craola” Simkins (Juxtapoz #74.) This is Simkins’ first solo show with the gallery. It Wanders East opens tomorrow, Saturday, September 6th, 2008 (alongside David Choong Lee’s Village of Wind.) In Simkins’ large, finely wrought paintings, fantastical characters with symbolic accessories are arranged in quasi-narrative still-life’s that spread opulently across the picture surface. Simkins’ grotesque, sumptuous, and often humorous imagery is painstakingly rendered in the mannerist style of Arcimboldo and Hieronymus Bosch, but the contents of his dreamlike tableaux are lifted from the contemporary unconscious— nightmares of toxic landscapes, bioengineered nature, and pop-culture decadence. His blending of organic forms with the appearance of manufactured surfaces suggests technology run amok and a natural world in accelerated flux. Like other artists of his generation, Simkins honed his unique approach in the public arena as the West Coast graffiti artist known as "Craola." Details at joshualinergallery.com

Greg "Craola" Simkins' "It Wanders" Series

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Greg "Craola" Simkins (Juxtapoz #74) will be revealing his newest body of artwork entitled, It Wanders, which brings elements from the natural world into concert with the fantastic and the disturbing. It marks the culmination of the underlying story of heartache, loss and redemption as seen in Simkins' previous exhibitions.  In this world, a boy sits in his newly demolished home, dreaming of his escape. Messenger candles from the Baron dot the land. Good fruits accompany moths and butterflies, while snowmen befriend various birds and creatures from the menagerie of Simkins' imagination.   Part One of this amazing collection will begin as It Wanders East on September 6, 2008 at Joshua Liner Gallery in New York. This will be Simkins' first solo exhibition on the East Coast. Part Two of the It Wanders exhibition will conclude as It Wanders West on November 6, 2008 at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight in Los Angeles where Simkins first began displaying his work. Don’t be a scardy-cat. See more of Greg "Craola" Simkins at imscared.com

New Prints from Chet Zar

Juxtapoz // Monday, August 25, 2008
Macabre genius Chet Zar recently upgraded to a larger format printer, allowing him to finally create larger prints of some of his popular pieces, Black Magick (which you can see at In the Land of Retinal Delights: The Juxtapoz Factor) and I Want You. Zar also included new pieces from a couple of his most recent shows, We Are The Shadows and Ugly American. These are the first prints issued from these shows. “I am really proud of these prints,” Zar told Juxtapoz. “They just look really sharp due to some new printing techniques I have picked up as well as a higher quality paper.” Grab your new Chet Zar print now at chetzar.com

Greg

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Joshua Liner Gallery presents It Wanders East, an exhibition of new paintings by the Los Angeles-based artist Greg “Craola” Simkins (Juxtapoz #74.) This is Simkins’ first solo show with the gallery. It Wanders East opens Saturday, September 6th, 2008 (alongside David Choong Lee’s Village of Wind.) With his dazzlingly macabre and admittedly warped imagination, Simkins participates in the long tradition of popular fantasists that includes Edward Gorey, Stan Lee, and Tim Burton. Simkins’ world is a troubled nether region of hybrid creatures—part fairytale, part science fiction. This encompassing vision looks back to the rich history of fantasy illustration while also prefiguring unsettling hypotheses for an imagined evolutionary future. In Simkins’ large, finely wrought paintings, fantastical characters with symbolic accessories are arranged in quasi-narrative still-life’s that spread opulently across the picture surface. Simkins’ grotesque, sumptuous, and often humorous imagery is painstakingly rendered in the mannerist style of Arcimboldo and Hieronymus Bosch, but the contents of his dreamlike tableaux are lifted from the contemporary unconscious—nightmares of toxic landscapes, bioengineered nature, and pop-culture decadence. His blending of organic forms with the appearance of manufactured surfaces suggests technology run amok and a natural world in accelerated flux. Like other artists of his generation, Simkins honed his unique approach in the public arena as the West Coast graffiti artist known as Craola. Details at joshualinergallery.com

"Brain Decay" from Jeff Soto

Juxtapoz // Monday, August 11, 2008
Jeff Soto has a new zine now available titled Brain Decay. Composed of drawings and painting experiments from late 2007-2008, many are rare sketches for new paintings Soto is working on. At 24 pages, this blue beauty comes sealed in a bag with two mini buttons, and is a signed and numbered edition of 500. This is one of our favorite pages, but see more (and grab a copy) at jeffsotoart.blogspot.com

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