For the upcoming adidas Showcase in LA, a number of artists including Austin England and Homeless Cop are setting up their work in a group show at Seventh Letter Gallery. We got to sit down and ask Austin and Homeless Cop some questions about this show, group shows, and skateboarding before we go and see their work this Thursday.
Eben Benson: What kind of approach have you brought to this show? is it different than group shows that you’ve worked on in the past?
Homeless Cop: As a lifelong fan (and customer) of Adidas, I'm excited to be in this show. Although my skateboarding career was brief, I always liked the sport and all the art on the decks. As an artist, Powell Peralta and the Bones Brigade's stuff was very influential to me as a kid. At this show, I'm excited to paint crazy stuff on the ramps. Always wanted to do that, and the fact it's going to be in this Adidas show is really awesome!
Austin England: I don't really have an approach for this show to be honest. Im just focusing on the art that I'm currently working on. The past year and a half I've been creating and experimenting with my work in a new medium. I'm creating my drawings into neon signs. It's an amazing, technical, and rewarding medium to work with. I'm really enjoying it, I get to take a break from tattooing and make some other cool shit. The group show aspect isn't different, but the people I'm showing with is. New groups of artist in a show makes it feel fresh and exciting to be apart of. It's always a good feeling to see what others are nerding out on and what they are into making. I'm stoked to show some new work with like-minded people.
How do you approach group shows in general, what changes do you make to your personal work when you know it’s going to be in a particular space with a different group of artists?
HC: I think this is the smallest group show I've been in and everyone looks really cool, so it will be great to meet them. Recently I was in a larger group show and didn't get to meet everyone. The paintings I'm showing are all from my personal stash. If it's not a commission, I'm painting whatever I think might look cool. Unless the show has a theme I'm making something crazy.
AE: Every show there is a different approach, but with the same goal in mind. My goal is just to be true to myself and the work. The changes that happen could range from the content I show, to how it's displayed, the availble space for the work, it all varies. I just want to make what im into, that's when I have the most fun. This show feels fluid and seems to be show casing what everyone creates on their own and with their distinct styles with no set theme. That style of group show is the best because it really lets the artist be themselves. No ones telling us what to make, we are just making cool shit and hoping people enjoy it to.
Describe your connection to skateboarding and to Los Angeles
HC: Right now I'm working on a skateboard coloring book, and I've been painting on a few blank decks. I went to the Adidas / Bonethrower show and that was really cool. I live downtown LA so I dodge skateboards everyday. Looks like fun, but I would be so terrible at it now. I'd just worry about falling too much, I need my hands!
AE: My connection to skateboarding happened when I was really young. Kids in my neighborhood had boards and I had one and the mutual interest in skating spawned the endless amounts of friendships I've gained threw skating. I grew up skating Skatepark of Tampa and ended up working there for sometime when I got older. That experience really drove me to be creative, the homies there were very encouraging of me making my art. At the time I was really fresh to the idea of making stuff and really developed the urge to try new ways of making art. If it wasn't for skating I probably wouldnt have had the courage to make art. I moved to Los Angeles from Tampa about 6 and a half years ago. It's been a wild ride but so inspiring. In that time it lead me to currently be at Kingswell in Los Feliz. Kingswell is a skate shop with a private tattoo studio where me and one other artist tattoo out of, its a rad studio. I also share an art studio called " Bills Bar" with some awesome and inspiring homies, its a contest inspiration getting to work out of these places.
Is this your first time working with Adidas skateboarding? How have they approached getting you in the show and do you know many of the other artists in the show?
HC: First time and I love the guys I've met from there so far. I was asked via email and I've been stoked on it ever since. I'd do any kind of art for them. The gallery, the artists, it all looks really great and as soon as I'm done painting those skateboard ramps I'll be able to enjoy it all. Happy that Canter's Deli is down the street too!
AE: Yeah this is my first time working with Adidas, I think they approached me just through mutual friendships and that led them to my work. I'm friends with Jacob Messex, he hangs around Kingswell and shoots the homies that also hang around. I actually met Nora at Kingswell too, randomly tattooed her as a walk- in. She was really nice. Haven't met everyone else but look forward to it, seems like a great line up.
See you guys on Thursday!