Sunday, June 28, 2015

Artist Feature: Americana Pop Culture & Style With NYC Artist Jo Jo Anavim!

I recently visited the midtown NYC studios of mixed media artist Jo Jo Anavim to chat about his eye catching, Americana-pop-art style and saw visions of eye candy larger than life.  Instagram and social media do not provide the detailing of art work very well, it was not until I saw for myself these larger than life pieces with incredible character and depth. 

New York City born and raised, his work caught my eye with his rich sense of beauty, fashion and American culture. I wanted to learn a bit more so began following his Instagram feed and saw inspirations from the old pop masters to current day extreme talents, like Robert Mars. 

His studio is filled with inspirational LIFE magazines, photos popular figures and supermodels among others --and lots of paint, everywhere, not just in tubs or on canvases which is most beautiful. 
When did you first begin perusing art?  What led you to it?
When I was 9 or 10 my parents enrolled me in a cartooning class with the legendary Disney animator Al Baruch- the creator of Mighty Mouse and Captain Hook. Around that same time I discovered Photoshop and taught myself everything graphic based. The synergy between the drawing and pixels are the precursor to my work today.

Your style is very much Americana / pop culture, celebrity and fashion based, what inspires you to create these pieces?   And, what inspires you about “pop culture?”
Right now I’m just taking a light hearted and fun approach to pop art. I want people to smile when they see my work. I’m really fascinated by the icons of the 50’s and 60’s because it was a time when celebrity culture, as we know it today was in its infancy. I also love the subversive playfulness/irony of street art. I’d say my work is a blended up version of those two things.

Who is your favorite or most influential artist(s) of all time?
Robert Rauchenberg’s early work is my favorite of any artist.  Jasper Johns’ use of collage, plaster and pigment has had a great deal of influence as well. And of course, Andy Warhol’s use of mechanical design and printmaking is clearly evident in my work.
What types of magazines and materials do you use? Or are your favorite to use?
The vast majority of my collage work comes from 1950’s LIFE Magazines, Life also happens to be the central theme in all my work. I also love working with Golden acrylics and gels, and incorporating rare memorabilia into my pieces. I have a love/hate relationship with resin.

What is / was your most favorite piece completed so far?
My Jeff Koons / Bianca Jagger / Studio 54 piece.  I did a play on Bianca Jagger’s white horse ride through the infamous nightclub, swapping the horse for a life-sized Jeff Koons balloon dog. The background is all era photos and collage- with an actual Studio 54 drink ticket in it. I finished it off with diamond dust (of course), two coats of resin.

If you could collaborate with one or two other artists - ANYONE! In the world who would they be?  
Many come to mind but the one that sticks out is Pablo Picasso.

What are your ideal upcoming plans for your art?
Just letting it ride and having fun right now. A lot of stuff is in the works both in NYC and internationally. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.  
What type of music do u listen to while creating?
Different moods call for different music but Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths and Morrissey, Kanye West, Cut Copy and Chromeo seem to be the staples.

You’ve gotten your art to some very notable celebrities, can you name a few and how you get to them?
My work hangs in the homes of Charlie Sheen, Big Sean, Amare Stoudemire, Steve Angello, and Lil Jon to name a few. Most of them are personal friends or friends of friends. I’ve also been fortunate enough to spend time and learn from fellow artists Mr. Brainwash and Robert Mars, both of whom are great guys.
If you could have dinner with one or two people, dead or alive who would they be and why?
Undoubtedly the late Jean Michel Basquiat. I can’t think of a more intriguing person- let alone artist. I’m also a huge fan of Sacha Baron Cohen and his ability to create and portray such absurd comic characters. I really admire how he’s mastered the art of satire.
Anavim at MBW studios (above) and the view from his studio...
For more info on Anavim follow along here on his Instagram @javisual and here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Introducing A New Art/Fashion Mix with Graffitication - Wearable Street Art & Graffiti!

If you like graffiti and street art as I do, now you can wear it with Graffitication.  I'm really excited about this new art/fashion mix and brand as they take the images from the street and make them wearable for women (and soon to be men.)

Graffitication is a new company dedicated to the contemporary urban art scene. They are artists, designers, curators and honest-to-goodness street veterans who fervently believe that authenticity is central to their culture. They’re not interested in selling you a one-size-fits-all t-shirt, They’re here to exercise their passion; to share in the satisfaction the visual arts can bring you.  Graffitication is their playground, it’s the background music to their journey—an opportunity to infuse urban art into every single limited-edition product they create.

Matt Siren x Russell King
Billi Bar
UR New York
Visit their website to learn more and get yours today at, Instagram at @graffiticationnyc and on Twitter @Graffiitication1.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Art & Style of Dane Rex - New Solo Exhibit at Bushwick Open Studios!

Another one of my favorite artists is located close by in Bushwick, Brooklyn who caught my attention years ago with his mixed media, fashion-beauty type influences.  Dane Rex has been creating for years and now expands to sculptures made of found objects and a continuous evolving style.  A big fan of Bast, I especially love these progressive, new works.  You can catch him this weekend at his solo exhibit at 1977 Gallery for Bushwick Open Studios, (all the details are below.)  Meet Dane Rex...
When did you first begin perusing art?
My mother comes from a fine art background and my father is avid photographer, growing up I was consistently exposed to the arts in one form another. I have loved drawing for as long as I can remember and am thankful for having artistic parents. 

When did you begin pursuing your current style? What inspired you to it?
I have always had a multifaceted approach to making work, painting, drawing and sculpture. I have been spending quite a bit more time with sculptures recently, more specifically the masks. I enjoy the entire process from finding object, having then lay around the studio for six months and finally utilizing them in one way or another.

From where do you draw inspiration?
I spend quite a bit of time looking through old books, instagram, art shows, magazines, museums, tumblr and various other imagery outlets. The sources are endless.

Can you tell us about the fashion-like, mixed media aspect of your art or, meaning use of “beauty,” models faces etc.?
I enjoy having beautiful women in my work.   Fashion magazines are readily available full of excellent imagery.

You mentioned you recently started doing sculpture pieces and that you find many “found objects” on the streets, like wood pieces, etc. What is the best piece you have found so far to make into a sculpture?
There isn’t one particular piece that stands out as any better the the rest. It is most satisfying when the pieces organically fit together and work ascetically. A fully formed sculpture consisting of pieces of whatever uniformly fitting, its just great.

What do you want people to understand or take away form your art?
My work is absolutely open to the viewer’s own interpretation. 

What is / was your most favorite piece completed so far?
I usually have the strongest affinities toward the most recent work.

If you could collaborate with one or two other artists – anyone?!  In the world who would they be and why?
Steven Parrino would have been interesting.

What are your ideal upcoming plans for your art? 
I am participating in three group shows this summer, two at Bushwick open studios and one in Richmond Virginia. Things have been progressing at a good pace.

Can you tell us what we will see in your upcoming solo exhibit for Brooklyn Open Studios? 
"Wild Hearts" will consist of an entirely new series of large scale mixed media works on canvas and medium sized mixed media sculptural works, here's the info:

"Wild Hearts" at 1977 Gallery
476 Jefferson St.,  #210, Brooklyn 

Opening 7:00pm-10pm Friday June 5th
Saturday 12:00pm-7:00pm Sat. June 6th
Sunday 12:00pm-7:00pm Sun. June 7th

I am also participating in the Roberta's group show, and the Seeking Space group exhibit put on by the wonderful Arts in Bushwick organization.  This will be the inaugural show at 1977 Gallery.   As of now we are planning on our second show some time at the end of August, more details soon to come

What type of music do u listen to while creating?
Usually jazz or classical, something without lyrics.

Other inspirations?
I am just enjoying the process. I am lucky enough to have a supportive loving family and couldn't be more grateful.

If you could have dinner with one or two people, dead or alive who would they be and why?
My grandfather Lou, he died way too young and I unfortunately missed out on a chance to know him.

Have a look at more of Dane's work and don't miss Bushwick Open Studios this weekend.
You can learn more about Dane Rex here:
 and here on Instagram @nonesuch_ .