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Merry Karnowsky

  • Greg 'Craola' Simkins @ Merry Karnowsky Gallery

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    Over the weekend, we ventured out to Los Angeles' Merry Karnowsky Gallery which is currently hosting the latest exhibition by street artists, fine artist and friend of POW, Greg Craola Simkins. The show, entitled "Beyond Shadows," opened May 21 and closes June 18th. This is definitely one for contemporary art enthusiasts not to miss.

    Within this exhbition, Craola plays with a new method of production called "Drips," or "Drips Scripts" where paintings consist of a mix of graffiti style and fine art. On the topic of this style and Craola's latest works: ". . Despite their disparate styles, a reverence for graffiti aesthetics, punk rock sensibilities, and formal painting practice all unify Simkins’ new works. His surfaces are meticulously layered and treated to achieve a weathered patina of old paint and tags, sometimes layered for years. This laborious process coopts the aesthetics of the dilapidated buildings and alleyways that serve as incubators for street based art, and allows Simkins’ works to breach the walls between his paintings, his audience, and the outside world."


    Dash (our 10 yr old son) had control of the camera part of the time, so you will see a little of his perspective in the photos mixed in with images we nabbed of Craola's latest exhibition.


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    Craola's style of painting is highly inspired by narrative stories and literary assertions, conveying a myriad of age-old insight. Some of the literary works still referenced in his artistry include The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis,The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and Watership Down by Richard Adams.


    Craola began painting graffiti under the name CRAOLA as a teen in Southern, California. The craft informed him on color theory, structure, perspective and a number of addition creative pragmatics. He later went on to refine his talents while attending Cal State Long Beach, where he graduated with his Bacelor's of Fine Arts.



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    "Beyond Shadows" is Craola's largest, and most varied, exhibition to date. Representing a medley of color, texture and context, Craola's "Beyond Shadows" is one of the highlight exhibitions of the incoming summer season. On the topic of his latest exhbition, Craola shares:

     My artistic journey began as a child daydreaming and creating strange realms where anything was possible. It later turned into going on adventures, writing on walls in the shadows of night. What if those walls began to crumble? What would we encounter as we emerge on the other side? Would it be lands full of flying fish, giant birds, and Noble Knights? Would I belong or fit in? Journey with me over the wall as we discover what lies beyond the shadows. - Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins


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  • Vivian Maier: Photographs from the Maloof Collection @ Merry Karnowsky Gallery


    Vivian Maier: Photographs from the Maloof Collection opened Saturday January 16th at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Downtown LA. Maier is noted as being one of the most iconic street photographers of the 20th century, having only come to the attention of the mainstream art world after her negatives were discovered by John Maloof at an auction house in Chicago in 2007.

    Maier took more than 2,000 rolls of film and produced tens of thousands of negatives focused on street photography and architecture from destinations including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, the American Southwest as well as Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, and Italy.

    Having worked as a nanny most of her adult life, Maier was described by those she cared for as “a free spirit, but also a proud soul” - “a quasi Mary Poppins figure.” Although Maier became impoverished towards the end of her life, several children she'd once cared for pooled their resources together and paid for an apartment, and other necessities for Maier in her later years. Unbeknownst to them, a storage locker that contained a slew of negatives taken by Maier had been secretly hidden away.

    The Maloof collection is comprised of roughly 90% of Vivian Maier’s work, which has been meticulously reconstructed, archived and catalogued. The collection consists of 100,000+ negatives, vintage 'lifetime' prints, hundreds of rolls of film, home movies, audio-tape interviews, cameras, documents and various other items.

    Vivian Maier: Photographs from the Maloof Collection exhibits a selection of over 65 exclusive and existing photographs, including modern silver gelatin prints in limited edition of 15, modern color prints, and a rare selection of vintage ‘lifetime’ prints. There will also be a special display of ephemera on view including cameras and other personal items of the artist's.

    Maier died in 2009 at the age of 83, before the extent of her legacy had been fully understood or revealed.

    Vivian Maier: Photographs from the Maloof Collection is on view at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery between now, and February 27th.


  • "Nightgardens" Jeff Soto's Solo Show in LA

    One more week until Jeff Soto's exhibit in Los Angeles at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery.  It's been long time since his last LA exhibit in 2006 and I don't know who's more excited, us or Jeff.   The show titled, "Nightgardens" features themes of myth and the mysterious coupled with exploration into the contemporary landscape.


    A few days ago we got to get a sneak peak of the pieces as Jeff was carefully varnishing some of the pieces for the show.

    Jeff soto vanishing nightgardens

    While up late finishing the final details on a piece for the show, Jeff, the consummate teacher, tells young aspiring artists, "Don't skimp....The details make all the difference."

    Jeff soto remember the details

    Taking a break from painting fine art, Jeff completed a mural that will welcome guests to the LA show on La Brea and 1st Street.  "The La Brea Owl" beacons, go ask for its wisdom and forgiveness.

    soto wall muralphoto credit: Jordan Ahern

    If you haven't already, email info@mkgallery.com to rsvp for the opening night reception Saturday, June 27th from 7 - 10 pm.  We will see you there!

    Nightgardens at Merry Karnowsky Gallery

    Nightgardens by jeff soto



  • Video Recap of Jeff Soto and Maxx242 Riverside Mural

    A recap of three crazy days in April filled with wind, rain, sun and spray paint.  Thank you Riverside natives, Jeff Soto and Maxx242 for making something so incredible in our hometown.

    Jeff took a quick break from painting for his solo exhibition, "Nightgardens" opening at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in June to tackle this huge wall in Riverside with his long time friend and co-hort Maxx242.  This wasn't the first time these two have graffiti together, a friendship that has span most of their lives from high school to illegal graffiti to fine art and now wall murals all over the world.  When we approached Jeff about finding a wall to paint his first thought was, I have got to have Maxx there too. It was the only way to do it and he was right.

    A huge thank you to Jordan Ahern for filming and documenting the whole journey.

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    Jeff Soto and Maxx242 in front of the Riverside mural on the back side of Pixels Bar.

  • Designer Con 2014

    It would be hard to find a person that has not heard of ComicCon, well at least in Southern California.  You know, that little convention in San Diego with an attendance of over 130,000 people.  Well, it wasn't always that popular, just a few years ago it was a relatively modest comic book and science fiction/fantasy convention.   It was also a place were up and coming, along with established pop artists could show and sell their latest work.

    In recent years, because of the rising booth space costs and the expense, not to mention hassle, of attending ComicCon, many artists and vendors began to look for other options.  Two of those vendors being October Toys (Ayleen Gaspar) and 3D Retro (Ben Goretsky) who happen to be the co-producers of.....yep you guessed it, DesignerCon.

    DSC00867 Considering they are both manufactures of collectable toys, it made sense that DesignerCon initially focused on collectable toys and figures.  Within a few years, pop art found its way in through a natural crossover as so many contemporary artists release both toys and prints interchangeably.


    We found out about DesignerCon or more commonly know as "DCon" just after the 2013 convention.  After a few enthusiastic reviews, we couldn't wait for DCon 2014!   With months of planning, booth building, print making behind us, on Friday, November 7th we were ready for DCon!

    Setting up the booth:  Here is where the fun begins!  We roll into DCon and see Jeff Soto setting up his booth right behind us and To Die For setting up on the other side, we could not have asked for a more perfect combination of neighbors....umm well uhh.. asking helps too. (thanks Ayleen and Ben!)  Not sure if Soto will be as excited to be our neighbor next year after he pulled out the longest sliver I have ever seen.

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    Sorry Jeff, that looks like it hurt, good thing it wasn't your drawing hand.

    Immediately we begin uncrating and setting up the booth walls, hanging the art and in no time the booth begins to take shape.  Before we finish Luke Chueh swings by, after fighting a few hours of Friday night LA traffic to sign his Boba prints and the marquee print.


    I think he was just as excited as we were about the release the next day.

    Before we go, Jason Limon finishes signing the Catcreeper figures and Berrytop Swirlpapa.  He is jumping back and forth from setting up his booth to taking care of the print release with our booth.   That's after a 20 hour drive from Texas the day before!  Your amazing Jason!


    As they begin to kick everyone out of the hall we are the last to leave, but at long last, the booth is done!


    DAY 1: D-Day is here and we are ready...well almost!  Before the show opens Chris Ryniak stops by to sign the official DCon prints, with not much sleep, I won't mention how many times we lost count signing the prints.  My brain definitely needs a few hours to warm up when computing large math problems like 12 plus 1.


    As if right on cue, in comes the beautiful Tara McPherson ready to sign her release of Umibozu Lake.  A little Starbucks and a silver sharpie is all she needs to get through 100 prints in no time flat!


    Once those are done, we are ready to roll!  Oh wait, where's Jeff Soto??  His booth is right behind us... we steal him over for a few minutes to sign his prints.


    Nathan Ota comes by and creates the perfect photo opp with Jeff and the big marquee prints.


    Then Nathan grabs a chair and begins to draw on the back side of each print in his DCon release of Early Bird.


    It was amazing to see first hand his immense talent and desire to give each print a special touch, making each one a sort of original.

    Boba! Boba! Boba!  For the first hour of the show it was the most used word and for about two hours, Luke was busy signing and doodling on the back of the prints.

    DSC00835Just like Nathan, Luke Chueh took his time to draw a unique sketch for each fan who patiently waited in an line that stretched on for over an hour.

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    Luke was busy signing prints for over two hours until he had to run off to another booth that was releasing his vinyl toy. Around that time Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez was there to pick up where Luke left off.  Johnny's print "Nothing New Under the Sun" was his first release with us, we were pumped to premier it at DCon.

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    Maybe we just got lucky but every artist we worked with at DCon was gracious, down to earth and most of all generous with the time they spent with each fan that came to visit them at the booth.

    In between signings we broke away from the booth to walk around the convention, do a bit of shopping ourselves and meet some of the other vendors.

    One of the first stops was at one of our favorite artist's booth, Jason Limon.  His hand made figures were incredible, we couldn't leave with out taking home one of the strange creatures.


    IMG_6438This ^^^ lucky fellow has a new forever home with us.

    But our home was not complete with out a few other peculiar looking creators to keep him company. IMG_6460

    The only problem is you can't take just one, you know.. they get lonely.  Yep, we have a pair, not identical twins, fraternal, they have the same momma, Circus Posterus.

    By the time we got back to our booth To Die For was hosting an artist signing with Craola and the line was overflowing down the isle.  Afterwards he stopped by our booth to sign his marquee print, "Puppets Pathos“.



    Always incredibly friendly and polite, it was great catching up with Craola before he had to leave to another event that evening.  Which also marked the end of Day One!  And an unbelievably great day at that!

    DAY 2:  One of the best part of Sunday was opening the convention at 10 am, but the next best thing was opening with Jason Limon signing at the booth.


    The release of our first dimensional art piece, The Catcreeper, was the brain child of Jason.  The first sketch was drawn on this plane ride home after his first visit to Prints on Wood.

    catcreeper-1We love to experiment with new ideas and materials so we jumped at the opportunity to try something new.

    Speaking of new, Jeff Soto's marquee piece, The Soto Fish, was a collaborative print/original piece where we alternated printing and painting on the medium including a bit of hand laid gold leaf on the tooth of the "fish".


    This was a test run for a smaller edition of prints coming soon in 2015.

    For DCon, Jeff re-released "The Guitarist Seeker" in a limited edition larger print, twice the size as the original 6x6 release.  DSC00971 IMG_6466

    Probably the most sought after print at our booth was the little Soto Fish prints that were given away for a IG post and mailing list sign up.  By Sunday afternoon over 400 Soto Fish prints had swam into the arms of happy DCon attendees and most of them signed by the artist himself.
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    Rounding out the day, Tara McPerson came back to a line of fans eager to meet her.

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    Her marquee piece "Supernova II" was a personal favorite and may be a release coming soon...


    At the conclusion of Designer Con 2014, we were extremely pleased with the whole experience and cannot wait until next year to raise the bar further. We already have tons of ideas floating around to make the event even better (Hint: double the size?). We would also like to sincerely thank our artists and buyers for their continued support. Without all of you this could not have been made possible. Thanks to you, we are able to successfully create art that embraces style rooted in sustainability.   See you next year!


  • A weekend at Baby Tattooville

    What is Baby Tattooville??  I pondered this question myself for many years, 7 years in fact.  But this weekend, during the 8th annual Baby Tattooville, we not only found out what it was, we were lucky enough to experience it.   Unlike the name sounds, it was not a convention about babies with tattoos, it was an immersion into the pop-surrealist art world with twelve of the top pop-surrealist artists in the world.


    Created, produced and curated by Bob Self of Baby Tattoo Books (sound familiar?) and his crew of miracle working staff, Baby Tattooville is a one of kind experience for a small group of art collectors and fans.  Limited to 40 tickets, set in the historic and enchanted Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside, CA over a three day weekend, the event uncovers the magical process of creating all types of art right before your eyes.


    Each of the twelve artists produce a unique "gift" for each of the attendees that is included in a gift bag received the final day of the event.  We were select by Brandi Milne to create a special print on wood of her piece titled "Autsch" from her recent show at the Corey Helford Gallery.  This limited edition, signed print is only available to the attendees of Baby Tattooville 2014.


    Tara McPherson hand silk screened a new print for each attendee with help from Andy at Diesel Fuel Prints who flew down his silk screen equipment from Portland.

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    Other artists created original pieces for each attendee, such as Jeff Soto who created 40 individual 3"x3" sketches and Joe Sorren who created 40 painting sketches.



    While the days were filled with painting, silk screening and sketching, the night was filled with food, giant margaritas and great conversation.   With busy schedules it is rare to get a few hours to chat and catch up, but at Baby Tattooville, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a few laughs together over dinner.


    The real miracle of the event is the transformation of a blank canvas on Friday afternoon to a completed masterpiece by Saturday at 10:00 pm.  The first brush of paint on the blank canvas begins the art jam on Friday afternoon.


    From that point all twelve of the attending artists collaborate together over the next 36 hours to create a final work of art.  This culminates at the final art jam Saturday night where in the last hour each artists squeezes in to make their final touches on the piece.


    Once the clock strikes 10:00 pm, the painting is whisked away to be photographed then on to Prints on Wood.  We then print 75 copies of the final art jam piece that arrive back at the Mission Inn Sunday morning just before Sunday bunch is finished.  Each artist then signs the prints and each attendee goes home with a piece of history they watched unfold before their eyes.  The magic and memories of the event sealed in the characters and aspects of the final Baby Tattooville 2014 Art Jam print.


    If you want to be apart of Baby Tattooville, you will have one last chance.  Bob Self announced Baby Tattooville 2015 will be the last but also the biggest, most bizarre one to date.  With the artists he has already confirmed to the 2015 event, it will surely be one not to miss!  The artist roster includes: Mark Ryden, Marion Peck, Camille Rose Garcia to name a few, while the tickets are $2500 each, with that line up, they will surely not last.


    For more information on Baby Tattooville please visit:  http://www.babytattooville.com/

  • Craola - Live Painting at Tarfest

    What do dinosaurs, tar pits, art and music have in common?  Well if you were in LA last weekend, Tarfest!  A little outdoor festival with music, beer garden, food trucks, kids activities and live painting by world renown artist Greg "Craola" Simkins.... only in LA.


    Right next to the twisty balloon guy on one side and bubbling tar pits on the other, Craola, Nicola Verlato and devNgosha each work their magic on an 8 foot by 12 foot blank canvas.


    What emerged on Craola's canvas was a beautiful red feathered bird, almost the same height as a person.


    Nicola Verlato finished his piece right before the sun set, after seeing all the detail in the painting, it's amazing he finished it in one day.


    devNgosha completed a larger then life skull, that feels like it is coming off the page looking down at your little face. A beautifully mystifying piece.


    The festival, held on the grass next to the La Brea Tar Pits, is a annual event with a mission of “excavating future culture” in the Miracle Mile.

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    Now in its 12th year, its seems to be reaching the goal!  With many thanks to our friends at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, who are a big part of organizing the event, for extending us an invite to come enjoy a beautiful day in the city.

    For more information about Tarfest, please visit: http://www.tarfest.com/

  • Art Happenings: Gallery Nucleus + Merry Karnowsky

    This past weekend was busy around LA area for a league of talented artists.

    A Prints on Wood favorite, Cuddly Rigor Mortis, was at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra on Saturday welcoming us to her solo art exhibit titled “Happy as Kings.”  The show was inspired by a poem titled “Happy Thought” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and features brightly drawn characters blissfully enjoying what makes them most happy.


    "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."

    - Robert Louis Stevenson


    King Nori by Cuddly Rigor Mortis

    You may not be able to notice from the pictures included in this article, but the amount of detail that went into creating every single one of these delightful characters was superb! Every piece is titled as “King (Name)” including “King Dunkin” and the uber cute “King of Z’s”.


    King Dunkin by Cuddly Rigor Mortis

    If you recall last month, POW did a limited time release of Cuddly’s “Mr. Good Morning Waffle” print that was extremely popular. Well now you can catch the little waffle guy in all his glory in the “King Grand Slam” piece!


    King Grand Slam by Cuddly Rigor Mortis

    The exhibition runs through September 21st at Gallery Nucleus located at 210 East Main St, Alhambra, CA. It’s definitely not worth missing!

    For more information on purchasing pieces from the show, please visit: http://www.gallerynucleus.com/

    On the same evening at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, a group exhibition called “Parallel Universe” featured more amazing talent.


    Toxic Birdie by Nathan Ota

    We ran into more Prints on Wood artists, Nathan Ota and Travis Louie, who both had two pieces in the show.


    Tree Spirit by Travis Louie

    Travis and Nathan joined Caleb Brown, Hello O’ Monsters, Masakatsu Sashie, devNgosha, and Seonna Hongall with their incredible pieces, creating quite a crowd to see their pieces up close.


    When we found this piece by Masakatsu Sashie, we immediately were struck by the attention to detail and interesting mixture of landscape and objects to make up an almost "Death Star" effect in his piece.


    Oneway by Masakatsu Sashie

    A Prints on Wood piece was also at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, although it wasn't an artist print, per-say. Merry recently asked us to print her new logo on wood, "KP Projects", a custom size wood print on bright white finish.


    “Parallel Universe” runs through October 6th, at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery located at 170 S. La Brea Avenue, LA, if your in the area, stop on in and see the pieces first hand.

    For more information about "Parallel Universe" please visit: http://www.mkgallery.com/

  • Tara McPherson opening reception at Merry Karnowsky

    This past weekend we ventured down to LA to attend the opening reception of Audrey Kawasaki, Tara McPherson, and DeeDee Cheriel art exhibition at the Merry Karnowksy Gallery.  Over the years, the Merry Karnowsky Gallery has featured work from some of the most respected names in contemporary art including Travis Louie, Miss Van and Shepard Fairey.


    When we arrived at the gallery, there was a line around the block of people waiting to get into the opening.  We were excited to get to the opening, but as is typical in LA, the parking situation deterred us for several minutes as we wove around several blocks trying to find a spot. Finally, we stumbled upon a parking garage situated at the corner of S. La Brea Avenue that had been perfectly etched by none other than Shepard Fairey! Very cool!


    Once inside the gallery, the place was a buzz with chitchat and camera flashes. Our very own Tara McPherson was taking pictures with lovely fans and fellow artists alike, as were Audrey and DeeDee.



    All three women with their different art styles – Audrey’s technical, but ethereal muses, Tara’s surreal girls posed in beauty, and DeeDee’s rustic interpretations of females and various animals – were equally mesmerizing.

    DSC00227Tara McPherson

    DSC00244DeeDee Cheriel

    DSC00254Audrey Kawasaki

     Not only was their individual art a sight to behold, it was equally empowering to see these three extraordinary women come together and receive an overwhelming amount of attention.


    The exhibition will be open until August 30th, if you happen to be in the LA area, make sure to stop by the gallery to see the pieces in person.

    This Friday at 11:00 am PST, Tara McPherson is releasing two prints on wood from this exhibition, Supernova, 24x36 print on wood, the same size as the original, priced at $500 and Don't Forget to Remember, 16x20 print on wood priced at $175.

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    For more information on the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, visit http://mkgallery.com/

    For more information on Audrey Kawasaki, visit http://www.audrey-kawasaki.com/

    For more information on Tara McPherson, visit http://www.taramcpherson.com/

    For more information on DeeDee Cheriel, visit http://deedeecheriel.com/

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