Artist Kevin Appel is constructing and deconstructing Los Angeles through its structures. He’s a native Angeleno whose father was an architect and mother was an interior designer: Los Angeles architecture is almost literally in his blood. His work has spanned from digesting the Case Study houses to Modernism and, now, on more rural California buildings and environments like the Salton Sea and Imperial Valley.
We spoke with the artist in his space to hear about his process and exactly where his inspiration draws from Los Angeles architecture. His work functions on many levels as they are abstract and literal, him tying hunks of color abstraction to photographic portrayals of buildings and environments. The result gets at an idea of “failed utopia,” a core philosophy in Appel’s work that points to how Los Angeles simultaneously emits an air of perfection while hiding very, very dark undercurrents. It’s a fascinating way of approaching the city and it is remarkable how Appel confronts this notion in his painting.
For those in or visiting Los Angeles in the near future, Appel has a group of paintings currently on display at Culver City’s Susanne Veilmetter, which is on display through August 23. Be sure to stop in and see them! You can read the interview and get a peek around his rad studio space here.
Ted and Angie of Poketo have been very busy lately. Not only is Poketo rapidly expanding as a brand but they’ve been in the process of switching spaces from a small Downtown Los Angeles loft to a spacious new hub for the brand. Oh, it also has space for their first brick and mortar store, too. That’s right: Poketo have finally opened up their first store!
The retail space soft-opened Saturday and is now officially open. We popped in over the weekend to check out the final space and were blown away with how many things they have. We were very aware of the products they carry on their website but seeing everything in person on shelves, tables, racks, and more you really realize how they have become this empire. No longer are they simply selling cool wallets but there are now t-shirts, cups, books, towels, soaps, plates, pots, shoes, socks, and so much more.
The goods are all very nicely curated in a very open, warm space that perfectly translates the online Poketo experience to the IRL Poketo experience. From the red painted entry way to the small upside down planters, their space is totally them and unlike any other art/design/lifestyle store because they have such a heavy hand in creating the goods. The store has personality and a homeyness to it that truly is unrivaled.
As mentioned, the store is now open and is located in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. If you are in town, stop into the store and tell them we sent you. They would certainly be glad to see you. You can read more on the store and the space here.
Los Angeles certainly is not seen as a design city. It’s not Portland or New York, where designers and illustrators seem to be emerging from practically every little hideout in the city. Los Angeles is a bit scattered and coming into its own in a lot of areas, one of them actually being design. We’ve spoken to a few design types in the city previously but this week we have a bonafide boutique design studio from Los Angeles: Ludlow Kingsley.
The studio is led by Roxanne Daner and Clark Stiles, two Los Angeles based designers who met six years ago and started working together under the name Ludlow Kingsley (which is the name of their fictitious boss). They’ve been doing really stellar work and are proof of a rising group of designers in Los Angeles that are doing all sorts of fantastic stuff. The problem, as discussed in our conversation with them, is that the Los Angeles design community is still growing and–therefore–is a bit spread out, many designers, illustrators, and like artists unaware of each other’s presence. In any event, it gives us a lot of hope that we will one day rival all the other design cities in the world here in Southern California. Here’s hoping!
Check out the full interview with Roxanne and Clark here.
Last weekend Kyle and I took a short trip up the 5 to CalArts for their first ever Print Fair. We were invited by our friend Bijan Berahimi, who’s work you see at top (and Scott Berry below it, which we picked up at the fair). You can read a full review of the event over on Los Angeles, I’m Yours if you’re interested. I personally wanted to touch upon the nature of the print fair, and how the art and design community should encourage more things like that to happen.
I feel like there aren’t a lot of opportunities for young people to showcase their work in the real world these days. On the Internet it feels like you’ve got a million different venues, but not in the physical world. Maybe this is a Los Angeles problem? But I doubt it. Having a REAL event is especially important with something like a print fair, where you can grab a zine, flip through it, smell the ink on the paper. There’s a tactile sensation that gets lost when you view an artists work online.
The whole thing really inspired me. It made we want to get a ramshackle group of local artists and showcase/sell stuff to random people. Maybe even sell some brownies and lemonade. And I think other people should do the same. Take the talented people, young or old, in your local city and give them a place to shine. That’s part of why we started Los Angeles, I’m Yours. Doing it in the physical world though is where things get interesting again. I’ve already spoken to a couple of close friends about doing something like that during the summer, but one event in a year isn’t enough.
If you live in Los Angeles and would be interested in working together on something int he real world then email me. There’s a little button in the sidebar, it’s easy. Even if it’s insane and we need a million dollars, go for it, we can always find someone willing to give us money to make something happen. This is my attempt at being proactive, hopefully you do the same.
If you’re in Los Angeles on Sunday you should stop by the CalArts Print Fair, which goes from 11am to 5pm. The fai concentrates on printed work, ranging from zines to posters as well as lectures from Ed Fella and Amir Fallah (founder of Beautiful Decay) and workshops with Dylan Lathrop of GOOD magazine. Admission is free, so be sure to support your local creators.