By Ivan Cazares
Vinyl toy figures, paintings, zines and photos that reflect pop culture, the media and the human condition are on display at the Vincent Price Art Museum as part of the Silent Wonderment: Exploring the World of Giant Robot exhibit.
The art on display is unique and raw. Among the artists featured is Matt Furie.
Furie is best known for creating Pepe the Frog, a cartoon frog used to create several memes.
“I just really like drawing frogs. They are a chill animal versus, say, a lion or something. This was the first time I’ve had my work in a museum proper,” Furie said.
His art incorporates dark comedy and well-recognized characters to create thought-provoking pieces that capture the spirit of indie comics and pop culture.
Albert Reyes’ work is darker. He incorporates graffiti and his political views in his work.
His mixed array of drawings and photos reflect his hometown of El Sereno.
The exhibit can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
The works of more than 20 artists are on display. The art ranges from Reyes’ urban art to more traditional styles, such as Ako Castuera’s ceramic work and Rob Sato’s water paintings.
Pop culture references include Disney Land, Terminator and Star Wars. The exibit is well balanced, there is something interesting around every corner.
Giant Robot used to be a bi-monthly publication that focused on Asian and Asian-American popular culture but, the magazine also featured artists like Furie.
It would feature activists and review anime, music, comics and DVDs.
The publication was founded in 1994 and ended its production in 2011.
Giant Robot continues to exist in the form of the Giant Robot store and GR2 Gallery in West Los Angeles.
“I still believe in reading. I still believe in paper. Zines are sorta intermediate, if you’re planning some big journalistic project. I think zines are something that is (sic) very powerful now,” Giant Robot founder, Eric Nakamura said. “I wanted to show art of different styles. I wanted to do something different for this show.”
Zines are low-budget publications that focus on local music scenes, local art and subcultures.
Tiny Splendor, a publishing collective based in Los Angeles and Berkeley, collaborated with Giant Robot to create a “Zine Habitat.”
“We do a lot of inhouse printing. We invite our friends and artists we really like and we produce zines with them,” Tiny Splendor publisher Cynthia Navarro said.
Giant Robot began as a zine in 1994 and sells a variety of zines at its store.
The store sells books, past issues of Giant Robot, vinyl figures, apparel and other memorabilia.
“Zines are a great way to start your own publishing, because you could do whatever you want. Sky’s the limit. It’s nice to have something you could touch, feel the pages, you know,” Furie said.
The exhibit is now open through July 2 The VPAM is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is open until 7 p.m. on Thursday.