The Spring Break Art Fair returned for its second year to Los Angeles at the Skylight ROW DTLA from Feb. 14 through Feb. 16.
This year’s theme was “In Excess” which hosted 60 curatorial exhibitions featuring more than 100 projects that expressed issues of sustainability that affect culture, fashion and consumerism.
The fair selected curators to choose artists and exhibitions that allowed attendees to admire and purchase some of the art pieces.
Tom Smith, New York-based artist, has presented his work at the Spring Break Art Fair in New York two times but this year was his first time presenting in LA.
Smith worked along the curator, Lauren Xandra, to create a concept of a retro style home with paintings displayed as windows into a landscape which they called, ‘Room With A View.’
“The paintings are dealing mostly with drag because I haven’t seen a lot so I thought that was an interesting subject to explore, thinking about what elements make drag recognizable like exaggerated eyes and lips, so I put those features into the paintings,” said Smith.
The painting are mostly done with neon pigments which creates a colorful, bright vibration that the eyes are drawn to. He also incorporated beaming LED lights over the paintings for a theatrical effect.
Smith is delighted to be able to get the audience attention and hopes they, “feel a sense of stimulation and in some ways entertainment, because I think we are living in a time where our attention spans are really short and if someone can be attracted to a painting for its color, illusion or pictures, then that makes me happy,” he said.
David Mr. StarCity White, New York and LA based artist, presented his exhibition ‘After Party’ and under these years’ theme, “In Excess,” he portrayed how excessive partying or any other type of lifestyle in excess leads to destruction.
His exhibition featured multiple art pieces as well as the display of artificial cocaine, weed, alcohol, wine, champagne, tobacco which tied in perfectly for the party theme but they also represented what “caused the destruction of my friends,” said Mr. StarCity.
All of the art pieces are portraits of Mr. StarCity’s friends who have lost their life to the nightlife lifestyle and even though the exhibition is called ‘After Party’ he wanted it to be an afterlife celebration.
Mr. StarCity is also a musician so he created a playlist which attendees were able to listen to within the exhibition. He also showcased a poem written for his friends, “I wrote a poem out of the playlist I created for my friends, each line from the poem is the title of a record I played during the exhibition.
“Every song is also one title of a painting because that is the characteristics and spirit of my friend within that song,” said Mr. StarCity.
Mr. StarCity wanted to create a call to action with this exhibition, “we could be more aware, conscious and present with our friends and when you see them spiraling out of control, you should be there to give them a tap in the shoulder and warn them, ‘you should slow down and have some moderation to this and not let this type of lifestyle engulf you to your destruction’,” he said.
It was the first time Mr. StarCity presented his work at the Spring Break Art Show but nonetheless had a successful experience with his art pieces all sold out. He is signed with IV Gallery and will be having another exhibition with them in May.
With this year’s theme being “In Excess,” Mann decided to go a different route and exhibit art work with the theme “My big Excessively Gay Booth.”
“I decided to ask five people who identify as gay men and asked them to give me the most excessively gay, over the top work that they could,” said Mann.
Full frontal nude portraits from Canadian artist Zachary Logan, are pencil drawn and while at first glance his genitals aren’t apparent, as the eyes shift down attendees can see what exactly Logan has to offer.
The illustrations have a soft and warm look that make art enthusiast forget there is nudity, but of course, not everyone would agree.
As far as guests wandering into the booth, Mann said “One thing I noticed is that if I had a booth that was full of artwork that was all frontal female nudity, everybody would think that was completely normal.
It’s normal to see full frontal female nudity, people go ‘she’s the model,’ ‘she’s the muse,’ ‘she’s the beautiful one,’ but if you show them instead of pictures of men with their cocks out, people react very very differently.”
On a lighter and more welcoming note, Mann also exhibits art work from Fredrick Anderson, who makes ceramic cactus boxes and inserts confessional conversations.
The conversations Anderson inserts are comic strips and are usually about an online hook up or things people have said to him online.
Overall, the booth received a some glances of unapproval, while others vocalized their acceptance and approval of the artwork.
“In constant climax,” a fusion series between Pakistani artist, Sanie Bokhari and Korean artist, Nicholas Oh, find that their traditions and cultures are similar and use that to create modern, but traditional art, explains curator Sadaf Padder.
Being trained in mughal style art in Pakistan, Bokhari created the illustration that are seen as typical traditional artworks, but with a modern subject matter.
“It’s using traditional features of mughal style work. You see the two women engaged in a relationship and what you see in the undertone is her traditional suitor, the one that society would will her with, this male suitor is serving her female lovers head on a platter,” said Padder.
The ceramic work from Oh also coincides with Bokhari’s mughal style work, Padder explains, “Traditionally, Korean ceramics and mughal style work both became really popular during British imperialism and through collections.”