Review Of It’s a Beautiful Day, I Guess on view now at Subliminal Projects.
Artists: Gregory Bojorquez, Patrick Martinez, Michelle Guintu, Tim Diet, and Mark Drew
Location: Los Angeles
It’s a Beautiful Day, I Guess opened last Saturday at Subliminal Projects. Referencing Kendrick Lamar’s “The Recipe”, a track featuring Dr. Dre on the hip hop artist’s 2012 album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, the show’s title invokes Lamar’s celebratory reverence for Los Angeles as a place unlike any other.
A more predominant theme that runs throughout this group exhibition, however, is music’s lasting influence. In collaboration with Andres Guerrero, artist and owner of San Francisco’s Guerrero Gallery, Erica Overskei has brought together a handful of fine artists whose works collectively reflect music’s intrinsic power to impart inspiration.
Over the years, Gregory Borjorquez has made a name for himself as a freelance celebrity and art photographer for magazines such as Rolling Stone. A few select photos featured in this group exhibition include his portraits of Snoop Dogg and Outkast members Andre 300 and Big Poi.
When Borjorquez first started taking pictures, he looked to photography as a creative outlet and aimed his lens at what he knew most: the people he grew up alongside in East LA’s Boyle Heights. Near exhaustive in size now, his archive has since expanded to include individuals from a number of disparate subcultures who often identify as outsiders or with musical genres that fall outside the mainstream.
Like Bojorquez, Patrick Martinez uses his art as a means for expression. Two of his sculptural sheet cakes are included within the group show. One features Tupac Shakur while the other depicts Kendrick Lamar. These along with Martinez’s unique neon signage clearly illustrate the impact that various recording artists and hip-hop culture have had upon his life.
When asked, Why choose art? Martinez revealed that the act of creating is a vehicle through which he’s been able to identify with various subcultures. More specifically, he admitted that his practice provides
“a very satisfying thing to me on a daily basis. Even when I struggle with it or am completely in a sublime trance, making the work, it’s all good. I hope the work can connect with people and offer some type of emotional or intellectual response.”
Michelle Guintu also uses her work to give voice to the impact that music has had upon her. With her clearly distinct style, the San Francisco based artist relies upon various media to create her rosy-cheeked caricatures that depict pop icons such as Janet Jackson, Slick Rick, and Biggie Smalls, all of whom appear in the exhibition.
In an interview Guintu did last year with Priscilla Frank for The Huffington Post, she explained that she’s commonly drawn to imagery that incites certain emotions:
“I choose subjects that I’m super familiar with and have a lot to do with my childhood. I guess I’m attracted to those things because I love those feelings I had growing up.”
Tim Diet, also a resident of San Francisco who’s featured in the show, evokes a similar sense of nostalgia throughout his practice. While much of his work borrows from 90’s rap imagery, he juxtaposes such against cartoon iconography that links back to his childhood to produce truly playful pieces.
Mark Drew, like Diet, also interweaves various influences from his youth. This is most evident in his paintings of Peanuts Gang members quoting lyrics from Wu Tang Clan and Digital Underground, among others. It’s a Beautiful Day, I Guess also features a full scale installation by Drew as well two monochromic paintings, each of which feature piled cassettes. While one includes an eclectic mix ranging from Metallica to Madonna to Michael Jackson, the other is limited to an assortment of hip hop’s pioneers, such as Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest.
A clear commentary on the ultimate power that music and pop iconography can impose, It’s a Beautiful Day, I Guess is a true celebration of both as lasting influences upon generations past as well as present.
It’s a Beautiful Day, I Guess will remain on view through August 15 at Subliminal Projects, located at 1331 West Sunset Boulevard in Elysian Heights.
Photos By: Baha Danesh