Brooklyn-based nonprofit SaveArtSpace has partnered with Otis College of Art and Design to present "100% LA" a celebration of art and design inspired by the city of Los Angeles. The selected artists include Kohshin Finley, Olivia D'Orazi, Vikesh Kapoor, Leafy Yeh, Vakseen, Matthew Penkala, Sofia Enriquez, Tanya Thoma, Uyen Nquyen, and Hideyo Kameda.
Los Angeles is a city dedicated to sparking the imagination and it has inspired countless artists, designers, and creatives. We seek work that celebrates and reflects back the energy and vibrancy of Southern California.
Curated by Bruce W. Ferguson, president of Otis College of Art and Design, on the occasion of the Otis College Centennial.
An accomplished author and curator of numerous nationally and internationally noted exhibitions, Bruce W. Ferguson became president of Otis College of Art and Design in May 2015. He was the founding director and first curator of the nationally acclaimed SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico. He has curated for such eminent institutions as the Barbican Art Gallery in London, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Winnipeg and Vancouver art galleries in Canada. He has organized exhibitions within the international biennales of Sao Paulo, Sydney, Venice, and Istanbul. Mr. Ferguson’s extensive academic leadership experience includes roles as Dean of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Founding Director of Arizona State University’s F.A.R. (Future Arts Research), and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Kansas City Art Institute. He continues to actively publish, maintain relations with colleagues worldwide and be involved on institutional boards i.e. the Bergen Assembly in Norway and SAHA, in Istanbul, Turkey.
This public art exhibition is made possible by Otis College of Art and Design.
On View at 6848 Sunset Blvd.
LA native and current resident, Kohshin Finley (b. 1989), earned his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited domestically in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Mesa and Honolulu. Notable venues he has shown at include The Honolulu Museum of Art School and Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. His work has been featured in Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Hyperallergic, and Artillery. Notable printed publications include Studio Visit Magazine, Artists’ Magazine, and African-American Heritage History Month publication for the City of Los Angeles.
Finley’s work depicts strong people of color forced to carry the burden of past and present American discrimination and racial prejudice. The subjects of his paintings use these tribulations as armor for their journey through everyday life. These visual moments facilitate conversations on the struggles people of color have to endure to survive and to thrive.
Being born and raised in the contentious racial and social climate of South Central Los Angeles, Finley now taps into his own Black-Mexican heritage and experiences to create each painting. His friends and family are the subjects of these paintings, captured while they have visceral conversations about navigating the world as people of color.
Prior to each painting, Finley writes poems stemming from these conversations and interlaces them with his own history to tell a personal story that takes on a new life on the canvas. By telling stories that are honest to both his subjects and himself, Finley’s paintings establish genuine trust with the viewer, allowing sincere conversation to begin. Finley creates paintings in this way to honor his own vulnerabilities, as well as those of his subjects, giving the viewer permission to discover something about themselves (in the precarious present).
Connect on Instagram at @kohshinfinley.
On view at 5150 Santa Monica Blvd.
Bio: Raised in the small mountainside town of Paradise in Northern California, Olivia is an Artist, Filmmaker, Creative Director and Designer based in Los Angeles. She honed her aesthetic and skills while living in London studying Creative Direction at the world famous University of the Arts, London. She also has a background in fashion with a degree in Fashion Merchandising from California State University, Long Beach. She has exhibited & sold her work at museums & galleries in the UK (including the Royal Academy of Arts), Europe and USA as well as toured with bands as their live visual projection artist around the world.
In 2015 Olivia moved back to California and settled in Los Angeles. She joined forces with her designer mother and started a handmade, eco-friendly fashion and home decor line featuring her art as the prints. She continues to create art and films daily inspired by her native state of California and travels.
Artist Statement: Olivia specializes in dreamy, psychedelic, magical imagery through the media of photography, film & paint. Olivia creates otherworldly photos, prints, films, and live visuals working across the realms of art, design, fashion and music. She is known for her bold use of color and unique photographic and editing techniques she developed. She has created album artwork, music videos, visual projections, concert posters, video art and branded content for her clients. Olivia’s inspiration comes from her love of the countercultures of the 1960’s/1970’s, being in nature and traveling.
Connect on Instagram at @oliviadoraziart.
On view at 5313 S San Vicente Blvd.
Vikesh Kapoor is an artist born in Sunset Pines, Pennsylvania. He released his debut album, The Ballad of Willy Robbins (2013) to critical acclaim. His songs have been highlighted by The New Yorker, The Guardian, Interview Magazine, Rolling Stone and others, while Rough Trade awarded his albums one of the Best 100 Albums of the Year.
Kapoor is also currently a Masters Candidate in Photojournalism at Boston University. He has studied with Alex Webb of Magnum Photos, Jim Estrin of The New York Times, and has been published by The Boston Globe, Bullet Magazine, Willamette Week, amongst others. His work has exhibited in museums and galleries in Portland, Los Angeles, and London.
Kapoor is the recipient of CENTER’s 2018 Project Development Grant for his project See You At Home.
He resides in Los Angeles, California.
As a photographer, I aim to communicate contemporary, universal issues that I believe require deeper awareness. My work is literary in nature, exploring the intersection of journalism, art and storytelling through creative documentary. Like many immigrant kids I grew up with a foot in each culture. Being caught between two worlds made me feel like an outsider looking in. My photographs highlight the stories of others, namely those that challenge the notion of Western society's normalities.
Connect on Instagram at @vikeshkapoor.
On view at 721 N Western Ave.
Leafy Yeh (Yun Ye) is a New York/Los Angeles based photographer and art director. As a director, her film about sex industry “Hostess Girls” in New York City, WATER GIRLS, has been an official selection of the 2017 New York Shorts Film Festival, screened at Sunshine Cinema. Originally from China, she has been engaged with long-term photographic projects exploring mental health and female identity with a touch of romanticism.
The Imaginary Place is a fine art photo series, created to cure depression. I look for ordinary places and transforms them into mysterious, glamorous and attractive spaces. It is a way to escape from the inner darkness to capture the light through vision.
Connect on Instagram at @leafy.yeh.
On view at 1065 N Gower St.
While working on hit records as a music executive/producer has played a driving force in his career, it’s Vakseen’s (born Otha Davis III) passion for the arts that has served as his key to sanity in the fast-paced entertainment business. The self-taught, museum-exhibited Floridian has developed a distinct collage-influenced painting style (Vanity Pop) that fuses elements of cubism, photorealism, fashion design and pop surrealism into vibrantly alluring, abstract portraits. While most viewers assume they’re viewing collage or mixed media art, each #VakseenArt creation is in fact meticulously hand-painted directly on the canvas. Drawing distinct inspiration from our fascination with popular culture, his gallant paintings are a celebration of women, beauty, duality, insecurity and self-preservation. Currently based in Los Angeles, his paintings have been featured by Adidas, Vans, Playboy, Complex, Buzzfeed, Bombay Sapphire, Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose, amongst others. In addition to being sold to collectors and art enthusiasts, his art has been shown in museums, countless gallery exhibitions and featured in over 100 magazines worldwide.
We are bombarded with an excess of unrealistically perfect images, packaged as though they reflect how every woman sees herself. The unique radiance of the female form is Photoshopped away. Models cover their most distinctive features. Young girls, spoon-fed hatred of their bodies, are likely to become carbon copies of magazine covers – inevitably finding it difficult to love themselves. Unfortunately, this is a reality many of us relate to all too well, myself included.
I believe women are God’s greatest work of art. My creations pulsate with feminine energy and while I cannot fathom being a woman in this patriarchal world, I open my creative process to their inherent allure. Through my art, I aim to celebrate diversity and the acute imperfections and endless perfections every woman possesses.
My signature painting style, Vanity Pop, fuses elements of photorealism, cubism and fashion design into vibrant, abstract portraits. Vanity Pop is a celebration of women, beauty, fashion, duality, insecurity and self-preservation. With that foundation, my portraits are visual dialogues on society’s idolization of beauty, the cosmetic enhancements endured to meet the status quo and the impact this has on popular culture.
Like a cosmetic surgeon, I methodically collage the perfect features together, bringing my ideas to life. Although my work mimics collage or mixed-media, each piece is meticulously hand- painted to blur the boundaries between perception and reality. By juxtaposing my subjects with diverse “perfect” features, my work speaks to the fragmentation within us all as we strive for acceptance. In essence, my art is a mirror, reflecting the surreal, superficial times we live in.
Connect on Instagram at @Vakseen.
On view at 5771 W Adams Blvd.
Matthew Penkala lives and works in Los Angeles. After receiving his BFA in Photography from Arizona State University, and his MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art, he moved to Los Angeles, where he is currently a faculty member at Otis College of Art and Design. He has also served as the Visiting Artist in Residence within the Painting Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art on an interim basis.
Mathew has an extensive exhibition history, including shows at California State University Los Angeles, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, Western Project in Los Angeles, Lemberg Galley in Detroit, David Richard Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, David Bruno Gallery in St. Louis, Ruth Bachofner Gallery in Santa Monica, and the Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit. He has been exhibited at various art fairs in San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, and Miami.
Work can also be seen on the White Columns Registry (NYC).
His most recent solo show in Los Angeles was reviewed by David Pagel of the Los Angeles Times.
Connect on Instagram at @maushoo.
On View at 2373 Westwood Blvd.
An artist and designer based in the Coachella Valley, CA. In 2014, I received a BFA in Communication Arts from Otis College of Art & Design. My practice consists of large scale murals, upcycled painted vintage clothing and fine art works. Since 2014, I have painted over 30 murals for Goldenvoice music festivals and public art works for cities in California. I have also created portraits internationally in Mexico City, Tokyo, and Paris.
My work references my Mexican-American culture and my intercultural identity. I paint portraits of androgynous, but timeless, faces as a means of creating self-awareness and to encourage observers to explore being present in their surroundings. The faces are inspired by traditional Roman Catholic portraiture, American pop art, and vintage Mexican folk art. I incorporate Spanish, English and Spanglish terms and expressions within my work as a reflection of both my own heterogeneous identity and that of the wider Mexican American community. In addition to the faces, I weave bold elements, such as paiselies, into fluid like compositions that create the illusion of movement in my murals.
Connect on Instagram at @SofiaEnriquez.
On view at 9091 Airdrome St.
Tanya Thoma was born in Ventura County, where she has lived most of her life. She graduated from Otis College of Art and Design with the 2018 Senior class. Tanya attended Otis beginning in the late Summer of 2006, majoring in Fine Arts, with a focus on Painting. She took maternity leave in the beginning of her senior year, in the Fall of 2009 to have her daughter. During this leave, she completed several privately commissioned works. She returned to Otis in January 2017 to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
As a mother and artist, I create artwork in solidarity with women to resist the forces in society that attempt to control and subjugate our bodies. The symbolic forms I am constructing relate to experiences from my own life and those of women I know. My work speaks to the agency women possess and must be encouraged to utilize. Dating back to the earliest written stories, women have been used in parables by various cultures and religions as representing nature, often in order to police female autonomy, sexuality, and reproduction. It is important to reappropriate these associations so they can act as affirmations of equality.
My work is in dialog with artists working in the pattern and decoration movement that emerged from the 1970s - specifically their recognition of the history of discrimination against traditionally female modes of production and labor. The materials and techniques I employ include wood panels, acrylics, metal leaf, interference and iridescence, glitter, ink, carving, engraving and layering. My artworks embody a delicate balance between minimalist openness and simple line drawings, with maximalist gaudy mediums and patterns.
Connect on Instagram at @tanya.thoma.
On view at 9091 Airdrome St.
Uyen Nguyen, also known as Winnie, was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam; then relocated to Los Angeles, California. Gratefully receiving a Presidential Scholarship of the Otis College of Art and Design, she is the sophomore student in Toy Design major. Her foundation year was at El Camino College where her own designed toys were selected for the Student Art Show in 2017, and her scratchboard artwork was chosen for the Student Art Show 2018. Uyen found her interest in art in her mid-20s. Starting with sculpture, but she is naturally committed to toy design since she loves children and loves to see people interact with her artworks.
The “LA Girl” is my self-portrait with the meaning of showing my love to Los Angeles; the place gives me opportunities to pursue my dreams in art. This drawing was a school project in 2017 when I was still at El Camino College. In order to make this drawing more interesting than just a school project, I decided to put more effort into finding the most meaningful and exciting picture of myself.
Connect on Instagram at @momentme.art.
On view at 1905 Sawtelle Blvd.
This public art exhibition is made possible by Otis College of Art and Design.