Monday, December 11, 2017

F a Triumph of Executive Professionalism!



F's only gig of 2017 was a great success, and the debut of percussionist Kane Lafia went without a hitch. We played a 35 minute improvised set ranging from a wall-o-noise to delicate ambient soundscapes, while a specially-crafted artisanal psychedelic lightshow was projected over us, and a live video stream of the performance went out online and was rear projected onto the Odd Ark Gallery's frosted window, allowing the considerable crowd that couldn't squeeze into the actual space to follow along. The cassette didn't quite sell out, so text Machete if you're jonesing! Here is a gallery of images from the event, with video to follow, hopefully...






Thursday, December 7, 2017

Destination: Hellfire!


Here are a couple of shots of the neighborhood we're supposed to move to in 3 weeks, after 20 years in the Wilson house on Benton Way -- just inside the evacuation zone of the Creek Fire, one of four major conflagrations currently devastating LA. It's a horse community just south of the 210 freeway, called Shadow Hills, and it recently escaped from the La Tuna Fire from the other side.


This is from the Sepulveda Fire to the south - the biggest -- the Thomas Fire -- is wiping out Ventura and Ojai - here's a shot from a video from some one's morning commute on the 405.


And returning to the Creek Fire, I'm not sure this FB friend was paying attention to the details of the algorithm-generated map that accompanied his good news...




Monday, December 4, 2017

Crunching the Numbers: Tim Hawkinson's Bosun's Bass and the Dialectics of Breakfast Cereal

(Just found the Exploratorium posted the pdf catalog (including my essay) for Tim's 2015 installation online...)
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"What the heck is a bosun’s whistle? OK, something’s coming back—a deep childhood memory of strongly desiring and eventually obtaining a Cap’n Crunch plastic two-note whistle from the bottom of a cereal box. I was an experimental musician even then, and explored the humble instrument’s potentials extensively around the family home for several weeks, before it mysteriously vanished. I was inconsolable. But I got over it and moved on to the family turntable, which is a whole other story.

When Tim Hawkinson decided to use a bosun’s whistle as the model for his ambitious kinetic sound-sculptural installation at the Exploratorium, he was tapping into a curious nexus of pop cultural and historical reference—an auditory trope that most of us would recognize, but whose original meaning and function are probably lost in the fog of technological obsolescence.


Familiar through countless mass-media depictions of nautical life (and, as I recently noticed, extraterrestrial escapades in the form of the Starship Enterprise’s electronic PA system on the original Star Trek series), the harsh, teakettle tones of the non-diaphragm type whistle have a loose semiotic charge—navy-something—but very few parsable details. 

In fact, although it is now limited to ceremonial use—an idiosyncratic vestigial indicator of a “traditional” identity which has been completely subsumed by a homogenized global military culture centered on computers—the bosun’s pipe (aka whistle, call, or pippity-dippity) represents a functional language devoid of words; resembling whistlelanguages found in indigenous cultures around the world and probably inspired and based on some ancient maritime culture—the Greeks supposedly used pipes to time the oar-strokes of their galley slaves.

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While a traditional whistled language such as Silbo Gomero—used by inhabitants of the Canary Islands to communicate across their jagged terrain—bears a direct, if convoluted relationship to the regular spoken language of its host region, the same cannot be said with any certainty about the language of the bosun’s call. Instead, seamen have, over the course of time, reverse engineered the whistles with phoneme substitutes of their own devising, nonsense phrases or ironic vernacular translations, such as “The officers’ wives eat pudding and pies, the sailors’ wives eat skilly” for the officers’ call to mess (dinner). 

There’s something about this inversion and simulation of an organic communication system—and the improvisational, collaged translation that unfolds from it—that seems very reminiscent of Tim Hawkinson’s creative process. On an immediate level, the bosun’s whistle dovetails with a number of recurring themes in Hawkinson’s oeuvre..."

Read or download the entire pdf catalog for Tim Hawkinson's "Bosun's Bass" at the Exploratorium here: https://www.exploratorium.edu/sites/default/files/pdfs/OTW_TH.pdf or ATJ

Sunday, December 3, 2017

F for Fortissimo


F will be performing as "F for Fortissimo" at ODD ARK Los Angeles 7101 North Figueroa Unit E, in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, 90042 on Saturday, December 9th from 4 - 6 PM, with psychedelic lightshow.

Admission is FREE!

This performance celebrates the release of their limited edition cassette F for FF on Redacted Records. Each cassette is numbered, hand stamped and sealed with red wax, and the edition is strictly limited to 52 copies. Also available at the event will be a few remaining 12” LPs of their debut album Faüxmish, as well as screen-printed t-shirts.

F is a Los Angeles art-rock supergroup whose motto is "Simplicity Through Noise" and who have developed a practice rooted in improvisational ensemble playing using electric guitars (played with rubber mallets and other extended as well as traditional techniques) and vintage synthesizers, in various combinations of three. F are Daniel Hawkins, Marnie Weber, and Doug Harvey, and this event marks the debut of new member Kane Lafia on percussions.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mike and Jim Rock East Lansing


Mike Kelley and Destroy All Monsters Collective (Jim Shaw, Cary Loren), Greetings from Detroit, from Strange Früt: Rock Apocrypha, 2001. Photo by Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

My piece about Jim Shaw & Mike Kelley's formative years in Michigan is up now on Artsy...

“Michigan Stories” explores the formative Midwestern years before the duo migrated west. Kelley’s working-class Catholic upbringing in the Detroit suburb of Westland provided fodder for much of his later work, including the posthumously realized Mobile Homestead, a replica of his childhood home, now permanently installed as a public cultural center in downtown Detroit. Shaw grew up with three older sisters in the more northerly Dow Chemical factory town of Midland.

After the social disintegration following the 1967 Detroit riots, Michigan’s underground culture experienced a foreshadowing of the gritty and desperate urban energy that would soon emerge as punk, complete with a voracious appetite for lower-class vernacular visual culture. But it wasn’t enough: “Leaving Michigan was something you just did,” recalls Shaw. “Why would you stay? There were no jobs, there was no art world.”

Prior to that momentous journey, though, Shaw and Kelley—along with filmmaker Cary Loren and singer/artist Lynn Rovner (a.k.a. Niagara)— formed the proto-punk experimental noise band Destroy All Monsters (DAM), which recorded hours of effects-laden bleats, squawks, and tape loops and published a series of art-damaged zines. At the same time, the DAM collective—most of whom were attending art school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor—were producing comparatively traditional paintings, drawings, collages, and sculptures.

“Mike disowned a lot of his early work,” Shaw remembers. “But I’m sure some will come out of the woodwork, because he left a lot of it in the back yard. We just left shit in our Ann Arbor house when we moved to Los Angeles. All these oil paintings and ceramics. Mike only took works on paper. Literally, the back yard was knee deep in stuff.”

Continue reading at Artsy...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Considering it...



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Hi Doug,

Marriott International, Inc has an opening for a Funcionario de prevención de pérdidas in their Los Angeles location. We thought you might be interested in this opportunity. To explore this further you'll find more details and the application instructions on the job details page below.

Funcionario de prevención de pérdidas at Marriott International, Inc

Have a great day.

*********************************************************************************
"Disculpe, señora, voy a tener que buscar en su equipaje... ¡AHA! Las barras de jabón en miniatura gratuitas son para uso en la habitación solo mientras es huésped del Marriott. Me temo que tendrá que ¡ven conmigo!"

Friday, November 10, 2017

Puzzling Evidence: Jim Shaw VS The Illuminati



"Three hundred years ago, on June 24, 1717, four autonomous lodges of the philosophical/political underground that had inexplicably sprung up within the structure of the medieval architectural stone masons guilds met at the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in the churchyard of London’s St. Paul's Cathedral, merged into what was to become the Grand Lodge of England, effectively launching the movement of modern Freemasonry. Antics ensued.
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While even a cursory history of the Freemason phenomenon and its impact on the culture and politics of modern western civilization is beyond the scope of this essay, it’s important to cover at least some of the high points in order to convey exactly why the installation of Jim Shaw’s The Wig Museum in the repurposed Wilshire Boulevard Scottish Rite Cathedral constitutes one of the most appropriate and fruitful site-specific art installations of all time.

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Since the 1970s, Shaw has been producing work that simultaneously explores the structure of various belief systems and the forms in which they manifest themselves, with a particular emphasis on the legion of vernacular twentieth-century media fallout—fliers, booklets, posters, album covers, knick-knacks, videos, and so on—which insinuate their ideological memes into the collective libidinal appetite. In this exhibition alone, he cites Abstract Expressionist collage cartoonist Ad Reinhardt, technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs, nineteenth-century French painters Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Théodore Gericault, Eugène Delacroix, visionary English book artist William Blake, political cartoonist Thomas Nash, modernist prankster Marcel Duchamp, Dutch proto-surrealist Hieronymus Bosch, beliked actress Sally Fields, Superman comic artist Wayne Boring, animator Walter Lantz, and science fiction author H. G. Wells. Among others.

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One of the most radical aspects of Shaw’s work is that he treats the belief systems and symbolic forms—the ideology and iconography—of capital-A Art with the same political and aesthetic equanimity and skepticism as he would, say, Scientology or the International Monetary Fund, although his scrutiny has most often been drawn to the elaborate cosmologies of fringe religious movements and secret societies like the Masons. Everybody knows that the intrigues of The Art World have more in common with Masonic convolutions than it likes to admit—constantly negotiating accusations of paranoia, defensiveness, and elitism, for example. Plus No Chicks Allowed!


Shaw’s oeuvre can be understood as a ferocious parody that vivisects the conventions of Western civilization’s moral and intellectual traditions in a language that mimics the convoluted and deliberately incoherent institutional mystification by which our imaginations are continually conquered and colonized. But these same strategies of semiotic hypersaturation can be seen in any number of esoteric spiritual and philosophical traditions whose stated purpose is to dislodge the initiate from their habitual understanding of the nature of reality in favor of a direct, unmediated experience—a denial-of-service attack on The Matrix.



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The Wilshire Scottish Rite Masonic Temple was built in 1961 by Millard Sheets —as patriarchal figure in the history of Los Angeles art as can be imagined. Sheets, a regionalist figurative painter, headed the art department at Scripps College as well as Otis Art Institute, oversaw the Los Angeles County Fair’s then-prestigious annual art exhibit, and was in charge of which artists were hired to do murals for the Works Project Administration during the Depression. After the war, he entered the public sphere even more emphatically, setting up an architectural design firm that created idiosyncratic, modernist figurative mosaics for buildings from Washington D.C. to Honolulu, as well as the forty-two Home Savings and Loan Association Buildings for which he’s best remembered.

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Oddly, Sheets was never a Mason, and when Judge Ellsworth Meyer approached him with the commission he asked for an explanation for undertaking such an extravagant project. As Sheets later recalled, they “had some very good thoughts about the new relationship of Masonry to society and why they felt this was an important time to build the temple and why they wanted to truly represent the spirit of Masonry.”


Whatever those “very good thoughts” were, they didn’t quite pan out, as membership in the Lodge—as in fraternal organizations nationwide—rapidly declined over the next several decades. By the early 1990s, the Wilshire temple was being rented out for commercial interests (in violation of its zoning parameters) and, amidst local complaints about parking difficulties and darker allegations, the 110,000-square-foot edifice was shuttered and cordoned off, becoming a notorious real-estate white elephant until the Marcianos came to its rescue..."

Read the rest of Puzzling Evidence: Jim Shaw VS The Illuminati in "Jim Shaw THE WIG MUSEUM" Marciano Art Foundation Project Series Issue no. 1, ISBN 978-0-9992215-0-1

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Under the Radar: Mimi Pond


"Mimi Pond is a legendary figure in LA—part of the generation of independently-minded cartoonists nurtured—then dumped—by the alternative media, she also wrote the first-aired episode of The Simpsons (before being expelled from the bullpen) as well as contributing to Pee Wee’s Playhouse alongside her artist husband Wayne White.

Pond’s public image has recently made a quantum leap via the shadow world of graphic novels, with her acclaimed 2014 fictionalized memoir Over Easy, which detailed her day-to-day social adventures after dropping out of the CCAC and getting a job as a dishwasher—soon waitress—at a nearly post-hippy diner in Oakland in the late ’70s.

Her new volume, The Customer is Always Wrong, picks up exactly where Over Easyleft off—vibrating between laid-back hippy self-mockery and seething punk rage. Although the saga of art-school dropout Madge and the colorful cast of Bay Area lowlifes with whom she consorts were apparently split into two for completely logistical reasons, the bifurcation is fortuitous.

Where the first volume chronicles a relatively idyllic period of compromised innocence—sex, drugs, and rock & roll in other words—the sequel delves into more challenging bardos, depicting beatings, murders, heroin ODs, and abortions with the same light attention as the awkward romances and naughty experimentation in Over Easy.

Pond’s lightness of touch is twofold, evident in both her artwork and narrative gifts. Her relaxed, economical black ink line—augmented by judiciously deployed washes of blue—conveys an archetypal bohemian vibe that immediately sets the tone for Madge’s subterranean journey, and is stylistically supple enough to accommodate anything from lyrical interludes to car-chase sequences..."

Read the rest of Mimi Pond’s Wild Ride, In Two Volumes in Artillery Magazine or ATJ

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

10 Should-Be LA Art Stars


Tamara Fites as Lambi Kins at Dan Bernier Gallery, 1995

"Last year some friends and I made a list of Los Angeles artists who were overdue for local museum acknowledgment—project rooms, mid-career surveys, retrospectives, whatever—and had to quit when we reached 100. It just stopped being fun. For all the talk of L.A. as an international art destination, it still has a doozy of an inferiority complex. East coast and international art stars—and a handful of Angelenos that fit the mold—are afforded the bulk of face time, at the expense of the gazillion graduates pouring out of the dozen local MFA programs every year; the idiosyncratic veterans who didn’t fit into the Ferus Gallery agenda; and the off-the-charts originals who blossomed in the lack of limelight.
Here’s a grab bag of overlooked L.A. artists that should be pulling down the big bucks and gracing biennial pavilions. Peers and enemies will undoubtedly find my selection wanting—but that’s what comments are for...

Tamara Fites
One of the most innovative L.A. artists of the 1990s, Fites assembled elaborate character-driven installations out of carefully curated thrift store detritus, handmade artifacts, and performative leavings. These immersive interactive theaters garnered enormous local buzz, yet are almost entirely forgotten since the artist dropped out of the marketplace, leaving no internet archive behind. Perhaps Fites’s most famous incarnation was as Lambi Kins, a mute, infantile, sexualized sheep-girl occupying a white trash labyrinth, in which she would inappropriately touch unsuspecting gallery-goers. Another persona was as the leader of an anarcho-syndicalist colony of adult babies, who held birthday parties ’round the clock and rescued a litter of baby possums as part of one exhibition..."

Read the rest of 10 L.A. Artists Whose Work You Probably Don’t Know—But Should on Artsy -- this being my first article for this new venue.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spider Szukalski Armpit


A spider in the armpit of the Szukalski sculpture at Cal State Fullerton, after the Greg Escalante Memorial.

LESS ART: GENDER ESSENTIALISM IN "STRANGER THINGS"

All the hype for the second season of the mildly annoying, mildly entertaining Stranger Things reminds me that I never linked to this analysis that I made of the first season...

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I don’t think I can tackle the fine kettle of perverse nostalgiafish that is "Stranger Things". I binge-watched it when it came out, now almost three months ago, and it triggered my wanting to finally get this blog rolling, but it just doesn’t seem worth it -- the fact that several generations of Americans (and beyond) have developed into adults believing in and aping the behavior of a reactionary, fictional 1970s revival of 1950s atomic family values (itself largely a normative construct imposed by TV, Duh!) -- to such a degree that kids today are effectively living in a simulacrum of Stevens Spielberg and King’s bedwetting nightmares and subsequent attempts to shift blame (AKA Art) -- can’t be laid at the feet of one otherwise entertaining genre exercise. Especially one with Wynona....

Read the rest on LESS ART: The Blog!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

CORE 13: Defining Ourselves


Deveron Richard, "The Wheel of Vowels and Consonants II", 2016

Able ARTS Work presents:
CORE 13: Defining Ourselves
a visual and performing arts exhibition + film festival


CORE 13 gives context to what unifies us through shared dreams, desires, freedoms, fears, threats, - all a part of the human experience. Artists featured in the exhibition challenge assumptions, rewrite stories and propose alternate histories.

Curated by Los Angeles based artist and writer, Doug Harvey

CORE 13 is an inclusive exhibition for ALL artists. Wheelchair accessible. Presented with sign language interpretation, braille and audio description.

Exhibition Dates: October 21 - October 31, 2017

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:00 - 9:00pm

The Liberty Gallery
435 Alamitos Ave
Long Beach, CA 90802

Contact jtriefenbach@ableartswork.org for more information

CORE 13 is supported in part by a grant from The Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach, The Bess Hodges Foundation and The Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Parking Information:
There is ample FREE parking in the lot next to the gallery. Alternately, street parking is available.

Accessibility Information:
CORE is an inclusive exhibition for ALL artists. Wheelchair accessible. Presented w/sign language interpretation, braille & audio description.

Riders w/disabilities, plan your Metro trip https://www.metro.net/riding/riders-disabilities/

Watch Out! Here Come...


Friday, September 29, 2017

Throwblast Tuesback Fur!

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Here's one from back in the day -- 2000something? Erik Knutzen and myself under the aegis of the CCCP-SCC* presenting a program of  found social studies cinema as part of a "back to high school" (ironical since I never went in the first place!) performative interactive installation at Cleveland High in Reseda as part of Christine Louise Mills (then Berry)'s Smart Gals' Are You Interested? initiative.

*Coalition for Cinematic Conservation and Preservation - Southern California Chapter

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Oṃ maṇi padme VROOM Splat!


Just successfully completed Traffic School (Glendale speed trap) -- here was one of their safety tips!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Down in the Park After Dark

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MA with young adult Irish Wolfhound Georgie Girl, Donna Arcaro with Nigelesque Greyhound Picasso.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

RIP Greg Escalante

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I was very saddened to hear that Greg Escalante, founder of Juxtapoz, Copro-whatevs Gallery, and the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Chinatown killed himself. I had just seen him during Cathy Ward's opening at The Good Luck Gallery and he seemed OK. Not bubbly, but OK.

Greg meant a lot to me, he was a big supporter of my writing and curatorial efforts -- he hooked me up with two of my major curating projects -- Aspects of Mel's Hole at the GCAC, and Heart & Torch, the Rick Griffin retrospective at the Laguna Art Museum, which we collaborated on.

The pictures above & below (shot by Cathy Ward) shows me & Greg at the GEG last year(?), in a spontaneous reminiscence about Mel's Hole (I'm also wearing one of the Rick Griffin tee shirts produced for our show). Later we talked about doing some more shows together. Guess that won't happen on this plane...

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

New favorite cinematic moment...

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"Yeah, Tommy. Captain Wubba's gonna save Planet Xenon!"

(Experienced on HBO in the Motel 6 in Ventura, where we went to escape the L.A. heat wave!)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cathy Ward's Phantasmata

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Cathy Ward's Second Solo Show at The Good Luck Gallery
Phantasmata

Reception: Saturday Sept 2, 7-10pm
Exhibition Dates: Sept 2 - Oct 15
The Good Luck Gallery
945 Chung King Rd
LA, CA 90036

The Good Luck Gallery is excited to present UK artist Cathy Ward’s second American solo show, “Phantasmata”, built around the enormous (84 X 284 ins) title piece -- a black and white “drawing in acrylic on canvas” that expands the charged atmospheric intimacy of her celebrated scratchboard drawings to a new epic scale.

Surging and pulsing with dark energies constrained and released, Ward’s dense Herworld drawings capture the restless energy of abstract expressionism through meticulously rendered organic forms. Their undeniable mystery, emotional depth, and sensuality are delivered in a dazzling visual package that recalls psychedelic graphics, hermetic alchemical illustrations, and outsider horror vacui.

In addition to this magnum opus, Ward’s exhibit includes a bronze sculpture incorporating pagan ritual symbolism; exquisite ink drawings on translucent amoeba-shaped mother-of-pearl (Diluvian Sculptures); and two distinct gesso-on-ink portrait series -- Sprites and Spirits -- depicting supernatural entities in a style ranges from action painting to precise draftsmanship, resembling vintage hi-contrast micrographs of cellular structures.

Visions of The Luna Sea comprises a series of hand-painted and photocollaged visionary landscapes -- originally glimpsed during the artist’s “Madge Gill Medium & Visionary Artist“ residency at Orleans House in 2013, but only just completed. Corn Maidens depict “Wicker Man”-like pagan fetishes in incised ink on gold, while the Gaia’s Crown series are some of the most accomplished examples of Ward’s virtuosic scratchboard drawing technique.

With inspiration ranging from coral reef restoration initiatives to the myth of Demeter (the ancient Greek goddess of harvest) and her connection to the pagan corn dolly, Ward’s work opens a portal to a parallel reality -- one in which our exhausted world is revived and restored to a state of awe-inspiring complexity, wholeness, and fecundity by an upsurge of dark feminine energy from the mythological underworld. Step on through!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Kirby at 100

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In honor of his 100th birthday, here are some links to some Jack Kirby stuff I wrote or was involved in over the years... there a couple of other things somewhere, but my archives are slightly disordered.

http://dougharvey.la/doug_harvey.php?ID=192
www.tcj.com/jack-kirby-at-csun
www.tcj.com/jack-kirby-hand-of-fire-roundtable-part-1
www.tcj.com/jack-kirby-hand-of-fire-roundtable-part-2
www.tcj.com/jack-kirby-hand-of-fire-roundtable-part-3

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Videos of The Hi Hopes Live at The Good Luck Gallery!

Video from the closing celebration for "Summery Appeal" at The Good Luck Gallery in L.A.'s Chinatown, Aug 26 2017. Apologies for the outsider cinematography. More info: http://hope4arts.org/ http://www.thegoodluckgallery.com/exhibitions/past/summery-appeal/
 



Cath's Pix from the Hi Hopes at TGLG

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Summery Abstraction

One of the most surprising aspects of the curatorial process of Summery Appeal was discovering so many dev/diff artists with mad abstract skills -- indistinguishable from the work coming out of Yale or UCLA grad programs. Which isn't a slight to studio art grad students, just a gentle reminder that visual art is not a subset of sophisticated verbal discourse. Check out these (mostly still available) abstractions and judge for yourself...

PS: Although the show's now over The Good Luck Gallery is set up here for online sales: https://the-good-luck-gallery.myshopify.com/…/summery-appea…

Artists: Aljosha Owen, Aljosha Owen, Raymond McAdams, Wendell Frank, Vanessa McConnell,
Alejandro Diaz, Raymond McAdams, Leslie Paul, Crystal Serna, Tiffiny Boyd, Jonathan Jackson, Leslie Paul, Wendell Frank, Christie Cook, Chris Johnson, Vanessa McConnell, Marvin Castillo



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Alejandro Diaz - Untitled (A_Diaz4)