Eric Nakamura Giant Robot magazine began in 1994, as a staple-and-fold zine and has now grown into a full-fledged bi-monthly magazine, which is available at most stores and newsstands. Giant Robot opened its first store in 2001, and formulated a combination of pop culture goods, ranging from Japanese import toys, graphic design and art books, and monthly art exhibitions. Giant Robot has since opened stores and galleries in San Francisco and New York City and even has a restaurant called gr/eats in West Los Angeles. Curating this exhibition is the publisher/co-editor and owner, Eric Nakamura who curates most of the 36 exhibitions Giant Robot puts on annually in each of the three cities.
APAK Ayumi and Aaron Piland are the fantastical magical duo known as APAK. They are a husband and wife collaborative art group who live among the trees in a little cabin on the outskirts of Portland. When they combine forces they are able to travel to other dimensions, beyond time and space to bring back images from their travels for your viewing pleasure. Visit them online at Apakstudio.com.
Gary Baseman Pervasive Artist. Painter. TV/Movie Producer. Toy Designer. The Los Angeles Times calls his art “adorably perverse.” Baseman has exhibited around the world, including Rome, Los Angeles, New York City, Taipei, Barcelona, and Berlin. He also had an installation at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, paintings and sculptures in MOCA Shanghai, and had a two man show at the Laguna Art Museum titled Pervasion. Baseman blurs the line between toy culture and fine art with his strong iconic images, both playful and dark, childlike and adult, id-driven and thought-provoking. Besides his painting, Baseman is the three-time Emmy award winning creator and executive producer of “Teacher’s Pet,” the critically acclaimed animated series and film. His artwork can also be seen in The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and on the best-selling game “Cranium.” Entertainment Weekly Magazine named Baseman as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Entertainment." His 352-page book of his art, titled Dumb Luck was published by Chronicle Books, while his latest title, A Hunger for Venison, was just released in September 2007.
David Choe David Choe began his career in Los Angeles and is currently one of the most prolific artists today. His inspiration ranges from graffiti, comic books, to the masters of fine art. One of his first accolades was his Xeric-grant-funded Slow Jams comic which mixed his story-telling and art styles and brought together a fan base overnight. His subsequent publications include Bruised Fruit and Cursiv. His most current work appears on the cover of Giant Robot 50 and on much of the branding for this exhibition. A documentary film about his art, Dirty Hands: The Art and Life of David Choe, is available on view at www.dirtyhandsmovie.com. These days, Choe has seen success in playing poker, and his art production is mostly in murals and public art events.
Seonna Hong The gears turn and shift in Seonna Hong’s career as an artist and animation art director. After receiving her BA in Art at California State University, Long Beach, she spent several rewarding years teaching art to children. In 1999, she made the transition into the animation industry and in 2004 Seonna received an Emmy Award for Individual Achievement in Background Styling for her work on “My Life as a Teenage Robot” (Nickelodeon). She continues to keep her plate full with national and international gallery and museum shows and in 2005, released her first moving picture book, Animus (Baby Tattoo Books).
Saelee Oh Saelee Oh lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She is an artist, working mainly in drawing, painting and paper cut-outs, although she has also worked with sculpture, installation and animation. Common themes and subject matter are female protagonists, nature, utopia and animal symbolism. In 2003, Oh graduated with honors from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA with a BFA in Illustration. She has given presentations at Saint Lawrence University and Harvard University, and her work has been shown in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Texas, New York, United Kingdom and Japan, among others.
Pryor Praczukowski Originally from Seattle, Washington, and a graduate from the Cornish Art Institute Art+Design and in Photography at the University of Washington, Praczukowski now finds home in Los Angeles. Feeding off of the cinematic system of eight lobby cards per movie, he’s creating stills for a film that does not exist, but very well can. Through each of the eight images, he scripts a story around “film stills.” Occasionally there’s action, drama, and even romance and he uses actors, friends, and acquaintances. He’s put together numerous series, all using “scope” masking of a regular 35mm negative. Praczukowski is currently an art director at a magazine, does color balancing for Giant Robot, and is working on a series of short films. The series being shown in this exhibition are from his series, In an Unknown Place and Under the Light of a Fell Moon.
Souther Salazar Souther Salazar’s work first began to circulate in the early '90s, in the form of photocopied cut-and-paste microcomics and ’zines made in his bedroom as a young teenager in rural Oakdale, California. After graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, he moved to Los Angeles. Salazar exhibits his collages, paintings, drawings and sculptures in dense and frenzied installations that encourage exploration and participation by the viewer. His work has appeared in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Tokyo, and in publications such as Kramers Ergot, Swindle and The Drama and a recent cover feature in Giant Robot.
Sashie Masakatsu Masakatsu Sashie’s works are often called “orb paintings” since he conveniently packages memories of his youth into compact spheres. Hailing from Kanazawa, Japan, his works capture the scope of his youthful activities, and the orbs often represent memories that fade away from the world. His previous work echoes darker imagery, the orbs appeared to be dead, but his more recent work, show a vibrant background, and the orbs are often colorful. He cites Mobile Suit Gundam as in influence, and enjoys art by Yukio Oscar Oiwa and Anthonio Lopez Garcia. Currently, he teaches at his alma mater, Kanazawa College of Art.
Eishi Takaoka Although the sculptures of Eishi Takaoka all portray the same serene expression, their outwardly calm façade belies a world of bottled-up emotions. With nowhere to go, these intense feelings manifest themselves in outlandish formations that sprout out of the top of each figure’s head. The uniquely sculpted heads of Takaoka are rooted in a personal fantasy world that is fueled by the emotional ups and downs of daily life in lower-middle class Japan. He instills his frustration with life in Kagoshima and feelings of isolation into each of the pieces, which are comprised of carved wood painted with raw mineral pigments placed atop empty glass medicine bottles. Takaoka’s pieces have been seen in group shows in Tokyo and New York, one-person exhibitions at Giant Robot New York and GR2 in Los Angeles, and on the cover of novelist Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.
Adrian Tomine Adrian Tomine began his comics career in his teens and quickly caught people’s attention with his self published comic, Optic Nerve. He soon signed on with Drawn & Quarterly and won a Harvey Award for “Best New Talent” the following year. In 1995 his early mini-comics were collected in book form in the perennial fan favorite 32 Stories. In 1997, D+Q published Sleepwalk and Other Stories. Comprised of the first four D+Q issues of Optic Nerve, it remains a best-seller for the company. He also released another anthology, Summer Blonde, and a book of sketches, paintings, and comics collected into Sketchbook. Recently, Tomine released a collection of his last three issues of Optic Nerve into a single book, Shortcomings, a tale of a misguided Asian American youth. When he’s not drawing comics, Tomine’s constantly busy with illustration jobs from the magazines like Time, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker.