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I'm pretty sure we don't need any more Hello Kitty art or collaborations, but be that as it may, Sanrio's omnipresent little cartoon cat with the big head, Hello Kitty, is celebrating 35 years and will be reinterpreted by 80 contemporary artists at Culver City's Royal/T art space this weekend. And no doubt, the show will be packed with trendy art and toy lovers.
I've got the official press release as well as a sneak peek at 20 pieces of the art and items in the show for you.
It’s Hello Kitty’s 35th Anniversary and SANRIO is celebrating in a big way. In addition to launching a variety of special, limited edition products, SANRIO will introduce Three Apples, a multi-dimensional exhibition and celebration of all things Hello Kitty running from October 23 to November 15 at Royal/T in Culver City, CA.
above: The Royal/T in Culver City, a 10,000 square foot Japanese-inspired art exhibition space, retail store and “cosplay” maid café, located within the city’s vibrant arts community.
This is the first time that SANRIO has produced an event for the Hello Kitty fans in North America. The exhibition as well as all events will be open to the public, free of charge and will offer something for all Hello Kitty fans, no matter their age.
Three Apples -- so named as a nod to Hello Kitty’s weight as listed in her official bio – features an unprecedented lineup of over 80 celebrated artists, who’ve been invited to interpret their creative vision of Hello Kitty in unique, original works that will be on display and for sale. The art exhibition at Three Apples will be curated by Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of JapanLA, a Los Angeles boutique that specializes in "cute" Japanese and American products. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will benefit L.A. Works, a volunteer action center.
Here's a sneak peek at 20 or so of the pieces that will appearing in the show (and not just the ones sent out with the press release!):
Photographers Markus & Indrani's four photos of Lady Gaga X Hello Kitty in the show:
Jason Mecier's portrait of hello Kitty made entirely of Hello Kitty items:
Buff Monster cites heavy metal music, ice cream and Japanese culture as his major influences. His signature Pepto pink palette is a symbol of confidence, individuality and happiness and can be found in all his works, including fine art paintings, design projects and toy collaborations. Featured in numerous publications, including Juxtapoz and The New York Times, Buff Monster works tirelessly day and night to spread happiness, joy and a love of pink.
Colin Christian was born and raised in London where he was influenced by music, fashion and counterculture. Inspired by old sci-fi movies, pinup girl/supermodels, anime, ambient electronic music and H.P. Lovecraft, his original fiberglass figures and sculptures are cartoon realism eye candy. Christian's work has been featured on The Today Show, and he created the world's largest mouse trap for pest control company Truly Nolen, which is now featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.
above image courtesy of Hello Vinyl
Frank Kozik is a prolific artist, graphic designer and toy creator who has been featured in Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Spin and Details. Credited with single-handedly reviving the art of the concert poster, Kozik has produced hundreds of full-color, limited edition, silk screened posters under his belt for such renowned artists as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ice T, Jane's Addiction and The Beastie Boys. His art has been featured in over 60 exhibitions worldwide, including Tokyo and London, and Kozik's signature vinyl toys are coveted by collectors from around the globe.
Gary Baseman defines "pervasive art," blurring the line between toy culture and fine art with his strong iconic imagery, unique collaborations and unforgettable experiential gallery exhibitions, including his 2009 solo show and Basemanesque festival "La Noche de la Fusion." A leader in the global art movement, Baseman is a three-time Emmy award winning creator/executive producer of the animated series and film "Teacher's Pet," designer for the best selling game "Cranium," and Entertainment Weekly named Baseman one of the 100 Most Creative People in Entertainment.
Natalia Fabia is known for her signature glitter veneer oil paintings of sultry seductive women and modern ay Belle de Jours. The Los Angeles artist cites Toulouse-Lautrec, ornate interiors, punk rock music and sparkles among her inspirations. A media darling, Fabia has been featured in Juxtapoz, Inked, LA Weekly, New York Arts and on television series Miami Ink. Her custom jewelry line, HookerFeathers, adorns celebrities and fans alike.
Ron English, the painter whose "Abraham Obama" image struck a chord with so many during the 2008 Presidential Election, straddles three genres when creating his art: Pop Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Neo Realism. When he's not working on gallery-type pieces, English heads outside to slap posters over billboards and has been known to leave traces of his art around international cities. Considered one of the fathers of modern street art, he has initiated and participated in illegal public art campaigns since the 80's, and his murals include the Berlin Wall and the Palestinian separation wall.
Nate Frizell (detail):
(special thanks to Arrested Motion for the images of the works by Amanda Visell, Melissa Haslam, jeremyville and Nate Frizell)
Luke Chueh's paintings playfully weave light and dark narratives, connecting Pop Culture, Street Culture, and Geek Culture. Featured in Nylon magazine, Juxtapoz and Entertainment Weekly, Chueh's highly-sought after, minimalist work is best described as "a balance of cute & brute walking the fine line between comedy and tragedy" and his paintings have been reinterpreted into the popular toy/urban vinyl format by numerous respected brands.
Amada Visell's work combines images of childhood folklore and fantasy, and naughty "not quite fit for the tuck-you-in-with-a-nice-bed-time-story crowd." Many of her signature characters like Drunky McSkunky or The Pink Elephant are cute with a dark side. Along with her unique illustrations, Amanda has ventured into the toy world as well with her own plush company, My Switcheroo, which has released a plush Frank Kozik monger that stands over 2 feet tall. She also created artwork for Disneyland for the anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, as well as other events.
Three Apples -- so named as a nod to Hello Kitty's weight as listed in her official bio - features an unprecedented lineup of over 80 celebrated artists, who've been invited to interpret their creative vision of Hello Kitty in unique, original works that will be on display and for sale. The art exhibition at Three Apples will be curated by Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of JapanLA, a Los Angeles boutique that specializes in "cute" Japanese and American products. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will benefit L.A. Works, a volunteer action center that creates and implements hands-on community service projects throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
The show is said to include works by 80 artists. In addition to the artists' above, other featured artists in the show include:
* Friends With You (FWY) is an artist collaborative founded by Miami-based artists Sam Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III. Since its conception in 2002, FWY has promoted the artists' common message of magic, luck, and friendship, through its popular designer toy line, public art installations, new-form playgrounds, published works, live performances, and animation, motion picture, and multimedia projects. FWY has been featured at many of the most prestigious events in the global creative community including Art Basel in Miami and Pictoplasma in Berlin and was created with one basic concept in mind, to become Friends With You!
* Huck Gee is a contemporary artist, illustrator, toy maker, and designer best known by toy enthusiasts for his iconic "Skullhead" character. Influenced by Japanese and Hong Kong pop art, Gee calls his style "Bastardized Asian Pop Culture." In 2005, Gee partnered with KidRobot and Barneys New York on a unique project with fashion designers Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Dries Van Noten, Rick Owens, and Duckie Brown, and in 2007 Gee's KidRobot collaboration with artists Tristan Eaton and Paul Budnitz was accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
* Simone Legno is the Italian artist behind the highly popular tokidoki brand. Growing up in the punk scene in Rome, Simone likes to mix the edginess of girls with tattoos and brightly colored hair with his Japanese inspired illustrations. Legno's iconic imagery has been featured on numerous apparel and product collaborations, and most recently, the tokidoki creative director teamed up with mega retailer Target to feature Legno's designs on a series of custom items. Recognized worldwide, tokidoki has been featured in publications from W, Paper and Vogue to The New York Times, Variety, and Vanity Fair.
* Tara McPherson, a NYC based artist who got her start working on Matt Groening's "Futurama", creates art that's about people and their odd ways - calling upon personal issues and experiences for inspiration. Named the crown princess of poster art by Elle magazine, McPherson has created visuals for numerous bands including Beck, Modest Mouse and the Melvins. In addition to toy collaborations with various big name companies, McPherson's art was featured in the award winning film Juno and has been published in numerous magazines including Vanity Fair, Esquire, Juxtapoz, Marie Claire, and Spin.
Sanrio and Judith Leiber are launching a new handbag and accessory collection for Hello Kitty’s 35th Anniversary. The collection features Austrian crystal minaudieres including a “Retro Kitty” curved oval clutch, the “Pink Tulip” airstream, new “Hobo” style with silver handle, double sided mirror compact and key fob. The exclusive Hello Kitty Collection by Judith Leiber, will be available in October 2009 at Judith Leiber boutiques and online as well as at Sanrio’s flagship boutiques and on display at the Three Apples exhibition.
The Hello Kitty Robot will make her first appearance at the show:
Some of the commemorative merchandise available at the show:
two new mimbots to celebrate the 35 years:
Other items launched to commemorate the 35th anniversary:
And lastly, just a few of the yummy-looking Hello Kitty baked goods from the Royal/T to be served at the opening:
Images courtesy of Sanrio
Hello Kitty 35th Anniversary Design History Video from Sanrio, Inc: