Approaching the Corey Helford Gallery in the Culver City Art District, I noticed long lines of fans and a large signature D*Face mural beaming from the side of the gallery wall. The show has been aptly entitled “Going Nowhere Fast” and the mural described just that – a man and woman in a car speeding, illustrated wind flying past them, in skull faced madness. Seeing D*Face’s signature cartoon-like zombie characters combined with Roy Lichtenstein’s classic imagery blew me away. If you are unfamiliar with D*Face, his style is best described as a combination of psychobilly comic book fine art, while the program at Corey Helford defined his work as POPcalyptic “a metaphorical backdrop for the corruptive persuasive consumerist folly that has been force fed into society.” D*Face’s art is seen as a narrative of pop culture, the American dream, and the false ideal of good triumphing over evil. The powerful imagery and vibrant colors had patrons standing in awe with mouths open.
At the entrance was a zombified Academy Award Oscar that was drawing a lot of attention from everyone standing in line. Being led in by a photographer friend, Reserve Result, we went straight to the back of the gallery to meet D*Face himself. As I waited to talk to the man of the hour, my companion StuRad conversed with Shepard Fairey about his techniques on the image editing program Adobe Illustrator. Fairey described how he “Frankensteins” his work with different pieces, as well as other tricks of the trade. Couldn’t believe I was overhearing this amazing conversation. Right place, right time.
I was nervous, as I wasn’t expecting this to actually happen – D*Face looked like he was neck deep in Hollywood. After being given an introduction by an associate of ours, D*Face seemed to let his guard down and open up a bit to me. This wasn’t D*Face talking, it was the real artist behind the name. Looking a bit overwhelmed, he sounded relieved when I asked how his night had been despite the madness. I brought up the recent LA Weekly article he was featured in, where he discussed the fascination people had with street artist’s identities. He didn’t understand why people were so curious, explaining that he wasn’t used to the attention, but secretly loved it. We exchanged where we came from and other bits of conversation, as he expressed his appreciation towards fans of his work. Soon though people were pulling to get a piece of D*Face, and felt that it was time to wrap the conversation.
Making my way through the gallery taking photos I noticed there were a lot of street artist here – from your local electrical box wheat paster, to artists who paint on the sides of massive structures. I was able to tell Mear One that the first roof top I climbed was to get a picture a mural he did in Echo Park. He was signing programs and being very kind to anyone who wanted to have a quick chat. The atmosphere here was very welcoming and spirits were high. I had unknowingly run into Banksy’s friend and artist in his own right Ben Eine at another art show that night. His photographer gave me the pleasure of introducing me to the mysterious character in the back of the room. Eine was standing there wearing a black hoodie, black pants, black backpack, black sunglasses (indoors?), and his hands covered with yes you guessed it…black spray paint. I complimented Eine on all the massive letters he’s put around Hollywood lately, and the large pieces recently completed in San Francisco. He nodded his head and then we discussed our favorite pieces of the night from the show. Noticing I was standing next to D*Face again, I grabbed a program for the show and had him create a little doodle on it for me. While he drew I pointed out some of my favorite street art works in Los Angeles and New York. We talked about the hassles of painting on metal shutters and wheat pasting on difficult walls. D*Face was shocked that I was familiar with so much of his work from around the US, which seemed to humble him a bit. The night was fast becoming crazy, as zombified entertainers began walking the gallery: Andy Warhol, Michael Jackson and Marilyn Manroe. These staged actors reflected D*Face’s thoughts on death and pop iconography, while ironically adding life to the gallery.
The night was filled with amazing art, the beautiful people of LA, a great DJ, and enough art celebrities to make TMZ freak out…if they were into art.
D*Face’s “Going Nowhere Fast” is the great show for any art lover, and a perfect introduction to street art for friends who have never experienced it. There is enough pop related, punk related, and even bug related art there to keep you staring and pondering “why?”
– photos and story by Birdman for Warholian.com
D*Face “Going Nowhere Fast” On view April 9- April 27, 2011 at Corey Helford Gallery
8522 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 T: 310-287-2340 www.coreyhelfordgallery.com
Open Tuesday-Saturday, Noon to 6:00pm
For more information on D*Face, visit his official site at: http://www.dface.co.uk/