Punk Photos B-Shots Exhibition Continues at Balconi

Here’s more info.

“Solo show” and “Artist” aren’t two things that go along with my name, but for an evening on Sunday March 30th, I heard it a few times. First, it’s a “solo show”, but “artist” feels like a stretch. I shot photos for pure fun in the late 80s and early to mid 90s. I wanted to keep improving the images and the craft mattered to me. When walking into a venue, I did two things, first, a quick scan of the best vantage points and then I’d figure out how to capture the essence of the band or show. The show mattered too, but I was hell-bent on trying to get an image that captured something great.

This was before cellphones, selfies, and iPads. It was before sd cards, thumb drives, and uploading photos to a blog. This was manual photography, processing film, and hand printing on an enlarger. It was shot in black and white and not Photoshopped into black and white. Contrast was added with a filter, dodging and burning was done by hand, and there were plenty of test strips, fiber photo paper, 4 blade easels, Dektol, stop bath, fixer, hypo-clear, washing, and finally drying.

Who knew that 20+ years after shooting the pics, I would have an exhibition of some of the shots at my favorite cafe – Balconi Coffee. It started off innocently. I’ve been keeping a left-eye out for the negatives, but never bothered to really look. I’m into moving forward, not backwards. Then one day less than two months ago, I opened a random box and there they were – about half of the negatives and more than enough for an exhibition. After showing a couple of shots to friend and curator, Kio Griffith, he suggested a low-pressure exhibition.

It took me a while to figure out what mattered most about my time shooting photos of bands. It wasn’t all about the music or the musicians at all. It was something larger – the scene that housed it all. The kids, the venues, the details in between, and the stories that went with it. Throughout my photos, there’s plenty of “us” in the crowd watching the bands at the venues, and that’s as close to capturing the entire scene in just one shot. It was a great era for punk and indie rock.

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OMCA: Ray Potes Hamburger Eyes + David Choe

Ray Potes from Hamburger Eyes stopped in today to check out his prints. They’re gigantic and it’s part of a grid of photos being displayed in his section. Glad to see his curated images so large. I’m not sure how Hamburger Eyes is viewed everywhere, or if it’s viewed, but knowing the commitment to the craft of photography and taking it to the world of zines is amazing. Ray Potes and his crew do a lot for the world of photography. I’m proud of have them as part of this exhibition and it was great to see Ray for more than a few minutes since the LA Art Book Fair. I’ll see him again soon on April 18th.


Meanwhile, David Choe just about finished his mural. It’s amazing how people tried to get in by “delivering food”. Did you really think you’d get into the doors? Security stopped some strangers from getting in. This piece shows a lot of maturity of David Choe. Can a face be obscured? Does each line need to represent something? Can it be abstraction? The work slowly changes in a great way. Not everything needs to be literal and clear. Glad to work with him again. Meanwhile catch him on ViceTV.

OMCA will be diligently working onwards for the SuperAwesome exhibition.

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Giant Robot Magazine Talk: Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong


(podcast of the talk at bottom)

Giant Robot Presented Tales of Print March 23rd, 2014.

I doubt there could ever be closure to Giant Robot magazine unless the door gets completely slammed, meaning no shop or gallery. Maybe I’d have to drop dead for that to happen. But then again, there are huge parts of my life, especially in new projects where Giant Robot magazine is a completely unknown part of my past. It’s amazing how many folks don’t know it. Then, there are moments when it’s brought back to life for an instant.

It’s great to speak with Martin about a period totaling 16 years of our lives. How can you do that in a window of two hours? You can’t, but you can fly through ideas with the broadest of strokes. We showed some slides of magazine stories from different topics, including travel, art, cinema, food, and history. Contributors, volunteers, friends, family, and past cover artists came through. It was nice to see their faces. The talk went for a little over an hour and a half and frankly, it went by a little too quick. There’s so much to say, so much minutiae that you can’t remember on the spot, and so little time. It was a long road to issue 68 and although 69 isn’t happening soon, you’ll never know what might happen. It’s one of those, “it can happen, but should it?”

A few questions came up and those were always nice to hear. Gladly, again our friends were the ones asking. It was fun to go over things again and even in this post, it’s hard to sum things up. Maybe it’s best to let them be changing memories, so that it lasts infinitely. Like that final episode of Lost, I wish I could flash sideways and hang out again.

Meanwhile, the 20 Year exhibition at GR2 continues, and the line up of artists might be one of the greatest ever, but part of that, is thanks to the legacy of Giant Robot. Imagine, among the first to join in when I sent out a call to artists? It was literally Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara. Both of whom I haven’t heard from in ages, jumped on right away. The many other artists as well, from way back to the final. It’s an honor and it’s great to keep working with many of them who I still see on a regular basis.


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Punk Rock Photo Exhibition 3/30 6-9p at Balconi Coffee – B Shots

A long time ago, I shot black and white photos of bands in LA. The negatives were lost for years and I just recently found them. Although there’s even more that will one day turn up, I’ll be showing a decent grouping at Balconi Coffee in West LA. Here’s the FB event page. I’ll write a few “liner notes” for the photos. Bands included in the shots: 7 League Boots, Antioch Arrow, Beck, Big Drill Car, Bikini Kill, Courtney Love, Drive Like Jehu, Dwarves, Fishbone, Jane’s Addiction, Jawbreaker, Jesus Lizard, John Spencer Blue Explosion, Kurt Cobain, L7, Living Colour, Firehose, Mudhoney, The Nymphs, Public Enemy, Slug, Sonic Youth, Supersuckers, Unwound.


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L.A. Heat: Taste Changing Condiments opens tonight at CAM with the inventors of Sriracha and Tapatio

On Tuesday morning, I got to check out a preview of the L.A. Heat: Taste Changing Condiments group show at the Chinese Museum. The impressive 30-artist lineup–which pays tribute to the Sriracha and Tapatio hot sauces that spread culture around L.A. and beyond–features many names that will be familiar to Giant Robot heads: The Clayton Brothers, David Chung, Kwanchai Moriya I grabbed a photo with contributing artist Michael C. Hsiung and co-curator/Interim Executive Director of CAM Steve Wong in advance of the packed opening.

Also present on press day were artists Trinh Mai, Michael Massenburg, and Ching Ching Cheng–each is as cool as her or she is talented. Tonight’s gala will be open to the public and will feature most of the artists as well as the inventors of the Southern California-based Sriracha and Tapatio, David Tran and Jose-Luis Saavedra, Sr. Excellent art, culinary legends, and a cool museum celebrating its tenth anniversary–check it out tonight in El Pueblo de Los Angeles, right across from Olvera Street!

Reception info -

Address -
Chinese American Museum

425 N. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012




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GR2: 3/9/14 (3-5pm) Nathan Ota – Monoprint Workshop

Giant Robot 2 – 2062 Sawtelle Blvd LA, CA 90025 310-445-9276

Sunday March 9th, 2014 3-5pm

Nathan Ota Monoprint Workshop. Learn to make a one-off print using simple techniques and get exhibition quality results. The images on the flyer were created using this technique.

Bring an X-acto blade handle. We’d normally try and supply it, but ending up with 10-20 extra handles are useless for us. We will probably have some on hand regardless. We’ll have the correct blade. Bring the paper(s) you’d like your final print to be on. We’ll have plain paper, perhaps some nicer paper, and smaller sheets too.

Because of the use of blades, it will require close adult supervision of children.

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Yoshitomo Nara Exhibition – Blum and Poe 3/1/14

Culver City – Yoshitomo Nara’s perhaps 7th or 8th exhibition is an fantastic journey through his career. Giant bronze sculptures show some of his latest art projects. They’re huge, but at the same time, there are plenty of new paintings which are becoming more refined than ever. Nara’s characters eyes are deeper and rich. His new works also include “billboards” which are giant versions of his drawings set up on crate-like pieces of wood. I especially enjoyed seeing the collage of pencil drawings which are also affixed on crates. Upstairs, it’s 30 years of drawings and plenty of them, from 1984 – 2014 with a time line narrative of where he was or what events were happening. You can see the progression of his drawing style. Blum and Poe’s gallery space perfectly houses it all. It’s more of a museum style exhibition and guess what? It really is. As confirmed by Tim Blum himself who told me that it’s traveling.

Also imagine, Tim Blum is the OG Otaku. He spent years in Japan, speaks fluently, and eventually came back to the US and opened a gallery in Santa Monica in the mid 90s. He brought Nara and Takashi Murakami to the US and grew with them. Imagine the sphere of influence by these two artists from style, technique, business acumen, to place in popular culture. Those who were influenced have already influenced another generation of artists.


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GR2: 20 Years Art X Mags Exhibition

Mar 15th – April 2nd 2014

Reception Saturday March 15, 2014 5-10pm

Mar 15th – April 2nd 2014
Reception Saturday March 15, 2014 5-10pm

Giant Robot presents: 20 Years Art x Mags Exhibition
Giant Robot began in 1994 as a zine which soon became a full-fledged magazine and published for 16 years. Today, Giant Robot exists as a website, a shop, and as a gallery. Although the exact date of inception is a mystery, the date published on the cover of the first issue says it all – No. 1 and 1994.

Featuring many artists who have appeared in Giant Robot and some who haven’t.

The list includes:

Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Ryan McGinness, Rob Sato, Geoff McFetridge, Pete Fowler, kozyndan, Shintaro Ohata, Matt Furie, Albert Reyes, Shizu Saldamando, Souther Salazar, Megan Whitmarsh, Stella Lai, Saelee Oh, Seonna Hong, Adrian Tomine, Amy Davis, Ai Yamaguchi, James Jean, Heisuke Kitazawa, Scott Wilkowski, Jeff Soto, Mari Inukai, Sean Chao, David Horvath, Dehara Yukinori, Luke Chueh, Kohei Yamashita, Yoskay Yamamoto, Edwin Ushiro, Ako Castuera, Bobby Hundreds, 326, Rachell Sumpter, and yes plenty more TBA.

This exhibition will precede the epic SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot at the Oakland Museum of California. April 19 – July 27th, 2014.

For any additional information, contact Eric Nakamura ([email protected], twitter: giantroboteric) GR2 – 310-445-9276.

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GR2: Nathan Ota – Scrambled Eggs Reception

Nathan Ota – Scrambled Eggs and a Side of Collectables Reception – A spirited evening for sure. It’s amazing to see the diversity of Nathan Ota’s audience from younger to older, and from punk rock to upper crust. While he is as humble as they come, Nathan Ota’s work are impressive in technique, detail, and subject.

It’s an honor to have Nathan Ota’s work on our walls.

You can browse his works here. Below photo is Nathan Ota and his old friend, Chiwan Choi


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Yumi Sakugawa and Friends: Valentine’s Day at GR2

Sorry so late on the photos! The night was great. We did two readings, both standing room only. It was an amazing night and hopefully a great Valentine’s Day.

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GR Testimonials for Oakland Museum of Ca

Giant Robot testimonials seem to be cruising along. I know some of you might be thinking, “wtf is this?” or are over thinking it in general. One video was a cool eight seconds long. Another, two full minutes. Some people claim to be too busy to pull out their phones and record themselves for 30 seconds or less, but still promote their lives on Facebook.

The video will play in a loop in some portion of the exhibition. It’ll be used perhaps in some promotional method as well. The videos submitted thus far have been a pleasure to see and although the first deadline passed, we’ll still take them. Record, and send them my way.

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Yoshitomo Nara at Blum and Poe


Mr Yoshitomo Nara is having an exhibition at Blum and Poe this weekend in Culver City. I was limited as to what I could photograph since installs were still going on. 30 years of drawings, giant sculptures (really huge), giant paintings (of course), and new and different types of works on “billboards”. I met Nara in 2000 or 2001 and although it’s been a bit, he’s the same guy. He said something like, “it felt like yesterday” when we met, but for me, it seemed like ages ago. I wonder what that means. Below: we’re at GR2 and below that, he’s polishing a piece.


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GR2: 2/22 – 3/12 Nathan Ota – Scrambled Eggs and a side of Collectables

Feb 22, 2014 – Mar 12th, 2014

Reception Saturday Feb 22st, 2014 6:30-10pm

Giant Robot – Twenty Years 2014 – Presents:

Nathan Ota – Scrambled Eggs and a side of Collectables 

Nathan Ota is a graffiti legend who grew up painting with fellow artists like Risk in Los Angeles in the 80′s. His diligence led him on a successful route of fine art and this exhibition at GR2 will feature smaller original works and a few exciting new products and previews of things to come. His works are vibrant and detailed and his technique is unabashed. Ota attended high school at University High School, local from the gallery and this exhibition will be a sort of a “homecoming”. When he’s not painting, Ota teaches art at both Otis College of Art and Design and at Santa Monica College.

For any additional information about Nathan Ota or anything else, email: [email protected]

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GR2: Giant Robot and L.A. Zine Fest Presents: Friend-Love with Benefits 2/14 7-10pm Friend-Love with Benefits

Giant Robot and L.A. Zine Fest Presents: Friend-Love with Benefits

This Valentine’s Day, join Giant Robot and L.A. Zine Fest for a night of visual comic readings by 6 different comic book artists and zine-makers on the eternal themes of love, relationships, heartbreak, friend-crushes, online dating and more.

Short comic readings by comic book artists and zine-makers based in Los Angeles and beyond:
Bangs & Beard
Jesse Tise
Kelsey Short
Nick Sumida
Yumi Sakugawa

A book reading and signing of I THINK I AM IN FRIEND-LOVE WITH YOU by Yumi Sakugawa. 

Zine prizes and give-aways at the end of the night. 

Friend-Love with Benefits
February 14th, 2014 
7:00PM – 10:00PM  

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MOCA: 1/31 – 2/2 Giant Robot@LAARTBOOKFAIR

at the Temporary Contemporary Location

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Yoshitomo Nara interviewed from November 2013

Interesting interview with one of my favorite artists of all time. Yoshitomo Nara interviewed from November 2013 (

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OMCA Celebrates the Art of Giant Robot in New Contemporary Art Exhibition Opening April 19

New Exhibition Coincides With 20th Anniversary of Giant Robot Magazine Celebrating Asian American Pop Culture and Beyond

(PDF Press Release)

Oakland, CA)This spring, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents the major exhibitionSuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot. On view in OMCA’s Great Hall from April 19 to July 27, 2014, the exhibition features 15 contemporary artists that have been inspired by the artistic sensibility of Giant Robot throughout its 20-year evolution.

Co-curated by Giant Robot visionary Eric Nakamura and OMCA’s Associate Curator of Art & Material Culture Carin Adams, SuperAwesome presents new or recent works by California and international-based artists affiliated with the culture and aesthetic of the popular magazine that brought Asian, trans-Pacific popular culture to mainstream audiences in the United States. Artists featured in the exhibition include: Ako Castuera, Sean Chao, David Choe, Luke Chueh, Hamburger Eyes, Andrew Hem, James Jean, Kozyndan, Masakatsu Sashie, Shizu Saldamando, Rob Sato, Amy Sol, Deth P Sun, and Adrian Tomine. Art works in the exhibition represent a range of mediums, including mural art, sculpture, illustration, portraiture, large-scale installations, graphic novels, photography, and more.

In addition, the exhibition features Giant Robot magazines and ephemera, vinyl toys, custom vending machines, and the original Giant Robot Scion XB. Designed by Eric Nakamura, inspired by Nintendo’s Famicom gaming console, and fabricated by Len Higa, the car-turned-interactive gaming station boasts built-in sound and projectors. Visitors will be able use the car to play the original game Return of the Quack by Chevy Ray Johnston with graphics by Matt Furie.

“SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot will emphasize the larger pop cultural context that informed so much of the early days of Giant Robot.” says Carin Adams, OMCA’s Associate Curator of Art & Material Culture. “In addition to recent work, OMCA is excited to present new installations such as a custom mural by David Choe—who painted a mural on the Facebook campus, as well as a large scale outdoor mural in our Oak Street Plaza by Andrew Hem.”

Over the past 20 years, the Giant Robot brand has expanded to include retail stores and galleries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, a restaurant, museum and gallery exhibitions, and a popular website. It has also become an important outlet for a generation of emerging artists, several of whom have achieved mainstream success—such as Adrian Tomine, whose work has graced many New Yorker covers, and James Jean, whose is best known for his work for Prada, ESPN, and Atlantic Records.

“In SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot museum-goers will see that a certain artistic sensibility has remained intact throughout Giant Robot’s evolution,” says guest curator and Giant Robot co-founder Eric Nakamura. “The art is accessible because it has an illustrative aspect. People without art backgrounds can understand it.”

SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot will be on view at the Oakland Museum of California April 19 through July 27, 2014. The exhibition connects to OMCA’s other spring exhibition Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records through programs and in-gallery experiences celebrating how a range of communities comes together to create shared popular culture.

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GR2: 2/1/14 – 2/19/14 Year of the Horse Exhibition

Feb 1, 2014 – Feb 19th, 2014

Reception Saturday Feb 1st, 2014 6:30-10pm

Year of the Horse Exhibition

It’s the Year of the Horse which officially takes place January 30th, but on saturday, Feb 1st, 2014, Giant Robot will celebrate Year of the Horse with a group exhibition featuring 50+ artists. Horses are a constant great subject in art, and this will be an interesting and fun exhibition.

Featuring: Andrice Arp, Bubi Au Yeung, Rob Bellm, Elliot Brown, Aaron Brown, Stasia Burrington, Ako Castuera, Christopher Chan, Kris Chau, Shawn Cheng, Luke Chueh, Leah Chun, Theo Ellsworth, Cam Floyd, Kio Griffith, David Horvath, Martin Hsu, Mari Inukai, Levon Jihanian, Andrea Kang, Jeremiah Ketner, Jon Lau, Gosha Lev, Tiffany Liu, Jerome Lu, David Mack, Jim Mahfood, Jeff McMillan, Kwanchai Moriya, Masato Nakada, Shihori Nakayama, Shiho Nakaza, Tru Nguyen, Yejin Oh, Mu Pan, Sidney Pink, Sara Saedi, Yumi Sakugawa, Ken Taya, Daria Tessler, Jesse Tise, Jen Tong, Edwin Ushiro, Patricia Wakida, Christine Wu, Yoskay Yamamoto, Kohei Yamashita, Jeni Yang, APAK, Omocat, Miso, PCP, Feric, Little Friends of Printmaking and more.

For any additional information about Year of the Horse or anything else, email: [email protected]

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Photographer Adds Herself to Her Childhood Photos – Chino Ohtsuka

Chino Ohtsuka isn’t just a photographer. She’s a master of insertion. No! Not that kind, she puts current herself back to the past in her old childhood photos. It’s like Back to the Future but no need for a Flux Capacitor. What makes her better than anyone else I’ve ever seen do this? Her skills of putting herself into the photos are quite great. I’d like to see the photos huge to really judge, but so far, they look like they’re aged well, toned right, and sized perfectly. Imagine yourself in your old childhood photos. Someone cash in on the app, quick. You heard it here. (Bored Panda – Chino Ohtsuka) At the moment her site’s bandwidth is exceeded. (Chino Ohtsuka site)

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GR2 Interview: Merging Views – Dan-ah Kim

1) Explain about your work area / studio. What about it makes you enjoy working there?

I recently moved into a small art studio in Gowanus, close to where I live. I like having a space outside of my apartment where I can go to focus on work, put drawings up on the walls, make and leave a mess. It’s basically a white box that reminds me of art school studios, but it’s the first private space I’ve had and it feels like my secret hideout.

2) How does it differ from your last working area?

Right before this space I spent a year in large studio shared with a florist. That one was really inspiring to work out of but after moving apartments it became too long of a commute. Before that I worked out of a small bedroom crammed with supplies and paintings tucked away in every corner, my cat’s paw prints making their way into paintings.

3) You have other endeavors along with your fine art. Can you talk about what you do there, and how that intertwines with your work?

For the past few years I’ve been working as a graphic artist or assistant art director in film and television. My job consists of creating any graphic needs for the shoot, from signage to props and set dressing. It doesn’t crossover with my art work much, unless a decorator borrows some prints to put up in a set. I paint during the weekends, and usually spend a few months on a film or show then take a few weeks off to work on personal projects. I’m also about to self-publish my first children’s picture book!  It’s called “If I Lived in the Sky” and I hope it’s the first of several. (more…)