To most, Giant Robot Biennale 3 at JANM is simply the biggest, best group show that an indie artist can be associated with. It isn’t very often that pop-rooted, independent fine artists (Asian or not) are given a top-shelf venue to gather and shine. Eric does a rad job of cultivating this scene, and has built up a real family of artists in the process. I am really proud to have worked with him on the magazine that has showcased so many of them.
So as the end of publication nears its two year mark, attending the opening felt a lot like a family reunion to me. I hardly get out to Sawtelle these days, and see Eric and the artists pretty rarely. So while it was especially cool to see the amazing art on the first day (such as the sculpture by Ako Castuera, above) it was just as rad to see so many people that I have grown close to (like the Big Boss Robot and his family, below).
Okay, it’s not like I knew everyone there. After I answered the person who checked me in that I was with four guests instead of one, she looked annoyed and asked, “Are you an artist?” No, but I quickly took the stickers for my wife Wendy (who designed GR mags 18-68), daughter Eloise, niece Lucia, and cousin visiting from New Zealand and moved on.
Right after the opening remarks by Eric and JANM representatives, Wendy and I saw our friends Susie Ghahremani and Michael Esten. They drove up from San Diego in time for the Chickfactor concert and stuck around to see Susie’s customs in the opening!
This isn’t a Top Ten list like “Best Concert, Best Movie, or Best Toy”. It’s a list that’s as important and there are highlights in them all, but by no means is it a Top Ten of anything. They’re just important as everything else – family, friends, and so on. Maybe I’ll try and turn out a list that’s more like that…
We painted the mural on the wall. That alone was an 11 hour project.
Zen Garage – The year started off great with the Zen Garage art opening just a few days before the new year. Yet, the actual New Year’s Day kicked off with the Oshogatsu program at JANM. It was motor vehicles including the Giant Robot Scion Car I designed but also custom motorcycles and the now vintage David Choe Scion. Thanks to Len Higa and Shinya Kimura for jumping on board. The year began with a GR show in a museum – it’s a great start with you get to do a project with friends, new friends, and a place like JANM. Collaboration can be more fun than doing something alone.
It’s great when artists install their own work.
James Jean Art Show – Aside from it being one of the greater or even greatest art shows of the year, it also indelibly marked the night that the earthquake struck Japan. I recall, it was at the after party, the twitter messages were beginning. An 8.9 quake? The thought of a giant quake was one thing, yes there would be lives lost and yes a lot of damage, but less than an hour later, the Tsunami hit the shores and that’s when the things got real, it became internet news for days straight.