Giant Robot Store and GR2 News


Martin Hsu is friendly with an effervescent positive energy. It’s easy to just write something like that, but when you first meet him and see his eyes get genuinely wide, you’ll know it’s all true. Originally from Taiwan, Hsu lived in Southern California and went to school in Orange County. He’s nearly a 100% LA native, but his recent move to San Francisco provides a new energy into his art work. A slight hike from the Mission District, he lives in the Castro area in a Victorian home.

An impromptu visit yielded a charming house, great artwork everywhere (no, not all by him), and many “cool things”. He made me some tea and showed me his studio area where I got to see his works in progress for Undercurrents, which is beginning at Giant Robot 2 in just under two weeks.


GR: How did you get started in art?

MH: As far as I can recall, I started in art on drawing on the back of torn out calendar pages at my grandparents’ house in Taiwan in elementary school. They took care of my cousins and I when our parents were at work. Those are still the most treasured times of my life.

After graduating from CSUF with a degree in animation, I worked professionally as a character designer for a number of years before diving into the world of putting paint on wood. It’s an incredible feeling turning personal ideas into original pieces people enjoy, and I couldn’t do it without the support from my amazing friends and family.

GR: What’s your day time life like? Can you mix that with your art work?

MH: This year I’ve decided to take a break from my professional work and focus on personal art for a bit. For the first time in my life, I’m on my own working for myself and I feel extremely blessed being able to do so. My days nowadays are consisted of lots of walking around in San Francisco. When I’m not sketching or painting, I enjoy lying down on the grass at Dolores Park in between coffee shops watching and listening to people around me. It’s something quite special and I hope to do it for a while.

Some pieces from his upcoming exhibition Undercurrents


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Art Exhibition at GR2 Undercurrents New Artwork by Martin Hsu and Lawrence Yang October 15 – November 16, 2011 Opening reception Saturday October 15, 6:30-10pm GR2 2062 Sawtelle Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90025 (310) 445-9276 Currents are the source of life and death. What lies beneath the surface is unseen and often forgotten, but it’s also where much light and magic can be found. This series of paintings explores the color, vibrancy, and luminosity of the deep. Angelic creatures serve as messengers of life. They examine undiscovered feelings hidden away from the obvious by bringing light to the darkest places. There’s much beauty in the dark and life is brighter than we think. Martin Hsu is an artist and designer based in San Francisco. He takes much inspiration from nature, animals, and Hayao Miyazaki. The series of paintings he created for Undercurrents is based on the concept of life arising from death. It’s also infused with his fascination for vibrant and fantastical creatures from the deep. At this moment, he’s still pinching himself for having the opportunity to show a body of personal works at Giant Robot. He hopes this is not a dream.” Lawrence Yang wrestles with informational abstractions by day and paints by night. Influenced by graffiti art and traditional Chinese painting, he employs ink, marker, and watercolor, as the permanence of this media adds a sense of immediacy to his work. Lawrence’s paintings make use of color to communicate atmosphere and emotion, and they are concerned primarily with creating order out of chaos (and vice versa). Lawrence once ate an entire bag of Fun Size Three Musketeers™. He lives in San Francisco with his imaginary pets, Cholo and Binky. Giant Robot was born as a Los Angeles-based magazine about Asian, Asian-American, and new hybrid culture in 1994, but has evolved into a full-service pop culture provider with shops and galleries in Los Angeles as well as an online equivalent. Eric Nakamura Giant Robot Owner/Publisher (310) 479-7311
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Featured on Google as the unofficial Hayao Miyazaki fan club president?! Martin Hsu… the title, the man, the artist, our friend. No, he’s not really a president just yet, but this is great to see. His art is already something you should know about, but the rest? Google dug him out and pushed him forward. Now a bay area resident, Martin Hsu is no stranger to fun things. We caught up with him at the Little Tokyo Design Week capsule below, and witnessed him doing some crazy Step during the DJ set. He’ll be showing at GR2 quite soon, October! Read more about Martin Hsu at (Google Geek Out – Martin Hsu)
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Giant Robot at Little Tokyo Design Week. I’m a bit behind on the LTDW posts. There’ll be one more post up soon. These photos are from Friday which was slow in our area. It was packed at the JACCC which was screening Totoro and featured another 10 containers, an alcohol area, and a swarm of people. The evening led to nice photos.


Little Bony for you. The little dude fit perfectly in the container as if he were a product.


Martin Hsu who now lives in SF. He’ll be showing at Giant Robot 2 later this year.


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