hypeart love letters to la artist spotlight bisquit and dubouche
hypeart love letters to la artist spotlight bisquit and dubouche
The Artists Behind Hypeart’s ‘Love Letters to LA’ Charity Exhibition
Showcasing works that convey profound societal messages, celebrating familial and communal bonds.

Curated by Hypeart, Love Letters to LA is a heartfelt tribute to LA’s immigrant communities, showcasing diverse artworks at SIZED STUDIO in East Hollywood. These pieces draw inspiration from artists’ personal journeys, families, and communities, combining traditional techniques with industrial methods and unconventional materials. They convey profound societal messages, celebrating familial and communal bonds.

Spotlighting Los Angeles natives and contemporary artists such as Nikkolos Mohammed, Daniela Garcia Hamilton, Patrick Martinez, Mike Reesé, Jacob Rochester, Taylor Lee, Alfonso Gonzalez and Edmund Arevalo, the exhibition encompasses a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary artworks, ranging from paintings and sculptures to neon pieces. A portion of the proceeds generated from the sales of artwork go towards supporting local charities like Dreamhaus LA, LA Food Bank, and Direct Relief.

Highlighted works in the exhibition include Alfonso Gonzalez Jr.’s Figeroa Beauty (2020), a monumental work that stems from his exploration of hand-painted signs and the weathered traces of Los Angeles. Through this image-making, the artist delves into the layered interactions found on public surfaces, serving as modern palimpsests where earlier facades are replaced but traces linger. His works are not just metaphors; they embody the visual as a form of knowledge and language. Nikkolos Mohammed’s Cage 2 (26) (2022) is a work from a new, ongoing series in which the artist reclaims hybrid identities through creating contrasting forms.

Alfonso Gonzalez Jr.

Moreover, through mixed-media collages and ephemera-induced sculptures, Mohammad uses sports analogies to examine larger social ideas. Taylor Lee’s Happy Thoughts (2023) is also a new piece that is part of an ongoing body of work where the artist focuses on exaggerated and voluminous female forms to champion diversity and womanhood. Taylor’s inspirations for her current work also draw heavily from live action dramas of superhumans and robots based in Japan or the Tokusatsu genre. Patrick Martinez is introducing a collection of neon collages that sensitively capture the challenges faced by immigrants in his local Los Angeles community and those worldwide who lack representation. The artist is renowned for his mixed media “`landscape” paintings, neon sign sculptures, and memorial/Pee Chee paintings, all of which aim to evoke a sense of place and reveal locations where personal, civic, and cultural losses have occurred.

Love Letters to LA embodies Hypeart’s mission to serve innovative and diverse artists, giving them a platform to showcase their cultural contributions that have shaped Los Angeles and its communities. The exhibition will be open to the public starting October 13 through October 16 at 526 N Western Ave in Los Angeles with drinks provided by Bisquit & Dubouche. Read on to learn more about the artists behind the exhibition, below and make sure to RSVP here.

Taylor Lee

What does Los Angeles symbolize or represent for you personally?

Alfonso Gonzalez Jr.: Los Angeles, to me, is more than just a place; it’s my inspiration, my home, and my muse. Its vibrant energy, cultural diversity, and ever-evolving landscape have been the driving force behind my practice, where I strive to capture the essence and grit of this dynamic city.

Patrick Martinez: A dense richness, encompassing many and fostering interesting intersections of hybridity. My mother was Filipino and my father is Indigenous Native American and Mexican, they met here so I’m a direct reflection and representation of the city.

Mike Reesé: Los Angeles symbolizes a theme park sized playground that I was able to play in everyday, bust my ass and learn what’s for me and what’s not for me in this life, the place that gave me space to explore myself as a contributor to the larger picture of life, creativity and even humanity.

Taylor Lee: Los Angeles has always been my cultural haven, filling the void I experienced growing up in quiet Henderson, Nevada. It symbolizes not just a city, but my future—a place where my cravings for diverse experiences find fulfillment, and my dreams have room to grow.

Patrick Martinez

Edmund Arevalo: To me Los Angeles is a blend of dreams, creativity, and ambition. A west coast laidback lifestyle, vibrant multiculturalism, and Traffic.

Daniela Garcia Hamilton: LA represents culture for me. It’s a hub where so many different cultural groups have been able to blend together and get still keep true to their uniqueness.

Nikkolos Mohammed: Los Angeles symbolizes duality. Truth & fairy tales. Inglewood & Hollywood. Conceptual & Commercial. Survival & Entertainment. Beach & Valley.

Jacob Rochester: LA is a great representation of a huge change in energy for me the moment I arrived. I have grounded myself here and have always taken in and appreciated the people I’ve met and the conversations that I’ve had that have shaped my practice in art, design and music.

Mike Reesé

Could you provide additional insights into the artworks featured in ‘Love Letters to LA’?

Alfonso Gonzalez Jr.: In Figueroa Street Beauty Salon 2020, I depict a fictional beauty salon set against the backdrop of Los Angeles. Figueroa Street, a thoroughfare that traverses the city from downtown’s financial district to South Central and Northeast LA, is emblematic of the diverse neighborhoods it connects. To encapsulate this diversity, I chose to portray five women of various ethnicities, symbolizing the people who call Figueroa Street home. Adorning the portraits are spray-painted letters, ‘ST’ signifying the suffix for ‘street’ when heading south, and ‘AVE’ for ‘avenue’ when going north, a nod to the unique address conventions in Los Angeles. The composition offers a cropped perspective, framing the weathered hand-lettered signage and textured walls that surround the portraits. This painting captures not only the beauty salon itself but also the cultures and communities that intersect along Figueroa Street, making it a dynamic representation of this iconic Los Angeles thoroughfare.

Open Squirrel 2023, invites viewers into a layered narrative. Using enamel, latex, dirt, and gel medium on canvas, it serves as a directional and functional sign, stating ‘Open.’ Referencing my background in commercial sign painting, this piece encapsulates the essence of brick-and-mortar businesses. Atop this signage, cartoonish squirrel slowly weathers away, its once-vibrant presence giving way to the passage of time. This gradual transformation is set against a grimy textured surface, creating a object that invites contemplation about the transience in our ever-changing city.

Patrick Martinez: Although visually different, the text based neon works and the stucco paintings operate as landscapes of LA. They are from the land and they describe certain areas of the city but they are familiar to all.

Jacob Rochester

Mike Reesé: No Soul Left Behind is a painting that was made with the intention to showcase it as apart of my new body of work in my solo exhibition but it didn’t get curated in. It’s my interpretation of a lottery ticket executed with elements of my visual language. The social context of a lottery ticket deals with chance and fortune, so I thought that would be an interesting form to connect with ideas around value, soul and sacrifice. Theres so much interesting language used on the copy on a lottery ticket so I also played with different treatments and textures of the text to bring messages forward or push them back.

Water Wash Spirit, Fire Burn Soul is a sculpture thats taken me a few years to finish. Mainly because it just wasn’t time to complete up until this year, where I’m in a frame of thought that is challenging me to think about the unique intersections between painting and sculpture, soft sculpture and painting. The silhouette of the canvas sculpture references an ancient Chinese vase, is painted with my hieroglyphic Alphabet and is treated with a marbling water-color texture thats achieved by using Kool-aid as my pigment. The Floral is a consistent motif throughout my work so with this piece I was interested in using real dried floral and cotton from my neighbors yard and challenging the expectations of form and delicacy.

Taylor Lee: In the upcoming show, I’ll be displaying three pieces. The Strong Women artwork embodies female strength and resilience, showcasing the power of overcoming challenges. The two Godzilla pieces reflect my nostalgia from growing up as an Asian American in the ’90s, a time when Asian representation was scarce. Through Godzilla, a beloved icon, I found solace in my identity and a sense of belonging, making these pieces a poignant reminder of my cultural exploration.

Edmund Arevalo

Edmund Arevalo: The works for this show represent the people of this wonderful city. I have decided to emphasize community and unity in these works, what we call in Tagalog (Bayanihan). To better understand Filipino American culture my work involves appreciating diversity, acknowledging historical roots, and recognizing contributions of Filipino Americans here in Los Angeles.

Daniela Garcia Hamilton: Both the works in the show are my personal reflections of traditions I grew up with. Pastel embodies the rich of joy I would feel after the cake ceremony, it was a reminder of how beautiful it is to have cultural rituals that embody messages of love and family in unique ways.

Nikkolos Mohammed: All of my works in the exhibition come from the point of view of dealing with relief from an emotional and physical process. Because of this, they delve into the visceral process of relief carving or excavating deeper meaning either through poetic or historical language. 

Jacob Rochester: I’ve been focusing on portraits that provide a more personal approach to my work. A lot of my recent subjects have been close friends that pull up to my studio, who I also see as an extension of myself in many ways. I like to zero in on different angles across multiple paintings that provide brief insight to who the person is, often shown through their expressions, the clothing they wear and the motifs highlighted in closely cropped compositions. 

Daniela Garcia Hamilton

In one sentence, how would you describe the core essence of your artistic practice?

Alfonso Gonzalez Jr.: Observant exploration of the now, weaving together the threads of community, familial bonds, and cultural elements to evoke a nostalgic and conceptual tapestry.

Patrick Martinez: Sampling materials, tropes and stories of Los Angeles then injecting them into my process equates to many discoveries. That’s the core of my artistic process and I’m definitely committed approach.

Taylor Lee: Celebration of resilience, diversity, and the pursuit of identity, using powerful symbols and personal experiences to evoke universal emotions and connections.

Edmund Arevalo: Combining family portraits and collaging archival materials to retell and challenge traditional narratives of migration and cultural assimilation. 

Nikkolos Mohammed

Mike Reesé: World Building engineered by Passion, Pain , Joy and Night-Dreaming.

Patrick martinez: Sampling materials, tropes and stories of Los Angeles then injecting them into my process equates to many discoveries. That’s the core of my artistic process and I’m definitely committed approach.

Daniela Garcia Hamilton: My painting practice seeks to communicate the joy of growing up in a minority group, it’s meant to emphasize the positive upbringing we experienced, despite the hostility we encountered outside our community. 

Nikkolos Mohammed: Hybrid identities through hybrid forms.

Jacob Rochester: The core essence of my practice is a culmination of obsessions of techniques that I distill and employ across my work, often in a way that is coded and representative of my taste in design, portraiture, form, object and attention to detail.

Credits: Portraits of Alfonso Gonzalez Jr. courtesy of Eduardo Medrano Jr.; Portraits of Patrick Martinez by Troy Ezequiel Montes; Portraits of Taylor Lee by Keith Estiler; All other photography courtesy of the artists exclusively for Hypeart.

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