Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

One of my favorite LA artists, Retna, opens his next show this weekend.

Rather than New York or London, this time his work has migrated to the luxury resort, Costa Careyes, Mexico, between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.

Viejas del mercado's atmospheric video conjures a dark and urbanesque image of Retna's "Time Traveler" exhibition. Unusally, this time Viejas del mercado actually feature the artist in the trailer.

RETNA: Time Traveler from viejas del mercado on Vimeo.

Beyond luxury  What you will actually get if you arrive at Costa Careyes is a bright, airy coastal resort art gallery with a outdoor cinema and performance space. And, it's a big if, considering the accommodation comes at the price of a Retna painting! The ocean front villa is $,7000/night. The castle is $5,000/night. There's a single one bedroom villa for a bargain $320/night! All with free wifi ;)

"Time Traveler" is described as a "site-specific project" and is certainly the first urban art (graffiti) has been allowed near the idyllic Careyes property! Bravo RETNA! For once, I think claims that his work "transcends time and space, creating a global visual language," can be believed. Even in dense pieces, Retna let's his letters breathe as they demand their own space to be legible. And there's a discipline to his letter form that is ancient and primitive, much like the coastline of Careyes.

Hopefully, Retna will sell out this exhibition. VIP guests at Costa Careyes include Bill Gates, Seal and Heidi Klum, Simon le Bon and Quentin Tarantino.

Art Careyes Gallery, Plaza Caballeros del Sol, Pueblo, Careyes

Preview on Sunday, April 22, 2012

Opening Tuesday, April 24, 2012

For fans, Retna will be present at both events.

If you are interested in the lifestyles of the rich and famous, read this Departures article about the Mexican Riviera.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Greg 'CRAOLA' Simkins shows at Merry Karnowski

"Cloud Theory" is Craola's latest gallery show will feature new work from the LA-based abstract still life artist and graffiti writer.

I don't know much about Craola except of his affiliation with CBS crew in LA and collaborations with Rime and Dabs and Myla. I wondered why he had such a surreal focus on animals, but it all made sense when I read that he "grew up with a menagerie of animals including a number of rabbits..." and how is favorite childhood books are Richard Adams' scary "Watership Down" and C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia." You can get inside his head a little watching this video below.

To see some of Craola's unique, eery style check out these prints available from Craola's website.
Visit for more information.

"Cloud Theory" April 21 - May 19, 2012
Opening Reception - Saturday, April 21st

Merry Karnowsky Gallery
170 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles CA 90036

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2 in 1 Openings: LA Freewalls Inside and LALA Arts

This Saturday in Los Angeles, Daniel Lahoda kicks open the doors of LALA Arts with a special group show.

What's special is that Lahoda - in a continuation of his "LA Freewalls" mural activism and advocacy - brings LA's mural artists indoors to paint in his LALA Arts space. Read more about LA Freewalls here at KCET and watch the video below.

LA FREEWALLS from Jason Wawro on Vimeo.

This show brings 28 of some of the most recognizable mural artists under one roof. There are a few names I'm not familiar and then there are some of my favorites: INSA all the way from London Town, Dabs and Myla, Kofie, Risk, Craola, Retna and from the old skool, Daze.

Lady Aiko
Anthony Lister
Askew One
Augustine Kofie
Cern One
Christopher Brand
Dabs and Myla
Dan Witz
Evan Skredestu
How and Nosm
Jaybo Monk
Kid Zoom
Kim West
Ron English

The show opens Saturday April 21st, 2012 7-10pm

1335 Willow St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Hodgepodge" Kenny Scharf opens tonight at Honor Fraser gallery, LA

"Hodgepodge," pronounced /ˈhäjˌpäj/ is the name of Kenny Scharf's solo show at Honor Fraser in LA.

The word "hodgepodge" is also described in the dictionary as "a hash, a mishmash, a jumble." Although Kenny Scharf's busy, colorful aerosol murals may resemble bubble and squeak to some observers, on closer viewing of Scharf's work you will see a consistent and unique cartoon-esque style that he has developed since the 80s in New York. His influences are surely Pop art and New York club culture, but he is also not shy of throwing in The Flintstones and The Jetsons.

Scharf, along with other pioneers of street art, has experienced a recent renaissance partly due to Jeffrey Deitch's seminal "Art in the Streets" exhibition and Royal/T's "West Village East" showcase last year. See the Kenny Scharf article in Unleashed Magazine penned by his daughter, Malia Scharf, which I uploaded to Scribd. If you are driving around LA, keep an eye out for the vast five-storey West Hollywood Library mural, definitely the most permanent recognition of Scharf's work in LA.

Kenny Scharf car, Art in the Streets, Museum of Contemporary Art, LA (credit:
West Hollywood Library (credit: Stevio)

Tonight's "Hodgepodge" solo show at Honor Fraser solidifies Scharf's presence on the LA art scene. For the opening,  he will be joined by Ann Magnuson, an actress and art activist and Scharf's long-time collaborator. In the recent past, she worked on Scharf's 2009 book, "Kenny Scharf," which launched at Celebrity Vault in Beverly Hills. When I attended that book launch, I think it was the most "establishment," middle-aged audience I'd ever seen celebrating a graffiti icon! ;) His fans run deep!

"Hodgepodge" opens Saturday April 14th, 2012 6-8pm.
The show runs April 14, 2012 — May 19, 2012

Honor Fraser
2622 S. La Cienaga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 9003.

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Last weeks to see RAMMELLZEE's "Letter Racers"

Rammellzee painting on the roof of Squat Theater, 1984 (credit: Stephen Torton/Adagp, Paris)

“ 'I took George Clinton and Bootsy Collins to the Battle Station for the first time, and they left feeling like they’d just had a close encounter,' said the bassist and music producer Bill Laswell, who met Rammellzee in the early 1980s and remained one of the few people who saw him regularly." New York Times

Read the full article "Art Excavated From Battle Station Earth" on the New York Times's Art & Design section.

March 8 - April 21, 2012
Susan Geiss Company
76 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013

Feb 19 - May 14, 2012
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Frank151 x DOOM

Frank 151 x DOOM

Watch out for the next quarterly edition of Frank151. It's dedicated to ex-KMD rapper, Doom, aka MF Doom. He gets to curate the whole edition cover to cover, including illustrations of his lyrics and articles and pics from collaborators, like graff artist, Keo, from TC5 (The Cool 5.)

I first discovered Frank 151 during my first years in LA (even though it's New York-based.) The Maharishi takeover issue still holds its place on my bookshelf. Then, at a Scion event in 2005, I had the chance meeting with Frank 151 founders, brothers Malbon. Since then I watched Frank151 grow into a multi-urban city marketing organization with a barber shop! ;) But its love of hip hop is still there.

Blake "Keo" Lethem (credit: Frank 151)

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