Following on from our Margaret Kilgallen post, we were thrilled to hear about mindthegap - the inaugural exhibition of Prism, an architecturally designed three-storey exhibition space and bookshop (below right) located on Sunset Boulevard, LA.

"The mission of the project space is to become a cornerstone of artistic experimentation, carving a new niche for the arts here in Southern California. The long-term exhibition program, featuring national and international artists, promises to be vibrant and thought-provoking as it works with creative minds to cultivate a challenging and diverse aesthetic experience for the public."

mindthegap features the work of 2 exceptional artists; Barry McGee (above) - husband of the late Margaret Kilgallen, a San Francisco based artist, "first known as 'Twist', the moniker under which he attained cult status among his peers as a graffiti writer" and Philip Frost (below left) - a self-taught artist and sculptor, "who began his career in the early '90s by aggressively blanketing New York City's streets and doorways with strips of brightly colored wheat-pasted posters".

Both Mcgee and Frost create strikingly bold, bright pieces - together their work will make a stunning exhibition. I just wish it was a bit nearer to the UK!

mindthegap is running until 20 February 2010.

Images copyright the artists from Prism and Keep Left.
Via Keep Left.

Margaret Kilgallen aka META / Matokie Slaughter

A couple of weeks ago I watched Beautiful Losers, a short film by Aaron Rose documenting the NYC art and graffiti scene in early 90's and celebrating, "the spirit behind one of the most influential cultural moments of a generation".

There are many talented artists in the film including Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee, Jo Jackson and Mike Mills, but for me it was Margaret Kilgallen's work that really stood out. I had seen some of it before, but had no idea who was behind it. The giant, typographic murals really struck me, they're fantastic - the colours, the scale and the typefaces, I just love them.

Her work was heavily influenced by American folk art which can be seen in the illustrations and colour palettes. She valued craftmanship and loved old hand-painted shop signs, something that clearly inspired her murals.

"I like things that are handmade and I like to see people's hand in the world, anywhere in the world; it doesn't matter to me where it is. And in my own work, I do everything by hand. I don't project or use anything mechanical, because even though I do spend a lot of time trying to perfect my line work and my hand, my hand will always be imperfect because it's human. And I think it's the part that's off that's interesting, that even if I'm doing really big letters and I spend a lot of time going over the line and over the line and trying to make it straight, I'll never be able to make it straight. From a distance it might look straight, but when you get close up, you can always see the line waver. And I think that's where the beauty is."

Margaret did many colaborations with other artists in the film including her husband, Barry Mcgee. She was also a grafitti artist on the freight trains, influenced by Hobo tradition, she worked under the tags 'Meta' and 'Matokie Slaughter'.

Sadly in 2001 Margaret Kilgallen died aged 33 of breast cancer just weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Asha. She was a talented and inspirational artist and I'm so pleased to have found her work. I really want to see it in the flesh and retrospectives do pop up now and again, but until then this Flickr group has a great collection of her work.

Images copyright the authors - from the Margaret Kilgallen Flickr.

New Limited Edition Prints at the Design Museum

The Design Museum have some great new limited edition screen-prints in stock. These 2 are my favourites:

'The Chairs', (above) by Konstantin Grcic - a wonderfully bold and bright, 7 colour (inc. 3 fluros) screen-print and 'Birdman', (below) by Tord Boontje - a whimsical, 2 colour screen-print.

There are 4 new A2 prints in total, each an edition of 100 and soley available from the Design Museum, check them all out here.

Images copyright The Design Museum.

Happy Birthday Hello Kitty!

This week marks the 35th birthday of one of my favourite characters, Hello Kitty. Now doesn't she look good for 35?

Hello Kitty was designed for Sanrio by Ikuko Shimizu. She was first introduced to the Japanese public on a small vinyl purse in 1974 and to the US public a few years later in 1976. The start of what they describe as a, "global Hello Kitty phenomenon", and who could disagree? Over the last 35 years many fictional characters have come and gone, but Hello Kitty is still going strong - stronger in fact!

To celebrate, Sanrio have teamed up with Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of pop-culture shop, JapanLa, to create a three week long exhibition, 'Three Apples Art Show' - "a multi-dimensional exhibition and celebration of all things Hello Kitty; the first ever event of its kind in the US!"

It incorporates an art exhibition showcasing one-of-a-kind Hello Kitty inspired pieces created by 80+ contemporary artists, a pop-up shop and unique product/design displays including a retrospective of products and collaborations from the last 35 years.

The event is currently running at the Royal, T café, shop and art space in Culver City, CA until 15 November.

For those of us that can't hop over to the West coast to see the exhibition, there are loads of 35th anniversary products available here.

Image copyright Sanrio.