Feature: Artistic spirit, NFT technology reign supreme at LA Art Show 2022-Xinhua

Feature: Artistic spirit, NFT technology reign supreme at LA Art Show 2022

Source: Xinhua| 2022-01-24 18:03:59|Editor:

by Julia Pierrepont III

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- For humanity, the drive toward artistic expression is irrepressible, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain collapses and global economic recessions.

Nothing demonstrates that better than the return of the in-person LA Art Show 2022, the largest art fair on the U.S. West Coast, which ended on Sunday.

At the LA Convention Center, gathered in one place were thousands of masked attendees, hundreds of artists, dozens of national and international galleries and art collectives -- in short, what Heidi Johnson, media head for the LA Art Show, described as the world's "trendsetters, influencers and alpha consumers, who seek and demand the newest and the best in all areas of their lives."

The four-day event was hosted by international model and actress Kaia Gerber, with many other celebrities in attendance to kick it off. Two years in isolation did little to dampen artistic ardor, and the show offered up a stunning array of work ranging from the playful to political to darkly intense.

Curated by Marisa Caichiolo, the DIVERSEartLA, an important and highly-anticipated part of the art show, examined not just how the environment is represented in art, but how humanity's place in the world is depicted, opening up an important dialogue about the Earth's past, present, and future while uniting the community around discussions of the global climate crisis and potential solutions.

Gorgeous glass work was well represented this year with stunning infinity light sculptures by Anthony James at the Opera Gallery, and the wall mounted glass panels at Nathe Katzoff Gallery, and many others throughout the show.

James told Xinhua his light sculptures were "a visual demonstration of the physically impossible -- such as an ever-expanding universe." He felt his work speaks to the infinity of the Cosmos and "the divinity within ourselves."

The contemporary art gallery, Mizuma, with locations in Japan and Singapore, featured a wide array of Japanese artists, such as fashion-designer-turned-artist Oku Dayuta's vibrant abstract "Flower" series, the provocative, fantasy landscapes of Eguchi Ayane, among many others. Gallery Elim displayed a line-up of Korean artists.

Hawaii-based multimedia Japanese American artist Taiji Terasaki featured his video-based NFTs (non-fungible token) through Kelly Sueda Fine Art and his mist projections on canvas and woven metal strips to promote environmental awareness.

Mirus Gallery was back with a bang with Austrian artist NYCHOS' latest anatomy-meets-pop culture dissection paintings that peel back every conceivable layer of their subject.

"The art here is pretty cool," attendee Grace Miller told Xinhua. "A lot of it is dark and funny. And after being cooped up for the last two years due to COVID, it's just so nice to get out and see what people have been dreaming up all the time."

Meanwhile, the fiscal politics of the art world were explored by Arts Help's Conscious Crypto Creator (CCC) ICEBERGS in the show. The CCC seeks to enable artists to use their work to promote global crypto-validation practices and greater transactional transparency.

NFTs have exploded on the art scene, a reflection of the increasingly digitized society, and are increasingly becoming a way for artists to take control of their own work-driven revenues, like digital artist Johnny Rodriguez's "Little Beasts."

Rodriguez, also known as KMNDZ, is a Los Angeles-based artist and sought-after designer who has worked with some of the world's biggest brands, including Microsoft, Disney, MTV, and Universal Pictures. His painting has triggered a cult following online and some called him a hero underground.

This year's show has an NFT-backed collection of over 1,000 works from Rodriguez with 260 unique traits that were hand-drawn using digital tools.

Merry Karnowsky, who organized the special exhibition, said NFT allows artists to build "generational legacy" as there's a record of the work changing hands. "I think that's the most interesting thing to me about the medium. It's carrying these artistic artifacts well into the future."

"We're featuring and showcasing emerging and established artists and helping them expand their access to the NFT space, take control of their own income," artist Robert Beck told Xinhua.

He said that NFT's can be anything from proprietary art images and avatars, to access to private online clubs available to members only.