What I Want for the Holidays: Wish List at Gabba Gallery

Wish List 3.0 is an annual must-go for art lovers and those buying presents for the art-centric on their holiday list. Cash and carry, first come, first served, there’s an ever changing menu of art on the walls at Gabba Gallery in the Westlake district.

Paintings were literally flying off the walls at the opening last Saturday, but with the show running until December 20th and fresh art hung daily, there’s still plenty to purchase and plenty to see.

This is another of those “only at Gabba” exhibitions: unique, cutting edge art with an emphasis on street art; amazing prices, something for everyone in terms of style, and the buzz of discovered, uncovered, and coveted art.


Above, gallery owner and curator Jason Ostro (l), co-curator for Wish List, Phil Santos (r) as they point to a work that also describes their ethos. The piece was created by artist Amy Smith, a mixed media collage created in part with recycled magazines.

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Chuck Self, a.k.a. NVRAlone, has a simple message in all his art, whether it’s a heart shaped globe or text over vibrant color. “My pieces are very simple, clean and direct. ‘Just be kind,’ that’s my message. I’m typically a street photographer and I’ve experienced so much great art that I’ve joined the club, and began to create myself.”


Alex Schaefer describes his work as plein air painting. “It’s all about a desire to go places. I create unique impressions, whether it is from the top floor of City Hall in downtown LA, or a distant location. I’ve painted all over the world. I love taking road trips, that’s one if the things I love to do. I capture what I see in my work,” he notes. “It’s my bread,and butter. I have good affordable price points, people love  well-done cityscapes. I get the opportunity to walk outdoors and paint the changing landscape of LA right now. I love what I paint.” There’s an ethereal quality to Schaefer’s work that casts his beautifully realistic street scenes in a dreamy light.


Above: a piece by Wish List co-curator Phil Santos, one of the sexiest and most dimensional tooth brushes in town.


Essi Zimm (r) and James Johnson (l)

Their art had already sped off Gabba’s walls when we caught up to them. Essi  Zimm says “My art is folk lore collage. It reveals the truth behind folk lore, the moralistic and revealing truth.” She’s been a part of Gabba’s Wish List show for three years.

James Johnson also works in collage. “I use found newsprint as the underlayment for pieces that feature political and social commentary. It’s kind of like a bill board with different layers exposed. I used Exacto knives to superimpose and peel back old layers. My work is based on the interpretation of images.”

jodi art

For Gabba’s Wish List, Jodi Bonassi  displayed small, beautifully wrought pieces of social realism. “The backgrounds are floaty and expressive of children in our society. I have elements of the satirical in my pieces. My work has been seen as expressionism, a more sophisticated form of street art, social realism and figurative.” Or all of the above.  Don’t miss this artist’s collage-like style and fine art execution.


Pasteur White’s bold mix of paint and marker creates vivid appeal, above.


Jaime Becker’s mixed media, “Metro” pulls viewers into its urban landscape/dreamscape.




Acrylic and mixed media: Can’tStopGoodBoy’s “Crooked Mouse.” Street art is visually stimulating wall art.

In short: Go to Gabba. Buy and gift great art that’s reasonably priced. Rinse and repeat.

The show runs through December 20th, giving plenty of time for repeat visits to find the art pieces you love best. Gabba is located in the Westlake District at 3126 Beverly Blvd.

Gabba Gabba Do: Four View Solo Shows

Gabba Gallery's "Four View" solo exhibitions - All photos: Jack Burke
Gabba Gallery’s “Four View” solo exhibitions – All photos: Jack Burke

Saturday night marked the opening of another stand-out show at The Gabba Gallery, “Four View,” four separate solo shows, one roof. The Westlake district gallery is fast becoming a hot spot for cutting edge art with a strong emphasis on street talent. Curated by Jason Ostro, artists Michael Christy, Phobik, Jeffrey Gillette, and CANTSTOPGOODBOY were the four views on display.  Music: DJ Ale of dublab.

gabba dj

Michael Christy’s exhibition, “Genre Paintings” takes viewers into a surreal world, vivid colors pulling into scenes whose depth have a 3D feel. The worlds depicted may be imaginary, but the lifeforms present are real and grounded. The juxtaposition of heightened reality and different time-frames and realms keeps eyes riveted to the details on every inch of canvas.



Michael Christy

“I work in multiple directions at the same time, revealing the past, present, future. I like this type of color palette. When I switched from oil to acrylic paints, I wanted an artificial looking landscape that was still reflective of the world. I created a sense of happiness and hope in the colors and smiling figures, even though the landscapes are strange.”


Michael Christy, right


“The images can be construed as people ignoring crises of bio-diversity, or that overall, perhaps we are happy in the greater scheme of things, despite the crises,” Christy explains. “I use a figurative mythology that’s very allegorical, even though it suggests specific scenes.” His illustration is a kind of visual poetry.


Jeffrey Gillette

Jeffrey Gilette

Jeffrey Gillette, one of Banksy’s DISMALAND artists, also depicts another world: this one featuring detailed slums and iconic ruins, both as paintings and sculpted forms. “Dread” is an exhibition intertwining these intense visions of loss with pop culture icons from Goofy to the Minions. This isn’t your four-year-old’s cartoon world.

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“I travel to India every year, the houses here are based on what I observe there. I also lived in Nepal which is a strong influence. My wife said the work would be too oppressive, harsh, too real – without an avenue for access for the viewer. That’s where the iconic figures like Mickey, and other characters come in,” Gillette says.

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Phobik and his alternative universe.


Phobik has painted a mind bending, comic-book-centric exhibition of pieces centered around The Phobik God. Titled “Figments and Particles,” the dimensions he depicts are not of this planet – at least not yet.

“Each piece is a part of a story I’m trying to tell in my own comic book that I’m creating. From murals to canvases, each piece tells a story like a panel in a comic book,” Phobik relates. “My own icon is a monocle, representing thoughts, different dimensions or portals between dimensions, and it appears repeatedly in the works.”


CANTSTOPGOODBOY presents “realfake: UNKNOWN” a world of superheroes, All-American icons, and repeated images that pulse with intensity. “Overall this room, this show, is designed in museum-style, with minimal pieces. Jason (Jason Ostro, curator) and I collaborated on redoing the room with new lights, paint, and floor.” The artist described several of the pieces included in the show.


The striking piece “Color into Thin Air: Inside Out” is an example of one of the artist’s repeated images. 60 x 17 here, there is a more massive version of the image in the painting at the San Francisco museum Mu Mu.  “While the images are similar – I repeat images a lot – each one has unique attributes,” he says. “I repeat images throughout my work, but with slight variations of color or layers.”


CANTSTOPGOODBOY’s color pallet is vivid. “The colors are inspired by the Malibu mountains outside my studio. They’re the colors of nature and flowers.”


“Realfake is the name of my design studio. Here I’m illustrating it in neon.”

Missed the opening? Catch this exhibition through October 24th. The Gabba Gallery is located at 3126 Beverly Blvd LA, CA 90057

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  • Genie Davis, all photos:  Jack Burke

Street Art Takes Hold of the Beverly Hills Art Scene at Julien’s Auctions

Banksy's "I remember when all this was trees" at Julien's Auctions - Photo: Jack Burke
Banksy’s “I remember when all this was trees” at Julien’s Auctions – Photo: Jack Burke

British artist Banksy​’s 2010 Detroit street art “I Remember When All This Was Trees,” sold at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills tonight for $137,500. This sale is just one of many street and contemporary art pieces drawing big crowds at Julien’s as well as participants online and by phone.

Excavated from an abandoned Packard Plant by Detroit’s 555 Gallery, and drawn in Banksy’s stencil technique, the piece that originally graced a cinder-block wall, is now owned by Steven and Laura Dunn. Dunn is the CEO of toy manufacturer Munchkin, Inc. 555 Gallery plans to use the proceeds to rehabilitate a 30,000-square-foot east Detroit warehouse into a multi-use arts space.



Other Banksy pieces generated interest and substantial sales throughout the evening, but perhaps the bigger story at Julien’s had nothing to do with Banksy’s murals.

Bleep (left) with The Gabba Gallery owner, Jason Ostro (right)
Bleep (left) with The Gabba Gallery owner, Jason Ostro (right)

As the liaison between Julien’s Auctions and consigning curator The Gabba Gallery, located in DTLA’s Westlake neighborhood, gallery owner Jason Ostro brought art in to Julien’s for the third year. “The majority of the artists here this evening I’ve worked with, and I’ve showed them. Gabba Gallery is thrilled that Julien’s Auction House is doing their 4th annual street art auction, and that they auction more and more pieces, year after year,” Ostro says.





Among the local artists Ostro curated for Julien’s are Wordsmith Jules, Mock Mar, 20, Morley, Christina Angelina, and Louis Carreon. All in all, over 40 LA-based artists contributed to the auction.

“While Banksy is certainly a large draw for the auction, a king of street art with a big world voice, the Los Angeles artists represented here do incredible work, and we’re excited by their participation,” Ostro asserts. He’s “always looking for more consigned and private collection pieces for the gallery, and to shepherd to Julien’s.”


Ostro has exhibited L.A. area artist Bleep, and was instrumental in bringing his piece “Rabbit Ears” to auction. Consigned as Lot 109,  “Rabbit Ears” is acrylic and oil on canvas, and depicts a large, textured bunny with a television for a head, on whose screen is written ‘More.’ A strong symbol of a conspicuously consumptive culture, “Rabbit Ears” is whimsical, satirical, and pointed. What signal are your rabbit ears pulling in?

rabbit ears

“Having a piece in the show has been insane already,” Bleep says. “Being interviewed, having so much attention paid to the work, the trajectory has just been amazing for me, jaw-dropping, and I’m super grateful to be here.”

Kat Kramer
Kat Kramer

Actress and producer Kat Kramer was at Julien’s to support the artists and the auction. “My father Stanley Kramer and my godmother Katherine Hepburn were huge supporters of the arts. I always come to support Julien’s. If my father and Katherine were alive they would be here,” she said.




Spicy margaritas, IPAs, hors d’oeuvres, and a buffet of cheese, breads, fruits and vegetables were enjoyed while auction paddles were distributed, and the buzz in the room became palpable.


Lot 1 began the evening with Shepard Fairey’s “Rise Above First” selling for $21,250.


Session I concluded September 30th following the preview reception; Sessions II and III will take place on October 1st as more street and contemporary artists go under Julien’s renowned hammer.