Music is a driving force for Jimmy Ovadia, whose painting "Guilt by Association" appears on the cover of CityBeat this week. Not many artists can say that their first big break came from one their favorite bands, but that's what happened when Ovadia pitched an album cover idea to Louis XIV via MySpace in 2005.
"Brian Karscig of Louis XIV and The Nervous Wreckords took me under his wing," Ovadia says of the friendship they formed. "He's been a huge part of my ongoing work."
Ovadia, who grew up in Bonita and lives in Ocean Beach, has been busy ever since. He's designed album art for local bands Transfer and The Silent Comedy, and he collaborates on posters and flyers for The Casbah and bands that play there.
Music is also the driving force behind Ovadia's abstract, surreal creations. "It affects the mood of the work," he says. "The atmosphere and rhythm are super-important during the creative process." It's easy to get lost in the visually lush, mostly figurative work he dreams up, though he admits that his style isn't for everyone.
Nonetheless, Ovadia's artwork is all over town: He created the image of Jesus eating a hamburger at Neighborhood Ale House; he painted the bar at Avenue 5 restaurant in Bankers Hill; and he did the mural at Rubicon Deli's original Mission Beach location. Still, Ovadia finds time to work on his own stuff and participate in monthly group shows.
One symbol that's become a calling card in his work is a moth, or several of them, flying toward a light. "It shows passion, love and being drawn in and captivated by something," he explains.
All of Ovadia's work tells sto- ries based on his life—the allusive, psychedelic version, anyway.
The self-taught artist says his biggest turning point was be- coming a father, prompting him to step up his career. "I decided I had to go big, or go home,"he says. "I pointed every effort into creating my art."