In this semi-regular department, we ask some of our favorite local artists and creative types what artists or new shows are worth checking out.
Greg Strangman—LWP Group and Gold Leaf Project
"I started the Gold Leaf Project as a means to beautify public spaces. Plus, it's bi-national so at a time when there's so much discussion about building walls between the U.S. and Mexico, we want to build bridges. Victor Lebowski is the first featured artist of this project. I discovered him via Instagram and was intrigued by the premise of his Tijuanauta series of astronauts in historical places of Tijuana. I reached out to him and he told me this story about how he had a friend visiting who told him that Tijuana was like no other place in this world. It was out of this world. There's definitely sense of pride in country in his work."
Julia Dixon Evans—writer, production director of So Say We All
"I recently checked out MOPA's Beauty and the Beast: The Animal in Photography exhibit, and loved how it all felt unexpected and unreal. Many compositions drew from old masters, but beastly. There's an arrangement of collared fancy cats by Dutch photographer Marie Cécile Thijs that you should definitely try with a Snapchat face-swap. The works that featured wild creatures doing ordinary things got under my skin like song sparrows, eating a cake cradled in a woman's hands (Tom Chambers' "Saccharine Perch"). And then my six-year-old and I stared at Troy Abbott's 'Prairie,' a tiny TV screen perched in a cage, watching the looped video of a bird until the museum closed and they kicked us out."
Matt Stallings—Artist and graphic designer
"Why do I choose [street artist] Neko? He has a relentless drive to produce art from his bird's-eye view of the world. As a lover of street art and character art I have been a fan of his work since the beginning. Whether it's on walls, paper, canvas or napkins, this man leaves a trail of his opinion all over town. No topic is safe from him. As a master of line work I always find myself lost in the subtle details and hidden messages in his work."