Kelly Vivanco swears she never been all that into comic books. Kinda hard to believe, considering her contribution to Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice…, a weekend art show at Subtext in Little Italy: She chose to paint an interpretation of Rogue, one of the more obscure characters from The X-Men—and CityBeat chose it for its July 22 cover.
“I read some comics when I was growing up,” Vivanco says, “but I was more into cartoons. But my brother was into them, but I wasn't too into the superhero thing.”
Even as a teenager, she says, she had friends who were into comics and that she'd even hit up conventions in and around Orange County, where she lived. But even then, Vivanco says, she's never really been that obsessive.
Now, living the past nine years in the same town that holds one of the biggest comic conventions in the world and having friends in the industry, she even has her own comic called Patches. But it's her paintings that garner attention, having already booked shows at trendy L.A. galleries like Gallery 1988 and Thinkspace, not to mention a shared show with Jason Limon at Subtext opening July 31. With influences that range from the pre-Raphaelites to contemporaries like Jeff Soto, her paintings are vividly colorful displays of innocence, often incorporating either young girls, birds or both. Naturally, she kept with that theme for “Rogue Concern,” which has the character holding a dead bird. On first view, one might think that she found the bird and that her eyes, filled with sadness, are expressing some deep concerns about mortality and nature.
Nope, she killed that bird.
“I didn't want to make her like the movie or like the comic-book Rogue,” Vivanco says.
“She's kind of a compelling character because whatever she touches, she steals power from it. It's one of those ‘Oops, I didn't mean to' kind of moments. Her character always stuck with me. Comic characters all have their flaws, but she has this kind of vulnerability that I like.”
Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice… will open with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 24, and continue through Sunday, July 26, at Subtext, 2479 Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy. www.subtextstore.com, www.kellyvivanco.com.