When I was 18, I lived in the East Village for a few months while working as an intern at a publishing company, helping design covers for books I would never read. Highlights included long walks through alphabet city, anarchist soccer in Tompkins Square Park, painting with OIL PAINT in the park 😎, and going to see Elvis Costello perform on one of those morning talk shows before heading to work. I loved it. I was an Illustration major in college at the time, and down the street from my apartment was a store called Giant Robot where they sold all sorts of Asian Pop Culture merch and toys and prints from illustrators I admired. Artists like Kozyndan, Susie Ghahremani, Studio Ghibli, Takashi Murakami, etc.
Back then it was also a full-color magazine that covered a lot of the same artists along with a lot of Asian and Asian American pop culture, skateboarding, etc. It was this great Venn diagram of punk and art that I held in high regard.
Fast forward a bunch of years and a flight across the country: I managed to cross paths with Giant Robot again, now existing as a retail store and gallery in Los Angeles. I’ve shown a few pieces in their group shows at the store, most recently this new one in the Plants show:
The night the Plants show opened at the store, the main gallery was opening a new exibition by Rob Sato, whose work I didn’t know very well. When I went over to check it out, not only was I incredibly impressed but I instantly connected with these tiny figures.
August 10, 2018
They’re beautiful and delicate in their own right, but they also remind me of the figures I’d draw while sitting in Tompkins Square Park way back when. Black Micron pen, solid little blobby figures walking all over the park. They’re in sketchbooks packed away far under my bed at the moment, so you’ll just have to trust me. But seeing these was like someone took my sketchbook and tie-dye’d it. I love them.
I’m drawn to artists who have ways of looking at the world that make sense to me. They have ways of translating the world around them that’s strange and beautiful and for whatever reason flips a switch in my brain that says YES. THAT. You don’t always have to explain it any further.
Rob Sato’s work combines simplicity and abstraction with some truly beautiful, larger landscapes, and it absolutely flips whatever switch was there when I was just starting to figure out what making art meant for me.
The Steps of Volta II
Watercolor on paper
40 × 30 in
Thanks to Giant Robot and Cassia Lupo for including me sometimes and bringing this art ride full circle.
See everyone at Fest - more soon on new music and zines!