Just south of Santa Monica Boulevard on the west side of Fairfax sits IKO IKO, a gallery and store that offers a curious array of clothing, furniture, sculpture, home goods, art, and jewelry. Kristin Dickson-Okuda and Shin Okuda create and curate an experience “underlining texture, process, and innovation,” resulting in goods that are esoteric yet utilitarian, enigmatic yet inventive.
Painter Lisa Solberg has quite a remarkable ability to capture a blurriness in her paintings. The LA based artist makes abstract mixed media pieces that look like everything from blurred floral still lives to photos of the countryside taken as you are speeding down the highway. They’re remarkably bright when she wants them to be and moody when she wants them to be: Solberg has a talent for creating paintings that are as varied as the mediums she puts into them.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I lived in Franklin Village and would walk to work every day by going West on Franklin, South on Vine, East on Hollywood, and finally South on Seward to arrive at my office. I loved these walks because I got to see the city and watch it change around me every single day. The biggest thing I was keeping tabs on was the slowly constructing W Hollywood complex. I wasn’t an expert on the area nor was I attempting to make a projection on the part of town but I did know that this building was going to be very important: it would elevate the area surrounding it into something much nicer than what I was seeing on my walk to and from work.
In March, when everybody was at SXSW, we noticed there were a lot of people Instagramming some strange looking blue monster creature without any explanation. The monster has a giant mouth and small horns and is always flanked by girls in workout clothes: what the hell is this? Apparently this creature is the host of a Funny Or Die webseries titled The Gorburger Show about a space alien taking over a Japanese news show and using it to interview celebrities and bands “all while satisfying his thirst for bloodlust.” Okay. Cool, guys. What’s interesting about this project is the associated art and design direction is super great. Local designer Aaron W. Björk was in charge of the show’s look and made lots of work that appeared on many billboards and wheat paste campaigns in town and beyond. They’re all sorts of insane done in a very skillful, wonderful way.
Who said that creative people can’t do business? These two worlds, a world associated with artistry and making and a world associated with numbers and money, appear to have nothing in common. Their marriage is critical though and how you get mega-millionaire success stories: success comes from creative people who are savvy enough to snatch opportunities and spread the scope of their work as they grown. It sounds very simple–but it obviously is very difficult.
Sonja Rasula knows this. She’s the woman behind the now sprawling company, UNIQUE USA, the craftsperson supporting mega-sale that all started from the LA championing Unique LA. Her brand originated as an effort to support a local creative ecosystem and now is sprouting into all sorts of new pursuits around the world. She’s building an incubator space for creatives to work from, meet, take business workshops and basically do everything she can to make them successful: she’s become the creative business guru creatives didn’t know they needed.