Let’s face it, we humans are contrary folk. We will cut each other off in traffic without even signaling. We will berate underpaid, blameless supermarket cashiers for not opening more registers, even if there are only two people ahead of us. We will bump into each other while walking and texting, then scowl at the bumpee for not paying attention. We won’t turn our phones off at movies, even when prompted to do so. We are, more often than not, rude, self-absorbed creatures. But give us a tragedy, and we will drop everything at the chance to let our better nature shine out. As cynical as I am, I like to think that that impulse to help is reflexive, that it’s instinctual, that in spite of our many flaws, we have, imbedded deep within our DNA, an intractable, compassionate gene. Every so often, we are shaken out of our stupor and reminded that we actually kind of care about one other.
Having hopefully learned a lesson or two from our failings after Katrina, the fundraising efforts for Hurricane Sandy relief have been swift and plentiful. It’s auspicious to see the art world out front on this, with several benefit shows springing up from coast to coast. This past Saturday, WWA Gallery joined the fray, with one show raising money for the Red Cross, and one that merely benefits those who don’t know what to give the art lover on their Christmas list.
“Art with a Heart” offers original work from past WWA shows at reduced prices. Nearly two dozen artists including Jana Brike, David Chung, Justin Aerni, Valery Milovic, Scott Stulen, William Buzzell, and Tommii Lim, just to name a few. The work chosen is indicative of WWA‘s curatorial esthetic, dark, humorous, and frequently taking jabs at pop culture iconography. Take Snoopy, for instance, roasting Woodstock over a campfire in Stulen’s moody Unfriended. Milovic has Nancy and Sluggo getting a head start as they march off to some bacchanalia. William Buzzell cautions against Gross Misuse of power tools. WWA and the participating artists will jointly donate ten percent of the proceeds from this show to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort.
“Print Isn’t Dead” features vibrant prints from roughly fifty different artists, including the likes of Tim Doyle, Ruben Ireland, Ashley Mackenzie, JAW Cooper, Joshua Budich, Alex Pardee, Jophen Stein, Clint Wilson, Glen Barr and JoKa. I must urge you, dear readers, to visit WWA Gallery at once to see these giclees in person, because photos don’t do them justice. The bulk of these are printed on thick cotton fine art paper, and the quality is outstanding. Many are signed and numbered limited editions. The prices are ridiculously affordable (ranging from $15 to $250). The subject matter runs the gamut from whimsical and decorative to surreal and deeply contemplative. Tim Doyle’s Swan Song of Oren Ishii, an homage to Hasui (the Japanese master of snow), JAW Cooper’s ribald nature fantasy Specters, and the numerology psycho-drama of Ashley Mackenzie’s 88 are particular showstoppers, and worth every penny. Art of this caliber is rarely found at such affordable prices. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll walk away empty handed.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to make it to the gallery in person, you can purchase anything from either show on their website. They are providing free shipping on the prints right now, and offer a no fee payment plan for everything else. They’re pretty swell folk.WWA Gallery
9517 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11-5 pm or by appointment
All photos by Keith Dugas