Fashion and art join forces on April 24 at the Ashley Paige Gallery when the celebrity swimsuit designer opens her gallery to showcase the works of filmmaker/abstract artist Johnny Otto, painter/graffiti muralist Annie Preece and Russian photographer Yuri Sountsov.
Each unique in their own art forms, the showcase is a result of a meeting between Paige and Otto over a year ago. “Having seen how great Ashley’s gallery space was, I thought about doing a show with some of my new work. I haven’t shown my work in over a decade and I was eager to show the world the new direction I had taken.” Noting her keen eye for knowing what pieces work well together and having a sense for what brings balance to her creative work space, Otto credits Paige for her ability to bring together the three artists for this curation.
Award-winning filmmaking aside, Johnny Otto’s artwork has been described as a cross between “street art” and fine art. In his own words, he describes it as “cubism” and says he is inspired by the human form and the overlapping of male and female. Naming his pieces with X’s and Y’s to signify the human chromosomes, he cements this correlation between the human body and its influence on his work. Reflecting on the impact of artists such as Picasso, Basquiat, Haring and de Kooning, who his work has been compared to by critics, Otto says it’s hard not to be influenced bartistof the past.
Leaving the past in the past, Otto is quick to give credit to the artists of today, as he proudly defends the LA Art scene he has been a part of for the past 20 years. “LA is often portrayed as being a very superficial town with little to no art scene. But there are artists everywhere you turn. Murals, street art, galleries, they’re all around us. If you look closely, you will find a very vibrant art scene here with some of the world’s greatest artists.” He adds, “you just have to look.”
With hopes of drawing together the world of fashion, film, art, and music at the exhibit’s opening night gala, the filmmaker and artist is looking forward to showcasing his latest work. “My new work is what I am most happy with. I think I’ve finally found my voice,” he says.
The artwork of Johnny Otto, Annie Preece and Yuri Sountsov will be on display until the end of May at Ashley Paige Gallery, located at 7501 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.