Circus Posterus

A Rare Look into Kathie Olivas’s Studio as She Prepares for ‘Haunted’ @ AFA

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While vacationing in Albuquerque a couple of months ago, Kathie offered me the absolute pleasure of shooting some in-progress paintings for Haunted, her solo opening later this month at AFA NYC. It had been a little over a year since I had visited her studio, and the thought of documenting the work to later share with the fans was obviously a thrill. It’s why bloggers do what they do, after all, and it isn’t often that we get an intimate look behind the scenes at CP HQ.

Kathie’s studio is detached from the rest of their house in the mountains. Slipping out the sliding door of the sculpture studio and through a gate leading to the side yard, you then climb up the rocky facade of a small-but-steep incline that actually turns into cliff if you go the wrong way. Hanging a left, you soon see it: a large, glassed-in gazebo with wraparound deck. Ask Kathie about it and she’ll educate (and enterain) you on the perils of building into solid rock.

Despite its imposing size, the interior space of the gazebo is rather tight, with nearly every square inch occupied by easels, canvases, shelving and supplies. Shooting the art became a nerve-racking game of hopscotch as I tried to get the right angle without turning the canvases into dominoes.

The art shown here is only a sampling of what will be on exhibit at AFA. There are also the three-dimensional works, which were lurking in another studio in the house. Kathie’s workspace aside, there are also the toy and print studios, which I’ll document next visit. There’s also their rec room, where paintings and sculpts often spill onto tables, counter tops and any other conceivable surface. Pop into a washroom and you may see 30 some odd Stingy Jacks bathing in the tub. The art is everywhere and it’s incredible and inspiring how two artists have committed themselves so completely.

Anyway, without further adieu, enjoy the tour of Studio KO. Haunted opens Oct. 20th and runs through December at AFA NYC.

 Click through for more studio sneaks!

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Important Preview Info for Bewitching II and Dead Wood!

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Freaks and geeks, witches and ghouls, our favorite day is upon us and is sure to make you drool! The boards are coming off the doors and windows, the candles lit and cobwebs dusted at Stranger Factory as we busily prepare for the opening of our biggest show yet: Bewitching II. Featuring the works of roughly 40 artists from all over the globe, this show may very well bring about the apocalypse. The teasers alone are enough to cripple all expectations, self-restraint and bank accounts and those were just a sampling of what’s to come.

And we musn’t forget the sheer brilliance of this year’s sideshow act: Gary Ham’s Dead Wood. This will certainly be an exhibition to remember, and for the souls around the globe who can only attend in spirit, I bid you to listen well …

As per every exhibition, locals get first crack at the goods starting tonight through this weekend. Online collectors, the request period opens TUESDAY, Oct. 9 at  12 noon PST. It’s been pushed back a day on account of Baby Tattooville. Given the volume of art on the preview, an email may not be sent out to collectors in time. That said, the list is being constantly updated on the Stranger Factory website so check in this evening for the full spread. Please avoid camping on the site as it creates a lag for everyone. Art from both shows will be compiled on the same page.

Bewitching II and Dead Wood open TONIGHT with an reception from 6-9pm. Gary Ham will be in attendance! The exhibits run through Nov. 4th.


Don Your Best Rubber Face, Seymour’s Mascarade is Coming to Town!

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Some of you may recall Seymour’s nightmarish sideshow from Strychnin’s Emporium exhibition (with Doktor A and Skeleton Heart) earlier this year. But if you’re unfamiliar with the work of Berlin-based artist, now’s your chance to see him at his best.

Continuing the carnivale theme, Seymour presents “The Mascarade”, an installation comprised of eight polymer clay and resin figures all housed in a vintage wooden clock body. Customised to look like the front of an old house, the characters sit on the front steps, eagerly awaiting someone brave (or foolish?) enough to approach for candy. Oh, they’ll give you something, all right …

 The clock box measures 22 inches (it’s a big ‘un) and includes an internal light to show off the group of geeks loitering within. Something tells me they’ll be right at home at Stranger Factory.

 Bewitching II opens tomorrow (Oct. 5th) with an opening reception from 6pm to 9pm!   

Amanda Louise Spayd Brings the Harvest Moon to Bewitching II

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Amanda Louise Spayd is one of those artists whose work consistently impresses and inspires me, and when the air grows cool and the trees become a mosaic of yellow, orange and red, she’s in her element. Magic happens. She reignites our imaginations and reminds us that while we wander the forests listening to the crunch of the leaves beneath us, the sound me not be from our feet alone.

Harvest Moon is a custom sprite that’s bound for Bewitching II, Stranger Factory’s annual Halloween haunt, opening tomorrow. Complete with hand-cast resin face, custom forehead adornment, seriously stylish leaf mane and Beetlejuice slacks, s/he’d make a perfect centrepiece for any Thanksgiving table. As always, I’m curious of the scent: cinnamon? Pumpkin pie? Dried leaves? Mmmm, creature therapy.

Break Me and I Break Your Finger: Andrew Bell’s ‘Kill Kat #1’ for Bewitching II

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Last year, Andrew Bell absolutely NAILED Bewitching with his “Damned Corn” and “Bat Ball” sculpts. And now, the master of the delightfully dark and hilarious returns with the first-ever Kill-Kat, an obvious (albeit carnivorous) interpretation of the Kit-Kat candy bar. So think again before breaking off-a piece —  it’s all teeth beneath that chocolately treat!

Kill Kat # 1 stands 5.5 inches and includes a glass dome so you can sleep soundly at night. The magnetic melted base is removable and the wrapper is just awesome.

Bewitching II opens THIS FRIDAY at Stranger Factory! Roughly forty artists from all over the globe under one roof,  wielding their uber-artistry in the honor of Halloweenia. Prepare yourselves!


Circus Folk: Fernando Rios

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Welcome to the first installment of Circus Folk! Here we will show off those who venture under the big top with their wonderful collections. We can let the fans we love show off their treasured collections, and let others share in the fun. For our inaugural post, we have Fernando Rios from Texas. Fernando was gracious enough to send us many images of his home and pieces the past two weeks.

Now without further adieu, sit back and enjoy the collection of Circus Folk: Fernando Rios.

Click more for a plethora of more images.

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The Incredible Customs of Yohei Kaneko & Shigeta Tanaka for Bewitching II, 10.5

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I’m at a loss for words over these next pieces for Bewitching II, this batch from powerhouse Japanese artists Yohei Kaneko (Mirock Toy) and Shigeta Tanaka (Goccodo Design). If you’ve been following along with our Stingy Jack and Calliope Jackalope Anatomy Series, the names likely ring a bell: Yohei being the sculptor on both projects and Shigeta the liaison between Obitsu and T+CP. Much credit goes to them for getting the Tomenosuke + Circus Posterus sofubi initiative off the ground and now we have the exciting opportunity to see some of their original work on Western soil.

On the left stands Yohei’s Fūjin Skelve with Shigeta’s Oinari Skelve flanking him on the right. Both are masterpieces of resin, wood and spray paint and you can’t help but marvel at the cleanliness and precision. “(Fūjin is a) God coming from Japanese ancient times,” Shigeta writes, on behalf of Yohei. The god of wind, Fūjin resembles a terrifying demon and is often pictured carrying large bags of winds on his shoulders. “The face of the terrible ogre was most suitable for the disguise of the Halloween show,” Shigeta continues. “The sculpture of Fūjin was very congenial for Mirock Toy (Yohei), who always engraved a Buddha statue.”

Shigeta’s Oinari Skelve is equally as stunning. Inspired by the traditional Japanese god of the same name, Oinari (or “Inari”) is symbolic of enterprise and worldly success. He is often depicted with white foxes known as kitsune, which he uses as messengers. The fox mask, Shigeta explains, is also a common children’s disguise in Japan.

The third piece, titled Canon Ballo, is a collaboration between Yohei and Shigeta. A custom of one of Kathie Olivas’s iconic birds, this particular piece was made entirely for fun and it shows, with both artists taking the cart and suping it into an F1 racer, decals and all. This is such a playful piece that shows off the breadth of their talent and imagination when juxtaposed with the Skelves. That said, I’d die if it was a pullback; how hilarious would the be?!

(So much for that loss for words…)

Bewitching II opens this Friday with a reception from 6pm to 9pm. We have plenty more stashed away in our bag of tricks, so keep checking back!

Behind the Scenes of Le Carnaval: The Flea Market & Catacombs

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By sethsabbat

Saturday morning was an early start to Le marché aux puces de la Porte de Vanves. This french flea market is a great place to find things, and Teodoru was a true expert in haggling down prices. Everyone seemed to find something from old comics, to vintage toys, to turn-of-the-century photographs. I found an antique crocodile head to add to my collection of nature morte. With bags filled, we were off to the catacombs.

In the late 1700s, the city of Paris started transferring the bones from its cemeteries here. The visit was slightly disappointing as a good part of the underground route was closed off to the public. I had thought this was due to an earlier act of vandalism I had heard about, but not the case. The night before our visit,  several walls of bones had collapsed. This could very well explain my strange dreams of mudslides the day before! After what seemed like a never-ending flight of stairs, we were back to the service and off to the Latin quarter for lunch with a group of french CP fans, and a visit to a BD gallery. BD’s are the french version of comics.

See more behind the scenes from Paris: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Some Tag Team Action from KO & BP for Lucha Libre! @ Rotofugi, 10.5

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Let’s get ready to rumbllllllle! Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters have two killer custom pieces in their corner for the Beast Brothers’s Lucha Libre! group exhibition opening next month at Rotofugi. The dynamic duo decided to mix it up this round, submitting two solo works: a Lucha Greeter from KO and a Mega Lucha Mask from BP, which is quite the opportunity — custom Mega Skelve masks don’t show up to a card all that often. So get yer tickets and place yer bets: the Chi-Town showdown takes place Oct. 5th!