"When in doubt, go to the beach," proclaims the website slogan for the Tiki Shark retail company. Matt Kennedy had no doubt at all when he headed for the beach while booking the July exhibition at the renowned La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles.
"They're a natural pair," says Kennedy, gallery director, of his upcoming exhibit that pairs Brad 'Tiki Shark' Parker, the premier pop artist of tiki culture, and Damian Fulton, creator of one of the most ubiquitous comic book characters of the late 20th century, Radical Rick.
'Red Tiki Lounge' and 'Rad!' are the two exhibitions at La Luz de Jesus (from July 4-27), which kicks off with a luau-themed reception from 8 to 11 p.m. July 4 that includes barbecue and cocktails, and entertainment by the popular psychobilly band Insect Surfers.
While Fulton calls his art "urban surf," Kennedy doesn't hesitate to proclaim him the world's best surfing artist. And Kennedy also notes that Parker's Polynesian pop art is collected by, among so many others, Saudi Arabian royalty partly because of that country's excellent surfing beaches.
"It's interesting to have collectors like that interested in lowbrow art," Kennedy says of the genre pioneered by La Luz de Jesus and a few other galleries in the late '80s and early '90s, when Kennedy started working there.
The gallery, still owned by entrepreneur Billy Shire, moved in 1995 to the Los Feliz District of Los Angeles from its prior location as a nexus of the Melrose Avenue scene.
Parker is the artist-in-residence for the Tiki Shark company, and nearly all his exhibited work will be available for purchase at the show, including skateboard decks, boogie boards, and limited-edition towel sets as well as traditional prints.
The 'Rad!' exhibition reportedly will feature the largest collection of original Radical Rick art ever exhibited, including several original pages that have been published but never exhibited.