FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Garry Booth
JAY SHAW, RICO CABINA AND JASON LIWAG: NATIVE TONGUE
Phone Booth Gallery is pleased to present “Native Tongue”, an exhibition of new prints by Jay Shaw, Rico Cabina and Jason Liwag. For this show, all three artists interpret foreign language movie posters in Polish, Spanish, and Japanese respectively. All the work in the exhibition is executed by Risograph, a process that takes concepts from screen printing, offset printing, and mimeograph to create a uniquely layered color-by-color limited palette print. The process is growing in DIY circles for its elusive accessibility and for its uncommon level of finish. “Native Tongue” opens with a reception on Saturday, November 9th, from 7-10pm. This all-ages event will be held at Phone Booth Gallery’s exhibition space, 2533 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803. All three artists in attendance. “Native Tongue” remains on view through December 7th, at both at the gallery and at www.phoneboothgallery.com.
The exhibition explores the bold design decisions and striking imagery that make movie posters such an affecting, culturally telling medium but that rarely get examined in their own right.
Boulder-based artist Jay Shaw has worked in commercial design and developed a number of movie posters, the most recent of note being the 35th Anniversary of the film “Halloween.” Heavily influenced by Polish design, his work has a bold, haunting quality. Its reds, blacks and oranges suggest an apocalyptic urgency, while the graphics and fonts are deceptively controlled. His version of a Polish poster for Rosemary’s Baby has a white, sans-serif title left of center and sperm swimming elegantly toward a womb-like form that’s only partly visible, cut-off by the image’s left edge.
Rico Cabina, an emerging artist from Mexico who is now based in the U.S., has developed a series of prints informed by Mexican lobby cards, catchy poster-sized film promotions that were traditionally slightly bigger and filled with more imagery and text than their U.S. counterparts. Cabina’s work in Native Tongue specifically riffs on pulp-style graphics and custom typography of greaser movie lobby cards. He will exhibit his own takes on “Crybaby,” “Mystery Train,” “Johnny Suede” and others. The card for “Crybaby” (or “El Lagrima”) includes a posed photograph of Johnny Depp and Amy Locane at the time of the 1980 movie superimposed over a graphic-novel-worthy rendering of blue-faced kids partying in the back of a car. Each of his prints are hand drawn or painted, and feature uniquely custom typography and iconography.
Southern California artist Jason Liwag, also a designer who has worked in the movie trailer industry, takes Japanese movie posters as his starting point. Liwag reimagined posters for iconic films as more romantic Japanese-language posters with a vintage appeal – RoboCop is rendered in grey with pink lettering around him, looking heroic in an noir-worthy way. His small expressive portraits appropriate the style of sumi brushwork and calligraphy used by Japanese artists, impressionistically suggesting icons from mainstream films often made in the U.S. There’s a mini-joker with bright red cheeks and a pared down black and red Darth Maul.
The artists in “Native Tongue” take a multi-layered look at the strategies that make film posters so iconic and then turn some of those strategies on their heads, so that their imagery questions and experiments rather than promotes.