By Mariella Rudi
The Center for Audio and Visual Engagement, or C.A.V.E. Gallery, is a clean-walled gallery in Venice known for its Pop Art, photos, and audio installations by up-and-coming artists.
Focused on introducing and supporting cutting-edge art that is both new and engaging, C.A.V.E.’s latest exhibition of Chad Hasegawa’s “The Beach” is on display now until Monday, May 4.
The collection features variegated paintings of a familiar California idol: the brown bear.
Though Hasegawa draws the eyes, snout, and mouth realistically, his bear’s body and fur is made up of brick-like shapes that create a mosaic image of the beautiful brown bear.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Hasegawa moved to San Francisco in 2000 to join the city’s kinetic graffiti scene.
There, he quickly gained recognition for his bold and colorful latex paint brush strokes that pushed the boundaries of public art.
Check out Hasegawa’s iconic brown bears at the gallery, located at 1108 Abbot Kinney Blvd. It is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12 pm to 6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm.
Describe your motif of the brown bear.
It’s something I am able paint and that really express my style. It’s also something I paint for people to enjoy. Most of my paintings are female bears because the females are the ones who are fierce and protective over their young.
Why is your collection called, “The Beach?”
I have an aunt who really loves the beach, and I remember her family taking me there when I was younger all the time. So I named the show after my family, who all love going to the beach. The colors reminded me of their house, as well.
How have street art and the Mission School art movement influenced your style as an artist?
Lot of folks in the Mission School used house paint from the same house paint that I use. I like to think that we all get our paint from our same secret spots. This started when I saw Margaret Kilgallen using house paint in a couple videos and photos. I figured that if she’s good with using it I could use it, too. She use to write “Meta” on walls and her pieces would really stand out because she used house paint instead of spray paint. It’s kind of funny because I used to try to keep it a secret, and then I found out almost everybody uses the same type of paint. But that also might mean that the Mission School influences us all.
What are the pervasive themes or patterns in the exhibit?
I call it “abstract caves,” but it’s called “Pukas,” and it’s the Hawaiian word for “hole.” That is something in almost all my pieces I have ever painted. I almost want the “Pukas” to be my signature or something that will let you know it’s my painting. I also use it as a symbol of my home [Honolulu].
What is your painting technique for these bears?
Piles of bricks as layers of paint and color. Over and over.
Lastly, what can people take away from your show at C.A.V.E.?
I just want people to have a good time looking at paintings. Hopefully it’ll have a similar feeling of going to the beach: simple.