In My Room-August Lipp, Alex Graham, Jared Tharp, North x Carolina, Roger Betka, Paul Torres

Exhibition: February 19-March 20, 2022


La Luz de Jesus Gallery is pleased to present In My Room, a group exhibition featuring work by August Lipp, Alex Graham, Jared Tharp, North x Carolina, Roger Betka, and Paul Torres from February 19th -March 20th, 2022.

Creation does not end with the finished artwork when you’re an artist. Creation is a force constantly at work within, resulting in a rich internal life only the artist can truly know and understand. These worlds are articulated in a self-created visual language that is often surreal and symbolic; a dripping neon fantasy. ‘A room of one’s own’ has always been a necessity for artists, whether it be a four-walled studio or an internalized headspace for their restless minds and creative impulses. After experiencing a collective quarantine and separation, we are all curious to peek into the windows of these kinds of spaces and see the imagined reality of others.

The work selected for this show presents a glimpse into the mind of these talented artists and the boundless worlds and stories they imagine for themselves and their work. Featuring eye-catching color, kinetic patterns, and fluid forms, this show is an invitation to shut the door and sit with the mind of another.

Alex Graham is a painter and cartoonist from Denver, Colorado, currently residing in Seattle. Graham is
currently releasing a publication of her pandemic webcomic, “Dog Biscuits,” described on her website as such: “It’s July 2020 in Seattle. Gussy struggles to keep his dog biscuit boutique afloat while a global
pandemic rages unchecked. The loneliness of lockdown and social distancing drives his employee Rosie
to betray her principles. Rosie’s roommate Hissy is at a personal crossroads. A love triangle emerges as
they find themselves tangled in a web of police brutality, protests, drugs, dating apps and COVID chaos.
Taking place over the course of just a few days, this is a snapshot of humanity—okay, animals—in crisis.”

Jared Tharp is an artist originally from Stockton, CA who currently resides in Sacramento, CA. His work
can be seen in a variety of formats ranging from Fine art to comic books. He is also a muralist with
projects located throughout Northern California and in Bangkok Thailand. Much of Tharp’s work can best
be described as belonging to the realm of cartoons, and indeed, the amorphous, often disembodied
cartoon figures ambling through his strikingly sharp new-wave backdrops have that classic “toon” quality:
the zaniness, the madcap coloring and the plastic-y sheen of the characters’ skins. But the world depicted
is still one dimension removed—as if a black hole opened up beneath your TV set, taking your Saturday
morning viewing with it. If cartoons seem to us like hyper-surreal depictions of the world, then these
paintings show cartoon characters forced to confront their own idea of the surreal. Here, on the uneasy
border between the friendly lawlessness and threatening undercurrent of chaos in the animated world,
Tharp produces irresistible portals into the bizarre goings on within (SubMerge).

North x Carolina is an artist also known as Natasha Temezhnikova, who resides in Russia and takes
great inspiration from Americana and its multiplicitous subcultures. Her most recent comics publication,
“Bubblegum Monster,” can be described as such: “Before you is the brightest and most dynamic comic
this side of the Mississippi, from the pages of which the colors and drive are literally in full swing! And it is
on these pages that you will meet the irresistible Cotto – at first glance, the most ordinary American
teenager, literally living scene after scene from the films of the 80s. Here on Halloween, werewolves walk,
and sea predators attack the serene beach.”

Roger Betka is an Illustrator in Los Angeles with a love of comic book art, mid century Illustration, and
Sci- Fi, especially anything weird and surreal. Betka works as a Storyboard Artist/Illustrator within the
Advertising Industry for commercial spots for brands such as Toyota, Nissan, Ebay, Chevy, and many
others. He has created editorial Illustrations for Harris publications and Time Warner Cable. Betka writes
in an interview with VoyageLA, “I am strongly drawn (no pun intended) to the painting styles of the mid
20th century. There’s something about the way illustrators in the 50’s and 60’s painted that really appeals
to me. It’s also the time in America when it’s claimed it was the height of American society, depending
who you ask. Regardless of opinion, I find that there’s an iconic look which our culture is still fixated on in
one way or another. I find that’s really useful if you want to make commentary, and I do that quite a bit in
my artwork.”

Paul Torres is an artist in Alhambra, CA. Naturally gifted with a keen observation of life including the
cultural, social, political and religious landscape in the world we live, Torres’’ art embodies a rich
imagination and is laced with social commentary with a soulful interpretation of everyday life. He was born
and raised in Santiago Chile, in las condes, his birth name is Pablo Torres Urmeneta. His interest in art
began at age 3 after being introduced to comic books. Early on, Torresl also became influenced by
Hollywood films, especially horror films and Westerns. He actively shows in Los Angeles, across the US
and internationally. He has been a featured solo artist or part of shows at Copro Gallery, La Luz de Jesus
Gallery, Rico Gallery, The Hive Gallery, Muckenthaler Cultural Center among many more. Paul was also
represented at the rental and sales gallery in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has been
written about in Cultcrusher, Legend, Juxtapoz, Reddoor magazine, Browndwarf Compendium Magazine,
The Big Book of Contemporary Illustration and many more publications and sites throughout the world.

August Lipp is an artist/cartoonist from Los Angeles, currently living in Portland, OR. Lipp has created
numerous comics publications, including titles such as “Sensitive Soul,” in which Sensitive Soul’s
extremely passive best friend Chester allows himself to be drawn into a web of invertebrate relationships
after crushing a young snail’s shell with his lawnmower; and “Roopert,” in which Roopert and his friends
are excited to return to school after an eventful summer but find soon themselves at the mercy of their
irresponsible teachers. Or is it the other way around? It’s the anarchy of children vs. the absent-minded
sadism of adults in a very silly struggle for agency. According to an interview with The Comics Journal,
style and ideas are linked in his mind. Style affects how an idea is received, but he’d probably rather see
a novel idea expressed clumsily than a style absent substance.

Contact Gallery Director Matthew Gardocki for purchase info:  (323)666-7667