Juxtapoz Magazine celebrates its birthday in style

Juxtapoz Magazine turned eighteen this year, and what better way to celebrate than by showing off their past and present artistic accolades? In 1994, the publication began with the dream of creating a platform for a wide range of contemporary artists and musicians, most of whose fame lied just beneath the surface – in the urban underworld of pop art.

To celebrate their eighteenth birthday, Juxtapoz collaborated with Copro Gallery at Bergamot Station, displaying over one hundred pieces at the Santa Monica location from March 22 until April 14.

Those commonly featured in the magazine tend to be artists that you've never heard of – their work is phenomenal, if slightly dark, but they shy away from the mainstream flow of modern day music and art.

The exhibit featured pieces by artists who have been previously published in the magazine, by such names as Camille Rose Garcia, Big Daddy Roth, Retna, Shepherd Fairey, Andrew Schoultz, and Shag.

Garcia, a young artist who hails from our very own City of Angels, was featured heavily in the exhibit. Her darkened renderings of fairy tale scenes were often reminiscent of Tim Burton's surrealist style, and oozed with a kind of un-traditional, beauty.

According to her website, Garcia grew up going to Disneyland and punk rock shows in the early 1990's, and the culmination of the two is clearly shown through her artwork, with heinously ugly, yet strikingly beautiful princess types, and majestic, if not hellish scenes of alternative tales of yore.

Although Ed “Big Daddy” Roth only had one or two pieces on display, his style of work was perhaps amongst the first of its kind. He began his career with underground, alternative pop art in the early 1960's.

Roth's most prominent piece in the exhibit, entitled “Mormonism,” featured a maniacal green creature, poring over a Mormon Bible, with the caption “God is on the Prowl.”

Roth's highly stylized caricatures evoke memories of Ren and Stimpy. Complete with bulging eyeballs, Gene Simmons-esque tongues, and abnormally large mouths, Roth's work was beautiful in its execution, yet the subject matter was abrasive in a way that only true art lovers could appreciate.

Much of the work in the Juxtapoz exhibit followed these dark and twisted trends, and the realm of urban contemporary art (considered low brow by some) is ever-growing, constantly stepping closer to mainstream boundaries.

In its eighteen years of publication, the creators of Juxtapoz strove to provide these artists with a voice, and common ground, from which to build their foundations in the art world.

With its collection at Copro Gallery, the magazine's birthday was much more than a celebration; it was a living representation of its successes, having undoubtedly left its stamp on the twenty first century's art scene.