Spotlight: Erik Foss

In anticipation of Unseen on TV opening

Saturday, November 14th 2009, 7-11pm at Gallery Three.

Erik Foss has his eyes fixed on Gallery Three, and we are staring right back. Joining us for a solo exhibit opening next Saturday, we never know what to expect from Foss. Since he is such a unique guy, we have arranged a little tour of Erik’s many interests. As a curator, artist, gallery owner, and nightlife insider there is much to know. We’ll start with the basics.

Erik Foss

© Black Book Mag

A Word from Foss

“I am an artist. When I came here I wasn’t of a pedigreed art background, nor did I come from money. So I showed my work in bars like Max Fish, Luna Lounge, and Life. I work 7 days a week and have since I was 15 years old. I paint and make art in my studio, which my bar pays for. I curate and show artists I like, and that’s it. I buy art I like. In fact, I spend all the extra money I make on other peoples’ art.” –Interview with Erik Foss, Black Book Mag


Foss joined with Curse Mackey to curate Draw in 2008, an exhibition made up entirely of works in pencil and pen. The show traveled to Auston, New York, London, and finally to The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco in April 2009. He also curates exhibits at his own gallery in New York City called Fuse.

Draw Show at The Shooting Gallery Draw Show at The Shooting Gallery in April 2009


Erik has always been just as involved in the nightlife scene as the art world. Fuse Gallery is connected to Lit Lounge, a bar/nightclub that serves as a meeting place for creative individuals. Devandra Banhart, Elliot Smith, and Moving Units are just a few from the venue’s “Bands Hoove Played” list. One needs only to scroll through the Lit Lounge pictures for an idea of the fun times going down. As Erik’s career was born out of bartending, his time spent at Lit Lounge supports his time in the studio.

Lit Lounge

© Lit Lounge


Erik Foss has shown in galleries and museums including White Box, Dietch, Jonathan Levine, The Contemporary Art Museum in Chicago, Collette in Paris and V1 Gallery in Denmark. He first showed at Gallery Three in November 2008, assembling a life size American flag from the drawings of San Francisco homeless (covered by Mr. Peacock here).

Erik Foss

Although not a self proclaimed photographer, we noticed that Foss also has a hefty collection of stills on his website.

Erik Foss

Erik Foss

Erik Foss

And of course, Erik is best known for his mixed media work. As stated in the press release for his upcoming show, Unseen on TV:

“Seemingly naïve perceptions of sex, religion and politics are represented in the form of collage, combined to form a disordered setting for Erik Foss’ new exhibition, Unseen on TV. This collection is fueled by a sociological deviance from American culture, while at the same time reflecting the cultures’ very ideals. Foss’ raw collages on distressed paper are an assembled collection of antique pornography and photographs, dating as late as the 1800s. Erotic cut out hearts cover the faces of stoic portraits, questioning the distinction between offensive vs. provocative or private vs. public concern. Manipulating American history and politics with fearful symmetries and collective despair, Foss dares to push the boundaries of relative understanding.”

Here are a few details from his new works to be shown at Gallery Three next Saturday.

Erik Foss

Erik Foss

Erik Foss

Hopefully this orientation has got you asking, what’s next? Come see Erik Foss’ Unseen on TV at Gallery Three on November 14th to find out.

Previous posts about Erik

Studio Visit with Erik Foss

Process Shots and New Works

Quick Interview with Foss

Meet ESPO (aka Steve Powers)

ESPO. Exterior Surface Painting Outreach. This is the X graffiti artist joining us in White Walls for November 2009 (press release here), bringing with him all the supplies he needs to create the show from within our gallery walls. This could be a show in the most theatrical sense of the word, or ESPO could silently mount the exhibition in the blink of an eye (as he does in the streets). How can one speculate such things? All we can do is look to the past for an overview of where he’s been and what he’s done.

Deitch Projects in NYC

Starting old school, here is an exhibition he did at Deitch Projects with Barry McGee in 2000 (photos via Deitch).



“Covering the walls were signs announcing, for example, ‘Buck Fiddy’s 50 cent store,’ ‘Super Savior Just for You’ and ‘Run Yo Shit, Brought to you by No Fair 1’s Productions.’ This zesty signage reflects the artists’ enthusiastic embrace of the American advertising esthetic, as well as their fondness for the lively grammar of slang. For imaginary products in the fabricated stores, Powers designed Pop-inspired labels, mini art works that demonstrate both his good graphic sense and his ability to manipulate the idioms of consumer culture. There were, for example, cans of ‘Stret Cred,’ ‘Dignity,’ ‘Class’ and ‘Belief’; ‘Promise’ is a roll of toilet paper.” -By Sarah Valdez, Art in America (October 2000)



Fullbright Scholarship in Ireland

ESPO received a Fullbright Scholarship to paint the streets of Dublin, Ireland from 2007-2008.  He was allotted $30k to live in Ireland for 6 months and paint the streets. By renting a one bedroom apartment 30 minutes outside of Dublin, he was able to connect with the local culture in this art exchange. A few flicks from Irish Street Art:



“As Mr. Powers was preparing to return home, he reflected on the contrast that had emerged in his life: He started his artistic career as essentially an outlaw, and was now painting in Ireland under the auspices of an elite, ivory-tower organization. “It’s interesting to revisit my original medium and do it differently,” he said. “The only reason I got into graffiti in the first place was I wanted some stories to tell.” –NY Times




A Love Letter for You in Philadelphia

ESPO’s most recent endeavor has been a full blown mural project in Philadelphia called A Love Letter for You. In three works, ESPO worked with 40 artists to complete 50 rooftop murals.



“The murals, which are best viewed from the Market-Frankford elevated transit line, collectively express a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown, and from local residents to their West Philadelphia neighborhood.” –Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Some photos via A Love Letter for You:




White Walls in San Francisco

Alas, the artist is now in our very own gallery. Come by this Saturday, November 14th from 7-11pm to see ESPO’s newest works. We now leave you with Juxtapoz Magazine’s 20 Questions with Steve Powers, it’s good for a laugh.

Press Release: Sweatin’ to tha Oldies by Fanee

Sweatin’ to tha Oldies

New Works by Fanee

Opening December 12th, 2009 7-11pm


Gallery Three is proud to present Sweatin’ to tha Oldies by Fanee. This collection of new works uses sexual imagery to represent romantic, but still naughty mentalities of a somewhat juvenile teen. Please join us at Gallery Three for the opening reception of Sweatin’ to tha Oldies on December 12th, 2009 from 7-11pm.

Fanee’s subject matter deals with the many fundamentals of naive love, dating and “sweatin” over various infatuations. This exhibit boldly showcases Fanee’s provocative vision of female sexuality in society.  She uses inner conflicts to explore the fine line between passion and delirium. Her characters take on different personas of clown-faced women, tattooed up, dressed in costume, and jeweled to the max. Shadowed by twisted song lyrics and provocative poses, her characters entrance the viewer by revealing their vulnerability.

This collection incorporates mixed media works creating a hybrid of drawing and painting on magazine paper. The premise of each piece begins with an image ripped from a kinky porn magazine. Fanee outlines her subjects with pen and pencil, adding and subtracting from the original image. She uses white oil-based markers and colored paint to add contrast and subtle pigments to the page.

A native of the Midwest, Fanee moved to New York City to begin her art education at Parsons The New School for Design. From there, she returned to her Midwest roots and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). After a six-year tenure in Chicago, she relocated to San Francisco to further her passion and her artistic career.

Sweatin’ to tha Oldies will be Fanee’s second solo exhibit at Gallery Three. Her new works are provocative, arousing and guaranteed entertainment. Please join us for the opening reception of Sweatin’ to tha Oldies by Fanee at Gallery Three on December 12th 2009, from 7-11pm. This exhibition runs through January 2nd 2010, and is open to the public.

Press Release: Winter Group Show

Winter Group Show

Opening December 12th 2009 7-11pm

Winter Group Show

White Walls is proud to present the Winter Group Show opening December 12th 2009. No themes or undertones to this exhibit, just the best art from the artists we’ve been dying to see. This massive group show features more than 30 artist from around the US with close to 60 original pieces of art. Please join us for the opening reception at White Walls Gallery on December 12th 2009 from 7-11 pm.

We are excited to show several artists who we are inspired by and admire. Varying from prolific artists who have established careers to those who are just now emerging. This exceptional collection fluctuates between abstract, mixed media, sculpture, urban, folk and contemporary art. The Winter Group Show embodies White Walls’ mission to push the boundaries between lowbrow, urban and fine art and we are proud to exhibit such a diverse collection all under one roof.

Featured Artists: Clayton Brothers, AJ Fosik, Thomas Campbell, Anthony Lister, Mike Shine, Cody Hudson, Katy Horan, Rich Jacobs, Alex Kopps, Kill Pixie, Greg Gossel, Ernesto Yerena, Timothy Karpinski, Nas Chompas, Mark Warren Jacques, Erik Foss, D Young V, Antistrot, Aaron Nagel, Robert Burden, Becca, Casey Gray, Lance Strongheart, Henry Gunderson, Mercedes Heinwien, Phillip Lumbang, Akira Beard plus more surprise guests to come.

Winter Group Show opens December 12th, 2009 and runs through January 2nd, 2009. Please see our extensive media kit for images, artist statements and further information on the event.

Introducing: Mercedes Helnwein

East of Eden

Artist Mercedes Helnwein will be presenting new works in a solo show at Merry Karnowsky Gallery.  The title was inspired by Steinbeck (who was initially inspired by the all mighty Bible) and we believe it lends itself perfectly to the drama that exudes from each carefully rendered piece.

If you like what you see, don’t miss White Walls’ Winter Group Show opening December 12th, 2009 where Mercedes will be among the group.

Here are a few words from the lady herself:

This is my new exhibition.

I’m going to say a few quick profound things about it which you can either read or skip, but people ask all the time what things mean, so this is my attempt to counter-act the impending questions.

I’ll begin by stating the obvious: I am using a title that John Steinbeck gave to a book he wrote, which was published in 1952, and which is a work of art that I admire ridiculously and helplessly. Steinbeck in turn got it from the Bible.

But I don’t necessarily mean to make a direct reference to the Bible or even to Steinbeck’s book – although traces of it I know have lodged themselves deep into my anatomy, as they should. Rather, I’m making a reference to the quiet and startling drama those words are heavy with in my opinion.

They give me the idea of something fatally misplaced by a few inches. Transparently wrong, but maybe in such a gentle way that it can go unnoticed by millions of onlookers.

The imagery in this show is kind of hinged on that idea. The work was mostly finished when I put the title on it, but as always, the right title explains a lot of things to myself about my work.

I think it’s safe to presume that “East of Eden” is a good match. There’s probably someone out there who disagrees, but as R. Crumb said the other night, “You can’t please everyone.”

Below is all the info for you to get to the exhibition. I hope you will make it. You are excused if there is a major body of water in the way.

All the best,

New Works by Mercedes Helnwein

November 14 – December 19, 2009

Opening Reception: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 8-11pm
Hosted by Jason Lee

170 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA. 90036
tel: 323-933-4408