news Johnny Otto’s ‘Water & Spirit’ show at Radiant Space by Charlie Anison

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Tucked away down an unassuming side street in the heart of Hollywood, is a 500 square foot art gallery that is becoming much bigger than its size would indicate. Launching in June of 2017 and directed by Olivia Mia Orozco and Golie Yazdy, Radiant Space is a multimedia space that is run by a team of creatives whom have a deep love of art, film, dance, fashion and multimedia presentations. You might remember Laurie Shapiro’s ‘Before You Were Born’ installation, which formed lines around the block a few months ago and received amazing accolades. Radiant Space has been featured in Artillery Magazine, LAWEEKLY, Los Angeles Magazine, Citizen and others, because of their unique approach to the use of the space and the high caliber of Artists that they are working with. “Our aim is to authentically present work that adds to the global conversation of what it means to have a human experience here and now.”

left: Olivia Mia Orozco and Golie Yazdy; right: Radiant Space

Coming this Fall is another exhibit, which is sure to be all the buzz. After a year of work and more than 13 years of groups shows and art fairs, Johnny Otto is having his first solo exhibit since 2005. Often compared to Basquiat, Haring and Picasso, Otto’s work is actually influenced by a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts which he visited as a child and where he was exposed to their vast collection of African Art. “It’s influence on my work was overwhelming and immediate. I’d never seen anything like it or felt anything so strongly. These wooden masks and sculptures seemed as if they were alive and their ancient creator’s souls were trapped in them and desperate to escape. They certainly made their way into me and my art.”, Otto said.

Johnny Otto “Dance of Spirits” 48″x60″ acrylic on canvas

Grand. Vibrant. Aggressive. Powerful. Otto’s new paintings are sure to stir up a great deal of conversation and excitement. I had seen them in photos and on his Instagram but I wasn’t prepared for how grand they were in person. During a recent visit to his private studio in the heart of Hollywood, I came face to face with his work for the first time and was literally amazed. First, they are large pieces. Most are four feet wide and five feet tall. They command any wall space. Seeing dozens of them together in one room is a real treat. Then, there is the use of very dynamic use of color. Very vibrant and primary. Blood red. Sky blue. Earthy greens and fiery yellows, all which tie into his theme of man, spirit and nature being one, in some glorious harmony. Then, and this is my favorite aspect of his work, there are the extremely aggressive brush strokes, like knives digging into the canvas. Rough, black, chalk-like claw marks that contending with the colors. His figures seem to be in constant motion. “They dance around their space – as limited as it might be to a canvas on the wall – they are free.”, he commented.

Indeed, Otto’s work does reveal his own personal journey to find freedom with his art. His older pieces, a few of which are on his studio walls, are much more controlled. Simple line art that is much more reminiscent of Keith Haring’s work. “After seeing Basquiat’s work at The Broad in 2017, I realized that I could free up my art a lot and get away with a lot more, something I had been trying to find a way to do for more than a decade. His piece had dirty edges, a piece of gum trapped under the paint and a footprint, presumably his own. Seeing that his work wan’t perfect, but embodied the type of expressionistic qualities that I wanted, really allowed me to be more free with my work.”

Johnny Otto “Esprit du Primitif” 48″x60″ acrylic on canvas

Whomever or whatever Otto’s influences are, his work is already finding its way into the hands of collectors from around the world who are eager to discover the next rising star of the art world. They may have already found him, if you ask me. Johnny Otto’s work with be featured at Radiant Space beginning Saturday October 6th and ending November 3rd. If you want a private tour of his studio in Hollywood, I’d highly suggest doing so. It changed me as soon as I stepped in.

Johnny Otto will be donating a portion of the proceeds for his art to help Drop in the Bucket, a non profit that builds wells in Africa.

Radiant Space – We offer our space to rent for creative projects, photo shoots, personal art shows, and special events. We’d love to collaborate with you. Feel free to reach out to us and come join our community.

http://www.instagram.com/radiant_space
info [at] radiantspacela.com
(323) 522-4496
1444 N Sierra Bonita Ave,
Los Angeles, California 90046

Johnny Otto in his Hollywood studio

Johnny Otto on Instagram

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