We took a cab through the tight streets of San Francisco. It was night and the city stammered by in a crowded view of liquor stores and laundromats. Towering apartment buildings. There were people out. There always are. Aimless and shouting. A congregation of wanderers.
The car stopped and we had reached Gauntlet Gallery. The gallery sits along Larkin Street, at the edge of the Tenderloin, a district where you walk fast and keep your head down. A few blocks away, Post Street. Polk Street. A hub of bars and nighttime social buzz.
At one point in my life this was a regular event. Roaming the city drinking and eating. Wandering. But now, after moving to the country, to the ‘burbs, this was a special trip.
We had made it out for the opening of Brandon Bird’s The Art of ‘The Astonishing World of Art.’
Bird, an artist based out of Los Angeles, was showing the original drawings from this recent book ‘The Astonishing World of Art,’ a deliriously inspired pastiche of pop culture characters in random motifs.
Bird’s work would appear easy to explain. A pop culture icon depicted in unusual circumstances.
Rod Stewart as a Storm Trooper.
Nicolas Cage as a monkey.
That is a superficial definition, a blind observation. A talented painter, Bird’s pieces go beyond the visual joke. There’s a painterly skill behind the clever juxtaposition of mismatched references. His work isn’t parody or satire — there’s no mean-spirited mocking. His drawings are just pure joy and giggles.