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THE ART OF JOHNNY OTTO

With comparisons to Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Willem de Kooning and Picasso, the Abstract Expressionistic & Figurative works of Artist Johnny Otto are creating a stir in the Los Angeles art world because of the bold way in which he deconstructs the human figure, both male and female, into a tangled web of limbs, breasts, lips, eyes and genitals as if their forms where inseparable from each other and their backgrounds. Taking inspiration from these ground-breaking artists who came before him and from the cracked pavement and graffiti riddled streets of Los Angeles, Otto’s work is a fine line between “street art” and “fine art”. His tools are often just an old butter knife, some acrylic paint and a piece of cardboard or canvas. He describes his work as being “Modern Cubism without the cubes! Like jazz, dance, sex, punk, Capoeira and rock all mixed together. They are an exploration of the similarities between the sexes; of how the yin and yang of human sexuality are so closely intertwined as to sometimes seem indistinguishable, taking gender bending to the next level!”









Otto's 2016-2017 series is a slight departure from his earlier work and focuses on the primal nature of man and the beast that lies within. This series features lone figures, tribal in nature, naked against the world. As well as being an award-winning filmmaker featured in publications such as Movie Maker Magazine and on Aspiring Hollywood, Johnny Otto has exhibited his art since the mid 80’s when he was a film student in Canada. Los Angeles exhibits include Zero One Gallery, Headquarters, The Project Angel Food Art Auction, Ministry Gallery, Art in The Alley, and Art Squat (which he is a co-founder of).



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BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

  • 1966 BORN IN BAYVILLE, OHIO
  • 1971 MOVED TO CANADA WITH FAMILY
  • 1974-1985 ATTENDED PRIVATE CATHOLIC SCHOOLS
  • 1986-1999 ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR
  • 1989 WON "BEST SCRIPT" AT C.O.S.T. FESTIVAL IN CANADA
  • 1990 MOVED TO LOS ANGELES
  • 1992 CO-FOUNDER OF ARTSQUAT
  • 1993 HIS FATHER DIES AT AGE 63
  • 1996 MARRIES ARTIST SHIHO AMANO
  • 1999 BEGINS TRIBAL.SEXUAL SERIES
  • 2000 DIVORCES ARTIST SHIHO AMANO
  • 2001 BROTHER ERIC DIES AT AGE 39
  • 2001 OTTOPHOBIA: WROTE, DIRECTED AND PRODUCED DV FEATURE FILM "BRUISED"
  • 2003 SOLO EXHIBIT AT HEADQUARTERS FOR TRIBAL.SEXUAL SERIES
  • 2007 SLIMDUNCE - 7 FILMS IN 7 WEEKS - DIRECTS/SHOOTS/EDITS 7 SHORT FILMS
  • 2007-2011 CONTINUES TO SHOW WORK PRIVATELY
  • 2009 HIS MOM DIES FROM CANCER
  • 2011 FOCUSES ON FILM PROJECTS
  • 2012 BEGINS "FLESH" SERIES
  • 2016 CONTINUES 'FLESH' SERIES AND BEGINGS DOCUMENTING HIS PROCESS ON FILM


  • EXHIBITIONS

  • 1988 GROUP SHOW/SUBWAY EXHIBITIONS - ABSTARCT PAINTINGS - UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR, ONTARIO. CANADA

  • 1989 SOLO EXHIBIT/RIVERFRONT GALLERY - FIGURATIVE PAINTINGS AND SKETCHES - WINDSOR, ONTARIO. CANADA

  • 1990-1991 CURATOR/PARTICIPANT FOR GROUP SHOW "MEGABOYS" - FEATURING 20 EMERGING ARTISTS SPONSORED MY FARHAD NOVIAN AND SIMON MILLER - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 1991-1993 PROJECT ANGEL FOOD ART AUCTION PACIFIC DESIGN CENTER - LOS ANGELES, CA

  • 1992-1994 CO-FOUNDER of ART SQUAT COLLECTIVE - CONCEPTUAL PIECES - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 1993 ART IN THE ALLEY - EXPERIMENTAL DRIVE-THRU ART EXHIBIT- FEATURING ABSTRACT AND FIGURATIVE PAINTINGS - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 1994 PRIVATE SOLO SHOW - ABSTRACT AND FIGURATIVE PAINTINGS - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 1996 SOLO EXHIBIT AT MINISTRY GALLERY - ABSTRACT AND FIGURATIVE PAINTINGS - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 1999 ZERO ONE GALLERY - GROUP AUCTION - ABSTRACT AND FIGURATIVE PAINTINGS - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 1999 CO-FOUNDER OF ARTSQUAT - EXPERIMENTAL, CONCEPTUAL ART - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 2005 HEADQUARTERS: SOLO EXHIBIT - TRIBAL.SEXUAL TRIBAL, MINIMALISM. SKECTHES AND PAINTINGS - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 2009 - 2011 PRIVATE EXHIBITIONS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY - LOS ANGELES,CA

  • 2013 GROUP SHOW AT THE ASHLEY PAIGE GALLERY - HOLLYWOOD, CA




  • PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

  • SHIRLEY LEVI - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • IRIS STRAWFIELD - SAN FRANCISCO,CA
  • GRANT REYNOLDS - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • LOUIS HAGNEY - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • PATTY HEALY - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • NATALIE MILLER - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • ISABEL DESANTI - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • RUBEN FENWICK - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • IAN SMITH - TORONTO,CANADA
  • MARC JOFFE - WINDSOR,CANADA
  • ANTHONY GRAY - WINDSOR,CANADA
  • DON SCOTTI - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • DAN HELKA - DETROIT,MI
  • MARK SIMMONS - LOS ANGELS,CA
  • DEBBIE DIAMOND - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • GILROY ARIJON - TOKYO,JAPAN
  • KIM SU - TOKYO,JAPAN
  • STACY CASE - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • ELDON DAITWEILER - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • KATY GARAS - SANTA MONICA,CA
  • DANIEL FRANCO - NEW YORK,NY
  • SHIHO AMANO - NEW YORK,NY
  • MICHAEL HALE - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • GREG OTTO - LOS ANGELES,CA
  • MICHELLE LOLLI - LOS ANGELES,CA


  • SQUATTER'S RITES

    What would you do if the landlord stopped collecting rent and allowed squatters to take over an abandoned Fairfax-district apartment right next to yours? Why, commandeer the empty site, run extension cords from your pad into the space and create an art collective, of course. Tha's exactly what host/artist - not to mention beautiful - ANDY SCHEER did when he brought together artists HOLLAND, DAVID FRUDIS, MICHAEL MORRISON, JOHNNY OTTO, and just plain old OTTO for ARTSQUAT recently. Judging by the refreshments (beer and a boozy pink punch - what squatter can afford champagne?), this was no fancy-shmancy party. Among the smart art tarts milling and swilling while reviewing the hand-painted photographs, illustrations, and paintings were actor ALEXIS ARQUETTE, superstar CANDYASS, hairchopper FRANKIE PAYNE, PETRA HAYDEN (formerly of THAT DOG), Aussie transplants BELINDA GAVIN and her hot boyfriend MULLY, saucy SELENA, who got into the spirit of the evening by painting "ARTSQUAT" across her breasts (now that's what we call titillating), club king JOSH WELLS, photographer ANDY DEVINE, cocksucker to the stars HAGATHA, the long-lost but not missed SHELVELVA KENNEDY-SINATRA, and brassy babe MISS ANDRA.



    - LA WEEKLY, 1992
    J.V. McAuley