JOHNNY OTTO / PRESS
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Art Squat Magazine Launch
May 2021 marks the launch of Johnny Otto's Art Squat Magazine with the help of fellow Writers Julia Annabel Siedenburg and Laura Siebold. It features both local and international Artists from a wide range of disciplines. Art Squat is quartlery with the next issue arriving in August 2021.
Beneath The Darkness / Art Reveal Magazine
"Maybe the whole point of Otto’s work is to say that the battle between the darker forces and the lighter forces is never really over. It is the Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be interconnected, and synergetic in the natural world. It is man’s concept that good shall win over evil, but does that idea exist outside of man’s experience? That question is what makes these new paintings so important, especially now, when, as a world that is in turmoil, we need to ask some very difficult questions about what it means to be human.”
– Charlie Aniston
Project Angel Food Auction 2020
Thank you so much for your past support of Project Angel Food’s Annual Angel Awards Gala. Our highly anticipated Angel Awards has been reimagined: 2020 Angel Auction and Evening of Gratitude & Song In order to fully comply with Los Angeles County health guidelines. The event will kick off with our online auction on Thursday, November 12th and conclude with the livestreamed Gratitude event featuring celebrity supporters and musical guests on Sunday, November 22nd at 6:00 P.M.
'OTTO vs BASQUIAT'
"Otto is not trying to be the next Basquiat and tries to avoid discussions on the matter altogether, insisting that his interest is to fight Basquiat's imposing legacy and to create an aesthetic identity and painterly legacy entirely and unapologetically his own. Side by side, each Artist work is immediately distinguishable. The comparisons that are made are more abstract and intangible. It is the immediacy and energy of each Artist's work that are aligned in some manner. They share a genre of art, the same way bands fall into similar genres, but do not necessarily sound exactly alike and each have their own style and nuances, which separate them." - Charlie Anison, Art Reveal Magazine
"Risk is everything. You have zero percent chance of reaching any level of success without risk. I always think about great Quarter Backs who take risks when they throw the football knowing that someone on the defense might intercept it. And it happens even to the best of them. It’s part of the game. Risk is part of success. The risks I take have more to do with my time than anything else. I put a long of time into my creative endeavors and sometimes the pay off is absolutely nothing. Other times the payoff is getting a film accepted into a film festival or selling a script. Most Writers have dozens of unsold scripts, for example. I certainly do. I have sooooooooooo many projects that I’ve devoted sooooooo many years to and some of them will see the light of day and some won’t. That’s the gamble you take when you’re a creative person. I also paint and some of my works have sold for a great deal of money and some won’t sell for years and maybe never. You can’t get hurt by it and give up. Risk is key to success. I risk my time all the time."
LEFT BANK MAGAZINE
An Artist needs to be a lion. Wild and free. When I paint, I don’t worry about what people might think of my work or how they might categorize it or try to compare it to other artists that have come before me. I just paint for the love of painting. Madly and unimpeded. I am not part of a “movement” when I create. I am not a “Neo-Expressionist.” I’m not one of the ‘”wild ones”, or one of the “New Fauves.” I am not Basquiat or Haring. They had their moments of inspiration and tergiversation. I have mine.
DEBORAH KOBYLT LIVE - PODCAST VIDEO
Ready to hear the journey of the artist? Check out Johnny Otto - Filmmaker, Photographer & Artist! 🎨 Art is so important in reflecting the world around us and the world needs artists. Especially today! Learn all about Johnny Otto and his beautiful and amazing artwork and how he’s putting his incredible talent to use in helping the world through charities and inspiration.
“He, like many others in these troubled times, is further compelled to use his talent and luck in service to others. So when his major new solo show, Water & Spirit — his first in nearly 13 years — opens this weekend in Hollywood, expect something special.” - SHANA NYS DAMBROT, LAWEEKLY
“Around 1993 or 1994 I submitted my art to The Angel Art benefit, an art and photography auction that was hosted by Herb Ritts, Richard Meier, Robert Graham and David Hockney. The event, emceed by Lily Tomlin, commemorated artists who have died from AIDS. I was accepted into that and met David Hockney very briefly. But, I knew from that day forward that I wanted to do things with my art that would bring positive change to the world. I wanted to give back. So, my goal now and moving forward, is to give as much back as I can while still being able to pursue my craft.” - Johnny Otto, VoyageLA Magazine
WATER & SPIRIT SHOW AT RADIANT SPACE / ART REVEAL MAGAZINE
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.
JEFF HAMILTON'S STREET ART FAIR / ART REVEAL MAGAZINE
Saturday September 2nd, Designer Jeff Hamilton once again opened his studio doors to an invite-only crowd and to share the work of a diverse group of Los Angeles-based Artists. Tucked away in the heart of the garment district on Wall Street, is Hamilton’s sprawling warehouse, design studio and Art Gallery. Lit Walls projected his creations on the side of the building across the street to signify that there was something special going on inside. Otherwise, the neighborhood was void of life. The streets were dark and a few homeless people screamed in the distance. One would never know that hundreds of people had gathered for a night of art, music, food and drinks.
This show, like Jeff Hamilton’s past shows, featured an impressive variety of art from emerging and established artists, from the Streets of Los Angeles all the way to Pittsburg, PA. Leading this talented group of Artists was the primitive art of Basquiat-reincarnated, Johnny Otto. His massive work, stretched out over three 10’ tall walls, is at once primitive, but also definitively contemporary. The size and scope of his work is most certainly designed to grab one’s attention and hold onto it. While his work belongs on the pristine walls of museums and galleries, it would also be right at home in the streets, or as a cave drawing in some remote area.
JOHNNY OTTO / ART REVEAL MAGAZINE
Indecipherable things come out of you as you create something new and then you search your entire life to find a reason why… an explanation for your art. As far as I can tell, my greatest inspiration came from numerous visits to the Detroit Institute of Arts with my father, as a child, where we would see the distorted faces that Pablo Picasso painted, which were based on African Masks. In particular, ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, Picasso’s masterpiece, was a great influence. Later, as a teen, I became influenced by my older brother Eric’s collection of wooden African Masks. His bedroom walls were covered with them. Eric died at the age of 39, quite suddenly and unexpectedly. When I heard the news, I nearly fainted. That’s when my art really shifted. Perhaps his spirit is in me somehow. I don’t know. We weren’t that close, truth be told. But I did find those masks of his to be very compelling. It’s as if they had a life of their own. A secret story yet to be discovered. My brother had worn a mask for most of his life. He was gay and feared anybody finding out. One day my sister found magazines in his room of naked men. That’s how we found out he was gay. It must have devastated him to have his mask removed so abruptly. But we all have secrets that we hide, don’t we? We all have our masks that we present to the world. Our faces. What’s behind them?
SQUATTER'S RITES / LAWEEKLY
"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, J.V. McAuley
Project Angel Food netted $275,000 at the Pacific Design Center on Dec. 4. The Angel Art '93 benefit, an art and photography auction, was hosted by Herb Ritts, Robert Graham, Richard Meier and David Hockney. The event, emceed by Lily Tomlin, commemorated artists who have died from AIDS. More than 900 pieces of art were auctioned. Project Angel Food prepares and delivers meals and provides personal services to adults and children with AIDS.
An Evening of Art featuring the works of Johnny Otto, Annie Preece & Yuri Sountsov at The Ashley Paige Hollywood Gallery
Swimsuit Designer Ashley Paige, whose clients include today's hottest celebrities, such as Amy Adams, Carmen Electra, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Alba, Fergie, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Natalie Portman, Kate Hudson and countless others, hosted an exclusive Art Show which exhibited the works of Filmmaker/Abstract Artist Johnny Otto, Graffiti Writer/Muralist Annie Preece, and Russian Photographer Yuri Sountsov. The event took place in Ashley Paige's Hollywood Gallery on Sunset Blvd. Christy Oldham, Alek Sun, Ashley Paige, Tara Reid.
Johnny Otto is no stranger to the difficulties moviemakers face when trying to turn aspirations into reality. Armed with only a suitcase and a few hundred bucks, Otto took off for Los Angeles in 1990. Since then, he’s done everything, from hosting underground art exhibits to releasing a full-length album to creating award-winning animations with partner-in-crime Michael Morrison. This fall, Otto premieres his latest project, “Slimdunce,” an accomplishment he describes as “the single most amazing thing” he has created to date. In a world where cookie-cutter presentations overwhelm mainstream moviemaking, Otto has reminded us that movies are extensions of the moviemaker, not the other way around. “Slimdunce” features seven short films, all of which were shot in one day a week for seven consecutive weeks, a concept Otto derived from 24-hour film contests.