JOHNNY OTTO / PRESS
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“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.
The opening night gala on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 attracted an intimate and eclectic crowd from the world of art, fashion, film, music and TV. Among those in attendance was actress Tara Reid, writer and celebrity photojournalist Clinton H. Wallace, musician Stephen Bradley from pop band ‘No Doubt’ and filmmaker/artist Christy Oldham.
Johnny Otto’s abstract art work has been compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Willem de Kooning and Picasso. “My father introduced me to the art world at a young age where I came in contact with the works of Picasso”, Otto said during the exhibit.