William Wegman was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1943. He graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, in 1965 with a BFA in painting, then enrolled in the Masters painting and printmaking program at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, receiving an MFA in 1967. After teaching at various universities, Wegman’s interests in areas beyond painting ultimately led him to photography and the infant medium of video. While living in Long Beach, California, Wegman acquired Man Ray, the dog with whom he began a fruitful twelve-year collaboration.
Man Ray became a central figure in Wegman’s photography and videos, known in the art world and beyond for his endearing deadpan presence. In 1972, Wegman and Man Ray moved to New York. In 1986, a new dog, Fay Ray, came into Wegman’s life, and soon thereafter another famous collaboration began, marked by Wegman’s use of the Polaroid 20 x 24 camera. With the birth of Fay’s litter in 1989 and her daughter’s litter in 1995, Wegman’s cast grew. His photographs, videos, paintings, and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. A retrospective of his work traveled to museums throughout Europe and the United States, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. His most recent exhibitions have gone to Japan, Sweden, and the Orange County Museum of Art in California. Wegman lives in New York and Maine.
Sue Coe is one of the most important politically oriented artists living in the U.S. today. From the outset of her career working as an illustrator for such publications as the New York Times and Time Magazine, Coe was committed to reaching a broad audience through the print media. Later, she began creating extended visual discourses on subjects (such as racial discrimination or animal rights) that she felt were not being adequately addressed by conventional news organizations. Widely written about and exhibited, Coe has appeared on the cover of Art News and been the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Her work is in the collections of many major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sue Coe has been exclusively represented by the Galerie St. Etienne since1989.
Robbie Conal grew up on the upper west side of Manhattan--his parents were both union organizers who considered the major art museums to be day care centers for him. He attended the High School of Music and Art in New York, got his BFA at San Francisco State University and his Masters of Fine Arts degree at Stanford University. In 1984 he moved to Los Angeles. Inspired by the Reagan Administration, he began making satirical posters of politicians and bureaucrats who, by his reckoning, had abused their power in the name of representative democracy. He developed an irregular guerrilla army of volunteers and put his posters up in the streets of major cities around the country. He has made more than 50 posters satirizing politicians from both parties, televangelists and global capitalists. He also takes on issues of censorship, the Supreme Court’s ruling against women’s freedom of choice, and environmental issues.
Despite her much sought after work as an illustrator and later as a painter, Gee Vaucher is perhaps best known for the extensive body of work she created during the late seventies and early eighties. quite apart from her now famous collages, as designer with the renowned punk band ‘crass’, she concentrated her highly developed painting skills on ‘photorealism’, creating some of the most disturbing and acclaimed images of the time. Her work is generally accepted as having been seminal to the iconography of the ‘punk generation’. When ‘crass’ disbanded in 1984, vaucher felt the need to explore other areas of work, abandoning the tightness of her more ‘overt’ political statements in favour of a more loosely expressed personal politic. Most of her work since then has in some way been connected with the human form, intimately exploring the psychological diversities of social inter-relationships. she has been exhibited extensively both solo and in group shows throughtout the world.
Yuri Shimojo has been expressing her life through painting, journaling and dancing since she was three years old. Born in the spring of year of the fire horse, her upbringing in Tokyo was a very unconventional one. As part of her samurai lineage inheritance, she practiced Japanese traditional arts such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement with Kabuki and Noh theatrical dance performance for many years, which was unique in modern Japanese childhood. Her late “flamboyant” parents were also passionate to teach Yuri to value universal identity through travels abroad and uninhibited performance and social events. These elements, so drastically colorful, have influenced her work throughout her entire life. Now, living the nomadic bohemian lifestyle, Yuri explores the planet from the heart of metropolis to the outposts all over the world being guided by her own intuition, hopping between her home base and studio in Brooklyn to her tropical “boonie” hideaway in Hawaii. These extreme opposites from jungle to urban life balances her creative & spiritual yin and yang always bringing new sources of inspiration. In addition to her personal fine artwork, Yuri is drawn to the world of indigenous cultures, which has led her studying universal shamanism as an energy worker.
Abandoned at birth, Emek has lived a difficult, often tragic life. After being forced to work for years as a child-laborer in a plutonium mine, he won a rare mining scholarship to attend art school. Little did he know, his troubles were only just beginning. In art school, he fell in with a rough and dangerous crowd. Upon graduating most of them pursued lives of crime as freelance graphic artists, and were never heard from again. For Emek, the only hope of escaping the fate that befell his doomed peers -- advertising -- was to become a rock ‘n’ roll artist. Emek now lives in many worlds. His art shows it. Born a decade after the ‘60s, he was nevertheless influenced by ‘60s culture and counter-culture. Emek was raised in an environment that supported his crazy artistic aspirations as both his parents were artists, too. He grew up listening to their music, their ideals, and their divorce. Yet, he is also a product of his own “Who, Me?” generation. Emek graduated with a Major in Art, and a Minor in Unemployment. His first poster commission was done immediately after the L.A. riots/uprising of 1992, for a unity rally and concert held on Martin Luther King Day. The poster was a success and from then on, Emek was hooked on the art form. In Emek’s posters, psychedelic ‘60s imagery collides with ‘90s post-industrial iconography. To this collision of the organic vs. the mechanical worlds he adds humor, social commentary and fantasy. Even in the smallest details there are messages. All of Emek’s artwork is originally hand-drawn and then hand- silkscreened for each actual concert or event, usually in limited editions of around 300.
Peter Kuper co-founded of the political zine World War 3 Illustrated and has remained on its editorial board for 30 years. His illustrations and comics have appeared in Time, The New York Times and MAD where he has illustrated SPY vs. SPY every month since 1997. He has written and illustrated over twenty books including The System and Stop Forgetting To Remember. Peter has also adapted Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and many of Franz Kafka’s works into comics including an award winning version of The Metamorphosis. His graphic novel, Sticks and Stones, won the Society of Illustrators gold medal Peter lived in Oaxaca, Mexico from July 2006-2008 and his work from that time can be seen in can be seen in his latest book Diario de Oaxaca.
Jonathan Horowitz was born in New York in 1966 and studied at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. His solo shows include Jonathan Horowitz/Silent Movie/MATRIX 151, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, 2003, and Time, Life, People: Jonathan Horowitz at Kunsthalle St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2001.
Horowitz has been included in numerous key group exhibitions of recent years including Good News for People who Love Bad News, Studio 495, Swiss Institute, New York, 2007;Lines, Grids, Stains, Words, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2007; and also in 2007, Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation, the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, touring to Shanghai Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, organised by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Jonathan Horowitz: And/Or, the first solo exhibition of the New York-based artist at a New York museum, took place in 2009. He lives and works in New York.
Cole Gerst is a graphic artist and painter in Los Angeles, California. Originally from the deep south of Albany, Georgia, he grew up surrounded by many outsider and folk artists, including his grandfather, a respected local craftsman. As a kid, Cole enjoyed many of these artists’ fantastical stories about faraway lands, or conversations with Higher Powers. He was inspired by their ability to create art that revealed the world as only they saw it. Cole’s relationship with outsider art is evident within his work, which is spontaneous, whimsical and provides evidence of an imaginary dimension. Cole rarely redraws an image to perfect it; rather he goes with what comes out of him the first time around. It is his feeling that this keeps the image in its purist state, from brain to canvas. He now heads up the firm, option-g, which is a multidisciplinary design firm which provides illustration, graphic design, art commisions and animation to the music and entertainment industry. Option-G also includes a t-shirt company, option-g apparel, that releases a new line twice a year.
Karen Fiorito received her Master’s in Fine Art in Printmaking from Arizona State University and her Bachelor's of Fine Art in Printmaking from the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania. Her work has been featured in major publications such as Art in America, the Huffington Post, the LA Weekly, and URB Magazine. She was the recipient of a Change, Inc. Grant from Robert Rauchenberg in 2004 and a Puffin Foundation Grant in 2005 for a billboard installation in Santa Monica.
Fiorito curated Evolution Revolution: The Interconnectedness of All Beings, a ground breaking, multimedia, educational, socially and environmentally conscious exhibition which explored various aspects of animal welfare, the environment and human’s connection to all beings. This exhibition featured the works of William Wegman, Robbie Conal, Sue Coe, Gee Vaucher, Peter Kuper, Yuri Shimojo, Jonathan Horowitz, Emek, and Cole Gerst and debuted at the Arena 1 Gallery at the Santa Monica Art Studios on February 19, 2011.
She recently was the first resident artist at Brush and Press Studio in Townsville, Australia, where she was commissioned by the Perk Tucker Regional Gallery to produce a two-sided light box on Flinders Square. Fiorito is currently working on a solo show, Sacred Beings.