A Visit With Disco Booty in Venice

On October 10, 2012 by Evan Senn

d4On a warm Southern California Tuesday, Venice is the perfect place to walk around; the salty air, the light aroma of smog, the Venice-Heads running the usual marijuana-scented muck… As I walk up to the historic Ellison in Venice, to meet with artist Disco Booty, she yells for me to come in. Upon entering, I am greeted by two nude men and their proud penises staring right back at me, beginning to be bedazzled by Miss Booty.

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Disco Booty is a bright and energetic mixed media artist based out of Venice Beach, California. I had the pleasure of slinging communist Chinese food near her being on more than one occasion, and was transfixed by her magic the moment I met her. A whirling vortex of love, half Japanese half Iranian, with adorable eccentricities, sparkling bling, and a rainbow colored aura, this sweet package of mystery has captured many viewers through her style, her outrageously kind persona, and her amazing artistic creations.

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Disco Booty is a pirate of all things Bedazzled, keeping her glittery pirate booty on her at all times. In sitting down with her for a studio visit, she asked me about the “real” issue at hand—“Where have all the Sticker Girls gone?” I smiled. Disco Booty creates artwork in her own genre of “Silly Serious”, with childlike whimsy, irrational and soulfully fun. Disco Booty is not bound by any one material or medium, and prefers to involve other people in the process. Her practice has become a kind of art therapy over the years, helping her to cope with some mild social anxiety, and giving her means to involve people, make friends, and stay focused and creative.

Like any good artistic genius, Miss Booty has an entourage. And her entourage is the epitome of Venice. It is as if Andy Warhol and his mix of crazy artists and musicians were reborn and reinvented into her crew. Her crew consists of notorious local creative beings including all members of Ahkiyyini, a psychedelic folk rock band, a few performers from the Freakshow on the boardwalk, and a slew of teeny tiny psych-hipsters who basically rule creative Venice and make everyone envious of their bohemian elegance and quirky dispositions.

Her art practice began a few years ago while attending the PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art) and illegally living in an art gallery with 4 other people and a pit bull in downtown Portland. Though her artwork may not be visually cohesive, piece-to-piece; her work always revolves around one solid theme: relationships. Her love of the human condition, with flaws, faults, and utter humanity brings relevance to her already stunning artwork. A class she took with Sharon Kagan and Linda Lopez on “proving you exist” inspired much of her artwork. It was a life lesson as well as an artistic adventure for her: she had to build her own visual language based on her experiences and memories in a creative way through art. Her artwork encompasses body-bedazzling, mixed media collaging, sticker-dazzling, and mixed media paintings and drawings on a variety of surfaces, including cardboard, paper, canvas, human beings, and animals. Her first piece using humans in her artwork was back in Portland, at a body art fashion-show fundraiser, and ever since then she decorates bodies with bedazzlements for concerts, parties, and art events.

“Bedazzling and stickering is a way to get out of ‘image prisons’.” Miss Booty likes to draw and paint but feels as though sometimes painting and drawing is not the best-suited practice to create the images that need to be created. Each idea has its own will, its own want; the art dictates to her what it needs. The slight concern and wonder is still present for her though, about the Sticker Girls. Where did they all go? I know I had 3 or more albums of collected stickers, as did many of my friends. Did we all just throw away that joyous collective habit? Or did we forget about the love of the sticker? Disco Booty, like all of us Sticker Girls, is in love with stickers, glitter, and all things shiny and interesting. With a lucky lot of donated stickers, gems, studs, and accessories, Disco Booty always has ample amount of material to make her art.

Taking inspiration from a variety of sources, Disco Booty admits that next to her best friend and artistic muse, Sam, she also admires Yayoi Kusama, an international artist that according to her, aims at “destroying everything with pattern.” Miss Booty finds comfort in her art own practice, and feels reinforced by Kusama’s work. “Like a Japanese Andy Warhol, Kusama seems unequivocally insane and unapologetic for it, while getting things done and staying on top of things.” She lives by this romantic logic, and believes that there should be more nonsense in the world. But Disco Booty is also entranced with Greek Mythology, and finds inspiration and peace in the mythos. Greek mythology embraces the humanity in people and does not make humans feel bad for being themselves.

The body-bedazzling that Disco Booty was working on during our meeting were exquisite and visual shocking yet peacefully gorgeous. But my favorite 2-dimensional piece by Disco Booty is the untitled blue haired girl drawing. Crazed with love struck eyes and a tired face, the simple lines leave the complexity to the subject, and the interpretation. As if in agony, with a hint of disregard for anyone else, she seems to be expressing and invoking her true nature without inhibition. Her pieces speak to me emotionally, sentimentally, because of material choice and personally because of the way in which the expression is derived. I feel a closeness to her work–the nonsensical and the whimsy comfort and excite while still being more real than most other art out there. The inventiveness of her work is refreshing in this humdrum art world. It strikes a chord with most people that see it. Beautiful and unique.

The spectrum of colors used in her work is symbolically significant, it is true and honest, and positive in feeling, just like her. Though some of her artwork deals with emotional or serious feelings or images, her work always hints at play, whether it’s through the colors or the materials. Stickers, glitter, sequins, color—all materials that are uplifting, even with a more serious tone, the materials speak of the true nature of the work, love and play and nonsense. “My practice originally had a lot to do with the love of psychedelic drugs and my creative experimentation and learning.” Though her practice may have begun with experimenting with life and drugs and learning from the universe, Disco Booty uses expression as her learning tools now. And with the help of her entourage of friends and creatives, she creates with extended inspiration and inspired purpose.

*Disco Booty will be selling her wearable artworks with the Beauty is Pain store. For more information, visit the boutique location in Hollywood, or visit www.etsy.com/shop/BeautyIsPain.

*Models are Tait Nalley and Delaine Williams.

 

 

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