Not sure of the source or subject, but pretty fantastic.

Given that today is Halloween and the group show I curated Hellmouth at Ave. 50 Studio closes this week, I thought it appropriate (and timely) to memorialize the wonderful work and artists I selected. As many know Hellmouth is a theme I love, Mystery Plays, the Harrowing of Hell, sacrifice, redemption and rebirth  are ideas I return to time and again. My intention with this show was invite artists I admire into the dialogue; the conversation that ensued proved to be fascinating. 

I designed the font for the show’s vinyl lettering.


The statement for the show pretty much says it all:

Curated by Leonard Greco

Many a morning I awaken with a fiery knot in the pit of my stomach. It frequently feels we are living in dire times and I know many share my dread .
That being the case I’ve invited a few friends to jump right into the Hellmouth and showcase works that explore the depths of existential angst.
The results are poignant , beautifully charged and frequently quite amusing . Much gratitude to the artists:
Jodi Bonassi
Jeanie Frias
Jeff Iorillo
Tom Lasley
Randi Matushevitz
Dakota Noot
Dania Strong

Upon receiving the submissions I’ve been struck with how the artists of Hellmouth are poets of the shadows , frequently committed to exploring the dark existential crevices of being .
More sensible artists may resist this oracle’s call but like Orpheus these seekers cannot resist that final backwards glance . I trust you will be as moved as I have been.
Leonard Greco



Perhaps narcissistically, I found it  gratifying  how familiar all of the work felt to me on an innate level. That perhaps is why I am attracted to this very diverse group of artists in the first place.

Jodi Bonassi
30 by 24 “
oil on canvas
Jodi Bonassi
30 by 24 “
oil on canvas

Jodi Bonassi fills her canvas with meticulous detail, keenly observed images and most particularly, startlingly empathetic relatable figures. I’m crazy for her paintings… and for her.

Jeannie Frias
“Little D on His Pedestal”
Mixed media
14 by 5 “

My friend Jeannie Frias is  a very fine artist in more traditional mediums, she surprised me with her diabolical mixed media piece. The little guy just delighted me.

Jeff Iorillo
blowtorched gesso, enamel and crushed marble on zinc
12 by 36 “
Jeff Iorillo
acid-free bookbinding cardboard, terra cotta clay, crushed marble, Sumi ink, bamboo ashes, beeswax
24 by 38″

I’ve known Jeff Iorollo’s work for some time, following it from afar. His work worlds removed from my own superficially spoke directly to my soul; his “Beq” a memorial dedicated to those lost to AIDS particularly poignant.

Tom Lasley
mixed media assemblage
23 by 9.5 by 7.5 “

I feel with Tom Lesley’s work that I almost had a hand in the making. His references frequently so much my own. His dunce-capped fellow seems lifted right from my own “Hadesville” – it isn’t of course, just a delightful serendipity of art making.

Randi Matushevitz
charcoal, pastel, spray paint
image size 29 by 22″
Randi Matushevitz
charcoal, pastel, spray paint on paper
34 by 26 “


Randi Matushevitz powerful scrawls of emotional chalk upon receptive paper causes me to envy her direct expression. They are a marvel.

Dakota Noot
“Bacon Wants a Taste”
Acrylic on canvas
30 by 30 inches

My young friend Dakota Noot made “Bacon Wants a Taste” specifically for the show, I’m touched by that on a personal level but exhilarated on a aesthetic level. He is an artist to watch, his nimble witty work excites me.

Dania Strong
colored pencil, oil pastel on paper
12 by 18″
Dania Strong
“Dark Carnaval”
colored pencil, oil pencil on paper
12 by 12″

Dania Strong is perhaps the artist I relate to the most personally. Also quite young she is the artist I wanted to be in my youth. We share a visual vocabulary which I am keen to see develop. She also had a sale, congrats to that!

and my own…

Leonard Greco
oil on canvas
35 by 56 “

The show was very well received and one I am proud of it. I’m looking to curate further shows, thinking of various themes. One being male artists practicing  “women’s work”: embroidery, fiber, applied arts, paper etc. Thinking of calling it ” Under Omphala’s Watch”, referencing Herakles’ “emaculating” period of spinning wool under  Queen Omphala’s command.  The other possibility is “Beyond Frankenstein”, an idea suggested by a friend, where our demons and self loathing monsters have been embraced. Will keep you posted.

Hellmouth, curated by Leonard Greco, Ave 50 Studio, Los angeles, CA, 2017

This is the last week of the show which closes on Friday, November 3rd 2017 at Ave. 50 Studio, 131 N. Ave 50, Los Angeles, CA, 90042




The Manifesto of Willful Irrelevance

“My Insignificance is Magnificent”
Gouache on paper
22 by 15 inches
I was recently asked by an artist friend if I had a manifesto.

Of course I do!

I love a good manifesto, and although my own may be modest , it is a great way of clarifying my intentions. It is also a work in progress, one I have been playfully adding to, editing and revisiting over the years.

Here it is thus far:

The Manifesto of Willful Irrelevance

How to Avoid Fame,Renown and Laurels

(please remember that this is farcical)



First off, avoid at all cost, the following Transgressions:


Color out of the tube.

Graffiti, “Street”references.

Words , Lettering and Stenciling ( outside of graphic arts).

Abstraction for abstractions sake- or if you really haven’t any ideas.

Color fields ( unless your heart is truly in it.)

Abstract Expressionist derivatives- the macho bastards are dead.

Pattern for patterns sake- unless designing textiles.

Deliberate naïveté.

Ravens, Crows, Blackbirds ( sadly Portlandia and popular culture has destroyed birds for now).


Low brow references if you aren’t low brow.

Collage- unless you are Max Ernst.


Spray paint .

Piles of laundry,trash, hair, condoms( used or otherwise), sex toys or other such unpleasantness… It’s been done and it is still mind numbing .

Sound …just sound.

Light …just light.

“Book Art”.

Desecrating books instead of actually reading them.

Murals with a “message”. That’s frequently ineffective propaganda with a high level of self satisfaction but very little actual change. Enter public service instead.

Photo realistic images of dull-as-dirt subjects. Technically stunning but the camera has been invented.


Collaboration. Too many cooks…



Being raised Catholic I suppose I am more inclined to restrictions than  opportunities. That said, the following Affirmations:


Gild every lily.

Gleefully abhor negative space.

There is more to life than conventional perspective .

Space and Light are open for interpretation.

More is indeed not only more,but frequently more interesting ; Less is often a respectable veneer for a lack.

Smash false idols whenever possible ; create more fabulous ones.

Create one’s own  Myths; reclaim and reinterpret the Old.

Be valiant, trite as that sounds.

Be as purple in your prose as you desire.

Embrace the complex and the ambiguous.

Queer it up whenever possible.

Trust yourself, avoid comparisons and ignore the chatter.

Avoid worldliness and its inherent distraction.

All that matters is an authentic voice. In the end : Make your own shit.


I have been gathering internally an abiding sense of feeling disconnected from the culture at large and attempting how best to address that loss and discontent. My  “manifesto” is a stab at defining that sense of isolation somewhat.

Increasingly I feel out of step with the times I live in . There is the righteous rage of  identity politics (and of the Right) which frequently leaves me feeling isolated instead of included .   I find the unsettling stridency throughout social discourse but especially within the arts.

There is also this seemingly willful ugly aesthetic prevalent in contemporary  art, culture and design. I can no longer tolerate the NYT Style section. It is as if by employing  jarring discordant colors, transgressive images and random incomprehensible elements that the impotent outrage of a society will be somehow relieved.
LA seems to be birthplace of this  jarring aesthetic, or at least a splendid incubator.  The nihilism is understandable, relatable even, but at times the cynicism is withering. Again, I have no answer.

Upon declaring myself a studio artist, I joined a local arts organization. Optimistic and eager for community I jumped in fully committed. And it has provided community, in abundance; I have so many truly wonderful friends because of my membership . But it has also provided more than a little angst. Having received the umpteenth rejection for solo/group shows has become both routine and debilitating . Although instructed to not take rejection personally , it is nonetheless degrading. Having never received an acceptance from this group, I’m beginning to believe this organization is just not that into me. If we were dating, I would have dumped him.

So that is what I plan to do.

Like Anthony of the Desert I’m retreating into solitude. For at least the next year I plan to focus upon work , submitting work infrequently and selectively ,attending openings for pleasure not obligation. My priority being self care, personal development  and the work; work that may very well be out of step, fuddy-duddy , even irrelevant, but my own.

That and entering analysis (Jungian).

This year end realization has brought me tremendous relief. I may have less of a physical and social media presence, but I will be very present nonetheless.

I’m working now focusing on a series of figures, eccentric beings, perhaps even monstrous. The following NYT article concerning Frankenstein’s unfortunate creation gave me much to think about. How monsters, demons, the undesired repel society at large yet endear themselves to the outcast-the queer ones especially.

So I’ve gathered my thoughts, my materials, prepared my elements and now I am ready to stitch together my ever expanding monstrous universe.

Elements for next project.
Concept drawing for next project “He Wears His Heart Upon His Sleeve”.
With that, have a very happy Halloween!

Adorable Krampus figure from my dear friend Dwora.

Pop Surreal Playhouse: an Honor, a Tribute and a Note of Gratitude


It is always wonderful to be curated into a show, better yet if the curators are held in high esteem personally, the icing then is a favorable review (yet again by a someone you admire).

Such was my good luck.

I had the good fortune to be selected for Pop Surreal Playhouse , a group show curated by the deservedly lauded Greg Escalante and Wendy Sherman (sadly Mr. Escalante’s last show, having died only weeks prior to the opening). The Art Share LA opening of Pop Surreal Playhouse was bittersweet , whilst personally gratifying on a professional level given Escalante’s vision and influence locally, nationally and internationally (Pop-surrealism’s reach is global, just read his New York Times obituary); but it was bleak moment to be reminded that I would not be able to thank him personally.

I did however have the chance to chat with Wendy Sherman, a great supporter of the arts (including my own) ; we must treasure and frequently acknowledge these friendships given how fleeting our time is. Hoping Wendy knows how much I value her support and interest.

“Reflection of a Harsh Super Ego” at Pop surreal Playhouse, curated by Greg Escalante and Wendy Sherman (seems to be a typo in gallery banner).

So with all that I start this frantic week with a wonderful review by Betty Brown for Art and Cake. Brown is a art historian with an uncanny ability to connect the dots from seemingly obscure points in humanity’s cultural journey. That she so aptly “got” my work, my references and my intentions (when more than I few critics do not) was immensely gratifying. Thank you Betty and thank you Art and Cake for providing a forum dedicated to art in Los Angeles.

This is the review, great images of the exhibition within:

Pop Surreal Playhouse at Artshare LA

Opening night was festive in spite of it being a memorial to Escalante. I did not know the man but from recollections of the fellow, he seemed a man of high spirits. I hope he appreciated the turn out and the works offered by the artists as tributes to his legacy.

Pop Surreal Playhouse runs through October 22nd, if you haven’t seen it , it is well worth a trip to the Arts District.

At the opening, I was particularly delighted to see so many of my friends in the show and in attendance. This snapshot of my young friend, the talented artist Dakota Noot makes me smile. Dakota is perhaps my most glittery friend and I value the joy he and his work brings to the world.


Pop Surreal Playhouse runs through October 22nd, if you haven’t seen it , it is well worth a trip to the Arts District.

The author and the artist Dakota Noot at Pop Surreal Playhouse (my “Hellmouth Mask” over my shoulder.)

So much so that I’ve included his work in the next show I’ve “hosted” (curated sounds so pompous ). The show is called Hellmouth which will open this Saturday, October 14th, 7-10 pm at Ave 50 Studio here in LA. I’m very excited by the show, wonderful art including Noot’s fantastic Bacon Wants a Taste.

Dakota Noot
“Bacon Wants a Taste”
Acrylic on canvas
30 by 30 inches

I will be posting about the show, its intentions and the fabulous art after its opening, but for now the gallery is ready and I will leave you with this image of Hellmouth.

Hellmouth, curated by Leonard Greco, Ave 50 Studio, Los angeles, CA, 2017