In anticipation, we asked Justin a few questions about his work and life…
“OH SNAP” features large graphite renderings over watercolor abstractions of acid house smileys, handmade multiples exploring the idea of almost reaching enlightenment but forgetting the path that took you there, and mixed panels representing a warm remembering of warehouse parties, surf salutations, desert discoveries, and the infinite present. As a whole, the body of work is colorful, silly, and optimistic with a vibe that’s completely California. (Krietemeyer has exhibited artwork in Tokyo, Paris, London, Milan, Berlin, Barcelona, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Denton, Texas.)
Can you tell me a bit about where you grew up?
I grew up in California—Chico, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and finally L.A. for college. I was often near the beach and spent a good part of my formative years in the ocean goofing off, jumping off waterfalls, skateboarding, camping with friends, doing graffiti, going to raves, surfing and such.
Aspects of California culture seem to permeate your work. Is that a fair assessment? If so, what it is about California that resonates so much with you?
Very fair. I am a product of California. When I make work about my favorite parts of the culture I am in a sense making work about my favorite parts of myself. I choose icons, or moments I really enjoy in hopes of connecting with the folks who have had similar experiences and maybe intrigue folks who have not.
When you were first starting out, what other artists inspired or shaped you?
Rob and Chris Clayton, Shepard Fairey, Dave Kinsey, and Steven Harrington are all big sources of inspiration. Rob and Chris are great art instructors who encouraged me to trust my instincts and interest. I interned at Blk/Mrkt, a design studio which was owned by Shepard Fairey and Dave Kinsey. The experience blew my mind. I was amazed to see the affect the small studio had on culture and inspired by the adventures and trajectory Shepard was enjoying. I worked on projects with Steve in school and have since. Steve has been a great friend and creative partner (co-owns National Forest & The Times). His dedication and creativity is an amazing influence to have five feet away from me every day of the week.
In a perfect world, what would you like people to feel or come away with when they experience “OH SNAP”?
I want the space to be bright, fun, and inviting. I imagine the silliness of the imagery and overall rainbow palette of the collection will create a space that inspires conversations to flow the same way they would if your were two beers deep with old friends.
What music have you been listening to lately?
Oh man, there are some guilty pleasures in there. I have been rocking old acid house and new-beat mixes from yesteryear. The recent Art in the Dance Hall show at Subliminal Projects inspired a pretty long streak of dub and dance hall, and I blew out the Allah-Las’ new album while working on the show.
Your first solo show is also one of the last at THIS gallery. What does it mean to you to be a part of the legacy of such a unique spot?
I am very excited to be accepted as a part of the legacy. THIS shows have the energy of the Los Angeles art scene I remember from the early 2000s. The attendees of the openings are a great mix of accomplished creative people who shape Los Angeles culture and younger folks I imagine are working hard to take the reigns. I am excited to host a celebration of the gallery, the founders, and my funny new work on the 1st.
Check our some exclusive photos from the hanging of the “OH SNAP” show as well as opening night pix!
Photos & video by: Devin Sarno