Gary Baseman and FunJob Celebrate Hello Kitty's 35th Anniversary
Hello Kitty celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. Parent company Sanrio is not holding back when it comes to honoring the pink-bowed feline. At the center of numerous Hello Kitty events is the Three Apples exhibition at the Royal/T gallery in Los Angeles. Curated by Jamie Rivadeneira, owner of pop-culture shop JAPANLA, the show includes Hello-Kitty inspired work by over 80 artists such as Gary Baseman, FunJob, Ron English, Buff Monster, Camilla d'Errico, Luke Chueh, Deph, Yosuke Ueno, and more.
In commemoration of Hello Kitty, Gary Baseman painted "Hello Kitty is Fishy," a loving portrait of one of Baseman's nymph mermaid girls holding up Hello Kitty transformed into a catfish. "I've always admired Hello Kitty in that she is a playful, singular, iconic image. [Sanrio] has created such a life for Hello Kitty from fashion to toys to products to everything." Despite Hello Kitty not having a mouth, Baseman contends that "Hello Kitty communicates with many other senses - just because Hello Kitty can't speak doesn't mean she doesn't have a lot to say." With a massive merchandise empire and rabid following, Hello Kitty has certainly found her way into the hearts of many without ever speaking a word.
For an experience that a Hello Kitty fan will never forget, FunJob created "Kitty Ride," a massive 18' x 6' interactive theme-park experience. At the opening party, well-known Hello Kitty fans Paris Hilton, Kimora Lee Simmons, and her two daughters sat in the Kitty Ride for a real-life fanciful Hello Kitty fantasy.
Says an ambassador of friendship from FunJob, "We were very inspired to make a Hello "Kitty Ride" to give people an interactive experience and break boundaries form what we have done before. We love to make art that is experiential. Something that is more than passive art. We want to engage you and make you smile! Working with Hello Kitty is super fun for us because of her openness to let us think big and dream bigger, the result was kittyriffic."
"Three Apples" is on view now until November 15th.