All posts by DAX Gallery


Last week I visited Dax Gallery in Costa Mesa for an epic opening show featuring Ryan “RYCA” Callanan and Kazuhiro Tsuji. This show was pure visual greatness, RYCA brought his unique style and take on Star Wars characters with Religious and cultural nods used through sculptures and paintings of Storm Troopers. The opposite side of the room showcased his work on beautiful glass encasing bright painted inlays, each one referencing some of the greatest hooks to come out of Hip hop. Tsuji brought a jaw dropping hyperrealistic sculpture of Abe Lincoln, you have to see it to believe it. I stood there for over thirty minutes taking in each detail. Tsuji has worked on major films such as Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Planet of the Apes, his work speaks for itself.
The show runs until July 25, 2015.

DAX Gallery
2951 Randolph Ave, Costa Mesa CA 92626

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Tomorrow, June 20th, 2015, DAX Gallery will present Rough with the Smooth, an exhibition featuring the Star Wars iconography, lyrical subverted pub sign style works of RYCA, along side the work of contemporary hyperrealist sculptor, Kazuhiro Tsuji. Rough with the Smooth, was curated by BritWeek Art Program Director, Charlie Jane and Copro Gallery owner, Greg Escalante. After learning about Kazu’s inspiration from Star Wars to work in special effects makeup, DAX Gallery owner, Alex Amador, decided to merge the two artists for an Opening Reception on June 20th from 6pm-10pm.

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kazuhiro tsuji’s larger-than-life 3D portrait of abraham lincoln
all images courtesy of kazuhiro tsuji

kazuhiro tsuji: portrait of abraham lincoln
DAX gallery, costa mesa
now through july 25, 2015

following a 25-year-career as a special effects makeup artist in hollywood, california, japanese creative kazuhiro tsuji decidedly shifted focus, dedicating himself completely to the fine arts.

his series of hyper-realistic portrait sculptures comprise resin, platinum silicone, and many other materials in the creation of three-dimensional figures, spanning a scale more than two times the normal human proportions. from now until july 25, 2015, DAX gallery in costa mesa presents ‘portrait of abraham lincoln’, a larger-than-life-sized bust of the former american president that amazes viewers with its incredibly detailed facial characteristics and realistic qualities.


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In our current issue, we highlight Contemporary hyperrealist sculptor, Kazuhiro Tsuji, including his larger than life piece titled “Portrait of Abraham Lincoln”. Starting on Tuesday, June 2nd, DAX Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA will showcase the piece for public viewing. In anticipation of the event, DAX has offered us an exclusive look behind the scenes of Tsuji’s process and preparation. Working mainly out of Burbank, CA, Tsuji’s studio is now dedicated to the production of modeling and casting of his realistic sculptures. Perhaps a better description of his work is “monumental,” as his Lincoln towers twice the scale of the famously tall American President. He is made of resin, platinum silicone, and other materials, using the same technique Tsuji learned as a self-taught special effects makeup artist since 25 years ago. The most important stage of his process however is a therapeutic one. Tsuji shares, “I had a difficult childhood and always had pain in my heart and in my mind, and was always trying to figure out what was going on and how to heal it… As I create the portrait, I heal myself and I try to heal the person who I’m making, too.”

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Even from outside the glass doors of DAX Gallery’s “Undeniable,” it’s apparent why the paintings displayed inside make Andrea Harris McGee’s “heart race” (quoting the show’s press release). Big ideas; artfully positioned larger pieces than we’re used to seeing outside of European museums, carefully presented beside smaller beauties; nine artists in total, including mentors, instructors and two upstarts who have just graduated. Inspired by the complex relationships among the group, Harris McGee celebrates their synergy in her first gig as DAX’s curator.

Cal State Fullerton professor Rebecca Campbell has two paintings on display, both of them marvelous: Ophelia (2013) is Shakespeare’s suicidal child-woman, sinking into a flowing river. Unfazed, her eyes reveal not a shred of panic, as a school of fish swim about her legs in a blue embrace. Dig, a shirtless man digging in the ground, has none of the classical perfection of the drowning woman: the brushstrokes aren’t perfect; there are blots and daubs of paint where the other has finely etched details; the musculature here is less realistic, blue and green mixed with pink, red and white; impressionistic streaky blue and red skies overhead. Nearby, Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) instructor F. Scott Hess’ paintings are more frankly narrative: Coyly displayed next to Ophelia, his Pale Horse’s nude black woman straddles a panicked equus as lightning crashes about them, her eyes closed, perfectly at peace, despite her vulnerability.

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The title of DAX Gallery’s upcoming exhibition “Undeniable” refers to the undeniable bond between its artists- Odd Nerdrum, Rebecca Campbell, F. Scott Hess, Luke Hillestad, David Molesky, Michael Harnish, Julio Labra, Averi Endow, and Corbin Ferguson. Whether directly or indirectly, each has influenced the other at some point during their careers. For instance, Norwegian figurative painter Odd Nerdrum mentored Luke Hillestad and David Molesky separately, during their stays in Europe. Often, their subjects appear from another time and place, as in Rebecca Campbell’s ethereal Ophelia or Luke Hillestad’s Ancient Greek-inspired figures. Hot blazing fires, rushing bodies of water, or a sky lit by lightning build a dramatic atmosphere between them. Even such an every day scene as Averi Endow’s portrait of a baby sleeping has a moody quality. Strung through each unique narrative, spanning themes of death, kinship, love, loss and wilderness, there is a connecting thread. “Undeniable” opens at DAX Gallery on March 28th and runs through May 15th.

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As they transition into their 2015 exhibitions, DAX Gallery is going to prep their 4,500 square foot space for the new year with a fresh coat of white paint and pristine white floors. Before they wipe the slate clean, they invited a group of influential street artists to create a collaborative mural on their floors, walls, and fixtures. Each artist brings their own style and works together to fill the clean white space from wall to wall. These artists will be working throughout the course of a few weeks, continuing through March 12th, 2015. This continuous live painting session is open to the public. So, please feel free to stop by t o view their work live at any point during the gallery’s normal business hours.

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