Orange County has solid museums, vibrant artists and several local art scenes, yet the cultural footprint of art in the community remains pretty shallow. Residents don’t venture too far from their neighborhood and the idea of a gallery event as part of an interesting night out doesn’t resonate with younger generations. So what’s missing? How can we break through suburban inertia and make the OC art scene something bigger? Alex Amador, owner of the new 4,500 square foot DAX Gallery, thinks he has the answer.
Amador believes Orange County is missing the edgier, street art that is present in some of the big cities such as Los Angeles or New York City so he created the DAX Gallery to bring a more urban, avant-garde type of art to the community. The gallery features high-end art from recognized and emerging street and graffiti artists, and Amador even hopes to draw LA residents down to Orange County (rather than vice-versa). I had the opportunity to speak with Amador and manager/curator of the opening show Chris Kane at the sleek, industrial-looking space in Costa Mesa the night before their grand opening November 9th.
What I enjoyed most about the visit was Kane’s open enthusiam about the current show, For Love of Dreams: Romancing Evolution, and the artists he represents. Walking me through the gallery he went into detail about each of the thirty-one artists, their backstory, process and style. Several of the pieces pay homage to avant-garde artists of another generation, Andy Warhol, Robert Raushcenberg, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirsch for example, but with a street angle, which means more skulls, more guns, and more women.
The show is roughly divided into three categories: street art, pop art and fine art, and includes an area for emerging artists (this categorization is useful for the urban art neophyte like myself). The work on display includes photography (from the sleek Ultravelvet Collection), mixed media, painting, repurposed material with an urban slant such as bullet casings from the LAPD (Greg Aurbach) or used spray cans (the aptly named CanLove), and some full-scale taxidermy.
Work by Peter Gronquist (Zebracorn) and CanLove
As an Orange County native, Amador seems to understand the challenges of the area and has ideas for supporting and engaging local charities, school art programs, as well as educating locals about the investment opportunity and culture of urban art. As Kane explains, “I can reach you through your eyes, your heart, or your wallet”.
One thing is certain; Kane and Amador know how to make things happen fast. They came up with the concept for DAX six months ago, started reaching out to artists 45 days before opening and the gallery sold $80,000 in art opening weekend.
DAX Gallery should be an interesting addition to the OC art scene and I am pretty excited about a new hub for art, with a new vibe and an owner who is interesting in expanding Orange County culturally.
Curator Chris Kane (left) and Owner Alex Amador
Dax Gallery is located in hipster central behind The Camp at 2951 Randolph Street, Costa Mesa. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m