Photos courtesy of Music Tastes Good Art Director Nicolassa (Niko) Galvez.
Dabs and Myla, of DabsMyla, create work around the world, and are lauded internationally for their versatile practice, which ranges from site-specific installations, to traditional gallery-hung paintings, to murals, sculptures, animations and more.
The creative couple’s latest mural, which they started Thursday and completed Sunday, truly took an art-loving Long Beach village to make happen.
DabsMyla had told Music Tastes Good’s (MTG) talent buyer, Jon Halperin that they were looking for a wall in Long Beach, who then reached out to MTG Art Director Nicolassa (Niko) Galvez, who spoke to the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA), whose staff started scouting the area for a fitting wall.
"When Niko said she had DabsMyla looking around for a wall I told her, 'We have it. Don't look anywhere else,’” Blair Cohn, BKBIA’s executive director, said. “We were thrilled to have this opportunity to have such amazing artists come to Bixby Knolls to do a mural.”
Located just down the street from SteelCraft, near Bixby Road and Long Beach Boulevard, the mural was painted on the side of the building that houses Power of One fitness center. The property owners, Tara and Colin Van Deusen, agreed to have the mural painted, and AJ Patel from Hotel Salina, located across from the mural site, gave the artists a room to rest in during the installation, and Spray Planet provided the paint.
"I have worked with several artists and, especially with public art at this scale, there can be some obstacles in getting all the pieces together to make a successful project,” Galvez said. “But this mural came together almost effortlessly.”
Having moved from Australia to Los Angeles in 2009, this is the fourth time the husband-and-wife duo have brought their creativity to Long Beach, and the Bixby Knolls area is now all the more colorful thanks to them.
“We jumped at the chance to make the project happen and the property owners were on board from the beginning,” Cohn said. “The mural looks gorgeous and is a perfect fit for that location and for our district. Another win.”
The wall presented DabsMyla an opportunity to take themes from their current works outside of the studio.
Based off a series of paintings that play with the idea of the traditional still-life, where inanimate subject matter, such as flowers and fruit, vases and books, were often depicted hyper-realistically throughout history, Dabs and Myla incorporated that concept with their own style to paint a scene of knick knacks, using actual objects from their own work space, as well as one of their many trippy characters.
“We’ve really been wanting to transfer that onto a mural and we just haven’t had the right wall or the right opportunity which we thought would be fitting for it,” Dabs told the Post. “That’s why we were really excited to paint this wall in Bixby Knolls.”
The gigantic vase on the far right of the mural is based on one that sits in their studio, collected from a trip to India about a year and half ago, he added. The artists have also been incorporating cacti and other desert-related imagery into their recent works.
The two are currently spending a great deal of their time in their studio, preparing for an exhibition scheduled for later this year, with more details to be announced, said Myla. While there hasn’t been much time to paint as many walls as they’re used to, DabsMyla are making a point to get outside this summer and paint at least a couple, “just to fulfill that itch,” said Dabs.
“[...]It took years of us working together to refine what it is that we were doing, so it’s a very seamless thing now where we can go from painting in our studio and then translate similar imagery to a wall outside or pull different elements from our paintings or from our murals and then create sculptures out of them[..],” Myla said, when asked about the couple’s ability to move fluidly between different forms of art.
ComplexCon attendees may remember DabsMyla’s Visions & Dimensions, a three dimensional painting and collaboration with Los Angeles-based furniture makers, Modernica, where those on the convention floor were able to walk among larger-than-life-size sculptures from the artists’ “psychedelic, character-driven world.”
File photo by Asia Morris of DabsMyla’s Visions & Dimensions installation from ComplexCon 2016.
“I love how—it’s close to Los Angeles—but it’s so small, there’s a good sense of community in Long Beach and all the people who live there are really responsive to the things that we do there and they seem really appreciative of it and that’s always such a cool experience for us,” Dabs said.
Power of One is located at 3821 Long Beach Boulevard.