Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rewiew: Monstro and the Kelp Kids at Thumbprint Gallery

As Thumbprint Gallery's current solo exhibition from Kreemworks, "Werkaholic," closing today, I'm just catching up to talk about the previous long-term exhibit, "Monstro and the Kelp Kids."  I urge you to use the rest of your Sunday afternoon to check out "Werkaholic" at the La Jolla location, as it's really a great show as well.  Info is on the event page, or at

I was excited to see "Monstro and the Kelp Kids" because I've been a big fan of Monstrinho for a while now.  Just a word of advice if you're not used to the private gallery scene: if you're going to see a show outside of the opening or closing parties, gallery hours are usually subject to change.  Thumbprint's regular hours are Weds/Thurs/Sat/Sun from 12-4pm, but if there's not a lot of traffic, they may close early.  Thumbprint is basically run by one guy also, so I just think things probably come up.  The first time I tried to go, we got there at around 3pm on a Thursday, and it was a no-go.  No judgement on this, but plan your trips accordingly for any smaller gallery.  Below are a few pics of me trying to shoot through the windows, and my friend left a kiss mark for the owner.  Timing digression aside, I was able to go take a look and take real pictures the following Thursday at the closing party. 

For those of you not familiar, Monstrinho is a New York artist who is and should be known for his bright and colourful open-air and street murals.  Reminiscent of children's books but with an adult flair, his works and shows often contain their own grouping of characters and stories.  The Kelp Kids are no exception.  In Monstrinho's own words, "The 'Kelp Kids' are a family of a diverse group of kids, that embrace each others differences and have a profound love for the sea and adventure. They possess characteristics and qualities that can be found within ourselves and others we have met and will meet on our separate life journeys, making it relative to both adults and children."  Sounds great to me!

The colours and materials used are also childlike and whimsical in this series - most of the technique looks like watercolour, but upon closer inspection, it looks like special acrylics and inks that created this effect.  Monstrinho says of his technique in this series, "This approach has been extremely liberating in that it has given me the opportunity to truly find beauty in imperfection. The pieces are loose, multi layered and have hidden messages and icons within."  Both the technique and the message seem multi-layered and complex, however the pieces can be appreciated on simply an aesthetic level, and I think it would be likely that kids would like this show and hopefully be inspired by the bright colours and fun characters.
My favourite piece at this show - rappin' kelp kid!

"The Kelp Kids" apparently premiered in Miami, and we definitely have Thumbprint to thank for bringing this exhibit to San Diego.  You can learn more about Monstrinho, check out some of his murals, and if you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces you see here, go to  Prices are reasonable and vary based on the piece.  I've got my eye on a couple myself.  Enjoy the pics! 

After the Kreemworks show closes today, the next event from Thumbprint will be a one-night group show called "Anarchy in Artistry" at Bar Basic in Downtown San Diego on Tuesday, 7/23 .  It looks like a punk rock theme and will surely be great.  Check out or the Facebook event page for info.

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