Pop Surrealism Meets Sanrio

In her special mouth-free way, Hello Kitty has a way of uniting divergent types of people. Buff Monster digs black metal AND Hello Kitty. Frank Kozik (a surprising omission from this stellar roster) is fascinated by dictators AND Hello Kitty. Jamie Rivadeneria (of JapanLA) loves cute AND Hello Kitty. And so with Positive Mental Attitude, she curated an awesome collection of art and installations for Sanrio Small Gifts Los Angeles. Maybe there is something to this cult of Kitty, because Jamie rounded up several of my favorite artists from the realm of pop surrealism in the name of all things cute. A handful of the original pieces were offered as affordable prints. Gary Baseman, whose painting is shown above, had a couple, including “Hello Kitty is Fishy,” which is still available here.

Some artists found Sanrio a seamless match for their universes. Hello Kitty and My Melody look perfectly at home on Noferin‘s Carrara Island.

Joe Ledbetter created what can only be described as my sister’s dream bedroom. Hello Kitty riding Unicornasaurus? Kawaii-not?

Others took the typically congenial cat and put her into darker situations. The Peekaboo Monster crew created a Fight Club-inspired installation featuring giant resin Hello Kitties cast by Pretty in Plastic.

Gary Taxali‘s painting shows that good clean fun has its victims as Chococat chases down an anthropomorphic melting ice cream cone.

Junko Mizuno‘s Sanrio Dream was layered with meaning.

While Kozyndan‘s Fishy Greetings was layered with fish.

64Colors told me they were still nitpicking their pieces for the show, but the only thing wrong with these spectacular (and sold out) canvases is my shadow mucking up the photo.

Buff Monster tweeted that he was dismantling his installation just yesterday. This must have been a tough moment for such a hardcore Hello Kitty fan. I’m really glad we got the chance to see the show while it was up.

After eating some fro-yo, the sugar rush gave me enough courage to beat back a gauntlet of Asian moms with strollers and jump into this HK-wrapped Smart Car with my buddy, Matt. Good times! Now kick back and enjoy a little slideshow from Small Gifts.