Wednesday, June 17, 2015

David Jien

I can't get enough of David Jien's amazing drawings.  The lush colors, the beautiful details, the oddball cast of characters, the curious narratives that leave one wondering, the quirkiness and tidiness of it all -- for some reason it just clicks with me and I want to wiggle my way into his little world and see more more more.  Below are several examples of his works.  Enjoy!



David Jien, Ahoy Boys, 2015


David Jien, Bad News Bat, 2011


David Jien, Ghostface, 2011


David Jien, Collector, 2 Leopards and 6-Dimensional Objects, 2015


David Jien, The Knite Owls, 2012


David Jien, My mind playing tricks on me, 2014


David Jien, Mob deep Drop a gem on 'em, 2014


David Jien, The Prismatic Blacksmith, 2011


David Jien, The Good Earth, 2014


David Jien, Artifact 2, 2012


David Jien, The Kite Owls, 2015


David Jien, Exodus, 2013-2014

David Jien, Cubby Controller, 2012


David Jien, The Who Riders, 2010


David Jien, Tombstone 1, 2010



I found this Los Angeles Times article by David Pagel, which describes David Jien's works so eloquently (much better than I ever could!):


Ancient mythology and contemporary gaming culture commingle in David Jien’s colored pencil drawings and tabletop sculptures at Richard Heller Gallery. Titled “Exodus,” like the nearly 8-foot-long drawing that took Jien two years to finish and anchors his second solo show, the two-gallery exhibition is a double-barrel blast.

It confirms that the young L.A. artist is a force to be reckoned with. It also reveals that his talents as a draftsman, which are dazzling, are the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the brilliance of Jien’s virtuosity with a pencil lies a world suffused with goofy humor, head-scratching nuttiness, unexpected empathy and, strangest of all, serenity.

There’s plenty to see before you get to such old-fashioned experiences, and Jien does not begrudge any pleasure any visitor may take from his impeccably rendered pictures, many of which depict action-packed dramas that put comic book movies to shame.

Most of Jien’s works are not much bigger than illuminated manuscripts drawn by monks and holy men all over the globe, before the printing press was invented. Persian miniatures also come to mind.

The cast of characters that climbs mountains, vanquishes foes and embarks on Odysseus-style quests includes artists, aristocrats, backpackers, samurai, magicians, demons, robots, Humpty Dumpty-style eggheads, cobra-hooded acolytes, cat-headed pharaohs, wide-eyed innocents, gigantic mallards, reptilian monsters, hermit crabs and birds astride horses, which are fantastic renditions of the real thing.

The delicacy of Jien’s lines and the elegance of his compositions make his phantasmagorical pictures seem sensible — not totally believable but certainly not freakish, exotic or out of touch with reality. The way he collages bits of holographic film and patches of glitter into his images makes them all the more magical. That’s where the wisdom — and serenity — come in.

The innocence of children’s book illustrations is even more boldly embraced in Jien’s sculptures, each of which is about the size of a cookie jar. His 10 handcrafted icons — or supersized chess pieces — are 3-D mosaics whose DNA seems to shares strands with Hello Kitty, Pac-Man and B-movie versions of the monumental heads on Eastern Island.

The bright colors, pixel-style compositions and general silliness of Jien’s sculptures do not detract from their sense of composure. In fact, their cuteness adds to the uncanny calm they exude. It’s a welcome respite from the free-floating anger of adolescence, which seems to have made its way into every corner of modern life.



If you would like to see David Jien's works in person, you can find them at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica.


artwork images above found here and here