By Liz Ohanesian
Plasticgod's small, block-y paintings stand up on a top shelf inside Little Tokyo gallery/boutique Q Pop. There's Jaws, the large villain from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. There's a girl done up in gold, reminiscent of the opening title sequence from Goldfinger. In the middle is Bond, James Bond. It's a painting of the Roger Moore incarnation of the famed spy, dressed in the yellow ski suit that marks 007's infamous jump off a cliff in The Spy Who Loved Me. Hanging from the painting and over the edge of the shelf is a Union Jack parachute.
On Saturday night, Q Pop celebrated half-a-century of big-screen James Bond adaptations with a group art show inspired by the film franchise. The collection in "James Bond: 50 Years of 007 Art Celebration" was voluminous. Art was squeezed into every nearly every corner of the shop. There were paintings and prints, a small selection of DVDs and other themed gift items and a slew of golden guns carefully placed across the shelves.
Q Pop owner Christopher Mitchell played a selection of Bond themes over the sound system. Some people arrived dressed in Bond-like tuxes. One man stood in a corner, petting a plushie as though he were Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the Bond villain and obvious inspiration for Doctor Evil in the Austin Powers universe.
It's really easy to get into a Battle of the Bonds when you're at a show like this. The question "Who's your favorite Bond?" might easily turn into a Sean Connery vs. Roger Moore debate. Maybe there was some of that hidden in the art on display at Q Pop, though the Connery films appeared to be the most frequent launchpads for this group of artists. As for Bond Girls, Honey Ryder, complete with the knife and the bikini, was by far the most referenced lady at this show. Pussy Galore gave Ryder a good run in the popularity contest, though.
The stars of so many classic films and recent hits weren't necessarily the stars of this show, though. Instead, the focus was on Bond style with an emphasis on the 1960s and '70s films. The suits, bikinis, hot cars and, mostly importantly, the graphic design that became integral to the Bond world were the biggest influence here. That much was evident when we walked up to Q Pop. One window was painted to reflect the films' legendary opening sequence. We were staring at 007 through a gun moments before the bloodshed hit.
In some cases -- like a take on the bath scene poster from You Only Live Twice -- the references were an homage to a specific film. In many other instances, artists picked up on the visual motifs that marked the title sequences. Silhouettes abound across the walls of Q Pop. Bright colors were popular, instantly bringing Maurice Binder's numerous Bond titles sequences to mind. Even some of the fonts recalled those used in Bond flicks.
f there was one thing to take away from Q Pop's events, it's that James Bond is more than just a long-running series of entertaining spy films. The look of the classic movies holds a fairly significant influence on L.A.'s art scene. "James Bond: 50 Years of 007 Art Celebration" did a good job of exploring that influence.
"James Bond: 50 Years of 007 Art Celebration" runs at Q Pop through May 11.
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