Artist Bijou Karman Takes West Third Street
If you’ve peered into the window at Gogosha Optique on West 3rd Street recently, you may have noticed a few lovely additions to the store merchandise that don’t have anything to do with glasses. The table of trinkets (and books and prints and stickers and pins) are the handiwork of Bijou Karman – an artist, illustrator and all-around creative-type based here in Los Angeles.
Karman helped launch Gogosha’s recent #ThirdThursdays event on West 3rd Street, and her pieces will be on display and available for sale at Gogosha for the next few weeks. We caught up with her to find out more about her inspiration, and why she chose West 3rd to launch her latest project…
How would you describe your work and visual aesthetic?
My illustrations are of interesting, strong women depicted in a style that’s graphic, girly, colorful, and vintage-inspired. I love mixing plants and organic shapes with retro patterns, and just drawing cool moody girls who inspire me.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I draw a lot on vintage imagery for reference. I’m really inspired by images from the 50s through the 70s especially. Reading current fashion magazines and looking at the latest runway shows online is also a huge part of my work, and where I draw a lot of inspiration from.
I also like just getting out around the city here in L.A. I’m always taking snaps on my phone for reference – of plants, architecture, colors, etc. – that I use directly in my work. I like to go see art in museums or galleries, because I usually come out really inspired to try something new.
Your work is showcased in different forms, from prints, to zines to stickers. Why play with all these mediums? How do you decide what form to publish your pieces in?
I love seeing my work applied to all different surfaces and media. I want it to be accessible to people, so I create different products as a way to get it out there. The zines are a great in-depth means to explore subjects I’m interested in, whereas the original paintings are something I do when I want to really flesh out an image I’m envisioning.
Tell us about your new book.. what is it about and how did you get to writing a book?
My book is called “Dream, Draw, Design: My Fashion” and it is a coloring and drawing book for anyone who loves fashion. The pages are filled with partially-drawn prompts, and you fill in the rest with your imagination. You can design your own shoes, clothes, hairdo’s… lots of stuff! It’s perfect for getting out your ideas and just playing around.
Tell us how you met the folks at Gogosha… Do you wear glasses?
They reached out to me and wanted to do something together, as they’re into supporting local artists, which is amazing! I wear sunglasses every day (very necessary here in LA) and love having lots of different pairs to choose from. I don’t own a pair from Gogosha yet but I have my eye on a couple! Gogosha has such a beautiful unique selection, so I know if I get a pair from them I’m not going to see many other girls wearing the same ones!
What do you like about West 3rd Street?
West 3rd Street is one of my favorite spots in LA! So many great places to eat and shop. For shopping I’m obsessed with Plastica, Noodle Stories, New Stone Age, and of course Gogosha. And I love The Little Next Door, Quality, and Joan’s on Third for lunch.
(Portrait of Bijou by Linus Shentu)
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