Phoenix Artist Randy Slack Headed to LA

Written by Wynter Holden Category: Visual Arts Issue: November 2015
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Courtesy Randy SlackLocal artist Randy Slack – co-founder of artist collective 3CarPileUp and curator of the annual “Chaos Theory” exhibit – has always felt a strong connection to California. An avid surfer, he’s as much at home on the waves as he is in the vintage VW bus he travels in.

This weekend, Slack is picking up his large-scale paintings and heading for the greener pastures (or palm trees) of Los Angeles. After two decades of exhibitions around the Valley, the Phoenix veteran will debut his first solo show in Los Angeles at the newly opened Stockstill Art Space in the historic West Adams neighborhood. “This show was a long time coming,” Slack says.

He met fellow artist and gallery owner Sarah Stockstill more than a decade ago. The pair discussed a possible California show, but it never worked out. Then, Stockstill started renovating a 100-year-old, 5,000-square-foot building about a year ago. When the project neared completion, she and Slack revisited the idea of a solo show for the Phoenix-based artist. “It’s all in the timing. Everything seemed to click,” Slack says. “I got the feeling that now was the time, so go for it!”

“SlackLand” opens with a reception from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, November 14, at Stockstill Art Space (4539 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles). The show features seven of Slack’s large-scale (8 ft. x 10 ft.) paintings, including a nude portrait of Burt Reynolds that hung in “Chaos Theory” 16, and a cheeky take on The Last Supper. When we caught up with Slack, he was finishing up a new piece for the LA show: an homage to The Brady Bunch, likely peppered with the kind of nostalgic details and witty double meanings his work is known for.

“I hate this question,” the laid-back painter quipped when asked to describe his style. “Art is my passion, my whole world. I’ve never taken myself too seriously. My work is supposed to make you laugh, but there’s a darker meaning underneath.” Besides humor, the thread that ties Slack’s pieces together is the California connection. Slack spends much of his vacation time on the west coast, and sells the bulk of his work through agents in Los Angeles.

But unlike the bulk of Valley-based artists who fled to the larger markets of California or New York in the ‘90s and early 2000s, he’s intent on staying in the Valley. “Things are different now,” Slack says. “You don’t have to leave anymore. Artists are staying put, because it’s easy to live here.” The Legend City Studios co-owner references his own 5,000-square-foot workspace downtown, a large, chic spot that would be far less affordable in La-La Land. “Life is easy here,” he says. Considering his laid-back attitude, that’s likely confirmation that Slack’s 44-year home base isn’t about to change anytime soon.