North Park artist Jonny Alexander is dashing between murals for five-story buildings and paintings for his Saturday, March 21, solo show. Slowing down to take a breath, Alexander is able to focus on the exhibition that will meld Salami Rose Joe Louis’ music and the painter’s artwork.
Teaming with Fivespace, Good Faith Gallery will host the event, “In Here, Out There,” which starts at 6 p.m., with Louis hitting the stage at 9 p.m. The show marks Alexander’s first solo exhibition in seven years.
The idea to bring the two together came from Alexander’s friend, Good Faith Gallery co-owner Tony Becker.
“He does a lot of art shows but has music events as well,” Alexander says. “He’s had people come through and play shows and some of those shows are coupled with visual art exhibitions.
“One of his concepts is to pair artists with musicians.”
Becker saw Alexander’s social media post about his love of Louis’ music and the event was born.
“Tony texted me and said he didn’t know I liked Salami Rose Joe Louis,” Alexander recalls.
“He said she was booked to play at the gallery. From that, we started brainstorming and thinking. I met Lindsay Olsen (Louis’ real name) at a small music festival called DIO. I fell in love with her music and we talked about doing a collaboration, with me doing a T-shirt or poster for a tour or something in some capacity to put my art with her music. Once this opportunity presented itself, it just worked out perfectly.”
Art is a longtime love for Alexander, but it wasn’t always apparent it was going to be a career. When he was 11 in North Park, he became preoccupied with art in the form of graffiti.
“That taught me to have a black book, or a sketchbook,” Alexander says. “I was carrying those around. When I was really young, I thought I would make a living designing skateboards.”
At the same time, he was exploring California’s deserts, mountains and coastlines and shed light on the natural environment patterns and the varying forms it takes. His work walks a thin line between existentialism and surrealism.
He left the North Park/Normal Heights area for a number of years for college—he earned a BFA in traditional printmaking—and then moved to Detroit, where he was the head screen printer for an art publisher named 1XRun. In Michigan, he worked with artists from varying countries and disciplines to create hand-pulled screen print editions.
Returning to San Diego two years ago, Alexander has created murals for organizations like North Park Main Street Association, El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association, Luce Bar and Grill, Home & Away Restaurant, Urban Street Angels, The Jackson North Park and Juneshine.
Although “In Here, Out There” is his first exhibition in seven years, he has shown pieces in San Francisco, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami.
“I’m painting on wood panels,” Alexander says about the work for the show. “A month ago, I just started cranking paintings, which isn’t really common for me. I usually work much slower.”
As for Louis, she just signed to Brainfeeder Records, which is run by Flying Lotus. Alexander is creating a new body of work for “In Here, Out There.”
“The plan is to make an immersive art installation that the musician will use as a ‘stage’ for the performance with the rest of the paintings occupying the other walls in the gallery. The whole show is the same color palette,” he says. “It’s going to be great.”
“In Here, Out There”
w/Jonny Alexander and Salami Rose Joe Louis
6 p.m. Saturday, March 21
Good Faith Gallery,
566 19th Street
$10 donation suggested
at the door good-faith.co, jonnyalexander.com