Peekaboo Monster - Damon Minaey
Friday - December 12, 2008
Peekaboo Monster - Damon Minaey
Damon “Peekaboo Monster”
Minaey is in town for a show (that happened Thursday, Dec. 11) at Lightsleepers’ new pop-up store on Kapiolani Boulevard, which will be open only through the end of December (more on the store next week).
The urban artist not only will create works during his stay on Oahu, but also will have other limited-edition shirts, prints and apparel for sale in the store with local artist Angry Woebot and other members of the Pocket Full of Monsters crew.
“The fans in Hawaii are really down to earth and really supportive,” says Minaey, who last visited Hawaii in 2005.
“It was really cool, and I’m excited to come back because I think our fan base has grown in general, and it’ll be cool to see how much it’s increased since the last time I’d been there.”
The Iranian-born Minaey says he’s been a doodler all his life, spending most his time in school drawing in the margins of notebooks rather than paying attention in class. “I never really did my homework, but I made the edges (of the paper) all pretty,” he laughs.
He chose Seattle - after bouncing around to several cities and states throughout his life - to practice and develop his artistic style. He attended a two-year design school and continued to live in the city for an additional four years, only recently moving to Los Angeles.
Minaey steered away from corporate designing and working with a firm for a more direct approach - to draw and design the characters and works that resemble Felix the Cat and early Mickey Mouse cartoons.
“I really just wanted people to come to me because of what I was doing,” he says.“And if I had to do a design like that, it would be off of what I had built for myself as opposed to building someone else’s portfolio, or making an art director look better because (I was) grinding for them.”
When asked what his mother and stepfather thought about his career choice, Minaey says they’re supportive despite wanting him to become a doctor or lawyer, like many parents. “It took awhile for them to figure out that I really like doing this,” he says. “It was just one of those things where once they saw I had a good direction with it, and that I could hold my own weight with it, they weren’t worried about it anymore.”
Minaey’s work will be on view at the pop-up store through December.
Currently on display at the East-West Center art gallery is a rare set of rugs from 17th century Mughal India, which EWC gallery curator Michael Schuster believes were used by royalty.
“The Mughal Empire was basically one of the most powerful empires in India, starting about the 16th century,” says Schuster.“They were famous for their art, as well as unifying different countries.” He also notes the most-famous piece of Mughal art is the Taj Mahal.
The set of large rugs covers most of the floor in the room it occupies and is woven with floral designs and a dark-wine-red fill color. The rugs are identical and leave a large hexagon area bare in the middle, where the presumptive royal sat.
“This is a very unusual carpet because it’s most likely a throne carpet,” says Schuster. He says the carpets were used in tents for traveling royalty, so they could hold court while on the move.
“Because their empire was so huge, they could not just be centralized. They had a long tradition of nomadism and warrior culture - so they would set up and travel from place to place.”
Schuster points out that there is no definite way of saying for sure how the rugs were used or who used them, but he says the intricacy of designs and the work put into the them are good signs of whom they could have belonged to.
“I mean, what could be wealthier than to be in a constant field of flowers in a particularly arid place?”
He also says the representation of flowers on the rugs and the detail put into them is so ornate that the flowers can be identified as specific species.
The carpet is all hand-knotted and then woven, and the coloring comes from a very unlikely source.
“They didn’t have synthetic dyes in those times, so they had to use these little insects to get the colors,” he says.“So they’d have to collect millions of them, really, to get this brilliant red they used.”
In addition to the rugs, several other artifacts from the period - such as brass works, other fabrics and a loom - also are on display.
The rugs are on view until the end of December, and admission is free. The gallery, located in the John A. Burns building at the East-West Center, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available on the UH campus for $3.
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