Brand Spanking New Art

March 14th, 2013

This article originally appeared on March 14, 2013 in The Alamedan. Michele Ellson, editor.

"Gonzo Journalist" Jon Ronson

“Gonzo Journalist” Jon Ronson

At Spank Salon, getting your makeup done “includes lash application,” according to their price list. Ouch! But that’s not the only reason it’s hard to sit still at this super hip parlor: Compelling art lines its walls, with new work rotated in frequently to keep heads turning.

We’ve come a long way from when redheads were targeted as witches or vampires in the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, but gingerism and its stereotypes linger. Megan Lynn Kott, who describes herself as “a lifelong redhead – in actuality and spirit” and her artistic partner Justin DeVine give some long overdue love to carrot-tops in their show “GINGERLY: an ode to all our favorite redheads,” which opens at Spank Salon on Saturday, March 16.

“We were specifically shopping for a salon rather than a gallery,” Kott said. “Spank Salon is the perfect venue for such a show: combining both pop-culture and hair-culture.”

Singer Tori Amos

Singer Tori Amos

These Oakland-based artists whipped up nearly two dozen paintings, mostly of actors — including cast members from Chris Carter’s “X-Files” and Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” TV shows — and musicians like Tori Amos and Neko Case. But they also include several downright obscure pieces, including those of “gonzo journalist” Jon Ronson and Grace Coddington, creative director of Vogue magazine. “It’s more a counterculture kind of thing than pop culture,” said Kott, who attended fashion school.

Kott fully expects that visitors will present them with lists of perceived omissions. “There are many more that we would have liked to do,” Kott said, including “Buffy” actress Alyson Hannigan; Fred and George Weasley from “Harry Potter” and Captain Kathryn Janeway from “Star Trek: Voyager.” But they pared their list down “due to time constraints and sanity.”

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

Viewing each artist’s solo work – Kott with her swirling watercolors and DeVine’s detailed fantasy drawings – it is remarkable that the two were able to sync their styles to create such a cohesive body of work for “GINGERLY,” united to the point that they don’t intend to identify which artist created which piece. “We’re slowly but surely coming into this as a partnership, a little more nameless and collaborative,” Kott said of the teamwork that grew out of the Wednesday night “Drinking & Drawing Club” they started at Café van Kleef in Oakland almost two years ago. “Creating art as a team, you share the glory and the pain of it.”

A reception for “GINGERLY” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16. Children are welcome but, per the salon’s website, “Don’t bring your little brats up in here and let them run around like the little demons they are … unless they are really really good.” (Maybe the parents would get another application of the lash?) The work will be on display for six weeks.

Spank Salon is located at 1912 Clement Avenue. (510) 521-9100. They are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and on Sunday by appointment.

Michael Singman-Aste
Postdiluvian Photo

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