Jon Leon

 Movie Star Maps, 2014 Detail of room-sized mural installation, Los Feliz, California Photo: Michael Underwood

Movie Star Maps, 2014
Detail of room-sized mural installation, Los Feliz, California
Photo: Michael Underwood

Alex Israel was born in Los Angeles in 1982. His practice is multi-faceted, employing a variety of media to accommodate the many and varied flavors of his particular West Coast aesthetic. His blown-up sun shades, airbrushed self-portraits, and Hollywood props belie a deeply layered set of personal and pop cultural references that expertly reorient their context. His As It LAys series of celebrity interviews reflect the miracle and wonder that is life in L.A. and helped to bring a greater attention to his sun-drenched artworks. Since 2010 he has operated a sunglasses company called Freeway Eyewear that has lately begun collaborating with marquee artists to design new looks. The next collaboration is scheduled for release this holiday season. Israel is an unvaryingly upbeat artist, consistently delivering a cool optimism across his oeuvre. What is his secret? An interview by Jon Leon.