For years Eric Trine and Will Bryant have been both friends and collaborators with Poketo’s Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung. Last year the first installment of Alley-Oop filled the Poketo gallery space in Los Angeles with vibrant hues, whimsical shapes and imaginative structures. According to Vadakan, “It rocked our world and was perfect for Poketo." With the success of the show and the buzz and turnout it generated, Vadakan and Myung said that they knew right away that Alley-Oop should be an annual event.
Bryant describes himself as a graphic designer, artist and professional goofball, while Trine is an object-based studio artist and designer. In combination, their talents yield entertaining and playful results. For Alley-Oop II, Trine and Bryant will exhibit a series of works that add up to a larger story. The show features steel shapes welded together to form pieces that are candy-colored and stackable. Both artists love having the opportunity to create the kinds of pieces that surprise themselves and the viewers—Trine describes their goals for Alley-Oop as rooted in fun. “For the most part, the pieces occupy the nether zone, just outside our respective design practices,” explains Trine.
When asked about the collaboration, Trine admits, “I've got Will's brain stuck in my head! It's like he's art directing me from through my imagination. I've definitely lightened up with the hard geometry that I used to do, and I've been drawn to more wiggly forms lately.” This year, Trine moved from Portland to Long Beach and finds himself spending more time driving. “I'm looking at structures and architecture at a larger scale—the kind of scale you can observe when driving by in a car,” he says. “So I'm paying attention to layers a lot. Landscaping layers. Smaller objects to big objects, grass to shrubs to trees and then a painted stucco wall. It translates to interiors and to the Alley-Oop installation.” The show explores these layers and recognizes how each layer gets compressed when photographed and shared on Instagram.
Since their first show at Poketo, Bryant and Trine have collaborated on a more straightforward furniture collection, Staycation, with an emphasis on products that have specific functions. For Alley-Oop II, Bryant and Trine conducted the majority of the brainstorming work through text message including photos, phrases and months of sharing ideas. Bryant also spent a few days at Trine’s studio in Long Beach.
When it comes to working with color, Trine and Bryant make bold choices. “I love all the colors,” shares Bryant. “Blue for Leonardo is what I said as a kid, but '90s Charlotte Hornet teal/purple is my one of my favorite combos.” Bryant feels his style, attitude and demeanor meshes well with the West Coast. Even as an undergrad in Mississippi and first starting his career out in Austin, Bryant cites the influence of pop culture as well as an admiration for the creative community in Los Angeles and of course, the sunshine. The experimental textiles, furniture, sculpture and installation pieces in the show will reflect the places they have been and the places they are going, as well as a happy sunshine-filled southern California feeling for the place where they are making it all happen.
Images courtesy of Eric Trine and Will Bryant