The world's most iconic feline, Hello Kitty, has lived way beyond her nine lives—she currently 35, in fact. To celebrate this all-important birthday marking her mid-thirties with no crisis in sight, Sanrio's extravaganza revolves around "Three Apples: An Exhibition Celebrating 35 Years of Hello Kitty" opening at Royal/T in Los Angeles next week.
Featuring 80 artists—among them Luke Chueh, Tara McPherson (pictured below right) and Jason Mecier (bottom image), Gary Baseman, Buff Monster (below left) and Frank Kozikc—interpreting Hello Kitty. part of the sales goes to the non-profit L.A. Works.
But true to Sanrio's extremist branding tendencies (typified in electrical products like Hello Kitty waffle makers and toasters and the legendary, multifunction Hello Kitty "shoulder massager"), the show will also feature a pop-up shop, a Hello Kitty'd fake apartment, a birthday party with Hello Kitty herself in attendance and other events.
We chatted with Jamie Rivadeneira , owner of JapanLA, who curated the art portion of "Three Apples."
What's significant about Hello Kitty's 35th Anniversary?
This is the first time Sanrio has done an exhibition in the U.S. for fans to enjoy that includes so many elements, including art, limited-edition products, parties and Hello Kitty-themed food. The 35th is a key anniversary because it celebrates Hello Kitty reaching multi-generations of Hello Kitty consumers.
Is there an overabundance of Hello Kitty products?
Because Hello Kitty is a lifestyle brand, she touches different parts of life, culture and the world. Hello Kitty shares her fans' interests, and Sanrio continues to evolve and create unique lifestyle products that appeal to fans of all ages. The legendary breadth of Hello Kitty products available is one of the things that people enjoy and find unique to the brand.
How did you persuade each of the artists to get involved?
There is one common thread across all the artists, and it's the shared love for Hello Kitty. I found out that a lot of them were mega fans and some of the guys even had secret Hello Kitty collections. Originally, we were only going to have 35 artists in the show, but it quickly grew to 80. She's a graphic global icon, crossing age and gender boundaries. Many have grown up with her, and her unique graphic style has influenced their artistic style, from underground and street to graphic design and fine art.
Check out more images after the jump.