LydiaEmily's new art show Bound opened at the Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills Saturday night to an overflow crowd of fans and supporters, including some wearing bandanas and braid wigs in tribute to the artist. A portrait painter who found that the streets offered an ideal forum for political art, LydiaEmily has a distinct style of vibrant brush style over newspaper covered canvases, which she uses to comment on social injustice and depict the worldwide struggle against oppression.
Bound, running until June 20, is a continuation of LydiaEmily's themes of struggle, though here exploring how different individuals are bound by their own addictions, health, or beliefs. "Vices, often indistinguishable, creep under the skin," LydiaEmily explained. "Once there, they course through the veins, spreading like a disease -- binding. Binding is the desire and need for money. Binding is orthodoxy; binding is the alcoholic's sip; binding are the colors adorned as symbols of membership and brotherhood. Binding is the need to stay afloat while others are sinking fast. Vices disguise themselves as simple pleasures, elating moments, feelings of inclusion and belonging, even a way of life. Yet, underneath the façade, the suffocating grasp drowns us."
The new short documentary, below, on LydiaEmily shows her fight to be taken seriously as a political artist, and how street art proved to be a vital forum to give her images an outlet and bring her work new admirers.
John Wellington Ennis followed street artists for his film PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy's High Stakes. LydiaEmily appears in PAY 2 PLAY as well as its companion book Where Else But the Streets, a journal of street artists in Los Angeles.