download pdf

(805) 259-5099

TIME: DECEMBER 6, 2004- JANUARY 20, 2005
LOCATION: 2223 Restaurant and Bar, San Francisco

RETRO COMICS AND ROBOTS: Jerico Woggon’s Solo Show Transforms Old Comic Book Motifs into New Work

What do you get when you mix a retro comic book heroine, robots, SoCal car culture and biology slides? My Robot Ran Away with My Cherry in San Francisco, Jerico Woggon’s first solo exhibition of paintings in San Francisco, at 2223 Restaurant and Bar. Woggon’s latest neo pop work draws upon an ecclectic range of sources, including the the retro Archie comic book heroine Katy Keene (created by Jerico’s grandfather BillWoggon) and the do-it-yourself aesthetic of the Burning Man arts festival. “Artists throughout history have paved the road for us and now we have to just go down it. The art road has been paved and as a young artist there’s only one way to go. It’s cut and dry. You’re an artist and you must create,” said Woggon . In My Robot Ran Away with My Cherry in San Francisco, Woggon shows his talent for successfully metabolizing a vast collection of ideas and symbols into his own pop art inspired continuum.

At 2223 Restaurant and Bar, abstract robots, dynamically graphic cherries, and beautifully simplified organic forms grace the walls. Looking over the images in My Robot Ran Away with My Cherry in San Francisco, don’t be surprised if this new work is reminiscent of old comic books or scientific drawings from the 1950s. Woggon consciously expands on the older pop culture vocabulary of Katy Keene and the other comic book art created by his grandfather, Bill Woggon, using the color palate of faded textbooks.

The graphic repetition and glossy texture seen in the exhibition are also drawn from Woggon’s ten-year stint working on promotional concept cars, including the Hershey Kiss Mobile, for Prototype Source. “It started when I just wanted to paint my van as a young artist surfer kid, that entered me into the world of car culture. Listening to oldies and working on old cars I just pretended I was back in time. That’s what happened. And then finding that I excelled with my hands and eyes. Now, it’s a natural progression. Car restoration is so small. And art is so vast. Cars are just one part of my life. There’s so much more freedom in the art world,” said Woggon about his transition into working with fine art. Southern California’s car culture has inspired visual artists since the 1960s when pop art first began its joyride. Now, as earlier custom car afficianados such as Von Dutch are being appropriated as brands and resold to the masses, the moment is ripe for Woggon’s evocation of an earlier era of gearheads.

Though the imagery in Woggon’s current exhibition is somewhat familiar, the use of just paintings is a departure for the artist, who has been recently exhibiting his large scale installations and using his creativity for planning art happenings and events. After ten years of party planning and master-minding elaborate exhibitions of large work, what is it like for Woggon to return to the humble sanctity of paintings? “I felt like a musician picking up the instrument after not doing it for awhile. Canvas has been a side project for years. Taking it on full time, it’s like I’m making up for lost time. It feels like I just stepped into a whole new world and I’m free,” said Woggon.

My Robot Ran Away with My Cherry in San Francisco is especially poignant for Woggon because this year Katy Keene celebrates her 60th birthday. Though his grandfather is not alive to help celebrate the milestone, Woggon is taking this opportunity to remember his grandfather through his art. After all, it was his grandfather’s first encouraging words and example as a living, breathing artist, that set Jerico down his current path. As Woggon said, “To be able to create your own vision, that’s it. My grandfather’s success and his passion and his connection to people: kids, fashion, drawing art. That’s what I want to follow is the artistic dream.”