We catch up with LA-based artist Beau Dunn to chat about her first solo exhibit at the De Re Gallery, how she gets inspiration in her sleep, and why her famed neon sign ended up on display in Kris Jenner’s closet.
What can visitors expect to see in your exhibit Plastic? BEAU DUNN: It’s my old and current works. Most of the pieces haven’t been seen in Los Angeles because I have representation in other places, so it’s very exciting for me. It’s a social commentary about being born and raised in Beverly Hills and what’s important at the end of the day. Throughout all my pieces, I play with the materialism aspect.
Where do you get the inspirations for your art pieces? BD: I usually wake up in the middle of the night and come up with them—it’s bizarre (laughs). I have a pad of paper and a pen next to my bed, and I will sneak in my office or sit at the kitchen table. I have two French bulldog puppies, so I try not to wake everyone up. I’ll just sit there for as long and I’ll just sketch out whatever. I’ve never been a big dreamer, but usually it’s in the middle of the night or driving—it’s always when I’m busy doing something else that ideas kind of pop in randomly.
Are there any artists that have influenced you? BD: I love Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons because they’re kind of in the same field of contemporary art. I’d say my inspiration are some of my close friends in Los Angeles who have really inspired me and pushed me to be the best artist I can be. Gregory Siff, Mar, 2wenty, and Shepard Fairey. He’s a mentor of mine. I have a great support system in the art world, especially in LA. I ‘m super lucky because we can all get to each other’s openings, bounce ideas off each other, and collaborate.
What advice do you have for other female artists? BD: I think art’s a tricky thing just because everyone has opinions about it, especially with social media nowadays so I just do what I like and have fun.
You made this amazing wood-and-neon sign for Kris Jenner’s Birkin closet that reads: “Need Money for Birkin.” How did you come up with this? BD: I did a photography series called Next Generation and that turned into a fun street art thing. It was a social commentary on where the next generation going. I wanted to change it into more than street art or photography, and into a 3D opportunity.
Given that you’re a native Angeleno, what are your favorite spots to eat and drink? BD: I love The Ivy on Robertson. It’s great for bringing people who are from out of town. I also love Cecconi’s. I’ve been going there for years. Catch LA just opened—it’s definitely a scene, but a lot of fun.
With the holidays coming up, are there are any travel essentials that you would recommend? BD: I actually just started a luxury travel website called Jetsett. I travel so much and all my friends ask me, ‘Where do I go? What do I bring?’ and I would always give advice. Obviously, good luggage is a must, so I love Louis Vuitton rolling bags. Those last forever. I also have a Barefoot leopard blanket that goes into my carry-on bag and I have it on every flight. Then the third thing that I must have is my Canon camera. I love taking photos.