"Where's the music? Hey, play some music!" shouted a girl from the nearly pitch black darkness of Villains Houston, the venue where pop artist Dandee Warhol hosted his latest fete last Friday, " '80s inspired art. music. b-boy. fashion show!"
"Yeah, come on!" screamed another.
At their direction, the DJ cued up his best disco tracks, while in a room behind him, a group of models practiced prancing around in '80s-style outfits for the fashion show held later that night, followed by a breakdancing contest.
For the first few hours, though, the warehouse space housed a fairly quiet art show (hence the pleas for music). Guests walked around in their best '80s-era garb, inspecting the walls for re-creations made by the night's 20 -- yes, 20 -- invited artists. Count 'em: Dandee Warhol (of course), Sponge bOOb, Cutthroat, Olga Galindo, Yamin Cespedes, Jenn Contreras, MizRevenge, DaeOne, Paul Horn, DomBam, Natasha Ninjason, BrandonDuhon, Michael Rodriguez, Julie Zarate, Fernando Ramirez, Weah, Stephanie Gonzalez, Angela Obenhaus, Camargo Valentino, Ezekiel Solis, Ingrid Breton, Pilot, Meenr, Jay Marroquin, Jennifer Eli, Jimmy Houston, David Wilhelm, Saida Fagala, Diedra Lozcano, Joy Beckler, Michael Wooten and Leo Medrano, all in the house to celebrate Warhol's fundraiser for the War'Hous Foundation, a nonprofit that funds War'Hous Visual Studios, an art gallery created by him to support underground artists.
At first glance, it became clear that the artists' works share a lot more than venue space.
"It had to be '80s style," Warhol said of the criteria for his chosen 20 to show that night. According to him, the '80s trend is resurfacing in Houston, and the show served as a way to not only raise money, but to also embrace a big-haired and brightly-colored trend that has come full-circle.
"I've been seeing it all over Houston," he said. "I wanna focus on it."
There are actually more artists than the ones on that pre-approved list, and they were there to share some pretty awesome original works, as well. Bill Hailey's "Yggdrasil (Tree of Life)" oil on canvas piece stacks a tiger, two young children and a monkey on top of a bed of skulls, all of which come together to form the shape of a tree, and the effect is jawdropping, as is the same artist's life-sized "Absinthe" painting, which suspends a woman's contorted, naked body in midair.
For a little bit of whimsical nostalgia, David Wilhelm's "Red-Blinky" and "PAC-MAN" stainless steel works are fun, and jewelry artist Annie Cantu's polymer and clay hearts provide a pretty and affordable alternative to the traditional, thousand-dollar pieces.
Probably the most viewed painting is DaeOne's "Mike," an acrylic and spray-paint rendition of the defining image of the '80s, the one and only King of Pop, whom Warhol has chosen to embody in his own dress at the event with a hot red "Beat It" jacket and black jeans.
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Warhol's complete reincarnation of the 1980s brings up a point: Unlike others who may merely allow their opinions to be told through the paintings they hang on the walls or the sculptures they position on the floor, Dandee Warhol submerges himself entirely into what he is trying to say. Even more, he pulls others into his world, like the real-life subjects of some of his paintings. "Mouseketeer," which features the outline of a Mickey-crazed woman surrounded by colorful mouse heads, is based on a photograph of a female friend, said Warhol.
"I'm just engulfed in what I'm seeing around me," he added.
Art imitates life. Or maybe the '80s.
'80s inspired art. music. b-boy. fashion show!" was a one-night event. Warhol and his other works can be found at his gallery, War'House Visual Studios, located at 4715 Main, Houston, Texas 77002. For more information, visit dandee2k.com.