Self-taught painter Vanessa Prager reveals her latest works this Thursday (June 2, 2011 to be exact) in a special one-night-only exhibition hosted by Danny Masterson. The venue is fitting for Prager, a painter who finds inspiration in a mix of contemporary narrative and vintage photographs. In anticipation of the show, Prager and I got on the phone to discuss the idea behind Across the Universe and her process.

ADBD Gallery
8246 Beverly Blvd

Read our Q&A and check out Prager’s phenomenal paintings after the jump.

CR: Tell me a little about the impetus for “Across the Universe”

VP: It is an independent show because, primarily, I wanted to show new work. It is my first show of paintings in a year and a half. Usually with an official gallery it takes a long time to set up a show, and I’m too impulsive for that.

CR: What’s the inspiration behind your work? I love the boxer painting, reminds me of early 20th-century tattoo flash.

VP: I source my ideas mainly from old found photos, from the 40s and stuff. I’m always gathering, from my grandmothers or thrift stores.

I like the blowout of the images. I like the clothes and hair. I just use them as inspiration. Usually I start really loosely and see how things come.

CR: You’re untrained, at least academically, and I’m interested in how you got into painting. What was the start?

VP: I started drawing when I was 16. It led me to painting. I picked up a bunch of books about how to mix color and how to paint. The first thing I did was buy a painting kit at an art store.

CR: How did you hook up with WESC and Whole Foods for the show?

VP: WESC has been a sponsor of mine forever. They consistently like to support proactive people. Over the years, I’ve hung with them and they like what I’m doing. Nothing wildly formal. Whole Foods likes to support community events and I reached out to them because they are awesome. For the show, we’re doing a shirt for Whole Planet foundation which they do. Like any company they like to be involved in the arts and get the community together.

CR: Why just one night? What if people want more time?

VP: I’ll always have another show. Also, I think it has a little catch to it. A lot of people go to openings and then won’t go otherwise. I like to make it something fun. Under the circumstances it works, but I like to do it that way.

CR: Finally, here’s your chance to let the world know what else you’ve got going for 2011…

VP: I have a show in San Francisco in October. I’ve never shown up there before.

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