The best way to describe Beyond Brookledge is that it's as if somebody fit the L.A. Opera and Burning Man into the Magic Castle, and then had a three-day slumber party. This year, Beyond Brookledge, held May 20-22 at the Mission Inn in Riverside, featured round-the-clock entertainment. There were dime museums, freak shows, singers, piercers, demons, mermaids, the giant puzzle, blue men, foot Jenga, skeletons, ventriloquism, opera, full-moon howling and much more. Capping out at just 50 tickets, Beyond Brookledge is one of those once-a-year events that seems impossible but instead is impossibly fun.
"In 2003, my wife and I founded an independent book publishing company and named it Baby Tattoo," said Bob Self, owner and publisher. "We dreamed of being part of a community where daredevil artists could present their work to enthusiastic fans of the unusual. Over the years, Baby Tattoo has evolved from a small publishing house to a counter-culture big top, a carnival of astounding art and outsider entertainment."
Arrested Motion, Baby Tattooville 2015 slideshow:
On Saturday night, attendees of this year’s Baby Tattooville at Riverside’s Mission Inn witnessed something that they will not soon forget for a very long time. The highlight of the annual art retreat (although this year’s was the last) was a Surrealist Ball hosted by none other than Mark Ryden and Marion Peck. The two artists along with friends Anthony Ausgang, Sas Christian, Olivia De Berardinis, Ron English, Camille Rose Garcia, Bosko Hrnjak, KRK Ryden, and Isabel Samaras got in full costumes along with the guests and settled in for a night to remember.
Photos don’t do the event justice but take a look at our shots below to get a little idea of what went on.
Strange, whimsical and wacky don’t exactly square with the image of a community that’s long prided itself on orange crate labels as art. But this publisher, Bob Self, enamored of Riverside’s dreamlike downtown, organized a completely different kind of art show called pop surrealism.
He let loose with the installation “Baby Tattooville,” showcasing works from alternative artists at the Riverside Art Museum that exploded and shimmered with clashing, iridescent colors or odd combinations of pastels and peopled with stick figures, cartoon characters, skeletons and macabre clowns.
The exhibition has taken on a life of its own and returned every year, altering the perception of Riverside from cultural backwater to cutting-edge hub. “It became a one-of-a-kind experience that you could only get here,” said Margie Haupt, the city’s arts and cultural affairs manager.
LA Weekly, Beyond Brookledge 2015 slideshow:
Produced by Erika Larsen and Bob Self the 3rd annual Beyond Brookledge at the Riverside Mission Inn was a two-night sleep-over with music, magic and mysterious underground tunnels and juggling and interactive puzzles and...you get the picture.
Starring Mac King, Amazing Johnathan, Michael Davis, Billy the Mime, Two-Headed Dog (Mark Fite, Jim Turner, Dave Gruber), Scot Nery, Brett Loudermilk, Bonnie Morgan, Jonathan Pendragon, Anastasia Synn, Timur Bekbosunov, Michael Borys, Steven Banks, Marquis Howell III and Barbara Ann Duffy, Lindsay Benner, Thomas Kuntz, and Chris Korn with Music Director: Kristian Hoffman.
Boing Boing, Weekend of Wonder 2016:
OMA celebrates flair for the theatrical and love of the outrageous in Baby Tattoo: Carnival of Astounding Art, opening August 22, 2015.
Curated by Bob Self, the exhibition is a spinoff of the Baby Tattoo independent book publishing company, created in 2003 as a path for daredevil artists to share their work with fans of the unusual.
Artists ranging from provocative up-and-comers to legendary masters are part of the Baby Tattoo story.
LA Weekly, Baby Tattooville 2014 slideshow:
October 3rd marked the beginning of the art lovers sleep away camp known as Baby Tattooville, held at the historic Riverside Mission Inn over three consecutive days and two nights. Baby Tattooville is the brainchild of Bob Self, of Baby Tattoo books. He only sells 40 tickets per year. This year he brought in artists from all over the world -- Brom, Laurie Lee Brom, Bob Dob, Eric Fortune, Tara McPherson, Brian Smith, Joe Sorren, Jeff Soto, Gris Grimly, Lola, Brandi Milne, Miss Mindy, Rick O’Brien, Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez -- to participate in the annual Art Jam.
Huffington Post, Temple of Art 2014:
For the last two years, renowned portrait photographer Allan Amato has been traveling the world, applying the artistic vision and taste for ambitious storytelling familiar in his own celebrity and editorial work to instead depicting fine artists from all over the map — geographically and stylistically. Having captured the artists’ likenesses, Amato then turns the tables, asking them to in turn reinterpret themselves by modifying his portraits of them. The results are vivacious, emotional, eclectic, and profound — and thankfully, will be collected in a giant book from Baby Tattoo Publishing this November, along with a gallery show at La Luz de Jesus opening December 5th.
In today's art world of big names, big money and big egos, its exciting to see someone do things differently. To have the chance to tap into a different community of artists, and get away from the typical L.A. art scene for a while really is a unique opportunity. An event like the weekend at “Baby Tattooville” truly could be life-changing, and seeing the exhibition at the Riverside Art Museum is a must for anyone in the low brow or new brow art world.
“The event has a dream-like quality, a sense of a magical outside-of-reality experience, emotionally more rich than you would expect,” Self concludes. “As fun as the event is, the glow that remains, after you walk away is the best part—life experiences can be so wonderful; if you step into something but after you step out you gain something. That’s what it’s all for, whether the event or the opening; by touching this event, you grow.”
The 7th annual Baby Tattooville took place over the weekend at the Historic Mission Inn. This three day, 24 hour, immersive experience featured artists Olivia, Sylvia Ji, Travis Louie, Mitch O'Connell, Alex Pardee, The Sucklord, Chet Zar, Steven Daily, Luke Chueh, Coop, Gris Grimly, Brandi Milne, Kathie Olivas, Brandt Peters, Ragnar, KRK Ryden and more.
Limited to just 40 tickets, Baby Tattooville’s intimate atmosphere provides an opportunity for a small number of attendees to spend the weekend participating in both scheduled and spontaneous activities with the event’s featured artists, creative partners and surprise guests. They also have access to an eclectic assortment of unusual panels and presentations, and access to all of Baby Tattooville’s strange goings-on.
Event creator Bob Self says it best “...People who have attended in the past compare it to the parties at Hearst castle, or the parties in Citizen Kane. It’s like getting the golden ticket in Willy Wonka. It is a magical weekend that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a romanticized take on an artist’s life, almost like a trip back in time. It’s like a trip down the art-rabbit-hole.”
Rockabilly culture king Coop, macabre illustrator Gris Grimly, surreal-meets-swanky graphic designer Ragnar, and bizarrely beautiful doll maker Marina Bychkova are almost certain to draw a crowd...All four artists will bring new prints and works to show off and sell at the signing session and meet-and-greet at the shop. They'll also have some compilations of their works from Baby Tattoo, the Southern California-based publisher with a particular yen for fringe, counterculture, and bizarre artists. While a couple of the talents involved (such as Coop and Grimly) are regular visitors at toy or comics conventions across the country, Del Castillo says that tomorrow night's event offers the opportunity to not only meet such artists and get their creative efforts signed, it's a chance to witness their stuff up close and in person. And for a some of the artists involved in the tour -- like Bychkova, in particular -- getting an in-person gander at their work isn't possible outside a gallery or museum setting.