Three Artist Exhibit @ Corey Helford Gallery (Sat. May 18th 2019)

On Saturday, May 18, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery will proudly unveil a three-artist show by curator Caro Buermann featuring mini-solos with San Francisco-based sculptor Erika Sanada, Seattle-based painter and illustrator Happy D, and Orange County-based artist Young Chun in Gallery 2.

Erika Sanada creates ceramic sculptures of bizarre creatures that “reflect the weird and the creepy” and her fascination with the the dark side. They have extra body parts such as multiple arms, legs, teeth and ears. These are how she expresses her sensitive mind. “There are two reasons I create misshapen and abnormal work,” she notes. “One is my bitter childhood and the second is my constant anxieties,” she notes.

Regarding her new show, entitled Wonder, Sanada shares: “My work is about everyday anxieties and I use animals in my work to represent myself. My work always features some oddities, this is me trying to get rid of anxieties from my body. I always overthink the unknown. Wondering about strange things usually provides me knowledge and inspiration. However, sometimes I become fixed on it which leads to constant anxiety. In my show Wonder¸ I focus on my own wonder and curiosity.”

When I was young, my friends ignored and bullied me. As a result, I stayed indoors and watched supernatural movies and animations. They helped me escape from reality and gave me power. These movies showed main characters using magic to turn others into freakish animals and insects. This transformation inspired me to make work that reflected the images that I saw in those movies and animations. I have had an anxious personality since I was a child. I worry about everything, even tiny things. Anxiety drags my mind to the dark side, which is more powerful and intense than my bright side. Sometimes I can’t move forward because I am emotionally paralyzed. I decided to go face-to-face with my anxieties by creating irregular and eerie creatures representing my dark side. As a result, these creatures show my twisted mind as I try to overcome anxiety through my creation.”

“Hive Mind” (ceramic, plastic, cold finish, 13″ x 11″ x 15″) by Erika Sanada

Happy D on her upcoming show, entitled Forbidden Kingdom, shares: “From beautiful concubines whose allure led to the destruction of a dynasty to beneficent goddesses who reincarnate on earth to end humanity’s suffering, women’s tales have been some of the most poignant and memorable in Chinese history and mythology. These women have been adored and portrayed countlessly in art and literature throughout China’s several-thousand-year-old history. Recently, due advancements in CGI and technology, these women have become reborn with unprecedented detail in modern Chinese film, photography, and other media adaptations. I wanted to showcase my own modern interpretation of these Chinese women whose stories helped inspire and shape me as a young Chinese artist. As a kid, I would constantly sit in front of the TV in our Beijing apartment watching ancient Chinese soap operas while attempting to doodle their beautiful costumes in my sketchbook. Now, I wanted to be able to paint them with enough polish to do justice to their iconic exquisiteness & hopefully inspire my audience to fall in love them as I have.

The name Forbidden Kingdom is meant to reflect the hidden backstories of these female characters. I wanted to viewer to get an intimate glimpse into their souls outside of their commonly known tales passed down throughout the centuries. By painting them, I had gotten to know them as unique individuals instead of legendary beings. By recreating them from birth, I had incorporated bits and pieces of myself into these characters – showcasing their flaws, weaknesses, and desires in a way that has never been revealed before. So essentially, Forbidden Kingdom is a place (or dimension) hidden from the rest of the world, a secret haven where these goddesses can shed their mythical armor and just enjoy the freedom of being vulnerable women.”

Regarding her aesthetic, she shares: “My main inspiration for the aesthetic of this collection was traditional Chinese watercolor paintings because they established such a serene atmosphere both in their elegant visual language and in the poetic quietness of the nature they portrayed. Before this show, my pieces typically featured alien-esque women immersed in surreal evening capes. My painting techniques had relied heavily on blending, saturated dark colors, and rich details in both the subjects and backgrounds. For this show, I challenged myself to adopt the illustrative and minimal aesthetic of traditional Chinese watercolor paintings. I wanted to create a hybrid of my familiar oil painting techniques and the elegance and simplicity of Chinese watercolors by utilizing clean linework and a limited color palette.”

“Belonging” (oil on paper, 14” x 11”) by Happy D

Young Chun on his upcoming show, entitled LOOK!, shares: “I wanted the title of my show to be LOOK! because I remembered the placa – “LOOK!” – spray-painted all-over town, some 30 years ago. I remembered how it grabbed my attention and made me want to look at it. I thought that it would be a catchy way to grab people’s attention and draw them in closer to look at my paintings. But, I also think that it’s appropriate. Since the characters I paint look through the lens of their glasses. I like to imagine, that the glasses allow them to peek into our world, with great fascination.

These paintings are inspired by many things. They’re inspired by the different sub-cultures I grew up being familiar with, memories of my past experiences, the people and the environment that surround me, and the thought of existing in this beautiful, mysterious and much unknown universe.

Sometimes, when I pass by strangers, my mind begins to create stories about them. Imagining their lives, the triumphs and tragedies. The stories evoke feelings inside of me, that become inspiration for my art; and these paintings are an interpretation of my feelings. I hope if nothing more, people are entertained by my work. But, I also hope that people who view my paintings, will be able to find a personal connection to them; and will be able to interpret them, in their own way.”

“Summer Lights” (oil on canvas, 24” x 24”) by Young Chun

Opening night for the three-artist show with Erika Sanada, Happy D, and Young Chun is Saturday, May 18 from 7pm-11pm in Gallery 2, alongside Part 2 of CHG’s 13th Anniversary group show, entitled Pop Surrealism & New Figurative, in the Main Gallery and Where Do We Go From Here? group show in Gallery 3. Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033 and normal hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 12pm – 6pm.

About Erika Sanada:
Erika Sanada was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Her early inspirations stemmed from creatures and characters of horror films. In 2005, she received her BA in Communications and Design at Nihm University College of Art in Tokyo. After working as a commercial illustrator and a movie studio makeup artist, Sanada returned to art school in San Francisco.

About Happy D:
Happy D is a painter & illustrator specializing in portraits of ethereal maidens in surreal worlds. Her beautiful, yet lonely characters, are able to find a sense of belonging in an otherwise strange and eerie universe. This is a universe without the rules of logic or physics, where any idea or desire can manifest itself into poetic visuals. D’s art is meant to transplant the viewer into that same mind space of wonder and possibility. Her work has been sold in galleries and private collections around the world. Clients and partners include: Gamblin Artist Colors, Royal and Langnickel Brush, and Pinterest. She currently creates from Seattle, WA, in a studio shared with four furry assistants.

About Young Chun:
Born a minister’s son in 1977 in Seoul Korea, Young Chun remembers as a child living in a small attachment to a hillside church for a brief time. The weekdays spent running around with imaginary friends in the dim empty chapel has fueled his imagination, contributing to his artistic growth. The “chapel” has become a permanent fixture in his creative mind – where he constructs, develops, and stores works in progress, before they ever meet a sketchpad.

In 2000, Chun received his B.F.A, from the Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena California. After several years of painting without clear direction, he stumbled into the opposite end of the spectrum – into the healthcare field – to search for “substance” and “something deeper in life.” The years spent working as a respiratory therapist, helping people facing life and death situations, expanded his outlook on life and added to his artistic vision. In February of 2011, Chun resumed working as a full-time artist. He currently lives and works in Orange County, California.

Regarding his work, Chun shares: “My art is a fabrication of reality – the way I see it in my mind. Music, culture, childhood memories, and the people in the environment that surrounds me influence it. When I pass by strangers or a situation taking place, my mind begins to create stories about them – imagining their lives, triumphs, tragedies, and happiness or sadness they experience – which becomes the inspiration for my artwork. But, there is truth in my art and it comes from the way I am feeling at the time I am constructing a painting, which is the feeling I am trying to convey.”

About Corey Helford Gallery:
Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) was first established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer and creator, Bruce Helford (Anger Management, The Drew Carey Show, George Lopez, The Oblongs) and has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goals as an institution are the support and growth of young and emerging, to well-known and internationally established artists, the production and promotion of their artwork, and the general production of their exhibits, events and projects.

CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art, and Post-Graffiti.

After nine years in Culver City, CHG relocated in December 2015 to a robust 12,000 square foot building in Downtown Los Angeles, where it continues to host exhibitions within the heart of the city’s art community. The current space boasts three separate galleries, each of which house individual artist and group exhibitions, whereas the main gallery offers 4,500 square feet, providing total immersion for its attendees. New exhibitions are presented approximately every five weeks. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit

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We would like to thank Aaron Feterl from Chummy Press for the media release.