Mixed Metaphors: Alum Optimist's Art Featured at Oakland Gallery

Wednesday, March 04, 2015
EAST BAY EXPRESS -- When the artist known as Optimist was a kid, the best part of Halloween was organizing all of his candies into neat categories that fit together in a grid. To this day, he can’t help but create compositions out of all of his stuff. He collects objects — maps, toys, sketches, photos — that help him hold on to time as it passes by. “Packrat’s Paradise,” his show at LeQuiVive Gallery, showcases that obsession. The main attraction is a massive installation of paintings surrounded by collected objects, fitting perfectly together in an off-kilter grid. Optimist studied Conceptual and Information Arts at SF State, but instead of pursuing that, he stuck with graffiti. He began doing figurative painting after he had settled in Taipei because he was inspired to capture everything that he saw around him. Since then, he’s tried to keep his graffiti and fine art lives separate, but they are constantly battling each other for his attention, and thus inevitably mix.