Sunday, April 28, 2013

The History of Gallery 1988 by Jensen Karp 2

This Tumblr post by Jensen Karp, owner of Gallery 1988, details the history of his relationship with Bad Robot and how the concept of Damon Carlton and a Polar Bear was created (and approved):

Tomorrow night, Friday April 26th, we’re opening a new exhibit called “The Bad Robot Art Experience” at the art gallery I own, G1988. It’s in conjunction with JJ Abrams & Bryan Burk, the two dudes who run that insanely powerful production company that’s about to make fucking Star Wars. For those who don’t know, they’ve made TV shows like LOST, Fringe & Alias and movies like Star Trek, Cloverfield & Super 8. JJ also wrote Joyride, which is the thing I love him for the most. Our history with Bad Robot is very important to me, and honestly the reason why I’ve been able to call myself successful.

10 years ago when we opened the gallery and knew NOTHING of what we were doing with the world’s first pop culture art gallery, a man named Luis from Disney walked in and asked me about a mural down the street that Disney had commissioned for Tinkerbell. I told him I thought it was awful and every reason why, since he didn’t identify himself as a Disney big wig until about 30 minutes later when he handed me his business card and asked if we ever thought about “consulting.” I had NO idea what consulting meant, but I knew his mural was shit and that seemed like enough to say yes. Over the next two years we worked with Disney, helping with ideas and creating art shows to both strengthen the Disney name in the art world and promote certain projects they were focusing on. They never made us do anything and it was an all-around great experience that basically changed our lives.

Our time with Disney led us to working with Mattel, who we ended up working on Hot Wheels & Masters of the Universe with. During our Hot Wheels exhibit, a producer for the TV show LOST, Noreen, saw what we were doing and assumed we could do something similar for the show, which was entering its final season. We made up a pitch and drove to the ABC offices a few days later with a concept that was so weird and insane, that it barely made sense to me. There would be a scavenger hunt, and free limited edition items at every stop and a screenprint that fans could buy each time as well. Oh, and ABC couldn’t really promote it. And it involved comedian Paul Scheer and velvet paintings. And they had to just let us be - we only wanted notes from Damon & Carlton. Normally we’d be thrown out of the office, but we had a real partner with Bad Robot, a group of producers willing to take a risk on unique marketing strategies and heartfelt/artistic ways to reach out to fans. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse basically told the network they HAD to hire us and JJ Abrams & Bryan Burk basically asked us to “do our thing.” When the campaign ended up insanely successful, JJ was the first person who asked to meet with me and congratulate us. And that started it all. Agencies in Hollywood wanted to represent our gallery as an entity, I ended up landing marketing gigs at ABC, Sony, Comedy Central, Paramount, etc and even got to work with Bad Robot again with Fringe and Person of Interest. But none of this would’ve been possible without Bad Robot and the team at LOST taking a chance on a wild idea and a group of passionate artists.

And now we have The Bad Robot Art Experience. This art exhibit has commissioned more than 100 artists to create pieces inspired by their TV shows, movies and logo. All for sale, all either one-of-a-kind or limited edition. JJ And Bryan have been involved since the moment we had the idea. They’ve been so supportive, as they always have been, and being able to include a charity they love and work closely with, The Mission Continues, was just icing on the cake. They’ve seen the work now, by email, and they were BLOWN AWAY. I don’t even think they knew where to start. And once they return from their Star Trek publicity tour and are able to come to the gallery, seeing all the pieces in person will probably start the amazement all over.

We open tomorrow night, 7-10 PM at 7308 Melrose Ave. It’s a VERY, VERY good art show. I would love for you to see it. If you can’t make the opening reception, the show is open everyday, Wednesday - Sunday from 11-6 PM through May 18th. And if you live outside of Los Angeles, we’ll put up all the work online for purchase Saturday afternoon at

We are so thankful for our friends at Bad Robot, especially JJ Abrams & Bryan Burk, who took a chance on us back in the day - and now we get to repay them by tributing the empire they built. See you tomorrow night.

Bad Robot Art Show at Gallery 1988 2

Gallery 1988 - the gallery that brought you the Fringe Benefits Project - had a new show on Friday to celebrate Bad Robot.

The "art experience" featured works inspired by J.J. Abrams' creations, including FRINGE, Star Trek, Cloverfield, Super 8, Revolution, Alias, Felicity, and of course LOST.

There was a lot of great LOST art work, many of which is still available for sale at