Galleries rarely invite interns to exhibit artwork, which is why the fundamental concept of the current exhibit at Hamburger Eyes Photo Epicenter is, in itself, a Flawless Victory. Artists Oscar Mendoza and Alexander Martinez are roommates and Burgerworld Media interns who have been working with the concept of flawless victories. Beyond referencing a popular video game, the artists attribute the term to people or moments (or people having moments) that are perfect in their own way. Mendoza put it best when discussing his personally familiar photo subjects, "If there is someone important to you, they will always seem flawless."
Mendoza is studying photography and his images include a girl in an embroidered denim dress holding a crossbow, a suited man pledging allegiance in front of city hall, and a skater holding a bag of chips in the air as if he were the street version of John Cusack in Say Anything. Mendoza staged some of his portraits to represent his subjects' unique perfections. He aptly communicates the global truth that we revere our loved ones regardless of their flaws and that "it is the flaws that make us who we are, and what makes us truly victorious."
Martinez recently graduated with a degree in cultural anthropology and uses photography as a tool for fact-finding. When I asked about a photo of a blonde girl with a cookie on her shoulder, he told me the story behind it, and how the moment came to be a personal victory. It was one of those moments that's semi-funny when related, but epically hilarious in person. Cute girls are a repeated subject in both photographers' work -- as Martinez said in an interview with our art site, it helps to have hot friends. Martinez also points out that there are no victories without victims by including images of a few suckers and their minor tragedies in black and white shots hung at the bottom of his photo cluster with dark red paint dripping down from behind their frames.
The importance of these photos lies in their personal meaning, their stories, and the love they express. Both artists aim to present positive reflections, winning moments, and small victories that may otherwise be forgotten or unnoticed. Painted on the walls among their photographs are winsome illustrations by Lacy McCune of the artists' "spirit animals" -- Martinez is a wise owl, Mendoza is a savage bear. The show also has a hidden exhibit of b-side shots installed in the bathroom. This part of the exhibit, titled The Endless Slummer includes some egregiously successful photos, most of which are on sale for twenty bucks.
It appears that both Mendoza and Martinez have wisely chosen their photographic destinies by absorbing the knowledge of Hamburger Eyes experts, and I expect the artists' future endeavors to yield continued victorious flawlessness. Visit Hamburger Eyes Photo Epicenter to witness the dream being lived. Besides the nice gallery space, they offer darkroom rentals, professional photo printing, workshops, classes, awesome t-shirts, 'zines, and DVDs. If the door is locked, just ring the bell and someone (possibly a super-rad photographer) will toss you the key from the upstairs window so you can let yourself in.
Alex and Oscar: Flawless Victory is at Hamburger Eyes Photo Epicenter through November 1, 2007.