The six pioneers behind the gallery, THIS los angeles, aren't afraid to venture into the unknown -- after all, they have their friends on their side. Like Shepard Fairey, Leo Fitzpatrick, Geoff McFetridge and nearly 100 others who showed their work at the gallery's inaugural show, the aptly named "These Friends." The February opening drew hundreds more to the small space, many of whom spilled out onto the sidewalk.
So who exactly are the sensational six-piece behind THIS? Let's start with Claire and Jeremy Weiss, of Day19 Photography. The couple met at Small Empire, a skatepark in New Jersey, and in 2000 they made their way to Los Angeles. They became friends with fellow photographers Dan Monick and Aaron Farley (who regularly contribute to PAPER) and designer/illustrator Justin Van Hoy -- all future partners in THIS. Topping off the sextet is Luis Farfan a designer, musician and gentleman about town.
Amongst themselves, they had dreamed of opening a gallery for some time. "We were frustrated in never having a communal space where we could do whatever we wanted to, and it made sense to come in on it collectively," says Van Hoy. Then boom -- the economy collapsed, rents bottomed out and they decided to go for it. They could have picked Downtown, Silver Lake, Echo Park or Culver City -- instead, they chose to open their space (supported in part by clothing brand RVCA) between a Halloween pop-up shop and an appliance store on a run-down stretch of Highland Park, a northeastern outpost largely undiscovered by L.A.'s traditional art community. "And the thing that makes us stand out," says Van Hoy, "is that we aren't art fans opening a gallery--we are artists opening a gallery space."
THIS LOS ANGELES, 5906 N. FIGUEROA ST., LOS ANGELES, THISLOSANGELES.COM