I’m not really a surfer but I often think about my approach as related to surfing: I’m on a wave, and I either go with it or I don’t. In some ways, I find it interesting to let myself go with it, to see where it goes and to see how it works. Maybe that gives me the energy or the fuel to be able to carve into it, or to do tricks on it, or to change things up without fighting it. – Alex Israel
Part Hokusai, part kitschy beach logo, Alex Israel’s Wave series are made by stretching acrylic over fiberglass to create low relief sculptures in his signature neon palette. The slick material references the wetsuits worn by surfers, and Israel’s repetition of the same image in a variety of sizes and colors draws a direct connection to Andy Warhol’s silkscreens. In recent years, Israel has been pushing against the divide between artist and brand – working with Louis Vuitton creating handbags, scarves, trunks, and cologne; starting his own brand of clothing called Infrathin that emblazons his recognizable artworks, like the Waves, onto clothing and keychains; and collaborating with Snapchat on an exhibition at The Bass Museum, Miami. A designer, writer, filmmaker, and multimedia artist, Alex Israel places his work in the film and celebrity culture that permeates Los Angeles, his hometown. “The American Dream is such a powerful and moving thing. So much of the imagery that illustrates this dream is pure LA cliché. These clichés carry so much symbolic weight and meaning; they activate people’s imaginations and inspire them to find a better way, and a better life,” says Israel. He has had solo exhibitions across the world, including his exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center in 2015, and his work can be found in many prominent collections, including The Broad, Los Angeles; Centre Pompidou, Paris; de la Cruz Collection, Miami; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; LACMA, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MoMA, New York; and the Whitney Museum, New York.