Comic style: It’s Supa when 1960’s San Francisco pops up in the future

SupaPop Shaolin Showdown” by artist Sean Danconia at the Joseph Watson Collection inside the Arts Factory Sunday, June 7, 2015.
Photo: Steve Marcus

In 1960s San Francisco, Professor Stan Rio predicts the end of the world, and makes the monumental decision to preserve it by creating a city in a bubble then burying it. Fifty years later, SupaPop City, comprising all aspects of ’60s pop culture, washes up on a beach near the Santa Monica Pier, where a yoga instructor makes the discovery and the future past is unleashed.

This is the premise of artist Sean Danconia’s latest creation on display at Joseph Watson Collection. Blaxploitation meets mod culture meets Japanese anime, old Disney elegance and sci-fi—all of it set against the backdrop of San Francisco.

'Crouching Dragon, Hidden Saucer," left, and "Suzy Does Sixty Trix" by artist Sean Danconia at the Joseph Watson Collection inside the Arts Factory Sunday, June 7, 2015.

Charismatic cartoon works include portraits of stylish and affable characters, composites of storyboards and busy vignettes capturing the interplay between retro-future objects, heroes and bad guys in narratives told in ’60s-pop design with a 21st-century spin. The show coincides with Licensing Expo 2015 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center, where the Canadian-born Los Angeles artist is presenting SupaPop as a brand.

With a background in film and animation and work with Disney galleries, Danconia wanted an art venue to show his work. Where the expo features an 8-by-20-foot mural of SupaPop’s cartoon characters and narratives, Joseph Watson Collection offers a more intimate look at the world Danconia created, along with previous artworks and film posters and comic-book covers for movies and stories he’s imagined.

A self-described fan of cult cinema, Danconia says he grew up in Canada in the ’80s on American popular culture, then lived in Italy and Hong Kong before settling in LA. With SupaPop he unapologetically celebrates the idea of heroism in idealist cross-cultural, cross-generational environments—“a retro futurist rainbow youth quake.”

“I love anything that showcases heroic, efficacious, attractive people doing amazing things,” he says, “cultures and subcultures who all believe in the heroic idealist.”

SupaPop Through June 30; Wednesday-Friday, 1-6 p.m.; Saturday, noon-3 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Joseph Watson Collection in the Arts Factory, 702-380-8459.

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