"Young Adult" Lit Art Show, Los Angeles

February 17, 2013 2013, crafts based on ya books, event, Wendy 45

young adult lit art show hello giggles gallery 1988 sweet valley svh
“Jessica & Elizabeth” by Kiersten Essenpreis

Today we did a little gallery-hopping around Los Angeles! The first stop was at the “Young Adult” Lit Art Show presented by Hello Giggles and Gallery 1988 Melrose. I enjoyed looking through the fun exhibit, which featured work created by female artists inspired by YA literature from the 80s and 90s.

Young adult books have inspired quite a few crafts and products, as a quick search through Etsy or Hot Topic will attest. It’s more unusual to see fine art inspired by the genre, however, and even more unusual to see a dedicated public exhibition. Cheers to the founders of Hello Giggles (actress Zooey Deschanel among them) for their efforts to showcase this offbeat show.

Even though the definition of “young adult”was used pretty loosely here (Babysitters Club is textbook middle grade), even though I wish there had been more variety in the subjects (there was lots of Nancy Drew), and even though in some cases it was hard to guess the book that inspired the artwork (a little more context might’ve enriched the viewer’s experience), it’s still nice to see YA lit celebrated in this way.

A few pieces I especially liked:

young adult lit art show hello giggles gallery 1988 nancy drew
“The Secret in the Old Attic” by Kelly Vivanco

young adult lit art show hello giggles gallery 1988 goosebumps
“A Collection of Goosebumps Celebrities” by Kate Perdue

young adult lit art show hello giggles gallery 1988 nancy drew
“Nancy Drew Sleuth Kit” by Danielle Murray

“Choose Your Own Adventure” by Jessica Deahl
young adult lit art show hello giggles gallery 1988 nancy drew
“Nancy Drew” by Bec Winnel

“Mary Anne” by Ann Sullivan

young adult lit art show hello giggles gallery 1988
“Mystery of the 56 Clues” by Nicole Gustaffson

young adult lit art show hello giggles gallery 1988 sweet valley svh
“S is for Sweet Valley High” by Meg Hyland

So a few years down the road, can we expect to see fine art inspired by Lauren Oliver, Laini Taylor, Suzanne Collins, and the like? I certainly hope so!

“Young Adult” runs through Saturday, February 23rd, 2013. Original artwork and prints may be purchased through Gallery 1988, located at 7020 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038. 323-937-7088

Bonus gallery photos: the fantastically rendered, humorous paintings of Scott Listfield, at Gallery 1988 Venice.

scott listfield gallery 1988 exhibit soylent green

scott listfield gallery 1988 exhibit soylent green alien

scott listfield gallery 1988 exhibit soylent green randy's donuts

All photographs by Wendy Darling, except “Nancy Drew,” which appears courtesy of Gallery 1988.

45 Responses to “"Young Adult" Lit Art Show, Los Angeles”

  1. Alexa Y.

    Those pieces from the show look amazing! I love the Sleuth Kit best of all, since I always wanted to be Nancy Drew growing up.

  2. Nikki

    Oh man! Nancy Drew was my homegirl as a kid! It’s really inspiring to see talented artists drawing their inspiration from popular literature as it really showcases just how much a good book can transcend just the typical reading experience. Awesome!

  3. Merin

    This sounds really awesome! I wish we got more exhibits like this in the midwest, but unfortunately, when stuff does come central, it goes to Chicago. I really like that Nancy Drew print by Kelly Vivanco (that was the first Nancy Drew book I read), and also her Kit. One must always be prepared for a makeup mishap while solving mysteries!

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. April (BooksandWine)

    That is one baller exhibit. While I have no desire to live on the West Coast, this is very, very appealing. ALSO! That Nancy Drew Kit, what a cool piece of art.

  5. Oh! Paper Pages

    So neat! Thanks for posting about this exhibit. I don’t know how I missed it. I am going to LA this weekend, so I might pop in and fall in love.

  6. Ashley Rogers

    OMG! I would love to visit something like this! I love art! These pieces are amazing. I think my favorite would have to be the “Nancy Drew” by Bec Winnel. It is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  7. Cillian Beyond Birthday

    Love the pics, Wends. My fave is Nancy Drew by Bec Winnel. I never really cared for ND, but the picture is beautiful.

    Ah, yes. Choose Your Own Adventure. I loved them as a kid, too, but for some reason I always chose the crappy endings!

    Good to see your blog is still lovely.

    • Wendy Darling

      That’s my favorite too! And as an adult I can see Nancy Drew for the Mary Sue she was, but as a kid I lapped them up. Still have a big collection of them, too. :)

      I think all the CYOA endings were crappy, hah. Thanks for stopping by, Cill!

  8. Adriana (BooksOnHerMind)

    I really like Choose Your Own Adventure. Reminds me of ParaNorman for some reason. I also like Nancy Drew’s Sleuth Kit. Got to look pretty while solving all those crimes. This was so lucky you found this! Glad you had a nice time :D

    • Wendy Darling

      I remember liking those Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, so I was tickled to see that in the exhibit Adriana! And the piece is really well done. And of course, a girl has to look her best, even when she’s chasing down bad guys. You never know when Ned Nickerson might show up. ;)

  9. rabbitsfortea

    Oh these are amazing!
    The first piece is really cute and so is the Sweet Valley piece. My heart definitely goes out to te Nancy Drew Sleuth Kit! If it were for sale (the actual kit I mean), I would get it in a heartbeat.


    • Wendy Darling

      I was just saying that to Shirley right above you, hah. I really like all these pieces and would hang them up if I had the space…and the dollars.

  10. Holly

    I LOVE this! I really hope to see more of this YA-inspired art, especially in the future. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could fly to CA to see it myself.

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s so funny, I don’t take advantage of half the events that are near me, Savannah! I really should leave the house more often. ;)

    • Wendy Darling

      It was pretty cool! And couldn’t hurt to suggest it to a local gallery, either. This particular one specializes in pop art-influenced work.

  11. Sarah Johnson

    I love these! They are so beautiful and they really show case some of the older “young adult” works well. I particularly love the Goosebumps and Sweet Valley High paintings.

  12. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Oh, now this is really cool! Of course, there were some fantastic series in the 80s and 90s, though not nearly as much as there is today. Still, who can pass up Nancy Drew? I’ve got a whole shelf of NDs and love the art inspired by her. Thanks for sharing!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, the trip down memory lane was fun, Mary. I can’t wait for the day when we see an exhibit inspired by current YA lit, though, that would be amazing! I was just saying to Belle above that the fan art I’ve seen for some books (particularly Shadow & Bone and Infernal Devices) has been amazing.

  13. readingdate

    I hadn’t heard about this exhibit – how fun! The Secret of the Old Attic and the Sleuth Kit are my favorites. Sounds like a must for Nancy Drew fans! Thanks for sharing this event with us :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, it’s not too far from Burbank, Lucy! ;)

      I like those two pieces a lot, too–and there’s plenty more Nancy in the exhibit that I didn’t photograph.

  14. Keertana

    I love all the Nancy Drew artwork! I hadn’t heard of this before, but the exhibit seems to have been amazing! Thanks for sharing, Wendy! :D

    • Wendy Darling

      There was so much Nancy, Keertana–I love Nancy so I enjoyed that, but I did wish the artists had expanded a little more in their subjects, hah.

  15. starryeyedjen

    Oh, Wendy, I am EVER so jealous of you! This looks like such a fabulous exhibit. Here in Dallas, we used to have quite the eclectic group of galleries in Deep Ellum. That area is making a comeback but it still isn’t quite what it used to be. :( Even still, I doubt I would have seen such an exhibit here. So, thank you for bringing this to us. I shall live vicariously through you until such time that the area decides YA-inspired art is cool enough to showcase. :D

    • Wendy Darling

      LA is a pretty happening town as far as the art scene is concerned, Jen–a friend of mine is an artist and she always has stuff going on. This was so cool, though–and maybe Dallas will get a similar exhibit down the road!

    • Wendy Darling

      I know you enjoy book-based crafts, so you would have loved it, Belle! Maybe this will be the start of more YA-inspired fine art. There’s already some really great fan art out there.