L: Deborah Ross center: An owl R: Robbie Conal

L: Deborah Ross center: An owl R: Robbie Conal

You may have seen the grittier side of well-known guerilla artist Robbie Conal, his scowling portraits of politicians, or his poster art decrying social injustice.

Now, get ready for the greener side of Conal.

His wife, Deborah Ross, had been after him for years to paint her an owl, her favorite bird, to no avail. Then, in an unrelated development, Ross began taking photos of sunsets on her iPhone. Conal loved them, and in them, he said, he saw the curious, serious, wise-looking birds.

About six weeks ago, the owls started pouring out of his paintbrush. And, the artist said, talking to him. He heard them hoot entreaties that humans should care of the planet. (After a lifetime steeped in activist art, it makes sense that an imagined owl might become one’s muse.)

Enter Koplin del Rio Gallery on Washington Boulevard in Culver City.They asked Conal if he had any ideas to fill a hole in their summer schedule. From that was born the show that opens tomorrow night, through August 24th: Fever Dreams, featuring the owls, and works from artists Mark Licari, Amir H Fallah, and Stas Orlovski.

Here’s what Robbie had to say about his owls when at the gallery earlier this week:

El Jefe

El Jefe


These owls didn't fly to the gallery

These owls didn’t fly to the gallery



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  • http://unsavoryagents.com Sabo


    Saturday afternoon in Culver City. I’m trying to stop drinking and at this stage I’d do anything to keep from hitting up a liquor store. So it was an afternoon of gallery surfing. I saw this sign in a gallery window “Fever Dreams”. Looked edgy so I thought I’d give it a look. … … … an owl.

    Ok, I see this owl tucked away in this nook. Looks like something I or some kid could pull off, what’s the big deal? “Robbie Conal” was the name of the artist. “Robbie Conal the political artist?” I thought. To my left another owl, another Conal. In the adjoining room a bigger owl and another and an even bigger owl, all Robbie Conal.

    You know how when you look at a guy like Lil Wayne or Tupac your mind automatically flashes in your head the word “THUG”?

    Well I finally made into the back room where there was this small group of people, “GENTRIFICATION”, popped into my head when I saw them. One of them was going on about some thesis paper he was writing based on some technique he’s spent years I college trying to master and now he’s spending even more time and money writing about it. … … … I had no choice, I had to interrupt.

    “Excuse me, are these paintings from Robbie the political guy?” “Yes, Robbie Conal”, a very attractive lady replied. “So a democrat is elected and Robbie starts painting owls.” I said. ‘Yes, it is different.’ she said. “IT’S PATHETIC!” I shot back. “We have the most corrupt guy in the White House and Robbie Conal is painting fucken owls? How sad is that?” … “Thank you for sharing.” the college paper writer said. ‘We all have out opinions.’ Someone else fired back. … … … and that’s where I left it.

    So much for rebel art. I guess so long as the tyrant shares your political party affiliation it’s all good in the hood. Time to start paint forest animals. Fucken shot me in the head please.


  • http://kidney-pain.org Stevan

    What realistic owls you are painting, dude! They are just great! Take 5!