Anemone Company art show


Some skateboards were hidden under the wall shelves. Taken by Ariana Powell, Nov. 4.

To the right, skate decks layered the wall at Love Skate Shop, the bright colors and graphics called out to the eyes of passersby. A display case rested a couple feet from the wall with trucks, wheels and stickers inside waiting to be bought. To the left, hoodies and pants laid folded on tables and shelves, while shirts hung limp on hangers against the walls.

All was business as normal, except something else hung from the walls and stood tall on the shelves the night of Nov. 4. That was the night Love Skate shop hosted its second ever art show. 

Dave Bonillas, who owns and runs the shop along with his wife, Denise, said that he was looking for an artist after he hosted their first successful art show, about three months prior. 

A current employee, Xavier Simms, then approached Bonillas and suggested his friend, Owen Kneafsey, as a potential candidate. Kneafsey is a Chico State alum and the founder of Anemone Company, a clothing and art production company.

Close to the front window of Love Skate Shop, Kneafsey’s art was taped to the wall. Taken by Ariana Powell, Nov. 4.

Kneafsey’s art dotted the walls. The prints, primarily black and white, covered a variety of genres, ranging from commentaries on social structures to parodies of classic art.

Existing art wasn’t the only classic influence, as Kneafsey said that a lot of his art is influenced by classical music. He said “classical music is such an open space because there’s no words,” and images often pop into his head while he’s listening to it.

One of the pieces of social commentary included a depiction of the Statue of Liberty on the ground snorting spilled Coca-Cola through a straw. Another piece, one of my personal favorites, showed a large head hovering over a sign that said “Today’s special, will sell soul for creativity, maltshake 2.99.”

As mind boggling as the art was, it was quite obvious something was missing from these pieces — color. With the exception of a few works, like the Statue of Liberty piece, which had a yellow-orange background, which stood out against the gentle blue-green of the statue and the brown of the soda, as well as against the sea of black and white.

“Color is terrifying, but I would like to work up to using color,” Kneafsey said.

One parody was of Grant Wood’s modernistic 1930 oil painting “American Gothic,”  except Kneafsey replaced the farmers with cats. The same japonisme that inspired artists like Van Gogh also inspired Kneafsey. He combined Hokusai’s 1831 ink print “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa” with Alfred Lansing’s book “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage,” by recreating the wave while placing a boat with the three characters from the book’s true story.

Attendees could explore the meanings behind these prints while snacking on the salami, cheese and olives that sat next to some mini bottles of water on a blue table cloth near the door.

Brennyn Palmer, an attendee, happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“I work over at the McDonald’s, and I know Dave, I come in here a lot to talk to him. So when I came in I saw the things up on the walls, and just started looking,” Palmer said.

Palmer could also decide which prints she wanted to buy, along with browsing a magazine that was for sale. It included not only work by Kneafsey, but other artists as well, such as Chris Godbout, who was one of the designers featured in Common Collective’s fashion show in October. 

Different art mediums were spread throughout the magazine, drawings, photography, graphics and digital artwork, just to name a few. These on-page mediums weren’t the only variety showcased either. Wood carvings could also be seen on top of a high shelf.

Some hand-carved wooden blocks sat on top of a shelf. Taken by Ariana Powell, Nov. 4.

Kneafsey began carving wooden blocks after taking a printmaking class at Chico State. He hand carves wooden blocks, like monks did before the printing press, or like the Japanese ukiyo-e style, and then uses ink to make prints. One such print, Palmer’s favorite, depicted a sitting person wearing striped pants.

People could purchase some of the prints that they fancied, they also had the option of buying a raffle ticket to potentially win a pair of Limited Edition Neckface x Nike SB Dunk Low, size 9 and a half kicks. Anyone could buy a ticket for only $20, even though the item itself, released on Oct. 27, cost at least $150.

Throughout the night I saw multiple attendees, who were constantly in and out, buying prints, magazines and other merchandise. Bonillas said that one of the benefits of the art show was that the artists got the opportunity to sell their work, but that Love Skate Shop also “takes small percentages.”

He said that it’s a sort of a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours situation.”

Bonillas is looking to make this a regular thing and wants to have monthly art shows.

“I want to find local artists, maybe even reach out to the schools in the area, like Chico State…but mostly I want to find just nice people,” Bonillas said.

Ariana Powell can be found at [email protected].