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Show will focus on Burbank's art

A collective of youthful artisans will open a temporary space to show wares.

September 23, 2011|By Katie Bain
  • The artist Kevin Suscavage works on his space where he will display his photographs and artwork on Thursday, September 22, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
The artist Kevin Suscavage works on his space where he…

The avant-garde artists of the San Fernando Valley’s corporate media enclave are hanging out at 1551 W. Olive Avenue, and they are something special.

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FOR THE RECORD: This version corrects the photo caption.

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Working as a collective that calls itself Piece Riot, this Burbank-based bunch has temporarily taken up residence in a 1940s-era building that once housed a Wherehouse Records store and will soon become a Chase Bank. In the meantime, the space has become a creative hub for a passionate group of young, local artists who have made it their mission to influence and expand the Burbank art scene.

This pursuit began last spring, when Kady Cole realized that the temporarily empty building her father owned might make an ideal art venue for her boyfriend Alex “Caps” Rene and his artist friends to show their work. Cole’s father green-lighted the idea, and with that, the artists took over 1551.

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This group included Cole, Rene, a mixed-media artist and clothing designer, and their friend Joey Jiuliano. This trio extended an invitation to a network of artist friends to come and play in the space.

“We all work in different industries,” Rene said. “Some of us focus on art; some of us work non-art-related nine-to-five jobs. This was an opportunity for everyone to get together, do our thing and showcase our passions.”

By the end of May, more than a dozen artists were working at 1551. Their initial task was transforming the building where they had once purchased CDs into a place where they could create and display their work.

The group assembled at 1551 every night, with many of the artists coming to the space after putting in eight hours at their day jobs. (“I’ve spent more time here than at home in the last six months,” Rene said).

After months of preparation, Piece Riot held a two-night public show in August. Approximately 350 guests turned out to see what they had created.

“The response was amazing,” Rene said. “A lot of people who came were local cats from Burbank and remember this space being Wherehouse Music. People were shocked by how we transformed it. They were glad to see a bunch of young people getting together and creating something.”

Nearly all of the artists, who range in age from their early 20s to mid-30s, grew up in Burbank, and many have known each other since childhood.

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