Edrok One’s ‘CREEPSHOW’ assembles the weird, wild and curious

By Andy Vasoyan

Inspired by monsters from his own artistic practice such as “Stanley” (No. 1), “Man-Spider” (No. 4), “Skyline” (No. 6), and even a horned critter who bears no name (No. 5), Edrok One has curated a show that mashes up the macabre with flashes of pop culture.

What really creeps you out? For artist Edward Flores, aka Edrok One, what scares him is a guy in a hat named Freddy. (You know, the one from “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”)

“When I was a kid, man, I was so scared of him,” Flores says. “Had trouble sleeping because of Freddy Krueger.”

That creeping fear is exactly the vibe that emanates from Flores’ painting, hanging in the Mar Vista Art Walk Community Gallery (operating within Buckwild Gallery), as part of an art installation called “CREEPSHOW.”

The piece is a stylized version of Freddy Krueger popping his snarling mug over a fence on a dark night, an ominous green glow lighting him from below. Freddy will loom on the walls of the gallery until Nov. 8, in the company of works by 19 other artists from the Westside, as well as a handful of other places in L.A.

Flores helped set up “CREEPSHOW,” which opened Oct. 20, as part of his work with the Mar Vista Art Walk. His Instagram (@edrokone) showcases his work as an art coordinator, designer, and illustrator; all of those talents have gone into “CREEPSHOW,” which Flores curated and organized, as well as contributed to. His métier is monsters: he draws them, paints them and illustrates them in all their creepy glory.

“CREEPSHOW” continues that theme, filling the community gallery’s entire space with ghoulish figures. Spooky paintings line the wall as songs like The Cranberries’ “Zombie” and Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” play in the background, and hip patrons dressed predominantly in black wander past a bar made out of raw pine wood in the shape of a coffin. The walls of the room are black and gray murals with scenes of ghosts, goblins, and cultural icons like Gonzo the Muppet in various states of Halloween haunting.

That off-kilter merger of pop culture and Halloween spookiness is a thread woven throughout most of the works on display. One of Flores’ personal favorites is a piece by Daniel Toledo called “Waffles,” an oil painting of a girl sitting alone in a dreary autumn forest. She’s forlorn, she’s bald, she’s surrounded by boxes of Eggo waffles, and she’s the main character of a very popular Netflix series. (Hint: she’s played by teen actress Millie Bobby Brown).

“I like how the art style is really classic, it looks almost old,” Flores says, “but I also like it because ‘Stranger Things’ is one of my favorite shows right now.”

Flores wears his preferences (and references) on his sleeve, in regard to his art. (The girl depicted in the painting is “Stranger Things’” heroine Eleven, in case you were wondering.) His Freddy Krueger painting incorporates a neon green glow that’s ominous, but also amazingly, almost intoxicatingly vibrant, like the bright colors of cartoons or vintage ads.

Inspired by monsters from his own artistic practice such as “Stanley” (No. 1), “Man-Spider” (No. 4), “Skyline” (No. 6), and even a horned critter who bears no name (No. 5), Edrok One has curated a show that mashes up the macabre with flashes of pop culture. “CREEPSHOW” showcases an untitled vision of Frankenstein’s creature by the artist Enoe (No. 2); Nina Palomba’s “Boo Who,” featuring Casper the Friendly Ghost (No. 7); and the painting “Magic Eye” (No. 3) by Hannah Webb (aka The Obanoth), among many others.

“When I look for colors, I go for the ones that are screaming my name,” Flores says. “A lot of retro art includes neon glows and bright, pop-y colors, and I’m definitely influenced by that.”

The influence of iconic characters from his youth is just as clear in some of Flores’ other work. In one piece, the lovable droid C-3PO of “Star Wars” wears his friend R2-D2’s head as a helmet. In another, Toad from Nintendo’s Mario series screams from a vividly detailed mouth he did not possess in the original video games. Even Flores’ artist handle, Edrok One, is from his days growing up in and around Mar Vista and the Westside.

“When I was younger I picked up a skateboard and started skating in Venice, and after a while, with that came graffiti and tagging,” Flores says. “You gotta mark your stuff you know, and eventually Edrok One just stuck.”

The twin origins of street art and skate culture had a lasting impact and fueled a back and forth for Flores: “As soon as I turned 18, like I think this was actually a week or so after, I got in trouble and learned my lesson. After that, I started taking my art more seriously.”

After a tumultuous few years through his twenties, Flores at 31 is positioned in a unique place in the Mar Vista arts community — he’s becoming part of it as well as helping to get it established. In addition to his work with the Mar Vista Art Walk and its gallery, Flores is part of Rising Sons Independent, a collective of creators working together to promote art in the area and amongst its members.

“I’ve seen the arts scene in downtown LA, and it’s completely different over here in Mar Vista. It’s more local, more community-based, and we’re just getting started,” says Flores.

During the run of “CREEPSHOW,” the artist will host horror movie nights on Thursdays; a figure drawing class  that people can attend in costume will also be held.

“All of that has ‘CREEPSHOW’ and the gallery as the backdrop,” he says, “and I’m excited to have so many artists from Mar Vista as part of the show. It’s definitely something we didn’t have in the area a few years ago, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Edrok One’s “Pumpkinhead” is one example of the artist’s wild imagination, which he has channeled for the art installation

“CREEPSHOW: Presented by Edrok One” is on view at the Mar Vista Art Walk Community Gallery (12804 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista) through Nov. 8. Gallery hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Follow the artist on Instagram @edrokone or visit edrokone.com.

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