WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT 

Laysa Issam al Fannan

 

"In a time when so many sleepwalk through life with undue certainty about the correctness of their beliefs, it takes a lot to get someone to think twice. “Kill Another Evergreen for Christ” will get them to do that—and probably think a third and a fourth time, too. Visually dazzling and intellectually stunning, Fannan’s exhibit is certain to upset some viewers of a more traditionalist religion orientation. Just as his Christian background and convictions are sure to shock the stereotypes of his secular audience members. So be it. This is part of the noble purpose of art, and “Kill Another Evergreen for Christ” fulfills the purpose jarringly well."

Tom Krattenmaker, religion-in-public-life contributing columnist for "USA Today", author of the 2013 book - The Evangelicals You Don’t Know

 

“Laysa skillfully mixes pleasing ingredients -- commonplace objects, oft-repeated sayings, welcoming colors, soothing shapes -- to create work that engages and initially comforts the viewer. Stay with it, however, and uneasiness creeps in to displace easy familiarity. You've been had in the best way.”

Anonymous Collector -

 

"Fannan's art, with all of its questioning is wonderfully provocative; it provides a much needed antidote to the disease of certainty that so many of us have contracted.  Like a modern day prophet, Laysa is at his best when he exposes the truth about ourselves and the world we live in. He bravely uses his extraordinary artistic gifts to create images that challenge the art world. Just as the prophet famously denied that he was a "prophet' so too Laysa proclaims no allegiance to the powers that be. A true artist."

Father Bill Moore - Roman Catholic Priest and noted artist

 

"Laysa's work is smart, funny, pointed, provocative, and absolutely brimming with ideas.  Better yet, all of these ideas are rendered in a style that is perfectly controlled, precise and...just beautiful to behold."

Rod Barr - Author and Hollywood Screenwriter

 

"You can listen to a great piece of music over and over and over, and get something new from the experience each time. A subtle juxtaposition of instruments you didn't hear the time before. The metaphor in a lyric that escaped you the first 20 times you listened. That's the way I feel when I look at Laysa's art.  Each time I go through the same process. When I first see the piece, it beats me over the head with it's unmistakable message. I just get it. The next time I see the piece, I think  ‘I didn't really get it before, but I get it now.’  And on and on and on I go, drawn in by the layers of meaning hidden in, then ultimately revealed by the imagery he creates. It happens every time.  It's a wonderful process of realization. It's why I am always so excited when there is a new painting for me to learn from.  That's why if you ask me which of Laysa's pieces is my favorite, the answer is simple. It's the very next one I see."

Josh Kaplan - Executive TV Producer - "GOOD DAY L.A."

 

Laysa Issam al Fannan – Curious Blend of Art & Ego 

This is possibly the second showing of Laysa’s art that I have found publically, showing presently in Los Angeles, with my first introduction to his work at a showing in Portland, Oregon last year.  Having covered the international art scene for many years, I had never heard of this artist until recently, at first not quite knowing where he comes from or if Laysa Issam al Fannan is his real name.  Following the scant but growing trail of information on the artist behind the bizarre name, I went digging into who he is.

 From his background (from his website and the Internet), we are dealing with a clever, talented, American artist, without any type of perceived Arabic background, but merely a clever play on words weaved into an Sub-Saharan name meaning nothing at all.  With the popularity, or disdain, of all things Arabic, I can understand his desire to choose the Arabic language for his “Nom de guerre”.  From his bio & background information, it appears that he has a formal religious background as a religious cleric (he is described as being “steeped in the symbols and semantics of religious doctrine”). He talks about being an “authoritative insider” on religion (I assume he is referring to the “follies of priestcraft”), yet there is no evidence of Laysa receiving any formal ordination or religious education. 

Laysa does not appear to have any formal fine art training at any academy of merit; e.g. School of Art Chicago, CalArts, UCLA, or Rhode Island School of Design (this critic’s alma mater).  His work, his name, all points to someone wanting to be at the cutting edge of societal and artistic evolution, esp. with the bio and description of his work on his website.  It appears that he is a great devotee of Marcel Duchamp, the French painter and mixed media artist.  Indeed, Laysa, along with his Nom de guerre is not so much a creator but an imitator, in following the trickery of Duchamp, who, having a pseudonym of Rrose Selavy, which is a pun that translates into “Eros, that’s life”.  With Duchamp as a cross-dresser, I doubt that his intent was to be at the cutting edge of deviant sexual exploration at the time, but who knows.  Certainly Laysa’s imitative work has Marcel Duchamp written all over it.

 His bio contains many references to his religious background (“His almost monastic dedication…”), as well as a simple but ego based description of his importance in the art world (“His engaging oeuvre exhibits ample proof of his years spent honing not only the craft of painting and sculpture but also a profoundly cerebral wit…..” emphasis added).  Yet, this critic finds his work to be somewhat mainstream and certainly repetitive (all of his pieces have a format intended to drive the eye and mind to a message, both overt & covert).

His bio ends with a clue as to what he wants to be in the art world – “a voice crying in the wilderness – a proverbial trickster, whom we would all do well to heed.”  With his main title being “True Artifice”, itself being an oxymoron, it appears that Laysa wants to be perceived as an intellectually elite huckster who will show all of us, less informed, “Where all the bones are buried”when it comes to religious and political issues of the day.

 I walked into his exhibit in Portland last year, after seeing much of his paintings, mixed media and sculpture on his website, and studied the many artifacts up close and from the window several times.  With hidden meanings (many religious, many political) interlaced throughout his work, he wants to tell the viewer something about ‘something’.  He does it with humor and a decent level of skill, but the intellectually elite ego runs through all of it, coming from the standpoint that the artist needs to tell the viewer something that the artist believes the viewer is not smart enough to know.  Having walked through his present exhibit (positioned with a number of other artist’s work in Los Angeles), it seems to be more of the same. It would be wonderful to see a piece from this artist that he did purely for art and beauty sake.

 My favorite piece from his exhibit is the “Madoñata – The Mother of all deliveries, in which a mixed media sculpture of the Virgin Mary has been dis-emboweled, looking in a mirror.  It is an expertly put together mixed media piece. 

My suggestion to the artist?  

If Laysa wants to be truly cutting edge, ‘out there’ with his work, it would be refreshing to avoid the old stereotypical attacks on traditional religion, esp. Christianity, which every artist attacks once or twice in his/her career.  Having seen many of the ‘crucifix in urine’ artistic statements, Laysa’s dis-emboweled Madonna is old and trite.  How about showing a dis-emboweled Prophet Mohammed in his next public exhibit?  That would certainly show a cutting edge side of the artist, and might really bring in the public. It might be a little too cutting edge for our society……………but who knows? 

I am not sure whether Laysa wants to be an artist taken seriously in the art world, a mixed media legerdemain, or a stand-up comedy/satarist.  Perhaps his next showing could be a combination of all of these skills.

Veli Melkoego for "Art Slant Magazine" - 4/4/15

 

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WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING


WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT 

Laysa Issam al Fannan

 

"In a time when so many sleepwalk through life with undue certainty about the correctness of their beliefs, it takes a lot to get someone to think twice. “Kill Another Evergreen for Christ” will get them to do that—and probably think a third and a fourth time, too. Visually dazzling and intellectually stunning, Fannan’s exhibit is certain to upset some viewers of a more traditionalist religion orientation. Just as his Christian background and convictions are sure to shock the stereotypes of his secular audience members. So be it. This is part of the noble purpose of art, and “Kill Another Evergreen for Christ” fulfills the purpose jarringly well."

Tom Krattenmaker, religion-in-public-life contributing columnist for "USA Today", author of the 2013 book - The Evangelicals You Don’t Know

 

“Laysa skillfully mixes pleasing ingredients -- commonplace objects, oft-repeated sayings, welcoming colors, soothing shapes -- to create work that engages and initially comforts the viewer. Stay with it, however, and uneasiness creeps in to displace easy familiarity. You've been had in the best way.”

Anonymous Collector -

 

"Fannan's art, with all of its questioning is wonderfully provocative; it provides a much needed antidote to the disease of certainty that so many of us have contracted.  Like a modern day prophet, Laysa is at his best when he exposes the truth about ourselves and the world we live in. He bravely uses his extraordinary artistic gifts to create images that challenge the art world. Just as the prophet famously denied that he was a "prophet' so too Laysa proclaims no allegiance to the powers that be. A true artist."

Father Bill Moore - Roman Catholic Priest and noted artist

 

"Laysa's work is smart, funny, pointed, provocative, and absolutely brimming with ideas.  Better yet, all of these ideas are rendered in a style that is perfectly controlled, precise and...just beautiful to behold."

Rod Barr - Author and Hollywood Screenwriter

 

"You can listen to a great piece of music over and over and over, and get something new from the experience each time. A subtle juxtaposition of instruments you didn't hear the time before. The metaphor in a lyric that escaped you the first 20 times you listened. That's the way I feel when I look at Laysa's art.  Each time I go through the same process. When I first see the piece, it beats me over the head with it's unmistakable message. I just get it. The next time I see the piece, I think  ‘I didn't really get it before, but I get it now.’  And on and on and on I go, drawn in by the layers of meaning hidden in, then ultimately revealed by the imagery he creates. It happens every time.  It's a wonderful process of realization. It's why I am always so excited when there is a new painting for me to learn from.  That's why if you ask me which of Laysa's pieces is my favorite, the answer is simple. It's the very next one I see."

Josh Kaplan - Executive TV Producer - "GOOD DAY L.A."

 

Laysa Issam al Fannan – Curious Blend of Art & Ego 

This is possibly the second showing of Laysa’s art that I have found publically, showing presently in Los Angeles, with my first introduction to his work at a showing in Portland, Oregon last year.  Having covered the international art scene for many years, I had never heard of this artist until recently, at first not quite knowing where he comes from or if Laysa Issam al Fannan is his real name.  Following the scant but growing trail of information on the artist behind the bizarre name, I went digging into who he is.

 From his background (from his website and the Internet), we are dealing with a clever, talented, American artist, without any type of perceived Arabic background, but merely a clever play on words weaved into an Sub-Saharan name meaning nothing at all.  With the popularity, or disdain, of all things Arabic, I can understand his desire to choose the Arabic language for his “Nom de guerre”.  From his bio & background information, it appears that he has a formal religious background as a religious cleric (he is described as being “steeped in the symbols and semantics of religious doctrine”). He talks about being an “authoritative insider” on religion (I assume he is referring to the “follies of priestcraft”), yet there is no evidence of Laysa receiving any formal ordination or religious education. 

Laysa does not appear to have any formal fine art training at any academy of merit; e.g. School of Art Chicago, CalArts, UCLA, or Rhode Island School of Design (this critic’s alma mater).  His work, his name, all points to someone wanting to be at the cutting edge of societal and artistic evolution, esp. with the bio and description of his work on his website.  It appears that he is a great devotee of Marcel Duchamp, the French painter and mixed media artist.  Indeed, Laysa, along with his Nom de guerre is not so much a creator but an imitator, in following the trickery of Duchamp, who, having a pseudonym of Rrose Selavy, which is a pun that translates into “Eros, that’s life”.  With Duchamp as a cross-dresser, I doubt that his intent was to be at the cutting edge of deviant sexual exploration at the time, but who knows.  Certainly Laysa’s imitative work has Marcel Duchamp written all over it.

 His bio contains many references to his religious background (“His almost monastic dedication…”), as well as a simple but ego based description of his importance in the art world (“His engaging oeuvre exhibits ample proof of his years spent honing not only the craft of painting and sculpture but also a profoundly cerebral wit…..” emphasis added).  Yet, this critic finds his work to be somewhat mainstream and certainly repetitive (all of his pieces have a format intended to drive the eye and mind to a message, both overt & covert).

His bio ends with a clue as to what he wants to be in the art world – “a voice crying in the wilderness – a proverbial trickster, whom we would all do well to heed.”  With his main title being “True Artifice”, itself being an oxymoron, it appears that Laysa wants to be perceived as an intellectually elite huckster who will show all of us, less informed, “Where all the bones are buried”when it comes to religious and political issues of the day.

 I walked into his exhibit in Portland last year, after seeing much of his paintings, mixed media and sculpture on his website, and studied the many artifacts up close and from the window several times.  With hidden meanings (many religious, many political) interlaced throughout his work, he wants to tell the viewer something about ‘something’.  He does it with humor and a decent level of skill, but the intellectually elite ego runs through all of it, coming from the standpoint that the artist needs to tell the viewer something that the artist believes the viewer is not smart enough to know.  Having walked through his present exhibit (positioned with a number of other artist’s work in Los Angeles), it seems to be more of the same. It would be wonderful to see a piece from this artist that he did purely for art and beauty sake.

 My favorite piece from his exhibit is the “Madoñata – The Mother of all deliveries, in which a mixed media sculpture of the Virgin Mary has been dis-emboweled, looking in a mirror.  It is an expertly put together mixed media piece. 

My suggestion to the artist?  

If Laysa wants to be truly cutting edge, ‘out there’ with his work, it would be refreshing to avoid the old stereotypical attacks on traditional religion, esp. Christianity, which every artist attacks once or twice in his/her career.  Having seen many of the ‘crucifix in urine’ artistic statements, Laysa’s dis-emboweled Madonna is old and trite.  How about showing a dis-emboweled Prophet Mohammed in his next public exhibit?  That would certainly show a cutting edge side of the artist, and might really bring in the public. It might be a little too cutting edge for our society……………but who knows? 

I am not sure whether Laysa wants to be an artist taken seriously in the art world, a mixed media legerdemain, or a stand-up comedy/satarist.  Perhaps his next showing could be a combination of all of these skills.

Veli Melkoego for "Art Slant Magazine" - 4/4/15

 

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