Tag Archives: Tom Lamb

Artists take aim at their country and their county – The Orange County Register

I was quoted in this recent article about the gallery exhibition inspired by my recent book Amerikan Krazy.

Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald in corporate suits shake hands as the Twin Towers burn behind them. A little boy carries a machine gun and wears a helmet and boots, his colorful clown costume dissolving into military camouflage. A neon sign that says “TREASURE FREEDOM” but blinks “R U FREE.”

Max Papeschi, Just Married
Max Papeschi, Just Married

Mark Chamberlain has run BC Space Gallery for more than 40 years, and said this current exhibit, “Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance” has been an easy one to pull together. It’s a distillation of many of the shows he and his late business partner Jerry Burchfield have held in the space, one flight of stairs up from Forest Avenue in downtown Laguna Beach. Not only that, but it’s a collection of many Orange County artists who have long worked with or known Chamberlain, a fixture in the area’s art and environmental scene for years.

“Amerikan Krazy” is provocative, and no topic is off-limits, from Disneyland to war to corporate power. Most of the artists in the show have been featured at BC Space before, and the works range from the 1980s until now.

“I’ve done a lot of thematic shows that deal with social/political (issues), and I come up with these concepts and I send the word out to a few people that I know are politically attuned or environmentally attuned or something, and they come through,” Chamberlain said as he walked through the gallery recently.

“Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance” takes part of its name from the new book” Amerikan Krazy” by Henry James Korn. From 2008 to 2013, Korn worked at the Orange County Great Park. He was responsible for the creation of the Palm Court arts complex and culture, music, art and history programs.

“The book is very much about total corporate control of public and private space,” Korn said. The story follows a wounded Marine veteran haunted after having missed the chance to assassinate a presidential candidate who later causes massive human suffering and wreaks havoc on America’s wealth and democracy.

It’s a way of understanding what’s happening in politics now, Korn said.

“Because if ever there was a recognition that our public life and politics have gone crazy, it’s this moment.”

The central setting in the book is modeled after a dystopian Disneyland. But it also parallels the development of the Orange County Great Park, which was formerly the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, Korn said. As a nod to Korn’s ties to the Great Park, Chamberlain included art about the park in the exhibit.

Photographer Tom Lamb took aerial photos of the park. One, “ET Courts,” shows the officers’ tennis courts from the former Marine base seen from directly above. The surface is broken up by dirt and debris. A palm tree sprouts in one court, perhaps where someone once stood to serve a ball.

“The courts was actually a wonderful image that I found while flying,” Lamb said. “It really shows the change of time. There’s layers and layers of information.”

Chamberlain and Burchfield had their own involvement with the Great Park. In 2006, they created the world’s largest photograph, 11 stories wide and 3 stories tall, of the control tower and its surroundings. “The Great Picture” was meant as a document of the land’s transition from the El Toro base into a park.

Chamberlain at one point was an advocate for the Great Park’s creation, he said.

“The Great Park was a grand vision created by the public as to what we were going to do with this former Marine Corps air base, the swords would be pounded into ploughshares. And now it’s become a developers’ haven.”

Development and corporate power is a theme throughout “Amerikan Krazy.” Mickey Mouse’s face pops up throughout. Sometimes he’s wearing a Nazi uniform. In one work, he’s the representative for Playboy.

Aritst Jeff Gillette takes aim at Disneyland. His paintings in BC Space Gallery include one that has replaced the Disneyland sign with a common expletive and another with the Magic Castle as a flimsy, cheap facade in a field of trash. His “Dismayland” paintings in part inspired a massive installation last year in England by street artist Banksy, a macabre take on the famous theme park.

“The perpetuation of fantasy, sheer fantasy, and as if that’s the American Dream, when the reality is more like this,” Chamberlain said as he walked by Gillette’s “Desert Debris Dismayland Castle.”

Lynn Kubasek’s “My Father’s Flag” and “Flag of My Brother” are versions of the American icon that she created in the 1990s. It’s not an anti-war statement, she said.

“They were created during a period of time when people were burning flags, and I’m thinking, ‘That’s ridiculous. Let’s create something new.’” She used her brother’s Air Force fatigues to make a flag and emblazoned it with little military aircraft. She made “My Father’s Flag” out of baby blanket fabric. That kind of turns the flag as a military symbol on its head.

“We don’t show work predicated on its salability,” Chamberlain said. “We focus on art that we think needs to be shown.”

Source: Artists take aim at their country and their county – The Orange County Register

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BC Space Gallery presents “Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance”

Friends and Fans of Amerikan Krazy, I wanted to share the recent post from Mark Chamberlain and the BC Space Gallery in Laguna Beach with all of you.  Everyone is invited, and I’d love to see all your bright shining faces there.

Dear Friends of BC Space

…Here we go again, as go we must.

BC Space Gallery is proud to present Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance featuring the work of over twenty notable southland artists.

There will be an opening reception on Sunday, March 20, MMXVI, from 1-5 PM in celebration of the Vernal Equinox when our planet once again achieves balance between light and dark.

At the opening, from 2-4 PM, Henry James Korn will launch his new book Amerikan Krazy after which this show was named and thematically assembled. Henry’s comic masterpiece picks up where George Orwell, Jules Verne, and Edward Abbey left off, and turns political writing into art. See: (www.boffosockobooks.com)

Henry Korn is the former director of the Art, Culture, and Heritage program at the Orange County Great Park. At the conclusion of his reading, there will be a discussion period on how the original grand dream for the transformation of the former Marine Corps air base has changed from a public serving project into a corporate theme park, sports complex, and housing development that mirrors the “Founding Father Land” depicted in Korn’s relentless satirical novel.

Amerikan Krazy: Life Out of Balance includes work by: Jorg Dubin, Joella March, Stephen Anderson, Jeff Gillette, F. Scott Hess, Tom Lamb, Douglas McCulloh, Haley Blatte, Jerry Burchfield, Mark Chamberlain, Ricardo Duffy, Jared Milar, Max Papeschi, Jessica DeStephano, Lynn Kubasek, Glenn Brooks, Ron English, Dustin Shuler, Clayton Spada, Jacques Garnier, Pat Spakuhl, and Dan Van Clapp.

This exhibition will be on display until May 20, 2016. Gallery hours are by arrangement. The opening reception is free to the public, but seating for the book launch is limited so reservations are encouraged.

For additional information please contact the gallery or Mark Chamberlain.

Source: BC Space

The gallery can be contacted at the details below:

BC Space Gallery
235 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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COMPASSION MATTERS: The Tibetan Photographs of Tom Lamb

Originally Published: 10 November 2015 in Laguna Beach Art Magazine.

China’s economic and military hegemony has His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Independence Movement on its knees and the Peoples Liberation Army is about to break its arms and legs.

While Communism and reincarnation are by their natures incompatible, the Chinese Government insists on having a defining role in the selection of the Dalai Lama’s successor. In the meantime, if you utter the Dalai Lama’s name on the streets of virtually any sizeable Chinese city, you will likely be arrested and possibly shot.


Tragically, Chinese intransigence regarding this contentious issue has driven the exiled Nobel Prize winning spiritual leader into a geopolitical wilderness in which his most faithful followers routinely set themselves on fire to protest the subjugation of their homeland’s religion and culture. Tibet’s colonizers, backed by a vicious constabulary, refuse to change their tune on the subject of Tibetan autonomy. Nevertheless, His Holiness Dalai Lama continues to search for a middle ground while maintaining empathy and compassion for all.

Seldom Seen by Western Eyes

Despite the dangers, Laguna-based environmental photographer Tom Lamb has willingly traveled across the roof of the world to photograph blessings proffered by Tibetan elders and their heirs. In 2014, for example, Lamb trekked into the Himalayas to the remote and stunningly beautiful Palyul Choekhorling Monastery. There he witnessed the enthronement of His Holiness Drubwang Pema Norbu, a beatific child who has been recognized as the reincarnation of Penor Rinpoche, a venerated teacher who died in 2009 after revealing the Four Cycles of Heart Essence. In a singularly revealing and joyous portrait by Lamb, created when the photographer was in what he describes as “a meditative walking dream state,” a golden child raises a small bouquet toward heaven as rose petals fill the air and flutter to the temple floor, signaling the conclusion of a five-day religious celebration seldom seen by Western eyes.


Lamb was at the Dalai Lama’s side on a rare visit to Norgeyling, a remote Tibetan settlement camp in central India, a journey that increased Lamb’s admiration for those enduring hardship in exile. Lamb subsequently travelled to Vancouver, Canada, where His Holiness met with Tibetan arrivals who had recently been granted Canadian citizenship. In June of 2015 he accompanied His Holiness to his home in exile in Dharamsala, India, for the first of many 80th birthday celebrations and prayers for a long and healthy life. Lamb also attended a benefit in Orange County where His Holiness addressed issues such as climate change and Tibetan cultural preservation. This benefit was followed by a Global Compassion Summit at UC Irvine and the Honda Center where His Holiness Dalai Lama interacted with fellow Nobel Prize laureates, teachers and students.

A Concerned Photographer Embraces Contradictions

After training as a visual environmental educator and documentary photographer at the Hartford Art School and the Rhode Island School of Design, Tom Lamb has devoted his career to environmental and cultural issues affecting indigenous people. At the same time, he has advanced local and international environmental and cultural causes such as his newly formed Nying-Je Foundation for the preservation of Tibetan culture.


Lamb has created dramatic aerial photographs of worldwide challenges from a land use and preservation perspective. His photographs are also intended to help the viewer understand how land functions as social space. While seeking transcendence, this concerned photographer embraces the real world’s ironies and contradictions.

Lamb was the Vice President of the US-China Environmental Fund, the first non-government environmental organization with an office in China. There he was project director for the Beading International Friendship Forest at the Badaling Great Wall and the Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve project in Sichuan Province. During his stay in Western Sichuan in the early 1990s, Lamb encountered the art, culture and traditions of Tibet. It was this experience that subsequently inspired him to create panoramic views of the Lhasa glacis as well as capture the stark beauty of the Tibetan grasslands. By accident or fate, he was the first Westerner in 50 years to gain sanctioned access to Aba County, a previously lost horizon where he captured gobsmacking views of earthen structures, mountains and monasteries while continuing to make empathetic photographic portraits of Tibetans from many walks of life.

Art & Faith Can Contribute to Peaceful Solutions

On the surface, Lamb’s photographs are seductively beautiful. Their colors, patterns and textures emerge as lyrical abstractions that free the viewer from references to perspective, scale and function. In so doing, they reveal an inner beauty and spirituality that resonate with the Dalai Lama’s most inspired teachings. While more strife on the roof of the world probably lies ahead, Tom Lamb’s Tibetan photographs metaphorically implore the hotheads on both sides to give peace a chance.

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See more of Tom Lamb’s work at lambstudio.com

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