Bob Dob grew up skateboarding, surfing and playing punk music in Hermosa Beach in the late 1980s. And that pop culture has been the cornerstone of his work since the days he began studying art at El Camino College in Torrance.
Dob’s work, some have called “pop surrealism,” has been featured in solo and group exhibits since 2004, but ShockBoxx in Hermosa Beach will open the first exhibit, “You Should Have Been Here Yesterday,” of his work in his home town with a reception Saturday, Nov. 17.
“I do take certain elements from pop culture and incorporate it into my work,” Dob said. “Whether it’s video games, Disney… lot of it came from Mad Magazine and Garbage Pail Kids, it’s not too controversial, any of it, really it’s more humorous.”
Dob said dark humor drives his art and inspires him. That might stem from his childhood. He was athletic, loved to play sports, but he developed bone cancer in his right knee when he was 12 years old. When he couldn’t play sports because of the cancer, he gravitated towards art and music when his parents bought him a guitar.
“I think all of that stuff stayed in my brain subconsciously when I first started creating art, it started coming out,” Dob said. “I didn't want to paint a pretty picture, I wanted the viewer to catch some kind of emotion, hopefully they laugh at most of it.”
Before he dedicated himself to art, Dob focused on music, forming the band Lunacy and majoring in music theory at El Camino beginning in 1993. He said there “wasn’t much theory in punk rock,” so he switched his major to art.
In 1998, he transferred to Otis College of Art and Design where he earned a bachelors fine arts degree in illustration. Dob said he was exposed to all forms of illustration at Otis where he wanted to become a background painter for animation.
Dob graduated from Otis in 2001 and embarked on a freelance career where he worked for the Fox Family Channel to Southwest Airlines, as well as numerous magazines and book covers.
The La Luz De Jesus Gallery in Hollywood was the first gallery to show his art in 2004. That same year he took part in a four person art show, which led to his first solo show at the same gallery in 2006.
The ShockBoxx show will feature eight to 10 paintings along with drawings of local homeless people he knew of in Hermosa Beach. But most of the new art focuses on music, surfing and skateboarding including a tribute to Fletcher of Pennywise fame and paintings inspired by lyrics of songs by Black Flag.
Dob said he’s happy to showcase his work at ShockBoxx because “it’s a great space.”
“If I had this work up in a gallery in Hollywood, I think maybe people would get it because its LA,” Dob said. “But I think because it's being showed specifically in the city where a lot of it was inspired, I think people will get it.”
ShockBoxx is located at 636 Cypress Ave.
The Nov. 17 reception takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. The show runs through Sunday, Nov. 25.