Five-Artist Show Featuring:
aica, Fafi, Kristen Liu-Wong, Messy Desk, and ONEQ

L-R: snippets of new works by aica, Fafi, Kristen Liu-Wong, Messy Desk, and ONEQ
Click here to download sample of exhibit images
May 22 – June 26, 2021
571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033
Open: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Visiting Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
(310) 287-2340
Downtown Los Angeles' Corey Helford Gallery is proud to announce their latest exhibition, featuring new series of works by five incredible artists: aica, Fafi, Kristen Liu-Wong, Messy Desk and ONEQ. Premiering Saturday, May 22nd in Gallery 2, the show’s opening will be celebrated with a livestreaming event on Instagram Live (@CoreyHelfordGallery), with more details to be announced.
About aica’s new series Reincarnation:
aica is a Japanese artist currently residing in New York City, and her work reflects purity and serenity in stark contrast to the fast-paced urban landscape of Manhattan. aica’s fantastical creations perfectly capture a magical inner place of creativity and whimsy. The artist’s new series is deeply personal; she shares, “An enthrallment is beautiful, yet enigmatic. You cannot put it into words, but you are drawn toward it. I believe that this sentiment is deeply rooted in our previous lives. When I was in preschool, I wanted to grow up to be a Siamese kitten. I seriously thought that I could be one. I must have been deeply involved with cats in my previous lives. My character’s appearances embody both their present and past lives. As we reincarnate, we share our moments with our past selves. When you see this show, I want you to feel that you too have previous lives, and many past selves are watching you from within.”
About Fafi’s new series Love and Fafiness:
Fafi’s work explores femininity through stereotypes and ultimately uses them to her advantage. The artist shares, “Mehdi [Fafi’s late ex-husband, Mehdi Favéris-Essadi] gave us Love & Fafiness as a title for a Japanese book we published more than a decade ago. He has been gone for 10 years now. Today, our son is almost a man and I feel he is happy. We moved from Paris to a city on the ocean where I can breathe. My familial job is done and I can get back to work. This series is me rediscovering my artistic life.”
Regarding her new series, she says: “Painting wood boxes is a new step for this medium. They are solid, like shields. The sides offer playfulness and gives space with a complementarity of color between the front and the sides. My technique involves using super-defined outlines and air spray, like what I use for street painting. I find that using acrylic and brushes is too definitive and radical. I always wanted to find something that would blur the lines and allow for more sensitivity. The usual white backgrounds become contemplative shapes and soothing gradients. Love and Fafiness is about being conscious of everything that’s going on around us and staying mentally healthy. I want these pieces to make people happy.”
About Kristen Liu-Wong’s new series Let the Mirror Move First:
Kristen Liu-Wong’s newest series is an exploration of the self and the opposing motivations at work within each of us. The artist shares, “Over this long period of isolation, I’ve been forced to turn inwards almost unendingly with little to distract me, and in doing so I became intrigued by the discrepancies that often exist between the idea of self and the reality of self. It can sometimes be difficult for us to look in the proverbial mirror, especially when what we see doesn’t match up with what we expect to see. In these paintings, mysterious masked ghosts, scowling reflections, and repeating figures are used as visual motifs to embody all of the conflicting aspects that make up a person. The women in these pieces struggle with themselves to work through their insecurities, aggressions, and desires in an internal tug of war. A relatively darker but still vibrant palette highlight and heightens the drama of this internal struggle being worked out, while playful details like magic eight balls, discarded chip bags, and old toenail clippings bring a bit of levity to the pieces. In a year that has often felt overwhelming, it seemed natural to depict figures that struggle while they resist being overtaken by both internal and external forces at play as they lust, age, hope, and despair.”

L-R: “In the Sun” by aica, “La Petite” by Fafi, and “Alone as They Watched” by Kristen Liu-Wong
About Messy Desk’s new series Messy Desk's Friends in Wonderland:
Jane Lee, aka Messy Desk, creates pieces that are full of joy, with her characters, animals, and happy faces interwoven between buildings. The pieces are carefully crafted, stroke after stroke, and the result is high-density landscapes with an explosion of color. Frantic as it might be at first glance, after close inspection, Messy Desk’s art is full of emotional stories, like charming little treasures hidden in plain sight, awaiting to be discovered. Regarding her new series, the artist shares: “In my paintings, there are many little animals and imaginative characters, inspired by some of my crazy thoughts, the interesting people I’ve met, and wonderful times I’ve experienced in the past. I selected a few key characters from my Messy Desk world and made them the main character of each piece. In this new series, we have myself, ‘Dot Dot Dog,’ ‘Fuji Man,’ ‘Cloudy bear,’ and ‘UFO,’ which are recurring characters in my other paintings. Each painting in this new series tells a story of my life, that stem from ordinary moments that happen daily.”
She adds, “When I have a bad day, I’ll take a break and think about all the stories I have that come from these little, ordinary moments I’ve experienced. That moment of reflection -- where I’m reminded that life is good and there are so many things to cherish -- is always a positive feeling for me and I want to share that same energy with art lovers. This is the reason I create.”
About ONEQ’s new series Uzume:
Okinawa-based ONEQ is a completely self-taught artist who creates modern pin-up illustrations influenced by her youth spent on a very secluded Japanese island, where she would spend her days dreaming of aquatic adventures and reading countless comics at a neighbor's home. Regarding her newest series, the artist shares: “Uzume is the goddess of performing arts that appears in Japanese mythology and is also the oldest dancer in Japan. In the myth of the sun goddess, the gods decided to work out a way to bring the goddess Amaterasu out of her hiding in the Cave of Heaven. Uzume, the goddess of the arts, danced an enthusiastic dance to lure the hidden Amaterasu out of the cave, creating a lively air and safely inviting Amaterasu to the outside, and she succeeded. In that mythical episode, I was fascinated and inspired by her unique solution to things that combined her dynamic, wild and feminine intellect. The maidens in my work are fictional characters I made up, but like Uzume, they portray everyday scenes of women who are searching for their own solutions and pondering. Japan, where I live, has a culture that emphasizes cooperation. It is called ‘wa’ (meaning harmony). Of course, there are many aspects of ‘wa,’ but from an early age, women in particular, live in an atmosphere that favors cooperation and obedience. Growing up in that environment, I am strongly attracted to the anger, strength, and hidden wildness of women, and I express that hidden wildness as a new form of intellect.”

L-R: “Ice Cream Fluffy Dog” by Messy Desk and “Shibugaki” by ONEQ
CHG’s five-artist show premieres Saturday, May 22nd in Gallery 2, alongside Part 2 of the gallery’s 15-Year Anniversary Group Exhibition in the Main Gallery. The opening event (5/22) for both shows is a virtual-only event, the physical gallery will be closed. Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033, and normal hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
Please note: The gallery has resumed partial visiting hours (Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm). In accordance with LA County Public Health restrictions, maximum occupancy is restricted to 12 people at a time, mask-wearing and social distancing are mandatory. In accordance with CDC guidelines, guest temperatures will be checked using an infrared scanner upon entry.
About aica:
aica is a Japanese artist currently residing in New York City and her work reflects a purity and serenity in stark contrast to the fast-paced urban landscape of Manhattan. aica’s fantastical creations perfectly capture a magical inner place of creativity and whimsy. She is also the recipient of many art awards; including being one of the Natural Cannabis Company’s 2016 and 2017 High Art Contest winners, which was hosted by Juxtapoz magazine.
About Fafi:
By exploring femininity through stereotypes and using them to her advantage, Fafi has not only knocked the socks off her male colleagues and competitors, shes garnered toy manufacturing deals (with Sony and Medicom), praise from media (including Commons & Sense, Vogue, or ELLE), big market collaborations (with the likes of Adidas, M.A.C, Hennessy, Swatch, Samsung, Chanel, and LeSportsac), and solo and group shows in galleries around the globe. In 2013, she made a return to the art world by contributing to two pieces to Jeffrey Deitch-curated Women on the Walls show at Art Basel Miami that showcased her usual Fafinettes and included a flower installation using new mediums. After becoming a mother, Fafi started animating her “Fafinettes” in music videos for the likes of Tigersushi Joakim, Mark Ronson, Ed Banger, Mademoiselle Yulia, Azealia Banks, and M.I.A. In celebration of her first comic book, The Carmine Vault (released by Rizzoli in 2012), Fafi went on a global book tour (including stops in Los Angeles, Mexico City, London, and Tokyo), gathering with friends and throwing parties. Fafi currently lives and works in France, splitting her time between Paris and Biarritz, and she’s working on the second volume of her comic.
About Kristen Liu-Wong:
Born and raised in San Francisco and currently based in Los Angeles, Kristen Liu-Wong attended Pratt Institute, where she graduated with a BFA in Illustration. She has shown extensively in numerous galleries, both domestically and abroad. In addition to her gallery practice, she has worked with an extensive range of clients, on projects ranging from murals to editorial illustrations to clothing lines.
About Messy Desk:
The work of the award-winning and internationally known artist Jane Lee, aka Messy Desk, is full of joyful characters and animals, happy faces interwoven between buildings, rainbows, and even outer space. Her art is carefully crafted, stroke after stroke, and the result is high density landscapes with an explosion of color. Frantic as it might be at first glance, after close inspection, Messy Desk’s art is full of emotional stories, like charming little treasures hidden in plain sight, awaiting to be discovered. Her mural paintings have been exhibited in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the U.S., UK, and Poland, which received an environmental design award from Urban Forms.
Messy Desk’s international accolades include: 1st Runner up for a JIA Illustration Award at the Japan Illustrator’s Association in 2016, winner of The Best Illustration (Advertising) at the 4th Greater China Illustration Awards in 2016, and awarded by France’s Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2012.
About ONEQ:
Okinawa-based artist ONEQ creates modern pin-up illustrations influenced by her growing up on a very secluded Japanese island, where she would spend her days dreaming of aquatic adventures and reading countless comics. Completely self-taught, ONEQ’s work has taken the world by storm over the past two years, as her aesthetic is altruistic in beauty and form, appealing to all those who pass by.
About Corey Helford Gallery:
Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) was first established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer and creator, Bruce Helford (The ConnersAnger ManagementThe Drew Carey ShowGeorge Lopez) and has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goals as an institution are the support and growth of young and emerging, to well-known and internationally established artists. CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today's pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art. CHG is located in Downtown Los Angeles in a robust 12,000 square foot building presenting new exhibitions approximately every six weeks. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
For media inquiries, contact Chummy Press:
Jacob Mask | [email protected]