Art galleries in Los Angeles deconstruct snobby stereotypes

Let’s hit up a gallery this weekend. This probably isn’t the first thing your friends say when you’re planning your epic weekend. The usual image of a gallery is a cold, unwelcoming place only wealthy art lovers dare visit.

In reality, it’s easy to saunter into a gallery and enjoy yourself. Los Angeles and its surrounding cities have broken through the snobby stereotypes with a few kooky, unpretentious, bold galleries.

Memorable art · Galleries like “Hold Up Art” feature myriad quirky art exhibitions and pieces, such as this graffiti painting by artist Nick Dattomo, located on the outside wall of the “Hold Up Art” exhibition. - Eva Recinos | Daily Trojan

A few spots in particular can make the experience a memorable one.

The Hive Gallery & Studios

With so many different featured artists and an expansive space, this locale really does feel a lot like a beehive, but in the best possible way.

Hive Gallery displays Neo-Pop Art, a modern adaptation of Pop Art, which usually means really humorous, fun art. The gallery makes sure to display some affordable pieces and all the items in the store are less than $50.

On any given Art Walk night, you can buy an alcoholic drink and stumble upon everything from impromptu talent shows to giant, horror movie-esque stuffed animals. It’s a little like falling down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole, minus the danger of getting your head chopped off by a crazy queen.

Just make sure to visit Wednesday through Saturday between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., as all other days are by appointment only.

The Hive Gallery & Studios is located on 729 South Spring St. For more information, visit

Royal/T Cafe

The opening party at Royal/T Cafe for the current exhibition “East Village West” was a little like a sweet sixteen: There were DJs, pyramids of colorful free donuts and makeup artists.

These days, you can peruse some intriguing art and eat in the cafe, which meshes Japanese, Californian and French flavors and dishes up everything from grilled salmon to macaroon rings (which are exactly what they sound like). And oh, I almost forgot: the servers are waitresses in maid costumes.

In terms of the actual art, Royal/T primarily focuses on contemporary Japanese works, but has a penchant for anything playful and eclectic; its store includes everything from Hello Kitty Lomography cameras to bookends in the form of mini-Jeff Koon steel balloon dogs.

Royal/T is also conveniently close to Culver City’s Art District, a cluster of art galleries near Washington and La Cienega boulevards. Check Royal/T’s Facebook page for opening parties and occasional free yoga lessons.

Royal/T Cafe is located on 8910 Washington Blvd. For more information, visit

Hold Up Art

Little Tokyo is almost always filled with people heading to sushi restaurants, karaoke bars and American Apparel.

But you’re missing out if you don’t stop by Hold Up Art. This intimate gallery literally always has its doors open during regular business hours, and practically invites you to walk in and discover some fascinating art. It feels like the kind of place where you could unknowingly sit next to the exhibiting artist, casually sipping on a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Hold Up Art has showcased works stemming from a variety of inspirations, from Star Wars to Los Angeles, all created by California-based artists. Check its website to see past and current featured artists.

Hold Up Art is located on 358 East 2nd St. For more information, visit


With the growing interest in street art, it’s no surprise there’s a gallery dedicated almost entirely to this blossoming phenomenon. Crewest strives to put the spotlight on art “too edgy and non-conventional for other elitist venues,” so you’re bound to find something intriguing (or at least different).

The venue is part of the Gallery Row in Downtown Los Angeles, which also includes Hold Up Art and Hive Gallery, as well as other galleries of various flavors. Crewest displays art in a variety of media, but gives special attention to graffiti art and street art, including work from artists such as Chaz Bojorquez, a pioneering graffiti writer.

And if you’re inspired by the works or want a souvenir, check out its store or website for T-shirts, books and even an assortment of caps — special spray paint can tops that can help you create your own masterpiece.

Crewest is located on 110 Winston St. For more information, visit


Eva Recinos is a junior majoring in creative writing. Her column “Art Box” runs Thursdays.