Famed guerilla artist Robbie Conal sees, hears owls. And paints them

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El Jefe

L: Deborah Ross center: An owl R: Robbie Conal
L: Deborah Ross center: An owl R: Robbie Conal

You may have seen the grittier side of well-known guerilla artist Robbie Conal, his scowling portraits of politicians, or his poster art decrying social injustice.

Now, get ready for the greener side of Conal.

His wife, Deborah Ross, had been after him for years to paint her an owl, her favorite bird, to no avail. Then, in an unrelated development, Ross began taking photos of sunsets on her iPhone. Conal loved them, and in them, he said, he saw the curious, serious, wise-looking birds.

About six weeks ago, the owls started pouring out of his paintbrush. And, the artist said, talking to him. He heard them hoot entreaties that humans should care of the planet. (After a lifetime steeped in activist art, it makes sense that an imagined owl might become one’s muse.)

Enter Koplin del Rio Gallery on Washington Boulevard in Culver City.They asked Conal if he had any ideas to fill a hole in their summer schedule. From that was born the show that opens tomorrow night, through August 24th: Fever Dreams, featuring the owls, and works from artists Mark Licari, Amir H Fallah, and Stas Orlovski.

Here’s what Robbie had to say about his owls when at the gallery earlier this week:

El Jefe
These owls didn't fly to the gallery
These owls didn’t fly to the gallery