Show of Artistic Expression With ‘Hands’

A horde of colorfully dressed artsy types invaded the Chain Reaction, the normally down-spirited alleged ‘epicenter of everything emo,’ for a few hours on Tuesday, Feb. 27. The Show of Hands had arrived to exhibit the talent of local artists.
Since its first show at the Salon Canvass in Huntington Beach about a year ago, Show of Hands has worked with about 75 artists. The brains behind the concept is Hurley’s Joey Altobelli and Dennis Leo Forrester, who, with the backing of their company, have been able to create an event to [give] the idea is just giving the voice back to the youth in their expression through art.’
Twenty-three-year-old Steph Grant, who uses the alias for her part-time wedding photography and more creative designs, was the only photographer whose works were at the Chain Reaction show.
Her standout photos included an especially cool shot of herself playing drums in black and white with some light skin tones and the blue of her jeans in color, and an image of a mud-splattered Mexican stop sign with the lens angled down at the sign’s command to ‘ALTO.’
Silhouettes outlined in black with patterned backgrounds made up the display of 24-year-old graphic designer and Art Institute student Tyler Herron. The most distinctive was the outline of an alarm clock against a pink and orange background with the proclamation ‘It’s about time for’ and ‘the big idea’ just below in pink and black cursive writing, respectively.
Chris Monroe had a colorful but cryptic piece with a side view of two skulls facing each other. Their opposing eye sockets were connected to each other with a continuous line of cursive writing that said ‘I love you.’
One piece that stood out from the pack of complicated pictures came from Andrew Arkinson and consisted of five squares laid out side by side. Each had a block letter of the word ‘MUSIC’ printed at the top with a hand signal, presumably the sign language for the letter, drawn below it.
Tattoo artist HEK One chose the back of a postcard for one of his more unique designs. Postage had been applied with a 37-cent stamp of an American flag. There were red and black splotches of ink in the corners and a skull in the middle.
‘Die!’ was written at the top left of the skull, and ‘OK!’ followed at the bottom right.
The Chain Reaction show that followed the Show of Hands featured Hurley’s own lineup of bands, all firmly planted in the hardcore genre.
Much like the foreign language instructor who expects to get through the lecture without using any English and still be understood by students, the guttural vocalists for these bands tried to communicate their messages while listeners did their best to give the appearance of comprehension.
The passion of these bands was undeniable, and they were all pretty talented, but after Second Smile and Nevella had pounded through their sets, people had apparently decided that enough was enough.
The Machines played to a steadily declining crowd, and by the time At Battle’s End took the stage, they were basically playing for the event coordinators.
If Show of Hands decides to bring in bands in the future, a little musical diversity would probably be appreciated for something billed as an art show and not a hardcore concert.
Still, Show of Hands is establishing itself as a great way for Southern Californians to experience and support their local artists.
‘It was a really killer experience,’ Altobelli said. ‘[Orange County art programs] are getting depleted one by one, and we decided we needed to do something about it. We’re planning on doing another one in a few months.’
Taste of Chaos has invited Show of Hands along for their full U.S. tour next year. Aspiring artists or anyone who thinks the idea is cool can visit the event’s Web site at and see what’s happening.