DJ Kutmah art show 'Two Soups and a Honeybun' Thursday night at HVW8 gallery
It’s been about a year since L.A.-based dublab DJ Justin “Kutmah” McNulty had his world turned upside down. It’s not every day that an intrinsic force in the L.A. beat scene is forced to leave the country. But that doesn't mean his artistic influence can't pop-up every once in a while, even when he's not around.
Suprisingly, the respected beatsmith and crate digger's latest creative venture shows local fans and friends his ability to sketch instead of scratch.
On Thursday night, McNulty's art is debuting in a hometown exhibition of “Two Soups and a Honeybun,” 37 drawings created during his nearly two-month incarceration in New Mexico just before his deportation to Great Britain. The free, all-ages showing is happening from 6 to 9 p.m. at the HVW8 art and design gallery in Hollywood with an 18+ after party scheduled at the Echo.
The homecoming allows the diligent 35-year-old to share a story of how he found solace and sanity in art during the most intense year of his life.
At 6 a.m. on May 5, 2010, U.S. federal agents entered Kutmah’s home and arrested him on immigration charges. Born in England, McNulty had been in violation of an outstanding order of deportation dating back to 1997. Born to a Scottish father and an Egyptian mother, McNulty and his mother had been repeatedly denied green cards and had signed an order to voluntarily leave the country 14 years ago.
His detention, sparked the "Free Kutmah" online petition campaign and a series of benefit concerts drawing attention to the embattled DJ. However, the rally to keep McNulty stateside ultimately didn’t stop him from being deported back to the U.K., where he currently resides.
The personality and vision displayed in Kutmah’s work has gotten him a suitable amount of recognition for its deft and detailed psychedelic bent. One look at his website suggests that in addition to his extreme enthusiasm for the female form, he’s also got some real talent. Not to mention focus -- all the sketches for the “Two Soups” exhibition were created with little more than a short pencil and a laminated ID card.
Since resuming his hectic gig schedule, Kutmah has toured Europe -- with crates in tow -- alongside Saul Williams, the Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus and many others. Currently, he’s working on a number of records coming this year for Stones Throw, Brainfeeder, Poo-Bah and All City Records.
And as you may expect, music definitely plays a defining role in this latest artistic venture. To celebrate the gallery exhibition, Kutmah has also created “The New Error Vol. 2,” an exclusive 80-minute mix CD released on the heels of Volume 1, which came out during the exhibit’s London debut in January. These beat collections, part of a three-part series, were released with his collaborators at live screenprinting company Hit + Run. A limited-edition screen-printed poster and a 92-page art book of the entire “Two Soups” collection is also available. A sample of Kutmah's homecoming mix on “The New Error Vol. 2” is available below.
-- Nate Jackson
Photo: Justin McNulty, a.k.a. DJ Kutmah. Credit: Joseph "J-Logic" Thompson