Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition.
Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces.
“I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve tried to refrain from using it for most of my young-artist career,” Smiley explained to Variety. “I’ve grown to embrace it now and find my own meaning to it.”
His friend of 15 years, actor Emile Hirsch, hosted last night’s opening.
“His has been a very rewarding friendship, not only as buddies, but creatively. He’s a very nurturing, caring person,” Hirsch told Variety.
Emile Hirsch hosts ‘Refresh’ exhibit for artist Matt Smiley at Mondrian, Los Angeles, USA – 16 Jan 2019The actor also offered his own interpretation of the smiley faces, whose meaning he compared to modern emojis and ancient hieroglyphics.
“They say that your cell phone lights up the part of the brain that says you’re in love,” Hirsch added. “Presenting an image as simple as a smiley is fascinating because the viewer does half the work. Not all of those associations we bring are always positive, depending on what mood you’re in. There’s so many different emojis that represent how we feel. The symbols are more connected than most symbols people have in their lives.”
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Smiley envisioned the Refresh exhibit as a reinvigorating start to 2019. “One of the things I felt over the last two or three months was a lot of people near the end of the year start to feel really overwhelmed,” Smiley said. “The smiley collection puts you in a really calm, happy mood.”
Last night’s guest list also included Shane West, Chris Zylka, Carly Pope, and Shiloh Fernandez.
Refresh is on view in the Mondrian hotel’s lobby until spring 2019.