Artists

BJ Panda Bear Is L.A.’s Ubiquitous Journalist, Scenester and Self-Proclaimed ‘Art Groupie’

If you’ve lived in L.A. for more than, let’s say, five years, and you’ve stepped foot anywhere east of Doheny, you’ve no doubt stumbled upon BJ Panda Bear (or the more formal Bin Boyer, depending on his mood). The journalist—who also dips his toes in PR, event production and entrepreneurship (he owns the new curated e-commerce site QooA.me)—prides himself on looking like an IRL art fixture (just take one quick eye-stroll through his IG).

But aside from his ~aesthetic~, Boyer has been brushing elbows (whether personally or professionally) with the art community for years. With a resume that includes lengthy feature pieces for and Paper Magazine, the ubiquitous L.A. native has interviewed The Chapman Brothers, Larry Clark, Michele Lamy and Millie Brown—all prominent figures in the art space. When he’s not working, he’s schmoozing with the best of ’em.

Get to know the self-proclaimed “art groupie” below, and find out how to score an exclusive invite to one of his coveted events (we kid, we kid—but he does shed light on what makes the L.A. art community especially appealing, and what it’s like to view the art world from the editorial side).

bj panda bear from la poses with red flowers

(Photo courtesy of BJ Panda Bear)

What is your connection or contribution to L.A.’s art community?

Some would consider me an art Groupie. I like being around creative people who make without the confines of the typical expectations. I was also lucky enough to be around this weird intersecting space of art and Hollywood, that can either go too cheesy or shockingly mind expanding. As a writer I have engaged with less on a critical side of art and more on the anthropological sociological sense. Sometimes the artist is just as interesting as the work.

Why do you find Los Angeles to be such a great place for emerging artists?

A lot of artist come to LA in order to decompress from what main art cities tend to offer. Going back to that Hollywood play attitude along with the glamor and social outings can be very alluring for an artist to escape in. That being said, also many artists are able to get more space to work in.

How did you grow your connections in the art community, and why have you been drawn to the space?

Its all really just a natural progression of what we like and the growth that comes from hanging around and socializing. Don’t think of it as work connections so much as friends, people who I share common interest in and can really get down on conversations about reality stars and modernist designs.

What are some of your favorite charities/businesses that support artists, or vice versa?

I love what Topical Cream is doing for women-identifying and gender-nonconforming artist and creatives.

What are the best (non-cliché) art walls or murals to take a photo in front of in L.A.?

All walls tend to be cheesy when it gets oversaturated on social media, so I like to really go to any photo points before your Average Amanda gets word of it! I think discovering a wall mural in the midst of being painted is important. Flirt with the graffiti artist, get them a White Claw and get in the know.

Are there any rising L.A. artists we should have on our radar?

Since it’s Pride month, I think we should think more about queer graffiti artist homoriot. He isn’t unknown, but I think he needs a bigger spotlight!

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