The painting community in Los Angeles rocks. Where else can you invite 12,000 people to an exhibition, have over 1000+ show up, and get to meet and gush for 5 hours without putting on your best art fair behaviour or jockeying for attention? Nada. Case in point, MAS ATTACK, a one night event with 101 amazing painters on the wall, plus more great painters in the crowd. The Artra Curatorial team of Max Presneill, Kio Griffth and Colten Stenke orchestrated the mammoth exhibition. It's a shot in the paint arm to hear artists you like and respect gush over your work every so often. Likewise, I gushed over other artists' work. Of course, it was a show of the Mutual Appreciation Society, so gushing was considered totally appropriate, but it was also a testament to the state of painting in LA. I am grateful to still be a part of that community- not just for the gushing of course, but because of the resilience and support I've experienced over the years, which in turn I hope I pass on in some way.
On the trip home, I tried to recollect names of everyone who stopped by to say hello or who ran into or met for the first time. 52 conversations and counting. I don't think I've even spoken to 52 people since doing my extended residency here. 52 might not sound like a big number out of 1000, but considering I am an introvert, it's huge. Apparently I might also be slightly obsessive since making a list of people I'd like to stay in touch with was on my list of things to do.
|My wall of suitcase paintings at MAS ATTACK. |
Photo by Sarajo Frieden
My friend, Meg, helped me come up with the idea of the extended residency so as not to dredge up the usual dreary reply to, "Why did you move to ________?" The extended residency is a great answer. I completed the above paintings during my extended residency. I am here painting the (light, foliage, decay, place, architecture, objects, furniture, self, ad infinitum) during my extended residency. When I am done painting the (light, foliage, decay, place, architecture, objects, furniture, self, ad infinitum,) I will return. It's more believable than the story about my spaceship breaking down. Depending on who you ask. What can I say? My roots here are 6 feet under. I'm finally admitting that I am an expat trying to make my way back to my adopted city. And yet, it's much harder than that. Hence, the extended residency.
Speaking of spaceships and the supernatural, the Kubrick exhibition features one of John McCracken's Planks, despite the fact that it was not an actual McCracken sculpture in 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you're not familiar with McCracken, the obit by Jerry Saltz is a nice sendoff to the artist who saw his leaning planks as a conceptual link between two worlds.
It rained. Most of the time.
The super beautiful people still shop at Whole Foods in Venice. There was a traffic cop directing people into parking spaces. I saw a gorgeous vintage Porsche. Flowers were $22 a bunch.
The ocean looked sad on an overcast day. Sales ladies on Main Street are psycho. Parking is easy.
I tried to schedule 4 studio visits, but due to time constraints, only got in one visit. Had coffee and/or breakfast with about 5 people. Bonus: While waiting for a friend at Urth Cafe, I ran into my former yoga instructor on a Friday and got in a yoga class on Saturday. Bonus #2: On the way out of class, a woman called out my name and it turned out to be another artist who I've been swapping show announcements with for years. LA is crazy small. Westside, baby.
Moments after departing from coffee with a fellow painter, I received this text highlighting our conversation:
|I like pithy advice. Text on.|
Later, the conversation went like this:
|It was not the best photo of me.|