Fond memories

Glimpses of local art in the East Coast

Taking a break from my regularly scheduled programming... Quick recap of what I've been up to: I've been busy creating a piece for Copic to be revealed in October as well as preparing three of my pieces for an exhibit next month at University Art in Redwood City. On top of that I've been seriously adulting by starting the process of looking for our first home (note: we're not even at the part where we are looking at houses, just doing fun paperwork stuff). 

Without having to write a full on blog post, I just wanted to share some eye catching local art during my adventures back East, specifically in the Boston area and NYC. 

LA Adventure part 3 - everything else

We rented out an Airbnb for the first time. The beauty of doing so was that we felt like we were in a home rather than one of many guests in a crowded hotel. We chose to stay in the beautiful and idyllic Silver Lake neighborhood which consisted of charming homes, great restaurants and stores and of course art! After spending most of the week visiting other neighborhoods and trying to make it in time for various reservations, we spent our last day in LA taking it easy. My husband got to finally sleep in that day which was a huge win. 

We had lunch at a local place called Masa of Echo Park, popular for their Chicago deep dish style pizzas. The inside was so charming with vintage pieces of furniture, found items and eclectic artwork. The food was good too. After lunch we walked along Sunset Boulevard where there were some shops I was interested in perusing. 

Random surprise painting within a corner of books.

I'm a sucker for any local bookstore. Stories was a used bookstore and cafe. They also had a bar in the back of the store and an outdoor patio where people could hang out. Art prints were framed and hung from the walls while around various corners you would be surprised with a painting or a drawing. 

Next to the bookstore were some quirky stores such as the Time Travel Mart which describes itself as a convenience store for time travelers. I suggest you just check it out. 

Another great spot we visited was a small and unassuming local art gallery called iam8bit. The gallery paid homage to my favorite, geek culture. I discovered an artist that was showing her work at the gallery, Nan Lawson who creates beautiful illustrations of pop culture icons and TV and movie characters. I would definitely check her out if I were you!

The surrounding neighborhoods were no strangers to beautiful murals and art pieces. I couldn't help but get excited and take photos of these artistic expressions. So that was our LA adventure! I've included more pictures in the gallery below. Enjoy!

LA Adventure part 2 - Downtown LA

The only museum we visited during our trip to LA was the Broad, a contemporary art museum in the heart of Downtown. The museum itself is on the smaller side consisting of three floors with only two being used for exhibits. Tickets to the Broad itself is free, but on a first come first served basis. I had to reserve tickets and a time slot a month in advance in order to just get in! Individuals for each time slot have to wait patiently in line until they are ushered in. Then you can actually sign up for a time to visit the main attraction. 

Justin and me in the Infinity Mirrored Room.

The main attraction of the Broad at the moment is Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room. We had to wait two hours just to get in line for the room itself. The staff were very strict and everything is done electronically. When checking in, you are put on a virtual queue counting down to your opportunity to see what most people were dying to see. It is basically a 10X10' box with mirrors on all sides including the ceiling. There are various light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. Each party (usually people go in by themselves) has exactly 45 seconds to enjoy the room. The guy at the door seriously had a stopwatch. My husband and I went in together. The lights would flash every now and then and cause us to feel slightly disoriented. But when the lights would flash back on we felt like we were part of a galaxy. The background of the picture above looks like a cityscape while we are floating in space. Overall I feel like the exhibit was well worth the wait.

While waiting for the Infinity Mirrored Room, my husband and I explored the general admission exhibits. We saw some of the famous Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup paintings, beautiful paintings by Mark Tansey (a new favorite of mine), a bunch of Roy Lichtenstein pieces and many more.

Watery Ecstatic Series by Ellen Gallagher, 2004.

Another featured exhibit was called "Creature". According to the Broad website, "Ranging from artworks that examine the human body, to others that allude to a physical presence outside of the artwork itself, Creature offers an array of lenses through which to view the human experience, some scientifically based and others drawing inspiration from cultural representations of how living things change over time." There was a variety of pieces from the deranged to the adorable. To be honest, the pieces that meant to shock and awe really turned me off, which I guess was the point. There was one artist that stood out for me, her name is Ellen Gallagher. She uses a cut-paper process to portray marine life. She paints parts of her drawings bringing a sense of fantasy and whimsy that I adore.

An art piece made out of books in the Last Bookstore.

In addition to the museum, I really loved our visit to the Last Bookstore. They literally have an upstairs section of books called the labyrinth! It felt like a fun maze filled with the smell of used books. The store itself has two stories filled with books and local art. There is a comfy sitting area on the first floor with well used couches and armchairs. All over the walls were various expressions of art including an art gallery on the second floor. Tiny little shops were also located on the same floor where they sold locally made products. I highly recommend going to this bookstore if you love to read as much as I do!

I've attached more pictures of the beautiful artwork that we enjoyed viewing during our time in Downtown LA. Enjoy and be inspired!

LA Adventure part 1 - Venice Beach

Public Art Walls in Venice Beach.

My husband and I took a few days to visit SoCal, specifically LA. I was particularly excited about visiting Venice Beach. What I didn’t expect was the neighborhood’s commitment to art. The ever so famous Venice Beach boardwalk even has a dedicated section of public walls where graffiti artists are free to express themselves. Graffiti on these walls were considered illegal until the early 2000s where now if you have a permit, you can display your art. 

Arnold at his finest

Just walking around this eclectic neighborhood is a joy for an artist. Commissioned artists create masterpieces on building walls. Each one unique in their own right and expressing the message by its creator. We found an appropriate homage to the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, near the iconic muscle beach.  

Walking up a few blocks to the very trendy and hipster Abbot Kinney Boulevard, we admired a different style of artistic expression. Rather than graffiti on each building, it was obvious that the neighborhood was carefully curated. Restaurants, galleries and stores are designed to the tee. I think I saw the most use of reclaimed wood and succulents in my life! Coffee shops with their outdoor patios have beautiful murals in the backdrop while young people sip their drinks and chat. Even whole storefronts are painted with an array of colors that aim to entice its audience to come in and see what it holds inside. Local artists are represented inside and out; through prints of their artwork, hand carved wood bowls or hand cut wall engravings.  

Beautiful stucco exterior of this house

Small cottages are scattered within the commercial street. Each one has its own personality. I especially loved the texture and patterns on the stucco of this beautiful blue house. 

The vibes in Venice Beach were those of enjoying life and your beautiful surroundings. Appreciating simple and well made foods, housewares and activities seemed to be the modus operandi of the inhabitants of this neighborhood. I have included more beautiful pieces of art from our Venice Beach excursion below. I hope you all can find inspiration from these local artists as much as I have!