Rarely is a press release so understated: “The Brewery ArtWalk is a twice annual open studio weekend at the world’s largest art complex,” says the one for today’s event in downtown Los Angeles.
This hood ornament needs no further explanation. (Cover the kids’ eyes, please.)
“With over 100 participating resident artists, you will have the opportunity to see new works, discover new favorites, speak with the artists and purchase artwork directly from the artists’ studios.”
This just doesn’t do justice to the wealth of stimulation for ALL the sense available to participants at this unique festival of sights, sounds, smells and stories.
From the moment Martin Zimmerman and I walked into the Brewery Arts Complex around 2:30 p.m. on this glorious spring day, we sensed it was something special.
“Little Mort,” by artist Coop, can only be the Grim Reaper giving the finger to Death. Don’t miss the little heart on his chest.
Our first encounter was with “Little Mort,” a series
of three panels mounted way above us on the wall.
Artist Coop (one name only) obligingly let me
take the first of the 138 images I snapped in the
following 90 minutes.
“Mort” as you can see, is the
Grim Reaper with his middle finger extended.
“Fuck death!” he is clearly saying. Don’t miss the
little heart on his chest.
Inside 620 Moulton Ave., one of the principal loft venues, we climbed perhaps 50 stairs to the main floor (there was another above it, but I never made it there, though Martin did later.)
First off was a piece of wearable art. The rear of Jeremy Cairns’ T-shirt caught my eye before I even saw his face.
After asking his permission, I snapped a shot of it. “Warning: You must be this tall to ride this ride,” it says.
When he turned around, he said: “Have you seen this side?”
I almost fell on the floor laughing. In huge white-on-black lettering, it says: “Judge me by my size, do you?
Jeremy flashed a huge grin for me.
A few doors down, I met “Wrong side Doug.” For a reason I can’t fathom, images of
Glenn WaGGner shows “Wrong side Doug” in his oil on panel creation.
sailoats – which are so photogenic, especially the
white of the fiberglass contrasted with the deep blue
of the sky and ocean – are rare. I look for them everywhere, because – as many of you know – my first passion is sailing.
Imagine my delight when I spotted “Doug.”
Creator Glenn WaGGner (sic) said the oil on
panel was “about a week old.” It was inspired by a photograph, Glenn said, “but I took great liberties with the photo.”
He pointed out something any sailor would know.
Due to the wind, the yacht is heeling at perhaps 30 degrees, the port gunwale almost dipping into the ocean.
To balance the wind, the crew members must lean over the opposite side of the craft. Except Doug.
Glenn is pointing to him (enlarge the image if you need to.)
Before we separated, Glenn and I discovered another common interest. “I love (Edward) Hopper,” he said.
A large print of Hopper’s 1935 “The Long Leg” adorns the wall above my mantle piece.
Needing a break from the sensory overload, and desperately
Jessica Wurser and George Qamar in line for a libation. Don’t they make a fabulous couple?
thirsty, I left Martin, descended the stairs and joined
the seemingly endless line for a libation.
That’s where I met Jessica Wurser, newly arrived in L.A. from the Pacific Northwest, and George Qamar, also a transplant,
but from back East.
Don’t they look like a fabulous couple?
As I was paying for my Lager and Martin’s white wine,
out of the corner of my eye I spotted Craig Amrom in,
SLR to his nose, pointing it at me.
Déja vu! This happened to me just five days ago.
At Santo Coyote restaurant in Guadalajara.
Instantly, I knew what to do. Reaching into my pocket,
I grabbed my camera, pointed it at Craig …
and started shooting him shooting me!
I didn’t realize until a few minutes later that
he was shooting video.
Martin was by now standing about 10 feet away,
out of the frame. “Get back here!” I yelled at him.
Craig pointed his camera at Martin, and it was at this moment I realize he was shooting video.
I lifted my cap, a broad smile on my face. “Hi MOM!” I waved at Craig, who cracked up laughing.
Videographer Craig Amromin, caught in the act! Isn’t this essence of post-modern media? You shooting me shooting you … shooting me … Oh dear! Its like a Fun House mirror, infinite perspective.
I quickly added: “Pity, mom’s been gone for 20 years.”
I think everyone who heard this groaned with laughter. Craig too.
I doubt even FinalCut pro will be able to fix that camera shake.
I just cant wait until the video is processed by
a post-producution house and
published somewhere; I think Craig said
he was shooting for “ITN” but that’s
a major British TV channel, so perhaps I got it wrong.
Let me know, Craig. If it DOES appear there,
please DVR it for me Jono and Shauna.
Next, the essential image of Martin and me.
Evidence we were actually present, together,
at this twice annual event.
We didn’t realize until after the picture was snapped that we were framed
by the work of Andre Miripolsky of “Fear no Art.” A naked dancer,
Martin and I are framed by the work of Andre Miripolsky. Read about it in the story.
with red knee-high boots and matching cape, does a high kick as she twirls with what must be the Angel of Death?
The neon sculpture and illuminated art of Sean Sobczak was next. Martin looks almost shocked by the serpent, but he’s actually holding his camera, having just snapped a picture of it.
The grand finalé awaited us a short walk way.
Preparation for “BROKEN: The Last Supper”
took him a full year, creator Kevin Rolly explained –
to get all the permissions from the families of the
developmentally disabled adults in it.
The story is also told in a flier pinned to the wall next to the
massive work (check the scale in MY image: Kevin, who is over
6 foot, is a good foot shorter than the height of the composition).
For me though, Kevin told it with dramatic flair. He IS the star, yes, Kevin. And what a grand tale it is.
Kevin struggled to quiet the boisterous crowd to get a “pensive moment. But, I couldn’t get it,” he said.
“BROKEN: The Last Supper” by Kevin Rolly is huge. Taller than him, by at least a foot. And, the story of its creation, just as enormous.
Then his Mamiya 645 medium format digital camera died.
Thanks to the cosmic forces, Kevin did have a Plan B.
It was HOLGA, an $11 plastic toy camera invented in China. It did, however, accommodate the connection to his strobe light.
“It was old, rusty, slow,” Kevin said, animated. He shot 3 1/2 rolls, 40 shots. “Every frame turned out. It was all there.”
Post production took three weeks. A close examination reveals its jigsaw-puzzle nature. “At the low points, I would [cry], ‘Nobody will care.’ ”
His deadline was Good Friday. An inner voice told Kevin to “do it live.”
“Three hours, three acts, three tubes of black oil paint,” he gestured, throwing the imaginary goo at the wall.
It was an out-of-body experience, he exclaims. “It was like me watching myself,” he said.
I was drained, simply from absorbing his enormous output of emotion at the story telling. It seemed that for him it, too, was cathartic.
The entire encounter took perhaps 15 minutes.
“I’m spent,” I whispered when Martin found me outside a few minutes later.
That was less than four hours ago.
Now, a beer, then sleep.