Assemblage, Stop Frame and New Life

I did it, I got into Pharmaka, 101 West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

I swore to high heaven, last art walk, that I would not step foot near that gallery on the second Thursday of the month. Tonight, standing in front of a locked down Bert Green’s, I felt the pull, the force field that draws practically every hipster to this too tiny gallery.

Tonight, I’m just bowing my head and plunging through the crowd, I thought. I was determined. Turns out, once you elbow past the crowd on the sidewalk and clogging the door, the gallery is actually maneuverable. Once inside I was rewarded with these pretty collage creations in the shapes of dresses, by Georganne Aldrich Heller. They were playful and intricate and completely worth the fight to get in the space. That was my first new experience of the evening.

I set out for the art walk on this cool June evening with the intent of experiencing it from another side. I was jaded with seeing the same galleries, hitting the same eateries and viewing the same art. Before I wrote off the art walk as being one-note I decided to change my very narrow approach to it and see if, maybe, I was the problem.

On my way over to Infusion and The Hive I spotted the Andy Worhol look-a-like again and decided tonight would be fun, different at least.

I ducked into Infusion Gallery, 719 SOUTH SPRING, Los Angeles, California, and was greeted by, incense swirling around the door. I stopped at Jung Ji ‘Masa’ Lee’s creations, mixed media tracing paper drawings. They were dynamic, full of movement, but rang a little ‘art school’ aesthetic.

Next stop was Crisofo R. Fraine paintings of downtown. They were along the lines of Carl Ramsey, but not as interesting. Ivanka Dukic caught my eye next with minimal lines, echoing Rothko. Her color scheme stayed mainly in the oranges and blues, my favorite, not to mention this is my favorite style. Ill spare you the rambling of reasons why, just read my previous articles. I turned my back to the business man playing electric guitar and came face to face with my favorite artist of the night, Lindsey Shepard, whose crafty, layered, bright pieces had a childlike playfulness. There seemed to be an infinite amount of neon layers that allowed the eye to linger for a while and pretend.

I left the child in me in Infusion and headed over to The Hive, 729 S. Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90014. There I was greeted my Ron Pete’s ‘Strangers with Candies’ a large, smooth, shiny painting that looked more like a screen print than acrylic. While the colors and line quality suggested a light playfulness, the subject matter was just the right touch of creepy to offset the sweet. On my way out I was captivated by Sara Brums small scotch tape tiles with decorative touches that looked like bindi’s.

I headed out and followed people with folded balloons straight to Arty 634 S Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90013, where I came face to face with the most frightening clown I have ever encountered. I pushed my way past his ear to ear smile and drank in the two artist statements near the door. The gallery sang with the songs of canaries and art-walkers one or two glasses too many. The ‘Canary Suicides’ by Catherine Coan, co-owner of Arty, featured varying bird cages containing canaries and “Each cage is unique and contains hidden money, a suicide note, the canary’s own pet and many other surprises”. The buyer can request whatever they want in their own cage. The show caused the viewer to “Think on captivity, embodiment, the pet as a fetish, and relationship between death and delight” explained Coan in her artist statement. I was so relieved to see something other that painting featured at art walk, and assemblage of all mediums. I love assemblage but could never attempt to make it. I don’t have the eye for ready made sculpture, but I think they are treasures.

Also featured at Arty was Kathryne Layne Paxton, whose tiny memento photographs in delicate family frames added a wonderful heart to the show. I have a strange fascination with photographs from an era passed. It intrigues me that these people were real, had real problems, made real choices. Paxton’s work stirred all of that mystification in me and I left Arty wholly satisfied.

I hurried past the Phantom Galleries, Pacific Electric Lofts, 610 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, to Blu L.A. to grab a mocha and a brownie, which turned out to be incredible! On my way past Phantom, which I had decided to skip since I frequent it so much and tonight was a night of ‘new’, I noticed something drastically different, a massage therapist. I made a mental note to stop in and see what it was all about. Turns out, Phantom Galleries turned their space into a quasi farmers market for the arts. In one corner a photo shoot was set up for anyone who wanted to participate. That anyone happened to be a shirtless tattoo covered man when I passed by. In another corner was a plethora of beauty products and t-shirts for sale. Backed up against a wall were two separate photographers, one who did weddings, another who was a classical soul who captured architecture beautifully. This definitely was something new.

My next surprise? At 109 5th Street in the small studio of a printmaker (I believe) was a hilarious short stop animation film playing entitled “Don’t Juice and Drive”. I stayed and watched in wonder for a while, absolutely soaking in the new turn art walk had taken, or I had taken with the art walk.

Then I saw it. Embarrassingly I admit, last art walk I had seen this party in Fine Arts Building, 811 West 7th Street Los Angeles, CA 90017. It was on the second floor and I wanted in, but I am a bit directionally challenged and never ended up there. This time, obviously, I just followed people headed into the building and it led me right to the upstairs party at Create.Fixate. Directly across from the staircase was Jason Macaya’s beautiful desing-heavy stained glass style paintings in cool color schemes, sticking mostly to green.

Scattered throughout the space was the melancholy work of Dustin Otterbach, who creates grey landscapes with organic shapes and stunning muted tones. Through a small door was a collection of jewelry artisans, one of which was Otterbach. His bracelets were daring, architectural and stamped with words like ‘animal’, ‘adventure’, and ‘energy’. I left the gallery party on the second floor feeling quite proud of myself and stumbled upon a gallery in a truck, yes, a truck. It was parked near a giant floating chicken and open for perusing. It was full of stencil paintings and sculptures. I asked the man handing out fliers, Eder Cetina, from rehab studios at 4958 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016,

“Do you have a permit for this?”

“Of course…or it would be illegal” he said with a wink. I wrote that down, he cleared his throat, and I explained I was with downtownster.com. He cracked a smile and continued on about knowing people in the right places and they will smooth things out. I let him know I was going to quote him and he smiled with ease and said,

“That’s fine”.

Thus ended my night at the new art walk, new for me. It may have been the curators, it may have been the artists, it may have been my different approach to this second Thursday, but there was new life breathed into the art walk last night.

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