Artopia 2014 – May 15 2014 – Grand Central Market

ArtopiaGet tickets: http://ticketf.ly/1gMdLLF

L.A. Weekly is excited to confirm the artist lineup for this year’s Artopia! Taking place Thursday, May 15 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Grand Central Market, this year’s Artopia will focus on L.A.’s vibrant arts and culture scene, with a special focus on downtown, as well as celebrate the L.A. Weekly’s People Issue.

Curated by art critic (and L.A. Weekly contributor) Shana Nys Dambrot, this year’s Artopia features live mural painting by artists HUEMAN, Jim Mahfood and Jason Shawn Alexander, sculptural installations by Ramiro Gomez, a 3D Blacklight Experience from Debi Cable as well as a high-fashion peep show from the Bohemian Society featuring special guests Alexey Steele, Mika Mae Jones, Tyson Lee Smyer, Cielo Garcia, Kaylani Lei and Annie Cruz. Creative collective dublab will be curating a music installation including multiple DJ stations and performances. The Peach Kings and The Record Company will be performing live.

Curator Shana Nys Dambrot describes the vision of Artopia as experiential, saying: “We are entranced by the allure of experience. Art is a visual language, of course; but art, like life, is much more than pictures. Artopia is a place where art is everything and everything is art — painting, yes of course, and fashion (especially fashion), architecture, bustling crowds, film, food, open bars and dance music. Society is a fantastic spectacle of simultaneity, immersion, transgression, beauty, history, surprise, decadence, and most importantly, other people. And since we gather to celebrate the new People Issue, for Artopia we’ve assembled a family of performers, models, painters, designers, technicians, and deejays to weave a multi-sensory experience of after-hours culture in an historic location, with freehand mural-making, interactive projections, peep shows, body-printing, sculptural installations, and living dolls — all with a particular nod to the seduction of the handmade and the extravagances of the people who make downtown L.A. a haven for the urban avant-garde.”

General admission tickets are $30 and include entrance to the event as well as wine and beer. For more information and updates on Artopia and more information on the participating artists, check out laweekly.com/artopia

See you there!

Exhibition and Book Launch, Jan.18th – “MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District”

“MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District”

Book Launch Event  - Jan. 18th – 7-11pm

MUSEings FB Event Image 714x264-title-01
Photos & Artwork
Inspired by the Images

Jan. 18 – Feb. 8
 Art Share LA, 801 E. 4th Pl
Downtown LA, 90013

Richardson Banks, Melissa-Rooftop Sunset Blaze of Glory pg 96 (3in)Rodriguez, Sandy-Downtown Muse I-Rooftop Sunset pg 96 (3in)

One of Los Angeles’ most popular neighborhoods, the Downtown Arts District, is revealed and celebrated in a new book of photographs by Melissa Richardson Banks, “MUSE-ings:  Snapshots of the Arts District,” and in an exhibition featuring the photographs with artworks by over 40 artists inspired by the images.

A book launch event and exhibit opening will be held Saturday, January 18 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., at the Warehouse Gallery of Art Share L.A., 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles. The exhibit will be on view through February 8. A closing reception and book signing will be held Saturday, February 8 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Proceeds from artwork and book sales benefit Art Share L.A., a nonprofit community center (www.artsharela.org).

Captured and shared daily through her “Downtown Muse” blog and social media postings, the photographs by Richardson Banks reveal an insider’s view of the Arts District, which was transformed in the 1980s by artists who created studios in former industrial warehouses and is now in the midst of yet another major renaissance.
As characterized by airbnb.com, “Color spills from every surface among one of the city’s favorite neighborhood canvases, Los Angeles’ Arts District. Insatiable creative energy and unstoppable trendiness emanate from the walls of its swiftly repurposing warehouse spaces and industrial-inspired artists’ lofts. Galleries, studios, and connoisseurs of coffee, cocktails, and challenging concepts crowd into this unmistakably painted bastion for incoming artists and fresh-faced visionaries.”
Richardson Banks’ point of view in her photos chronicling this extraordinary community is more like someone admiring a loved one, rather than documenting a neighborhood. Images include a pile of colorfully painted bricks covered in graffiti from a demolished industrial building, luscious blossoms against stark concrete, bold skies crisscrossed by power lines, serpentine wire caressing iron fences, and sunlight washing over historic bridges. These are among the many images that evoke the sense of a place more pastoral or exotic than what one expects to find in the center of the nation’s second largest metropolis.

“I’m not longing for the past as much as I am appreciating the present and hoping for the future,” says Richardson Banks. “Since rapid changes are in the making, I feel compelled to capture what moments I can so I don’t forget a thing.”

Together with 50 photographs from the book, the MUSE-ings exhibition features over 45 works of art inspired by Richardson Banks’ images and created by artists, many of who follow the photographer’s blog online. “I’m especially inspired by art and artists because of my surroundings,” she says, “so it was natural for me to involve people whose work I love and admire by sharing their creativity through this exhibition.”

Using one or more photographs as inspiration, the artists created their own interpretation and incorporated their artistic license to create unique works of art.  The exhibit features narrative and representational art utilizing a variety of styles including impressionism, surrealism, abstract and outsider.  The work represents a wide range of media including paintings using oil, spray paint, watercolor and/or acrylic, mixed-media prints and drawings, as well as sculptural installations, neon, and more.

Artists include Jari “Werc” Alvarez, A.S. Ashley, Qathryn Brehm, Jesse Burgos, Gary Callahan, Diego Cardoso, Susie Chang, Jaime Colindres, Kikki Eder, Margaret Garcia, Clemente Garcia Lassaulx, Tom Garner, Kristopher Gee, Yolanda Gonzalez, Jacinto Guevara, Christian Hernandez, Javi Herrera, Miriam Jackson, Jeremy Thomas Kunkel, George Labrada, Bonnie Lambert, Lauren Langford, Leba, Lili Lakich, Tod Lychkoff, Ted Meyer, Colette Miller, Patricia R. Mitchell, Alberto Miyares, J.W. Pippen, Wenceslao Quiroz, Patti Lou Richardson, Rick Robinson, Sandy Rodriguez, Alex Schaefer, SEK, ShadowMonsterBear, Roderick Smith, Anna Stump, Bob Ujszaszi, and Jaime “Germs” Zacarias.

For more information about “MUSE-ings,” visitwww.downtownmuse.com. Art Share L.A. is a community art center that is a sanctuary for the arts and their creators, providing 30 live/work units and 14,000 sq. ft of creative space in Downtown Los Angeles. Stay tuned on Facebook/ArtShareLA.  For questions, please email info@artsharela.org.

Richardson Banks, Melissa-Lavender tree and street art near Challenge Creamery

BOOK: Signed copies of “MUSE-ings” are locally available at The Pie Hole, 714 Traction Ave., Los Angeles. The book is also available nationally through Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/MUSE-ings-Snapshots-District-Downtown-Angeles/dp/0989114813. Signed copies of the book and photographic prints can also be purchased through the photographer’s website atwww.downtownmuse.com/book.

EXHIBIT: “MUSE-ings:  Snapshots of the Arts District,” featuring 50 photographs from the book, as well as work by 41 L.A. artists inspired by the images, is on view January 18 through February 8 at the Warehouse Gallery of Art Share L.A., 801 E. 4th Place, Los Angeles. Free. Info at www.artsharela.org.
Saturday, January 18 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Launch party for the book and opening reception for the exhibit. Free.
Saturday, February 8 @ 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Closing reception and book signing. Free.

EVENTS: Thursday, February 13, Melissa Richardson Banks is the featured artist in the Downtown Art Walk’s Art Walk Lounge at 634 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles.  Books and prints will be available for sale.

Praise for “MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles” by Melissa Richardson Banks:

Melissa Richardson Banks is our secret eyes, finding the secret light that illuminates the secrets of an ever-changing neighborhood and bringing them out into plain sight so that they are secrets no more. ~ Cheech Marin, collector, art advocate and entertainer

Melissa Richardson Banks offers a poignant long-form photo-essay chronicling the changing contours of a singular place and time. Her taste for saturated color is met by the neighborhood’s organic proliferation of street art and industrial palimpsests. Her instinct for painterly detail appreciates the way rail tracks or light posts recede just so, the way the sun paints the sky and myriad reflections paint each other, and the peculiar architectural romance of the moribund manufacturing sector. In the tradition of classic street-photographers like Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson, her images capture a specific sense of place that looks like poetry, but does the job of documentary. Her unerring eye for the rhythms of her environment approaches the power of, if not nature exactly, then the thing that people like us chooses instead of nature. ~ Shana Nys Dambrot – art critic, Whitehot Magazine

Great artists have flocked to Tumblr to share their work for the digital world to see. Unfortunately, those creative minds usually forget about Tumblr within a few weeks after creating it. That’s why Melissa Richardson Banks’ online anthology of downtown Los Angeles’ Art District, Downtown Muse, is such a treat. Richardson Banks shares her “fly-on-the-wall” view of street scenes and local stories a couple times a day. Every day. And if you want to get the offline experience of her Tumblr, she offers free neighborhood tours weekly. ~ Judge, 2013 LA Weekly Web Award.

New Gastropub in DTLA (Chinatown) with great drinks!

643 North is Downtown’s latest gastropub with an Italian twist. Like similar establishments, the focus is on featuring great drinks paired with sophisticated small and larger bites. In this case, the food is comforting (and reasonably priced!) while keeping somewhat of an edge to satisfy most L.A. diners. The challenge is its location: its building is off the beaten path in Chinatown on North Spring Street near Cesar Chavez Avenue.

Let’s get down to the important stuff … the well-stocked and carefully crafted drink menu! Many of the cocktails were designed by bartender Adam Acuff (Far Bar) and the full bar has 12 beers on tap, a menu for patrons to craft their own martinis and Manhattans, specialty cocktails, artisanal wine, aperitifs, digestifs, and alcoholic coffee drinks made with beans from Little Tokyo’s Demitasse Roasters.

Luckily, Melissa Richardson Banks of Downtown Muse joined me for my first visit to 643 North, which allowed us to sample a greater variety of drinks. We started off by sipping from the restaurant’s signature menu. Our first drink was the “Red Hot Cherry Pepper,” which is a spicy mix of Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and Cherry Heering liqueur accented with a sliced red bell pepper and chopped jalapeno pepper. It had a nice kick in the mouth with a balanced spicy, yet gentle flavor.

Our next drink was “Smokey the Pear,” a light mix of High West Whiskey Campfire®, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, spiced pear syrup, lemon juice, and Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. This refreshing cocktail is just right and is not overpowered with sweetness.

“Go Figure Yourself” – perhaps 643 North’s most complex and best signature cocktail – offers a perfect mix of Avion Reposado tequila, Bénédictine liqueur, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, fig thyme syrup, lime juice and fig bitters topped with a splash of Pinot Noir. The drink evolves the longer it sits – the first sip gives you a nice wine flavor followed by a nice second layer of reposado with a fig finish. After 10 minutes, the flavors mature (wine breathing!) and the flavor solidifies into a complex rich flavor that pleases the palate and does not overpower … potent, rich and downright delicious.

Regarding beer, 643 North has done a great job in selecting seasonal craft beers. From the current menu, I love the Smoked Porter from Stone Brewing Co. and the Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout by Great Divide Brewing Company. There are also selections from Black Market Brewing and Ninkasi Brewing. You can get a flight of four for a reasonable $12.

Last, but not least, 643 North offers a hefty selection of aperitifs and digestifs.  After tasting several small bites and sampling pizza, we opted to share a flight of digestifs (four for $16). I recommend the Fernet Jelinek (Czech) if you like strong, explosive flavors and the Rhubarbo Zucca Amaro if you prefer velvety smooth complex flavors. Either one will pacify you into a well-earned food coma destined to come.

Be sure to ask bartender Adam Acuff for suggestions as he is well versed in his craft and can  help guide you in your adventure. Cheers to the newest – and most welcomed – addition to the DTLA culinary family!

For a full story on the space and food check out my friend Downtown Muse‘s story at http://downtownmuse.com/go-spring-over-to-chinatown/ All images below by Downtown Muse

"Smokey the Pear" photo by Downtown Muse

“Smokey the Pear” photo by Downtown Muse

"Red Hot Cherry Pepper" photo by Downtown Muse

“Red Hot Cherry Pepper” photo by Downtown Muse

"Go Figure Yourself" photo by Downtown Muse

“Go Figure Yourself” photo by Downtown Muse

“We Were In Sicily” (Revisited), Photographs by Rachel Roze


“We Were In Sicily” (Revisited)

Photographs by Rachel Roze

Opening Reception
Saturday Oct. 20th (7-10pm)
-
October 20th – November 11th

Edgar Varela Fine Arts (EVFA)
727 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

EVFA is pleased to present a revisiting of Rachel Roze’s solo show, We Were In Sicily, a selection of work from Il Pesce Pazzo. Here are a couple statements about this collection of works.

+The collection of photographs taken in the summer of 2011 and shot entirely in film showcases her 40-day trip in Sicily, Italy. An enticing invitation to her Italian peregrination, her works offer stills flooded with sexuality, nationality, and the naked truth of seductive youth. Voluntarily, the viewer joins Roze in exploring the female body, men, and a culture of lust and the content. Playfully pushing the boundaries between personal and shared, Il Pesce Pazzo infiltrates the viewer into a sea of curiosity while the heat of the city, the men, and the markets, shower the voyeuristic onlooker. Layers of affection and admiration meet a hot and sticky meat-market, and with religion on every wall and the nude on every floor, Roze beautifully appropriates the rediscovery and documentation of the illicit. The onlooker can’t help but join Roze in her escapades into the grainy crevices of sex, and Sicily.
- Elena Parasco

+Photographer Rachel Roze’s “We Were in Sicily” is not subtle at first glance, but take a longer look, because you are going to want to, and you will find layers upon layers in a singular composition. The work was all done on film, not Instagram, and has a quality that feels vintage, although it was made during a 40-day trip to Sicily, Italy, in the summer of 2011. The work has sexually charged overtones, while the muted tones give an old-world romance quality. However, I urge you to not only focus on the obvious ones. Roze views the city and her perspective offers a sense of familiarity and complete immersion that is unlike anything a tourist could accomplish.
- Kathy M.Y. Pyon, LA Times

About Rachel Roze:
“I have a lot of chameleon qualities, I get very absorbed in my surroundings”
River Phoenix

I grew up in an untraditional family in a traditional suburb outside of New York City; a place where artists were not appreciated and the norm was. Craving change, I packed my bags at nineteen and decided to move myself to California; I wanted to live “over the rainbow,” something about California was calling me. I arrived in California for the first time and quickly realized I had accidentally rented a room in a trailer park, not in an apartment, in a strange area known as Ojai. Living in that trailer park for almost a year, before later moving to LA, flipped my whole world around. I needed to capture everything, the vividness, the chaos; I needed to capture my surroundings. This is where I picked up photography. It was my way of holding on to the newness of this strange place, like keeping a visual journal. I spent the following years in LA developing my hobby into a profession, working with a handful of well-known photographers and artists, who helped guide my craft, and along the way graduated from Brooks Institute Of Photography with a Bachelors degree in Visual Communication. My work is a look into my life, capturing moments, people, and myself on a daily basis; I capture my surroundings.

Edgar Varela Fine Arts is dedicated to exhibiting compelling work from exciting emerging and mid-career artists as well as providing a platform for interaction and conversation about the contemporary art world. EVFA also curates and produces relevant cultural happenings that impact the perception on traditional art roles in society. The gallery space is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm to 6pm and by appointment. For more information call Edgar Varela at 213-604-3634, e-mail at edgar@edgarvarela.com or visit www.EdgarVarela.com.