“MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District”
Book Launch Event – Jan. 18th – 7-11pm
Jan. 18 – Feb. 8
Art Share LA, 801 E. 4th Pl
Downtown LA, 90013
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.