MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles is a new book that features Downtown Muse’s signature “on-the-fly” narrative images depicting her fast-changing urban neighborhood. Slated for nationwide distribution in January 2014, a limited number of advance copies and prints are available for sale NOW just in time for the holidays.
Captured and shared daily, her photographs are intended to give an insider’s glimpse into 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, complete with new restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, retail stores, condo lofts, and more.
It’s been said that her point of view seems more like someone admiring a loved one than a tourist taking photos on vacation. A pile of colorfully painted bricks covered in graffiti from a demolished industrial building, luscious blossoms against stark concrete, blinding rooftop sunsets, bold skies crisscrossed by power lines, serpentine wire twirled around iron fences, and the promise of a new day as the sun rises over historic bridges are among the many images that evoke the sense of a place more pastoral or even more exotic than what you’d expect to find in the center of the nation’s second largest metropolitan area.
The book includes 92 full-color photographs and an introductory essay. It was designed by art director Christy Addis who began collecting low-res images for personal enjoyment months prior to knowing her. Shortly after she did, out of the blue, Addis emailed Richardson Banks a draft layout of images, suggesting that we collaborate on a book.
MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles is sold online through the Downtown Muse blog and distributed through Amazon.com and other retail outlets. The hardcover book retails for $25 plus tax and shipping. While the official release date for the book is Wednesday, January 15, 2014, a limited number of advance copies and prints are available for purchase in time for the holidays.
“BUY THE BOOK – GET A PRINT” HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Through December 31, 2013, purchase a book AND receive a FREE print! (Restrictions apply. Book must be bought from Melissa Richardson Banks either in person or here online at http://www.downtownmuse.com for the full $25 retail price plus tax and shipping. Valued at $25, the unframed borderless 8″ print will be selected from the four images below by the photographer and accompanied by a gift envelope. Order by December 15, 2013 to ensure delivery by Christmas!)
To purchase books, click HERE. You can also buy online on Amazon (NOTE: Purchases made through Amazon are not eligible for my “Buy a Book – Get a Print” Holiday Special). Need assistance with a purchase or have questions about wholesale or bulk orders? Call me at (213) 537-4483 or email me by clicking HERE.
- #1: Striped Alley Sunrise
- “Rooftop Sunset Blaze of Glory” by Melissa Richardson Banks © 2013
- #3: Sunset on 3rd
- “Lavender Tracks at 1st Street Bridge” by Melissa Richardson Banks © 2013
MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles
Specifications: 92 color images and an introductory essay
Hardcover: 96 pages
Retail Cost: $25
Publisher: CauseConnect LLC
Publication Date: January 2014
Product Dimensions: 8.25 x 8.25 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 16 ounces
BOOKSIGNINGS & ART EVENTS: Want a signed book or print? Bookmark this page for updates and be sure to sign up for my mailing list HERE!
“THE INSTAGRAM SHOW: Celebrating the Art of the Camera Phone” at Melrose Lightspace: Two photographs from MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles are included in this juried exhibition, which features a diverse selection of more than 100 images selected from all over the world. Admission to the three-day event is free. Hours are Thursday, December 5 from 6 PM to 9 PM; Friday, December 6 from 12 noon to 11 PM (artist reception at 7-11 PM); and Saturday, December 7 from 12 noon to 11 PM. Melrose Lightspace is located at 7600 Melrose Ave. Ste. N, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Information online at www.instagramshowla.com and www.melroselightspace.net.
ROMERO STUDIO XMAS ART SHOW & SALE at Plaza de la Raza: Prints and a limited number of advance copies of MUSE-ings: Snapshots of the Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles will be for sale on Saturday, December 7 from 7 PM to 12 midnight and Sunday, December 8 from 12 noon to 6 PM. This year’s show and sale will be held in Plaza’s Boathouse Gallery (3540 N. Mission Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90031). Information online atwww.plazadelaraza.org and www.romerostudio.net.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER & AUTHOR: Melissa Richardson Banks refrains from calling herself as a photographer, but she plays one most every day in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. During her daily walks with her dogs Vatche and Foxy, she often takes unplanned photographs with an iPhone. A native of Texas, she’s an adopted Angeleno who was drawn to the Arts District 20 years ago since its industrial feel and close-knit creative community reminded her of where she grew up in Flour Bluff. To earn a living and inspiring other parts of her life, she runs a marketing firm called of CauseConnect, which helps businesses and nonprofits work well together to change the world. She also shares photos, stories, and information about the Arts District through her Downtown Muse website and social media (her Tumblr blog won a 2013 LA Weekly Web Award!). Her artistic side is satisfied by managing the Chicano art collection of Cheech Marin, producing museum exhibitions and publishing art books for others, and, of course, taking snapshots.
ABOUT THE BOOK DESIGNER & ART DIRECTOR: Christy Addis was leaving Los Angeles right about the time Melissa Richardson Banks was arriving. Nights of performing in the Arts District’s much-loved but now-closed Al’s Bar, and working in the set decorating departments of the film industry, were left behind to raise her kids in Virginia with her artist husband, Curtis Gutierrez. But eventually those kids grew up, and she has moved back to Los Angeles, this time with both an artist husband and an artist daughter, Isabel Gutierrez. She brought her degrees in graphic design and interior design together to establish her company, True Design, to develop products and provide design services reflecting her eye for color and balance, obsession with textiles, understanding of design history and appreciation of fine art. Her blog is called True Design Report.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BOOK AND THE PHOTOGRAPHY
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 Atget and 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. ~ Judge, 2013 LA Weekly Web Awards