Sam and I met up with Aaron and Garen at The Hive to start the art walk. The Hive used to have a small section devoted to “hippy” art. I don’t mean to demean it, but that it what it is in a nutshell, all about “opening your third eye” and all of that. Much of it looks like imperfect Alex Grey knock-offs. This section no longer exists at the hive – because they have an entire gallery just next door. The Temple of Visions featured a lot of interesting work. The best painting of the night was probably this small (there were some paintings that were more than six feet tall in the gallery) one by Peter Gric:
Although this looks like a digital print or something, I examined it up close and it is an extremely detailed real painting. The detail is incredible. After finding Gric’s web site I have to say he has some amazing work and is clearly picking up where one of my favorite artists, Zdzislaw Beksinski, left off. He isn’t quite there yet – but probably closer than anyone I’ve seen thus far.
The second best piece at the Temple of Visions was actually not at the gallery – but available in the prints section:
Just above the print rack was this crazy painting, which surely carries more significance now with the goings-on in Arizona:
This image (above) needs color correction BADLY, as the real painting is so much deeper and more vibrant.
Moving on down the street we came to a strange little gallery with this:
The “gallery” was filled with schematics for (apparently) Berlin’s transportation system. There was also a bicycle constructed out of automobile parts sitting in the middle of the floor. Since everything was in German we weren’t really sure what this was all about – but I think it has something to do with this.
The Art Walk has clearly rebounded from the dismal time we had a few months ago. This was quite possibly the most packed Walk I’ve ever seen. The food trucks were out en masse, and there seemed to be more restaurants, galleries and a ton more people. Aaron kept remarking how close it must be to New York City. I’ve been to Manhattan in May, though, and I have to disagree. It was about 68 degrees in downtown Los Angeles last night with very low humidity. My May experience in Manhattan a few years ago was hot, humid and disgusting.
There were such masses of people last night that the city deployed a massive amount of police both roaming the crowd and also struggling to keep us all on the sidewalk and keep traffic flowing. Every five minutes as we were walking we’d hear talk about the police shutting down traffic as most of the sidewalks were so packed that we could barely move. It actually took us two and a half hours to do the same walk that we used to do in 45 minutes. While the vibe was great, it was a little annoying that we couldn’t even see all the galleries, as some of them shut their doors at 10pm before we could even meander our way to that part of town.
Even with all the action there were still some confusing inconsistencies. The “upstairs” gallery was open again – and now has a complete loop through the floor. Before you’d have to walk to one end of the loop, stop, reverse and go the other way, then reverse again at the other end to go back and leave. The huge space across the street that used to be a gallery (which usually had nothing good) was now closed with “retail space for rent” signs in the window. A few other galleries nearby were clearly still in business, but closed for the night. An ironic decision considering the flesh flooded sidewalk the entire night. At one point we walked up to the Phyllis Stein and almost got to the end of the block before realizing the Stein had closed. This was a cause for more laughter than anything else. There was an odd feeling of “yeah, we won!” seeing that it had closed – as it was unanimously agreed that it was always “filled with crap art anyway.” Their web site states that they are “on haitus” and will be back “in the spring.” On my calendar spring started a while ago. Back at the center of the action all the galleries on the south side of the street were closed and the “art fair” was in the parking lot to the north. The Regent slumped quietly with a naked marquee after losing it’s battle with greed (they tried turning it into an “art bar” with an entry fee late last year) and empty lit lobby with a single sad chair watching the growing crowd on the other side of the street. All the galleries that had sprung up to feed on the Regent were similarly out of business or mysteriously closed.
Here is a photo of the entrance to the art fair. Note the unlit sign on the building across the street.
Still, with those closings, there were new galleries popping up, and more busking than ever. A few buskers actually sat on the top of busses (and food trucks, which were EVERYWHERE).
There were also some random things like free massages and outdoor haircuts:
At times it seemed like every empty space had been turned into some form of entertainment. On one street that used to serve as the lonely silent walk separating the Hive from the rest of the Walk, there were now throngs of people, with a live karate class (or something… sorry no photos) on one side and a concert on the other.
I came away feeling like it was an interesting “experience,” but we ended up seeing less good art. And the next morning I’m feeling less inspired than on previous Art Walks.
I will be at the Hive again in June, this time with a little drawing. I recently completed my first “commission” – which I’ll have a whole update about soon, I just need to take photos of that one (which might be a while since it isn’t in my possession any longer) and the completed “butterfly” one for the web site.
I start work on my next project tonight – not knowing what it will be.