LA HOME /
Display until 30 June 2018
$6.99 | SPRING/SUMMER 2018
HOME + LIFE IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
AT HOME WITH ALLEE WILLIS/KAI LOEBACH+LEE MILLER/WILLARD FORD ANDREA+AIDAN HAWKEN/LARA MEYERRATKEN/JON HUCK AND SHELDON THE SHREW + ART + PHOTOGRAPHY
Contents 8/BRIEFING: SHOPPING Retail experiences worth exploring.
13/MAKERS A showcase of artisans from in and around Los Angeles, curated by Thomas Lavin.
H OME TOURS
FIVE FAVORITES h IN T E RIO RS
22/DOWNTOWN LA Principals, Beatrice Novoa and Kimberly Higgins of Garret & Garage, reveal their design project in the Eastern Columbia Building.
Five Sculptors choose their favorite designs. 42/ WILLARD FORD Willard Ford at his Strong Sports Gym in Downtown LA.
26/SCULPTURES FOR ANY SPACE A profile of lighting and furniture designer, Brendan Ravenhill. 30/HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS Rebecca Matalon, the curator of MOCA PDC’s new exhibition, Welcome to the Dollhouse, talks about her fascination with the modern American home.
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THE ART OF ENTERTAINING AT HOME Avid art collector,
Kai Loebach takes on an artist’s role when he entertains at home in Hollywood Hills.
72/MUSICAL GEMS The musician, artist, ceramicist and seamstress, Lara Meyerratken, with stories of her home in Silver Lake. 76/SHELDON THE SHREW Enter the world of an intelligent and well-read shrew, SHELDON, star of a new stop-motion animation film by Irwin Miller, based on characters created by Dena Seiferling.
82/MAN WITH GLASSES AND PAINTBRUSH Seeing the world through the eyes of artist, Jon Huck, at his Elysian Fields studio.
PH OTOG RAPH Y
AN ABODE THAT EXPLODES DESIGN FOR LIFE i Andrea and Aidan Hawken have WITH CREATIVITY AND crafted a life of elegant simplicity, KITSCH Grammy, Emmy and
Tony award-winning and nominated songwriter, Allee Willis, creates a oneof-a-kind shrine to her Motown roots.
living in harmony with their natural surroundings.
90/PARIS HELENA The fashion photographer and former model, Paris Helena, offers a glimpse into her photography, inspiration and a collection of things prized by her. 94/A GROWN UP WORLD Child star turned photographer, Meeno Peluce, travels the world, taking photos of celebrities and working on advertising campaigns, while also documenting the lives of his wife and two daughters. 98/FROM THE SOUL Multi-talented photographer, Ray Kachatorian, specializes in food photography but is equally versatile at portraits, interiors and fashion. 106/TECHNOLOGY A roundup of the latest intelligent devices in the home technology sector, curated by Jenna Atchison. 111/LOS ANGELES LANDMARKS A regular feature on historical LA landmarks which have stood the test of time.
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LA/HOME E D I TOR I A L Publisher Andy Waldmanemail@example.com Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Mark Castellinofirstname.lastname@example.org Guest Editor Irwin Miller Tech Editor/Editor at Large Jenna Atchisonemail@example.com Copy Editor Felicia Kaplan
CON TR I B U TO R S Photographers Jessica Isaac Ray Kachatorian Irwin Miller Meeno Peluce
Writers Elif Cercel Lucy Lean Heidi Miller Kelly Woyan
I N Q U I R I ES Advertising, Subscriptions, Custom Publishing and Distribution inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Submissions: email@example.com Events: firstname.lastname@example.org
LA HOME is printed 4 times a year by Focus Media Agency, ISSN 2378-5381, and is available on newsstands, retail outlets, bookstores and also strategically placed in upscale locations throughout Los Angeles. FOCUS MEDIA AGENCY 149 S. Barrington Ave #178 Los Angeles CA 90049 All rights reserved. LA HOME is published by Focus Media Agency. No articles, illustrations, photographs, any other editorial matter or advertisements herein may be reproduced without permission of the copyright owner. Focus Media Agency does not take responsibility for the claims provided herein.
Cover photo: Allee Willis Home by Irwin Miller
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letter from the GUEST EDITOR When I first started talking to LA Home Magazine about being the guest editor – I was flattered but wondered where I would even begin. After some thought – I went back to a theme that my wife, Heidi, and I have often talked about during our 20 years of living in Los Angeles – what it’s like to be an LA Transplant. The LA story we tell, is of arriving on a late flight the day before Christmas Eve, with a bit of money, a job offer at Disney and a fat, grey cat in tow. We didn’t know if this would be the place for us but waking up the next morning to 80+ degree heat, the palm trees swaying above and all that LA goodness around us, we really never considered looking back. Skip to the present, and we have a family with 3 wonderful boys, a home in Beverly Glen Canyon and a life full of friends, creative activities, favorite hidden spots around town, and the knowledge that Los Angeles is the only option for us.
In addition to being a partner at Gensler, Irwin Miller’s polymatic abilities include cooking, painting, photography and creating compelling and evocative social media content. His true passion lies in the collaboration with other artists, and his most recent projects include award-winning stop-motion animated films. Not only does he serve as Guest Editor in this issue, but also in the capacity as subject, writer and photographer throughout.
We quickly learned a few things about how people live in LA. Foremost, they feel like anything is possible; the environment plays a big part in that, as you are perpetually wrapped in one season. Our family loves to travel to the UK and visit the East Coast, where Heidi and I are from, but LA has no grey days or cold skies. It is seldom moody and dark, and when the weather does get the least bit chilly, we can’t handle it for long. LA is about possibilities one may never explore but is glad to know exist. Everyone likes to say you can ski on the mountains and swim in the Pacific Ocean on the same day, and although we have never tried, it’s heartening to know that it is possible. I enjoy hearing about a great new restaurant or gallery show from friends – but everything here is about distance. As soon as you learn something is a few cities away, or past something monumental like “East or West of the 405,” or “just past downtown”, you quickly consider if you will ever check out that wonderful place. As a Design Director at Gensler in Downtown LA, I am fortunate to be involved in all types of design activities around the city and outskirts, and I meet fascinating collaborators and clients every week – sometimes every day, if I am lucky. Having studied architecture and design in Providence and Boston, I can’t help but feel the gravitas of this city of Wright, Schindler, Neutra and Charles and Ray Eames. They didn’t just build here but they created components of the LA lifestyle that exist to this day. When you live here a while – you get it. You really feel it in the architecture, the design of everyday life and the immeasurable spirit of the City of Angels. As Spiderman’s uncle famously said; “With great power comes great responsibility,” thus LA sometimes pressures you to do something great and creative with all the power that she gives to her citizens. They create artwork, they collaborate on amazing, complex projects, they compose music and they work in film and television; they inspire others by their ideas and their actions. People in LA try to keep things positive and they focus on what can make us all better in this community of Los Angeles, in the country, and in the world. For this issue, I have assembled a glimpse into the variety of people and places you might be fortunate to encounter if you live in LA. The home tours include Aidan and Andrea Hawken – a prolific musician and his artistic-minded wife – they have curated a life around mid-century modern furniture and artifacts in their Village Green home. Lara Meyerratken is a musician who paints magical watercolors of gems and still life scenes, and she lives with her partner, Eric, in Silver Lake. Allee Willis, a tour de force songwriter and creator, personifies the hidden gems of LA. A winner of multiple entertainment awards, she has encapsulated herself in a wonderful, kitschy world in Valley Village that simply needs to be shared and enjoyed by others. Kai Loebach and Lee Miller have fulfilling lives as a premier chef/caterer and renowned LA doctor, respectively. They celebrate food and a life of experiences amongst their extensive, curated art collection in their Nichols Canyon home. Willard Ford has been involved with design and entertainment for years in downtown Los Angeles. His newly renovated, Strong Sports Gym, has the simplicity and elegance of a spa in Japan. Jon Huck, a locally based illustrator and painter, works out of a sun-drenched, open studio space, which clearly adds to the vibrant tones and playfulness of his work. I have also included some favorite photographers, and I am grateful to everyone who contributed to this special issue. Thank you for stepping inside a glimpse of LA through a transplant’s eyes – I hope you enjoy the view.
Irwin Miller, Guest Editor
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Lucy Lean is a writer, cookbook author, photographer and international event producer. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, Food and Wine Magazine, GQ, Time Out, LA Weekly, The Week, Tasting Table, Eater, and Zagat. Follow her culinary adventures at LucyLean.com
Heidi Miller is a freelance writer and producer, zealously focused on the creative arts, lifestyle, skincare, cosmetic and fitness industries. She is in the midst of finishing her first novel as well as working on several screenplays. Originally hailing from Essex Junction, Vermont, she has lived, worked and thrived in Los Angeles for the past two decades.
Murrye Bernard, AIA, LEED AP, is an architect, writer, editor, and strategist based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Architectural Lighting, Architectural Record, and Hospitality Design. Most recently, she was the managing editor of Contract magazine; she has also served as editor of Associate News and Forward, and as contributing editor to e-Oculus, the newsletter of the AIA New York Chapter. Murrye earned a B.Arch. from the University of Arkansas.
Photographer, filmmaker, father, delighted husband and quasi-farmer steeped in urban homestead husbandry, Meeno’s an LA man who makes his art out of the elements that surround him, be it in Hollywood or the old parts of Hanoi. He likes language, broken or shining but always verging toward song, and digs the visual branding he gets to do with rock stars, actors, politicians, magazines, and companies of all persuasions. He likes to travel the world with his wife and kids, taking pictures of everything.
Kelly is an author of three books, a producer, freelance writer, and television personality. She has appeared on Martha Stewart Living and The Today Show, as well as in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, The Guardian and others. Kelly is also a feature film and documentary producer in Los Angeles. She received her Masters in Professional Writing from University of California and she lives in Southern California with her five children.
Jessica lives in Highland Park, Los Angeles and specializes in photographing interesting homes and the people who dwell within them. She believes every home has a story worth telling. Her photographs have been published online and in numerous print magazines including, Elle Decor, Goop, Apartment Therapy, The Huffington Post and Domino.
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Elif Cercel is a writer and a nonnative Angeleno. As a journalist for an international news service, she covered breaking news, as well as film releases, major festivals and award shows. During that time, Elif had the opportunity to interview countless celebrities and newsmakers. In addition to writing, Elif is a freelance media consultant for a range of nonprofit, entertainment and corporate clients. She has a Masters Degree in International Relations from Columbia University and is fluent in Spanish, Turkish, French and Italian.
Ray was born in Iran, and moved to the States when he was 7 years old. He grew up in Southern California and fell in love with photography while in high school. He draws his inspiration from being aware of his surroundings and being open to serendipitous moments. Whether he is photographing or directing, Ray always tries to create images that convey simplicity and beauty. Ray specializes in fashion, still life, travel, food and beauty. His extensive client list includes; Willams Sonoma, Food and Wine, Curtis Stone, Giada De Laurentiis, Tricia Yearwood, Juicy Couture, Pottery Barn, Starwood Hotels, Sunset, In Style, Country Living, House Beautiful, just to name a few.
BR I E F I N G
Vera Cortez Jewelry Vera’s one-of-a-kind fine jewelry designs and inspirations are now available at Le Magazyn. Vera built her identity around sustainable materials such as discharged wood, bones and horns, blending it all with noble materials such as gold, tourmaline, diamonds and different Brazilian gems, and combining design, sustainability and her culture. Made from a great mix of materials and techniques, this modern collection is perfectly tailored to the California lifestyle.
E MAGAZYN is a Venice, Californiabased concept store and gallery destination focused on bringing Brazilian design to the West Coast. Founded by Sao Paulo native, Ana Kozak, Le Magazyn is a thoughtfully curated shop, spotlighting Brazilian and global artisanal makers. The store represents a selection of original and exclusive handcrafted home goods, table-top accessories, one-ofa-kind jewelry, as well as mid-century and contemporary furniture and art. Le Magazyn is the exclusive West coast representative of the prestigious Brazilian furniture gallery, ESPASSO, carrying a premier collection of pieces from Brazilian furniture designers like Sergio Rodrigues, Jorge Zalszupin, Carlos Motta, Arthur Casas and Zannini among others. Additionally, Le Magazyn offers dedicated consulting services to provide clients with the purview of a home stylist, creating a tailored and flexible approach specific to the needs of each client and individual space. Le Magazyn believes that by implementing strategic styling advisory services, whether curating a collection of key pieces, thoughtfully placing art or advising on investment pieces, they can guide clients to create their dream home through decisive moves.
Luiz Hermano “THEOREMS” Exhibition (March - July) Le Magazyn will debut lithographs and wall sculptures from Brazilian artist, Luiz Hermano from March - July. Luiz Hermano studied Philosophy in Fortaleza. He started to work and experiment, in a self-taught way, with metal engraving and drawing, and then incorporated painting and sculpture into his production. The popular universe is a reference for his production, that dialogues with the tradition of engravings and cordel literature from the Northeast of Brazil. In certain works, he also explores formal possibilities related to the hand-made production of utensils of his birth state, Ceará.
Le Magazyn 904 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291 Mon-Sat 11:00am–6:00pm lemagazyn.com
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converso ONVERSO, based in New York and Chicago and one of America’s most prominent dealers of furnishings and objects by modern designers, has opened its first retail location in Los Angeles. The 2,200 sqft showroom on Beverly Boulevard will showcase rare and important works by giants of modern design: a rare Philip Johnson Tripod lamp originally designed for the Glass House, a sculptural torch-cut table by Isamu Noguchi, a Paul Evans vertical Argente cabinet, a George Nakashima chaise in black walnut and a red Raymond Loewy for Doubinsky Freres DF-2000 series bar cabinet. Other important works include a Studio Wendell Castle sculpted coffee table, a pair of Finn Juhl Chieftain chairs, a Rufus Blunk sculptural redwood table, a brass Gabriella Crespi mirror, and a red and blue LEGO chair by Mario Minale for Droog Design. A smaller ‘Cabinet’ room set aside from the main showroom will house capsule collections and curated exhibitions. As well, in a nod to the local artistic community, Converso commissioned Artsu Ono to design a pattern for the store’s awnings, a camouflage in muted colors evoking the palette of the California desert. The showroom will also serve as a dynamic platform for programming themed around modern design. Converso Los Angeles 7257 Beverly Blvd Tuesday through Friday 10am – 6pm Saturday 12pm – 6pm www.conversomod.com
Tommi Parzinger Credenza, Pedro Friedeberg Sculpture, JJ McVickers Painting
Bottom (left to right): George Nakashima Chaise Phillip Johnson Lamp Charles & Ray Eames ESU Bookcase
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Photography by Sam Frost
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Our summer showcase of artisans is curated by Thomas Lavin, inspired by a selection of the many designers who work in and around Los Angeles. Their unique creations can be found in his showrooms in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Pacific Design Center 8687 Melrose Avenue, Suite B310 West Hollywood, California 90069
Laguna Design Center 23811 Aliso Creek Road, Suite 139 Laguna Niguel, California 92677
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M A K E R S
KEVIN KOLANOWSKI Driven by his desire to marry traditional and modern lighting, Kevin Kolanowski spent years studying the interaction between light and texture with unusual materials before founding Fuse Lighting in 2000. Widely regarded as ‘jewelry for the home,’ each lighting fixture captures Kevin’s flair for atypical and sculptural design. Fuse Lighting is entirely handcrafted by artisans in Los Angeles to maintain the authenticity, integrity and unparalleled quality of every design.
fuselighting.com 16 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2018
Mcewen lighting studio
MICHAEL McEWEN Artifacts of the Machine Age. Jules Verne’s futuristic Victorian contraptions. Hoover Dam. Such feats of engineering, real or imagined, inspire Michael McEwen’s contemporary lighting designs. The third-generation Californian – a Pasadena native – established McEwen Lighting Studio in 1990, initially creating custom pieces available through art galleries and private commissions and subsequently creating a line of pendant lighting, sconces, floor and table lamps, and other light fixtures available through design showrooms. Today, through Michael’s collaboration with prominent architects and interior designers, MLS lighting can be found illuminating high-end private residences across the country, and shedding light on offices and commercial establishments such as Pixar, Dreamworks Records, Chaya Brasserie restaurant, and Stagg’s Leap Cellars.
mcewenlighting.com 17 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2018
M A K E R S
magni home collection
JAMES MAGNI Since founding his firm, James Magni has left an indelible mark on the worlds of architecture and interior design. His projects fuse sensual textures, flawlessly designed custom furnishings, and the dynamic impact of contemporary art. In 1996, James began creating pieces for what is now known as the Magni Home Collection, integrating his signature point of view with his passion for the highest level of craftsmanship, and the finest materials including bronze, cast and hand-blown glass, exotic hardwoods, parchment, and leather. Aided by Brooke Magni as Operations Manager, the collection expanded to over 150 pieces of fine furnishings, lighting, rugs, and a line of fine leathers.
RICHARD B JOHNSON In a style which he describes as Renovated Traditionalism, designer Richard Johnsonâ€™s furniture collection, AESTHETIC, is a fresh and unique approach to traditional design, interpreted through the eyes of a native Californian. Referencing stylistic elements rather than reproducing period styles, Johnson has created a timeless hand crafted collection with a focus on form, perfectly proportionate and pleasingly tactile. Every element is hand made in Los Angeles, from the grain selection, to the wood turnings, to the hand planing and in some cases, even hand woven panels of sea grass or rush.
M A K E R S
JEFF BEHNKE AND ROLAND ZEHETBAUER A passion for design matched only by the desire to build. Founded in 1983 Alturaâ€™s vision was to develop visually intriguing modern furniture balanced with functionality, and produce these pieces in-house with the finest workmanship. Altura offers an impressive variety of products made in a wide variety of materials. Drawing on a refined repertoire of styles, techniques and finishes, Altura is known to explore the discovery of inspiration, which lends an innovative and creative aspect to their work. Partners Jeff Behnke and Roland Zehetbauer lead the design and fabrication of their hand-made furniture out of their shop in Portland, Oregon with a team of dedicated artisans.
alturafurniture .com 20 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2018
STUDIO joseph watts
JOSEPH AND JAMES BARKER Known for their “hands on”, in-studio approach, artisans Joseph and James Barker present a special collection of artfully handcrafted lighting pieces – in solid bronze, stainless steel, and kiln glass – from their esteemed Studio Joseph Watts. This in-studio approach enables the brothers to feature custom and site-specific installation pieces in addition to their collection.
josephwatts.com 21 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2018
M A K E R S
RON DIER Ron Dier has always drawn inspiration from the intersection of nature and fine jewelry, while striving to defy gravity in each piece. Originally creating classic ceramic forms in 22k precious metal finishes, the line has diversified and expanded. Keeping to his mantra of creativity, production excellence and customer service, the Ron Dier team now creates an exquisite lighting line, bold stone topped tables, one of a kind sculptures, and an expansive mounted mineral line.
DESI G N ER
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DOWNTOWN LA BEATRICE NOVOA and KIMBERLY HIGGINS, principals at Garret & Garage, reveal an insight into one of their recent design projects. BY ELLARY EDDY PHOTOGRAPHY: INTERIORS BY JOHN MILIOS, PORTRAIT BY KENNETH LOCKER
Client: Lori and Abe Shefa Location: Eastern Columbia Building Interior Designer: Garret & Garage Year: 2017
Beatrice Novoa and Kimberly Higgins Principals, Garret & Garage The duo team of Beatrice Novoa, Cuban by birth but raised in Madrid, brings to Garret & Garage a global aesthetic and multi-faceted background. With an MFA in Visual Design, she worked first in fashion, under such luminaries as Thierry Mugler in Paris, Geoffrey Beene and Calvin Klein in New York. She then went on to create her own line of furniture in historic ateliers in Florence, and ultimately established a celebrated furniture gallery in Miami. Her partner, Kimberly Higgins, was reared in the Sandhills of the Midwest. She has a substantial background in the field of design and has built a discerning clientele working with both the entertainment industry and notable design companies in Los Angeles, collaborating in development and re-branding. Screen work includes The Royal Tenenbaums, The Aviator, Ocean’s Eleven, and the Barbara Walter’s Academy Award Specials. Design houses include Emmerson Troop, Rituals, Bardeaux Mobilier, RH and more. Kim has collaborated on projects involving foreign dignitaries, Ralph Lauren, Jean Mathison (William Haines Archives), and The Sarasota School of Architecture.
he Shefa Loft project was a full-scale renovation in the Eastern Columbia Building below Johnny Depp’s penthouse, in the Historical Theater District of DTLA. Riffing on the building’s Art Deco sensibility, Garret & Garage designed a grand, cinematic space capable of shifting scenes from a contemplative study, to an intimate to the Eastern Columbia Building in Downtown pied-à-terre to an impressive stage Entrance Los Angeles, CA for entertaining. The duo were thrilled to work with Lori Shefa, whose own discerning eye and openness to their vision made the project an innovative endeavor.
Garret & Garage delight in exploring unique materials and innovating architectural enhancements: a sliding solid brass door bearing their client’s family crest, structural columns wrapped in blue blackened steel and brass, a built-in bookshelf with a custom-made library ladder of walnut. Additional bespoke furniture includes a walnut desk with a stamped leather surface, and a lamp entitled “The Fuller Brush Man”. A number of aesthetics are referenced; British mens club meets mid-century meets turn-of-the-century Americana. Further refining the space with subtle details, they trimmed walls with triple moldings and draped the large windows with a unique tie-dyed textile from Belgium. Intricate use of color is another signature of Garret & Garage; from Farrow & Ball came their palette of rich, smoky blues evocative of the thirties. The duo also has an uncanny skill at curating and expanding a client’s art collection, deepening the personality of the space. Vintage artifacts are juxtaposed with contemporary works by Cuban artist Luis Rodriguez and witty British artist Harlan Miller. This intriguing collage of styles yields a mise-en-scene ready for any conceivable narrative.
Garret & Garage collaborates with craftsmen, artists, and vendors to conceive and produce bespoke furniture for indoor and outdoor living. Our objective is to provide uncommon artistry, quality, and sensibility. “The melding of polar opposites, this back and forth -tug of war – if you will, is our inherent crux”.
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Garret & Garage in collaboration with Kraig Kalashian, architect. Kitchen cabinets, Farrow & Ball, ‘Stiffkey Blue’. Steel wrapped columns and wine rack: designed by Garret & Garage, crafted by Imerio Palumbo.
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Top: Rodger Stevens brass sculpture on RH coffee table, from Timothy Yarger Fine Art. Italian bronze foot from ma+39. Hair on hide frame from House of Mercier, Peru. Center left: Abe Desk by Garret & Garage. Center right: White Alma Credenza by Dzierlenga F+U, Polaroid camera by Ching Ching Cheng, from Timothy Yarger. Bottom: â€˜The Fuller Brush Manâ€? lamp, from Garret & Garage.
Above: ‘Bird #1’ by Robert Peluce, ‘A Man With Small Pockets And A Big Heart’, by Beatrice Novoa, and other assorted flea market finds. Left: Painting (above bed): by Martin Bruinsma. Solid brass rolling barn door by Garret & Garage.
Garret & Garage garretandgarage.com
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SCULPTURES FOR ANY SPACE Melding the practicality of New England with the warm, handcrafted vibe of Southern California, BRENDAN RAVENHILL designs and produces mass-market lighting fixtures and furnishings with a custom feel. BY MURRYE BERNARD PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAURA HULL
“We take a narrative-based approach: We conceive lighting and other products that explore material and craft by creating a dialogue with vendors and manufacturers,”
orn in the West African country of Côte d’Ivoire to anthropologist parents, the designer Brendan Ravenhill was raised in Washington, D.C., and spent his summers growing up on the coast of Maine. He studied sculpture at Oberlin College in Ohio, where he immersed himself in art and theory. Then he chose to pursue a journeyman’s education. He moved to Maine and worked as a lobsterman while learning skills in carpentry and woodworking, (he even built a barn), and later he gained experience as a welder and boat builder.
Ravenhill’s diverse upbringing, coupled with his desire to combine his artistic and practical passions, led him to pursue a master’s degree in industrial design from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). What attracted Ravenhill to industrial design was the concept of scalability, which allows designers to invest time in perfecting the details of a product and then make it available to a larger audience – not unlike the model established by Charles and Ray Eames.
Brendan Ravenhill Studio 2122 Cypress Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90065
“The beauty of mass production is that you can take complex designs with subtle details and find a way to produce those economically and efficiently,” Ravenhill says. Continually drawn to coastal settings, Ravenhill moved to Los Angeles in 2010. Though he initially planned to stay just a few months, he was lured by the city’s creative yet laidback vibe. Ravenhill quickly realized that L.A. was a good place to be for someone who wants to design things and actually get them built – after all, it’s the largest manufacturing city in the U.S. and home to the country’s busiest port. With the aim of specializing in lighting, furniture, and product design, Ravenhill established his eponymous practice, Brendan Ravenhill Studio, out of his home in Echo Park. But it wasn’t just any home: It was the Southhall house, built in 1938 and designed by Rudolph Schindler – an Austrian-born architect who was a maverick of modernist 28 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2018
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For the “Pin-Up,” show, which included works by several designers, Ravenhill used original drawings to recreate Schindler’s dining table and chairs for Beata Inaya’s apartment, above which he hung his ‘Long Church’ chandelier.
residential architecture in Los Angeles. Thanks to fortuitous connections, Ravenhill and his wife were able to rent-to-own this architectural gem. They take their roles as stewards seriously and have worked hard to restore and maintain the home. Another series of serendipitous connections led to the studio’s earliest commissions. Ravenhill’s design for a simple bottle opener as a graduate student at RISD caught the attention of restaurateur Graham Snyder, who asked him to create custom furnishings and fixtures for Osteria La Buca, an Italian restaurant on Melrose. Ravenhill’s bottle opener – which is essentially a wooden block with a nail and magnets embedded in it – has since been licensed by Areaware and is available for purchase in a variety of colors and finishes. That restaurant project also introduced Ravenhill to many local manufacturers, and those relationships facilitated the production of his initial product lines, including bar stool and seating collections as well as Cord – Ravenhill’s take on Jean Prouvé’s Swing-Jib lamp. This elegant fixture features an arm supported by an electrical cord that works double duty as a source of power and a tensioning member. Ravenhill expanded this concept into a family that includes a variety of chandelier configurations. Ever the Schindler enthusiast, Ravenhill offered to help restore another structure by the revered architect: the Bethlehem Baptist Church, which was built in 1944 in South Los Angeles. Paying homage to the modernist design – the only ecclesiastical structure by the architect – Ravenhill conceived chandeliers with globe-like bulbs held aloft by armatures of cords and rods. This design became the basis for Brendan Ravenhill Studio’s Church collection. L.A. began to feel like home to Ravenhill, and demands for his designs increased, so he moved his studio into a Quonset hut in Frogtown. He soon needed even more space, and a year and a half ago, the studio relocated to a large warehouse in Glassell Park that had once housed a school for diesel mechanics and later a printing plant run by Capitol Records.
With its whitewashed timber structure, stained concrete floors, and clerestory windows that provide ample daylighting, this backdrop is all too fitting for a studio focused on creating products that celebrate materials, function, and manufacturing methods while maintaining a timeless, pared-down aesthetic. This bright, airy space accommodates a workshop, offices, and storage, and a showroom will be installed by this summer. Brendan Ravenhill Studio, which currently employs a staff of 12 and is looking to fill several more positions, wires and assembles products within the space to maintain quality control. When it comes to design, “We take a narrative-based approach: We conceive lighting and other products that explore material and craft by creating a dialogue with vendors and manufacturers,” Ravenhill says. “That’s what separates us from other designers. We engage in conversation and pride ourselves on our ability to create high-quality designs rather than products that just fill a void.” Citing influences from Shaker furniture to modern designers such as the Eames Office, Frisco Kramer, Alvar Aalto, and Carl Mollino, Ravenhill is particularly inspired by the work of James Turrell, the master of light. Ravenhill frequently ponders how light can alter the mood of a room. “For the longest time, if you wanted to light a kitchen, you’d install recessed can lights,” he says. Trends shifted toward more decorative fixtures, but Ravenhill’s designs offer alternatives that bridge the gap between form and function: “Our fixtures cast great light and can help create a mood,” he says. “We look at light fixtures as more than just a source of illumination, but rather as something that can affect your desire to be in a space.” To that end, Brendan Ravenhill Studio’s fixtures are often adjustable, casting pools of light upwards or downwards. The studio continually embraces new technologies, and most of its fixtures utilize LED bulbs and arrays. Ravenhill even worked with a manufacturer to develop custom LED bulbs that provide just the right color temperature and dimmabilty. Recent Brendan Ravenhill Studio lighting collections include Ada, wall-washing sconces with minimal profiles; Grain, pendants with metal shades that feature traces of wood grain to celebrate 30
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Above: scenes inside the Brendan Ravenhill Studio.
the tooling process; and Float, glass, leather, and rope fixtures inspired by Japanese fishing floats as well as Ravenhill’s stint as a lobsterman. And bringing another connection full circle, Ravenhill recently participated in “Pin-Up: A Designed Tribute to Schindler’s L.A.,” which featured installations within Schindler’s Fitzpatrick-Leland House in Laurel Canyon, just off Mulholland Drive. Built as a spec house in the 1930s, the home is now owned by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, which plans to curate an ongoing series of design exhibitions and programming related to the history of the home. For the “Pin-Up,” show, which included works by several designers, Ravenhill used original drawings to recreate Schindler’s dining table and chairs for Beata Inaya’s apartment, above which he hung his Long Church chandelier. Ravenhill’s products are available for purchase online, though currently most of his sales come through relationships with architects and interior designers. Members of the public can schedule appointments to visit the studio, which also does custom projects, from variations on its standard product offerings to completely original designs. While most of his recent product introductions have been lighting fixtures, Ravenhill has ambitions to design more furnishings and objects as well as interiors and small architectural commissions. What makes the ever-practical Ravenhill willing to abandon the lure of mass scalability? “Taking on custom projects gives us an opportunity to do new product development and explore new methods and materials,” he says. “When we’re considering taking on a custom commission, we want to be sure we have the time and the artistic freedom to complete the project. We come up with something in dialogue with both the client and our fabricators, looking for a solution that meets the needs of the project but also says something new.”
Inspired by Japanese fishing floats and how a ripping tide pulls lobster buoys partially under water, the Float Pendant is an exploration in material and movement. Glass, leather and rope are brought together in a glowing pendant that can be grouped in an endless variety of clusters through the use of brass ceiling hooks.
Brendan Ravenhill brendanravenhill.com
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home is where the art is LA Home’s Elif Cercel talks to REBECCA MATALON, the up-and-coming curator of MOCA PDC’s new exhibition, about her fascination with the modern American home. BY ELIF CERCEL
ave you ever wanted to look inside your neighbor’s home? Or wondered what’s beyond those immaculate front gardens and statement doors that define LA? Then step right in to MOCA PDC’s current exhibition: Welcome to the Dollhouse, which offers aspiring snoops a playful, and at times, disturbing glimpse into our domestic lives. The show runs through April 8 and brings together artists from the museum’s permanent collection, among them Judy Fiskin, Lynn Aldrich, Roy Lichtenstein, Bill Owens and Moyra Davey.
Rebecca Matalon, curator of the MOCA PDC exhibition, Welcome To The Dollhouse.
Curated by Rebecca Matalon, the exhibition takes its name from Todd Solondz’s dark comedy about teenagers in New Jersey, and it looks at how the notion of the home developed in post-war America. For lovers of contemporary art and design, this is a chance to see important installations, photographs and paintings that are not often on display. But in keeping with the museum’s boundarypushing reputation, Matalon goes beyond merely showcasing the art. She deliberately creates an intimate, voyeuristic experience that brings up questions about the psychology of homemaking. The effect is nostalgic, funny and unsettling all at the same time. Matalon also finds a novel way to connect the exhibition to LA, the heart of moviemaking. The MOCA team transformed the museum, located in the Pacific Design Center complex in West Hollywood into a kind of film set, a staged version of an idyllic, middle-class home.
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Bill Owens, Fourteen years ago Dublin, California was a crossroads on U.S. 50 and Highway 21. The population was less than 1,000 (most of them cows). Today Dublin is the crossroads of Interstate Highways 580 and 680 with a population over 25,000 people. We now have fifteen gas stations, six supermarkets, two department stores, and a K-Mart. And we’re still growing., 1972/98, gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm),
Lynn Aldrich, Subdivision, 1990, wood and exterior enamel, 36 x 50 x 50 in. (91.4 x 127 x 127 cm), gift of an anonymous donor.
Upon entering, a melancholy soundtrack sets the scene right away. There are no human figures on the artworks, and like Goldilocks, visitors are lured past Aldrich’s picket fence installation and find ourselves moving from room to room, peering on top of cluttered fridges and coffee tables, under dusty beds and even inside drains. All the while, a cat lounges on a keyboard and a heavenly light in Ross Bleckner’s painting shines in the foyer. At the center of the gallery, Rodney McMillian’s salvaged love seat hints at a romance that had a gruesome ending.
Grand or to think about what we are acquiring. “The Bible” is a tool that helps us place a work historically within our collection.
courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, gift of Gary A. Richwald, MD, MPH in memory of Ann and Marvin Richwaldmemory of Ann and Marvin Richwald
Matalon, who received her M.A.PhD in Art at the University of Southern California, has worked at MOCA for the past 4 years. She is also a co-founder of JOAN, a non-profit gallery in downtown LA, dedicated mainly to local women artists. Why did you name the exhibition after Todd Solonz’s movie? Naming is always a lot of fun and this was an opportunity for me to be playful. Solondz is a very interesting director and I really love how he captures the sinister nature of suburbia, especially domestic life. In the film Welcome to the Dollhouse, the main character inhabits an ideal-looking interior home and has what one might imagine to be the perfect family. The film is an interesting way to think about suburbia and the dissonance that happens between what’s projected and what lurks beneath the surface. It was a way to think about the home, not as a safe haven or a place of domestic solitude, but maybe as a site where we hide our secrets. How did you develop the concept for the exhibition? The exhibition came about through my work dealing with MOCA’s permanent collection. We have what we call “The Bible”, which is a listing of the more than 7000 works in our permanent collection. We frequently go through it, to build out our exhibition at MOCA
Going over it, I found myself interested in works that had to do with domesticity in the post-war period from the 1940s to the present. This also happens to be the period which MOCA’s collection focuses on. So, the entry point for me was looking through the collection and my personal interest in ideas of domesticity, and in how artists are addressing notions of the domestic in different ways. How did the unique layout come about? Exhibitions at MOCA PDC tend to deal with design and the boundary between art and design. The building itself is an odd structure with a domestic quality to it. So we decided to construct a middle class suburban home in that space and to organize the works as if they were a series of rooms. We also didn’t want any human figures in the exhibition so that the viewer would walk through the space literally becoming the inhabitant. It helped bring out the playful and more sinister aspect of domesticity. The suburban ideal is very much constructed and also impossible. It also has a long history of privilege and prejudice attached to it. In some ways, it ties back to the film in that decorating one’s home and installing an exhibition are similar: you select paint colors, paint the walls, and make decisions about what goes next to what. Which works resonate most with you and capture the essence of the exhibition? There are definitely a few works that I respond to personally and show the different ways artists deal with domestic life.
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E XHI B I TI O N
“We also didn’t want any human figures in the exhibition, so that the viewer would walk through the space literally becoming the inhabitant. It helped bring out the playful and more sinister aspect of domesticity.”
Among them are two aerial photographs by Bill Owens. They are the signature images we used and belong to his Suburbia series that documents individuals often in their homes or backyards. These images show cookie-cutter homes on tree-lined culde-sacs. They capture the period right after the war when prefabricated and mass produced suburbs cropped up across the country. There was a mass vision of having a home, and the GI bill allowed for returning veterans to purchase starter homes with low-interest mortgages. Despite such laws, African Americans were consistently denied financing. I would also pick Rodney McMillian’s couch, Untitled (...On Love) for multiple reasons. MOCA owns several key works by the LA-based artist, and this one is a fantastical, dark, delirious, and absurd object. Driving across LA, one frequently sees wellworn furniture like this dumped along curbs. These are domestic objects that may have been much loved. But they also often signal poorer neighborhoods with less city upkeep. In McMillian’s work, the home is often not seen as a safe haven, but a site of emotional and social trauma. He uses discarded objects to examine the ways that racial inequality and class differences play out in the home.
Rodney McMillian, Untitled (...On Love) 2007, latex paint, blanket, and love-seat couch, 32 x 77 x 56 in. (81.28 x 195.58 x 142.24 cm), courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, gift of Kourosh Larizadeh and Luis Pardo.
The last work is a photograph by Moyra Davey, Floor, that appears in the bedroom. It’s a beautiful, minimal shot of dust under a bed. I like the intimacy of her image, giving us a view into spaces that we often don’t see. It toys with the slippage between the perfect image of domestic space versus the home as a living space.
Moyra Davey, Floor 2003, C-print, 24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm),
courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, purchased with funds provided by the Photography Committee.
What drew you to becoming a curator? I moved out to California about six and a half years ago to attend grad school at USC. I was primarily interested in working professionally at an arts journal. As part of my program I got involved in organizing exhibitions and I was inspired and intrigued by my work – and by Connie Butler, now Chief Curator at the Hammer, who served as one of my professors in the program. I enjoyed working with artists and organizing. Of course, MOCA is an institution with a phenomenal history of exhibitions, one I learned about both as an undergrad and in graduate school. It has 34
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Bill Owens, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday... and Friday I have my hair done. 1972/98 gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm),
courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, gift of Gary A. Richwald, MD, MPH in memory of Ann and Marvin Richwald.
done some of the most important, thematic and groundbreaking exhibitions since its founding in 1979, often during the time of Helen Molesworth, MOCA’s Chief Curator. A job opened here and I became extremely interested in the work. I eventually began organizing my own exhibitions, which is unusual for a junior staff member. I am incredibly thankful to Helen for this opportunity. I now divide my time between MOCA and the JOAN gallery. What was your family home like? I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I lived in a small apartment on 101st Street with a bathroom connecting my room with my mother’s. As a city kid, I was always enamored with the suburbs and representations of suburban culture; the malls, tree houses and front yards I saw on TV, on shows like “The Wonder Years.” The grass is always greener, as they say. What style of house do you live in now? I live in a home in the Hermon neighborhood of LA, adjacent to South Pasadena. The building is designated an LA Historic Monument and has quite a history to it. It was commissioned by a banker, George Hodel, and his wife Esther, two Russian Jews who immigrated to America in the 1920s. The home was built by a well-known Russian architect named Alexander Zelenko, though I don’t believe he built much in the States. It looks something like a Swiss-Chalet mixed with a Gingerbread House. In addition to being a banker, Hodel was a puppeteer. The building has been subdivided into four units but the main unit still has a Juliet window and a balcony where he used to do puppet shows for his young son, George Hill Hodel Jr. This is where the story gets a bit darker. Hodel Jr. was a physician and although never formally charged, he is a prime suspect of the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia. I’ve also heard that Hodel Jr. was good friends with Man Ray.
Disclaimer: Elif Cercel is a part-time employee at MOCA. She wore her writer’s hat for this story. 35 LA HOME | SPRING/SUMMER 2018
Julie Becker, Interior Corner #7, 1993 C-print, 35 3/4 x 28 x 1 1/4 in. (90.81 x 71.12 x 3.18 cm),
courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, gift of Thea Westreich and Ethan Wagner.
Welcome to the Dollhouse January 20–April 8, 2018 MOCA Pacific Design Center
In a regular series of Favorite Things, five Sculptors showcase their favorite works.
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SCUL PTO R
Photography: Martin Cox
Packdogs The Pack Dogs are part of an ongoing series of life-size animals called Unsustainable Creatures. Each sculpture is illuminated with custom LEDs whose vivid colors glow from within recycled plastic containers and translucent consumer goods. The magic of these works lies in the contrast between their anatomical accuracy and the abstract quality of their materials. The familiar products I repurpose remind viewers of our complicated relationships with waste, petrochemicals, and electricity.
Cynthia Minet cynthiaminet.com
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Visually arresting both day and night, these sculptures of huskies could function equally well in the museum or in a private home. I enjoy that each dog has its own personality, (and its own name), and that its colors are inspired by the Aurora Borealis.
FAVO R I T ES SCUL PTO R
Photo: Nick Merrick
Jamie Hamilton jamiehamiltonstudio.com
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â€œThe sculpture Eros is a favorite of mine, modeling the tricky matter of erotic love as a machine or virus. Each time it is exhibited it is a pleasure to reconfigure the sails, pedals, and sockets into a new whole, responding to the particular venue. Made from translucent polycarbonate and brushed steel, it has the contradictory appearance of something both high tech and antique, appearing kinetic, yet frozen in time. It suggests graceful flight but may potentially plummet to earth. This work exemplifies my compulsion to shape material into forms that convey desire and mortality.â€?
SCUL PTO R
Abstract Arrangement 8
“My sculptures are process driven, through the making/ physically working and manipulating the material.
Duane Paul duanepaul.com
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The physical process of making the work is as important as the ‘finished’ piece, and at the core of my work. I like to see the ‘hand’, the ‘work’. It’s about building up the surfaces metaphoric, (memories and experiences), then tearing through and exposing those layers, to get the desired effect of damage/decay. The intent of the surface treatment is to evoke the wear and tear of living. It’s about pushing the material to its natural limits, and then a bit further, as a part of creating sculptures that embody remembrances and which echo the body, nature and the urban landscape. My small-scale sculptures are monumental in concept but executed on a living/personal scale, and suited to a home environment. Texture, Movement, Whimsy, Color help to make these series of sculptures, Abstract Arrangements, the perfect sculptural companions.”
FAVO R I T ES SCUL PTO R
You Go First
“Why might we be curious about this thing called art? It could be that it challenges our imaginations, offers up new vocabularies and opens the doors to strangeness.
Brad Howe bradhowe.com
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New vocabularies change everything, like new eyes, our voyage becomes more sublime, our capacity to describe the world more nuanced.”
SCUL PTO R
Beverly Morrison beverlymorrison.com Weathering The Storm
“This sculpture, by far, is one of my favorites because it’s about resilience. When I was creating this piece, I kept envisioning a lighthouse being pummeled by a winter storm. Waves continuously crashing down on it, the ocean seemingly devouring the structure at times...and yet, at the end of the day, it endured. Conceptually, my work examines the internal struggles and curious interactions between people and the self. The intention is to examine that constant flow of harmony and chaos that frequents our daily lives, and to find a balance between them with line, form and emotionally expressive surfaces. I work exclusively with clay because of its ability to instantly translate thought and emotion into physically form. It has all the characteristics of a living thing, with a continuous flow of unending possibilities. I couldn’t ask for more.”
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fight club Strong Sports Gym owner, WILLARD FORD, creates the perfect whole health fitness club in downtown Los Angeles. BY KELLY WOYAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEENO
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DOWN TOW N
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“It doesn’t matter what you are, you can always be stronger.”
e strive to give people ‘the best of the best of the best’ as they say (in the film) SMALL SOLDIERS”, explains Strong Sports Gym owner, Willard Ford. Being the best is something Ford can relate to, being the son of Academy Award nominated actor, Harrison Ford, and mother Mary Marquardt, a homemaker. However, it wasn’t acting that influenced the 49-year-old Willard, but rather, years of watching his father subsidize his film career by working as a carpenter. Willard’s early childhood was spent in Hollywood Hills until age 10 when he moved to the valley with his family. “I think my parents liked things in and of themselves, and not necessarily because they belonged together. I don’t think they had interior design sense early on, but rather were collectors of things. My dad was a carpenter at the time and it felt like they were always living in a perpetual state of construction,” says Willard. Growing up with carpentry made it possible for him to see how things were constructed and put together. During Willard’s teen years he developed an interest in wrestling and boxing, after taking an informal lesson from a friend of his dad. George Ehling, (also known as Cowboy Cassidy), was Willard’s next door neighbor, and when he was a kid he was enamored with Ehling’s wrestling and how he showed different holds. This early exposure piqued Willard’s interest and eventually, he started training at a traditional martial arts studio in North Hollywood. He also played other sports in high school and college, including racing bicycles. Athletics was always something he was drawn toward. “I wasn’t very good but I did stick to it. I was really good at failure.” Willard has been anything but a failure. He expertly married his passion for mixed martial arts along with his growing expertise in construction and real estate investing. In 1999 Willard purchased the Kim Sing Theatre, a historic landmark in Chinatown that needed major revamping. He bought the property for $300,000 and spent the next several years renovating the space to become his home as well as a place for several retail storefronts, including the first Strong Sports Gym. It was an idea conceived by Willard as a place that was inspired as an Olympic training center model for regular people. The gym’s name, Strong Sports Gym, was influenced by the time he spent watching fights in Japan. “Strong Style Wrestling (is a fight) style….and we thought that was an inclusive term. It doesn’t matter what you are, you can always be stronger” says Willard, who sold the space in 2016 for a hefty profit.
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“It wasn’t about interior design, it was about what we wanted to accomplish through the colors. too much stimulation and color bothers me,” After the sale, Willard pivoted in a new direction not far from the Chinatown neighborhood he grew to love. “I like Chinatown. The locals are not demanding and I like the people,” says Willard. He settled on a building that used to be a cold storage facility in Chinatown’s Mission Junction neighborhood, also nicknamed Dogtown. As one of LA’s oldest industrial neighborhoods, the area was one of Willard’s first choices when considering a new space for Strong Sports Gym. The booming area has good parking and rent is still reasonable. “I knew that if I could convince one of these Chinese landlords to let me open my business, I could do pretty well down here,” he says. The minimalist building is tucked back slightly from the main road, however this ensures parking is easy and right out front, something that is sacred in downtown LA. Large industrial doors are flung open with an expansive retail space strategically located at the entrance. Once inside, it’s clear Strong Sports Gym is far removed from anything like a big box gym. It is cool, clean, and functional. There are no rows of equipment, instead Willard carefully chose the best, most effective pieces that would support his whole body approach to fitness. Sleek lines and natural light beams from the 26-foot ceilings, and structural elements already in place provide sophistication and design. Black and white framed photographs of fighters and wrestlers wrap the pristine white walls like a hall of fame to some of the greatest fighters in modern history. Some are for sale, but mostly they function as inspiration. “The photographs really speak to the history of boxing and wrestling in LA. We feel a part of that. We love wrestling. We see the value as a way to hone people and help then feel better about themselves incrementally… it’s not just about pumping someone up,” says Willard. The choice to use black and white as its primary color palette was a deliberate one. “The reason it has to be white is because we set it up to be functional above all else. It wasn’t about interior design, it
was about what we wanted to accomplish through the colors. And, too much stimulation and color bothers me,” says Willard. The gym itself is anchored by a full size boxing ring, complete with heavy bags and an overhead timer. Nearby, is a wrestling area that includes fully padded floors and walls, made with compliant materials. The rest of the fitness area has been patiently curated by Willard and his expert coaches, (including well known names such as Frank Tigg and Vlad Matyushenko), to include only the best equipment and retail brands, keeping in line with his “best of the best’ mantra. However, the real magic of the gym is the culture Willard is trying to create within its community. “Normally, martial arts schools are built around a single person. That person’s ideology, methodology, and personality are driven by a single vision. If that person cracks, gets tired or hurt, you having nothing left. So I assembled a group of people who trained together for a number of years, and part of what makes us unique is I spent a lot of time finding common ground between all the coaches and making sure we enhance that,” says Willard. He says there is a sense of pandering in many of the big box gyms and the intense need to drive membership and sales among its staff. But at Strong Sports Gym, he says people want to have the energy and camaraderie of a class. Human connection, especially within the construct of a specialized gym, is something that is very important to Willard. It’s equally as important to him to create a place that allows the individual to train at his or her own pace. A group of women approached Willard and asked him to teach self defense. He was hesitant at first because he wanted them to learn to wrestle and punch before tackling the strategies of self defense. “I just didn’t feel comfortable taking a group of people who don’t know anything about it, and feeding them with the idea that it was enough,” says Willard. Instead, he insisted the women learn what they needed before moving on to self defense, and now they are mentors for other new students who come to the gym.
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Willard also started a youth boxing program called Strong Sports Academy with teens from the William Mead Homes, a housing project down the street from the gym, after several of them showed up daily to ask Willard about boxing lessons. Once he was able to secure sponsorships for classes, (Sabas sent equipment for the kids), and individualized instruction, he opened the gym a few times a week to the teens after school. “The kids are cool. The boxing gets them moving and gets them to understand their bodies a little better. They are fitter, stronger,” says Willard. His strategy for instruction is rooted in a passion for the whole body and mind approach to fitness. “Strength is at the center of anything….if we can love what we are as opposed to a ridiculous aesthetic, which is really based on a drug culture and fashion, if we can be devoid of that, then we can really pursue training. Athletes are interesting to me…but doing some Instagram thing on some nonsense pushups, or selling whatever it is you’re selling, that’s just something else. We have nothing to do with that.”
Strong Sports Gym strongsportsgym.com
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THE LOEBACH/MILLER HOME
the art of entertaining at home On a magical night under the stars in the Hollywood Hills, avid art collector and chef, KAI LOEBACH, assumed the role of artist â€“ the food his palette, and his home the gallery for his dinner guests. BY LUCY LEAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAY KACHATORIAN, IRWIN MILLER AND MEENO
H O L LY W O O D
ai Loebach, an expert in putting together all the elements of a successful evening, has invited me to a dinner party at his house in the Hollywood Hills.
“I truly love entertaining at our home,” he says. “It always gives me the feeling of being part of a big family which is something I never had, as I grew up as a single child with divorced parents. I could do this every night!” As a chef and event planner, he has made a career out of creating delicious events for his clients. I discover his catering company is a means to an end; the money he earns serving movie stars is funneled straight back into his raison d’etre, what he unabashedly refers to as “my addiction” – collecting art. “I see something and I fall in love with it, and then I start figuring out how many events I have to do in order to make the money.”
Kai Loebach Opposite Top Artworks cover every facade of the Living Room in this latest incarnation of Kai’s revolving exhibition. Works include: David Korty, Blue Shelf Matthew Brandt, George Bush Park Hector Zamora, Elek Peter Holzhauer, Tabletop, Sign Scrawl Polly Borland, Untitled – and the Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Horror Vacui, framed painting encased in concrete on the floor to the right of the fireplace. Below: In the Kitchen/Dining Room two works by Analia Saban, Grid with Unorganized Areas. The neon sign above the entryway is Alejandro Diaz, Happiness is Expensive. The glass sculptures on the dining table by Sheila Brossman, Untitled glass sculptures.
The soft light of the early evening throws long shadows as I park on a quiet street just off Mulholland Drive. The one-story house is modest and unobtrusive, nestled behind a wall. Kai’s art collection is anything but. The 1940s house is adorned with a lovingly curated array of art from around the globe. When Kai isn’t working, he’s traveling to art fairs in search of new pieces and discovering new artists, many of whom have become lifelong friends. In addition to the friendships fostered and the beautiful pieces to hang on his wall at home, the pleasure is also in the discovery; the journey’s the thing. “Little fish might be more interesting than landing a big fish,” he explains. “If you find the jewel in the little fish, it’s less obvious and far more thrilling than ‘blue chip’ art.” Kai greets me with a pale pink, citrus cocktail. He’s relaxed and relishing the addition of each new guest. The house fills with laughter and easy banter as strangers are introduced to strangers, old friends hug and social media ‘friends’ finally meet in person. We marvel at the beauty of our accomplished host’s home. Below a large neon sign: HAPPINESS IS EXPENSIVE, Kai explains that the Mexican artist, Alejandro Diaz, is referring to the harsh reality of people paying vast sums of money to cross the Mexican border into the United States. It’s a newsworthy conversation starter. Hors d’oeuvres arrive, one after the other, each one more tempting than the last, and presented beautifully on long wooden boards; rice-paper cups with cashew cream, avocado, and heirloom tomatoes, a delicate cone of spicy tuna topped with a dot of sunny yellow mango coulis, and then chicken crostini with apricot mustard and crispy sage. “I like to serve food that is very colorful and easy to identify, this is always key – the minute people start asking questions, I feel I’ve lost.” Guests explore the various corners of the house. We carefully descend the stone stairs to the pool, surrounded by whimsical Alice in Wonderland lollipop topiary trees. Here we find the outdoor kitchen, the source of the food and mouthwatering smells. “I don’t like the house to smell like food,” he says. “Especially fish and fried potatoes – it reminds me of when my grandmother would cook and the smell would linger for days.” Kai Loebach grew up in Wuppertal, Germany, a city where “the clouds seldom got over the hills. I came to LA for a three week stay, without a single day of rain and supermarkets with shelves stocked full of shiny produce. I was overwhelmed and hooked.”
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Top Bedroom, Richard David Sigmund, Stupas of Body sit on plinths above the bookcase. To the right, a glimpse of the lead artwork by Claude Leveque, Sans titre. Left, DWR Sussex Credenza. Eames Lounge Chair. Below Left: Entry Hallway (facing). Goetz Diergarten, BerlinBismarckstrasse. Francisco Tropa, Phare. Iran do Espirito Santo, Cans. Right: Dining Room. Katinka Bock, Population. The light fixture is Fusia, by Achille Castiglioni. Opposite 1. At the end of the hallway sits this piece by Cecilia Miguez, Web Builder. 2. Cecilia Miguez, The Hat. 3. Celebrity make up artist, Bruce Grayson, observes Olga MigliaressiPhoca, Fairytale Gone Bad. 4. Ulla Jokisalo, Untitled. 5. The guest room is covered from floor to ceiling with all manner of artworks. Visible in the foreground are Coppens, Untitled and Liliana Porter, Self Portrait. 6. Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Untitled â€“ a row of lightbulbs support a block of concrete.
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Top: Spicy tuna cones with mango coulis. Rice paper cups, cashew cream, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, and basil straw. Chicken crostini with bell pepper jam and crispy sage. Center: Micro greens with truffle burrata. Blistered loup de mer with fresh herbs. Bottom: Pasta galette with wilted spinach and roasted tomatoes. Assorted dessert bites.
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Opposite Top: Farmerâ€™s Market vegetable salad. Bottom: Ivy gimlet with blood orange.
“The presentation is such a huge part of it, how it looks is super important to me. It’s called the culinary arts for a reason.”
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H O L LY W O O D
Kai gently presses a beef tenderloin to test if it’s cooked, then removes it from the oven to let it rest before carving. Tiny slices of cherry tomatoes, red, orange, yellow and green sit waiting, the mise en place of a classically trained chef. Loebach sketched out his menu for this evening but adapted it according to the freshness, fragrance and flavor of the produce at the market earlier in the day. Vendors, who have become friends over the last 30 years, advised on what is at its peak. “I find it’s a mistake asking if guests have dietary restrictions, so I like to include a little bit of everything – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, meat, fish – a self serve buffet.” The tomato slices glisten like bright jewels in a large salad bowl, purple borage flowers scattered on top. This edible art causes great excitement from the vegans to the carnivores. It epitomizes the aesthetically pleasing nature apparent in all aspects of Kai’s world; the extensive art collection on the walls, the luxurious vases of delicate yellow mimosa and parrot tulips, and the gardening and design throughout his home. “The presentation is such a huge part of it, how it looks is super important to me. It’s called the culinary arts for a reason.” With a classic indoor-outdoor flow of Southern California, the table is set for twelve, just off the kitchen. Open flame torches flicker and cast a warm golden glow on the lush foliage of the outdoor dining room, decorated with planters overflowing with succulents. We nibble on slices of tarte flambée, topped with spinach, artichokes, mushrooms and melted fontina cheese in front of the roaring open fire. Neat pots of vibrant green herbs, rosemary, thyme and oregano, decorate the center of a long candlelit table. Seating is randomly assigned. Lee Miller, Kai’s partner, arrives home from work just as we are serving ourselves in the kitchen. He’s used to arriving home to a house filled with people. A couple of guests arrive during dinner and we shuffle up a little, to create space for them to pull up a chair and listen as Kai regales us with the history of the house he and Lee
have owned for 19 years. Like most houses in the Hollywood Hills, the house has a vivid past. “The neighbors heard the screams when Warren Beatty lived here and won his Academy Award for Best Director for Reds, (having boycotted the award ceremony). Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford lived in the house after Warren, and I still receive mail for them, which I always hand deliver to their current address.” It’s not all parties, gardening, cooking and art for Kai and Lee, as together they created Partners for Pediatric Progress. It is a non-profit project at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, (where Miller is Dean of Students), helping to meet the healthcare needs of children in some of the most underserved regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Dessert is served and we move into the kitchen for mini carrot cakes, one-bite apple crisp tarts and flourless chocolate cakes topped with edible gold leaf. Friendships have been made as the group moves from room to room, laughing and joking as we admire and learn about the art. In the living room, the artist, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, has embedded a framed painting in a large block of concrete. “I love concrete,” Loebach tells us and shows us two more pieces by the artist in the office – this time he’s embedded rows of delicate light bulbs that incongruously support two extremely heavy blocks of concrete. In the hallway there’s a recent acquisition, a needlepoint portrait of the Queen of England by Loebach’s good friend and neighbor Polly Borland. “It’s stitched by prison inmates and then hung with the back of the work frame facing out.” A green glass bottle is suspended in a corner by the front door, (Francisco Tropa, Phare), next to a large Shannon Ebner print, The Crooked Sign, seen at an exhibition at the Tate, London. “I was so excited when I learned an edition was still for sale.” Marcius Galan’s wooden frame, glass and painting that has to have a grey ‘shadow’ painted onto the wall - “It comes with the paint and very exact instructions on what to do.”
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The guest room is bursting at the seams with art on every surface. Luke DuBois’, Play, the 50 years of Playboy covers with the eyes in exactly the same place, scrolls by in quick succession on an LCD screen on the desk. At our feet, the lights holding up the concrete blocks, on the walls graphic quotes from the Olga Migliaressi-Phoca series Fairytale Gone Bad ; SNOW WHITE BLOW JOBS FOR $9.99. Wrapped pieces lie on the bed, framed artwork is stacked against the wall, waiting to be swapped out, or perhaps being returned to storage. This is an ever-changing, ever-evolving exhibition. Above the bed in the master bedroom, a large, red landscape, American Lake by Matthew Brandt, “the print has been cured using water from the lake in the picture.” A floor to ceiling piece by Claude Lévêque, Sans titre. “It’s made from a very thin sheet of lead that has the impressions of children’s hands.” In the master bathroom two apple cores in different stages of decomposition are suspended in hermetically sealed boxes; in this fairytale gone bad an actress bit into them years ago. With only 10 percent of the collection in his home and pieces rotated in and out regularly, I sense that every work of art is loved for different reasons, but each one is treasured whether it’s on the wall, in storage, or on loan to a museum or gallery. The evening draws to a close. We depart with little boxes of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Loebach created magic tonight, filling our minds and bellies with his art. The new friendships will live on, long after we say our goodbyes and drive off along the winding road high above the twinkling lights of Los Angeles.
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Opposite Upper left: A row of vintage clay pots screen the outdoor kitchen. Upper center: Julius von Bismarck, Julian Charriere and Felix Kiessling, Entroposcenic Sculpture. Lower left: The outdoor lounge. Lower center: The outdoor dining area and fireplace is a perfect setting for the upcoming evening dinner. Upper right: Lee Miller and Lucy Lean. Lower right: Heidi Miller, Cristobal Valecillos and Sean Daly. Kai Loebach kaisevents.com
Clockwise: Party guests included: Carmen Molina. Heidi Miller and Jenna Atchison. Lucy Lean. Dinner guests enjoy a story by Teddy Xentaras. Heidi Miller, Meeno Peluce and Ray Kachatorian, Barbara Lamprecht and Irwin Miller.
Allee Willisâ€™ extensive collection of kitsch memorabilia and African American cultural artifacts. Her friend, James Brown, had spurred her on to collecting many years ago.
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An Abode that Explodes with Creativity and Kitsch Grammy, Emmy and Tony award-winning and nominated songwriter, ALLEE WILLIS, creates a one-of-a-kind shrine to her Motown roots. BY HEIDI MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY BY IRWIN MILLER
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A Allee Willis and Heidi Miller
llee Willis points to a vibrant, eye-popping piece of artwork bathed in a ray of sunlight streaming through the large window of her compact, but well-laid out dining room. “This one is fan art. It’s made entirely from junk lying around the house. It’s actually called a ‘junque drawer portrait’ by the artist. And that one over there...” she says, motioning to the opposite wall, “That one is made entirely from jellybeans.” Both portraits capture her likeness perfectly, right down to her bold, red lips, her ever-present l.a.Eyeworks glasses and her fantastically asymmetrical and untamed hair. Her brightly colored, mismatched, partially vintage, and almost entirely eBay purchased wardrobe, complement her house in every respect. This is The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch, and she is its living centerpiece. Her fans adore her and, let me tell you, there are a lot of them. At last count, her songs have sold more than 60 million records worldwide.
Best known for her stellar songwriting abilities, Allee has written multiple smash hits including ‘September’ and ‘Boogie Wonderland’ for Earth, Wind and Fire, the theme song to the television show Friends, and both the music and lyrics for the Broadway hit The Color Purple. For these and others, she has earned a Grammy Award and she was nominated for an Emmy Award and Tony Award personally, while The Color Purple earned both a Grammy and a Tony. Opposite Above: the exterior of her 1936 home with a view from the pool and a backyard that is made for her infamous gatherings. Below: The main living room space with its rounded Streamline Moderne walls. King of the house, Sweet Potato the cat, oversees his kingdom of colorful furniture and artifacts.
She is eclectic and electric. And on the day of our photo shoot, the air feels particularly charged as Allee has just learned, mere hours before, that she will be among the latest round of artists to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June. It is a coveted and exceptional accolade to add to her ever-growing list of accomplishments; the ultimate laurels honoring her and her immense and critically acclaimed body of work. But music must share its space in her heart, for Allee has another passion: all things kitsch. Over nearly 40 years, she has made it her mission to transform this house into a showpiece for her beautifully curated collection that includes countless African American pop cultural artifacts from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Out front, a scattering of bowling balls in the yard contributes immensely to the property’s magical, sugar-plum-dream-like quality. The house itself, being whimsical, playful, and downright Seussian, lends itself perfectly to her mission. Situated in the quaint Valley Village neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley, the property was designed by German architect and Schindler/Neutra peer, William Kesling, in 1937. Although originally commissioned by Warner Bros. as a guest house, this pied-à-terre doubled as a venue for lavish studio parties. Its front door landing acted as a small stage
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Left: The guest editor and writer’s son, Luca Miller, poses in Allee’s recording studio, the walls of which are lined with her numerous gold records. Bottom Left: Allee at work in her studio – there are screens on everywhere you walk through the house.
Top right: A portrait of Allee made entirely from junk which was lying around the house of one of her fans. It’s called a ‘junque drawer portrait’ by the artist. Center right: Allee converted her former garage into an artist space and office, with all the furniture designed and built by her.
Below right: A prized possession hangs on her bedroom wall – a piece of wall art that appears to be conga drums but hides a minibar. “If the big one hits, I am grabbing that piece as I run out the door” she said.
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Above: ‘The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch’ sign, created with a tasty and tempting array of jellybeans.
Above: One of many rounded electronic devices from the 1970s. This 8-Track player was purchased at a thrift shop with the Earth, Wind & Fire tape still inside. Coincidentally, all the songs were written by Allee.
Left: A variety of the curated items you find all over Allee’s home – always with a nod to her Detroit roots.
overlooking the sunken yard below. Being a masterful partythrower herself, it is precisely this tradition that Allee zealously upholds. She relishes the opportunity to gather the members of her massive circle of friends from the far reaches of the art, music and entertainment worlds. The dwelling has every element that Allee needs to fuel her creativity and lifestyle: a recording studio, an artistic office space, and a variety of indoor and outdoor rooms that encapsulate the California Lifestyle. The house is based on a series of 45 degree and 22.5 degree angled walls, where you are hard pressed to find a square room in any of kind. The Streamline Moderne and clerestory windows are light and elegant, allowing the sunlight and glow of the pool to bathe the house in color and warmth. The surrounding palm trees and native plants give off a vacation vibe while the TV sets, situated in almost every room of the house as well as both ends of the pool, all turned on at any given moment, remind you that you are, in fact, sitting smack dab in the center of the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Over the years, Allee has restored the house entirely, room by room, taking it back to its original elegance, and beyond. From porthole laundry chutes to hand carved, inlaid, singing fish in the linoleum floors, there are enchanting details around each and every corner. Spurred by her penchant for found objects, Allee designed and built much of the furniture throughout the house, often incorporating vintage car parts, such as steering wheels, insignias and door handles into her work; a clear nod to her father, a scrap metal dealer, and to her beloved hometown city of Detroit. This coming June, when Allee returns home from New York City with her Songwriters Hall of Fame trophy in hand, it will no double find its rightful place on her mantel with her various other awards, in a compact, but well-laid out dining room, next to the strikingly accurate portrait of her, made entirely from household junk.
Upon purchasing the property in 1980, and with visionary (and perhaps prophesier-like) instincts, Allee made it her first rule of order to paint the entire exterior of the house a light pink hue. Twenty years later, this decision proved to be more than serendipitous when Alice Walker, the Pulitzer and National Book Award Winning Author of The Color Purple visited and immediately exclaimed that this was the home of Shug Avery, the protagonist in her story, who had also lived in a pink, rounded house. Allee was clearly the one who was meant to bring Shug’s story to the stage. It had been written in the stars and the plan set in motion nearly two decades prior.
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THE HAWKEN HOME
design for life ANDREA and AIDAN HAWKEN have crafted a life of elegant simplicity, living in harmony with their natural surroundings. BY ANDREA HAWKEN PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA ISAAC
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e found our 1000 square foot home in 2013. I had known about the Village Green for years, and I dreamed of finding a home there. A historic landmark in Baldwin Hills, the Village Green is just east of Culver City. The complex, built in the 1940s, is nestled in sixty eight acres of picturesque, green space, with sycamore, redwood, oak, olive and many more varieties of trees, some of which are close to a hundred years old.
When we were looking for a new place to live, we drove by the Village Green office to see if there was anything available. We saw a flyer and immediately went to see the unit for rent. It was springtime and the landlord pointed out a hummingbird nest on the oleander tree right outside the front door, and he said, “I think it’s a good sign.” Andrea and Aidan Hawken. Gabriel, 7 years old. Raphael, 1 year old.
The unit was still occupied by the previous tenant and I had a hard time seeing how it could work for us. Aidan, my husband, walked out of the apartment, and simply stated, “It’s got great light; we can make it good.” What I lacked in confidence, I made up for in trust and we signed a one year lease and rented our home. Aidan and I met at a temporary museum in Santa Monica. We started dating in 2009 and we were married a year later. Our shared love of design and furniture was the source of many of our first dates, visiting stores and dreaming of our life together, told through design. One of the first gifts Aidan gave me was an Eames fiberglass rocker, a chair that we imagined our future child sitting on. I had to cancel the order I had made for the exact chair, once I opened his gift for me. Aidan has been a musician, songwriter and recording artist for over 20 years. His music is regularly featured on film and TV including, The Real World, Laguna Beach, Grey’s Anataomy and Sex and the City. Along with his solo work, he has recently collaborated in successful side projects, The Quiet Kind and The Palace Steps. I have been involved in the Arts for my entire career, working for organizations like Inner-City Arts and the Getty. I recently left my job at the Getty to pursue my projects in creative marketing and copywriting.
Opposite Top: I have a big family and they come to visit several times a year. When we bought our home, we decided to invest in a real family couch that would seat lots of people comfortably in our small home. We settled on a vintage Togo. What we didn’t foresee was how much the children would love it, and how much time they would spend crawling around and roughhousing on it. Bottom: Our dining table and chairs are also quite large for our tiny house, but again, they really come in handy for extended family gatherings. Aidan found this 1950s Hans Wegner set in Santa Fe, NM. We decided to take a road trip to pick it up. We drove through Navajo Nation to Grand Canyon, The Petrified Forest and Georgia O’keefe’s house. It was unforgettable. The photo was given to us by another friend, Michael Underwood. We have so little space in our house that we are forced to edit down to objects that have a story or some significance to us. Family heirlooms and artwork by friends have a permanent place in our everevolving home.
Initially, I was better versed in design and furniture because I had studied Art, but over the years, Aidan has eclipsed me, and now he can run circles around my knowledge. My interest in furniture stems directly from my grandparents. Despite being one of their 34 grandchildren, I had the privilege of living next door to them and being in their home daily. They were deeply entrenched in the Californian brand of mid-century style, which was unique given that we lived in the Philippines, where the Spanish colonial style was, and still is, the gold standard. As an adult in California, the mid-century design felt so nostalgic and familiar. Aidan had a similar experience with furniture and design. His parents had a love of Mid-Century Modern design, but with an added layer of the California Craft and Spiritualism movement of the 1960s, as well as the simplicity of Japanese style. He spent his early years living in the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Muir Beach, and his parents collected works from friends like J.B. Blunk and Mayumi Oda, along with the quintessential Californian Mid-Century Modern designer duo, Charles and Ray Eames. We’ve used these influences to inform our style today, with additional pieces from our friends and vintage, 20th Century Modernist furniture. It took a few years of playing with different configurations, but our place feels representative of us now. In 2017, our landlord offered to sell us the apartment. We were fortunate enough to afford it and now we own our home. Here, we have an extraordinary community of neighbors and friends, in a secluded pocket of Los Angeles, where our kids can play outside and interact with nature. Every year since we have lived here, a hummingbird comes to nest in the oleander tree on our patio. This year, we have a red-feathered hawk doing the same, in the sycamore which towers over our roof. Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine we are living in the heart of Los Angeles.
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6 This page 5. Our bedroom is where we have special family mornings. Raphael still sleeps between us and Gabriel comes in early in the morning and jumps into bed with us all. It’s a special time, where we spend half an hour struggling to start the day while the boys make each other laugh. The photo that lives above our headboard is one by Aidan’s best friend, Ivan Iannoli. 6. Chairs play a big role in our home, and each one has a different origin story. The Eames lounge is the most special of them all. This chair, the Hans Wegner wooden one, CH22, is one that we bought from our friend Alli and her husband, Kip. His father owned it and was a big fan of Hans Wegner, and he had an incredible collection of his chairs. Coincidentally, she introduced us years ago and has always been one of my closest friends.
8 Opposite 1. We bought this Vitsoe shelving unit after Aidan had done some research about the most appropriate one for our space. We’re both fans of Dieter Rams, who designed it, and the philosophy of the brand, “living better, with less, that lasts longer.” These shelves serve as a little space where we rotate items that are piquing our interest at the moment and work done by friends, a photograph by Kana Manglapus, vases by Emilie Halpern and Lucy Michel. 2. This lantern by Isamu Noguchi was Aidan’s gift to me for our first year of marriage. It’s made of paper, in keeping with the tradition of wedding anniversary gifts. 3. This piece was made by brutalist sculptor, John De La Rosa, who gave it to us several years ago as a gift. He is a dear friend and former neighbor. We spent many summer evenings at his home, which he shares with his partner, Steven Keylon. Steven was instrumental in much of the restoration and research in the archives of the historic neighborhood we live in. Their home was a unit fully restored to its 1940s glory. They’re one of the most inspirational couples we know, and while we miss them, we enjoy visiting them in their new home in Palm Springs.
4. Dining chair detail.
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8. The Eames lounge is a family heirloom of mine. My grandfather bought it in the 1960s and brought it to the Philippines. My cousins and I distinctly remember hours and hours spent with him sitting on the ottoman, sharing space with his feet, or spinning endlessly on this chair. He used it every single day, and when he passed, the chair was kept in storage where it deteriorated. My parents decided to have the chair shipped back to California in an effort to preserve it, but when it arrived, they lost heart. When Aidan saw the chair, he knew he had to fix it. He did all the research and raised all the funds to restore my grandfather’s chair. When my cousins saw it, many of them were in tears and we took the moment to share memories of him. He was a truly special man and to be able to sit in a chair that he sat in daily, and to know that Aidan made it happen… it’s simply the greatest, most romantic gesture of love I’ve ever experienced. 7 and 9. Gabriel’s bedroom is solely his, for now, but we’re in the process of shifting things around to make room for his brother who will share it with him. Currently, Raphael’s main joy in life is to crawl into his room and take every toy out of the baskets and go through every single book. Gabriel plays the ukulele and has become quite good in the last year. We bought him this children’s drafting table a year ago when Raphael was born; it was his “big brother” present. He spends hours working on his “projects” on it. Last week, he made a robot designed to give out hugs.
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musical gems The musician, artist, ceramicist and seamstress, LARA MEYERRATKEN, with stories about her home in Silver Lake. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA ISAAC
ara Meyerratken is an Australian composer and painter living with her partner, Eric, in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. She also designs cushion covers and quilts, sewing from her basement, while her recording studio is a room next door. “I have discovered that it’s really useful when I’m solving a musical problem, to switch course and cut or sew fabric. Within a few minutes I go back to my music studio and usually have it figured out!” she says.
Long time collaborator with fellow Australian recording artist, Ben Lee, Lara has been a session and touring musician with stalwarts such as Luna, Luscious Jackson and Nada Surf. After 10 years based in New York, she moved to Los Angeles and made solo indie records under the name El May and developed a career as a composer. El May songs have placed in various Here I am with little Daisy and my baby bump. TV shows such as Parenthood and Melrose Place, Our first child is arriving in July and I’m very and her original music has appeared in commercials aware that we’ll have to reconsider some far too for Google, BMW, Agent Provocateur and Chobani. destructible and reachable aspects of our home Michelle Williams performs her song ‘Hero’ in the 2005 decor! I really enjoy this arch detail, and in my dream home, every door and hallway would be movie, The Baxter, and another song, ‘The Things You arch-shaped. Lost’, makes an appearance in the 2011 film, Our Idiot Brother. Lara is currently one of three composers for the Netflix series GLOW, and she is making a piano-based instrumental album as Bloomer, to be released in September this year. Lara studied Fine Arts in Sydney when she was younger, always imagining she would return to it in her later years. Now, she finds herself painting gem formations in watercolor paints, made mostly with mineral pigments. “I like the idea of painting gems with gems. I’m no expert about the metaphysical properties of crystals, but it does fascinate me, and I always research and carefully consider the combinations for particular paintings,” she says. Lara’s paintings and prints are available to buy from her home and also online at www.peachorb.com. “Working from home is so perfect for my temperament,” she says. “For me, being able to walk down the hill and see friends at a cafe or the reservoir walk, makes for a great balance.”
Lara Meyerratken Music: elmayforever.com | Paintings: peachorb.com
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1. This is Daisy, our Cinnamon Pied cockatiel, just five days after her bird companion Dolly slipped out the door. We’re so heartbroken about it, and still hopeful that she’ll make her way back to us somehow. While their cage is positioned for the best views in the house, we let them fly around the house; they only really sleep and eat there. 2. The painting on the mantel is my color interpretation of a vintage stereoview photograph of the botanical gardens in Washington D.C..
3. The Buddha was given to me by a beloved second cousin who lives on Maui, Hawaii. He selected this for me out of a room jammed full of beautiful artifacts from his travels. I’ve placed on the Buddha a few of Dolly’s feathers that I’ve found, and I made an altar for her safety and homecoming, with quartz, smokey quartz, citrine and pyrite. 4. We’re so lucky to have this incredible view at our Silver Lake home. The trade off is that we have nearly 70 steps to climb. It gets tricky with groceries, and as I’m sure to find out soon, a little baby. At least, if all I do is get the mail on any given day, I know I’ve had some exercise!
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Right: It’s so luxurious to have a creative space in which I can play and transform for my various arts, crafts and writing phases. Its focus is constantly changing, depending on what I’m interested in making at any given time. Below: ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott is an excellent read when I need a little encouragement in my creative life. ‘Swimming Studies’ by Leanne Shapton is another beloved book of mine, combining three of my favorite things, lap swimming, painting, and story-telling. The oval painting with the aqua border is a self-portrait by an Italian painter, Sofonisba Anguissola. I was so drawn to the picture that I tore it out of a magazine in my late teens, and I have carried it with me ever since! Opposite page Left Row (top to bottom) Eric and I moved around a lot in our lives before we met, as both children and adults, so we tend to collect things that remind us of our roots. He was raised in Toronto, so we were thrilled to have found this beautiful vintage Canadian flag at the Long Beach flea. I found the lamp and elephant at an estate sale. His grandmother used to give him elephants every time she saw him when he was little. Also on this wall, is a cool old Iroquois Beverage Co. clock, a brewery founded in Buffalo, NY, where he was born. I started collecting royal teacups and plates when I was little, and now my mum sends me them when she finds them in charity shops in the UK. My Blue Onion teapot is very much a part of my daily life, and I am yet to find forgiveness in my heart that Eric dropped and broke its lid! Here, I love the mixture of new with old, handmade with mass-produced. A particular favorite are the gold-patterned glasses by my friend Annabel of homewares line, Wolfum.
Center Row: Over the years, photographs from various dates and events have accumulated on our fridge door. Most of them being our Karaoke nights. The two of us have spent a lot of time at Max Karaoke in downtown LA, always followed by a session in the overpriced, too brightly-lit Japanese photo booth in the mall. This sweet polaroid of Eric and me was taken by Nancy Neil at the Echo Park Craft Fair, where I sometimes sell my art. We were a brand new couple, and I felt so proud introducing him to my friends there. I’m wearing a favorite dress made by my dear friends in Australia, Nic and Susien of Lover. I found this postcard at a vintage store in Austin, TX – a self-portrait by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun with her daughter. It reminds me of me and my beloved little sister, who was born when I was 15. My shaker and tambourine collection is truly out of control, but even its excess is a non-negotiable part of my studio! I find myself writing more easily when I can hear a percussive beat.
Over the years, I’ve dipped in and out of ceramics classes. I really enjoy creating something structured, useful, and I love that making pottery combines earth, water and fire. There’s nothing like making a delicious soup for friends and serving it to them in a handmade bowl.
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Right Row: This painting was done on a thick, rag paper that my mother had laying around her London art studio. I was visiting my parents in England whilst renewing my US visa some years ago, and it wound up to be a lengthy and stressful process. I missed Eric and my life in Los Angeles. I had a photo of a magnolia that Eric had picked for me outside the first place where we lived together. I wrapped myself in a blanket in the sunroom and I painted this most days, and it kept me sane. These 5-year diaries by Tamara Shopsin have been my companions for years – I just started in on my 3rd diary! The idea is every page represents a date, and you can see entries for that same date over the 5 years, like looking at a cross section of the rings of an old tree. The biggest lesson thats it’s taught, as simple as it sounds, is that time heals. My struggles over things that I felt were insurmountable just seem cute and small to me now. This area is really beloved and hard-earned, because here used to be an enormous shelf stuffed with so many things. I cleared them all out and put in this little love seat. Having a place to rest and do nothing in my music room, keeps me in there longer! Recording rooms are generally not the prettiest of spaces, and I try to keep mine feminine and cozy.
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A SHREW’S WORLD
SHELDON THE SHREW Enter the world of an intelligent and well-read shrew, SHELDON, star of a new stop-motion animation film by IRWIN MILLER, based on characters created by DENA SEIFERLING. STORY, SETS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY IRWIN MILLER
few years ago I had taken a workshop in downtown LA with a stop-motion artist. It was about the techniques of making your own film, using paper cut-out characters that are hinged for movement. I was instantly hooked on the process and I went about making more extensive puppets and refining how to film the movement of each character. I built a tall wood ‘multi plane’ table which has layers of glass, placed a few inches above one another, so that the handmade paper puppets can be moved between each frame. It’s the technique of the early Walt Disney films, and the magic is that is creates a subtle depth-offield in the final film when it’s played back.
After refining the technique, I challenged myself to create a video for Beck’s new release, Wow, as he was sharing some creative interpretations of this song in short Instagram videos. I worked for a few days on it and posted the final music video. The next morning, I received an email and message from the record label and then from him, asking if they could use the video on their social media accounts – I was elated. The video had a ton of views and people started reaching out on collaboration ideas. My next project was creating the stop-motion music video for the Philadelphia-based band, Bel Heir – Light at the End of the Tunnel – which went on to win a bunch of awards last year. For the next project, (my current project), I wanted to use actual puppets and film in a 3-dimensional space and to push the bounds from 2-D to 3D. Last year, I had purchased some lovely artwork from a Canadian fiber artist and illustrator, Dena Seiferling. One of her pieces that I acquired was a 3-inch tall Shrew in a teal blue vest wearing a top hat, looking very elegant and smart. Dena works with felt and creates needle-felted sculptures out of balls of natural wool and some wire inside to help form the characters shape. It’s fascinating to see one of her pieces take shape and become imbued with actual character and personality – she creates artwork that you can’t help but smile at when you see. We started a text exchange on Instagram, (her artist and website name is Pickle & Francois), and we discussed animating the character and bringing him to life for
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Images of the various sets that Irwin creates by hand, made mostly out of painted cardboard and fabric.
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a little film project. I felt that he looked like a ‘Sheldon’ and I went about building the first set of a little house and an art studio for the miniature character, sort of as a test to see if I could pull this off. Between each scene, I adjust his arms or head the slightest bit, and when the hundreds of frames are strung together – you get the feeling of movement and animated filmmaking, with a charming appearance to it that feels a bit timeless. Dena and I discussed creating a new Sheldon and a friend and costar with more of a formal armature and removable heads so that we could express a variety of expressions in the scenes. Her brother, at MIT, created extremely small, 3D-Printed ball and socket joints for the arms. There was some back and forth of testing out the character puppets and many packages flying between Alberta and Los Angeles while we worked out the details. In my home studio, I have been designing and building more elaborate architectural sets of Sheldon’s bedroom, an expansive library, a lunar observatory, a long art gallery and a jet airplane thus far. Some very generous Instagram artists and friends have allowed me to feature their work in miniature form on the walls of Sheldon’s house. The scenes are slowly coming together the past months with Sheldon and Amelia inhabiting these small intricate worlds of architecture and design. The film will be completed this summer and released as an animated short, Sheldon the Shrew. The film centers around an intelligent and well-read shrew who has never really ventured outside of his extensive home for fear of what the world outside might be like. His longtime friend is a possum named Amelia, who is a savvy world traveler and she spends time with Sheldon between her trips across the vast globe. We slowly realize that the world Sheldon has built around him is based on the journeys and experiences that Amelia has shared in her letters and stories, and that he has recreated the places in rooms of his home. By the end of the short film, we see Sheldon finally considering venturing out of the world he has created and into Amelia’s world. He finally sees what it’s like to live through experiences instead of only being surrounded by objects and the knowledge found in books, and the safety of one’s home. The collaboration between Dena and myself has been so rewarding as we both bring our complementary skills to this film. What is even more amazing, is that we have never spoken to one another – only communicating through text and email these many months– and of course imagery and sketches every few weeks. The benefit of being the filmmaker, but also set and production designer, is that every time a new idea comes up – I can stop production and build a new set or prop, as needed. I am in the final stretch now and I have vowed to stop making anything new, and to focus on filming the characters and editing the movie. I am looking forward to finishing Sheldon the Shrew this summer, and I can call Dena on the telephone and let her know; “It’s finally done!” Beck Wow Video: https://www.instagram.com/p/BGZpKhAGvbc/?taken-by=beck Dena Seiferling: http://www.pickleandfrancois.com See more of Sheldon on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/irwinopolis/?hl=en
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man with glasses and paintbrush The artist, JON HUCK, injects a wry playfulness into mundane subjects at his studio in Elysian Fields. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA ISAAC
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How often do you paint? What do you do the rest of the time? I paint something every day no matter what. It doesn’t have to be complex, or even good, but I try to stay connected to it so I don’t fall back in my progress. The rest of the time I’m going on field trips, drinking coffee, doing the crossword, and/or swimming. That pretty much sums up my non-painting life. Why do you paint? The number one reason would be that it makes me happy. It sounds corny but it’s true. Secondly, I really like sharing the work with the world at large. I started posting work on Instagram almost from day one, so the entire arc of my painting career is on my IG feed. Getting feedback online was instrumental in my forward momentum. I doubt I would have come this far without the encouragement I got from that. I’ve sold quite a few paintings in my relatively short career and I’m delighted to know that they are out there in the world for people to see. How would you explain your style? I wouldn’t. ; ) How and when did you become interested in painting? I started painting about 5 years ago. I always liked to draw but never considered painting. I thought that you had to be born a painter, or at least go to fancy painting school for years. One day, I had an idea for some watercolor abstracts so I went out, bought some supplies and just started fooling around. Once I had that basic watercolor set, I started painting over some of my drawings and things took off from there. Your inspiration is diverse – how do you decide what to paint? Ideas mostly just pop into my head but I do look at imagery in books and online to get ideas as well. I’ll sample ideas from different images to come up with a new composition. Which color do you use the most? My favorites are pink, orange, blue, brown and black. I use variations of these five quite a bit. A lot of painters say not to use straight black but rather mix black from multiple colors for depth. I almost never do this because I like the inky flat black, (also I am lazy). Colors I do not like and almost never use are yellow and purple. Where have you exhibited and what are you working on now? I’ve mostly shown around Los Angeles in several solo and group shows but I’ve sold work all over the world. I’d like to show more in other cities, and that’s something I’m working on now.
Will you still be painting in 10 years time? Will your subjects and style have changed by then? I definitely will be. I’ve been experimenting with other themes lately but I’m sure I will always do portraits as part of the whole package. I have been fooling around with other media as well as more sculptural things, like cutouts and puppets. I’m very interested in animation but that takes a lot of patience which is in short supply over here at Huck Studios. Hopefully, I’ll overcome that in the future. I’ve been getting illustration jobs and other commissioned work over the past couple of years, so that’s something I will surely be doing more. What are the strangest things you have seen in LA? That is a hard question for me. I’ve lived here for such a long time and I see something weird every week, (if not every day). Maybe, collectively for LA, I would say the fly over of the space shuttle Endeavour before it retired to the science museum in 2012. It was surreal to see both this huge spaceship flying over the city, as well as crowds of people on every corner staring up at the sky. That was the same year they drove Michael Heizer’s giant boulder to LACMA. It was a banner year for freakishly large objects moving through Los Angeles.
Jon Huck jonhuckart.com
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HOME PREVIEW EVENTS
PHOTO G RA P H Y
PARIS HELENA The fashion photographer and former model, PARIS HELENA, offers a glimpse into her photography, inspiration and a collection of things prized by her. PHOTOGRAPHY BY PARIS HELENA AND DIANA MANTIS
How did you become a photographer? I went to a high school with a focus on the Arts. I was enrolled in the Music Academy where we would work on piano and chorus for 2 hours a day. One day, the classrooms underwent construction so the Photography and Multimedia Academy had to share a room with us music kids for a whole month. It was in this month that I “found myself ”. If you asked me to recap what I learned about music in my academy during that month, I wouldn’t be able to tell you, as I was being mesmerized by what was being displayed on the projector the media academy’s half of the room. By the end of that semester I made the switch to Photography and Multimedia. I fell in love with all aspects of photography, including being in front of the lens. At 15 years old, I was scouted by Next Model Management at an art exhibit. Soon, I was traveling and working as a professional model but the sharinga-room-with-the-media-academy phenomenon hit me again. I would actually find myself on modeling gigs being more interested in the photographer’s camera, the set gear, and their inspiration boards than the makeup and wardrobe I was to wear.
Opposite Paris in front of the lens for The Mighty Company.
When did you make the leap from model to full-time photographer, and what differences have you noticed being behind the camera instead? I graduated high school and decided against immediately going to college. I thought I’d take a gap year to figure things out; figure out if I wanted to pursue modeling, if I wanted to give this photography thing a go, dabble in making music or maybe even study PR + Marketing. Meanwhile, I was still modeling and constantly feeling like there was an untapped area of potential. In an attempt to uplift myself, I revisited photography. I would ask my fellow Next Models to shoot with them on the weekends, if they weren’t already booked. This became a bi-monthly activity and after a few months, I had built up a nice portfolio for myself. I showed my work to Mark Seliger, celebrity photographer for Conde Nast for 15+ years, and he offered me an apprenticeship. I packed my bags and moved to New York three weeks later. Abrupt, sure, but I knew it was what I needed. I spent close to a year apprenticing with him on countless, incredible shoots for Elle Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone, Ray-Ban and Dolce & Gabana, to name a few. Once I started to get the bug to shoot my own ideas, I knew it was time to go back home, put my head down and get to work. Since the day I moved back to LA, I have found my work on newsstands, fashion and beauty blogs, in a show at the Annenberg Space
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for Photography, Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, and many more. I love, love, love being behind the camera. I feel the most confident creating the images I make. I find that having the modeling experience I have helps me direct and understand my models better. As a model I never wanted to hear “give me sexy,” or “No, not that. Try something else,” so I’m glad I can guide models in a way that doesn’t make them feel as insecure as I had felt on numerous shoots. The biggest plus of being behind the camera is that I can finally eat pizza and pasta. What are the challenges you set for yourself? To be perfectly honest, figuring out who I am as an artist is quite a challenge in itself. What impacts me changes from day to day, and my perceptions of the world are manifesting in different creative ways, constantly. I’m trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. When I find myself shooting only things full of color, I push myself to shoot more subdued concepts. I am always trying to see how far a line is, so I can cross it. What have you been working on apart from fashion, and what are you currently working on? While photography is my job, it’s also my hobby and my tool for relaxation. I’m lucky that I found the thing that makes me the happiest when I was still quite young. It’s all I ever want to do. I would love to put on another gallery show of original work but I’m always working on moving myself and my art forward – like re-educating myself from mentors like Inez & Vinoodh. I don’t know what that next show will be because I don’t think I’m even close to my potential, and I’m excited to see what that will eventually look like. What is your current favorite camera/lens, and why? I’ve been a Canon girl since day one. In regards to lenses, although taboo, I love using a 100mm macro for portraits and a 50mm for beauty. What inspires you? My “what” would be makeup and colors. My “who” would be a combination of Tim Walker, David Bowie and Irving Penn. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time? I intend on traveling around the world shooting for beauty brands like Sephora, Mac Cosmetics and Revlon. Through my travels and the connections I make, I hope to channel my creativity and my platform into helping others, and using the weight of my name to shed light on issues for those who need help.
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MY STUDIO (opposite) The pink art piece is done by a close friend named Maureen K. Pearson. She traded me that art piece from her Fight Club series for some photoshoots. The abstract photo piece is a personal piece from my very first gallery show, part of a collaboration with artist Bryan Meador, called Touch of Spring I did a photoshoot with incredible model, Annie Montgomery, and he put his magic atop my images. The collection of various things are some of my more coveted belongings. A mix of zines, some I had the pleasure of shooting for, polaroids + slide film from shoots, and my array of prisms and filters I use on practically every shoot. My tattoos are an interesting collection in themselves. The 4 out of my 17 I chose to show to you, are all in regards to being a photographer and a creative in general. - Top left, depicts “Consume • Calibrate • Create” in a circle and it can be viewed in any order, to represent the way one may perceive the world around them and deliver their art as a response. - Top right, two tattoos, the odder one with the squiggly lines is a visual representation of the creative thinking process. - Bottom left, ‘1031’ was my apartment number in New York City. I moved there from LA to apprentice with legendary photographer, Mark Seliger. It’s on my camera trigger finger, as that was the official start of me deciding this was what I want to do for the rest of my life. - Bottom right, very hard to see, written on my finger in Latin is, “Occasio Creare,” which translates to “Create Opportunity.” The jacket was designed by one of my best friends. She created an outerwear brand specializing in leather jackets, called The Mighty Company. In fact, the jacket I am wearing in the larger photo and the photo of the model on the red background is by The Mighty Company. My jacket with my name on it is special to me, because it’s a piece of her and a piece of me. I have seen her start the company from the ground up and I’ve done almost all of the photography for the brand, from the beginning. A photo of myself photographing the stunning Ali Collier at my studio. - Paris
Photography by Paris Helena. Top left: Angie Simms for The Mighty Company. Top right: “Saturated” – a beauty editorial for Beauty Archive Magazine. Bottom left: Portrait of LA based singer, Madison Rose. Bottom right: Portrait of dancer, Morgan Quinn.
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PHOTO G RA P H Y
I adhere to this law, “The two most important things you set on your camera: where you stand and when you push the button.”
What is your background, how did you become interested in photography? First, I grew up on the road. It planted the seeds of world wonder and jammed them through with wanderlust. Those were the very early years. Then we were back in LA and I got a job at the factory; by the age of 7 I’d become a successful childhood actor in the heyday of 70s TV lore. Then I gave it all up to go study literature. If you put those elements together; adventure addiction, bright eyes for new places, the belief that a day of make-believe is an honest day’s work, a yen for storytelling, well, you may find yourself walking around the globe trying to make poems with light.
Meeno, on set recently.
a GROWN UP WORLD Child star turned photographer, MEENO PELUCE, travels the world, taking photos of celebrities and working on advertising campaigns, while also documenting the lives of his wife and daughters. www.meenophoto.com @meenophoto
Your photos are taken in several different cities – do you like to travel or do you feel that you have exhausted your inspiration in one place? The Road always spools out in front of you. It offers new faces and places, and always the exotic thrill of the mundane seen differently. (Also, in lieu of actually having a memory, which, unfortunately I’m largely bereft of, I stalk things with a camera and trophy them with pictures.) My great success is that I married a boon travel companion. She’s sees well into the future, she plans, she schemes and she does most of the leg work keeping our yearly calendar filled with continental crossings. So we go, and each one’s a rejuvenating adventure. We drag our daughters with us everywhere, and we hold it a point of pride that while we’re never able to actually blow their minds, we are secretly successful in raising the bar on normal for them. What cameras/lens do you like to use? I really love my 50megapixel Canon 5DsR, it makes such lovely big RAW images. And I have lots of good glass for it. My little Fuji X100T, my likea-Leica, goes everywhere with me. And I just got the new Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K movie camera which is a total mind blower. I’m a huge fan of digital shooting because a RAW image is essentially the latent image inside your camera. It’s the precursor to the holy grail of the celluloid negative because, like silver halides waiting quietly in the dark, it hasn’t been developed yet. I also have a Mamiya 6 that I’ve traveled with for years. It often causes me to make perfectly magical big square pictures. But film is a whole different endeavor once you’ve embraced a digital pipeline. I walked back into a darkroom recently though, and boy did it give me some ideas. What are the qualities of a great photo? Can a great photo be taken on an iPhone? Daily, I take great pictures on my iPhone. Like different sexual positions, different cameras bring you in novel ways to the same good place. It’s all about image making and moment snatching. I adhere to this law, “The two most important things you set on your camera: where you stand and when you push the button.”
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Lady Gaga, Paparazzi
PHOTO G RA P H Y
Is much of your work staged or shot on impulse? I always try to bring the honesty and spontaneity of my street photography to my professional work. And I walk around everyday hypothetically steeped in the casual cock-security of my pro-work. Again, the world is a marvelous place, and my job as a photographer is to make constant proofs that I see it that way.
Left (top to bottom) Perry and Etty Farrell for their disco album.
Are there any themes to your work? What is a typical MEENO photo? People-heroism. I dig the human spirit. I like when it’s emboldened, and I try to tell that story over and over again.
Tyson Ritter for LEE Jeans.
Which photographers do you admire? My wife is one of my favorites. She’s got a great eye and a vicious wit, and I’m intimately familiar with her subject matter: our life. I’ve always loved Cartier-Bresson’s notion of walking around the world seeking decisive moments. Which is why I also dig the guy at 9-eyes.com who pours through Google Street View to find arcane and often startling shots from all over the globe. A soul didn’t take those pictures, a nineeyed all-seeing always-watching-from-the-curb machine did, but it takes a brave soul to parse those moments and pronounce them art. I’m super impressed with all the top notch life observers I’m finding these days on Instagram. I dig curating my feed. We’re back in an era, like the 30s, like the 60s, when malfeasant tyrants are aching to preen for the camera. The Post-Camelot Crazies as well as the Tom Joads of our politics and kleptocracy need telling. Our sexuality and security, our privacy and conformity, our ordered and infinitely disarrayed compassions and fashions and hungrily rationed odd passions like all the cancer and self-styled, stem-celled recuperation of a world sagging under its own weight that won’t wait, all of Kurtz’ Horror plumbed deep, all of Didion’s Slouching stood straight, all of that muck, murk and diamond glory must be seen and seen well. I like that to be the job of the camera. I like that there’s so many cameras out there doing the good Work. What are you currently working on? The story of my life, which is all about my wife and my children and our urban homestead in LA we call Skyfarm with all its gardens and animals and the new @skyfarmyurt we’ve built to be our AirBnB. And of course, our rather constant and wide ranging travels. It’s into the fertile soil of those basics that everything else gets planted. I’ve taught myself cinematography in the past few years and that’s a big new magic. Most of my jobs are both stills and motion now. In the past year there’s been Gaga prepping for the Super Bowl, John Chiang running for Governor of CA, a new ad campaign for a luxury brand called CCCXXXIII, and another for a new healthy vegan candy bar called TruWomen, several small documentaries and films and music videos, a piece for Fender with one of my favorite new singers, Børns, a terrific campaign of salt-of-the-earth union folks up in Washington State, the Yucatan for Spring Break, Saint Louise for the Total Eclipse, Vietnam for Xmas, and next month is Cuba. It goes on like that. That’s the way we like it. And it sure makes for good pictures….
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Jack Black for my Scar project.
Opposite (top row) Mette, before dining at Cliftons, DTLA. Bindi and Mette at “Old-chella” about to see the Stones. (2nd row) will.i.am., T.H.E album cover. Ilse and the girls at dusk in Valladolid, Mexico. (3rd row) The happiest barber in Ho Chi Minh City. Our girls in clothes designed by their mom, Ilse, in the Rajput castle of Bundi, India. (bottom) Mette’s new wool skirt, West Fjords, Iceland. My baby sister, Soleil Moon Frye, for The Red Cross.
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PHOTO G RA P H Y
from the soul
What is your background, how did you become interested in photography? I was born in Tehran, Iran, and I moved to States when I was 7 years old. I became interested in photography the moment I stepped into Mr. Pierrie Odier’s photography class in high school. I loved the entire process, from taking the picture, developing the film and printing the final print in the darkroom. Of course, that has all changed.
Multi-talented photographer, RAY KACHATORIAN, specializes in food photography but is equally versatile at portraits, interiors and fashion – in color or black and white.
How did you become involved in food photography, and what are the challenges with that? I started out wanting to shoot portraits but I soon discovered that my shyness was a real issue in directing and dealing with a live subject. By sheer luck, I started working with photographer Victoria Pearson as her assistant. She was the one that opened the world of food photography to me. The subject was much easier to deal with than a real human being. That was some time ago, and since then, I have shed my shyness and I enjoy doing portraits whenever I can. What camera/lens do you like to use? I use several different cameras depending on the assignment. As far as DSLR goes, I shoot with a Nikon D850, preferably with prime lens. I own several, anywhere from 20mm-150mm. The Nikon is a versatile camera allowing me to shoot any subject matter with confidence and speed. My favorite camera however, limited because of the speed it shoots, is my Hasselblad with a Phaseone Digital back. You can’t beat the quality and look this camera brings but it has it’s limitations as above. I also shoot with the Sony A7rIII mirrorless camera. This, I primarily use hand held. What are the qualities of a great photo, in your opinion? Can a great photo be taken on an iPhone? A great photo seamlessly combines emotion, light and technique into a whole that when looked at, draws the viewer in for a closer look. You can totally achieve that with an iPhone. Who are your typical clients? My typical clients are in some way, shape or form in the food business, but not limited to. Which photographers do you admire? Victoria Pearson, Amy Neunsinger, Steven Klein, Paolo Roversi, Irving Penn to name a few.
When setting up a portrait photo, what is your starting point? My starting point is to look at my subject and determine what light, camera and lens I’m going to start with. I generally don’t like to direct too much as I find that leads to a unnatural looking photograph. So instead, I prefer to talk to the subject while at the same time ready to shoot at the moment their guard is down. Black and white or color? I like both, depending on the circumstance. Sometimes a picture just works better as a black and white, and other times in color. I let the image dictate which way it’s going to go. What are you currently working on? Currently, I am working on a major book for Weber Grills.
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PHOTO G RA P H Y
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Focus Media Agency Focus Media Agency was established in 2012 as a multi-level platform, to give voice to the West Los Angeles community businesses and talent which are largely overlooked by traditional media. With a firm emphasis on storytelling, we publish two lifestyle magazines, FOCUS and LA HOME. From our West Hollywood studio, we produce multiple, diverse, online streaming chat shows. We also organize red carpet events across West Los Angeles.
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JANUARY 2017 | FOCUSMAG.US
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Real Estate Insights - Billy Rose Interview
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(Top left to bottom right)
Bossa Moonraker A wireless speaker system that delivers pristine sound in an elegant package. Every detail is functional, beautiful and executed with reverence for the modernist tradition. You’re passionate about design. Don’t settle for uninspired speakers. https://bossasound. com $2399
Be. Battery Free Toothbrush A new kind of ecofriendly, sustainable, and electric-free toothbrush that cleans deeper than your electric. Built as a kinetic storage device, Be. harnesses and amplifies the power of 2 simple twists into over 80,000 tartar fighting brush strokes using its patented multiplier transmission system. https://www.kickstarter. com/projects/goodwell/ be-the-first-battery-freepowered-toothbrush $49
Flo Flo is a comprehensive water monitoring and shut-off system with leak detection, and proactive leak prevention technologies. Via its smartphone dashboard, Flo provides the ability to monitor and control your water remotely, while empowering conservation efforts. Be one of the first homes secured by Flo. Say hello to smarter plumbing. https:// meetflo.com $499
Ensembl The world’s first smart modular wirelessly charged home entertainment system, take your smart home anywhere with Ensembl™ by Ashley Chloe. A projector, sound system, smart light, 360-degree camera and powerful charger, Ensembl™ expands to fit your life, both inside and in the great outdoors. Base https://www. ashleychloe.com/ ensembl $199
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Tetra Dishwasher Tetra, an internetconnected compact countertop dishwasher. Because it requires no plumbing and can be placed and used anywhere with a standard electrical outlet, Tetra holds two full place settings (including plates, bowls, cups, and flatware) or 10 plates or 12 pint glasses. https://myheatworks. com $300 (avail late 2018)
Livin Shower Livin Shower is a new type of shower control that lets you start your shower with just a press of a button. Livin integrates software technology with elegant hardware to improve your holistic shower experience. Skip all the hassles to take a shower. Plug in (or say, “Prepare my morning shower” to Amazon Echo or Google Home) and get notified - “Your shower is ready.” Livin Shower warms up your shower and pauses the shower stream once the water temperature reaches the target so you can start your shower right away. pledge. https://www. livinshower.com $299
Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector LSPX-A1 from Life Space UX Through elegant design and the combination of two unique innovations Ultra Short Throw Technology and the Advanced Vertical Drive Technology of the Glass Sound Speaker - LSPX-A1 seeks to provide a truly transformative cinematic experience with large screen superb 4K images and amazing sound quality. The new 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector LSPX-A1 will transform your living room with stunning 4K visuals and crystal clear sound. With the engineered marble top, half mirror finished aluminum frame and wooden shelf, the LSPX-A1 enriches your living environment while complementing its dĂŠcor. The premium furniture-like design blends into your living space and appears as an attractive piece of furniture rather than a component heavy entertainment system. Available soon.
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The LA HOME streaming chat show previews on Focus TV Network with Real Estate interviews and related topics. The premier episode features Billy Rose, co-founder of The Agency, Marisa Zanuck and Tina Perkins. Please submit ideas for content, pitches for the role of host and sponsorship inquiries to email@example.com.
L A N D M A R K S
Robert Frost Auditorium
4601 Elenda St. Culver City, CA 90230 Architects, Flewelling & Moody Completed 1964