LOS ANGELES ART QUARTERLY
VOLUME 04 // SPRING 2016
o nn tt ee n n tt ss cc o colorfully chaotic
Graphic designer TYLER SPANGLER shares a selection of his digital collages inspired by the cityâ€™s colors, energy and chaos. // 22
MUSIC SPOTLIGHT with Dark Waves
WHAT THEY’RE LISTENING TO the music that inspired this issue’s artists
A HARD LITTLE PAINTING by Sophia Green
BLAZING OCEAN SUNSET by Jenny Handel
MIMESIS by Leah Perrino
THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT by Annie Terrazzo
VISUAL INQUIRES by Harry Diaz
VISUAL MINIMALISM by Rick Bhatia
ODE TO LOS ANGELES by Brooke Nasser
FEATURED INSTAGRAM FANS
ART FOR SALE by Teresa Chacon
aa letter from the founder letter from the founder a letter from the founder If you don’t know me personally, you may not know that Asymmetric is made up of tiny bits of me: my favorite things and my inspirations. I find that my true passion lies at the intersection of art, music and journalism. I’ve been infatuated with classic black and white photos ever since my years of studying film photography. My obsession with fine art followed suite, and I fell in love with journalism years later when I studied design and journalism in college. Even the way Asymmetric publishes interviews in Q&A format stems from when I was a little kid. I remember waiting for my mom in the lobbies of doctor’s offices, flipping through beautiful glossy magazines. Every time I’d catch an interview in Q&A, I was glued to the page, reading every raw word and feeling like I was part of the conversation. There’s something so beautiful about capturing a moment and telling a story. Asymmetric is my outlet to package up and share stories from artists and musicians capturing what I find to be my biggest inspiration–the city of Los Angeles–in a beautiful array of perspectives. I think people are defined by their inspirations, and I’d be lying if I said color didn’t define me. I’m constantly fascinated with natural color around me. LA has some of the bluest skies, the lushest flora and the most vibrant sunsets I’ve ever seen. I catch myself walking around, snapping photos and
asking myself, how is this real? The urban part of the city is so alive, too. Streets are covered with brightly painted murals, buildings and signage. It’s everywhere you look, and I try to emulate that sense of livelihood and storytelling through color in my personal work whenever I can. So, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when the artists featured in this issue naturally lent themselves to the creation of The Color Issue. There are pops of vivid saturation throughout these pages in paintings by Sophia Green (page 8), Jenny Handel (page 10) and even myself (page 12). Color became the subject in collages by Annie Terrazzo (page 14) and digital designs by Tyler Spangler (page 22), while photographer Rick Bhatia strategically chose a chillingly muted color pallet in his photo story (page 36). But don’t worry, what would Asymmetric be without a black and white story in each issue (page 30)? Enjoy the vibrancy of the city with me in The Color Issue.
Leah Perrino Founder & Designer
Sophia Green Jenny Handel Leah Perrino
ILLUSTRATORS/ DESIGNERS Harry Diaz Tyler Spangler
PHOTOGRAPHERS Rick Bhatia Brooke Nasser
WRITERS Teresa Chacon To share your story, visit asymmetricmag.com/contribute.
All photos by Leah Perrino
music spotlight: Q+A with local musician
Dark Waves Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your current work as a musician.
Dark Waves: I’m always writing. Always working on Dark Waves stuff. Constantly recording voice memos on my phone and making shitty demos at my house. I do sessions with different producers, but my main guys are Tommy English, Midoca, Colin Brittain and Yeti Beats. I’ve been doing some writing for other artists the last couple years, too, which has been really fun and refreshing to step out of myself and write music that I’m not so emotionally attached to. The co-writing has been all over the place from BØRNS to Papa Roach to this crazy kind of evil hip hop meets early 80s thrash punk band called Ho99o9. It’s awesome getting to collab with other artists and see what their process is like. 06 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
Photo by Scott León
AM: How would you describe your sound? DW: The Lost Boys meets Lethal Weapon 2. AM: What inspires you most?
DW: An incredible song, natural beauty, coffee and Seinfeld AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
DW: I love LA. It’s a relentless city. I feel really inspired by a lot of my friends here. I’m fortunate to have a crew of super talented friends that I get to write and work with. LA is a weird place. I think it’s a destination for people who want to get things done and make something of themselves, which means there’s a ton of incredible talent here and a lot of straight up delusional crazy people.
AM: What themes do you pursue through your music?
DW: I feel like I write about love in one way or another most of the time. Not just being in love or breaking up, or whatever, but my own personal struggle with relationships… Being drawn in other directions, craving something other than what I have. I feel like I’ve always questioned everything in my life, and love is one of those things. I think writing about it helps me process those feelings, and hopefully it can help someone else, too. I’ve been writing about growing up a lot recently, too. I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. There wasn’t a lot to do–I got in trouble a lot. AM: What other music/artists are currently inspiring you?
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self and your music? DW: In my bed just before I fall asleep
AM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
DW: Tough call. My grandfather told me, ‘We live in a society comprised of idiots. Take it in stride and don’t worry about them.’ He also said, ‘The minute you let your mind fall asleep, you’re shit outta luck.’ He’s about to be 93 and still works, goes to the horse track every Sunday and plays golf twice a week, so he’s doing something right. Not sure which is better advice–I’ll let the reader decide. Listen to Dark Wave’s recent tracks on SoundCloud
DW: Midoca, Sun Drones, Nails, Popcaan, Skepta
what they’re listening to This issue’s contributors share the tunes that inspired their work. I have been on a Jack Johnson kick for a while now. I love his uplifting lyrics and relaxed, beachy vibes. // JENNY HANDEL Death Cab for Cutie–always by default. I’m also really into Tycho, Washed Out and Jamie XX. // LEAH PERRINO All time most inspiring is the man, David Bowie. I think perhaps I wouldn’t be here at all if I had not had his gift. And if that is to broad to say, I without question can say that I would have never had the courage to express my true feelings, my true self, in my art without him. I have about 37 hours of Bowie music that has been on forever…but I do have other music. Recently, I’ve been enjoying Jack Garrett, Mac Demarco, School of Seven Bells and The Hood Internet. // ANNIE TERRAZZO I have always been listening to Electric Wizard, which is my staple, but I have recently been listening to a lot of ambient music. I just love all music that is repetitive, slow and atmospheric. It is the best way for me to really escape the external world and focus on what I am making. // TYLER SPANGLER I’ve been listening to a lot of Bonobo and Sylvan Esso recently. // HARRY DIAZ
When I’m photographing people, I love to play music from a portable speaker to set up a fun, comfortable vibe. I have a Spotify playlist titled ‘Oh Shoot’ and keep updating it as I find new music. Right now, some of my favorite songs from the playlist are: Do It Well - XYconstant, Tom Aspaul Bloom - Gypsy & The Cat Renaissance - Steve James, Clairity Sway (Chainsmokers Remix) - Anna Of The North Pink Medicine - Bearson Some of my other favorite artists right now include Troye Sivan, Beach House and Prinze George. // RICK BHATIA My taste in music mirrors my taste in most other art forms: unplanned and eclectic. I usually have my Internet radio set to random. I am most inspired by serendipity and the unexpected. A good playlist has “Take On Me” by A-Ha, “Two Weeks” by FKA twigs and “In A Sentimental Mood” on it! // BROOKE NASSER Lots of long, deep, harrowing and painful tunes. Other than that, I like to write with this ‘French Café’ station playing for a little white noise. // TERESA CHACON
a hard little
We spoke with painter SOPHIA GREEN about her mural at Vintage King on Sunset Blvd.
Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your concept for the wall.
Sophia Green: I don’t know if I can say that I had any solid concept before I started. After spending some time at the wall the week prior to starting, I developed points or markers that I knew I had to hit: Tagging: The location and the wall itself are territories that are constantly being tagged by local graffiti artists and non-artists. I did not want to encroach on anyone’s territory, and it was very important to me that my wall could stand up to and/or play off of the local tagging. Bldg. & Company: The building’s business is the music industry. The owners went through some of my work and they picked out the ones they felt fit the their vibe/aesthetic. Location’s Energy: Echo Park is a pocket of LA that, depending on which side of the fence you stand, is either slowly losing or gaining charm due to gentrification. I want it to be bold and grab your attention, but I don’t want the piece to stick out and slap you across the face. I am really so pleased and proud because I believe I hit all three equally. AM: What was the biggest challenge you faced while completing this piece? SG: Prior to diving into this venture, I naively never considered what my process or approach is to my work. Over the course of nine days and about 2-3 panic attacks, I very quickly realized just how important a little foresight would have been. 08 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
I paint in private. I never show my work until it’s finished. I am not an actor and have never been the most comfortable on any sort of stage. And then of course, I’m painting a mural on Sunset Blvd. in broad daylight. So, my biggest challenge was exposing my vulnerability and putting my ego and perfectionism on the back burner on a daily basis. In hindsight, if I had considered my process at all, I probably would have never taken on a project of this scale. But as difficult and challenging as these things were for me, there is nothing about it that I would now take back or want to change. I needed to do this for myself and for my work. AM: How did your process for the wall compare to how you create your smaller scale pieces?
SG: My eyes/vision to the surface area–19 feet x 7.5 feet is enormous. The physicality of tackling this amount of surface area, let alone with any aesthetic intention, was considerably different than anything I’ve ever done. My eyes had to adjust and rely almost solely on my peripheral vision. On smaller pieces this isn’t necessary. It took me about six days to figure this out and be able to visualize the entire piece as one and not separate. AM: How did you choose the location?
SG: I didn’t. My mother and I were having dinner with my cousin and his wife one night in early November. Shivaun (his wife) and I were discussing my art and the process of establishing a name for oneself in the art world… I told her
that for a long time now, I was looking for a wall in the city to paint. She mentioned that her employer owns the building and he had been wanting to find a local artist to paint something on one of the walls. I told her I would love to be considered and asked her where the building was. She told me it was on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park, and my heart skipped a little beat. Sophia Green was born and raised in LA. She was schooled in the woods of Burlington Vermont, where she studied art, history and sociology. â€œCement is my paint, my hands are my brushes. Concrete is my art and expression.â€? This mural can be found at 1176 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90012
Top and bottom photos courtesy of Sophia Green Middle photo by Shan Shaikh
blazing ocean sunset Q&A with JENNY HANDEL
Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your piece.
Jenny Handel: Blazing Ocean Sunset is piece that was inspired by scenes from my Southern California travels. AM: What inspires you most?
JH: All of my pieces are inspired by the natural beauty of the places I have been. When I see something amazing in nature, it gives me a burning desire to create it for myself, as I see it, in my own image. AM: What themes and subject matter do you pursue in your work? JH: I paint a lot of mountains because I am a climber and snowboarder, so my love for playing and just being in the mountains is often seen in my work.
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AM: What role has traveling around the west coast played in your work?
JH: Every year, my boyfriend and I spend a couple months on the road living out of our vehicle. These trips have led me to some of the most beautiful places and have inspired a lot of my pieces. The simplicity of living on the road has allowed me to spend more time in reflection and admiration, becoming truly immersed in the moment. Breathing in and feeling a place makes me feel connected, and gives me a desire to create something, so I can share these moments and places with others.
pieces inspired by oceans, waterfalls, rivers, etc. Basically, I pour a bunch of liquefied paint on a canvas and shake it around, allowing the paint to flow in its natural course. It creates some really cool effects that are always unique. Jenny Handel is a traveling artist currently based in Salt Lake City. She spends a lot of her travels in California and is inspired by the places and things found in nature.
AM: We love your abstract take on a landscape in this piece! Can you tell us your process? JH: I love this process that Iâ€™ll call â€œflow paintingâ€? because it imitates the natural flow of water, perfect for creating
selected works by LEAH PERRINO
or as long as I can remember, I was drawn to color. I’m fascinated with every single thing around me. I’m constantly snapping photos and taking in every detail, finding inspiration wherever I am. I usually express my passion through photography and graphic design, and my work completely transformed when I moved to Los Angeles years ago. This city is filled with so much inspiration: the people, the juxtaposition of urban and nature, the natural colors, the streets lined with bright art and typography, the architecture, the live music, the energy, the chaos. Inspiration is everywhere I look, and its power takes hold of me every day. I never thought of myself as a painter, though I painted a lot in my design studies in college. I’ve always found a sense of peace in putting paint to a canvas. Recently, I’ve been thinking of all the things I’ve wanted to pursue creatively and the many different channels to release my abundance of creative energy. I wanted to experiment with my own capabilities. I had an epiphany, and I thought: I used to love to paint. I’m curious about it, and I want to pursue it. I’m not going to care about the outcome; I’m going to do it because I enjoy the act of doing it. This is for me. And I started painting. Every chance I could. And I fell 12 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
in love all over again. Similar to my obsession with natural color (read my letter from the founder), I find a great deal of passion for the simple act of mixing paint, watching new pigments form and combining colors together in a composition. As a designer, I find myself hunched over my computer day after day, gridding everything out to perfection. I see an InDesign grid when I close my eyes before I fall asleep. So for me, painting is my newfound outlet to get away from the hampering of today’s technology. It’s my way to express myself on a level where I feel totally free from grids, structure and perfectionism.
I’ve always been drawn to abstract art because I like to look at a piece and interpret it myself. I like to let the art resurface my personal experiences, or sometimes, I like to make up my own stories. I pursue photography because I think capturing a moment is so beautiful, but I love painting because I think interpreting that moment, that inspiration, in your own way is equally as beautiful. Mimesis is a term I love from ancient Greek philosophy meaning to imitate the natural beauty of physical reality through art. These three pieces are my first three paintings I’ve done in years, and they are all inspired by natural beauty found around me. Actually, they are all inspired by different things in the same place. The Awakening was inspired by a vivid sunset over ocean water and the epiphany
I had to pursue my creative curiosities, which ultimately hit me while taking in an amazingly vibrant sunset one night. You know those life changing sunsets that make you reevaluate your whole existence? Yeah–that’s what this one is all about. The Release is a darker piece, almost mirroring the fall of night that comes after a sunset. But I have to admit, that concept wasn’t my original intention but rather something that evolved over the making of the piece. The original inspiration was the natural colors of a sea shell I have from the central coast in California. I have a minor sea shell collection (read: obsession), and like everything else, I often can’t believe the vibrant colors and patterns of sea shells are real. They’re so beautiful, and what’s more beautiful is the natural creation–the natural Release–of these colors and patterns by the sea creatures that live inside. I wanted to depict that natural release of color, pattern and beauty as a metaphor of my release of creative energy on a canvas. The Refraction was inspired by the blend of colors that radiate when light hits water. I wanted to emulate the feeling of standing in the ocean, the waves crashing against me and the golden light coming through the water, allowing for self-reflection. I feel this almost every time I go in the ocean alone. There’s something so incredible about being in the water. Just me, the water and my thoughts. I love that feeling, and I tried to achieve the same glow and sparkle I see out on the water through this piece. Above all else, this series is about rediscovering an old love for painting. It’s about making the colors and the paint itself the subject. It’s about really looking at the way it flows and drips, the way it blends, the texture, and looking at paint as if I had never seen it before. It’s about using one creative outlet to fuel another and discovering the benefits of working in different mediums. It’s about pursuing anything I want and not worrying about the outcome. It’s about doing things for myself. It’s about finding myself while letting myself get lost in my own inspirations.
From top to bottom: The Awakening, The Release, The Refraction
the futureâ€™s so bright
selected works by ANNIE TERRAZZO
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Q&A Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your series.
Annie Terrazzo: I love portraiture old and new, and my work is a reflection of trying to find a new and interesting way to show it. Using newspapers and magazines, I tell a story. The headlines become the heart of the person I am drawing and creates a fuller understanding of the subtext or narrative of the work. Since 2007, every year, three newspapers go out of business in the US. Newspapers and magazines have so drastically changed their format that they have become tabloids just trying to hold on to any gory headline for ad money. The information has all gone digital, and now everybody knows everything and nothing at the same time. It’s just the weird hoarders and me collecting this stuff now, and it’s just a matter of time before it just isn’t there anymore. Even the really old newspapers and magazines–you can’t find them, and if you can, they aren’t worth anything. I take the piss out of them, but I also have a deep appreciation for newspapers and magazines and want to preserve them in my own unique way. AM: What is your biggest inspiration?
AT: My biggest inspiration is my materials. I am constantly finding new things that bring ideas to me! AM: What’s your process for finding the pieces to each collage?
AT: Finding the pieces for the collage process is the fun part of my job. Usually, it involves me not working very hard. I try to just let it happen. I am constantly picking up things from around the world and just throwing them in my studio. I’m a big believer in fate in art, and usually the right materials find me. AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
AT: I travel quite a bit, and it’s always nice to come back here. It’s my home, and I feel it’s easy to make art in such a beautiful place. I love the art scene and the artistic community. It’s really growing and changing all the time. And I’m still quite proud to go out and say I am a fine artist when introduced at parties.
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AM: What themes do you typically pursue in your work?
AT: While I do branch out into male portraits and beyond, I mostly draw women and have since I was about 16. I feel it has and always will be a direct connection to an event that happened to me with my mother. I am a trapped 16 year old in my art. AM: Do you think art impacts social change?
AT: I like to think art can lead to social change. I like to think it has the power to open peopleâ€™s minds to new ideas and feelings. I like to think that it is possible. Iâ€™m not sure though...Itâ€™s a nice idea.
Annie Terrazzo is an LA-based artist. After graduating from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, CA, Terrazzo began her career in trash portraiture, focusing on using found objects, newspapers, and magazines.
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colorfully chaotic colorfully chaotic colorfully
selected works by TYLER SPANGLER
LA plays a huge role in my work. The laid back yet fast paced culture fuels the energy in my work. The vibrant sunsets and number of sunny days brings brightness to even my more darker subjects. The ocean plays a huge role, as well. I just love the energy and chaos that the ocean has. 24 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
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Tyler Spangler is a Southern California-based graphic designer. He explores the connotations of color, form, and photography through the medium of digital collage.
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For full series + artist interviews, go to:
selected works by HARRY DIAZ
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lot of this work is intuitive, but I take a lot of visual reference from Maya weaving. I was born in Guatemala, and I remember a lot of the patterns I would see at the local markets. There is a lot of really exciting printmaking going on right now, so I look at the work being done by a lot of my peers, too. In my personal work, I tend to work in some sort of tangible medium from printmaking to zines. It all depends on the concept of the work. Iâ€™d say woodcuts are my favorite form of mark making at the moment. Iâ€™m always striving to find that balance within figurative and abstract shapes. How much of an object do I need to represent in order to get my idea across? Itâ€™s something that I continually work on. Being from LA has influenced my work since the beginning. Being around such a diverse environment is really invigorating when it comes to visual language and inspiration. Harry Diaz a printmaker and graphic artist based in LA from Guatemala.
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For full series + artist interviews, go to:
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nimalism photo story by RICK BHATIA
y biggest inspiration is my own mind. I consider myself lucky to have inherited a creative drive in the 21st century. There have been many creatives in my family, but very few were actually able to create due to the pressures of societal norms at the time. My desire to create comes from within. I never create with the intention of pleasing a crowd, I create to fulfill the cravings of what
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I like to call my “inner creative beast”. However, receiving overwhelmingly positive responses from those who view my work is most definitely what keeps me motivated. The progressive nature of Los Angeles has played a major role in my lifestyle content. From the plethora of trendy coffee shops to the modern architecture of museums and buildings, I’ve had plenty to play around with. When I’m in Los Angeles, I feel limitless; I find something new to work with around every corner. Some of my favorite shooting locations include the Arts District in Downtown LA, the LA River, and anywhere along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
I like to keep my work minimal regardless of who/what I’m photographing. Something about creating a visual story out of limited content really resonates with me. Being able to interact with someone and capture their essence in a photo has always been a fascinating idea to me. Every model brings something unique to a shoot, whether it’s their overall look, personality, or past experiences. Rick Bhatia is a photographer based in LA and Santa Cruz.
DE TO LO NGELE
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photo story by BROOKE NASSER
Everything in Los Angeles is upside down. All the stars have fallen from the sky and the dirt sparkles.
os Angeles honey and ht all be so urishing. It e beautiful; s to look it. asymmetricmag.com //
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If the road is a parody of human existence, this is the last day on earth. And at the end is El Sereno, the oldest community, where Los Angeles becomes unexpectedly rural. Everything sort of the same sort of different. I imagine the loneliness of dying in such a young city, nude and unpaved. But there is so much diversity here, so much life in the dirt. Some of us are whispering. Listen.
In the hills, city sounds are muted. Rain falls through metal gutters choking and coughing, a sound like traffic or helicopters or congested restaurants because we gotta make the unfamiliar familiar to exist here. To be calm and rational. To live without chaos. Nature versus nurture in the Age of Technology. And the humming wires scream us to sleep. 44 // A S Y M M E T R I C M A G A Z I N E
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“Art For Sale,” by TERESA CHACON, is from a larger work of fiction To Be Good. The collection is based on a young woman’s journey, navigating her way through tradition that is often times oppressive. She pushes against what is expected of her, challenging cultural and social conditions, while searching for an identity on her own terms, redefining what it means to be good. had survived my first conversation about the artist without dissolving, and the fury that had boiled to the surface was fuel for an aimless drive through the Hollywood hills. There was something obnoxious about the sights in the hills that helped me lose myself when I first moved to the city. I rolled through the tight streets and parked near a makeshift lookout point. I could see the city from my car window, cars like neat soldiers marched to mindless orders. I turned away from the claustrophobic view of this new place I’d longed to call home. There was a veranda just behind me, a crisp white home perched on the hill with a window twice the size of my car. I locked eyes on the elderly man parked in his wheelchair, forced to look, fixed on the sight of this city. I clicked my seat back and tried to put my head between my knees to steady my breathing and wound up banging my head on the steering wheel. It was useless. I whipped my car down through the hills and continued my search for solace. I punched the word cemetery into my navigation system and trusted the results would lead to a place of rest. The sun had bled orange across the horizon as I made my way through the sterile graveyard. I was greeted by gatekeepers in matching black uniforms, and the moment I exited my car, I was given a pamphlet of Sights to See. A jovial man added, “If you scurry, you can make it to the Sunset Tour,” and sent me on my way with a wink. The exchange was unnerving. I flipped through the pamphlet and after reviewing the Filming & Venue Fees listed on the back, I tossed it into one of the elaborate marble trash cans planted throughout the cemetery. I walked for twenty minutes searching for a bench, chasing the last bit of daylight. I gave up and stood watching the sun’s departure, forgiving myself for failing to locate a substitute place of respite. “Hey,” a voice came from up the hill, “yeah you, lady.”
Then one, two, three, four people came at me from all directions. “You’re gonna have to move. We have less than two minutes to shoot here,” one man with black round serial killer sunglasses huffed. “Come on lady. We’re paid up for this sunset spot for the rest of the week. Go park it somewhere else.” He turned and whistled to his crew, circled the air with one finger, then they fell behind cameras at all angles. I sulked back to my car, looking over my shoulder, trying not to find myself, once more, in the way. The sun was gone. No free bench for rest, but the sunset and the dead were available for rent in this town. I drove back to my apartment, looking forward to the quiet comfort of my downtown white-noise. It’s art, I thought. I can’t begrudge the film guys who find beauty in the setting sun, cascading light onto stones and crosses throughout the cemetery. I am no different, paying models to pose, still and unabashed, while I replicate the delicate lines of their bodies. They serve a purpose, like the dead. Art and beauty and the living and the dead, we are all connected. I lay in bed, trying to conjure the image of my forgotten cemetery back home, my dear gentle man, Yorba and the stone bench that connected us. I tried to still the mind and return to that place. My thoughts bounced from home, to the present, and through the din of thought, I found myself returning to the words from the conversation earlier that day. The artist. His Paola. His art. He had managed to maintain his grip, reaching and claiming his piece of my beauty. That night I dreamt that I was the featured piece on display in his gallery, ablaze in lights and sold in a silent auction, never revealing my worth. The following morning I scrolled the words Art is a jealous bitch, black paint across a clean canvas. It was the very last thing I painted. My future in education was the noble path; the artificial beauty of the city was melting fast.
or full series + artist interviews, go to:
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