April 28, 2012
“Artist Baptiste DebomBourg created a site specific installation for an old Benedictine monastery called Brauweiler Abbey near Cologne. The artist had laminate glass shattered and then put into place to mimic the feeling of water rushing into the room.” -Warholian
Click here to see more.
March 7, 2010
LOCAL CELEBRITY: HELENA GULLSTROM
I’m really happy my friend suggested Helena Gullstrom as the next local celebrity. From the moment I met the Swedish Bombshell, I knew we had a lot in common–including our connection with our super cool moms. Helena’s one fun, tough (she once lived in warehouse in Inglewood just so she could do her art), creative, hilarious artist that I’m happy to feature as a local celebrity.
For our interview, I met Helena at her live/work loft in Santa Fe Lofts on Main Street. Her loft, “The Loft”, is such a cool space. She designed the space herself, and even did most of the renovation, including electrical wiring. (What? Who does that? I’m super impressed.) Helena even built a full service hair salon in the space, an art studio, and a living area.
CK: So tell me about your space here. “The Loft” in the Santa Fe Building.
HG: When I first moved in. It was a lot of work. I had construction here for like two months. I put a lot of work into the place. When I first moved here there was not a lot on my street. I was like what am I doing? But all this stuff started happening—all the all the restaurants and bars. And I was like, this was a good time to move here. But things have really changed. I have friends and clients in Beverly Hills and I asked them to come here. And when I first moved here there were a lot of homeless people laying on the street, and when I was giving directions, I was always like, “ just step over the homeless guy in front of the building, take a left and go into the door”. It just cleaned up and got better. It was never that hard to have people come down here.
CK: Why did you move to downtown?
HG: I’ve been on my way to downtown since I’ve first moved here. I’ve been wanting to live in a loft for a long time. I couldn’t afford it. I even lived in a warehouse in Inglewood so I could have a large space to do my art.
CK: Was it scary?
HG: Oh yes. It was a crazy time. It was like camping for a year. I made some good pieces. I wanted to move downtown, but I just couldn’t afford it. I love it down here. It feels European somehow. It’s not just the buildings, but it’s the mixture of people, and there’s no attitude. I love that. Now, if it only smelled better.
CK: Do you think people are more creative downtown?
HG: I don’t know. I like that there’s so many different kinds of people down here. It’s not like in Santa Monica, or Hollywood. Here, you get all these odd people. There so many different types–so many different ages. There’s a little bit of everything and I really that. It doesn’t feel very LA. I used to live in Santa Monica near Montana. There’s that feeling where you almost have to get dressed up to go to the coffee shop.
CK: Where are some of your favorite places to hang out downtown?
HG: Here (laughing) on this very sofa. I have a lot of people coming here. We kind of keep in this area between 4th and 6th on Main because it’s so convenient. I always go to Pete’s, Coles and Varnish. And, I like The Must.
CK: I detect an accent. Where are you from originally? How did you get to LA?
HG: I’m from Sunne, Sweden. It’s a small, little town. If you even want to call it a town in the middle of nowhere. And I came here on vacation to visit a friend of mine, she was living and working here as a nanny. I just thought I would take a month off. I was 20. It wasn’t a plan at all.
CK: What did you do when you first moved out here?
HG: I worked as a hair dresser. I got my license and everything to work here.
CK: How did you get into art? I mean, I know doing hair is an art, also–but how did you get into doing these sculptures and mixed media pieces?
HG: Well, I’ve always done it. Ever since I was 6 years old I was sitting in school drawing hoping to be an artist. It was a childhood dream. I think it takes a lot time to show your art to other people and feel comfortable with it. You’re putting yourself on a canvas for others to judge. It’s so personal. It’s kinda icky to see what people think about it. Everyone’s different. Some people love it, and others…But, you may see other art out there, and then feel that yours is okay.
CK: Did you go to Art School?
HG: Yeah I took classes at Otis. I didn’t get a degree or anything because it was really expensive. But I took the classes with Franklin Liegel. He still works there. And now he’s a good friend of mine.
CK: How did you discover which medium you liked to work in—out of all the mediums, why did you pick….
HG: What I like about art is when you don’t really know what you’re doing. You take something. It’s kind of like playing. You’re discovering. I like that part–trying different materials and see what happens. Mix this with that. I’ve always loved concrete. I love grey. I love metal and different materials.
CK: What inspires you?
HG: everything. It’s so hard to pinpoint. I like stupid phrases–like contradictions. I have this sculpture that’s a trophy wife.
HG (cont): I like dumb ideas like that. Or like “this one would look great over your sofa”.
HG (cont): A lot of art that I do is not something that can fit over a sofa–it’s more portrait. I want to make one that fits over your sofa, so I made that one. I like wordplay–silly stuff. The one with the word urge–I’m doing this series with people from downtown.
CK: So they are all people you met downtown?
CK: So how do you make them? Are those photos?
HG: Yeah. It’s a photo. I then take a cut out, mold in plastic and then press it down into the concrete so it get’s to be like a sunken relief. And when it’s the right time to take it off, I peel it off to get the texture. Then I paint it with pigments, spray paint, oil or acrylic. It’s very labor intensive.
CK: So you take photos?
HG: I love taking photos. I’m not a professional. But, I’m doing a coffee table book with people down here dressed up as bunnies.
CK: Do you make them dress up as bunnies? How did this idea start?
HG: They are mainly friends of mine. They did a photo shoot for a photographer in my loft. We were doing the hair and makeup for that. They accidentally left the bunny ears. I started playing with them and starting taking photos of people in them. I had a big party and started taking photos of lots of people in the bunny ears. So then they thought I was a photographer…and I’m not. But, how can you stop ? If you’re a creative person, you’re going to do all of it. You can’t just stop and say I only do this. You’re going to be creative in other parts of your life. So I started taking a lot of photos of people in bunny ears. Now I have a photo shoot coming up with like 10 people wearing bunny ears.
CK: You should have an exhibit with all the photos.
HG: Yeah, it would be called “Bunnies Behaving Badly”. But, it’s like stupid, silly. I like it.
CK: In your bio on your website, you say you put your subconscious to work when you do art. How do you not censor yourself?
HG: I do. (Laughing). You know somehow someone will look at this and judge you or judge this. And I’m a sensitive being. It’s a struggle. It’s a total struggle. Sometimes when you try just not to censor yourself it can look awful. It’s so hard to be okay with that. But I almost think it’s the whole thing with art. You’re supposed to feel like shit sometimes (laughing). You know what I mean? When I was telling my mom that I was having a tough time….It’s so funny. My mom, if you met her…she’s this cute.Well, she’s not conservative. But, she’s a little mom. And she tells me, “Helena you’re supposed to be fucked up. You’re an artist”.
July 25, 2009
What is Polyvore?
“Polyvore is a free, easy-to-use web-based application for mixing and matching images from anywhere on the web. It is also a vibrant community of creative and stylish people.
Polyvore lets you create sets composed of individual images using an easy to use, drag and drop editor. After you have created a set, you can publish and share it with your friends and the Polyvore community.”
I’ve playing around this site for like an hour now. It was a great find. It’s basically a website where you can create digital collages. Most people use it to create Fashion looks-like you’d seen in a magazine. Others use it for art, and Interior Design Inspiration boards.
The website allows you to search for anything online, and import it into your “set”. For instance, if you type in Gold Chanel bracelet in the search box on the site, it supplies you with a few gold Chanel bracelets that already cropped and ready to use. If you prefer to use your own photo of a gold Chanel bracelet, you can insert that into your set, as well. Once you have inserted an image into the set, you are able to manipulate it by changing the size, flipping it, rotating it, bringing it to the background or foreground. It’s really great–kind of like a simple Illustrator.
Once you complete your set, you can share it with the polyvore site, email it, or post it to your blog. It’s addicting–if you’re any kind of artist.
April 23, 2009
I love, love, love cheese. Most of my favorite meals revolve around cheese. Healthy, I know.
You can imagine how excited I was to find out about the Grilled Cheese Invitational (held right here in Downtown Los Angeles).
“The Grilled Cheese Invitational (GCI) is the largest, craziest, and most exciting Grilled Cheese cooking contest in the country and is the best thing to happen to sliced cheese since sliced bread! The GCI promotes an almost scary pursuit of perfection in a Grilled Cheese Sammich and allows for amateur and professional chefs to compete side-by-side in the hopes of becoming a true Grilled Cheese Champion.
The event was created by Tim Walker in 2003, in a private artist loft in Downtown Los Angeles as a competition between friends. Since then, the Invitational has grown into a national movement dedicated to perfecting the art of grilled cheese, with thousands of cheese fiends and regional competitions across the country.”- http://grilledcheeseinvitational.com/
$5 will get you judging rights!
To the left- Mona Lisa on a Grilled Cheese sandwich. Thanks ebay!