May 22, 2011
“We love it Downtown! Anything goes…,” one of my 23-year-old friends told me yesterday.
Earlier in the day, she posted on Facebook that she was going to be Downtown. I texted her, and it turns out she was in the city for the Red Bull Soapbox Race. We made plans to meet up at Angel City Brewery in the Arts District. I was excited to go, as I had never been–and it’s been open for over a month now. I once considered myself to be a sort of connoisseur of all things AD. I’ve lived here for about six years now, and I’ve seen this place change….grow into a real destination.
At night, the streets were once empty–looking like a city set. The AD is often used for filming–especially for creepy murder scenes on CSI. But now, the streets are rarely vacant. People come from all over–even the West Side (like my friend) to experience the art, energy and amazing food/drink DTLA has to offer-especially the Arts District.
I once had more time to explore my neighborhood But now, I’m so consumed with work, that I don’t have as much time for downtown adventures. I’d like to bring back my “Local Celebrity” posts. I’ve been planning an interview with Joseph Pitruzzelli (co-owner) of Wurstkuche (and basically, like,the mayor of the AD) for like a year now. It will happen eventually–I promise.
Sorry for the tangent; my point being that I’m kinda upset I haven’t been to Angel City Brewery earlier. It’s just down the street from Wurstkuche and has lots of free (yes, free!) parking.
At 27,000 sq ft, the place is huge. Apparently, the building was once a cable factory (the kind of cables that go on big bridges). The space is really industrial, which I adore.
Angel City is open Thursday-Sunday (see website for details). They don’t sell food, just yummy, locally-brewed beer. The beer is only $5 for a pint of one of the four selections on tap.
You can get food from food-trucks that park outside the building. The space hosts music and art events.
Right now there is a Street Art exhibit going on in conjunction with the MOCA exhibit. Becca and Saber are some of the artists who have pieces for sale in the gallery. Actually, the whole space is like a gallery (see photos above). And, there’s a giant slide.
You’re not supposed to climb up or down the slide–but I think they should open it up and make it a centerpiece attraction- like Trail Dust Steakhouse in Denver (I’ll never forget that old slide).
I mean the whole operational slide would fit perfectly into my description of Angel City Brewery. The only way I can describe the place is like an indoor park. It’s so spacious, and there’s picnic tables for seating. You can even bring your own picnic dinner. They should add some see-saws and monkey bars. It would be perfect! I mean, it’s Downtown–where anything goes, right?
February 10, 2010
You probably know Anna Lynett as this season’s humble hottie on Project Runway.
Yes, she is adorable–just like her designs. But, she is also incredibly intelligent and very well-spoken. Although she often appears as the quiet one on Season 7′s Project Runway, she has a lot to say about Art, Fashion, and Downtown Los Angeles.
With a BFA in Printmaking from prestigious RISD, Anna didn’t think about Fashion Design until recently. See Tim Gunn’s initial reaction to her work at a casting session for Project Runway here.
How did the 23 year-old, self-taught fashion designer end up in Downtown Los Angeles? Thanks to our recent interview, I was able to get to know another side of Anna and find out some of her favorite local hot spots. CK: Did you always know you wanted to be in Fashion? You have a degree in printmaking, how did you get from printmaking to fashion? Are there any similarities?
AL: Where other people see my work as compartmentalized by material, I see continuity across media. My prints are about light relationships, subtlety in form and opaque material combinations. I would describe the garments the same way. Whereas references in the works on paper are to landscape, abstracted movement and ancient and vintage forms, the clothing references uniforms, and the kind of clothing I imagine in classic American literature. Present in both is an attention to subtlety and a love of archaic formation. I arrived at printing and garment design out of necessity.
CK: Do you combine printmaking/art with fashion?
AL: I am working on a project that translates envelope liner patterns to fabric through screen print, a few of the initial garments are on my website. [My boyfriend] Brian and I are working on a luggage line that references air traffic in LA. We have been known to spend time on our roof watching all the helicopters and planes that rule the LA skies and have channeled our obsession with that kind of surveillance into a surface pattern for tote bags. Being able to control the surface treatment of fabrics is just another level of specificity that helps my work.
CK: How would you describe your personal style? Is it the same style as your designs?
AL: Because I began making clothes out of a desire to complete my personal wardrobe with pieces that are unique, there is a lot of overlap. For this reason, I have to be careful to maintain a critical distance from the garments I make. I think designing clothes that please my taste should be a starting point, not an ending point. In a way, raw design decisions that are based on taste preferences are necessary for the work to have a certain purity.
CK: What are your favorite current trends?
AL: I like the recent movement toward androgynous clothing. It’s so sexy.
CK: What inspires you?
AL: I’m inspired by contemporary art, I suppose that was my first creative love. I imagined my employment in LA would take the form of Gallery Assistant, but I’m so glad I get the opportunity to work with my hands every day at Gemini G.E.L. There is something very powerful to me about taking disparate raw materials and being the catalyst for their combination into a print or dress. It is power to fill a void in the world where I think a drawing or garment should be.
CK: Why did you move to Los Angeles?
AL: A year and a half ago my boyfriend, Brian, and I were graduating from RISD and growing tired of the East Coast. We are both from the Midwest but we packed a VW Golf with everything we owned and drove right past it. We didn’t stop until we arrived in LA!
CK: Why did you move to the Arts District in DTLA, particularly?
AL: One of Brian’s friends from school was living in a big warehouse on 6th street and offered to let us live with him. We arrived to find our “room” was a 10 x 10 foot platform on wheels in the middle of a huge space. The price was right and seemed central to various job opportunities we were seeking, plus a good portion of the loft was a shop for Brian to work on furniture pieces. The first thing I sewed in LA was a set of curtain walls for our cabana bedroom.CK: Where are some of your favorite DTLA hot spots?
AL: We end up at Wurstkuche embarrassingly often. We are regulars at the Church and State bar, as well, and at 7 Grand. And when my Japanese half craves sushi, we make our way to Hama sushi on 2nd street. I could be spotted at the American Apparel Factory Store and love an afternoon at MOCA or the Central Library. Oh I just discovered The Last Bookstore in LA and will frequent their shelves, and Brian is an architect so we’ve been known to sneak into Sci Arc and reminisce about our days in the academic sphere. I was in love with Apartment 3 when it was on Industrial Street. Kristin Knauff, owner, was the one who encouraged me to apply for Project Runway.
CK: On Project Runway, you spent time in NYC, what are the similarities and/or differences between NYC and LA?
AL: There is definitely a difference in pace. Something about the speed of NY is really exciting and was great for the show, but I think that same intensity can be overwhelming. LA provides the opportunity to have an ambitious lifestyle but the city doesn’t bombard you when you walk out the door.
CK: Did you get any sleep on Project Runway? What did you guys do on your off time?
AL: There wasn’t a lot of time for anything besides work!
CK:What did you learn from Project Runway?
AL: Well, I learned how to be tough in the face of all levels of scrutiny and how to adapt to kinds of stress that I’d never dreamed of. In my daily life there are no cameras waking me up at the crack of dawn or stern critics exposing all my “loose ends”. Project Runway reinforced for me that most experiences are best approached with a sense of humor. And that good and bad garments come into and out of this world but no single piece trumps the importance of the ability to continue moving forward.
CK: What advice do you have for young people who want to get into fashion?
AL: The act of making is the most indispensable way to learn and there are lessons in all those mistakes if you are humble enough to listen and watch carefully. I think many artists and designers get hung up on the function of work, like, why would I make this dress, who is it for? That series of questions helps us form our creative identity but can be the reason that creation stops altogether, and that’s a sad thing. The act of making, and perpetuating that ritual, is supremely important.
Be sure and check out Anna’s personal website here for more info and photos. Special thanks to Anna for providing all photos, and sketches. I’d also like to thank Megan Tantillo at Lifetime.
*Photo Credit (Anna downtown) Brian Hildebrand
January 17, 2010
” I don’t try to look like an artist”, says local celebrity, Lisa Solberg. ” I feel like my image is so opposite my work. Anytime someone comes for a studio visit, and hasn’t seen me, or hasn’t seen my work, seeing the two together is a huge shocker. I look more like a socialite…maybe, at times. But, I am who I am. I’m an artist.”
Solberg’s success started at a young age. Although her love of art started when she was a child, she was also an outstanding gymnast(until she grew too tall at the age of 11), and a professional skier in college(after skiing for less than a year). Now, she sells her paintings to collectors all over the world and has been featured in national magazines like Nylon.
Solberg lives in a loft in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles.
CK: So why did you move to Downtown Los Angeles?
LS: I was looking at spaces all over. I came and looked at the space moments before I got on my flight back to Chicago. I pretty much signed the lease right then. I felt like what I would be getting here is like a New York within LA. So, it really spoke to me in that respect. I loved everything about the neighborhood. I love any sort of industrial area because there’s always the potential for growth. I like the vibe of it.
CK: Does the industrial landscape inspire your art work?
LS: I feel like my inspiration used to be more direct, because I would travel and come back and paint. I have countless sketch books that are very elaborate, packed and layered with things that I see. There’s drawings in there that would take half a day. But now, the traveling has subsided a little bit, temporarily, because I always feel so inspired just being here. I don’t feel as much of a need to be going away. My inspiration, when I feel it, is basically bursts of energy. I guess it’s inherent and subconscious. Now I almost have to travel to not be inspired. It’s like the roles have reversed a little bit.
CK: Why do you paint in such large scale?
LS: When I was traveling, I lived in Munich for a while. I was mentored by one of the forefathers of graffiti. His name is LOOMIT . He kinda took me under his wing. Well he’s like this older guy, and he hooked me up with spray cans, and taught me technique, and got me commissioned to do a few big walls in Munich around the World Cup time. I’ve never really been interested in doing actually graffiti. But, it got me working large scale. Now, I feel restricted, first and foremost on a small canvas. I am capable of doing a small canvas, but on small canvases, I see realistic paintings. Large canvases give me so much space to really express what I’m feeling.
CK: How do you start a piece?
LS: I feel like everything comes out of scribbles for me now. When I was in a class in High School, one of my teachers used to tell us in writing session that if we didn’t know what to write, keep writing,’I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write.’ After doing that for a while, eventually something would come up. That’s how I view things now. I always start out with a somewhat express or meditative movement scribbles, and that sort of forms somewhat of a composition. Whether or not that initial composition stays, it still kind declares the mood and tone of the piece.
CK: Do you ever throw a painting away? Or do you just work over it?
LS: I’ve never thrown a painting away. I have worked over a few. For some reason, I always sell those ones right away. People don’t know that it used to be another painting. I did a painting of Vincent Gallo as a vampire. Everyone loved it, but no one bought it. It had such a weird energy. It really spoke to people, but no one really wanted to own it. And so I painted over it. And it sold within two days. It’s kinda funny.
CK: What mediums do you use in your work?
LS: I use everything…a lot of house paint. I use acrylic, oil, china markers, oil markers. I use spray paint for patches of color. I have experimented with bleach.
CK: Do you have a favorite painting?
LS: Yeah, I think right now it’s Land Red Down. It’s my first painting where I’m using this sort of invisible waterfall-splotches of color mixed with oil and markers to blend. The movement from top right to bottom left is reminiscent of a waterfall or a willow tree. It kind of just came naturally. It got me on this whole tangent on working with that sort of movement. I filmed this one. I think it’s really important for people to see my process–especially for the style, which is somewhat abstract expressionism. A lot of people are like, I could do this, or my kids could do this. But there’s a lot more that goes into it. And it really connects people to it when they can see the process. (Click on Video below to watch creation of Land Red Down)
CK: When you’re not working, where do you hang out downtown?
LS: Wurstkuche. I’m a vegetarian, I always get Veggie Italian Sausage. The over all vibe of that place is amazing. It kind of runs parallel with the vibe of this neighborhood…It’s understated but really cool. It’s not necessarily trying to be anything that it’s not naturally. I love it for that reason. It’s really drawing an interesting crowd. Not one specific kind of person goes there. Everyone goes there and everyone enjoys it in the same way. And the communal seating is great.
CK: Anywhere else?
CK: So what’s next for you?
LS: I just did an interview with Elle magazine. And I was asked to donate one of my pieces to The Art of Elysium Gala, which is exciting. I’m talking with Red Bull. I’ve always wanted to something with them.They have funding for high profile events and I personally really enjoy and thrive off of doing live art events (where I paint). That’s a special niche. I’ve done it a few times–including for a hotel opening in West Hollywood. I thrive off of people watching me. I like feeling people’s energy while I paint. I go crazy off of that. I really love it.
For more info on Solberg,and to see more of her work, check out her website here.
December 3, 2009
My neighbor, artist Lisa Solberg, sent me the information about the Arts District Open Studio tour this weekend, as her studio is one of the stops on the self-guided circuit.
ARTS DISTRICT OPEN STUDIO TOUR
Saturday, December 5th
Downtown Los Angeles Arts District
Holiday Limousine shuttle service
WRAP AFTERPARTY @: EAST 3RD STEAKHOUSE from 7pm to 2pm hosted by Edgar Varela and Jerico.
“On December 5th, the TRUE Downtown Arts District will open the doors of cafés, galleries, performance venues, and 40 studios (and counting) in the first of a new Open Studio Tour series.
Since Bohemian squatters were followed by controversial city zoning in 1981, this turn of the century industrial neighborhood has had everything from crack dens to half-empty high-rises confusing its reputation within the city.
Regardless of public opinion (or awareness), artists, designers, architects, writers, and performers new and old have continued to make extensive and impressive work in the area. The December event is part holiday season Art Walk, part cultural reminder that the post-industrial downtown never stopped producing. The district also hosts internationally well-known graffiti walls that draw many visitors on a daily basis.
The self-guided tour will include lofts (821 Traction Ave; the Toy Factory and more), private galleries as EVFA Gallery, Tarryn & Theresa Gallery and ADC Gallery and many of the areas well-known restaurants as Metropol, Zip Fusion, e3rd and Wurstkuche. Bordered by Alameda on the west, the Los Angeles River on the east, Temple on the North and 7th Street on the South, the parameters are contiguous enough that a shuttle will make rounds on the quarter-hour.”
LOFTS AND STUDIOS PARTICIPATING: Traction Avenue Lofts (traction Avenue), Neptune Building (E. 3rd Street), Art Share LA (with group exhibition, holiday Bazaar and children performances 1pm and 5pm, Crazy Gideon store front (Traction Ave), Café Metropol (3rd Street) , 900 Building (1st/Vignes), River Front Loft (Santa Fe Ave), Toy Warehouse Loft (Santa Fe Ave), Barker Block, Toy Factory Lofts – Daniel Lahoda Fine Arts – Biscuit Lofts – 1820 Studios – LACE building (Industrial Street), Factory Place Lofts (Factory Place), EVFA (on Alameda, Seaton Street Lofts (Seaton Street)
Here are all the participants.
A – TRACTION AND 3RD STREET:
Arts Share LA – http://www.artsharela.org – 213. 687. 4278
Gallery and Holiday Boutique Bazaar:
Qathryn Brehm – holiday bazaar -www.qathryn.com -310. 365. 6460
Sia Aryai – photography – http://www.fotonostalgia .com -
Paul Batou – paintings – http://www.paulbatou.com
Gaia Bracco -www.myspace.com/gaiapaintings,
Jessica Shokrian – photography, other – jessicashokrian.com
Kris Cahill – paintings – http://www.kriscahill.com-
Suzi Moon – paintings, other – http://www.suzimoon.net
Rick Mendoza – photography – rickmendoza.com – 26. 975. 0784 – email@example.com
Luisa Lorona – handmade journals, jewelry, other
Mark Walker – evolve – http://www.evolvelifewear.com – 917. 721. 7766
Christopher A. Como – http://www.christopheralancomo.blogspot.com
Lola Escarpita – http://www.lolaescarpita.com
Celeste Pronce – http://www.celesteprince.com
D – 821 Traction Loft:
Milo Sill – #105 – Mixed media -213. 626. 3662
Robert Reynolds – # 101 – Sculptures -www.roberthreynolds.com -323. 599. 8485
Kim Abeles & Ken – # 110 – Installation, Sculpture, Photography – http://www.kimabeles.com -213.604.1972
Roger East – # 104 – mixed media -www.rogereastartist.com -818. 414. 4166
E – 837 Traction Loft:
—————————————————Robin De Vick – #204 – painted fabric / furniture -firstname.lastname@example.org -213. 596. 1705
Jeremy Quinn / Michele Jaquis- Rise Industries – #307
- video, installation,. sound, works on paper
wwwjeremyjquinn.net -www.makemusicmike.com – http://www.riseindustries.org
Sia Arayi – # 310 – photography. editions-www.fotonostalgia.com – email@example.com 213. 617. 9001
B – 810 East 3rd Loft unit 45 – off Traction ave:
—————————————————David Hollen – Sculpture -www.hollenart.com – 213. 617. 1007
Emmeric James Konrad – live painting – firstname.lastname@example.org – 213. 925. 8934
F – Neptune Building – 710 E. 3rd Street:
—————————————————Rick Robinson collection -# 320 – on facebook – email@example.com -
Mac Donald Media offices -213. 680. 3094
Restaurants (at 3rd and Traction):
—————————————————1 – Ay Caramba – 714 Traction Ave.- Mexican Cuisine
2 – Cafe Metropol – 923 E. 3rd – Restaurant / Wine Bar – Jessica Photography and candles
http://www.cafemetropol.com – 213. 613. 1537
3 – East 3rd Steakhouse – 734 E. 3rd – eastern fusion cuisine -www.eastthird.com -213.820.1414
4 – Novel Cafe – Traction Ave. – Jerico Woggon – Paintings – http://www.cherrymeltdown.com
5 – Wurstkuche – Traction Ave. – sausage and beer
G – 1ST / 900 AND ST. FE:
—————————————————900 E. 1st street -Building:
Oloyga – # 305 – GOUP SHOW:
I – River Front lofts – 201 S. Santa Fe Ave.:
—————————————————Sharon Weinraub: – #307 – Textile design – firstname.lastname@example.org – 213. 392. 0332
J – Toy Warehouse Loft – 215 S. Santa Fe Ave.:
—————————————————Valerie Mitchell – #8 – jewelry, wearable objects of art – http://www.valeriemitchell.com – email@example.com – 213. 687. 3987
K – BARKER BLOCK – 451 S. Hewitt Street:
7 – Cleveland Art – Furniture and other loft items – clevelandart.com
L – BISCUIT / TOY FACTORY/ 1855 INDUSTRIAL Str.:
Toy Factory Loft:
Jim and Ruth Stern – # 414 -Watercolor, Urban Landscapes, Mixed Media – firstname.lastname@example.org – 323. 654. 3487
Daniel Lahoda Fine Arts – # 104 -Gallery- wwwjetsetgraffiti.com -213.415.1826 – email@example.com
Be love yoga – # 10 – Yoga studio – http://www.beloveyoga.com – 310. 266. 8348
9 – ROYAL CLAYTON’S ENGLISH PUB: – british pub food – http://www.royalclaytonsenglishpub.com – 213. 622. 0512
Tarryn Theresa – #230 – Gallery – http://www.tarrynteresagallery.com – 213. 627. 5100
Jerry Weems – # 217 – firstname.lastname@example.org – 951. 212. 2367
John Papapavlos – #112 – email@example.com – 323. 363. 5138
Peri Shefik – lamps – firstname.lastname@example.org
P – FACTORY PLACE LOFTS – 1308 Factory Place:
Karen Fiorte – #111 – Printmaking – http://www.karenfiorto.com – 310. 868. 6058 -
Ramorley Photography – #213 -www.ramorley.com – email@example.com – 310. 435. 3817
Anton Godard – #406 – acrylic paintings – firstname.lastname@example.org – 213. 304. 7787
Donna Louise Serone – #406 – email@example.com – 626. 399. 2323
Art Jordan – #306 -abstract monotypes, photography – firstname.lastname@example.org – 213. 624. 6201
Michael Russek – #201 and 003 – http://www.1028designs.com – mike @10128designs.com – 310. 956. 5394
Lana Shuttleworth – # 001 – sculptural paintings – http://www.shuttleworth.us – 213. 505. 1749
Nancy Kay Turner – # 010 – mixed media, paper, canvas, – http://www.nancykayturner.com – 626. 755. 7298
O – 6th Street Lofts:
1259 E. 6TH STREET:
Johnny Cubert White – C- loft – photography – email@example.com -213.793. 1752
Gustavo Alberto – C loft – painting – gustoLA@hotmail.com – 310. 384. 9926
Heather Lembcke, Caroline Maxwell, Kevin Bentz
- B loft – http://www.heatherlembcke.com – 858. 382. 7105
1247 E. 6TH STREET:
DAP – Mark Walsh- sculptures/ metal – firstname.lastname@example.org – 213. 620. 8599
Q – 542 S. ALAMEDA, 2nd floor / entrance Palmetto:
EVFA – Gallery -www.evfa.com -
Show: New Works by Tommy Mose Abbott
R – 454 Seaton Street:
David Coldwell – #3 – Paintings – 213. 999. 7140
For more information, contact Lilli Muller at email@example.com or visit the facebook site.
May 3, 2009
Last night I attended a birthday party in my building.
Lately, I’ve been working so much that I haven’t had time to socialize or hang out with my neighbors. I live in a building full of artists, designers, writers, architects, entertainment professionals and other creative people, and it was really fun to spend time with them.
The guy who hosted the party has an amazing loft. I took a lot of photos, but I don’t want to invade his privacy by posting photos of his art work and furniture. The design of this loft was amazing-it provided a perfect place to have a party.
I’m constantly taking photos, and I took a lot at this party. During my mini-shoot, a guy came up to me and tried to be part of the photo I was taking. I put my camera (iphone) down. He said, “What? Am I not good enough to be in your photo?” I told him that I was only taking photos of inanimate objects. So right then he grabbed a lemon from the bar and he said, “Okay, let’s take a photo of this lemon”. I was so excited someone wanted to collaborate on my photography project for the evening.
We started shooting this lemon is all different parts of the loft. I kind of directed the whole shoot, but he was telling me where to place the camera and where the best light was. I kept on telling him that I didn’t like the angels and I chose my own point of view. We kind of went back and forth about where the lemon looked best. After twenty minutes of bickering I asked him if he was some kind of artist. He said, “I’m a professional photographer”.
And with that–here are some (non-intrusive) photos from the party. The top two are lemon photos. The photo of him holding the lemon with a tattoo that says “doom” was my idea. His idea was the lemon on the skateboard. I shot all the photos. (Note-the iphone does not take the best photos when it’s dark).
PS: Next time I go Wurstküche, I’m having the chicken/turkey mango jalapeno sausage.
April 11, 2009
A few nights ago, I found myself at Wurstküche. It’s one of my favorite new places downtown. And, it’s one of those places I bring everyone.
I’m not really a hot dog and beer kinda girl, but let me tell you, a sun-dried tomato mozzarella turkey sausage and a glass of Chimay does hit the spot.
I met the owner of Wurstküche at a downtown speakeasy, long before the restaurant was open. The 27-year-old (Joseph Pitruzzelli) told me he was an interior designer and opening a restaurant downtown. When he told me it was a sausage place that had this name that I could not pronounce, I really didn’t see the potential. (Now I know it means “Sausage Kitchen” in German).
I’m blown away by what Joe created. Not only is he co-owner of the restaurant, he also designed it. He is a great designer and some of his other work can be found here : http://www.triphora.com
The design of Wurstküche is very simple and understated. I don’t think Joe knew how popular his restaurant would become. The front door leads to a space where you order your sausage, fries and beer. There is a case with all the different sausages. Because this joint has become so popular, the little room can not hold all the people waiting to order their meals. There has been a 15-20 minute line everytime I’ve been. There is only one register, and I think they could use another one.
After you order your gourmet sausage, fries (that come with the most amazing dipping sauces) and beer ( tons of imported beer on tap), you take a number and head to the back room. This room serves as the eating area. There are a few small tables, but mostly long community tables. There is also another bar. Sometimes you even have to wait to find a place to sit down because the place is so busy.
Wurstküche’s food, design and atmosphere really make you feel like you’re in Europe.
There’s tons of sausages to choose from including regular brawtwurst, gourmet turkey and chicken, vegetarian and even exotic like rattlesnake and rabbit, alligator, and buffalo.
This cool, artsy, new place to eat has become a destination. People from all over Los Angeles find themselves in the Arts District just to get some sausage.
For more info: