So this is my final Monday in LA. I leave on Thursday and will have been here for twenty-nine days. It’s been fab, it’s been drab. Below is a general surmise of what I have learned, perceived and experienced while in this bright, fun city called Los Angeles.
Studios – Some are in people’s home, which is afforded here more then NYC as the spaces people live in are larger. The off site studios have been larger in scale then what is average in NYC but there is a similarity in many ways regarding shared spaces and free standing walls of partition. These are also in far off places and in (once) industrial zones. Studio visits tend to last a bit longer, usually 2 hours or so, but that just comes down to the artist. Trying to do three in a day is preets insane via driving but each has been worth it, duh.
Artistic Practice – What is most notably different in LA is that artists seem to have a more generally relaxed pace of making their work. Not that they do not work a lot or produce a lot but it is as if time is stretched, things are slower, chiller, not as pressurized. It seems most artists work daily or many days a week in the studio but there is looseness to it. I don’t know how to express this or to pin point it in definite example of terms but you can just feel it and many artists directly remark on it. This, I think, allows for work to have more breathing room and may possibly have aesthetic results. This keyed back way of working seems healthier and possibly more fruitful.
Driving – I have remarked on this before but yes, one drives a lot in LA. The driving with traffic is just a purgatory on the way to hell sort of feeling but when it is in certain areas, certain times of day it is actually very nice and meditative. One artist described it like the internet in a way. You are moving yet stable and all these signs, surroundings, all else, float by but yet you still absorb it. This has a certain effect that is at times overwhelming but also calming.
Hanging Out – The driving factor also affects the way people hang out. Many people have told me, those that live here, how making friends and meeting people can take a very long time. There is not the constant bumping into that occurs in NYC. On the flip of this though is that when you do meet people, it is a more intense and possibly sincere bond. I have had to accelerate my hanging out level to meet people, much more exertive then it is in NYC, but the results have been rewarding as I feel I have met a handful of people that I hope to continue to be in contact with and wish we lived in the same city. Another contrast of LA vs. NYC in the friend-making sphere is that there are definitely groups. This of course occurs in NYC but here you spend a lot of time at people’s houses and there is an intimacy and a durational feeling to hanging out vs. a chance meeting and the accumulation of small meetings. This makes people more open perhaps but only once you get the invite to the mini fete.
Parties – Similar to the above, parties in LA seem funny. You go to a place, usually a house and it’s a lot calmer in every way. People stay for a long time usually. When you go to a venue of some sort, it’s still much calmer then in NYC. Maybe it’s the whole having to drive everywhere thing that brackets off drinking and other things. Parties here are fun though; people seem to want to talk to others, even if you don’t know them. This is nice but also odd. It’s rude to be rude, something that someone like me has to bend to or break which I have done both of.
Galleries – Galleries here are more stratified then in NYC. There are the big guns, mostly in Culver City, and then there are some mid-tier and then there are upstarts. I am a high/low type of gal and although the big and the little spaces are doing fantastic things the sheer number is a fraction of a fraction of what is in NYC. This is a good thing and a bad thing. The spaces are every which place and sometimes centralized in warehouse like groups. When there is an opening at certain spaces it seems like that is the place everyone will be that evening. The opening is the plan for the night. This is also good and a bit weird. There are croppings of a new type of gallery that may be physically small but seem to have expansive possibility in the rosters they show. Very promising. What is odd is that many artists here don’t seem to show in LA galleries. They have studios and live here but they show elsewhere. This seems like a missed opportunity of sorts as there are many artists right here right now.
Other Things I Loved in LA:
Bowls - veggies and other things in a bowl that is super healthy and filling
Papusas - handmade amaze gooey yum with coleslaw for $1.50-ish
Houses - going into people’s homes is as varied as it is impressive
Flora - this is the city of succulents
Nature - hills, mountains, oceans all day every day
Radio - basically switching between three rap/pop stations all the time, very different vibe of songs played here
Produce - farmers markets everywhere
Time - it is wayyyy slower, in a good way
Weather - always like 75-82 degrees, how can you not be happy all the damn time?
Casual - clothes, dinners, parties, events, everything
Signs - so many, so many that are so good
Vibes - it is so true but Cali posi vibes reverberate even if you wear head to toe black