Spike Dolomite is an artist, cartoonist, writer, arts education activist, and health care reform advocate. She is a regularly featured cartoonist on NoHoArtsDistrict.com, and has a published book of cartoons, - "ART by Spike Dolomite" which can be purchased at a number of arts centers in the Valley or online. She founded and runs a nonprofit organization thirteen years ago, Arts in Education Aid Council, to restore the arts to public schools of the San Fernando Valley. She became politically active after her first child was born eighteen years ago, and has become even more active after finding herself with Stage 3 breast cancer while temporarily uninsured in November 2011. Saved by the Affordable Care Act (â€œObamacareâ€), Spike has become a proponent of health care reform out of gratitude. â€œLeft Turn in NoHoâ€ is her new liberal political blog. As the Republicans get crazier and more medieval, Spike gets more outspoken and more liberal. To see some of her paintings and cartoons, visit her website, www.spikedolomite.com. For more information on her arts education nonprofit, visit www.aieac.org. To read her health care blog, â€œHealth Hazardsâ€, visit www.highdeductibles.blogspot.com. Get one new ART cartoon a day by liking ART by Spike Dolomite on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @SpikeArt.
Don’t Call Her Larry - I met Lawrence Lebo, one of the country’s greatest living blues singers according to LA Weekly, on Nextdoor, the new social media site that is just for neighbors (www.nextdoor.com). She responded to a post that the Reseda Neighborhood Council made about local restaurants featuring live music or art shows on the 25th of the month. She introduced herself via e-mail and we agreed to meet for coffee at the Starbucks in between both of our houses a block away (how often does that happen in LA?)
A year ago, the Reseda Neighborhood Council started making plans with Continental Art Supplies to curate an art show in Continental’s Education Room with Reseda as the theme. The original idea was to put a call out to artists of the Valley, inviting them to submit works about Reseda. Since Reseda hasn’t had much of a reputation for being anything more than a city that people pass through on their way to get to somewhere else, I thought it would be a great idea to create an arts event that sounded trendy, exclusive and ironic. So “Reseda” was it. We went so far as to create a “list” (kind of like Studio 54) so people would wonder and want to get their name on it.
Artists of every discipline are notorious for being lousy self promoters. Whether it’s because they’re overly right brained, rebellious to the expectation that they be smart business people in order to succeed, or just lazy, whatever the reason, it’s not enough to be unbelievably talented and prolific. If nobody ever hears or sees you, you won’t stand a chance of being able to make a living as an artist, musician, actor, writer, or whatever. You have to make the time to cultivate some business sense.
We in the NoHo Arts District are proud to have known Spike Dolomite for years, and she is a regular arts and advocacy contributor to www.nohoartsdistrict.com. Above all, she is a champion of the arts in the Valley. So when we found out she was participating in Fun A Day, our team had to know more, and more importantly, we had to see what she was doing about it. Get ready, NoHo, and meet Spike, our “Pissed Off Art Mom of the Valley.”
What is Fun A Day?
Fun A Day started on the east coast about 10 years ago by artists who wanted to keep themselves stimulated and productive during the bleakest month of the year – January. The idea is to pick a project to work on every day during the month and have fun doing it. Then, at the end of the month, everybody who participated gets together to install their own work in a temporary space for a group, pop up show. Anybody can participate – visual artists, musicians, poets, performance artists, photographers, bakers, jewelry designers, young or old, professional or amateur. It has been making its way across the country. This is the first year that Los Angeles will be participating and Reseda is hosting. Chloe Cumbow is producing Fun A Day Reseda. She is rather new to Reseda, having moved here from Rhode Island. She produced it there for several years. A local business owner, Natalie Haim of H & M Appliances on Sherman Way, has donated an empty commercial space around the corner from H & M that she owns for our show. The show will be on February 28 and March 1.
What are you doing for Fun A Day?
I am having fun with my 11 year old daughter creating hearts to go along with the Reseda Neighborhood Council’s “I Heart Reseda” campaign that is so popular right now. People are loving on Reseda right these days! Our idea is to make various hearts and then place them throughout Reseda in various settings to give people that good heart filled Reseda feeling whenever they come across our hearts. So far we have made a giant metallic mosaic heart that we put on the front of Councilman Bob Blumenfield’s sign in front of his district office in Reseda, a big “2014” sign with the 0 a painted heart and the rest of the numbers filled in with glued buttons. We put that over the LA River on January 1 on Sherman Way. Sophie sewed a heart pillow that we hung on a tree outside of the Chairman of the Reseda Neighborhood Council’s house (Kevin Taylor). One side said “Reseda” and other side said, “Fun”. We made a cardboard box full of cardboard 3d hearts that spilled out of the box onto the sidewalk with caution tape around it. A shop keeper came out and asked us what we were doing. We said, “It’s art”. That was funny because the poor shop keeper didn’t want to come across as not being hip so we did what we could to make her feel hip to art. We’re going to yarn bomb a tree with crochet hearts next week. Keith Haring inspired hearts have appeared on street corners, on white tshirts hanging on hangers from utility poles, on tiles spread on sidewalks, and on cardboard signs, some with messages that read, “Put a bookstore here”, “Put an art gallery here”, “Put live music here”, “Put a cool café here”. We tried to be anonymous, like Banksy, but some people have us figured out. What’s fun about the Keith Haring inspired hearts is that we’re painting them in our garage and putting them around town just like Keith did around NYC in the 80s before he got famous. We get to feel what I imagine Keith Haring felt when he did his chalk drawings around NYC – it’s a lot of FUN!!!!!
What is your Vision for an arts-filled Valley?
I am a proud resident of the San Fernando Valley – well known for being the Pissed Off Art Mom of the Valley. I have spent the past 15 years championing arts education through the nonprofit that I started, Arts in Education Aid Council, getting the arts into Valley schools, and challenging the status quo as to what a quality public education really means (kids need the arts so they can challenge the status quo, think outside of the box, exercise their rights as free citizens, and express themselves freely). Our office was in Canoga Park for several years where we participated in community arts partnerships in the West Valley. The NoHo Arts District is our theatre arts district and it continues to grow. Pacoima is getting well deserved public attention for its murals. And Reseda is experiencing a renaissance right now where the arts are playing a vital role in bringing Reseda back through the arts. This is an exciting time for the Valley right now, but it’s nothing compared to what we’ll be seeing in the next 1-5 years. People are going to be traveling in the other direction to experience a thriving art scene. Over the past few years I have had people get all snotty with me, wanting to know why they couldn’t participate in exclusive events that were designed just for Valley artists, etc. I’ve even had people lie about where they live in order to get in on some of the events that I have produced over the years. It’s bugged me that people have lied, but it’s an indication that people don’t think of the Valley as being void of culture like they used to. It won’t be long when people will need to ask, “Which direction?”, when someone says they’re going over the hill for a night on the town. As the Pissed Off Art Mom of the Valley, I must confess, I’m gonna LOVE IT.
Spike Dolomite is an artist, cartoonist, writer, arts education activist, and health care reform advocate. She is a regularly featured cartoonist on NoHoArtsDistrict.com, and has a published book of cartoons, “ART by Spike Dolomite” which can be purchased at a number of arts centers in the Valley or online. She founded and runs a nonprofit organization thirteen years ago, Arts in Education Aid Council, to restore the arts to public schools of the San Fernando Valley. She became politically active after her first child was born eighteen years ago, and has become even more active after finding herself with Stage 3 breast cancer while temporarily uninsured in November 2011. Saved by the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), Spike has become a proponent of health care reform out of gratitude. “Left Turn in NoHo” is her new liberal political blog. As the Republicans get crazier and more medieval, Spike gets more outspoken and more liberal. To see some of her paintings and cartoons, visit her website, www.spikedolomite.com. For more information on her arts education nonprofit, visit www.aieac.org. To read her health care blog, “Health Hazards”, visit www.highdeductibles.blogspot.com. Get one new ART cartoon a day by liking ART by Spike Dolomite on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @SpikeArt.
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood's NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com.
Like us on Facebook!