Raleigh Barrett is a vegan Angeleno transplant who has lived in the NoHo Arts District for five years. She certainly won’t be leaving California in the next four years. Raleigh recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a Master of Arts specializing in Linguistic Anthropology. While in Chicago, she worked as the Gallery Assistant at the Renaissance Society. Raleigh is thrilled to be back and blogging for the NoHo Arts District.
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Looked for artist studio in NOHO Arts District
MEDIUMS: acrylic on canvas, new media, sculptural
One of the most curious aspects about Kristine Schomaker’s real life is her second life––literally. Known as Gracie Kendal, an avatar she created to represent herself in a virtual world called Second Life, Kristine has been able to blur the line between virtuality and reality. Before we get to that though, we have to start with Kristine’s beginnings and her inherent love for art and community.
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Andrea Monroe
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Writes "The Hidden Artist"
MEDIUMS: acrylic and mixed media on canvas
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Jennifer Gunlock
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Lives and breaths and “trees” there
MEDIUMS: mixed-media, photography
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Alma Magaña
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Makeup Artist at the Gallery 800 for "Elements of Art and Fashion Show"
MEDIUM: face and body paints
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Erin Stone
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Her former "office" was at Republic of Pie and she has facilitated the creation of murals in and around NOHO
That “place on the other side of the hill,” otherwise known as the San Fernando Valley, has always held a stigma of being uncool or, at worse, the land where porn was born. Thanks to Erin Stone and the rest of her comrades at 11:11, 818 might very well become the new 213 when it comes to the Los Angeles art scene.
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: David Estrada
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Lives there and enjoys late night grilled cheese sandwiches at Sitton's Coffee Shop on Magnolia
THE HIDDEN ARTIST: Janet Lamb
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Lived at 11911 Weddington from 1941-1949
MEDIUMS: Pen and ink, pastels, watercolor
I’m a spiritual person to a certain degree. I practice a metaphysical faith and try to affirm positive reinforcing statements about my life, but I have to admit I fail miserably at simple things like meditating and quieting of the mind. I prefer to say I get my “connection” and inner peace by performing my art. That’s because I believe I’m an expression of something larger than myself. And so it goes with Janet Lamb although she’s tapped into something at a much more sensitive level because she IS a sensitive, often referred to as a medium; someone who uses his or her psychic or intuitive abilities to tune into the spirit energy surrounding a person. Only Janet’s special gift is a constant communication from her heart center that is graciously and generously given to her recipient in the way of a symbolic energy drawing.
MEDIUMS: Acrylic paint on everything
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Board Member and Director of Public Arts Initiative of The Museum of the San Fernando Museum
I sat with Roger on his front porch in one of those stackable plastic chairs you buy at Home Depot. We overlooked his drought-parched lawn where the only green was a long straggly sunflower planted inside a paint bucket. The soft accent of climbing ivy clung to the wall behind us. Having met Roger on several occasions in the past, I knew he was a laid back sort of guy. But that late afternoon he seemed a little tired. And who wouldn’t be after working almost every day of the week for the last couple of months on a park project with a bunch of high school kids?
You see Roger is all about kids, artists, and community. He’s the roundup guy who brings together San Fernando Valley’s business owners and residents with public art. He started PAI (Public Art Initiative) after he hooked up with The Museum of the San Fernando Valley via Scott Sterling, an old school buddy and the museum’s current president. Since then Roger has coordinated several art related activities into community events in Northridge, Reseda, and Canoga Park as well as bid many mural and beautification projects around the valley including one for the Department of Transportation in North Hollywood. Roger’s most current project has he and his art colleague, Emily Goff, overseeing the design and installment of several hand painted tiled columns in Maryland Park, a once deserted lot in Glendale, with Daily High School sixteen and seventeen-year-old students. He couldn’t tell me enough about how pleased he is to work with these kids’ raw energy and vision; admitting he learns from them all the time.
While I was with him, I was able to get a quick mini tour of Roger’s art studio located in a guesthouse in back of his home. We maneuvered our way along a wall of wooden pallets being saved for a future art project and across an overgrowth of weeds and a low pile of broken concrete. In the middle of the yard lay materials for a shower room install; a mosaic of broken tiles; much like what he did to his kitchen counters inside his house. We then stepped into the place where his 2-D dreams are made. I’d been deceived by how small the building looked from the outside because inside he had built a long rectangular storage area in which the outside walls served as “practice” areas for his on-going mural projects. They’d been well painted over again and again, almost as if to look like large pieces of abstract art themselves. After seeing this, there was no doubt in my mind that this guy is damn serious about his public art. A great example of his work can be viewed on an exterior cement staircase on Figueroa (just south of the 134) in Eagle Rock where he painted his controversial Tai Chi mural. I have to admit I’d driven past it several times, never realizing I actually knew who did it! (Click here for more images)
Finally, I asked Roger about his personal art; work that seems to hover in the world of realism. I’ve often wondered why artists draw or paint themselves so I asked him about his self-portraits. Roger said, for the most part, it’s an exercise––like doodling. Choosing a subject such as him self makes it convenient to study someone without interruptions. For instance, he never has to worry about anybody’s “sitting” time limits or comfort levels. And his finished portrait doesn’t come without surprises either––like discovering a set of scrunched worry lines between the brows of the very focused Roger Dolin, a man dedicated to bringing art and community together.
Footnote: You may keep an eye on Roger and the kid’s progress at Maryland Park by visiting his Facebook page. Also, The Museum of the San Fernando Valley gives walking tours of historic buildings in NOHO. Information about these can be found on the NOHO Arts District or The Museum of San Fernando Valley's websites.