LA Art Shows

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.

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I just went to Gallery 800's exhibit " Still Life" which features a collection of works by Evans Webb. What makes this exhibit extremely timely is the fact that Evans lost his fight with cancer on March 2, 2014. Evans Webb, a tireless and dedicated proponent of the Art Directors Guild Local 800, was an extremely talented artist and a man that cared about his fellow union members and a good friend of mine.

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014 03:01

Latest NOHO Mural is finished!

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NoHo Mural Project - Mural by Levi Ponce

“As a white candle in a holy place, so is the beauty of an aged face.” - Joseph Campbell (Gaelic name Seosamh MacCathmhaoil), Irish poet.

Robin HartThese wise words were the inspiration behind photographer Robin Hart’s newest exhibit, “The Wisdom of Wabi-Sabi,” now open at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony Apartments, a Los Angeles senior apartment community centered around the arts. This wonderful new exhibit will be on display now through March 3, 2014, and is free to the public.

Thursday, 16 January 2014 04:03

Review of Three Artists You Should Know

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The Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) Gallery 800 debuted their 2014 Season with Three Artists You Should Know which opened on January 11th with a hosted reception. Gallery 800 showcases guild members’ personal art in a series of shows throughout the year. The January 11 reception featured personal works from Production Designer/Art Director Al Brenner, Scenic Designer Chris Coakley and Graphic Designer/Illustrator Pierre Bernard, Jr. The exhibit will be on display now through February 15, 2014.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:11

An Interview with Toria Brightside - Photographer

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I had the chance to talk to the lovely Toria Brightside. At such a young age she has achieved so much, running fashion shows for charity, being featured in fashion magazines as big as Vogue, all while studying Photography in Leeds. There is yet so much more to come from this bright young thing.

Monday, 28 October 2013 02:28

Art - An Interview With... Danny Gartside

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Hear about Danny's experience with music photography, best and worst moments.

How old are you and where are you from?

Monday, 23 September 2013 09:01

Art - Follow The Money: Treasure Hunt For Grants

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“A bank is a place that will lend you money only if you can prove that you don’t need it. ” Bob Hope

There has been a lot of talk lately about the economy improving. I don’t know about you, but not many people I come in contact with have experienced much change. Nonetheless, change is happening, maybe not as fast as everyone would like, but there is hope on the horizon. One of the more subtle indicators, is to look at the availability of grant money. Last year, it was slim pickings. I don’t think I could come up with a dozen funding sources for artists. This year, thankfully, there is an abundance. Read on for literally hundreds of new grant opportunities and funding sources. Wake me when it’s over…

I’ve never seen myself as an artist who paints one fabulous painting at a time to fill gallery walls, satisfy a waiting list of eager buyers, and someday make it into a modern-art museum. My work isn’t so highbrow, I say to myself; because I do a lot of drawing and less painting, and choose horror mixed with humor as my favorite subject, I fall somewhere in between the gallery painting and the greeting card.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 01:11

Art - Quiz: What Kind of Art Retailer Are YOU?

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More and more artists are developing their own brands of merchandise (such as prints, T-shirts, and toys). As they approach stores, they have (to put it mildly) mixed experiences. When you take this quiz, pretend you’re the store owner! Consider each situation below and answer as honestly as you can.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 10:06

Art - The Photography Show at Gallery 800

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Thea Saks, “Franklinstein,” oil on canvas. 

It’s been three months since my last posting about how work is going on the art show Daniel and I are doing for October. Now it has a name: “Enlightenment.” It’s about the Age of Enlightenment, which was roughly mid-1600s to late 1700s in Europe and the American colonies.

When I met artist Susan Trachman through mutual friends and she told me she had an exhibit of medical art at the UCLA medical school, I wanted to make sure I saw it. I’ve seen art with many different themes, but never art made from medical supplies. This exhibit, “Patient/Artist,” is a chronicle of Trachman’s 25 years of treatment for multiple sclerosis—treatment that has been central to nearly all of her adulthood.

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Susan Trachman, “Living Color 2,” MRI scan of the artist’s brain, digitally colorized by the artist.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition in which the immune system attacks and damages the myelin sheaths surrounding nerves, resulting in many different symptoms; these can include motor impairment, pain, and numbness. In making the best of this life-altering condition, Trachman chose to make art from it, offering us an insider’s view of life with MS. Trachman has illuminated MRI scans of her head with eye-popping color, created elaborate floral arrangements with syringes, arranged 120 red plastic medical-waste containers in configurations that represent how the disposed-of treatments were used in her regimen, and constructed a variety of three-dimensional pieces containing medicine bottles.

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Susan Trachman, “Relief at a Price,” 3D collage made of one five-day medical treatment package, mounted in plywood, covered in burlap, and framed in Plexiglas.

The artist has included captions with her pieces that explain what the various materials are and how they contribute to the larger picture of her experience. For example, in the piece “Relief at a Price,” the contents of one five-day medical treatment package (one 5-ml vial of Acthar Gel, five needles, five syringes, and five alcohol pads) are mounted on plywood, covered in burlap, and framed in Plexiglas. She writes, “When the tightness in my legs and the numbness in my extremities get to be too much, there are tools for temporary relief…but at a price.” And the price, as shown in the piece, is a whopping $25,000. “I can use Acthar Gel up to four times a year,” she remarks. “Thank God I have insurance.”

Trachman, a Los Angeles native with a background in both commercial and residential interior design, was diagnosed with MS in her mid-twenties. Once she began treatment, she began saving her medical supplies to see how she could eventually make something interesting with them. She began working on the pieces in this show about 7 years ago. Becoming creative with the supplies was a way for her to tell her story and remain positive about her condition, focusing on what she could do rather than what her condition prevented her from doing.

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Susan Trachman, “Java Chip,” wall sculpture of 120 Sharps containers (used for the disposal of needles and syringes) hung on 9 steel rods.

This exhibit is a very timely one for me, since a good friend of mine was very recently diagnosed with transverse myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord that is sometimes an early sign of MS). I took my pictures of Trachman’s exhibit to the hospital and showed them to my friend, because I felt they would be inspiring…although my friend, like Trachman, already has a positive, productive attitude.

This exhibit is one of a series that curator Ted Meyer intends for the Learning Resource Center, a new building at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Hopefully we will continue to see art at this location that has meaning for patients, their caregivers and loved ones, and lovers of art who may or may not be touched by people living with serious medical conditions.

“Patient/Artist” by Susan Trachman is running through June 30 at the David Geffen School of Medicine Learning Resource Center, 700 Westwood Plaza, Westwood. (I wish it was running longer—or, rather, that my schedule had allowed me to visit this show and blog about it sooner.)

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Susan Trachman, “Flower on Steroids” (detail), digitally mastered collage printed on canvas. The artist writes, “When on steroids, all my senses are heightened. My extremities…no longer feel numb. I get a boost of energy, making me feel bigger than life.”

Thursday, 06 June 2013 09:11

The NoHo Senior Arts Colony...

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The NoHo Senior Arts Colony: An Up-and-Coming Place for Experienced Artists and Performers to Share Their Skills

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Urban photography by Dan Meylor and Tyrone Polk at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony’s current exhibit.

When I went to the NoHo Senior Arts Colony last week to cover the current photography show, I wasn’t all that psyched to go. The show was open to photographers of all ages, and I expected a community free-for-all. I ended up not only admiring the dynamic photography and the professional way it was presented, but also getting interested in everything that’s happening at this place.

One series of photographs depicts a graffiti artist at work on a building—cooler than I expected for a show at a senior center (shame on me—but it’s the truth). It turns out that the photographer, Tyrone Polk, is himself a senior in residence at the colony. And the more I talked to Amanda Talbot, the program manager for the colony, and Maureen Kellen-Taylor, chief operating officer of EngAGE (more about EngAGE below), the better I understood that many of the residents are professionals of great reputation in the arts who are still hard at work in their fields of expertise and happen to be 62 or older (that’s a requisite for living at the colony). I didn’t know what to expect when I came to the colony; but if you come to this complex expecting to see retirees who take art classes just to fill up time when they aren’t playing bingo, you’re in for a surprise. What happens in this place is the work of dedicated, experienced artists and performers who share their talents and creative passions with one another and with visitors to the colony.

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Samantha Wendell with her portrait of Johnny Winter (one of many rock artists she has painted) at the colony’s first art exhibit, “Reimagining Life.”

The gallery space is in the main hallway of the ground floor. After we looked at the photography, Ms. Talbot showed me some rooms off the main hallway. I saw a spacious art studio, with easels and paints and an instructor’s notes about “the art of seeing” written on one wall. I saw a beautiful new theater that mainly houses productions of the Roads Theater Company but is open to use by theatrical residents of the colony when the house is dark; currently the company is showing “Cooperstown,” a play by Brian Golden. I got a peek at the professionally designed set of a 1950s Cooperstown coffee shop. The shows are open to the public, and a box office on the premises sells tickets. In another room there was a bulletin board with flyers advertising various arts and fitness programs, all of which are free of charge for the colony’s residents. I saw that poetry readings are held weekly for residents by Morgan Gibson, an award-winning poet who has published numerous books and taught his craft in the U.S. and abroad. One flyer advertised the “Diggerly Do’s,” a show open to the public, which looks like great fun; it’s a musical written and performed by Kent Minault, who takes his audience back to the Haight-Ashbury district in 1965 San Francisco to see an actual community-action task force at work. (Mr. Minault was a member of the task force himself.) The Diggerly Do’s provided free food and other amenities to those in the Haight who needed them, but also had some tense encounters with the local law. It’s a very hip theme for a musical, and one that would speak to audience members of any age. It’s also a reminder that today’s seniors have been contributors to many cutting-edge creative movements that today’s young people revere and wish they had been part of. (Annie Liebovitz, Peter Max, and members of the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead are in the right age group to live at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony…although it sounds like the apartments are going fast, so they should apply soon if they want one.)

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Alice Asmar, who had a solo show at the colony this past spring, in front of one of her paintings with Samantha Wendell.

During my visit I was introduced to a gracious gentleman by the name of Clarence Johnston, who happened to be passing by. Mr. Johnston, as it happens, is a jazz drummer with a career that’s stretched many decades; he’s played with greats such as Miles Davis, Dinah Washington, and John Coltrane. Currently he conducts drum circles at the colony and at other locations all over LA. These sessions are popular and attract enthusiastic junior and senior community members alike who want to beat drums and dance to the infectious rhythm.

Back to the gallery space, which is what I originally set out to write about (except that all these other things going on at the colony were too cool not to discuss). In February the gallery hosted its first group exhibition of fine art, “Reimagining Life,” which included portrait painter Samantha Wendell, watercolorist Jodet Shuquem, painter and writer Charlene McDonald, and painter and illustrator Walter Hurlburt. The second show (held this past March 29-May 5) was a mini-retrospective of the work of Alice Asmar, winner of a Woolley Fellowship to study at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, who currently has work in hundreds of public and private collections worldwide, including the Smithsonian. Her work focuses on Southwestern and Native American themes. She currently has an 800-square-foot studio in Burbank.

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Jodet Shuquem with one of his paintings at “Reimagining Life.”

The plan is for the colony to host an art or photography show every six to eight weeks. A solo show of hand-colored photographs by Cynthia Friedlob, an artist who is also a writer, editor, and public radio host, is coming a few weeks from now. And here’s one great thing about a gallery run by a nonprofit organization: the artists who sell work shown in the gallery do so privately, communicating directly with their buyers, and get to keep all the money from the sales.

The classes and other programs at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony are organized by EngAGE, a nonprofit group that, according to the statement on their Web site, “takes a whole-person approach to creative and healthy aging by providing arts, wellness, lifelong learning, community building and intergenerational programs to thousands of seniors.” The group provides programs for 32 active aging apartment complexes in LA, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Orange Counties, with more to open soon. All of the complexes have arts programs and three of them are senior arts colonies. There is another EngAGE senior arts colony nearby in Burbank, and the residents of that one and the NoHo one often visit back and forth to get involved with the programs at each other’s buildings.

The colony was established in November 2012, so it’s just getting started. To keep an eye on what’s happening there, visit the colony’s Web site at
Gallery shows, theater performances, and some other programs are open to the public. To find out more about what EngAGE does, visit


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The Gallery999 Show at Bats Day, May 4, Anaheim

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