Congratulations to these Los Angelinos:
Harry (Harriet) Dodge and Stanya Kahn
Amy Granat and Drew Heitzler
William E. Jones
Lucky Dragons Luke Fischbeck
Daniel Joseph Martinez
Julia Meltzer and David Thorne
Mario Ybarra Jr.
These artists were either born in LA or they live here now, or both. I’d say Los Angeles is on the map now.
And I was happy to see that one of my most favorite and influential artists was at the top of the list: Rita Ackermann. If you didn’t know who she was before, you will now. And you might be able to see how many artists were influenced by her work, since she was the first to do the style she does. She is a true original. My Hungarian side would like to think she is somehow distantly related to me. In some universe, I feel we are.
Yesterday I went to speak with students in the Fiber Department at Cal State University Long Beach. The chair of the Department Carol Shaw-Sutton (an incredible fiber artists who makes stunningly beautiful work) invited me to give a slide presentation and lecture there. Carol and I have shown together at the Riverside Museum of Art in a show called Material Girls, which got a lot of press and was a very good exhibition with a full color catalog and a perfect essay by Shana Nys Dambrot.
Anyways, I was nervous, but I had a good time. Some of the students really responded to the work. I brought some originals, including my books, and one girl said All Done But None was the greatest book she has ever read in her life. Granted she looked to be only in her early 20s, but it was definitely the best compliment I’ve received about the book.
Carol’s assistant is a graduate student named Susan Porteous who is also an incredible book artist. And I mean incredible. She took me back to her studio afterwards and I was able to see all the books she has made during her Master’s program, and I was just totally blown away at her originality and dedication. Her work is meticulous, and the handmade “books” are truly pieces of art. She has seemed to master letterpress, and uses found text within her art books, and plays with arrangements of making them thematic narratives by way of sculpting and using elements of bookmaking. She is going to be a Book Arts star.
© Susan Porteous
Afterwards, I saw my friend Kyle Riedel for a quick hug and headed out early to San Pedro for a meeting I had. I parked near my old studio at Angels Gate and watched the sun go down. My old studio, ironically used to be Carol Shaw-Sutton’s studio before it was mine and I thought about how we both read on out futon couches looking out into the sea. It was weird being there and seeing how a new artist is probably enjoying the hell out of the space now, as they should be. I’ll admit it was a little hard being there in the park and seeing how beautiful it is. A little hard is an understatement.
Awwww, isn’t that such a sad story? Ya well, get over it.
I’m slowly but surely getting back on my horse here in South Pasadena/Alhambra/El Sereno. It’s a pretty area. I have an amazing garden and this makes me happier than when I lived in my little house in Pedro. I’m just still trying to find my way. I have a little dream now about getting a cabin somewhere in Joshua Tree and just staying out there for weeks at a time and doing nothing but working. Kind of like a recurring residency retreat. It’s an idea, and it could wind up to be cheaper than renting a separate studio. We’ll see how it pans out though.
© Michael Phillips