Friday, February 8, 2019 I spent the day with Andre Smits a Dutch photographer who was here in Los Angeles photographing local artists in their studios. Link to his website is below.
I had seen his photos popping up around my facebook feed and since I too have an art project that involves artists I started researching what his was about… and from what I saw I wanted to be part of it. I contacted him by email and asked how he works and eventually we set a day/time for our touring day to begin.
My job was to line up the artists in my area that I would drive Andre to over the day. The SouthBay area has many artists and some were not available and many I knew were not on the route. Timing was important and our day was a Friday so thank goodness for mapquest.com and their route planning help, we were able to make our schedule without stress.
I wanted to document the day for my website www.ArtistArtandStory.com but didn’t want to take the same photo that Andre was taking. The slideshow is of the day with the artists interaction.
Artists we saw this day: Tm Gratkowski, Bondo Wyszpolski, Genie Davis, Valerie Wilcox, Lance Richlin, Hung Viet Nguyen, Beth Elliott, Lowell Nickel, Lucinda Rudolph, Stuart Hamilton
Click on the images to begin and advance the slideshow.
The day started with Andre taking the bus to my location me picking him up. We had a cuppa and then he did my shoot. He takes only a few minutes and my studio is small so it went quickly, at some point he said “reach” and I did and voila it was done. You see, Andre shoots you from the back so there is no worrying about smiles eyes hair etc, just that perfect view so new to us artists, our back. Us seen from the back with our world, our work in front and around us… a little unsettling at first when you see the shot but eventually all I saw was the me in front of me… the beauty of my studio art and materials. Then our day on the road began.
Each artist welcomed us for their shoot, allowing Andre to set the location by looking in his camera for just that perfect shot. Tm Gratkowski was the first on our list and his dog Ziggy was watching carefully. We chatted, discussed his amazing paper collage artwork… I kept Ziggy company when the photo was taken. We said our goodbyes and off to Bondo Wyszpolski next. Now Bondo is a writer for EasyReader, other publications, books, and a creative in his own right and suggested a book store for his shot and he surprised us with the book store being Korean! but his stance and creativity shows through and one doesn’t even notice. Next up was Genie Davis another diverse writer, her online magazine Diversions LA is one of the places we go to read about whats going on in the art world and other industries, and she also writes fiction. We then stopped over a California Pizza Kitchen for a quick lunch before heading off to shoot Valerie Wilcox studio located behind her home, a restored and charming craftsman bungalow. Her wabi sabi art is always a joy for me to see and she explained the concept to Andre. Next on the route was Lance Richlin at his studio where he works and teaches art classes. Mostly figurative, his work reminds me of the Dutch Masters, I was very interested. We said our goodbyes and off we went to our last stop before heading to San Pedro… Hung Viet Nguyen‘s studio where he had two large paintings he was working on to help set the stage of the work he does… wine, cheese and good conversations later we were off to San Pedro and Angels Gate Studio complex overlooking the Pacific from a hill top location. Beth Elliott was first on the list and her studio filled with 3D ceramic, crocheted skirt performance pieces and artwork on the walls and floors. What a delight she is and generous to discuss her process and location. Then she walked us over to Lowell Nickel and his ceramics studio. He uses a lot of molds, and the hearts with the pebbles inside for musical entertainment caught my attention, and he shared his secrets of the krackle texture he does. Our final Angel Gate stop was to Lucinda Rudolph and her colorful paintings everywhere studio, so many bright joyfilled colors and subjects. She directed us next to her neighboring artist Stuart Hamilton and his delicate thoughtful work using maps as the background that he carefully draws over bringing to life his view of subjects rocks and locations.
The day ended driving north on the 110 fwy headed back to my place where I dropped Andre off once more to take the bus back to the downtown area he was staying at.
Thank you Andre for the opportunity to share with you a great day of artists and stories.
More about his story and his project can be found at http://www.artistintheworld.com
The end shots in the slideshow are from one of the four days he and his assistants worked at installing the mural show at SoLA Gallery on Slauson in Los Angeles.