You and a zombie, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G

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Love. Zombies. They’re both infectious, and they’re both the subject of Gallery Nucleus’ Valentine’s art happening “Zombies in Love.”
It’s much ado about something dead. (Has the Jane Austen/zombie love affair already jumped the shark?)
Gallery organizers advise bringing your beloved to the exhibit, because true love doesn’t die — or un-die.
The opening reception will feature a volunteer zombie walk; arrive in your finest undead state for the sake of art. The zombified also are spared the $2 cover charge.
Paintings, sculptures and live performances will be showcased in the gallery, and zombie professionals from film and publishing will be signing their work, including Chris Lane, the Oakland illustrator who collaborated on “Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection.”
Opening Feb. 6, 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Zombie walk at 6:20 p.m., starts at corner of Atlantic and Main St. Exhibit runs through Feb. 22. Gallery Nucleus, 210 E. Main St., Alhambra. 626-458-7477. gallerynucleus.com
(Photo via Gallery Nucleus)

‘Even if we’re going to be arrested, I think we’ve added something to Pasadena’

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“A fork, a fork, my kingdom for a fork.” Seriously, though, I can haz?

Ice House founder Bob Stane on this most unusual 75th birthday commemoration piece:

“I hope it will be in many movies — the ‘Pasadena Fork in the Road,”‘ he said. “Even if we’re going to be arrested, I think we’ve added something to Pasadena.” [Star-News]

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(Photo by Walt Mancini / Staff)

Have you met the Comtesse?

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KCRW’s resident art critic and one-time teacher at Art Center College of Design, Edward Goldman, went on the air yesterday to introduce an esteemed lady friend to Southern Californians.

She is the alluring Comtesse d’ Haussonville — captured for the ages by French painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

Goldman has called upon the Comtesse before, in her stately home on the Upper East Side. But even ladies must travel from time to time.

The Comtesse d’ Haussonville is the first loan in a new art-exchange
program between Fifth Avenue’s The Frick Collection and our very own
Norton Simon.

How did the travel — the change of scenery — suit the Comtesse?

“I went on Saturday … wanting to see if here, under the California sun, I would learn something new about her.”

Here’s what he discovered.

The Comtesse is visiting through Jan. 25.

Meet the Rose Magazine cover artist: Zack Morrissette

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>>INSIDER

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Theater marquee, below, and comic work, above, by artist Zack Morrissette.


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Los-Angeles based artist and designer Zack Morrissette created the Rose Magazine cover look, based on a photo shoot of Caltech’s John Dabiri, as captured by staff photographer Walt Mancini.

Morrissette has been working in the L.A. art and design scene since 1996 in a variety of mediums and styles — charcoal, watercolor, acrylic, pastel, ink and computer graphics, among them.

He studied at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

At right, you can see the original photo shot by Mancini and, below that, how Morrissette transformed the image for the cover. The graphic design in the background blends inspiration from both Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” and Dabiri’s scholarly research on jellyfish.

(Read more about our cover story.)

At bottom right is an alternate watercolor painting version of the cover art, also handcrafted by Morrissette.

The artist specializes in comic design, and some pieces from his portfolio are displayed at the top of this page.

Visit Morrissette’s Web site to see more work by the Rose Magazine cover artist.

Top right photo by Walt Mancini/Staff
All others courtesy Zack Morrissette/Contributor

Reaction shots: Ground-level perspective on Bruce Nauman’s skywriting art piece

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Even more than the other photos we’ve seen so far of Saturday’s skywriting work over the Arroyo, we love this action shot by Keith Birmingham of people in a Rose Bowl parking lot experiencing the overhead display from the ground. Looks like a message written in the heavens is still out-of-the-ordinary enough to stop people in their tracks.

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If you missed it, the image below is of what they were looking at. The skywriting piece was part of the Armory Center for the Arts‘ ongoing 20th anniversary celebration.

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And in case the message has left you scratching your head, it helps to read up on the context behind the larger-than-life installation. (Artist Bruce Nauman first proposed the work in 1969.) Petrea Burchard over at Pasadena Daily Photo has a good explainer for that a-ha! moment.

Moral compass: Artist Nancy Romero exhibits at The Folk Tree in Pasadena

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Altadena artist Nancy Romero’s “Morality Play” exhibition opened Saturday at The Folk Tree.
The showcase hinges on the dynamic — kinetic, wind-up and interactive pieces inspired by Romero’s passion for folk art and the toys she’s collected during her travels around the globe.
Romero’s mother founded the Craft and Folk Art Museum located in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.
Romero’s daughter, Sonia Romero, is also involved in the show at The Folk Tree.
The exhibit runs through Sept. 26.
Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. 217 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. Entry is free. (626) 793-4828.
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(Photos by Walt Mancini / Staff)

David Jonason’s prescient ‘California Skies’ on display in South Pasadena

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On any other day, we’d talk about artist David Jonason‘s penchant for stylized cubism — an aesthetic he’s most known for applying to architecture.

But Jonason has now turned his eye toward landscapes, and today his images of clouds hovering gloriously over local landmarks remind us of only one thing. (The billowing. The looming. The sense of spreading gray mass and creeping orange glow. Tell us you don’t see it.)

That resemblance shouldn’t stop you from checking out his stellar exhibition of 15 paintings in South Pasadena. (Hum it now, a la The Piano Man: “He didn’t start the fire.”)

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Jonason told the Star-News:

“I like cumulonimbus (clouds) a lot. They remind me a lot of
tall buildings — tall and dense, they have a big, heroic quality.
Architecture is all about volume and I apply that to the landscapes. At
the same time, I’m trying to get the spiritual, transcendental quality
I feel in landscapes.”

“California Skies” is on display through Sept. 12 at Michael Hollis Fine Art, 238 Pasadena Ave., South Pasadena. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. (626) 441-4333

Above, “San Gabriels with Clouds,” oil on canvas. At left, “Colorado Bridge,” oil on canvas.

(Courtesy photos)

Get to know Gold Line bridge designer who will shape ‘gateway to the San Gabriel Valley’

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In today’s paper, a Star-News reporter caught up with Andrew Leicester, the Minnesota-based artist who was chosen to design a bridge along the Foothill Gold Line extension in Arcadia.

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The 739-foot structure is being billed as an iconic gateway into the San Gabriel Valley.

Reporter Nathan McIntire writes:


The Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction
Authority chose Leicester in July to design the artistic elements of
the bridge, which will cost an estimated $20 to $25 million to build.

Leicester’s initial concept for the bridge, part of his pitch to the selection committee, was actually scrapped. (The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a rendering of that original concept, which featured references to peacocks.)


Now Leicester …
plans to incorporate the artistic traditions from Native American
tribes from the San Gabriel Valley, including the Chumash and
Gabrielenos, and references to the region’s native animal and plant
life into a contemporary structure.

It was Leicester’s experience that got him the job.

At right are some of the transit-oriented projects Leicester has in his online portfolio.

The top photo shows platform and bridge cladding that Leicester designed for the Charlotte, N.C.-area transit system.

Second and third photos from top show a light-rail transit stop designed in Minneapolis.

Bottom two photos show a ceramic wall mural project for Penn Station in New York City.

Below are some of Leicester’s past sketches for various public arts works.

(Photos and renderings courtesy Andrew Leicester)

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In the garden: Lessons and leisure, as nature intended

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY ARBORETUM AND BOTANIC GARDEN
301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. (626) 821-3222

  • Tuesday, Sept. 8: Basic watercolor and graphite pencil lessons, including application and techniques for botanical illustration. The ongoing series starts Tuesday, Sept. 8, and continues for three more weeks (Sept. 15, 22 and 29). 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. $180 members/$195 non-members. Pre-registration required; (626) 821-4623

DESCANSO GARDENS
1418 Descanso Drive, La Caada Flintridge. (818) 949-4200

  • Thursday, Sept. 3: Patina wine tasting, Spanish surprises, The Boddy House, 6-8:30 p.m., Sept. 3. $49-$54, large appetizers chosen to compliment the wines. (818) 790-3663

  • Friday, Sept. 11: Pasadena POPS and “Genius Loves Company.” The POPS will perform some spectacular pieces guaranteed to spike your IQ. Gates at 5:30 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. $20-$90. Tickets: www.theorchestras.org or (626) 793-7172

HOME TOURS

  • Sunday, Oct. 4: Pasadena American Society of Interior Designers 23rd Annual Home and Kitchen Tour showcases five unique homes in Pasadena and Arcadia, with kitchens from five diverse designers; 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of the tour and include a map to each home. (800) 237-2634

– Compiled by Linda Fields Gold

Promise of creation at Art Center’s summer graduation showcase

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(Above, photo courtesy Crystal Jean Photography / Art Center College of Design (c) 2009)

Last week we attended the Thursday-night graduation show preview at Art Center College of Design to get a glimpse of some of the work being produced by a slew of summer graduates. (The actual graduation ceremony was on Saturday.)

The massive showcase was held on Art Center’s Hillside Campus and featured displays from each field of study at the design school.

We culled just a handful of the highlights from Art Center’s hallways and showrooms, every square inch of which were wallpapered with student work, promising and advanced.

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Strother has exhibited his work at Alhambra’s Nucleus Art Gallery, Pasadena Central Library and L.A.’s Ghettogloss.

His brilliantly colorized figures remind us of muecas quitapenas, but in Strother’s works the color comes, most of the time, from without.

Engaging African and Afro-American iconography and boilerplate notions in miniaturized detail, Strother’s forms are mesmerizing.

(Right, top) “Tear Down the Dancehall,” 2009, gouache, acrylic, Cel-Vinyl and silkscreen on cut paper

(Right, bottom) “Please Don’t Tear Down the Dancehall,” 2009

(Images courtesy of Devin Troy Strother)

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A skilled portraitist and illustrator, Davison’s work conveys complex ideas as radically simple visual statements.

Illustration, at right, illuminating the inflating value of the American college degree. At far right, Davison’s illustration explores the notion that people are increasingly turning to the Internet and technology as substitutes for meaningful human relationships.

Also check out Davison’s blog.

(Images courtesy of Eric Davison)

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  • Kelly Ahn

Ahn’s contemporary character designs and background illustrations blend the flavors of Tim Burton and “Alice in Wonderland” with a “Coraline” aesthetic; her work tastes to us like a colorful sweet-and-sour swirl.

At right, “Wicked Cat,” part of a clay animation project. See more on Ahn’s blog.

(Photo by Evelyn Barge)



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  • Rawn Trinidad

Trinidad was part of the award-winning Designmatters creative team that in May was honored with the Corbis Creativity for Social Justice Award & Scholarship, part of
the ADC 88th Annual Awards program recognizing the best in advertising
and design from around the world. See the Art Center team’s entry here.

At right, part of Trinidad’s graduation show display. Our take: Cube World meets Tokidoki.

(Photo by Evelyn Barge)

Levy’s sustainable tea-drinking device turns the concept of enjoying a cuppa on its head.

The single-serving Moietea uses just enough water and electricity to create the perfect serving, while wasting not — and wanting not.

The idea appeals to us, and not just because we’re known to suck down several cups of ginseng oolong in a handful of writing hours.

The green movement is becoming an economic powerhouse; There’s definitely a market for this product. We can already imagine the Ikea packaging.

(Photo courtesy of Sharon Isadora Levy)