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Rainy Day Options // LA

November 20, 2010

If, like us, you’re stuck in a suburb near LA and looking for something to stimulate your brain (and maybe some conversation) on this rainy So-Cal day, here are some not-so-far-away artistic options.

Exhibitions, speakers, “hustlin‘” opportunities – and all themed around the future of the animation in industry. It started yesterday, but it’s going on all day today, and tomorrow in Burbank.

By the way, did we mention that the uber-talented Frank Hansen is going to be there? Right. Now you want to go.

More infoMap Read more…

The End (and Beginning) of an Era

November 18, 2010

I read an article from the online magazine Slate about the recent decision by Sony to discontinue production on the Walkman portable cassette player, more than 30 years after its inception. The article goes on to explain the Walkman’s importance in pop culture history, as well as its cultural significance.

I had never given much thought before as to how the Walkman has changed and shaped culture through the last 30 plus years, but the points raised by the article opened my eyes.

Think about it: before the Walkman, music was (mostly) a social medium. People had to listen to music through a stereo, the radio or live at a concert surrounded by people.

Now you can drive an hour to work or school, walk from your car, and sit all day while listening to music in your own little world. Most people today don’t meet together to sit around and listen to an album or song (that’s what movies are for).

With advances in hardware & software over the past 30 years since the introduction of the Walkman, one can create and manipulate their own music universe, where only their favorite songs play while others that don’t make the cut are cast out.

It’s a microcosm of society as a whole: we want to think, feel and exist independent of others (it’s what America was founded on, right?).

We say things like: “Good fences make good neighbors,” rather than get to know one another. We create man-caves and game rooms, personal spas and deluxe kitchens, not so that we can entertain and serve others, but so that we can be entertained and served.

We simply love having a place to call our own; why should our music-or music players- be any different? We live in the Age of Customization, where anything and everything seemingly needs to be a reflection of who we are as individuals (both in fashion & function). Even if no one else ever gets to hear the song you’re listening to while sitting at a coffee shop, it still helps you feel unique.

The Walkman did not create our modern suburban culture, but rather is an extension of it. It is an expression of our desire to be alone in our own world, where we are gods, choosing what stays and what goes.

While the Walkman has been discontinued, its legacy will live on indefinitely.

It’s important to note that when it first came out, the Walkman came with 2 ports for earphones. Try getting 2 people today to agree on a song, let alone walk close enough to not unplug their earphones.

Foreclosureville

November 17, 2010

Many see suburbia as a place to thrive and to grow. As a manifestation of the American Dream, we can prosper in a familial and a financial sense. However, contrasted to this are the difficulties we may face while living here. We are stifled, and with the housing market the way it has been, it has been difficult to even keep the homes we have worked so hard for—and signed mortgages out of our means for.

Photographer Geoffrey Agrons, from Vineland, New Jersey, provides an image of this dilemma titled “Foreclosureville.” The photo was taken in Daly City, a suburb just south of San Francisco.

What does suburbia mean to you?

I spent my childhood in a town that was in transition from its rural origins to suburban sprawl.  Although my adolescence included an obligatory phase of ridicule and rejection of suburban life, I actually have fond memories of tract home developments. The foundations, framed skeletons and dirt mounds of new housing construction were fantastic playgrounds.

I lived just north of Daly City in San Francisco for a few years, and it was interesting to see the direct contrast between suburbia and city. How do you think suburbia affects a person?

It challenges the suburbanite to negotiate the fine line dividing comfort from suffocation.

What inspired “Foreclosureville”?

The view during a late afternoon visit to the roof top of a friend’s home in San Francisco. I found the orderly repetition of the closely spaced dwellings oddly comforting.

Why title the piece “Foreclosureville”?

The title sprang from a rumination on the collision of the American Dream of home ownership with current economic realities.

What do you think of suburbia?

I find the lack of walkability and almost complete reliance on the automobile repellent; yet I cannot deny feeling waves of nostalgia when I visit the suburban ranch my parents occupied for over 50 years.

What inspires you as an artist?

The dynamic tension between the natural world and human activity.

More information and other works by the artist are available on his website.

Simone Shin

November 14, 2010

Simone Shin is a Los Angeles-based artist that finds inspiration in human existence and music. Shin takes her various experiences with the city and suburbia and turns them into art. The vibrant colors of her silkscreen work instantly draw you in and make you want to put on an old record.

Where are you from? How has suburbia influenced you?

I’m from a little place called Castro Valley up in the Northern California Bay Area. I guess you can say I grew up in a very typical American suburban community surrounded by trees, sidewalks, picket fences, horses, bikes, tons of families, pets, and a clear sky full of stars—little American homes left and right. Now that I think of it, it influences my artwork in so many ways.  I often take memories or feelings of memories in my past and intertwine them with what I am influenced by now, aesthetically.

How has music influenced you as an artist? Read more…

Danielle Hession

November 10, 2010

Danielle Hession incorporates pastel colors and ghost-like images to create a nostalgic image of family life. The past has a strong role in her life and in her work; it allows not only herself to muse on the past, but her audience as well. Themes of balance, travel and gravity are seen throughout her work. In the 21st century, there is a fine line between the past and the future. We are able to collect images in mass quantities thanks to technology, but these items are becoming less and less tangible.

Where are you from? Has suburbia influenced you at all?

I was born in Kingston, Ontario, [which is] a small university town surrounded by five penitentiaries. My family moved to Aspen, Colorado, when I was 11 years old. This was a true paradise with a small local population but a bustling tourist industry. I would say that I experienced a suburban life during the “off season” in Aspen (a few weeks in the spring and fall). It would become a ghost town and with that came solitude and at times restlessness. I have been living in Toronto, Ontario, for the last nine years. I adore the fast-pace of the city, but I find that I crave escapes to a more suburban or slow-paced setting from time to time.

Your images are very nostalgic. What are some themes in your work, and why do you use them? Read more…

Q: Where are you from?

November 10, 2010
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Over the past year or so, we’ve watched Proxart spin out of control in so many wonderful ways. We’ve been getting art from suburbs all over the world, while watching our readership skyrocket. So, since we just love you so much (serious) and we’re curious, we’d like to know two things:

  1. Where are you from?
  2. Which punctuation mark best describes you, and why?

Leave your answers as a comment, amigos!

Cristian Ortiz-Crom

November 7, 2010

Cristian Ortiz-Crom is a London artist that has experienced life on two different continents. He takes his various influences to create art that blends history with comic books. Essentially, Ortiz-Crom blends reality with fiction.

Where are you from? Explain your experience with suburbia.

I’m from Bogota,Colombia, a city that rapidly expanded and grew within the last 20 years. My experience with suburbia was of bicycle rides in idle afternoons through open fields and setting up secret head-quarters in enclosed parks. All of this slowly changed as the outskirts of the city prospered and connected to the suburbs, filling them with shopping centers and restaurants. Now that I [have been living] in London since I was 16 I couldn’t imagine myself living away from the hectic pace of the city and its numerous chances to get a story to tell every day.

What influences/inspires your work? Read more…