Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 3) / by Anna Madeleine

Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon

London Calling at the Getty was an amazingly curated exhibition of painters Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, and R.B. Kitaj. I was especially taken with the very first painting in the very first room, by Michael Andrews. It was painted at the very end of his life when he was very sick, and I thought it seemed like he was letting go - of his style, of life. The rest of the exhibition was epic, with works by Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, and Frank Auerbach. I loved Auerbach’s self portraits where he patched up part of the image where it wore away, and kept working on top of it. The Getty’s architecture was amazing as ever, especially at the time of night we were there with sunset of the city, cactus gardens and a never ending trail of car headlights down below.

My first visit to Venice Beach was everything I had hoped - crazies, hippies, make-shift homes. Street vendors, buskers, pythons wrapped around shoulders tanned like brown leather. Stinky public toilets, tourists peddling along on hired cruisers, girls in american flag crop tops on roller skates. The skate park full of attitude, girls smoking and skating, a kid as young as 4 or 5 gunning it before developing a sense of fear. Stormy skies over Palm trees making it feel like a scene from Romeo and Juliet.

The perfect place for people watching, I took a bunch of video clips for possible rotoscoping. Maybe to make short animations of characters of LA, each looping on a separate screen? Screens spread across the wall echoing the vast sprawl of the city, as though mapping the people of LA. Drawing lines, string connecting them to one an other, because there’s no centre to the city, just people and places scattered across a concrete maze of highways and buildings.

screens.jpg

I am developing an interest in earthquakes… the attitude towards earthquakes as LA is interesting, because there’s the constant expectation/anxiety of 'the Big One’, but also a complete apathy/nonchalance about it.

Points of interest:
- Anxiety - stores selling earthquake supply kits vs. people not believing ‘the big one’ will ever hit.
- Earthquake stories - when mentioning earthquakes to people, everyone always has a story about their experiences. “I was in an earthquake once..”, “I’ve heard it’s like…”, etc
- Animating the movement of tectonic plates
- Have began photographing cracks in the pavement. Photographing, animating, and aligning or overlaying with seismograph imagery? 
- Have started collecting seismograph data from USGS and also following Quakebot which tweets any earthquake activity surrounding LA.

Also interested in the plant life of LA. Heaps of cacti and really nice suburban gardens, and also a lot of Eucalyptus trees! Turns out Eucalypts are an icon of Southern California but are also super problematic as they were brought over without the Australian wildlife that keeps them under control, so they have turned into a pest and a danger for bushfires.

Lisa Mann invited me to her group meeting with recent graduates who are working with her on Roto Pasadena, a series of collaborative animations that will be projected onto three buildings in Pasadena - City Hall, the Library and the Police Station. The animations were beautifully made and it was awesome to be involved with their work-in-progress meeting and discussion to see a bit of the rotoscope progress. The projections looked great, met some awesome people, and had my first racoon sighting.