Photo Essays

Eclectic Projects Are Brewing at a Massive Artist Loft in LA

The Brewery Artist Lofts opened its doors this past weekend and revealed an array of strong, individual projects.

The Brewery Artists Lofts, Los Angeles (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — This past weekend, the massive Brewery Artist Lofts opened its doors for its fall Art Walk. Established in 1982, the Brewery invites the general public twice a year to peek into the lives of over 100 of its 310 artist residents. While wandering through the 16-acre, labyrinthine live/work compound located in a former Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery, I stumbled upon eclectic studios that complemented the vast range of artistic practices on display. While each artist has a strong, individualistic voice, I did pick up on a few running themes that are inspiring Brewery artists.

The artist Chenhung Chen and a sculpture from her Entelechy series, 2100 North Main Street, #B02

One such theme is an attempt to preserve personal artifacts and memories with modern technology. In Chenhung Chen’s interwoven sculptural works from her Entelechy series, she crochets copper stripped from electrical wires into delicate netting and suspends knots of auxiliary cords into flowing entrails that recall the human body.

Sculptures from Chenhung Chen’s “Constellations” series, 2100 North Main Street, #B02

Guillermo Bert, inspired by the graphic similarities between modern QR codes and indigenous craftwork from regions in Latin America, collaborates with Mayan, Mapuche, and Acoma weavers to create tapestries that tell these communities’ stories. Titled Encoded Textiles, the pieces’ bold centers are working QR codes that play video and audio about each respective tribe when scanned with a smartphone.

Encoded Textiles series by Guillermo Bert at 642 Moulton Avenue #E18
Encoded Textiles series by Guillermo Bert at 642 Moulton Avenue #E18

Jim Payne displayed an impressive 3D portrait series. Payne designed custom viewfinders in which to view three-dimensional photographic portraits taken inside his subjects’ homes. The ongoing project began in 1976 while Payne was living in Chicago. Since then, Payne has traveled throughout California, Arizona, and the Midwest, capturing four decades of small slices of life.

Jim Payne’s studio at 622 Moulton Avenue #C. Each of his custom viewfinders is attached to a slide labeled with the portrait’s year and location.
Los Angeles, 1988. When looking through Payne’s custom viewfinder, the photos are clear and show depth of field, giving them a three-dimensional effect.

Playing the role of a geologist, Randi Hokett’s beautiful and violent crystal works show how texture can transform a surface. She applies a special mixture directly onto the canvas, which fuels the growth of borax crystals. When the surface looks just right, Hokett burns, hammers, or tears away at the work to destroy visual harmony, resulting in works that resemble scars or fissures.

Randi Hokett’s crystal works at 642 Moulton Avenue, #E23
Randi Hokett’s crystal works at 642 Moulton Avenue, #E23

Other artists expressed pure, childlike joy in their bright, campy paintings. Caley O’Dwyer’s illustrations over oil and acrylic paint show whimsical snapshots of city life, while Andre Miripolsky channels the laid-back spirit of Los Angeles with his grinning, angelic sharks. Miripolsky’s creatures dance around Pink’s Hot Dogs and cruise past the iconic TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Vibrant, glittering, and a little bit kitschy, Miripolksy’s sharks are having the time of their lives, and those good times begin in the Brewery.  

A painting in Caley O’Dwyer’s studio at 600 Moulton Avenue #304
A painting by Andre Miripolsky at 960 Moulton Avenue #A

The Brewery Art Walk took place at the Brewery Artist Lofts (2100 North Main Street, Los Angeles) on October 13 and 14.

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