I really really liked LA. This was my first visit here and I know it won't be my last!
After we left La Jolla we started heading up to Los Angeles. We saw hot air balloons on the way. Once again we were stunned by the beauty in this state. We got to my cousin and her boyfriend's house in West Hollywood and soon learned how great her location was (lots of thrift stores that was perfect for Samir). My cousin owns a cat named, "Achilles," who was once the star of "My Cat From Hell." He can be nice... sometimes :) Here is a painting I did of him awhile back that's hanging in her home:
I love the graffitti in LA:
I also love seeing all of the interesting business they have... including this hot dog/lamp shop:
In the morning we met up with my old friend from high school who is now a budding filmmaker and her boyfriend who is an actor (check out his super hilarious mini-series, Golden California) for lunch. We left right after lunch to head down to Long Beach to go to an event I set up with Pussy & Pooch at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The museum has a super cool exhibit right now called, "Architecture for Dogs", which is a curated collection of designs created with specific breeds in mind. Pussy & Pooch set up a "pop-up" shop in the museum gift shop to go along with the exhibit and every month Pussy & Pooch hosts a "yappy hour" on the green next to the museum. There are replicas of the exhibit designs for dogs to play with and "hors d'oeuvres" for the dogs. There was another pet business called, "Doggy Luxe," featuring their jewel-studded dog collars, set up alongside me as well. I worked on a painting of Izzy there for a few hours right out on the ocean and mingled with some pets and their owners. It was a lot of and I'm so grateful for the opportunity :)
The owner of Pussy & Pooch was nice enough to put me in contact with another great pet shop in LA called, "Three Dog Bakery," in Farmers Market (next to the "Grove"). Farmers Market is a super cool permanent market or outdoor mall with all sorts of goodies (fruit vendors, candy shops, hat makers, etc). Three Dog Bakery is an awesome little store that actually functioned as a bakery for dogs. I set up out front and painted for a little over an hour and then the manager alerted me that the Farmers Market management was not keen on having me paint in the market. It was really disappointing and while we tried to configure my stuff so that my sign wasn't visible and my easel was more inside the store, the definitive answer was, "no." This is the first time I have come across this issue and I have a feeling it won't be the last, but at least I was able to do it for a little bit.Since this event, I've been a little more careful about where I set up. I don't want to anger anyone! Everyone walking by seemed to really enjoy watching me paint and I believe it added something special to the atmosphere. The manager of the store was super apologetic and confused, but it was out of her control. The management said that if other artists saw me painting in the mall they may consider it a free-for-all and set up other easels as well (remind me why this is a bad thing?). Oh well, I guess I understand! This brings me back to my undergraduate law class on first amendment rights... Aren't malls considered a public forum for free speech? I could be totally wrong, but I will look into this further!
Based on some recommendations on places to set up in LA, Samir and I drove over to Santa Monica in the morning. I set up my easel right in the grassy area next to the Santa Monica Pier. It was probably one of my best live painting events I've ever had. So many people walked by and laughed out loud about my business name and asked for cards. After about an hour of painting, a dance troop set up near me and monopolized the attention of the crowd, but I am perfectly happy with the amount of people who saw me painting that day.
After a few hours, I packed up my painting gear and headed over to downtown LA for my final live painting event in LA. I set up my easel and sample paintings outside of Pussy & Pooch. Sarah Donner of "Catster" also happened to be performing her music at the store, and concurrently there was a cat adoption event run by Luxe Paws. It only seemed appropriate to work on a painting of a cat! One of my Instagram followers showed up to the event, which was very exciting :) It was a super fun event and Sarah and I spoke about maybe doing future events together on the East Coast!
I really enjoyed my time here in LA and I would love to come back and spend some more time here in the near future!