“Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum” reads the first line of our mission statement for this week. Our Moving Experience team has been embarking on a variety of activities to test this theory. And as a personal exercise, I’ve been going for walks in the morning. Very slow walks, in a very small circle, around our very awesome hotel. To find art.
I’ve been inspired a lot by Roberta Smith’s piece “The Art of Summer” about finding art in unexpected and sometimes accidental places in New York during the summer. And although I would like to think that my eyes are usually this open while I’m walking around LA, I realized to actually find and capture art, I had to move much, much slower.
For example, I had to stop and look up to see this jewelry store sign, which I’ve walked under hundreds of times but never noticed before. It looks more like the opening titles for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
After that, it was amazing to see how many other buildings in the area used that same color of teal. Did they coordinate? Copy? Does the shade of patinaed copper move 14-carat gold chains and princess-cut diamonds?
Eastern Columbia represented in aquamarine.
Even Blue Jeans was appropriately blue.
I saw inadvertent art hilariously rendered with well-intentioned glasses.
And well-intentioned glasses rendered as inadvertently hilarious art (plus more of that blue!).
As I was taking this photo, a man came up from behind me on a bike. “I saw you taking photos of these old buildings, did you know you can go inside them?” he said. I was taken aback, to be honest. He didn’t look like an architecture geek. But he knew a lot about these old theaters, including something I didn’t: a great downtown bookstore named The Last Bookstore had organized a recent tour of them. We walked a block together talking about our favorites, him pedaling slowly, I snapping photos of marquees from below.
It was one of those incredible moments where I saw the true value in taking 15 full minutes to walk 150 feet. It’s not about covering ground, it’s about covering what’s around you. It made me realize two things: 1) It’s not enough for you to be set to noticing-speed: You should always be moving slow enough to let other people approach you and tell you what art they’ve found.
And 2) Sometimes you’re part of the art.
More photos from this year’s USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellowship.