L.A. Artists: Crewest Studio’s New Book Celebrates La-La Land’s Creative Class

L.A. Artists: Crewest Studio’s New Book Celebrates La-La Land’s Creative Class cover

Los Angeles…she’s a moody, needy, demanding city. She’ll put you in the fetal position just by throwing you off at the wrong exit on the 405.”

Resident Angelenos will recognize Katie Love’s searing indictment as a lament, an ode, a plea, and a prayer to the city they call home. “It’s a sprawling, gorgeous, demanding beast of a city,” Katie continues, dropping a barbed pin on L.A.’s particular brand of “shiny chaos.” Counting herself among the locals, Katie, a longtime comedy writer, chides L.A. as “exhausting” and “superfluous” before ultimately championing the city as a cultural anchor and an incubator for the creative classes.

“I think [L.A.] impacts the artist at a very soulful level because artists are always present to the in-between of things, the offbeat note, the precursor to the event, the idea before the thought takes shape,” says Katie, who’s something of an expert on the matter. Her recently released book of essays, L.A. Artists, surveys 22 contemporary artists living and working in the sprawling metropolis.

Inside L.A. Artists

Authored by local writer Katie Love, ‘L.A. Artists’ surveys 22 contemporary artists living and working in Southern California’s sprawling metropolis.
‘L.A. Artists’ by Katie Love

“[Artists are] getting an extra dose of this city’s stimuli, and that’s a lot,” Katie says. “You have to be deft in your choice of where to shine the spotlight and what story you want to tell because there are a million things happening that all want to be showcased in this city of dreams. It’s a lot to wrangle and a lot to manage.”

While their accomplishments are impressive, the artists included in Katie’s book boast another badge of honor: They’re all past winners of the NOT REAL ART grant, an annual program that awards financial support and press coverage to artists who explore, experiment, and disrupt the status quo. All featured artists span our 2019, 2020, and 2021 grant cycles.

Published by L.A.-based arts media enterprise Crewest Studio, L.A. Artists features work by Beth Abaravich, Edmund Arevalo, Juliana Bustillo, John Chang, Tayla Coviello, Monica Leal Cueva, Maria Delvs, Eben Eldridge, Karen Fiorito, Daniela Garcia, Marguerite Kalhor, Gershon Kreimer, Thony Loui, Kiara Aileen Machado, Carmen Mardonez, Paloma Montoya, Jessie Noguchi, Rachel O’Donnell, Jacqueline Valenzuela, Tijera Williams, Albert Cleophus Willis, and Miki Yokoyama.

Scroll through to read a selection of excerpted interviews from L.A. Artists, then head over to Book Baby for your very own copy.

Daniela Garcia (2021 Grant Winner)

Authored by local writer Katie Love, ‘L.A. Artists’ surveys 22 contemporary artists living and working in Southern California’s sprawling metropolis.
‘El Bolo’ by Daniela Garcia

Growing up between Lake Los Angeles and Guanajuato, Mexico, Daniela Garcia was surrounded by immigrant communities from a young age. “[My] father was a refuge for anyone who needed a place to stay as they immigrated from Mexico to California,” she writes in her artist statement. “[My] art practice centers around this experience.” Using a bright color palette balanced by dusty reds and browns, Garcia shares the intimate moments of everyday immigrant life—an experience wholly different, yet remarkably similar in many ways, to anything permanent U.S. citizens have ever known.

Excerpted from L.A. Artists:

“It's not just about the immigrants coming from Mexico, Central America, it's about the process of uprooting wherever it is you're from and trying to assimilate without losing yourself in your new environment. I feel like that's something people that have never even left the country can relate to. Because if you're moving from Ohio to California, that's a culture shock. Even moving towns within California can be a culture shock. I’m trying to communicate the idea that this is something we all go through at some point. It's just that, usually with immigrants, it's a lot more intense, because it's a world that says they have to somehow figure out how to fit in without giving up who they are.” — Daniela Garcia

Paloma Montoya (2020 Grant Winner)

Authored by local writer Katie Love, ‘L.A. Artists’ surveys 22 contemporary artists living and working in Southern California’s sprawling metropolis.
‘Seeing Red’ by Paloma Montoya

Los Angeles artist Paloma Montoya explores themes of female sexuality and Chicano culture in her riotous, graffiti-inspired paintings. Raised by her Colombian mother and maternal grandmother in South Gate, California, Paloma’s work grew from her experience as a “woman of color living in a working-class neighborhood.” Her style, bold and colorful, captures the women and subcultures of L.A.

Excerpted from L.A. Artists:

“My art pieces, at times, can be shocking in the sense that society has created certain expectations for not only women of color but people of color in general. My work attempts to break those norms set for working-class people of color. I hope to put a more positive light on predominantly brown and black communities by sharing the culture that is experienced in those communities through my paintings and illustrations.” — Paloma Montoya

Monica Leal Cueva (2019 Grant Winner)

Authored by local writer Katie Love, ‘L.A. Artists’ surveys 22 contemporary artists living and working in Southern California’s sprawling metropolis.
‘No One’s King’ by Monica Leal Cueva

After relocating to Los Angeles from her hometown, Monterrey, Mexico, Monica Leal Cueva suffered bouts of anxiety and depression; taking art classes and working at an art studio “changed everything.” Now Monica wanders the desert surrounding L.A. in search of sheep to photograph for her surreal digital collages.

Excerpted from L.A. Artists:

“I wasn't able to go to the grocery store before, and now I'm going to all these remote caves and ghost towns. It's been challenging, but I love it. And so that's where my lambs and my goats come from—from those experiences.” — Monica Leal Cueva

Katie Love: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Purchase L.A. Artists

All photos published with permission of the artist(s).

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.


Tags

art book, artist interview, contemporary art, contemporary painting, crewest studio, grant winners, katie love, Los Angeles art scene, los angeles artist, not real art grant


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