LA Portrait, 6' x 6'8"   started 1993 accomplished 2/11/2004


New to Los Angeles I was still looking for my first mural commission. The concept of
"L.A Portrait" was one I had been trying to interest backers in for several years. Even
writing letters about it from Hawaii when I started planning to move to Los Angeles.

I decided to start the painting on my own with the thought that the finished painting
would make a good show piece and maybe even help me find mural work.

I contracted Lucious Hudson to stretch some large canvases from linen left over from
"Hawaii at Peace".

The visual concept for "L.A Portrait" was to combine two historic painting traditions from
two blood heritages, my French and my Aztec, into one picture.

The French painted saints with a sword embedded in their head to show they were a
martyr. In "L.A Portrait" I take a tool of each persons profession and attach it to their
body. The Aztecs would paint portraits with a picture-graph of a spoken word in front of
each face. In "L.A. Portrait" I put a picture of what each person likes to talk about in front
of their face.

The completed painting then becomes on one level a visual toy. As you view each
individual you can see clues of what they do and what they think.

The composition is a large "X", dividing groups of portraits into pie shaped sections.
With so much content a strong structure was necessary. Only the Angel floats outside
and above the "X" in it's own little semi-circle cradle.

Over the ten years I worked on "L.A Portrait", painting it in between commission work. I
lived in three different studios. The canvas would sit untouched at various unfinished
stages often for long periods of time until I was between commissioned work and would
get back to it. Even as I worked on other projects I would keep "L.A Portrait" in mind
looking for objects that I needed - an old phone in Utah, toy dishes in Mexico, sushi in
Hawaii etc.    


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