Simon and Nikolai. The Haas Brothers. These true LA darlings and dear, new friends evidently didn’t get enough of us while outfitting LA Chapter and our mezzanine bar with smart pencil drawings of deeply-plumbed references to LA’s social history. Here’s some evidence of their enduring and inspirational presence. If you see them, say hello.
During a brief break between the snow and cold of this brutal NY winter, Brooklyn based painter Rostarr braved a scant, sketchy scissor lift to adorn the recently installed scaffolding around Ace Hotel New York.
My name is Romon Yang also know as Rostarr, I am a painter & calligrapher and I live and work in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. I was born in South Korea and moved with my family to Washington D.C. in 1972, I arrived in New York City in 1989 to attend the School of Visual Arts and have called NY home ever since.
Standing outside the whole day watching you paint the mural was pretty great. People crowded around and asked a lot of questions about you, who you are, where you’re from, but the number one question was, “is it some ancient Arabic script?” Tell us about the forms, your inspirations, how this style came about.
My approach to calligraphy is abstract & gestural, similar to asemic writing, and often times iconographic and pictogram like. As a young boy up until art school where I studied Typography and Iconography design, I’ve always appreciated the beauty and forms of calligraphy from China, Korea, Tibet, Thailand and Arabic calligraphic masters, and similarly my appreciation of hand styles by graffiti writers such as Phase II, Rammellzee, Futura, Keith Haring, etc., it was a natural transition for me to go from abstract painting to abstract calligraphy and vice versa. I will forever be a student of the brush & pen.
Everyone was amazed at how quickly you worked, you did half of the scaffolding in one day. You don’t appear to make mistakes either, it’s crazy. You’re clearly a pro at this, how long have you been doing this kind of work, these kinds of murals?
Yeah, it’s a bit crazy to think that I painted a 4 foot high x 350 foot wide mural in 2 days (to be exact 10 hours, but who’s counting). I’ve been very fortunate to have been invited to make murals and large installations of various types, indoors/outdoors since 1998, around the time I joined the NY art collective Barnstormers. Making public art is giving love, plain and simple.
What inspires you, excites you, puts you your totally chill and creative zone?
I find the most pleasure in the moment of painting where I get in the zone and start laying my lines and shapes down, almost like building a visual sculpture. I get inspired by visualizing a location or wall and its surroundings and try to solve the problem with what style will make the right impact.
With this painting commission for Ace Hotel, speed was an important factor as I wanted this mural to convey the energy and flow of commuters passing by 29th street & Broadway, similar to the way a computer motherboard looks with routes, destinations and intersections.
Seems like one of the benefits to being a successful artist such as yourself, is that you get to do some traveling. Where’s you’re favorite place you’ve travelled to and what made it special?
I feel so lucky to have travelled a lot for my art, some of my favorite places have been: Tokyo, Paris, London, Venice, L.A., Mexico, Puerto Rico and especially Seoul Korea. Being that I left Korea when I was just 1 years old, Seoul holds a special place in my heart and is a place that I’m so curious about getting to know better, in a short amount of time I’ve met so many talented individuals and good friends out there, Seoul is definitely the place to watch out for!
As with any scaffolding in NYC, Rostarr’s work could be up for 3 months or 2 years. We recommend checking it out soon if you don’t want to miss it: 29th & B’way.
Panamanian Jazz pianist Danilo Perez has made a name for himself not only an internationally acclaimed artist, but also a humanitarian figure. With a deep belief in the power of music as a tool for social change, he founded the Danilo Perez Foundation in 2005 — focusing on the social and creative growth of young children and teenagers in Panama City through the development of musical education.
To help animate the burgeoning nightlife of Casco Viejo we’ve joined hands with Danilo to establish Danilo’s Jazz Club at American Trade Hotel — as he says “one amazing room for creating music.”
This one day new beautiful club provides an opportunity for creative development and international exchange at this very intimate level with students from Panama and all of Latin America and beyond — to create new music, bringing old and new, near, far together. We’re honored to celebrate its official opening tonight with two special performances, including one with Danilo himself presenting music from his latest album — Panama 500 — backed by players from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
Last week wrapped up the final chapter in 24BY36, an ongoing experiment in art creation within the walls of Ace New York. For the project, 36 solo and duo artists spent the night with the purpose of producing 24 original works by morning. Love letters, collages, manifestos, musical partitions — we’ve been greatly amazed by the fruit of those twenty-four nights. The following snapshots are just an early glimpse into the collection of work and we’re already feeling inspired for the next edition.
Constantin Brancusi’s clean geometry, unveiling the essence of things in marble, wood and stone. The modernist sculptor born on this day in 1876 preferred simple clothes, a studio with a rock slab table and a primitive fireplace, and furniture, utensils and a phonograph he made himself.
With a nod to his Los Angeles-inspired Sky Backdrop series, indigenous artist Alex Israel outrigged our building-adjacent billboard with something that mimes the magic-hour cityscape and gilds our hearth. Central to the piece is an inset of the logo for the LA Dance Project, an intimate working partner of Israel’s. The LA Dance Project bring their magic to the Theater at Ace Hotel with shows on the 20, 21 and 22 of this month.
Our dear friend and healer Yona Kanzen is back from India with notes on three powerful healing ingredients.
Did you know that walnut is a great source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, ellagic acid, melatonin, vitamin E, carotenoids and poly-phenolic compounds? This helps keep the skin cells healthy and rejuvenated. Walnuts are rich in copper which helps iron out wrinkles and helps protect skin from pollution and sun. They are a great post workout snack, and if you want to sleep like a baby eat a few walnuts at dinner, the melatonin will do the trick.
This one is for frequent flyers. To beat stress, fatigue and other ailments associated with the journey, the answer lies in a cup of warm tulsi tea (holy basil). Consume it every 4-6 hours while traveling. Start the day before and continue until the day after. Tulsi is believed to promote longevity, help the body deal with stress and enhance physical and mental health. It has a unique combination of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that can combat general stress, anxiety, relive symptoms such as forgetfulness and physical exhaustion and assists with sexual and sleep problems. As a mouth wash tulsi tea can treat bad breath, mouth ulcers and prevent dental plaque.
Turmeric has great healing powers and has been used in Ayurveda for purifying blood and treating skin, heart, liver and lung diseases. Turmeric powder is very effective for chronic cough and cold and throat irritations. Treat sprains and swellings with a pinch of turmeric powder, lime and salt. It’s also a great pesticide. Sprinkle a turmeric powder and water mix near all entry points of your house to ward off insects, ants and termites.
Kevin Willis is a journeyman. He’s an admirer of the ‘camp’ in antiquity and seems always to extract the eerie, underlying purpose from a thing where others see only pulp. Kevin is also a closely-kept member of our family and a contributor to Ace culture in ways that outmeasure just his physical work for us.
In the lobby at the Theater at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles resides his Cathedral of Our Ladyfingers. She’s something of a sentry at the mouth of the Gothic grandeur that lies just beyond, taking IDs, looking like Mother Superior clipped from the celluloid of a Buñuel film. Her making was entirely in the clay-caked hands and mind of Kevin, but the inspiration was divine.
Portland-based Tanner Goods officially opened their second flagship store Saturday. After considering many locations for the project they fell in love with Downtown LA’s rich manufacturing history – something that fits well with their own ‘under one roof’ philosophy. Like the original Portland location, the LA store will embody the geography and personality that surrounds it, reflecting elements of art deco architecture, mid-century modernity and the SoCal sunshine. Their new women’s collection also debuts this year.
Congrats TG friends! And welcome to the neighborhood, the water’s nice.
Photo of the Ninth and Broadway building and a piece by AK Vintage commissioned for the LA shop.
"Look, but don’t touch" — a universal directive aimed at both young and old, the phrase has the power to reduce curious souls and fledgling gallery-goers to puddles of anxiety when in the presence of fine art. Fabric artist, furniture maker and Los Angeles resident Tanya Aguiñiga, however, is having none of it.
To help tame rising decibels deflecting along the stone-heavy length of the rooftop bar at capacity, Tanya and her crew recently installed a 40-foot tapestry of composite fiber. In its full expanse, the installation folds in on itself non-directionally amidst braids of macramé shapes, descending downward with the weight of their knots, a play of fuzzy asymmetry that naturally absorbs the compounding frequencies of voices thickening as the night arcs toward its peak.
Downstairs, another one of Tanya’s creations is allowed a freer existence. Wild swirls of dun sheep wool climbs the hall behind the front desk, spreading out and ceasing unpredictably like ivy reaching for light — a pleasing sight made even more so when we discover that the animal from which the wool was sheared bears the charming name of Mary.
Many artists struggle with function’s push against the seductive pull of form. Tanya’s work is wholly other, eradicating the boundaries altogether in the simple and enthusiastic pursuit of the new, dismissing the old rules of polite appreciation in the process. Go ahead, it’s okay to touch it. Tanya said so.
Both works will be dedicated by the Public Works Improvements Arts Program of the City of Los Angeles.