By Jason KUROSU
Six months after local artists adorned 26 of Glendale’s utility boxes with murals as part of Big Draw L.A., the same work can be found at 11 of Montrose’s street corners. The month-long, worldwide campaign to spread a love and appreciation of art and drawing came to Montrose in two forms last Saturday, with the transformation of public spaces into works of art and an event at the Montrose-Crescenta Library, where kids created a collective mural of their own.
Eighty artists applied to be a part of the event, a number that was eventually narrowed down to 11, including some artists which participated in the event in Glendale six months prior.
“Not everyone gets to go to galleries and see the work,” said the artist known as Moncho 1929, whose mural “California Flag” depicts the iconic California bear holding a paint roller, surrounded by a spectrum of color, in a style quite similar to his elephant mural at the corner of California and Maryland avenues in Glendale.
The South Bronx native said much of his experience with art in 1980s New York involved seeing murals on abandoned buildings and graffiti.
“Getting your art seen wasn’t as prevalent as it is now,” he said. “I think it’s good for the community to see this kind of work and it gives opportunities for a lot of people who never had the chance to do art.”
Arotin Hartounian’s “Ideas Through Marks: The Magic of Drawing” depicts children discovering the joys of art at school. That discovery was what Hartounian called “the power of drawing as a form of visual communication.”
While the artists worked throughout the day on Montrose street corners, a children’s event at the Montrose-Crescenta Library exhibited the hopeful joy for art depicted in Hartounian’s mural.
Led by Kristin Donner, an educator and artist at Nickelodeon, and Kyle Neswald, an animation artist who was worked with Warner Bros., Disney and Nickelodeon, the children in attendance collaborated on a large panel collage featuring notable Montrose landmarks, as well as participating in sidewalk chalk art outside the library.
The murals around Montrose touched upon a wide variety of topics, though one prevailing theme was the sense of community when it comes to art.
Arpine Shakbandaryan’s “Draw Through Time” featured a series of symbols seen in Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts, including trees and peacocks. Not only did Shakbandaryan enlist the help of several volunteers, but she included an acorn tree in her mural, with each acorn drawn in a different art style, representing the different styles of art that can come together in a collaborative effort from the community.
Victoria Rees’ “Circlespot” featured one of her favorite motifs, circles. The former graphic designer and current art teacher said that the pattern of numerous circular shapes represented “individuals who are unique, yet complement our community.”
Yet others took on a more personal tone, such as Michael Alvarez’ “Grandpa Cho Cho,” dedicated to his deceased great-grandfather or Jose Lozano’s “Read Some More.” Lozano, who works with special education students, feels strongly about education and wanted to communicate that through his piece.
“Reading is seen as a task to a lot of kids today,” said Lozano. “But it takes you places. It allows you to have empathy for people, for life.”
Visit https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zYj8CSgIC0d4.kxv-St9QYOj8 for a map of Montrose’s newest works of art.
For more photos, visit www.cvweekly.com/NEWS