Monday, April 21, 2014

Shrine On's Rather Conservative Bench . . .

. . . by an artist whose work is often on a much grander and more eclectic scale.

With a nod to the Coachella Music Festival, I present today's mosaic.

"Literary Mosaic," a bench, sits in front of the LA City Memorial Branch Library on Olympic, where it was installed in 2008, courtesy of the Friends of the Library. I think students from Los Angeles High School (just across the street) helped with the installation.

The library is set far back from Olympic Blvd. in a 1930 building that looks like a cozy mansion. The bench is in front, closer to the Muirfield side of the park.

These two pictures come from

What does that have to do with Coachella?

Well, the artist who created this bench also makes and installs the towers at Coachella each year. He has two names: Brent Spears and Shrine On.

According to this 2007 article from the Los Angeles Times,  Shrine/ Spears designed the first five House of Blues clubs, including ours in Los Angeles, and he created the murals of the original Wacko Soap Plant knicknack shop now on Hollywood Blvd.

But more fantastically, he is the artist who constructed the Temple at Burning Man and who designed the Lucent Dossier Vaudville Circus, which looks to me like a steampunkish show in the Cirque de Soleil tradition. And for seven or eight years, the Coachella Towers, and other big performance venues.

Last year, Dana Nichols wrote an article about him and his efforts to render concert goers "awestruck when they receive a jaw-dropping experience with art."

If you want to see the towers through their construction in 2013, as well as past events, click on the link to Nichols' piece in Cartwheel Art

Shrine On uses "sacred garbage" in his work; he's also been called a dumpster diver. Tiles, tires, hubcaps, wrenches, dolls, mirrors and picture frames, hood ornaments from cars, plastic toys, catfood cans, bottles and bottlecaps, teapots, and souvenir plates can all be spotted in the photos of his work.

Shrine On's website has pictures of wonderfully whimsical mosaics like the one to the right which I borrow, but no text telling us where--beyond his Pasadena home/studio--they might be. And who knows? Maybe that is where they all are.

Shrine's work is mixed with performance art--or maybe performance art uses his work. Looking at his website and pictures and scanning the related material is almost like opening a new book, with magical adventures waiting to carry you away.

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