Allegory of Los Angeles

We held our first art class in our house yesterday.  It’s not the first time I’ve taught a child something about art, it was just the first formalish class meeting. We started a month-by-month study of various artists, focusing on one work and then applying it to an in-class art project. We had 13 participating artists for this session and it was a suitably boisterous and noisy affair.

Allegory of California by Diego Rivera

We had only just paid a visit to Sonoma County and to San Francisco the previous weekend to visit some very good friends, but were unable to view this mural, which decorates the wall and ceiling of the main staircase between the 10th and 11th floors at the City Club (Formerly the Pacific Stock Exchange Club). We will see it sometime though.  I’m nothing, if not determined.  From what I’ve seen online, the City Club is a beautifully adorned example of art deco architecture and design.

The artist on his scaffolding, with the work in progress behind him:

We discussed the mural, and all of the symbolism packed into it, and how it applies to California’s history, how it is perceived, and the artist’s optimistic visions of its future.  I emphasized Rivera’s desire to create art for everyone, not only the wealthy and elite.

Then the children decided on their own subject, Los Angeles,  and started their own murals.

One group created this mural featuring Dodger Stadium, a tangled freeway system, a massive dollar sign, the Pacific coastline, Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, and the La Brea Tar Pits.

Please note: click on any image to see it larger.

Detail: Sports Fan Cole’s Dodger Stadium

Detail: Ian’s La Brea Tar Pits

Detail: Tinamarie’s Hollywood street and buildings

Detail: Tinamarie’s tangled freeway system

Detail: Isabel’s Downtown Los Angeles.

An unidentified artist contributed the unidentified flying object.

Detail: Tanner’s dollar sign

And the other mural: featuring a typically unpacific Pacific ocean with a boat and surfboard, and rain; the Hollywood sign; the Griffith Observatory; a gloriously massive sun; highrises; roads and freeways;  the Los Angeles Zoo; the Hollywood Bowl; and the Grand Central Market.

Detail: Rebecca’s Griffith Observatory and Hollywood Sign; and Abigail’s Pacific Ocean:

Detail: Abby’s giant sun and gray building at left; and Nathan’s urban scene of streets and highrises:

Detail: Olivia’s Grand Central Market at top; Niamh’s Hollywood Bowl at bottom.  Ava’s Los Angeles Zoo at right.

and another view of Ava’s Zoo:

“The painter can and must abstract from many details in creating his painting. Every good composition is above all a work of abstraction. All good painters know this.” -Diego Rivera



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4 responses to “Allegory of Los Angeles

  1. Loretta

    Love how you gave credit to the individual artists!
    Great work by everyone! How creative!

  2. Wonderful Emma! What a great class. The girls couldn’t stop talking about it and their pride of Los Angeles : D

  3. Andrea Little

    Those turned out beautifully!

  4. Ninette

    Precious and so vibrant. Thank you for all you shared and helped bring forth, Emma!

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