Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Swept Away"





In 1982 I made a painting called "Swept Away" and people really seemed to like it. It was a european street scene that had hearts scattered all over the street and gathered up in piles and in a cart by the street sweeper. Like the morning after the lovers had gathered in the cafes shared their love and left some hearts behind. I got this idea after spending time with this amazing artist Sid Francis. His whole life's philosophy was being a loving person. So Sid inspired this painting. I named the building in the forefront "Sid's Cafe" and a menu states: Love served Monday thru Sunday. Sid was a master printer in the art of plate lithography. Very similar to the old stone method but you use emulsified plates that get exposed with separations that you cut out of amberlith like silkscreening. Each colour is printed separately and this was a 35 colour print,so each piece of paper goes under the press 35 times! And you the artist, need to know how to make separtions that register together perfectly so it all fits together like a puzzle. I love this method of printing which is rare and hard to do and I have been a printmaker for years. I recognised very early on in my career that if you want to reach more people you need multiples and printing helps achieve that goal. My publisher paid for the printing of "Swept Away and every day I got to drive a few minutes to Sid's house on Cheney Road in Topanga where he and his family lived and for a solid month we worked on this print and it was one of the best experiences of my artistic life. We created this print together in 1984 on an old Heidelberg press and in 1985 the Los Angeles Times created a full colour supplement to feature artists from the Santa Monica area and they chose "Swept Away" for the very first cover. These pictures were taken in the studio I had in the early eighties for this article. You had to cross a wooden rope bridge and it was so high up you felt as though you were in a tree house. A wonderful couple I know bought the original 20 years ago and it makes me happy that the painting has always lived here in Topanga.

photos: courtesy Tim Boyd Smith (Forgive the hair it was the eighties!)
Cover Centerpiece Magazine LA Times "Swept Away" 1985
Press Release Luna Art copyright 1984

15 comments:

Isa said...

Lovely illo and you look so happy... don´t care about the hair, you look great! :)

Toni said...

this has got to be one of my favorite piece of yours.
there is such a romantic air about it. you can feel the energy coming from the piece. i could go on and on.
I love seeing a glimpse of you even if it is back in the 80's. and that studio is to die for. no wonder you love that area.

andrea said...

Another fascinating insight into your life and art, Val. And I used to have a pair of Reeboks just like that in ... oh ... 1984! Great to see a glimpse of you -- you look so happy and why wouldn't you be?

Janet said...

Up in the trees....what a fun place to go and work everyday!You have done a lot of fun things with your work...thanks for sharing!(you look great in your 80's hair!)

isay said...

you have a very wonderful and exciting life as an artist and it made me glad reading your post and how this beautiful artwork came to life.

your picture and studio was also great.

Brian the Mennonite said...

Thanks for the glimpse, Val. I haven't been following your blog for all that long and so this is the first photo I've seen of you. You're a good looking lady! I also love your art and the words which accompany it.

cristosova said...

There are so many things in this post that are great. First your smile I would say :) - and than I love your description of how Swept Away came together. Such a work of precision. It´s an awesome painting and I feel I recognize a certain Southern German influence...

Ayelet said...

I really like this one.. especially the ray of light shining in from the right!

Alexa Brett said...

I love the feel of this print and the commentary was wonderful. What an amazing experience it must have been to have your life be touched by such an artist!

HARDWAX said...

Swept Away, is so fascinating on many levels, the inspiration for it, the artwork itself, the history behind its creation.
marvelous.
Your hairs not bad either.

flossy-p said...

Oh this is wonderful! I never thought of the left over hearts in France, but I'm quite sure a piece of mine was swept up in the streets of Paris. But that's okay, I'm more than happy to give my heart to Paris.

Bearuh said...

That was a clever idea!

Bearuh said...

Thanks for the comment on my tea :) I think you are very gifted.. you have a fun style

brandelion said...

that was an awesome story, Val -- the painting is supreme.

Doodlestreet said...

Wow...everywhere you go, you are in beautiful artist spaces...you lucky girl...
I love this spot. Look out those windows!
Yup...lucky, lucky girl...want to trade for the day..wait..I'd never do that to ya! hahaha...