Andy took the Chunnel from London to Paris this weekend to hunt out new goodies at the Maison & Objet design show. On arrival, his first text wasn't about a new product find. "OMG," he wrote, "Liz Goldwyn's face is everywhere!"
I'd been remiss in posting the pics Liz sent me last week on her latest art project, and the reason why she's been mostly away from L.A. these last four months. (And, obviously, I was remiss in giving Andy a heads up that her fair mug would be staring at him from everywhere once he hit town!)
French department store Le Bon Marché commissioned the ivory-skinned multi-threat (visual artist-writer-jewelry designer-filmmaker-and on and on) to dream up a multi-media work promoting the chain's California-themed fall campaign. The display was unveiled August 21 and runs through October 12. Liz touched down in London just today, and managed to get the following questions answered for LVER readers without delay (following my bit below).
The LBM campaign offers signature Los Angeles brands such as James Perse T-shirts, L.A. Eyeworks specs and JBrand denim. So, too, are Kitson's screen-printed T-shirts and Aussie-born Ugg boots; I cringe to think the French think those last two are what L.A. style is truly about, but alas, they didn't get it wrong either.
The irony, of course, is that Liz is a native Angeleno. Her legendary family were among the architects of this town's visual vocabulary to the world, and there's a whole population of women like her living here who've long eschewed the tanning beds and T-shirt wardrobe.
Beyond the commercial aspect at LBM, there is Liz's oeuvre to get shoppers in the spirit of Cali sun and fun as they gear up for autumn. In the windows, palm trees sway to an uptempo Beach Boys-flavored pop tune written exclusively for the installation by producer Money Mark.
Inside the store, Liz showcases "Los Angeles at Night," five shorts flickering concurrently on five walls of a cube structure. Viewers stand in the cube, surrounded by HD-filmed footage of Liz's L.A., from her favorite spots to some of the 86 digital billboards in situ and broadcasting footage from her "Underwater Ballet" film. That in itself was a public art project that ran through L.A. and New York this summer, and the overlay from the L.A. streets to a Paris department store only added another layer to Liz's work.
La Vie En Rose: How did you get involved in this project?
Liz Goldwyn: LBM asked me! They approached me out of the blue while I was in the midst of a big public art project in America with Clear Channel, for my "Underwater Ballet," so it was an interesting opportunity to follow up right away with another public installation, which feels right for my work now and is something, in general, I feel strongly about— bringing art to the streets and to the general public.
LVER: What was the mission/theme of this project with LBM? Any parameters?
LG: None. Just that they wanted me to make work on the theme of Los Angeles. They felt I "represented" LA, which was nice to hear…
LVER: There seem to be many elements to the program you created. What are a few of the highlights? And your favorite?
LG: Oh man, it was a lot of work! The "Musical Palm Tree" windows, which have 3-D artwork, were created in several phases. And then the score by Money Mark; then the interior films–I made 8 original films, 5 are shown in the installation; and the ad campaign which Todd Cole shot and I appear in, retro-pinup style.
LVER: I seem to recall when we first met years ago, it was due to a program you did with Japanese cosmetics brand Shiseido. So this isn't your first art-commerce project. What is the appeal for you as an artist in working with such a platform?
LG: At Shiseido, I founded and directed a program to sponsor artists and fashion designers, giving out four grants a year and working one-on-one with each of the selected grantees. At the time, there was no CFDA/ Vogue Fund, etc. Among the collaborations we did were specialized products, window installations, and, of course, helping to produce the selected designers RTW shows. It was really fulfilling to be able to create such a foundation inside a corporation to support the arts.
I don't necessarily see a difference as to where the funds come from to be able to make work you believe in without strings attached: My first film, Pretty Things was funded entirely by grants I won before I sold it to HBO.
So it's just a question of who is supporting the arts at a given time, and the opportunity to show work to a large audience, in a non-elitist manner, really appeals to me. Sometimes I find the gallery forum to be a bit cold.
LVER: What's next on the drawing board?
LG: Oooh… a lot! Nothing I am ready to talk about publicly yet though…
For more on those projects, past and present, check out Liz's site.
Photos: Courtesy of Liz Goldwyn
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