"All the Saints of the City of the Angels", 2000-2008
Seeking the Soul of LA on Its Streets Named for Saints
(Click on the above image to magnify and explore in detail)
"San Miguel Street: The Last Judgment of Don Vicente de los Reyes de la Osa"
Sumi ink on three panels of polypropylene paper; 84" high x 150" wide overall. 2017.
In the spring of 2000 I was thumbing through the index of something called "The Thomas Guide" (A book of Los Angeles city street maps that, in those hard-to-recall-or-imagine days before GPS, Waze and Google Maps, one would refer to for orientation on city streets), when I was struck by how many streets there are named for saints - in this city also named for a saint, Los Angeles, (Our Lady of the Angels).
Bolstered by a series of grants from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the California Council for the Humanities, I researched the histories of what I came to learn were 103 such saint-streets, together with the stories and legends of the saints whose names they bear, to try to poetically ascertain where their tales might intersect - and what their moments and points of convergence might say about our multicultural heritage.
The result of my years of research, in over one hundred paintings and dozens of stories, poems, and songs, were exhibited for nearly a year at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, and collected in an award-winning book, published by Heyday Books, that I wrote and illustrated.
Video produced by the Autry Museum, as part of my "All the Saints of the City of the Angels" solo exhibition there, in 2008. Duration: 4:48.
Another video from my solo show, this time a video I wrote and edited, based on my cultural work among a community in Boyle Heights, the poorest commnity in Los Angeles. This piece ties together the stories of Santa Monica and Saint Stephanie, two of my paintings at right, showing how they play out in the lives and experiences of the people in the community.
Produced 2008. Duration: 6:03