Snail's Postcard Post

California Art

I’ve mentioned Zona Rosa before, my favorite  cafe in Pasadena, CA. Not only does Zona Rosa have the comfiest, delightfully quirky seating area and the best Mexican hot chocolate, but there are always postcards out for grabs. Here’s what I found on my latest visit:


Aren’t rubbings magical? That a one-step, no-tech act can transpose the face of an object. Flora Kao does more than that, basically transporting an otherwise fixed object, a house. But we don’t see it as we would if we visited the structure ourselves. Through the rubbings, Kao isolates all the details so they create a kind of vibrating pattern. I’m so glad this postcard introduced me to her work. 

Here are some images I found online that helped me appreciate Kao’s project (and her other fascinating works, which I recommend checking out too) :

d8ab2636a51d8442368edef8202af5caAbove, the shack Kao worked off for Homesteadflora-kao-homesteadKao took this photograph to document how she went about taking rubbings of the interior walls.flora kao homestead pmca04On the left is the completed rubbing of the wall in the previous photo.

And the canvases are presented just like the walls of the shack:flora kao homestead pmca03



Already established as the father of Mexican Modernism, Alfredo Ramos Martínez moved to Los Angeles in 1929 so his daughter, suffering a crippling bone disease, could receive medical attention. Sadness for his daughter and homesickness for Mexico were central influences on his art in California. 

These pieces were well received at major exhibitions in San Francisco and San Diego, winning him commissions to paint murals throughout the state. Some remain, some do not.

Warner Brothers art director and interior decorator to the stars, Harold Grieve, became a tremendous fan, and introduced Martínez’ work to his colleagues. Alfred Hitchcock, Edith Head, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart were soon collectors.

Another admirer of Martínez’s work was quintessential California artist Millard Sheets.angels-flightAngel’s Flight Millard Sheets, 1931

I’m sure someone’s written an essay comparing the work of Martínez and Sheets, because they both portrayed a solemn beauty in the lives of poor, everyday people and the landscapes they inhabited.

Sheets taught at Scripps College in Claremont, CA, and urged the school to commission Martínez to paint a mural. 

Martínez spent the year of 1946 at Scripps, sketching nine frescoes on a wall over 100 feet in length.

He began to paint the mural, when, in November, he became ill and died most unexpectedly, days before his 75th birthday. Martínez is buried in Culver City, CA. The Scripps mural, The Flower Vendors, remains as he left it.


And finally, right on cue for International Women’s Day…IMG_7502

Dolores by Barbara Carrasco, 1999


¡Si se puede!


This entry was published on March 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm. It’s filed under Art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: