Last weekend, Emmett and I took in the first (of hopefully many!) South Pasadena Art Walk. Like most Art Walks in smaller communities, the goal is to make neighbors aware of who and what is in their own backyard. Local businesses host an artist for the evening, allowing the artist to display, demonstrate, and sell their work. In addition, there were bands playing on the sidewalks and the Fremont Center Stage Theater had a line up of live improve and drama shows as well as solo musicians. The Art Walk is a win-win for everyone: businesses get extra foot traffic, artists have a forum, and community members gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the place they call home.
Intending only to "check it out," Emmett and I ended up spending a couple of hours strolling along the four-block spread of businesses-artists-entertainers. In the process, we discovered some wonderful stores we blindly passed by in our daily routines in and around the area. I was thrilled to death to learn that the latest restaurant to open, Fiore Market Cafe, had several vegan items (including vegan chocolate cupcakes!!) on their menu. There is a lovely letterpress shop, DeMilo Design Studio and Letterpress which not only has a steller portfolio of cards, stationary, and invites, but also has MARBLED papers from Bangladesh. (Hmmm...maybe I should tell her she can get them closer to home!) And the gallery Space has art classes!
But the highlight of the evening for me was discovering the work of Yung-Liang Tsai whose watercolors capture the essence of South Pasadena like I've never seen done before. I was instantly drawn to the "casual observer" perspective of his sketches. In other words, he sketches those little ordinary scenes and landscapes that make South Pas such a beautiful place to live: the intersection of Mission and Meridian, the South Pas water tower, the stone bench in front of the community center, our humble Farmer's Market, the ancient fig tree next to the library, the Chinese Elms and river-stone wall along the Arroyo Parkway Golf Course. They were glorious and I immediately felt that not only was Tsai an amazing artist, he and I were on the same page: we both appreciated the everyday gems of life.
It was a toss up between purchasing the watercolor of the South Pas water tower, which is part of our frequent walking routine, and the 110 Parkway sign with the homes and greenscape behind it. In the end, I chose the 110 Parkway sign because the 110 is the lifeline and connection to my home. The 110 gets me to places like my favorite Whole Foods. It connects me to my friend Kelly's house. It transports me to the airport. It helps me get to the Angeles National Forest. It takes me to Dodger's Stadium and the Dorthy Chandler Pavilion in downtown LA. I always know home is just around the bend when I'm on the 110. To an outsider, it may seem non-sexy and non-flashy to document this road sign, but to Tsai and me, it speaks volumes--and all of them lined in gilded gold.