Wednesday, July 30, 2014


MEDIUMS: Acrylic paint on everything
CONNECTION TO NOHO: Board Member and Director of Public Arts Initiative of The Museum of the San Fernando Museum

I sat with Roger on his front porch in one of those stackable plastic chairs you buy at Home Depot. We overlooked his drought-parched lawn where the only green was a long straggly sunflower planted inside a paint bucket. The soft accent of climbing ivy clung to the wall behind us. Having met Roger on several occasions in the past, I knew he was a laid back sort of guy. But that late afternoon he seemed a little tired. And who wouldn’t be after working almost every day of the week for the last couple of months on a park project with a bunch of high school kids?

You see Roger is all about kids, artists, and community. He’s the roundup guy who brings together San Fernando Valley’s business owners and residents with public art. He started PAI (Public Art Initiative) after he hooked up with The Museum of the San Fernando Valley via Scott Sterling, an old school buddy and the museum’s current president. Since then Roger has coordinated several art related activities into community events in Northridge, Reseda, and Canoga Park as well as bid many mural and beautification projects around the valley including one for the Department of Transportation in North Hollywood. Roger’s most current project has he and his art colleague, Emily Goff, overseeing the design and installment of several hand painted tiled columns in Maryland Park, a once deserted lot in Glendale, with Daily High School sixteen and seventeen-year-old students. He couldn’t tell me enough about how pleased he is to work with these kids’ raw energy and vision; admitting he learns from them all the time.
While I was with him, I was able to get a quick mini tour of Roger’s art studio located in a guesthouse in back of his home. We maneuvered our way along a wall of wooden pallets being saved for a future art project and across an overgrowth of weeds and a low pile of broken concrete. In the middle of the yard lay materials for a shower room install; a mosaic of broken tiles; much like what he did to his kitchen counters inside his house. We then stepped into the place where his 2-D dreams are made. I’d been deceived by how small the building looked from the outside because inside he had built a long rectangular storage area in which the outside walls served as “practice” areas for his on-going mural projects. They’d been well painted over again and again, almost as if to look like large pieces of abstract art themselves. After seeing this, there was no doubt in my mind that this guy is damn serious about his public art. A great example of his work can be viewed on an exterior cement staircase on Figueroa (just south of the 134) in Eagle Rock where he painted his controversial Tai Chi muralI have to admit I’d driven past it several times, never realizing I actually knew who did it! (Click here for more images)

Finally, I asked Roger about his personal art; work that seems to hover in the world of realism. I’ve often wondered why artists draw or paint themselves so I asked him about his self-portraits. Roger said, for the most part, it’s an exercise––like doodling. Choosing a subject such as him self makes it convenient to study someone without interruptions. For instance, he never has to worry about anybody’s “sitting” time limits or comfort levels.  And his finished portrait doesn’t come without surprises either––like discovering a set of scrunched worry lines between the brows of the very focused Roger Dolan, a man dedicated to bringing art and community together.

Footnote: You may keep an eye on Roger and the kid’s progress at Maryland Park by visiting his Facebook page. Also, The Museum of the San Fernando Valley gives walking tours of historic buildings in NOHO. Information about these can be found on the NOHO Arts District or The Museum of San Fernando Valley's websites. 

Monday, July 7, 2014


MEDIUMS: Acrylic Ink, charcoal, body paint
NOHO CONNECTION: Sales at Harman press in NOHO

I met Nicole Palmquist at a Starbucks across the street from 11:11’s semi-permanent pop-up gallery on Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana. She’d just picked up the artwork she contributed to one of their latest themed shows about street art in Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, Nicole enlightened me as to how she operates in this oftentimes-nocturnal Robinhood world of city painters.

First of all, Nicole’s street name is Booleep. When asked how she came to call herself and her abstracted anatomy animations this, she said, “The name came from a sound. The guy I dated was a gamer. For me, it became the sound and action of the moment when people meet or overlap. You know, the moment you meet and connect with someone.”

But back to the street thang. Although, I’m a huge fan of street art, I haven’t the faintest idea what goes on out there or how art like Booleep’s gets on the sides of buildings, garage doors, and dumpsters. I came to find out that stealthily gratifying an otherwise vacant wall space with one’s vision is pretty much standard– you slip out of the car, usually under the cover of night, and quickly spray paint against a stencil or do it freely by hand. But letting the public know you just participated in the public art movement is altogether something of a different animal. And Nicole runs her secret operation with a criterion unlike other street artists. For instance, she doesn’t instantaneously advertise her work out into the viral stream of Instagram because, true to her belief that art should be absorbed on an individualized basis, she prefers to let her images make an organic connection with the people who happen upon them, like she did in places along the Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset junction. 

That pretty much explained this sense I got from Nicole who definitely has a personal process and seems to channel her E.T. or anatomical-inspired images from “somewhere else.” And once created, she has these long-necked guys tell her who they are –– like Holeheads, Smoking Guys, Neckholes, or Toothheads. Better yet, her biggest thrill is what her viewers think these characters are emanating to them –– the intimate relationship between the viewer and viewee, especially in the case of probably one of her most popular characters named Eyehead, an eye who has been equated with several emotions from paint dripping sadness to all-out curiosity.

Overall, I think the biggest aspect of Nicole’s work is seeing Booleep come to life right in front of your eyes––line by methodically drawn black line. She’s participated in a number of live art shows in and around Los Angeles (this is how I originally met her)––drawing or painting on medium-sized to huge pieces of paper, canvas, plywood, and bodies. Yes, bodies, giving the term “live art” its true meaning as she beautifully did at a recent Ego Fine Art Gallery group show event.

Finally, every artist has a dream; a goal they wish to attain during their career. Nicole’s amounts to a three to ten seconds of airtime in an aim “to take back (advertising) space,” similar to taking back physical advertising space in the streets, with the “ultimate goal of maintaining public art––keeping it quick, simple, and accessible.” Bravo Nicole! A blip, or should I say, Booleep on the screen!

You can see Booleep come alive at Evolve, a benefit art show on July 10th. And remember, all her work is for sale and commissionable…except for the bodies of course.