I lived in Southern California until I moved to NYC at age 27; and from ages 3 to 19 (1964 to 1980) I resided in the city of Orange. The main street in my neighborhood was Tustin Avenue, which was populated with countless fast food and casual restaurants including McDonalds, Taco Bell, Marie Callender’s, A&W (Root Beer) Drive Up, Arby’s, Jack In The Box, Winchell’s Donuts, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor, IHOP, Baskin Robbins and others whose memories have been lost to time.
This past Christmastime, I traveled back home to California, where I spent many days of wild abandon exploring the southland like I had not since I was a resident, nearly 30 years ago. On a day spent scouring the many wonder-filled features of Downtown LA, I looked down from an overpass I was crossing on Grand Street and spotted this magnificent beast. The curved concrete sculpture features silhouettes of painted steel cars roller-coasting up the structure’s curve.
Part of the Bunker Hill public art project to beautify the Downtown LA area, this monumental piece is called Uptown Rocker by artist Lloyd Hamrol. While initially it appears that you its located on one of LA’s crazy freeways, the sculpture is actual;y located on the very busy Fourth Street. It might be fun to experience the sculpture while driving by, but I think that where I was standing (officially the South Grand Avenue bridge crossing Fourth Street) is the ideal Uptown Rocker) viewing location.
One of my favorite things about visiting Southern California has to be shopping at the massive supermarkets they have out there that are the size of a Home Depot for Food. I found today’s Pink Thing, these yummy-looking Strawberry Angel Food Mini Cakes, in the Bakery section at a Ralph’s in Montrose.
Ah, California at Christmastime is a singular experience, filled with visions of kidney-shaped swimming pools expertly re-created by the pool replastering Orange County company and of course, oversized Pink Flamingo statues.
Because, why not?
Artist Kenny Scharf rose to prominence in the 1980s New York art scene as part of a now-legendary group of artists including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, but he was born and raised in Los Angeles, and now makes southern California his home. If you also live in LA, or plan to visit, and you love art, then make a point to check out the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA), which, as the name suggests, features exhibits exclusively by California artists, architects and designers. Although the museum’s exhibits change approximately every six months, there is one permanent exhibit by Kenny Scharf, which happens to be in the parking garage adjacent the building; the Kosmic Krylon Garage! Let’s take a look inside!
In the summer of 2004, Kenny Scharf: California Grown opened at the PMCA as the Museum’s first tri-level exhibition, with paintings installed and a tape of The Groovenians — Scharf’s animated show for Cartoon Network — screening on the second floor, his bronze sculptures in the third-floor Founders’ Gallery, and the transformation of the PMCA garage into the Kosmic Krylon Garage.
After the exhibition closed, the colorful murals spray-painted by Scharf over the course of a week remained on the walls of the garage and continue as a permanent installation. The Kosmic Krylon Garage is on view during regular Museum hours. Parking in the garage is free of charge.
Check Out My Photos of Some of the Artwork Inside the Garage:
This Angry Mushroom Cloud covers most of the very rear wall of the garage.
The lot was almost full on the day of our visit, so I did not get many photos without pre owned cars in them, sorry!
If you remember Kenny’s Bowery Mural installation that went up in late 2010, you will recognize these little guys as being indicative of his signature characters.
Find out more about the Kosmic Krylon Garage, and plan your visit to the Pasadena Museum of California Art, at This Link!