Bloomfest is a downtown music and arts festival that was held this past Saturday. I’d never heard of it, or Joel Bloom the actor and activist for whom the festival is named. I just went downtown because my friend Maria said it was something I’d be interested in.
I got there pretty early in the day and spent the first hour eating a delicious sausage, onion and pepper sandwich from Wurstkuche while watching them set up the stage and basically talking a lot about nothing much. Except me. That was as good a set up as any for what the rest of the day was like.
It was a shaggily produced event that was open and inviting where we wandered around at our own pace and at one point found ourselves standing in someone’s studio trying to make small talk about a bunch of nylon thongs stretched across a canvas. But it was a beautiful day and gave me a chance to take a leisurely walk around the Arts District in downtown LA, a part of LA I don’t normally visit.
As with most art festivals that feature young, developing and mostly unsigned artists there was a lot of stuff to look at but not a lot that necessarily caught my eye. The most interesting surprise were the four framed painting screwed into a construction wall on 4th. It was a fairly dreary industrial strip and the bright paintings were like an oasis. Other than that there was a lot of sensory overloading graffiti/street art that’s always entertaining, if only for the visual assault and the hidden gems.
Focusing on the artists I did like, in addition to my new best friend Yuri, there was Jaime Atilio Collindres, a painter who paints on chipboard and then cover his pieces in thick acrylic so that they’d glimmer and shine in the light. Made it a bear to photograph, as the above photo would indicate, but really engaging in person.
The photo above is a painting called “Wishing on Jupiter” and it just drew me in and reminded me of all the nights back on Long Island when I used to walk home from my friend Helen’s house in the early evening. The air would be crisp and smell of wood burning in a fireplace. I wanted to live in that painting.
Other artists that stood out for me were Rick Mendoza, who in the age of Photoshop showed images made via the silver gelatin process and cyanotype producing works that looked both luminous and antique, and Jeremy Quinn and Michele Jaquis graphic designers and artists who showed cheeky, amusing prints. I bought one of Jeremy’s prints because it featured a favorite Vonnegut quote about an asterisk.
Here’s a slide show in case you want to experience it vicariously after the fact.