The history of art in Southern California isn't linear; it is a fluid, multi-angled continuum made from the personal experiences of many artists from myriad backgrounds. So to trace the trajectory of Southern California art, Artbound is creating a collective timeline comprised of the decisive events that shaped artists' creative development. We hope that in the space between these personal histories, an impressionistic view of Southern California's art history will come into focus.
Today we talk to Los Angeles artist David Weidman.
Having just turned 91, David Weidman has been practicing and utilizing graphics as his primary occupation since the 1950s. This has included 10 years in the animation industry as a designer and background artist. He has also done commissions for prints for commercial institutions, such as medical facilities, hotels and other corporate entities, in which he supplied original prints in limited editions. More details and examples of his work can be found in the book "The Whimsical Works of David Weidman and Some Serious Ones."
1. The Watts Riots
The Watt's Riots are a significant point. I made posters which expressed my emotional reaction to the event. I looked for what humor could be squeezed out of the tragedy.
2. Animation on TV
The breakthrough in the use of animation for television. I worked for small studios engaged in producing a new form of animation. These were offshoots of Disney productions with a contemporary vision in graphics and storytelling. This included studios such as UPA, which produced Mr. Magoo and other subjects related to a more contemporary outlook.
3. Monday Night Artwalk (1950s)
I was a small part of the Monday Night artwalk in the 1950's located on La Cienega between Melrose and Santa Monica. I opened a small workshop/studio, which I started at my home two years previously. It was behind a commercial establishment and I produced silk screen prints for institutions such as hotel suites and interior designers who needed wall décor for their corporate clients.
4. The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War stimulated me to make posters which expressed my distressed feelings about our involvement in a war that I was not sympathetic to. The creation of these posters was my form of protest.
5. David Weidman's La Cienega Gallery
My workshop became a gallery on the main street. My Gallery became a unique spot that was not representative of the so-called upscale galleries on La Cienega. The major feature of my gallery was framing and the making of inexpensive posters which were very popular at the time. I currently have prints in inventory that were left over from the 1960's and 1970's period, which are originals.
6. The G.I. Bill
The G.I. Bill which enabled me to get my education as an artist and be introduced to major influencers in my understanding of image-making and separating the fashion of the day.
7. Mid-Century Modernist Archicture
Architecture in California from 1950-1960 in the Post and Beam Mid-Century Modern period. As an artist and creator, part of my contribution is in the design and building of my house. I currently live in my home which I built and it has made it possible for me to survive and raise a family in Southern California, while pursuing my more graphic enterprises. I consider this designing and building of my home a part of my history as a creator and artist. I undertook to build it utilizing the concepts that I had been exposed to.
Top image: "Olé" by David Weidman.
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