The sign outside the Watts Towers Art Center | Still from "The Watts Towers Arts Center" ab s11 episode image

Pop-Life: Why Melrose Avenue is a Mecca for Graffiti Writers

Nachos soaked in thick, salty cheese, primed for the late night, were ready to be grabbed. Steam escaped from the taco trucks that lined the block, enclosing the action like a barricade. Clouds of Nag Champa incense serenely bowed to the bitter scent of Krylon spray paint, crawling from the electric mural until it enveloped spectators in a foggy haze. As the pristine, laced-up sneakers glided along the concrete canvas, a photographer perched nearby to capture photos. The artist smiled, motioning to the ground. The photographer quietly grinned, acknowledging the code. Pictures taken of a muralist should be captured from the jeans down. Exposing the identity of a street artist in the media could have fatal consequences, particularly if they're a member of the covert graffiti crews that infiltrate the underground. Street crews are responsible for some of the un-commissioned and therefore illegal murals on Melrose in Los Angeles. While these artists were commissioned for the night, some of the same people art bomb un-commissioned spaces. Spectators huddled in corners to watch the live art unfold at the FAME Festival.

Peppered with jewelers, crafters and emerging artists showcasing and selling their work, the monthly FAME Fest pop-up event occupies two spaces. Artists whose pieces sell for an upwards of $5000 are given space inside of the spiritually themed Ethos Gallery on the strip. Painters and crafters with work starting at $100 set-up shop in the adjacent parking lot facing Fairfax High School. Fairfax is home to the district's only public visual arts magnet program. The venue is also situated near the legendary Canter's Deli, one of oldest 24/7 restaurants and Hollywood hangout in California. Part of "Melrose Nights," a periodic retail event, FAME Fest creator Eddie Donaldson says that the temporary arts festival plays a viable role in the area's social revitalization. While historical L.A. landmarks remain the same, the surrounding culture that showcases, sells and processes art is rapidly changing. "They're all emerging artists, so the energy is high and the stakes even higher, because most of the people here are putting everything they have into what they do. They paint live while they're here. They create art on the spot. It's more of a for yourself and by yourself situation, versus an edited show by a gallery owner that picks what they want to see the best. The public gets to take it raw -- directly from the artist," he explains.

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The State of Creativity

An Artbound special episode on the Otis Report on the Creative Economy: Using key data from the newest issue of the report, the documentary explores the vibrant network of creativity in Southern California, examining how creative businesses are investing in community building and driving economic activity in Boyle Heights; the network of industries involved in the denim manufacturing of boutique denim firm Buck Mason; the underlying educational network and issues of access to arts education at Inner-City Arts; the triangulation between artist, gallerist, and major museum as seen in the

  • 2021-01-17T09:00:00-08:00

100 Mules Walking The Los Angeles Aqueduct

"Artbound" travels with Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio as they perform "One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct," a commemorative artist action to reconnect Los Angeles to its water supply by walking the entire 240-mile route of the Los Angeles Aqueduct with a team of 100 hundred mules. The action marked the 100-year anniversary of the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which started bringing water from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles on Nov. 5, 1913.

  • 2021-01-20T13:00:00-08:00
  • 2021-01-20T17:00:00-08:00
  • 2021-01-24T09:00:00-08:00

AgH2O: Silver and Water

Artbound's one-hour special looks at Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio's "AgH2O" project which connects the elements mined from the Owens Valley, silver and water, to the emergence of the film industry. Silver mined from the Owens Valley was shipped to Rochester, New York, where it was used to make film. That film was then shipped back to Hollywood where films where made -- often shot on locations where the silver itself was from.

  • 2021-01-27T13:00:00-08:00
  • 2021-01-27T17:00:00-08:00
  • 2021-01-31T09:00:00-08:00

How Sweet The Sound: Gospel In Los Angeles

Gospel music would not be what it is today if not for the impact left by Los Angeles in the late '60s and early '70s, a time defined by political movements across the country. Artists like James Cleveland and Aretha Franklin captured live recordings of the church experience of South Central and the voices and sentiment of the people coming together to give birth to a new gospel sound and the election of L.A.’ s first black mayor, Tom Bradley.

  • 2021-02-07T09:00:00-08:00

The Watts Towers Arts Center

The Watts Towers Arts Center was founded by artists and educators in the 1960s and has been a beacon of art and culture in the community for decades. This episode features the work of artists including Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, Betye Saar, Charles White and Mark Steven Greenfield.

  • 2021-02-14T09:00:00-08:00