Translating Full Dollar from Ecuador to L.A. (video)

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We recently had an eye-opening conversation with X. Andrade about the parameters involved in deciding which business owners, sign painters and artists should be selected for the Full Dollar York Blvd. project.

Although the original impetus for the Full Dollar series back in Las Playas Ecuador was to question the hierarchies embedded in the production of a work of art and a sign painting by having the sign painter recreate the likeness of an iconic art image in a business storefront, translating that same dynamic to the context of Los Angeles, and Highland Park in particular, may prove to be a bit more complicated.

Highland Park was the first art colony in Los Angeles. Arroyo Culture, which sprung from the Arts and Craft Movement, was supported by the work of such local luminaries as William Lees Judson and Charles Lummis. The area has seen dramatic economic and demographic shifts since the turn of the 20th century - from a burgeoning cultured suburbia in the teens, a Latino stronghold in the '70s and '80s, to a gentrified, hybrid community today.

Las Playas, by contrast, is a small fishing town on the pacific coast of Ecuador which, as X puts it, "had been marginal to state interventions, urban planning and development resulting on decaying streets, abandoned houses, and general disorder."


The social conditions of Highland Park and Las Playas are so dramatically different that the parameters of selection and, in some cases, the underlying impetus behind the intervention, need to be re-tooled to conform to the social and economic dynamics of the area. How do we translate the Full Dollar project into the context of Los Angeles? What should the dynamics between painter, artist and owner be? Can collaboration spring from them without a predetermined form of curatorial commentary? What is their role and relation to history and place?

Input from the Highland Park community will be valuable in helping us address such questions as we move forward with the project.

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