Sunday, November 6, 2011

Grand Mosaic

This is  one of those things where if you know it's there it's no surprise, but if you don't, when you come upon it it's somehow incongruous.

I was of the latter persuasion, coming upon this and thinking, well, a modern tile mosaic is the last thing I expected above the entrance to underground parking.

I should make you guess where this is.

Maybe you already know?

It's at the north end of South Grand Avenue--the last building before the Colorado Street Bridge. It's nice to park there (on the street) and walk out onto the bridge for spectacular views and, right about now, some bracing wind. You can stop in the driveway for a bit of erudition on the way back to your car.

24 comments:

CafePasadena said...

I have a few pics of this garage mosaic in my collection of unpublished. I almost didn't recognize your foto!
Like most everything, I'm sure there's a history behind it.

dive said...

What a fabulous piece of public art. Southern California seems to have a great talent for murals and mosaics.
Of course the rains and frosts up here would ruin them so we don't have any to admire. Seeing them on your blog always makes me think of sunshine and warmer climes, a nice way to start a cold and foggy Sunday morning here in England (the weather today is truly sucky).

Petrea Burchard said...

Cafe, it doesn't surprise me that you knew about it. If you find any information about it (the artist, the year it was made, etc.) I'd sure like to know. I couldn't find anything online.

Dive, today we're having England weather, cold and rainy. For us it's a treat because it's rare, but I admit I'd get tired of it if it was every day.

Bellis said...

I'm so glad you're showing everyone this wonderful mosaic, depicting the area's history from agriculture to big resort hotels full of visitors from the east coast catching winter sunshine. The bungalows that the car park caters to were once part of the big hotel nearby, the one that's now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.. It's by local artist Kenton Nelson, who lives on Bellefontaine. He also does the paintings of the Colorado Street Bridge for the T shirts sold by Pasadena Heritage at the Bridge Parties. We've acquired quite a collection over the years.

Sometimes I think of canceling the Pasadena Star-News because it has so little local news in it nowadays, but I wouldn't have known any of this without it.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks for that, Bellis, I'd never have known. Wonderful info.

Yes, I wish the Star-News would concentrate on local, its strong suit. We can get national and international news anywhere--the web, the LA Times, etc. Why compete? But local news for Pasadena is getting harder and harder to find. I wish my local paper had it.

Irina said...

Reminds me of "social realism art" of Soviet Russia. Everybody happy, smiling, looking forward to future success in work))
Nice they have time and wish to decorate garages.

Petrea Burchard said...

It does have a Soviet look to it, Irina, I agree. I wonder if that's what Nelson was going for.

Trish said...

if, like me, you've ever done genealogy in the Pasadena area, you will come up with an article from the Star-News in the 1900s. If you zip thru the images scanned in, it should AMAZE you at how extensive the local coverage was and how large a paper the SN was. Even more amazing, it used to be morning and evening delivery, like the USPS delivery!

Sure, my parent's engagement was listed, as was a long column on their wedding. Mind you, they were NOT Rockefellers. I also found a funeral announcement for my great-grandmother, as well as one for a friend's great-aunt. Listing all the attendants, or family members and other details that make genealogy searches more rewarding---I miss that kind of reporting!

I did not know about (or maybe I didn't recall) about the mosaic. Thanks to wonderful bloggers like you, I'm learning some things about my youth I never knew, or perhaps, just forgotten.

Thanks!

Katie said...

Cool mosaic! And thanks Bellis for the info about the artist. Reminds me of a Diego Rivera mural I've seen in SF. Always fun to find art where you least expect it.

Petrea Burchard said...

Trish, that's interesting history about the Star-News. I know newspapers are suffering and they're trying to find ways to be viable in the internet world. I'm no expert but I do think reporting about their base--the people who buy it--would put the Star News back on track.

I might not have spotted it if it hadn't been for you, Katie.

Susan Campisi said...

It made me think of Diego Rivera too. I've never seen it. Another Pasadena gem to seek out.

Laura said...

Petrea, it always amazes me what you find in Pasadena!

This mural is WPA in the stylings of the people--rounded figures (like oh so many of us real-life folk) and high contrast, with lighter tints than the WPA art I'm familiar with.

As for newspapers--the two things they can do well in an internet world are in-depth coverage and stories that take a long time to develop.

About a year ago, the Times came out with a series on homeless people moving into apartments, no strings attached. They spent two years of reporter and photographer time on it before running the first piece.

The Star-News series on boot camps has been good (not steller), and it is local.

But if you look at the datelines, almost all Star-News stories outside of SGV are AP or City News Service. In addition, they do not cover Altadena at all, unless there is a sensational crime.

Laura said...

Oops. Stellar.

Petrea Burchard said...

Oh I know, and they've got no money coming in. It's a vicious cycle. Circle. Whatever. I'm glad I'm not a journalist, that whole world is changing and it's got to be difficult to know what to do right now.

I thought of Thomas Hart Benton, too, but his stuff is stylized in a dreamier way; people and landscapes are stretched out, giant, big dreams.

Bellis said...

By the time I open my Pasadena Star-News in the morning, I know about all the national and international news, so there's only the odd article on the front page and op-eds by Larry Wilson and Steve Scauzillo to interest me. It's now a paper I can read in 5 minutes. Larry is my main source of local news and gossip, and Steve writes wonderful articles like the one today about the benefits of getting out into nature. What we really need is a hyperlocal news site like Patch. San Marino, South Pasadena, Eagle Rock and La Crescenta have one, and Altadena has two!

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm glad you mention Larry and Steve, Bellis. We have world class, renowned and awarded writers/reporters right here. I don't think the Star-News needs to compete with the national papers. It has the opportunity to be the best Pasadena paper, as it always has been--to be the only place where we can get up-to-the minute Pasadena news.

CafePasadena said...

I was gonna say, P, I don't have any time at the moment to dig up the history of this grand mosaic. (Or hardly time for a newspaper nowadays.) But luckily I can borrow off the time of people like Bellis to do such things while I watch a football game & eat pizza.

Btw, what's good for PSN should go for KPPC also as far as I'm concerned!

CafePasadena said...

KPPC: that's KPCC for the resta you!

Patricia said...

Petrea, sometimes I feel silly for commenting here. I have moved on from Pasadena and Southern Ca. But I come here and to Laurie's blog too, and I remember how happy I was, my children were young, Pasadena and the surrounding areas were home and we were very happy. When I went to pay the water bill at city hall, I was struck by how amazing the building was. Stats, do you know Stats? They were like a fairy land at Christmas time. The tree room was unbeleivable, and Santa was there. I attended a wedding at Castle Green that was unforgettable.Both of my daughters worked on the floats for the Rose Parade, coming home covered in glue. I love your Pasadena, I love my Pasadena. Thanks for a lovely memory every time I come here.

Ms M said...

Marvelous mosaic! It does look in similar style to WPA art. Fun to learn the history from Bellis. It's wonderful how much public art you have in your area!

-K- said...

What a great find. I hope its perserved for the next hundred years.

Petrea Burchard said...

Cafe, Bellis is very well-informed. I get a lot of information from her!

Patricia, please don't feel silly on my account, I'm glad to know you enjoy the blog! Not everyone commenting here is a local, not even close. Feel free to join in any time. And yes, I know Stats! It may be time for a Stats post soon.

We do have a lot of great public art here, Ms. M. The City of Pasadena makes an effort at it, and as I understand it a percentage of the budget of every new construction project must go toward art.

Good thoughts, K, good thoughts.

altadenahiker said...

Everyone is in their own little world except Gene Autry. He shows an obvious appreciation for the diver.

Petrea Burchard said...

I was thinking Juan Valdez looked kind of interested in the scrub girl, or whatever she's doing there on the floor.