TO MAIN ART GALLERY
Mark Vallen 1992
Oil on canvas - 8" x 10" inches
years after the August 12, 1965 riots began, I met
an elder African American who was a veteran of the
rebellion that convulsed the Watts community of Los
Angeles. He explained to me in great detail what it
was like to be in the middle of that social explosion.
But his words took on a fervently poetic or messianic
zeal when he tried to describe the sight of L.A.'s
palm trees being set on fire by rioters. I never forget
the vision of those flaming palm trees he passed on
to me; little did I know that I would witness a similar
scene in the future.
created this small oil painting after witnessing the
Rodney King riots of April 29th, 1992. The painting
was an attempt to capture what I had witnessed; L.A.'s
palm trees set ablaze during the mayhem.
internationally famous icon of sunny southern California
- the palm tree - lighting the violence torn streets
of my city was truly a vision from hell. Since that
devastating evening I have not been able to look at
palm trees in the same way.
treated this canvas as a sketch rather than a finished
painting, and today I continue to work on a series
of larger, more detailed paintings based on the same
subject. Unfortunately, with the way race relations
are going, will L.A.'s palm trees be blazing once
again in the not too distant future?"