Get The Picture?! - Artist’s Talk in LA

On July 15th, 2006, I led an artist’s panel discussion titled, Get The Picture?!, a focus on artists and their various responses to the issues of workers in California. Held in conjunction with the At Work: The Art of California Labor exhibit currently running at the Pico House Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, the panel included my associates - photographers Sheila Pinkel and Slobodan Dimitrov. The three of us did a power point presentation where we discussed our artworks, their inspirations and motivations. A question and answer roundtable with the audience followed.

I first met Sheila Pinkel in Los Angeles during the summer of 1984, when her unique photomontage works warned of a growing militarism. Her photographs and artworks have since documented the lives and struggles of workers from California to Cambodia. During the 1990s to the present time, she has included these artworks in a larger body of work entitled Site: Unseen, a critical look at globalization and its impact on the international workplace. Most recently Pinkel has focused her attention upon the prison-industrial complex in the U.S., works that were the basis of her presentation during the artist’s panel discussion.

I can’t remember when I first met Slobodan Dimitrov, but it was definitely on the streets of L.A. sometime in the late 90’s while taking photographs at various demonstrations. Surrounded by swirling masses of striking workers or antiwar protestors, Dimitrov and I became friends as we snapped the photos that would document events in L.A. I would use my photos to draw and paint from, and as I discovered - Dimitrov was, and remains, the leading labor photographer in the Los Angeles area. He has served as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s official photographer as well as having documented the activities of many other unions. Based in Long Beach, Dimitrov’s photos have appeared in The Progressive, Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly, The Economist, Solidarity, SEIU, UNITE, and many other labor publications and newspapers.

While the Get The Picture?! Artist’s Panel Discussion is past, the At Work exhibit runs until August 14th, 2006. On Friday July 28th, at 7:45 pm, the gallery will screen the classic labor film, Salt of the Earth. The Pico House Gallery is located at 424 North Main Street - right next to the Olvera Street plaza. Phone: 213 485-6855. Open daily 10 am - 3 pm. For more details on the At Work exhibit, including a list of scheduled events, previews of artworks, and maps to the gallery, please visit: www.art-for-a-change.com/exhibits/atwork.htm

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