One the goals of This Ugly Beautiful City was to let you know about events that fly just below the radar. Events and places I wouldn’t even know about myself if it weren’t for friends who like to experience & explore this city as much as I do. Friends who help me cut through the noise and possibilities of what to do in Los Angeles. One person in particular has been my go-to guide and she just so happens to have a photography show up now and in its final days at the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC.) This event is also a bonus for me because I get to talk about my really talented friend, Monica Orozco.
This weekend is your last chance to see her “Photo-A-Day” show in person at the PVAC. I never would have heard of this art mecca perched on the top of the Palos Verdes Peninsula if it weren’t for her. This space is part gallery, museum, and event space that serves to foster and support local artists in every way possible. The current exhibit, consisting of two artists, is an example of excellent curation blending the fashionable portraits of Mark Shaw and the personal portraits of Monica Orozco. Even though they were shot over half a century apart, they just seem like they were made to go together.
I first met Monica at a Devo concert at the Hollywood Race track four or so years ago. Meeting her that first time, I felt like I was reconnecting with an old friend. She makes everyone feel that way just by her presence or through her photography, hence the packed house at her artist talk on November 7th where she spoke about her trajectory as an artist, her process, and current project “The Marrakesh Series.”
Through Photo-a-Day she has explored an alter-ego named deMonica sendinging her on interesting adventures while paying homage to her artist heroes. (See her instagram account here that documents the project from the beginning.) The joy of having an alter ego is that you can make them be or do anything you want them to, explore things you wouldn’t normally experience, and ask questions you never thought anyone would say yes to. Alter egos are often braver than we are. This series is an example of deMonica taking over and asking a brave question leading to unrestricted access to the house that is up for grabs in the Palos Verdes Dream House Raffle where the series on display at PVAC was shot.
Monica is a one woman powerhouse of energy and color. All shots are dressed, make-uped, lit, and styled by her. This may produce a half dozen photos or hundreds to get it just right, like shown in this video.
Monica has a knack for emulating the feel of famous photographers while making it her own. Which any artist knows is hard.
Her art is really inspiring to me as some who struggles to put themselves “out there”. I recommend seeing the work in person for anyone inspired to start their own projects, especially those that are focused on “the self” as art.
Where: 5504 Crestridge Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes
When: Gallery Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Mondays – Saturdays, 1 – 4 pm Sundays
(closed major holidays)