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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Sunyak

Griffith Observatory/L.A.!

Earlier this year, I traveled to Los Angeles for the first time for my 23rd birthday to be with friends from Italy and to see the King Tut exhibit! I also saw the exhibit for my 11th birthday, so I guess you could say it’s become somewhat of a tradition when I’m able to seize the opportunity :) I had only traveled as far west as Texas so this was a very exciting prospect to see a new part of my country and a very hip place I felt I would fit into. I didn’t bring much in the way of art supplies but I knew I’d be capturing a lot of colorful inspiration that I could use to fan the art flames when I got back.

On the first day, we strolled down Hollywood Boulevard and I put my hands in Tom Hanks’ handprints by the Chinese Theater, walked into stores where we absolutely could not afford anything, and had a glass of wine with lunch. One of the many highlights of the trip was the journey and experience of Griffith Observatory. You guys!!!! First of all, for this Florida flatland dweller, just doing part of the hike was a struggle, but it was certainly worth it. When you get level to where you can see Griffith from a distance, euphoria is the only way to describe the emotions I was feeling was staring at this beautiful building in the hills, looking over the city, all the way to the ocean! I could have stood there for an hour just breathing in all the little details, but instead I took some photos so I could paint it later ;)

This is *the* photo

Smoggy but beautiful Los Angeles

The cloudless sky was really showing off for us

On another day of the trip, we went to the LACMA (because when you’re with people who actually want to go to museums, it is a must!!). I didn’t really know just how magnificent the collection is at LACMA and was pleasantly surprised to see selections of some of my favorite artists (namely Hockney, Matisse, and Magritte) and a few very famous works.

I love to buy postcards when visiting museums to remind me of the art that I’ve seen and where I was. In the handful that I got, I picked up a postcard by my good pal David Hockney and when I got back, it charged my inspiration to change things up and go wild with a painting inspired by a photo I took of the Griffith Observatory.

And of course, we had a fantastic time at the King Tut exhibit! It was neat to see some objects I remembered seeing the last time, plus so many artifacts that were outside of Egypt for the first time ever- and after having studied in Italy, it was delightful to see such an impressive collection and still be learning new things! The pristine condition of nearly all the objects is a reminder of the ancient Egyptian belief of the afterlife and how their lives revolved around it. We heard a recording of a trumpet being played on the radio for the first time after Tut’s tomb was discovered and it is quite possible that it was the first time it was ever played because it was made for the afterlife. Crazy!!

Friends :)

My eleventh birthday, rocking my new Abercrombie outfit, 2007

These few days were crazy inspiring, I still look at the photos and feel a lot of feelings! A spark was lit and LA will forever be special to me. As for my plans for the Griffith painting, I’ve always favored simple shapes, just the right amount of color, and relatively realistic proportions in my art but felt like this needed to be bigger and more flashy. Something in this postcard drove me to use several mediums on this photo; I ended up painting, then layering with collage, pastels, and glitter. I am so proud of where this painting ended up and hopefully make many more with this much flair :)

The final product!!!

Ain't she a beaut?



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