LA is a very strange, and also very interesting place. Before the art trip last Exeat, I had never been to America before, and considering all the major political changes happening in America right now it was a good time to visit. What struck me immediately- as soon as we emerged from LAX airport, was how perfect the weather was. having got on the plane in the cold and darkness at Heathrow, and getting off to a blue sky with a blazing sun, the juxtaposition between the two places was insane.
LA is structured like a video game: one like Sims- where you can plan where buildings, people greenery and water goes, on a very strict grid-like system. Palm trees frame the roads which the cars move in perfect synchronization down. Everything looks planned and perfect. However not everything in America was as ideal as it seemed. We had a different cab driver for each day of our trip and listening to the conversations on politics between them and my teachers was fascinating- who they were voting for, (most were democrats) their backgrounds and their general thoughts on the future of their country.
LA is an inspiring place and it’s easy to see how it has become such an iconic destination: The American Dream: fame and fortune, films in Hollywood, fashion, style and beauty. Once again however the city is not merely for the rich and/or famous: the number of homeless people we encountered was staggering- far more so than in any place I’ve ever been before. The sheer contrast between the huge Hollywood hills mansions we saw and the homeless people pushing their sole and only belongings around in a trolley was shocking. Los Angeles must be a really strange place to live when you have nothing.
Throughout our trip we filled in sketchbooks with personal studies and interpretations of the city. I found this extremely enjoyable and loved exploring the idea of a movie set-like city, whose buildings, landscapes and people were all larger than life and seemed fake and plastic. It’s a beautiful place: but extremely odd from an outsiders perspective.
Eleanor’s sketchbook from the trip, along with work from the other members of the group, was displayed in Studio at the end of November: