Artist Date: Getty Center, Los Angeles

Feb 10, 2020 / Photography / artist dates / museums

view of Los Angeles city landscape against large blue sky
View of Los Angeles from Getty CenteriPhone digital image

Over the holidays, I was in Los Angeles and visited the Getty Center for an artist date. Los Angeles is beautiful from up there. You can see for miles.

What is an artist date? It’s a practice I learned from The Artist Way by Julia Margaret Cameron. It’s where you take your inner artist out on a “date” to replenish the well of inspiration.

An artist date is a way to discover something about yourself. Sometimes, I’ll walk through a museum and not stop in front of anything. It’s revealing when I stop.

Anna Atkins’ Cyanotypes

I stopped in front of a presentation album created by Anna Atkins, the first person who illustrated a book with photographs. Atkins is usually referred to as the first woman photographer. She self-published Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843. The Getty didn’t have that book, but it had a subsequent work entitled Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns printed in 1853 by Anna Atkins and Anne Dixon. In art school, you always relate your work to artists who have gone before you. I stopped in front of Anna Atkins because she’s the most well known person in cyanotype, my chosen medium.

blue book cover of Anna Atkins book on ferns
Cyanotypes of British & Foreign FernsTitle Page, Anna Atkins & Anne Dixon
Anna Atkins cyanotype photogram of two leave silhouettes
Page from Anna Atkins BookCyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns, printed 1853

Edward Hopper

I also stopped in front of this etching. What is it about this work that pulled me in? It was the unusual perspective, the sole figure scene, and the mystery. How can I replicate this in my work? That’s always the question when looking at art. Could I incorporate something into my work?

etching of man in deserted street creating mystery and story
Night ShadowsEtching, Edward Hopper, 1921

Armin Landeck

Here’s another one on mystery. The dramatic contrast of lights and darks creates drama. That theater overhang looks pasted on, like collage. Love that. This would look good as a cyanotype.

Vendor waiting outside of theater mysterious artwork by Armin Landeck
The Cat's PawArmin Landeck, Drypoint & Aquatint, 1934, Getty Center

Cost Side

The Getty Center is always free. You could get to it by public transportation. I took Uber from downtown Los Angeles which cost $15 and it took 25 minutes at 10am in the morning.

Coming back, I took a public bus that connected to the subway. It took longer, but one-way cost less than $5. If I were to go back, I would pack food and have a picnic by the Central Garden. You can buy food, but it was expensive. A coffee cart in the Museum Courtyard offered convenient bites, but the line-up was long during lunch time. I ate at the Garden Terrace Cafe overlooking the Central Garden. In retrospect, the Cafe (not the Garden Terrace Cafe) would have been better with its wider selection. It’s hidden away so you have to know it’s there before hunger takes away any decision making capability.

I spent the entire day there. It was a great artist date. I learned things about my inner artist. Why not go on an artist date yourself and see what you like?

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