I took this photography with my iphone 4 a couple of weeks ago in Van Nuys, California, where I live. The “Furnished Studios” sign rests inside of a large leafy huge bush on a busy intersection. Across the street is what looks like a liquor store that would carry only low-grade stuff – yet the reality is that the place carries several artisanal beers along with everyday items, so it’s my quick stop place to grab a beer to enjoy at in my studio. What I enjoy about the image is that it captures not only the commercially printed sign, with its cartoonish sunburst, but it also has real Southern California sunshine shining not only on the sign itself, but all the surrounding leaves. The strategic placement of the sign – literally mounted inside of the enormous urban street corner bush, is but one of countless variations on Los Angeles businesses deploying every imaginable means of advertising their rental properties. There is an entire universe of grotesque hand painted signage on entire corridors of businesses in LA. So in this one instance, at least the property renter employed the services of a commercial sign printer to market their property. The photograph itself, with a pink flower in its hair, so to speak, perfectly captures the kind of everyday graphic fantasy one can see and find throughout the Los Angeles region. Lastly, because of the rising interest in the LA artworld, the sign “Furnished Studios” take on the added possible meaning of being a furnished ARTIST STUDIO.
Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles