Ambitious Elements

By Guest Blogger, Patrick Bollinger

A profile series on the artists and individuals of The Art Classic, one of this year’s exhibitions at the LA County Fair – September 4-27, 2015

Rachel Kaster is a Los Angeles-based multi-media contemporary artist specializing in crafting glass through different techniques.

“Conceptually, it is important for me that (my work) is glass,” Kaster said. She is fascinated by the dichotomies within the material – fragility, strength, clarity, lucidity, the way it traps the light.”

Kaster is originally from New York and there she learned to silversmith. With this skill, she began making jewelry. Her jewelry became bigger and bigger until, eventually, she learned how to cast metal in molds.

“I was casting small molds of silver, then I teamed up with a group that was making bronze and iron casts in a furnace that was similar to making glass.”

She has been working with glass for 13 years now and in her newest collection, titled Ambitious Elements, she is examining the unique combinations of glass with other elements like wood and metal.

She makes objects out of glass using the glass-casting technique.

“Pieces are made with chunks of glass in the mold and suspended above it. Then the piece is heated and the glass drips into the cavity.”

“I like to create a sense of mysterious fantasy, how did these objects come to be?”

“Like the axe and the stump. They are only one half on an unwritten story. It is for the viewer to complete this moment of fantasy.”

Rachel Kaster’s work will be featured in the Millard Sheets Art Center’s upcoming exhibition The Art Classic.

Please join us this year at the LA County Fair, Sept. 4-27, to view Rachel’s work and the other artists profiled in this series from the Los Angeles Art Association who were selected for this year’s exhibition.

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Painting with the Subconscious Mind

By Guest Blogger, Patrick Bollinger

A profile series on the artists and individuals of The Art Classic, one of this year’s exhibitions at the LA County Fair – September 4-27, 2015

“One of the things I try to do when I paint is try not to think.” Steve Jakobsen

Steve Jakobsen is a contemporary artist who is originally from Seattle. He went to school in Seattle for graphic design, and became a graphic designer in New York. He then joined a Mexican soccer team and moved to central Mexico. He said that this experience was a wake up call in his life. He came to the realization that “the whole world is absolutely different than America. People react to things differently. People actually care about things because their lives actually depend on it.”

After Mexico, he moved to Los Angeles and became a painter. As a painter, he tries to do the opposite of what he did as a graphic designer. “I try to get away from that when I’m painting. That’s too much of a process – too engineered.”

“[Painting] is a great time where I’m left alone and my head stops working. Screw the cerebral shit, and just let the lizard part of your brain, the frontal lobe just do whatever it needs to do. It will bring in everything you have experienced in life towards it and help you tell the story when you’re painting.”

When asked about artistic inspiration he said that “walking the streets is the biggest thing, and just riding my bike around the streets of Downtown LA.” He is interested in the community and the “behaviors, textures, motion, speed of flow, and what is going on.”

His artistic process starts with a sketchbook. He sketches just the general idea and layout, then transforms this to the canvas by using spray paint and oil to create the base of where things are going to go.

After this stage he lets his subconscious mind takeover.  His subconscious guides his hand to represent the things he has observed on the streets of Downtown LA. He lets his “Lizard Brain” as he calls it wander all over the canvas. This process makes it very hard to tell when it’s complete. “Knowing when to stop is very hard. It’s hard to stop.”

Steve Jakobsen’s work will be featured in the Millard Sheets Art Center’s upcoming exhibition The Art Classic.

Please join us this year at the LA County Fair to view Steve’s work and the other artists profiled in this series from the Los Angeles Art Association who were selected for this year’s exhibition.

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Photograph or Painting?

By Guest Blogger, Patrick Bollinger

A profile series on the artists and individuals of The Art Classic, one of this year’s exhibitions at the LA County Fair – September 4-27, 2015

Tom Lamb is an aerial landscape photographer based in Laguna Beach, California. In 1980, Tom founded Lamb Studio, a design, communications and photography workshop focused on environmental and cultural interpretation efforts. His work is published, exhibited and collected internationally.

“…Some context, these are aerial photos (not lithos or etchings or paintings) that are NOT manipulated … they are pretty crazy and wonderful.”
- Peter Mays, Executive Director – Los Angeles Art Association – Gallery 825

At first glance, I could not figure out what this picture was. The photograph looked like a mixture of shapes, lines and colors that reminded me of an abstract painting. After inspecting it more closely I realized that this was not an abstract painting, but rather an aerial view of land. These shapes and lines were not random brushstrokes, but actual marks on Earth. As Lamb dangles precariously from the side of a helicopter thousands of feet in the air, he is able to capture the never before seen effect of mankind’s impact on our landscape and present it to us as an abstraction of this reality, left for us to interpret its ultimate purpose.

Lamb’s work focuses primarily on the environment and is largely influenced by:

“The environment, culture, conservation and the balance of man’s mark on the planet – especially his mark’s on the land and interplay of nature and time.”

His LA river series showcases his focus on the environment and the coexistence of nature and humans.

“I became interested with the LA River working with ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) and TPL (Trust for Public Lands) 15 years ago on a special aerial project to document the full length of the river from Chatsworth to Long Beach.”

This was once a normal river that ran through the LA area, but humans have now diverted its flow into man made cement canals.  We have also affected the color of this water through pollution, and now it is a dull looking dark green. In his photography Lamb capture’s land that we have changed from its natural state for our human needs, and shows it to us from a perspective that is rarely seen.

Tom Lamb’s work will be featured in the Millard Sheets Art Center’s upcoming exhibition The Art Classic.

Please join us this year at the LA County Fair to view Tom’s work and the other artists profiled in this series from the Los Angeles Art Association who were selected for this year’s exhibition.

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The Formations of Caroline PM Jones

By Guest Blogger, Patrick Bollinger

A profile series on the artists and individuals of The Art Classic, one of this year’s exhibitions at the LA County Fair – September 4-27, 2015

Caroline PM Jones is a British artist and sculptor now based in Los Angeles. Jones began painting twenty five years ago in the streets of Spain. She taught herself how to paint, and began a professional career as an artist in Asia. After spending more than ten years in Asia painting portraiture and seeing her family grow, Jones decided it was time to go on a new adventure, which ultimately led her to art school to study ornamental stone carving.

In her latest project, Formations, Jones is working with enormous rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park.

Her artistic process begins with studying the rock formations and creating sketches. “The first thing that I do is go to the location of the place I am studying and I sit outside and sketch profusely.” She starts sketching them with pastels on paper, then moves to oils on linen. “I like pencils and chalk, but I wanted more. I wanted that viscosity you can get with oil. I can create the form and color with loose brushstrokes.”

After weeks of studying and sketching the rock formation in the desert, she comes back to her Los Angeles studio and creates large scale paintings based on those sketches. She then sculps her own monoliths by carving stone and marble blocks. She also creates ceramic representations of the rock formations. These fired clay sculptures have purposefully undergone a process not dissimilar to the actual life cycle of the monoliths.

Jones’ work will be featured in the Millard Sheets Art Center’s upcoming exhibition The Art Classic.

Please join us this year at the LA County Fair to view Caroline’s work and the other artists profiled in this series from the Los Angeles Art Association who were selected for this year’s exhibition.

See you next Wednesday to learn about our next artist contributor. 

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Millard Sheets Art Center Expansion

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
- Henry David Thoreau

If you love art and celebrating local artists and their creativity, then you will be thrilled to know that The Millard Sheets Art Center is expanding! In the past, the space was used for the annual Fair exhibition and ArtReach, a regional high school art exhibition. However, now the gallery is being used year round for art education and exhibitions.

With this new expansion, the LA County Fair will be doubling its art “footprint.” For the first time guests will experience two art exhibitions – Tony Sheets’, Art Through The Senses, in the Grand Stand, and The Learning Centers’ exhibition, The Art Classic, in the Millard Sheets Art Center.

This post is the first in a series of 16 that will highlight the individual contributions of each artist and art association featured in The Art Classic.

Guests to The Art Classic will experience:

- Art history exhibition on the Pomona Valley
- Contemporary artwork by artists of the Los Angeles Art Association
- A demonstration gallery featuring artists from the Mid-Valley Arts League, Orange

Art Association, and Associated Artists of the Inland Empire

In addition to exhibitions, The Art Classic features:
- Hands on pottery classes in art studios
- A photo exhibition on Mud Volcanoes of the Salton Sea
- En Plein Air outdoor painting competition in partnership with the California Arts Club

The goal of The Millard Sheets Art Center’s expansion and year round programming is to provide access to a wide range of artists and styles to engage the diverse interests of students and people of the surrounding community. We hope you enjoy learning about our artists and association features coming throughout the summer! Stay tuned for more art updates, and we’ll see you in September for The Art Classic and the LA County Fair!

For more information on The Millard Sheets Art Center click here.

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A Deep-Fried State of Mind

Will the next deep-fried food trend please stand up?

Being die-hard fans of the LA County Fair, we are quite familiar with all things deep-fried, bacon-covered, battered, buttered and gift-wrapped in a package of fat and sugar.

Deep-fried food at its finest: The Funnel Cake 

Naturally, we wonder what the next big deep-fried concoction will be. Last year, Chicken Charlie won our hearts with his savory deep-fried zucchinis and Totally Fried Doritos.

Elsewhere, other Fairs were cooking up deep-fried brisket, fried pumpkin spice Oreos and deep-fried sweet tea.

Our question, as we dig deeper into planning for the 2015 LACF, is this: what will the next deep-fried food trend be? A deep-fried Philly cheesesteak? Deep-fried Nutella covered doughnuts? (Yes please!)

It’s hard to say what the next big thing will be, but we are all about “it”, whatever “it” looks like in the deep-fried scheme of things.

What food item would you choose to deep fry? Tell us in the comments section below! 

For updates on the LA County Fair, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube! Check out our new Pinterest page too for fun photos and videos.

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Official dates for the 2015 LACF!

We are pleased to announce the official dates of the 2015 Los Angeles County Fair. We will run from Sept. 4 – Sept. 27, opening the Friday before Labor Day as is tradition and closing on the last Sunday of the month.

We will be open Labor Day Monday and will be closed subsequent Mondays and Tuesdays.

We can’t wait to share what new attractions, concerts and other exciting adventures we have for you in 2015 and hope you will join us for some fun in the sun.

See you in September!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Robert Scott

This week’s volunteer spotlight is on Robert Scott, who spent his LACF volunteer hours between the DIY Design Studio, FairKids tram and the Flower & Garden Pavilion. Robert currently works at the Disneyland Resort as an annual pass department manager, but was able to move his schedule around to spend some time with us!

Falling into Fair 

Robert joined the ambassador program almost by accident. He received an email from the LACF volunteer team and mistook it for a Fair season pass offer. When he clicked the link and found himself on the LACF ambassador application page, he decided to sign up. The rest is history.

Moving outside the comfort zone 

Robert was assigned to be a part of the new DIY Design Studio (formerly known as Tapestry), doing photo editing sessions in front of a live audience. His vibrant photos of LACF attracted an admiring audience at his editing station, but for Robert, this task was miles outside of his comfort zone.

Robert Scott’s photography (www.sylvr.com)

Photography has been Robert’s favorite hobby since his middle school years, but this was the first time he has displayed his work to the public.

“Showing my photos for the first time ever, and then editing them live and having people see the whole process on a 75″ flat screen was intimidating,” he said. “But I had to learn to own it.”

In addition to his photo editing demonstrations, Robert also worked as a tram tour guide, which quickly became his favorite LACF memory.

A bonded community 

“It was a blast working with tram conductors,” he said. “And it was cool to show kids parts of the Fair they have never seen before, like Luminasia. Their reactions were great, seeing them connect with the Fair.”

He worked with the rest of the ambassadors to create a safe, engaging experience for the 155,000 FairKids students and teachers.

“We [the ambassadors] really rallied as a team,” he said. “Fair staff and volunteers all bonded through this program.”

Robert has volunteered with other organizations in the past, including building homes, feeding the homeless and other community projects, but he feels the Fair ambassador program has been his most rewarding experience.

“This has been a great life experience,” he said. “I never thought volunteering could be so enriching, and give you such a clear purpose. This is something I’m definitely going to come back to.”

For more information about the LACF ambassador program, visit fairplex.com.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Gus Smith

This week’s Volunteer Spotlight is on Gus Smith, another committed Fairplex Ambassador at LACF. After working as a probation officer for 25 years and spending a few years volunteering with other organizations, Gus found his home here at the Los Angeles County Fair.

A perfect fit 

“I fell in love with the Flower & Garden Pavilion,” he said. Botany is one of Gus’ favorite hobbies — and the Flower & Garden Pavilion, with its peaceful atmosphere and variety of flowers and plants is a perfect fit for him.

The Flower & Garden Pavilion at LACF 

“I like seeing guests’ eyes light up when they enter [the Flower & Garden Pavilion],” he said. “I like it when they see things they’ve never seen before.” When FairKids students visit the Fair, Gus guides them through the exhibition, while also making sure the flowers are kept safe from young, energetic hands and feet.

“Kids have a tendency to want to stand on things in the exhibit,” he said. “You just have to politely ask them to stop climbing or touching plants.”

Gus himself enjoys growing and tending to orchids, mixing different seeds together to create uniquely colored specimens. Colors vary from blues to orange and red hues. He is happy to share his knowledge of plant life with visitors, giving them a different perspective to the things they see at the Pavilion.

The ambassador community 

Another volunteer highlight for Gus? The community of ambassadors he works with on a daily basis during LACF.

“The people I work with are super,” he said. “Time really does fly when you enjoy the people you are spending your days with.”

Like Gus, many of the volunteers who work at the Fair enjoy working with the FairKids program and acting as docents of the educational exhibitions each year.

“Volunteering has helped me grow into a stronger person, without a victim attitude.”

When he’s not at the Fair helping with the FairKids Field Trip Program, Gus can be found volunteering at other organizations like the West Covina Senior Citizen Center, spending time with seniors who are unable to be out and about. He also takes kids out to the Redondo Beach Pier, teaching them how to fish through another volunteer program.

“What would I do if I just sat at home?” he asks. “You’re not going to get better by doing nothing. When I wake up in the morning, I’d like to think I’ve done something to help people. That’s what I do. I help people.”

To learn more about the Fairplex Ambassador program, visit our Volunteer Hub.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Crocetti

We’ve said it before and we will gladly say it again: Fair volunteers (Fairplex Ambassadors) are a vital part of LACF’s core. Behind the Fair exhibits and learning experiences are hundreds of volunteers, selflessly giving their time and energy to the FairKids Field Trip program and Fair visitors.

In our new Volunteer Spotlight series we are sharing the experiences of some of our dedicated volunteers. This week’s Volunteer Spotlight is on Julie Crocetti. 

Joining the Fairplex Ambassador Program 

“I first started volunteering about four years ago. I came to the Fair to buy tickets for a show and saw the Administration building. I decided to walk in and ask about volunteering for the Fair.”

Julie has been a part of our family ever since.

“[Volunteering] gets under your skin, then into the bloodstream and soon you’ll want to keep doing more of it,” she said.

Why volunteer? 

Volunteering allows Julie to enjoy one of her life passions: teaching. Prior to retiring, she worked as a hospice director and enjoyed teaching her employees best practices. After she left her job she found herself asking the question: “now what?”

“That’s when I connected with Fairplex,” she said. “I needed fun and purpose in my life. Volunteering with the Fair fills that need.”

Julie now gets to use her passion for teaching at LACF. She enjoys sharing “hidden” Fair facts with FairKids students, especially information about the Flower & Garden Pavilion, and the wild animals in the Atrium.

Julie comes to LACF each year with the mentality of giving guests their best Fair experience possible. Her favorite part of the Fair Ambassador program? The LACF family. “It’s like a homecoming [every year.] It’s a family. The staff is great too. Everyone is a joy to work with.”

FairKids Field Trip Program 

“Every day at the Fair is an adventure.” 

Volunteering has its fair share of challenges, but Julie loves what she does.

“It’s a worthwhile program to give your time to. We wouldn’t be here year after year if it wasn’t. Every day at the Fair is an adventure, and every year is different and new.”

Not only does Julie bring learning experiences to life for students and teachers, she mentors new volunteers too, and makes sure the whole team gets along. She goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to being a Fair Ambassador. But that’s not how she sees it.

If you told her she was an amazing volunteer, she would shrug her shoulders, smile and say, “I’m just doing what I came here to do: help out.”

To learn more about the Fair Ambassador program, visit the LACF Volunteer page.

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