A Gallery of Downtown Los Angeles Artists Celebrated and Obscure On-demand Webinar

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Long before the industrial neighborhood between Little Tokyo and the Los Angeles River was discovered by loft dwellers who made it into an Arts District, the historic center of the city has attracted visual artists. Some were commissioned to decorate public spaces, others were drawn to the decaying Victorian neighborhood of Bunker Hill. Some were highly skilled professionals, others inspired amateurs and street hustlers. The work they made here speaks to a lost Los Angeles, and a rich creative history.

Join Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for an immersive cultural history webinar celebrating the visual artists who lived and worked in Downtown Los Angeles, and the compelling work they left behind.

Featured artists include:

  • Leo Politi, whose brightly colored paintings of Bunker Hill mansions, Angels Flight Railway and colorful local characters beguiled preservationists and the children who adored his picture books and Olvera Street murals.
  • Einar Petersen, the European trained church decorator who was the Clifton’s Cafeteria house muralist, transforming generic restaurant dining rooms into fantastic three dimensional environments inspired by the tropics and redwood forests, only more magical.
  • Hugo Ballin, whose lobby murals for the Los Angeles Times, the Edison Building and other prominent landmarks established jewel-tone art deco as the signature Downtown corporate style.
  • Kay Martin, the plein air painter who was driven to document Bunker Hill before redevelopment, and who donated hundreds of paintings and drawings to the citizens of Los Angeles with the instructions that they be kept on public view—which they were for years, before disappearing into the Natural History Museum’s storage vaults.

And more surprising art lore to be revealed! This webinar is an illustrated lecture packed with rare photos that will bring the art history of Downtown Los Angeles to life. And you’ll find the look of an Esotouric webinar is a little different than your standard dry Zoom session, with lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app.

After the presentation, Kim and Richard will answer your questions, so get ready to be a part of the show.


About Esotouric: As undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave inexplicably hated one another on sight. (Perhaps less inexplicably, their academic advisor believed they were soul mates). A chance meeting 18 years later proved much more agreeable. Richard wooed Kim with high level library database access, with which she launched the 1947project true crime blog, highlighting a crime a day from the year of The Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel slayings. The popular blog’s readers demanded a tour, and then another. The tour was magical, a hothouse inspiring new ways for the by-then-newlyweds to tell the story of Los Angeles. Esotouric was born in 2007 with a calendar packed with true crime, literary, architecture and rock and roll tours. Ever since, it has provided a platform for promoting historic preservation issues (like the Save the 76 Ball campaign and the landmarking of Charles Bukowski’s bungalow), building a community of urban explorers (including dozens of free talks and tours under the umbrella of LAVA) and digging even deeper into the secret heart of the city they love.

Rights and permissions: By attending an Esotouric webinar, you acknowledge that the entirety of the presentation is copyrighted, and no portion of the video or text may be reproduced in any fashion.

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