Crusin' Van Nuys Blvd.
|Cruisin' Van Nuys ( from the L.A. Series, oil on canvas 1978 )
It's hard to think about cruising without thinking about the city of Van Nuys. Imagine about seven miles of ultra wide boulevard joined with every conceivable kind of cool car imaginable parading back and forth. The parking spaces that lined the street, packed with hot rods, customs, street machines and muscle cars. Every conceivable parking space filled with kids and their cars. The neighborhoods adjacent to the boulevard were bound with the heavy traffic of kids circling around to rejoin the cruise. By the time the 1970's rolled around the boulevard had reached its zenith. Paralyzing the city's business district and neighborhoods with grid lock, vandals, noise and kids.
This painting is less a car painting than a depiction of ritual. The Cruisin' Van Nuys painting is from a series that came about in the 1970's entitled The L.A. Series. The distorted proportions and twisted perspectives are thematic of this series. The series' focus was a look at some of the peculiar aspects and rituals that make up the southern California dreamscape.
As with any painting there are things that go on when you're doing them that sometimes influence or that you incorporate into the scenario. When I was beginning this painting I received a call from MGM. I was informed that Martin Scorsese had seen some of my work and wanted to buy it and to meet me. When I arrived on the set of New York, New York at MGM they were filming a scene with Robert De Niro being drug down a hall of lights and thrown from a night club. After the meeting I was leaving the set and heading back to one of my art cars. I was approached about putting my art car in the movie Corvette Summer. Many of the scenes in Corvette Summer were Filmed On Van Nuys Blvd. Interesting timing or what?
Although the footage of my art car ended up on the cutting room floor, a likeness of the Corvette faired better in my painting along with one of Marty's Movie on the theatre marquee.
Kent Bash Copyright © 2000/2001