Art for the Expo Line: On Saturdays by Robbert Flick

Robbert Flick discusses the artwork fabrication for Expo Park/USC Station with Bryan Stockdale, principal of fabrication firm Winsor Fireform.

Since moving to Los Angeles 34 years ago, much of Robbert Flick’s work has centered on transportation, specifically extending the tools of the photographer to include the automobile. Robbert photographs much of his subject matter from the backseat of his minivan. And yes, he does this while driving. He has modified the back of his car to house a tripod with a motorized adjustable head and applied special screening to the window glass to keep reflections out of the images. A long extension cable is connected to the camera so the artist can photograph while his eyes are on the road.

For the Expo Park/USC Station, Robbert created a systematic visual mapping of the major streets surrounding USC and Expo Park. (Central, San Pedro, Normandie, Budlong, Adams, Jefferson and Martin Luther King.) Looking at the images, the viewer is left with an overall impression of recognizable streets that surround the area. The landscape is presented as a stream of images one would encounter through the window of a moving vehicle – mimicking the experience of a passenger gazing out the window of a moving train.

The photo files were sent to the fabricator, Winsor Fireform, who worked with each file to ensure color accuracy and then hand transferred each individual image onto custom-sized porcelain tile. The tiles were then fired in a kiln between 1,200 to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. The fired images are actually molten glass fused to the surface of the porcelain and are guaranteed not to peel or fade with exposure to the elements.

Expo Park/USC Station is located on the south end of the USC campus directly across from the Roski School of Fine Arts, where Robbert Flick has taught photography since 1976. (More about Robbert here and here.)

The art panels were photographed over a series of Saturdays, which inspired the title of the work. Nestled between the university and the museums at Expo Park, the photos will become historic over time as documentation of the visual landscape of the neighborhood when the Expo Line arrived in Los Angeles.

Detail of artwork, still in the fabrication phase.

The artwork on a forklift at fabrication firm Winsor Fireform, ready to be inspected by Robbert Flick.

More ‘Art for Expo Line’:

3 thoughts on “Art for the Expo Line: On Saturdays by Robbert Flick

  1. Mark Johnstone, from the Wood River Valley, Idaho recommended that I see your tile project as I am endeavoring to do one as part of an arts project in our small town of Hailey, Idaho
    Mostly I’m interested in ways to put the tiles together… did you use grout or another way of displaying, and if with some hardware would you be able to share that info with me
    Mine will be going on a wall in a hockey ice skate indoor arena
    Any input is good, Thank you for your time
    Marie Stewart (mstewartdesigns@gmail.com)

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