We invite you to the first in a series of Source posts providing a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork fabrication process for each of the seven new Metro Rail stations under construction along the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.
The artworks will create a welcoming environment for future riders and connect the stations to surrounding neighborhoods. Artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.
First up is the work of Los Angeles-based artist Constance Mallinson, which will be featured at 26th St/Bergamot Station. The station is adjacent to Bergamot Station, home to art galleries and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
Mallinson’s mixed media work, Local Color, consists of 24 large scale overhead panels and is being translated into porcelain enamel steel.
Porcelain enamel steel is a highly durable material often used in transit environments as well as national parks and other outdoor locations. Because of its durable properties, the material was used in ancient Egypt on pottery, stone and jewelry, and in modern times is used on on everyday objects like cookware, dishwashers and washing machines.
Porcelain enamel originates as powdered glass fired at a high temperature and fused onto steel. In addition to resisting heat, cold, and the intense Southern California sun, the versatile material also resists physical and chemical damage. Important for artwork in the transit environment, porcelain enamel retains color, and is easy to clean. It is glass, actually, not paint, so it resists fading.
Mallinson is integrally involved in the process to ensure the porcelain enamel work matches the color and hue of her original paintings.
Artwork description: Local Color captures the urban fabric and nature of the neighborhood surrounding the station while incorporating various art styles to pay homage to the Southern California historic art hub. Mallinson collected most of the images and items represented in the artworks during her walks around Santa Monica. Her large scale paintings are known for their near photographic technical virtuosity and conceptual depth and have ranged from panoramic, collage-like landscapes incorporating thousands of natural images to her most recent epic paintings detailing natural environments. In the artist’s words, “The artworks incorporate multiple landscape views and perspectives within a single painting to create a dazzling, kaleidoscopic ‘scene’…”
Enjoy photos documenting the fabrication process:
Two of the artwork panels at the fabrication shop – one depicting the urban fabric and the other of flora found in Santa Monica.