This is the seventh 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. Commissioned artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.
The series does not end here. We will be providing an update on a major sculptural artwork that will also become a part of Expo Line public art and placemaking. Stay tuned!
This post introduces the artwork of artist Carmen Argote, which will be featured at the 17th Street/Santa Monica College Station. Her original artwork, ‘What you wear, what you wore,’ began as photographs.
Artwork Description: In ‘What you wear, what you wore,’ clothing represents the commuter and the commute. Art panels to be placed above gateways reveal open closets full of clothes. On some panels the clothes are pressed close together, symbolic of the crush of a rush hour commute. Variations in spacing of clothing on other panels reflect changes in the commuter flow at different times of day.
Artworks above seating areas emphasize the rhythm of sitting and waiting as part of the commute. Clothing is draped over benches creating the impression of seated figures. On close inspection, the figures are created from multiple bands of fabric and color. The diverse attire is culled from community members and represents a wide range of personalities, professions and cultural influences.
In the artist’s own words, “In these vignettes of city life, the clothes create narratives that are telling of how the public spaces we occupy house our lives.”
Argote’s original photographs were translated into porcelain enamel steel by the artwork fabricator, Winsor Fireform, which specializes in that medium. The twelve artwork panels will be placed in steel frames and installed throughout the station’s platform in highly visible places for riders and the public.
Argote is thoroughly involved in the process to ensure that the porcelain enamel steel is an accurate translation of her original artwork.
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 everyday objects like cookware, dishwashers and washing machines.
Other Expo Line artwork fabrication stories on the Source:
Enjoy photos documenting the fabrication process below: