A journey into the fabrication and installation process for artwork at Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station

Metro’s Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station Improvement Project is providing significant upgrades to the fourth busiest station in the Metro system, including two newly commissioned artworks.

With the state-of-the-art transit hub almost complete, we’re sharing behind-the-scenes images of the fabrication and installation of Second Line, a series of sculptural parasols by the artist brothers Jamex and Einar de la Torre.

The artwork pays homage to Rosa Parks by including her iconic image and meaningful symbols from the Civil Rights movement in the pattern of the cut metal canopies, seen here in shadows projected on the ground. Glass pieces inserted in the canopy refract light into colorful rainbow-like prisms that play in the shade.

Let’s tour the site and take a journey into the artwork fabrication process:

Located in the plaza adjacent to the Metro Customer Service and Transit Security centers and the Metro Bike Hub, the Second Line sculptures offer shade during the day and will include lighting for a glow at night. The plaza will serve the community and offer a space for events.

The fabrication of Second Line included waterjet cutting, forming and welding metal sheet into custom artwork components.

One of the artists, Einar de la Torre, and fabricator Craig Stewart inspect the metal parts at the fabrication shop prior to finishing alongside Metro Arts & Design Senior Manager Mayen Alcantara.

Jamex and Einar de la Torre insert glass gems into the artwork parasols. Over the more than twenty years the brothers have collaborated as an artist team, they have developed a signature style featuring mixed media work with blown glass sculpture and installation art.

Powder-coated, cut metal wedges are bolted together to create each parasol canopy. The parasols reflect folk art traditions, referencing the warmth of home and strength of communal gathering in the form of papel picado and doilies.

Here, six parasol canopies are ready for lifting onto the poles. The intricate patterns are typical of the artists’ style, who have been quoted saying, “We’re very comfortable with the baroque and quite uninterested in minimalism.”

Each parasol artwork was lowered onto a pole and bolted into place. The custom sculptures were engineered for rigging and lifting.

 

LED lighting integrated into the parasol canopies of Second Line creates an ethereal appearance at night. The artists recognized that parasols are featured in processions in the ancient and modern worlds, and intentionally angled the poles to reflect the dynamic feeling of parasols on parade.

In addition to the new outdoor artwork in the plaza, indoors customers can also find Gifts of Freedom and Knowledge, by artist George Evans. The photo mural greets transit customers in the lobby above the Customer Service Center window. It features a layered composition celebrating South Los Angeles’ distinct neighborhoods, personalities, landscapes and cultural traditions.

You can read more about artworks and the station improvements in previous articles on the Source, in the links below.

Click here for more information about Metro’s art program. You can also follow Metro Art on InstagramFacebook, and Tumblr.

2 replies

  1. This is the Metro line that goes into Downtown. The station is clean and safe, with a lot of different people coming and going. To get to the Green Line, you have to go upstairs. I would definitely transfer here with my young family again.

  2. Nice but how can Metro justify fancy metal artwork when they can’t even maintain the original art installations at other stations? For example, they never repaired the rotating satellites atop the Redondo Station.