Art and science in LA.

Artist John Robertson contacted me quite some time ago, telling me that inspired by me putting my life up for sale on eBay, he had done something similar, and had put his own lifestyle on offer.

He lives in a small park home just above the beach near Santa Monica, and enjoys fantastic views over the coastline facing westward. He makes his living from his art, something that he didn’t begin until the age of 47, after working in the corporate world for 23 years.

You can read more about John’s reasons for selling his lifestyle at his website, but basically he wants to be nearer his daughters and their families, and will continue his artwork in his new locations.

John is a great example of someone who is living his life exactly how he wants, and is quite an inspirational person to meet. We sat admiring his view, drinking tea, eating apple pie and talking about a wide range of subjects for several hours. We laughed a lot, and I found him to be very easy company.

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John does a lot of large portraits, and has done many for well known musicians. He has very kindly offered to do a portrait of me, and took several photos to work from. I am looking forward to seeing the finished result.

More on John and his work here:-
Street Credible Art
John’s Blog – What art did he make today?

John hasn’t yet sold his life, probably due to the current economic conditions, so if you are interested, get in touch with him and make an offer. Good luck John.

On Saturday, following a recommendation from Misty, my other artist friend in Las Vegas, I programmed into my GPS the address for the Peace Labyrinth. However, when I got there there was no peace to be had. It was closed for the day!

There was no peace to be found at the Griffith Observatory either, which is where I decided to go instead. The place was packed, and finding a parking space was a bit of a drama.

I was a beautiful sunny day, and it appeared that many others had had the same idea as me, and were out to see the magnificent views from the observatory high in the hills above LA. Eventually I got parked, and was a bit disappointed that the city itself was somewhat shrouded in a veil of smog.

The observatory was fascinating, and I wandered around happily for a couple of hours, and bought a ticket for the planetarium show “Centred in the Universe”. It is shown on a huge half-dome ceiling, and was absolutely stunning, leaving me quite awed and speechless. It gave me quite a disturbing sense of tiny insignificance as it shows the mind-numbing vastness of what is out there.

Our sun is just one of billions in the Milky Way galaxy, and our galaxy is just one of billions of other galaxies that are out there. The presentation shows this very well, and I highly recommend it to anyone. It certainly makes you think.

When I came out of the planetarium, the sun had set, and the lights of LA were spread out below. There was a very thin sliver of moon just above the layer of smog, which was lit up by the city lights, and high above that two planets shone brightly. Unfortunately my picture comes nowhere near to capturing how beautiful it looked.

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I had planned to visit The Getty Museum over the weekend, but after seeing how busy the Griffith Observatory was on Saturday, I decided to wait until Monday to go. A bit of a mistake really, as when I got there I found out that it is closed every Monday! However, they kindly gave me a free ticket to The Getty Villa, down on the coast near the end of Sunset Boulevard.

It was another perfect sunny California day, but half a mile from the seafront I drove into a thick sea mist, and the temperature dropped dramatically.

The villa is quite spectacular, and was originally modeled on the Villa dei Papiri, discovered at Hurculaneum which was buried in the eruption of Vesuvius at the same time as Pompeii. Unfortunately J. Paul Getty never got to see the completed villa, dying in 1976 before having the opportunity to do so. It is filled with interesting Roman and Greek artifacts. As the afternoon wore on it became gloomier outside, and many people left, leaving me to wander alone around the silent gardens. Very atmospheric – you could easily imagine being in a villa in Italy around 2,000 years ago.

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So today, after picking up Evan at the airport last night, I finally got to see the Getty Museum, successfully this time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as clear as the previous day, so the views were not too good. It is a very spectacular building set high up on the hillside above LA, and I was more fascinated by the architecture and design of the place than much of the art contained within.

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We only had limited time, so galloped pretty quickly around the gardens and many of the exhibits. It would be easy to spend a lot longer looking around here. It would be nice to visit again on a clearer day too to admire the views which were hidden from us.

But that will have to wait for a future visit, as it is now time to move on from LA and head northwards towards San Francisco. The RV is repacked, and I am ready to hit the road. I have really enjoyed my time in LA, it is a great place, and I feel I have only just scratched the surface. I will definitely be back.

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Piper Afloat - December 4, 2008 Reply

You made more effort to immerse yourself in what LA has to offer than those of us who pop down regularly ever do.

I imagine you get that remark a lot. Something to be said for focusing on engaging with an experience, rather than skimming along the top & taking possibilities for granted.

Evan - December 6, 2008 Reply

Great trip buddy! See you soon, and we’ll jump together!!! – Evan

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