A Folk Artist Looks at Los Angeles

·2-min read

Artist Deborah Blum has worked much of her adult life in Los Angeles, in the film business. For many years she wrote and directed documentaries for Discovery and the History Channel. This work behind the camera, and sitting for hours in an editing room, helped her develop an eye for salient details.

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Take the way a road looks when it snakes through the canyon that connects Hollywood to the San Fernando Valley; or how European the cafes around Sunset Plaza feel, up on the Strip; or the sense of freedom one knows when driving down the Ramp that intersects with the Pacific Coast Highway. These are all familiar scenes to those who live in Los Angeles. Deborah Blum knows just how to bring them to life.

Blum is a late bloomer, 71 years old. Like many other women artists who have come into their own late in life, she is just now hitting her stride. Historically, women artists have come into their artistic talent much later than their male counterparts. Whether it is due to the exigencies of child-rearing, or the fact that the female maturation process moves at a different pace, women have not been daunted by the passing years. The female brain interprets reality differently, taking into consideration varied life experiences, and rendering their interpretation as images on a canvas. Blum brings the full force of a long and rich life experience to her recent work. Her style is simple and accessible, her spirit buoyant. In a sense she has forged a new genre; one critic has called her the “preeminent folk artist of contemporary Los Angeles.”

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If folk artist seems antithetical to your idea of Los Angeles — a fast-paced and teeming metropolis— think again. There are many things about Los Angeles that defy stereotypes. Although thousands of miles away from Berlin, and almost one hundred years removed from the work of the German Expressionist painters, Blum’s L.A. is reminiscent of this powerful genre. For a look at the work of Deborah Blum, visit her website at Blumgallery.com.