Written by: Sunny Jong
He shoots you first. That nasty, bastardly scowl you dreaded because you knew how turbulently the tiny fibrillations in his brows oscillated between rage and resignation - something you could never foretell. You march toward him - his dormant body supinely sprawled across the tuxedo couch - lounging like a king who hadn’t just eaten week-old leftovers because he couldn’t cook for himself, and try not to rub your temples as to visibly reveal the fact that you are about to broach a problem to him. The semantic calculus courses through your head, but your tone can’t quite lend its best self to the words you choose, and they all tumble out of your mouth rather heavy-handedly:
Written By: Amanda Ly
Kelly Lenh is a LA based mixed media artist primarily working with watercolor. She blends fine art and illustration, specializing in portraying the female form in a fantastical manner with a fusion of tactile and reflective elements to enhance the viewer experience. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games and going on food adventures with friends.
Why do you like doing art?
Art is something that has no limits. It’s truly expressive and individualistic, there will be no other that thinks and creates exactly like you.
That’s why art enraptures me.
What is your muse?
I draw inspiration from many things: new materials, challenge prompts, and most frequently, other artists’ works. There are certainly themes I gravitate towards such as galaxy, magic, and fantasy creatures.
How often do you create art?
During the school year, I create art 2-3 days in a week, mostly for school projects. Ideally, I would like to create personal art 4-5 days in a week.
What genre of art do you tend to make?
I tend to make art that would fit somewhere between fine art and illustration. Fine art because at times I create art simply for art’s sake with the very textural elements and illustration because sometimes I create art to tell a story or idea. That being said, it’s still a very broad spectrum in-between fine art and illustration and my art lies somewhere there. Regardless of what it classifies as, I hope when people look at my art, they can feel empowered, inspired, or just enjoy it for what it is.
What genre of art is the art you put in the gallery?
The art I created for this gallery show is the same genre as the art I tend to make.
Which of yours is your favorite? Why?
My favorite out of the six pieces I created for the gallery show, as many has also said, is “Astrologer: Asteria” because the experience working with resin was a first, yet it was so exciting to be working with a unfamiliar and uncommon material. There were a lot of things that could have went wrong and it was not without some flaws but I love the piece for what it is. Much of the process were things that remind me what I enjoy about making art. “Astrologer: Asteria” is only the mark of the beginning of more resin I will make in the future.
Which piece of art in this gallery is your favorite? Why?
Out of my fellow artists in the second gallery show, I appreciate Elias Lopez’s works because of the subtle color choices, color melding, and form creation.
Outside of this gallery, who is your favorite artist? Why?
I have many artists that I draw influence into and deeply enjoy their artwork. May Ann Licudine, who goes by MALL, utilizes washi tape immensely in her resin layers and is strenuously meticulous with cutting and painting the atmospheric details of her whimsical and colorful work. Zeen Chin, a digital painter, is someone I admire for his color choice, blending, and character and concept design.
What is your ultimate career goal?
Keep learning, keep exploring, keep creating. Because art is so expansive, there are no limits; I look forward to how diverse of projects and people my artwork can impact and enhance.
What was your thought process behind the art for the gallery?
The motivation and mindset going in was “Create what you’ve been wanting to create but have been putting off for whatever reason.” There is a subtle theme to all my works in this gallery show: reaching for the stars to achieve your goals. All of them are variations of outcomes that choices from whether or not you choose to brave the odds and work through all the chaos to come out the other side better.
What inspired you to make "Astrologer: Asteria?"
I knew I wanted to showcase a resin piece in this gallery show. What I really wanted out of this resin piece was the abundance of shine for the viewer to savor and enjoy. I originally intended for Astrologer: Asteria to be accompanied with a sister piece of a moon theme but it wasn’t coming out as intended so I displayed this piece alone. Ultimately Astrologer: Asteria for me, was about having fun and exploring the medium with the galaxy theme that I enjoy oh so much.
What's in her mind? Are those ghouls surrounding her or her own mystical energy rising up around her? Does she have powers? Is she human? She seems to be able to float? Is she part of a story? Your story?
Astrologer: Asteria’s concept originated from an Inktober year where I designed characters based off arcane elements such as magma, poison, electric, etc. I designed the character for the Star element but I never got around to making a finished piece for her as I ended that Inktober year early from being swamped with school work. She has a cape that spreads into a view of the galaxy, which certainly means she has mystical powers. I don’t have a character backstory fleshed out for her but outfit design was kept true. Although, I do envision her as the goddess or seer of the stars. Some of my character designs play into a character universe in my head, complete with main characters, a storyline, culture, and world-building, that I hope one day illustrate into mini-snippets, a comic, or just individual artworks.
What's the story behind "Filter?"
“Filter” is about a choice on how one deals with the chaos around. This mermaid chooses to block it out and close herself within. The irony is that the bubble that is being used to filter the outside is only filled with the same negativity and chaos outside that’s being perpetually repeated. But what’s outside is not just negativity. There are wonderous hidden positive moments signified by the flowers, rhinestones, and pink playful tail.
What's the story behind "Manifest Potential?"
“Manifest Potential” is also about a choice on how one deals with the chaos around. This mermaid chooses to channel the chaos around her and refine it with her powers into a pearl. She turned her situation around, transforming something that seemed useless and hopeless into something valuable.
I see you like to use glitter, watercolor, and acrylic ink a lot? Why is that?
I’m all about layers and shimmering details. Glitter allows me to add that last embellishment to sprinkle a little magic and shine when you view the piece in the right light. Watercolor was my first medium after color pencils and has been a medium that I’m always striving to improve on. The subtle layers of colors you can achieve with watercolor and ease of using other mediums on top is why it’s my main medium. Acrylic ink is a fun element to throw in, usually when I add the drips where I let the color inks mix into each other and it’s a surprise every time it dries.
What made you decide to use rhinestones instead of other materials?
Using rhinestones adds a special, luminescent, and 3D element that would be hard to replicate otherwise.
What is gouache?
Gouache is essentially watercolor with a different ingredient binder added to it, an in-between of acrylic and watercolor. It activates with water even after it’s dried like watercolor but dries opaque like acrylic. It dries matte while acrylic dries glossy.
What is the difference between washi tape and other tape?
Washi tape is essentially decorative paper masking tape made from Japanese rice paper. It makes it easy to stick and easy to remove, which makes it convenient for me to adjust and work with it in my artwork.
How do you choose your colors?
I gravitate towards cool colors: blue, green, purple, magenta, and the odd yellow-orange. I choose colors that fit the drawing’s theme then pick colors that are a little adventurous to add interest to key elements of the piece. I’m always looking to improve my color selection.
How would you categorize the genres of art in this gallery?
The gallery hosts truly a vast and diverse array of artist styles in this show, everything ranging from fine art to children book illustration to ceramics.
Are there any last words you would want to leave to any new aspiring artists?
All artists – hobbyists, amateurs, professionals -- have felt that inadequacy: comparing yourself to others and their artworks, hearing the disapproval of others, and the internal hesitation to open yourself to vulnerable. You aren’t alone and you have potential. Putting yourself out there is scary, uncomfortable, and takes a lot of energy. But the times that you do and you get something out of it that you would never expect is priceless. I’ve been granted numerous opportunities from being okay with trying, failing, succeeding. It’s a constant but needed reminder for many fellow artists.
Amanda Ly is a current PCC student and is part of Inscape's Spring 2020 staff as the special projects editor.
By: Joe Lusnia
Things are feeling different, somewhat back to normal, and some of us maybe venturing out to
places we haven’t been in a while, rediscovering what we once lost and maybe some new
things along the way. The Gold Line is a great way to explore this “new” world and to feel a part
of something again. In case you’ve forgotten, the Gold Line now stretches all the way from
Azusa to East L.A. That’s a lot of traffic hours. Still, I don’t know why most Angeleno’s don’t take
advantage of what the Gold Line offers. Besides getting you around for next to nothing, there
are some real hidden gems to be found along some of those stops, places maybe you didn’t
know even existed, or maybe overlooked. Let’s see what we can find.
We’ll start our treasure hunt at the Sierra Madre Villa station. At one time this was the end, or
beginning of the line, depending on how you looked at. Here, you don’t even have to look hard
to find some gems: there’s a Best Buy, an El Torito, Starbucks, and the Pasadena Sandwich
Company across from the Bed, Bath, and Beyond. But we’re talking about the hidden treasures,
the placers you maybe didn’t know existed, like A Noise Within! A Noise Within is an award-winning theater company whose home it tucked away behind the Sierra Madre Villa station, in
the old Stuart Pharmaceutical building, a mid-century modern masterpiece designed by Edward
Durell Stone, a gem in and of itself. The company puts on about six plays a season, with always a
Shakespeare or two thrown in for good luck. They also put on their rendition of A Christmas
Carol every holiday season, a treat for the entire family.
On to our next stop, the Allen Station. If you’re a PPC student and you take the Gold Line, you
are probably very familiar with this stop. Top’s Burgers is right down the street but everybody
knows about Tops. Then there’s Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters! First, let me inform you this
has no affiliation with the distillery. I know, I was disappointed too. With that said, this is not
your typical coffee place either, not your Starbucks or Peet’s. This is a serious coffee drinkers’
establishment, as it says in their name, they roast their own coffee right there on the premises.
Next up is Lake Avenue Station!
Lake Avenue Station shares part of its name with a very well established and well-known
neighbor, Lake Avenue Congregational Church. The church takes up the entire block on the
northwest side and deservedly so as it’s been severing thousands of people both spiritually and
physically since 1896. Just south of the station you will find Colorado Blvd and just a short walk
from there Vroman’s bookstore. Vroman’s is not our find, but it is a genuine fourteen karat
solid gold pick. No, the hidden gem here is a little north of the station, a bit of a hike. No, not
Echo Mountain, which sits at the top of Lake, but a few miles down from there at the corner of
Lake and Mountain. That’s Roma Deli, the home of The Sandwich! If you are looking for
authentic Italian products from Italy in Pasadena, this is the place. And if you’re looking for
arguably the best sandwich in all of Los Angeles, this is the place. This was the late Pulitzer
Prize-winning author Jonathan Gold’s favorite sandwich, allegedly, and is well worth the trek.
You don’t order the sandwich; you just grab it and go; they make hundreds every day. I’m not
telling you what’s in it because it is what it is, and has been that way for years. One sandwich,
one way. No condiments, no lettuce, no pickle, no tomato. Just bread, meat, cheese and a bit of
heaven every bite.
Now we’re getting to the heart of Pasadena, the Memorial Park Station. This stop puts you right
at the tipping point of Old Town Pasadena. There is not a want or need that can’t be satisfied at
this station. But the real gem here is the park itself, a rolling plot of land covered with immense
trees and an amphitheater. It’s not your typical flat piece of land that most parks are made of
and that’s why this is such a jewel. This one more resembles the land it’s laid down upon, the
San Gabriel Valley as it slowly rises in to the foothills. It’s also a great place to just sit and relax
while you decide where you should go eat at next.
Our next stop, the Del Mar station, brings to the outer reaches of Old Town Pasadena, just
skirting that imaginary borderline that surrounds the old part of the city. There’s no need to
venture very far. Just as you exist from the train, you’ll find The Luggage Room. Where they’re
slinging pizza’s out of a wood-fired oven in a what was once the luggage room of the old
Pasadena Railway Station And of course there’s La Grand Orange, which pre pandemic was
always packed, with people lined three deep at the bar waiting for a table. But Old Town has
plenty of choices when it comes to food, here at Del Mar we have some other things to whet
our appetites. Just a short walk from the station is the home of the Pasadena Human Society.
There you can find lots of dogs and cats looking for someone to come by and make them a
wonderful home. Softies beware, you will not leave empty-handed. Just up from the station is
Stats Floral Supply. Even though it is just a fraction of the size it used to be, come Christmas
time there is no better place to be than Stats, it truly is a Winter Wonderland. Then there’s
iconic Pasadena Central Park, the grand dame of the Rose City parks - here is where you
will find our hidden gem, The Pasadena Lawn Bowling Club! If you’re not familiar with Lawn
Bowling, this is a great place to get started. The Club welcomes beginners every Saturday
offering free lessons and a chance to play. As an added bonus, the Pasadena Croquet Club is
housed at the same site, a two for one find!
The last official stop in Pasadena is the Fillmore Station, offering convenient access to
Huntington Memorial Hospital. While this is a great find if you’re ever in need of a hospital, (if
you have an emergency and find that you really need to get to a hospital don’t take the train,
just dial 911) it’s not the jewel at this stop. It’s not even close. Here you have two stalwarts of
the Pasadena epicurean scene, Trader Joes and Lucky Boys, along with two new insurgents,
Shack Shake and Guisado’s. And then there’s Porta Via, for those who fell the need to be
transported to Italy, only to wake up and find that you 're still in Pasadena. But man does not
live by bread alone, and for that we have Bellefontaine Nursery! The nursery has been a part of
Pasadena since 1936, not only will you find all kinds of fruit trees, plants, and vegetables for
your home and garden, but the horticultural knowledge to go along with it. We can definitely
classify Bellefontaine Nursery as a gem, but since they are very well known, we are going to dig
a little deeper and walk a lot less farther to find the hidden gem at this stop. Right across the
street from the Fillmore station, set back on Raymond Avenue, you will find Jones Coffee
Roaster. Jones’ is a legend in the mom-and-pop coffee industry, and no they are not our find.
I’m using them as a guide. To Pie Life Pizza! Pie Life makes great piazzas from a little hole in the
wall right next to Jones Coffee. You don’t go inside, you can’t, there is barely enough room for
the oven. Here is what you do, step up to the window, order your pizza, then when it’s ready
grab it from the same window. Literally a hole in the wall. Where they make great pizza.
That’s it, we’re done, it’s time to leave Pasadena. With pizza in hand, we head to the Gold Line
for what lies ahead, South Pasadena and beyond. So long for now, see you at the next stop!
By: Robby Lattimore
On a sleepy stretch of Fair Oaks Avenue populated by construction supply outfits and utility plants, a tiny kitchen attached to a liquor store is producing some of Pasadena’s most reliably excellent Mexican food. The venerated Yuca’s Tacos and Burritos, which the Herrera family has been been operating out of a former shoeshine booth in a Hillhurst Ave parking lot since 1976 (Wrightson), opened their new Pasadena walk-up shortly after their outpost on Hollywood Blvd closed in 2017 (Elliott). Eighty-year-old Socorro Herrera, who goes by “Mama”, opened the original Yuca’s to pay for her daughters’ education. Today, Dora and Margarita run the business while Mama greets new customers, regulars, and fans at the old hut on Hillhurst (Wrightson).
I’ve been one of those regulars for almost a decade. When I moved to L.A. at the age of nineteen, I resolved to make this place feel like home the best way I knew how—by eating. I would drive around the city, winding my way in and out of adjacent neighborhoods. I’d get lost on purpose, find somewhere good to eat, then retrace my steps back to my apartment. One morning, after finding my way to the Griffith Observatory and lingering long enough to build an appetite, I wandered down Hillhurst and came across a tiny hut with orange lettered signage. I joined the modest line of people, not yet aware how much my life was about to change for the better.
Waiting at the front of the line was Mama, perched on a black leather stool. She greeted me in Spanish. “Good morning” I replied, hastily scanning the menu, succumbing to the gravitational pull of my usual taco stand order. “One carne asada burrito, please.” She took my order and name down on a paper plate and passed it into the hut. I had just enough time to notice the Coca Cola sign in the window of the liquor store across the street before my name was called at the window. I retrieved my lunch and sat down at a wire patio table under a shady awning.
The burrito was small, held together by a thin, dusty flour tortilla. It was unlike any burrito I’d encountered back in Atlanta, where burritos are fast casual assembly line creations. As I took a bite, all of my past Mexican food experiences flashed through my memory, suddenly exposed as counterfeit by the realness I was currently living. The first thing I noticed—no rice. Of course. Without rice for moisture control, the steak, whole pinto beans, and pico de gallo melded into a delicious stew, unified by a gravy made from the juices of all three. The carne asada is salty, charred perfection—seasoned by the intangible magic of the hut’s old cast iron grill--which has seen action nearly every day for the past 40 years, never sitting idle long enough to need washing. Deep porkiness balanced the subtle sweetness of the pintos, leaving just enough room for the onion-forward pico de gallo, and the Dutch boy tortilla dam never gave way to the swelling burrito gravy I feared would overwhelm it. I was already planning my next visit.
In addition to the excellent carne asada burrito, which is still my go-to order, the Herreras offer classic Yucatecan family recipes, like cochinita pibil—slow roasted pork, seasoned with sour oranges and achiote, and wrapped in banana leaves; and carnitas—a pork confit, tenderized by a gentle bath of pork fat. Another highlight of the Yuca’s menu is the cheeseburger, which benefits from the same ancient grill magic as the carne asada. The burger comes in a few variations—with or without cheese or chili, one patty or two—all of which compare favorably to the fast food burger you’re probably thinking of right now. Like the Hollywood Blvd location before it, the Pasadena walk-up features a lightly expanded menu relative to the old hut, using the extra few-hundred square feet of kitchen space to produce dishes like fried plantains, milanesa, ceviche, and an additional meat option for their tacos, tortas and burritos—pollo. I tend to stick to the original core menu that has kept people coming back for all these years.
Unrelenting commitment to quality is what has kept Yuca’s afloat for four decades. They enjoyed consistent support from their local community long before they gained national recognition with their James Beard award in 2005, or the 2009 gold medal at LA’s most chaotic taco competition, Taco Madness (occurring in March, playing off of the NCAA’s annual springtime basketball tournament). In an interview with L.A. Taco, Mama recalls the time shortly after the Hollywood Blvd restaurant opened in 2007, when Eric Dane—a celebrity regular she knew only as “Mr. Carne Asada”—convinced Oprah Winfrey to serve Yuca’s burritos to her studio audience when he made an appearance on her talk show. The publicity was enough to keep the new restaurant profitable through the nationwide recession that was already threatening her business. But the increased notoriety her business has enjoyed over the last decade hasn’t changed their food or philosophy. “People come back 10 to 15 years later and say it tastes exactly as they remembered,” Dora told the L.A. Times in 2016. “That’s what it’s all about.”
By: Genova Linde
The first book that I recall that most changed my view of the universe was; Is There Life After High School? I read this book when I was sixteen years old and living in Geneva, Nebraska. Prior to reading this book I held the belief that all people in this small town stayed there since no one ever seemed to move away. In my opinion, they lived shallow, boring, and mechanical lives. Most married other local people, had 2.5 children and worked in dead end jobs that most of them hated. Every day they lived the same endless cycle of existence. I felt doomed. Then I read this amazing book! It showed me a way out. Other people in similar situations shared their high school experiences and demonstrated how they broke free!
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