WHAT: Visionary Gene Sculatti exhibits his scrolls at the LAVA Sunday Salon, March 28, 1pm at Clifton’s Cafeteria. More info.
I’ve never engaged in this kind of thing before: publicly promoting these scrolls or “cityscapes” as Kim calls them. But here’s the deal: On and off since I was 9 or so (I’m now 63), I have done pen-and-crayon (with some watercolor) drawings of imaginary cities, mostly informed by the way L.A., S.F. and California appear to a largely untrained illustrator.
They’re full of streets and buildings, people, freeways and beaches, power plants and broad, palm-lined arterials. They’re mostly drawn on white shelf-lining paper, and the longest one (1960-62) is 60 yards long. Because they were drawn over many years, they in effect comprise a rough chronological snapshot of what (mostly) Cali has looked like to me: sprawling suburban tracts announced by “Vets No Down!” billboards (60s), the mansard-roofs of fast-food franchises (70s), theater and concert venues whose marquees hype long gone films and idealized pop-music bills.
Somehow, though, it is, like the weekly radio show I do, all sort of contemporaneous, the accretion of architecture, signage and sensibility all meant to bear the time signature of the eternal Now, which, I suppose, is a key part of the California Dream that informed my growing up and lifelong residence here. I started the latest cityscape, “Majestic Blvd.,” in February 2006 when I lost my last real job. It’s just under 60 feet now and growing. I will also bring and show one scroll of earlier vintage.