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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My interview with David John of You Have Been Here Sometime

 David John's LAMA installation.

David John of the powerhouse art and interiors blog You Have Been Here Sometime recently unveiled a special project with Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA). At the invitation of the auction house's owner Peter Loughrey, David created a striking vignette incorporating pieces from the estate of Hollywood producer and agent Richard Dorso. The collection's October 9th auction is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, a "collaboration of cultural institutions celebrating the birth of the L.A. art scene."

David, a former studio artist specializing in glassblowing, is wrapping up his Masters in Interior Architecture at UCLA and is set to open an interior design practice this fall. His plans include designing furniture and a lamp line, as well as working on commercial and residential interiors. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with David about his LAMA project and the genesis of his blog.

How did you come to be involved in art and interior design?
I met a couple of designers post-blogging [...] who told me "Your skills are perfect for interior design." At that point everything just kind of clicked - my furniture knowledge, my love of space, my love of architecture. And a lot of the artwork I was always really interested in were installation artists, people who dealt with space - James Turell and people who dealt with light. And I was always into perception. That was the kind of art I really attached myself to, art that could possibly change or make you feel something in the space.

Where does your blog name come from?
A complete random play of words. I was in bed and I was starting a blog, and it was kind of my back way to getting into something creative. I was feeling disillusioned. I was having an early mid-life crisis -"What do I want to do?" I had given up art for psychology, I had given up art for wine buying and restaurant management. I just started a blog in bed one winter morning and [...] remember typing weird words and [Blogger was] like "Taken... taken." I thought "How about 'You Have Been Here Sometime'?" It was open, and I said "Perfect!"

How did you become involved with LAMA and the Dorso auction?
I had reached out to Peter Loughrey, the director of LAMA auctions, and interviewed him maybe about a year and a half or two years ago. And since then I have covered a couple of their events [...] so I just built a relationship with him. He sent me an email saying "I have this idea if you’d like to design a space for us. I like what you do and I think it would be a really good fit for LAMA." I kind of jumped on it. We talked about a couple different auctions, and he said, "We’re having a really great auction in the summertime with Richard Dorso." He didn’t really give me any kind of direction. He just said,"You can design. I’ll give you a budget and you can design what you want to design in the warehouse." He was really supportive and let me play with the collection.

Tell me about your inspiration for the installation.
For me it was a really tough challenge. I feel like I’m stuck a little bit in two worlds. I’m stuck in the art world and I’m stuck in the designer world. So in thinking about this space, I really wanted my hand to disappear and the artwork to shine. I wanted people to walk into the space and not even think it was a designed space but more kind of capture the energy of [Dorso’s] collection. I wanted people to fall in love with the artwork immediately, as opposed to falling in love with the space.

Julio Le Parc, Forme en Contorsion sur Trames Rouge. 1968.

I saw some initial works... the Julio Le Parc piece (above), and I saw a couple of the California ultra hard-edge geometrical paintings. I knew that was the starting point. Then I met up with Kreme, a local wallpaper company, and I saw that zig zag (below), the chevron one, and I knew that’s what I want to do. I really wanted to make it vibrate, kind of quietly vibrate.

In my mind (since I didn’t have a client per se), my client was the modern collector. So I envisioned this couple who went to France and they live in California, but they just love collecting art. From large pieces to smaller pieces to books. That was my inspiration - this couple who traveled, were kind of kooky, and lived in this tiny one- or two-bedroom place that was just chock full of art.

 Vasa Velizar Mihich (known as "Vasa"), Untitled #1494. 1980.

Do you have a favorite piece?
You know, I have so many. Probably the Vasa (above), the glowing tall one that’s bright green, an acrylic-based sculpture. He is an LA artist who has been around a long time, and I had visited his studio a year ago and a good friend who is an amazing designer introduced me to [Vasa’s] work. That piece I definitely thought long and hard about where I wanted to put it, just because the way you walk around his work (his acrylics) they actually change in color. He’ll insert acrylic or painted strips into the center of the acrylic, so when you walk around one side will be glowing green and one side will be glowing orange and the colors will just mutate. It’s probably one of my favorite pieces because no matter where you are in the warehouse, that work just glows.

The Los Angeles apartment of the late Richard Dorso.

What is so special about this collection?
Dorso’s collection, to me, is like a time capsule of the Sixties and Seventies and California. And such a perfect tie-in to the Pacific Standard Time event that’s happening in L.A. It’s the perfect celebration of a lot of artists that are kind of forgotten. It’s kind of like a treasure chest.

You Have Been Here Sometime [official site]
Los Angeles Modern Auctions [official site]
Pacific Standard Time [official site]


Lausi said...

This is all kinds of awesome. Seriously, there isn't a piece shown in this pictures here which I wouldn't want to have and display somewhere in my home!

I ADORE how he arranged the pieces for the LAMA installation. Teh colors, the lamps, the chair *happy sigh*

Thanks for sharing this interesting article and THANK YOU SO MUCH for "unlocking" your blog again. I was really bummed when it said your blog was accessible "by invitation only" *sniff*

I missed my favorite interior/design blog! :)))

Keep up the awesome work, Raina.

Unknown said...

awesome and can't wait for the auction.

Nick Lovelady said...

Good stuff, Raina- I like that Vasa too, but not sure where'd I'd put it!

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Well played, oh great one.
And thanks so much for opening the floodgates of goodness again, even if it is just this once ;)

Cheers, Alcira

Modern Country Lady said...

Thanks for sharing this& THANK YOU for "unlocking" your blog again- I was really bummed too when it said your blog was accessible "by invitation only" :-(((
Have a fab weekend!!

kristina said...

LIKE BUTTON. missed you; missed the snark. have a super weekend!


Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

Raina, Having you gone was like it was 1980, and I was standing in line at Studio 54 and not getting in. I'm glad it wasn't just me.
This is a great interview and a great space, David John did a amazing job. A great way to return to us, young lady. Hf,K

John said...

That main vignette is so spot-on it hurts! Just great, great work David John.