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Kent Twitchell to create three murals for downtown's Patriotic Hall

February 25, 2010 |  5:00 pm

Preamble Artist Kent Twitchell has created murals that have appeared all over Los Angeles, gracing the sides of buildings and overlooking freeways. Now the artist is set to create three more murals that will appear in the lobby of Patriotic Hall in downtown L.A.

Twitchell has been commissioned to create works that will celebrate the lost murals of Helen Lundeberg that were painted in Patriotic Hall in 1942. The commission is from Los Angeles County’s Civic Art Program, which is administered by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Bob Hope Patriotic Hall, which is located at 1816 S. Figueroa St. (near 18th Street), is scheduled to be closed through 2012 as part of a $46-million restoration project. Upon completion, the 10-story building is intended to house the county’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Lundeberg's original murals in the building were titled "The Preamble to the Constitution," "Free Assembly" and "Free Ballot." She received the commission in the early 1940s from the Work Projects Administration's  Federal Art Project.

The original intent was to create nine murals in the building's lobby -- "The Preamble to the Constitution" along with eight freedoms the Constitution guarantees. But budgetary constraints due to World War II forced organizers to reduce the number

Each of Lundeberg's three murals was done in oil paint and measured approximately 12 feet wide by 15 feet high, according to the L.A. County Arts Commission. The murals took 11 days to complete, with Lundeberg hand-painting them with the help of four assistants, said the commission.

In a request for applications that was sent out last year, the budget for the new mural project was listed as $285,000. The L.A. County Arts Commission said the budget figure has not changed.

The County Arts Commission said that Lundeberg's original murals were removed in the early '70s and that an extensive search for the original murals was unsuccessful.

"Only poor quality photographs remain of the Lundeberg murals," said the commission.

Installation of Twitchell's murals for Patriotic Hall is expected to be in 2012.

-- David Ng

Photo: Lundeberg's mural "The Preamble to the Constitution," which once graced the lobby of Patriotic Hall. Credit: L.A. County Arts Commission

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Comments () | Archives (11)

Twitchell seems wrong for the job. His work is very photo real with no design; like a talented photocopier. Helen Lundeberg was very stylized and used lots of design in her work. Maybe his presentation was on the money? Wish we could see his drawings.

Kent Twitchell is an amazing artist and a wonderful human being. I know he will create some breathtaking and magical images. I can't wait until the unveiling.

I just read the first comment. Twitchell is not a photo realist. He is a realist. His works are by no means "photocopies." You should take a look at his drawings. Look at his pencil drawings in his Flickr account here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenttwitchell They're more amazing in person. This is my favorite of his small paintings. Look at the brush strokes, lines, emotion in this painting. This is true artistic talent. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenttwitchell/2202688171

I intend to honor Helen Lundeberg's compositions as closely as possible. However I will have all US military veterans of all ages as my models for the 24 figures in the 2 murals to the left and right of the center panel showing George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison. It is true that most of my previous work since 1971 shows a realistic lone figure looking down at the viewer. For this project I am calling on my unashamed, long admiration for Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth, plus my love for realism.

Kent Twitchell is an incredible realistic public artist who, I have no doubt, will paint his love for our nation and his respect for our brave military men and women into the commissioned murals in Patriotic Hall for the county's Department of Veteran and Military Affairs. Following Kent's career for many years I know he will honor the lost works of Helen Lundeberg in a sensitive and caring manner.

Mr Twitchell's work dosnt really have any overall design from what i have seen, including the site Ms. Rivera gave. This should be good for him to broaden his work. Just like in your admission of wanting to open up your drawing and brushstrokes, Mr. Twitchell.

I think your work is fine as murals, it is very LA. Where star power is everything. I cant quite call it creative art, as there is no sense of nature or god, it is humanist individual greatness and meaning on display, whereas I see humans as greatly flawed organic beings. Ones who lose touch when withdrawing into themselves, and attempting to find meaning only through our own views of life.
This is illustration of a particular temporary social structure, not the equivalent of humanities underlying passions, growth, and purpose.

Art being about losing ones individualty, and becoming one with more. The very opposite of entertainment, of which Mr Twitchell's work has been. Yin and yang and both necessary, yet different. Complements to maintain balance. Entertainment bright and showy, like primary colors, where art is more subtle and integrated and blended together, like secondary colors, as Gauguin and so many creative artists shoose to reveal life as layered energy. Not about the particular, which has no true meaning, all ashes to ashes, dust to dust. This project will require to show connection to others, to reveal meaning of what has been, to illustrate our past and how it is still with us, and defining who we are as American's.

Life continues and evolves, never becomes stagnant and self worshipping. Perfection an illusion, as Hollywood itself is, as death is its only result, Life means adapting and growing, always seeking and working to continue and procreate, the infant the only perfection in its potential, one always limited and defined by its coming actions and responsibilites to others. For there is no freedom without responsibility.

We have lost that balance, but this is fine outdoors as one passes by. Can you get down to creating a fully integrated, layered, energy producing structure and design is the question. I like that you are attempting to get beyond photorealism, and allowing the brushtrokes to animate the surface, the example is sorta like a very early Cezanne of his uncle done with a pallette knife. Raw yet far more lively and energetic than the closed in forms you are used to. It become part of the whole, there is no background in real life. We cannot seperate from all that is around us, when we do so is when we fall, frum hubris. A situation we are in now.

Structure and design will be everything here, the particular only important in how it relates to us now, and in the future. Too closed in keeps from evolution, and stuck in a particular point in time, that is no more as soon as it is finished. What these people did is whats important, not them individually. Focusing on personalities takes away from the act that is part of us now, as in the Olympics absurd personal stories taking away from the reason for them to begin with, humanity pushing itself, attempting to become more. That is the Olympic spirit, and of this potential mural. Good luck.

Donald Frazell
art collegia delenda est

I'm sure heas a wonderful person, but not sure what that has to do with doing a mural.
I had a look at his photo stream images and don't see much in the way of traditional design, I'm not saying he's not talented at doing realism from photos and doesn't do striking work, it just doesn't seem like stylized design in the tradition of the artist he is supposedly supposed to work in the spirit of. Maybe that sated goal is not hard and fast, just a hook to promote it? I'm sure it will still be interesting, just not highly stylized?

BRAVO! I'm so glad we have Mr Frazell and Mr Wray to critique work that has yet to be made. It's a nice step from their usual critiques of shows they haven't seen or artists they know nothing about. Hopefully they'll take their ranting a logical next step and start critiquing reviews that haven't been written and artists yet to be born.

and thank you, Mr Twitchell for your comments. I look forward to seeing what you do with this project, congratulations.

Uh, neither of us reviewed it, I guess reading is not your strong point. Both of us were simply inquisitive, you know, asking real questions about what the art will be like. No sketches were shown, and we were simply wondering about the appropriateness of this artist. I don't have many problems as there aren't many with any real skills to do such a thing anymore. Mr Twitchell is actually an obvious choice. at least considering the state of Contempt art.

Not sure how wishing someone luck constitudes a review, but I guses thats the state of art education now, they don't exactly make you study the three R's, let alone necessities like Art itself, history, science, athletics, as Cezanne said a puny body leads to a weak soul. You know, life.

art collegia delenda est

And I will have two models for him soon, my boys coming to visit, if not too dark and have some skill with burnt sienna and black. One a lietenant in the Navy, the other a sergeant in the Army. David soon off to medical school, but Jonathan a blossoming illustrator who would love to learn from Mr Twitchell.

He is very talented, this is simply a project unlike what he has done so far. Which is a good thing, we must always explore, unlike contempt art which is myopic selfishness, and try new ways of communicating to stay fresh and alive. Again, good luck.

art collegia delenda est

Save the Watts Towers, tear down the Ivories.

Donald, None applauded you and Mr. Wray for "critiquing" work that has yet to be made. None made no reference to either of you "reviewing" the work. I think you are the one that is not doing the reading.


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