These Walls Tell Stories
Hidden inside studio walls in The Brewery Artist Lofts in Los Angeles, vibrant colors dance on the walls as Andre Miripolsky proudly displays his LA-centric work in almost every inch of his creation space. It is in this city that he has truly discovered his creative muse that has allowed him to be self-employed since 1982.
“Looking at my life, my career, my destiny, it’s really been extremely consistent. I mean I am doing exactly what I have done my whole life. I’ve never had a 9 to 5 job. It’s amazing to me,” Miripolsky says.
Son to Los Angeles natives, Miripolsky was born in Paris, France, and he traveled the world as a child.
Miripolsky’s father joined the American Foreign Service in the early 1950s to provide for his family. This job is what allowed Miripolsky to see the world and exposed him to many different cultures.
As a child, Miripolsky followed in his father’s footsteps and picked up a paintbrush.
“My father was an artist as well and so he always had the canvas, the paints, the easels, all the facilities for me to work with and I picked it up. Instead of a football father, I had a painting father,” Miripolsky says.
By the age of 10, Miripolsky sold his first painting to the American ambassador of Indonesia. It was then that his parents realized he was gifted and fed his artistic side, taking him to museums around the world. This helped him gain a different kind of education outside of the norm.
At 18, Miripolsky decided to move to the United States for college as he decided to settle on one place to call home–Los Angeles.
Slowly, he began to focus his artwork on the city.
“It wasn’t a conscious desire to represent LA visually like this. It would just become a thing of my life. It does seem to be a very heavy psychological thing for me, this feeling of belonging, like I’m from somewhere,” Miripolsky says.
Over the years, he found himself getting more involved around the community, and he serves on boards, such as the LA Art Alliance, the Downtown Artwalk and the Hollywood Arts Council. With murals and the phrase “Viva LA,” which Miripolsky created, he has become a pioneer in the branding of the city.
Art history student Joselyn Yang is not surprised that Miripolsky feels so strongly about LA, considering its growing art district and the freedom the city entails.
“There is no judgement out here. You can just really do what you feel,” Yang says.
Although his work has been featured on buildings and billboards, it’s not done yet. Miripolsky is currently focusing on being the creative director on his biggest project to date: the LA Historama. The project is a mural that will measure anywhere from 2,000-6,000 square feet and will potentially be displayed in the newly renovated Los Angeles Convention Center.
The city plans to revamp the Convention Center with new hotels, skyline views and an open campus with gardens. One of the many attractions that may be included is Miripolsky’s work.
The art piece will be made out of stained glass, complemented by LED lighting underneath to make it pop among the city lights.
The inspiration for the piece is Los Angeles.
“It’s divided into three sections: the past, the present and the future. The one element that will be the same throughout is the LA River. That’s my unifying element,” Miripolsky says.
For several reasons it is thought that the river is the best option for the mural’s theme. He believes that the river is a vital part of Los Angeles that has, and always will, be a part of the city. In addition, he believes it is a timely theme because there is also a $2.5 billion revamping project on the river as well, according to Miripolsky.
The root of the river is also the most shocking piece of information he has discovered.
“Underneath the San Fernando Valley, there is a gargantuan subterranean lake. That’s where the LA River comes from,” Miripolsky says.
The source of water comes from under the ground in the city of Reseda. The city of Los Angeles was later forced to add concrete as the San Fernando Valley would flood approximately every ten years, according to Miripolsky.
“They had to redirect it because the LA River doesn’t come from a mountain. It just comes out of the ground,” Miripolsky says. “I thought that was one of the most interesting things in my research because I thought this was all a desert, but it wasn’t a desert. The San Fernando Valley was unbelievable in agriculture.”
Miripolsky’s goal for the Historama is to paint a picture through architecture and iconic LA imagery. To complete his vision, Miripolsky has put together a production team and has chosen Judson Studios from Highland Park as the fabricator to do the stained glass work.
Judson Studios was founded in 1897 and is still family owned today, and currently has a fifth-generation Angelino owner.
Miripolsky believes the history is a great coincidence and complements his story for this project.
“I really do feel like I am the right person to do this,” Miripolsky says. “Even though I’m not a native here, I grew up all over the world and LA is a polyglot. All these people come here from all over the world, so in a way, I am a part of that. But the project is balanced by having the Judson Studio, so it does have the native credibility with it.”
With an upgraded 7,000 square-foot studio in Northeast LA, creative director Tim Carey says, “It makes a lot of sense to do it here.”
Although he spent his first 18 years overseas, Miripolsky is a proud Angeleno.
“I feel like I’ve gotten deeper and deeper melting into the city,” Miripolsky says. “At this stage in my life, I’m feeling like LA is my town. It’s my beat.”
The Los Angeles Convention Center expansion is expected to be completed by December 2020, according to lacclink.com.