Southern California breaking news and trends

Shepard Fairey won't go to jail but is 'deeply ashamed and remorseful'

Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo

Shepard Fairey poses in front of the Barack Obama Hope artwork he designed in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, in this Jan. 12, 2009 file photo.

The artist who created the "HOPE" poster that came to symbolize Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was ordered to do 300 hours of community service Friday for a criminal contempt conviction but was spared jail time.

Shepard Fairey, 42, of Los Angeles nodded his head several times and said "OK" as U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas told him he must commit no crimes during two years of probation and must pay a $25,000 fine to the U.S. government.

During remarks before the sentence was announced, Fairey called his decision to fabricate evidence in a civil lawsuit he brought against The Associated Press in 2009 the "worst thing I've done in my life." He also apologized.

"I am deeply ashamed and remorseful that I didn't live up to my own standards of honesty and integrity," he said. After the sentencing, Fairey hugged his lawyers, was kissed by his wife, and shook hands with more than a dozen friends who packed into the small Manhattan courtroom.


Japanese artist turns 400 pounds of salt into art at LMU gallery

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 1

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Return to the Sea: Seaworks by Motoi Yamamoto, will be in display at the Laband art gallery in Loyola Marymount University from September 8 to December 8, 2012. On the last day of the exhibit, the public will be invited to help collect the sand and return it to the Pacific Ocean.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 9

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Yamamoto works on his saltscape as visitors take a glance at the piece. Yamamoto says that when he draws, it's like he is meditating.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 11

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Yamamoto's sandals, supplies and template sit on the floor of the Laband art gallery.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 7

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Yamamoto fills up his plastic squeeze bottle with more salt. He will use up to 400 pounds of salt to complete his piece.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 6

Andres Aguila/KPCC

The exhibition will also feature drawings and photographs done by Yamamoto.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 5

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Students watch as Yamamoto works on his Saltscape art piece at the Laband Art Gallery in Loyola Marymount University. The public is welcomed to view Yamamoto work on his art before it is complete.

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 4

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Carolyn Peter (right), Laband art gallery director, is responsible for bringing Motoi Yamamoto (left) to Loyola Marymount University because she wants to expose people to an "incredible artist and his work."

Motoi Yamamoto Salt Art 10

Andres Aguila/KPCC

A close up look at Motoi Yamamoto's saltscape art piece.

Southern California residents will have the opportunity to view 400 pounds of salt turn into a piece of art.

The Laband art gallery at Loyola Marymount University will feature the Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto exhibit.

Motoi Yamamoto is a Japanese artist who creates large-scale salt landscapes, or saltscapes, using pounds of salt, patience and his talent. He started using salt after his sister died from a brain tumor in 1994 and creating these intricate sculptures served as a coping mechanism for this personal devastation.

Yamamoto started creating large scale salt landscapes in 2002 and this will be his first installation in the Los Angeles Area.

“Bringing a very important Japanese artist from Japan to L.A. to expose his work will hopefully touch the Japanese community, as well as the rest of the community.” said Carolyn Peter, Laband art gallery director.

Peter was the person responsible for bringing Yamamoto to the west coast after searching for something that was different and beautiful.

Yamamoto is enjoying his time in LMU because it is very calm, it’s not too noisy and the people are very kind.

The artist’s saltscape will take up to two weeks to create and the public is invited to view him work from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 29 to 31 and Sept. 4 to 6.

When Yamamoto is finished with a piece, he said it is like climbing a mountain and finally reaching its peak.

The exhibit will open on Sept. 8 and will run through Dec. 8, when the public can also participate in collecting the pounds of salt and return it to the Pacific Ocean.


Finding your station: Metro's 'call to artists' for public pieces along the Expo Line

expo line public art

Courtesy of Metro

"Wanderers" by artist Willie Robert Middlebrook is on display at the Expo/Crenshaw Station of the recently opened Expo Line.

California artists, your train has arrived. Metro announced this week that it is seeking submissions for public art pieces along the Expo Line.

As part of the Expo Line, Phase 2 development, Metro released the call to artists for seven future stations in Los Angeles County and Santa Monica.

One piece of public art by the people, for the people, will be selected for each of the following future station locations:

  • National/Palms Blvd.
  • Expo/Westwood Blvd.
  • Expo/Sepulveda Blvd.
  • Expo/Bundy Ave.
  • Olympic/26th St.
  • Colorado/17th St.
  • Colorado/4th St.

Consideration will be given to both emerging and established artists with a background in two-dimensional media, says Metro. For these submissions, prior public art experience is not a requirement.

At the Santa Monica station at Colorado/4th, an iconic sculpture will also be selected, and prior experience, plus other criteria, must be met for those submissions.


Police investigating fatal shooting at artist colony, site of former brewery

brewery artist colony pabst

Photo by Anika Malone via Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday morning's shooting took place at the Brewery Artist Lofts, a Lincoln Heights artist-in-residence.

Police are investigating two shootings, one of which was fatal, that took place early Sunday morning at a party at the site of a former Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery.

The Los Angeles Times reports that two men were shot at about 1:30 a.m. at the 600 block of Moulton Avenue in Lincoln Heights, at what is now the Brewery Artist Lofts, an artist-in-residence community.

Sergeant Michael Morisseau of the LAPD's Hollenbeck Division told the Times that investigators were still trying to determine whether it was gang-related. 

A 22-year-old man was pronounced dead at a local hospital, and another man was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where he is in stable condition according to Morriseau, who added that no other details were available.

According to the L.A. Times' Mapping L.A. project, previous to this incident, there had been no homicides in Lincoln Heights during the past six months. The past three months in the area had seen an average of about 2.5 violent crimes per week.


Adult film producer found in violation of federal obscenity laws by LA jury

Obscenity or Art

AP/Ric Francis

Ira Isaacs, who believes his work is an extreme but constitutionally protected form of art, poses outside the Federal Courthouse Monday, June 9, 2008, in Los Angeles. A jury found Isaacs guilty of violating federal obscenity laws on April 27, 2012.

Adult film producer Ira Isaacs was found guilty of violating federal obscenity laws by a Los Angeles jury on Friday for movies that depict bestiality and extreme fetishes. This was his third trial -- the first two ended in mistrials.

Isaacs was indicted several years ago as part of a now disbanded Bush administration task force set up to crack down on "smut" in the United States. 

According to his defense attorney Roger Diamond, Isaacs was found guilty of five counts, including mailing obscene matter. He could face probation or up to 20 years in prison. Federal prosecutors did not immediately comment about the verdict.

Sentencing is set for August 6.