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Arts & Entertainment

Simon Rouby documents Caltrans roadway painters for new art exhibit

Taken from
Taken from "Yellow Line" by artist Simon Rouby.
Simon Rouby

Last week Off-Ramp ran a segment on Caltrans' ongoing efforts to to improve the Arroyo Seco Corridor. While we focused largely on its plans to improve traffic and safety along the 110 parkway, a huge part of Caltrans' 20-year-long study looked at much more holistic strategies to improve the corridor. Their list of recommendations includes points on increasing the area's public transit, expanding bike paths, improving the watershed and preserving green spaces. Despite its budgetary constraints as a government agency, Caltrans has interestingly positioned itself as an organization that does much more than just lay concrete; it's an organzation of urban planners, architects, and landscape designers. 

Maybe even artists.

That's what French filmmaker Simon Rouby considered as he developed his new project, "Yellow Line". For several years he followed Caltrans' "Striping Crew" - the department responsible for painting all the roadway lines - which led him on a personal discovery of L.A.'s vast road network. 

"I shadowed them over the years," says Rouby, "and gathered collateral materials of their paintings: canvases used to empty the totes and clean spray guns, miles of lines captured on tape, repeated gestures of an endless task, very similar to that of a painter."

YELLOW LINE Exhibition Los Angeles from Simon Rouby on Vimeo.

Rouby has taken these striping crews - nameless road workers faced with a neverending task - and contextualized them as abstract artists. And now he's put several documentary videos and a number of canvases on display for a new exhibit at the Caltrans District 7 building, 100 South Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90021.