Muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros couldn't pronounce his young friend's name. So Phil Stein became "Estaño." Phil Stein was a painter who lived a long and fruitful and fighting life, burning to tell the story of the little guy against the machine.
In one, from a distance, you see the canyons of New York City, the buildings tall and imposing, like a shield wall or a fort, impenetrable, menacing, inhuman. Move closer, and there's the Guggenheim museum down at the giants' feet. Shapely and sexy, but still dwarfed; art v. the machine. Then, way down there, a little group of angry people, churning. That's quintessential Philip Stein.
Many of his paintings are now on display at Gary Leonard's Take My Picture gallery in downtown Los Angeles, where Off-Ramp host John Rabe talked with Estaño's daughter Anne Stein.
(A Civil Defense: the Paintings of Estaño (Philip Stein) runs through December 31st at Take My Picture Gallery, 860 S. Broadway LA CA 90014.)