Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Granny Moved to the Valley

"The Freeway Lady" Mural at L.A. Valley College by Kent Twitchell

Kent Twitchell is a well-known muralist. He has painted many murals in our fair City of Los Angeles.  Some have been painted over and/or destroyed.  Many have been saved and restored.  One such mural that was painted over was "The Freeway Lady." The mural was on the side of a building on Temple Street, overlooking the 101 Freeway.  The model for the "Lady" in the mural was Lillian Bronson, a character actress who resembled two of the artist's great-grandmothers.  

Original "Freeway Lady" Mural, 1974-1986. Photo from Kent Twitchell Website

In 1981 a new structure built next door to the building obscured the mural's bottom half.  In 1986 the mural was painted over, without informing the artist, in order to sell the space for advertising.  Citing California Art Preservation Act (passed in 1980), Twitchell sued the building's owner.  In March, 1992, a settlement was reached, providing $125,000 for restoration of the mural.

Kent Twitchell, painting "The Freeway Lady" Mural, LAVC. Photo from FB

"The Freeway Lady" is back. She has moved to the Valley, on the side of the Student Services Building at L.A. Valley College (Fulton Ave., near Hatteras St., Van Nuys), to be exact. I was most interested in this mural because The Lady has a beautiful granny square afghan surrounding her and flying off into the wind. It seems that Twitchell's great grandmother used to crochet afghans very much like this one.  

Ellen says, "Granny Squares are the Building Blocks to Art!"

I remember when the call went out in our crochet community that Twitchell needed a replica of this granny square afghan to study in order to complete his new mural. The President of our Knit Guild, Peggy Baxter answered the call and crocheted a 5 x 20-foot afghan for Twitchell to use as a mdoel for the piece that is flying off into space, behind "Grandma."

Peggy's Afghan Piece for "The Freeway Lady" Mural, photo courtesy of Peggy Baxter

Peggy's Work in Progress.  Photo courtesy of Peggy Baxter.

There was a show in 2009 at the Look Gallery, Downtown L.A., exploring Twitchell's drawings and major works, including "The Freeway Lady" mural.  If you watch this video by Mat Gleason, you will see Crochet Artist, Peggy Baxter, in the crowd, sporting her granny square poncho!
Kent Twitchell with Peggy Baxter, Look Gallery, DTLA. Photo Courtesy of Peggy Baxter.

Peggy and her Afghan Art. Look Gallery, DTLA. Photo Courtesy of Peggy Baxter.

On Sunday, Larry and I drove out to LA Valley College to view the almost-completed "Freeway Lady" mural. It is glorious. She seems so much happier on a college campus, in a grassy area, rather than on the hectic Hollywood Freeway.  Welcome to the Valley, Granny!
The Crochet Car Pays Homage to "The Freeway Lady"

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At 5:12 PM PDT, Blogger Julie said...

Great story!

At 5:13 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Thanks, Julie!

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At 7:36 AM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

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