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The ArtSwap club Levi | 2015 I was just putting portraits in the window just because I wanted to draw people. There was no idea for swapping of art, or anything like that. But then Levi came along. He stood in frame of the door of the Art Garage, an obvious extrovert, asking about the portraits that I was putting in the Tiny Gallery. To his question, “Can you draw me?”, I replied, “of course”. He went on to say that he also likes to draw. One of his many ideas is to take two different dog breeds and combine them into a new hybrid. I proposed to trade one of his hybrid dogs for a portrait. He went home and within the next couple hours, returned with one of his dog drawings. This new dog had it’s own stats, much like a baseball card. Compatibility with humans, ease of training, friendliness towards other pets, and more. He even gave it a backstory. I was so enamored with it that the pressure was on me to mirror his artistic intent. We set up a photoshoot and while I was taking pictures I asked him if he had any requests for his art, and this is what

The ArtSwap club Eric | 2015 On Giving a Shit When I was a kid you could buy tacos at the park for a few dollars. The vendors upped their prices the moment new people came into the neighborhood and were willing to pay more for a goddamn taco. There are other changes, too. Those random tiendas on Sunset are no longer. They seem to be disappearing every other day. Near my apartment there are about five new coffee shops. Brewing coffee is an art form here now—one is even known for having the best pastries in town. My uncle still lives behind a trendy bar on Sunset. It was not always trendy; years ago it was a shady dive bar where the regulars would hang out. The regulars are gone now. The apartment owners told my uncle the other day the price of rent would be going up—again. He works in construction so money is not, well, flowing-in. He laments the former neighborhood but is often caught trying to balance the struggles of the past and the benefits of living in this new place where he has little worry for the safety of his family. Violence was common back then. The park was off-limits at

The ArtSwap club Helen | 2015 When Helen and I first started planning our ArtSwap, she offered up a few things for her submission, a photo from her portfolio, a portrait, or BBQ pork tacos. Artistically, I wanted the photo or the portrait, but my stomach ended up choosing the tacos! I’m glad it did, because we had such a great time preparing and eating them. They tasted so good, I think I ate at least 8 of them! A photo posted by Nolan Lemos (@nolanmakesart) on May 24, 2015 at 10:39am PDT After our taco feast, I started on Helen’s artwork. Up until then, the artwork that I made for my ArtSwap friends were portraits of those particular people. With Helen, I wanted to do something different. On her Instagram profile, there was this picture of her parents that I fell in love with instantly. The caption for that particular photo, explained how her parent’s recently sold their business and are easing into retirement. I had a feeling that a portrait of Helen’s parents might mean more to her than a portrait of herself. I went to work, first with a rough sketch, then brought that sketch into photoshop to paint it. It was

The ArtSwap club Levi | 2015 I was just putting portraits in the window just because I wanted to draw people. There was no idea for swapping of art, or anything like that. But then Levi came along. He stood in frame of the door of the Art Garage, an obvious extrovert, asking about the portraits that I was putting in the Tiny Gallery. To his question, “Can you draw me?”, I replied, “of course”. He went on to say that he also likes to draw. One of his many ideas is to take two different dog breeds and combine them into a new hybrid. I proposed to trade one of his hybrid dogs for a portrait. He went home and within the next couple hours, returned with one of his dog drawings. This new dog had it’s own stats, much like a baseball card. Compatibility with humans, ease of training, friendliness towards other pets, and more. He even gave it a backstory. I was so enamored with it that the pressure was on me to mirror his artistic intent. We set up a photoshoot and while I was taking pictures I asked him if he had any requests for his art, and this is what

The ArtSwap club Eric | 2015 On Giving a Shit When I was a kid you could buy tacos at the park for a few dollars. The vendors upped their prices the moment new people came into the neighborhood and were willing to pay more for a goddamn taco. There are other changes, too. Those random tiendas on Sunset are no longer. They seem to be disappearing every other day. Near my apartment there are about five new coffee shops. Brewing coffee is an art form here now—one is even known for having the best pastries in town. My uncle still lives behind a trendy bar on Sunset. It was not always trendy; years ago it was a shady dive bar where the regulars would hang out. The regulars are gone now. The apartment owners told my uncle the other day the price of rent would be going up—again. He works in construction so money is not, well, flowing-in. He laments the former neighborhood but is often caught trying to balance the struggles of the past and the benefits of living in this new place where he has little worry for the safety of his family. Violence was common back then. The park was off-limits at

The Art Swap club Natalie | 2015 Two friends, Natalie & Molly, stumbled upon the Art Garage one night and asked about the art in the window. When I explained the ArtSwap Project, they were instantly on board. Since they seemed so pumped on the project, I suggested that we do something different

The Art Swap club Denis | 2015   Working in the Art Garage, I get a lot of walk-ins. Some who are curious about the studio space. Some who are locals, just saying hi.  Some chasing in after their dogs, who find the corners of the studio most curious. One sunny Monday, Denis walked up to the studio asking about head shots. I thought he was lost, and pointed him towards my neighbor, who has a photo studio set up in his garage. Denis works in marketing with international companies, but he young, he’s in LA, why not try something exciting, like modeling. Headshots are not really my thing, but he was perfect for ArtSwap, since he had a good angular face I wanted to draw. We photographed him in business attire and sporty ones to show his versatility. I kept asking him for Blue Steel, but the Zoolander reference was lost on him, and with his thick Russian accent,  he would reply, “Vhaut?” As the ArtSwap goes, Denis bought me a cup of Starbucks  and a delicious banana.     Support Your Local Artists Visit the Tiny Gallery - The walk up, drive by, daily dose of art.