(Downtown Santa Monica, CA) – February 16, 2015 – Each month, millions of shopper-gatherers will scurry around under the diligent gaze of a western fence lizard, nettle jellyfish, mourning doves and more. Indigenous flora & fauna have reclaimed Third Street Promenade in a banner exhibit commissioned by Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. and brought to life by Santa Monica resident and artist Astrid Preston. A total of 16 banners were realized, casting a natural light on the city's colorful coastal creature and plant life over one of Los Angeles' busiest public streets.
The installation was first conceptualized by DTSM, Inc. Board Member Bruria Finkel, and Preston's talents were selected by an independent panel of experts and Downtown stakeholders following a call for submissions by local artists. Preston, a contemporary realist originally from Sweden, was immediately hooked on the project and tirelessly researched its subjects – many of which she encounters daily.
"A personal connection was important to the process," explains Preston. "I see raccoons regularly in my backyard and coyotes strutting down the street (even at midday). I was going to paint a redtail hawk, which I watch regularly out my window, but then a couple Cooper's Hawks built a nest in front of a friend's house, so watching them daily until the two hatchlings flew off was a real treat. I'm happy that so many indigenous animals, especially birds, continue call Santa Monica home."
The rendered paintings took seven months to complete and grace the entire stretch of Third Street Promenade, from Broadway to Wilshire Blvd, to be enjoyed by locals and visitors for the majority of 2016. Preston herself is a Promenade regular and peruses the Santa Monica Farmers Market twice-weekly.
About Astrid Preston
Astrid Preston was born in Stockholm, Sweden. She received a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA in 1967. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Asia, including solo shows at the Laguna Art Museum, Saginaw Art Museum, Wichita Falls Museum, Ella Sharp Museum and Arts College International. She has had articles and reviews of her work published in the Los Angeles Times, Art in America and ArtForum. Preston received an NEA Fellowship Grant in Painting in 1987 and an artist residency from Lux Art Institute in 2008. Her work is in many public and private collections, including the Orange County Museum of Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, UCLA Hammer Museum, McNay Art Museum, Oakland Museum and Nevada Museum of Art. She lives and works in Santa Monica, California, where she is represented by the Craig Krull Gallery.
About Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM, Inc.)
Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. is a private non-profit 501c(3) that works with the City of Santa Monica to manage services and operations in Downtown Santa Monica that promote economic stability, growth and community life within Downtown Santa Monica. DTSM, Inc. manages the Property-based Business Assessment District (PBAD) that encompasses the area bounded by Ocean Avenue (W), Wilshire Boulevard (N), Lincoln Boulevard (E) and the Santa Monica Freeway (S). For more info, please visit DowntownSM.com or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DowntownSantaMonica
Jeff Wagner Agency
Ryan Porter: Ryan@JeffWagnerAgency.com