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Walking Tour: Brewery Art Colony Gardens

July 3, 2012


We never intended to go to the Brewery Art Colony that Sunday in May, we went there because our true destination was on the California Tour‘s bicycle race route and would be completely inaccessible for 3 hours … But we hadn’t been in ages so I didn’t mind spending time there; plus I thought it would be fun to document the gardens. The Brewery, a huge complex of work/live studios and gallery spaces inside former industrial and factory buildings is located between downtown and East LA. The inhabitants with the space for it have created distinctive garden and outdoor areas that reflect their artistic points-of-view … or something. Have a look …


Are there succulents at The Brewery? Of course … What other plant material is as artistically inspiring, not to mention well-suited to the rigors of living in an arid urban environment …


Metal sculptor, Bruce Gray’s, fence made of welded, rusty steel … it’s an exuberant example of his work and I love that he’s included his web address (click here for site).


Many of the lower floor lofts have small yards that are used for storage and outdoor rooms, as well as gardens. This resident goes for an uncharacteristic pretty approach, complete with flowers and fruit trees.


More to my liking, this amazing fence looks like the blown-out hull of a warship … it’s impressive and rough. Steering vehicles clear of the exposed corner: A sculptural potted cactus bollard.


It’s kind of fun to imagine who the artist is and what type of art they produce when viewing their outdoor spaces … Here, painted bamboo fencing, a basket of potted bamboo and a contrasting twin-dragon ornament in cherry red lead me to believe this artist carves exquisitely tiny jade sculptures depicting Chinese officials in flagrante delicto.


As with bamboo, the short segments that make up this fence’s uprights have a pleasing visual rhythm … Realizing that the effect is achieved by stacking rusted old tin cans on long threaded steel rods makes it even more attractive.


Like a fossil skeleton in the sunshine, this enormous, multi-geared engine is still now … I can’t help wondering which of the compound’s buildings it once occupied and what product those massive grinding gears churned out.


Many of the gardeners here prefer their plants mobile. This is helpful during open studio/gallery art walks when visitor access, more than resident privacy, is valued.


This loose collection of succulents and cacti holds its own in the company of black metal abstractions … so much so I almost missed the sculptures altogether.


My favorite building of the compound is the corrugated steel-clad fortress of PARADOX IRON — Steel Fabrication & Erection. A vine goes viral amidst the rippling, rusted loveliness.


Talk about a mature garden! It appears that it’s not only been here for years, but it’s mostly-succulent inhabitants have been allowed to do whatever they like. I’m a little afraid …


A fence surrounding a common area is made of what were probably manufacturing fragments found on-site. I love the almost cartoon-like energy created by the interaction of all those angles and circles.


I don’t remember seeing vegetable gardens at The Brewery the last time we were here … which apparently was from that bygone era before kale was the “it” vegetable.


Behind an excitingly overgrown covering of mixed vegeation, rotating taps provide appropriate refreshment at Barbara’s … click the link at post’s end for restaurant hours and drop in to eat and drink with the locals.


Ready to hit the lunar sand dunes, a gussied-up ATV sits in front of a stacked cinderblock garden.


A common yard space is a bit too sunny for a morning hang-out … but I can imagine  it being a great spot for the gang come nightfall.


Some multi-storied lofts have small balcony spaces … just enough for a manageable group of potted plants and a couple of chairs.


The lofts strung along what was once a loading dock display an array of approaches to their outdoor spaces … here a collection of prototypical wooden chairs make for a cool gathering place. I ponder how I might sneak a couple of them into the Element …


Not really a living garden — and I guess that’s the point — this potted diorama is very ‘Children of the Corn’. A goth, rather than green, thumb is at work here.


The plant material here is banal compared with the awesomeness of the elaborate metal sculpture they share space with. All angles and elbows, the piece is wittily decked out with an array of cut glass-lookalike pendant lamps … I want this, too!


The definition of  bubbly, this studio door’s color and graphics stand in stark contrast to the potted  cactus nearby …


Which came first: the antlers or the plant? The painted deer on the door’s head ornamentation has the same sinuous feel as the trailing succulent on a nearby pedestal.


Inside the largest, tallest building in the compound, a courtyard is planted with small trees; tipsy pickets surround each. I love the cool tripod benches!  If we take just one, would it fit in with the two wooden chairs and the pendant lamp sculpture in the car?


Not a garden, obviously, but this little industrial moment appealed to me … and I love that someone perched the little pink angel up high on a meter box. Living in a loft has always been a fantasy of ours and being at The Brewery always sets that off; I think we’re too old for it now, but it still has appeal in spite of the mostly restricted gardening area …


For information about The Brewery Art Colony and to get directions, click here.

To learn about The Brewery Art Colony‘s twice-yearly Art Walk, a great opportunity to see and purchase a wide array of art, click here.

For menu and hours for Barbara’s at The Brewery, click here.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Monica Felt permalink
    July 4, 2012 3:30 am

    Neat tour~thanks! Especially liked ‘Canny’- it had the vague feel of bamboo with it’s jointed columns, and will definitely try to use that in a landscape design- if I can only talk a client into doing this!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 4, 2012 3:40 am

      Isn’t it great, If only I could find like a landfill full of old rusted tins so I could duplicate it quickly …

  2. Vickie Perez permalink
    July 8, 2012 4:24 am

    I so do enjoy these trips of yours. So many different styles to delight the eyes. Thank you. Again….

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 8, 2012 4:28 am

      You’re welcome, Vickie! Seems like so long ago now …

  3. July 11, 2012 8:05 pm

    Thanks for the tour! It was delight-filled. Long live creative people!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 11, 2012 8:16 pm

      You’re welcome, JAR … where would the world be without the creators?!

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