Entertainment » Culture

Andrea LaHue :: Flower child for the New Normal

Wednesday Aug 25, 2010

Over a year ago, large paintings of flowers started to appear in the Hollywood community of Los Angeles. Each of the flowers was painted on vacant, "For Lease," business properties and they blossomed right when the economic crisis was first hitting California. People in the neighborhood started to follow the flower paintings like it was a scavenger hunt.

The artist, who created them, simply signed the art works, "Random Acts," adding another dimension to the mystery. It wasn’t until recently that the artist came forward. Her name is Andrea LaHue, a Los Angeles based artist who’s now painting her flowers across America. She’s now passing through EDGE cities in the Northeast such as Boston, Providence, Provincetown and New York.

"There was the question, is this art? Or is it graffiti," LaHue said. "I didn’t want to turn around and be arrested when I heard a knock at the door."

Unintentional randomness

One of the flowers she painted in Washington DC just appeared on the cover of WP, the Sunday Magazine for the Washington Post.

"The Post cover was a total surprise," said LaHue. "It’s like the Universe gave me a high-five. The article is not about me in any way. The flower is just a back drop. The unintentional randomness is what I love."

The idea for the "Random Acts of Flowers," emerged when LaHue noticed buildings in Hollywood being bordered-up and abandoned.

It was a quick and sudden collapse. California was one of the first states where the economic collapse first hit, but nobody talked about it.

"At that time, the focus in California was the aftermath of the Prop-8 debacle," LaHue said. "The community was in mourning over that loss and then we were so focused on getting Obama elected that we, like the rest of the country were totally surprised when the entire system collapsed. All of my friends were losing their jobs. California was looking pretty dim. I was also suddenly poor because people stopped buying art."

Along with Michigan and Nevada, California has had the highest unemployment rate due to the economic crisis and as the foreclosures started to invade the housing market here, restaurants and luxury stores started to fall like dominoes. As we know, this soon rippled across America. There isn’t one community that hasn’t been affected.


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