Artist Kevin Appel is constructing and deconstructing Los Angeles through its structures. He’s a native Angeleno whose father was an architect and mother was an interior designer: Los Angeles architecture is almost literally in his blood. His work has spanned from digesting the Case Study houses to Modernism and, now, on more rural California buildings and environments like the Salton Sea and Imperial Valley.
We spoke with the artist in his space to hear about his process and exactly where his inspiration draws from Los Angeles architecture. His work functions on many levels as they are abstract and literal, him tying hunks of color abstraction to photographic portrayals of buildings and environments. The result gets at an idea of “failed utopia,” a core philosophy in Appel’s work that points to how Los Angeles simultaneously emits an air of perfection while hiding very, very dark undercurrents. It’s a fascinating way of approaching the city and it is remarkable how Appel confronts this notion in his painting.
For those in or visiting Los Angeles in the near future, Appel has a group of paintings currently on display at Culver City’s Susanne Veilmetter, which is on display through August 23. Be sure to stop in and see them! You can read the interview and get a peek around his rad studio space here.