Wow. It’s been five years in the city of angels. Since 2011, I’ve been documenting overheard (and personally generated) snippets of LA life. Five sun-kissed years since I found myself texting, “Tanning session ran over. Will be late for Katsuya,” and thinking, “I’ll have to choose between my therapist or my personal trainer.”
I arrived in Los Angeles from Portland, Oregon. Portland people tried to dampen my enthusiasm for LA, but I’d been California dreaming. In my art studio, an inscrutable paper map of LA hung on the wall for a year. I was determined to move to LA by my 30th. Each day I’d stare at the streets, confounded by the lack of grids and the vast spread of neighborhoods. Silver Lake got decorated with unicorns, magic sparkles, and hearts.
I’d read in a late-90’s Seventeen that Beck lived in Silver Lake. Fifteen with no car, before smartphones and rideshares, I plotted a skeezy runaway hitch hike from Las Vegas to the supercool post-grunge home of weirdo art musicians. A Big Life Thing in the form of Parental Death happened, and I didn’t get to LA for another couple of years. A few friends from the music scene and I would hit 18+ Santa Monica clubs to dance all night, then stay in some cousin’s Echo Park living room. From Portland, business trips took me to LA often, doing research projects for Nike and Levi’s.
It’s been five years of learning the city, meeting the people that make up its creative demographic, and honing the Only OK aesthetic. Cluelessly entitled, art-damaged, super-sensitive and forever at the whim of someone more famous, the Only OK voice speaks for the millions of people who move here to be “in the industry,” whether they find raging, rich-kid success, or move back home.
With the Only OK in LA postcard series, Angelenos can either celebrate their insularity, or shake their heads in shame. The shoots are done in my living room, using my friends as models, then all the illustrations are painstakingly done by me. Currently on the second run of postcard designs, I could go on forever. In the works: an adult coloring book…
Part therapy, part observation, part obsessive art project, Only OK in LA tweets are the most fun I can have while eavesdropping. My goal is to continue expanding the Only OK voice, including more perspectives from across the city. Packs can be acquired in my li’l zine shop, or at the Los Angeles County Store.