One artist is making a name for herself in Los Angeles by re-creating the city’s well-trodden sidewalks as art. Fiona Connor, originally from New Zealand, has been based in Los Angeles for over a decade. She has been re-creating everything from pavers to manhole covers and fire hydrants to cement benches in her latest project which is part of Pacific Standard Time, the Getty’s sprawling effort to highlight Southern California’s vast and idiosyncratic art history.
1. Fiona Connor and her love for public spaces
Fiona Connor studied at the California Institute of the Arts and made her name as an artist dedicated to exploring public spaces. Starting in 2009, Connor began making casts of public objects and architectural features in cities she visited, turning them into works of art that spoke to the nature of public spaces and the way they are used.
2. Art that can easily blend into a public place
Connor’s latest work, part of Pacific Standard Time, involves recreating some of the most trampled-upon parts of Los Angeles’ urban geography. The goal is to make works of art that blend in with their surroundings and speak to the city’s unique architectural heritage while still being able to pass as mundane objects like sidewalk pavers.
3. Recreating in detail to create a complete experience
To create the casts, Connor works with local manufacturers and fabricators to create a replica that is as close to the original as possible. The artist then transports the capture to her studio, where it undergoes additional processing, like being cast in bronze or aluminum so that the final product is as perfect as possible. The objects are presented in her exhibit the same way they are placed on the sidewalk or wherever they are situated.
4. The inspiration behind the project
Connor was inspired to take on the project after seeing a friend’s exhibit of photographs of touches of L.A.’s essence, like a neglected kiosk in West Hollywood or a rusted fence in Boyle Heights. That photography exhibit inspired her to look at the city’s architectural details for herself, starting with simple sidewalk pavers and expanding up to entire structures.
5. A new perspective on commonly overlooked objects
By taking these small architectural elements out of their typically ignored and abused contexts and setting them up as art, Connor hopes to challenge viewers’ perceptions of the seemingly mundane urban environment. By looking at these objects anew and giving them new context, she seeks to inspire viewers to think more seriously about the impacts that architecture and design choices can have on the people living in the city.
Fiona Connor’s work is a great example of how art and architecture can blend together to create a new perspective on the world around us. Her ability to capture elements of the urban landscape in a way that’s true to life is truly remarkable, and it’s no wonder why her work has received such widespread acclaim in Los Angeles. From humble sidewalk pavers to intricately designed buildings, Fiona’s art shows us the beauty that can be found in places we often overlook. The next time you find yourself walking down the street, take a closer look at the pavement and maybe you’ll see it in a new light.