‘Night of ‘Transformation’
Create:Fixate Turns a Downtown Warehouse Into an Art Haven
by Julie Riggott
Michelle Berc doesn’t just curate art exhibits; she plans art “events,” where up to 1,500 people are immersed in hours of music and 10,000 square feet of creativity.
Overton Loyd’s works capture urban life. The artist who has had a long relationship with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic will be sketching at Create:Fixate. Image courtesy of the artist.
This weekend, Berc will fill two empty warehouses Downtown at 613 Imperial St. with painting, photography, sculpture, video installations, artisan jewelry, live art making and interactive art by more than 40 artists, as well as two sound systems for a rotation of a dozen bands and DJs. The party, part of her Create:Fixate series, starts Saturday, March 8, at 7 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m.
“It’s much more festive than a regular art show because there’s so much going on and a lot to explore,” said Berc, who aims to showcase artists in an environment as creative as they are.
Held every few months, the events usually have a theme. This one delves into “Transformation.” “Right now there is a shift going on with the planet and human consciousness,” Berc explained. “I wanted to explore through art what people are thinking and feeling, whether it’s about climate change, the elections or their own goals.”
‘Journey Through the Night’
At the event, Create:Fixate is collaborating with c3: Center for Conscious Creativity, a group based in the Brewery Arts Colony. In what are called Brain Paint sessions, Bill Scott hooks up guests to a biofeedback machine and projects their brain activity on a screen where it is transformed into colorful imagery, which is then altered by live music.
Brain Paint’s “visual music project” is perhaps the most extreme example of Berc’s open-minded curating. “I love exploring the city and finding new things, new ideas, new ways of thinking and artists pushing the creative edge,” she said.
Among those artists are several based Downtown. Dayvid Iannaci, a 15-year veteran in advertising and web design, creates digital fine art. Jimmy Bleyer and Walt Hall collaborate as the Lost Cause Society, making block prints with reclaimed wood.
Then there’s Overton Loyd, one of the pioneers of urban art. The Detroit-born artist, who has spent the last decade Downtown, has created album covers, animated videos and multimedia stage shows for George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic for ages.
On Saturday, Loyd will set up his easel and sketchpad for some life drawing. He said he’ll be doing what he always does. “I’m not talking about the live painting where you’re showing off and really trying to impress,” he said, laughing. “I’m talking about just simple charcoal, kneaded eraser and newsprint paper. It’s about studying life.”
Berc said the event promises to take guests on a “journey through the night,” the vibe changing from room to room and throughout the evening with the music. “Early on, it’s chill, down tempo. Later, it ramps up with live music. By the end, people are dancing like it’s a night club,” she said.
Sounds range from Leslie and the Badgers’ “bourgeois country” to Forsforo’s blend of dancehall, drum ‘n’ bass, dub and synthpop. The DJs scheduled include Marques Wyatt, a forerunner in the West Coast house scene, who brings Downtown the soulful mix he spins regularly at the Vanguard in Hollywood.
There is definitely something for everyone – even kids. The reDiscover Center will manage a Kids Kreativity Zone where children can have fun while their parents peruse the art.
Create:Fixate doesn’t just talk about big ideas like transformation, it encourages people to take action by hosting nonprofit organizations; Giveback, NextAid and the Rainforest Action Network will be at Saturday’s event. Additionally, one wall will be dedicated to work by high school students from across Los Angeles who participated in Create:Fixate’s emerging artists program.
That Cryptic Name
Create:Fixate literally started in Berc’s living room. She hosted the first event in the Downtown Los Angeles loft she occupied.
“The whole idea was, as an artist, to take responsibility of my career,” she said, “and I believe in the power of numbers and cross-marketing.”
As the crowds grew, Berc turned Create: Fixate into a nonprofit organization and moved the party to the Spring Arts Tower for 21/2 years and to venues in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Century City, before returning to Downtown last December for the sixth anniversary event at Lot 613.
The name actually comes from a painting Berc did years ago. Called “Fixation,” the black and white work with eyeballs in a hypnotizing pattern led her to devise the Create:Fixate logo.
Still, the moniker is not as cryptic as it sounds. Berc explained: “It’s about creating something and exploring its meaning.”
Create:Fixate’s “Transformation” is Saturday, March 8, from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. at Lot 613/Premiere Events Center, 613 Imperial St., (310) 590-7199 or createfixate.com. Admission is $15. The preview from 4-7 p.m. has a suggested donation of $5; kids 12 and under are free before 7 p.m.