A journey through the process of making and installing artwork at Willowbrook / Rosa Parks Station
Metro Willowbrook / Rosa Parks Station Improvement Project provides significant upgrades to the fourth busiest station in the metro system, including two newly commissioned works of art.
With the state-of-the-art transit hub nearing completion, we share behind-the-scenes footage of the manufacture and installation of Second row, a series of sculptural parasols by the artist brothers Jamex and Einar de la Torre.
The work pays homage to Rosa Parks by including her iconic image and significant symbols of the civil rights movement in the motif of the cut-out metal canopies, seen here in shadows cast on the ground. Pieces of glass inserted into the canopy refract light in colorful rainbow-shaped prisms that play in the shadows.
Let’s browse the site and take a journey through the process of making works of art:
Located in the plaza adjacent to the Customer Service and Transit Safety Centers and the Metro Bike Center, the Second row the sculptures provide shade during the day and will include lighting for a glow at night. The square will serve the community and provide space for events.
The manufacture of Second row included waterjet cutting, forming and welding of sheet metal into custom art components.
One of the artists, Einar de la Torre, and maker Craig Stewart inspect the metal parts in the fabrication shop before finishing alongside Mayen Alcantara, senior manager of Metro Arts & Design.
Jamex and Einar de la Torre insert glass gemstones into the art parasols. Over the more than twenty years the brothers have collaborated as a team of artists, they have developed a distinctive style featuring mixed media work with blown glass sculptures and art installations.
Powder coated die-cut metal shims bolted together to create each umbrella canopy. The umbrellas reflect the traditions of folk art, referring to the warmth of the home and the strength of community coming together in the form of papel picado and placemats.
Here, six umbrella canopies are ready to be lifted onto the poles. The intricate patterns are typical of the style of the artists, who have been quoted as saying, “We are very comfortable with baroque and quite indifferent to minimalism. “
Each umbrella artwork was lowered onto a pole and bolted in place. Custom sculptures were designed for rigging and lifting.
LED lighting integrated into the canopies of the parasols Second row creates an ethereal appearance at night. The artists recognized that umbrellas are featured in processions in the ancient and modern worlds, and intentionally tilted the poles to reflect the dynamic feel of the umbrellas during a parade.
In addition to the new outdoor artwork in the plaza, guests inside can also find Gifts of freedom and knowledge, by artist George Evans. The photo mural greets transit customers in the lobby above the window of the customer service center. It features a layered composition celebrating the distinct neighborhoods, personalities, landscapes and cultural traditions of South Los Angeles.
You can read more about the station’s artwork and upgrades in previous articles on The Source, in the links below.