Manuel Compito & Scott Taylor: Bridging the Divide. The streets belong to all of us.
The Skid Row History Museum and Archive is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by two downtown Los Angeles artists; Manuel Compito and Scott Taylor.
Lot of talk has been made of the “dirty divide”, the difference between government services including policing between Skid Row and the western part of downtown. And a lot has been made about the divide between the people in these two parts of the downtown community. The reality is that a lot of people, no matter what their status in downtown are concerned about not just the encampments on the street, but about the people that are living there.
This exhibition brings together two painters who express these concerns in their work. The two painters, Manuel Compito and Scott Taylor come from either side of the alleged “divide”. Scott Taylor received a master’s degree in painting from Rutgers University (2002) and a bachelor’s degree from Savannah College of Art and Design (1998). Scott’s studio is on Wall Street in downtown Skid Row. Manuel Compito, A.K.A. OG Man is a self-taught artist who later developed his painting skills in the two significant visual arts workshops in Skid Row — with Lilian Calamari and Rory White. OG has also has had an important civic role in Skid Row and downtown. He organized the 3 on 3 Basketball league, a peer clean up brigade and the Skid Row Artist Collective — that sought to participate in the Downtown Art Walk and break down the artificial divide that excluded Skid Row artists.
The works in this show depict the lives of people living on the street. Scott Taylor, who calls these painting his “Wall Street” series, says that they “reflect and bear witness to the people who are downtrodden, destitute, and sleeping on the streets. Catching glimpses of a vague face or a hand or a foot from within these constructions, led to my determination to describe the visual impact and raise awareness to the growing homeless population in Skid Row.”
Both painters’ contributions also capture the resilient spirit of Skid Row. A number of OG’s colorful, and deeply textured works depict community members whose actions express the heart and soul of Skid Row: including, the band Franc’s Melting Pot; Skid Row Nate (Nathaniel Ayers of “the Soloist” fame); and the Skid Row Clean-Up Brigade, the community cleanup effort initiated by OG. Scott Taylor says of this work, “With each painting, I challenged myself to abstract into new forms and compositions sometimes against observation and into meditations on loneliness or despair. In some paintings, I felt the images became celebrations of color and life.”
The exhibition will run from January 19 to March 23. Opening reception Saturday January 19 from 6 to 8pm. During the run the exhibition will be open 2pm through 5pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.