Monday, May 29, 2017

Photographing LA Artists - DesignLA - New LA Times Sunday Magazine

 The New Noir  by  Rodrigo Ribera D'Ebre - features Jim McHugh's work and collaborations with the renown LA artists Big Sleeps and Prime and the world of Graffiti art. 

There is no city more noir than Los Angeles. We wrote the book on it and we shot the film. One such documentarian of this phenomenon is Jim McHugh, photographer of noir landscapes and renowned artists like Ed Ruscha, Robert Graham, and David Hockney. Currently, McHugh spends time photographing avant-garde artists of the underground. It is a dark world that intersects fine art, street gangs, graffiti, tattoos, murals, and urban street wear. 

Two agents of change unfolding in this cinematic drama are David ‘Big Sleeps’ Cavazos and Jose ‘Prime’ Reza. Born and raised on the seedy streets of Pico Union near Downtown L.A.Their work is straight up Los Angeles – grimy, in-your-face, and unapologetic. Simultaneously, it is contemporary and stunning.

McHugh who maintains that, “Big Sleeps and Prime have been my passport to a whole other Los Angeles. A world of remarkable artists who have existed in a culturally separate parallel universe.” 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Historic Masonic Temple - Glendale

Photographed from pool deck of The Excelsior courtesy of Caruso Affiliated

Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA in the early part of the century

A 1920s poured concrete construction, the Masonic Temple in Glendale, CA. was restored in 2015 - 2016 by Caruso Affiliated. A landmark building with joining historic store front shops located across from the Americana at Brand this remarkable renovation represents the city's most ambitious integration of vintage and new construction to date.

The Masonic Temple on Brand Blvd. shortly after it's opening in the 1920s.
Photographed with a Wista 4x5 camera, Polaroid T55 film, printed on INNOVA Fabriano paper

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LA Neighborhoods

On a rainy morning last week, a favorite LA postcard, a little corner market.

On Temple... The 'Lofts' are coming!

I've been watching this little market for a year, certain that it was a colorful dusk shot, but in the end, it was a very wet 6:00am moment. T55 positive / Speedgraphic 270mm

Monday, January 16, 2017

LA Art Show 2017 - Special Exhibit

A special exhibit for LA Art Show 2017 / VIP Lounge - "Los - Radio Tower on Mulholland " 40"x 32" Innova Fabriano rag & "Washington and Cimarron / Aftermath" 44" x 106" Innova matte canvas

"Not to be missed this year are the photographs by Jim McHugh working with two LA graffiti artists. Selected for the LA ART SHOW 2017 as a special exhibition these exceptional images are quite appropriately installed in the art fair's newest VIP Lounge in situ environment.  McHugh titles them fusion prints because of the multiple skills employed.
Photographer McHugh has joined with two legendary artists, real LA street lettering masters,  Joe “Prime” Reza and David Cavazos aka "Big Sleeps," to create these raw, authentic representations of a secret, hidden LA.  This unique display of fresh work combining LA urban landscape and graffiti hand-styles is curated by Timothy Yarger of Timothy Yarger Fine Art for the newly designed Art Show VIP Lounge. FYI, the lounge by Paul Lester of The Agency is a welcome oasis for pause amidst a very busy 2017 art fair, "
                                                                                                      Downtown Art District News

"Portrait of Prime" - 55" x 44"  Innova matte canvas - Impossible Project

Opening night with my friends, artists David Cavazo "Big Sleeps" and Joe Reza "Prime"

"The Orpheum Theatre"  43" x 32" ed.of 10 - archival pigment -Innova fiba cotton- T79 Polaroid capture

"Mulholland Drive Radio Tower - LOS"  this is the original 42" x 32" image with Prime's beautiful LA lettering.

It was great to see "Washington Blvd" up and so perfect on the red wall. I am now photographing a series of these LA neighborhood landscapes with input from Sleeps and Prime who are then adding their individual hand-styles. There are a limited number of versions of each, a series of unique mono prints.

"Washington Blvd," was photographed over a period of several days, either very early in the morning or at night. The result is a Polaroid, Fuji instant film collage, after which there is a week of post time, like drawing really, and much time back and forth test printing. It's quite an elaborate process.
Then Sleeps and Prime apply their lettering.

For the Washington image there are a number of smaller 15" x 44" versions on paper, with different tones and hand lettering. This is the largest version, on Innova matte canvas mounted on Dibond. Tim and Paul included one of my most favorite LA pictures, "The Orpheum Theatre" a "LA LA Land" like image I photographed in 2006. The "Portrait of Prime" was made at the The Container Yard last year for the Robert Graham Foundation's "AFTERMATH" exhibit in 2016.


Monday, December 19, 2016

LA Neighborhoods - Street legends

Left: " Los- Mulholland Radio Tower " Joe Prime Reza/Jim McHugh 24" x 20" signed and numbered- edition of 150 unframed.  Right:  "213- Washington and Crenshaw" David Cavazo Big Sleeps / Jim McHugh 24" x 20" signed and numbered- edition of 150 - Each print $150 + shipping

As shown above, Courtyard Editions is issuing two high quality, archival photographic prints, priced with the desire to make art works from the "LA Neighborhoods" project available to everyone. So many so people have asked about acquiring prints from the work that we have been doing together over the past few years. These are two very beautiful images that represent our unique look at LA.

A single section of the panorama used as the supporting layer of the collage for "213 - Washington Blvd."  Polaroid T55

A 9 ft. canvas of Washington Blvd. - hand styles by Sleeps and Prime - INNOVA Digital

Artists Joe "Prime" Reza and David Cavazo, aka "Big Sleeps," are such legends, born of this disappearing LA era. These prints are a true fusion of photographic imagery and territorial street hand-styles. The imagery investigates LA and the secret, hidden sub-culture of graffiti writing, hand styles. "213 Washington Blvd. and Crenshaw " reflects a neighborhood abandoned to immigrants and people of color in post WWII Los Angeles that is now rapidly gentrifying. For those unaware, 213 was the original and for a long time, only area code in LA.  

Prime at work in his downtown LA studio- ©2015 Jim McHugh
An early legend among street writers, now Joe "Prime" Reza is a painter who's works are held in the permanent collection of the Getty Museum and are exhibited in galleries world wide, Prime's newest works can be seen through Jan. 17, 2017 at the LA Louver Gallery, Venice, CA. in the exhibition "ROLLCALL" curated by Gajin Fujita.


Shooting in Prime's studio for the exhibition AFTERMATH - 2016 - photo: Patrick House
Big Sleeps signing "Washington and Crenshaw"
  Big Sleeps  is truly a survivor of the streets that nearly swallowed him whole, streets that remain bound by intricate, spray-painted letter styles which act as a true code of survival called "the placa."  Cavazo's paintings can also be viewed thru January 17 at LA Louver Gallery, Venice, CA. in their "Rollcall" exhibition.
Studio van near Central Ave. in South Central LA on the very rainy night when we signed our prints
Big Sleeps - Prime - Jim McHugh at Prime's studio, Dec. 14, 2016

 The McHugh Studio  323 466 2890 -

The LA Neighborhoods project has been developed with the support of INNOVA Digital Art, supplying the newest archival technologies and digital surfaces for maximum image integrity.