A study on the Los Angeles River.

Primarily, I was intrigued by the idea of creating a sculptural piece. I felt that it would be more capable of conveying the experience of being at the LA River than two dimensional photographs. I was also interested in the places where the River transitioned from concrete portions to the lesser-known natural portions. I visited two different locations, one in Glendale and the other in Reseda, a neighborhood of LA. The latter location was the most spectacular.

The river goes from being about 5 feet wide flowing over a bed of concrete to about 18 feet wide flowing over a bed of soil. The difference is drastic. The concrete portion is how most people imagine the LA River to be: a large concrete basin, monotonous miles of pure mass, and a small rivulet of water at the center. The natural part of the river has an abundance of vegetation surrounding it, American Coots abound, lizards scurry from log to log, and unpredictable patches of wild parsley dot the banks. It seems like paradise until one notices the wealth of trash hanging from the branches, plastic bags caught in the current, and brown sludge engulfing small plants. In comparison, the drab concrete was almost more serene and calming than the natural part of the river with its overabundance of debris.

Below are images of the final piece.

Copyright © 2020 Elisa Michelet