FORM Magazine is honored to present Timothy Robert Smith’s Map of Los Angeles featuring some of LA’s best architecturally designed buildings as outlined in Michael Franklin Ross’ January 2019 feature in FORM Magazine, LA’s BADdest.
How did you come to be a part of this project?
I actually met Jerri Levi through a teacher at CSU Northridge and one of FORM’s contributing editors, Carol Bishop. Carol told me that FORM was looking for an artist to make a map of LA.
What made you interested in taking on this project?
My work is about dissecting physical space and deconstructing our mental maps of reality. The thought of creating an actual map excited me. My first idea was to build a three dimensional wrinkled map with lots of buildings protruding off of the surface, and that’s exactly what I did.
What was most interesting, exciting, revealing putting this map of LA together?
It was super fun constructing all of the buildings out of wood and using realistic painting techniques to make them pop even more. All of the buildings respond to the same light source, which is the sun, and they cast long shadows across the grid.
The map focuses on 14 iconic architectural landmarks, but because LA is so vast, the distance between the buildings often stretched for miles; so I had to create a grid that warps throughout the landscape. The wrinkles in the map helped with this as well, making the map shrink and stretch in various areas. The wrinkles also allowed me to show every building from a different vantage point, which gives it that kaleidoscopic funhouse feel.
Are you an LA native? What’s your LA experience & how did that impact the piece (if at all)?
Born and raised! My mom took me to see Watts Towers when I was a little kid and I fell in love with its strange and intricate beauty. I hung out a lot in Union Station during college, and still do! And I’ve always loved the LAX building. It has such a cool 70’s sci-fi vibe. I have so many awesome memories in and of LA buildings and I really wanted that to come through in this map.
How did your style as an artist influence the map project? What was your inspiration?
My style combines forced perspective, optical illusion, multiple dimensions and public transit. And also I’ve been recently combining 2D and 3D images together. I wanted to use all of these ingredients in this map! I was visually inspired by the colors and patterns of Google Maps, and I combined that design with real aerial drone footage. Drone videos helped me see all of the details of the tops of the buildings in birds eye view, which was fun to combine with graphic map lines.
What impact do you hope the map has? On the magazine? On LA?
I want this map to inspire people to look at the world from different angles, and think about how everyone’s unique viewpoint effects their experience in reality. I also hope people discover a few new cool buildings in LA that they didn’t know existed and take the time to go and see them – up close. I’m excited about being a part of the relaunch of FORM Magazine and their celebration of Southern California’s contribution to architecture, design, and the visual arts.
Timothy Robert Smith is a Los Angeles oil painter, muralist and multi-media artist, using observational techniques to investigate the nature of perception. His work fuses together multiple perspectives into a kaleidoscopic vision, playing with our understanding of time and space, and blurring the line between personal and collective experience.
His art has shown in solo exhibitions at museums, TEDx conferences and several galleries; being featured in media outlets that include Juxtapoz, Artillery, and NBC. He recently created an interactive installation at the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster (May 2018) that combined oil painting with lights, sounds, 3-D sculpted figures and video projections. He also has murals around Los Angeles, Laguna Beach and Japan.
Author: Form Magazine
FORM: pioneering design, a publication that celebrates Southern California’s contribution to architecture, design, and the visual arts.