Western History & Genealogy Blog

Milk and Honey: Contemporary Art in California

Milk and Honey: Contemporary Art in California by Justin Van Hoy. Pasadena, CA: Ammo Books. 2012. Front Cover.
Milk and Honey: Contemporary Art in California by Justin Van Hoy. Pasadena, CA: Ammo Books. 2012. Back Cover.

Retna’s art combines English and Spanish gang letters and the letter forms of Hebrew, Arabic and other alphabets into haunting paintings of calligraphic letters bleeding into one another, losing boundary. He’s of African-American, Latino, and Native American descent, and was inspired by the graffitied walls of his Los Angeles youth and by his own diverse background. Megan Whitmarsh always viewed California as a kind of Shangri-La, and her paintings, with a whimsical dance of color and yeti, seem to fulfill her vision. Andrew Schoultz creates battle scenes of knights and dragons that seem to take place in a mid-air of bricks exploding upwards like a city flying apart. Schoultz credits a California artist culture of acceptance and support with helping him push the boundaries of his art. Milk and Honey: Contemporary Art in California, a new book by Justin Van Hoy, celebrates work by several California artists operating in many mediums. These artists have roots in graffiti art, surf, skate culture, and other influences unique to California. Milk and Honey recognizes that California is still a beacon state that inspires, shapes, and influences artists from all over, nurturing them and giving them the space to create and breathe that overpriced East Coast cities do not. To see Milk and Honey and the many other excellent books on the art and culture of California, Colorado and the West, come to the Western History and Genealogy Department in the Denver Public Library.