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Meet Carmen Zella of Now Art in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carmen Zella.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Carmen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
This journey to where I am started with my fascination for art that merges disciplines – dance and video, installation and literature, performance and politics. Los Angeles is a fascinating city and, coming from Canada, not at all what I expected.

The single-story houses, underground art culture, Gotham City downtown and love of the outdoors that ultimately is Los Angeles, became the foundation for my inspiration and instantly drew me in. Making the leap to relocate in 2000, first to Venice Beach and then to Downtown, you may have found me along the way at gallery shows, participating in cultural happenings or acting subversively whenever I could get away with it.

I’ve explored many creative paths – always outside the institution, and always with a love for site-specific work. In my purview, I see architecture as a sculptural form reshaping both inside and outside space. Artists like Zaha Hadid, Gordon Matta-Clark and Donald Judd have influenced my sensibility, always alongside John Cage and Fluxus philosophy ‘Art is life, Life is Art’.

From within their work, my interest in public art emerged. I wanted to be at the forefront of the new exploration into public art as it is, for me, the most exciting movement in the art world today. So fast-forward to how art and culture define the ‘new DTLA’ and there you will find the beginning of my new chapter. Women leadership is our hope for the future, and we are the voice of NOW Art.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Struggles are a part of life, and we learn falling forward. I was never schooled in business, or non-profit management, or starting an arts organization, but life led me along this path. Falling has left me objective and able to more easily navigate when needed. The nature of working in public art is that the unforeseen hurdles are a part of the process. You are selling and developing concepts that for the most part are only ideas until they become fabricated and installed into reality. It’s a never-ending learning process – such is life!

The steps to deliver a final and successful artwork makes the struggle in getting there even more rewarding. Maybe growing up in a small town listening to PJ Harvey and This Mortal Coil made me more introspective, but I like the challenge – it reaffirms that the best things don’t come easily! Artwork is a reflection of our condition and often the best work comes out of our struggle to achieve.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Now Art – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
NOW Art is a public art organization seeking to redefine and evolve what public art is. We approach the creation of work in a way that is engaging, immersive and thought-provoking. Our edge is that we are a progressive and boutique agency that specializes in temporary activations and develop new and innovative approaches to permanent works, exploring all art mediums.

Well-curated site-specific works that are conceptually thought through, reflect the culture and stimulate conversation. It’s a tall order! But we set our standards high. Our aim is to push the medium of public art, the artists that we work with, the clients who trust in our vision, and the City of Los Angeles as the place for trailblazer and creative leaders.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our future is bright and our vision is large. We have new collaborations with some of the best art organizations in the City, and relationships with key locations that will be pivotal for the community at large. Our company is growing and we are bringing in more talent to breathe new perspectives into looking at art/space and creative engagement.

Our role is not only as a stakeholder but as a visionary organization that is full of ideas on how to continuously reflect that integral nature that art plays in any urban landscape, reminding us of the best parts of being human. We are working to develop changes in policy, and align our work with causes that need further attention and reflection. Our hands are in many pies and the kitchen is on fire!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Koury Angelo Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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