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Larry Fulton Artist

Studio 555

Larry Fulton staged his first musical extravaganza at the age of 6 on the front porch of his home in suburban Detroit Michigan. Taking his act on the road he travelled westward to live out his youth as an imaginary member of The Mickey Mouse Club.

After a pretty unexceptional college career at Weber State University in Ogden Utah he ventured further west to San Francisco where he plied his scenic skills at the San Francisco Opera which led to a job in summer stock in Philadelphia PA.

That fall he left the City of Brotherly Love for The Big Apple. In NYC he worked for the New York Shakespeare Festival, Café LaMama, and on numerous Off and On Broadway productions including Torch Song Trilogy, Sweeny Todd and Dracula. In a fluke of wondrous luck he appeared opposite Meryl Streep in The Taming of the Shrew (ask me for details). Eventually tired of starving he went of the road with the Julliard School’s Acting Co. Bored of living on a bus for 2 years with Patti LuPone he decided that perhaps television might be his true calling.

Numerous After-School Specials for ABC and CBS led to work on Movies of the Week including the unforgettable Children of the Stepford Wives starring Barbara Eden. Taking up Art Direction he worked on Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Fat Man and Little Boy starring Paul Newman. His “big break” came when he was hired to do Oliver Stone’s The Doors followed by Falling Down with Michael Douglas and one of America’s favorite movies Fried Green Tomatoes.

He skillfully clawed his way into the position of Production Designer. His credits include The Little Rascals, A Time to Kill, and with director M. Night Shyamalan Signs, Unbreakable and the 6 Oscar nominated The Sixth Sense.

Retiring to Palm Springs he and his husband David Vogel founded Digicom Learning a program that teaches students and educators alike how to use digital technology in the classroom and encourages young students to “Bring Our Stories to Life”. Now in its 10th year it has won numerous awards including the Golden Bell Award.

Three years ago he established Studio 555 where he makes art that explores the language of found and discarded objects that share the beauty and brutalism that coexist in the Cochella Valley. His most recent work of bas- relief tiles and cast concrete totems were shown at Flow Modern Gallery in Palm Springs during Modernism Week in Palm Springs.

About the Art

­TILES AND TOTEMS

THE DISCOVERY OF LANGUAGE FOUND THROUGH THE OBSERVATION OF THINGS DISCARDED AND DISREGARDED. 

My visual journey began in Palm Springs over ten years ago with my personal belief that the placement of the San Bernardino and the San Jacinto Mountains at the mouth of the Sonora Desert define a uniquely spiritual space.

 In seeking my own path to making art that symbolized and defined this belief, I began to recognize a particular kind of beauty and meaning in objects that I discovered all over the desert floor. Objects that had been discarded and disregarded, things tossed aside, considered without worth and without value.

 

THE BIRTH OF THE TILES

At first these were small objects that communicated in themselves a shape or design that spoke to me of a larger universe. I began by organizing these objects into groups and by pressing them into clay in order to reveal their alternative negative and positive shapes. In doing so I also began to discover that by linking these clay tiles together a mysterious language and sense of meaning emerged. I felt that I was discovering a language that was possibly forgotten or perhaps never previously revealed. For me it was the language that represents the “spirit of place”.

I worked for two years unearthing this language piece by piece, every new found object, bottle cap or gear adding to the special lexicon and alphabet. I felt that I was not only discovering a group of signs and symbols, but that by putting them together into a tapestry or bas relief, a particular message was beginning to emerge.

One day my work stopped. I sat in the studio surrounded by walls of text, knowing that there was something being said, but unable to decipher the code. I came and went daily, unable to understand but knowing that I had to learn to read and to listen more closely.

 

THE BIRTH OF THE TOTEMS

After six months of listening to the surfaces of the tiles I began to hear their story.

The next step in revealing the” spirit of place” was to move on from exposing a two dimensional language to excavating a world that arose from the ground and stood up in a three dimensional space.

And so I suddenly turned to larger found objects that lived in the same universe of the discarded. I began to notice the forms and shapes rendered within packing materials, cardboard and styrofoam that had been created to protect and to contain other things that were specifically considered the things of “true” value. In studying these forms and shapes and by casting them in plaster and concrete,

I revealed a series of what I call totems or guardian spirits.

These totems represent the three dimensional symbolic sources of energy, both masculine and feminine, positive and negative, (TOTEMS) that together with their two dimensional relatives (TILES) speak of the power that exists within the spirit of the mountains and the desert that surround us.

They are both ancient and modern, refined and brutal, crude and elegant. Together they represent a world of spirit that is all around us.