Synopses & Reviews
An artists homage to everyday Angelenos.
Proud, defiant, thoughtful, and at times melancholy, the saints in this beautifully designed peoples history of L.A. reveal their own unique versions of transcendence and, in doing so, challenge traditional notions of what it means to be blessed. Playfully borrowing from various artistic genres from illuminated manuscripts to comic strips and encased in a sumptuous gold cover, All the Saints of the City of the Angels combines meticulous research with creative inspiration to depict in paint and ink Angelenos both historical and contemporary.
Since 2000, J. Michael Walker has been researching every Los Angeles street named for a saint. Delving into city records, hagiographies, old photographs, maps, advertisements, and history books, Walker has emerged with what he calls a loopy valentine to the City of the Angels. On San Julian Street, in the heart of Skid Row, San Julian's legend as the patron saint of wanderers comes to life as he talks to the homeless in the shelters. A hidden path off San Sebastian Drive leads Walker to contemplate the similarity between San Sebastian who, after being pierced with arrows, was nursed back to health by an elderly woman and the Tongva Indians who, once declared extinct by the government, are now experiencing a cultural renaissance thanks to the efforts of generations of elders.
Populated by the portraits of both the famous and the forgotten, and filled with stories and secrets from every age, this beautifully offbeat volume peels back layers of western history to reveal the humanity underneath.
"Walker sees angels everywhere, the divine in the ordinary, saints in survivors. And that, in our era of fear and rage, is miracle enough for me." Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street and Caramelo
"Art and history coming together at the streetscape level; inventive, erudite, thoughtful." William Deverell, professor of history at the University of Southern California and director of the Huntington USC Institute on California and the West
About the Author
Born and raised in Arkansas, J. Michael Walker came to Los Angeles by way of Mexico a critical stopover that explained L. A. to him: its historical, thriving roots churning beneath the asphalt. Since 1984, he has participated in more than one hundred exhibitions; received a dozen grants, fellowships, and artist residencies; and has enjoyed solo shows in both the United States and Mexico. He resides, of course, in Los Angeles.