Nate Park talks about the LA Mobile Arts Festival 2012

Benjamin Rabe

The LA Mobile Arts Festival 2012 helicopter guy

The LA Mobile Arts Festival 2012 (August 18-26, 2012) is approaching fast, an I had the chance to have a quick chat with Nate Park of iPhoneArt.com, the organizers behind the event, to talk about helicopters, mobile art and an “Olde Curiosity Shoppe”.

Nate, you are in the midst of what seems to be a core mobile art event in 2012, the LA-Mobile Art Festival. When I launched your website for the first time, there was a picture of a man flying a mini-helicopter, seemingly from some decades ago. Is mobile art a timeless thing for you?

Art in and of itself is timeless. It’s one of the things that makes us human. My partner and Co-Founder Daria Polichetti talks about this in the iPhoneArt Manifesto, how the mobile art movement draws similarities to a time when fine art photography was beginning to come into its own about 100 years ago. Similar to that period, artists are exploring and pushing this medium, and people are really just discovering what it is, what it can be, and ultimately finding its place in the fine art world.

The LA Mobile Arts Festival is kicking off its inaugural exhibition at the Santa Monica Art Studios– the 22,000 square foot airplane hangar converted to a modern-day artists’ colony. Given the nature of the venue, aviation seemed like an obvious theme, and our “flying machine” imagery has become a mascot for this year’s event.

All of the artists, sponsors, and volunteers helping to put on this show are modern day pioneers. We feel like we are all the Wright brothers on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, learning to fly. I just hope we don’t have a crash landing, and can gracefully glide off into the sunset.

What is the most exciting thing you have planned for LAMAF?

There are probably a dozen individual pieces I am specifically amped about. Some are nearing completion after months of planning. Others we are putting together last minute that probably won’t be finished until the day of the opening.
Obviously I’m excited about all the fine art prints — creative landscapes, portraits, street art, abstracts. Our partner Plywerk does an amazing job presenting the work mounting these museum-quality prints and the feedback we have been getting from the artists has been incredible.

The “Olde Curiosity Shoppe” is an installation I am particularly excited about. Daria is creating such a cool environment, as if you are stepping into the 1800s. Images will be printed, then framed in old vintage wood frames, and hung salon-style on the walls. Cabinets and shelves will be decorated with images printed on metal, then welded to pipes and stands to make mini-sculptures rather than prints on a wall, along with all manner of other strange and curious presentations of the work. Mannequin’s with iPad heads, old chests with mobile art-rigged contraptions inside may be found in the shoppe.

It’s 4 weeks out now, could you give us a breakdown of what else to expect?

We are still ironing out details on all the events, but our goal is to have one workshop, artist talk, meetup, or photowalk each day in addition to the gallery exhibit. It’s the interactive, exploratory nature of this festival — the mixup of artists, techniques and tech developers across the spectrum — that really makes it unique.

You say it’s inaugural, so can we expect this to become an annual thing? What is your vision here?

Obviously we want the festival to be a smashing success. The artists and photographers, members of iPhoneArt.com and others, are behind it, no doubt. It is comforting to have awesome sponsors behind the event as well. We want to spread awareness about the mobile art movement to the general public and boost popularity in the contemporary art scene. We want a lot of people to come and experience this genre and we want artists sell their work. I hope people will have a lot of fun at the workshops, artist talks, and meetups as well.

It would be great to turn this into an annual event, even expanding it to other cities in the US and beyond. But we are just mainly focusing on this year’s festival, and trying to make it as good as it can be. Once it is all over, and we’ve had a chance to rest and recover, we will evaluate how we did, see where we were successful, see where we can improve, and then look to the future.
Like the man in his “flying machine,” we will always be pushing the boundaries of where this “flying machine” can take us.

(A big Thank you to Nate who took the time for this interview, even though they all must be incredibly busy now.)


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