Daily Archive for August 28th, 2007

Sketchcrawl 15, Little Tokyo — part II of II

Tents and City
This (above) was near the cultural center. After sketching & painting the giant float, I felt I needed to loosen up and keep things simple. I liked the colors and the composition of this view, so I banged it out, just trying to focus on the key elements.
Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street
A sketch of the monument to Ellison S. Onizuka and the Space Shuttle Challenger. The street this is on is actually named “Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street” and is an exception to Los Angeles’ letter limit to street names (Though I’m not sure what that limit is. Maybe 16?). This monument and place is significant to me for at least two reasons. One, I remember when Challenger disintegrated. I was in my fourth grade classroom when we listened to the live broadcast on the radio. I remember a fair amount of emphasis being placed on the death of Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher from New Hampshire who was on the shuttle, and I wasn’t quite as aware of Onizuka. My fiancée Jamie, however, is from Hawaii (where Onizuka was from) and so I think more emphasis was probably placed on the death of Onizuka there. Granted, it was a tragic event for all involved.
Secondly, this place is significant to me, because I used to live here. I lived in Little Tokyo for about 2 and a half years, right on the 200 block of East 1st Street and the back of my building faced out onto Onizuka St.
Incidentally, I had a roommate from Japan who once told me that “Onizuka” translates to “Devil’s Tombstone.”
Smokin' Geisha
I sat at a table near a group of young (maybe 16-year-old) Japanese-American girls dressed in Kimonos, while they smoked cigarettes and talked about makeup. One of our other sketchcrawlers, Akiko, said she overheard one of them say, “Okay my dad is here, so I don’t do anything, okay? I don’t smoke and I don’t drink!”
Pippy Legwarmers
Another view from the back. It’s easier to draw people from the back, especially when they’re not going anywhere. I don’t think this girl was even Asian. Maybe hapa, but it was hard to tell if that was the case. She had her straight black hair in pigtails and her short kimono or “happi coat” with the big ribbon wasteband/sash (Obi) — plus legwarmers and sneakers!
New Otani Gardens
Lastly, we went up to the New Otani Hotel’s Garden. Where there was this inspiring view of the beautiful California Bank & Trust building.