“Save Echo Park” as we have learned to call this small piece of napkin art is one of many spur-of-the-moment pieces illustrated by local Echo Park artist Monica Dollison.
When I asked her about the piece, she asked, “Where was it found?” Barely recalling it, she said it was one of many illustrations she often leaves behind at different places she visits in town. She draws inspiration from her mood at the time, and the place she’s in at the moment.
The napkin is a portrait of a sad girl–most likely Latina–with a tear running down her face and her T-shirt carrying a cautious message about Echo Park. To the side we can see a lotus flower–a signature icon left behind in Monica Dollison’s works around town (have you seen more?).
Seeing it in 2014 it is easy to come to assumptions about why the girl is sad and who she wants to save Echo Park from (Development? Gentrification? Hipsters?). And while the viewer is free to draw his conclusions, Monica recalled that at the time she was simply sad about trash she had seen around the neighborhood. It was also around the time that the Echo Park Lake was being rebuilt, she remembered, and she was just hoping that the community and the park wouldn’t change so drastically as well.
Little did I know when I first spoke to Monica that this napkin was a lot older than I thought. Little did I know that napkins even survive this long: nearly 4 years to the day.
I told her about how some people on our social media networks easily assumed that this was a response to gentrification (I did too, not knowing the date on the back). She mentioned that she was pleased with the turn out of Echo Park Lake, but is concerned about development and the effects it will have on the history of Echo Park, both its buildings and people.
Credit for finding this napkin goes to @ShotbyAbel who found it at the Vegan House on Sunset Blvd. in Silverlake (2703 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA). There, “You will see this and more drawings,” Abel said. “It’s hanging on the refrigerator with other drawings.”
If you happen to see the napkin living its days well into the future, take a picture and tag us @echoparkforums.
Upcoming Podcast Guest
We will soon be hosting Monica Dollison on our Echo Park Podcast where we will get the opportunity to know more about her and her art work.
“Caricatures and portraits have always been fun to create,” she says in her bio, “but my true love is painting. My inspiration and painting style varies as much as my influences–Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe and David Hockney as well as many others.”
Here’s an example of acrylic/newspaper on canvas:
And one more Echo Park related illustration:
Check back for the podcast episode to learn more about Monica and to see more of her collection.
Monica’s Brief Bio
Monica Dollison is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and studied at Los Angeles Trade Technical College through a scholarship in Visual Communications. She then obtained a scholarship to study at Art Center College of Design. She has worked in various roles as an animator and artist, including DreamWorks Feature Animation, Disney Feature Animation, ACME FilmWorks and Animation World Network. She has also worked as a caricature artist at Universal Studios Hollywood.