Check out more of Shannon Cottrell's photos in "mr. BLACK LA."
Out on on the patio of Hollywood club Bardot during Tuesday night party mr. BLACK LA, Robert Vargas was creating a charcoal portrait of club promoter Luke Nero. Dressed in a tux, with a mouse-ear hat and white gloves, Nero sat as still as one could with a bustling club crowd surrounding him. Vargas was kneeling on the floor, hunched over the canvas as he worked intensely.
Creating art on the floor of Bardot must have its challenges. Vargas was situated on a platform area of the club's smoking patio. There were couches behind him, booth seating across from him and a very narrow, very crowded walkway standing between the two. It's a stretch of the venue that could easily trigger a party foul, but for the time that we watched Vargas complete two portraits, he worked without incident. All the while, the music from the main room pumped through the speakers. Chatter grew louder as the night progressed. People danced and occasionally climbed over the artist. Nothing seemed to break his, or the models', concentration.
"For me, I engage the sitter in such a way that they feel like it's just them and I," says Vargas. "If anything, I feel like the conduit for the energy that's happening around me and I kind of channel that and put that into the piece."
He adds, " Music helps as much as the voices. The soundtrack to this piece is what you hear in here."
Vargas is the producer of Red Zebra, a monthly downtown party that combines art, fashion, music and comedy. The next event is Thursday night at The Crocker Club and will feature live art by Vargas, as well as performances from The Makers and Nylon Pink!!!, DJ Adam XVI and Ernie Omega's party-within-a-party Glass Door.
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