Inside Vanessa Prager's Studio: Artist Prepares for 'Across the Universe' Opening | Public Spectacle | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Inside Vanessa Prager's Studio: Artist Prepares for 'Across the Universe' Opening

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Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 11:59 AM

click to enlarge Vanessa Prager - SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
  • Vanessa Prager
See more photos in Shannon Cottrell's slideshow, "Vanessa Prager: Studio Tour."

When 26-year-old painter Vanessa Prager was just 19, she decided that she wanted to paint.

"I started drawing when I was a teenager," said Prager when we met at her Silver Lake studio. "I wanted to get bigger and more colorful than pencil would allow and then painting came up out of that."

She went to some thrift stores, picked up how-to books and taught herself.

"That was how I learned to paint," she said. "And trial and error. A lot of error."

click to enlarge SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
For Prager, who works in oils, color mixing was the biggest challenge, she said, "because in oil, it can get really ugly, really fast."

"It's bad," she continued. "If you mix one too many colors in there, all of a sudden, you have poo brown or like grayish brown, which is like the worst thing around."

Prager got the hang of working with oils pretty quickly, though, and, eight or nine months after she began painting, she threw her first show in a warehouse space downtown.

"I just wanted to show it to people," she recalled.

"So I put my paintings up and invited all of my friends."

Prager has been putting together her own shows ever since. For the past six weeks, she has been working on "Across the Universe," which will open at ADBD Gallery on June 2. The new collection will feature 35 pieces, which she estimates will be split between 20 paintings and 15 drawings. While most of her drawings were in the process of being framed when we stopped by the studio, her paintings hung from the studio wall.

"A couple of the pieces were started early," she explained. "I probably started those within the past two months, two and a half months."

click to enlarge SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
She began working on the bulk of the pieces six weeks prior to our visit and worked on them simultaneously.

"Because I work with layers, it's build-up after build-up," she said. "It takes a while to dry, even if it's a day. Over a period of three to four weeks, I completed a lot of them."

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