Painter Danny Heller grew up in the San Fernando Valley surrounded by the generic sprawl of the postwar boom. His meticulously detailed oil paintings celebrate midcentury architecture — both the icons and the everyday stuff. “Painting helped me describe the beauty of modernism by teaching me how to really observe,” he says. “I always hope that in some small way, my artwork can expose [the era] more to the masses.”
Heller is particularly fascinated by the landmarked Los Angeles Department of Water & Power headquarters in downtown L.A. — the John Ferraro Building — by A.C. Martin & Associates. Perfectly rendered reflecting pools and louvered façades show up in several of Heller's works. He emphasizes the drama and the beauty of the stark structure. “I think folks who find modernism ugly just don't understand it — they see it as plain, simple, uninspired,” he says. “If people learned more about it and saw these buildings at the time of their conception, they would realize how revolutionary they were and are.” Read more about Heller and the efforts to preserve midcentury architecture here.