Artists DevNgosha, Craola, and Nicola Verlato with their art at Tarfest.
Last Saturday, Merry Karnowsky looked to the La Brea Tar pits for the inspiration behind their pop-up gallery at Tarfest. Produced by LAUNCH, the event is an annual music and arts festival paying homage to Los Angeles’ natural wonder, while fostering creative expression. The famous seepage has been happening for tens of thousands of years, and continues to ensnare organisms today. These unlucky flora and fauna were interpreted by artists Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins, Todd Carpenter, Lezley Saar, Von Sumner, and James Griffith, who used tar as his painting medium. Craola, Nicola Verlato, and DevNgosha entertained guests by painting large scale works throughout the afternoon. Their images combined the beauty of death, as in DevNgosha’s colorful, larger than life human skull, with the fantasy of the past, as in Craola’s fiery bird (created with the help of some young artists to-be.) As the sun set, Verlato chiseled furiously at a drawing of a man consumed by darkness. With the pits just a few hundred feet away, their renderings merged new culture with this culturally historic spot.