• LPAE38 Interviewed by Pasadena Now Magazine

    Published : Friday, September 23, 2016 | 4:18 AM
    Ensconced in a former fire station near La Pintoresca Park, The Alkebu-Lan Cultural Center is again celebrating African heritage with the seventh edition of its ongoing art gallery series over this weekend.

    This weekend’s works from artists Christen Austin, a Pasadena resident and former PCC student, LP Aekili Ross, also a Pasadena resident and former PCC student and Maurice Howard a former Pasadena resident who now resides in Riverside will be featured at the gallery. Austin and Ross are local to Pasadena who attended Pasadena City College while Howard used to live in the city, according to Riea Owens, the artist gallery’s curator.

    LP Aekili Ross said “I’ll be showing nocturnal portraits that essentially depict divinity.” Ross has been a graphic artist for 20 years.

    “The magic that all of us have within us,” he said about where he gets his inspiration from. “Like ‘Third Eyes’ — they’re not necessarily on our skin, but they are depicted as they are, so I try to depict them as they are in reality.”

    “I got out of graphic design and decided to pursue fine arts because there is less hassle,” Ross said. “It’s hard being a graphic artist because everything you present as art is dictated by the client you’re working for, and it’s really hard on the heart. You’re designing for other people but you’re expressing from yourself.”

    Owens said she started putting on art shows last October to commemorate her father’s 90th birthday. The Alkebu-Lan Cultural Center took notice of her and eventually asked her to join them. She said she’s been putting on art shows every month ever since.

    “It’s not about the money,” she said. “It’s more about giving artists a platform of which to show their art and calling attention to the center.”

    Owens said she soon plans to switch to having one show every other month due to the tremendous effort that goes into putting together.

    “It is taking a ton of time and keeping me from doing my own art!” said Owens, a retired graphic designer and arts director.

    The exhibit will run Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m. at the Alkebu-Lan Cultural Center 1435 North Raymond Avenue. There will also be a special reception will be hosted on Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m.