The Future Was Now


Photo courtesy of Adam Murphy

Photo courtesy of Adam Murphy

Since oil was discovered in Los Angeles in 1892, more than nine billion barrels of oil have been

produced in the Los Angeles area. As of today, there are at least 30,000 active wells pumping

approximately 230 million barrels of oil a year, making Los Angeles County the second most

productive oil county in the State of California. This still active and present history is deeply at odds

with many Californians ideas of sustainability and the identity of our state. More particularly, while

Los Angeles is one of the most well known cities in the world, most people have no idea that its

economic and environmental history was so founded on fossil fuel.

Therein lies the root of this body of work - these new drawings, created from reference photographs

found in the Los Angeles Public Library, walk the line between describing a shared, forgotten history

and prophesying a terrifying, Orwellian future. While each of the drawings comes directly from an

actual, recorded moment, together they create a dizzying sense of dreamlike dislocation -- are the

images real? A dream? It is this tension between imagination and reality; actual past and possible

future that I wish to explore. These are moments that should have been indelibly burned into our

collective, cultural psyche, and yet our societal amnesia is such that we have lost touch with the

events entirely. A failure to learn from the past inevitably leads to the repetition of mistakes, and if

we are unaware of our past entirely, we will continue as we are -- strolling nonchalantly Towards the

End of All Things.