Pehrspace becomes home to parallel worlds

It’s diorama time!

From this Saturday, June 30 until the end of August, Pehrspace will play host to PAIR, a group diorama show curated by Pauline Lay and featuring the work of Dawn Anderson, Abby Banks, Rachel Birke, Emily Burnett, Clark Canez, Disco Cisco, Craig Davis, Danielle Descoteaux, Lana Estrada, Walt! Gorecki, Sarah Heysel, Pauline Lay, Josh McCool, Mackenzie Owen, Paax, Simon Sotelo, Pascal Stevenson, and Rion Suarez.

PAIR opens at 8 PM on Saturday, with a performance by Wet Power at 10.

I went to Pehr last night to find Pauline’s office filled from wall to wall with colorful and creative dioramas. I was blown away by the variety of approaches that these artists and hobbyists applied to the theme. Overall, it’s a diverse and endearing show.

According to Pauline, “my main interest for curating art shows is to see thoughtful interpretations from traditional artists/ hobbyists/academics when given a theme and a basic childhood form to express it with.” PAIR follows an earlier show featuring mobiles and the theme of “systems” and includes a variety of contributors including an IT person, a marketer with a love of American history, and an origami hobbyist.

Over the week, I did short email interviews with some of the artists involved in PAIR. They told me about some of the dioramas you’ll see.

Pictured: Simon Sotelo's "Folkmote." Photo: Shaddy Zeineddine.

Simon Sotelo

Simon Sotelo’s diorama is a mixed-media sculpture illustrating a scene from a song called “Folkmote” by Donny Hue and the Colors. The centerpiece, a sculpted fairy tale bride, is beautiful in its creepiness.

“Most of my work is figurative,” Simon says, “and somehow relates to the music and other pieces of pop culture that have shaped me as a creative individual. If I am moved by a song that has a heavy narrative, I like to interpret my favorite lyric or scene from the story.”

For more about Simon, visit

Pictured: Disco Cisco's miniatureMUSEUM. Photo: Thomas Pathe.

Disco Cisco

Disco Cisco’s miniatureMUSEUM is a petite, seven-story structural experiment in wood, textiles, and ingenuity built to exhibit original wee works by a collection of local artists.

Ms. Cisco says, “Miniatures are a rad way to experiment with new mediums that may be presently out of reach due to time, cost, or size restrictions. Also, they’re adorable. Allow the miniatureMUSEUM to capture your imagination as it forces you to examine size as a relative notion.”

The museum includes tiny art pieces by a variety of different artists – it’s a sort of parallel art exhibit to the PAIR show itself. “I want to thank all the artists who graciously donated works,” she says. “Creative collaboration is a vital tool in exploring the spectrum of individual aesthetic.”

Visit Disco Cisco online at


Papier-macheist Paax’s black light sculpture, “Parallel World 23,” is extraordinarily trippy.

“What interests me,” he says, “is absence of message or connection. I feel that some Parallel Worlds are maybe so entirely alien that there may not be anything human about that other reality. Nothing human at all.” Whoa.

You can see more of Paax’s objects at

Pictured: Paax's "Parallel World 23." Photo: Lana Estrada.

Clark Canez

Clark Canez created a diorama using the Pepper’s Ghost illusion (like in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland) to create a “ghost diorama show” staged at Pehrspace. This light trick, unfortunately, made the piece impossible to photograph — so you’ll just have to check it out in person!

Canez, a diorama hobbyist, says that “dioramas are interesting because there can be so much variance. It is so interesting to see what people are doing and different takes they have in the medium. I think that the advantage is having a 3 dimensional view of something that is in real life or just in your head, instead of forcing perspective. A challenge, though, is tricking people enough to suspend their imagination and get lost in the diorama. When that happens, that is where the magic of the medium lies.”

You can follow Clark on Twitter.

Lana Estrada

Pictured: Lana Estrada's "Antisocial Butterfly." Photo: Lana Estrada.

Professional photographer Lana Estrada’s piece, “Antisocial Butterfly,” makes beautiful use of mosses and feathers to create a vibrant buggy party.

The diorama is “a world where insects find themselves enjoying one another’s company at themed party. The rocks have a soft glow and the color scheme is a whisper of elegance. Turns out, butterflies aren’t that social here.”

Lana’s photography site is here:

Dawn Anderson's "I would love you with my whole heart, if only I could (A Quest for True Love)." Photo: Lana Estrada.

Dawn Anderson

Dawn Anderson, the creator of “I would love you with my whole heart, if only I could (A Quest for True Love)” is a trained fine artist who is “constantly influenced by the magical unseen undercurrent of things.” Her piece reminds me of the Tin Man’s lament in the Wizard of Oz, “If I Only Had a Heart.”

According to her, the piece “represents the power and beauty of determination and knowingness that love is the ultimate of life-especially to a brave little robot. He is perhaps more brave than most people.”

Check out Dawn’s website at

Josh McCool

While many of the dioramas in PAIR explore the magical or the fantastic, Josh McCool’s piece has a more somber theme. He explains, “Inspired by the underwater ghost towns created by valleys flooded for WPA projects after the Great Depression, and my grandparent’s home that was lost during the recent recession to foreclosure as a result of being “underwater” on the mortgage, the piece explores the secret histories of those inevitably left behind in the wake of American ambition.”

In the piece, “Young parents watch from the shore as their son swims in a man-made lake created by a dam. Little do they know that at the bottom of the lake lies the remains of an old farm house, a casualty of the dam project many years before.”

I couldn’t find a website for Josh, but I did find this.

Pehrspace presents

PAIR: a diorama show

June 30 – August 31

Opening reception Saturday, June 30

8 PM / Free / all ages

Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown

10 PM performance by Wet Power




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