The City of West Hollywood held a public art dedication event for the Parallel Perpendicular artwork by artist Phillip K. Smith III, on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at West Hollywood Park. The City recognized the artist for his art installation and acknowledged his creativity and artistic contributions to the City of West Hollywood.
West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister presented Smith with a proclamation on behalf of the City Council. Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne and council members John D’Amico and Lindsey Horvath attended the event (council member John Erickson was not able to attend). The council was joined by community members, West Hollywood’s Arts Division and members from the City’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission.
Smith thanked the city for allowing him to create what he describes as an atypical avant-garde art piece. “I know several artists that have been part of the [arts] program here in West Hollywood and as artists talk to other artists about the truths about what the actual experiences are, it has always been positive,” he said. “What is consistent about this city is that the city’s arts program is willing to take risks, which from an artist’s perspective, is huge because great art comes through taking, I would say intelligent risks, so thank you for taking risks.”
Smith spoke of growing up in West Hollywood and spending a lot of time in the Blue Building of the Pacific Design Center where his mother worked as an interior designer. He said he spent a lot of time returning fabric and wallpaper samples and looking at color swatches, which is where he says he first tuned in to color. “Most of my work deals with light and change,” he said. “I wanted to create a work that would be timeless, so it wasn’t just being made for 2022, it was being made for 2042, 2062, and beyond. Ultimately I can say that this piece is made of glass and reflection, and steel, and LED lights and electronics, but really it’s composed of the city. It’s made of the city as it exists today, tomorrow and in the future.”
The Parallel Perpendicular artwork is a permanent public artwork organized by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division and commissioned in tandem with the City’s Aquatic and Recreation Center. The City unveiled the sculpture in February 2022 but delayed the dedication event until Los Angeles County entered the a low community transmission level for COVID-19.
Parallel Perpendicular by artist Phillip K. Smith III is comprised of five freestanding mirrored volumes composed of parallel and perpendicular planes that hover above a 40-foot diameter circle of green landscaping. Parallel Perpendicular is meant to be an entirely interactive piece. By day, these forms reflect the park visitors and environment as well as the surrounding West Hollywood views. By night, the mirrored surfaces iluminate to become pure fields of color that slowly move through a custom color choreography. These colors reflect off each other, merging upon colors creating new spaces of color.
The scale of Parallel Perpendicular, 40’ diameter x 11’3” high, is in direct response to the more intimate atmosphere of the Robertson Gardens section of West Hollywood Park. This beautifully situated area serves as a park entry and connector to the N. Robertson Boulevard/Santa Monica Boulevard retail and neighborhood zones. Parallel Perpendicular is the focus of this section of West Hollywood Park to draw people in both during the day and in the evening. Photos of Parallel Perpendicular are available on the City’s official Flickr account.