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Voyage LA Catches up with Jonathan Jerald

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Jerald.

Jonathan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I moved to a loft in the Arts District in 1995. There was a great sense of community in those days, even though that corner of downtown, tucked between Little Tokyo and the LA River, was a desolate wasteland of empty warehouses and abandoned factories– a very far cry from the cultural and culinary destination it is today. Even though the area looked desolate, there was a thriving scene in adapted spaces in dozens of buildings. There was Al’s Bar on the ground floor of the American Hotel just off Traction, an artists’ hangout and the left coast version of CBGB — a must stop for emerging punk rock bands visiting LA. Red Hot Chili Peppers got their start there, as did Beck and others. On Center at Santa Fe the Citizens Warehouse (also known as the Pickleworks) was one of the first artists’ loft buildings in the area — as well as the location of the Drive-By Gallery, a creation of the artist Carleton Davis in the late 70s and one of the first downtown “anti-galleries” opened by artists in rebellion against the gallery establishment. ArtShare LA on Hewitt at 4th Pl., founded in 1997, is the longest-running venue for local artists — and still going strong. But the true epicenter for the underground arts scene in the 90s was Bedlam, a fantastic two-story structure on 6th between Alameda and Mateo presided over by Jim Fittipaldi, who was part PT Barnum and part Gertrude Stein. It was a glorious, crowded, gallery/drawing workshop/concert venue where half naked models hung out at the speakeasy bar with writers, celebrities and musicians. It was the closest thing to a true salon I had ever encountered and it instantly became my hangout…

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