[Originally published on Unheard Records, October 2015]
You know her face. You know her name. You don’t know much about her, other than her iconic billboards and proclivity for the highest-vibrating-frequency color. You will remember her as a fabulous symbol of 90s Los Angeles. You probably had no idea how interested in art she is, or that she creates art at all. Yes, you’re thinking of Angelyne.
The mysterious blonde had an art show in September and the artwork exhibited was her own. Could it be considered outsider art? I would argue yes. The woman, though a darling celebrity and LA icon, is not a darling of the art world or versed in the languages of the masters, from Titian to Trecartin. She paints trippy, mostly nude Barbie-esque self-portraits in all sizes (I would love to see her paint little corvettes though!) Something about her work reminds me of Frida Kahlo.
What makes Angelyne’s art so visionary is its consistency, zany personal brand, and effort required to create it. As much as I dig the digital art made by myself and my contemporaries out of preference or ease or necessity, my heart will always melt for analog pieces like little watercolors, sketches, and magazine collages.
Last week, I found out that I was one of the lucky winners to get a ride in Angelyne’s pink corvette. Her agent called me to set up an appointment: Sept 25th at 8pm at the WeHo Coffee Bean a few blocks from my apartment (I've actually seen her there many times in the past and sneakily took photos of her car). Super excited, I imagined myself that Friday night, sitting shotgun in the famous ‘vette, hitting the highway to heaven.
Anxiously caffenating myself with a soy chai tea latte, I waited for the LA icon to pick me up. She was late, or right on LA time, but if anyone can personify the statement "fashionably late" it's her.
Within five minutes of meeting Angelyne, I was roped into the purchase of a glittery pink fan (worth it), a conversation about civil rights and euthanasia that was admittedly "beyond my range of thinking", and the stare of the future reflected back at me from her meticulously eyelined blue peepers.
As much as I got to know her on a human level during the three hours I would spend with her that night, as many little personality quirks I would encounter, any personal facts about Angelyne were farther from reach than water on Pluto. For a celebrity, perhaps the queen of all celebrity culture, her manner of fame is considerably different from the point blank factual answers of Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians ( who would be impossible without Angelyne, mind you-- if Angelyne did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it).
Still, my ride with Angelyne left me with a positive impression of her, and an array of delightfully random things about the billboard queen of LA:
She likes chickens.
And flamingos. Loves flamingos. I don't know if she and I would have gotten along as well of it wasn't for the fabulous pink birds. Angelyne’s first words to me were, "I love your flamingo earrings! So darling!" Days later, she texted me a photo of a flamingo feather. Fabulous.
She is an Aquarius.
The personality traits of this star sign are supposed to be “independent, rebellious, original, witty, intellectual, and aloof”. In Angelyne's case I think the alignments apply quite well. I would've pegged her as a Leo or Scorpio, Aquarius being my third choice. Now we know.
She has never posed nude.
In a world where Kim, Paris, Usher, every other James and Jennifer, me, you, and your mom all have something incriminating about our naked body on the internet, Angelyne has avoided scandal. No nip slips, no problem. The only images of her nipples in existence are the ones she herself paints, albeit in a degree of cartoonish exaggeration.
She says "dude" constantly.
I don't know about you, but I'm really into the moment when celebrities drop their media-friendly manner of speaking and just let the obscenities fly, no filter and off the record. While Angelyne isn't the type to curse like a sailor, there's certainly a distinction between her business-baby voice and her no-filter voice (the distinction is very slight though-- Angelyne could never drop character).
She has a huge crush on Mick Jagger.
But then again, who doesn't?
She’s really good at picking winners.
In addition to myself, my friend Zoe (above, left) and Lucky (the photographer) were also winners of rides in Angelyne’s corvette! I guess those “business cards” we scrambled together right before the raffle must’ve been charged with some truly powerful angel dust…
“When someone is with me, they are automatically special” -Angelyne