Luis Serrano – Baldwin Hills – 11/07/2013

Luis Serrano adopted Kenneth Hahn Park as his outdoor studio over 12 years ago. We met near the park’s entrance and went for a short walk to an area of bushes and trees that he’s been focusing his attention on for the last few months. When we made our way back to his car he pulled out his easel and shared his drawings. The drawings are vertical, dense, and often take months to complete. Luis talked about how his experience in Germany looking at landscape and landscape painting shifted his relationship to nature by putting himself in nature not against it. He wanted to find that connection in Los Angeles. Besides the temperate weather, what Luis likes about the southern California landscape is how little it changes. He said he could work in one spot for a few weeks, put the drawing down for six months and come back to find the area nearly intact.  He spends four hours every weekday morning in the park, looking and drawing the plant life. He looks for strong clusters of seemingly disparate types of trees or plants, severe angles, and directional forces. Luis received his BFA and MFA from Otis in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside Alison Saar and Kerry James Marshall. We spoke of the challenges of creative individuals navigating commercial forces and how each artist needs to define his or her own relationship with the market.  Luis has a steadiness and ease with how he navigates the park and the park’s community.


  1. Jeseca Dawson says:

    Sign-up for a Drawing Class with Luis Serrano at Otis!

    “An intermediate course that introduces an inquiry approach to drawing the landscape. This course organizes learning as a problem-solving activity and uses student drawings as a basis for teaching and learning. Through continuous contact students develop the skills of direct observation of nature as it pertains to their own discoveries. Course explores different ways to use varied graphite forms to indicate expressive lines, texture, and areas of tone. The act of drawing allows one to concentrate on the landscape, dissect it and recreate it on paper. Class sessions will be held outdoors where we can utilize drawing as discovery. Location: 1st mtg. takes place at Otis’ Goldsmith Campus; following mtgs. take place at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, 3100 South La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90056”