Artist Studio | Miguel Osuna


By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Your studio is located in the heart of Gallery Row in downtown Los Angeles. What do you like about the location? I love big cities. I feed off the energy, action, and activity. I love Mexico City, Barcelona, and Bangkok. But Los Angeles is my home. I am experiencing the essence of the big city here. I’m near the metro rail, and I’m on street level with a window. Sometimes people buzz me, and I invite them in. They love the idea of seeing an artist’s studio. There are a lot of galleries around here, but people seldom get to see an artist working.

Do other artists show in your studio? I have the luxury of space and light here. So during art walks I invite friends to showcase their work. Without the pressures of a gallery, we can develop art projects and do installations.

What does Los Angeles offer? What I like about L.A. is it’s an amalgamation of people. L.A. shows the direction the country is growing in an exaggerated way. You can find international culture, music, food, and art here. L.A. is a big contributor to the worldwide art scene. And there are a lot of important artists and architects working here.

What inspires your paintings? It’s a combination of love for the urban experience and the fact that I was born by the beach in Mazatlan, Mexico—the ocean is part of me—and the fact that I am a Latin American person. Sometimes I see my work tending to get minimal, but people say they can still see the Latin influence—I think that’s the romantic part of it.

How would you describe your style of painting? Urban, contemporary landscapes.

What impresses you about other artists? I am really taken by technique. Sometimes I look at paintings from two inches away because I am so taken by the way an artist uses brushes to apply paint and pigment.

What artists influence your works? I admire works by Mark Rothko and Gerhard Richter. I am an architect by education, so I also admire architects like Frank Gehry and sculptors like Richard Serra.

What are your other passions? Architecture. I worked in the field for 10 years in the entertainment industry. I ended up in lots of projects for television. The jobs paid well but were stressful. I saved up enough money to live for six months and quit in 2003. I wanted to do a serious body of work and commit to painting. I took the leap and thankfully landed in a real nice place.

What music do you play in the studio? Very loud music! I’m a frustrated singer. When I am reaching the peak of production level, I am usually dancing and singing at the same time. Sometimes all my energy is going into the singing. It’s very comical. My Latin American part comes out, and I love to sing romantic ballads in Spanish.

When you are not painting, where can people find you? In the pool swimming, or eating. I am a carnivorous person. I love my meat and, being Mexican, I love my refried beans. When I go home to Mexico I eat heaps of beans. But in L.A., I eat things like sushi in Japantown.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Travel to other cities and spend time with friends who know how to cook.

What is the one place people would never find you? Watching TV.

When people visit from outside Los Angeles, where do you like to take them? I like to take them to places where I go on a regular basis in my neighborhood—my wine bar, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and the Disney Music Hall. We have neoclassical art deco buildings down here, too, that I like to show people.

Featured in May 2008