Lou D’Elia is an assemblage artist working with found and usually obsolete objects to create three-dimensional artworks. D’Elia (da-LEE-uh) frequently incorporates vernacular photography, artificial light and visual puns into his artwork, and they are often commentaries on politics, sexuality, role-identity expectations, and the acknowledgement that life passes by all too quickly.
D’Elia was born and grew up in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica during a time when Ocean Park was primarily a blue-collar neighborhood populated by Douglas Aircraft Company factory workers, fisherman, artists, poets, beatniks, and expats from the pre-WWII refugee influx and post-War migration from Europe. The Ocean Park neighborhood also played host to the beginning of the bodybuilding and physical health culture in California, attracting open minded individuals who moved there to lead a healthy lifestyle and develop their physique. As a result, there were very few children in the neighborhood where D’Elia grew up, and so mostly adults became his childhood friends. D’Elia’s work reflects and comments upon his roots and life experiences.
At an early age D’Elia appreciated the amazing light and sharp shadows that bathe Ocean Park, the same light qualities that had attracted so many artists to live and work there. He learned from his childhood neighbors, who included survivors of Nazi persecution and the generations of men and women who went through the Great Depression and World Wars I & II, just how precious and short life really is, along with the importance living your life. While attending college D’Elia worked for a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a free-lance photographer, photographing artists and celebrities including Andy Warhol, Alfred Hitchcock and others. His work was published in several film/entertainment magazines from that time period. D’Elia’s life-long appreciation of art and fellow artists resulted in his being one of the organizing and founding members of what became the Photography Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has curated numerous photography exhibitions at museums throughout California. D’Elia continues to reside in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica where his studio is also located.
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