Hollywood was originally dubbed Hollywoodland, by a real estate mogul's wife who just "liked the sound of it." Later the "land" was dropped, a sign was built and the moniker "Tinseltown" emerged as movie industry took over the neighborhood in early part of the twentieth century. It's really the kind of place I would hate if I wasn't a sketcher. As a sketcher, it's a bonanza.
Last year around this time I sketched the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood. It left me hungry to go back, so I was delighted when the Los Angeles Urban Sketchers chose Hollywood and Highland Complex as the location for the 24-hour global sketch crawl.
My first stop was Babylon Courtyard with it's majestic elephants, and hieroglyphic wall amid an outdoor shopping mall. These elephants are so awesome I drew them several times. They were first used on the set of the film Intolerance in 1916.
Wandering out to the street I found a mass of tourists, surging on the Avenue of the Stars amidst street sellers, performers and costumed characters.
I saw signs of the movie industry everywhere I looked- theaters surrounded me, human-sized Oscar mannequins offered photo ops; glitz and glamour flashed incessantly.
I quickly sketched another landmark, the Roosevelt Hotel, the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles. In its heyday it was the favorite for many celebrities. Marilyn Monroe had a poolside room. Some have reported seeing her ghost in the mirror of that room. The Roosevelt has also appeared in many movies -- Wall Street and Maid in Manhattan being two. New York? LA? Whatever.
I had started a sketch of the street but didn't finish it on the spot, so when I had another opportunity, I returned to Hollywood. This time at night. Again the elephants were a strong pull first in black and white then watercolor.
And so were the gawkers.
And the showmen.