Erik Hagen

Los Angeles
Location: New York, NY
Nationality: American
Biography: Erik Hagen is an American artist originally from Florida. His work has appeared in numerous group shows, both in the United States and internationally, and he was a selected participant in Review Santa Fe. He is interested in the ways in which... read on
Public Story
Los Angeles
Credits: erik hagen
Updated: 02/02/17
Location: Los Angeles, CA

I spent six years living in Los Angeles where I drove a taxi. These are photographs made during that time. Many of these images have been made behind the wheel, others while on foot or at home. As a group they represent my view of the city: one that is gritty, caustic, lit by the blinding sun and the incandescent lights of evening. I intend to reference film noir aesthetics, but these photographs are not fiction, rather they are visions from an everyday working life. In Los Angeles I saw neither beauty nor glamour but rather an endless sprawl of concrete and an unending battle with nature. Life there seemed lonely, desperate, a struggle, I was in purgatory behind a wheel.

Since I left Los Angeles one year ago I began working on a number of short stories, which, like these photographs, are based in part on my experience as a taxi driver. The intention of these stories is to further develop the inner psychologies of people who live amongst the landscape described by the images. While the stories do at times relate to the images, they are not direct illustrations; rather they introduce the tempo of language, and fill in the shadows of the pictures.

Postscript, a meditation on Los Angeles and the practice of making art:

A man has a dream, he spends his capital to build it, and people don’t understand it. So he converts it to a sideshow and people love it, they name a street after him. A man sits in a car on that street, he has a dream but needs capital. Staring through the moisture he wonders at what point a man has to convert his dream to a sideshow.


By Erik Hagen —

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