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Striping Crew at work.  Rouby used their throw-aways as canvas for his artwork.

Caltrans Hosts “YELLOW LINE” Art Exhibit During Artwalk
by  Patrick Chandler
Issue Date: 09/2012

Hopefully by now you have visited the museum on the first floor to the “YELLOW LINE” exhibit in the District Office Building museum.

YELLOW LINE, created by French filmmaker and artist Simon Rouby, is a visual reflection on the function and meaning of road striping and its by-products. Rouby started shadowing District 7 Special Crews striping trucks in 2007 to document their daily activities, which include stenciling and striping several of District 7’s freeways and highways.

The exhibit opened to the public on Thursday, July 12 at 7 p.m., the same night as the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk. A video document was displayed on a large canvas in the plaza with sound effects, and over 100 visitors enjoyed Yellow Line themed plates and food.

“This exhibit takes part of what Caltrans does every day and makes art of out it,” said Chief Deputy District 7 Director Lindy Lee. “We hope everyone enjoys the exhibit and we are excited to host such an event that we felt would be fitting for our building and department at no cost to taxpayers.”

While filming, Rouby, who is originally from France and a former CalArts student, became captivated by the abstract expressionist nature of the painted lines made by the striping crew. During the exhibition, a series of canvases will be displayed in the District 7 museum along with a multi-channel video and sound installation. The opening featured a site-specific outdoor documentary projection of the trucks and striping crew as they traced Los Angeles freeways.

"As a foreigner in Los Angeles without a car, I had to walk to discover the city, which is unusual here. This is how I started to be fascinated about yellow lines,” said Rouby. “Nobody notices them here anymore because they are part of the visual environment, but to me they are symbolic of the city: the brightness of the sun, the sound of the freeways, the golden state, and the divided spaces."

Some had different thought on such a project.

“I thought it was an odd idea,” said North Region Maintenance Manager Bob Vennard, who was a Special Crews Superintendent when Rouby originally proposed his idea. “It looks pretty cool now and I am impressed with how well it came together.”

The exhibit will be on display until late September during normal office hours, so please check it out.
 

Thermoplastic in the display case used as part of the (educational) display. Exhibit at night time in the museum.