Velveteria museum in LA

Added On October 15, 2014

The Velveteria, the world's largest repository of velvet paintings, became something of a counterculture tourist attraction when it opened in Portland in 2005. 
The museum, which has relocated to Los Angeles, celebrates a garish aesthetic of bright paint on dark velvet.
The velvet painting is a type of painting distinguished by the use of velvet, as the support in place of canvas, paper, or similar materials. 
The black velvet provides an especially dark background against which colors stand out brightly. 
Velvet painting is an ancient technique, which originated in ancient Kashmir, the homeland of the fabric. 
And it took on a new popularity in the United States in the late 20th Century.
Velveteria is a museum originally located in Portland, Oregon, dedicated to velvet paintings, opened in 2005. 
In December 2013, it relocated to Los Angeles, featuring over 420 paintings out of the 3,000 piece collection.
Owners and operators Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin created their shrine to the art form as a means of combating what they saw as the conformity of the Pacific Northwest.
SOUNDBITE: CARL BALDWIN, Velveteria founder
"We saw our first one in Bisbee Arizona 15 years ago, I had not seen these painting for probably 25 years and I thought what happened to these paintings, these were so cool and everybody I knew had them and now they just completely gone, so we brought it back and here they are.”
Museum founders Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin have collected 3,000 paintings around the world. 
Hollywood celebrities, Native Americans, cowboys, pirates, animals, clowns, you can find many different and interesting themes, topics, and styles in Velveteria.
SOUNDBITE: CARL BALDWIN, Velveteria founder
"This is a painting from Edgar Leeteg, he was the father of modern velvet painting, he lived in Tahiti in the 1930s till he died in 1953. He lived in paradise down there in Tahiti, painted the beautiful women. He was worldly known, Picasso even knew about him and he painted these beautiful women here. This is probably from 1940s, this painting here."
Besides of the regular exhibition, Velveteria also has a very popular blacklight room, where all the velvet paintings in that room were painted by blacklight-reactive Ink that glows under a black light.  
Under daylight, the ultraviolet light ordinarily present makes the colors especially vivid. 
Under blacklight, the effect produced can be psychedelic.
"It is a whole thing that alter your perception and alter you, how you look at things, and really if you never seen it, you go in and go "Gosh, it is really different."
Many people do not consider velvet painting as high art, compare with oil painting and other art forms. 
But Caren and Carl believe that there are no high and low when we talk about art. 
As long as they are beautiful, delicate, they are valuable.
SOUNDBITE: CARL BALDWIN, Velveteria founder
"The true joy is showing this to all the different people that seeing them, everyone loves them, they open their eyes to something that they have not seen (before). I think that is the real joy is, discover something new and different,  and exploring it and getting joy out of it."