A couple of weeks ago my friends and I found ourselves in Chinatown saying goodbye to the historic Hop Louie restaurant which was about to close its doors. After indulging in its timeless decor (and not so timeless food) we found ourselves contemplating our next adventure. Luckily, Chinatown is home to a myriad of quirky spots including the unique Velveteria – The Museum of Velvet Paintings. We decided it must be seen and headed over to indulge in a world of black velvet art.
The museum is owned by Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin who have curated a collection of over 3.000 pieces. Relocated from its former Portland home in 2013 the museum is housed in a small storefront with over 450 works on display. Amidst the paintings is a quirky collection of artifacts both unusual and tacky.
When we arrived we were greeted by the couple who provided us a brief history of velvet painting. I had no idea it’s existed over 100 years! After we paid our admission we headed into the gallery proper to view the works on display.
Of course there was the deliciously tacky with images of both pop culture and fringe icons (hello Batboy!).
I loved this image of Buddy Holly.
And also this one of my favorite weatherman, Dallas Raines.
Of course, there was a black-light room.
And a whole gallery devoted to Elvis.
But amongst all the cheese were also several beautiful works of art. There are a few prolific velvet artists and numerous pieces were on display paired with their biographies. Unfortunately, I was too busy giggling at the Liberace’s and Michael Jackson’s to read them thoroughly but I managed to pick out some beautiful pieces like this realistic portrait of a serviceman
and this lovely rendition of a robin.
The world of velvet painting is much more varied than I ever could have imagined. Velveteria is a quirky gem of a museum that’s worth checking out and I’m happy it’s made its new home in LA.