‘Modern Leisure’ is a collection of color oil paintings and greyscale drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Danny Heller. The series explores the glamorous architecture and mid-century design that is quintessential to Palm Springs in California, capturing the essence of the iconic city in true retro-futuristic fashion.
Just a small paint brush and ink pen are used to realistically capture the light, angles and mood on canvas of the city that has captivated Heller since his youth. The artist grew up a short drive from Palm Springs in the San Fernando Valley and says what draws him to 1950s and ’60s design is the strong lines and simplified forms typically associated with Palm Springs iconography. This includes in particular, The Palm Springs Modernism Movement, which is responsible for those beautiful mid-century Alexander Tract homes that distinguish the city from all others in the Southern Californian desert.
Heller paints lavish outdoor pool areas and the accouterments that go with them, classic vintage cars, and the historic Racquet Club, in a tribute to the once-revered mid-century design. His artist statement expresses concern for the groundbreaking ideas in form and social planning, saying that they are now largely undervalued in a culture that hungers for change. “My work exposes this period of innovation to the wider public, and especially to new generations”, he explains. “In doing so, I’m helping to build a new respect for the past, aid in its preservation, and learn from it in order to move forward”.
All images © Danny Heller