Step into an artist’s imagination

Step into an artist’s imagination

Mexico-based James hd Brown is famous around the world, but he’s a virtual unknown in Los Angeles, his birthplace.

Walking into the USC Fisher Museum of Art, you’re invited into “the other house” of James hd Brown. In James hd Brown: Life and Work in Mexico, there are paintings of the gardens, neighbors and the food of his “other house.” The concept comes from watching his sons play around in a little space they had found by a staircase in their home in Oaxaca, some years ago.

“They had a kind of secret room [in the house] that they used for themselves,” he said. “No one was allowed to go into that room. I asked them what they were doing and they said, ‘I was in my other house.’… The more I thought about it, the more I understood that we all have our ‘other house.’”

The imaginary world his kids created sparked creativity in Brown, causing him to wonder what his “other house” may look like. The results are now on display at the Fisher Museum, showing as part of an exploration of Latin American and Latino art.

Brown is of both Los Angeles and Latin America. He grew up in Glendale but has spent the bulk of his life on the move — to Paris, then New York and finally settling in Mexico with his wife and kids for roughly 20 years.

James Brown leads a gallery tour. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Selma Holo, the museum’s director, had the idea of bringing Brown to Los Angeles, witnessing firsthand his fame around the world — but realized he’s virtually unknown in his birthplace.

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