Donald Robertson’s latest canvas really goes the distance.
Westfield Century City enlisted the artist, who is a creative director at Estée Lauder, to create works of his well-known bright, whimsical illustrations for five wall installations throughout the shopping center, with the largest being one more than 216 linear feet and facing busy Santa Monica Boulevard.
“It’s so long, they can’t even put it in one photo,” Robertson said.
The artist painted his pieces in smaller sections he later scanned and sent to Westfield, which then produced them for the large-scale installations to be revealed today and displayed for the next six months.
Robertson said Westfield executives initially wanted to purchase a few of his paintings and then glue them together. “I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about,” he said. “I couldn’t comprehend it was one long drawing. I just started painting.”
The artist, who was boarding a plane Wednesday from New York to be back in Los Angeles for the big reveal, called the installations — which not only front a major thoroughfare in the city, but will also be part of the Bloomingdale’s facade and lacing some of the center’s walkways — an “inside-out gallery.”
“I wanted it to be worthy of the space,” the artist said of his work.
The major infusion of art is symbolic of a new tact being taken with the $800 million redevelopment project in which permanent art pieces will be a part of the center, in addition to what a spokeswoman called “various art programming” for visitors. A good example of the latter is a contest calling for entries from local artists judged by a panel that includes Robertson along with Westfield chief operating officer William Hecht, Westfield director of arts and culture Isolde Brielmaier and Bloomingdale’s senior vice president Anne Keating. The panel’s grand prize winner receives $5,000 and will have the art produced for exhibition on the center’s barricades. The art of two runner-ups will be on display via the Westfield Century City web site and social media. The winners will be revealed today.
Westfield Century City is an $800 million redevelopment project dotting the Los Angeles area landscape. The project adds about 422,000 square feet of retail and restaurants and doubles the center’s parking to more than 4,700 spaces.
It was Bloomingdale’s Keating who persuaded Robertson to come on board for this project, the artist said. The department store’s own presence at the center has undergone its own transformation in line with the broader refresh of the overall project.
At 250,000 square feet, no stone went unturned for the Bloomingdale’s overhaul. The store celebrates its 20th anniversary with a new, contemporary design that reflects California and more specific nods to Los Angeles. It’s the largest remodel the company’s ever done on a store that’s remained in operation throughout construction, said Bloomingdale’s Century City vice president and general manager Kathy Suto.
“This is our West Coast flagship and this store has elevated itself with the remodel and luxury assortment to be worthy of our location and zip code.”
The Bloomingdale’s remodel will be followed next year by new locations at Westfield Century City for Nordstrom, Macy’s, Equinox and the first-ever Eataly on the West Coast.