Artist: Ralph Acosta
Exhibition: RELAX: REIMAGINING LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Media: Video, Film, and Typography
Gallery: CSULB School of Art
Website/Social: Ralph Acosta (Facebook)
About the Artist
Ralph Acosta is a graduate student in CSULB. He actually graduated twenty years ago with a General Studio Art degree. Then he went into branding in San Diego. During his stay there he specialized in typography. However, he was not satisfied and returned to school and now he working on his Master of Fine Arts Degree, which also why he decided to install this piece in order to fill a requirement.
Growing up near LAX, Ralph was in awe and intrigued every time he would see a plane up in the sky. In fact he would convince his family to go to the airport just to witness it depart and arrive over and over. Earlier then, according to Ralph, he was able to go down the runway where the planes are and see people arrive and he would greet them. He grew so much more passionate about the planes that he himself told our class that he would get “nerdy” when he brings them up. As he grew older, unfortunately, the world became more dangerous. Security became more strict, but his curiosity grew even more. After he told us the story he actually realized that LAX is one of the worst airports now because of how bland it has become and that it needs an update. And that is where he got the inspiration from. Ralph wanted to revamp the airport and install new, vibrant signage and video skits in order to revitalize what he experienced as a young child.
His passion and drive comes from his love of the airport and airplanes. And when he was speaking to our group, I could hear how excited and stoked he was while he was presenting his ideas and how it could change the atmosphere of LAX.
One way of transforming LAX was through changes in the signage. He wanted to develop a special type of font by implementing experience in typography. Therefore he worked with Andrew Byrum, whom, according to Ralph, was a very well known artist, and they worked on the letters for the new signs. This collaboration actually took one year to finish. By utilizing a seraph font and altering it through the addition of some features related to an airport, I must say that whole year was worth every hour. The blue color of the font actually represents the ocean and he chose orange because he thought it was universal, as in more individuals can agree to it. In addition to that, he claimed, and I agree as well, that it does add a retro vibe to the whole project. And this retro vibe is I believe something he took from his childhood.
The second way of transforming the airport is through the use of a flight tracker. Ralph’s version of a flight tracker, which is called “OBSERVA”, lets passengers track, list, view, and display flight all in one app. Another feature of the app that I admired the most was category that lets the individual see the type of plane, what type of engine does it have, and other technical parts. I admired it simply because he channeled his childhood and transformed it into something useful so other children may experience the excitement that he had.
All the artist I have interviewed were inspiring. Inspiring is the only word that can describe the love, thought, and hard work they put in when creating their installations. In addition I noticed that the artists that I have interviewed so far were middle aged. To me that means that it is never too late to seek something that resonates in your heart, and Ralph Acosta is no exception to that group. Meeting him made me want to explore more and even open my horizons just a little bit so I can also get a glimpse of the things that make my heart resonate. And his translation of his childhood to a professional (in my opinion) piece that can be sold and hopefully be displayed, is mind blowing. It felt like he was just playing with a toy the whole time and had his young-self imbedded in him still.