Live music and art take over the La Brea Tar Pits

Saturday, Sept. 22, the 10th Annual Tarfest Music and Art Festival was held at the La Brea Tar Pits in Miracle Mile. It was a showcase of up and coming artists and musicians. Among the artists being showcased were Johnny KMDZ Rodriguez, Van Saro, and Greg Craola Simkins. Rodriguez, a painter since the age of five, draws inspiration from personal experiences, religion, and current events. The messages in his pieces are very simple and often convey the understanding that actions have consequences.

“There had to be a creator to create me and if I don’t work hard then I shouldn’t expect great paintings, nothing comes from nothing” Rodriguez said.

The live painting he worked on illustrated bombs turning into birdhouses. “I love bombs, and what they are capable of, and just taking that idea and juxtaposing it into something completely different,” he said.

While the painters displayed their work, the musicians took center stage.  Joey Winter, the lead singer of Steelwells, said the band is completely collaborative.

Their new album compares humans to animals both metaphorically and literally.  The message their music sends out is honesty and staying grounded, according to the band. “My motto is keep breathing,” said Winter. “When everything is at its darkest depth, just keep breathing.”

Peter Avina and his wife Theresa drove all the way from Hemet, Calif. to see Steelwells play live. They have been fans of Steelwells for the past year and a half.

Theresa said listening to Steelwells reminded her of the smooth, natural sounds of the 1960s.

That feeling was uniform at Tar Fest where the breeze blew gently and children and adults enjoyed the art creating the perfect outdoor festival atmosphere.