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LA artist David Palmer colors in California's vintage carousels

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"Riding the Griffith Park carousel may have inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland," the artist says.

David Palmer is an artist who's spent a lifetime capturing the Southern California lifestyle. He's painted skateboarders in Venice beach, airplanes over LAX ... and now, vintage carousels from Santa Monica to Griffith Park to San Diego.

The result is a coloring book for people of all ages that's called, simply, Carousel. Take Two sat down with Palmer to talk about the artistry behind these vivid wooden horses.

Horses #1, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches 
•  Santa Monica Pier (Philadelphia Toboggan Company #62)
David Palmer
Horses #1, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches • Santa Monica Pier (Philadelphia Toboggan Company #62)

Palmer's inspiration for the Carousel coloring book dates back to his childhood. "I remember riding one when I was a little kid," Palmer said. "I didn't know anything about them. I was just a little kid trying to grab on to the brass ring."

A few years ago, Palmer started thinking about the sound, the color, and the feeling when riding the horses. That's when he began traveling around California for his latest series on carousels. 

Carousels are not all about horses, some of them have cats and dragons.
Beidi Zhang
Carousels are not all about horses, some of them have cats and dragons.

"Each one of them is unique," Palmer said. "The Griffith Park one is all horses, but the other ones have cats,  dragons and other mythical creatures."

In addition to painting, Palmer has experimented with other mediums as an artist. He has transformed his artwork into wallpapers, designed dinnerware and worked on digital effects for many Hollywood movies. 

Horses #7, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches 
•  Balboa Park, San Diego (Herschell-Spillman)
David Palmer
Horses #7, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches • Balboa Park, San Diego (Herschell-Spillman)

"I've always explored other areas, and this feels like a nice way to branch out," Palmer said. "Instead of creating something finished, it is as though I'm starting a conversation with the audience." 

You can download a page of David Palmer's coloring book HERE

 

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