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Russell Crotty : Artist
Laura Gruenther: Project Coodinator and Digital Rendering Artist 

In January 2000, Russell Crotty was commissioned by Los Angeles World Airports, along with other fine artists, to create public art installations within the terminal sidewalks at Los Angeles International Airport.

Although the entire Sidewalk Enhancement Project was cancelled due to budget problems, our presentation for the proposed installation at Terminal 2 was STELLAR.

Be sure to scroll all the way down to see the FLOORPLAN for the entire terminal.


The sidewalk installation would consist of seven 12 foot medallions of inlaid stone in granite, marble and synthetic stone (EXAMPLES ABOVE) , depicting various astronomical images. Smaller circles (3 and 4 foot diameter) of solid stone, intermittently spaced, would make reference to other heavenly bodies. Fabrication of these intricate stone mosaics would be achieved with waterjet cutting technology. These medallions were to be interconnected into one cohesive artwork by a “Milky Way” pattern within the basic paving material. (SEE FLOORPLAN BELOW)

The astronomy theme of this work speaks of a long tradition of astrophysics in the Los Angeles area. Being an avid amateur astronomer, Crotty's work is based on experiences and observations made at large and small telescopes throughout Southern California, including his own small observatory. The proposed images for this project came directly from his body of work, drawings expressing his passion for the night sky. These images of the nocturnal sky are universal to all ... anyone coming to LAX from any place in the world would relate to these images on some level.

The celestial images for the large medallions would include planets, galaxies, comets and nebulae. A few of the medallion’s images would depict natural landscapes found around the LA area, from the mountains to coastal chaparral. The choice of inlaid stone as the main material was to mimic Crotty's drawing style with textures, colors and variations in patterning. 

The majority of the terminal sidewalk was to consist of a basic paving material in a light, neutral color, intended to lighten up an otherwise dark space. The large medallions, comprised of darker colors in smoother stone would contrast well off this light, textured “canvas.” A flowing background for the medallions and circles was to be created by colorizing the main paving material in two different tones. This “Milky Way” would create a flowing pathway for those moving along the terminal, leading them past the large columns and the other permanent obstacles. The travelers walking this celestial path would make wondrous discoveries as they came upon each grand stone interpretation of the heavens.