04/20/2014 10:02 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Drawings Of Los Angeles That Capture What Makes The City So Magical

Many artists celebrating Los Angeles focus on the city's melting neon lights, dreamy young people, glamorous film sets and sunshine. But Luis Serrano's L.A. renderings strip away the folklore and stereotypes, leaving only the natural wonders that lured people to the temperate mecca in the first place.


For over 12 years Serrano has used Kenneth Hahn Park as his studio, letting the natural clusters and configurations of wildlife serve as muse. When he stumbles upon an area of interest, Serrano studies it for weeks on end, his dense, vertical illustrations taking months to complete. Luckily, the L.A. landscape hardly changes, allowing Serrano to leave a project for a significant period of time and return to the location nearly unchanged, ready to pick back up again.

Serrano's botanical visions feel as weightless and organic as the species they depict, guiding viewers through overgrown spaces cluttered with leaves and branches of unknown origin. Yet despite the matted chaos depicted in the works, a sense of tranquility subsumes the wildness, providing a sensation similar to taking a deep breath in the great outdoors.

Serrano's works will be included in the group show "The Freeway Studies #2: Inside the Quad," a multi-year, contemporary art-focused curatorial project featuring work by artists whose studios are located inside the border defined by the I-I10, I-110, and I-5 freeways. The show takes place at the Ben Maltz Gallery of Otis College of Art and Design. For a preview, peruse his detailed visions below.