Arcadian Zephyr by Michael Davis
Michael Davis’ artwork for the Foothill Gold Line Arcadia Station, Arcadian Zephyr, is inspired by natural and designed elements from two of the City of Arcadia’s major destinations: the race track at Santa Anita Park and the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Researching the history of the city and these sites, Davis has created a thoughtful and playful experience for the transit rider by appropriating, abstracting, and layering motifs gleaned from the area.
At the station, passengers find galloping racehorses cut into stainless steel panels as a direct compliment to the landmark friezes found at nearby Santa Anita Park. A lucky number ‘7’ is hidden in the frame of the sandblasted black granite and signature green painted benches. This motif and the colors black and green pay homage to racing history and the waging that takes place at the racetrack. Contrasting the dark granite and stainless steel, Davis worked closely with the Arboretum in the selection of local plant and animal images for a tall weathervane sculpture donning delicate butterflies, hummingbirds, and native flowers as a central focal point to reveal the “zephyr” or gentle breeze of this Arcadian landscape.
Davis also designed the steel canopy structures for the ticket vending machines located at the entrance to all six new Foothill Gold Line stations. At Arcadia, he created an abstracted design made of glass to line the roof of the canopy. The design was derived from an early Art Deco logo for the City of Arcadia that featured peacock feathers. Davis extrapolated the eye of a single feather and infused the glass panels with bold pigments to create a radiant beacon for the Arcadia station.
The City of Arcadia generously provided betterment money to enhance the environment for the Arcadia Station. With this additional funding, Davis also created two signature lighting art pieces installed at the nearby Santa Anita Avenue Bridge. Their design features an historic Arcadia letter font and connects the nearby bridge and station artworks in a seamless experience from street to Station.
“My artwork for the station and the lighting elements for the bridge are designed to be a gateway for the City of Arcadia. The images are a curated collection inspired by Arcadia’s history and lore and a short tale of my own. My grandmother had a secret drawer. As a boy, I opened it and found a book filled with dried flowers, letters, and an iridescent eye from a peacock feather. Peacocks roam Arcadia. An Arcadian is defined as a person who lives a simple life.”
About the Artist
Michael Davis was born and raised in Los Angeles and resides in the coastal community of San Pedro. He received a Master of Fine Arts from California State University, Fullerton and is internationally known for his studio and public art throughout the United States and Japan. Davis brought an extensive knowledge of materials and fabrication processes to the development of his artwork for the Arcadia Station. Davis is currently designing a bridge and ocean front promenade in the City of Ventura, California. His public art transit projects are installed in stations in Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Jose, and San Diego. His artwork has been featured in numerous publications including Artforum, Art News, Art in America, Public Art Review, and was showcased in L.A.Rising, SoCal Artists before 1980—the first comprehensive book to document the legacy of artists whose lives and work in Los Angeles enabled the city to become the international contemporary art capital it is today..