Artist Kieran Wright creates palm-sized pieces of LA history

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Artist Kieran Wright has been spending his pandemic months creating small scale replicas of LA’s most historic and quintessential businesses.

From Rae’s Restaurant, an old school diner in Santa Monica, to the Tiki-Ti Bar on Sunset Boulevard, his tactile pieces fit in your hand. And at a time when we still can’t go inside many of these businesses, his artwork holds even more meaning. 

Kieran Wright with his replica of Tail o’ the Pup hot dog stand. Photo courtesy of Kieran Wright. 

“Tiki-Ti stands defiantly on a tiny plot of land, carved from a city block otherwise dedicated to Scientology buildings. It's my favorite Tiki bar in LA,” says Wright. Photo courtesy of Kieran Wright. 

“These places are so much more than brick and mortar. It's about the generations of families that have run some of these legacy businesses. They're so important to the culture and identity of LA,” says Wright.

Wright is a newcomer to the city, moving from New Zealand four years ago. He’s always been a fan of interesting architecture, and learned about his new home by exploring its historic businesses and attractions.

“I would drive around the city on my weekends in search of interesting, unique places,” he says. “I guess this was just taking that passion to the next level.”

A miniaturized version of Sunset Grill, which gained fame from Don Henley song’s "Sunset Grill.” Photo courtesy of Kieran Wright. 

Morgan Camera Shop on Sunset Boulevard was completed in 1938. The business has closed and the building has deteriorated significantly over the years. “While I do think there is beauty in decay, I would love to see Morgan Camera Shop restored to its former glory, especially that classic neon sign,” says Wright. Courtesy of Kieran Wright. 

As quintessential businesses in LA close down, from Fry’s Electronics to Stan’s Donuts and Pacific Dining Car, Wright says he hopes his artwork will play a small part in remembering businesses that are gone and supporting those that are still around.

“We've already lost great places. I don't want it to happen to others.”

Wright gave away his miniature version of Fugetsu-Do in a fundraiser to support the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund. Photo courtesy of Kieran Wright.