Dear Los Angeles,

It's been three years since I moved in and frankly, you've transformed me for the better. Throughout the past three years, I've been doing nothing but studying, crafting, writing, exercising and hanging out with friends - along with some eating, countless glasses of H2O and sleeping. But when it comes to art, I honestly thought that there was nothing for me to see besides the LACMA, which I've been to at least five times throughout my entire life. Still transfixed in that mindset that the best art hub in America was NYC, I thought that your tastes in art were extremely crappy (i.e. no notable exhibit from you that I could simply find in the New York Times), too minimalistic and bland. However, you proved me wrong on Valentine's Day.

Instead of preparing for a red hot date, I spent the afternoon at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo, where Printed Matter's Art Book Fair was held. Considering that the museum was 30 minutes away from home (i.e. Marina del Rey), the trip was worth it. Inside the museum, zines, books, posters, clothes and accessories were densely packed together like a block of ice cubes in the tray. Vendors ranged from Marc Jacobs' Bookmarc, Printed Matter, Barcelona's Terranova, Guerilla Girls to Seth Bogart's Wacky Wacko. Despite how much I felt so tempted to keep my cash, I can't help but to spend it on a trove of treasures!

The first purchases I made were a pack of five zines, postcards and posters from NY-based photographer Lazy Mom, who was best-known for her impeccably arranged high-gloss photographs of everyday objects and food like eggs on ice cube trays. Then, I snagged a poster of an open papaya from Toronto-based contemporary art publisher Bywater Bros. Editions. Among the plethora of chairs and tables, there were some magazines featuring nude women and men, which would be good enough to scare the Instagram police or even worse, my mom. Thankfully, I kept my hungry eyes under control...but not for long! More purchases came along and they consisted of two tote bags by Frances Stark, zines, a pair of underwear by Detroit-based artist/designer/journalist Shelby Sells and a Vidakush x Marilyn Rondón (FYI, she's a super cool photographer) gold-plated necklace that spelled out "Caliente", which was an ode to her Instagram name @calientechica. While not all purchases were meant for me, I gave a handful to a friend. Regardless of the purchasing the goods meant supporting the artists and organizations, the best part was sharing the gift of creativity, inspiration and artistic appreciation among one another.

The big lesson I learned from going to contemporary art book fairs was that art was meant to be shared, not kept. Art was also meant to be exchange inspiration and creativity among two individuals. Lastly, good art doesn't have to be seen on the pages of The Los Angeles Times or be featured on the walls of the LACMA. Most importantly, you taught me well.

Love,

Michelle