LAUREL CANYON—When I heard that Laurel Canyon had a lamp designer within its ranks I was intrigued. Our local, Patricia Friedman, has redefined and elevated lamps to an artform. “I’m an artist whose medium is lamps.” I am always intrigued by creative people. Until this interview, I was always pedestrian about lamp shopping, and admit that I usually settle for practical features, and compromise on esthetics. Finding the perfect lamp is always a challenge. Lighting and lamps say something about our style.

Patricia’s studio is on the street level in a cluster of original and expanded older homes tucked into the hills west of the Canyon Country Store. She’s clearly very visually driven.  Upon entering her house, I felt like a got a cosmic hug. I was transported to a soft, peaceful place.  Patricia projects a confident bubbly personality. She’s very comfortable in her space, which allows her to launch such a bold, forward thinking art concept. She creates her art one at a time. At first it was a difficult concept to grasp, but as she gave me a tour of her studio, it started to make sense.

On display in her house were her handmade lamps, many of them  hanging, and whose illumination and ambience was notably influenced by the texture and color of the silk coverings. Yes, they were technically lights, but they added a mood, and feeling of tranquility to the room. In the studio it was clear that Patricia had moved the focus of her collection in another direction. There I saw metal shade frames in all sizes and configurations.  There were boxes of vintage lamp bases, oriental statues, some that had been lamps in a previous lifetime, while others were ceramic or wood statues which were going to be the lamp’s base. The ones I saw were in various stages of completion. Some statues had been refinished, others had custom made bases. Patricia described the process as very fluid. To the finished lamp bases, individual hand made shades covered in silks and handmade finials added the final touch. Patricia showed me one lamp with which she had been struggling. She explained that her art is not only the beauty and grace of the physical appearance of the lamp art she creates, the light which is emitted has to be in harmony with the structure. It’s very important to her that each lamp has it own ambience.

Patricia grew up in Newport Beach, but says she was inspired when she moved to Colorado as a young woman and lived in a community of silversmith artisans.  She watched, she learned, she tried her hand at making silver jewelry, and in the process honed her esthetic style and her artistic flair.

Finding her way back to California a series of Six Degrees of Separation and her young attitude of “I can do that,” she found herself bursting on to the early MTV scene, which lead to a career as a producer of music related film projects for TV while still keeping in touch with her artist side.

So how does her past segue into her present career as an innovative artist creating artwork that illuminates – one at a time?  Unshakeable confidence in her self and her esthetics.  One more “I can do that.”