A Candid Q&A with Andre Miripolsky, Artist and Viva LA Co-Founder
Meet Andre Miripolsky, world-renowned artist and Co-Founder of Viva LA! Andre takes us behind the scenes and shares his "eureka!" moment on when he coined the phrase, back in 2006. Read on to hear how writing down the words "Viva LA" was like magic...
What is your mission for Viva LA?
My mission for Viva LA is to make the slogan UBIQUITOUS to the city!
What five words embody your feelings about launching this brand?
Gratitude. Accomplishment. Legacy. Home. Belonging.
What was your pivotal moment to start Viva LA?
I remember the first eureka Viva LA moment very well. It was a night in 2006 - I was sitting at my table with my drawing of the DTLA "CityScape." This drawing was the original sketch for a 3-D sculptural wall construction commissioned for the power wall in the lobby of the Central City Association of LA in 2005. CCALA is one of the foremost lobbying organizations in the city and has been a vanguard in the historical redevelopment of DTLA for the past twenty years and is still going very strong. It was the success of this "Cityscape" sculpture which brought LA into my consciousness and career in such a heartfelt way, especially in terms of branding it. So coming back to that night at my table with sketch in hand, I wanted to come up with a phrase to pair with my sketch to embody all the great energy and excitement in the new and much improved DTLA. In very quick time the light bulb went off and Viva LA was born!
In a flash it looked, felt and sounded just right and it's been moving forward ever since. I do remember that when the epiphany happened, I had the inspirational feeling that writing down the words "Viva LA" was like magic. Once it left my studio it would have a big and charmed life.
How do you want people to feel when they visit the Viva LA website?
I want people to smile and feel the humor and drama through color, concept and balance. I also want them to see how I apply my energy and talents to so many varied platforms.
How did you and Christian Mitman (Co-Founder of Viva LA) meet?
It was Valentine's Day 2018. I live and work in a large arts community by DTLA called The Brewery. It turns out that Christian and his husband Edward have a tradition together in celebrating Valentine's Day, where they always do something involved with art and purchasing a special piece by the end of day. Christian bought out a tour at The Brewery, so that theirs would be private and more unique. They showed up at my place first and it was instant good karma - we got to talking, realized we had a lot in common, the timing was perfect!
And here we are almost 3 years later, never missing a beat, with billboards going up all over LA as I write this answer! Christian has really been both a great and very memorable collaborative partner. I have always been impressed by his vision and powers of manifestation to make things happen. It's amazing that ever since that fortuitous meeting we haven't stopped producing! NO valleys! Viva LA all the way!
What's your favorite part of collaboration?
I generally do my work alone, so when an idea comes and the chemistry is right with others, there is nothing I like better than the camaraderie with someone else to produce something memorable together.
How does Viva LA feel for Angelenos?
Viva LA is a term of endearment for Los Angeles! I'd like people to feel confident joy from it, hopefully bringing good LA memories to people. The ideal customer would be anyone already committed to the symbolism, history and excitement of Los Angeles and finds us as a way to express this to the world.
And last...what is your favorite "shower genius" moment?
One of my absolute shower favorites was in the fall of 1989! This was the time of the fall of the Berlin wall. Since I grew up overseas under the umbrella of the foreign service, the Berlin wall always loomed large as a kid. I thought this was a gigantic historical moment not to be missed. This total epiphany came to me in that shower.
I got out, dried off and totally from scratch I started immediately putting a Berlin adventure together. With whatever appropriate connections and credit cards I had, I made it to Berlin in time to watch the people dancing on the wall. Needless to say it was one of the most memorable life experiences I've ever had.