artist Emmy Lu sweeps Beverly Hills
Artist Emmy Lu is a
world-renowned artist, whose work is now surfacing in the elite circles of Beverly Hills. Once you speak to Emmy Lu, you will
find that Emmy is more than an artist but a philospher with a social and moral consciousness.
At a friend's invitation, I ventured out to posh Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, but surprisingingly
it wasn't to one of the famous galleries or 5 star restaurants or chi chi lounges that you might imagine. It was Koo Koo Roo
Beverly Hills Restaurant for the regular folk which boasts a menu for the health and fitness minded. I know a famous fitness
trainer who eats at Koo Koo Roo Beverly Hills Restaurant regularly because of their tasty skinless seasoned chicken and wide
variety of steamed veggies. I love the butternut squash.
night Koo Koo Roo Bevelry Hills restaurant south of Wilshire in 90210 was transformed to accommodate a high end clientele
that generally patronize the stores north of Wilshire on Rodeo, Camden, Canon and Beverly Drive. Manager Mike Zoll warmly
welcomed everyone, pointing to the buffet spread that was prepared for Emmy's guest. The walls were filled with Emmy Lu art
which is striking. The colors are brilliant and the strokes look like they were just completed, you can almost feel the wetness
of the oil with your eyes.
The collection on display was entitled "Beverly Hills Glamour" depicting views of some of the trendy Beverly Hills
haunts, shops, galleries and the people who frequent them. There were also many pieces depicting women asserting their "feminine
flexibility" as Emmy Lu describes it. Women enjoying themselves and celebrating their womanhood by being the center of
attention exuding sexual magnatism. It was no surprise when Emmy revealed in his charming Ugandan accent and hearty moderate-octave
laugh that he loves women, exclaiming that we are born from them!
told me that he gets his inspiration by walking the streets, visiting bars and restaurants and observing life. He ventures
into many districts where the "haves" and "have nots" reside. He particularly is drawn to those areas
where the people are not so affluent, he calls these areas housing for those with "social beginnings" and he finds
the beauty from the "realism" that exists there and unadulterated look at life. At the showing at Koo Koo Roos Beverly
Hills, "the haves" prevailed.
Emmy's night and daytime
treks enable him to create spontaneously. I asked him if he has ever jumped into his art and he replied that he has in all
of them. There is a little of Emmy Lu in each piece. One in particular entitled, "Memories" involved a personal
relationship with a woman and you can see the image of his hand.
an hour of socializing and enjoying tantalizing hors'd' hoeuvres (assorted cheese and fruit and by order selections from the
Koo Koo Roo Beverly Hills menu) and champagne and wine complimentary of the makers of Kenwood Yulupa Cuvee Brut, the auction
commenced. Bidding began in the vicintiy of $250.00 to $1,000 for smaller pieces and escalated from there. There were many
enthuisiasts in the room. One key buyer was a business financial entrepreneur by the name of John Howard who bid and purchased
two major works valued in the thousands. He wasted no time pulling out his credit card. Others bid at an easy to manage range
in the hundreds. Auctioneer Robert Sausedo was very lively and would give a brief history of the paintings before starting
the bids on each piece. I made the mistake of admitting to the auctioneer that I was partial to the ballerina piece, at which
point he set it aside. This made me very nervous because I knew my pockets reflected the "social beginnings" group.
Emmy Lu, took a back seat to his art. He says he prefers to let the work shine through and was not truly comfortable being
photographed. He generally keeps a mystique which allows him to observe the crowd. Emmy has a keen eye and you could see that
he was taking it all in. A little later in the evening I sat down with him and I asked him to describe his art. He imparted
that he considers himself an "eclectic artist" drawing upon influences from his country Uganda, having painted the
Masai as well as from his travels to Europe. I also asked him about commercialism and if he felt he paints for money or for
art sake. He told me that every artist wants to sell his work, even Van Gogh (his brother acted as salesman). "If you
don't have another job, be prepared to sell your art." says Emmy Lu.
A great deal of the proceeds that Emmy receives he gives back to many charities and third world countries. Recently
he has donated generous funds for Haitian disaster relief. He also told me that music influences his work. He plays the piano
and has always loved classical music, his favorite being Bach.
was schooled in art after showing his creative talent at the age of two. His parents supported him making sure he had all
the tools of the trade and the education to match. In Uganda he enrolled in Margre Trowell School of the Arts in Kampala.
From there life experiences took over and he traveled extensively including stops in Germany and Britain before finally settling
down in Beverly Hills nine years ago. I was surprised to learn also from Emmy that great European masters such as Picasso,
Renoir and Matisse were influenced by African art. But then again, it shouldn't be surprising if you look at the music world;
soul and R&B artists have directly influenced so many mainstream artists.
After seeing the Beverly Hills Glamour series, I know I want to see more especially some of his early work that may
be more reflective of his youth than his travels, or the "Jazz Series." I've been a fan of impressionistic artists
and I could see influences of Lautrec, Van Gogh and in one piece entitled Valentine, I sensed a bit of Modigliani. Emmy's
art draws the spectator in with his vibrant colors and thick strokes with a glossy edge. There is something for both the literal
minded art lover and impressionistic. Emmy has mastered this duality to his advantage to satisfy everyone.
Emmy Lu's work will remain on display at Koo Koo Roo Beverly Hills Restaurant till the
end of April. I highly recommend that you stop by to see it. Who knows I may save up to secure the ballerina piece so if you
see a "sold " sign that was me. I'm getting nervous again.
asked Emmy Lu if he hopes to create "the one" meaning the painting that will be the masterpiece that "is it"
and mark the end. Astonishingly he said that greater work will continue and masterpieces will be done in "death."
Notable sophisticates with discerning tastes in the house included:
Baldwin Hills millionaire Susie Freeman (who by the way was wearing diamonds on each and every finger) writer/TV producer
Lorine Calhoun, business entrepreneur/Pre-Grammy events promoter RJ Jarreau, Gary Mann (as in relative to Ted Mann...Chinese
Mann Theatre) and celebrity photographer Vinni Ratcliff among others.
celebrity collectors include: Prince Charles, Magic Johnson, Teena Marie, Jamie Foxx, Sean "P.Diddy" Combs, Janet
Jackson, Katherine Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, Whoopi Goldberg, Holland Dozier Holland and many others. Currently Emmy Lu is
putting his finishing touches on a portrait of song stress Alicia Keys.
more on Emmy Lu art, log on to www.emmylubhgallery.com. (Photo Credit: Vinni Ratcliff)