My host in Los Angeles treated me to a day of off-beat attractions and this was one of our stops. I'll admit that I was not particularly interested in paying $10 to look at kitschy velvet paintings, but I was more than pleasantly surprised by this museum. If you think that velvet painting is just garish renditions of clowns or Elvis, think again. While there were plenty of clown and Elvis paintings in the museum, there were also lovely Tahitian paintings by American artist Edgar Leetag and the painting of a WWII pilot by Louis Behan was amazing in its detail. (Just take a look at the pilot's map!) I was also fascinated by the history of the velvet paintings commissioned by American servicemen in Vietnam for their wives and mothers.
One of the owners, Carl Baldwin, was there when we visited and his enthusiasm for velvet painting and its history was boundless. His guided tour of part of the collection was fascinating and gave us a real appreciation of this art form.
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