Moment of Friday: A 'peep' show from painter Lisa Adams

Painter Lisa Adams shares her latest Internet obsession: the birds of Norway's Piip-Show

It is often said that success in anything is part skill and part talent. In the art industry, it's also a whole lot of perseverance. That is certainly the case with L.A. painter Lisa Adams, a figure who, over the course of her career, has changed styles, almost lost her vision in one eye (then regained it) and has stuck to painting at a time when the press regularly likes to trumpet its death. Her abstracted landscapes, which feature pieces of the idyllic natural world (flowers and tree trunks) along with the brutality of the man-made (floating forms of hulking concrete), read like a postcard to Los Angeles.

A new documentary, "As It Appears to Be," premiering this evening in Westwood, covers her life, her work and her explorations of the L.A. River. All of this seemed like a good occasion to ask Adams to be the first artist to share what's been obsessing her on the Internet for "Moment of Friday" (my weekly Friday afternoon tribute to Friday afternoon). 

Adams, it turns out, has spent the spring riveted by an online program that consisted entirely of a live feed of wild birds. "Piip-Show," produced by the NRK network in Norway, featured a couple of outdoor birdhouse sets (one that looked like a living room; another that resembled a popular hipster cafe) stocked with seed and left open to wild birds. For a good part of this year, tens of thousands of viewers -- including Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit -- tuned in to watch the drama, which included plenty of feeding, tussles and even bird sex. There was also a squirrel who made occasional cameos.

Adams was drawn to the show because of her own interest in birds. She built and maintains a feeder at her downtown L.A. studio. But she says it was the wild colors of the Norwegian birds, along with the humorous sets, that drew her in.

"I might start watching at 11:30 at night, because that's when the birds would be waking up in Norway," she says. "I'd get in bed with the phone and my headset and I'd just lay there and watch. Sometimes it would take like an hour before anything happened. I knew that if I looked away I'd miss it. Some of them go kamikaze style. They hit it, then leave."

The show concluded early this month. ("I'm sad it's over," says Adams.) But the YouTube clip above provides a sample of good bird-on-bird action. Otherwise, check out YouTube for more samples, such as this great clip of a Great Tit feeding its young in a miniature living room. And let's hope NRK produces more animal shows. I am hooked.

"As It Appears to Be" premieres tonight at 8 pm at the Crest, 1262 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, See a trailer here.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World