Photogram Artist Creates Galaxies Inspired by Hubble Telescope Images in UP TIL NOW

sonnenberg ross colorbang-50

Image of Color Bang #50 courtesy of Made by Millworks.

Long Beach native Ross Sonnenberg will show large-scale original photograms, pictures produced with light-sensitive photographic paper without using an actual camera, at MADE by Millworks starting this Tuesday, August 15.

Many of Sonnenberg’s photograms are incredibly celestial, with forms resembling planets, solar eclipses, galaxies and stars. While his vision is inspired by actual photos taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, his work on the ground seems to consider his prior abstract painting process, with gestures that seem as emotive as they are spontaneous.

Several of the artist’s photograms that were created using fireworks have been featured in Harper’s Magazine, WIRED and The Creators Project. Using a surprising variety of media, such as sand, colored gels and colored plastic lunch plates, to name a few items, Sonnenberg’s photograms contain worlds of their own.


Image taken from @ross.sonnenberg1138

How did Sonnenberg arrive at the making of photograms? A distinct hardship.

Twenty-four years ago Sonnenberg was getting ready to start film school, with the ultimate goal of embarking on a career within the film industry. When he became ill with a debilitating disease, that dream was quickly extinguished.

“It took over eight months for the doctors to figure out what I had,” Sonnenberg said in a statement. “It turned out to be Systemic Lupus. I had to undergo chemotherapy to stop my immune system from killing me, and I had to say goodbye to my dream of film-making.”

After several years of attempting to gain control of the disease and finally finding some balance, Sonnenberg had to find a creative outlet for the myriad ideas trapped in his head. He started painting abstract forms as expressions of his pain and loss, as well as love.

“Lupus turned my life into chaos, changing the direction forever,” he stated. “My art has allowed me to give expression to that chaos. I’m pleased to be able to show the many series of art I have created over the past 30 years for the first time.”

The opening reception will take place on Saturday, September 2 from 7:00PM to 10:00PM. Ross Sonnenberg: Up Til Now will be on view starting Tuesday, August 15 through Saturday, September 30.

For more information, check out the Facebook event page here

MADE by Millworks is located at 240 Pine Avenue.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.