Oliver Malin draws LA’s dark side on playing cards

By Candice Krieger, February 18, 2010

When aspiring artist Oliver Malin travelled around Los Angeles by bus, he was so disillusioned by what he saw that he decided to draw it — on a deck of playing cards.

Mr Malin spent four months using black ink to capture the moods, textures and expressions of the city on 54 brown playing cards (52 plus two jokers).

He has been posting the illustrations on his blog since February 14, releasing one card a day until the full deck appears.

Twenty-three-year-old Mr Malin, the son of portrait painter Suzi Malin, tells People: "I went to LA with very glamorous images of the place in my head but some of the things I saw were very eye-opening, and almost third world.

"In LA, you are brave if you travel by bus. Public transport has a stigma. There is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. There is an apartheid of wealth — this is the thing I noticed the most."

Mr Malin graduated with a degree in business with film from Oxford Brookes University but says he wants to become a full-time artist or filmaker.

He hopes the online project, called "Life is Luck: An Introduction to LA", will gather momentum. "I guess I thought: ‘How does a totally unknown artist get out there?' I am using new media to do it." He lives in London.

See his drawings, updated daily, at www.olivermalin.tumblr.com

Last updated: 3:38pm, February 18 2010