Pechanga discovers
the art of the casino

Jul 24, 2007 3:02 AM

Pechanga Resort & Casino, already one of the major gaming operators in Southern California, further distinguished itself when it unveiled a new art collection from Todd White, a noted expressionist who was this year’s official artist for the Grammy Awards.

The oils on canvas depict several casino scenes and characters in a Rat Pack meets Picasso style, described as "art with a twist."

The collection includes an initial six paintings that capture timeless scenes with contrasting colors or stolen moments in dominant colors of red, khaki, black and white. Each painting tells a story of passion between lovers, friends, patrons and co-workers.

Scenes depict intimate evenings filled with wine, martinis, coffee, cigarettes, cigars, cameras and most importantly, the human spirit. Physiques are exaggerated and texturized to illustrate the subject’s story, whether it is masked masculinity, flowered femininity, humor or elusive mystery. Details and backgrounds are manipulated to captivate the viewer’s eye and transplant him into the scene. Each painting is asymmetrical in nature yet confident and strong.

"The Pechanga Collection is a first for the Indian gaming industry and just the latest example of our commitment to always perfecting the Pechanga experience," said Amy Minniear, President of the Pechanga Development Corporation.

The Pechanga Collection By Todd White will eventually include 11 original oil-on-canvas paintings that will portray gaming themes. Limited edition, 40"x30" giclees (spray ink prints) of the original paintings will be available for purchase by the public in the Pechanga Gallery. The remaining five originals will be unveiled later this year.

In "Full House," the 6'x9' canvas that will hang in Pechanga’s lobby over the concierge desk welcoming all to the property, the viewer experiences a double entendre and all of the excitement that Pechanga offers. It is the largest painting White has ever created.

A multi-cultural audience under the Great Oak, a symbol of strength and spirituality for the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, enjoys all of the camaraderie, anticipated fun and full schedule of activity portrayed.

"The leaves of that great tree dissolve into all the numbers they will experience and float throughout the background, always hinting at the possibilities that await them at Pechanga," White said.

"Single Deck" and "No More Bets," both 5'x8' canvases, are the second-largest paintings by White.

"No More Bets" will hang in the casino as guests enter from the hotel lobby. It portrays players at a roulette table and is full of anticipation, possibility and promise at the moment in the game when everyone is still equal as the dealer makes the call.

"At the exact moment in the painting, everyone is still a winner just before the ball drops," White said.

"An important thing to remember," says White, "is that this entire collection is multi-cultural. Everyone is having a good time together. Whatever your background, the gaming makes everyone equal."

Five more paintings will be added to the collection later this year. The largest, "Full House," will be on display in the hotel lobby so it will be the first thing people see when they walk in the door. White said he took that into consideration when he made the six- by nine-foot painting.

"I wanted to capture everything (in ”˜Full House’)," said White, who even incorporated the trademark Pechanga Oak Tree that is present throughout the casino, along with an eclectic group of people.

White stayed at Pechanga as a guest and observed people; it was based on those observations that his paintings began to take shape. Key to his painting, said White, is observing people, which he does a lot. "I love to go to bars to observe drunks; I don’t drink, but I like to watch them. I love drunks."

White would find great inspiration in Las Vegas’ casinos as well.