Charles Samuel LaMonk (1910-1990) was a beloved local artist known for his sensitive renditions of American and Central Mexican Natives. LaMonk was also known for his landscapes which included caves and canyons, along with traditional Native American rock art.
LaMonk graduated from the art department at Los Angeles Trade Tech and studied privately with Will Foster and at the Chouinard Art Institute. Finding inspiration in local archaeology, LaMonk moved to the valley in 1955.
While living in Palmdale, LaMonk ran an Artist’s Gallery where he would often lecture on the basis and motivation of his work's subject matter while painting. He once stated the overall purpose of his artwork was to, "capture on canvas the haunting emotion of the Indian people whose every ounce of strength [was] consumed in daily survival."
By using eroded sand and rock applied over a white base, LaMonk was able to produce realistic depictions of ancient petroglyphs. The pictographs, however, were painted on a simple base using frayed deer-hide on a stick. Through experimentation, LaMonk was able to find a way that allowed him to produce the strokes and dots of the ancient rock artists.
Here at Lancaster MOAH, we have an extensive collection of LaMonk's work; although most of his paintings are housed within our permanent collection, there are three on display at the Elyze Clifford Interpretive Center, located within the Prime Desert Woodland Preserve.
"Gurba, Norma H. Legendary Locals of the Antelope Valley. Arcadia, 2013.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"