axis mundi: turning point of the world : line through the earth’s center around which the universe revolves
–Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
A fresh transplant to Los Angeles in 2001, Karlsen Clay began writing about his neighbors while mastering the technique of paper-cutting to capture their portraits. As momentum of this work grew, he titled the project Access Mundane and published its first subject, Al, in 2010. For five years, Clay continued interviewing his friends and neighbors as they shared their struggles and success, and reflected on their city’s inevitable changes. His second book focusing on the community of West Hollywood, in 2017 Clay proudly shared Access Mundane in its entirety—beautifully compiled in a climactic 248-page art book.
Access Mundane explores the intertwined lives of people living, working and struggling in West Hollywood. Squeezed literally and figuratively between the gritty, desperate churn of Hollywood and the obscene opulence of Beverly Hills, the universe of Access Mundane represents a city, a culture and a country at the crossroads of the 21st century. This is a community where everyone strives for success, celebrity, and being an icon even if it’s just in one’s own mind. Amidst the gay bars, the art galleries, the million dollar condos and the sports car congestion exists a petri dish of humanity that is forever evolving into a new strain of… something. You be the judge. Clay is just the court reporter.