Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Lost Canyon Project Index

The Lost Canyon Project

 the artwork and stories of Pete Hampton 1940-2018

Thanks to my few viewers for stopping by


Welcome to The Lost Canyon Project.

So, who was Peter Wade Hampton? What did he do?
The short answers are that Pete was a wildly eccentric, some would say ‘mad’ artist. He was a painter of nature, and most of his work was done to save the Puente Hills in Whittier, and La Habra Heights, California. I believe he was a genius.

Pete Hampton’s life was a mission.  Pete was determined to save the Puente hills from development.

 To accomplish this mission he created thousands of paintings of the life and countryside that he grew up with. He created slide shows of his paintings to tell the stories of his youth, enhancing the illustrated narratives with sound effects, and his odd home-made music. He even invented a smell machine to re-create the experience of actually being up in the hills. Pete believed that people would see his shows, realize what beauty existed just beyond their back yards, and be inspired to join him in his crusade.

The most notable of Pete's shows was The Lost Canyon Trip, which consisted of over a dozen carousels of color slides, plus several large reels of magnetic tape for the soundtrack. The slides and tapes are all intact, but remain in storage. Possibly they can be restored in a future project. Time will tell.



When Pete passed away in 2018 I took on the task of photographing and archiving the more than 828 paintings and drawings, plus volumes of writings that he had stored in his apartment and storage space. The Lost Canyon Project has been a chronicle of my progress. It is also an account of the very strange web of coincidences that ran through this whole endeavor.

 From a chance trip to the Laguna Beach Sawdust Festival, to the near completion of The Lost Era Transcripts, every phase of this project has been shot through with coincidence after coincidence. Just-so events followed one after the other until I can not escape the conclusion that somehow there has been a Greater Hand inspiring me, and moving this project along.

 The Lost Era Transcripts represents the culmination of this effort. It is a book-length project assembled from the remaining paintings and fragments of narrative for the unfinished show,  The Lost Era. It tells an intimate story of Pete Hampton's childhood in the hills above La Habra California in the early 1940's. The Lost Era Transcripts now on line!

The posts are listed in chronological order from the first, to the most current. Each post features a selection of paintings from the various "archives", which were simply the boxes, bags, and folders they were stored in, along with some biographical details, and many personal recollections of Pete from myself, and others who knew him. Also, I've recorded  some, if not all of the strange coincidences and just-so occurrences that ran through the entire project, and continue to this day and phase of the effort.

November, 2018


10/28/19: A Little Horror

November/December, 2019