- Miskopolitan Cosmonaut
- Through January 14, Tuesday-Sunday, 4 p.m.-midnight
- Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio, 698-7000
Walking through the Cosmopolitan hotel, artist Jerry Misko stops to photograph the Chandelier Bar with his Droid phone, looking like any other tourist dazzled by the bling that drapes the three-story centerpiece. But Misko’s no tourist here. He’s as local as you can get—a born-and-raised fixture who paints portraits of the neon and lights in the tourist corridors that have been his backyard all his life. On top of that, there’s an energy about him that practically screams “hometown boy.”
So it makes sense to just about everyone that he’s the newest Las Vegas artist-in-residence at Cosmo’s P3 Studio as it celebrates its one-year anniversary. In fact, it was inevitable, given his persistent marketing style and networking skills that rival the most aggressive and financially backed publicists in town.
A new rendition of his “Famous” painting (the word famous in scripted font) already hangs on one of P3’s walls, along with prints of other works—abstract renderings of bulbs and neon.
On the easel is the first of a series of panels that make up a portion of a clown from the Circus Circus hotel sign, outlined and filled in with neon. It’s a commissioned piece, one of several he’s needed to work on. Having the residency, which requires him to paint onsite, gives him time to work. What he chooses to paint is up to him. It’s all relative anyway, he says, then describes it in galactic terms, a play on the title of his residency, Miskopolitan Cosmonaut: “I’m in this little pod,” he says. “Cosmo is a microcosm that’s in this large universe that is Las Vegas.”
It’s odd when he finally sits down to work, because it’s really the only time you’ll ever see Misko sitting down. But this is where he’ll be until January 14.
The opportunity to be an artist-in-residence here is coveted, and handfuls of artists have been inquiring, hoping for the chance to be exposed to thousands of visitors. Hotel reps say they aim to bring a variety of artists and disciplines as a way to give guests a new experience each time they visit the Cosmo. Moreover, they look for artists who can be interactive with the guests.
The program launched with the hotel’s opening a year ago this month and has brought in artists like graffiti’s Fab 5 Freddy, Kid Robot’s Frank Kozik and Portland installation and performance artist MK Guth. In March, Steven Spann became the first Las Vegas artist to land a residency at P3 and made sculptures out of discarded materials found and collected on the property.
Misko, once he’s caught up on his commissions, plans to portray some of the fixtures around the Cosmo, including elements of the Chandelier Bar.
“The chandelier is an overlooked Vegas icon that’s been re-embraced by the Cosmo,” he says, as he comes across various chandeliers, including one made of ball chain.
So far, Misko, who has the run of the hotel, has only explored the third floor (with the exception of a jaunt to Book & Stage on the ground level), but he plans to cover more ground. The first week was a matter of getting settled in and chatting with friends and complete strangers who stop in to say hi.
“It’s great,” he says. “It’s like a housewarming. People will stop by with bottles of whiskey and cake.”