Monday, October 14, 2013

The Venice Artblock - Excellent and Free!

The very first Venice Artblock was held on Sunday, and it was fantastic. And FREE! After many of our local artists were denied participation in the official Venice Art Walk this past Spring, they took it upon themselves to create - in a very Venice-spirited way, a little anarchist, take the power back style - their own event, free and open to the public, without any lines, wrist bands, or corporate headquarters ... just art, art and more art! In these times, that's both highly commendable, and historical.

It was done just as legit (if not more) as the Art Walk, with a great map, balloons and signs to signify where the stops were, and even a shuttle to get you around if you forgot your bike (always the best way to cover the most ground at these type of events). It was very spread out, from the beach to almost Lincoln, and from Venice Blvd. to Rose. The area around Vernon and Sunset was kind of the hub, with the most concentrated number of studios to hit.

It's so great to go around, and get to see inside the studios of artists that you may just know socially, or have heard of, and then get to peek inside their work space and understand how they operate. What a treat to have them share so much of not just their art, but themselves.

It was a party atmosphere at the studio of William Attaway, with Argentinian barbeque being grilled up, and music thumping. Attaway has a new series of paintings going that feel very bright and tropical, and it's always fun to see his sculptural works in progress.

Alberto Bevacqua's photographs are always haunting and provocative, and stood in stark contrast to the wooden circus animals of Pamela Weir-Quiton down the street. There is certainly something for everyone to admire in Venice.

Gary Palmer had his studio open and shared some stories about his recent excursion to participate in a big sidewalk chalk drawing event in Atlantic City. If you saw his Abbot Kinney in chalk at the Street Fair, you know Palmer is a master of this craft. His oil paintings are collected all over the world, and it's cool to see where it all begins. Very cool.

I always love to see what they have going on at the Curio Studio, one of my favorites in town.  

361 Vernon, where Palmer's studio is, also had a whole slew of studios open, from video installations to ceramics and everything in between. There is so much going on all the time, that you don't have any idea about, which may explain why so many people feel that Venice truly IS a creative vortex.

With SO much going on, it was difficult to hit all the points on the map, especially when you get held up chatting and catching up with other art lovers enjoying such a remarkable day. I stopped by to see what performance artist  and awesome lady Amy Kaps had going on, and she showed off her works while performing hostess duties all decked out in black, white and hot pink. She is a Venice treasure, for sure.

Across the street on Electric, Rohitash Rao was showing his paintings done mostly on garbage. Faces and phrases painted on empty coffee cups or other flotsam, all comic with an edge. Good stuff, good hang too.

I got a late start so it was already almost 5 (closing time) when I got over to SPARC. The talented and erudite Kay Brown showed some of us how her gorgeous wood block printing, and how the printing process is done. Her floral print reminded me of Attaway's flowers at the first stop. Full Circle.

SPARC always has wonderful things to look at, and the murals surrounded by the old bars of the town jail that the building once was lend even more power to the images you're seeing. SPARC is a hallowed institution and if you live in or care about Venice, it really warrants your time to explore and know about.

Every person I ran into along the way raved about how excellent this event was, and how wonderful that it was free and open to absolutely anyone, not just those who can cough up the steep admission price of the official Art Walk. It somehow felt more REAL too ... like art for art's sake, not necessarily profit, though work was being sold, and perhaps as importantly, being seen, learned and known about. The community was out in force, great conversations were being had, and every artist I encountered was beaming with the success of the day ... and the FUN!

Artblock was in fact SO cool, that I have to imagine they're already plotting the next one. And you should be there. It's the REAL deal. Thank you to all the artists involved, for inviting us all into your creative spaces, and for being there in the first place. Venice needs you!!! Sincerely, Thanks.



  2. Very interesting event. Shame not to be there! Pamela Lisotta form Italy

  3. Attaway Fine Art