Monday, May 20, 2019

The 40th Anniversary Venice Art Walk!

The forecast said rain for Sunday, and that would be a major drag for the 40th anniversary edition of the Venice Art Walk to benefit our Venice Family Clinic ... but the sun came out just in time, and the day was glorious in every way.

We were shooting artists and families for our documentary 90291: VENICE UNZIPPED, so it was extra great that the rain stopped, like PHEW. I didn't get around to as many artist studios as I usually do, because we were shooting, but I did get to race through the Google campus to see the silent auction part of the day. There didn't seem to be as much art in there as most years, but I didn't have as much time either, so all was well - and there was plenty of art to be seen.

The Gold's Gym parking lot was decked out as a family fun zone, complete with a rainbow balloon arch to welcome you, as we were looking for real rainbows in the sky.

So many local (and global) artists support the Venice Art Walk, and the Venice Family Clinic supports so many artists - and regular people too. Health care is such an issue in this country, and that we have a resource that looks out for everyone - regardless of income - is a special gift, and really the point of the entire event and day.

I had just been to the wonderful We Rise L.A. opening night a couple nights before, so my head was full of art that actually matters, and was happy to see that the artists representing Venice were also using their heads and talents to make their points.

There was a lot of great work, and I just quick snapped shots of the ones that I'd want to have in my own home, like the California Bear.

I met a woman named Kim Schoenstadt at a party the night before, and she told me her work would be in the Art Walk, so I looked for it and found it there. It's pretty cool, as it's kind of paint by number, and you buy the outline, then fill it in yourself for an interactive piece. Cool, right?

There was work by people you see on the streets of Venice every day, and there was work from people that aren't living anymore. There were things with low opening bids from up and comers, and there were real expensive pieces by dudes like Ed Ruscha.

The signature artist this year was Laura Owens, whose work was not only up for auction, but adorned all the official tote bags this year.

This year they had a bunch of Art Walk artists do their own version of a dog sculpture, and the individually decorated hounds were also up for auction.

There are always a lot of cool people roaming around the Venice Art Walk, but probably the coolest this year was Flea, who was not trying to blend in with his entirely purple outfit, yellow shoes, and pink hair.  Californication personified!

Andy Moses had a piece that reminded me of really good Spin Art, and it made me think of his dad, Ed, who we lost last year.

One of my favorite pieces inside was one that said "Good Night, Sleep Tight" with words made of a collage of hotel/motel ephemera from a Crosby, Stills, and Nash tour. How cool, and it also touched my heart because that is what our Mom has always said before we went to sleep.

The Beer Garden area was crowded and jumping, with people happy to be outside enjoying the sunshine and art.

I had to race off to meet back up with my film crew, but quickly stopped off to see the great work by M.B. Boissonnault in her studio. We had interviewed her for our documentary earlier in the day, as one of our favorite Venice artists and a woman with great things to say. There was a constant flow through her studio, so our visit was brief, but gratifying. Thanks, M.B.!

From there it was a short walk over to the studio of Tanja Skala and Greg Falk, who were our next subjects to film for an interview. I always love my visits to this husband/wife team and the incredible studio of theirs that they built themselves from scratch. Skala always does a riveting, profound performance piece for the Art Walk, which are always a highlight of the day for me each year. This year found Skala and her friend acting as doctors, giving prescriptions of "Empathy Pills" to the patients that came through.

They sat in front of a periodic table of human emotions, and as you stood in front of it, you really got that of all of the emotions that we feel, empathy is the one most needed in this world right now.

That is true for our film also, and in interviewing Skala and Falk (with his amazing work upstairs that includes a speed wheelchair made from skateboard parts! Giving back!) we realized what a good summation it also is for our project. In examining income inequality, homelessness, gentrification, and art in our community, the number one thing most needed right now IS empathy.

That is also true of the Venice Art Walk itself. Artists of all levels contribute to the event to give back to the clinic that helps other members of their community in a beautiful example of yes, Empathy.

I didn't get to see as much art as I would have liked this year, but what I did see was beautiful and moving ... and all for a wonderful cause! It was also great to see so many locals out and about enjoying art in and about the heart of Venice.

Thank you to the Venice Art Walk crew for another excellent year of art and empathy! Love.

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