Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Los Angeles Art Gypsy Caravan

I spent last Saturday with the art gypsy caravan that follows Edward Goldman around LA to all the art hot spots. I’ve been taking this class, which is held once a quarter, for over 3 years. It’s a well spent day riding around visiting artists in their studios, galleries and collectors. Sometimes we even get behind the scenes meetings with curators at museums. A Great experience.

This past Saturday was unlike all others. We began the day with a visit to John Sonsini’s studio. He is an LA artist who paints portraiture, predominately of Latino men. He is a brilliant artist who engages his brush and eye for detail to create depth, diminsion and humility in his work. He spent quite a bit of time discussing his latest project and work for his upcoming shows.

Then we went down the hallway of the same building to a completely different type of artist, Pierre Picot. Pierre was a “hot” fixture on the LA art scene (both as an artist and a hipster) during the late 80’s and 90’s before he dropped out and moved to France. He is back now with wonderful graphic black and white drawings of landscapes from the French countryside. He’s expanding a bit and doing some of the landscapes in color very which are very striking and inviting.

After we left Pierre’s place we bussed over to the Steve Turner Gallery on Wilshire near LACMA West. He was having a late summer opening of emerging artists from the LA area. Most are recent grads with a great future before them. The process of selection began with recommendations from local instructors and other artists. Over the course of four months, the original pool of one hundred and fifty candidates was gradually reduced to ten artists: Daniel Cummings, Michael Dopp, Greg Kozaki, Anne McCaddon, Caitlin Lonegan, RJ Messineo, Michael Rey, Ana Rodriguez, Conrad Ruiz and Rowan Wood. Many I am happy to say UCLA graduate students were represented and there was one undergraduate from UCLA selected who’s a bit more seasoned than the rest.

We enjoyed lunch while Steve told us a few stories about the selection process and the upcoming fall schedule. Running late as usual we scurried to the bus only to be driven to Bel Air to visit the home of pop art dealer and collector, Irving Blum, one of the original owners of the Ferrus Gallery. Ferrus was the first gallery in LA to show Pop Art beginning with the 32 soup cans collection from Andy Warhol. They also promoted local LA artist like Bob Irwin, Ed Moses, Craig Kaufman, Billy Al Bengston, Kenny Price; and then later, Larry Bell, Edward Jay, John Mason, and John Altoun. Mr. Blum is an extraordinary collector. He led us through his home and shared with us his most prized pieces. At the entrance was a wonderful photo painted 4 group of him from the 70’s. His home is filled with Warhol’s and Lichtenstein’s as well as with South American and tribal art.

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