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San Clemente Journal

Support your local artists

May 05, 2005 04:14PM ● Published by Don Kindred

by Bill Thomas 
photos by Don Kindred

Maya Spielman, a working painter, is also Director of Metropolitan Art Gallery.Laguna Beach isn’t the only place to pick up first class art. Currently, San Clemente boasts seven art galleries, plus two trendy restaurants, BeachFire and the White Horses, which display local artists’ works for their dining patrons pleasure. 
What are these galleries all about? How do they differ from one another? What is the predominant media exhibited? Who are the artists? And to many, most importantly, what is the price of the art, Image titlewhich is the subject of an accompanying article in this issue). 
Over the past few years, we’ve had several art establishments appear, then disappear. Recently, others have cropped up. Gallery proprietors collectively consider this community as becoming a bit more sophisticated art wise. And although these galleries differ, they share San Clemente’s special commercial attitude of strong business relationships, partnering in such endeavors as the art walk and art-oriented events, as well as referring customers to one another. 
Most art works exhibited are originals, but as Gail Roff of Gallerie George suggested, “Giclees have revolutionized the art world – artists can now individually copy as many of their original works as their customers desire.” {A giclee (zhee-CLAY) is a high-resolution reproduction individually and digitally produced. Using sophisticated ink-jet technology it is printed on canvas, watercolor paper or transparent acetates. Its range of colors is far greater than lithography.}
Besides the new galleries, the increased activities and leadership of the San Clemente Art Association and the successful summer Art Walks are also contributing to the growing interest in art in the village.
Let’s take a look at what’s going on in our local galleries…

Gallerie George
Designer Gail Roff and Patricia George, an accomplished artist, are co-owners of Gallerie George. Gail has owned a number of art galleries and managed art shows for others from Phoenix to Newport Beach. She has been Patricia’s art representative for 16 years. When the Gallerie opened last October, Gail and Patricia’s clients followed them. They have two distinct types of buyers: art collectors who buy originals and limited editions, and people wishing to decorate their homes. Utilizing her interior design background, Gail visits her clients’ abodes to familiarize herself with their likes and dislikes, their tastes in furniture and décor. If she doesn’t have appropriate works in her gallery, she’ll find them elsewhere. 
Gail indicated, “Our customers keep returning to show us off to relatives and friends. We try to keep a fresh, new look…offering everything from a small, designer gift pillow to a wide variety of the finest paintings and sculptures. When you sell a piece, you have to rearrange the walls, so we rework paintings weekly. As a comfortable, cozy gallery, we offer a wide variety of art, exhibiting everything from very traditional work to the most contemporary, with everything in between - figurative, surrealism, photographic realism, impressionism - everything that’s available, as well as commissioned works.” 
There is also media variety there: original oils and acrylics, limited editions, watercolors and giclees. Ninety-five percent of the exhibits are by recognized international artists who include Steve Bloom, Kathleen Robinson, Barbara Felisky, Corene Smithy, Jurgen Gorg, and Marko Mavrovich from Houston, Russian artist Vladimir Kush, and others highly sought after in the collectible world. 
“One reason our artists have the status they have is because they’re good at what they do, whether its traditional or abstract, regardless of style.” 
Gail also likes the interest of the “…dinner trade from BeachFire.” There are special showings every few months to introduce a new artist or a new collection of an already represented artist’s work. 
Gail believes, “Gallery owners have to love the business, art, artists and patrons. We’re not like big corporate galleries without personal relationships. We’ve met our closest friends in our galleries.” Contact: 361-0033

Metropolitan Art Gallery 
Maya Spielman, a working painter, is gallery director of this newly arrived establishment, which opened in July. 
“We have an eclectic mix of paintings including national, international and 17 local artists,” Maya announced. “Close to one half sell their works throughout the world. The other half is local.” 
Among the international artists are Italian Pino, with his paintings of beautiful women, Fabian Perez, and relief sculptor Bill Mack who are joined with local talents Bill Schorr, Todd White, Photographer Gary Zeurcher, Sean O’Daniels (specializing in unique pets), Howard Kirk, portraitist Carrie Graber and pop artist Carson Grier. Maya, herself, has been painting for 15 years, studied in seven different art schools, and has shown her work in 30 galleries. 
“I’ve never finished learning,” she admits. “Art is a continuous process and I still have so much more to learn, yet I feel I can teach others small tricks and small methods to improve their work and make it more salable. We’re growing and constantly changing. We have a core of good artists, and are bringing in new ones. We have a new show once a month…our artists techniques include oils, acrylics, fine art photography, relief sculpture (mixed metals), bonded sand, oils, stainless steel canvases, computer- generated giclees, and gouche illustrations (opaque watercolor). Everything we have is available unframed except sculptures.” She feels her customers buy paintings because they fall in love with them. “I can see the glow all over their faces when their hearts reach out.” 
Maya wants to make the venue available for other possibilities, a joint art/fashion show, a musical symphony opening, film showings, or other charitable events. Contact: 366-3661.

WestEdge Gallery
This rare art haven is actually a colony of artists sharing seven small studios under one roof who trade art tips, critique and sell one another’s works, and alternate the responsibilities of keeping the shop open. Headed by pied piper painter Kurt Saber, who includes California’s governor and a number of movie idols among his collectors, the group includes Ruth Yukas, Herman Sillas, Trevor Mezak, DeAnne Williamson, Irene Licini, Nathan Paul Gibbs, Mike Davis, and John Patach. Their 97 displayed pictures are a wild array of subjects, in all sizes and media– oils, watercolors, illustrations, acrylics, in all styles – abstract, impressionistic, realistic, modern, and traditional, wallpaper the vertical surfaces of their mazelike facility. Opened in April 2004, a number of WestEdge art colonists have come and gone, moving to other galleries, going off on their own, but still keeping their family ties with the ever evolving colony. 

Gallery 104  on South Ole VistaGallery 104
Artists Shane Townley and Jason Kuncas co-own Gallery 104, exhibiting artists from all over the country and featuring subjects of every manner, vintage and art media. After their opening in April 2004, Shane and Jason “Interneted” word they wanted to feature new art on a weekly basis. They received 260 responses from all over the country. Choosing thirty exhibitors, they change their hangings weekly, opening each new show with an invitational Friday reception supported by Italian Cravings catering and an acoustical band. Besides the co-owners’ ambitious paintings, visiting artists include Christopher Decaro, Eadweard York, Kristina Sado, Matrk Hauber, Nichole Grodesky, and Colleen Hanley. Shane, himself, has time to produce between four and six abstract “modern contemporary” landscapes per week. 
He reports, “My clients buy paintings they like. They want to support the art community here in San Clemente. They don’t want anything you’d pick up at IKEA.” Contact: 218-0903

The Frame House and Gallery 
Although it’s existed for 32 years, Kurt Rosi has owned this framing business and gallery for five assisted by his able and knowledgeable associates, designer Thomas Elliott and Diane Lachman. The Frame House features local art by local artists. The photography and art are exclusively about the San Clemente locale, coastal seascapes and landscapes. Artists whose works are displayed include Rick Delanty, Chuck Zoltan, Birgitta Tappe, and Nancy Egan, and photographers Bob Nogle and Roberta Hickman. The media is a combination of oils, acrylics and giclees. 
“Rick also does lots of commissions with certain scenes or subjects,” Kurt indicated. “Our typical customers are San Clemente residents, usually homeowners, who want local art on their walls, something aesthetically pleasing to remind them of where they live.” Kirk feels that San Clemente is growing as “…a spot people are beginning to recognize as an art community.” Contact: 492-6347.

Blind Faith Gallery
Owner Alex Madjdi loves San Clemente. Opening in November 2004, he wants to stay here for the long term, even if he has to change the focus of his business. Presently besides art, his shop displays vintage clothing, unique collectables, jewelry and record albums from the ‘60s and ‘70s. He also frames pictures. 
This gallery primarily exhibits oils, acrylics and giclees. The artists are active local painters whose works primarily have something to do with the ocean, surfing, the beach and San Clemente scenery. Hometown painters include James Parkhurst, Brian Frabasilio (who’s also a framer); Jim Severson, former San Clementean, whose brother John, also an artist, started Surfer Magazine; Mark Bathen (sculptor and painter); and surfer Rick Floyd. 
Alex offered, “We’re also planning an October show featuring Jim Miller.” 
Speaking about his customers, Alex identified them as “younger clientele.” He boasts that all his artists have become friends, that they are more like a family of artists, preferring ocean-oriented themes and selling their works at affordable prices. Contact: 903-5242.

San Clemente Art Gallery
The Gallery Chairwoman of San Clemente’s 320-member art association, participants drawn from San Diego to Irvine, is Pam Hill. This gallery, which originally began in 1953 under the name, Sandy Martin’s Gallery, showcases the efforts of both amateurs and professionals, changing exhibits almost every six weeks. Original oils, watercolors, acrylics, and sculpture are featured, with giclees shrunk wrapped in a special bin. Its large range of pieces include efforts by Steve Kell, Louise Lopino, Susy Cartt, Annamarie Hall, Pam Brazel, among many others. The Association’s plein art contests in July continue to grow in size and popularity, including a weeklong competition in outdoor San Clemente scenes and its two-hour “Quick Draw” contest. Sunday workshops in all forms of art expression are held regularly. There are a number of art sales throughout the year. An enthusiastic initiator and partner in summer Art Walks, the Association Board meets twice a month to monitor existing events and plan new ones. 
Remember what Aristotle wrote in the 4th century B.C. “Art is in love with luck, and luck with art…” Contact: 492-7175 b
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