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San Clemente Journal

Marching to Different Drummers– The Local Art Scene

Aug 05, 2004 06:33PM ● By Don Kindred
by Bill Thomas

     Most artists, whether amateur or professional, create their origi-nal works with oil, watercolor or acrylic paints; sculptors use clay, metal, or wood. Most artists use brushes for application; canvas as a surface; and consider art as a nonverbal language, expressions of their observations and interpretations and their messages for admirers or consumers.
     It’s difficult to argue against the ambitious common goal of this empowering means of visual communication. However, there are numerous other media, surfaces, and methods in vogue for artistic expression. Some of them fill a surface with chalk, charcoal, colored pencil, crayon, engraving, etching, giclee, gouache, graphite, ink, lithography, mixed media, pastel, sepia, silk screen, or tempera.      Surfaces include paper of various textures, cardboard, plywood, cloth, burlap, glass, plaster and skin, among others. 
     The following are ten “very different” techniques and subject approaches bubbling up from our local San Clemente art world: 
Wax Art


Wax Art
     Susie Cartt; who has worked in oils, watercolors, pastels, varieties of ink and leaf print on rice paper; now incorporates a distinctive method known as wax encaustic. This ancient technique uses beeswax as a medium and an iron or propane blowtorch as the paintbrush.
     “My products are specially made for painting with wax,” she related, “a certain type of paper like photographic paper, only heavier; a small iron, like a travel iron, which is made for these surfaces, are my tools. The iron has different temperatures. Holding the iron upside down after heating, I apply little blocks of beeswax containing different colored pigment. I use the flat part for straight areas like hills and skies, and the pointed part for lines and drawing smaller figures.” 
     Occasionally, Cartt uses an electric stylist and a blower to harden the wax. Her subjects are varied, mostly landscape scenes and flowers. 
     “When I start out, I usually don’t know what I’m going to do,” Cartt reports. “My paintings seem to develop themselves.” 
     She also paints very tiny scenes, which she completes very quickly, only ten minutes for some. Her larger works take more time and more planning. You can see her work at San Clemente Art Walks and when exhibited at the San Clemente Art Gallery. 


Photo Sculpting
     Regina Hurley is an accomplished sculptress, painter, and art teacher at Saddleback College and the San Clemente Art Supply Company. What specifically places her in this article about unusual art is a particular type of statue she’s invented. Using a photograph of a wedding or anniversary couple, she sculpts a three dimensional statuary duplicate of the picture as a colorful representation. 
     “This is an original idea,” attests Hurley. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. Starting with a photograph, I use a basic male and female mold on which I carve and plaster, fitting in individual costumes and body features. It’s great for either a wedding or anniversary gift.” 
Tattoo Art      As in her other works, Hurley puts herself into the artwork. She emotes, “It doesn’t matter what the medium is, what’s behind it are the thoughts and purposes of the artist.”
     Hurley considers herself a traditional artist who feels her uniqueness in her art is inspiration by nature and celebration of life. Her recent sculptures, particularly her Mermaid series captures this sense of being. Find out more about her on her website,


Tattoo Art
     Sean Carson Holladay, known to his clients as Carson, has been involved for eleven years in the curious art of tattooing. 
      “Absolutely, it’s an art form,” professes Carson. He believes that most people in his rare profession need a background in art, usually working in other media such as oils, acrylics, or watercolors. His clients of all ages have different reasons for wanting a tattoo, professing love for another person, a memento, a school logo, tribal, traditional, pictures from magazines, photographs, paintings, an adored object or something very “different.” His patrons include Marines, college students, firemen, police officers, lawyers, housewives, doctors, and body builders. Tattoos are either one-of-a-kind custom, “wall work” or “flash,” copied from commercial or displayed designs in a tattoo shop. 
     “The big difference in tattoo art is the interaction with the client and the surface we use – pliable skin,” said Carson. “You’re dealing with a person one-on-one, who describes the image he desires. That’s part of the fun of the job, when you do accomplish that, when someone’s happy that you’ve come up with the right one, it feels pretty good.” 
     Tattoo artists draw or trace a design from a stencil on carbon paper and apply an image to the skin. Instead of a brush, they use needle application, like an electric stapler. 
     “You pay close attention to your client,” assured Carson. “You don’t get many tries. With a painting, if you don’t like what you’ve got, you can paint over it. With a tattoo, it’s not so simple.” 
Carson works in a very clean environment. He wears plastic gloves, constantly sterilizes his instruments and tools and works in a dust free cubicle. Mirrors enable clients to watch his every move. Soothing music plays in the background. The artist is at work. The surface isn’t moving. 
Sign Art      Carson photographs every tattoo he creates, many of which are displayed in a portfolio he shares with his clients. He specializes in “Petty Girls,” and prefers that his subjects have a firm idea of a tattoo design when they enter the shop. After all, it’s a permanent fixture.
     Four artists work at Raygun Tattoo, a Dana Point shop owned by two brothers, Ryan and Craig Christy, both graduates of San Clemente High School and also tattooists. A client finds a favorite artist to work with and may have repeat experiences in adding on tattoos.
     Like other tattoo artists, art is Carson’s passion. He continues to work in other media. He jumps back and forth between oils and acrylics gallery showings from San Diego to San Francisco. You can view Carson’s work on


Sign Art
     Doreen Ingino is a muralist who operates Fine Signs & Design. She provides the creative element for a diverse “who’s who” of local businesses such as Gordon James, San Clemente Art Supply, Variant, Antoine’s Café, Kimberley’s Flowers, Sunrise Café, San Clemente Cyclery, Genevieve’s Gifts, and the Hotel San Clemente. For Antoine’s Café, she provided a three-dimensional carved foam coffee cup, window lettering, carved surfboard exhibits, and chalkboard menu items. 
     She also specializes in custom lettering and designs for boats for the National Dory Association, many of which dock in local harbors, and, even watermen Mitch Kahn and Jim Birdsell’s s dory, which they use in the Ocean Festival. 
     Recently, many of Ingino’s three-dimensional signs have been developed from a huge 200-year piece of old growth western cedar, 2 1/8 inch thick, 30” wide by 9’ long. Her specialty is giving her works of art extended dimensions, sketching out the letters or logos in imaginative ways and sandblasting around them, providing a thick extension of the dominant letters or artwork outward from the indented surface, making the name or logo stand out in distinguished fashion from its background. She also uses foam letters on duraply. Beginning with a sketch, she is adept with computer design layout and patterns, with which she plots out her inventions. 
     “I try to make more than just a sign,” Doreen relates. She primarily uses cedar or redwood as well as foam, scrolling her images with jigsaws or routers and other cutting or carving devices. Is she busy? If you call today, she can sit down to discuss your project with you in eight weeks. Try her at (949) 361-2343.
Digital Art


Digital Art
     Sean O’Daniels is an artist who uses his computer instead of several brushes of different sizes, shapes, and bristle, applying color with a pressure sensitive pen and tablet. 
     “I don’t have special buttons, filters, or tricks,” O’Daniels said. “I figure out my color scheme and composition…I can emulate real brushes, and I don’t have to clean them. There’s no maintenance, no waste. I lay down in the picture what I want to lay down. It doesn’t inhibit any creative processes.” 
     Another original focus of this versatile young artist is his clever array of giclee paintings with various animals, such as pigs, dogs, and ducks riding waves on surfboards He has embarked on a new series of paintings inspired by his dog, Rocky. He places him in different locales and scenarios throughout the world. His work is exhibited at Mac and Madi’s, Estrella Veterinary Clinic, and the Beachfire Restaurant. Visit his website is
     Another digital artist is Gary Zuercher of Chroma Concepts, a distinguished photographer and a printer of giclee art for many of San Clemente’s finest painters. “I was always interested in computers,” Zuercher related. 
     “Because of a hand injury, I had difficulty with brushes and pencils. I became fascinated with the concept of digital paintings done completely within the computer. It was a difficult medium to control, but, as computers got faster and software got better, it became easier to do. I could paint almost anything on a computer that I could with watercolors, oils, acrylics, pastels or pencils.” 
     He continued, “When giclee came in, my interest heightened. I bought my first big printer three years ago. It gave excellent results. Since then, I’ve been reproducing original pieces done by local artists that look exactly like the real thing. It’s a great way for them to mine their images.” 
     As a photographer, Zuercher specializes in portraits, figure studies, animals, birds, landscapes, seascapes, and sunsets. One of hisPastel Art recent projects was a four-month digital photographic recording of Laguna Beach coves, an incomparable series of uncommon beauty. His photography can be viewed in the Mission Fine Art Gallery in San Juan Capistrano. His digital paintings are exhibited on his website


Pastel Art
     Alicia Sotherland teaches a pastel portrait Class at San Clemente’s Art Supply Company. An active member of the local art association, she started in watercolors, moving to pastels three years ago. 
     “Pastels are really coming into their own. They’re getting more and more popular. They used to be called sketches, but they’re actually paintings. You use pigment; you cover as much space; and you complete them as you would a painting.” 
     Sotherland uses suede map board as a surface. “It’s a very soft molded texture, which comes in all sorts of colors, very soft and velvety, a good way to use pastel. Pastel is a chalk with pigment in it, so there are tons of different colors because you can’t mix on a pallet like other mediums. She exhibits in San Clemente and currently has a solo show in Escondido. 


Stack Art
     Jim Pecheus, a San Clemente City Planner, is also a ceramicist who invents original and lopsided figures. 
     “I’ve always enjoyed playing around with balancing rocks of disproportionate sizes on top of one another and became inspired by artist Andy Stack ArtGoldsworthy, who uses natural materials to make supernatural aesthetics. Actually, stacking rocks is an old Korean art form. I was looking around for something I hadn’t seen anybody else do for my own self-interpretation.” 
     Using clay, steel rods and epoxy, Pecheus makes pieces separately and places them together, firing them in different techniques, trying to replicate sculptural qualities in his figures and representations of nature. He uses rocks, water and earth in clay forming. To learn more about his work email him at [email protected].

Metal Art and Micrography

Digital Art

     Carson Grier paints pop art on custom fabricated metal. 
     “I’m a big Andy Warhol fan. Looking for something new to use other than canvas, I found a piece of metal lying around in my garage. Always trying to push my artwork and art form to the most uniqueness I could get, I ended up doing a pop image on it. It was all really unexpected. I got a commission to paint Mick Jagger on metal and began experimenting with new types of stainless steel. I elevated from there, exploring who wanted paintings on metal, Now, I do stuff for celebrities, record labels in LA, art galleries, and clubs and casinos in Vegas, and places in New York. I wanted to make something unique, not what everyone else was doing, so I tried to find the ‘poppiest’ thing I could do that really had a cool look. I stuck with it, started marketing, and I’m getting great response. People haven’t seen this type of art before, and it’s been working for me. I paint musical and movie icons from blues, jazz, classic rock, The Beetles, hard rock, punk rock, movie stars, celebrities, and pin ups. I love to do what people want.”
     Greir has begun another uncommon art form called micrography, an ancient Jewish form of making word writings into images He uses words to outline the world trade center, presidents formed by their most popular speeches and writings from the scriptures. He also does tattoos. To view Greir’s work, check out his website

Surfboard ArtSurfboard Art
     Paul Carter is a surfboard artist. He has been shaping them for 11 years, but two years ago, he began painting them as well. 
“In 2001, I started painting canvases. It just evolved. I do original work, using acrylic paint. My subjects include local surf spots like Trestles, the Pier, or tropical scenes. It takes three to four weeks per surf board.” 
     Recently, Carter has added two-foot miniature surfboards to his repertoire. He employs resin and polyurethane, shapes the board, paints and fibreglasses it and paints it again with a hot or sanded coat. He may even put a gloss coat on top of that. 
     A surfer for over 30 years, Carter’s board building is 95% commissioned. Local businesses displaying his work include Mr. Pete’s Burgers, El Ranchito, La Candida, Beachfire, and Lowes. Other boards are exhibited at Diedrichs Coffee in Laguna and Malibu and Pizza Dude in Mission Viejo. See for yourself at
     If you want to view more unusual artistic works, visit San Clemente’s galleries and restaurants, or join the Art Walks taking place on the third Thursday of every month this summer. We’ve got a lot of talent around here… b