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Culture Karma

In Search of Wall Space

Randy Kraft

At Zinc’s the other day, I noticed a display of elegant prints by Sheryl Seltzer, the most recent of their continuing showcase for local artists. Earlier this year, she displayed at Zinc in Corona del Mar. Seltzer is a painter who has spent recent years perfecting the fine art of relief printing making woodcuts. She has previously shown at the Festival of Arts, and taught printmaking there this year, but finds that non-traditional spaces offer alternatives for local artists. “These are all good venues for sales and letting people know what I do,” Seltzer says. In November, she will be showing organic abstract monotypes at Silver, Blue and Gold, a jewelry gallery in town.

She is one among many. Susan Clark, an esthetician at Laguna Canyon Spa, is also a painter, and shows at salons, banks and other small spaces for artists who do not yet qualify for juried festivals or gallery exhibitions. Also at the spa, serenity is set-designed by the dreamy paintings of Allison Keefe, a Sawdust Festival artist, who also displays at Ocean Avenue Brewery, as well as a salon and wine shop in San Clemente, and a café in Santa Barbara.

This week, cyclist Stephen Kozowyk, opens his photography show at Laguna Coffee Company, featuring close-up and still life black & white images of surfers and swimmers. There are also continuing artist displays at Café Vienna in South Laguna and Heidelberg in the Hip District, among others.

Sidebar: Is everyone in Laguna Beach a fine artist? My former neighbor, a retired nurse, is taking classes and painting with remarkable skill; a former realtor has given up her practice to focus on painting broad strokes of blue sea; and high-powered public relations consultant Joan Gladstone displays her impressive talent at Woman’s Club boutiques. Is it in the drinking water or required for permanent residency?

Last week, the Senior Center hosted the opening of an art show featuring the work of local seniors. Organized by Carole Zavala, with support from the Festival of Arts, the show is one of six rotating exhibits each year featuring artists, young and old, who might not otherwise have an opportunity to show their stuff. A percentage of sales go to the Susi Q arts budget and Zavala says that she hopes at some point to be better able to market senior art. “People who paint at home never have a place to exhibit.” Zavala said. “They need wall space.”

I wonder if these home-based artists are the true Laguna artists. If so, despite the sadness of the closing of Studio Arts gallery, glassmaker John Barber might do well at his homey studio in the canyon, while we enjoy his art in public places, as well as the gorgeous pieces on exhibit at Sapphire restaurant. Good thing there are many places to appreciate the art of those who might otherwise be overlooked.

Randy Kraft is a freelance writer who previously covered City Hall for the Indy and pens the OC BookBlog at www.ocinsite.com.

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