Pet Peeves: Stargazing


By Mark D. Crantz

2 col pet peeves Mark CrantzLaguna Beach.  Another perfect day in Paradise, but oh no, I missed the Art Stars Awards.  This past April 7, 277 people attended the seventh annual Art Stars Awards held at Seven Degrees. Winners were chosen in seven categories. The number seven seems important. My lucky number is eight. A superstitious person would blame my missing invitation on bad luck. I know luck has nothing to do with it.  Rita Rudner just gave me the wrong event address. It was an empty lot.  Not all was lost, however.  The good news was that I found new parking spaces. Big enough to hold 8,888,888 Smart cars.  See my lucky number.

I’ve been in Laguna about two years now.  I spent 10 years looking all over the country to find the perfect spot for my retirement. Laguna Beach won because it is an art community.  I aspired to live in a community that appreciates creativity and genius.  I would have moved here sooner, but I have a fear of water and I’m allergic to salt. The Pacific almost ruined it. Fortunately, my therapist pointed out Art Walks during my sessions and knew that my obsession for room temperature cheese and wine in plastic cups would drown out my other obsession, hydrophobia. So far, I think I’ve made the right choice.  I’m having fun so long as I stay on the east side of Coast Highway and I avoid water backs at the Marine Room.  I believe with a little more therapy, I might even cross over to galleries on the west side of the highway. I hear that they have wine in boxes.

Last year’s winner was John Barber, who created a 22 foot glass sculpture entitled “Feeding Frenzy”.  It is a beautiful work of art and certainly deserved to win.  In fact, it’s been my inspiration this past year. I wanted to create art that would compel me to new heights.  My first attempt was a 23-foot glass sculpture called “Satiated Indulgence”.  A foot longer, Satiated was a mobile that had eight staterooms, 18 bathrooms and could reach 30 knots on the high seas. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to complete the mobile because I couldn’t muster the courage to leave dry dock located on the eastside of Coast Highway for the trial run in open water.  My second attempt was a more modest endeavor at 12 feet and was environmentally friendly or a green design.  My artistic inspiration was Andy Warhol.  The glass creation was a Subway turkey foot long that realistically measured in at 11 inches.  Unfortunately, my Thurston middle school art interns couldn’t restrain themselves and ate the rock candy masterpiece because of unrealistic food served in their cafeteria.

Although my entry was eaten, I believe my artistic attempts have engaged our young artists with a sugar high to work with me on my third attempt and the submission for next year’s eighth Annual Arts Award.  Entitled “Safe & Sound”, this painting will benefit the benefactor, Wells Fargo Bank, who got an award for supporting Laguna Beach’s art community this year. The work to be done in the medium of ‘en plein sight,’ will be a painting of a bank safe and behind it will be a picture worth more than a 1,000 words.

It will be a collaborative effort. I’m going to ask Ruth Mayer to do the bank safe painting and hide the combination numbers, of course.  I’ll do the picture.  See you next year for sure.  And the winner for painting in the lines is….

Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased border collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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