Grand View Fine Arts Studios (GVFAS) on Grand View Boulevard treated the community to a free art show on Saturday evening. More than 20 artists were on hand to meet with visitors and talk about their creations displayed on the studio's walls. The evening was a laid-back affair as people chatted with the artists and munched on mini chocolate muffins and chips with guacamole.
Long time Mar Vista resident, Valerie, told Patch, “This is amazing. I’m thrilled that it's here, bringing a little more culture to Mar Vista.”
The 8,000 square feet of private and shared studio space was established 12 years ago and houses 27 private studios in a building full of twists and turns.
Virginia Sandler is one of the original members of GVFAS. Using materials she comes across in her daily life including newspapers, greeting cards, wire mesh and old comic books, Sandler combines these elements to produce abstract collages. Her latest pieces are compiled out of shredded comic books. Each long, shredded strip is hand-placed over the lines of comics and she adds paint and words or quotes from newspapers until her canvas is covered.
“I never have any idea of what it’s going to look like when I start, I just dive in,” she told Patch.
Her one planned piece hangs in the center of the wall, a combination of wire mesh, newspaper, paint and a transformed photo made in honor of her father.
"My style has definitely changed over the years," she said. "But it also depends on what grabs my interest."
Fellow artist Esther Pearlman said, “Ten years ago I told my husband we needed a bigger house [to accommodate my acrylic paintings.]" Instead, her husband discovered GVFAS and Pearlman has been using brushes, paper and even her feet to create her paintings ever since. Pearlman has also published five books, including Chopped Liver for the American Spirit, and It's Not Easy Being a Woman.
While looking at Pearlman's work, attendee Wendy declared, “As an old wanna-be artist, I’m in awe." Wendy told Patch she recently decided that she needed to "reinvent myself before it's too late." She's now taking multiple art classes to follow her artistic dreams.
Among the myriad of eclectic exhibits on display were the brightly colored T-shirts of Obi Okafor. “Not, Obi-Wan-Kenobi,” the artist quipped. His printed T-shirts display a variety of images including sports themes and messages such as "Smile" and "GOD Lives."
Okafor is also a painter and advertises himself as "a true African artist...rising up from nothing to live the American dream." Okafor keeps a baby photo of himself hanging on his studio wall as a reminder that he started out doing art "just for me."
These days, Okafar and his fellow artists who utilize the GVFAS studios are creating their art for all to see.
Participating artists at the event included: Lee Hardman, Virginia Sandler, Esther Pearlman, Mary Pillot, Obi Okafor, Matt Elson, Ryan Gilden, Jackie Wiseman, Maria Ziman, Denise Otterson, Jean Montanti, Alexandra Pastorino, Joe Fitzpatrick, Trudy Montgomery, Leslie Rothstein and Brian Bied.
The Open Studios event is held twice a year, but art aficionados can visit a particular artist's studio by contacting them directly.