Category Archives: Venice Beach Art

These posts are about the art, artists, and gallery events Venice Beach California is known for!

Up Front With Venice Artist Patrick Marston

By Jess Linde

Patrick Marston is one of Venice’s busiest artists. A resident of the area for almost 15 years, Marston’s painting career has evolved recently, from gallery work to large commissions for companies like Google. Yo! Venice spoke to Patrick at his studio home in Venice, where he lives and works with his partner, musician Michael Brunt, who also helps him manage their day-to-day lives. Patrick’s work can be viewed online at his website,

So first, just tell me about yourself.

Right on. I’m from Connecticut, I was born there, and I got into art because it was the only thing I could do well at a young age. I’d started when I was around four, and my mom saw that I had this ability and she made sure I was getting fed the stimulus I needed, and sent me to summer art camps and stuff, and I just really focused on that in school. It came easy and I really enjoyed doing something well, so I just started young and kept going.

And where did you go to school?

I went to college at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. It’s a four-year liberal arts college, and there I got my degree in commercial art. That panned out for a while, I ended up right after college, becoming the visual merchandise manager for a department store, and then after that I worked for Disney as a graphic designer in the human resources department. Then I segued to working for a small staff for Euro Disney that put together orientation and training videos, so I was able to use my degree, but I learned my real passion was fine art. And ever since I’ve been developing my painting and working on that.

Has that been mostly mural painting?

Right now, I’m starting to call myself a visual artist, because I have fun with, and am rather prolific now in a number of mediums. One is acrylics and oils, and what I’m I guess known for locally is a successful series I did of iconic fish. They were all around six-by-six feet, and I was lucky enough to have an artist manager for a while at a place called Neptina on Abbot Kinney, where my work was in the window often. So that got me a lot of good exposure. I only started on the murals in the middle of last year, and I’m on the third right now. One was for this developer who did a residential area in Mar Vista, and I did a fish mural for his wall. Then I was asked to do the mural for the Google building, which I just finished. My name was mentioned at the last minute and I was lucky enough to do it, and the project took about six weeks. I’m working right now on a mural at Apex Aquariums in Culver City.

Besides that, I’ve been working on a thing called “Planted Art,” where I make artistic designs with drought-resistant plants. People also hire me to go to their gardens and make bigger 3D designs. That’s why I’m starting to call myself a “visual artist” rather than just a painter.

How long have you been in Venice?

For about 15 years, I think it will be 15 this March. It’s flown by, and I still feel like a newbie here sometimes.

What about Venice inspires you and your work? What do you like about it?

I love the history of Venice. I love the story of Abbot Kinney and what he set out to create, but I also love the bohemian history of Venice. I feel like sometimes I came on too late. I know we’re going through a huge transformation in Venice right now, and the real estate for artists and actors and writers to live here are is getting sort of priced out, so I am really extremely grateful for the situation that I’m in with my apartment and being able to tag myself onto the history of Venice at the latest point that one can.

Do you have a favorite series?

I have so many for different reasons. I guess my favorite would be the fish, but it’s also what I’m working on right now, because it’s good to have creative challenges, and the new series is about Venice in a new visual language. Also, as a side note, I don’t know where I would be without Michael; he’s been as much a part of the creative process as anything else. I am also proud of my recent commission work because clients push me to go somewhere I usually wouldn’t. And like I was saying before, I am really grateful to be here as Venice goes through an interesting evolution and be able to identify as part of the “bohemian” arty community, so my Venice series is really great to express that.

Any exciting future plans?

The near future is that Google was so happy with the mural that they thought it would be an excellent tool to acknowledge the Venice community because the mural is Venice themed. They purposely picked someone from the community to do it, and it’s exciting that I got to be that messenger.

Venice Art Crawl Fundraiser Dinner This Saturday

This Saturday August 15, the Venice Art Crawl will hold their first ever VAC fundraiser dinner at the home of art collector Ray Markow, adjacent to the Venice Canals.
The evening will be a celebration of all who have worked hard to keep Venice Art vibrant and will be a chance for the Venice Art community to get to know each other.
The event acknowledges the founders of the Venice Art Crawl, restaurateur Daniel Samakow, Venice Paparazzi’s, Edizen Stowell and VNC President, Mike Newhouse, with a presentation by Councilman Mike Bonin.
“This event is surely going to be one we hope to make a tradition.  We will be enjoying a dinner carefully curated by Andrea Tan with dishes inspired by Chef Alice Waters and some of our local favorite restaurants.” says VAC President, Sunny Bak.
The evening will start off with a cocktail hour on Markow’s rooftop overlooking Venice. Throughout the evening guests will enjoy art, music, and performances by local artists and there will be a silent auction.
Guests  are encouraged to dress in their most Avant Garde fashion.
Bak asks those who cannot attend but are interested in supporting Venice art to sponsor an artist who cannot afford to attend, but has contributed a great deal of time and art to the VAC.
“Your contributions help us continue fostering collaboration within Venice and reinvigorate the creativity that has historically made Venice such a vibrant and dynamic community.” says Bak
The Venice Art Crawl started five years ago as a small community event and has since grown to expose Venice artists to the world.

Up Front With Venice Artist Eric Schwabel

By Jess Linde

Eric Schwabel is one of Los Angeles’ most talented and dynamic photographers working today. His diverse portfolio ranges from experimental photography, landscapes, fashion, and portrait work. Schwabel is also a resident of Venice and proud contributor to the Venice ArtBlock.

Yo! Venice spoke to him about his work.

Tell me about yourself.

I grew up in Minnesota, in the middle of nowhere in a town called Lake Elmo, like the doll. There was a good photography program at my high school and I just kind of fell into it there because I really got along with the teacher. Then I started working at, I guess it’s Macy’s now but back then it was Dayton-Hudson’s, did all their advertising. It was Target, one of their brands. I interned there in high school and worked on all their advertising out of Minnesota, then I went to Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and then I did a little time in Paris for fashion photography, and I decided to land in Los Angeles at age 23. I moved to Venice in 2004 and have been here ever since! I’ve had this studio here for about 10 years.

I talked to Erik Thorkildson recently and he mentioned that you have a lot of artists who work in your studio?

My place is the big corrugated metal and cinder block building on 4th and Vernon, and there are nine studios in there. I have a studio to myself and there’s another photographer across from me, and then there are lots of painters and sculptors and metalworkers. It’s not like a collective; we’re all independent, but we all come together for Art Block and stuff like that.

How did you get involved with ArtBlock?

I was asked to join at the first meeting when I walked by the door and heard them all complaining about ArtWalk. That’s what I didn’t want to be a part of, I wanted to do our own thing and not focus on being mad at ArtWalk. I joined up later on, and became friends with people and was asked to be on the steering committee, and we came together and decided to make something about us and not just about the event. I kind of just fell into it; there were things they needed that I could do like I made the ArtBlock map and stuff like that. It just worked out, I did a project with Amy Kaps, who’s a performance artist, and we won a photo contest, so that’s been really good for me. I don’t engage with the Venice arts community that much, I like to do my own thing, but I’ve enjoyed the collaborative element there.

Is there anything specific about living and working in Venice that inspires you or your work?

It inspires my life. Like I said I moved here from Minnesota and then from upstate New York. There’s such an energy here, and even though Venice is changing rapidly the energy is still there. There’s more creativity here than any city I’ve ever lived in. There’s an interesting diversity here that I like, and this is a very “L.A.” term but it’s the energy. We’re dealing with things that we probably should have discussed as a community years ago, but even that has been unique and interesting. Me liking it here affects my work in a positive way.

Do you have a favorite piece or series?

It changes week by week, usually what I did last. I really like the series I did with Amy Kaps, the striped room work, and I think I’m most attached to that because I’ve followed her work for a long time.

Any future plans?

I have a show of my celebrity work coming up in the fall, some more collaborative stuff, and of course more ArtBlock. For more information check out my website

Venice Arts Gallery Presents ‘Disaster Is My Muse’ – Opening Reception Saturday, Aug. 1

Venice Arts Gallery is counting down to its opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 1 for its latest exhibition, “Disaster Is My Muse.”
Taking its title from an Art Spiegelman quote, “Disaster Is My Muse” explores the realm of the disastrous as it intersects with the canny, familiar, and domestic.

The show features 25 international artists who all seek to document the ways in which insidious forces creep into our lives and betray our sense of stability.

From natural disasters to atomic warfare to our own personal catastrophes, these works remind us of the fine line between the every day and the cataclysmic.

This is Venice Arts Gallery’s fourth annual Summer Juried Exhibition, a themed show in which artists working in traditional and experimental documentary photography, film, and digital media from all over the globe are invited to submit works for consideration.

With a wide range of entries – ranging from critiques on femininity to experimental animation to political divide – this year’s submissions revealed a myriad of exciting and eclectic works that collectively epitomize the gallery’s mission to promote creativity, visual storytelling, community, and education by presenting various artists’ unique perspectives in the documentary form.

“This is a reminder that not all things last forever, but in this case some can still be found hidden away behind locked doors waiting to be rediscovered,” said New Zealand-based photographer Ambrose Benedict of her harrowing interior shots of an abandoned horse track.

Her works, alongside the work of U.K.-based photographer Karl Child, confront the familiarity of space with the unsettling feeling of abandonment and desolation.
Working out of Corona, CA, photographer and veteran Ernesto Gutierrez’s piece “Reflections of War” focuses on the small, personal disasters he has to face within himself. “Once the blood has been shed and the bodies packed into bags, the veteran return home with no purpose, but to assimilate back into society,” he says in his artist’s statement. “Dealing with the horrors of war, one can’t turn on and off like a light switch, always on alert and ready to defend your family and friends from an invisible foe. Veterans with PTSD find themselves staring in their mirrors at home and dealing with their demons that they can’t shake off.”

Kyle Bravo, a multimedia artist working out of New Orleans, will be exhibiting work from two different series that both address the post-Katrina realities of his city.

“Years after the storm, the effects of Katrina were still ever-present … not only deaths directly related to the storm, but also the deaths brought about by the injustices so deeply rooted in the city that were only exacerbated by the bungled aftermath of the disaster,” Bravo said.

The opening reception will run from 5 pm to 8 pm on Aug. 1. The exhibition will remain on show through Sept. 19, 2015.
Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and by appointment.

Venice Arts is located at 1702 Lincoln Blvd., Venice.
For more information, visit

Up Front With Venice Artist Erik Thorkildson

Venice artist Erik Thorkildson (pictured above) creates primarily acrylics on canvas from his home.
Venice artist Erik Thorkildson creates primarily acrylics on canvas from his home.

By Jess Linde

Erik Thorkildson is one of the many talented local artists involved in the Venice Art Block, an artist-run collective. His works, primarily acrylic on canvas, are an exploration of the interplay of color and light, and bring back an aesthetic of the psychedelic era.

Yo! Venice talked to him recently.

So first, just tell me about yourself. How did you get into art and when did you start painting?

My commitment to art has been a lifelong thing. My mom was a painter and I grew up watching her paint canvasses and doing lots of great things. I’ve really been doing art since I was able — my parents have a painting on their wall from when I was two years old. I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada, then I moved to San Francisco to get my Bachelor’s degree in fine arts and practiced art and flourished and practiced a little more there. I relocated to Los Angeles and moved to Venice eventually, where I really found a sense of belonging and through that have met a lot of people and been a part of a great community that is very creative. Through all that I have found a home in Venice as an artist.

How did growing up with your mom as a painter inspire you as an artist?

I grew up in a family that always fostered my creativity as well. I spent summers tie dyeing shirts and my parents were always supportive. My younger sister and I would spend summers and time off from schools crafting things and making art, color was just a constant theme of my life.

Could you tell me what about Venice inspires/has inspired you so much?

Well I think it’s a little bit of the bohemian vibe that’s there. It’s very being near the ocean, it’s very aligned with a lot of ideology that I seem to share with people. Anywhere I go when I walk down the street I’m surrounded by creativity, from the signposts to the street art, everything. It’s such a great, colorful, creative place that’s very inspiring to me.

I was looking at some of your paintings online, and they were very cool. Do you have a specific favorite piece?

Gosh, that’s so hard to say! There’s a red one I’ve held onto for years, I’ve been offered a lot of money for it but I just have a sentimental attachment to it. It’s moved with me for years and years and years.

How did you get involved with the Venice Art Block?

Well I’m very good friends with Eric Schwabel, he’s a photographer, and he actually has a studio space right across from where I live in Venice. It’s a hub of studios so it’s like an artist commune out there, there are six or seven artists who live and work in that space and exhibit their work. So just because I was living in Venice and befriending my neighbors, especially Eric Schwabel, he invited me to take part in this committee they have, the Art Block Committee, so I joined up this year. It was a huge success for me, I sold about seven pieces and met a lot of great people in the community and had a great time.

Do you have any future plans for exhibitions or anything?

Yeah, as a result of the Art Block I made a couple connections and have an upcoming show in Eric [Schwabel’s] art space. He has a gallery called “Window” and I’m going to be doing a solo exhibit of around 12 of my works. The fall or early September is what we’re shooting for. Art Block happens twice a year so I will be participating in the second event this fall as well.