Category Archives: Venice Beach Art

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

Opening Today – ‘New Codex: Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory’

Saturday 23rd May, 2015 11:44am

SPARC’s latest exhibition ‘New Codex: Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory’ begins today.

A special opening reception will run from 4:00pm-8:00pm  in SPARC’s Durón Gallery located in the Old Venice Police Station at 685 Venice Blvd., Venice.

The exhibit curated by Marietta Bernstorff, illuminates the contemporary visual discourse of Oaxaca and explores the impact of immigration to the United States.

With over one million Oaxacans having immigrated to the United States, the exhibit looks at the impact on those left behind who are often unable to see loved ones, husbands, and children for many years.

For many of the artists the exhibit has not only been an opportunity to explore otherwise suppressed emotions around loss of family and the hardships faced in their small town of San Francisco Tanivet,  but it has also been an opportunity to be granted a visa to visit the United States. For some this meant being able to reunite with loved ones they had not seen in as many as 10 years.

“This exhibition is totally in line with the 40 year mission of SPARC. Which is to be a voice for the voiceless” says Debra J.T. Padilla Executive Director at SPARC

Food for the evening will be provided by Oaxacan Restaurant La Guelaguetza and beer and wine is by donation. All proceeds go towards SPARC’s Mural Program.

Artist Melanie Daniel pieces together radically different cultures

Drawing from her experiences living in Israel for the past 20 years – seven of which she has spent in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Jaffa – Canadian-born artist Melanie Daniel (pictured above) will open a solo exhibit of new paintings at Shulamit Gallery in Venice tonight, May 21.

“Piecemaker” is a striking body of work that reflects Daniel’s negotiation of her own hybrid identity and moments of cultural dislocation.

This selection of paintings presents dichotomous motifs, sublime color palettes, abstracted landscapes, and dreamlike settings that confound concrete storylines.

Unique formal and compositional elements unite to create a sense of unease that is rooted in the artist’s personal experiences living in her adopted home.

In her practice, Daniel excels at defying traditional narrative frameworks, achieved through the use of dense and disorienting compositions, the melding of abstraction and figuration, and by deploying jarring color combinations activated through thin color fields and areas of detailed brushwork. In “Piecemaker,” the story is always unresolved, as Daniel prefers to create psychologically fraught scenes that evoke both reverie and anomie.

This tension between memory and fantasy highlights her own personal negotiation of Jaffa’s diverse backdrop, where local Arab and Jewish cultures co-exist to create a vibrant, complex, and at times, fraught sociopolitical environment.

Throughout the exhibition, which will run through June 27, Daniel continues to incorporate conflicting cultural motifs, referencing Canadian landscape painting embedded with traditional Arabic designs.

Shulamit Gallery is located at 17 North Venice Blvd., Venice. For more information, call 310.281.0961 or visit

Patchwork Landing, 2015, 55.25” x 63”
Patchwork Landing, 2015, 55.25” x 63”

How many pieces will be in this exhibition?

Ten paintings will be exhibited in the main space of the gallery, all oil on canvas. Formats range from large (80 inches) to tiny (25 inches). Each painting was created over the past six months of intense studio work. The shippers come to my studio, take all the paintings away for crating, and they’re finally flown out to their overseas destination, in this case, Venice. I love that part – walking back into an empty studio. I enter these high-energy six-month cycles during which I can produce an entire solo show. Then, I chill out for a month or two, recharge the creative juices and get back to work on the next show.

What do you think makes this exhibit unique?

This exhibit fits its venue hand in glove. The Shulamit Gallery’s mandate is one that emphasizes cultural tolerance and socially engaged art or art of a hybrid nature. As the show’s title “Piecemaker” hints, all paintings are an attempt at piecing together elements of two radically different cultures: Canadian and Middle Eastern. Just imagine highly charged forest landscapes with enough neon pink to lend them a slightly apocalyptic sensibility, populated with furtive characters and Arabesque patterns.

Can you tell a story of one of your favorite works, and how that piece came to be?

One piece, “Scruffy’s Emerald Secret” is a favorite of mine. It’s moodier that the others and I can identify with the bare-footed loner sitting on a tree stump, hunched over his campfire. Behind him looms this tall green patterned tree, a beautiful freak specimen. It shouldn’t be there, but it is. The man shouldn’t be there, but he is. Where is his family? Why is he alone?

How did this exhibit come together?

Shula Nazarian saw my works at the Untitled Art Fair in Miami several years ago and that sparked a dialogue and finally an invitation to do a show here in Venice. I’m very lucky to be working with such a committed and open-minded person.

Will you be in Venice for the opening reception?

For real? I’m flying half way around the world just to say, “I’m so stoked to be here!” I can’t wait.

Where do you live now?

Today, I’m far from where I started. I grew up in British Columbia, and one year while travelling in India, I met an Israeli. The rest as they say is history. Presently I live in Jaffa, a unique neighbourhood south of Tel Aviv where Palestinians and Israelis coexist. It’s an oasis of sanity in a country hell bent on revisiting the Dark Ages.

Can you talk about the title 
of the exhibition?

“Piecemaker” was a word that occurred to me when I began to notice that many of the Islamic designs I was using reminded me of patterns commonly found in American quilting. Members of quilting guilds often use the moniker “Piece Maker.” For me, it conjured the nearly hopeless notion of peacemaking, which when placed in a conflicted Middle Eastern context, sounded about right. I noticed that when I painted an Arabesque star in a more didactic manner, truer to a traditional color scheme, I could preserve something of the original design. But that wasn’t what I was after. So, I started painting the same stars in a chunky, random manner, which made them look more like Shaker quilts. Most of these quilt designs originated in the Middle East, only to be adopted by Europeans and eventually exported to the New World so long ago. I don’t try to fuse these two identities or elements, because I don’t think I can or even want to resolve this strange narrative for the viewer or myself. They are simply that: pieces from very different worlds which hold enormous potential for more storytelling.

What’s next for you?

I also work with a gallery in New York, so my next year will be in preparation for the next show there. My short-term plans involve a happy week in Venice meeting new folks, watching surfers, and savouring as many burritos and quesadillas as opportunity permits. No one understands Mexican food in the Middle East and I’m hooked.

Support Venice Arts and Meet Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

Lady Gaga’s charity theCheek to Cheek Lady Gaga Tony Bennett Born This Way Foundation and Exploring the Arts will feature Venice Arts at an upcoming stop of      Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s Cheek to
Cheek tour in Los Angeles on Sunday,May 31, 2015.

Additionally, Venice Arts will receive the proceeds from a pair of tickets to the show and a meet and greet with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga that will be auctioned off by CharityBuzz at:

The initiative is part of a partnership between Born This Way Foundation and Exploring the Arts to highlight exceptional nonprofit organizations at Cheek to Cheek stops across the country. Organizations are chosen based on their demonstrated excellence in empowering young people to become compassionate, creative, and brave.

Venice Arts will be featured prominently at the show and staff and  volunteers of the local Venice charity will have the opportunity to interact with the thousands of fans who will be at the concert, increasing awareness of the services and programs the organization offers.

“We are honored to have our transformative work with low-income youth in Los Angeles recognized by the Born This Way Foundation and Exploring the Arts, who share our commitment to empowering youth to discover and develop their own creative voices.” said Lynn Warshafsky, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Venice Arts.

Venice Arts’ mission is to ignite youths’ imagination, mentor their creativity, and expand their sense of possibility through high quality, accessible media-based arts education programs. For the past 22 years, Venice Arts’ program of free media arts instruction, mentoring, and internship opportunities has opened windows of Venice Artspossibility for thousands of poor and low-income children. Since the start of 2014, students have received nearly 40 prestigious national, state, and local awards, including: Presidential Scholar in the Arts; National YoungArts Awards; California Scholastic Arts Awards; and the Music Center’s Spotlight Award. Graduating seniors this past spring went off to colleges including Boston University and NYU, some on full scholarships.

Rickie Bautista has been a student at Venice Arts for the past four years. He is currently enrolled in an advanced photography class while working as a paid intern at the Lincoln Blvd. creative space. Photo by Melanie Camp
Rickie Bautista has been a student at Venice Arts for the past four
years. He is currently enrolled in an advanced photography class
while working as a paid intern at the Lincoln Blvd. creative space. Photo by Melanie Camp

“Born This Way Foundation is thrilled to partner with Exploring the Arts to shine a light on the work these exceptional local organizations do for the young people they support. We share a mission to inspire and empower today’s youth and the resources and services these groups are providing in their communities are critical to that goal,” said Cynthia Germanotta, Co-Founder and President of Born This Way Foundation.

“Exploring the Arts and Born This Way Foundation were founded with the goal of touching the lives of young people and inspiring the next generation of artists and leaders. The local organizations we’re featuring share this commitment, working hard every day to uplift young people in their areas,” said Susan Benedetto, Co-Founder of Exploring the Arts.

This initiative reflects Born This Way Foundation’s commitment to working with local and national allies – from GLSEN and YMCA to Youth Service America – to reach hundreds of thousands of young people directly. These relationships have enabled the organization to connect youth around the country with services and programing in their communities. Similarly, the partnership reflects Exploring the Arts’ deep history of engaging local organizations to improve arts education in public high schools throughout New York City and Los Angeles.

Read the Yo! Venice feature on Venice Arts here. 

Venice Art Crawl May Mixer this Thursday

Monday 18th May, 2015 10:12am

Join the Venice Art Crawl for a monthly mixer this Thursday from  7:00pm at the MyTable Lake House in Venice.

The event is an opportunity for artists to meet and source potential venues and for venues to find artists to create events for the next Art Crawl.

The deadline for submitting an event for the next Venice Art Crawl is June 1. Events can be submitted by visiting In addition, the organization is continually in search of community members who are passionate about art and encourage those interested in volunteering for the next crawl to attend the mixer.

“This is a great opportunity to make connections within the art community that will foster partnerships for the next Venice Art Crawl on Thursday, June 18.” says Lauren Harrison, one of the event organizers.

The Venice Art Crawl (VAC) is a celebration of art and community that encourages the preservation of the artistic character that has made Venice such a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood. Currently celebrating its fifth year, the VAC is an organization by and for the people of Venice and greater Los Angeles.

As part of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, the VAC fosters collaboration among local artists, businesses, galleries and community members through a series of hosted mixers and art events. The Venice Art Crawl occurs in the evening four times a year on the third Thursday of the quarter months. The upcoming 2015 VAC dates are June 18, September 17 and December 17.

When: Thursday May 21, 2015, 7PM
Where: My Table Lake House, 1200 Lake Street Venice, CA 90291

Admission is $10.00. Food and drinks will be provided. All attendees will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes.

RSVP essential. 


Support Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions This Weekend

Thursday 14th May, 2015 10:16am

This Sunday join Los Angeles’ hottest established and emerging contemporary artists in raising over $650,000 to fund health care at Venice Family Clinic.

Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions brings thousands of artists and volunteers together each year. All auction proceeds go towards helping provide critically-needed health care to those with nowhere else to turn.

The clinic helps 20,000 low-income, uninsured, and homeless patients with healthcare they would otherwise not have access to.

Hosted at Google Los Angeles, Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions is free and open to the public and showcases a gallery-quality contemporary silent art auction. As well as accompanying artist studio tours, artisan shops, family activities, entertainment, music, and food.

The event happens this Sunday, May 17, 2015 at Google Los Angeles, 340 Main St., Venice.

Artist studio tours run from Noon until 4:00PM and the silent art auction runs from Noon until 6:00PM view the online preview here.

For tickets for the Art & Architecture Tours, Angel events and Artist Studio Tour or to purchase an ART-venture Pass go online here or call 310.664.7916.

Jay Adams - JOSH 'BAGEL' KLASSMANJay Adams – At the Old Venice Pit by Josh ‘Bagel’ Klassman is just one of the many pieces up for auction this weekend.