Santa Monica Art StudioJune13-sm-SMASFlyers hosts new exhibitions this Saturday June 13. In Arena 1, “KachoFugetsu: Flower Bird Wind Moon” opens (see our Upcoming Events Page) and throughout the arts complex, the work of many Los Angeles artists will be featured, including, Yossi Govrin, Krista Augius, Gregg Chadwick and many more. I wrote an article for the Argonaut Newspaper about Govrin (co-director of SMAS). Govrin invited curator Kio Griffith to organize a group show featuring Japan artists.

“I have been following Kio’s artistic career for some time, and I find him to be a great artist,” explained Govrin. “He is one of the very promising art curators in LA with a vast knowledge of the LA art scene as well as the Far East. Based on that I approached him and asked whether he would contribute to our Arena 1 gallery by organizing this international art show.”

I had the chance to interview Kio Griffith as well. Another gifted artist/curator, Griffith was raised in Japan and currently resides in Los Angeles. When he was just a child, his parents sponsored a Tokyo University of Arts student who also doubled as a default babysitter. The student made quite an impression on Griffith and allowed the young Griffith to play with his paint and brushes.

See image: Part of Arena 1 exhibition Akira ShikPOW-June13-Arena1-AKIRA-SHIKIYA-Rain Dropsiya, Rain Drops

Now Griffith is a successful artist himself, and chooses to work in all mediums. “Since I’m generally a conceptual artist, it’s idea first and then searching tor the best medium to execute in.” Griffith admitted that he truly enjoys participating in U.S. exhibitions. “The art scene in Los Angeles is probably the best scenario any artist or curator could wish for with so much flexibility and free improvised exchanges of ideas.”

See our Upcoming Events Page on more info about Kio Griffith and a full press release on “KachoFugetsu: Flower Bird Wind Moon” debuting in Arena 1.

Several other Los Angeles artists (LA Art Party artists) will be debuting work this Saturday in the South Hanger. Artists include: Ty Cummings, Scott Horton, Juri Koll, Bethany Londyn, Sona Mirzaei, Jason Ostro, Phil Santos, Jennifer Verge and Stephanie Visser.

JuPOW-June13-Vitraazid-Kood-Blueri Koll is an incredible artist as well as a curator, in fact I have enlisted him to collaborate with the curation of this project. I am thoroghly excited that Juri’s artwork will be part of the exhibit as well. 

See image (above): Juri Koll, Vitraažid Kood Blue I, 2014, Oil Pastel, Watercolor, Pencil on Paper, 52 X 19 inches

“These are part of a new series based on connections, pieces of a puzzle that may or may not fit together,” explained Koll. “The technique uses the element of risk, the unknown, to bring an edge to the work, a place where oil pastel, pencil, watercolor and other special pigments are used in places and ways they are not usually seen or found.” To find out more info about Juri Koll, visit his FB Page.

POW-June13-StephanieVisser SMArtStudios untitled015 a c 42x58The paintings of Stephanie Visser will also be part of the exhibition. Visser said she finds inspiration in artists such as Turner, who is currently showing in an exhibition at the Getty right now. “His work is so atmospheric and moody,” said the artist.

See image: Stpehanie Visser, Stephanie Visser, New Work Untitled #2 Acrylic on Canvas 36x 48

She is working in a new series. Several of the works are black and white. “Each piece being from a different series has a different inspiration,” said Visser. “All of them are done from the inside out. I regularly step into a world devoid of color as a way to experiment with space, texture and emotion without the use of color. It tests me to say something with a limited palette that is strong and intentional.”

Visser went on to say she was inspired to create the featured work when she attended an Ed Moses exhibition. “The gallery had a retrospective of his work and I loved the way he employed staining of canvas. I have tried it a few times myself but decided I would try to do one with just simple black and white. It was also done on a new type of canvas I have been playing with that allows more manipulation of the paint because it is less absorbent.”

Jennifer Verge will also be exhibiting two works at Sat-June13-POW-SMAS-JenniferVerge-BasquiatSMAS. Working on wood, Verge creates truly original art with a positive spin. One of her pieces is titled “Basquiat.”

See image: Basquiat-Mixed Media-36×29

She explains her inspiration: “Basquiat is a huge inspiration to me,” explained the artist. “He’s a trail blazer…a true original, a risk taker with a style that is truly genius. I love that he painted in Armani Suits, while listening to Charlie Parker. I love that his first art show at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills He turned the back office into a VIP dance party. He had the GUTS to walk up to Andy Warhol and sell him his homemade POST CARDS before they would eventually become friends . His paintings are intelligent and playful, paintings that took the art world by storm. I loved painting this Piece it was pure pleasure.

Scott Horton’s work will also be included in Saturday’s SMAS exhibition. Horton’s love for music, and movies, has inspired him to create pop and street art. His college art professor was instrumental in encouraging Horton’s talent. Like many artists he paints when he is moved. “I’m not consistent, but when inspiration strikes, I’ll make multiple pieces; sometimes at the same time.”

POW-June13-ScottHorton--SMASspace-cowboySee image: Scott Horton, Space Cowboy, mixed media, 36×48″

“Space Cowboy” is just one of his works set to be featured. “This is my tribute to Han Solo and Andy Warhol; in my own “street art” style,” said Horton. “I’m a nerd, a ‘techie.’ and have always loved Star Wars. When I saw the pose that Harrison Ford did as a promo shot for the movie, it reminded me of posters from Westerns, where the cowboy would stand with his gun held up in the air.”

Horton is also a lover of pop art. “Taking a queue from Andy Warhol’s ‘Double Elvis,’ I had the idea to do a spray-painted version of Han Solo (Harrison Ford’s character) in a quad. Done in “mod” 70’s colors, as you look deeper in the piece you can see the background is filled with old newspaper clippings and comic strips from the Star Wars heyday. You might even find Darth Vader in there…” For more info about Scott Horton, visit his website

Bethany Londyn is author, artist, and entrepreneur. Two of her abstract works will be on view.

See Image: Bethany Londyn, Vision

InsPOW-June13-BethonyLondon-SMAS-visionpiration for one of her works titled “Vision” first came to her while she was doing a QiGong meditation. “Last year, I had a ghost in my new place and I had my friend who is an oracle come and remove it for me. She saw the “Vision” piece and immediately asked to use it for the “transition” as it looked like a portal. I said no problem, and she placed it in a specific spot in the room, and immediately the air thickened, I was shocked and freaked out of course. When the removal was complete, I wasn’t so sure about putting the art back up on my wall as I was a tad uncomfortable, but a friend saw me standing in front of the piece and my friend said the painting looked like angel wings. From that moment on, I realized the piece offered me protection, as it shall for whoever the new owner will be!”

Ty Cummings is a street artist who has lived on both Coasts, LA & NYC. Having received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, back in 2008, he then attended CalArts in Los Angeles, where he received his MFA in 2012.

He will be featuring a work (along with others) tilted “Back & Forth.” Cummings explains his motivation for creating the work. “The painting is inspired by overlapping imagery from both coasts and in the middle. It’s about what’s above, below and in between. It’s a kind of mission.”

POW-June13-Ty Cummings SMAS BackForth 36x36Ty Cummings, Back & Forth, mixed media on canvas, 36″ x 36,” 2015

Cummings paints everyday and he uses a variety of unusual tools and techniques. He chooses to paint on wood and incorporates found objects, glitter spray, and various odd objects into his work. “I started painting on wood about ten years ago – liking the immediacy and velocity of a loaded paintbrush sliding across the smooth surface.”

He works in a variety of media and said he bases his choice of medium on what he feels will most effectively feature what he wants to communicate.

On view: June 13 – July 18

What: Opening Reception
Where: Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Ave. SM 90405
When: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm