If you somehow missed the news this week, Venice experienced a tragic event this past Saturday. All of us were affected here at LA Art Party.

ThMemorialphotoe horrific crime (a disgruntled crazy man raced his car down the Venice boardwalk hitting twelve people), took place about a half block from our offices. We want to send our prayers to the family of the Italian newlywed, Alice Gruppioni, who lost her life. Just two days ago, the husband and Aunt came to visit the make-shift memorial.

All week, the memorial has been growing. I know many of the vendors that were affected, thank goodness most have minor injuries. The outpouring of support is touching. Watching, as people stop to pray, bring flowers, and other momentos to the memorial is a constant reminder how brief our time on this earth can be.  Just yesterday, the melancholy melody of the song “Taps” could be heard floating in through the window. The air is thick with grief in our beachfront community.

Our Pick of the Week reflects how each of us as humans touch one another….Artist Charles Swenson’s work will be featured this Friday at haleARTS S P A C E. He too lost a dear friend who inspired and touched him deeply.

Llowres-CharlesSweson wPaintingsife is fragile at best. Each person affects another as we travel through this world. For artist Charles Swenson, it was a good friend from art school who left an indelible impression on him. As a result of this association, the artist was inspired to create a body of work entitled the “Sidecar Series.”

Swenson began working on his “Sidecar” series in 2007. He recounts the story that motivated the series. “The sidecar series is based on a little toy that was given to me by my best friend, Michael Haller. We met as kids in art school.”

Mike Haller was a successful production designer working in the film industry. He and Swenson continued their friendship as they grew into adulthood….traveling in the same Hollywood circles. “He and I also used to race sidecars,” says Swenson. “We were the state champions in…. ’76, I think it was…”

Hlowres 8.9 CharlesSwenson haleArts 24x24Close Sidecar 1aller passed away about twelve years ago. “The series is a kind of homage to him, a kind of tribute,” reveals Swenson. “He was a very unusual and insightful man and was a real grounding influence for me. He could always see clearly to the core of any problem. I think I was a little untethered there for a while after he died. So this series shows a fantasy version of the two of us…as toys…flying through the sky. I think the paintings have a lyrical, uplifting yet wistful quality as a result…at least I hope they do. Thanks Mike,” sighs Swenson.

Swenson paints on a daily basis at his large studio in the Brewery in Downtown LA. He admits that working on a set schedule keeps him focused. “I know I have a limited time to work, so I don’t tend to waste time…as much,” laughs Swenson.

The artist has become involved with much of the happenings at the Brewery, such as bi-annual art walks and special private openings. He confesses that he enjoys being part of an artist community.

“Arlowres CharlesSwenson24 x24 Close Sidecar 3t is often a very solitary pursuit,” cites Swenson. “It’s just you and your literal or figurative canvas, so it’s very encouraging and enlightening to be able to interact with other artists, see what they are doing, and get input on your own work.”

Swenson’s work will be part of a group exhibition at haleARTS S P A C E opening on Friday August 9, from 5:00pm – 8:00pm. Curated by owner Michael Hale, the exhibition also spotlights the work of artists Jerry Shevick and Phyllis Stuart.

What: Opening reception
Where: haleARTS S P A C E, 2443 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405
When: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Phone: 310-314-8038
Website: www.halearts.com    http://charlesgswenson.com/