Upper West Restaurant Presents “Explorations" on Sunday March 12th!

On Sunday, March 12, 2017 Upper West Restaurant will exhibit and host a reception for the art of Thomas Mercer Hartman. Every few months the popular Santa Monica restaurant presents a new exhibition featuring a local Los Angeles artist. “Explorations,” will feature fourteen recent works created by the artist at his Santa Monica studio.

Hartman attended a recent opening at Upper West. “I appreciate the attention that the restaurant provides artists. The concept to showcase contemporary art in a fine dining venue is interesting.” He added, “It’s a grand living room with a personal collection.”

We talked over lunch–he loves the short rib sandwich–about his design profession and artwork. “I have degrees in art and design. “Early in my career I designed numerous exhibits for LACMA–Renee Lalique, Louis Cartier, and other art exhibits.” His design studio grew with clients that included nature centers, state parks, zoos, and entertainment venues. However, museum planning and exhibition design were his niche client base. 

As a visual artist, Hartman approaches each new work differently. I asked about Blue Falls, a large work with a deep sense of space. “I finished work on a series of sculptural assemblages and decided to turn back to painting. I wanted the work to be monumental so I bought this 5’ x 10’ canvas,” said Hartman. “This canvas sat for a year before I started painting. The scale haunted me. For the next six months I tested a number of abstract ideas. Building the surface took a couple of months work along with adding layers of paint. Surface became a character for me in this painting. Slowly the concept of painting a waterfall emerged. The desire was to paint the feeling of the water.”

Hartman explained another work Ferus, a large panel painting. “After completing Blue Falls, I decided to work directly on a panel, as canvas can be too flexible. The way I worked on this piece was horizontal. 

The panel was painted with subsequent pours added, of pigment infused concrete slurries.” In some areas he worked wet acrylic or house paints into colored wet concrete. I asked him if the process is fast after you have mastered the technique. “Never!” he said quickly, “The challenge is to know when to stop. Excitement pushes you but the layers need time to set. This piece hung in the studio for months until I saw it needed several more layers. Often the work evolves in that manner. It’s ‘finished’ until you know it isn’t.”

To find out more about the artist, Thomas Hartman, or his design business, check out his websites  http://www.mercerprojects.com   http://www.IQMAGIC.net

On Sunday March 12th, Upper West Restaurant will host an artist reception for “Explorations” from 4-7pm. Upper West is located at 3321 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA, 310 586-1111; http://www.theupperwest.com/


December, a Busy Month at Hive Art Gallery and Studios!

December is a busy month for most galleries. Art is a one of a kind gift - perfect for the season. Hive Art Gallery and Studios has stood the test of time and has given many Los Angeles artists – a creative home. Now it’s time to turn the tables and head downtown to HIVE and support local artists.

Cartwright knows how important it is to keep creating. As a gallery owner, he also recognizes the need to adjust with the times. Hive Gallery has done just that in support of its artists.

This month special featured artist will be showcased such as Ty Cummings, Ryan Patterson and Walt Hall, plus two group exhibitions…”ARTRATES JAPAN” and Escoto's "The White Tiger" Project” with special effects artist Ivonne Escoto

Ty Cummings has been creating art since he was a child. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2008, as well as an MFA from CalArts in Los Angeles in 2012.

His art is created with everyday items and alternative tools such as glitter spray, puzzle pieces, charcoal etc. His mixed media works begin on canvas or a board and it extends to incorporate found items and unusual objects. Using various techniques, he illuminates the work with varying levels of abstraction and representation. 

Ty Cummings, Pieces - 16" x 20," mixed media
He explains the movement that he strives to reveal in his work…“Psychedelic color and noir aesthetics of light and shade create drama to enhance the memory of the experience through arousal.”

He added that the series incorporates DTLA street settings, views from the Hollywood hills, Westside beach towns and multi-narrative characters. Cummings has lived in various parts of LA, such as Venice, Downtown and Santa Monica. Each neighborhood ignited his view of that community.

Cummings explained that the piece entitled Avenue is inspired by channeling and perception. Another work entitled Pieces envisions energy and motion. For more information about Cummings, visit tycummings.com

Ivonne Escoto has worked in the effects industry for over a decade making special effects and suits for movies, commercials, TV and theater. She has worked on projects like Spider-man 2, Alien vs Predator, Tron Legacy, Shrek the musical, Grimm, Sleepy Hollow, The Flash and more.

“I'm a builder working in many different mediums from sculpting to stitching and loving the full process and learning new techniques. My favorite medium is foam, in my industry I'm considered a fabricator which builds the muscle suits or puppets out of soft, reticulate or insulating foam.” http://bluangel13.wixsite.com/bluangel13

Xianpit has been working her entire life as an artist (or in some way or another) as she puts it. “I was lucky enough to have been born into a family of artists so dreams were easier to pursue. My grandfather was a traveling magician so from an early age I was convinced that the world was much more colorful than most people could imagine.”

Xianpitt, Embrace,  6"x9"  2016 Kodak Endura Print
Working in various mediums, Xianpit said at one point she considered herself a  serious painter…soon she started focusing on soft sculpture and then combined photography to create magical images of creatures from other worlds or tiny mini realities. She continues, “That exploration got bigger when I made costumes and props for music videos. It was fun to make a giant vagina for the Flaming Lips video Watching the Planets video. I started setting friends in costumes in my backyard and now I work back a forth between both little and big monsters. The artist recently became involved with the Los Angeles Krampus Troupe and has been enjoying making Krampus monster costumes. https://xianpitt.wordpress.com/

The artist reception will be held this Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 8-11pm at The Hive Gallery & Studios, 729 South Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90014. There is a $5 suggested donation. (213) 955-9051; http://hivegallery.com/


December Group Art Exhibit Opens at Beyond the Lines Gallery this Saturday, December 3rd, 2016!

Gallerist Brittany Davis knows a bit about putting on an art show…she has been producing pop-up events and creating fun art parties for the past two years. As of October, she has opened her own permanent gallery called Beyond the Lines Gallery at the legendary Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica.

“Almost every show has a theme so I first look for pieces that match with that,” said Davis. “Then I look for unique, balanced composition, intriguing, uplifting creative works of all kinds,” The December show is open to interpretation...with a broader sense of theme.

Stephanie Visser said she was excited to be back participating in another show at Bergamot Station. She has previously exhibited at bG Gallery and TAG Gallery – both located at the popular arts center.

Stephanie Visser Inception # 6 untitled, 72x48     
Originally from southwestern Michigan, Visser received her BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design. Now a Los Angeles resident, she is a dedicated artist who is continuously creating. Visser works from the inside out and strives to paint every day, allowing her vision to unfold. She is always open to new possibilities. Visser allows her emotions to lead her, using color, light to further complement her abstract paintings. She works in various media such as acrylic, oil, and mixed-media. She recently participated in a group show in her in Lake Michigan. She said she was proud to exhibit work with four artists who grew up in the same area.

Find out more about the paintings of Stephanie Visser on her website http://stephanievisser.com/

Floyd Strickland has exhibited work before with Davis via her pop-up events and said he is excited to show at the new gallery. Working in acrylic pigments and clay sculpture, he creates art nearly every day.

When asked about his inspiration for the work featured in this Saturday’s exhibition, he replied, “For the “Dancer” I wanted to create an image that displayed the grace, beauty and power of dancers. 

Floyd Strickland, Dancer

“Floyd Strickland is a very driven talented painter,” said Davis. “Some of his pieces feature his children and you can see the love within the painting.  Using patterns intertwined with powerful bold subjects usually on a bigger scale. His work will definitely catch your eye as soon as you walk into the room.’  

Davis said she was also excited about another artist. “Rude Calderon is a stone sculptor that transforms beautiful rocks into amazing pieces of art,” said Davis “You can't help but stare and wonder how he achieved these masterpieces in stone from the rougher edges to the smoothest points.” 

Calderon said, “Once art is an integral part of your life and vocation, one creates constantly, even while driving and taking the environment around you. Everything feeds and informs the needs of the artwork.” http://www.rudecalderon.com/

Kristina Ambriz is not a newcomer to the gallery. She was featured in the October grand opening exhibition, as well as the November Portraits exhibition and will once again be featured in the December show. “I have also displayed artwork in one of Brittany’s pop up shows,” said Ambriz, who has been painting for the past fifteen years. The art bug first bit her when she won first place for a book cover contest in first grade. It was until middle school that she seriously thought about art as a career.

Kristina Ambriz    Carissa acrylic on canvas

Ambriz often works in acrylic paint since it’s fast drying and she likes flexibility of the medium.I also work with oils, watercolor, and colored pencil.  It depends on the project.” Her recent work is in acrylic, with a focus on feminine portraiture. “I try to balance the dichotomy between abstract and realism, developing an authentic yet caricatured portrayal of each of my models.” http://www.kristinaambriz.com/

Come to a fun art party on Saturday December 3rd 5pm-9pm. The closing party takes place on Thursday December 29th 5pm-8:30pm. Beyond the Lines Gallery is located at Bergamot Station, G #8, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, 90404. http://www.beyondthelinesartshow.com/