In what seems like a never-ending barrage of talk of budget cuts, profit loss, scarcity and other depressing stuff, it is refreshing to hear that many local business owners and private clients continue to commission artists for work. Surprisingly, many patrons are not even in the business of art; they know something valuable when they see it, however. As artists, we appreciate their initiative. As a community, we benefit from it.
Take CURE, a new pharmaceutical company that develops new and advanced methods to deliver drugs to people and animals. CEO Robert Davidson and COO Wayne Nasby, hired local artist Chuck Trunks to custom make a surfboard sign in his trademark pop style for the foyer of their Oxnard headquarters. Maverick’s gym owners David and Molly Hill also own a Trunks custom board. It features their logo within icons of Ventura.
Painter Jodi Anthony, who recently exhibited at Fox Fine Jewelry, was commissioned to paint an image of an empowered woman for a life coach who is looking to re-brand her business with a new marketing look. The patron came to see Anthony’s work after she read an article in the paper.
Ojai artist Diane Bennett was approached by a patron looking to buy art as an anniversary gift for his wife. He commissioned Bennett to paint a retablo with an added quote he provided. Bennet will be exhibiting at the Ventura County Museum this month.
Gull Wings Museum’s new director, Julia Chambers, contracted a couple of artists to create artwork for the revamp of the museum. Recognized sculptor BiJian’s “Bird on the Roof” is an origami-inspired kinetic sculpture perched on the, um, roof of the museum. It adds a touch of whimsy to the entrance.
The key here is exposure. Exposure for artists is possible with the aid of art galleries and newspapers that, in turn, benefit from displaying and promoting their work. It is a very possible mission, then, to gather some momentum from this collaborative effort and take support of the arts to a new level.
Hannah Fitzgerald and abstract Photography
There’s a new art group in town: the Ventura County Society of Abstract Expressionist Photography. Last month, members Jeremy Kirsch, Hannah Fitzgerald, Tim Fitzgerald, Paulo Ruvalcaba, John Nichols and Mark Luthringer had their inaugural exhibit at 643 Project Space in Ventura. The show consists of a range of abstract photography from black and white prints to digital art.
Particularly captivating is the work of Hannah Fitzgerald, a native Venturan who first picked up her mother’s Pentax K1000 camera at the age of 5 while on vacation in the Grand Canyon. Fitzgerald’s former figurative work has been replaced with heartier, more sophisticated imagery based on Rorschach inkblots. Her close-ups of silhouetted tree branches against eerily monochromatic blue skies are captivating. They have that otherwordly mystery of a Tim Burton film without the grisly stitched-together body parts. Her photos are moderately abstracted so as to appeal to the sensibilities of those inclined to more traditional photography.
ArtThrob is a monthly column by artist Claudia Pardo, who is interested in what quickens an artist’s pulse and keeps him or her producing work despite less-than-ideal circumstances. If you’re a Ventura County artist, send her an e-mail and introduce yourself.