When asked about my work, my mantra used to be, “The subject matter of my work is not as important as how I paint it. Whether it be people, places, or things, the important thing is that my personality as an artist is visible through those themes. If I am not in there, I do not see the point.” While I feel this is still true, I no longer feel it is a complete “statement” from me as an artist.
Over the years I have watched myself meticulously pick my subject matter based on two innate criteria: challenge and access. The subject must challenge me to express myself and grow as an artist. It must also afford access for my viewer; access to me as an artist and what I am trying to do. Even if they do not understand how I did it, the work must speak to them on some personal level and the subject matter often helps us find our common ground. We are all connected to people, places, and things. Sometimes those connections are based on memories, sometimes they are immediate. Either way, ethereal or evident, they are shared. My art is a dialogue between the viewer and myself about those shared connections—without the viewer, I am that proverbial tree in the forest.
While I somewhat accept being labeled a representational artist, I tend to shun the label of realistic artist. My work represents real life subject matter, but it is firmly based in abstraction and intuition. Rather than view my work as abstract representations of people, places, or things, I view it as an abstract representation of me—it represents my process of imagining. By focusing that abstraction and utilizing my intuition, I bring forth representational pieces. My work is born through solid draftsmanship plus a liberal application of paint via a brush or a knife or anything I can get my hands on, plus plenty of color experimentation and the carving of my medium. It is truly gratifying when a viewer, while being up close to my work, stares* in wonder at the surface then, while backing away, witnesses all that texture and color (that an art textbook tells them shouldn’t work) and abstraction somehow, mysteriously develop into a recognizable subject. That ‘somehow’ is me. So, that takes us back to what I wrote above, “If I am not in there, I do not see the point.”
Chris began his glass work career in Florence, OR and started selling his work in our gallery shortly after. A few years ago he got an oppurtunity to open his own Studio and Gallery in Lompoc, CA which he took. We still carry his work because it’s hand-made and he got his start here on the Oregon Coast.
Chris specializes primarily in torchwork, but has also assisted extensively in the soft glass arena – particularly with Charlie Lowrie, a renowned glass sculptor. Recently, he’s been working in soft glass on his own at a local Hot Shop.
Chris’s torchwork is presently focused on wine bottle stoppers, pens, and small sculpture, of which he creates some fantastic designs!
Recently retired from UCSB, Allen is a multimedia artist who’s worked mainly as a painter and writer but has had several intense periods in her life of being a ceramicist. The latest incarnation of her ceramicist self occurred last year after a frightening fall down some stairs and before her last year of working as a literature and creative writing teacher at UCSB’s College of Creative Studies. She found her way to a ceramics studio and sensed that her mind and body needed to work in clay. Immediately her hands started producing figures of women and animals, sometimes separately, sometimes configured as a woman riding an animal. She became interested in sgraffito and the women and animal imagery, along with plants and bees, continued to appear. She sees it as a subconscious message to celebrate the creativity at the heart of nature, to get back to a primal state of oneness with animals and plants and mother earth. The work came before the interpretation though and viewers are welcome to see what occurs to them.
Born and raised in New York, Leslie Marcus continues to take her artwork to greater heights with enormous passion and sensitivity. An Ojai, California resident for over 18 years. Leslie paints in her home studio, and teaches Fine Art Painting.
Riding New York City’s subways at the age of 14, Marcus studied watercolor painting at The Arts Students League. With a A.A from The California College of Arts & Crafts and B.F.A from The Academy of Art College in S.F. Marcus then immersed herself in the highly competitive Fashion World of Los Angeles, creating exclusive, original and exotic Textile Designs for Apparel and Home Furnishings. As an Art Educator, Leslie has taught High School and Elementary School Art Courses, and continues to offer Private & Group Painting Classes in Watercolors and Oils to youth, teens, and the elderly. Her mentoring focuses on the students’ individuality and intuitive abilities.
Leslie has won numerous Fine Art Achievement Awards; she has been selected to participate in The Healing Arts Fine Art Program and permanent collection at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital & Goleta Health Care Systems in California. Marcus’ work has been reproduced for: Wine Labels, Greeting Cards, and Exclusive, One-Of-A-Kind, Hand Signed, Hand Embellished Fine Art Giclees. Collectors of Marcus’ works reside throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
Ellen is a locally recognized studio potter. Her creative journey began over 25 years ago after a fulfilling carrier in the record industry. Initially ceramics was a great hobby, a stress release from her busy entrepreneurial life. As she began to explore the medium, Ellen studied with numerous ceramic artists and teachers around the county where she learned various ceramic techniques.
Then in 2004, with the help of her husband, they built Clayworks Studio, offering adult and children’s pottery classes along with a summer camp program to the local community. Students were taught a wide variety of hand building techniques including clay slab, pinch pots, coiling, molds and glazing along with the potter’s wheel.
Today her work is a combination of both hand built and wheel-thrown functional pieces. She is fascinated by textures and inspired by the colors of the earth, sea and sky. To further define her style Ellen often incorporates lace, wooden texture rollers, carving techniques and slip in an effort to create flowing curves and dynamic surfaces. Her goal is to create vibrant, unique ceramic art that one can enjoy everyday.
To this day the process of working in clay is an going passion that she has been hooked on from the moment she discovered it! Ellen shows her work at both juried and invitational exhibitions and is currently featured at the Ventura Pottery Gallery located in the The Ventura Harbor.
For a long time I spent my time in the studio making paintings, sculpting wood with a chain saw and print making. I used those practices to find a way of expressing my frustrations with the world and its contradictions. I was also trying to create a style that was uniquely mine. I wanted a style that could distinguish me from other artists, and make me famous, rich and free to leave that factory where I worked for ten years. After achieving that style, I started to pursue gallery representation.
Local Ojai Artist. Coin ring jeweler. Can custom make any size and year.
Local Ojai Artist.
Beatrice Wood (March 3, 1893 – March 12, 1998) was an American artist and studio potter involved in the Avant Garde movement in the United States; she founded and edited The Blind Man magazine in New York City with French artist Marcel Duchamp and writer Henri-Pierre Roché in 1917. She had earlier studied art and theater in Paris, and was working in New York as an actress. She later worked at sculpture and pottery. Wood was characterized as the “Mama of Dada.”
She partially inspired the character of Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron’s 1997 film, Titanic after the director read Wood’s autobiography while developing the film. Beatrice Wood died nine days after her 105th birthday in Ojai, California.