art city adventure: laguna beach

We are off to the land of sea and sand. Want to come? Grab a margarita and join in. I’m driving.

Laguna Beach is a lively seaside city in Orange County, California. It sits between Newport Beach and Dana Point with the centre of town clustered around the main beach and drifting up either side of the Pacific Coast Highway. Early in the nineteen hundreds, Laguna established itself as an artist community and has remained this way since. From South, through Central, up to North Laguna, there are hundreds of independent commercial galleries, design studios, and cultural spaces as well as interesting shops, yummy food, and breathtaking views.


Our tour begins on the South end at a shop called Pearl St. General. To be honest, I pulled over because the logo on the sign caught my eye. This shop is loaded with delicious looking foodie items like multi-colour ribbon pasta and lux chocolate. I spy a really fun Dia de Muertos pillow but decide my suitcase is too full already.

Tucked on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Calliope Street (and up toward Bluebird Canyon) is a cluster of little galleries and studios. We pass on a few that showcase Early Californian painting (for lack of time and a long list of “want-to-see”s and move for studio spaces which are by appointment only. Domage. I am eager to stop in at Salt Fine Art – a gallery which hosts Latin Contemporary artists. I had spied a lovely painting in its street front window and wanted a closer look. The painting was Glamour Forever by Andriy Halashyn, a Ukrainian born artist  who has been living and working out of Costa Rica for more than 10 years. 


The painting is quite large and the pink colour is amazing in person. The detail of this woman’s hand and ring against the muted rubble is pretty incredible. Also at Salt Fine Art, I fell under the spell of Abel Barroso, a Cuban wood carver / printmaker / sculptor. {So much so that I spotlighted him in a recent solo show post.}

A quick side slide through Laguna Nursery. I love the joyous metal flowers all around the grounds and they draw me in.

We peek in at a few more smaller galleries including one storefront for an appraisal house which showcases the owners collection of … you name it … Chagall, Mondrian, Calder. He is closing because it so gorgeous out and he wants to go the beach. {You gotta love entrepreneurship in Laguna.}

Our next stop was a highlight: Artist Republic 4 Tomorrow. This again was another drive by sighting: vintage surf figures painted on wood with fluorescent geometrics in the background. Stop the car. The artist is David Blake. I love the show – the mixed media, the colours, the American Pop Culture, the vintage Californian surf references. Bears in wet suits with neon pink and lime – what’s not to love?

DavidBlake-ThisOneTimeAtSurfCamp DavidBlake-WeSavedTresles DavidBlake-Yolo

Beside this beautiful exhibit, AR4T has a small section of small works and treasures like the beautiful mini canvases by Chantal deFelice.

Chantal deFelice-edith

Iced tea pit stop {for me anyhow. Stick with your margarita.} On to mid-town / Center town / Main Beach area. 

The Main Beach area is a delightfully odd – super big money trying to be chill. We end up at a new showcase space for the Laguna College of Art and Design. They are showing a National travelling exhibition, Realism Without Borders alongside some digital “gaming” work by some LCAD students. I came across this beauty by the Ukrainian painter Vadim Suvorov-Tsirkulenko. I loved the soft lines and blurred brushstrokes of this work. And the indigo blue in this painting was striking.

Vadim Suvorov-Tsirkulenko-Reading

A quick run through the boutique tuvalu to drool at the unique beach cottage lighting. A dash across the way to Art Cube who is featuring the work of Gustavo Lopez Armentia. And another quick dash to Whitney Gallery to see Marc Whitney’s work to find the gallery closed. Hmmph. I was curious to see some of his works up close.

MarcWhitney_1  MarcWhitney-PeacefulDay

We decide to head North. At the Laguna Art Museum, Wayne Thiebaud is being featured with his exhibition American Memories. Though I would have loved to see it, our time sans kids was coming to a close and there was another block to check out. Between Jasmine and Aster Streets are Joanne Artman Gallery and Sue Greenwood Fine Art.

Joanne Artman Gallery is showing the work of America Martin. Martin is a Los Angeles based Columbian-American painter. Her work was pleasant discovery. She paints on a large scale with loose brushstrokes in generous colour palettes. I just wished the space was bigger so I could see more.

AmericaMartin-BearClawNecklace  AmericaMartin

Sue Greenwood Fine Art had a mix of artists on display. I was excited to see Marianne Kolb‘s work in person. They are hauntingly beautiful in person.

MarianneKolb-Gazing MarianneKolb-Reminiscence MarianneKolb-StorrowDriveNorthStation13

One day is not enough to see even a fraction of what Laguna Beach had to offer, but we were thrilled to have seen all that we did. And so, with art in our hearts, achey knees and a strong craving for Mexican food, we ended our visit to Laguna Beach.


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