Palm Springs Art Patron Magazine

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photo credit Ron Cox



“The Good Life”

Robin Hiers

“Toy Boy Poodle” by Karen and Tony Barone

Not Your Typical White Walled Gallery Affair

Cutting Edge • Contemporary • Mixed Media • Sculpture • International Artists • Commissions 611 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 •



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A Unique Gallery A Great Shopping Experience!

Colin Fisher Studios

68929 Perez Road, Suite M, Cathedral City, CA 92234, 760-324-7300,



Display Treasured California Scene Paintings


46 Artists Great Artists Collect

52 Palm Springs Inns Get Art Smart ARTIST PROFILES: 76 Make Work Every Single Day


Welcome to the House of STEPHEN BAUMBACH

82 A Show of Hands

Fall/Winter 2017 Xenia

384 Forest #8 • Laguna Beach CA 92651 • 949.494.8208 • Mon-Sat 10-6pm • Sun 11-4pm


Heather Sprague Barrel Cactus artist featured in Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours, Page 28



Coachella Valley Repertory Theater, The Harold Lloyd Estate, A Cabello, CODA




ART MARKET Orange County Palm Springs Festival of Arts Sawdust Art Festival




Highlights from the Art Patron online calendar, visit for more upcoming events




Do Everything You Do with Love– Rejoy Marsella shares the Secrets of Her Remarkable Success



Catalina Tile & Catalina Pottery

Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours: The road stops dreams are made of Esther Shaw


Shaws Cove Estate, Laguna Beach, CA Original Catalina Tile


C o- Pu blisher s C h r is t in e Do dd & J an n een J ack so n C hr is tine D odd C r eat ive Dir ecto r Gr ove Kog er C o py Edito r Janneen Jac k son A dver t isin g Dir ector jan n een @ Ar t Pat r o n Mag azin m (949) 535- 3095 Rob Piepho A dver t isin g C o n sult an t r o b@ Ar t Pat r o n Mag azin m (760) 932- 4307 Ad ver tising D esig n J ar ed L in ge C yn t h ia Wo o dr um T im Sac k Media C o n sult an t t im@ Ar t Pat r o n Mag azin m (949) 535- 3098 D ar ia n C hamber s Website Design C ontr ibu t or s St acy Da v ies C h r is t in e Do dd R yan Gar v in J aime Kowal Deja K r eut zber g L in da McAllis ter L iz Go ldn er An t h o ny Gr an t Ter r y H as t in gs Gr ove Ko ger To m L amb Ro b Pieph o An gela Ro meo w w w.Ar tPatr onMag For Advertising and Editorial Information: P.O. Box 9492, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 or email The opinions expressed by writers and contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Laguna Beach ART Patron Magazine and Palm Springs ART Patron Magazine are published by Laguna Beach ART Magazine, LLC Pick up a copy of ART Patron Magazine at your favorite art gallery or at the following fine art fairs: Art Palm Springs • Festival of Arts • Indian Wells Arts Festival • Laguna Art-A-Fair Pageant of the Masters • Southwest Arts Festival • Spectrum Indian Wells

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FAT HER , S ON a nd HOLY COACH The Big Little Theatre

A gem in the desert is the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, otherwise known as the CVRep. A nonprofit professional dramatic and musical theatre company in the heart of Rancho Mirage, its mission is “to present thoughtprovoking, innovative theater of substance, and outreach programs that enrich, enhance and impact the quality of life for residents and visitors.” This summer’s program kicked off in June with a riveting one-man performance by John Posey in his play Father, Son and Holy Coach. A veteran writer and performer in TV and film, Posey dramatizes the story of growing up with an overprotective father who lives vicariously through his son’s athleticism in order to make up for his own failed accomplishments in football. As the 22 ART

play unfolds, we witnessed the trials of a young man who sacrifices his dream of becoming an architect to his father’s obsessive desire for him to be a football player. Posey played the part of several characters—Dad, Mom and other members of a small town in Tupelo County, Georgia—in a performance that packed a real punch in the intimate 86-seat venue. This summer series splash is an example of how the theatre enriches the lives of residents and visitors alike by programming critically acclaimed dramatic works. You’ll definitely want to be a patron of CVRep’s programming next year. For more information visit

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Enchanting Hideaway


Situated in the heart of Palm Springs, where the movie stars of yesteryear once enjoyed the desert as a relaxing getaway from their busy Hollywood lives, the amazing estate of Harold Lloyd exemplifies a lifestyle that many emulated. Built in 1925 by the silent movie pioneer, this beautiful 5 bedroom, 5-and-a-half bath Moroccan/ Spanish-style gem sits on a 1.1 acre lot in the center of the Movie Colony district and is now available for lease. After a recent purchase from 24 ART

a private party, the estate was enhanced with 140 digital-reproduction photos of the celebrities of that period and examples of the 3D art photography that was one of Lloyd’s passions. On June 29, I was invited for the unveiling of this vintage dwelling that has been enjoyed by so many Hollywood figures. As I approached the entry, I was struck by the aura of historic opulence created by the Saltillo tiles and the stenciled wood beams that support the lofted ceilings throughout the main living quarters. We gathered around Bob Egan as he explained how the property was built and how it became what it is today. The home has increased in scale over the years with the addition of a subterranean wine room, two guest villas and a poolside kitchenette and bar. Especially striking are the property’s mature grounds, planted as they are with lush green grass and enormous trees and offering spectacular view of the San Jacinto Mountains. This architectural masterpiece can now be enjoyed for vacations rentals, private parties, retreats, corporate events and weddings. For more information visit

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HIGHLIGHTS A Cabbello Presents

PARIS, ROME and HOME The performing arts represent one of the Coachella Valley’s greatest treasures. On April 30, I was invited to the Marquee Theater in downtown Palm Springs for a performance of Paris, Rome and Home by the wonderful singers of the male vocal group A Cabbello—a twist on the Italian phrase a cappella, meaning without instrumental accompaniment. As led by Artistic Director Rich Cook, this twelve-man band’s mission is to share musical compositions ranging from Renaissance and Classical to Pop and Gospel in an enriching artistic, cultural and spiritual experience. As we entered, it was heartening to see that this final performance had sold out. As the members of the group were introduced, the playful sides of their personalities were displayed in their gestures and the way they related to each other. They clearly had the same mission in mind and could allow each to have his moment to shine. One of the program’s highlights was Plaisir d’Amour as sung by Jay Baumgartner, with its haunting verse, “The pleasure of love lasts only a moment, the grief of love lasts a lifetime.” There was also a rendition of Hallelujah from Raul Valenzuela that touched the heart. There were many more highlights, including a rousing choral version of the famous Pharrell Williams song Happy. All in all, this is one to look forward to next season. I know I’ll be there front and center. For More information visit or


Named Top 25 in America CODA Gallery has been named as one of ‘America’s 25 Best Galleries and Museums’ and ‘Best Gallery Or Museum In California, 2017’ by American Art Awards (AAA). AAA considers thousands of the most established art venues nationally for these annual awards. CODA was selected based on socially relevant exhibits, represented artists, industry reputation, years in business, size, online buzz, motivational and educational programs, and client and visitor references. “We like to describe CODA Gallery as brimming with color and life, which mirrors the personality of the gallery’s beloved founders Connie and David Katz, avid collectors and philanthropists who opened the gallery in 1987,” said CODA Gallery Director Sam Heaton. “Their spirit of generosity and warmth greets visitors the moment they enter the gallery.” A landmark on El Paseo, CODA Gallery features 9,000 square feet of space, presenting a vast collection of paintings, photography, sculpture, glass and ceramic works. CODA Gallery is located at 73-400 El Paseo, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call (760) 346-4661 or visit 26 ART

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The Road Stops Dreams Are Made Of

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American Woman Project

Locust Tree

Like fine wine, some things just get better with age, and the annual round of Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours is one of those things. This year’s tours, the sixteenth series in a row, run two weekends this fall—October 14-15 and October 21-22. With over 50 artists participating, the breadth of the art cannot be understated. The tours are sponsored by the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. Charged with building the community though the arts, the MBCAC has been working since 2001 to bring local artists and local businesses closer together. “The event draws many visitors to the area,” notes Esther Shaw, Highway 62 Gallery co-director. “We see not only local residents visiting the art studios but people from Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. And many are returning visitors, having made this event a yearly trip. “The Highway 62 Gallery is an artist cooperative and a part of the MBCAC,” continues Shaw, whose gallery is at 61607 Twenty-Nine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree. “We’re the hub for the two-weekend event showcasing the work from the participating artists. The tour and the gallery are both open to active members of the Council. The high desert artist community itself is multifaceted. Our members range from well-established artists to newcomers, and the work runs the gamut from large-scale sculpture to painting, from weaving to photography and everything in between.” The Open Studio Art Tours cover a wide area, from Morongo to Wonder Valley and beyond. Over the course of their existence, the tours have encouraged artists to join each other at locations along Highway 62. “Bringing several artists together in one location allows visitors to experience more of the Morongo Basin arts,” Shaw adds. “Also, given the large geographic area we cover, holding the tours over two weeks allows for increased exposure for all our artists. Some participate both weekends, and some, like me, choose one. That allows me to experience the work of my fellow artists.” Art Patron had a chance to talk to two other participants in the Art Tours. The first, Scott Lloyd Doten, is a returning artist. “I have a large studio in Joshua Tree named Studio Shangri La,” he explains. “In the studio we have a gallery area and work space. Behind the studio we have a large art installation called Joshua Tree Drive In. It’s a 1950s drive-in set up as an art photo area.” ART 29

Doten’s roots are in the Coachella Valley as well. “I have been a resident of Joshua Tree for 27 years. At 7, I was taking art classes at the Palm Springs Art Museum. I also took classes from local artists Elsie Grace and Janis Commentz.” Like many artists, Scott tried his hand at other endeavors. “I have worked at other professions, such as dental technician, where I learned to make miniature sculptures carving every tooth in the mouth, but I always return to art. For the past 15 years I have been designing and building fine art, sculpture and furniture.” Another participant is native Californian Heather Sprague, who goes by the moniker Fey LittleWing at and lives on family property that was homesteaded by her great-great-aunt. “It is hard to stay away from a place that is in your blood,” she notes. “I take photos of just about everything. For me, it is about individual moments. I focus on three main bodies of work. The first, edited images relating to quantum physics. These begin as my own images, usually something natural, but not always. By applying mathematical formulas to the image, I can show another reality of the same object. Quantum physics tells us that there are infinite possibilities, but we are only used to dealing with one reality. I am creating visual representations of other versions, just as real as the one we are used to seeing. “My second body of work involves self-portraits. I have taken self-portrait series for approximately 20 years. I am working on my own yearlong series

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Esther Shaw

right now called “American Woman.” These works are of a personal nature to me. They are symbolic, or carry a message. The third body of work involves my advocacy. I am a pollinator advocate, animal advocate, nature advocate. I have a continuing series called “Going the Way of the Dinosaur.” This work creates whimsical images with bees and dinosaurs to convey the message that we as human beings need to be taking better care of our planet and the other creatures in it, because everything is connected to everything else.” This will be Sprague’s third year with the Art Tours. “My work changes every year, and my print editions stay small. Aside from personal exhibitions, the tours are my best chance to really talk with those who are interested in my work and for them to see my new work. For me, the tours are more than an art sale. They are a chance to build relationships with artists and the public. I love talking with visitors. I love having that chance to share something that is so important to me. For someone to see the value in what I and the other artists create is more than gratifying.” During the Art Tours, you can find Sprague in Joshua Tree at Studio #57. The Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours never disappoint. The art, the vistas, the people—welcome to the world of Art! For all things concerning the Open Studio Art Tours, or

Geoff Fellows IRT-4513C-A

Financial Advisor Member SIPC

32392 Coast Hwy Suite 190 Laguna Beach, CA 92651 949-499-4028 ART 31


Staff Picks

Image courtesy of Colin Fisher Studios September 6, from 6-9pm A Show of Hands Stephen Baumbach Photography, Backstreet Art District, 4116 Mathew Drive, Palm Springs, Featuring intimate photographs of the hands of Coachella Valley and High Desert artists.; (617) 510-7459 Sat, September 9, from 6-8 pm SUNSTROKE: Alan Shaffer, Barbara Schwan, Robert Schwan JTAG 61607 29 Palms Hwy. Joshua Tree. Venice, California artists present new works of paintings & photography.;( 760) 366 3636 Sat & Sun, September 16-17, 2017, 10-4pm JTNP Juried Art Exposition 29 Palms Art Gallery, 74055 Cottonwood Dr., 29 Palms, Opening Awards Reception on Saturday, Sept. 16, 5-8 pm with awards reception, art festival, artist booths, handson art workshops, live music, and culinary treats. Events staged at five cultural venues in the Oasis of Mara. 32 ART

Thu, October 5th at 5 pm Salton Sea: An Artistic Discussion UCR-Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Dr., Palm Desert. Renowned photographer Terry Hastings has curated a thought provoking art show dealing with the environmental and political issues of the Salton Sea facing all of us in the Coachella Valley. Show begins at 5 pm with an artist talk in the auditorium and then gallery viewing begins at 5:30. Sat, October 7 Artist Council Exhibition – A showcase of works by over 40 Artists Council members Palm Springs Art Museum, Jorgenson Gallery, 101 Museum Dr. Palm Springs. Jurors: Lita Albuquerque: an internationally renowned installation and environmental artist, painter, and sculptor. David Pagel: an art critic, curator, and professor of art theory and history. Rick Royale: owner of Royale Projects, a contemporary art gallery located in LA’s downtown Arts District. The show continues until December 10.

Sat, October 14, from 6-8 pm Wonderland: Group Show 61607 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, Ca. Kim Chasen, Doug Dolde, Marcia Geiger, Mardi de Vevue Alexis, Frederick Fulmer, Babara Gothard, Jason Graves, Brian Leatart, Gregg Ross.; (760) 366 3636 Sat-Sun, October 14-15th, 9am-5pm Sat-Sun, October 21-22nd, 9am-5pm Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours Morongo Basin. Self-Guided Tour through the Morongo Basin to the open studios of artists living and working in this desert community. No charge Fri, October 20, 2017 6-9 pm Opening Night Reception: Best Impressions Colin Fisher Studios, 68929 Perez Road, Suite M, Cathedral City, Exhibit Dates: October 21 – November 4, 2017, The first ever Fine Art Photography Exhibit featuring images from a number of extraordinary photographers, including Colin Fisher himself.; (760)324-7300

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Objects of Desire



A Grace Home Collection© Original Design This custom cabinet in a stone wash finish features an ash frame and doors with hand applied exotic wood veneer and silver leaf mosaic panels. Custom sizes and finishes are available. Hand made by artisans in Southern California. $5,990 As Shown

Available only at Grace Home Furnishings (760) 904-6337

“FOLLOW THE LEADER” These two sea lions are chasing each other around a spiral of kelp while a green moray eel watches. Limited edition bronze sculpture on a wooden swivel base. Dimensions 40” x 30” x 30” $18,000 As Shown

Available only at Artist Eye Gallery (949) 497-5898

“ANGEL HEART” Bless Your Home With Elan’s Angel Sculptures. Made from two solid sheets of aluminum. Each unique sculpture is cut, bent, and formed by hand. One sheet forms the wings, the other forms the body. See Pages 6 and 7.

Available only at Élan Vital Galleries (808) 214-0901 34 ART

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Museum Founders Mark and Jan Hilbert Display Treasured California Scene Paintings written by Liz Goldner • photos of the Hilberts and their home by Tom Lamb art collection photos courtesy of The Hilbert Museum of California Art 38 ART

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While art lovers and collectors have long admired California Scene Painting, few are as passionate about the movement as Mark and Jan Hilbert. Here is their inspiring story. When the Hilberts purchased a 1950s California-style watercolor in 1992, they didn’t imagine that it would be the first step in the creation of a major museum. Yet the landscape sparked their interest in the genre, and they began studying its origins and influences, and meeting with art historians. With their newly found passion, they bought additional works. Then one day Jan looked at their small collection and remarked, “I’d like to see people in the paintings because it makes them more interesting.” The couple’s acquisitions soon segued to narrative art—in

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other words, art that tells stories. And that is the type of paintings and illustrations that they now display in their Newport Coast home and in the recently opened Hilbert Museum of California Art in Orange. One of the Hilberts’ most important paintings is Millard Sheets’ San Dimas Train Station (1933). This nostalgic watercolor, which depicts a lonely 19th century wooden train depot at night, includes a seated man reading a newspaper under the depot’s light and a second man standing near the rails beneath the beam of another light. Another favorite work is Fletcher Martin’s 1938 painting Bucolic. Featuring a carefully drawn couple seated on the ground in a rural setting, it evokes the tradition of Mexican muralism.

During their early years of collecting, the Hilberts enhanced their understanding of fine art by visiting European museums (as they continue to do), perusing the works of old masters and training their eyes and hearts to understand the importance of color, line, composition and subject matter. After numerous trips abroad, they concluded that California paintings from the 1920s to the 1970s compared favorably with the works they were seeing on the Continent. And as their knowledge increased, they acquired more and more California-style works, today numbering more than fifteen hundred exquisite oils, watercolors and gouaches. These landscapes, cityscapes and rural scenes often include people at work and at play.

After the Hilberts had been purchasing for several years, their collection began to attract the attention of local and national museums hoping to borrow their treasured California Scene Paintings. Receiving such positive feedback, they naturally developed the desire to share their collection with the public by establishing a museum of their own. In 2014, the Hilberts approached Chapman University and proposed that they donate a number of their paintings for a museum, along with money to build it on the university’s campus in Orange. The Chapman board enthusiastically agreed, and the Hilbert Museum opened in February 2016 with the exhibition “Narrative Visions: 20th Century California Art.� Featuring 106 paintings telling stories and capturing scenes of everyday life during ART 41

the mid-twentieth century, the exhibition attracted hundreds of visitors each week before closing in early 2017 to make room for three new shows. When the narrative paintings were returned to the couple’s Italian-style home, they were excited to re-hang them. One of the paintings that they welcomed back is Robert Frame’s large oil from the 1960s, Window View Santa Barbara, CA, which depicts a breakfast table under a casement window looking out to a large yard with houses beyond and the ocean in the distance. Other favorites include Cornelis Botke’s undated Potter Schoolhouse, St. Teresa of Avila Church, Bodega Bay, a depiction of an old-fashioned country school and church, with children playing outside, and Rex Brandt’s 1960 Wilshire Blvd., 42 ART

a view of downtown L.A. during rush hour with the sun fading in the west. Another cherished work is Chinese-American artist Dong Kingman’s Strolling down Washington Street, a fanciful scene of men strolling down a Chinatown street from 1946. Another Millard Sheets work, California Cotton Pickers (1929), features a group of the cotton pickers who had been bused to Southern California from Texas. In addition to their paintings, the Hilberts display Pueblo Indian ollas (earthenware jars) from New Mexico and Arizona in Hopi, Acoma, Zia and Mariposa styles. They also own a large collection of rare Navajo blankets from the 1880s to the 1930s, neatly folded in a painted folk-art cabinet. Three of their prized objects are varguenos—high

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desks with multiple drawers that tax agents hauled around with them as they collected people’s money. One large wooden example is from 17th century Spain, while a smaller silver one comes from 18th century Peru. The couple also own a wooden Spanish Revival vargueno made in California in the 1920s. The Hilberts’ home tour concludes with displays of dozens of vintage radios from the 1930s. These small, mostly plastic models in a variety of colors evoke stories from our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ day about broadcasts during the Great Depression— broadcasts that the California Scene Painters probably also heard. Mark and Jan Hilbert are proud to exhibit 44 ART

and promote mid-twentieth century California art, believing as they do in the significance of this seminal body of work. Another museum founder who championed American art was Duncan Phillips, whose Washington D.C. museum—the Phillips Collection—opened in 1921. “Not only does America inherit the arts of all nations and of all ages,” he once wrote with notable prescience, “but rich should be the harvesting and exquisite the flowering of the strong, sound and aspiring American spirit from the seeds of aesthetic purpose, now so wisely and so bountifully being sown in her native soil.” For more information visit

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artists MICHAEL CHILDERS discusses art and artists.



artists collect 1. Marlene Dietrich by Eve Arnold; 2. Hockney at Rising Glenn, 1978 by Michael Childers; 3. Lesley-Ann Down for British Vogue, 1980 by Michael Childers; 4. Rudolph Nureyev, Malibu 1988 by Michael Childers; 5. Jack Nicholson and David Hockney by Michael Childers; 6. Catherine DeNueve in Hollywood 1981 by Michael Childers; 7. Flower Distortions by Michael Childers; 8. Placido Domingo by Victor Skrebneski; 9. John Schlesinger by Bill Brandt, 10. Joe Dallesandro, Andy Warhol Superstar 1970 by Michael Childers; 11. Bette Midler in Hollywood 1979 by Michael Childers; 12. The Eye of Julius Shulman by Michael Childers; 13. Photograph by Cecil Beaton; 14. Clark Gable by Eve Arnold; 15. Midnight Cowboy, Dustin Hoffman and John Voight by Steve Schapiro; 16. Turkish Man by Mary Ellen Mark; 17. Mother and Child’s Hand by Eve Arnold; 18. Paul Newman at Strasberg Acting Class by Eve Arnold; 19. Andy in Fur by Michael Childers 1976; 20. Sculpture by Jacob Epstein.

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written by Christine Dodd photos by Deja Kreutzberg 3 6

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What is your favorite thing about your art collection?

“When I walk in my house at night and see everything on the walls it gives me a thrill. It’s like visiting my best and warmest friends. It’s a lifetime of collecting that I look at. I enjoy it, admire it, I love sharing it with my friends, I do lectures with art and photography students. It’s wonderful to share because I know I won’t have all of this for forever. It’s wonderful to experience right now.”

What are your favorite pieces? This Page: Upper Right- Sculpture by Jorge Marin; Upper Left- Moroccan Vase; Lower left- Photos of friends and family, including Michael Childers, Falcon, John Schlesinger, David Hockney and Jack Nicholson. Opposite Page: “Patric Morrison’s Wife” by Patrick Morrison

“I love The Girl on the Diving Board by Patrick Morrison. It was painted outside my house in the Hollywood Hills. Patrick was a brilliant Irish painter, a great friend of David Hockney. This was the poster of his show done in the early 80’s. When I saw it, I just had to have it. I didn’t have the money, but thank god I knew the dealer. I put down payments on it, and had to pay it off over a year and a half. Sometimes you do that. I will not part with it. It reminds me so much of that part of my life in Los Angeles in the glories of California. “I’m also very proud of my collection of Hockneys—his drawings, his lithographs, small paintings, his photographs. It’s been the thrill of my life not only to know this great man and artist but to be able to have some of his small pieces.

What are the qualities of a successful artwork?

“Oh god, I wish I knew. Whether it holds its place in time. Sometimes contemporary art looks good for a year or two then it loses its edge, or looks dated, or weak. You want something that is going to be sort of eternal. That’s 48 ART

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why you trade off paintings and get something new. You go through a period where you say, ‘Well, I don’t love that as much as I did at that time.’”

In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting an art collection?

“To have a passion for whatever it is, whether it’s a sculpture, painting, ceramics, glass. To read up before there are any purchases. To know what you’re going for and perhaps figure out a direction that your journey through collecting might take—over a lifetime or the immediate future.“

What is the biggest sacrifice you have made to buy art?

“It’s just figuring out what you want and devoting a portion of your income to collecting. Sometimes it’s a small bit, sometimes it’s much more, sometimes you go into debt to get a great piece. Overall, just keep the excitement of the collecting going.”

Where do you look for art?

“I travel a lot in London, New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs. I always do the galleries and the museums. I always see something new that doesn’t look like anyone else. That always intrigues me.”

Where is your favorite place to view art?

“I love museums and I love seeing great collections at people’s houses. If they have extraordinary collections, it inspires me to do it in a small way. I’m very proud of my photography collection—which was bigger at one time, over a hundred more images. But I have donated a great deal of it to the Palm Springs Art Museum for their permanent collection. Then, I have sold some of it at Sotheby’s for quite a bit of money, which has allowed me to buy more art or more photographs.”

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What called you to being an artist?

“Well, it was the passion for photography. I just wanted to create when I was 17/18 years old at UCLA. I caught the bug. I was in art/photography school. I loved everything about it. I loved being with the young art students, chatting and staying up until three o’clock in the morning talking about art, drinking too much cappuccino, and smoking too many cigarettes. Whether it was film, or printing photographs, or creating art pieces, the most exciting time in my life was when I was young and in art school.”

What would you tell yourself ten to twenty years ago that you wish you knew then?

“My thoughts on what I should have done twenty years ago—you can’t look back. You can’t say, ‘I wish,” “I could have,” “I should have,” “I meant to.’ You do what you do. The main thing is to keep working, to keep producing, keep evolving (that’s the most important thing). Change your look. Change the focus. Find a new genius. Find a new something that inspires you. Constantly. David Hockney does that every five years of his life. He goes in a different direction and reinvents himself. Well, Picasso did that too. He went through realism. He went through cubism. He went through, slightly, for a small bit, serialism. He came back to, finally, figurative art. Just to keep evolving. That’s the most important thing—to explore the art that you’re involved with.” See Michael Childers exhibition at Casa Romantica, Open Casa: “Michael Childers, Legends of Hollywood & Art Photography” on view August 25 - October 15, 2017. Free opening reception Friday, August 25, 2017 at 6:00pm. For more information visit or

Opposite Page: Sculpture by Eugene Jardin Awards shown include: A Golden Bear (Berlin International Film Festival), a Donatello (Venice International Film Fest), an Oscar and a BAFTA. All for John Schlesinger’s directing (Michael Childer’s partner). Michael Childer’s shown awards include Palm Springs Art Fair Distinguished Photographer Award, Art Hamptons Honorary Guest Photographer, National Philanthropy Day Awards.

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GET ART SMART written by Anthony Grant • photos by Jaime Kowal To walk through the blue door that is the sole street entrance to the Holiday House hotel in downtown Palm Springs is to enter an oasis of art. To your right is a cheeky Harland Miller, to your left a Bowie album cover reimagined by Mr. Brainwash, with plenty of nuggets in between. Even more so than in its sister property across town, the Sparrows Lodge, art takes center stage at the Holiday House. Both hotels trace their roots to the early 1950s, although the Holiday House was better known by its previous moniker, the Chase Hotel, until its sparkling re-emergence in April.

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Artwork montage left to right (both pages): Alex Katz, “Moose,” 2013 (we have more of his work in our home); Zeus, “Extasy;” Helena Wurzel, “Lena Dunham Upside Down, 20 x 200 (she lives next door to us in LA); Mr. Brainwash, “Bowie,” 2016 (we purchased this when David Bowie died); Photo by Cliff Watts (this was a gift from the artist, a friend for over 20 years); Photo of KD Lang by Herb Ritts (a gift from the artist from a photo shoot for Gap with Richard); Jeff Brock does Damien Hirst, 2016 (after a large dot print by Damien Hirst in our home); Helena Wurzel, “Standing at the Edge of the Water,” 20 x 200; John Baldessari “Nose/ Silhouette: Red,” 2010 (we purchased several pieces after meeting the artist at his exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum; Found Photograph.

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This Page: John Baldessari, “Plant and Lamp,” 1993; Opposite Page (left to right, top to bottom): We try to buy something on each trip we take, this piece was purchased in San Sebastian, Spain; Sean Scully, “4-10-87,” 2013; David Hockney, “Paper Pools,” 1980 (We chose this piece because it seemed perfect for the Holiday House feel and vibe); Photo by Herb Ritts, Peter Beard (from a Gap ad campaign that was so successful people broke into bus shelters to get this image!) Gift from artist; Page from a Christopher Wool book; John Baldessari, “Plant and Lamp,” 1993; Alex Katz, “Ariel,” 2016, (We fell in love with this piece at an art show and knew it would be perfect for the Holiday House lobby. Room 15 also has a piece, as does the Sparrow Lodge lobby). Artwork not shown includes: Donald Sultan, “Red Poppies” sculpture, 2015; Ruth Asawa, looped wire sculpture, Rosenquist, Ruscha, Retina, Harland Miller, Liechenstein, Jean-Pierre Vasarley, and Cashman.

The duo behind the two establishments, Jeff Brock and Richard Crisman, have come up with a unique recipe for modern hospitality. It’s one whose unlikely combination of refreshing design, cutting edge art and—who would have thought?— communal gourmet dining has made these desert spots twin beacons of hip that draw an international crowd. In the Sparrows Lodge’s aptly named Barn Kitchen, diners take seats at two long tables twice a week to enjoy the set menu of chef Gabriel Woo. It’s something of a throwback, which may be one reason why it works. Ditto for the absence of televisions in the guest rooms. With abundant art to animate the setting (and conversation), who needs TV? On a very hot day in June, I sat down with Brock at the Holiday House to get his take on the hotels’ very personalized art focus. 54 ART

OK. So who is the big art collector of the two of you?

“Richard is more of the high-end art collector and I’m more the one who goes for found objects at estate sales and such. So I actually buy the majority of pieces, whereas he’s the one who buys the blue chip ones.”

But surely your tastes overlap.

“Yes, we have eclectic tastes. That one, for instance [he points to a small frame on the wall behind us] is from a little antique shop in San Sebastian in Spain. I just loved it! And that [pointing again] is from Richard when he worked for the Gap in the 90s, part of a black-and-white campaign, it’s a picture of Peter Beard. “Coming at the acquisition of artworks from both of these directions is what makes it eclectic, and that’s very much our taste. We love having an amazing Donald Sultan piece, and then something we found at a garage sale. And we do that in the rooms, throughout the property, kind of this high-low mix.”

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Artwork montage left to right (both pages): Peter Stackpole, Golden Gate Bridge “Catwalk and Marin Tower,” 1936 (Jeffrey Frankel turned us on to Friends of Photography and we have collected many pieces from the organization); Vintage found original from Smoke Tree Stables; Robert Loughlin, Gift from Stephen Brady (This was the first piece of art we dedicated for Sparrows Lodge, we loved this piece so much we purchased another for the Holiday House lobby); Vintage found original; Wright Morris, untitled 1940-1950; Kate Miss, “Joshua Tree;” Unknown Artist; Unknown Artist; John Patrick McKenzie, Mayor Gavin Newsom from Creativity Explored; William Wegman, “Table Setting,” 1994 (purchased from Friends of Photography); Ellsworth Kelly, “Color Squares 2,” 2011; Ed Ruscha, “City Space,” 2006; John Baldessari, “Hand and/or Feet: Chair and Books/Plate and Egg,” 2010; John F. Kennedy Jr. on wedding day with Gordon Henderson, 1996, Gift from artist; “La Fontelina,” A boat flag from our favorite place, Fontelina Beach Club on Capri; Sean Scully, “Mirror Mirror,” 2002; Ansel Adams, Yosemite “Cathedral Spires and Rocks,” 1949; Photo by Cliff Watts, a gift from the artist. Artwork not shown includes: Liebowitz, Sultan, and Rex Ray.

“I buy a Lichtenstein or Baldessari,” Chrisman interjects, “and Jeff hunts through the Paris flea market and finds kind of unnamed artists that are really super cool. So he’s more about the hunt and the find of what’s new and undiscovered.”

What inspired you to start collecting?

​ hen Richard worked at GAP Inc, the offices W housed the personal collection of the Fisher Family, one of the most notable​collections​in the world. That experience started his appreciation for art and collecting. Gallery owner, Jeffrey Frankel was responsible for his introduction to GAP and subsequently his getting hired. With his first bonus check he asked Jeffrey to help him pick something to start our collection​and that was a Mapplethorpe

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and then an Arbus, which are still our treasured favorites

What are some of your other favorites from your personal collection? In our home we also have a Longo, Ruscha, Katz, John Hubba, Diebenkorn, Elliot Puckett, Hirst, Serra, Priola, and Cartier-Bresson.

Is there artwork in the guest rooms too?

“Yes,” says Brock,” and everything’s different. There’s an Ed Ruscha, some known art but also mixed, the same kind of mix you find in the lobby. A huge Alex Katz in one room … We keep a catalogue so we know what art we have in each room. We have some Mr. Brainwash.“There’s

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probably 250 to 300 pieces of art in this hotel,” Brock continues, “and they’re all either blue-chip or one-off or some combination of that; there’s no two pieces that are the same on the property. And most of the rooms have a montage of work, there’s probably like six to eight pieces in each room. And more in some of the bigger rooms. And that applies for Sparrows too. There’s a Donald Sultan in one of those rooms, there’s a Richard Serra in another.”

Did you have the idea of making Holiday House into an art-minded hotel before it opened, or was it more of a happy coincidence that so much of your art found another home here?

“At the Sparrows we put in our own collection, so we already had those pieces, or most of them, beforehand, and our idea was to share it. But we wanted with Sparrows, it being such a rustic environment, to bring it up a level and make it very high-and-low and add some credibility such as by having the oversized Annie Leibovitz book in the front and an Ellsworth Kelly … People are like, ‘OMG I can’t believe you have this great art in a hotel, especially a rustic hotel!’ It kind of adds an element of surprise. “For Holiday House, on the other hand, we bought most of the pieces. We wanted to do a hotel that has art in it, because that’s very much us and our expression and we wanted it to be authentic, so we didn’t want to put the same art in every room.”

Is it fair to call Holiday House an “art hotel”?

“I think we’re art-oriented and design-driven. People say the hotel feels very homey and the different art in every room is one of the things that contributes to that.”

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You’re also adding a little bit of a twist to the classic Palm Springs inn experience, traditionally centered around the pool and so forth. It’s more of an urban inflection?

“Absolutely. And I think unlike at some other properties, we try to change the mood from morning to mid-day to evening, so that when you’re here you feel like you’ve had some different experiences on the property … Maybe it’s the candles at night, or the music changing. “And there’s a synergy between the Holiday House and Sparrows in terms of the guests too. Sparrows will have the communal dinner Wednesdays and Saturdays, and from the fall HH will have them Tuesdays and Fridays, so we’ll have those dinner experiences for the guests at both hotels. People actually like to be ambassadors for the properties, telling guests that they might sit next to at one of the dinners, ‘Hey, you’ve got to check out the other place too!’”

And these beautiful art books?

“All the books are ours, too. Someone stole one from Sparrows once and must have felt guilty because he sent it back with an anonymous note saying, ‘I love everything about the hotel, I love your books and I took your book but now I’m sending it back with a few extras.’ We love that he shared that with us and sent us even more books! So we framed his note and put it in the lobby.” For more info, visit and

Jeff Brock and Richard Crisman leaving Fontilina in front of the Faraglioni

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the Secrets of Her Remarkable Success

written by Christine Dodd & Grove Koger photos by Ryan Garvin




Enjoying the finished project in the custom designed outdoor space (Client: Christie Vu; Designer, Rejoy Marsella) Ultra durable Neolith slab used on outdoor fire pit.

Thanks to her unique insight and talents, Rejoy Marsella’s interior design firm—named Rejoy Interiors, naturally—has been recognized repeatedly for outstanding service and design, garnishing multiple Platinum and Gold Awards from the American Society of Interior Designers year after year. Marsella herself was named one of Orange County’s Most Dynamic Women by Riviera Magazine in 2014, and her work has been featured on the television program Merge with Lisa Rinna. Marsella credits a fellow designer with providing her with one of the keys to her success. ”One of my biggest designer inspirations, Barbara Barry, once said, ’Do everything you do with love.’ To be good at anything in life we have put our whole heart into it. When you’re loving what you do, your creativity just works for you.”

That love involves Marsella’s ability to understand a client’s needs and translate those needs into a thing of beauty. “For an interior design project to be successful,” she explains, “it must reflect the style, essence and functional needs of the people who are going to be enjoying the spaces. It also must evoke the emotion that those individuals want to feel in their spaces. For example, clients may want a bedroom to feel peaceful and calming but a media room to inspire energy and interaction.” As she discusses the reasons for her success, Marsella identifies the factors that someone might want to consider before hiring an interior designer. “First, your designer must be a good listener and be fully present. A good designer studies and takes in all the nuances about your personal style and desires. Second, does the designer’s body of work display variety? This is

The wall treatment was painted by local artist, Charee Nickens. Custom drapery is accented with fabric from the Dining Chairs. Outdoor fabric was used on the custom dining chairs to ensure stain residence. Adding live plants to the space adds softness and brings the outdoors in. ART 63

Top Row: Using wallpaper in the back of bookcases adds interest and unifies your bookcases with the rest of the room; The dining room utilizes the layering effect of accents in gold and pink; Baby Ryan enjoying his parents new free standing glam bathtub; A black accent wall adds high drama to any space. The key is to add contrast. In this case, we used a white headboard and mirrored nightstands. Bottom Row: The master bathroom is glamourous in a black and white pallet; A precious baby boy was born right as we completed the full home remodel. This space was custom designed just in time for his arrival; A white baby grand piano is always so chic!; Sea Foam, Navy and Grey is such a handsome color combination for a Boy’s Room.

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important because you want something customdesigned just for you. And last, will you enjoy the designer’s company? The relationship is very personal and you spend a good amount of time together, so it’s important that you communicate well and enjoy each other’s company.” Speaking of her most recent project for Christie Vu, a “beautiful, glamorous woman,” Marsella describes how those factors came into play as she captured the client’s “vibe and her functional needs” for her Hollywood Glam-styled home,” adding, “She loves it!” Besides Barbara Barry, Marsella has drawn inspiration from Mary McDonald “for the elegance in her work” and Barry Darr Dixon for the “traditional charm his designs embody.” Martyn Lawrence Bullard “is fabulous for his ability to layer and come up with fun, bold design projects that are always glamorous and unique.” Marsella remembers her first interior design project, designing her very own Barbie dream house when she was five years old. “I asked my grandmother to buy me one of those pink, plastic houses. Instead, she responded with ’Why don’t you make one?’ and handed me a cardboard box.

I spent hours designing that little house! I wanted it to be special, so I remember drawing on the walls to create the illusion of wallpaper. I used drinking straws and tape to make curtain rods and hung tissue paper as drapery panels. I’ll never forget the feeling of just using my imagination and playing, being completely lost in creating. On that day I fell in love with designing and I have loved interior design ever since. ’Thank you, Grandma!’” Marsella credits her mother, too, explaining that she “knew what she was doing when she put ‘joy’ in my name. I know that’s my calling. When my clients light up like a Christmas tree when they see their newly designed home, I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing that feels for me!” Marsella’s personal motto is her professional one as well: “’Design a joy-filled life.’ I believe we are the authors of our own lives, and I intend to write mine with as much joy and gratitude as I possibly can.” For more information about Rejoy Marsella and Rejoy Interiors, visit

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Catalina Tile & Catalina Pottery written by Grove Koger photos by Tom Lamb and Christine Dodd


Avalon, Catalina Island: Above, Tile on iconic fountain reproduced by Silver Canyon Tile; Right, Tile at City Hall and Fire Station reproduced by Silver Canyon Tile; Images far right: from Bird Park original Catalina Tile. photos by Christine Dodd

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t seems that William Wrigley Jr. had gone for a drive one day in 1927 with his master builder, David Malcolm Renton, when their car got stuck in a patch of red clay near the Avalon golf course. When D.M., as everyone called him, suggested that the sticky stuff might be good material for bricks, Wrigley gave the builder the go-ahead to investigate. Known far and wide as the “Chewing Gum King,” Wrigley had bought Santa Catalina in 1919, hoping to turn it into a resort. Given his plans, he was always looking for ways to develop his investment while providing the local work force with steady employment. As it turned out, D.M. was right about the clay’s potential, and the result was a new division of Wrigley’s Santa Catalina Island Company—a tile factory operating on Pebbly Beach. D.M. was enthusiastic about the operation, whose products would be marketed as Catalina Tile. The factory, he assured his boss, “will allow us to do some wonderful artistic work in our building program in the future, and within the next five years Catalina no doubt will undergo a wonderful change.” ART 67








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A strong selling-point for Catalina’s wares is that when you bought a tile or a pot, you were buying a little piece of the island. At first Catalina Clay Products, as the division was known, produced bricks for Wrigley’s construction business in addition to roofing tiles and brightly decorated tiles for floors, patio and table tops. The Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix (yet another Wrigley enterprise) lined its pool with Catalina tiles, and of course original examples of the evocative tiles remain a prominent feature of many of Avalon’s buildings to this day. As a sideline, the factory also turned out paperweights and the like imprinted with island motifs and tinted with a copper green wash. Within a short time Catalina Clay Products also began producing plates, lamps, tea services and so on. The company adopted a range of traditional forms and styles—Spanish Revival, Mexican, Native American, Moorish, and Art Deco—as well as creating new ones. Its first set of tableware, which it marketed as “Catalina Pottery for the refined home,” appeared in 1930 and quickly became a company staple. A story in the December 27, 1931, edition of the Los Angeles Times noted that what it called “Avalon-ware” was “recognizable for its flint-like hardness and beauty of form and color.” Within a few years the company was turning out more than 30,000 pieces a month, and eventually created hundreds of colorful shapes and designs. Catalina’s wares were sold in company stores on the island itself and in the Olvera Street section of Los Angeles, as well as by Marshall Field’s of Chicago and Lord & Taylor of New York. A strong selling-point for Catalina’s wares is that when you bought a tile or a pot, you were buying a little piece of the island. The clay was a Catalina product, of course, but even the glazes were claimed to be prepared from locally mined minerals, including silica, aluminum and uranium oxides. As a result, the company was able to produce its tiles in a range of rich colors, including Monterey brown, Descanso green, Catalina blue, Mandarin (or Manchu) yellow, and Toyon red. This last was named for the bright red berries of the shrubby toyon tree (a member of the rose family) that had been one of the favorite foods of the Native Americans. Waxing poetic about the distinctive hues, the author of an article from a 1932 issue of the Catalina Islander wrote that “the rich colorings of the satiny mat glazes … have caught in them the joyous golds of the California sun, the vivid blue of the laughing waters of the Pacific, the soft greens of early Spring and rich browns of Autumn, the red of December toyon and poinsettia.”

Shaws Cove Estate stairs, Laguna Beach, CA Original Catalina Tile, photo by Tom Lamb ART 69

Cena Caterine Painter of Heavenly Places

Shaws Cove estate, Laguna Beach, CA, Original Catalina Tile photo by Tom Lamb

Alas, the Chewing Gum King passed away in 1932. And it was about this same time that the company started mixing white clay from the mainland (or “overtown,” as Catalina’s residents thought of it) with the island clay. As beautiful as they may have been when fired, and despite what the Los Angeles Times thought about their “flintlike hardness,” the pieces made entirely from Catalina’s red clay chipped easily. White clay had actually been discovered on the island in 1929, and, as D.M. had observed at the time, “the enamel takes very much better on the white than the red.” The beginning of the end for Catalina Tile and Catalina Pottery came in 1937. That year Catalina Clay Products sold its molds and trademarks to an overtown company, Gladding, McBean, which continued to turn out Catalina Pottery until 1942. But the new company chose not to lease the plant at Pebbly Beach, citing the high cost of transporting materials. The molds and the name went through a few more vicissitudes, but of course the physical—and vital— connection to the “island of romance” had been lost. Silver Canyon Pottery is located on scenic Catalina Island. Robin is widely known for her work restoring the tiles of downtown Avalon. Silver Canyon Tile specializes in the distinctive “cuenca” style of tile and has replaced 40% of downtown Avalon in restoration efforts. Her most recent endeavor has been to bring the history and fun of tile making to the visitors to the island via her popular studio tours. For more information visit 760-218-6637

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The Shaws Cove estate sits in a prime Laguna Beach oceanfront location. Originally constructed for the J. Roy Smith ranching family in 1928, this classically designed Mediterranean Revival beach-front home has been meticulously restored. From it’s prominent oceanfront location to the property’s rich architectural and owner history, 989 Cliff Drive is a unique opportunity. For more information about the Shaws Cove estate, featured with original Catalina Tile in this article, visit or contact colisting agents Hanz Radlein at or Michael Johnson at

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Lee Blair, “Mary by the Sea,” 1934, oil on canvas.

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This Page: Ryan Campbell in his studio. Opposite Page: “Line Segments number 81’ (diptych) 24”x 24,” 24”x 24” latex and aerosol on canvas. 2017. 76 ART


Artist Ryan Campbell Says This Credo Shaped the Career He Never Dreamed He Could Have written by Linda L. McAllister photos by Terry Hastings and Deja Kreutzberg

As a six-year-old, painter and sculptor Ryan Campbell experienced what he describes as pure joy for the first time. “I was coloring at my table and remember saying, ‘I love to scribble scrabble.’” He never quit loving it. On a family trip to Venice Beach when he was a teen, the Los Angeles native saw boldly tagged graffiti for the first time. “I was enamored with the size, the color of it and that it was done illegally, at night, in the dark,” he remembers. “The mystique behind it and the mischievousness of it—that was a real rush for me.” By the time he was 16, Campbell was part of a graffiti crew that scrawled and sprayed its creations

on the sides of boxcars and along freeways in the San Fernando Valley and beyond for nearly a decade. “Graffiti art was my second job.” Although he worked in retail and restaurants growing up, the art was what got him through the day. “I always had three things with me, and it was never my homework,” Campbell recalls, laughing. “I had a sketchbook, one or two graffiti magazines and a pack of markers. I drifted away into this world that felt so right.” Campbell is lucky to even be in this world. Born with serious deformities in his heart and bowels, he spent much of his youth in and out of hospitals. “I had 15 surgeries by the time I was 13, so I watched movies and colored a lot.” It was ART 77

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Opposite Page Top: “Line Segments,” Steel Sculpture, work in progress; Bottom Left: Paint cans detail; Bottom Right: New works on paper detail. This Page: White on white painting detail.

during that time, given art supplies by his parents to keep him busy while in bed, that art became part of his recovery. By 2001, Campbell was living full-time in the Coachella Valley and had enrolled in art classes at the College of the Desert, where he says he learned important lessons. The late Bill Kohl told him his sketchbook showed real promise and then taught him how to create handmade paper, while Professor David Einstein gave him the artist’s credo that Campbell still lives by today: “Make work every single day.” The next ten years were transformative. “I was at a point that graffiti had run its course; it was no longer the thrill it once was,” explains Campbell. The restaurant where he worked closed, so he got a job painting a sign, earning enough to pay a month’s rent. He began working with galleries on art installation and restoration. “At these homes where I was doing installations, I’d see beautiful gazebos, lined patterns and shadow patterns extending across the ground and on the walls, and I wanted to emulate that. I started to paint lines in my backgrounds, and at some point, those backgrounds overtook the foreground.” The intrigue and excitement of his craft returned. Campbell was mentored by the likes of Russell Jacques, Gesso Cocteau and Phillip K. Smith. “I’ve worked in each of their studios and I learned what you can’t learn in school.” Their guidance and Campbell’s aim to “make work every single day” helped him land his first significant sale: concert promoter Goldenvoice commissioned 13 of his paintings for installation in its private homes and offices. ART 79

Line Segments number 82 48”x 60” Latex and aerosol on canvas 2017.

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Desk detail with Circle, square, triangle framed aerosol works on paper 2015.

Other minimalist artists who inspire Campbell include Ed Moses, Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt and controversial L.A. graffiti writer Jason REVOK. “I’m an experimental painter with wonderful mediums and surfaces,” he explains. “From time to time, I find myself in great situations, and the excitement and magic come out.” When pressed to describe his own style, the artist says he paints geometric abstraction, creating contrasts between elements, layers and colors, but adds, “I don’t like to limit myself with a label in one distinctive category.” Most recently his body of work includes larger-than-life angular sculptures in a variety of metal finishes. When he was younger, Campbell thought he’d follow his father into the restaurant business. Turns out, he did in a sense—his Cathedral City art studio is located behind an Italian bakery where fresh-from-the-oven cookies give his space the heady aroma of butter mixed with warm sugar. A place of orderly chaos, the studio is scattered with the tools of his trade: cans of aerosol, latex paint in every color, wood spacers, thin sheets of metal leaves, paper, plaster, steel, wooden slats … and “boatloads of masking tape,” Campbell adds with a laugh. Campbell sees his paintings as a study in contrasts, as he is himself: a rebel kid who reformed. An unfocused student, now laser-focused and devoted to his art. Married two years ago, the 36-year-old Palm Desert resident and wild-child graffiti artist turned hard-edge painter has a self-described soft spot for his wife, Waleska. “She took a leap of faith to marry me,” he remarks, grinning. And with Campbell’s ever-growing body of work and leap of faith in himself, it’s all paying off. Follow Campbell’s work on instagram @RMC1 or for more information visit his website at

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a SHOW of HANDS Welcome to the House of Stephen Baumbach written by Angela Romeo 82 ART

And with that, one enters the world of photographer Stephen Baumbach. Within the walls of his studio one must leave ego, id and super id behind. It is here that Baumbach is photographer, artist, mentor, teacher, critic, advocate (devil’s and otherwise) and friend. Born into a military family living at Edwards Air Force Base, Baumbach spent his youth in Kern County. But military life involves moving from place to place, and the skills involved in moving have served Baumbach well, as he has lived in locations from Japan to Boston. This lifetime of travel has led Baumbach to his now. “I have found my way,” he explains. “I have always known I am an artist, but to say those words is the result of a lifetime of

journeys. My father was not impressed with my decision, so he decided that the military would be the better choice. I spent 20 years in the Air Force. From there I did my time in the corporate world. I spent the last few years in that world trying to get fired, but the more abrasive and brash I was, the more the corporate world embraced me. Finally I just had to quit.” Drawing upon the discipline from his military days, the acumen from his corporate days and his artistic talent, Baumbach opened the doors to his studio in 2005. “To earn the elusive dollar, I became an accomplished portrait and real estate photographer,” he notes. “But I continued to experiment and explore the outer limits of photography.” Well-versed in old-school methods, Baumbach understands the joys and vagaries of the darkroom. “With film there is always

an element of surprise. The eye takes the image. Next, in the darkroom the negative is produced. The surprise—did the eye capture the image? That is the reveal moment. At that point the negative can be manipulated, or not, to create a photograph.” Baumbach also began to explore digital in 2005. “The process is the same. The eye takes that image. Photoshop becomes the new dark room. Anything Photoshop can do can be done in the darkroom. “But what digital photography has done is create bloat,” Baumbach continues. “Many tell me they have 500,000 images stored. I have to ask why. Can saving all 500,000 images be justified? I doubt it. Someone with 500,000 images likely has only a few thousand worth storing.” Here is where the harsh reality of Baumbach’s house takes root. “Social media have ART 83

created a cult of fake adoration. For every posted image that elicits an ‘awesome,’ the reality is different. An objective eye can tell the difference between a snapshot and a photograph. Each has its place, but the two are not the same.” And here is where Baumbach’s critical thinking takes over. “A person asking me for guidance needs to be open. When I teach, I start with the very basics—a pinhole camera. You cannot be a photographer in the digital age without knowing the basics and the history of photography.

“Many digital photographers don’t understand the dials, buttons and levels on their cameras,” Baumbach points out. “Even basic concepts of photography—depth of field comes to mind—are unknown. I teach these basics. I teach about the history of photography. For example, Matthew Brady, known for Civil War battlefield photos, used highly explosive silver halide. The silver crystals make up an image on a negative. When exposed to light, the crystals create an image. The crystals not exposed are washed off, leaving either a negative (film) or positive (print) image. Brady and his assistants used this

Reginald M. Pollack 1 924-2001

Heavenly Artifact, 1970 24x24, Oil on Panel

Job Sees Behemoth, 1978 48x45, Oil on Panel

Sky Event, 1989 48x48, Oil on Panel

Included in prominent museums and private collections; including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vincent Price Gallery & Art Museum, Museum of Modem Art, and Palm Springs Art Museum. • 760-320-1424 84 ART

method on the battlefield. What is little known is that, because silver halide is explosive, several of Brady’s assitants were killed. Yes, we have come a long way with the technology, but the basics remain.” Baumbach comes back the basics quite often. “An artist does not take a photograph. A photographer is making an image. Two different issues. If one is constantly fixing an image in postproduction, Photoshop, there is a problem. The problem is with the photographer. Lack of knowledge will always be revealed. “I am a better photographer – not because of ego but because of education. I keep learning. I want to share what I learned. Here, in this space, photographers of all skill levels can gather to work and to share knowledge. Here we can network and bring jobs to the area. I find it incredible that local publications and businesses will look outside this valley for photography services. Look around—the talent is here! Why ignore it?” Nowhere is Baumbach’s respect for the artist more evident than in his forthcoming exhibition, A Show of Hands. Opening September 2017 with the reception on the 6th of that month, A Show of Hands features intimate photographs of the hands of Coachella Valley and High Desert artists. “These black and white photos offer no judgments,” Baumbach explains. “The works show no faces and no artwork. I focused only on the hands of the artists, and the photos reveal their more vulnerable, intimate side. “When I proposed the project, I was not certain of the response, but I could not have asked for a more sincere outpouring from the artist community. I have had the pleasurer to sit with 100 artists. The experience of talking with each on an intimate level was humbling. Some of the artists I knew, some I met for the first time. But with each encounter I learned about

the person. The very art of photographing the hands was more intimate than any photography I have ever done. The strength and vulnerability of the artists shine through. What they create is secondary to the hands that create the work. “The intimacy of the encounter was best captured in black & white,” continues Baumbach. “Color was not an option. The simplicity of the background, devoid of distractions, creates a powerful image. “Artists came in to my house, my studio, hands covered with paint—proof of their existence as artists. They revealed parts of their hidden selves. Miguel Criado had lost his legs, and we discussed that moment and how his prostheses carry him forward. I photographed Miguel with his hand on his titanium leg.” The desert’s Grande Dame of artists, says Baumbach, is Peggy Vermeer, who is in her nineties and still creating. ”Peggy sat and folded her hands, which tell a story of dignity, beauty and elegance. The position was natural and exemplified a quiet strength that is rare. “I am an artist charged with capturing a moment in time. A Show of Hands is more than an exhibition of my work. It is capturing history. I took that task seriously. The most difficult photograph? My own hands. I know their story beitter than anyone.” To bare one’s own self is unsettling. A Show of Hands is far more intimate than had the artists been photographed in the nude. It is an expression of Baumbach’s respect for art and the hands that create it. Stephen Baumbach—thank you. A Show of Hands, September 6th from 6-9pm at the Backstreet Art District, 4116 Mathew Drive Palm Springs. For more information visit

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HOPA, a venue with a singular mission of introducing photography to Orange County, joining San Diego & Los Angeles as a major West Coast reservoir of important photography of the 20th and 21st century. Currently showing “Marilyn” by noted photographers, & “Graham Nash”

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Hand Pulled Platinum/ Palladium Photography Commissions P.O. Box 473, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 949.280.2753 c 949.715.3722 s

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ART INSTALLATION • (714) 418-4400 County Fine Art Storage is located in central 1315Orange S. Allec Street, Anaheim, CA 92805 Orange County, in close proximity to Los Angeles, San Diego and the Palm Desert communities.


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“THE WATCHER” “16×20” (Oil on canvas- Mischtechnik)

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