“Searching For Heroes” With Santa Monica Artist Gus Harper
Posted Jan. 17, 2014, 10:39 am
Kathy Leonardo / Mirror Contributor
Artist Gus Harper has always loved Santa Monica. Born and raised in the beach community, his parents still live in the same house where he was raised.
Harper and his three siblings attended Santa Monica High School.
“I loved growing up in Santa Monica,” says Harper. “It has always been a happy place for me. It’s changed a lot and I still love it.”
Harper’s mother, also an artist, encouraged her children’s creative talents by introducing them early on to the arts.
Like most children, Harper liked to draw. When he was young he would draw dragons with his best friend Justin as his mom’s work was being featured in art exhibitions around town. A frequent visitor to her shows, Harper reflects, “I think it was good for me to see that adults could be artists. I never doubted that it was something that I could do too when I grew up.”
Harper has in fact achieved that dream of being a successful working artist.
“My mom exposed me to art at a young age,” recounts Harper. “I can remember her taking me to LACMA when I was so young that I was learning my ABCs.”
Harper’s mother imparted her love of art to her son at an early age… teaching the fundamentals of art and the importance of balance and color while they explored museums and galleries together.
Harper recalls the irony of seeing the work of renowned portrait painter Don Bachardy on one of his museum trips with his mom.
Years later, when Harper was 27, he would pose for the famed artist.
Harper’s new show “Searching For Heroes” pays tribute to the inspiration each artist finds though his or her heroes.
“I’ve been working on this for a while and I have found it challenging and exciting,” confides Harper. “There are lots of somewhat hidden references to people I know and some of my own experiences.”
Harper finds solace as well as inspiration in the support of his family and friends.
He explains, “My parents were so influential and supportive. Both my parents and my siblings come to all of my shows. Having so much support is humbling. I remember at a show about a year ago I walked into the back room and was shocked by how many Samohi people were there. It was like a reunion.”
“Searching For Heroes” opens with an artist reception this Saturday, Jan. 18 from 6-11 pm at Gus Harper’s Studio, 11306 Venice Boulevard, LA 90066. The exhibition will remain on view for one month by appointment.
For more information, call 310.699.9509 or visit gusharperart.com.