February 23, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Good Taste: Art That Speaks to Me

By Barbara Bishop

I’m really excited. I just bought my first piece of original art for my new home. And for me, it was from the most unlikely place. But it was really the perfect place, now that I think about it.

When I first came to Los Angeles, I stayed in a run-down studio apartment in Venice; a friend of a friend’s apartment. I slept on the floor in a sleeping bag, with remnants of beach sand at the bottom of the bag. Kind of depressing; thank god it was for only a weekend.

The highlight of my trip to La La Land was the larger than life, brightly colored, seascape mural on a huge slab of concrete near the beach, created by an artist named Wyland.

Robert Wyland, commonly known as Wyland, is an American artist best known for his 100 Whaling Walls, large outdoor murals featuring images of life-size whales and other sea life.

It represented the free-spirited energy of Los Angeles to me. I knew then I wanted to move here. Seven years later, I did.

As the years went by, I always appreciated the whimsical art of Wyatt; always visiting his galleries in while in Carmel, Laguna Beach, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe or San Diego. Fast forward to last week; it’s been more than 30 years since I first gazed upon Wyland’s concrete, sea-life masterpiece In Venice.

I attended a gallery opening last week for Wyland. Yup, the same guy who painted that huge ocean mural. His first gallery in Santa Monica. On 4th and Broadway, it’s a small place, filled with his work. That night, the space was also filled with fans, friends and family.

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, of which I am a board member, had a ribbon cutting for his new digs. I would not have known about the event if I wasn’t involved in the Chamber.

After the ribbon was cut, Wyland stood at the front door, welcoming guests and taking photos with them. I took my photo with the artist, shook his hand and walked inside the gallery.

I was served a glass of wine; I sipped it slowly as I walked around, admiring his art. His work is very bright, uses lots of color and is always reflective of the ocean and sea life. He also has one of a kind sculptures, mainly dolphins and whales, using many elements, including glass, wood and metals. Prices were clearly out of my range for most of his work.

I wasn’t there to buy anything anyway. None of it would really go with my new apartment. Unlike the place in Venice Beach I crashed at so many years ago, my apartment is a 1920s original architectural stunner, meticulously cared for, for almost 100 years. I furnished it “Vintage Hollywood Glam,” using greys, browns, beiges and silvers, with touches of turquoise. My special nod to the Pacific Ocean. The only thing that was missing was that unique piece of art, filling the spirit of the place.

It was getting pretty hot and crowded in the main room of the gallery. I ducked into a smaller, less populated room with the AC on full blast. I looked around. There were about 6 of his pieces displayed. Nice.

And then, I found my unique, one-of-a-kind, original piece of art.

It was understated, unlike most of his work. Beautifully framed, it was a sketch of a sea turtle swimming up to the top of the sea. The colors were brown, gray, beige and silver. The sea was sketched in turquoise, a color Wyland does not use very often. (He uses a deep blue most of the time.) And it was one of a kind. An original.

I talked myself out of it, saying that I could not afford it, and even if I could, I shouldn’t be spending money on art. I had just begun to enjoy a recovery from the 2008 (for me it was 2009) economic disaster. The piece was under $2,000, but it was hard for me to substantiate the purchase.

I spoke with the gallery representative, who went out of his way to make it affordable for me. I am paying it in payments, with a 10% down payment. And Wyland will sign it. I’ll have it in a couple of months.

It spoke to me. It was the perfect size. The perfect colors. I could feel the energy of the turtle emerging from the sea; taking a deep breath. That sea turtle was me.

Mirror columnist Barbara Bishop.

Related Posts

S.M.a.r.t Column: Gelson’s Looms Large

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Our guest column this week is by SMCLC (the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City). SMCLC is a well-established...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Top Toady Town

February 18, 2024

February 18, 2024

Throughout history, from the ancient Romans and Assyrians to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, siege warfare has served as an...

S.M.a.r.t Column: The Sunset of Home Ownership

February 11, 2024

February 11, 2024

We are watching the sunset of our historical and cultural American dream of home ownership as we now are crossing...

SMa.r.t. Column: B(U)Y RIGHT

February 4, 2024

February 4, 2024

“By Right” state housing laws that give developers, in certain projects, the ability to ignore codes ‘by right.’ Well, that...

S.M.a.r.t  Column: Serf City

January 28, 2024

January 28, 2024

Homelessness is a problem in California, and nowhere is this more evident than in our fair city, where the unhoused...

S.M.a.r.t  Column: Bond Fatigue

January 22, 2024

January 22, 2024

Last week’s SMart article,  described two critical problems faced by our Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD): the declining...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Peace on Earth

December 27, 2023

December 27, 2023

We are all, by now, saturated with jingles, holiday cards, “ho ho ho’s,” countless commercial advertisements, and exhortations to feel...

S.M.a.r.t Column: On the Clock with Mayor Brock

December 17, 2023

December 17, 2023

I became Santa Monica’s Mayor on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, following a simple “switch of the chairs” transition with outgoing...

S.M.a.r.t Column: SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL 2024

December 10, 2023

December 10, 2023

Position:Seeking Santa Monica City Council Candidate(s) Introduction:Exciting opportunity for the right candidate(s) to work with like-minded Council members committed to...

S.M.a.r.t Column: ARB (NOT Ready to Build!)

December 3, 2023

December 3, 2023

Santa Monica City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB), established in 1974, acts “…to preserve existing areas of natural beauty, cultural importance...

SMa.r.t. Column: We are thankful for….

November 27, 2023

November 27, 2023

SMa.r.t. would like to wish you all a great Thanksgiving with friends and family and also to thank its readers...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Make the City New Again

November 19, 2023

November 19, 2023

When the COVID crisis struck, it cut the city’s income in half, demolishing many businesses and causing widespread layoffs and...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Four Futures

October 29, 2023

October 29, 2023

As well described by Paul Krugman, all cities have a core competency: things they do well or better regionally or...

SMa.r.t column: Beautiful Quartz Countertops Are Hurting Workers and Should Be Banned

October 9, 2023

October 9, 2023

Quartz countertops are super popular because they’re tough and can handle stains, scratches, and heat. But there’s a big problem:...

S.M.a.r.t Column: Architect’s Son Reflects On Civic Auditorium

October 2, 2023

October 2, 2023

Welton (David) Becket (1902-1969), pictured above, backed by a picture of our Civic Auditorium, was the designer of that famed...