August 13, 2022 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

OpED: Santa Monica Police Officers Association on Downtown Presence

August 12, 2022

August 12, 2022

By The Santa Monica Police Officers Association Recently, there has been increased public dialogue around the topic of crime and...

Review: A Santa Monica Restaurant’s New Happy Hour is Top-Notch

August 10, 2022

August 10, 2022

By Dolores Quintana Birdie G’s in Santa Monica has a new Happy Hour and it is something special. For one...

SMa.r.t. Column: Ode to the Future of My City

August 8, 2022

August 8, 2022

How sad it is to journey to Santa Monica and I can’t find it.The open blue sky hides behind canyon...

SMa.r.t. Column: Why Native Gardens?

July 22, 2022

July 22, 2022

Voltaire said it best at the end of his 1759 novel  Candide: “We must cultivate our own garden”. This simple...

SMa.r.t. Column: We’re All Wet – Not!

July 15, 2022

July 15, 2022

Don’t you think that if you heard, or read, statements from controlling government agencies that said you were threatened by...

Affordability Answer: A New Tax on Housing Speculators?

July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist The TV commercials and online ads are fast becoming ubiquitous: “We’ll buy your house as is,”...

SMar.t. Column: Has the Promenade Turned a Corner?

July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022

In large complex systems with dynamically balanced forces, it’s paradoxically often hard to tell when something has actually happened, For...

Column: Groundwater Law Has Not Stopped Subsidence

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

By Tom Elias Drive almost any road in the vast San Joaquin Valley and you’ll see irrigation pipes standing up...

SMa.r.t. Column: It’s Time to Look at the Facts of Santa Monica’s Housing History

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

The Narrative: Santa Monica’s decades-long housing construction “shortage”  The Narrative endlessly repeats the refrain that for decades Santa Monica has...

SMa.r.t. Column: The Mansionization of Santa Monica

June 17, 2022

June 17, 2022

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in print in 2016.  In the 1980s, Santa Monica’s single family zoning code was...

OP-Ed Response to DTSM Board Chair Barry Snell and Plea to City Council Regarding Safety Ambassadors and Ambassador Program

June 14, 2022

June 14, 2022

I am responding to the OP-ED (dated June 7, 2022, Santa Monica Mirror) by City-appointed DTSM Board Member and now...

SMa.r.t. Column: Wheeling Electrically

June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022

A recent weekend visit to Dana Point, on the Orange County coastline, revealed a curious scene: dozens, if not hundreds...

Population Loss: New Era or Pandemic Glitch?

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

By Tom Elias, Columnist The numbers suggest a major change is underway in California. It would take a Nostradamus to...

SMa.r.t. Column: The Sound of Silence Is Big & Tall

June 3, 2022

June 3, 2022

All too often these days we find ourselves wondering how we could have been so correct about so many planning...