Artists Showcase Their Work at Airport ArtWalk

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the day before the beginning of spring, airplanes, as usual, flew overhead at the Santa Monica Airport. Yet something livelier was proceeding on land. The Fourth Annual Santa Monica Airport ArtWalk, hosted by the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division and the Santa Monica Airport, was not as outlandish as one might expect.

Visitors were diverse, and sometimes eccentric, as more than 60 local artists and performers opened up their personal studios and displayed their work. The wide array of exhibited art was a testament to the magnitude of talent in the area.

Prominent on the ArtWalk was "Found," the current exhibition at ARENA 1 Gallery curated by Sandra Vista. The show, on display to coincide with next month's Earth Day, was built on the concept of recycling. Vista and five other mixed-media and collage artists began by taking "field-trips" to scrap yards to create their works. They used ordinary objects like playing cards and scraps of wood in extraordinary ways to create works that were texturally unexpected and visually appealing, so appealing, in fact, that at one point Vista called into the crowd, "Please don't touch the artwork. Keep your mitts off the zipper tabs."

Walking into the artists' studios was a peek into their personalities, history, culture, and self-expression. Shelves were stocked with art books, inspirational trinkets and brushes.

In another portion of the ArtWalk, Michael Wolf, a pop surrealist who has been subletting a room at the airport for five years, said, "I float between society and hillbillies." He has recently delved into neon colors and likes to build up paint. Wolf noted that creating the impasto texture takes months because the paint never seems to dry. "Each work includes a part of me, like a mini-self-portrait," he said.

Ron L. Zheg's "Poetography" was exhibited in an enjoining hall. A series of black and white photos, this impressionistic composition was enhanced with poetry. One piece read, "Like a tapestry all spread out, Los Angeles[sic], the people as threads, white, black, copper, yellow, brown; making a beautiful life."

Less conventional works of art were also on display, including Daniel Edlen's vinyl art. Edlen individually paints the antiquated black disks, and in essence, brings new life to vinyl records that have been replaced through the generations by cassette tapes, CDs, and, currently, MP3s.

Sculptures and pieces of jewelry were also for sale.

Artist exhibitions were accompanied by performances from the Ruskin Group Theatre. Additionally, special discounts at local restaurants were doled out and the topic of the imminent re-opening of the Museum Of Flying was discussed.

Altogether, the community was welcomed into the artists' studios and given a chance to enjoy the surrounding art as airplanes rumbled overhead.