Fly away with art

Aviation and art are not normally put in the same sentence. But on Saturday, the two were brought together with flying colors.

The city of Santa Monica hosted its seventh annual Santa Monica Airport ArtWalk on Saturday, which included artists from the Santa Monica College Art Mentor Program, a one-year program that helps student artists develop their personal work.

"This is our advanced students population, those who have gone through our regular foundation course," said Ronald Davis, chair of the art department at SMC. "These are students who are now preparing to go to four-year schools, universities and art schools."

According to Davis, many SMC student artists have recently moved on to study at New York University, University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Irvine.

Ozzie Juarez, fine arts major at SMC and part of the Art Mentor Program, was present at the ArtWalk.

"The Art Mentor Program has helped me because it has developed me as an artist," he said.

Juarez said that his motivation for becoming an art major came from the inspiration he received from his professors who have helped him along the way. Juarez was initially studying aviation.

The main reason he said he makes art is for the feedback.

"It makes me really happy seeing people stop to pay attention to my art," Juarez said.

This year's ArtWalk was SMC professor Emily Silver's first with students. Silver teaches three-dimensional design and beginning drawing, and believes an event like ArtWalk is beneficial for college artists.

"I think it's important to know your audience as an artist," Silver said. "You make work to put out into the world, and it's great that they can come to the classroom and talk about their artwork."

SMC art student Anthony Johnson described his bright, colorful paintings as surreal expressionism. The Airport ArtWalk was his first exhibition of any kind.

"My inspiration really comes from everything art, science, everything that is around me," he said.
"The mentor program is changing everything for me."

Six buildings along Airport Avenue were filled with artists' personal studios. SMC had two of these buildings, where 60 student artists showed their own studios.

The Airport ArtWalk also showcased work from local artists like Jody Fuchs, who explained that her art is inspired by her spiritual practice of yoga and called it, "spiritual graffiti taking unseen parts of me to the canvas."

"I always like to show new work and it's exciting getting feedback," she said.

Andrew Mahlangu, a film director from South Africa, heard of the event through a flyer. He attended the event with his daughter, Rosie Turner.

"Except for being drawn by the love of art, I came to check out art to see if there's something I might like or buy," Mahlangu said. "We love the paintings more, but I'm a filmmaker, so I'm fascinated by all kinds of art forms."

Other activities of the day included kids planting small pots from reusable glass jars, and filling them with seeds and soil. Walls also were available for children on which to paint.

Live music was played by the Leftover Cuties, and food trucks were provided in the middle of the ArtWalk area.