Artistic journeys abounded at the Brentwood Art Festival
Jubilant children with painted faces and ice cream smeared on their mouths, organic food trucks lined up before the sidewalk, and local art featured by 100 different artists encompassed the 2015 Brentwood Art Festival.
The art festival has been in existence for over 20 years; however, the original producer Ray Leir with Del Mano Productions retired a few years back. Current producer, Emiliana Guereca of EZ Event Production stepped in and has revamped it and put it back on the map.
The jewelry, artistic clothing, paintings ranging from erotica to comics, digital art, ceramics, duct tape art, stationery, and live painting were all victims of the natural element of the wind, yet it didn’t defeat the cheery spirit of the event. The upbeat DJ blasted the classic tunes of Michael Jackson as people danced and sang in the streets.
Chicago Native Noreen Quazi, owner of Enbel Jewelry, a company that started as a hobby, came to Los Angeles just four years ago to study psychology and found herself enthralled in her craft that slowly became a business through Etsy.
Quazi's bracelets, necklaces and earrings span a whimsical variety. She explained her display, "It's heavily influenced by the different neighborhoods of LA. Downtown is more urban, the Westside inspired jewelry has a beach feel to it, but I usually go for a contemporary classic," she said.
As the wind blew down the walkway, Chris Amesquita, walked outside his booth to adjust his darker paintings. His booth was designed as a pathway of his personal and artistic journey. He alluded to an illness he had during a time in which his illness was most dark. He said, "My health issues are portrayed in a dream catcher with the spine as the binding and intestines intertwining to show that I was hopeful in a bad situation. I try to take the negative and turn it into a positive."
His display shows his journey of spirituality by one piece compartmentalized into four archangels with their natural elements. "I'm not religious but I try to be spiritual. This is where I was exploring my spiritual side," said Amesquita.
Amesquita's calm voice carried through the wind as two men followed inside to view his newest urban collaborations done by himself and friends. Fairytales with the dark humor of Humpty Dumpty and Little Bo Peep as devious characters lined the walls and create a comical environment that inspires progression.
Also at the festival a local artist and Santa Monica College alumni, Zachary Aronson. He displayed his artwork and the artistic process he calls pyrography inside an installation he designed and configured for the festival.
While the sun glared down, he created live portraits of spectators by burning their faces into redwood panels using a blow torch.
Aronson breathed slowly as he articulated not only how he discovered the unique medium he employs, but also about the fragmented faces he depicts in his art. “People intrigue me. I have never questioned myself about my fascination with faces," he said.
The artist explained that if it weren’t for a few accidental occurrences around three years ago he may not have discovered this artistic gift. Aronson admitted, “One night I couldn’t find any paper at USC, where I earned my undergraduate degree, so I scavenged a scrap piece of lumber discarded behind the wood shop and decided to draw on it.”
After this, he began creating his artwork on wood planks and soon discovered that using welding equipment he could burn images into wood, beginning his practice as a pyrographer: drawing with fire.
Aronson prefers to create fragmented portraits, leaving key sections of faces incomplete in order to retain a mysterious aspect encouraging viewers to question who they are looking at and why. “My portraits are focused around ideas of identity and anonymity and how these concepts influence who we are as individuals and as a culture," he said.
The festival's comeback proved to be strong bringing over 100 local artists. Children and adults of all ages helped it retain its vibrant and jubilant energy from morning till the late evening.