Photostory: A stroll down Artwalk 2014

[nggallery id=30]  

Tucked away like a secret maze was the 2014 Artwalk at the Santa Monica Airport.

The annual event hosts a variety of creations from local artists and Santa Monica College students.

The small hanger across the street from the airport's runway, which serves as SMC's airport campus, was transformed into a tour of the inner thoughts, twisted fantasies and class projects of students involved in the Art Mentor program at SMC.

A block down in another airport building, a vast gallery displayed diverse architecture, paintings, and sculptures from local artists charging up to $12,000 a piece. For a day, the artists of tomorrow were on display next to the already established big wigs of Santa Monica.

The airport campus gallery had everything from a nude man made of duct-tape sitting on a chair to Jackson Pollock-style explosions on canvas.

Mike Desh had one such painting hanging in Saturday's gallery. He was one of 25 students selected by their instructors in the Art Mentor program to have their work unveiled for the public.

When describing his piece, a splattering expression of colors and dripping strokes, Desh said, "a lot of it comes from working in my head. I have amassed a lot of visuals from experiencing the culture I've experienced which is very commercial-driven."

In another corner sat an apocalyptic canvas with an army of skull figures in cloaks. They were grim reapers marching in front of a background of fire with a goat-headed figure at the lead. This gothic vision was the work of SMC student Rory James.

"It was basically an excuse to paint fire. Once I started painting the fire it just grew," said James. "Obviously heavy metal music influenced me."

SMC student and artist Pace Porter-Fusada had his own brand of dystopian visions on display in carefully rendered, detailed Photoshop canvases that imagined futuristic, post-apocalyptic sci-fi worlds of ruined cities and men in gas masks.

"I can do one of these in two or three days," he said. "I just want to create a world you can fall into. That's what video games and movies can be all about."

In another corner of the gallery a small teepee made of molten metallic substances stood above small, Medieval figurines. This was the work of SMC student Lily Raygoza who wanted to express a utopian vision.

"The concept behind it is that I want to build a space where we can come together in community and have a space where people can dialogue," said Reygoza lamenting that old ways of getting together have been replaced by a culture of meeting at Starbucks while feeding a consumerist machine.

Across the street in another large building was the main gallery of Artwalk 2014. In one space there was a wonderful, nostalgic exhibit involving mechanical and electronic typewriters.

The times have changed so rapidly that an instrument that was such a common tool half a century ago now looks like a relic from another age. Visitors could even sit down in front of a Corona typewriter and peck out a few words on a sheet of paper.

Another massive, indoor gallery displayed major works from local artists, some ranging from canvas works to surrealist sculptures. Walking in-between the gallery halls was the group Critical Brass which played New Orleans-style brass numbers.

Critical Brass, led by lead vocalist, "Schwee", were introduced to the event by Allison Ostrovsky, Director of Cultural Affairs in Santa Monica.

"It's actually the most beautiful day we've had for Artwalk in the last five years," said Ostrovsky. "It's usually rainy and cloudy. It's a great turnout. We've added another food truck and the brass marching band was fantastic."

Ostrovsky hopes that the event will continue to draw visitors, not only for the art walk, but for the area surrounding it.

"What we'd love our visitors to walk with is discovering this airport and that it's a creative space. We have a gallery, a theater and even a restaurant," said Ostrovsky. "It's a special place in Santa Monica, a lot of people drive by and don't realize what's in here."