ESSNTL Gallery, the newest addition to Bergamot Station is committed to fostering and promoting the careers of both emerging and established artists. And to demonstrate that commitment, they’re marking their debut March 8, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm with “Phantasmagoria,” Wyatt Mills‘ boldly colored canvases that combine strong brush work,newspaper snippets, gossip magazines, and vintage propaganda.
Originally a stop for the Red Line trolley running from Los Angeles to the Santa Monica Pier, the Bergamot Station is funky but cool. Inside the metal warehouses and industrial buildings are some of Southland’s most important galleries who stage community openings on the first Saturday of the month.
ESSNTL’s curator and gallery director LeDoux Vanveckhoven took time out from installing Phantasmagoria to email with us about ESSNTL and Wyatt Mills.
What prompted you to open ESSNTL and what drew you to Bergamot Station?
I’ve always been passionate about contemporary art, so when the ESSNTL Gallery owners Tim Hogan and Franz Steiner mentioned they were looking for a partner in launching ESSNTL Gallery, I jumped in at the opportunity. I enjoy building brands around artists by helping them share their vision and work with the world.
Bergamot Station is at the center of the West L.A. art scene and fosters a large number of stimulating historic art venues, which is a great fit for us. We are all local to the Venice and Santa Monica scene and we really enjoy the lifestyle that the Westside of L.A. has to offer.
Who are the principals at ESSNTL? Your day-to-day staff?
Right now it’s just me and my helpers Cem Engin and Connie Muramoto, who’ve been crucial pieces in helping me manage the day-to-day tasks .
Tell us about ESSNTL Gallery — what sort of work do you represent?
I’m seeking to partner with artists of all mediums that move and inspire me. More specifically emerging and mid-career artists who are fueled by their passion to communicate unique ideas, and who don’t feel compelled to compromise their artistic integrity to cater to popular tastes. Those are the artists that have longevity. Long-term relationships are important to me.
What attracted ESSNTL Gallery to its first artist Wyatt Mills?
What attracted me most to Wyatt Mills most is that he’s exploring new frontiers in art culture, and that the themes he explores, with the Phantasmagoria show, for instance, are very universal to our society. We’re all constantly overstimulated with a barrage of conflicting information and not many artists to my knowledge have explored the effects this has on the psyche. He has a unique voice and I also enjoy sitting around drinking beer with him.
What’s involved in opening a gallery, both for the physical space and the prep for opening night?
A lot of the same things that go into opening any other business. Branding, marketing, PR, construction, building a website, etc. I’ve been doing a lot of research on potential artists to partner with and just looking at lots of art and going to lots of shows to further develop my eye and taste.
What can people look forward to in the future from ESSNTL Gallery?
We’re looking forward to building a roster of artists expressing big ideas and communicating unique visions of their worlds.
Wyatt Mills, Phantasmagoria
Opening March 8, 6pm to 9pm
2525 Michigan Ave, Unit G7
Santa Monica, CA 90404