One of the most highly–anticipated annual art events of the Spring season – The Brewery Art Walk – is coming up on Saturday and Sunday, April 7-8th, from 11 AM to 6 PM each day. This beloved semiannual event has been occurring for over 30 years, with approximately 15,000 people attending throughout the course of the weekend.
The Brewery Art Colony, established in 1982 at the former home of the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery, is considered the largest artist colony in the world, with over 400 resident artists living and working on the 16-acre campus comprised of 23 buildings. With close to 150 open studios to explore, plan plenty of time to cover the grounds, and wear comfortable shoes, as there are stairs to climb, a bridge to cross, and limited seating at the food and bar area hosted by the resident restaurant “Barbara’s at the Brewery.”
The big allure of this event is being able to speak to and buy directly from the participating artists at reasonable prices, and of course, the amazing variety one can find in such a compact community of fine artists in every medium. When buying a piece of art, it is always an extra treat to have spoken with the creator, understanding their influences, techniques, and the muses or backstories to their artwork. Often getting that personalized attention, a studio tour, hearing about their inspiration, and even watching some live art creation is the impetus for a new or seasoned collector to take home that something special they will cherish forever.
A few residents shared some stories about their time at The Brewery…
Fine artist Teale Hatheway, who says she has been there “long enough to be considered both an old-timer by the new kids and still a kid by the old-timers” admits the event requires a great deal of preparation but is still something she always looks forward to. The event provides the ideal way to meet new clients and friends, and also, test new directions or art concepts. Having a beautifully appointed studio with giant expanses of wall space where she can live, work, and exhibit her paintings for collectors makes her life not only easier, but more productive. Her work, which typically focusses on architecture and the intriguing details of urban design, is created in multiple mediums and sizes.
“My most recent business venture, “Pearl and Maude”, is a line of textiles and wall coverings based on hyper-abstractions of my paintings. I premiered the patterns in my studio during an art walk, and the response was so strong I decided to pursue building the brand. So now I’m in the manufacturing game as well as the art game. It’s a lot to juggle, but my life feels versatile and exciting. A lot of that has to do with having a functional studio space.”
Pop-culture icon Andre Miripolsky has been living at The Brewery for 23 years and is one of their longest-term residents. With paintings, prints and mixed –media sculpture to sell, his most recent series focuses on sharks – the Hollywood mogul kind, the political kind, and the “in your face” LA –kind. As an artist with a long and illustrious history of creating public art all over SoCal, Andre loves the show-and-tell opportunity that the Art Walk affords him. He enjoys sharing his stories about creating murals at Pershing Square, bus wraps for Hollywood tour buses, posting Absolut billboards throughout LA, painting an entire school in Pomona, or, as is the current situation, waiting for approval on a massive project for the city. Known for his ubiquitous “Fear No Art” series of prints and buttons, Andre’s credits also include the design of Elton John’s famous “piano jacket” and the creation of huge scenic paintings for 5 years on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It is always a treat to hear what he is working on next! When asked what his favorite thing is about living at The Brewery, Andre replies,
”The best thing about being at the Brewery for me is the immediate access to so many creative sources. Its been like “living in a Rolodex!”
Over in the Atrium building, you will find Bill Sandel, a kinetic assemblage artist, who has been showing his intricate and whimsical work for 12 consecutive art walks. A filmmaker and production designer for 47 years, his unusual art practice has been a constant in his life. He used to sell his work to people in the film business, but has taken a break from selling them now, as he says “they are kind of my kids.” Bill says he sees a couple thousand people each day during the weekend event, and loves hearing the comments as people enjoy the sense of play and wonder in his work. What’s next for Bill?
“Gallery owners have come through my studio and I’ve received a number of offers for shows around town, so that’s been pretty cool. There’s nothing big for me on the horizon right now though, just enjoying life and working on my squeaking, clanking, art pieces.”
Another long-term resident, Dave Lefner, has lived at The Brewery for just over 19 years and has opened his doors for 35 art walks. His work is an unusual medium, as he creates linocuts in his large working studio. It is a fascinating process, one that he is always eager to share. Depending on the crowd, he may even demonstrate the complex steps required for his unique artwork. Dave is still excited to show at Art Walk after all these years, and his studio is always a great stop, especially if you are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the linocut.
“Living at the Brewery completely changed my life as an artist and the trajectory of my career, and that definitely includes opening for the Artwalks. Directly or indirectly as a result of living at the Brewery, I have been given the ability to create more work, larger work, better work… picked up gallery representation, been featured in articles in newspapers, magazines, and other publications, earn a large portion of my income, and have made the majority of my closest true friendships.”
The camaraderie of the Brewery community is definitely one of the points mentioned by every artist. Collaborations and joint projects arise often, due to the close proximity of so much talent. Not having to leave the complex also helps, as the restaurant provides not only great food and beverage but also a meeting space for entertaining clients and having meetings when your studio may be covered in materials. The onsite Stronghold Climbing Gym in the famous smokestack building provides an outlet to work out the body when the mind needs a break. Barbara’s Restaurant and the beautiful and unique climbing gym are both open to the public.
Not every artist showing at the art walk is actually a resident, however. Many artists have a work or exhibit-only space, such as the case with Patrick Haemmerlein.
Patrick has been showing his mixed –media work at the Hip Cooks studio for the past 3 years, where owner Monika Reti has provided hands-on cooking classes since about 2003. An unusual stop at art walk, they talk about and cook food, hand out free samples to patrons, and sell their cookbooks. As their walls were usually bare, they offered the space to Patrick, after discovering him at a show at Porch Gallery in Ojai in 2015. This year, the Hip Cooks studio will be debuting both a new series of artwork and a new philanthropic project.
Patrick’s new series entitled “LA URBAN COYOTE” looks at these often maligned animals who are displaced by urban growth, looking at their frequent appearances in certain locations, and their adaptability in the city. As part of the collaborative project, Hip Cooks will be presenting a FORAGED FOOD menu, and give part of the proceeds from any art & book sales to the LA Charity, Food Forward (https://foodforward.org/) Food Forward rescues 300,000 pounds of surplus produce each week from fruit trees, farmers markets, and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, donating 100% of these fresh fruits and vegetables to over 300 hunger relief agencies across 8 counties in Southern California. This outstanding art and food philanthropic project is a brilliant example of the collaboration that occurs in this mecca of creativity.
What remains of Patrick’s new art series after the Brewery weekend sales will be featured at Patrick’s booth at The Hive Gallery downtown on Spring Street, where Patrick maintains a working art studio and residency.
For art enthusiasts, The Brewery Art Walk can be a weekend of excitement, discovery, and ultimately, joy in purchasing something unique that has touched your heart or soul in some way. For artists – it’s a bit different, but nonetheless, it’s a win-win for everyone. For some artists, as Teale Hathaway suggests, it can be a whirlwind…
“It goes something like this: Hide your life. Turn on the lights. Open the doors. *hair on fire* Close the doors. Pour a cocktail. Sit in the dark and enjoy the quiet.”
Event Dates /Time:
Saturday and Sunday, April 7-8, 2018
11 AM – 6 PM
The Brewery Art Complex
2100 North Main St.
Los Angeles, CA (Lincoln Heights)