Monday, October 17, 2011

Artists and Artisans in the Marina -- From Pottery to Street Art

Marina del Rey’s history is full of engineers and enigmatic businessmen, fishermen and the Federal Government. It was always the Marina’s colorful neighbor to the north, Venice, which attracted the hippies and drums, poets and guitars. Yet, with its shimmering water and enviable architecture, Marina del Rey now stands on its own as a place that harbors artists and artisans alike.


In Fisherman’s Village to the South, Howard Marchese recently opened Marchese Fine Art Gallery, a space specializing in Southern California artists. Marchese's reason for opening his gallery was to focus on the fine array of artists that are based in Southern California. Howard Marchese studied the great impressionist masters at the Mission Renaissance Academy in Hollywood. He settled in Marina del Rey nearly a decade ago and now teaches and hosts workshops at his new gallery.


Near Marchese, Alixandra Pottery opened this summer. Owner Alix Cunningham has been spinning her pottery wheels for years and considers it a meditative practice suitable for both children and adults. Her small shop showcases her work, from rustic platters to stately bowls, and also hosts pottery classes for everyone aged 2 to 92.


Photographer Caryson is based in Los Angeles, but visits the coasts and waterways of the city for inspiration. In his Reflections in Venice Grand Canal, he shows a moody side of the Marina. With its grey reflections, it reminds one of winter.

Greg Wenger has been taking professional photographs in Marina del Rey for many years. Without him, we wouldn’t have some of our earliest photos of the Marina as he helped preserve many of Marina del Rey's earliest photographs. Based in the Marina, he often finds artistic inspiration around him on and off the water. Wenger’s photographic range extends into portraiture as well, making him a sought after celebrity photographer.


Popularized by international sensations like Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Brainwash, street art is more than just graffiti. Photographs of it are the only way this temporary but vivid and well-exposed artwork survives. Artists working in the Marina frequently spot their share of these clever and quirky images, adding life and personality to every day public structures.