Multi-artist workspace in Mar Vista hosts its spring open house on Saturday and Sunday

By Michael Aushenker

“Aura,” a colorful abstract painting by Grand View member Al Walton

“Aura,” a colorful abstract painting by Grand View member Al Walton

Explore a mix of portraiture, figurative and abstract painting, multimedia installations, floral work and even some sculpture this weekend at Grand View Fine Art Studios, which holds its next open studio event on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

With 26 artist workspaces across 8,000 square feet, Grand View Fine Art Studios has leased space to about 30 local artists at a time since opening in 1999. Artists range from their 20s to 80s.

Located about a block and a half south of the intersection of Grand View and Venice boulevards, the studio added a spring event to accompany its traditional fall open house on the calendar and has expanded both celebrations into Sundays to coincide with bustling Mar Vista Farmers Market crowds.

Al Walton, an abstract expressionist, relishes the social boon that comes with being a part of Grand View Fine Art Studios.

“This semi-annual event is an opportunity to cross pollinate,” said Walton, who has maintained a workspace at Grand View since 2011. “Artists come and go to their own schedules, so it is common for me to not run into other colleagues for weeks at a time. So, twice annually, we open studios to the public and to each other. My invitees see [other artists’] work and theirs see mine, and I get to see what my fellow artists are up to.”

Lee Ann Goya, who signs her abstract paintings “Leebs,” said she will debut four of her latest palette-knife paintings along with some older works on Saturday night. A Venice resident, she said that the camaraderie within years has helped introduce her to other artists and art institutions the space over the past three.

“We’re not always there at the same time but we have that community. Out in Venice, I’m not one to go find a community,” Goya said.

Each artist’s studio is open during this weekend’s open house, with some of the artists creating works in progress.

“We’ve cleaned it up and made it more of a presenting space,” said abstract painter Ken Marsh, who has managed Grand View Fine Art Studios since 2007.

A product of Cooper Union in the 1960s who was inspired by the Abstract Expressionism and Bauhaus movements, Marsh spent the last few decades living in New York before moving to Mar Vista in 2003.

He said joining Grand View Fine Art Studios has been a good outlet for artists to sell their work and gain exposure, despite some trying years in the wake of the 2008 recession when several artists had trouble maintaining studio space. However, since 2012, the rentals at Grand View have picked up again to near full capacity.

With some exceptions, such as Thailand-born art teacher Zibul Wonprasat, few creators at Grand View are making a living solely from their art. Most are creating works for supplemental income or just for fun.

“What I’m seeing,” Marsh said, “are people who are sincere about their creative process. The tenor of this group is not about art world ambition. They’re doing it for the love of it, not commercial reasons.”

The Grand View Fine Art Studios open house event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at 3871 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista. Call (310) 903-2173 or visit facebook.com/GrandViewFineArts.

michael(at)argonautnews.com

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