The Art of Neighborhood Pride

Posted April 6, 2016 by The Argonaut in This Week

Clean {aesthetic} hosts a Playa del Rey-themed “Locals Only” art show fit for King’s Beach

By Christina Campodonico

LEFT: A T-shirt design by Clean {aesthetic}’s Charlie Carroll captures the spirit of PdR’s bluff-side businesses Right: Mark Andrew Allen depicts “The Shack” and the former Del Rey Cleaners on a mixed-media canvas

LEFT: A T-shirt design by Clean {aesthetic}’s Charlie Carroll captures the spirit of PdR’s bluff-side businesses Right: Mark Andrew Allen depicts “The Shack” and the former Del Rey Cleaners on a mixed-media canvas

Art shows don’t happen every day in Playa del Rey, but three PdR entrepreneurs are combining their business sense and artistic sensibilities to create a platform for new creative interpretations of the beloved beachside enclave.

Aaron Rosenstock, Charlie Carroll and Matt Rheault — the business partners behind the Clean {aesthetic} surf, apparel and skate shop — are throwing an inaugural “Locals Only” art show on Saturday. The free event features Playa del Rey-inspired art by a dozen or so L.A.-based artists, with DJ Wquilliam providing the beats and Craft Brew & Just Chill serving up the drinks.

Billed as Playa del Rey’s “first-ever” art show, “Locals Only” isn’t like anything participating artists John Park, Mark Andrew Allen or Ander Quinn have seen in PdR during their combined 40-plus years on the Westside.

“They’re introducing an art aesthetic that didn’t exist there before, and that’s a positive change,” says Park, who was Rosenstock’s high school art teacher and painted the “Shark Boy” mural outside the store.

Unlike Venice and Santa Monica, Playa del Rey isn’t exactly famous for a conventional white-box art gallery scene, but for a more laid-back beach lifestyle.

Quinn, a digital designer at TVGla in the Playa Vista area, thinks that Clean {aesthetic} is making art more accessible to everyday people, who may come in for surf gear and walk out with a piece of art.

“It’s exciting that it’s a small local business, that they’re doing an art show, and that they’re doing it — taking it back to the people instead of this giant castle that has a moat around it that’s impenetrable for common folk,” says Quinn. “It’s three guys doing it on their own instead of some giant corporation trying to co-opt the surf lifestyle. I like that they’re creating a  community and trying to get people involved.”

He’ll be presenting an artwork based on the Los Angeles Motordome, a circular wooden track that hosted car races during the early 20th century at the corner of Culver and Jefferson boulevards.

Allen, a Westchester-based artist, also appreciates that Clean {aesthetic} supports creative experimentation by dedicating  regular shelf space for local artists and designers.

“They’re my local spot where I can try out different price points and things before I introduce them to the larger market,” says Allen, whose work is represented by dozens of galleries.

For Rosenstock, who studied fine art in college, bringing local art into his shop is simply a way to give back to the community that has been so supportive of the shop’s growth over the past two years.

To put “Local’s Only” together, Clean {aesthetic} sent out a call for Playa del Rey-themed art submissions and various artists from all over L.A. responded.  While the shop has done solo shows for individual artists, this is the first time they’ve done a show centered on a particular theme — in this case a particularly local one.

Playa del Rey has earned it, says Rosenstock, because the community has truly shaped the business.

When he and Carroll were looking for space to locate their sustainable graphic T-shirt line, Rheault was taking over the former Blast and Surf Skate Shop and was looking to stock it with more than just gear.

They found more inspiration in Playa del Rey’s landscape. Carroll, their creative director, started designing T-shirts with neighborhood homes and businesses on the front, which became popular among locals and convinced Rosenstock to focus their designs on hyperlocal imagery.

The original drawing for one of Clean {aesthetic}’s most popular T-shirt designs — a PdR bluff stacked with houses while a jet fresh off an LAX runway soars overhead — is going to be auctioned during the event.

For Rosenstock, setting up shop in Playa del Rey has become about more than just making money. Like Quinn said, it’s been about creating community.

“It’s rad having a shop here. If you were in Venice you wouldn’t have that connection,” Rosenstock says, adding that locals will stop by when Carroll is drawing to ask if he can put their house in his designs.

“I like supporting the community that supports you — everyone kind of working together to grow.”

“Locals Only” happens from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Clean {aesthetic}, 323 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. Free. Call  (310) 821-2527 or visit


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