By Michael Aushenker
Earlier this month, as shoppers watched, Kelly Berg threw some red paint onto the back of a jacket, in the middle of Bloomingdale’s in Santa Monica.
No, this wasn’t a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) protest or the mad howlings of a spoiled rich lady throwing a tantrum. The Venice resident’s painted jacket, along with custom surfboards and skate decks designed by fellow local artists, professional surfers and pro skaters, will all be up for bid at the third annual Surf and Skate fundraiser, with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting the medical and psychiatric services of Venice Family Clinic.
“It directly helps people get the health care that they need,” Berg said of the Venice Family Clinic, one of the largest free clinics in the nation.
“It’s nice to be part of the community.”
Surf and Skate will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 at the Robert Berman Gallery in Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica.
In the mid-2000s, the local artist arrived on the West Coast by way of Minneapolis.
“I literally came to L.A. in my car with my dad and all my paintings in the back of my car,” Berg recalled, chuckling. She remembered how she already previewed her destiny while temporarily staying at her brother Michael’s Echo Park home.
“A friend took me to Venice,” she recalled. “I saw the murals and I really loved it.”
Today, Berg enjoys living in “Dogtown” with her husband, artist Andy Moses.
“I like the variety of the people, the architecture,” she said. “If you walk down the street, each house is so different. People are creating their own little worlds.”
Professionally and personally, “(Venice) just seems more open to possibilities,” said Berg, who has already enjoyed two solo shows at Bergamot’s Frank Pictures in 2011 and 2012. “There are a lot of layers to Venice; the history and the people who live here, from homeless people to huge houses to Google. People (of all classes) are co-mingling.”
Currently, Berg is preparing an upcoming solo exhibit focused on natural disasters and extreme weather. She still vividly remembers coming back from Yellowstone National Park with her family back in the mid-1990s “in our motor home and a tornado showed up. There were overturned huge semi-trucks right in front of us.” In her first summer in Los Angeles, Berg could see the wildfires pockmarking the hillsides of Glendale from her brother’s place.
Berg credits her participation in the exhibit to husband Moses, one of the show’s surfboard artists who has long participated in the Venice Family Clinic cause. The couple, who keep a studio behind their Venice house, have been together for four years and recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary.
Berg looks forward to the Surf and Skate silent art auction, which this year spotlights California with the theme “The Endless Summer.” Borrowing the show’s title from Bruce Brown’s seminal surf film, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, organizers have decided to name the creator of the movie poster’s iconic image, John Van Hamersveld, as its 2013 Venice Art Walk Signature Artist. And alas, no party would be complete without live music: featuring alternative-rock band The King’s English at 9 p.m.
For information and tickets, veniceartwalk.org, or tickets can be purchased at the door.
Information on the clinic, venicefamilyclinic.org.
An ‘Endless Summer’ of surf, skate and art: Kelly Berg is among the artists taking part in Venice Family Clinic’s art auction at Bergamot Station
By Michael Aushenker