A journey that real estate developer Howard Spunt began three years ago in Europe has culminated with a new Santa Monica ‘art lounge’
By Michael Aushenker
Three years ago, Malibu real estate developer Howard Spunt traveled to Europe and came back transformed. While visiting Paris, he wandered around the touristy Montmartre art district and stumbled upon a little art supply store run by a 75-year-old lady.
“I bought a sketch pad and it started oozing out of me,” Spunt said of putting pencil to paper and reconnecting with his early architect draftsman career.
Upon returning home, Spunt followed up on Parisian art classes with UCLA Extension courses, investigated the work of abstract expressionists Kandinsky and Miro, and essentially began painting.
But his artistic journey did not stop there.
On Saturday, Spunt officially launches his Santa Monica gallery, P32, with the inaugural exhibition “Filling the wHole,” featuring paintings by Spunt and San Francisco artist Ariel Gold, whom Spunt met after the painters began following each other on Instagram.
Describing his own work as “Jackson Pollock-like,” Spunt has bigger plans for P32 than mere self-promotion. The gallery’s name, inspired by its Pico and 32nd Street location, also stands for “philanthropic.” Every other exhibit will feature a charity component.
Spunt originally looked at two Malibu spaces but failed to find that “urban, European feel” and Parisian walk-ability. He eyes P32’s 550-square-foot space as more than mere gallery space but as an art lounge where artists can exchange ideas Bauhaus-style.
“I’m a big believer of collaboration and exchanging information. I want to provide a place where emerging artists and local charities can [co-mingle]; a gathering space. I’ve got couches, I’ve got chairs,” he said.
P32 Gallery launches with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at 3129 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 457-0619; p32gallery.com