Category Archives: Artist Studio Tours

Lemonade stand at Venice Art Walk & Auctions

Meet Dylan.

Dylan’s mom,  Nicola Goode, was one of the artists featured on the studio tours this year during the event. Instead of watching mom this year, 6-year old Dylan decided to get involved.  So on the morning of Venice Art Walk & Auctions,  he got up early and set up a lemonade stand just inside Nicola’s studio.

Dylan, the budding entrepreneur that he is, charged $1 for a glass of lemonade and donated all proceeds to Venice Family Clinic (he assures me he provided great customer service, offering extra ice if desired).

Apparently he was tough to resist; Dylan donated $60 to Venice Family Clinic at the end of the day. The photo is of Dylan and his collections box after donating all his hard-earned cash.

“I thought it sounded like a lot of fun,” Dylan told me during his first interview. A kindergartener, Dylan was really excited to do something for a good cause, he also has big plans for next year. “Maybe cookies too,” he tells me.

“People were so receptive,” mom, Nicola, told me. She pointed out that not everyone who comes to the event can afford to buy art but at just $1,  Dylan’s lemonade stand gave them another way to donate on a smaller scale.

Thanks Dylan and Nicola (and Eric Gero for snapping the shot)! To see Nicola’s work, check out:


Some highlights from the big day

We wanted to share a few photos from the event with you. It was a great day with sun (and a little wind), smiles and laughs.  We’re still adding up the numbers but we know the event was a great success. Enjoy a few highlights from the day below:

Taking an early interest in art, this little guy is inspecting a Laddie John Dill piece at the Silent Art Auction.

Inside Caroline Jones’ studio, guests are captured by her vibrant photography and transported to days of summer by the pool.

For anyone who experienced Alex Andre’s Metamorphosis, this photo will feel familiar. If you missed it, check out our previous post about the piece:

Good food is always a welcome addition at all-day events!

An excited bidder during the auction tries to take home Luis, by Jill Douglas.

There are a few pieces from the Silent Art Auction still for sale, feel free to call for an appointment to come by and check them out.

Thanks to Eric Gero and Beth Rosenblatt for their wonderful photography!

Alan Shaffer’s retrospective at Capri Restaurant

Alan Shaffer has been involved with Venice Art Walk & Auctions for more than 20 years. He’s had his hand in nearly every aspect of the event, often providing photographs of auction items or the event itself. This year Shaffer takes on a new role as an artist on display. His photographs of longtime Venice artists (the neighborhood’s own rat-pack) are accompanied by pieces from the five featured artists themselves.

Talking with Alan is a trip through Venice history. He knows the names, faces, and life stories of shop owners, restaurateurs, and artists in the community. His photographs are an accumulation of these stories over the years.

Art Walkers will find this exhibit, entitled Alan Shaffer: Neighborhood Numbnuts, at Capri Restaurant on Abbott Kinney. (Note that Capri owner Alana Hamilton tells me that lunchtime nibbles are being provided.)

In studio with JeanBatiste

Today I had the chance to check out sculptor JeanBatiste’s studio in Venice. He’s got quite the plan for Sunday’s tours through the space but I was able to see a slightly more rough version (complete with JeanBatiste painting as we talked). Above is a shot of 2 sculptures in his newest series, Mask of Venice, which features bronze and salvaged wood. The piece on the far right isn’t all together in this shot but it will be by Sunday.

Jean worked as we talked about life in L.A., art inspired by nature, and his excitement at being a part of the Venice Art Walk & Auctions for the second year in a row. He’s a great guy with a laid-back perspective on life. Be sure to star this spot on your tour list this weekend–it’s a great stop to make!

“Stepping through the looking glass with Alice”

Jay Mark Johnson’s photos are a unique view of the world we see. He calls them timelines and generously explained them to me on a recent visit to his studio.
With a background in architecture, Johnson explores the passage of time, creating horizontal space where none really exists. He describes it as  a little like stepping through the looking glass with Alice where the rules of the world are bent, perhaps even parallel.

It’s pretty intriguing. He shoots one tiny sliver of the world, over and over, creating a long, horizontal piece. Anything that stays still becomes a line of color across the canvas and anything that moves becomes, well, you’ll see! His book Venice Spacewalk is debuting at this year’s event. Check out more of his work at

A chat with Patrick Fraser

If you get a chance to talk with famed photographer Patrick Fraser, you can ask him about his Vanity Fair work or his upcoming trip to Cannes to photograph Javier Bardem for a magazine out of Paris.

But to see him really light up, ask him about his personal work. While he clearly loves his job and will gladly chat about his recent shoots or album covers, he is working his way into the art world by expressing his deeper side. A newcomer to the Venice Art Walk & Auctions this year, Fraser let me invade his studio for a morning, peer into folders, watch upcoming video projects unfold, and pepper him with questions.

I asked him about the balance between his more personal art, which is currently focused on “slices of life,” and his commercial side.

“My dad had a darkroom when I was growing up,” he explains in his distinctly British accent.  “As a 12-year old kid, my hobby was to develop black-and-white photographs.”

To him, photography — whether commercial or personal — is always art. He tries to stay true to the subjects and lately has been fascinated with the more abstract line between artificial and natural.

This is definitely a studio to see this year. It’s just a one-room space with a skylight,  but Fraser is plotting some ways to make it an interactive experience. Plus he’ll be selling limited-edition prints of his work.

A long way from Wall Street

I had the pleasure of sitting down recently with Pontus Willfors, another of the dozen or so new artists in the Artists’ Studio Tours and Special Exhibits, to talk about life, art, and work.

After a ten-year career in finance, Willfors cashed in his chips and went back to school — at Cal Arts. He graduated last year.

The main interest underlying his work is the “phenomenology of form” — questioning how we identify and understand the characteristics of both natural and man-made forms. Here’s a shot of one of his recent installations:

I was lucky enough to don my protective eye gear, face mask, and ear plugs and watch him tackle his current project, chain saw and all. Have a look!