st-ART me up, Hollywood Style 

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Only in Hollywood, California. Last weekend the eternally cool and fabulously historic Highland Gardens Hotel hosted the second annual stARTup Art Fair, featuring  over 50 evocative and inspirational artists. These creators of art were paired up, and together they transformed hotel rooms overlooking the whimsical old-school courtyard into mini art galleries featuring their works. Fantastico! 


Impressively stiff cocktails, fine wine and tasty bites to nosh on were available as well. What an absolutely innovative, hip and cool way to see art, and to meet and converse with the artists themselves. Enveloped in the fusion of lush flora and fauna and the good energy and positive vibrations of art, the people who create it and those who admire it. Delicious combination. 

The chicken tacos and fruity vodka cocktail got me nice and juiced up and ready to explore the art show. 

Met Jesse Standlea and his Centerpiece. Some of these creations are only as heavy as the paper they are made from. His work is shown at the Torrance Art Museuk and he was really enjoying the weekend and meeting people who stopped by his gallery. Off to a great start! 

Some rooms I slowly wandered through and others drew me in for quite some time. The beauty of it all; there was no time limit. I was free to peruse when, how and where I wanted.  

It felt like I had entered another world, an art maze of sorts. In and out of different “galleries” (hotel rooms), gazing and studying all the different pieces, while others did the same. 

I loved observing how some artists used the hotel room furniture as props or easels of sorts, while others hid all the furniture away in closets or behind curtains. 

And then, I happened upon this incredibly friendly and talented guy and his work. Richard Gayler, a Los Angeles Westside elementary school teacher, who spends anywhere from 17 to 200 hours creating these pieces by utilizing individual dots. Yes, that’s right. Individual dots. That takes some seriously intense channeling of energy and focus, I’d say. Playful yet so detailed. Loved it! 

Look at these two characters. Magnificent! 

A little further along in my travels I met up with Randi Matushevitz. What a hoot! She has endless stories and energy and it shows in her art. She has lived in Vegas, Miami and LA multiple times and through those experiences she has reinvented herself and her art. She is very proud of the direction her new work is taking, and we can see why. 

Another one of my favorite stops of the evening. I had the pleasure of spending a good chunk of time philosophizing with LA artist (by way of NYC) Wayne Chang. Sharing perspectives on the love/hate relationship with the concept of Disney and really, all things LA in general. Truly enjoyable running into someone who “gets” it. So profoundly talented, smart and admirably skilled at conveying his feelings both through art and words. 

Last of all, I rounded out my night with a simple and lovely chat with Carlos Grasso. Listened to his tales of life in Ojai and even learned about the woman who had a very recent heart transplant and how deeply touched she was by Grasso’s heart piece (below). Such an open and kind soul in addition to being gifted with such talent. 

What I love most about art is connecting with the people who are able to give visual form and life to their thoughts, passions, and emotions. I loved every minute of this event and wish I had gone all three days! Thanks to all who participated and helped to make this happen, and thank you once again to my all-time most favorite, the Highland Gardens Hotel, for hosting this sensational event! I have loved staying at this hotel on my countless previous visits to LA, but this rare experience will forever be etched in my memory. 

   

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