The Artist Within Us

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Not everyone is gifted with artistic grace; I, for one, can’t do much beyond simple 
line drawings of basic shapes. In the first grade, however, I was publicly praised among my cohorts for “coloring within the lines.” (I even had to stand up on a LBM_42_Letter_Alli Tong_By Jody Tiongco-5chair while the teacher raised my arm in the air like an Olympic athlete who just won gold at Sochi.)

Thinking back on this memory, I don’t believe it’s necessarily wrong to draw outside the lines a little bit, or even a lot. I love guiding how each story in Laguna Beach Magazine takes shape, whether it’s the design layout of an article or within the text itself. And that type of work, as well as the work of many artists, requires thinking outside the box (or lines).

Here, in Laguna Beach, we’re surrounded by creative people of all kinds, from sculptors and painters to jewelry makers and fashion designers. The bloodline of creativity in this town is robust, dating all the way back to the early 1900s and the Laguna Beach Art Association—established in 1918 with artist Edgar Payne as the first president—whose gallery became the Laguna Art Museum. Several years later, The Laguna Playhouse was founded in 1920 and the first Festival of Arts debuted in 1932. Today, artistic ventures continue to be ever-present.

Every corner you turn, literally, there’s an outcome of someone’s imagination—the I Want to Make a Phone Call sculpture by Michael Graham at the infamous red telephone booth on Forest Avenue; the 40-foot-long Waterman’s Wall mural sculpture by Randy Morgan outside the Hobie Surf Shop; and the artist-painted parking meters that are peppered throughout town.

And, especially during festival season, creativity seems to fill the summer air as floods of artists of all kinds showcase their talents at Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust Art Festival, Festival of Arts and Art-A-Fair. This year, Pageant of the Masters turns a darker corner with its “Art Detective” theme, which leads audience members on a quest to uncover some of the greatest mysteries and events to ever rattle the art world.

In our article, “The Plot Thickens” (page 58), pageant director Diane Challis Davy shares how the idea for this year’s theme emerged: “I was inspired by a PBS show called the ‘History Detectives’ … so I had an idea for a concept for a show [that] involved a lot of storytelling and solving the mystery and showing connections between different events in history versus inventions and works of art.”

In this issue, we also introduce a few new-to-the-scene artists (page 70) who will be showcasing their unique artwork at this year’s festivals as well as give an insider’s look into each of the events and what to look out for.
So, in the spirit of art festival season, I think we should all dig deep and discover the artist within ourselves; be inspired to create, craft and imagine—and not be afraid to color outside the lines.

Alli Tong
Editor, Laguna Beach Magazine

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