Seeking Representation

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Artists & Galleries

Three local gallery owners/directors discuss how budding artists can go about getting their work featured.- Moderated by Jason Sanford

Laurie Swenson owner of Swenson Fine Art

I find it most effective if the artist goes around with a small portfolio, visiting the location that they desire to be. To walk around and see what space they feel works best with their work, and then by chance if the gallery owner is in and available, ask nicely if they would have a few moments to view their work. If this fails, then give the gallerist a CD of their work. Dress nicely and be positive. Just recently a young artist came in to speak to me, and I normally don’t have time to view portfolios on the spot, but her positive and professional manner won me over. As it turned out, I really liked her work.

Torrey Cook owner of AR4T; Dana Nichols gallery director of AR4T

Torrey: I think it is important for artists to spend time getting to know different galleries and different gallery owners to see where there could be a good fit. That doesn’t mean being pushy …  just knowledgeable so they’re not barking up the wrong tree. I also think it’s good to have a solid network with other artists—a reference from an artist who is already showing can go a long way. Then it’s just staying focused, continuing to create new art, developing talent and skill, having a high level of professionalism, being ready when offered a spot … and having some fun!

Dana: Maybe by the time this is published we’ll know who the mystery artist is who left the satellite piece on our doorstep. It was such a cool gift that made us stop, think, laugh, notice, talk. I’m not saying everyone should leave art on a gallery doorstep and expect a big art show to come out of it, but for an artist to find a unique way to be part of our space, as long as they have talent, is so exciting. Whoever the mystery artist is knows something important, too—that we’re approachable, not just at art walk once a month; we’re here all the time

A Fine Addition to the Canyon

Steven Lucas Fine Arts arrives in Laguna Canyon.

Steven Lucas Fine Arts opened during the midst of the wild summer blitz in Laguna, and set up shop in a space previously used as a private gallery that was not open to the public. The new gallery, which is proudly open to everyone, specializes in oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings and bronze sculptures, aiming to balance the work of known artists with those who are still emerging and relatively undiscovered.

“Opening a high-end gallery in this economy encouraged us to reach high and do something really exciting. … We remodeled the space to make it the most exquisite fine arts showroom in Southern California,” proprietor Carl Stevens says.

“We feature nine ‘blue chip’ artists at the present time—all top tier, contemporary artists with significant public and museum placements as well as inclusion in many corporate and notable private collections. All of our art is original,” Carl explains. (1945 Laguna Canyon Rd.; 949-376-7611;

ivan guaderrama

A wide range of mixed media art is on display from this young artist on the rise.

Ivan Guaderrama has a storied past that began in Mexico, took him to Colorado and New Mexico, and steadied his hand at airbrushing, working with glass and crystalline surfaces and assembling lifelike multi-textured art creations.

Ivan brings his distinct and colorful style to Laguna, where his eponymous gallery shares his vision with the world. His art captures themes of life, love and the world at large, using all sorts of materials and tone expressions. His work has been featured internationally, including most recently in Los Cabos. Ivan’s newest venture is located next to French 75. (1452 S. Coast Hwy.; 310-383-9051;

Making Waves for Kids

An annual surfboard art auction raises money for autistic children.

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel will once again host the Fourth Annual Holiday Surfboard Auction, an event that benefits local charity, Surfers Healing, which helps children with autism enjoy the many benefits of surfing. Custom painted surfboards—many with ornate and eye-catching designs—will be auctioned off to raise funds for the organization’s work, with auction bidding closing New Year’s Eve.

Many of the boards themselves are from pro surfers, including Kelly Slater and the late Andy Irons, and the auction will be attended by celebrities including Anthony Kiedis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and some of the cast from the hit show “Sons of Anarchy.” Bidding on the boards can be done online at For more information, visit

Redfern Turns 35

Ray Redfern’s Laguna gallery celebrates in its 35th year.

The Redfern Gallery is celebrating its 35th year as one of California’s most relevant centers of early California Impressionist art. Raised around his mother’s artwork, Ray Redfern grew up with an innate appreciation for the arts, which he eventually parlayed into a gallery in Encino and later moved it to Laguna. Ray has thrived at the location along Coast Highway since 1986.

“I am fortunate to live in Laguna Beach, and it still gives me great joy and a sense of accomplishment to come to work and encounter more great paintings from [the early California Impressionist] period,” Ray says. He lists William Wendt, Edgar Payne and Maurice Braun as some of the memorable artists he’s displayed in his gallery over the years. “I always try to buy or put together groups of paintings by the most important California artists,” he says.

Some of these most important California artists are on display at the nearby Montage Laguna Beach, as Redfern Gallery has an extended permanent collection at the resort. “The Montage’s ambiance of early 20th century California Bungalow architecture is a perfect fit for our historical American paintings and especially for our important California Impressionist works,” Ray says. (1540 S. Coast Hwy., #103; 949-497-3356; LBM 

Gallery Events

Pacific Edge Maria Bertran’s latest exhibit, “New Paintings From England and France” will be displayed through Dec. 16. Following that, a special holiday group show will show off the works of Sandra Jones Campbell, Brenda K. Bredvik, Bryan Mark and Tom Swimm, among others. The holiday show will run through January. (540 S. Coast Hwy.; 800-477-5630;

Quorum The works of Katy Byerts, Peggy Chang and Charleine Guy will be coming to the Quorum Gallery in January. Quorum is Laguna’s oldest member-owned gallery. (374 N. Coast Hwy.; 949-444-4422;

Saltfineart Through Dec. 29, the exhibit “Graffiti Nature,” an examination of the influence that graffiti has had on contemporary artwork, will be on display for visitors of Saltfineart to enjoy. This includes the acclaimed work of Cisco Merel and the artistic duo simply known as “W.”

Jan. 29 – Feb. 5, see the exhibit “¡Cuba!” which focuses on the more than 11 million people that inhabit the isolated, controversial island nation and the creativity that has made its way to our shores. The works of art are done by 11 acclaimed artists, known nationally for their creativity. (1492 S. Coast Hwy. 949-715-5554;

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