Getting to Mr C Beverly Hills (*just that wee bit too early) for the reception of Gallery For The People's summer preview (hosted by Harvey Weinstein), allowed me a leisurely walk through the wonderful work on display. Being one of the very first there, I was also one of the first privy to the artists' brand new collections.
Curated by Eva Maria Daniels and Ally Canosa the preview was designed to fuse the worlds of cinema and art; presenting new works by Antonio "Nino" Del Prete, Davyd Whaley, Domingo Zapata, Jordi Mollà, Sage Vaughn, and Vanessa Prager. Having that time entirely to myself conjured up feelings of childhood, I felt like a mischievous chocoholic set free in Wonka's factory. Effervescent glee pretty much sums it up, however for the less imaginative amongst you just listen to Jonsi's "Gathering Stories" full blast and you will get the gist of it. Probably also didn't hurt that Sage Vaughn's paintings and illustrations were one of the first pieces I set my eyes upon. Who's work I just might be slightly obsessed by at the moment.
Referring to other artists such as Domingo Zapata, whose abstract expressionism explore themes of opulence and sexuality, both in in oil and acrylics. Or the surreal whimsy of Vanessa Prager (and her "Bubblegum), that invites viewers into her vividly colorful alternate world. As well as one of Spain's most recognized artistic personalities Jordi Mollà, whose creative acumen spans art, film and literature. Although predominately know for his critically acclaimed roles in films like Columbiana and Blow, Mollà has actually spent the last 20 years of his life painting. As could be seen in some of his acts of avant-garde spontaneity, with scrawled messages that lean toward witticism and humor. Works like "Oh, I love this song" were amongst many of the nights highlights and crowd pleasers. And it's no coincidence that many of these artists overlap into both the worlds of cinema and art. Canosa added "artists represented by Gallery for the People, have strong ties to the world of theater and film, which can be seen clearly in the elements presented in their work." Award-winning artist Davyd Whaley was also seen mingling and at times holding court amidst the milieu. Known for his brilliant hues and underlying Jungian themes, his abstract artwork can often be seen in commercials, movies and television shows; including Prime Suspect, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.
This is one of those rare (if only) occasions in L.A. when I can use Jung and Pretty Little Liars in the same sentence. Speaking of which, a couple of the sexy and mysterious stars of PLL (Shay Mitchell and Keegan Allen) were also there to show Davyd their support. Others in attendance were glam gals Emma Roberts, Dakota Johnson, Erika Christensen and Kasia Wolejnio.
Actors Anthony Anderson, Gale Harold and Brant Daugherty; as well as producer Joe Lazarov (Gossip Girl, NCIS) and of course host Harvey Weinstein. Also spotted, elusive Icelandic electro-dance trio Steed Lord, Bello Entertainment Editor Hiko Mitsuka and CEO/soccer agent extraordinaire PD90's Steve Hawthorne. I wasn't kidding when I said it was eclectic.
For gallery founder and film producer Daniels this magical mix of arts and entertainment makes makes perfect sense, "creative expression and experimentation are the core DNA for every film-maker, actor and artist," so it's only fitting that "the work in our summer collection embodies those characteristics."
There was one image that really stuck with me long after I left, it sort of personified the online gallery's idealism. Much, much earlier on, way before the throngs of press or guests packed int the "pop-up," a gentleman from the cleaning crew really caught my attention. He had just finished putting one final intense polish on an utterly pristine glass tabletop, when he took a brief moment himself to enjoy the view. Then after packing up his cleaning-kit, he snapped only 1 solitary shot from a distance before clocking off his shift. It wasn't a memento of Oscar-winning powerhouse Harvey Weinstein arriving, or the stunningly gorgeous Shay Mitchell, but instead it was of one of Vaughn's illustrations. What stopped him cold in his tracks and apparently made his night, was a 9 by 13 mixed media of a buttery yellow, delicate, winged insect.
And watching him do simply that—kind of made mine.
The work shown at Mr. C Beverly Hills is available now to collectors via Gallery for the People, an online art gallery that sells exclusive artwork by established and emerging contemporary artists. A percentage of the proceeds from the opening directly benefit The Art of Elysium's Fine Arts Program, The Elysium Project. For more information go to www.theartofelysium.org