Ventura Studio Artists Tour offers "behind-the-scenes" look
at studio and homes
May 5, 2005
Watching an artist at work is an intimate experience
usually reserved for family and friends. Unless an artist chooses to work
in public, most art lovers only see the finished product - the canvas,
the ceramic pot, the photograph. On May 21st and 22nd, though, a collection
of artists in the Ventura area will throw open the doors to their studios,
and even homes, to welcome visitors for the 2nd Annual Ventura Studio
Artists Tour 2005.
Visiting an artist's workspace can be amazingly enlightening. Works in
progress, source material like photos and sketches, personalized tools
like palettes, brushes and easels, each provide a small piece of the puzzle
that goes into the final artwork. Even more important, though, are the
collections of art with which the artists have surrounded themselves.
Balinese shadow puppets hang beside older paintings, which sit beside
masks from Venice. These collections can help the visitor understand the
underpinnings of the artist's work in ways that words cannot convey.
Valley Scene received a preview of some of the artists involved in this
year's Studio Artists Tour and was pleasantly surprised at the depth and
breadth of artists working in and around Ventura.
Gerd Koch, featured artist of this year's tour, greeted visitors in the
garden surrounding a typical suburban, hillside home which overlooks the
city of Ventura and out to sea. Inside is an extensive gallery of his
work along with fellow artist Carol Milton and their art collection. Koch
points out his work to the small group, explaining both the how and the
why of each piece. Carol then opens the door to her small studio, giving
all the visitors a glimpse into the life of a working artist. Koch has
an extensive history as an artist and educator, including founding the
Artist Commune Tree Ranch in Ojai in 1952 and teaching at Venture College
for almost 30 years. His artwork has brought a host of one man shows over
the years and several awards.
Robert Eyberg's studio is housed in an industrial-looking shop near downtown
Ventura, which is appropriate as he works in the high-tech/high-touch
art form of glass sculpture. On this day Eyberg is working on a collection
of hanging sculptures he calls "medicine bags." These sculptures
are soon to be presented to various art groups and individuals throughout
Ventura as the Mayor's Arts Awards "...to recognize the artistic
achievements and contributions to the cultural community."
There are shelves with nearly every type of glass imaginable along with
the artist's tools, a large kiln for "heat forming" glass and
a sandblasting booth for glass etching projects. Eyberg also designs and
produces contemporary and traditional stained glass and etched glass pieces
for homes and offices. Although the workshop is dark inside, the glass
artworks sparkle with their own light.
Crystal Hawk Studio, owned by David and Linda Elders seems the perfect
combination of arts studio and home. While there is a formal studio and
workshop where the artists develop their unique wooden sculptures, the
entire house is also their studio. Sitting in the middle of the studio
is Linda's latest work, a female form entitled "Paradox." The
figure seems almost alive even though her body is made of mahogany and
her hair, darkly stained walnut.
As the artists guide visitors through their homes, they tell stories about
the joy of learning how to raise the large wooden beams by hand and discovering
a technique to add the unique sculptural designs around the doorways and
windows. Built entirely by hand, the house, obviously a labor of love,
is even held together by hand-forged nails created by the artists.
Focus on the Masters
The Studio Art Tour is designed to benefit arts education in Ventura County
and Focus on the Masters (FOTM), a non-profit art appreciation program
"that documents, preserves and presents the works and lives of accomplished
contemporary artists." This includes an archive of over 600 files
on artists who have lived or worked in the Ventura area. FOTM also has
projects to photograph both artists and their works, youth outreach programs
and a lecture series. More information on Focus on the Masters can be
found at: http://FocusOnTheMasters.com
or by calling 805-653-2347.
The Ventura Studio Artists Tour takes place
on Saturday and Sunday, May 21and 22 from 10 am to 5 pm. Prices for the
Tour are $20 for the General Public and $15 for FOTM Members. An Artists
Reception Gala will be held on Friday, May 20 at 5:30 pm and tickets are
$25/$20. Combined tickets for both events are $45/$35. All ticket holders
are invited to the Afterglow Reception at Ventura Harbor Village at 6
pm on Sunday, May 22nd. Tickets and an Artist's Preview are available
on the web at: http://FocusOnTheMasters.com
or by calling 805-653-2501.