Mar Vista was my home for almost five years, and Grand View Fine Art Studios was home base. The Studios will be closing its doors at the end of October. I am so blessed that I got to be part of this space. A precious little moment in time, a place that welcomed me with open arms and gave me a playground to produce amazing events, build community, and grow as an artist. I wish I could make it for the farewell party, and I hope you can go if you’re in the area. I have so much love in my heart for everyone I met and shared time with at the Studios.
In the summer of 2016 I drove from Tallahassee, Florida to the West LA neighborhood of Mar Vista. My uncle Shane, one of the "unofficial mayors of Mar Vista", owned Timewarp Records, the local record store. He introduced me to Mitchelito Orquiola, the other "unofficial mayor". Mitch was the executive curator of the Mar Vista Art Walk and a resident artist at the Grand View Fine Art Studios. I started working for the Art Walk and hanging out at the studios almost every day until I eventually moved in.
I lived in the studios (illegally?) for two years because I could afford the rent. I don’t know how many people knew I was living there besides Mitch and a few other artists. There was a small communal kitchen and a shower that I’d sneak to in the early mornings. The water stayed hot for two or three minutes. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but it had its charm. I loved living in a space where everyone around me was working on or through something in creative ways.
Some of the pieces I created in my studio
Friendships blossomed, twisted, ended, rebirthed. Art shows were had, parties were thrown. Artists came and went, but there was a core group that worked and played there every day, even if they didn’t rent a studio. Eventually I let my studio go and moved into an apartment with friends, but I still visited the studios as often as I could. When the pandemic hit I left for my hometown in south Florida to be closer to family and continue pursuing my art. I’m plugging into the art community here and enjoying this blessing of motherhood and family. Still, I'll always feel the west coast tugging on my heart and I hope to stay in touch with my Mar Vista family through the years.
In September of 2021 I paid Mar Vista a surprise visit. I didn’t know then that it would be my last time at the Studios. Here’s the footage I got of my time there. I’ve included everyone’s names in case you want to find out more about their work, and links to their websites and/or social media below and in the video description on YouTube. Thank you, Grand View.
Artists, friends, and locations in order of appearance:
If anyone knows the band, please comment!
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