Something special has been going on at the Monarch Art Gallery in the Village. Owner Elsie Arredondo, who bought the gallery a couple of years ago from Leland Williams and moved it from the touristy Prospect location to the more serious art district, 7629 Girard Ave., has been putting together some exhibits that are charting a new direction for the arts in La Jolla.
Last month’s reception featured a multi-disciplinary performance by an electronic violinist, a dancer and a charcoal painter who produced a wall-sized painting as patrons watched in amazement. The June 25 reception featured world-renowned artist Spar Street, a towering figure in more ways than one — he stands 6-foot 6-inches tall. Spar has been commissioned by the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation to produce stainless steel heart-shaped sculptures in commemoration of its 100th anniversary that will be given out by the World Peace One Foundation to worthy individuals.
Plans are also in the works for large sculptures of the same design to be installed in “Peace Parks” throughout the world. It’s envisioned that these parks, promoting world peace, will become monuments on the level of World Heritage sites such as the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal.
His work will be at the gallery through Aug. 6.
Arredondo said she developed her artistic sensibilities as head art therapist with Kaiser Permanente. She said her goal is to create a serious art gallery that brings the best of new artists to La Jolla for the community’s appreciation.
Arredondo selected Street, who is collected by the likes of Ted Turner, Jane Goodall, Kenny Loggins and Jewel, because “he’s nothing like what I’ve seen before; he creates flawless sculptures and paintings using cutting-edge technology and aerospace specifications, leading to new types of art experience.”
Austrian-born Marvin Wiseman is Street’s agent, who he flew in for the opening. Wiseman said he became involved with helping Street two years ago because, “I was as so impressed with his mixed-media paintings, which feature up to 100 separate layers of paint. These paintings are able to capture changing light and shadow conditions to create a sense of movement on the canvas.”
Street is both a master of painting and of sculpture. The molds for his works are made with a 3D printer. Each sculpture is cast in sections and then welded together and polished. The surfaces as so refined they must be handled with white gloves. They have an awe-inspiring ability to reflect the light all around them, as well as an image of the viewer!
“My casting methods using the 3D printer are the first great advance in the Lost Wax Method in over 3,000 years,” Street said.
His friend Cindy Coleman and her husband, Daryle, were at the opening, and of his work Cindy remarked, “Spar is a very pure person who sees nature in interesting ways and is able to capture the life going on in a moment of time on his canvas.”
Gerson and Donna Fernandes also attended opening night. Gerson helped build many high-rises in New York City and stated his amazement at the amount of time Street puts into his work.
Talking with Street, I discovered he is a graduate of the Chicago Institute of Art, a world-class snow skier, and an avid surfer who has a warehouse-sized art studio on the island of Maui.
“My dad, who was a sailing enthusiast, gave me the name of Spar,” he said. “He named my brother Jib. ... I’m interested in how we can connect with others in meaningful ways, like in the movie ‘Avatar,’ where they say, ‘I see you.’
“Each work I create is a meditation. I’m always asking myself the question: ‘What is meaningful? What is important? What matters most? My answers seem to revolve around love and connection, and are reflected in my art.
“Before I start a piece, I bless water and pour a little on the canvas as an offering or invocation. My intuitions and insights come together and manifest as I work with my materials.
“I’d like to thank the people of La Jolla for building such a beautiful community and for nurturing the development of my loving wife, Satya, a La Jolla high graduate, whom I met at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Prospect Street. I would like to invite them to the gallery to experience my work, which I think will invoke in them an awareness of ‘Kuhiana,’ which is Hawaiian for ‘Your true path or true purpose in life.’ ”
Software engineer and art collector Gary Lang was inspired to buy a bronze V-shaped Street sculpture “Victory.” Lang said the piece is so important to him that he has decided to buy a new house to better showcase the work. Hearing this, Street was moved to “cry for happy,” because he said he’d been thinking this might be the right piece for Lang to own.