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10 Questions: Judy Shufro says let’s get more fine art on public display

Judy Shufro with one of her paintings
Judy Shufro with one of her paintings
/ Ashley Mackin

Judy Shufro is an artist and art educator, specializing in contemporary realism with fantasy. “I feel power, pulse and electric when I paint,” she said. “Since moving to La Jolla, I’ve discovered pure primary colors are exploding all around me. I’ll never tire of the cerulean blue skies, stars visible at night, magenta hillsides in February, and cadmium yellow medium trees in summer.”

Shufro likes to paint a series of about 20 works before moving on to another subject. Research for these has taken her to Japan, Barcelona, chicken coops, bakeries, La Jolla Shores Beach and Ralphs grocery store. “I have in my collection dancers, cafés, graffiti, flowers, animals and most recently, vegetables,” she said.

One of her café paintings is in the permanent collection of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Another, a kimono shaped triptych landscape of Mt. Koya, is in the private collection of the former curator of Far Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I got here by way of New York and Boston. I was hired to design an art studio and teach, and ended up teaching art at Torrey Pines Elementary School. I initiated an art gallery to showcase my students’ work that is still in place at Ralphs (8657 Villa La Jolla Drive).

I’ve also taught at The Athenaeum, for City College at the Jewish Community Center, and at the former Riford Center. I’ve taught at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and had the pleasure of being named “outstanding teacher” by my honor students twice. Another post was teaching art at ARTS A Reason To Survive) to teens with challenges.

What might you improve in the area?

On a small note: A more attractive setting for the display of children’s art at Ralph’s. Perhaps surrounding the café area.

On a large note: More places to showcase art. Banks would be great. Missing at UTC Westfield are galleries for the display of fine art. Would a co-op work? Surely there are enough artists around to manage one. With 160 shops at UTC Westfield and no fine art venues, what are we waiting for? Wouldn’t the outdoor sitting area near the food court be an exquisite place for fine and performing arts? And what about the empty storefronts in downtown La Jolla? A reason quality fine and performing arts are disappearing from our curriculums is that they have disappeared from our daily lives.

Who or what inspires you?

Just being here is inspiration.

If you hosted a party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

My parents, their parents, my nephew Steven and his wife, Pam. I never met my father’s parents. My grandfather, father of nine, was a tinsmith and, I am told, gathered his grandchildren on Friday nights in a tin circle he made and cooked fish. My grandmother brought two samovars from Russia, smoked cigarettes in bed and demonstrated for women’s rights. I would love to know all of their histories, which are also mine.

What are your favorite movies of all time?

“On the Waterfront,” “Rebecca,” “Argo,” “The Artist” and “An Inconvenient Truth.”

What clothing item in your closet will you never part with?

My mother’s shoes: brown silk and suede sling-back, ankle strap, open-toed with embossing on the platform high heels. I can see her going out in these and looking beautiful.

What are your favorite comfort foods?

I love Italian and Asian fare.

What is it that you most dislike?

Arrogance. Intolerance.

What is your philosophy of life?

Have a passion. Embrace it.

What would be your dream vacation?

I’m living in it. Otherwise, India and Vietnam would be nice to visit.