Two new art galleries are drawn to La Jolla ... with others on the way


By Jocelyn Waters

La Jolla has the largest concentration of art galleries in San Diego (more than 30) and two galleries wanted to be right in the middle of it:

Scott White Contemporary Art


Thumbprint Gallery

Scott White opened his new space on Nov. 19 in the design building on Girard Ave., which also houses Joseph Bellows Gallery and R.B. Stevenson Gallery. The ceilings are high, and the two rooms are expansive, easily able to show installations or large wall pieces.

“I actually got this space a year ago,” White confessed. “It’s going to be the last place I’m at.” White signed a 10-year lease and plans for expansion.

He has been a gallery owner for almost 20 years and an art dealer for 32. He has had gallery locations in La Jolla, downtown, and Little Italy. During the past few years in Little Italy though, he said he was mainly focused on private and global clients because exhibiting consumed so much time.

But after awhile, White found that he lost some of the excitement of art, of finding new artists and holding exhibitions. If he was to go back into a show schedule, “then the best venue is La Jolla.”

His new year will be packed with exhibitions, with shows featuring Stefanie Schneider, Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, Clifford Smith, Gregg Renfrow and Miriam Cabessa. These artists were hand picked by White, who explained that he is drawn to the complex layers of an artist’s work. He shows artists that continue to grow and have “many layers and longevity.”

For instance, Stefanie Schneider’s work is very dynamic, White explained as he flipped through a catalog from which he is finalizing the pieces for her show, “Stranger than Paradise,” opening Jan. 14. She uses expired vintage 1970’s film, which creates unexpected warps, and she is also a director of short films, so some of the images are a succession of still shots.

Thumbprint Gallery

About a block away on Kline Street, Thumbprint Gallery opened its new location on Sept. 10, moving from North Park. Co-owner Paul Ecado said it was a simple decision, “we wanted to exhibit work in a nicer but affordable space with better fixtures.”

Ecado owns Thumbprint Gallery with Johnny Tran, whose partnership began in 2009 after hosting art events together in modified venues around town, like at Bar Basic and Industry Showroom, where they still continue to produce themed group shows.

Thumbprint Gallery showcases “Contemporary Urban Art” by mainly local artists, alternating between two-person and group shows. Urban Art is underrepresented in La Jolla, and both Tran and Ecado are excited to bring a different art style to these streets.

They are focused on furthering the urban art movement that stems from outsider art, low/new brow art, street art and graffiti. At the opening, their landlord even allowed Tran and Ecodo to graffiti the outside of the building since it was in the process of being repainted.

So far, the La Jolla community has been both “positive and curious” said Tran. In upcoming years, you can expect Thumbprint Gallery to continue shaking up the local art scene. Currently on exhibit are works by Keemowerks & Christopher Konecki, entitled “Don’t Say we Didn’t Warn You.” In their different styles, they examine the man’s self destruction, but also it’s intricate beauty.

La Jolla is one of the few places that people are still buying art, and you can expect more galleries to be attracted to that special La Jolla clientele, like Alexander Salazar, returning to La Jolla in mid-January.

If you go

Scott White Contemporary Art

7655 Girard Ave, Suite A

(619) 501-5689

Thumbprint Gallery

920 Kline Street #104

(858) 354-6294