PICO BLVD — Restaurants all over Los Angeles have been sporting art on their walls for years. Upscale restaurants have attracted renowned artists such as Ed Moses and Larry Bell to show their work and now many emerging artists are also nudging their way in.
Pico Neighborhood restaurant Upper West has been a longtime supporter of the arts featuring art openings on a regular basis since its 2010 inception.
“At first we started showing several artists,” said co-owner Elad Benisti. “Now we usually feature one artist per show [and] we’ve had a wonderful response.”
Artist Alicia Savio was introduced to Upper West by a friend and was impressed by the quality of the art featured at the restaurant. She met with owners and will be opening in a new exhibition this Sunday. Entitled Urban Dream, the exhibit features a new series of paintings in acrylics and oils on canvas.
Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina she has been painting since she was just a child. She also had a dance career and toured through Latin America as a tango dancer in her 20s. While on tour, she painted in the dressing rooms of many well-known theaters.
For her first solo show, she paid tribute to many dancers from the Colon Theater who lost their lives in a tragic airplane accident. Although she no longer performs, Savio continues to stay active in the dance world, recently choreographing “The Tango Singer” at Theatre West last June.
She has created art most of her life in various mediums such as acrylics, oils, watercolors and ink on paper. She is also currently creating sculptures in bronze.
“I won my first art award when I was 14 years old, so I’ve been an emerging artist for awhile!” she joked.
In the 1980s she fell in love with the warm weather in Los Angeles and decided to make it her permanent home. She insists the L.A. art scene has changed dramatically.
“There is a huge art movement in L.A. created by a large variety of artists which is encouraging … from homegrown street art to highly trained academics,” she said.
She admits to being excited about the opening. “I’ve always communicated with people through my artwork,” she confided.
Savio’s exhibit Urban Dreams, focuses on urban housing and is inspired by her travels to developing countries. Despite the seemingly bleak subject matter, one senses an optimistic view through the choice of colors and her surrealistic style.
Her work has undergone many transitions through the years.
“My earlier work is much more figurative and impressionistic,” Savio said. “My recent work is more abstract and inspired by design.”
On Sunday, March 3, Upper West will hold an opening reception for Urban Dreams from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information about the artist, see her website at www.saviostudio.com
If you go
Upper West Restaurant
3321 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, Calif.