The aura of Santa Monica cultivates creativity, as the oceanside views and active lifestyle combine to inspire fresh artistic works heading into the fall months.
Artists from across the world have come to the city to share their skills with residents, opening galleries and upholding some of the area’s legendary art locations. One such world-traveled artist, Lissa Mel, opened her “The Messengers” gallery in May at 608 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Mel was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, before immigrating to Petah Tikva, Israel, at age 10. Eventually spending the rest of her upbringing in Tel Aviv, she gained artistic skill quicker than most due to the relationship with her mother, a visual artist.
“My mom always told me that I had this unique kind of a gift,” Mel said. “I was very artistic. I was drawing since I was a baby, maybe two, three (years old) since I started to hold a pen and pencils. My first serious paintings, I was in first grade.”
After attending art school in Tel Aviv, Mel has spent years honing her craft, taking endless risks working with unique materials and mixed media, elements that came together for “The Messengers.” She also invited other notable artists to bring their works to the gallery, including Dr. Bruce Sanders, Dr. Bianca Turner, Dr. Margie Mirrel, Reena Tolentino, Claudia Shanbaum and Aliza Marton.
She was particularly proud of her work designing musical instruments, using things such as guitars as a canvas for abstract works. To Mel, music and art come together seamlessly.
“Music, it’s a vibration, it’s a frequency,” she said. “Even when we speak, every sound is a frequency. Art is a frequency too. Whenever the artist puts any kind of a thought through the brush for the color, the frequency goes, the sound goes out. It’s the same process. That’s why this connection will always be there.”
Connecting all forms of media, Mel wants her gallery to be an open space for all creatives, hosting musicians and comedians for performances.
“In this gallery, people don’t come and leave, people come and stay, connect, and enjoy. They listen to music, they can connect to other artists because they’re all there. The music and the comedy, it kind of creates a vibe of fun.”
Along with the new art additions to the area, the existing pillars of creative works remain in Santa Monica, including the Santa Monica Art Museum on the Third Street Promenade. Earlier this month, the art museum collaborated with worldwide exhibition Elephant Parade, unveiling an exhibit featuring handcrafted five-foot-tall elephant sculptures. The exhibit will run through September 22, featuring sculptures from entertainment heavyweights like music artist Katy Perry and reality television star Khloé Kardashian.
The area’s largest non-profit cultural institution, the 18th Street Arts Center, is currently running Jenny Yurshansky’s “Rinsing the Bones” gallery, curated by Karen Moss, through November 30. Yurshansky teamed with Los Angeles-based quit collective The Running Stitch to be part of the exhibition, which “explores how generational displacement passes the embodied trauma of dislocation onto future generations.”