Mauricio Navvaro has opened his hair salon/art studio near 24th and Wilshire in Santa Monica’s mid-city neighborhood Credit: Antoinette Damico

Mauricio Navvaro is a man of creative passions who currently channels his artistic endeavors into a combination mens hair salon and art gallery in Santa Monica’s mid-city neighborhood.

As a professional hair stylist with decades of experience, Navvaro is proud of the space he owns in the city, but he’s as excited to showcase his skill with a paintbrush as he is with a hairbrush.

Mauricio’s VIP Hair Lounge specializes in men’s haircuts and grooming with the intention of making men both look and feel their best. In an effort to encourage the best in his customers, Navvaro covers the walls of the salon with his colorful and fun works of art, hoping to inspire a love for beauty in his clients. From paintings to sculptures, a haircut with Navvaro becomes more than a haircut, but a creative transformation.

“I just want to work and share my work with people. That’s all that’s all I wanted to do, I’ve been hiding my paintings for a long time because I didn’t have a place to display my work. But [the salon] is something that I can show people what I do,” said Navvaro.

Born in Mexico City, Navvaro has been making art for as long as he can remember, but the commitments of work and family made it difficult to fulfill this passion. “When I was little I used to draw, but [then] I have my daughter and I got married … No time to do it, so [in] 2003, I started to do it, my work,” said Navvaro.

Opening the hair lounge has given Navarro the opportunity to continue making art and present it to those in Santa Monica.

“I want to show people what I do, not only cutting people’s hair, but also, I’m an artist. So I want people to see my work, and share it with people and share it with the community,” said Navvaro.

His art takes customers through a journey of his life as they sit in the chair. Inspired by his upbringing both in Mexico and LA, the paintings and sculptures feature aspects of Navvaro’s life that resonate with any Santa Monica native.

One sculpture in particular repurposes an old skateboard and vintage hair clippers. One painting showcases a skull with a Dodgers cap, an ode to LA pride and the Mexican holiday ‘Dia De Los Muertos.’

Five of his paintings will be featured in the upcoming movie, “For the Grape of God,” all of which are currently on display in the salon.

“All the barbershops look the same [with] mirrors and machines, and this is different. You can see it’s more work and more art than anything else. So every time people come they see that, I always [change], I have so many paintings that I always bring a new one,” said Navvaro.

Navvaro has been pleased with the success of his store but would love to grow a bigger customer base. In the hopes of eventually opening up a larger location, he would be able to take on more clients and share more of his large collection of art.

“I want to serve the community … Students, they can get a discount. Senior citizens also, I can give [one]. I can work with the community and the community [can] come and see my work – It’s not only for sale, but they can get inspired from it. This is my place,” said Navvaro.

The salon is located at 1201 24th St from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturdays and you can visit the website here.

Antoinette Damico, Daily Press intern