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The studio is primarily owned by Phil Bongiorno (below, right) a longtime resident and artist with a passionate style inspired by spiritual symbolism found in California culture and graveyard angels. Phil’s works span a variety of media, from spray-cans on canvas to curio boxes, painstakingly retouched photographs and imaginative steampunk creations.
“For me, art is everything or art is nothing,” said Bongiorno. “It’s about what moves me, takes me from where I am and puts me in another place. It can be positive or it can be negative, it just needs to move me. My work in all the various cemeteries drove this point home for me. It’s about the duality, the dichotomy of life… Life and death, happy and sad, good and bad, heaven and hell.”
Bongiorno’s studio opening included sensual works by the ever-gorgeous Chris Moon, whose paintings and drawings celebrate the both the beauty and anguish of female sexuality; Bob Knight, whose enchanting and well-respected ‘heart’ sculptures evoke awe and, well, heartfelt congratulations; and Carolann Espino, whose traditional Mexican folklore-inspired works include a variety of surprising images and sculptures.
Other works included fantastic puppets and shadow boxes by Kimy Martinez, and individual works by Darcy Gayle Walker and Tulio Flores.
The evening event was heavily attended.
“I am still on a high from that night,” said Bongiorno. “In my opinion it was a huge success. It was a great turnout, a sea of people as far as I could see all having a great time, and that is EXACTLY what we are about! A hub for spirituality and the arts.”
One reason for the great success was that the gallery is itself a work of art, with sculptures and fixtures carefully interwoven into the very fabric of the converted bungalow and its cozy patio, primarily by Phil and his girlfriend Shannon. These sculptures and works were created and installed with painstaking effort and more than a little help from friends.
“So much hard work went into making Studio-Bongiorno a reality,” said Bongiorno. “So many people donated their time, labor, and amazing gifts. Some gave me guidance, advice, while others gave me patience and spirituality, and ALL gave their positive energy, and it showed big time!”
Studio~Bongiorno will have one major show every month, said the artist. Next month the gallery will feature more works by Carolann Espino, Tulio Flores, and Tracey Baca, among others.
The studio is also open to other arts, including dance, poetry, music, book signing, reading and more.
The studio is open daily, and includes a coffee bar with free Wi-Fi and a variety of spiritual gifts such as candles, incense, and soaps, as well as jewelry, wind chimes and more.
The studio and its works are a real gem, be sure to check them out
Chris Moon (pictured, above): “I don’t where to begin! She possesses so much talent; I think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg with what she is capable of! In this show we are showcasing her paintings, mixed media creations, stone lithographs and more.
Robert J. Knight: We are so fortunate to be able to feature Bob’s work, he is so accomplished and so recognized in the art world. He can take a simple object like a heart, and create it and recreate it in so many ways while uncovering it in all its complexity and mystery. Getting straight to the heart is what Bob is all about.
Kimy Martinez: How we were able to slow Kimy down enough to be in our opening still baffles me! Kimy is one immensely busy artist and is deeply involved in the arts and art community. We are lucky to have seven different pieces of Kimy’s here, from puppets, mixed media to a wonderful shadow box.
Cover Photo by Stu Chambers