Show showcases inspiring talent

Beautiful things are best enjoyed in beautiful settings, a concept that the luxurious city of Beverly Hills certainly understands.

Last weekend, Beverly Hills held its biannual art show in the historic Beverly Gardens, located along Santa Monica Boulevard.

State of the Union · The artist Kaleo frequently uses famousfaces as subjects for his fascinating and provcative images. - Brittany La Hue | Summer Trojan

Formerly called the Affaire in the Gardens, the nearly 40-year-old event traditionally occurs every May and October. This season’s show featured 250 artists exhibiting their work in diverse mediums, such as painting, watercolor, sculpture, photography, ceramics, drawings, printmaking, mixed media and jewelry.

Though the art was beautiful, the helter-skelter layout of the tents, lack of directories and the general confusion of the volunteers and staff who were working the show led to a quite disorganized experience.

“While every artist truly deserved to be there and their art was absolutely amazing, the layout of the show made it hard for the audience to see everything or find anything,” said Lucy Yin, a senior majoring in English Literature.

Luckily, the relaxed vibe of the art fair and the openness of the artists more than made up for the confusion.

Talented USC alumni permeated the tents and viewers learned about the inspiration behind their art as well as experience uncommon types of art.

Dennis Sallas, a UCLA alumnus who goes by the penname “Kaleo,” was a highlight of the festival. His brightly colored canvases featured relevant figures, including President Barack Obama, former presidents Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy, singer Amy Winehouse and terrorist leader Osama bin Laden against bright backgrounds of Target logos, tabloid headlines and Blow Pop wrappers. The images were not only visually appealing but also thought-provoking with their political insights.

Other forward-thinking artists who exhibited work at the art show included Steve Fujimoto, who uses materials from wood to lights to dollar bills in his sculptures and whose work was showcased in the 2011 Rose Parade.

“These artists approach the Los Angeles environment with joy, irony and the occasionally vicious touch,” said Karen McLean, the show coordinator.

Indeed, tents featured anything from paintings of flowers to raw and eye-opening pictures of Los Angeles’ worst corners and even neon animal sculptures and skulls. The sheer amount of variety and diversity made the Beverly Hills Art Show truly a cultural experience to remember.

“We’re about art. From classic to contemporary, experimental to experiential, we are Southern California’s premier art festival in terms of quality and a push toward the progressive,” McLean said.

But the show wasn’t just about art. Fun attractions included food trucks, beer gardens, outdoor musical performances and areas for children to engage in art projects of their own.

Overall, the free art show’s beautiful and accessible location provided a valuable cultural experience.

“I think everyone should make a trip down there because the people are all so friendly and the art inspiring. … [It was] a great way to spend a Saturday,” Yin said.

The next Beverly Hills Art Show will be held Oct. 20 and 21.