Housing sales and new construction are on the upswing here in California. And, for that, we are all grateful.

For those of us who live here in the Azzurra building, in Marina del Rey West Los Angeles, there's an exciting new mixed-use development going up right across the street from our building. The architectural design is beautiful, and this new building and the retail shops and restaurants that it promises to bring will be a welcome new addition in our neighborhood.

Click photo, above, to enlarge for detail.
 
 
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Anyone who's been in my Indianapolis home knows that I love art of all kinds, particularly contemporary art. Now, after having been in my Los Angeles condo for two years, I'm finally getting around to buying some art to help spice up the place.

For almost 20 years I've relied on my longtime friend Mark Ruschman to help me find specific pieces, or specific artists who could create commissioned work for me. Over the past few months mark has visited me here in Los Angeles on two occasions, as we've worked together to design a lighting package that will best highlight the art that I plan to install. The process is nearly completed, and we should be about to order all the lighting components and give my electrician the go-ahead to begin installation. (Though, I have to first get approval from the condo Association Board of Directors, which means I have to give them a complete "scope of work" document showing everything I'm doing and every component I'm installing. Fingers crossed approval won't take long.)

In addition to the two pieces that I purchased in Vietnam, I intend to use some Hoosier artists as well. Some of my favorites, who have a number of their pieces hanging in my Indianapolis home, include Barry Gealt and Tamar Kander.

Since I like his work so much, I'm commissioning Barry to create a piece specifically for Los Angeles. So, he and Mark visited me in Los Angeles last week to discuss the commission, as well as go over lighting fixtures, etc.


One of the wonderful things about Barry is that, besides being an amazing artist, he's also a "big kid". Barry and his wife Heidi live on a nearly 200-acre farm in rural Spencer, Indiana, and having never been to Los Angeles until last week, meant that we tried to pack in a lot of tourist activities during the few days he was here. We had a lot of fun, but one of the craziest things we did was to stop into the Bubba Gump store on the Santa Monica pier late one night. Barry couldn't resist buying some kitschy hats (see photos below). We never found time to get down to Venice Beach strand -- where all the vendors are located, and where the freak-shows can be seen -- so that'll have to wait til his next visit. I'm preparing for junk-buying binge that day, too. :-)

"Art" is in the eye of the beholder. So, just for fun, I'll blog about the pieces that I'm buying and/or am having commissioned over the next few months, so that my readers can either appreciate what I see in each piece, or just laugh at my terrible taste.

Either way, when I'm done, it should be a sumptuous and yummy environment -- no matter how you look at it!


Photo above is Barry Gealt in front of a Lifeguard truck on Venice Beach.

Photos below are shots of the ocean at sunset on Venice Beach, Barry and Mark fixing dinner one night, Barry at Bubba Gump's on Santa Monica Pier in his new 'Bernie Madoff' hat, and on his farm in Spencer, Indiana. Click to enlarge and view.

Video below: Mark Ruschman interview in his Indianapolis gallery.