The OC Art Blog was created in 2004 as a way to build community and promote the marginalized but dynamic Orange County art scene.

I first discovered Tom Backer's work in the early 80's when he was documenting the burgeoning So Cal punk rock scene. Backer's extensive photographic collection of early punk shows, although unheralded, rivaled the work of better known punk rock documentarian's like Edward Colver. I was a fan. However, as the 80's progressed Backer disappeared from my radar and I wasn't sure what happened to this talented photographer. But as fate would have it, I was fortunate enough to run into Backer's wife Jennifer recently who pointed...

"We Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Dust" is a participatory sculpture project by Los Angeles-based artist collective Finishing School  in collaboration with artists Nadia Afghani and Matt Fisher that utilized the fabrication of a full size replica of a MQ-1B Predator drone aircraft. Over two hundred people helped FS and collaborators at Occidental College hand-finish the drone with an age-old application method using architectural-grade mud to the surface of the cnc'd substrate. In the dichotomy between the drone's form and its surface,...

Painter, curator, and educator David Michael Lee has been a stalwart of the Orange County art scene for many years now. Lee's work hangs in several prominent collections including the Phyllis & Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art. He serves as Director and curator for the Coastline Art Gallery and has a long history of creating various "happenings" in Orange County, many during his stint as a member of the now legendary Santa Ana Seven. If all that isn't enough, Lee is also one half...

The landscape-painting industry has had a hold on Laguna Beach for so long that the very idea of landscape in the resort town by the sea is inevitably fraught with cliché, but Thursday night's art walk provided some fresh perspectives on the genre with the work of two master painters at the Laguna Art Museum and the photography of Tom Lamb at Forest & Ocean Gallery. [caption id="attachment_5729" align="alignleft" width="254"] Wayne Thiebaud's Waterland, 1996, oil on canvas[/caption] Wayne Thiebaud, raised in Long Beach and still painting at...

Friday, MARCH 7 is the big annual Art Walk anniversary event taking place at the Fullerton Museum Plaza. Fullerton Art venues come together this one night to celebrate local life and art! Fullerton has been voted one of the top 3 best downtown areas in Orange County, and understandably so! With new boutiques, restaurants, bars, galleries and artist dens popping up around every corner, this small downtown area has become one of the best artistic communities in Orange County. Over the past few years, Fullerton has...

[caption id="attachment_5667" align="alignleft" width="229"] Carlotta Corpon, Space Composition with Chambered Nautilus[/caption] California’s identity is inextricably tied to its landscape, and has one of the most varied geographies in the Union. Attempting to capture California landscape art and its evolution for over a century is already ambitious in scope. However, California Landscape Into Abstraction: Works from the Orange County Museum of Art, OCMA's current exhibit, goes beyond an examination of 19th and 20th century California landscape and - as a result of thematic organization, a broad definition of...

An MFA exhibit currently on view at Cal State Fullerton installs a fantastical world of imagination in the campus' West Gallery, but like a wonderland apparition it's only up for a few days, so if you'd like to see it in person you'll have to visit soon! Tiffany Ma, who over the past few years has been involved with feminist collective performance art as part of the "Guerrila Gowns" project and was in the recent "Rage Bear" show at downtown Santa Ana's GCAC, studied photography...

By Jared Millar This weekend saw the opening of “STOCK | California” at Coastline College’s Costa Mesa-adjacent gallery which overlooks the (as yet) undeveloped coastal wetlands of the Lower Santa Ana River. Much of the work in the show consists of collage or mixed media, playing with the definition of “stock” that relates to paper stock or card stock. Standout images include Elena Mary Siff’s playful collages and unique book objects and Julie Easton’s striking construction of burned cigarette papers with iridescent paint. Also on exhibit is...

What do you do if you are a respected gallery owner and a highly anticipated show looks like it won’t come to fruition just one week before the opening? If you're Peter Blake you somehow pull together three solo shows of leading LA-based contemporary artists, within days of the opening event. On Saturday night at the Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach ­­it appeared as if this was the plan all along: the shows were as flawlessly put together as we have come to expect...

Tis’ the Season for the December OC Art Walks! This month we highlight some of the special events at each location including openings, receptions, books signings and parties (Fullerton is looking pretty lively this month). Get out there, have some fun, see some art and tell us where the best eggnog is: Text by Natasha Shah, graphic by Jared Millar...

I have been a fan of Maggie Taylor’s surreal dream-like images for almost a decade, ever since a friend used her digital collages as cover artwork for his homemade CDs. Taylor combines 19th century daguerreotypes, original photographs, scanned objects and old etchings, to produce fantastic, imaginative, and mysterious images. I first described her work while covering the Digital Darkroom exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in 2011, and was excited to meet Taylor in person and discuss her art work during the signing of her latest...

Surreal, dream-like images inhabited by the solemn countenances of people from a bygone era, set in fantastical landscapes and surrounded by a strange assortment of animals, an arc of bees or random objects; these are the magical images of Maggie Taylor. Taylor creates astonishingly complex digital collages combining original photographs, 19th century daguerreotypes, scanned objects and vintage etchings, to produce imaginative and mysterious photographs. [caption id="attachment_5429" align="aligncenter" width="436"] The Nest[/caption] Walking through the Joanne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach where her work is currently on display, the...

Orange County has solid museums, vibrant artists and several local art scenes, yet the cultural footprint of art in the community remains pretty shallow. Residents don’t venture too far from their neighborhood and the idea of a gallery event as part of an interesting night out doesn’t resonate with younger generations. So what’s missing? How can we break through suburban inertia and make the OC art scene something bigger?  Alex Amador, owner of the new 4,500 square foot DAX Gallery, thinks he has the answer. Amador believes...

For November's Art Walk we feature three galleries that are elevating the Laguna Beach gallery scene (and one honorable mention) by exhibiting art and artists that stand out amongst the typical Orange County fare. Since the galleries are spread out along the coast we chose one  to represent North, Central, and South Laguna (maps and gallery descriptions below). The current theme in Laguna Beach is Art & Nature though the artists we saw fused nature with industry or technology by using found objects, digital manipulation or mixing natural...

It’s that time again! The OC Art Walks are happening the first week of November. To help you celebrate after Halloween check out our OC Art Blog guide to the Orange County Art Walks (since October 31st falls on a Thursday Laguna Beach art walk is next week). Street maps for each of the walks with our highlights are below, let us know where you went and tell us some of your favorites.   OC ART BLOG ART WALK GUIDE More information and our photos from the October art...