JoAnne Artman opened her eponymous gallery at 326 North Coast Highway in Laguna Beach in 2008, presenting vibrant and eclectic exhibitions. Her roster of artists is rooted in her obvious passion for the artist’s individual voice and mastery of technique. All artists are award-winning, and their works have been shown and collected in museums and private collections in Southern California, around the country and internationally.
JoAnne, it was great meeting you and touring your gallery and new exhibitions. I enjoyed learning more about your roster of artists. What led you to open your gallery in Laguna Beach?
I’ve lived in Laguna Beach for over 30 years, and had always wanted to have my gallery in the space I am in now! It became available in late 2008, and I thought, “be careful what you wish for,” because of the economics (especially in 2008!) but I knew I had to try, and fortunately I was able to open my gallery in this amazing location in Laguna Beach.
Did you always want to be in the art world? Do you have any formal training in the arts?
I’ve always been interested in the Arts, although my degree is in French & English Literature! For many years I would connect artists and friends at my home, and showcase work I loved–owning my own gallery was a lifelong dream, which finally happened!
What led to your passion for contemporary art? How did you become a dealer?
I am interested in all genres of art, but feel a personal connection to contemporary art. I’m fortunate to represent many young artists such as James Verbicky, America Martin and Brooke Shaden who are exploding on the scene!
Who’s your favorite artist from history, and who’s your favorite artist creating today?
I’m so intrigued with Andy Warhol: his life, his art and his “15 minutes of fame”–which is now more evident than ever! Warhol’s artistic expression, celebrity and advertisement was captivating in the 1960s, and and continues today! James Verbicky also seems to feed off of Warhol’s aesthetics with his engaging mixed media paintings, and America Martin’s bold lines and color, reminiscent of Picasso, bring a pure joy to the gallery!
I’m also captivated by the photography of Cindy Sherman. “Cindy” Morris Sherman is an American photographer and film director, best known for her conceptual portraits. I hope to one day own one of her amazing photographs!
Are you an artist yourself?
I use to photograph and paint…but now my focus is on representing and pushing forward the careers of the artists I represent.
Any exciting events or exhibitions coming up that we should know about?
All our exhibitions bring a certain excitement to the gallery. My next pairing will be Belgium born artist Anja Van Herle and Spanish artist Alberto Murillo. Anja’s pop art portraits combine a European sense of high fashion with an American sense of wonder. Alberto’s beautiful mixed media abstracts are strong, soulful, colorful pieces.
JoAnne, why do you feel so passionately about the community of Laguna Beach?
I’m so happy to be able to see the ocean every day–what a beautiful place to live. I’ve lived several other places, but have always come home to Laguna!
Please describe how you spend an ideal weekend in our beautiful village.
At my gallery of course!
Thanks for chatting with me today, JoAnne–I’m looking forward to seeing your next exhibit!