Local artists Kit Plumridge and Alon Goldsmith share a love for Southern California’s eccentric, distinctive beach culture. Plumridge is drawn to beach scenes and seascapes, lifeguard towers, surf wagons, and piers. Goldsmith, a photographer who uses his iPhone camera to create his art, chronicles life on and around Venice Beach, capturing candid portraits of street performers, skateboarders, and inviting the viewer to take a second look at odd corners of L.A.: graffiti murals, abandoned oddments, curious signs, architectural elements.
The two artists’ work was on display at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch. The duo are longtime friends, but the show came together through pure synchronicity.
Sophia Wong, the Western National Park Association events manager for the Visitor Center, didn’t know that the two artists were friends when she contacted them. Wong was simply impressed with their work and thought the two perspectives on beach culture would create a dynamic exhibit.
“It was entirely coincidental,” Plumridge told the Messenger. “We were both showing as part of the Topanga Studio Tour. Sophia asked us individually if we would like to do a show. We’re both from South Africa originally. We’ve known each other for 30, 40 years. I love having this opportunity to work with Alon.”
Although the work of the two artists shares a beach culture theme, Plumridge paints in oils, either in the studio using a slow drying medium to extend the time he can work on the canvas, or plein air on location. His works are often playful, but also contemplative, inviting the viewer to share the mood of the scene, often pale blue skies with the marine layer beginning to creep in from the background, and the odd angles and the bright colors of the Venice Beach lifeguard towers.
Goldsmith takes his photos on the move, capturing moments: a lightning-quick skateboarder, an airliner caught hovering in the palm trees at takeoff from LAX. He prints his photos on aluminum, giving them the same vibe as the signs and street art that inspire him.
Fascinated by the camera in his first iPhone, Goldsmith began experimenting on his ride to work through Venice, using the app, Hipstamatic, to extend the phone’s range. “I like getting on my bike and going,” he said.
Instead of an art opening, the duo celebrated the closing of the exhibit because the government shutdown closed the Center and delayed the official launch. The show closes after the Messenger goes to press but look for both artists’ work at the 2018 Topanga Studio Tour.
For more information on Alon Goldsmith: www.alongoldsmith. com. Plumridge’s art can be viewed at www.kitplumridge.com.
Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at email@example.com