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Tue10222019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Richard Almada

If you have not yet paid a visit to Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert, go now—while you still have the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic Warhol exhibition that’s on display at the gallery into April.

Andy Warhol’s works may very well be the most-recognizable art in the world. His parents were immigrants from Slovakia, and he was born in Pittsburgh; of course, he would go on to become one of the most controversial pop artists of all-time before his death in 1987. He turned ordinary objects into iconic symbols—celebrating the mundane as art.

His art is a perfect fit for Heather James Fine Art, which shows art in various genres from around the globe, including a lot of blue-chip works. The exhibit Andy Warhol: Paintings and Prints has been on display at the gallery since November.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to bring dozens of Warhol pieces to the Coachella Valley,” said curator Chip Tom. “He is one of few contemporary artists recognized worldwide. China, Russia, Africa—everyone knows Warhol.”

Warhol celebrated celebrities—and in doing so, he became one himself, thanks in part to his clever marketing tactics. I used to live in New York City, and I remember when Warhol would arrange for groups of photographers to follow his every move in public.

Heather James is not just showing the works of Warhol; the gallery is also presenting an exhibition of abstract art by five artists, each with an expressive style. One of those artists is Luc Bernard, a Canadian artist now residing in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. He began as an encaustic painter who created lush landscapes, but his style eventually evolved into abstraction.

Another artist, Betty Gold, a familiar name to the desert, is best known as a sculptor whose works in steel are collected all over the U.S. and Europe. Two of her huge works reside in front of the gallery’s garden space. David Hare (1917-1992) was also primarily known for his sculpture, but he also worked in photography and painting. He was a founding member of the Subjects of the Artist School in New York in 1948, along with Mark Rothko, William Baziotes and Robert Motherwell. Nice company! Speaking of nice company, Hare’s friends included Jean-Paul Sartre, Balthus, Alberto Giacometti and Pablo Picasso.

The exhibit also includes the works of abstract expressionist painter Arne Hiersoux (1938-1983), and Norman Zammit (1937-2007), a pioneer of Light and Space, one of the most important art movements born in Los Angeles in the 1960s.

Another American artist, Alexander Calder (1898-1976), gets a gallery wall at Heather James dedicated to several of his works. He was famous for both his abstract art and his mobile sculptures. His mastery of bright colors and striking designs offers a real treat to the senses.

Finally, Salvador Dali—the Spanish artist who became synonymous with surrealism, and who was the subject of a significant exhibit at the gallery last year—retains a presence at the gallery, which continues to show some of his works.

Dali was a mere 12 years old when he enjoyed his first exhibition of charcoal drawings. He entered art school in 1922, and in the late ’20s, he met and then worked with Picasso, Miro and Magritte. He was introduced to America in 1934 by art-dealer Julien Levy and was an instant sensation. Dali was known as much for his eccentric behavior and attention-grabbing public actions as he was for his art—just like Andy Warhol. Therefore, it’s fitting to see their works together under the same roof.

Heather James Fine Art is located at 45188 Portola Ave., in Palm Desert. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 760-346-8926, or visit www.heatherjames.com. Below: “Les Pyramides Grandes,” by Alexander Calder, color lithograph.

Thursday, Nov. 21, was a big day for local artist Elena Bulatova: She celebrated the opening of her second gallery, this one in downtown Palm Springs, with a ribbon-cutting featuring Mayor Steve Pougnet.

The celebration continues from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, when Elena Bulatova Fine Art will hold a reception to celebrate the opening.

I first met Elena Bulatova at her Backstreet Art District gallery, at 2652 S. Cherokee Way. I was impressed by her work, her international lifestyle and her world-class education. The first gallery has been a success for Bulatova; she’s now in her third season in Palm Springs. Not bad for a relatively new arrival in the desert.

Bulatova credited her parents for exposing her to various art museums during their travels. She honed her skills with seven years in art school; she painted, danced and even played the violin in the chamber orchestra at Moscow State University. She then came to the United States to study economics at Yale.

“To be a successful artist, it is not just knowing how to paint,” she told me during an email conversation. “Running the galleries is separate business that includes managing people, client relations, marketing, social media, contacts with press, accounting, financial planning, etc. Success doesn’t come overnight, and many years of studies … helped me to grow in my career as an artist.”

Her art is bright and vivid, often featuring perfect compositions. While she works mostly with primary colors, she also has a series of muted, darker mixed-media works with an iridescent metallic quality. The new Palm Canyon Drive gallery boasts new hand-blown glass pieces, adding a dramatic element to the high ceilings and open space in this unique building across from the Hyatt.

The new gallery will also show carved paintings on panel and bronze sculptures by Delos Van Earl; Larry Weitz’s abstract paintings; and “screw art” by Efraim Mashiah. Starting in January, the gallery will also host monthly exhibitions.

I asked her who was collecting her art.

“My paintings can be found in many private collections, locally in California and all over U.S., but we see a lot of international tourists coming from different countries to Palm Springs,” she said via email. “I shipped paintings to Canada, Mexico, Australia and Europe.”

Why did this woman who grew up in Russia choose the desert as the place to make and sell her art? Why not a place like, say, Miami? (In fact, she’s taking part in the Red Dot Art Fair in Miami right now, in conjunction with Miami Beach’s world-famous Art Basel show.)

“I think the desert art scene has a lot of potential,” she told me, later adding that Miami has too many distractions compared to the relative serenity of the desert. “Palm Springs is very close to Los Angeles, and there are a lot of people visiting. Miami once became a hub for contemporary artists with the coming of Art Basel to the city, which grew in 10 years and attracted numerous satellite fairs and artists to relocate there. We (have) the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair, and its third season is coming. There are already a lot of creative people here—and more coming.”

Bulatova said she opened the second gallery because of the growth in the art industry and because of the potential of Palm Springs. She found the new location, took a month to remodel it, and presto: The new gallery came to be.

There is no doubt in my mind that the new gallery will bring much success to Bulatova—and allow more people to experience her wonderful art.

Elena Bulatova Fine Art’s new downtown Palm Springs location is located at 232 N. Palm Canyon Drive. The gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays during Palm Springs VillageFest. An opening reception will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13. For more information, call 760-600-0417, or visit www.ElenaBulatovaFineArt.com.

The busy season is here—and to celebrate, the city of Palm Desert has moved its El Paseo Art Walks from Thursday to Friday, as part of an expanded “First Weekend” arts and culture celebration.

I went down to the season’s first El Paseo Art Walk on Friday, Nov. 1, to check out the scene. The event will happen every first Friday through May.

“This was a very positive change to the Art Walk schedule—and with a great turnout,” said Rick Royale, of Royale Projects: Contemporary Art, where the gallery celebrated the opening of Gustavo Godoy: Fast-Formal Metal Constructions. “It’s bringing a good many people interested in art—and also in the social aspect that this event brings to everyone.”

Royale relocated the gallery from Indian Wells earlier this year, so he’s kicking off his first full season at 73190 El Paseo, Suite 3 (760-742-5182; www.royaleprojects.com).

“This location offers greater convenience for new clients to explore the art programs and broaden their interest and awareness,” he said.

Dawson Cole Fine Art manager Marty Raichle declared the move to Fridays to be an instant hit.

“This far surpassed the former Thursday Art Walk. … This is truly special for the city and the galleries,” Raichle said.

The gallery, at 73199 El Paseo, Suite H (760-303-4300; www.dawsoncolefineart.com), is currently showing James Galindo; Soft Edges. The December exhibit, Jim Lamb, will be celebrated with a reception on the next First Friday, Dec. 6.

Nearby Christian Hohmann Fine Art, at 73660 El Paseo, Suite 2 (760-346-4243; www.christianhohmann.com) also opened its doors for the November party.

“I was a part of the committee that worked on the change,” he said. “… Personally, I have participated in the art walks for over 10 years now, and I hope that it will be a constant work in progress … so it can grow into a much larger event over time with broader participation.”

He said the galleries all benefit from the monthly Art Walk.

“Every opportunity to share our passion for art ... (and) meet prospective clients … (and) mingle with collectors benefits us,” he said. “At our price level, we have very few instant sales ... but we have planted countless seeds during art walks.”

The Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert (aka The Galen) is opening its doors for free every first Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Live music, performance art and film screenings are happening both inside and outside at the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden. (By the way: The museum’s big “Meet the Galen” takes place on Friday, Nov. 22; tickets are $40 to $50 for individuals, or $80 to $85 for couples. Get info at the website.)

Overall, the response at the November event to the change to Friday was overwhelmingly positive; it was nice to see the streets alive with people and traffic—including free pedestrian tours led by a docent.

Of course, the Art Walk is just part of the goings-on that are part of the expanded First Weekend Palm Desert offerings. For example, Cruise Night is part of the First Weekend fun. Classic cars will be parked on the upper level of the Gardens on El Paseo beginning at 3:15 p.m. The cruise on El Paseo starts at 4:30 and continues for an hour. The public is invited to participate or just enjoy. Cruise Night takes place on the first and third Fridays; get more details at www.elpaseocruisenight.com.

Check out all of the First Weekend events at www.pdfirstweekend.com.

And now, it’s time for some self-promotion: Those interested in an art excursion who don’t want to wait until December’s First Friday can delight in VIP treatment while viewing world-class art during one of my Desert Art Tours. Our tours go to an array of local artists’ studios and galleries throughout the valley. Special looks at blue-chip private collections also included. This is a great way to enjoy the vibrant art scene in Greater Palm Springs. The next tour is set for Saturday, Nov. 16. All transportation is included, and space is limited, so reservations are advised; the cost is $65 per person. For reservations or information, call 760-219-5647, or go to www.Desert-ArtTours.com.

Girard Louis Drouillard's paintings are powerful. Strong. Dramatic. He strives to create drama and power in his compositions—while instilling a Zen-like quality at the same time.

He creates art that is aesthetically pleasing, mentally provocative and spiritually challenging. His primary focus is not aesthetics, but metaphysics, philosophy and spirituality.

“Each of my paintings has a common formula where black is ever-present. This is a suggestion of the negative that exists all around us,” he recently told me.

He uses reds as well as silvers and metallic hues—but never more than two primary colors in his palette. Organic and industrial materials are often blended into his canvas—which is now made of wood, as he’s creating large, box-like structures simply to hold the sometimes-heavy compositions.

I was admiring one of these structure-paintings as it was being prepared for its final coat of varnish. I noticed something that looked and felt like concrete below the metallic paint.

“Well, yes, it is,” he said. “Often times, I use it to create a certain impermeable texture. I also utilize auto paints for those metallic colors.”

When I visited his studio in Palm Desert, I encountered dozens of paintings being “processed.” In some ways, it looked as much like a body shop as a studio, with precision equipment at the ready.

“Sometimes I work all through the night. It depends on my mood and inspiration to create,” he said. “I loathe decorative art, because it lacks soul.”

He indeed strives to create the soul in his works. “They have dimensional qualities evoking Zen and Osho, derivative of Eastern spiritual beliefs that have been prevalent in my life since day one,” he said. “Many of my colleagues attempt to portray a political statement in their work. I have no political statements whatsoever. I like to portray a spiritual ideology in my work.”

Ironically, Girard’s first degree was in international government. He attended Oxford with an intent to work in international law and affairs. Upon obtaining his degree in 1974, he became an intern in the British House of Commons. He later left Great Britain to return to the U.S. and enroll in Georgetown Law School, preparing himself for a career in international law.

However, he was becoming disillusioned by government. He yearned for something “more.”

Fate stepped in when he met a professor who inspired him to attend the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. It was a life-changing experience; he graduated from there in 1981. A year later, he relocated to Southern California.

Of course, an artists’ first years as a professional are rarely easy.

“I worked for Disney as an art consultant for four years until 1988, when I participated in a show at the New York Expo that same year,” he said.

That's when he hit the big time; six international publishers approached him, Girard said. Reproductions of his works were sold to major players among the Fortune 500. He eventually made his way to Asia, where he became a star in the art world there.

“I spent four years in China,” he said. “… When I returned to California, I was visited four times by Chinese government officials from Beijing (trying) to lure me back to teach the Western principals of modern art.”

Today, Girard maintains studios here and in Tampa, Fla., but a majority of his clients are from Europe and Asia. His works have been shown in more than 100 galleries the world over in the last 30 years.

As for the future?

“Ideally, I would like to settle in Provence or a similar place in Europe. But not in Asia.” Ironically, art-lovers in Asia are most accepting of his works; his strokes evoke calligraphic symbols and are often admired for their serene, Zen-like soulfulness.

Girard is a highly intelligent artist who creates from his soul. View his works at Drouillardfineart.com

Below: "Chill'in."

Jewelry is often referred to as “wearable art”—and Michael Kneebone creates incredible wearable art via Michael K Jewels.

His one-of-a-kind pieces go far beyond the ordinary thanks to Michael’s keen eye, steady hand and vision for style and quality that has served him well for decades, ever since he studied at Northern Illinois University and earned a degree in jewelry design.

Early on, an instructor recognized his talent and recommended him for an apprenticeship position, where he honed in his skills in casting and refined fabrication. He even mastered the almost-lost art of enameling. Today, only a handful of jewelry artisans are true specialists in the enameling process.

When you meet Michael, you immediately sense his dedication and demand for quality. His jewelry is always one-of-a-kind; his clients know that each piece is unique and personal. Nothing is ever duplicated.

Early in his career, his line was represented exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue, before he opened his own store in Naples, Fla.

For a glimpse of some of his designs, visit MichaelKJewels.com, or visit his charming store, aka the Canyon Road Collection, located at 73200 El Paseo, Suite 2C, in Palm Desert.

Michael’s works often show off colored stones of impeccable quality. He uses cabochon cuts and bright-colored sapphires from sources around the world. Kneebone’s knowledge and expertise allows him to select the most vivid colored stones. They are as bright as they come, and include exotic varieties such as spinel, which is almost as hard as a diamond. Spinel is mined in a variety of colors from pinks to reds to black. His sapphires are available in the traditional blues, as well as rarer black, green, orange, yellow and even silver. He uses green amethysts and tourmaline stones that range from pink to bright greens and blues. He carries the best pearls in shapes and sizes that boggle the mind. Yes, he uses diamonds, too, in every shape and color.

Michael and his partner, interior designer Herbert Smalley, came to the desert after finding the winters to be too cold in Santa Fe, N.M., where his jewelry store was one of the most beautiful on the famous Canyon Road. Herb, who has been featured in Architectural Digest for his design work in New York City and Naples, created the space for the jewelry stores and has been a promoter of and an advocate for Michael’s work during the 32 years they have been together.

Today, they have been in the desert for more than a decade and have established themselves in the community. Kneebone has been a jeweler for the Cuistot's Friday fashion luncheons for many years now, as well as the fashion luncheons at Wally’s Desert Turtle.

Become acquainted with the Canyon Road Collection and Michael K Jewels, whether you are a resident or a visitor. You will be amazed at the colorful, tasteful designs that have adorned so many of the well-heeled women. Even if you can’t afford the jewelry, it’s worth looking at for its artistic beauty.

Michael K. Jewels/Canyon Road Collection is located at 73200 El Paseo, Suite 2C, in Palm Desert. In-season hours (October to May) are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, or by appointment. For more information, call 760-880-4791, or visit www.michaelkjewels.com.

I first met Christian Hohmann about 15 years ago. He’d just arrived at the Hart Gallery in Palm Desert to work for his aunt, Eva Hart. His English was not that good—he spoke with a heavy German accent—but he was eager to learn and meet people inside and outside of the art business.

It’s a business that is in his blood. Before his arrival, Christian had opened a gallery in his native Hamburg at the age of 21, before joining forces with acclaimed art dealer Thomas Levy one year later. The gallery represented works by Marc Chagall, Francis Bacon and other top artists from around the globe. Christian said it was a wonderful experience—so it was natural for him to join the Hart Gallery as director.

When the Harts retired in 2009, Christian chose to continue the family tradition by opening his signature gallery, located at 73660 El Paseo in Palm Desert.

The gallery is full of examples of his taste and influence in the art industry, featuring works by artists from Europe and North America. Just a few years ago, he expanded the gallery, taking over an adjacent location where another gallery had closed.

Today, Christian Hohmann Fine Art is one of the best galleries in the desert, exhibiting a diverse collection of original art, paintings and sculpture. His exhibitions and openings have featured classical pianists and singers performing for guests to celebrate the new works from the roster of more than 60 artists that are exclusive to the Hohmann.

I recently interviewed Christian and learned that he is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his art career this year. To highlight this milestone, he has planned an exhibition featuring one of the greatest artists of the 20th century: Marc Chagall. It’s fitting for Hohmann to celebrate by showcasing works by Chagall that are recognized the world over. The opening reception for the exhibit—which will include 25 to 30 Chagall works—is from 7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30; it will run through the end of the year.

The gallery will also be filled with wonderful, colorful works by other artists that have made the Hohmann gallery a destination for exhibitions in Southern California, including Paul Wunderlich, Karin Voelker, Neil Nagy and others who have formed a strong relationship with Christian over the years.

Another artist whose works will appear is Sigurd Rakel, who executes bright, vivid paintings in acrylic on canvas; his “Still Life I” is pictured below.

I recently asked Christian what the secret to his success is. He credited his true passion for art, a love of educating his clients and a devotion to the artists.

The space that he created also offers artists’ demonstrations that are often filled to capacity. Sculpture, painting and music add excitement and help the gallery a stand out from others in the Coachella Valley. The airy, well-curated environment beckons visitors with a friendly atmosphere where one feels welcomed—and never intimidated.

Christian Hohmann Fine Art is located at 73660 El Paseo, Suite 2, in Palm Desert. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday and Saturday, in October through May; call to check hours from June through September. For more information, visit www.christianhohmann.com, or call 760-346-4243.

The Coachella Valley has a rich artistic culture spanning thousands of years—long before Palm Springs became known for golf courses, swanky shopping and mid-century architecture.

The Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians hailed nature as a source of a spiritual presence. The earth was a most important aspect in their lives, as were the waters and the majestic mountains and skies. Much of the Agua Caliente culture originates from nature, such as the story of the Blue Frog and the traditional “bird songs” that have been passed down though the generations. Intricate basket-weaving is celebrated today in exhibitions throughout the valley—part of a treasure trove secured by the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.

To learn about and be enriched by Agua Caliente culture, there is no place better than this museum, currently situated at 219 S. Palm Canyon Drive.

I recently met with Michael Hammond, the executive director of the museum since 1999, and Steve Sharp, the director of development. Under their leadership, the museum has preserved and documented thousands of cultural treasures for the tribe.

About a decade ago, the ACCM became a part of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program; it is the first Native American museum to be part of this group. The designation allows the museum to draw from the many programs and resources offered by the Smithsonian in technology, programming and exhibitions.

The ACCM has been occupying its modest downtown Palm Springs structure for decades—and recently, Hammond and Sharp filled me in on a plan for a new museum that will exhibit the tribe’s heritage in a state-of-the-art facility with high-tech surveillance and the latest in temperature-control technology.

The plan has been in the works since 2008 for a new 110,000-square-foot facility in Palm Springs along East Tahquitz Canyon Way. The architect for this magnificent structure is JohnPaul Jones, of Jones and Jones in Seattle. The new museum will be an energy-efficient building with LEED silver certification—the way of the future.

Plans were put on ice during the economic downturn. However, now that the economy is improving, there is interest in continuing the plans—although groundbreaking dates have been announced as of yet.

This is a very important project for the entire Coachella Valley—not just for Palm Springs and the Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians. The new structure would allow us to celebrate our valley’s original heritage and cultural traditions, and would be a source of community pride for all the world to see.

The museum's current exhibition, Where Are the Tipis?, tackles common misconceptions about Native Americans; it is on display through Sunday, Oct. 20. Hammond offers a narrative lecture with the exhibit, which is educational and enjoyable.

The museum also has an important event coming up: On Saturday, Oct. 12, is the Dinner in the Canyons. This fundraiser takes place al fresco in Andreas Canyon. Dining and entertainment will take place among the splendor of the natural preserve that is the stage for this magical night. Reservations are a must, since the 350-person event usually sells out. Tickets are $300, $235 of which is tax-deductible; get more information at www.accmuseum.org/Dinner-in-the-Canyons.

Make it a point to visit the museum in person; it’s a vital, important part of the fabric of the Coachella Valley. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, call 760-778-1079, or visit www.accmuseum.org.

Richard Almada is the CEO and president of Artistic Relations and heads up Desert Art Tours. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

When you see Cristopher Cichocki's art installations, you senses will experience contradiction. He’s an organic artist, yet his works are illuminated by his signature neon paint, and often black lighting, creating an edgy yet natural composition. He brings attention to his underlying theme: the collision of man and nature.

Cichocki is the Palm Springs Art Museum’s 2013 Artist-in-Residence. His large-scale installation Desert Abyss: Cycle in Cycle opens Friday, Aug. 16, and will be on display through Saturday, Sept. 28. (Editor's note: The exhibit has been extended to run through Oct. 27.)

He often uses materials found in nature—such as on the desert floor. His works of art merge photography, painting, sculpture, video, sound and installation, creating a multi-sensory experience. Art-lovers raved about his Epicenter exhibition, at the Pacific Design Center's See Line Gallery in West Hollywood, earlier this year.

The Illinois native and Coachella Valley resident has been inspired by nature and the ever-present threat to an environment that is vulnerable due to man's actions and inactions. Water is a constant in his works; he often focuses on the Salton Sea and its problems, which threaten to affect everyone in Southern California.

Neon-painted dead fish and videos of water and life that coexist along the desert's edge are found in his works. There’s even a hint of nuclear catastrophe, perhaps, at his intersection of art, science and nature. Topography, art and geological forces are beautifully represented in his art forms, which include audio and visual stimulation.

Desert Abyss: Cycle in Cycle pays homage to the ancient body of water that once covered the Coachella Valley, and the remnants of that sea’s life, which are found along the mountains as fossilized fish and plants. Water was also his subject at his exhibits at ROJO Nova Museum in Rio de Janeiro and in São Paolo's Rojo Nova Museum of Image and Sound. Using locally drawn materials from the Amazon River and surrounding forests, Cichocki reflected the conflicts between civilization and nature—yes, it’s a worldwide theme.

I have watched Cichocki evolve throughout the years, and it’s exciting how he has been able to find a voice for the many issues that we face. This exhibit is a must-see; Cichocki has found inspiration in the desert and is making a difference by educating the public while also entertaining people with his eclectic art, showing both environmental beauty and the perils we face as a society.

I asked Cristopher where he sees himself in five years, and he replied that he wanted to be traveling the world with his curated exhibitions from museum to museum—kind of a nomadic artist at large.

See his work at the Palm Springs Art Museum while you can.

Cristopher Cichocki’s Desert Abyss: Cycle in Cycle will be on display at the Palm Springs Arts Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs, from Friday, Aug. 16, through Sunday, Oct. 27. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, and Friday through Sunday; and noon to 8 p.m., Thursday. Admission is $12.50 for adults; $10.50 for seniors; $5 for students; and free to military members, museum members and children 12 and younger. Admission is free to all from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and the second Sunday of the month. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit PSMuseum.org. An artists’ talk will be held on Thursday, Aug. 22, and a symposium on the future of the Salton Sea will be held from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22.

For more on Cichocki, visit cristophersea.com.

Richard Almada is the CEO and president of Artistic Relations and heads up Desert Art Tours. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Below: "Deep Breath" by Cristopher Cichocki.

For some 200 years, artists have been attracted to the Coachella Valley. The reasons for that attraction have changed over the years, of course; today, many artists come here to create and exhibit their works due to the proximity to Los Angeles, and the valley’s comfortable lifestyle.

One artist who has come here, in part, for those reasons is Christina De Musée. She has a rich body of work spanning more than 30 years as a professional artist, including countless exhibitions throughout the country around the globe—including shows in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. Her works have been featured in numerous publications, too.

Her style is bold, colorful, bright and larger than life. Her powerful, seductive images tend to capture one’s attention from the moment you lay eyes on them. Large triptychs can overwhelm, but hers somehow easily merge with any location. They have been a favorite with galleries and collectors alike. Her works have also appeared on sets for Hollywood productions.

De Musée is always in motion between her homes in Palm Desert, Las Vegas and Marina del Rey. However, she’s put an emphasis on doing good things locally. She has been involved in the past with the McCallum Theatre’s Muses and Patroness Circle; a sale of her paintings in 2010 benefited the nonprofit theater.

I could go on and on about her past accomplishments, but instead, I want to focus on the future: What is next for Christina De Musée?

The answer: She’s currently working on what she calls “Photo Art,” featuring works are meant to be displayed online. The works are excitingly fresh and hip, and should appeal to art and photography connoisseurs. One of these works, which you can see above, is titled “Calculations.”

Below, you can see two works in the classic De Musée style. One is the large mural-like triptych “I Forgot My Cell Phone,” featuring large images of faces, wild animals and flora. The other is “Infused Pleasure,” demonstrative of the sensual essence of her paintings.

De Musée is an ever-evolving woman who is familiar with the art industry. I am certain her new “Photo Art” series will be a successful venture, and will appeal to a huge audience in the cyber world of online art. The demand for art being viewed and purchased over the Internet has escalated on a global level. For example, China can’t keep up, with new art sites selling to the emerging middle class who want to be rewarded with collections of their own.

Stay tuned for Christina De Musée’s new website, which promises to showcase the exciting new direction for this savvy artist. In the meantime, her current website can be found at www.artdemusee.com.

Richard Almada is the CEO and president of Artistic Relations and heads up Desert Art Tours. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Desert Art Collection and Sculpture Garden, located in the heart of Palm Desert’s tony El Paseo district, is a true gem.

The tucked-away location, at 45350 San Luis Rey Ave. (just south of El Paseo), is a stone’s throw from the iconic eateries, luxury stores and boutique shops that have made El Paseo a place of choice for designer fashion and world-class art. The unique building is one of the oldest in the area and offers an inviting, well-designed space.

Bright decorative flags waving from the entrance welcome visitors into this elegant building. The artisan metal doors open to a delightful courtyard with wonderful sculpture. One experiences serenity and aesthetic enjoyment, thanks to bright colors and beautiful stone creations in the garden courtyard.

The gallery features an array of North American artists and sculptors that are all award-winning in their respective mediums. Credit the fine curating by the director, Jana Koroczynsky; she and owner Mike Fedderly are experts in corporate, residential and public art/architectural projects.

You will find collections of exotic African art and contemporary African sculptures that would complement any collection. The Native American collection is another important presence; after all, carvings and other works by American Indians have always been part of the culture and arts in the area. Bronze sculptures depicting a way of life relevant to our relationship with the horse are displayed with the tribal collection in the east wing of the gallery.

The heart of the interior space focuses on contemporary art. Sculptures of crystal and stone can be found throughout the compound. Bright-colored metal sheaths serve as decorative sculpture and are joined by original paintings by the 18 artists represented by the gallery. More 20 sculptors on the gallery roster are all a part of the gallery.

The landscape is credited to another force: the Lotus Garden Center, where a talented team creates custom landscape design installations. Beautiful ceramics in azure glazes beckon among the on-site succulents.

The glass and crystal collection consists of works by six different artists featured in the gallery. Free-standing 7-foot-tall works tower over guests, while smaller pieces join them in seamless synchronicity. The art gallery and sculpture garden share an architectural tone that stems from its creation decades ago by the Fedderly Group.

I recommend this as a destination spot where one can enjoy good art and pleasing surroundings before lunch or perhaps dinner at one of the many restaurants along El Paseo. Those who haven't yet experienced this secret spot will be surprised to discover the treasures in art and sculpture that are rather well-priced, considering they’re usually one-of-a-kind pieces.

During the summer, of course, appointments are suggested, as the hours of operation are limited. Call 760-674-9955.

Richard Almada is the CEO and president of Artistic Relations and heads up Desert Art Tours. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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