“Searching For Heroes” With Santa Monica Artist Gus Harper

Friday, 17 Jan 2014, 10:39:00 AM

Kathy Leonardo

Gus Harper will host a reception at his art studio this Saturday evening for his new exhibition “Searching For Heroes.”
Photo by Justin Davanzo
Gus Harper will host a reception at his art studio this Saturday evening for his new exhibition “Searching For Heroes.”

Artist Gus Harper has always loved Santa Monica. Born and raised in

the beach community, his parents still live in the same house where he

was raised.

Harper and his three siblings attended Santa Monica High School.

“I loved growing up in Santa Monica,” says Harper. “It has always

been a happy place for me. It’s changed a lot and I still love it.”

Harper’s mother, also an artist, encouraged her children’s creative talents by introducing them early on to the arts.

Like most children, Harper liked to draw. When he was young he would

draw dragons with his best friend Justin as his mom’s work was being

featured in art exhibitions around town. A frequent visitor to her

shows, Harper reflects, “I think it was good for me to see that adults

could be artists. I never doubted that it was something that I could do

too when I grew up.”

Harper has in fact achieved that dream of being a successful working artist.

“My mom exposed me to art at a young age,” recounts Harper. “I can

remember her taking me to LACMA when I was so young that I was learning

my ABCs.”

Harper’s mother imparted her love of art to her son at an early age…

teaching the fundamentals of art and the importance of balance and color

while they explored museums and galleries together.

Harper recalls the irony of seeing the work of renowned portrait painter Don Bachardy on one of his museum trips with his mom.

Years later, when Harper was 27, he would pose for the famed artist.

Harper’s new show “Searching For Heroes” pays tribute to the inspiration each artist finds though his or her heroes.

“I’ve been working on this for a while and I have found it

challenging and exciting,” confides Harper. “There are lots of somewhat

hidden references to people I know and some of my own experiences.”

Harper finds solace as well as inspiration in the support of his family and friends.

He explains, “My parents were so influential and supportive. Both my

parents and my siblings come to all of my shows. Having so much support

is humbling. I remember at a show about a year ago I walked into the

back room and was shocked by how many Samohi people were there. It was

like a reunion.”

“Searching For Heroes” opens with an artist reception this Saturday,

Jan. 18 from 6-11 pm at Gus Harper’s Studio, 11306 Venice Boulevard, LA

90066. The exhibition will remain on view for one month by appointment.

For more information, call 310.699.9509 or visit gusharperart.com.

Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.