By Chris Frost
Ventura—Ventura Harbor was the picturesque backdrop for the Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival, Sept. 7 and 8, which combined street art with other members of the artistic community selling treasures to brighten people's homes.
Attendees enjoyed incredibly intricate works of art on the sidewalks that were made with chalk while enjoying the ambiance of the harbor, full of shops, restaurants, and majestic ships.
The free event drew a vast crowd, and they spent the weekend talking to the artists and learning how it all comes together.
Clifton Gold from Cliff Creates had a deep-sea diver, a vintage scuba diver with a big helmet, hoses and a rope and he was looking at a starfish while surrounded by other schools of fish and sea life wrapped up in one mural.
"The overall composition is based on "Starry Night" but taken underwater," he said. "The patterns in the background, the streams, and the school of fish matches. I did an astronaut version of this last year in San Rafael, and I thought since I am in Ventura with all the boats, I thought it would be fun to do an undersea version."
He starts with an outline, similar to what you would see in a coloring book; then he adds the black shading.
"I work from the black shading all the way up to the white highlights," he said. "This will take me a couple of hours to finish the rest of it, depending on how fast I want to go."
The art is soft pastel chalk, he said, and he mixes his colors because he is color blind.
"I take other chalk and unused chalk from other artists and grind them up into base colors," Gold said. "I use an app on my phone to make sure they stay in the right color families. I make lighter and darker versions and stamp them with a color code."
He had his "O+" color, which mixes orange with white.
Gold loves the creative environment in Ventura Harbor.
"It's fun to have a large audience outside," he said. "It's fun to work large and take a small backpack full of supplies and make a piece of art this big and cool."
Jason Ingalsby drew "Slappy" from Goosebumps because the kids love the image.
"It's like the Twilight Zone for kids," he said. "This took me nine hours to put together because we had two days. We set up yesterday, and we are going to finish it today."
He loves all the people at the event.
"They are nice and awesome," he said. "This is an awesome place; the artists are friendly. It's like a community. The people who run this are amazing."
This is Jason's fourth trip to the Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival.
"I do a different mural every year," he said. "I did dragons a few years ago and sunset the year before that."
Rosie Ingalsby-Beltran said Jason is mildly autistic.
"His friend Lori down the walk is doing a picture of a mother and son walking and got him to start chalking," she said.
Genevieve Wood is a dog rehabilitator and she brought her dogs Aurora, a Great Dane and Naia, a Mastiff Boxer and Great Dane mix to the festival and the three became attracted the Chihuahua mural.
"Today is National Hug Your Dog Day," she said. "I love the whimsey of this little Chihuahua here. They are so misunderstood, and people associate Chihuahuas with nervous types of dogs. Usually, those dogs are not socialized. I have found them to be calm, confident, and fun-loving dogs who are wonderful companions."
The mural the trio became attracted to entitled "All you need is love, get a dog" is appropriate.
"I think that canines have the capacity to make us better human beings," she said. "I have a Mexican/French dog at home, he is a Papi Wawa, and he changed my mind about small breeds forever. His name is Hermes, and his superpower is his ability to read my blood sugar levels and my heart if I go into palpitations."
She said Aurora and Naia both have a great sense of humor.
"I strongly suggest anyone who gets a dog, get a second one who enjoys their jokes," she said while laughing.
She loves the festival.
"I love street art and the opportunity for artists to showcase their work," she said. "Anytime you have the opportunities to interact outside of the more divisive things going on today; it is nothing but a good thing. When I get to look at all these whimsical and colorful pieces, it makes me feel happy."
Zina Glukhovsky was selling Soutache jewelry which is an old European technique from approximately 200 years ago.
"It uses stones, and beads with a ribbon," she said. "I make it all myself. It's all handmade, and everything is one of a kind.
She saw an old design, so she Googled it and created a piece of jewelry from that inspiration.
"It's so pretty," she said. "I saw a video on how to make Soutache five years ago, and since then, I am hooked. There are no books or classes."
She uses no magic formula when she starts on a piece of jewelry.
"I never know how it is going to end up," she said. "The most important thing is to stop when you are finished because it is easy to over-design something."
Inga Goodman accompanied Zina and loves the festival.
"I love the connection with the people and getting to know the customers," she said. "It's amazing how people come up, and you get to hear their story. From looking at a person, you can't guess their background or anything about them. When you meet people, you ask them questions, and you fall in love with them."
Zina says working from 8-5 is a different world.
"You will never meet the people you will meet here," she said.
Inga wants to get outside the box and inspire people.
"Live and dress outside the box," she said.
451 West Fifth Street
Oxnard, California 93030
1000 Town Center Drive
Oxnard, CA 93036
(Walk-in & Drop-off)
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.