If you’re in the mood for a monstrous martini with jumbo olives or to get up close to some iconic rock musicians (possibly Mick Jagger & Keith Richards), just take a stroll into RockStars of Art - Fine Art Gallery.
Okay, okay – so you won’t be seeing Mick or Keith in person, but you won’t be disappointed. And, I’ll tell you why. But first, a bit about the gallery itself.
I recently met with Cory Marie, owner/ director of RockStars of Art - Fine Art Gallery, located at 3555 East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, just between Narcissus and Orchid.
I asked her how she chose the location, a two-story, 2,200 square foot space ideal for a gallery.
“I grew up in Corona del Mar. It chose us.” More specifically, she and her husband, Greg, were visiting from Las Vegas and she wanted to show him where she’d grown up.
They were having breakfast at Rose Bakery when they saw a ‘For Lease’ sign on the window across the street.
“Greg called the realtor and told me we had a meeting in ten minutes. The monthly rent was very doable. It was just one of those things, it found us. I’m a praying girl. We got in the car and said … and if this is not in God’s will, then you know…..”
Marie and her husband are entrepreneurs who also have a very successful gallery in Las Vegas, The Michael Godard Art Gallery & Store, of which they’re independent owners, licensed to carry Godard’s work.
At Rockstars of Art, in addition to Godard, they represent numerous other artists such as: Dale Mathis, Scotty Ziegler, Trevor Mezak, David Lozeau, Zedekiah, Jon Rouse and Trevor “Stickman” Stickel.
Having well established relationships with them, she called them up, told them she was opening a new gallery in Corona del Mar and they simply said, “What do you need?”
“We’re edgy and contemporary. One of our slogans is “Not your mother’s art gallery. We’re Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
One of the artists, Trevor ‘Stickman’ Stickel, specializes in paintings of iconic 70’s Rock ‘n’ Roll musicians. Ah Ha! So that’s how you see them. Of course he also paints contemporary ones and other celebrities. Even Einstein.
His large, finely detailed canvasses capture the raw energy of the musician. You feel their presence. You hear the music. At least my nostalgic 70’s soul does.
“Stickman’s” style is a hybrid of impressionism, realism, pop, and more and can be appreciated by both Woodstock boomers and the Coachella millennials. His art is timeless.
Marie describes Stickman as the gallery’s Rock ‘n’ Roll icon artist. “He’s a Rockstar. He is so amazing. He’s like a character actor. He gets into the musician’s head and does his research to no end.”
So, I reached out to “Stickman,” a Canadian artist, and he was very open in describing his process.
While painting, he indeed does his research, always listening to the musician’s work, watching documentaries and reading biographies. He does his homework.
He confessed that sometimes he immerses himself so much, he even dresses like them.
All his paintings have his trademark Stickman signature – a stick figure with devil horns, and the inscription “Devil Inside.” The horns represent Rock ‘n’ Roll, once thought of as the devil’s music.
I asked Marie about her clients’ demographic - whether they’re Rock ‘n’ Roll wannabes, nostalgic boomers or simply collectors.
“All of the above.”
Although Corona del Mar has changed since her childhood, she thinks it still has its own unique character and energy, unlike the energy of Laguna Beach or Huntington Beach.
“Yes, it’s important to have your demographic dialed in, but there’s no putting it in a box anymore. We have locals, past customers, the person who drives by, sees the lights at night and wants to stop in. There are collectors and Michael Godard is a big draw.”
As you approach the gallery on the sidewalk, you may see a larger than life size cut-out of Michael Godard, known as ‘The Rockstar of the Art World.’
Indeed he seems to be larger than life.
Imagine if Keith Richards and Elvis Presley had a love child. That’s Michael Godard. He’s tattooed from shoulder to wrist, with straight ebony hair, diamond crosses and colored lenses.
Through those eyes, whichever color, and tattooed arms, Godard creates the paintings for which he’s famous, of extra-large glowing green olives and large, luminous martini glasses on nearly exclusive black backgrounds.
Each painting tells a story. They’re of funny and frivolous scenes. They’re comical and colorful and sure to draw a smile from even the harshest critic. His work is stylized, fine and totally original. It’s an homage to life’s moments with a comedic twist.
I asked Marie how she chooses which artists to carry and whom to reject.
“I’m a very intuitive person. When an artist walks in, it’s pretty obvious. I need to feel the energy. It has to connect with me. If an artist walks in here and doesn’t seem drawn to the art, I say, “tell me honestly whether you think your art fits in.” Nine times out of ten, it doesn’t. This is very niche art.”
Rockstars of Art holds events for the unveiling of its artists’ new works and, as a bonus, offers well-established customers the opportunity to hold private events.
Marie herself is not an artist. She’s a businesswoman. Having owned her own retail store for many years, she knows what sells.
“You have a feel as a salesperson, someone in the business of selling and being your own boss. There’s an art to that.”