Encinitas Advocate Art

Encinitas artists to showcase work at Mission Federal ArtWalk

Six Encinitas artists of a variety of media will show their work at the Mission Federal ArtWalk in Little Italy on April 28 and 29.

The annual event will transform 17 blocks of the neighborhood into an arts and culture zone where visitors travel thousands of miles to experience and purchase art from more than 350 local, national and international artists.

Four of the artists sat down with the Encinitas Advocate to discuss their upcoming exhibitions at the ArtWalk. Some responses have been shortened for space limitations.

For more information about the ArtWalk, visit www.artwalksandiego.org.

Laura Cunningham
Laura Cunningham Courtesy

Laura Cunningham, Village Park - mixed media photography on canvas

What can you tell us about your history with art?

I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. Growing up, art supplies were always available in my Mom’s home art studio.

How has your art evolved over the years?

I started out with a more traditional fine art background -- painting, drawing, printmaking, photography. But I also worked as a graphic designer, so I had computer skills. My artwork currently combines my fine art and graphic design backgrounds.

What will you be showing at the ArtWalk?

I will be showing some new pieces this year with a more contemporary feel but still keeping a vintage feel to them.

Why are you excited to show there? Is this your first time participating in this event?

This will be my fourth year at Mission Federal ArtWalk in Little Italy. I really enjoy meeting all the people who attend and talking to them about art.

Why do you consider this ArtWalk to be special to artists and attendees?

This ArtWalk is special because it showcases a diverse and talented group of artists. And you have to love the venue! San Diego’s Little Italy is quite a special place.

Melissa Marquardt
Melissa Marquardt Courtesy

Melissa Marquardt, Leucadia - acrylic and watercolor

What can you tell us about your history with art?

I had always loved to draw and paint growing up, but never really had formal training. I studied Visual Communications in college and have practiced computer design and illustration as a freelance graphic designer for the past 25 years. I painted homes for a few years and did murals and Trompe L'Oeil on the side for friends and family. But my main creative outlet was on the computer. It has only been in the past few years that I started taking art classes at Mira Costa and classes and workshops at Art on 30th in North Park to explore new processes and techniques in acrylic and watercolor.

How has your art evolved over the years?

When I started painting seriously in 2016, my work was very calm, simple and relaxed. People often commented that it would go well in spas or medical offices. And everything was some shade of blue. But as I learn new techniques and expand to a greater variety of materials, such as glazes and molding pastes, I feel my work has taken on more depth and dimension. I build each piece with many many fluid translucent layers. Blues are still one of my “go-to” colors, but I have been playing with more earth tones lately. I love a neutral pallet.

What will you be showing at the ArtWalk?

At ArtWalk, I look forward to introducing some new abstract work I have been working on. But will have plenty of my abstracted waterscapes and landscapes on hand as well.

Why are you excited to show there? Is this your first time participating in this event?

This will be my second year at this event. It was a blast last year and I met a number of wonderful artists I had the privilege to be tent neighbors with. I work at home, primarily in my garage, and the solitude can wear on you. It is so nice to get out and interact with people. And the community in San Diego is fantastic.

Why do you consider this ArtWalk to be special to artists and attendees?

It is a really big show with so many talented artists so for the buyers, there is something for everyone. As an artist, I can’t think of a better venue than Little Italy to engage with people and share my work. The event is really well attended and allows lots of opportunities to meet new potential collectors. It is a beautiful way to spend a weekend, you just can’t beat the weather here.

Grant Pecoff
Grant Pecoff Courtesy

Grant Pecoff, Encinitas - oil and woodwork

What can you tell us about your history with art?

I drew and painted throughout my childhood and teenage years. I was lucky enough to have a dedicated painting class at my high school, which introduced me to the works of the masters. … When I was 17 my father took me to Spain, where I visited the Prado Museum, and was further exposed to masterworks in-person. ... I decided to go to art school in San Francisco, where I concentrated mostly on sculpture and eventually chose to go back to my main love of painting. I painted wildlife for a few years and focused on selling art prints at zoos throughout the U.S. ... Then one day I had a stylistic epiphany, all the walls I built around my art and my style vanished, and I was set free to paint what I wanted and how I wanted. Since then, I have traveled the world painting moments that inspire me and landscapes that take my breath away. ... I opened two galleries in San Diego, one in Del Mar in 2004 and one in Little Italy in 2007.

How has your art evolved over the years?

After college, I began focusing more on painting wildlife in zoos and in the local lagoons on the coast where I lived in Encinitas. I wanted to capture their spirit in paint. ... Painting the beauty of our planet satisfies something deep within me; it’s connecting with it in all its various forms, and then sharing its beauty with others to hopefully remind them of how lucky we are to be living this life in such an amazing world.

What will you be showing at the ArtWalk?

At Artwalk, I will be showing new original oil paintings based on my travels through Alaska and the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I also just finished a brand new painting of Little Italy, which captures the iconic Little Italy sign and bustling street life. In addition to originals, I will be showing Limited-Edition prints in varying sizes and price points ... something for everyone.

Why are you excited to show there? Is this your first time participating in this event?

I have been participating in the Little Italy Artwalk for over 20 years, when the art used to be hung in businesses around San Diego. The Artwalk is a chance for the community to meet the artists and for the artists to meet collectors in-person. It’s an opportunity to have real conversations about art and life, about how art makes one feel, what it means to us, and how we are better for it.

Elisabeth Sullivan
Elisabeth Sullivan Ricky Knack Photography

Elisabeth Sullivan, Encinitas - painting on canvas and murals

What can you tell us about your history with art?

I've been an artist my whole life, I've been drawing and painting since before I can even remember. I studied art in school and have a Bachelor of Fine Art from University of Dayton.

How has your art evolved over the years?

I've been making a living from my art since 1993. Back then I was airbrushing my art on T-shirts and selling them at craft fairs. From there I progressed to designing, sewing and hand painting my own line of clothing. I did that for 10 years. I've also worked in clay, mostly tile tables and planters. I've been selling my acrylic paintings since 2006 and my style has evolved from mostly landscapes and seascapes to the surreal dreamscapes that I currently paint.

Why are you excited to show there? Is this your first time participating in this event?

This will be my 11th year of showing at ArtWalk. I'm always excited for the show because the people really show up ready to buy, the art is fabulous and the ArtWalk crew is great. It's just a great atmosphere.

Why do you consider this ArtWalk to be special to artists and attendees?

I think this show is great for the attendees because there is so much great art all in one place as well as music and kids activities. I think it's special for the artists, because the crowds really show up — from all over San Diego County. And it's always a lot of fun!

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