by Armella Stepan / E. Ludolf
Inspired by the grand villas of the Mediterranean and the effortless vibe of Santa Monica, Hotel Casa del Mar symbolizes the perfect combination of classic and contemporary lifestyle in the heart of Silicon Beach. The newly introduced art for the guest rooms and suites at Hotel Casa del Mar brings the authenticity of a Southern California luxury beach club to life.
Bringing the natural beauty inside and onto the walls of these oceanside havens meant attracting just the right contemporary local artists to the project. The owners of Santa Monica’s preeminent coastal design store, Rooms & Gardens, Eric and Jami Voulgaris were tasked with curating this very special art collection.
The Voulgaris’ first discovery was the über talented Garrett Speirs in Carpinteria, not far from their second Rooms & Gardens location on State Street in Santa Barbara.
“We were drawn to layering and depth of his work,” explains Eric Voulgaris, “Speirs is also a skillful large format artist which many of the suites at Hotel Casa del Mar require.”
Speirs paints the iconic imagery of the West Coast using oils, egg tempera, watercolor, gouache and fresco. For Speirs, “Painting is not unlike language” as he uses visual linguistics to recreate familiar scenes on canvas.
His work entitled Santa Barbara Channel depicts the calm sea with the tide so soft and gentle that it almost lulls you to sleep. The depth and variety of blues give you the sense of looking out over the horizon. Guests at Hotel Casa del Mar can compare it to the resplendent sea through the expansive windows in the lobby or the privacy of their ocean view room.
Speirs fondness for the Santa Barbara coastline is also beautifully depicted in his oil on wood piece entitled Gaviota Coast. He painted the sweeping view of this majestic shore using an image taken by a drone. His walks in the sand at Miramar Beach just down the road, inspired another oil on wood he simply calls Pacific Shore #4.
The Voulgaris’ also commissioned local artist Cynthia Eddings whose work appears in every guest room as well. Edding’s work utilizes a combination of oils and digital painting, using an iPad. The artist received her BFA from Pepperdine University in nearby Malibu, and since then has been fascinated with the California coastline.
Eddings explains, “I paint where I live, what I see, no more, no less. The California coastline and the thick presence of the world around me inspire my color and composition. For me, painting is a wholly sensuous experience.” The sensual nature of her art reveals the tactile experience of the coast, from the lines created by the moving wind in the artwork Annenberg Community Beach House, to the gentle ripples on the surface of the water in the Santa Monica Pool.
Her work entitled PCH captures the feeling of driving down the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, with the realism of the dusty tarmac and buildings, shown in contrast to the tropical palm trees swaying in the breeze. The glinting sun conveys the heat of the day, and viewers may feel like they almost need to squint to counteract the glare. Eddings describes how “By taking things away, say color, we can just concentrate on the values of the landscape,” and the monotones of PCH reveals the true dimensions of a long road journey along the West Coast.
The artist’s close relationship to the Pacific Coastline is most clearly expressed in the painting; Zuma Afternoon Cynthia describes how she lived in Zuma Beach while a student at Pepperdine University, and says that it is still her “favorite place”. Her love of the subject matter is captured in the serene hues that immediately instill a sense of relaxation to the piece.
Original works by Eddings and Speirs (and much more) will be available for purchase exclusively at the Rooms and Gardens pop up shop will be open Memorial Day to Labor Day at Hotel Casa del Mar, Santa Monica.