It’s Saturday, Jan. 26, and I’m in Cambria looking for Deer Run Art & Artifacts. What the hell? It’s supposed to be right here!
- PHOTOS BY GLEN STARKEY
- RUN FAST JUMP HIGH! : Santa Margarita artist Peg Grady offered up a whimsical collection of hand-stitched musings in her Deer Run art show.
“It’s through here,” says my wife, pointing at the Garden Shed.
“Huh? Wasn’t it on the street?”
“I guess they moved,” she says pointing to the sign that says Deer Run, which in turn leads to the Garden Shed.
You’d think by now I’d know better. The correct response when Anna tells me something is “Yes, dear.”
- ARTISTIC FEET : My wife Anna (left) and Dianne “Lady Tie Di” Brooke (right) show off their fashion sense at in the Garden Shed.
We wind our way through the Garden Shed and come upon the recently relocated Deer Run, where an über-hipster scene is unfolding. I see woman-of-the-hour Peg Grady, who’s holding court amongst her ridiculously charming stitched linens in a show she’s calling “Dear Diary,” her “visual journal of the small stories of my daily life. For instance, one has a simple thread line drawing of a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes, and in cursive next to it, this: “Twenty-five years ago today I quit smoking cigarettes. But I sure would like just one. Right now. To celebrate.”
All the cool people are milling around, Jody Mulgrew is singing in the courtyard out back, and they have some really good wine here my wife tells me.
“Yes, dear,” I say, then I beeline it for Peg.
“Please don’t make me sound like an asshole,” says Peg Grady as soon as I pull out my notebook. “I’m afraid to talk to you,” she adds, before turning to her artist pal Susan Marie Connors and saying, “He did this to me last time.”
- SING OUT, JODY! : Jody Mulgrew entertained the crowd in the courtyard of the shops at the Garden Shed.
“Did he write something mean last time?” asks Susan, slightly aghast.
“No, he wrote some really nice things, but I think he’s going to try to ‘get’ me this time,” says Peg.
“Come on, Peg. Don’t you have some insightful comment to make about your work?” I ask.
“Just make some shit up,” she says dismissively.
“You should plug our upcoming group show,” says artist Lena Rushing before drifting off through the gallery.
- EYE FEAST : Everywhere you looked, there were interesting things to see, like this odd item at Grow Nursery.
“Oh yeah,” says Peg. “I’m joining three of my fellow artists—Lena Rushing, Josephine Crawford, and Neal Breton—for a show at Steynberg Gallery.”
“When’s that?” I ask.
“September,” says Peg. “Genius takes awhile to foment.”
I guess so!
I’m exploring Deer Run a bit. The brainchild of Leslie Clarke Gray, the shop is a mélange of thrift-store stuff, quirky new items, oddities, and unusual art. Leslie tells me I must meet Philip Carey, who draws his dreams. I check out his fascinating little colored drawings and read his artist statement: “I tend to remember my numerous vivid and wacky dreams. When I awaken, I usually spend the early mornings drawing out the story of that night’s dream. My canvas is the ubiquitous 3 x 5 yellow Post-It note. It keeps the art and text at the bare essentials. I draw out the dreams in ink, then add the color with Prismacolor pencils.”
Suddenly Philip is behind me and explaining his most recent dream: “It’s a red papier-mâché cat in a decorative basket with a price tag hanging off it that says, ‘$8,000.’”
An $8,000 papier-mâché cat? That’s dreaming, all right.
“He came to me with some of his drawings and asked if I’d be interested in displaying them in the gallery,” says Leslie. “I sure as hell would be,’ I said.”
“I get most of my Christmas gifts here,” says Philip. “I have some strange friends, and they need some strange things.”
Artists stick together, see? And I love rubbing shoulders with these creative types, which is why Anna and I drove up with David Settino Scott, who seems to know everybody here. There must be some art lovers, too, because I see Peg has already sold three of her reasonably priced ($225) pieces in the hour since we arrived.
I wander out to the courtyard and listen to Jody’s sweet voice, guitar work, and foot tapping on a tambourine for rhythm, then keep walking through to Grow Nursery, which is Nick Wilkinson’s shop full of exotic succulents and many weird objets d’art. Everywhere I look is a feast for the eyes.
I see Dianne “Lady Tie Di” Brooke, Peg’s paramour Don Lampson, artists Neal Breton and Josephine Crawford—the place is littered with creative types. Everyone’s sipping wine, chatting each other up, talking art. Ah, yeah, man, this is the life!
Contact Glen Starkey at email@example.com.