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In its heyday, Laguna Beach, a seaside city in Orange County, was il centro of a rich and flourishing artist colony. All along the Pacific Coast, “en plair air” (in open air) artists were seen with their brushes and easels, depicting Laguna’s coastline of coves, beaches and picturesque landscapes. Much has changed since those days.
Real estate prices have skyrocketed, forcing many artists to move elsewhere, and while shows such as MTV’s Laguna Beach and the resort, the Montage, have ushered in a new era, there are still remnants of its artistic past and its vast physical beauty. Eye popping pink, red, and orange bougainvilleas can be seen along PCH, the water at the Crystal Cove Beach is just as turquoise, and The Pageant of the Masters comes every summer.
Art and Laguna Beach have always gone hand in hand; and although its artistic splendor may have dimmed somewhat in the past, a new and invigorated energy has recently emerged within its community. The Artist has come back and one such artist is Giorgio Dimichina.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Giorgio fell in love with art when he was just a little boy. His mother was Argentine, his father an Italian while Giorgio’s paternal relatives hail from Loseto near Bari. “Italian families have showed us we’re a strong community of people…A lot of them not knowing the language like my parents made a life not only for themselves, but also for those in the community.”
Unlike the tortured pasts of so many artists, Giorgio’s childhood was blissful as his family moved into their grandmother’s estate, and he was as he puts it, “smothered with love.” It was there that he developed his artistic talents while his aunt whom he fondly remembers, encouraged him to pursue art.
“To have an adult stop and take an interest in what you’re thinking and feeling, that stayed with me till his day,” he explains during an interview at the Artist Eye Gallery, one of the city’s largest galleries, just a few yards from the iconic statue, the Greeter.
Eventually the Dimichina family moved from Argentina to the states. Despite not speaking English, his parents, like many immigrants, worked hard to give their two children the opportunities that America had to offer. “I understood it was a place of privilege.” While Giorgio continued to practice his art, he began to work in the computer industry, and it was there where he met the love of his life, Susan. She, just like his aunt, encouraged him, to return to his artistic roots. He did. “I didn’t want to be good, nor just great. I wanted to be at a level of being a master.” Self taught, Giorgio found a job at an art studio where he ended up drawing illustrations for major corporations such as Mazda and Pepsi. “Opportunities and doors opened. It was a matter of it being the right time, but also coming from a place of gratitude and not [from a place of] want.”
With his career flourishing, Giorgio continued to paint, taking a particular interest in the rich landscapes of Italy. In love with its culture, history and “mystique,” Giorgio also felt a special connection to Italy, the home of his father. “On my first trip there, I was sitting on a terrace in Sorrento, and the music playing was the same type of Napolitana music that my father used to play—all of a sudden, it hit me. This is where my father is from.”
While so many of today’s paintings are often so modern, they are beyond comprehension or some so grim and bleak, they are just reminders of today’s harsh reality, it is lovely to find an artist that depicts a world of joy; with colors that are vibrant, details made with such precise care, and where nature is beautiful, not just cruel. “I’m blessed to be working as an artist for a living…where people purchase and take my paintings to their most private place, which is their home. To have it there, to give them a sense of joy and peace...it’s a gift and a blessing.”
For over thirty years, Giorgio continues to work out of the same studio. There, amidst paint tubes, titanium primed canvases, and ceramic vessels that holds his beloved brushes, he plays soft music while using special lighting that gives him the “true value of color.” His tools of choice are “Golden Brand’ and “Liquitext” acrylic paints, his preferred medium as it helps go from light to dark and can be layered. On top of his easel, he has taped a quotation, ”One inspired idea from God can change my life.”
“This studio is where my dreams have come true. Held within my studio walls is much more than paints and brushes,” he explains with a smile that is as full of life and joy as his paintings. “There is the promise of hope and the belief that all things are possible with God.”
On August 16th, from 6-9 pm, Giorgio will be showcasing a new series of paintings that were inspired by Italy’s Carnevale di Venezia. 10% of the proceeds in the month of August will go to the charity, Art and Creativity for Healing.
1294 South Coast Hwy Suite A Laguna Beach CA 92651. Please call 949-497-5898 for more information.
For more about Giorgio Dimichina, please go to www.artbygiorgio.com