By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Pacific Palisades Art Association member Esther Pearlman has 11 pieces of her work on display inside Cafe Vida during a two-month exhibit.
The colorful pieces that are now on display feature an assortment of patterned Japanese washi tapes, of which Pearlman shared that she has a couple thousand. This is a pivot from her previous works, which were largely acrylics, water color and oil.
“Being an artist, you have to find the right niche,” Pearlman shared.
She made the switch in part due to increased sensitivity in her eyes, so she was trying to eliminate the odors of turpentine and acrylic.
“It’s very messy,” she explained. “I used to wake up in the middle of the night and paint on the floor or wherever [I was].”
Then she discovered washi tape at Paper Source and said to herself: “I could do that.”
Now Pearlman combines her drawings with the tape.
In her eighties, Pearlman shared that she has been inspired by artists like Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Pollack, Hockney and Wadl.
Pearlman, a resident of Santa Monica, has been a member of the Pacific Palisades Art Association for nearly two decades. The association was founded in 1947 to create “a safe environment for artists to share and explore their journey through group discussions, critiques, guest speakers and events,” according to its website.
“Esther is key in finding local talent to be our guest speakers at lectures,” the website continued. She gave a talk about mixed media at the association’s first general meeting of 2019.
Pearlman has previously had work on display in the Palisades—which she described as a “lovely town”—including at the library, Matthew’s Garden Café and Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, as well as during a group exhibition hosted by the Chamber of Commerce in September 2009. Pearlman participated in two PPAA art shows that were on display at the Village Green.
“I feel the need to express myself in the arts,” Pearlman shared in a statement on her website. “Being an artist allows me to communicate my thoughts and feelings. I like the feel of the paint and use a variety of materials in creating my work. I use brushes, found objects, paper and even my feet.”
She worked out of a studio in Santa Monica, but shared that she might have to look for a new place, which she described as a “big undertaking” due to the number of pieces she has created.
“The washi tapes, it’s neater, it’s paper,” she said. “Although I did put some on canvas, they’re all in frames.”
A collage by the artist was accepted into a permanent collection at the International Museum of Collage and Assemblage in Fort Worth, Texas, at the start of 2010. Known as the “Baker’s Dozen Collage Exchange,” the competition included artists nationwide.
“I love color,” she shared in the statement. “I respond to color. For me, color can be peaceful as well as exciting. Color is very stimulating to me and I find that I react first by using colors that correlate to how I’m feeling.”
In addition to art, Pearlman has also written/co-written 11 books, her most recent one being titled “Looking for the Bright Side, Mostly,” which she described as a collection of all of her “trivialities and exciting moments,” memories of her past, and “some of the remarks that people have said” to her.
“That’s what you do,” Pearlman explained. “You think of weird things that have happened to you.”
Other books she has penned include “Esther Unleashed” and “It’s Not Easy Being a Woman.” She also partnered with her son to create a children’s book based on a couple she met that owned a donkey farm.
“I did 100 pictures and my son wrote the poetry for it,” she said. “We established that you never know where you’re going to get your ideas.”
Throughout her lifetime, Pearlman has also modeled, been an extra in movies and a member of the Verdi Choir, and taken improv classes with plans to put on a one-woman show. She is also a mother and grandmother.
Due to the pandemic, there was no official opening gathering, but those who are interested can purchase any of Pearlman’s pieces at Cafe Vida, which is located at 15317 Antioch Street.
For more information about the artist, visit estherpearlman.com.
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