Last weekend San Diego’s Little Italy got a taste of l’arte bella with its 27th annual Mission Federal ArtWalk. The fine art festival featured booths with more than 300 artists selling their works, and more than 30 music and dance performances to entertain families at the event, which was completely free to the public.
Artists came from all around Southern California and Mexico, with styles ranging from abstract portraits of nude women to metal wall sculptures that looked deadly to the touch. Pricing on the works ranged from the slightly affordable to the outrageously expensive, especially for a San Diego State student.
Nevertheless, most of the visitors were there to browse, not buy — including SDSU graphic design student and artist Joseph Dedanoto Clark, who was at the festival on Sunday. “It was a very upbeat and lively portrayal of San Diego artwork and music, which was nice,” Clark said.
One of Clark’s favorite parts of the event was the sculpture art, particularly ceramics, as he is a ceramicist himself. “The crystal glaze on the ceramics was extremely homemade and fine-tuned for a specific look,” Clark said. “It was quite impressive.” However, he made sure to point out that most of the artwork at the event consisted of paintings and drawings, covering a wide array of artistic styles. A few of the featured artists included classic oil painter Manuel Avendano, eclectic mixed media artist Nelson De La Nuez and abstract photographer Roy Kerckhoffs.
Another featured artist was Christopher M., a well-known local San Diego painter who’s referred to as the “Painter of Chefs.” mainly because his slightly Impressionist paintings of local chefs are featured throughout many San Diego restaurants. Christopher M. worked on a live painting throughout the course of the festival: The painting was rich and colorful showcasing a small group of chefs sautéing ingredients over an open flame. The flames burst in color, making the whole scene look magical and otherworldly.
However, it wasn’t all just paintings and sculptures. Musical artists such as The Groove Kitties, John Torres, and dance troupe Afta Shock San Diego entertained the massive crowd. Brewing company and event sponsor Karl Strauss fenced off an outdoor beer tasting area, where adults could mingle and drink beer while anyone younger than 21 years old watched from the outside.
Urban design company BoConcept even tried to write a page of history by creating the world’s longest red sofa. The leather sofa measured 213 feet in length and was used as a resting place by many attendees looking to take a load off after browsing the enormous display of l’arte bella featured at the Mission Federal ArtWalk.