Luxury Life & Style - (Page 34)

CREATIVE CONNECTION THE ART OF SIMON OUWERKERK by Trisha Jochen L ike most young boys growing up in Hermosa Beach, Simon Ouwerkerk had an obsession with the ocean. From sun up to sun down, he played out his passion for body surfing in the Pacific. At eight years old, Simon couldn’t dream of anything more exciting to fill up his days than time spent at the beach. That is until he noticed his sister in her bedroom drawing cartoons. Curious, Simon became interested in his sister’s art, observing her work. “One day she showed me how to draw a bird from a picture in a photograph, and I thought it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says. This began a new obsession for Simon. Now his days were divided between spending time at the beach and hours of drawing pictures. “At that time, I never thought of myself as being an artist. I was just enjoying drawing my pictures,” he recalls. As he grew up, Simon’s passion for art expanded. While attending Manhattan Beach’s Mira Costa High School in the early 1980s, Simon began experimenting with a new medium, paint. “At this point I focused on fantasy painting and drawing, an art form that was very popular at the time on the cover of fantasy novels,” he explains. Although very talented at drawing and painting, Simon became frustrated trying to bring out a three-dimensional illusion from a two-dimensional surface. So, when it came time for college, Simon enrolled in a sculpting class as an Art major at El Camino College in Torrance. “Working with clay was another discovery for me. With sculpture, the three-dimensional element was all right there, and I could practically make anything that I wanted. My creation existed as a real object in real space. At that point of time in my life, sculpting became the art that I wanted to do,” says Simon. Upon graduating from El Camino College, Simon headed to San Diego State University to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Art. Simon began his studies by taking a foundry class where the professor placed an emphasis on fabricating metal. “I really enjoyed the process of cutting metal and welding it together, and I found working with sheets of steel more exciting than working with clay,” he says. “With clay and sculpting it is a really long process, but working with sheets of steel was more like painting to me. It’s all one process, like painting and drawing.” For Simon, metal fabrication became his medium of choice, and soon after, he began making his own pieces from his garage. He created predominately abstract pieces with an eclectic style. His new work first got notice during his summer break in 1993 when Simon’s neighbor saw his sculptures and suggested he have his own art showing. Simon’s luck forever changed during this first private show. In attendance was Homeira Goldstein, Chairman of the Board of Arts Manhattan and wife of President and Founder of Shorewood Realtors, Arnold Goldstein. Homeira 34 Luxury Life & Style September/October 2007

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