Artists Michael Irwin, Inga Guzyte and Johnny Troyna, use a variety of mediums and materials that create new dialogues, and communicate directly from inspirations the artists wish to capture, challenge, or convey. As art reflects culture, each artist brings a new level of awareness of tradition through their pieces, as they seek to bend preconceptions of culture.
Brilliant Inga Guzyte
Born in Lithuania and raised in Germany, Guzyte found her way to Santa Barbara to study studio art at Santa Barbara City College. Inspired by her passion for skateboarding, the artist found art an effective medium for bringing memories back to the present, and portraying a personal history. She states, “I am a skater girl - I identify with the generation of skateboarders and the skateboarding lifestyle. These experiences helped to define my character, and represent the person I am today.”
Guzyte’s pieces are “sculptural comic-like characters,” utilizing skateboards as a medium. Her characters fall into a pop-culture genre, as “designs and colors play a significant role in the development of the images.” The artist chooses used board decks, allowing them to live another life via art. In fact, as finished products the pieces lose their recognizable identity as skateboards; the artist chooses to cut the decks into new shapes, in order to create “a new, more personal language.” Although she plans on re-locating back to Europe, she will continue to study visual communication and create art.
Interested in the interplay of space within the psychological and physical realms, Irwin’s drawings and collages aim to “create a tension or dialogue between two or three iconic shapes.” The artist invites the viewer to participates in these dialogues in his work, and furthermore prompting them to build their own conversations and narratives. “Like a distant figure, walking through the fog, [I want to provide] not quite enough information to concisely identify, but [I’ll give enough] to create a feeling of anticipation and expectation,” the artist says.
Irwin utilizes a variety of resources for his pieces, including shaped canvases, large pieces of stainless steel and aluminum. A Santa Barbara local for the past forty years, he teaches throughout the community and shows his work throughout California.
A local Californian, Troyna cites the inevitable beach-culture the state provides to be his primary inspiration for his art. Along with the ocean, the artist draws on “Hippy-Modern” and “Mid-Century Modernism,” influences along with vintage surfing, skating, and nautical imagery. Presently, he has found working with reclaimed materials from the ocean among his artistic repertoire, intrigued by “the imagery of patterns and explosions.” Overall, the artist enjoys working with references to “popular and underground cultures.