Long Beach Creative Group’s ‘Inspired By’ features art from over 50 SoCal artists

For its newest exhibit at the Rod Briggs Memorial Gallery, the Long Beach Creative Group has cast a wider net than ever before – welcoming submissions from all over Southern California.

The “Inspired By” exhibit features 83 works by 54 artists from across Southern California.

This exhibition is the first time that Long Beach Creative Group has issued an open call to artists from across Southland, previously limiting their calls to artists with a connection to Long Beach, Signal Hill, Lakewood or San Pedro.

“We have a fantastic wide range of different artists, styles, materials, and more,” said Marka Burns, chair of the Long Beach Creative Group board of directors.

The exhibition includes oil, acrylic and water-based paintings, as well as sculptures and mixed-media pieces, such as “Fall” by Karena Massengill, which uses different types of glass, sheet gold, acrylic and resin.

Massengill’s abstract piece consists of a reflective teal blue background with a square glued to the surface, half of the square being transparent and the other half black filled with gold foil to show “our changing seasons with their extremes”, a writes Massengill on it. Instagram.

“Catapult” by Linda-Jo Russell is included in the “Inspired By” exhibition organized by the Long Beach Creative Group. (Courtesy of Long Beach Creative Group)

“I’m super glad they included my pieces in the show,” said Cal State Long Beach art student Evan Cespedes.

Cespedes has two pieces of abstract digital art included in the exhibit, dubbed “Flowing Reef” and “Dragon Nerves,” inspired by ideas of aliens, fantasy, and other worlds depicted in media. The pieces invite the viewer to contemplate what an extraterrestrial world and its inhabitants would look like.

CSULB student Lizbeth Roque submitted a ceramic owl inspired by small marble animal figurines she bought from vendors during her annual trips to Acapulco, Mexico, after her mother was deported.

“I recreate found objects or memories in order to feel physically closer to my mother,” Roque said in a statement to the Signals tribune. “[…] These figurines have become very special to me and increasing the scale of these small objects has made them more impactful and meaningful to me.

The 83 works of art included in the exhibition were chosen from 242 submissions by three judges: Cory Bilicko, Ellen Butler and Carlos Cordero.

‘STUD-Y Magenta Rose’ by Ziyi Tan is part of the ‘Inspired by’ exhibition at the Rod Briggs Gallery. (Courtesy of Long Beach Creative Group)

For previous open calls, jurors would assign each work an online score and the highest-ranking submissions overall would be selected, according to a statement from the Long Beach Creative Group. For “Inspired By,” the jurors met in person at the end of the selection process and were able to defend any works that did not receive high marks.

According to Burns, the first “Inspired By” weekend open to the public drew more than 200 viewers.

The Long Beach Creative Group can use the Rod Briggs Memorial Gallery on an ongoing basis thanks to the Briggs family. The group uses the space to elevate the work of unknown artists.

“We wanted to give opportunities to people who never showed up rather than people who show up all the time,” Burns said.

“Inspired By” will be on view through October 22 at the Rod Briggs Memorial Gallery (2221 E Broadway). The exhibition is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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