A Brush with Art

These banners aren’t to be missed

With the Arts Alive program well under way, you may have seen many of the banners displayed along Pacific Coast Highway. However, there are 17 banners not to be missed, currently on view at San Elijo Avenue’s Cardiff Town Center.

Artist Debbie Schaefer’s banner “DeEMPATH.” Courtesy photo
One banner titled “DeEMPATH” is the creation of Debbie Schaefer, an Encinitas resident since 1985.

A graduate of NYU, Schaefer grew up in New Jersey and explored the museums of New York City as soon as she was old enough to take the bus or train into “the City.” Her interest in three-dimensional art was sparked early by viewing a sculpture by Auguste Rodin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

After many years of working with clay, Schaefer is known for her “Portraits in Clay,” which she creates on commission. She finds that these masks, created from facial impressions, reveal physical characteristics particular to ancestral roots. She adds, “I see aspects of an individual’s personality emerge. The masks tell something about the inner person, projecting a moment in time in the life of the individual.”

Schaefer has been dedicated to teaching art for over 20 years, most recently at Rancho Encinitas Academy. For years she taught clay classes at her home on San Dieguito Drive.

In 1993, neighbor Jim Hornung brought his young children to participate in Schaefer’s classes. With Schaefer’s inspiration, Horning began using clay in his own sculptural creations.

Clay was not the only common ground for these two artists. They both were fascinated with natural objects, particularly animal bones. Both artists were attracted to their graceful, organic shapes that defy normal observation. While Schaefer incorporated bones into sculptures and drawing lessons, Hornung took them to a new level of originality.

Using bones from various animals, Hornung has created a world of unearthly creatures with seamless back-story

Artist Jim Hornung’s banner “Lightning Lizard.” Courtesy photo

based in mythology, primitive ritual, and the spirit world. He has dubbed these mythical creatures assembled from the bones of various animals “Zocateq.” Hornung explains, “Research indicates that the use of different animals gave the Zocateq the attributes of these animals.” Richly covered in gold leaf, the charming jewel-like creatures that have sprung from his peculiar imagination include turkles, pelicats, and rhinosopteri, which are created with meticulous craftsmanship and presented with an air of authority and a perfectly straight face. Degreed in philosophy and art, the self-appointed Educator Emeritus and Chief Provost of the Archeo Art Institute for Evolutionary Discovery easily mesmerizes viewers who are unable to determine where reality ends and fantasy begins. Hornung states, “Much of my work is created for the purpose of stirring up the imagination.” He adds, “If you can get viewers to scratch their heads, your know your work is successful.” His exhibitions have garnered rave reviews.

Hornung’s banner “Lightning Lizard,” and many of his paintings, totems, and Zocateq creatures are displayed at his First Street Gallery, located at 820 South Coast Highway.

View all 98 of the Arts Alive banners online at artsaliveencinitas.com. Before May 20, please phone (760) 943-1950 to place bids.

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at kaycolvin@lstreetfineart.com.

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